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.

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Old Home Earth Day Event 2018

Here’s an opportunity to celebrate Earth Day while discovering more ways to green your home and energy use: the Old Home Earth Day Event on Saturday, Apr. 21, 2018 brings organizations, businesses and the public together for a free fair on reducing your carbon footprint and living more sustainably.

Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op, the Ottawa Tool Library, Nugrocery and EnviroCentre are among the groups on hand. The day includes free workshops, exhibits and a DIY space. Topics include improving home energy efficiency, renovations, sustainability through transportation and food choices, and more.

This second annual Old Home Earth Day Event is organized by the Glebe Community Association’s Environment Committee along with SMARTNet Alliance, the Peace and Environment Resource Centre, Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op and Bullfrog Power. OHEDE takes place at the Glebe Community Centre (175 Third Ave.) on Saturday, Apr. 21 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Thanks to the Glebe Environment Committee for the information and images.

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.