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Stop Kinder Morgan Vigil, Ottawa, Canada via 350.org (A. Tetreault) on Flickr Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial-sharealike-2-0-generic

Written by Denise Deby.

Change is in the air…and the water…and the land.

People are speaking up and coming together to protect the earth against inappropriate development.

On Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, communities across Canada held vigils calling on the Canadian government to stop Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to BC and Washington. In Ottawa, people gathered outside the Prime Minister’s office to call on him to uphold his commitments to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, and to take climate action.

Three hunger strikers from Labrador—Inuk artist Billy Gauthier, Delilah Saunders and Jerry Kohlmeister—came to Ottawa in October to draw attention to the Nunatsiavut government’s Make Muskrat Right campaign. The campaign was in response to a plan by Nalcor Energy to flood a reservoir with contaminated water—leaching methylmercury into the water and food supply—as part of a hydroelectric project on the Churchill River. The province and community subsequently agreed that the work would be postponed until scientific studies could be independently reviewed.

On Oct. 24, a group of mainly young people from Ottawa and across Canada walked from the University of Ottawa to Parliament Hill, carrying the message “Climate leaders don’t build pipelines.” Police detained nearly 100 of them for crossing a barrier during the “Climate 101” action.

On Nov. 8, people in Ottawa held a fundraising dinner for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake who are trying to prevent mining in their territory. The event coincided with a rally, Joining Our Fires: Women for the Protection of Lands and Waters, held at the Human Rights monument in solidarity with the No Dakota Access Pipeline movement in North Dakota, the campaign against BC Hydro’s Site C Dam and other actions.

Coming up on Nov. 30, 2016, there’ll be a day of action in Ottawa in support of Indigenous peoples whose cases against National Energy Board rulings about industrial activities in their territories will be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada. The Clyde River Inuit‘s case centres on oil exploration using seismic blasting in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation’s case concerns Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline reversal project between Sarnia and Montreal. At the heart of both: the rights of Indigenous peoples to their territories, and Canada’s duty under constitutional and international law to consult them on resource projects within those territories.

In many cases—including the Treaty Alliance against tar sands expansion and the #NoDAPL defense of land and water—Indigenous people are leading the way.

Here’s hoping that these voices are heeded.

Water-is-life_bk_blue by Nicolas Lampert with artwork by Ossie Michelin via Justseeds Creative Commons non-commercial http://justseeds.org/graphic/water-is-life-3/

Water-is-life_bk_blue by Nicolas Lampert with artwork by Ossie Michelin via Justseeds Creative Commons non-commercial http://justseeds.org/graphic/water-is-life-3/

 

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Posted by Denise Deby.

Why nature matters: that’s the focus of this week’s symposium, Nature Scene, at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

First up is a talk by Richard Louv on the need for nature in our high-tech lives. Richard Louv is the author of Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder. He’s also co-founder of the Children & Nature Network and honorary co-chair of Canada’s Child in Nature Alliance. His keynote is on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, 7-9 p.m.

The Nature Scene symposium features speakers on healthy living, nature activities, children in nature, and urban dwellers in nature; hands-on activities; an Indigenous walking tour; and information displays from Nature Canada, OCDSB Eco Schools, Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club, Ecology Ottawa, The Wild Garden and many others. It’s on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 from 9-4:45 p.m.

Nature Scene is geared toward understanding why nature matters for health and well-being, and what we can do to sustain and enhance our engagement with nature.

See the Museum of Nature’s website for further details and registration.

Here’s an interview with Richard Louv talking about “Vitamin N”—nature—on CKCU FM 93.1’s Friday Special Blend.

 

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Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Clare Stone at CPAWS for the information.

Nature, art and music are coming together for a good cause: protecting wilderness.

CPAWS Ottawa Valley hosts its Fall Gala on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. The evening includes:

  • A screening of the film Painted Land: In search of the Group of Seven. The film travels to the landscapes portrayed by the Group of Seven’s artists. Conservationists Gary and Joanie McGuffin will attend to talk about the film and their work;
  • Music and stories from pilot, musician, wilderness traveller and sailor Dave Hadfield;
  • A silent auction with art by Becky Mason, John Barkley and other local artists, and donations from local businesses.

The Fall Gala happens in the National Gallery of Canada auditorium, starting at 7 p.m. (doors open 6:45 p.m.). Tickets are $45 and available at http://cpaws-ov-vo.org/news/fall-gala-2016-get-your-tickets-today. Proceeds will help fund CPAWS initiatives to connect youth to nature and to protect nature.

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Written by Denise Deby.

It’s a great time to thank local food producers and to celebrate the many sustainable food initiatives in our region.

Food markets are wonderful places any time, but particularly enjoyable when they’re so filled with colourful and diverse produce. OttawaStart has a list of local markets here. This is also an excellent time to visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch.

