Welcome to "Sustainability Shift"

Transition Brockville / 20 January 2020

As we begin our new decade in 2020, Transition Brockville will be highlighting local and area businesses that make a serious effort to be environmentally responsible and work toward sustainability. As we learn of these businesses, we will interview them and, in our monthly Sustainable Shift series, we'll give our readers a brief look at the ways they are trying to be sustainable.

At a more formal level, businesses in Leeds-Grenville are now included in Sustainable Kingston's sustainably.eco program which connects people who care to businesses that are making a measurable difference in sustainability. Through its website, people can use their purchasing power to support organizations that care.

Businesses that are committed to measurable sustainability can apply to join the program by emailing admin@sustainably.eco with their information. Sustainably.eco will take it from there.


  • Sustainable Shift: Ignite Printing
    Transition Brockville / 20 January 2020
    Owners Tim and Jennifer Winter started their printing business in 2015 from their home, then moved to Perth Street, and a year and a half ago moved to the Towne Centre Plaza on Ormond Street, in the former UPS store. They asked that anything not taken by the former occupant be left so they could re-use as much as possible. They kept the UPS countertops. Tim, "a huge recycler," according to Jenn, used wood from UPS shelving to build a large work table, and repaired a …
  • Food Matters update

    As a founding member of the Food Matters Coalition, TB participated in the establishment of both the Butler's Creek and the Dana Street community gardens. At its January meeting, the coalition welcomed visitors Cathy TeKamp, representing the Ben TeKamp Park on Perth Street, and Len Laird of the Pilgrim Park Community Garden on Brock Street. Cathy is keen to find a local champion to spearhead the addition of food gardens to the park. And despite some incidents of vandalism in his first season last summer, Len plans to continue with the Pilgrim Park garden and hopes to develop garden sites at other locations throughout the city.

  • Know of any workplace food gardens?

    We are planning a discussion of workplace food gardens as a TB/BPL presentation, and we are hoping to present a variety of approaches. If you are aware of any workplace food gardens in Brockville or the surrounding area, please let us know at info@transitionbrockville.com

  • Repair cafés

    TB steering committee member Chris Stesky attended the local tourism and culture summit on January 7. She reports that various groups expressed interest in establishing some Repair Cafés, including the Public Library, the DBIA, the Communities in Bloom committee and Russ Disotell of Culture Days. As we explore the potential here, it would be helpful to know what local repair skills and expertise we might make available. If you have any suggestions, please let us know at info@transitionbrockville.com

  • Steering Committee

    The next meeting will be on Wednesday, February 5, 7:00 pm, at the Royal Brock Retirement Living, 100 Stewart Blvd., Brockville. Anyone interested in becoming more involved with Transition initiatives is warmly invited to attend this meeting. Call 613-345-4020 for more information.

  • Your feedback is always welcome

    Let us know what sustainability topics you'd like us to explore through this online form, or email us at info@transitionbrockville.com.


  • Modified Active Transportation Plan passes
    Transition Brockville / 19 January 2020
    City of Brockville staff have confirmed that, with the motion passed by Council this week, the City now has an Active Transportation Plan (ATP) in place, qualifying it for funding under some upper tier government programs. As explained in a misleadingly-titled Recorder & Times article, this plan includes modifications, but is largely based on the draft ATP submitted by the consulting firm Alta Planning last September …
  • Counties to draft climate strategy
    Brockville | Prescott This Week / Wayne Lowrie / 16 January 2020
    Counties council has asked its administration to develop a strategy to combat climate change across Leeds and Grenville. Andy Brown, chief administrative officer, will form a committee with some of his counterparts in Leeds and Grenville townships to come up with a plan for "climate change adaptation and mitigation." "Over the past few years, the counties have been impacted by various climate changes, including flooding, more frequent and extreme storms, hotter summers, periods of drought and …
  • Kingston climate change symposium fosters local action
    Kingston Whig / Elliot Ferguson / 16 January 2020
    Trees, whether growing in forests and urban green spaces or harvested and used in construction, offer an effective tool in the fight against climate change, said one of province's biggest forest proponents. Speaking at the third Kingston Climate Symposium and the Grand Theatre on Thursday, Rob Keen, executive director of Forests Ontario, said the province, and Canada as a whole, has some of the best-managed forests in the world and those forests can play a big role in climate change. "There is …


