Guest post written by Tree Fest Ottawa.

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Respect trees. And respect them again; they are partners in life.” Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Join Tree Fest Ottawa and Forests Without Borders at Trees for Life, an evening with world-recognized tree expert Diana Beresford-Kroeger and short documentary films about people changing the world one tree at a time.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Canadian botanist, medical biochemist, and self-described renegade scientist, is on a mission to educate people around the world about the life-giving properties of trees, and the difference we can make by helping to replant the global forest.

Her “renegade science” draws from the traditions of Western medicine and botany, aboriginal healing, and the ancient world to promote a visionary bioplan with a profound call to action: for us to reconnect with the majesty of nature, to learn about the heritage and diverse properties of trees, and to reforest our habitats with old-growth species.

Diana’s talk, Banking on Trees, will describe the science and magic of trees locally and globally, how they hold answers to some of the most pressing human problems, her activism to promote and protect trees for life, and how we can get involved. Come to this free public event to meet and learn from the engaging and inspiring Diana Beresford-Kroeger.

Trees for Life

When: Oct 6, 6:30-9:30 pm

Where: Horticulture building, Lansdowne Park

Cost: Free! Reserve your seat(s) at

Trees for Life is part of Tree Fest Ottawa’s PhotoSynthesis outdoor photography exhibit. Visit Tree Fest Ottawa’s website to learn more about the photography exhibit and its free public events.

Founded in 2015, Tree Fest Ottawa connects people with trees, inspires dialogue and learning, and transforms how we see, engage with, and act in the world around us. We use the power of photographs and stories to capture public attention and encourage people to take action to protect the trees in our environment – and plant new native trees. For more info, visit:

Written by Denise Deby.

Image: Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue and the Centre for European Studies (EU Centre of Excellence) Policy Workshop poster, Climate Change and Renewable Energy Policy in the EU and Canada

Image: Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue and the Centre for European Studies (EU Centre of Excellence) Policy Workshop poster, Climate Change and Renewable Energy Policy in the EU and Canada

There’s a lot going on in Ottawa related to sustainable energy right now:

Climate Change and Renewable Energy Policy Workshop and Forum:

Carleton University’s Centre for European Studies (European Union Centre of Excellence) and Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue are hosting a workshop and public forum, Climate Change and Renewable Energy Policy in the EU and Canada, on Thursday, Oct. 1 and Friday, Oct. 2, 2015.

This free event, open to everyone, is looking at the role of wind, solar and other ‘new’ renewables technologies in addressing climate change, including public acceptance, innovation, and government commitment (or lack thereof). It also focuses on the potential for leadership at city, provincial, national and supranational levels, and Ottawa and Ontario’s experience compared to European examples.

This important discussion comes at a time when ideas for Canada’s position at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 are being debated.

See the website for details, speakers and registration.

Carbon 613:

EnviroCentre’s new program Carbon 613 supports businesses to set and meet targets for sustainability that include reducing carbon emissions. They’re also holding seminars in October, starting Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. See for details.

Green Energy Doors Open:

Green Energy Doors Open is a chance to visit energy projects in Ottawa (and around the province). An initiative of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, the free event intends to demonstrate how Ontario is already moving towards a clean and sustainable energy system. It’s on Sat., Oct. 3, 2015.

Investing in Solar:

Learn about solar energy in Ottawa with the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op—their next information session is Wed., Oct. 14, 2015 at the West End Well. Or learn about their current securities offering here.



Written by Denise Deby.


Hear interesting people and be inspired at these upcoming films and talks:

The Price We Pay film and panel discussion will shed light on the extent to which offshore finance and tax avoidance deprive societies of revenues, hampering governments’ ability to provide services and contributing to inequality. Organized by Inter Pares as part of its Film Night series, in collaboration with Canadians for Tax Fairness, Publish What You Pay, MiningWatch Canada, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability and Oxfam Canada. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, 6:30 p.m. at the Mayfair Theatre.

How to influence the outcome of the 2015 federal election and the environmental and social issues we care about? The West End Well hosts a discussion on what political parties are saying about the environment, affordable housing and more. Brock Carlton (Federation of Canadian Municipalities), David Chernushenko (city councillor), Michael Bulthuis (Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness) and Dick Stewart (social and community advocate) will be on hand. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, 7-9 p.m.

