Newsletter 130, 22 January 2018

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Where does your passion lie?

Transition Brockville

Transition Brockville is hosting an informal meet-up to chat about our shared concerns and explore some practical things we can realistically do, as we begin our second decade.

In past years, our group has made and sold rain barrels, participated in green trade shows, demonstrated energy-saving options at the Farmers Market and Culture Days, partnered with the library to offer Seedy Saturdays, developed a community garden, and established a collection of books on a wide range of topics addressing both community and individual resilience.

Where does your own passion lie in the vast field of sustainability? What problem do you see happening here, right now? Can we work together to help repair and resolve the problem? What concrete actions do you think we can take now to make Brockville and area more resilient?

Come to the meet-up on Sunday, January 28, 2 pm, at the Brockville Public Library. Bring a friend! We'll get to meet one another, share ideas, enjoy refreshments and look at some real options for action. We'll also have a draw for three DBIA gift certificates worth $25, $50 and $75, which the winners can use at any business belonging to the Downtown Business Improvement Area. So mark your calendars and come join us!


  • Take a look. Then take a book!

    Have you checked out the Transition Brockville Sustainability Collection at the Brockville Public Library yet? Or tried searching the titles online? You'll find everything there from 'big picture' analyses on the science behind climate change and peak oil, to manuals for on-the-ground building of community resilience. The Sustainability Collection is located on a book trolley in the nonfiction room on the 2nd floor of the Library. The general borrowing policy of the Library applies.

  • Save this date: March 3

    Transition Brockville and the Brockville Public Library are partnering again this year to offer their 4th Annual Seedy Saturday. See Upcoming Events for details.

  • The Essential Guide to Doing Transition
    Transition Network / 28 September 2016
    We now have 10 years’ experience of supporting groups bringing Transition to life in over 50 countries, in towns, cities, villages, institutions. We have a pretty clear idea now of what works and what doesn’t, and we want to share that with you so you can be as effective as possible as quickly as possible.

    We have created a lot of resources to support groups doing and being, Transition. In this Beginner's Guide we will signpost you to everything you will need as you begin the journey to doing some extraordinary things where you live. Think of this as your Transition Starter Pack.


  • Province funding new charging stations at workplaces
    Ministry of Transportation / 16 January 2018
    Ontario is making it easier to use electric vehicles to get to and from work by assisting employers, commercial building owners and managers to install charging stations at their workplaces. This investment is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province’s cap on pollution and carbon market. Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca was at the Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre in Toronto today to announce the new Workplace Electric …
  • Powering for Prosperity Awards nominations
    OSEA / 10 January 2018
    We are thrilled to announce the nominations for the the 8th Annual POWERING FOR PROSPERITY Awards Gala. This year, we have six distinct award categories which aim to highlight the remarkable contributions made by individuals and organizations all around the province. We would like to announce the nomination candidates!…
  • Action Plans in the works for 7 Midland-area municipalities
    Midland Mirror / Andrew Mendler / 20 December 2017
    Sustainable Severn Sound is undertaking a massive initiative, which will involve creating Climate Change Action Plans for seven area municipalities: Midland, Penenetanguishene, Oro-Medonte, Tiny, Tay, Severn and Georgian Bay Township. The first step of the project is to map out the energy consumption for each municipality and create a greenhouse gas inventory to establish a baseline of data. This data will then be analyzed and goals will be set to help communities cut down on pollution levels …
  • City hopes new climate agency rains data, cash
    London Free Press / Megan Stacey / 08 January 2018
    City staff and politicians are welcoming plans for a new provincial agency to help direct the response to climate change, hoping it could bring London more of the data and funding it needs. The new organization — a not-for-profit proposed by the province to build awareness, provide programming, and develop better regional weather data — could be just what London needs to combat the impacts of climate change, they say…
  • Replacing Ontario's nuclear energy?
    CAPE Blog / Jack Gibbons / 03 September 2017
    "Where would Ontario get its baseload electricity if it shut down its nuclear plants?" For close to 50 years, Ontario has relied on nuclear power to supply a large share of its electricity. In that half century, the cost of nuclear power has climbed steadily, the risk of nuclear accidents has been made terribly real by events in Chernobyl and Fukushima, and no jurisdiction anywhere – including Ontario – has managed to devise a practical solution for dealing with the tonnes of dangerous …
  • Urban Forestry Toolkit
    Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition
    GIO's urban forestry toolkit is a set of documents that support those working to improve urban forest management across the province. This toolkit builds upon our 2015 report Ontario's Urban Forests: Call to Action and was developed with input from professionals around the province. The first piece of the toolkit can help build the case for the value that urban forests provide as a municipal asset – with the goal of integrating urban forest management into municipal asset management plans. Read …


