Along the Great Lakes, it's time to prepare for extremes

New York Times / Peter Annin / 13 February 2020

The relentless high water is bound to bring more strife this year even as officials along the Great Lakes continue to promote climate adaptation strategies and resiliency. Armoring the shoreline is one form of adaptation. Property buyouts are another. History will show which strategy is most effective over time. What's clear is that some people have built too close to the water's edge. Their property was fine during low water, and they managed to hang on during the record high water of the 1980s, but today's weather patterns have brought panic.

The devastation has been remarkably widespread, with properties sliding into the lakes from one end of the expansive watershed to the other. In this new era of extremes, property owners, taxpayers — and the officials they elect — will need to take a serious look at their lakefronts and decide whether armoring up is a wise investment, or a Sisyphean venture …


  • Report on January laundry soap workshop

    TB is so lucky to have Virginia Glover as our workshop leader! When so many younger people are becoming aware there are cheaper and better ways to do things, it's really classy to have someone like her, with her lovely accent, gentle wit and can-do attitude standing up there and letting them know they can do things like making their own laundry soap all their lives, as she has done. It's impressive to have someone teaching who walks the talk. She engaged participants in a discussion of ways to use vinegar. They were teaching each other, which also makes for a rewarding workshop. Facilitators heard good comments and lots of thank yous from the 17 participants. Indeed it was another successful workshop. The library would like us to do another one down the road.

  • Second appeal: Do you 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

  • Steering Committee

    The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 11, 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


  • Counties adopt paved-shoulders policy
    Recorder & Times / Wayne Lowrie / 24 January 2020
    The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville will begin paving the shoulders of major counties roads when they are rebuilt. The paved-shoulders policy, long advocated by cyclists and safety experts, was approved unanimously by counties council this week. Adding a 1.5-metre paved strip on each side of a new road would add about $35,000 per kilometre to construction costs, Arup Mukherjee, public works director, told council in a report. And although the paved shoulders would be widely used by …


  • No disaster aid for new homes in flood plains
    The Energy Mix / Mitchell Beer / 07 February 2020
    Canadians building or buying new homes in areas at high risk for flooding will no longer have access to federal disaster relief under a new insurance plan set to take effect in the next three years, The Energy Mix has learned. The new high-risk insurance system, now under development by federal, provincial, and territorial governments, will "replace government assistance and ensure that those who are at high risk pay for their own risk," said Craig Stewart, vice-president, federal affairs at …
  • Single-use plastic ban coming in 2021
    CBC News / Mia Rabson / 30 January 2020
    A national ban on many single-use plastics is on track for next year after a government report concluded Thursday that there is more than enough evidence proving plastic pollution is harmful, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said. “We will be moving towards a ban on harmful single-use plastics and we will be doing that in 2021,” said Wilkinson. The federal Liberals promised last June they’d seek to ban plastic versions of a number of products, such as straws, take-out …
  • Most households will get more than they pay from carbon tax
    CTV News / 04 February 2020
    A new analysis by Parliament’s budget watchdog has found that most households in provinces where the federal carbon tax applies will receive more money back in rebates than they will pay through the scheme — just not as much as projected last year. “Under the federal government’s current rebate structure, most households will still receive more than what they pay in fuel charges,” parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux said Tuesday. “However, once the …
  • Cities can’t be left holding bag for recycling crisis
    Montreal Gazette / Allison Hanes / 20 January 2020
    For more than 25 years now, the vast majority of the recycling collected by municipalities in Canada, the United States and Europe was shipped to China. As programs adopted a "single-stream" so citizens could toss everything together without having to sort plastic, glass and paper themselves, the different materials started to contaminate each other. As our reliance on disposable containers like coffee cups and water bottles grew, we essentially off-loaded the consequences of mass consumerism …
  • New climate institute launches after shutdown of roundtable
    CBC News / Aaron Wherry / 21 January 2020
    Seven years after Stephen Harper’s Conservative government eliminated funding for the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, a new institute for research and analysis on climate policy in Canada is launching with the assistance of federal funds. The Liberal government will contribute up to $20 million over five years to provide for the new Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, which launched on Tuesday. The institute, which is to maintain independent control over its …


  • Background paper answers key questions on 2019 flooding
    IJC - ILOSLRB / 23 January 2020
    In an easy-to-read background paper on High Water in 2019, the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board responds to the call for more accessible information. The paper uses question and answer format to explain why it flooded in 2019, why Lake Ontario outflows were not higher in 2018 and 2019, how the Board's actions affected water levels, and what actions are being taken to reduce the risk of flooding in 2020 and beyond.
  • Managing Climate Change and Variability Risks in the Great Lakes Region
    GLISA / 2016, GLISA / 2016
    GLISA supports the region, as it charts its future, facing multiple and simultaneous changes and uncertainties. The Great Lakes region represents a unique socio-ecological system. Bound by the Lakes that shape both its culture and natural resources, Great Lakes communities have experienced dramatic changes in the past five decades, including deep economic downturn, population shifts, and negative environmental impacts. While climate change impacts are projected to exacerbate some of these …


  • 'Overwhelming and terrifying': the rise of climate anxiety
    The Guardian / Matthew Taylor, Jessica Murray / 10 February 2020
    The physical impact of the climate crisis is impossible to ignore, but experts are becoming increasingly concerned about another, less obvious consequence of the escalating emergency – the strain it is putting on people's mental wellbeing, especially the young. Psychologists warn that the impact can be debilitating for the growing number of people overwhelmed by the scientific reality of ecological breakdown and for those who have lived through traumatic climate events, often on the climate …

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:

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.

Youth Climate Action Summit

Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network
WHEN: Monday, April 20 - Tuesday, April 21
WHERE: Aquatarium, 6 Broad Street, Brockville

The Summit will combine informative plenary sessions and workshops in a fun atmosphere for a powerful 2 day educational experience leading to changes in the lives, communities and schools of young people working towards a more sustainable future.

More info and registration: