Newsletter 118, 19 September 2016

Forget tornadoes. Rain bombs are coming for your town.

Bloomberg / Eric Roston / 29 July 2016

Evidence shows that the sky is coming down on our heads—the watery part of it, anyway, in larger and larger cascades. It's largely our own fault.

The past two months have seen some doozies just in the U.S. The Empire State Building was struck by lightning twice on Monday during a storm that brought an inch of rain down in what felt like a single sheet.

Last month, at least 23 people died in West Virginia flooding. At its peak on June 23, more than 8 inches to 10 inches fell within half a day—a once-every-1,000 years rain storm. Maelstroms in May and early June dropped five times as much rain as normal near Houston, seriously challenging the definition of normal. More than a dozen people died. It was the city's fifth major flood in just over a year ...


Next up: Bluegrass Farm and community supported agriculture

Transition Brockville has invited the owners of Bluegrass Farm to talk about their organic farm and its community supported agriculture (CSA) program.

Brad Wright and Leela Ramachandran operate an Ecocert Canada certified organic vegetable farm at Jasper, near Smiths Falls. Their innovative system of heated greenhouses helps them extend the growing season into the winter. They focus on heirloom seed varieties chosen for quality and flavour.

"We're growing over three acres of field vegetables and a quarter acre of greens in our greenhouses," Wright says. Through their CSA programs, including a winter CSA, they provide year-round local produce to families, restaurants and food stores in Ottawa, Perth, Kemptville, Smiths Falls, Merrickville and Almonte.

During their Transition Brockville presentation this Sunday, they'll show views of their farm and its produce, discuss their operations, and share their satisfaction in helping people to better understand where their food comes from, who grows it and how it is produced. They'll also bring some garlic for sale and perhaps some other seasonal produce.

This presentation is free and open to anyone who's interested in sustainable agriculture, local foods, and a more resilient way of living. Wright and Ramachandran welcome questions about their farm and CSA program.

WHEN: Sunday, September 25, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Upcoming Presentations

October 1: TB Booth, Brockville Culture Days
October 23: Lois Dewey, Healthy Communities Partnership: Nature 4 Life!

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

Transition Backgrounder: Inner Transition

Local Futures / Stephen Hinton / 08 September 2016
The prospect of having less fossil fuel or money to go round puts most people into threat mode. But in threat mode we are not thinking long-term. It is just this problem that faces civil society when developing the dialogue around how we can develop society to show more planet care and at the same time more people care and fair share. We need to create the space where the dialogue can be held without fear driving us ...


Energy East: Concerned citizens to attend Committee of the Whole

Sustainable North Grenville / 16 September 2016
You are invited to attend a municipal meeting this coming Monday, September 19, 6:30 pm. We have learned only days ago that NG Mayor David Gordon has committed to sign a letter of support for Energy East at United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Council. This goes against the resolution passed ...

Wildlife, plants feeling the heat

Belleville Intelligencer / Luke Hendry / 12 August 2016
More heat and less rainfall this summer are stressing plants, animals and people and could lead to less wildlife as the drought continues, authorities say. Conditions since May have been unusually hot and dry in southern Ontario, the Montreal area, southern New Brunswick and southwestern...

Ashton said Environment Canada's own weather station in the city recorded 23 millimetres of rain falling in Friday's storm. However, home-based weather station recordings from the same period told different stories. One such private station recorded 109 millimetres and another 152 millimetres, while others showed 50 ...

Gas expansion plan undermining provincial climate strategy? / Tyler Hamilton / 09 August 2016
When media reports surfaced in early May suggesting Ontario was preparing to ban the use of natural gas for home heating, Premier Kathleen Wynne felt compelled to correct the record. Not only was her gov...

Ontario launches challenge to spend more time in nature

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry / 25 July 2016
The Ontario government and Ontario Parks are challenging people across the province to spend more time in nature and develop new healthy habits. Inspired by the David Suzuki Foundation's 30x30 Challenge, the Ontario Parks 30x30 Nature Challenge encourages people to spend at least 30 mi...

Geothermal HVAC heats up

Lexology / Aird & Berlis LLP / 18 July 2016
Geothermal energy is starting to heat up in Ontario. Once considered too costly for domestic household use, recent policy moves by the province have demonstrated political – and financial – support for an expansion of geothermal HVAC technologies in the coming decades. The recently released Climate...


