Posted by Denise Deby.

Gatineau Park has 361 square kms of wilderness habitats and striking geological features, 50 lakes, thousands of species (including 50 mammal, 10 reptile, 15 amphibian, 230 bird and more than 1000 plant species) and 140 species at risk–but it doesn’t have the same protection as a national or provincial park.

For many years, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-Ottawa Valley, through its Make it a Real Park campaign, has been calling for legislation and action to protect Gatineau Park.

CPAWS-OV is hosting a Café Scientifique–an informal conversation over refreshments–to explain the Make it a Real Park campaign.

The Café Scientifique is on Monday, Mar. 13, 2017 from 7-9 p.m. at Fox and Feather (283 Elgin St.).

Learn more on CPAWS-OV’s website.

 

What do women and the environment have to do with each other? Everything.

Here’s some of what’s happening in Ottawa on International Women’s Day, Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2017:

ONE Carleton is organizing a Rally for Education – International Women’s Day, to support women and girls around the world seeking equal access to education, sanitation, health care and other services. They’ll be at the University Centre on Wed. afternoon, then travelling to Parliament Hill by bus at 6 p.m.

Around 10 local organizations are hosting The Future is Feminist – International Women’s Day 2017 starting at 6 p.m. at Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington St.). The event, which celebrates women’s activism, achievements and diversity, includes awards, an activist fair, arts performances, refreshments and a dance party. Admission and on-site child care are free.

There’s a Public Lecture on Planetary Solidarity: Gender and Climate Justice in a Global Perspective at Saint Paul University amphitheatre, 7-9 p.m. Hilda P. Koster (Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota) will speak about the intersection of gender justice and climate justice, in Canada and around the world.

The Canada-India Centre and Carleton International are hosting Gender and Empowerment 2.0 from 6-8 p.m. at Residence Commons, Carleton University. Keynote speaker is Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

 

 

Chaudière Falls, Ottawa, ON, 1870 by William Notman (1826-1891) Musée McCord Museum on Flickr Creative Commons No known restrcitions

Chaudière Falls, Ottawa, ON, 1870 by
William Notman (1826-1891) Musée McCord Museum on Flickr Creative Commons No known restrictions  https://www.flickr.com/photos/museemccordmuseum/2918568677/in/photostream/

Posted by Denise Deby.

On Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, see Awakening, a film about the late Algonquin Elder William Commanda’s celebrated vision for the Chaudière Falls and islands as an international gathering site.

Authors David Mulholland and Romola Thumbadoo will also share reflections that shed light on Ottawa as Algonquin territory, and on Elder Commanda’s legacy.

It’s at Kitchissippi United Church (630 Island Park Drive), 7-9:30 p.m. Details here: http://ottawastart.com/events/film-documenting-indigenous-vision-for-chaudiere-falls-to-be-shown-at-kitchissippi-united-church/

See more on the Falls vision and area here: https://freethefalls.ca/

 

 

 

 

 

heart by couleur on pixabay Creative Commons CC0 public domain https://pixabay.com/en/heart-snow-snow-heart-love-1145528/

heart by couleur on pixabay Creative Commons CC0 public domain https://pixabay.com/en/heart-snow-snow-heart-love-1145528/

Here are three ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day:

1 – If it’s through chocolate, go fair trade and sustainable. Camino, Hummingbird and Olivia are three locally based companies that sell great organic, fairtrade and/or sustainable chocolate around town.

2 – All that snow we’re getting has wreaked havoc for pedestrians and cyclists trying to use sidewalks or bike lanes. (Funny how the roads seem to get plowed first.) Do a bit of shovelling if you have sidewalk nearby; help out a neighbour.

3 – Most importantly, take part in Have a Heart Day. Have a Heart Day is all about showing support for First Nations children to get the services they need to live the healthy, safe and honoured lives they deserve and have a right to. The Canadian government has so far failed to comply with a 2016 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that found the government is racially discriminating against First Nations children and their families by not providing services that other children have access to. Have a Heart Day supports the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society’s efforts to change this situation.

There are several ways to get involved in Have a Heart Day:

Send a Valentine to the Prime Minister and your MP, calling for immediate action and an end to discrimination;

Raise awareness in your workplace, school or community (try an activity or talk about it), and spread the word through social media;

Come to Parliament Hill from 10:30-11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 to show support. Bring your letter, song or poem of respect, support and love for First Nations children!

have-a-heart-day-2014

 

south-march-highlands-trail-d-deby

Written by Denise Deby.

Trees are again being cut down in Ottawa’s South March Highlands.

KNL is removing trees from 75-100 hectares of land in the Highlands, one of Ottawa’s most biodiverse areas, in preparation for construction. They’re required to take measures to mitigate against harming species at risk (including Blanding’s turtles, Least bitterns and butternut trees) and other wildlife.

Residents are concerned, though, that destroying the trees now will destroy hibernating wildlife and their habitat, including shelter and food sources. Some have started a petition, available here.