  • Canada's top 10 weather stories 2017
    Environment and Climate Change Canada / 20 December 2017
    Worldwide changes in extreme precipitation and temperature are consistent with what we anticipate from global warming. Science is linking climate change with increased risk of forest fires, floods, heavy rains, and the most powerful hurricanes. Canadians experienced many of these extremes in 2017. As the Top 10 Weather Stories of 2017 confirm, our communities must become more resilient – not only for what lies ahead, but for the changing climate that is already on our doorstep. Canadians had …
  • We want to fight climate change – as cheaply as possible
    iPolitics / Rachel Gilmore / 11 January 2018
    Most Canadians care about the climate – but not quite enough to welcome massive energy bill hikes or to buy an electric car. That was one of the many interesting snippets to come out of a recently-released report for Natural Resources Canada. The report's purpose was to help tailor the government's resource-related plans to meet "the needs of the public." Here's the highlight reel.…
  • Canada fails to protect bees
    RT / 21 December 2017
    Environmental groups in Canada have lashed out at the government, saying it has failed to protect bees. Ottawa has proposed limiting the use of bee-killing insecticides, but environmentalists want them completely banned. On Tuesday, Health Canada's pest control body issued a report on a group of pesticides, called neonicotinoids, giving the green light to their further use before making final decisions in March 2018. The move riled conservation activists, who are calling on the government to …


  • The Global Risks Report 2018
    World Economic Forum / January 2018
    Humanity has become remarkably adept at understanding how to mitigate conventional risks that can be relatively easily isolated and managed with standard risk-management approaches. But we are much less competent when it comes to dealing with complex risks in the interconnected systems that underpin our world, such as organizations, economies, societies and the environment. There are signs of strain in many of these systems: our accelerating pace of change is testing the absorptive capacities …
  • 2017: Hottest year with no el Niño
    Open Mind / Tamino / 11 January 2018
    Last year (2017) will not be the hottest year on record; it's likely to be second hottest. But it will be the hottest which was not enhanced by el Niño conditions. El Niño is the "warm phase" of a natural oscillation of wind patterns over the Pacific ocean, which increases the amount of heat transferred from ocean to atmosphere. When that happens, there's more heat in the atmosphere so surface temperatures increase (actually, temperature of the air near the surface, which is what matters for …
  • How a warming Arctic fuels cold snaps
    InsideClimate News / Bob Berwyn / 28 September 2017
    When winter sets in, “polar vortex” becomes one of the most dreaded phrases in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s enough to send shivers even before the first blast of bitter cold arrives. New research shows that some northern regions have been getting hit with these extreme cold spells more frequently over the past four decades, even as the planet as a whole has warmed. While it may seem counterintuitive, the scientists believe these bitter cold snaps are connected to the warming …
  • Peasants, not industrial agriculture, are the way to feed world
    New Internationalist / Pat Mooney, Nnimmo Bassey / 14 December 2017
    In our report delivered to policymakers in both Rome and Bonn, Who Will Feed Us?, ETC Group (the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration) provides original data about the importance of peasant food systems and the real economic, environmental and social cost of industrial agriculture. The industrial food chain is using at least 75 per cent of the world's agricultural land and most of agriculture's fossil fuel and freshwater resources to feed barely 30 per cent of the world's …
  • Happening faster than expected, and more extreme
    Inside Climate News / Bob Berwyn / 26 December 2017
    In the past year, the scientific consensus shifted toward a grimmer and less uncertain picture of the risks posed by climate change. When the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its 5th Climate Assessment in 2014, it formally declared that observed warming was “extremely likely” to be mostly caused by human activity. This year, a major scientific update from the United States Global Change Research Program put it more bluntly: “There is no convincing …
  • There’s No App For That
    Post Carbon Institute / July 2017
    Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation,
    and Biodiversity Loss

