Land and Water Defenders

stop-kinder-morgan-vigil-ottawa-canada-350-org-a-tetreault-on-flickr-attribution-noncommercial-sharealike-2-0-generic
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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Ottawa’s Local Food Scene

westboro-farmers-market-d-deby

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.

Ottawa Fall Tree Festival, Our Moment to Lead and More

Written by Denise Deby.

http://treefestottawa.org/
http://treefestottawa.org/

There are some great eco-events happening in our city right now.

Our Moment to Lead

As part of its efforts to encourage Ontario to adopt an effective environmental bill of rights, Blue Dot Ottawa is hosting Our Moment to Lead on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Learn what you can do to support Ontario as a leader on environmental rights. It’s at Claudette Cain Park, 660 River Rd. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Whether or not you attend, you can have a say in Ontario’s public consultation on an environmental bill of rights. The Blue Dot movement is a David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice initiative; they provide a template for input here. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has some useful information here.

Ottawa Fall Tree Festival

Tree Fest Ottawa celebrates people and trees in our city. This year, they’ve organized the Ottawa Fall Tree Festival, featuring an impressive array of activities all about trees and the people and groups who protect and promote them. The Festival runs every Saturday from Sept. 10-Oct. 15 (10 a.m-5 p.m.) in Brewer Park by Brewer Pond, and includes photography and art exhibits, guided walks, food and drink, ecosystem talks and much more. Check out the schedule here.

Green Energy Doors Open

Green Energy Doors Open, an initiative of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, showcases sustainable energy systems and technologies. The public is welcome to tour homes, see green properties by bike, and visit the energy showcase. It’s from Friday, Sept. 9-Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016 at various sites around the city.

Also this weekend: Bug DaySavour Fall613flea and Capital Pop-Up. Let us know in the comment section what you check out.

Sustainable Cities Community Classroom

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to David Mazur-Goulet, OREC, for information.

https://www.facebook.com/events/222239941478660/
https://www.facebook.com/events/222239941478660/

How can cities, with their significant environmental footprints, be sustainable?

The Ottawa Renewable Energy Coop (OREC), Octopus Books and delegates of the EU-Canada Municipal Cooperation on Urban Policy are addressing that question in a discussion on cities and climate solutions.

They’ll share “real world examples of people coming together with the common goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

It’s on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 7-9 p.m. at Octopus Books’ Centretown location (251 Bank St.), $5 or pay what you can.

For more details and to register, see OREC’s or Octopus Books’ websites.

100 Renewable Energy Paddle

Posted by Denise Deby.

Greenpeace Ottawa https://www.facebook.com/GreenpeaceOttawa/photos/gm.238211796537803/1298247666871189/?type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/GreenpeaceOttawa/photos/gm.238211796537803/1298247666871189/?type=3&theater

Greenpeace Ottawa volunteers are organizing a paddle on Dow’s Lake this Sunday, May 15, 2016.

They’re inviting people to come out and join the call for a 100% renewable energy future–one that doesn’t include the Energy East pipeline. Everyone is welcome to bring canoes, kayaks and/or decorations (think “break free” or tulip festival).

For details, see the event page.

 

 

Bike to Work Month 2016

Posted by Denise Deby.

Image courtesy of EnviroCentre
Image courtesy of EnviroCentre

 

If you’re keen to green your commute, spend active time outdoors and support cycling in the city, why not sign up for Bike to Work Month in May?

Bike to Work Month promotes and celebrates cycling. Beyond the joys of biking itself, the campaign, which is organized by EnviroCentre, provides incentives like prizes for participation.

You can sign up at http://www.biketoworkottawa.ca/en/ and log your bike trips. (My suggestion: You can log work-related trips even if you don’t commute regularly to a workplace.)

You can also start a workplace team, or book a “lunch and learn” workshop on commuting or basic bike maintenance. The website has other resources and links, too.

EnviroCentre says last year during Bike to Work Month, 2,500 Ottawa participants collectively cycled more than 300,000 km, equivalent to seven times around the planet. That’s impressive! Every little bit helps reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gases, and helps make our city healthier and more vibrant.

See you on the bike routes!

 

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!