The petition is directed to the owners of Richcraft and Urbandale (the companies behind KNL), the mayor and city councillor, and the Ontario minister of natural resources and forestry. On Monday, January 23, 2017, a group of citizens will take the petition to City Hall (12:30 p.m. at the Lisgar Street entrance–weather permitting–or the information booth in the main atrium).

The Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital has also sent a letter to Mayor Watson, emphasizing the significance of the area, the harm being done to this ecologically important area, and the need to take action to protect the city’s natural spaces.

This tree cutting is happening in the context of a long struggle to protect the area from development. Citizens’ and environmental groups’ actions and support have slowed but not prevented the loss of ecological, geographical and cultural heritage.

Added Jan. 24: Here’s an update on the petition presentation.

jan7-singingpebble-dominion-facebook-image

Posted by Denise Deby.

In a November post, I referred to Indigenous and other groups taking action to protect land and water against inappropriate, ecologically harmful development.

The Dominion’s most recent issue, “Warrior Up,” is all about Indigenous land defenders across Canada, featuring 24 articles by Indigenous writers and activists.

Three of those writers/activists will be at Singing Pebble Books (206 Main St.) on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, from 2-5 p.m. to talk about the issues and sign copies of the magazine:

Find out more about the three speakers and event details on the event page.

Thanks to The Dominion, you can read the full issue via their website.

Guest post written by Katherine Forster at the Ottawa Chapter of Faith & The Common Good. Part of a series contributed by Kathryn Norman at Sustainable Eastern Ontario.

Clear signage that helps improve waste diversion in a communal space - this example from Emmanuel United Church, the first LEED certified church in Ottawa. Photo by Kathryn Norman.

Clear signage that helps improve waste diversion in a communal space – example from Emmanuel United Church, the first LEED certified church in Ottawa. Photo by Kathryn Norman.

Climate change has been an important topic in the first year of the Liberal’s government. New programs and subsidies are being rolled out that will help support Canadians to lower greenhouse gas emissions but are they enough? Many faith communities have shared their concerns with the government and were also present at the COP 21 talks in Paris, France. Is there more that can be done, beyond lobbying the government and trying to encourage change at the federal level? If faith communities want to do more, what can they do?

Faith & The Common Good has been trying to help with those questions over the past ten years by offering programs to aid faith communities in looking at their own buildings and practices to be able to make changes to offset carbon themselves and lead by example. Faith & The Common Good has tools and resources to help interested parties to start making a difference in terms of environmental efficiencies and sustainability.

A new program that has come to the Ottawa Chapter of Faith and the Common Good is the Greening Sacred Spaces Certification program. The Greening Sacred Spaces Certification program recognizes, celebrates and motivates faith communities who demonstrate commitment in the care of the environment through action. This program helps you celebrate when you’ve accomplished a certain number of tasks and it provides ideas of how to keep moving forward in your greening efforts. It is a series of checklists that help identify specific tasks that can be taken on and once 10 or more tasks have been completed, a certificate is issued to celebrate the faith community’s success! It’s a tool that can help give those who are working to improve their building and property that extra boost!

The congregation starts at the Light Green status and then moves on to Medium Green and then Deep Green. Light Green Certification costs $25 (which includes a mailed certificate). Each certification level has a corresponding list of possible actions in various categories (i.e. Community, Energy, and Water). The faith community is eligible to apply for Certification once they have completed a minimum of 10 greening actions in Light Green, Medium Green or Deep Green.

What’s great about the program is that it offers simple ideas that can make a difference in the energy use and sustainability of a faith community. And it shows how to add increasingly more intensive activities as the community gets more well-versed in their environmental options. It’s a great list to review once a year to help indicate what further actions can be done. And there’s no time table so communities can work at the list at their own pace.

Some faith community may have already taken the first 10 steps to be more sustainable and energy-efficient and not even realize that they qualify for a “Light Green” Certification! Some of these actions include:

  • regular use of environmental focused prayers, liturgies, hymns and/or songs in worship
  • placing symbols of nature in the sacred space and/or in the garden
  • exploring nature-care issues in children’s activities within the faith community
  • resources with a nature and environmental stewardship focus are in available in the community’s library
  • a ‘think twice before printing’ policy and an active paper reduction and recycling policy
  • signage at all light switches reminding people to turn off lights when not in use

A total of 28 possible actions for the Light Green Certification can be found here.

Faith communities can help lead the way and be great allies for those in the environmental movement. They represent a variety of people and cultures and many are interested in helping move forward the efforts of both their communities and the country.

Please contact Katherine Forster (kforster@faithcommongood.org) at the Ottawa Chapter of Faith & The Common Good if you have any questions or want more information.

Congregational members involved in the energy efficient design of the Masjid Bilal mosque in Orleans explain its features to an interfaith group on a bus tour organized by Faith & the Common Good. Photo by Kathryn Norman.

Congregational members involved in the energy efficient design of the Masjid Bilal mosque in Orleans explain its features to an interfaith group on a bus tour organized by Faith & the Common Good. Photo by Kathryn Norman.