Written by Denise Deby.

Sun http://pixabay.com/en/sun-star-bright-light-sky-158027/ Creative Commons Deed CC0 (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

Sun http://pixabay.com/en/sun-star-bright-light-sky-158027/ Creative Commons Deed CC0 (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

The Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op brings people together to invest in solar and other renewable energy projects in the city.

OREC is hosting a couple of events this month, so if you’re interested in learning more about alternative and community-owned energy, check them out.

On Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, OREC hosts a brunch on green impact investing and insights from Germany’s co-op energy transition. Guest speaker is Dr. Andreas Wieg, Head of the German Office for Energy Co-ops. It’s at the West End Well, 969 Wellington St. West at 10 a.m. (drop in between 9-11 a.m.)

On Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, there’s an information session and discussion with Dr. Wieg about community ownership of energy systems and Germany’s experience. It’s at 1125@Carleton Innovation Centre, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Further information on both events is at http://ottawarenewableenergycoop.com/category/all-orec-posts/events/.

If you’re interested in what OREC membership is all about, or in supporting solar projects in Ottawa, check out OREC’s website.



Written by Denise Deby. Thanks to Deepak Sekhri of Causeway Work Centre for information.

Step-through bikes used in RightBike's fleet of shareable bikes. Photo courtesy Causeway Work Centre.

Bike share RightBike uses donated, refurbished bikes in its fleet. Photo courtesy Causeway Work Centre.

Here’s a different kind of harvest: Cycle Salvation and RightBike are holding a “Bike Harvest” on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

You can bring in bicycles that you’re no longer using, and Cycle Salvation and RightBike will refurbish the bikes and put them to good use.

Both groups are social enterprises of the Causeway Work Centre, which supports people to find employment when they’re facing physical and mental health and other barriers.

Cycle Salvation trains and employs people as bike mechanics, while keeping used bikes out of the landfill. RightBike’s community-based bike-share service provides active and sustainable transportation in neighbourhoods around town.

At the Bike Harvest, Cycle Salvation is looking particularly for adult road/racing and hybrid bikes, while RightBike needs three-speed bikes with step-through frames.

You’ll find the Bike Harvest from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8 in the parking lot at 1520 Caldwell Ave. off Merivale Rd. between the Queensway and Baseline. It’s hosted by Ottawa Community Housing. Rain date is Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014.




Green roof of the Canadian War Museum looking toward Parliament Hill - D. Deby photo

Green roof of the Canadian War Museum looking toward Parliament Hill – D. Deby photo


Written by Denise Deby.

Musician and activist Vela has released a music video called #TarFree613.

“The goal of the video is to raise awareness and inspire action on the proposed Energy East pipeline,” she says.

The video, featuring Vela, Kevin Guerette and Rebecca Lantz, was shot around Ottawa, including (according to the credits) at Britannia Beach on the Ottawa River, and at Kemptville’s TransCanada pumping station near the Rideau River.

(Did you catch the “Parody Product Placement” at the start of the video? Vela says the stickers on her laptop show names of local ethical businesses that supported the video and groups working to stop Energy East.)

For background on the proposed Energy East pipeline and information on actions people can take, see Ecology Ottawa or the Council of Canadians.

Vela has written songs about the South March Highlands, climate change and other concerns. You can find out more about her work here and here.

Written by Denise Deby.

Hog's Back Falls photo by fw42 on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/fw42/14646653925

Hog’s Back Falls photo by fw42 on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/fw42/14646653925

If you’re one of the lucky people who secured a ticket to David Suzuki‘s appearance in Ottawa at Centrepointe Theatre on October 17, 2014, you’re in for a treat.

If not, you should still know why he’s here. It’s important.

The esteemed scientist and environmentalist is travelling across the country for his Blue Dot Tour to raise awareness of the need for Canada to recognize people’s right to a healthy environment.

