Newsletter 115, 24 May 2016

Each month as I write these dispatches, I shake my head in disbelief at the rapidity at which anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is occurring. It's as though each month I think, "It can't possibly keep happening at this incredible pace."

But it does.

By late April, the Mauna Loa Observatory, which monitors atmospheric carbon dioxide, recorded an incredible daily reading: 409.3 parts per million. That is a range of atmospheric carbon dioxide content that this planet has not seen for the last 15 million years, and 2016 is poised to see these levels only continue to increase.


Next up: This Changes Everything

This Changes Everything, a full-length documentary film based on Naomi Klein's 2014 book of the same name, takes a hard look at the damage humanity has done to the planet and a hopeful look at what humanity can do to turn a disastrous path into a better future for all.

As The New York Times says in its review, the film shows our systemic plundering of resources, and identifies the culprit as our perceived need for global economic growth. Klein sees hope, however, in the "pollution mutinies" cropping up all over the world. Her film highlights the bottom-up environmentalism of regular folks standing up for their communities' right to say no to polluting practices of global corporations – practices that have led to global warming and climate change.

This Changes Everything is presented in partnership with the local chapter of the Council of Canadians, and this screening is being dedicated to the late Rev. Jim Riesberry, for many years the driving force behind the local council and also a Transition member. Riesberry wrote many articulate letters to the editor of The Recorder and Times over the years, outlining the kinds of issues that also motivate Naomi Klein. He had ordered the film for screening before his death earlier this month.

Everyone is welcome at this public presentation. Admission is by free-will donation. Refreshments will be served.

WHEN: Sunday, May 29, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Upcoming Presentations

June 26: Kristina Hubert, Hub Coordinator: Brockville Community Hub
July 24: [ TBA ]
August 28: Megan Piercey Monafu, Youth Arts Ambassadors Program / Culture Days

Please let us know what you'd like to hear about, or to hear more about, through this online form.

Backgrounder: Four key assumptions of the Transition Movement

  1. Life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and it is better to plan for it than to be taken by surprise.
  2. Our towns and cities presently lack the resilience to weather the severe resource shortages that will accompany post-peak oil, climatic changes, and so on.
  3. We have to act collectively, and we have to act now.
  4. By unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy descent, we can build ways of living that are more connected and enriching.

Steering Committee

  • From June to September, our Steering Committee meets on the first Wednesday of the month - at 7:00 pm at Bud's on the Bay, 17 Broad Street. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 1. Our SC meetings are open and anyone may attend. (From October to May the SC meets on the first Monday of the month.)

  • Members of the SC are available to speak to groups throughout the community, whether it be a lunch-and-learn at your place of business, a presentation to your board of directors or group members, or an informal neighbourhood discussion. Contact us at


Beau's to remain independent by selling ownership to staff

Globe and Mail / Jacob Serebrin / 17 May 2016
The largest independent producer of organic beer in Canada says it plans to maintain that independence by handing ownership over to its employees. The plan, announced on Monday, will see the approximately 150 employees of Beau's All Natural Brewing Company buy the Vankleek Hill, Ont., brewery ov...

Healthy Kids grant funds "Brock Trail Adventure Club"

Brockville Active Mobility Matters / Alan Medcalf / 15 May 2016
Grade 5/6 children in Brockville are exploring the Brock Trail in active ways thanks to a grant from the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Leeds and Grenville Community Project Fund. This project provides children (grade 5/6) the opportunity to explore the expanded Brock Trail sys...


Ontario passes bill to create cap-and-trade system

Globe and Mail / Keith Leslie / 18 May 2016
Ontario has passed legislation creating a cap-and-trade system to fight climate change, which is expected to add $5 a month to home heating bills and about 4.3 cents to the price of a litre of gasoline. Under cap and trade, industries are given specific pollution limits, but can sell their emission ...

Ontario to spend $7-billion on sweeping climate change plan

Globe and Mail / Adrian Morrow, Greg Keenan / 16 May 2016
The Ontario government will spend more than $7-billion over four years on a sweeping climate change plan that will affect every aspect of life – from what people drive to how they heat their homes and workplaces – in a bid to slash the province's carbon footprint. Ontario will be...

Curbing climate change in ON will cost you $13 a month: report

Toronto Star / Robert Benzie / 17 May 2016
Ontario's new climate-change plan will cost the average household $13 a month — far less than a carbon tax that would have meant a monthly hit of up to $107, according to an internal report on the scheme. Premier Kathleen Wynne's cap-and-trade proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enshri...

