Ottawa


 

What do women and the environment have to do with each other? Everything.

Here’s some of what’s happening in Ottawa on International Women’s Day, Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2017:

ONE Carleton is organizing a Rally for Education – International Women’s Day, to support women and girls around the world seeking equal access to education, sanitation, health care and other services. They’ll be at the University Centre on Wed. afternoon, then travelling to Parliament Hill by bus at 6 p.m.

Around 10 local organizations are hosting The Future is Feminist – International Women’s Day 2017 starting at 6 p.m. at Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington St.). The event, which celebrates women’s activism, achievements and diversity, includes awards, an activist fair, arts performances, refreshments and a dance party. Admission and on-site child care are free.

There’s a Public Lecture on Planetary Solidarity: Gender and Climate Justice in a Global Perspective at Saint Paul University amphitheatre, 7-9 p.m. Hilda P. Koster (Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota) will speak about the intersection of gender justice and climate justice, in Canada and around the world.

The Canada-India Centre and Carleton International are hosting Gender and Empowerment 2.0 from 6-8 p.m. at Residence Commons, Carleton University. Keynote speaker is Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

 

 

Chaudière Falls, Ottawa, ON, 1870 by William Notman (1826-1891) Musée McCord Museum on Flickr Creative Commons No known restrcitions

Chaudière Falls, Ottawa, ON, 1870 by
William Notman (1826-1891) Musée McCord Museum on Flickr Creative Commons No known restrictions  https://www.flickr.com/photos/museemccordmuseum/2918568677/in/photostream/

Posted by Denise Deby.

On Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, see Awakening, a film about the late Algonquin Elder William Commanda’s celebrated vision for the Chaudière Falls and islands as an international gathering site.

Authors David Mulholland and Romola Thumbadoo will also share reflections that shed light on Ottawa as Algonquin territory, and on Elder Commanda’s legacy.

It’s at Kitchissippi United Church (630 Island Park Drive), 7-9:30 p.m. Details here: http://ottawastart.com/events/film-documenting-indigenous-vision-for-chaudiere-falls-to-be-shown-at-kitchissippi-united-church/

See more on the Falls vision and area here: https://freethefalls.ca/

 

 

 

 

 

south-march-highlands-trail-d-deby

Written by Denise Deby.

Trees are again being cut down in Ottawa’s South March Highlands.

KNL is removing trees from 75-100 hectares of land in the Highlands, one of Ottawa’s most biodiverse areas, in preparation for construction. They’re required to take measures to mitigate against harming species at risk (including Blanding’s turtles, Least bitterns and butternut trees) and other wildlife.

Residents are concerned, though, that destroying the trees now will destroy hibernating wildlife and their habitat, including shelter and food sources. Some have started a petition, available here.

The petition is directed to the owners of Richcraft and Urbandale (the companies behind KNL), the mayor and city councillor, and the Ontario minister of natural resources and forestry. On Monday, January 23, 2017, a group of citizens will take the petition to City Hall (12:30 p.m. at the Lisgar Street entrance–weather permitting–or the information booth in the main atrium).

The Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital has also sent a letter to Mayor Watson, emphasizing the significance of the area, the harm being done to this ecologically important area, and the need to take action to protect the city’s natural spaces.

This tree cutting is happening in the context of a long struggle to protect the area from development. Citizens’ and environmental groups’ actions and support have slowed but not prevented the loss of ecological, geographical and cultural heritage.

Added Jan. 24: Here’s an update on the petition presentation.

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.

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.

 

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.

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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.

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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