  • Wind farm owner launches court challenge against government
    National Observer / Emma McIntosh, Alastair Sharp / 20 December 2019
    Nation Rise Wind Farm, nestled among dairy farms and fields of corn, was three months away from completion when Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek cancelled it earlier this month, citing concerns over possible risks to local bat populations. The company behind the site, EDP Renewables, must lay off the 200 employees working on Nation Rise just before the holidays and stands to lose the $230 million in capital it has already sunk into the project. But EDP Renewables has now launched a court …
  • Transformation shows benefits of rapid decarbonization
    The Energy Mix / 29 November 2019
    The success of Denmark's rapid transition off fossil fuels over the last 10 years could point the way for "naysayers" whose "failure of the imagination" is holding off a similar shift in Canada, Globe and Mail European Bureau Chief Eric Reguly writes in a recent opinion piece. "Going quickly from black to green in, say, electricity generation seems a megaproject too far, an unfathomable exercise in science fiction, theoretically possible but about as easy as building a colony on Mars," Reguly …


  • White Rock commits to climate change action
    Cloverdale Reporter / Alex Browne / 16 January 2020
    In prior discussion, Coun. David Chesney had wondered whether the suggested directive might place an onerous burden on city hall employees. The directive asks that climate change assessments figure in all staff reports to council, that staff keeps council up to date on Metro Vancouver and provincial climate change initiatives and opportunities, and that staff keeps council briefed on organizational, human resource or financial costs of pursuing this path. But engineering and municipal …
  • McDonald’s still rejects reusable mugs — but promises change
    CBC News / Sophia Harris / 15 January 2020
    McDonald’s Canada plans to change its general policy of rejecting reusable mugs, a practice that has angered customers for years. On Tuesday, the restaurant chain told CBC News that it hopes to have a new national policy in place by the end of February, which will allow customers to be served coffee or tea in their personal mug instead of a disposable cup. “We listen to our guests, and we know this is an area of growing importance to Canadians,” said spokesperson Ryma …
  • Building code being modernized to address climate change
    CBC News / 01 January 2020
    When storm winds howl and rivers flood, buildings take the brunt. And as climate change makes all kinds of extreme weather more frequent and more destructive, scientists at the National Research Council are trying to figure out how to ensure Canada’s built environment is ready. “We’re going to see change in the way we’re designing new buildings to help prevent the spread of wildfire, prevent the damage from flooding,” said Marianne Armstrong, who manages the …
  • Climate change is driving up the risk of wildfires in Canada
    National Newswatch / Mia Radson / 08 January 2020
    Struzik says fire risk is going up in Canada because of climate change, human activity and a glut of fuel for fires in forests ravaged by pests like the mountain pine beetle. “We’re seeing things that we just haven’t really seen before,” he said. “So the signals are there. Very strong signals that we’re going to see things get a lot worse before they get better.” University of Alberta wildland fire professor Mike Flannigan says “climate …


  • Climate crisis fills top five places of WEF's risks report
    The Guardian / Larry Elliott / 15 January 2020
    A year of extreme weather events and mounting evidence of global heating have catapulted the climate emergency to the top of the list of issues worrying the world's elite. The World Economic Forum's annual risks report found that, for the first time in its 15-year history, the environment filled the top five places in the list of concerns likely to have a major impact over the next decade.
  • Asset manager BlackRock to focus on climate change
    CBC News / The Associated Press / 14 January 2020
    BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, will make climate change central to its investment decisions. Founder and CEO Laurence Fink, who oversees the management of about $7 trillion in funds, said in his influential annual letter to CEOs Tuesday that he believes we are “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance” because of a warming planet. Climate change has become the top issue raised by clients, Fink said, and will affect everything from municipal bonds to …
  • Building climate-saving tech digs up new problems
    The Verge / Justine Calma / 02 January 2020
    The solar power and electric vehicles we need to stop the climate crisis pose a different threat to people and the environment: a boom in mining. Moving away from fossil fuels depends on tech like batteries and solar panels that can provide alternative forms of energy. But digging up the raw materials can undermine human rights and destroy fragile ecosystems. As governments and industries try to tackle climate change by building up renewable energy, they'll need to consider other problems …


