Energy Action in Ottawa and Beyond

Solar panels image via publicdomainpictures.net

Welcome to Ottawa! Including to everyone driving big trucks en masse from across the country into downtown in the next couple of days. We’re so glad you could join us for Climate Action Week.

Climate Action Week is all about sustainable and renewable energy, focused on practical solutions to energy challenges. Yes, there are solutions, and yes, it’s time.

I get it. I want to be heard, be treated fairly and keep my family warm, healthy and safe too. My family roots are in fact in rural Alberta and small town B.C. and Saskatchewan, where my ancestors settled on Cree and other Indigenous lands and made a living there. I currently depend on fossil fuels that others work hard to provide.

The thing is, that’s what unsustainable means. An energy economy and livelihoods that are built on unsustainable energy sources—not to mention on trampling on Indigenous rights and damaging the environment that we all depend on—can’t last. We have to stop investing in this and make the transition to alternative sources, together. That—not fear and frustration and hatred—is what should unite us.

If your purpose in coming is to spread hatred and chaos, don’t bother. We have no room for that in this city, or this country.

If you’re a public figure trying to score political points from this mess, you should stop, and repair the damage you’ve caused.

If you’re concerned about all of this, help draw attention to the people, groups and businesses who are finding solutions. That’s the way we will all survive.

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Indigenous People’s Rights Before Pipelines

Image of Gidimt’en Checkpoint sign – from International Day of Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Facebook event page

It’s 2019—time to be the change we want to see in the world.

Today, there’s an opportunity to stand with Indigenous peoples who are asserting their rights to their traditional, unceded lands.

The International Day of Action in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en takes place in Ottawa and other communities on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at noon on Parliament Hill.

The gathering is in support of members of the Wet’suwet’en People who are peacefully protecting their territories from construction of a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada.

Yesterday, RCMP moved in and arrested 14 people, on the grounds that the RCMP were enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to clear the way for construction of the pipeline.

The land protectors say this is a violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and of Wet’suwet’en law.

It signifies that Canada and Canadians are putting corporate profits and environmental degradation before Indigenous rights and any hope of a better relationship with sovereign Indigenous nations.

The Ottawa action will start at noon at the Parliament Hill front gate.

#timeisnow #Wetsuwetenstrong

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Support for the Environment and Sustainable Energy

Some upcoming events to check out:

Parliament Hill Rally for Nuclear Safety, Monday, Apr. 23, 2018 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. (meet at the flame). Hosted by Concerned Citizens, this event to protect the Ottawa River against a planned nuclear waste dump at Chalk River includes statements by First Nations and citizens groups, songs and drumming, and a walk to the Ottawa River. A Ceremony for the Ottawa River, led by Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont South Wind, will follow.

Minister Carr: climate + Indigenous rights > Kinder Morgan takes place on Monday, Apr. 23, 2018 from 4:30-6 p.m. at Tabaret Hall, University of Ottawa. It’s a response to an address by Jim Carr, federal Minister of Natural Resources on energy.

Emergency Rally: Separate Oil and State #StopKM will take place on a day to be confirmed after April 24, after the federal government announces legislation to be tabled on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Organized by the Council of Canadians, in solidarity with Indigenous-led opposition to the pipeline.