Earth Day 2017 in Ottawa

Written by Denise Deby.

Every day is earth day, of course, but Earth Day, April 22, is an ode to the power of people in protecting the environment. Although sometimes co-opted for marketing consumer items, Earth Day was originally organized to bring people together to promote action for the environment.

March for Science

It’s fitting, therefore, that the March for Science will take place on Earth Day (Saturday, Apr. 22, 2017). The March, led by scientists and supporters, is a celebration of science and a reminder of the need to protect scientific enquiry from budget cuts, censorship and political interference. From the organizers:

On April 22, 2017, we walk out of the lab and into the streets. We as Canadians know too well the damage that can be done by an anti-science political agenda. Yet we also know first hand the positive change that is possible when scientists come together to defend science and its critical role in our society and democracy. Join us on April 22nd as we come together in Canada, in the US, and around the world, to march in solidarity with our American neighbours and stand in defence of science.”

To participate in the Ottawa March, come out to the main steps of Parliament Hill at 11 a.m.

There are plenty of additional ways to mark Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, 2017 in Ottawa:

Old Home Earth Day Event: The Glebe Community Association is hosting exhibits and workshops all about how to be energy efficient and live more sustainably in older homes. It’s at the Glebe Community Centre (175 Third Ave.), 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Find the schedule on their Facebook page.

Earth Day at the Canadian Museum of Nature: Walk across a giant map of the Arctic, journey through an inflatable polar bear, join a botanical scavenger hunt, crafts and play Inuit games. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. More information on the Museum website.

Great Cloth Diaper Change: Ottawa Doula Services is hosting the Great Cloth Diaper Change in Ottawa from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre (2260 Walkley Rd.) The event, held in more than a dozen countries, promotes use of reusable cloth diapers.

Wakefield Earth Day Green Market and Environmental Fair: This event features exhibits by local craftspeople, artists, green builders and food vendors; bike repair, tree-climbing, music and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Wakefield Community Centre (38 chemin Valley, Wakefield, QC); hosted by Chambre Wakefield-La Pêche Chamber.

River Ward Earth Day Event: Riley Brockington hosts this community event at the Hunt Club-Riverside Park Community Centre from 2-4 p.m. Maison Tucker House talks energy conservation and Junk That Funk provides an e-waste drop-off.

Added: Rethinking Canada’s 150: Human Library and Arts Showcase: Although not billed as an Earth Day event, this gathering features people sharing their experiences and perspectives on social and environmental justice, decolonization and immigration. The focus is “to bring alternative discourses to the mainstream narrative of Canada’s 150th anniversary.” Organized by Next Up at 25One Community (251 Bank St., 2nd floor), 3-6 p.m.

Added: Indigenous Walking Tour: Not specifically for Earth Day either, but Indigenous Walks is holding a public tour of central Ottawa from an Indigenous perspective. 5-7 p.m.; register at booking@indigenouswalks.com.

Ottawa Park Summit and Earth Day Celebration: Ecology Ottawa is organizing two related events for Earth Day. From 1-5 p.m., they’re partnering with Greenspace Alliance, Just Food, EnviroCentre, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Federation of Citizens’ Associations, Social Planning Council of Ottawa and Park People to host a gathering on how to make Ottawa’s parks great. See the website for details and registration.

At Ecology Ottawa’s Earth Day Celebration, the focus is on celebrating community efforts towards environmental justice. The evening (5:30-9 p.m.) includes entertainment by comedian Martha Chaves and DJ Cat Abreu, refreshments and door prizes from local eco-friendly businesses.

Both Ecology Ottawa events will be at Makerspace North (250 City Centre Ave.).

Earth Day 2017 Ottawa International Writers Festival: The OIWF brings an impressive line-up for Earth Day. Nishnaabeg writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson presents the stories and songs of This Accident of Being Lost. David Suzuki and Ian Hanington discuss Just Cool It!, their book on solutions to the climate crisis. At 6:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral (414 Sparks St.).

Voices of Earth: Local choir Tone Cluster is holding Voices of Earth, a concert to mark Earth Day. It’s at Centretown United Church (507 Bank St.) at 7:30 p.m.

Let us know if you hear of other Earth Day events in Ottawa!

The Green Rights Project

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.)

Doors Open Ottawa, Porch Dances, Prose in the Park, Westfest–and Lemonade

Written by Denise Deby.