    Technology has grown with us, side by side, since the dawn of human society. Each time that we've turned to technology to solve a problem or make us more comfortable, we've been granted a solution. But it turns out that all of the gifts technology has bestowed on us have come with costs. And now we are facing some of our biggest challenges: climate change, overpopulation, …

  • Arctic Sea Ice minimum volumes 1979-2017
    Andy Lee Robinson / 07 October 2017
    Latest visualization of the startling decline of Arctic Sea Ice, showing the minimum volume reached every September since 1979, set on a map of New York with a 10km grid to give an idea of scale. It is clear that the trend of Arctic sea ice decline indicates that it’ll soon be ice-free for an increasingly large part of the year, with consequences for the climate.…


  • Seed viability: Waste not, want not
    The Edible Garden / Dale Odorizzi / January 2018
    This is an exciting time in a gardener's life. The hustle and bustle of Christmas has passed. I can finally sit down and leisurely leaf through the seed catalogues that have arrived in my mail box over the past month. It is the time when my garden looks its best, at least in my mind. I dream about the beautiful new flowers I can grow or how neat and weed free my vegetable garden will look. As I look through my seed catalogues, I am struck with the thought that last year I bought a pack of …
  • Best flowers to plant with vegetables
    Mother Earth News / Rosalind Creasy / February/March 2015
    It turns out that flowers are an essential ingredient in establishing a healthy garden because they attract beneficial insects and birds, which control pests and pollinate crops. Most gardeners understand this on some level. They may even know that pollen and nectar are food for insects, and that seed heads provide food for birds. What some may not realize is just how many of our wild meadows and native plants have disappeared under acres of lawn, inedible shrubs and industrial agriculture's …
  • First steps toward building a local regeneration movement
    Organic Consumers Association / 9 October 2017
    The paradigm shift from degenerative food, farming and land-use practices toward regenerative practices—those that regenerate soil, biodiversity, health, local economies and climate stability—is arguably the most critical transformation occurring throughout the world today. Regeneration practices, scaled up globally on billions of acres of farmland, pasture and forest, have the potential to not only mitigate, but also to reverse global warming. At the same time, these practices provide …
  • Off-grid food preservation methods
    Mother Earth News / Leda Meredith / June/July 2016
    Before widespread refrigeration and electricity, people developed other food-preservation methods to slow down spoilage. Adopting some of these long-established ways to preserve food and relying less on modern ones will reduce your carbon footprint; increase your self-reliance; and cost less than canning, freezing, and other grid-dependent ways to preserve food.…


16th Annual Winter Fun Day

Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority
WHEN: Saturday, January 27, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
WHERE: Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, 4649 Debruge Road, Brockville

It's that time of year again – time for you and your family and friends to come out to the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area and enjoy lots of outdoor sights and sounds as part of the 16th Annual CRCA Winter Fun Day. The event features lots of fun activities for every member of the family. Lace up the blades and skate on the 'Back Pond', or go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing (free snowshoeing for kids!). The Mush Larose sled dog races are also back by popular demand, with races starting at 11 a.m. Refreshments, including a barbecue/chili lunch, will be available at the Nature Centre, thanks to the Friends of the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area.