Author and activist Naomi Klein and filmmaker Avi Lewis will be in town Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 for the Ottawa premiere of the film This Changes Everything, based on Naomi Klein’s bestselling book about capitalism and climate change. The documentary is “an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change” and a call to use climate change as an opportunity to change our economic system. The Oct. 4 screening, including a Q&A and book signing, starts at 6:30 p.m. (The film also runs Oct. 9 and 10.)

From Oct. 4-10, the Mayfair is also showing How to Change the World, a film about the founding of Greenpeace.

Tree expert Diana Beresford-Kroeger and other tree advocates will be at Trees for Life, organized by Tree Fest Ottawa and Forests Without Borders, on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park. Includes award-winning films Forest Man, The Man Who Planted Trees and Moving Forest. It’s also an opportunity to see PhotoSynthesis, a photography exhibit on trees (the exhibit runs until Oct. 12). Check out Tree Fest Ottawa’s other upcoming events.

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From the This Changes Everything film synopsis:

The extraordinary detail and richness of the cinematography in This Changes Everything provides an epic canvas for this exploration of the greatest challenge of our time. Unlike many works about the climate crisis, this is not a film that tries to scare the audience into action: it aims to empower. Provocative, compelling, and accessible to even the most climate-fatigued viewers, This Changes Everything will leave you refreshed and inspired, reflecting on the ties between us, the kind of lives we really want, and why the climate crisis is at the centre of it all.

Will this film change everything? Absolutely not. But you could, by answering its call to action.”

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Julia Dupuis and Anouk Mackenzie of Canadian Organic Growers for the information.OMG_OTT_2015_flyer

If you’ve ever wanted to take your gardening to the next level, here’s an opportunity.

Canadian Organic Growers is offering its Organic Master Gardener Course in Ottawa again this fall.

The course covers sustainable practices for growing food or ornamental plants. Topics include botany and adaptations within ecosystems, soil ecosystem, soil testing, mulches and compost teas/brews, garden bed installation, soil fertility management, waterwise gardening, pruning, turf, landscape health, permaculture design and organic standards.

The course is for urban growers, community gardeners, landscapers, environmental advocates, naturalists and others, including people who’d like to improve their skills and/or start a practice or business.

It runs over three weekends: October 17-18, November 7-8 and November 28-29, 2015 at COG’s National Office at 1145 Carling. The course fee includes a text, online resources and a one year e-subscription to The Canadian Organic Grower magazine and library.

Find more information here and here; register here by October 9.



Posted by Denise Deby.


The One World Film Festival has been going strong for a remarkable 26 years. It brings moving and thought-provoking documentaries and talks on global and local environmental, social and political issues to Ottawa audiences.

This year the festival runs Thursday, Sept. 24-Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, “Documenting Democracy” includes the films My Enemy, My Brother (Canada), set in the Iran-Iraq war, and Democrats (Denmark), on politics in Zimbabwe, followed by a panel discussion featuring Carleton University’s Institute of African Studies. Hosted by Alan Neal (CBC).

Friday, Sept. 25’s session “The Kids are All Right” includes The Year We Thought About Love (USA), focused on a group of LGBTQ teens, and Landfill Harmonic (USA), on Paraguayan musicians who make instruments out of garbage, as well as a candidates’ debate on LGBTQ issues. Hosted by Paramjit Rai (MASC).

Saturday, Sept. 26 is “Our Home on Native Land.” First up is an Ottawa Indie Fest of short documentaries including a Q&A with filmmakers, and the movie Honour Your Word (Canada) and discussion with Algonquins of Barriere Lake, hosted by Alanis King. Next up are screenings of After the Last River (Canada), on the environmental and justice issues faced by Attawapiskat, and Haida Gwaii on the Edge of the World (Canada), as well as a panel on Aboriginal law and mining. Hosted by Waubgeshig Rice (CBC).

Also on Saturday, Sept. 26, the Festival is offering “Bring the Kids!” It’s an afternoon of youth programming, including gardening, art and wilderness skills, with teacher Brittanie Goodfellow and Roots2Fruits’ Alister Ogui Auge and Brittany Boychuk.