Delivering Community Power: Summer 2016 campaign update

Friends of Public Services / Dru Jay / 13 September 2016
With a lockout of 50,000 postal workers appearing imminent, Friends of Public Services' Director Dru Jay hit the road to spread the word about the postal workers' bold proposals. Our goal was to bring together environmentalists, social movements, labour movement folks and postal workers ...

The Three Amigos' clean energy target explained

Clean Energy Canada / Clare Demerse / 29 June 2016
Today's meeting of the three North American leaders put climate and clean energy at the centre of a packed agenda — an important signal in and of itself. And the leaders took advantage of their time together to deliver several new and promising clean energy commitments. This blog digs int...

Ottawa approves controversial chemical for ocean oil spills

The Tyee / Andrew Nikiforuk / 18 July 2016
The federal government has quietly approved the use of a highly controversial chemical for dispersing ocean oil spills, despite growing scientific evidence it doesn't always work as claimed and even intensifies the toxicity of oil. Last month Environment Canada released regulations establishing a l...


Earth just had its hottest August on record, NASA finds

Mashable / Andrew Freedman / 13 September 2016
August 2016 was the warmest such month on record, according to preliminary data released by NASA on Monday. This further ensures that the year will beat 2015 for the dubious title of the warmest year on record. In addition, August tied July for the distinction of being the hottest month of any mo...

Flooding of coast, caused by global warming, has already begun

New York Times / Justin Gillis / 03 September 2016
For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States' coastline. Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of th...

Global warming has brought a hellish heatwave to the Mid East

The Independent / Hugh Naylor / 11 August 2016
Record-shattering temperatures this summer have scorched countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia and beyond, as climate experts warn that the severe weather could be a harbinger of worse to come. In coming decades, U.N. officials and climate scientists predict that the region's mushrooming popul...

America's latest 500-year rainstorm is underway right now

Pacific Standard / Eric Holthaus / 12 August 2016
By mid-morning on Friday, more than a foot of rain had fallen near Kentwood, Louisiana, in just a 12-hour stretch — a downpour with an estimated likelihood of just once every 500 years, and roughly three months' worth of rainfall during a typical hurricane season. It's the latest in a s...

A visit to the climate anxiety doctor

The Tyee / Stephanne Taylor / 04 August 2016
In the psychological literature, there is an increasing body of research demonstrating the toll that climate change can take. Climate change can affect mental health both as a result of individual significant weather events, and as a result of more gradual changes in climate. Psychologists have found ...

Leading insecticide cuts bee sperm by almost 40%, study shows

The Guardian / Damian Carrington / 27 July 2016
The world's most widely used insecticide is an inadvertent contraceptive for bees, cutting live sperm in males by almost 40%, according to research. The study also showed the neonicotinoid pesticides cut the lifespan of the drones by a third. The scientists say the discovery provides one possi...


Some surprises at Talking Trash

Transition Brockville / 08 August 2016
There were some surprises at the Talking Trash event, held in partnership with the City of Brockville on July 24. Did you know that take-out coffee cups are not recyclable? Lyndsay Price, the City's solid waste officer, clarified the best handling for a number of items questioned by our visitors. Waxed...

8 cold frame plans for year-round gardening

Mother Earth News / Rebecca Martin / August/September 2016
A humble cold frame offers a great way to produce nutritious, homegrown food outside of the prime growing season without investing in a full-sized greenhouse. Although many gardeners already use these mini-greenhouses to shelter seedlings before planting in spring, they may not realize t...

Drought-tolerant crops, resilient perennials and more

Mother Earth News / Gary Paul Nabhan / June/July 2014
If we've learned anything as food growers in recent decades, it's that climate change has placed not just one but many kinds of stress on our gardens and farms. "Global warming" does not adequately describe the "new normal," given that many food sheds and farms have suffered from ...

Tips for buying kitchen staples in bulk

Mother Earth News / Eric Reuter / 14 July 2016
Buying certain foods in bulk is a great way to save money, packaging, and shopping time, while opening up new opportunities to support good farmers. We raise much of our own food on our homestead farm, but still need to source kitchen staples like flour, sugar, salt, dried pasta, and nuts from the o...