Ontario building more electric vehicle charging stations

Ministry of Transportation / 28 April 2016
The province is investing $20 million from Ontario's Green Investment Fund to build nearly 500 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at over 250 locations in Ontario in 2017. Through the $20 million Electric Vehicle Chargers Ontario (EVCO) grant program, the province is working with 27 public and ...

Update on renewable energy initiatives and rates

Gowling WLG / Jeremy Hourigan, Rod Northey / 15 April 2016
On April 5, 2016, Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli issued a ministerial directive to the Independent Electricity System Operator ("IESO") requiring the IESO to commence a second phase to procure more, new large-scale renewable (LRP) energy projects in Ontario in a competitive proces...


We need to talk about climate change

Slate / Eric Holthaus / 06 May 2016
I want to be clear: Talking about climate change during an ongoing disaster like Fort McMurray is absolutely necessary. There is a sensitive way to do it, one that acknowledges what the victims are going through and does not blame them for these difficulties. But adding scientific context helps inform our response and helps us figure out how something so horrific could have happened. We've reached an era where all weather events bear at least a slight human fingerprint, which, as Elizabeth Kolbert points out in ...

Fort McMurray and the fires of climate change

The New Yorker / Elizabeth Kolbert / 05 May 2016
As Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist who is a Green Party member of British Columbia's provincial legislature, noted, "The reality is we are all consumers of products that come from oil." But to fail to acknowledge the connection is to risk another kind of offense. We are all co...

Imagine: A renewable-powered postal fleet that connects farms to dinner tables. Door to door mail carriers expanding their role in strengthening social fabric. Post offices as hubs for green innovation, connecting local businesses and customers. Postal banking, providing small towns and low...


April breaks global temperature record, 7th month of new highs

The Guardian / Michael Slezak / 16 May 2016
April 2016 was the hottest April on record globally – and the seventh month in a row to have broken global temperature records. The latest figures smashed the previous record for April by the largest margin ever recorded. It makes three months in a row that the monthly record has been broken by...

Six U.S. billion-dollar severe weather disasters so far in 2016

Weather Underground / Bob Henson, Jeff Masters / 09 May 2016
These events brought the tally of billion-dollar severe weather disasters so far in the U.S. to six. This ties 2016 with 2013 for the third-most billion-dollar severe weather disasters in one year. The record is nine billion-dollar severe weather disasters in 2011, with 2012 in second ...

Peak oil is back

Peak Oil Barrel / Ron Patterson / 24 April 2016
According to Professor Michael Jefferson, who spent nearly 20 years at Shell in various senior roles from head of planning in Europe to director of oil supply and trading, "the five major Middle East oil exporters altered the basis of their definition of 'proved' conventional oil reserves fro...

Why a "modern" can't understand the risks we face

Resource Insights / Kurt Cobb / 08 May 2016
In my previous piece, I discussed why it is useless to argue with a person clinging to what I called the "religion" of modernism. I summarized four main tenets of the modern outlook as follows: Humans are in one category and nature is in another. Scale doesn't matter. Hi...

A cautionary note about messages of hope

University of Queensland / Matthew J. Hornsey, Kelly S. Fielding / 28 April 2016
Highlights: Emotional distress is strongly correlated with mitigation motivation; hope is not. Optimistic messages about carbon emissions reduce climate change risk perceptions. Less risk leads to less distress, which in turn lowers mitigation mot...

British MPs' report: environmental 'limits' to economic growth

Insurge Intelligence / Nafeez Ahmed / 19 April 2016
A report commissioned on behalf of a cross-party group of British MPs authored by a former UK government advisor, the first of its kind, says that industrial civilisation is currently on track to experience "an eventual collapse of production and living standards" in the next few decades if...


Getting news that matters

Transition Ottawa / Newsletter / 03 May 2016
As many of us are aware, there is much that remains unreported. Conventional media disproportionately focuses on war, rape, murder, football results and celebrity trivia. Canadians need news on environmental, wildlife, soil and other problems AND the solutions, of which there are many. Many convent...

Your input requested on clean growth and climate change

Environment and Climate Change Canada / 21 April 2016
On Earth Day, Canadians will also witness the launch of a new interactive website to seek input from Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, on how to address climate change and promote clean growth. This engagement tool will allow Canadians to be part of a national conversation on climat...

This quiz takes about 5 minutes to complete. Answer honestly for best results.

100 things you can do to get ready for peak oil / Sharon Astyk / 17 December 2006
These suggestions go far beyond the usual stale sustainability tips for consumers, and into the kind of adaptations which can reduce our energy usage not by percentage points, but by orders of magnitude. At the same time they offer rich challenges, good food, and meaningful family and community ex...

Container gardening with vegetables and herbs

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / April/May 2012
The most personal way to forge a connection with delicious food crops — from arugula to tomatoes — is to grow them up close in containers. Special methods are needed to produce high-quality food crops in containers, because most vegetables and herbs grow best when planted in the ground. S...