29th Annual Winter Environmental Conference

Save the River
WHEN: Saturday, February 3
WHERE: 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel, Clayton, NY

This is a regionally significant and well-attended event held every February. Every year year-round and seasonal residents, elected officials, community members and local leaders come to Clayton to hear from national and regional policy makers, scientists, opinion leaders and students about topics of critical importance to the health of the River and the communities that depend on it. This year attendees will hear presentations on the state of the fishery, the status of the Plan 2014, policy changes in the US and Canada that may impact the health of the River, local projects affecting the River and more. In addition to information sharing, the Conference is an excellent mid-winter opportunity to gather and renew the ties and fellowship that bind us together in the common cause we share — protecting the St. Lawrence River now and for generations to come.

More info:

FCM Sustainable Communities Conference

Federation of Canadian Municipalities
WHEN: Tuesday, February 6 - Thursday, February 8
WHERE: Westin Hotel, Ottawa

Join us in the nation's capital as sustainability leaders from coast to coast to coast come together for Canada's premier municipal sustainability event: FCM's Sustainable Communities Conference - where innovation meets action. This revamped 2018 edition offers three days of must-attend workshops, study tours and plenary sessions that showcase the latest in municipal green innovation and best practices. Connect and network with sustainability leaders from across the country. Be inspired by local green successes and celebrate them with the presentation of the 2018 Sustainable Communities Awards. Find solutions to your municipality's needs with the help of our industry-expert exhibitors. Take a look at our full preliminary program. You won't want to miss our event.

More info:

Eco Farm Days

Canadian Organic Growers - Ottawa/St Lawrence/Outaouais Chapter
WHEN: Saturday, February 24 - Sunday, February 25
WHERE: Ramada Inn, 805 Brookdale Blvd, Cornwall

The theme this year is a simple word : Adaptation. In the context of agriculture, however, that single word conjures up a great many different issues facing farmers. Some ideas we will explore at Eco Farm Days are:

  • How can farmers adapt to a changing climate
  • How do plant nutrient needs change over time
  • Breeding new plant varieties for your farm
  • Exploring better ways to feed your animals

More info:

Seedy Saturday 

Transition Brockville and Brockville Public Library
WHEN: Saturday, March 3, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Memorial Centre, Megadoma Drive, Brockville
FREE ADMISSION! And plenty of parking ... for bicycles and cars!

Seedy Saturday features a free planting activity for kids, displays by local garden clubs and market vendors, our resident expert master gardener on hand to answer your questions, and a free seed swap. If you'd like to volunteer to help out at this fun event, we would welcome your participation.

Contacts: Brandy at (613-342-3936) or Chris at

Perth Tiny House & Green Home Festival

Algonquin College and The 2 Marys Events
WHEN: Saturday, April 21, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
WHERE: Algonquin College - Perth Campus, 7 Craig Street, Perth

The Perth Tiny House & Green Home Festival features affordable, sometimes quirky, energy efficient and sustainable housing. It aims to inspire and explore options to reduce the ecological footprint in constructing and furnishing homes, providing an important opportunity to promote products and services to an appreciative and informed audience. On-site, there will be six or so tiny houses for public viewing; speakers addressing Green Living and New Technologies topics; exhibitors promoting their related services and products; and background music, food and kids' activities for a relaxed atmosphere.

Ticket Price: $17 in advance (includes ticket fee & taxes) - $20 at the gate - Children under 16 are free - Free entry to Algonquin students and staff with ID card. More info:

Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit

EOATS Committee - City of Brockville, lead partner
WHEN: Thursday, May 10 - Friday, May 11
WHERE: Brockville

Are you interested in living in a healthy active community? One that is safe for walking and cycling? Learning how towns are transforming themselves into a more livable place? Are you an engaged citizen interested in living in a town like this? Learn about these simple concepts that make towns healthier, more vibrant and stronger economically. Perhaps you're a downtown business person, discover the economic potential of pedestrian and cycle friendly communities? Or a town planner or staff person, learn best practice techniques of others building healthier towns. Maybe you're a resident that wants to be able to get around your community more easily and safely on foot or on a bike. Join us at the Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit. • • Facebook Group