Mulching with cardboard just got easier

Mother Earth News / Belea Keeney / June/July 2014
Mulching with cardboard and newspaper is a classic method for suppressing weeds and grass. However, I found out the hard way that finding and breaking down dozens of cardboard boxes is tedious. Plus, weeds and grass grew between my cardboard sheets by mid-June.


  Born to walk

TVO / The Agenda in the Summer / 22 July 2016
Mundane mode of transportation or mind-expanding journey, walking is one of humanity's simplest accomplishments. From walking with police on the beat in Philadelphia, to hiking with war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, Ottawa-based editor and writer Dan Rubinstein explores the transformative ...

  My Name is Jay Lehman

Lehman Hardware
Some fun with autotune and our founder, Jay Lehman. What started as a small hardware store serving the local Amish in Kidron, Ohio, grew into something much bigger than Lehman ever dreamed.

  The once and future world — Rewilding nature and us

Peak Moment TV / 12 September 2016
To rewild ourselves, we can start small: sit down and actively see nature again. "Once I began paying attention, what I experienced was so wonderful, that it was easy to keep doing it. It's so easy to fall back in love with the natural world."

  Seeds for our future — How shall we feed ourselves?

Peak Moment TV / 24 July 2016
"We've alienated ourselves so much from nature that our whole way of producing food is by trying to dominate nature. We're not really connected." Dan Jason, owner of Salt Spring Seeds (B.C.), points out how corporations now control most of the seeds and food products worldwide. They are poisoning plants, us, and...

  Rain bomb: Rare 'wet microburst' caught on camera

Barcroft TV / 15 August 2015
The incredibly detailed footage shows a weather event known as a wet microburst which occurs when a cooled column of air sinks rapidly through the middle of a thunder storm. The unique storm phenomena affects an area of no more than two and a half miles and can generate winds of over 150 mph.


Leeds-Grenville Household Hazardous Waste Day

United Counties of Leeds & Grenville
WHEN: Saturday, September 24, 8:30 am - 11:30 am
WHERE: South Grenville Patrol Garage, 2320 County Road 21 (east of Spencerville)

WHEN: Saturday, September 24, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
WHERE: North Grenville Patrol Garage, 720 County Road 44 (south of Kemptville)

MATERIALS ACCEPTED: Include petroleum products, oil filters, antifreeze, paints and solvents, batteries, propane tanks, fertilizers, pesticides, light bulbs, flourescent light bulbs/tubes and pharmaceuticals, all of which are "household" in nature. Private/commercial business waste will not be accepted.

MATERIALS NOT ACCEPTED: Include commercial and/or industrial waste, electronics, appliances, flares, explosives, PCB's and radioactive materials. Waste from other municipalities including the City of Brockville will not be accepted. Please come early to avoid line-ups and long waiting times.

Questions? Call 613-342-3840 x2413

Transition at Brockville Culture Days

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Saturday, October 1
WHERE: King Street, Brockville

Come see our displays featuring apple peeling, cooking with a solar oven, tips on recycling and repairing, and a garden display from Buell's Creek Community Garden.

Ontario Natural Homes Tour

Ontario Natural Building Coalition
WHEN: Sunday, October 2
WHERE: Across Ontario

The Natural Homes Tour helps to spread the word about the environmental benefits of natural building, and helps natural builders gain new ground and new building opportunities. Homes and buildings on the tour are built using natural building methods such as straw bale, clay/straw, earthblock, cordwood, bio blocks, rammed earth, earth ships and other creative means. Homes using energy efficient building techniques, passive solar design and alternative energy systems are also welcome to join the tour.

More info:

Managing Energy 2016

WHEN: Monday, October 3, 7:30 am - 4:00 pm
WHERE: Four Points by Sheraton, Kingston ON

Managing Energy is an energy summit for Southeastern Ontario's energy management stakeholders. This full day of speakers, panel sessions, and networking will provide organizations with the tools they need to:

  • Reduce energy consumption and lower costs for their organizations
  • Identify new opportunities for savings
  • Be aware of regulatory changes that could impact business

More info:

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

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