100In1Day, Doors Open Ottawa, World Environment Day and More

Image by abdallahh on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/22168167@N00/2083496138

June is underway with some amazing (and free) activities and events.

Kitchi Blanket Exercise

Join KAIROS in a journey to help understand the effects of colonization on Indigenous peoples. Using blankets that represent the land, participants trace a shared history from life before colonization, through treaties, residential schools, the “60s’ scoop” and more. Friday, Jun. 2, 2017 from 5-7:30 p.m. on Parliament Hill. A Pot Luck Community Feast and Open Mic on Saturday, Jun. 3, 6-9 p.m. at the Bronson Centre will honour Blanket Exercise facilitators and Elders.

100In1Day Ottawa

Visit an organic farm, re-imagine uses of the Ottawa Rail Bridge, help spread native plant seeds, join a hike and yoga in Gatineau Park, or take part in any of the other dozens of micro-actions in support of the environment and civic engagement on #100In1Day in Ottawa. It’s on Saturday, Jun. 3, 2017; see the website for details.

Doors Open Ottawa

This is your chance to see inside buildings not normally open to the public, and/or of historical, architectural or civic interest. Included are the Lemieux Island water purification plant, Parks Canada’s conservation labs, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind’s national training centre, SunTech Greenhouses, the Wild Bird Care Centre, and many embassies, museums, places of worship, government buildings, fire stations, sports and sailing clubs, art studios and more. Cycle or take a shuttle bus between some of the sites (see website for details). Buildings are open Saturday, Jun. 3 and/or Sunday, Jun. 4; check the schedule for times.

Westfest

A great reason to spend some time outdoors: Westfest, Ottawa’s free festival of music, art and family activities, with an incredible lineup of performers. It’s happening Friday, Jun. 3-Sunday, Jun. 4 in Laroche Park, Mechanicsville. See the website for schedule and details.

World Environment Day

Reconnect with nature: that’s the theme of this year’s World Environment Day, #WithNature, on Monday, Jun. 5, 2017. Take part by spending time in a park, going for a hike, planting a tree, birdwatching or digging in the garden; add some indoor plants to your life. Take photos and share what you’ve discovered. Contribute a landscape photo to the “World’s Biggest Nature Album,” or help build “the world’s largest nature database” by downloading the iNaturalist app and using it to record the biodiversity around you. You can also search for WED-related events in Ottawa.

Also coming up:

USC Canada’s public forum Shifting Ground: Transitioning to Diversified, Agroecological Food Systems Jun. 6

Carbon 613 and EnviroCentre’s Evening of Recognition Jun. 6

EnviroCentre’s Living Lightly event Jun. 8

 

 

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!

To the Ends of the Earth Film

To the Ends of the Earth film
Filming To the Ends of the Earth image courtesy http://endsofearthfilm.com/press

April (a.k.a. Earth Month) brings a host of events promoting environmental issues and solutions.

Today (Tuesday, Apr. 4), catch To the Ends of the Earth film at Arts Court.

This documentary looks at and beyond extreme energy extraction in Canada’s fossil fuel industry (e.g. Arctic drilling and shale gas fracking), and follows the scientists, authors and activists who are finding alternatives based on cooperation, social justice and ecological stewardship. Narrated by Emma Thompson. A panel discussion includes Ottawa City Councillor David Chernushenko, renewable energy expert Chris Young, Stu Campana of EnviroCentre and Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative president Dick Bakker. Presented by SolarShare Cooperative, at Arts Court, 7-10 p.m.

More information on Eventbrite.

To the Ends of the Earth official TRAILER from David Lavallee on Vimeo.

Local Writers/Activists Talk Indigenous Land Defence

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.

Greening Sacred Spaces Certification Program

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.

 

More Actions for the Environment

dec-7-event

Update: An Indigenous Land Defence event will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. It’s in support of Standing Rock/#NoDAPL, the Chaudière Falls sacred site (in Ottawa), the Treaty Alliance against tar sands expansion and the Algonquins of Barriere Lake No Mining! Land Defenders Camp.

Featuring speakers and multimedia, the event takes place at the Bronson Centre (211 Bronson Ave.), but will also be livestreamed. See IPSMO’s website or Facebook event page for details. Funds are being collected for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake land defence efforts.

* * *

Via https://www.facebook.com/events/276625229401814/
Via https://www.facebook.com/events/276625229401814/

Written by Denise Deby.

Last week I posted about some of the actions happening in Ottawa in support of people and groups in Canada, the U.S. and Indigenous territories defending land and water against destructive development.

Here are two more events, taking place Monday, Dec. 5, 2016:

Prime Minister Trudeau approved the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 tar sands pipelines. If just one of these pipelines is built, it will unleash enough climate pollution to undo the proposed phase out of coal, the carbon tax and the low carbon fuel standards combined, and then some. These pipelines are strongly opposed by Indigenous communities along the route. A spill threatens drinking water and coastal waters including critical Orca habitat.
For more information:
www.canadians.org/pipelines
https://350.org/category/location/canada/
http://twnsacredtrust.ca/

  • POSTPONED: Also, the Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement Ottawa is organizing a #NoDAPL Day of Action in Ottawa, from 1-3:30 p.m., starting at the fountain in Confederation Park. It’s a response to the Camp of the Sacred Stone‘s call for a month of global resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline. From IPSMO’s event post: “Based on Global Calls for Action, we are organizing a Non-Violent Direct Action to publicly ask Banks to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).” See important details and updates on their post.

Other (online) actions to check out:

  • Environmental Defence has launched a campaign to raise funds and support for a legal challenge to the federal government’s pipeline decision;
  • The David Suzuki Foundation has posted a letter that people can sign asking the federal government to rethink its approval of the pipelines.

For an analysis of the flaws in the pipeline approval process, and the adverse affects that moving ahead with them will have, see this article in The Tyee.

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/