Check out Ottawa’s new Seed Library, which launched at the Ottawa Public Library’s Nepean Centrepointe branch this year. You can find out more here, or in this article. The Seed Library is part of the À la carte Food Literacy Project, a partnership of the Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa Public Health, MarketMobile, Ottawa International Writers Festival and Just Food bringing food information and activities to various spots around town.

As part of À la carte, the Ottawa Public Library and the Ottawa International Writers Festival are also teaming up to host three events on food literacy on Oct. 14-15, 2016. Authors and community leaders will look at antidotes to mass-produced, chemical-laden food, and ways to foster healthy, sustainable and accessible local food. The events also support the Parkdale Food Centre.

It’s discouraging to see the growing need for food banks in Ottawa, but heartening to see the increasingly diverse and creative ways that food centres are connecting people with fresh, healthy food–like the Community Harvest program, in which local growers produce food for centre clients, and other initiatives to enhance knowledge and raise awareness of nutritious food and food justice.

Chew On This! is a campaign to raise awareness about the hundreds of thousands of people in Canada who don’t have access to healthy food, and the need for a federal anti-poverty plan. Watch for volunteers around the city handing out snacks and information on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.

Just Food is a hub for local food knowledge and action. The organization hosts everything from a working organic farm and farmer training program, to Ottawa’s community gardening network, to a local food guide, and more. They’re also behind Local Freshness, a new site that connects consumers to local food, brought to you by Savour Ottawa Online, Le Marché de l’Outaouais and Ottawa Valley Food Coop. Just Food’s newsletter has comprehensive coverage of what’s happening in Ottawa re local and sustainable food—you can sign up for it here.

Another great way to keep up with all things local food is Edible Ottawa magazine. The photos alone are swoon-worthy, but there’s also great coverage of the places and people who produce and prepare our food. For example, check out recent articles on social enterprise Thirteen Muesli,  local forager Scott Perrie and permaculture farm Rainbow Heritage Garden. The magazine is available free at food-related shops around town, or you can find it online.

Let us know of other good food initiatives you’re aware of. Et bon appetit.

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Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Julia Dupuis, Canadian Organic Growers for the information.

What better time than the fall to upgrade your gardening skills?

Canadian Organic Gardeners is once again hosting its Organic Master Gardener course, running Saturdays from October 22 to December 3, 2016.

The course is for seasoned and new gardeners—really, anyone interested in and willing to invest in learning how to maintain a vegetable garden, container garden, ornamental garden, lawn or other patch of soil in an eco-friendly way, without pesticides or a lot of watering. The course helps understand the connections between soil, plant, human and environmental health, and shares practical knowledge such as plant selection, watering and composting.

For details and to register, visit COG’s website, or email them at office[at]cog.ca or phone 888-375-7383.

 

Written by Denise Deby.

More than 175 countries have laws recognizing the right to a healthy environment; Canada does not.

Silver Donald Cameron is trying to change that. The writer, producer and educator launched the multimedia Green Rights Project to explain the importance of rights to clean water, air and food, and to present the stories of people seeking recognition of those rights.

Silver Donald Cameron will be in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 to show the film Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World, and talk about his book, Warrior Lawyers, which explores environmental rights and struggles around the world to have them recognized, drawing on the perspectives of environmental lawyers involved.

The event is at 8 p.m. at the Pearson Room, Lord Elgin Hotel. (Thanks to planetfriendly.net for the information and links to more about the Green Rights Project.)

Written by Denise Deby.

Healthy Trees--Healthy City: A Celebration of National Tree Day image courtesy City of Ottawa

Healthy Trees–Healthy City: A Celebration of National Tree Day image courtesy City of Ottawa

Ottawa is celebrating trees this month.

The Ottawa Fall Tree Festival continues until Oct. 15. Every Saturday, Tree Fest Ottawa is hosting a photography exhibit, walks and other activities that celebrate the people and groups working to protect and promote trees in our city. The Festival happens in Brewer Park; see the website for details.

The Healthy Trees—Healthy City event, hosted by the City of Ottawa in collaboration with Ottawa Public Health and Tree Fest Ottawa, is happening on National Tree Day, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. A Healthy Communities Expo with community organizations starts at 6 p.m.; at 7 p.m. there’s a talk by University of Chicago professor Marc Berman, who led a multi-country study on the health effects of increasing the urban tree canopy. Tree Fest Ottawa’s new photography exhibit, PhotoSynthesis 2, launches the same evening. Find more information on the City’s website.

The Champlain Oaks Project is a great example of what community members can do to support trees and tree habitat. Residents and the community association have reached an agreement with the NCC to restore the natural forest in their urban neighbourhood. Check out their latest post.