On Sunday, Sept. 27, everyone is invited to attend “Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” a day of free films, discussions and workshops. Topics range from food security and land grabs in West Africa, to conflict resolution, Syria and refugees. Inter Pares, Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution and Oxfam Canada will help guide discussion on what we can do about ongoing environmental, social and political challenges.

Check the One World Film Festival schedule for screening times, further details and updates. Hope to see you there!



Written by Denise Deby.


Trees are one of our city’s most important—and overlooked—assets. Trees give us shade, coolness and oxygen. Trees provide habitat, remove pollution from the air, reduce runoff, mitigate against climate change and provide other health, economic and aesthetic benefits.

Trees are also at risk—from development and infill, threats such as the emerald ash borer, and challenging growing conditions.

Local groups and individuals are working in various ways to draw attention to the importance of trees and encourage protection and sustainable management of the urban canopy. They include Tree OttawaHidden Harvest OttawaChamplain OaksBig Trees of Kitchissippi, South March Highlands and others.

A new group, Tree Fest Ottawa, is using images and stories to inspire people to protect trees. Their first exhibition, PhotoSynthesis, launches on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 at a Tree Day event at Lansdowne Park.

The free outdoor exhibit presents the work of local photographers and profiles local tree specialists, including a botanist, a forester, foragers and a violin maker. It runs until Oct. 12.

Tree Fest Ottawa will also be hosting:

  • a Glebe Tree Walk with tree educator Owen Clarkin on Oct. 2;
  • a concert by the Cadanza String Duo (cello and violin) on Oct. 4;
  • an evening of short films and talks, Trees for Life, on Tuesday, Oct. 6, co-hosted with Forests Without Borders, in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park, from 6:30-9 p.m. The evening features botanist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger, as well as the films Forest Man, The Man Who Planted Trees and Moving Forest.

Be sure to check out Tree Fest Ottawa’s website for more information on the interesting things they’re doing.

Also on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015National Tree Day—the City of Ottawa is hosting Urban Trees: Putting Down Roots for the Future. It’s a discussion about trees and a launch of the city’s initiative to develop a comprehensive Urban Forest Management Plan. The event is 6-8 p.m. at the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park. Speakers include Philip van Wassenaer, arborist and urban forestry consultant. Details and registration here. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the city’s plans, and to meet some of the groups involved in protecting and celebrating Ottawa’s tree canopy.



Written by Denise Deby.

Image from Food Secure Canada on Facebook

Given our need for healthy food, it’s surprising that food issues are often not on the agenda.

That’s a problem, especially because many people don’t have healthy and sustainable food:

  • Here in Ottawa, eight per cent of people live in households that are food insecure—meaning unable to afford or access a sufficient, healthy diet. For low income residents, it’s worse: a third of households don’t get enough to eat.
  • Across Canada, four million Canadians are food insecure. That includes 1.15 million kids. Among Inuit, First Nations and Métis people and in the North, food insecurity is five or six times higher.
  • Food prices have been rising faster than incomes. Food bank use has increased by 25 per cent since 2008. Every month, around 850,000 Canadians—including working people, people on fixed incomes and children—need food banks in order to make ends meet.
  • More than half of Canada’s farmers are over 55, with 80 per cent planning to retire in the next 10 years.
  • Our industrial food system produces abundant food, but at a significant cost to the environment.

That’s why Food Secure Canada and others are calling for food to be an election issue.

Eat, Think, Vote / Je mange donc je vote is a campaign to bring people together to demand a new approach, centred on a national food policy that ensures everyone has safe, affordable, healthy and sustainable food. It calls on the government to uphold the right of everyone to food, support new farmers and sustainable food production, establish a basic income and more.

Here are some ways to get involved:

* Support the Eat, Think, Vote campaign, and sign the petition for a comprehensive, just and sustainable approach to food.

* Participate in Eat, Think, Vote Ottawa on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Eat a meal with local candidates, your neighbours and organizations working on food issues, and share your perspectives. Details and registration here.

* Help raise awareness of food as an election issue. On social media, use #EatThinkVote and #EatThinkVoteOTT.

* Vote on October 19.

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Watch for people handing out lunch bags marked “ChewOnThis!” on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. It’s part of Dignity for All’s campaign to promote awareness about the need for a national plan to deal with hunger and poverty in Canada. Find out more here.


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