The Blue Dot initiative makes the point that we have the right to be sure that our food, water and air are clean and safe. That requires including the right to live in a healthy environment in legislation at all levels of government and in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, so that no government can undermine it.

The organizers are calling on Canada to join the more than 110 countries that have already declared the right to a healthy environment as a fundamental human right. That right includes the right to have clean air, water and food, to access nature, to know about pollutants in the environment and to participate in government decisions that affect the environment.

The thinking is that as individuals speak up, governments—from local up—will be convinced to recognize the right. According to the Blue Dot video, it’s about “ordinary people coming together to take extraordinary action.”

You can check out, and support, the effort at http://bluedot.ca/join-us/.

There’s more here about David Suzuki’s reasons for launching the Blue Dot Tour, and background here on why the right to a healthy environment is important.




Written by Denise Deby.

Ottawa Arboretum - D. Deby photo

A new initiative is taking root in Ottawa. Its goal: protecting and enhancing the city’s tree cover.

Tree Ottawa is a citizen-created program to plant, protect and promote trees and the places where trees grow. Housed at Ecology Ottawa, the program connects people to initiatives and resources for planting and caring for trees and tree habitats.

Tree Ottawa recognizes that trees are important. Trees mitigate climate change, reduce runoff and pollution, promote biodiversity, improve human health and well-being, and provide shade, recreation and food. Tree Ottawa also arises from concerns about threats to the city’s trees from extreme weather and climate change, damage from infill and development and the emerald ash borer.

Tree Ottawa’s plan includes:

  • a goal of planting 1 million trees by 2017;
  • an Adopt-a-Tree program to encourage people to sign up to protect existing trees;
  • Tree Map where people can mark and locate trees;
  • guides to tree planting, tree care and native trees;
  • links to information on existing tree initiatives and resources, including city programs and organizations such as Scouts Canada and Hidden Harvest Ottawa that are working to plant and protect trees;
  • a Tree Ottawa Ambassador program, in which volunteers promote tree planting and Tree Ottawa.

Check the Tree Ottawa website for other ways to get involved.

Tree Ottawa’s official launch is on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. in Champlain Park. The Champlain Oaks group will plant a bur oak sapling in the park during the event.


Written by Denise Deby.

Photo courtesy Raw Mountain Foods

Photo courtesy Raw Mountain Foods

A few weeks ago I sat down for tea with Candace Tierney. She’s the founder of Raw Mountain Foods, a Carp-based company that makes snacks from plants.

Raw Mountain Foods’ celery root chips, blueberry kale chips and other products are available at Rainbow Foods, Herb and Spice, The Green Door Grocer, Market Organics, the Natural Food Pantry in Kanata and a few other local shops, as well as online.

Some of the ingredient combinations may sound unusual, but Candace explains that’s part of their appeal, to her and to customers. She’s careful to match and balance flavours, and conducts market research before launching new products. She also does product demos around town so people have a chance to get to know what’s available.

Candace’s love of experimenting with ingredients arose during her late teens, when she began changing her own diet in order to feel healthier and deal with childhood food sensitivities. She started adding foods from her own garden, and began creating recipes, many of which are plant-based, vegan and/or raw.

“That’s kind of where my love of food grew,” she says.

Candace also draws food influences from her travels in Southeast Asia, and acquired a marketing degree before launching Raw Mountain Foods just over a year ago.

“It’s going great,” she says, adding, “I’m very grateful to have a lot of incredible people around me that support me.”

So far Raw Mountain Foods has focused on plant-based snacks, with ingredients sourced seasonally from local farms where possible, and some imported bulk items, including organic chia seeds, raw organic cacao powder and raw organic coconut flakes.

Part of what Candace wants to accomplish is to share her love of healthy food with people, and demonstrate that it’s possible to add more local, seasonal and tasty foods to existing diets.

Candace shares recipes—and gorgeous photos of her food creations—on her blog, Raw Mountain Kitchen.



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