Vote for a Sustainable Ottawa on October 22 2018

What’s the most important thing you can do for the environment on Monday, October 22? Vote.

Our municipal government is responsible for many of the systems that affect our ecological footprint as citizens and determine the city’s environmental health.

The people we elect need to lead the creation of sustainable, equitable and safe systems in many areas: planning and management of our built urban and rural environment (including development, infill, and affordable housing); action on climate change (including renewable energy); protection of our environment (including greenspace, trees, flora and fauna, water sources and quality); transportation (prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users); a strong local food system; and waste and recycling. They need to prioritize these in funding decisions. They need to value and support community engagement, local action, and accountability to residents as essential dimensions of our city’s governance. They need to work toward a different and better relationship with the Indigenous peoples on whose land we have built this city.

Some of the candidates for mayor and councillor have clear platforms on these issues (some may have even written the book on them). Others have positions or track records that indicate that these are not among their priorities.

If you need more information on the candidates for mayor, city councillors and school trustees before you vote:

  • Ecology Ottawa has done a survey of all candidates about their positions on local environmental issues.
  • The Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital has posted the results of a survey of municipal candidates on environmental issues.
  • The Ottawa Food Policy Council’s survey of candidates covers food issues.
  • OttawaStart has published a list of links to municipal candidate Q&As and debates.
  • The City of Ottawa website has lists of all candidates, including their websites, as well as information for voters about how and where to vote.

See you at the polls on Monday, October 22.

 

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One World Film Festival 2018

The annual One World Film Festival in Ottawa is on from Thursday, Sept. 20-Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, with a bonus film on Thursday, Sept. 27. The Festival is jam-packed with documentary films from around the world on environmental, social justice and human rights topics.

Among the environment-themed films:

  • The short film Earthrise (USA 2018), about the power of the first photo of our shared planet taken from space, on Friday, Sept. 21, 6:15 p.m.;
  • Not in My Neighbourhood (South Africa/Brazil/USA 2017) on struggles for land and housing in São Paulo, Cape Town and New York, on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7:15 p.m.—highly relevant in light of the evictions of the Timbercreek Heron Gate community taking place in Ottawa;
  • The Wapikoni Indigenous short films program on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 1:30 p.m.

There’s also a post-festival screening of Anote’s Ark (Canada 2018), on climate change, rising oceans and people’s actions on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 6:45 p.m.

See the One World Film Festival website for details.

Ottawa Election 2018

The municipal election is still a couple of months away (Oct. 22), but it’s time to be hearing from candidates about their plans for a greener Ottawa.

Ecology Ottawa has a useful tool to help understand candidates’ positions on environmental issues. They’re doing a survey of mayoral and councillor candidates about their plans for climate change action and an active and green city, and are posting the answers.

So far more than 50 candidates have answered the questionnaire, but more than 60 have yet to reply. You can help by contacting the candidates to ask them to make their views known by Friday Aug. 10.

There are additional questions that candidates need to be asked—about plans for cleaner rivers, and for restoring Chaudiere Falls and the islands, for example—but the survey covers a wide range of important issues.

“For example, in the last budget round, the city committed only $500,000 in new money for Energy Evolution while committing over 80 times that amount – $43 million – on new road building and expansion. …Environmental leadership is needed at City Hall. Ottawa needs a greener city council and the 2018 election on Oct. 22 is an important opportunity to make it happen.” – Robb Barnes, Executive Director, Ecology Ottawa in the Ottawa Citizen

See more about Ecology Ottawa’s municipal election campaign on their website.

Town Hall in Ottawa on KM Pipeline

The recent heat wave is a reminder that climate change is contributing to more extreme weather events here in Ottawa as well as around the world.

All the more reason to focus on sustainable energy alternatives. With the federal government’s subsidy of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and the Ontario government pulling the plug on cap and trade and the green energy programs it funded, getting to sustainability is going to require a lot of people power.

Ecology Ottawa, 350.org and the Council of Canadians are hosting a community town hall on Canada’s investment in the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The event includes a discussion and a screening of Directly Affected: A Pipeline Under Pressure, a short film by B.C. filmmakers.

