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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Forest Wellness Walks with Forest Therapy Ottawa

Friends of the Carp Hills photo via Forest Therapy Ottawa

What a great time of year for a rejuvenating forest walk! Andrea Prazmowski at Forest Therapy Ottawa leads Forest Wellness Walks in and around Ottawa-Gatineau. These gentle walks provide an opportunity to slow down, take time to experience nature and be mindful of the wonder and life around us.

The guided walks are also a wonderful way to experience some lesser-known but notable natural areas around the city, judging by the list of upcoming public walks this month:

  • Thanksgiving Forest Walk at Morris Island Conservation Area, on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday Wellness Walks at Stony Swamp, on Wednesday Oct. 10, 17 or 24, 9:30 a.m.-noon.
  • Crazy Horse Trail in the Carp Hills on Saturday, Oct. 13, 1-3:30 p.m.
  • See.Breathe.Be Forest Walks at Gaia Wellness Retreat, Gatineau Hills, on Sunday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 21, 3-5:30 p.m.
  • Old-Growth Pines, Gillies Grove National Historic Site (home of the tallest living tree in Ontario!) in Arnprior, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9:30 a.m.-noon.

Some walks are on accessible trails, have flexible pricing and/or support local environmental groups. Check the Forest Therapy Ottawa website for further details and registration links.

Spending time in nature can reduce stress, improve physical and mental wellness, promote energy and attention capacity, and enhance happiness and creativity. Among the many good reasons to go on a forest walk very soon.

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For more forest time in fall colours, visit one of the many trails in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, for example in Gatineau Park or the Greenbelt, where the NCC’s Fall Rhapsody is on from Sept. 29 to Oct. 21, 2018, or in natural areas managed by the City of Ottawa.

Fall Tree Festival 2018

Image courtesy Tree Fest Ottawa

Guest post contributed by Christine Earnshaw, Tree Fest Ottawa.

On Saturday and Sunday, September 22nd and 23rd, 2018, from 9:30am – 4:30pm, Tree Fest Ottawa presents its fall tree festival at the south end of Brewer Park near Brewer Pond. This outdoor festival combines learning + nature + art + play.  Connect with trees and your community in this little oasis of nature in the city. Free admission through the support of the City of Ottawa.

Main activities include:

  • Guided walks by a master tree identifier, an Indigenous Walk led by a knowledgeable Indigenous spot talker; and a guided bird walk
  • Get involved! Putting trees on the municipal election agenda with Tree Action Now! and talk by David Chernushenko
  • Immersive and exploratory forest therapy and edible foraging sessions
  • Learn about trees with Ask an Arborist and a Carleton historian discussing Ottawa’s urban forest
  • Get your hip waders on and explore the pond with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
  • Musical performances by Just Voices, Christine Graves, and a singalong with radio host Chris White
  • Art murals, photography exhibit, storytelling, interactive games, scavenger hunt, yoga, food and drink, and more…

Visit Tree Fest Ottawa’s website for the Festival Program.

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.

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.

Flooding in Ottawa-Gatineau

Thoughts go out to everyone affected by the flooding.

The City of Ottawa and the City of Gatineau have posted information about the flooding, how to stay safe in flood conditions (around the water, near electricity and with drinking water), and where to obtain assistance.

Other information available:

How to volunteer to help with flooding recovery over the next few weeks: https://ottawa.ca/en/register-volunteer-flooding-efforts

Where to donate to support recovery efforts through the Salvation Army or Canadian Red Cross: http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/older-adults/safety/emergency-preparedness/emergency-notifications-flooding-information#-donations

Where to get help for coping with stress, worry and other mental health needs (links for the Distress Centre, Tel-Aide Outaouais, Walk-In Counselling Clinics and other supports): http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/older-adults/safety/emergency-preparedness/emergency-notifications-flooding-information#responding-stressful-events

The Ottawa Riverkeeper also has information and links on what to do and where to get help.

Stay safe, everyone.

Posted by Denise Deby.

 

 

Jane’s Walk Ottawa 2017

It’s Jane’s Walk time!

This annual series of walks explores and celebrates well-known and not-so-well-known public spaces, connects people with the built and natural environments around them, and sheds light on what makes for a liveable city.

Update: Jane’s Walk Ottawa is still on despite the rain, but check the Jane’s Walk Ottawa website to make sure the walk you want to attend hasn’t been cancelled due to wet conditions or flooding.

What makes Jane’s Walk particularly compelling is that the walks are led by local residents: storytellers, historians, scientists, community organizers, neighbours and others who volunteer to share their perspectives on parts of the city they know. The walks are free and open to everyone.

This year, Jane’s Walk in Ottawa-Gatineau takes place May 6-7. The 50+ local walks happen at the same time as thousands more around the world, all commemorating the ideas of writer and activist Jane Jacobs. Jacobs advocated for people-centred urban planning, building on the “intricate sidewalk ballet” of informal neighbourhood activities, for example, and for vibrant, accessible neighbourhoods.

There are so many great walks this weekend that it’s hard to list them here, so check out the full schedule at janeswalkottawa.ca. Here’s just a sample of what’s available to discover:

  • Envision Elgin St., Stittsville Main St., Rideau St. or Bank St. as redesigned lively, walkable community streets;
  • Take a foodie tour focused on local, organic food in Centretown;
  • See downtown through the eyes of an Indigenous woman, or from the points of view of people who have experienced homelessness, or from other perspectives;
  • Examine the past, present and future of Lebreton Flats; land use in the Central Experimental Farm; or the shift of a disused railway line into a green corridor;
  • Learn about Indigenous people’s relationship with the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers, colonialism, industrialization, urban planning, resistance and resurgence;
  • Find wild, edible plants growing in the heart of the city;
  • Check out Little Free Libraries in the Glebe;
  • Discover how downtown buildings can be made more bird-friendly;
  • Explore the connections between urban design and health in the Carling/Merivale area;
  • Learn about the ecology and restoration of the Pinhey Sand Dunes.

Also see the Jane’s Walk Ottawa and Jane’s Walk websites for more information about Jane Jacobs’ life and work. (Check out Ten Big Ideas drawn from Jane Jacob’s work.)

Hope to see you on a walk!

Posted by Denise Deby.