Porch View Dances 2015
Porch View Dances 2015 – D. Deby photo

Some fun things coming up this weekend:

Doors Open Ottawa

For a look inside some of the city’s interesting places, including some not normally not open to the public, check out Doors Open Ottawa on Saturday, Jun. 4-Sunday, Jun. 5, 2016.

You’ll get to see buildings of architectural, historical, scientific and other significance—and those that are just plain intriguing: the Central Experimental Farm (including the Saunders building with “a complete collection of all plants found in Canada”), Maplelawn Historical Garden, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind National Training Centre, Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre, Parkdale Food Centre, the Hydro Ottawa generating station on Amelia Island (“believed to be the oldest operating hydroelectric generator in Canada”), Suntech Greenhouses, Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health (with “awe-inspiring architecture by Douglas Cardinal”), numerous embassies and more.

There’s a free shuttle bus that goes to 50 of the 120 participating Doors Open sites; or you can see 5 sites on a bicycle tour with Escape Tours (it’s a fundraiser for Trips for Kids Ottawa).

Check the Doors Open Ottawa website and guide for opening hours of buildings, and other information.

Canada Dance Festival

See part of the Canada Dance Festival—outdoors. Kaeja d’Dance presents Porch View Dances in Westboro on Saturday, Jun. 4 and Sunday, Jun. 5, 2016 at 4 p.m. The audience moves through the neighbourhood to watch local families perform dances created by professional choreographers—extremely fun. (For more outdoor dance, check out Aeriosa’s aerial performances and La Grande Fente’s pop-up dances in the Byward Market on Thursday, Jun. 9, 2016.)

Westfest

The wonderful Westfest happens Friday, Jun. 3-Sunday, Jun. 5, 2016 in its new location, Laroche Park (52 Bayview Rd.). The free festival includes live music, art programming, an Indigenous pavilion, an artisan area and local food trucks, performance artists, spoken word artists, kids’ activities and more. See the website for the full lineup.

Prose in the Park

Another fun (and free!) outdoor event is Prose in the Park, happening on Friday, Jun. 3 (at Origin Studio) and Saturday, Jun. 4, 2016 at Parkdale Park. There’s a great line-up of authors, so check it out.

Great Lemonade Standemonium

On Saturday, Jun. 4, 2016, look for the Great Lemonade Standemonium, where kids around town will be running lemonade stands in their neighbourhoods, to raise funds for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. There’s more information and a map on the website.

 

Earth Day / Book Day / Every Day

Written by Denise Deby.

Happy Earth Day! by Kate Ter Haar on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/katerha/6956228782/in/photostream/
Happy Earth Day! by Kate Ter Haar on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/katerha/6956228782/in/photostream/

April 22 was Earth Day. Earth Day draws needed attention to the environment, but sometimes it comes with a lot of hype, too–for example, by companies promoting yet more consumption of their stuff, or association with things that have very little to do with sustainability.

Reflecting on Earth Day this year made me want to think bigger–about the earth’s complexity, the way good writers or artists can express it. When I learned that April 23 is World Book Day, that clinched the idea of a post on books.

Of course, there’s a lot of great literature—fiction, non-fiction, creative non-fiction—on the environment, so here’s just a tiny sample:

The Lorax: The incomparable Dr. Seuss speaks for the trees, inspiring kids and adults alike to do their part, however big or small, for the environment.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein: a big-picture yet often personal book about how changing the way we organize our economy and society can help us transform our world for the better.

The Big Swim: Coming Ashore in a World Adrift, by Carrie Saxifrage: a book that reflects on nature and life through the author’s personal experiences.

The Ecoholic books by Adria Vasil, and Toxin Toxout by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith:  Practical help for living and consuming sustainably.

The Once and Future World by J.B. MacKinnon, The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill, The Oil Man and the Sea by Arno Kopecky and Happy City by Charles Montgomery are just a few more examples of compelling books that blend storytelling, history and evidence to give us a big picture of the earth and living as humans within it.

I’d love to hear what eco-books have inspired you!

April Environmental Events in Ottawa

Written by Denise Deby.

Ottawa-March 27, 2009-First Flowers 6 by Douglas Sprott on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/dugspr/3397985880/
Ottawa-March 27, 2009-First Flowers 6 by Douglas Sprott on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/dugspr/3397985880/

April is always a busy month for environment-related events. Here are a few coming up:

For inspiration about acting on climate change:

Development and Peace, the Canadian Religious Conference, Equiterre and Citizens for Public Justice are holding a talk on Paris Climate Conference: And After? along with the film This Changes Everything. It’s at Saint Paul University (223 Main St.) on Tuesday, Apr. 5, 2016.