The town hall takes place at the Ottawa Public Library Main branch auditorium on Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 at 7 p.m. See the Facebook page for details.

Directly Affected: Pipeline Under Pressure from Directly Affected on Vimeo.

Welcoming Ottawa Week 2018

African Caribbean Canadian Multiculturalism Day Festival in Strathcona Park, WOW 2017 – D. Deby photo

Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) is an annual festival of arts, cultural, sports and other activities that celebrate the city’s diversity and the contributions of the many newcomers who have made Ottawa home.

This year’s WOW includes more than 75 free activities across the city from Monday, Jun. 18-Saturday, Jun. 30, 2018. They include photo exhibits, soccer and basketball tournaments, a community picnic, a barbecue and bike fest, the design of a community mural, “myth-busting” events about immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and several multicultural celebrations. The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival are also participating.

Other events of note:

Check out the WOW calendar for more events.

With one in four Ottawa residents having been born outside Canada, it’s more important than ever to embrace our diversity and get to know each other.

WOW is organized by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership in collaboration with 50+ partners across the city.

More Upcoming Events in Ottawa

 

Here are more upcoming events you won’t want to miss:

Emergency Rally: Separate Oil and State #StopKM

This rally is taking place to convey to the federal government that Canadians don’t want it to subsidize the Kinder Morgan pipeline with public funds. Join in on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 5-6 p.m. on Parliament Hill. Speakers include Elder Verna McGregor, Algonquin Community of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg; Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs live from BC, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh(Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh(Tsleil-waututh) territory; Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP; Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party; Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson, Council of Canadians. See details and updates on the event page. There’s also a petition to sign on the Council of Canadians website.

Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale

This great community event hosted by Ecology Ottawa happens on Saturday, May 26. Check out our earlier post for details and volunteer opportunities.

Ottawa Race Weekend

The Ottawa Race Weekend happens Saturday, May 26-Sunday, May 27. Take part, cheer on your friends and/or donate to good causes.

Pub Night: Nuclear Waste Issues 101

Here’s a chance to discuss nuclear waste proposals that will affect the Ottawa River. The event takes place on Monday, May 28, 2018, 6:30-9 p.m. at Downtown Royal Oak (188 Bank St.).

Planting for Pollinators: Saving our Bees

The Hintonburg Community Association is hosting this event on how to create a pollinator-friendly garden. Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton will share information on what to plant in order to attract bees and other pollinators. It’s on Sunday, Jun. 3, 2018, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. See the event page for details.

Stay tuned for #100in1Day Ottawa, Doors Open Ottawa, Ottawa Veg Fest and more happening the weekend of June 2-3, 2018.

Green Screen Ottawa: Climate Change Film

I once turned down a UN job in the Maldive Islands. I thought I’d have the chance to get there someday anyhow–but that was before much was known about the risks that climate change poses to the existence of small island states like the Maldives.

Kiribati is another island nation on the front lines of rising sea levels due to climate change. Green Screen, along with Ecology Ottawa, the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre and other partners, are bringing an important film and discussion to Ottawa about climate change and its effects, including on Kiribati.

ANOTE’S ARK is a documentary about Kiribati’s efforts to save its nation, people and culture. It follows the story of both Kiribati’s president Anote Tong, and Tiemeri, a young mother of six attempting to migrate with her family to New Zealand.

ANOTE’S ARK will be shown on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 from 7-9:30 p.m. at the ByTowne Cinema. After the film, there’ll be a panel discussion on environmental organizing and connecting the struggles of Indigenous people in the film with local action.

The event is free but organizers are asking people to register in advance. Donations are welcome. The Facebook event page has further details.

Green Screen is a city-wide grassroots initiative organized by local Ottawa residents, with support from Ecology Ottawa, to engage our communities on climate change action. Through a series of film screenings in wards throughout the city, Green Screen strives to inspire local action on global issues, and show that by working on climate change in our own backyard we can have an impact on one of the world’s most pressing issues.