  • Starting your own canning club
    Mother Earth News / Sarah Marshall / September 2018
    The first week of the month used to feel weighted by bills, worries about everyday tasks, and to-do lists — leaving few thoughts about the future and more regrets about paying for the past. For the last few years, however, the first Wednesday of every month has instead brought anticipation and excitement. Our organizer Brooke Weeber (also this book's illustrator) couldn’t have imagined the feelings her canning club would inspire when she reached out to a small group of friends to see if …
  • Evaluating the best options for energy-efficient cooking
    Mother Earth News / Jennifer Tuohy / 16 December 2014
    While cooking is not among the top five of your home’s ‘energy-hungry routines,’ if it’s something you do every day then there are many small steps, and a few big ones you can take to decrease its impact on your energy use. Your method of cooking is the root of how much energy you use, so to help you cook wisely, here is a rundown of some of the best options for sautéing sustainably. Whenever you read about options for energy efficient cooking, the question of gas versus …
  • The Organic Backyard
    Canadian Organic Growers
    A guide to applying organic farming practices to your home or community garden. Growing organic food enables you to eat and share the most authentic form of local food possible while actively contributing to the health of our ecosystems. In this guide, we have taken the key elements of organic farming principles and practices as contained in the Canadian Organic Standards, and have made them more user-friendly for you, the gardener. Although coined The Organic Backyard, the content is intended …
  • Floods, freezing rain and high winds: are you really ready?
    Toronto Star / Carola Vyhnak / 02 January 2020
    Whether you live in a house, condo or apartment, "there's no one who doesn't have some sort of risk," Fraser said. "I can't emphasize enough how important it is for every family and individual to be prepared." The emergency plan should include steps to get everyone out safely, a meeting place and means of communicating with displaced family members, says Fraser, calling the Red Cross's "Be Ready" app a "critical" tool. With winter's snow and ice storms threatening power outages, Fraser advised …
  • In defence of climate change ‘hypocrisy’
    CBC News / Brooks DeCillia / 07 November 2019
    It’s the go-to criticism incessantly spat at environmentalists: if you produce even a modicum of greenhouse gases, you can’t say anything about climate change […] But is this really hypocrisy? Philosophers doubt it, calling the criticism a non sequitur that shuts down a crucial debate about climate change. Besides, what’s wrong with being a hypocrite? It may, indeed, be hypocritical to protest oil extraction while also using fossil fuels to power up speakers at a climate …

Workshop: Make Your Own Laundry Soap redux

Transition Brockville, Brockville Public Library
WHEN: Sunday, January 26, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library

Back by popular demand! With host Virginia Glover. Bring a grater and 1-cup measure, as well as a 2-litre plastic bottle to take home your liquid soap. You'll also take home enough ingredients to make 10 litres of soap at home plus bonus recipes for homemade cleaners!

Register at the Brockville Public Library circulation desk or call the library at 613-342-3936 by January 25, or email info@transitionbrockville.com

Eco Farm Day

Canadian Organic Growers – Ottawa – St.Laurent – Outaouais Chapter
WHEN: Saturday, February 22 - Sunday, February 23
WHERE: Ramada Inn, Cornwall

A standing annual event in Eastern Ontario for over 30 years, Eco Farm Day is a two-day conference and trade show bringing together farmers, gardeners, and eaters in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec to learn, exchange, and connect on issues that matter to organic farmers. This year's theme, On Common Ground: Food and Farming in a Shifting Climate, aims to widen the scope of the conference by highlighting issues that we all face in the community - including farmer mental health, climate resilience, and succession planning. As always, we are planning some fantastic workshops for livestock producers, market gardeners, and crop producers.

More info: https://www.cog.ca/ottawa/eco-farm-days-organic-farming/

6th Annual Seedy Saturday

Transition Brockville, Brockville Public Library
WHEN: Saturday, March 7, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Memorial Centre, Megadoma Drive, Brockville

The 6th annual Seedy Saturday features local seed savers, garden clubs, experts and vendors ready to swap seeds and provide expert advice to anyone interested in cultivating knowledge in gardening. Everyone is welcome to take home some free seeds or bring their own seeds to share. Bring the whole family and participate in the children’s planting and bird feeder activities!

Eastern Regional Electricity Network – Regional Forum

WHEN: Wednesday, March 11
WHERE: The Banquet Centre, 1 Alhambra Square, Belleville. Also via Webinar.

All are welcome to attend. This will also be the first opportunity for the East Regional Electricity Network to convene. The objective of this inaugural network meeting will be to provide an update on local, regional and provincial electricity sector initiatives, as well as the background and objectives of these new networks. We will also be looking for input on the role of your network and how it should move forward. In the meantime, visit the IESO website if you are interested in joining the East Regional Electricity Network.

In-person Registration | Webinar Registration

Annual Sustainability Fair and EV Show

Sustainable North Grenville
WHEN: Sunday, April 19, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
WHERE: North Grenville Municipal Complex, 285 County Rd. 44, Kemptville

Mark your calendars. Details to follow.