Catch This Changes Everything again on Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2016 at Carleton University with a screening hosted by Carleton Climate Commons Working Group, 350 Ottawa, Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op and Carleton Cinema Politica.

Also on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, Impact Hub Ottawa hosts What’s next after Paris? Community action for a post-carbon future. Panelists Mitchell Beer (Smarter Shift/The Energy Mix), Mike De Souza (National Observer), Andrea Flowers (City of Ottawa), Graeme Cunningham (Bullfrog Power), Janice Ashworth (Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op) and EnviroCentre’s Carbon 613 will talk about getting involved in creating a sustainable world.

Ottawa hosts a National Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation for industry, governments and organizations Apr. 12-14, 2016.

For inspiration on understanding and protecting nature and ourselves within it:

Local conservation biologist and author Robert Alvo launches Being a Bird in North America at Octopus Books (Glebe) on Saturday, Apr. 9, 2016. It’s a book that uses humour and science to provide a new perspective on birds.

Celebrated primatologist Jane Goodall will be speaking in Ottawa on Monday, Apr. 11, 2016 about her lifetime of research and her sustainability work with youth. (Proceeds from the event support the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada’s conservation, humanitarian and youth programs.)

The City of Ottawa is hosting Engaging Citizens in Science to showcase groups that are involving people in understanding and documenting nature. As well as speakers Dr. Jeremy Kerr (University of Ottawa, co-founder of Bumblebeewatch.org) and Andy Kenney (University of Toronto, Neighbourwoods Program), several groups will present their citizen science and research initiatives. It’s on Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016.

The film Love Thy Nature, coming to the Mayfair Theatre Apr. 10, 11 and 13, 2016, explores humanity’s connection with the natural world.

On Thursday, Apr. 14, 2016, Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees plays at the Mayfair. The documentary follows scientist and environmentalist Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she explores ancient trees. (See http://www.cacor.org/ for details.)

The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club has several upcoming birding and other events. Check details on their website.

For inspiration on making Ottawa a more sustainable city:

Janette Sadik-Khan led New York City’s program to create safer, more liveable streets, and wrote about the experience in Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution. She’ll be speaking in Ottawa on Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2016 at Streetfight: NY’s Urban Revolution Comes to Ottawa, a discussion organized by Ecology Ottawa and other groups.

Of course, April 22 is Earth Day. Check for events at https://earthday.ca/.

To stay up to date with local environmental events, check out the great event calendars at Green Ottawa, Ecology Ottawa and Transition Ottawa.

http://ecologyottawa.ca/2016/03/16/streetfight-new-yorks-urban-revolution-comes-to-ottawa/
http://ecologyottawa.ca/2016/03/16/streetfight-new-yorks-urban-revolution-comes-to-Ottawa/

Ottawa International Writers Festival Fall 2015

Written by Denise Deby.

Image courtesy Goose Lane Books http://www.gooselane.com/media/1248.jpg
Image courtesy Goose Lane Books http://www.gooselane.com/media/1248.jpg

Here’s how the Ottawa International Writers Festival describes their fall schedule in their latest newsletter:

From Canada to Ireland and Tanzania, First Nations communities to the oil sands and rural Quebec, through the world wars, to the fight against ISIS, this week our festival is bringing stories from around the world to Ottawa.”

A few highlights:

First Peoples, First Stories with Lee Maracle, Bev Sellars and Joseph Boyden, hosted by Waubgeshig Rice, on Thursday, Oct. 22, 6:30 p.m. (Important things to know, and new ways to think.)

Oil, Gas and Water with Marq de Villiers, Louis Helbig and Andrew Nikiforuk, hosted by Neil Wilson, on Saturday, Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m. (The politics of water, the “beautiful destruction” of the tar sands, and the fight against fracking.)

The Dorito Effect with Mark Schatzker, hosted by Sean Wilson, on Monday, Oct. 26, 6:30 p.m. (How food flavours have shifted from real and healthy to “craveable” but empty.)

The Reason You Walk with Wab Kinew, hosted by Waubgeshig Rice, on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6:30 p.m. (A memoir and a reconnection.)

There’s lots more, so check the schedule.

As well as food for thought, the festival has food—including local dishes from Dash Mobile Cookery, Bridgehead and local breweries served in the Festival Café (check the schedule for times). There’s also a Literary Luncheon with Margaret Atwood on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Changing the World: Films and Discussions

Written by Denise Deby.

This-Changes-Everything_Final

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.

* * *

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.”