Intensive gardening: Grow more food in less space

Mother Earth News / Linda A. Gilkeson / February/March 2014
Whether you grow food on a spacious homestead or are digging into your first urban garden, ditching the plant-by-rows approach and instead adopting intensive gardening techniques can help you grow a more productive garden that's also more efficient to manage. These methods will open u...

This single change to your diet can save calories and cash

Globe and Mail / Leslie Beck / 19 April 2016
Packing your own lunch allows you to get more protein, whole grains, fibre, vitamins and minerals and less of the things you don't need, such as excess calories, refined starch, sodium and added sugars. Doing so also prevents you from giving in to cravings when you hit the food court or drive-throug...

Petition to the Minister of Health: Raw milk

Larry Miller, MP Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound / 13 April 2016
Whereas: Humans have been consuming locally produced raw milk for thousands of years and have enjoyed the health benefits included therein, and raw milk contains enzymes and beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that are destroyed during the pasteurization process; Large scale...

10 tips for safer city cycling

BikeRadar / Oli Woodman / 11 May 2016
It goes without saying that staying safe while on the roads is a top priority. We've compiled 10 of our top tips to keep you out of danger when out on two wheels.

What are trees worth to cities?

CITYLAB / Laura Bliss / 21 April 2016
David Nowak whittles down 30 years of studying the economic value of forests to this advice: If you can only plant one tree, plant it in a city. After all, in an era of overwhelming need for urban infrastructure improvements, trees offer cities some of the best bang for their buck. Trees remove carbon dio...


Ecotech myths and lessons from the past

LIFT Conference / Kris de Decker / 10 February 2016
The present-day approach towards a sustainable society is doomed to fail. The focus on sophisticated technology - electric and hybrid cars, energy-efficient devices, solar panels and wind turbines, for instance - has little or no effect because these green technologies require large amounts...

Dr. Michael Mann on dying oceans and intense fires

The Big Picture RT / 10 May 2016
Dr. Michael Mann, Earth System Science Center-Penn State University/Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change (2nd edition) joins Thom. The oceans are literally starving now. Plus the Fires in Canada - Is this a preview of what the future will look like if we don't do something right now to stop climate ...

Days of revolt: Coping with reality

teleSUR English / 25 April 2016
Chris Hedges interviews climate change activist Tim DeChristopher about the deadly failure of industrial world to confront the effects of climate change. The two discuss how climate change has, and continues to trigger social tension and injustice, and the necessary ethnical response on the part of humanity as...


Two Rivers Food Hub - Open House

Two Rivers Food Hub
WHEN: Wednesday, May 25, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
WHERE: 361 Queen St. Unit 5000, Smiths Falls ON

The Board of Directors and staff of the Two Rivers Food Hub are pleased to invite the public, media and industry partners to help celebrate its one year anniversary. Board members and staff will offer a tour of the facility, showcasing new equipment and upgrades, provide an update on activities to date and provide an opportunity for questions. Samples and tastes from the Two Rivers Food Hub's commercial kitchen users will be provided.

The Two Rivers Food Hub is a connection point for buyers and sellers of local foods. Its mandate is to support the small farm agricultural community around the two rivers that run through Lanark, Leeds and Grenville counties. The food hub is well positioned to service the tri-county area from its physical location in the Gallipeau Centre on County Road 43 in Smiths Falls.

More info: Contact Bruce Enloe, Two Rivers Food Hub General Manager at or 613-205-1338

For the Kids: Transplanting with Koren

Brockville Farmers Market
WHEN: Saturday, May 28, 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Farmers Market, Market Street West, Brockville

Koren from Brokor Farms will be demonstrating how to transplant seedlings.

Square Foot Gardening

Gananoque Horticultural Society
WHEN: Wednesday, June 8, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
WHERE: Herbert St. Entrance, Carveth Care, 375 James St., Gananoque

Want to try raised bed gardening? Carolyn Klickerman will show us how. Visitors welcome! We Are Green. Please bring a mug.

More info: Contact Penny Stewart at or 613-546-6093

Lansdowne Textiles Festival

Lansdowne Association for Revitalization
WHEN: Saturday, June 25
WHERE: Lansdowne Community Building, 1 Jessie Street, Lansdowne

We will have weavers, spinners, quilter, rug hookers and many other fibre artists demonstrating their crafts. There will be vendors available as well so that you can bring home some of their products.

More info: Contact Liane Salmon at or 613-659-4708

It is not the strongest of the species that survives... nor the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

Charles Darwin

Mini-icons by Yusuke Kamiyamane. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.