Here are three ways you can incorporate environmental action into your activities this beautiful spring weekend:
Take Part in Give Away Weekend
Clear your clutter, recycle household items that might be useful to others, and find free treasures. During Give Away Weekend, people are invited to set out unneeded but usable items at the curb, marked “Free,” for others to take. The City of Ottawa website has tips on what and how to share your stuff and how to dispose of items that aren’t picked up.
Enjoy Community Outdoor Events
This weekend brings a variety of community outdoor festivals, plant and art sales, which provide a great way to spend some time outdoors while supporting local. There’s Westfest, an amazing annual free festival of music, art and more. The juried New Art Festival is on in Central Park in the Glebe. A great place to buy heirloom organic plants for your garden is at Greta’s Organic Gardens’ sale on Sunday, Jun. 9. You can find fresh produce and local food items at one of Ottawa’s outdoor markets. There’s a plant swap at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne on Sunday, Jun. 9. And check out the new pedestrian plaza on William Street in the ByWard Market!
Help Clean Up Flood Debris
The City of Ottawa is urgently seeking volunteers to help clean up sandbags and other materials from sites of flooding. The City’s website has details on how to get involved.
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.
Ecology Ottawa, which organizes the Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale, is looking for volunteers. Here’s a message from Léna Ndoye at Ecology Ottawa:
The biggest garage sale in Ottawa is coming back to the Glebe! This year, we are continuing last year’s resounding tree giveaway success, which was the single largest one-day distribution of trees Ottawa has ever seen! The saplings will be available for free (or by donation), to be planted around the city and thus strengthen Ottawa’s urban tree canopy. To be able to make these saplings available to everyone during the garage sale, we need lots of volunteers!
SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2018, 8am-4pm – 640 Bank Street (at Clemow Avenue) – Boston Pizza parking lot
We are currently seeking:
Help the day before to set up tables and tents + organize material for the tree giveaway (Friday, May 25)
People with vehicles to help transport the trees, volunteer kits, and other items to the site (May 25 and 26)
Lots of help at the actual event : people to give away trees, to have a booth about it, to run the bakery sale, to paint kids’ faces, to take pictures and plenty of other help (Saturday, May 26)
// Le plus grand vide-grenier d’Ottawa et son lot de joie et de bonne humeur reviennent dans le Glebe ! Écologie Ottawa sera là pour la plus grande distribution d’arbres jamais effectuée à Ottawa. Pour s’assurer que l’événement se déroule pour le mieux et afin de pouvoir distribuer tous ces jeunes arbres, nous avons besoin de nombreux bénévoles afin d’assurer différentes tâches.
SAMEDI 26 mai 2018, de 8h à 16h – 640 Bank Street – le parking Boston Pizza
Nous sommes actuellement à la recherche :
Des personnes avec une auto pour pouvoir amener sur place les arbres et et le reste du matériel (25 et 26 mai)
Des personnes pour nous aider la veille à installer les tables et tentes (vendredi 25 mai)
De beaucoup d’aide le jour de l’événement : des gens pour distribuer des arbres, pour tenir un stand à ce propos, pour gérer la vente de pâtisseries, pour peindre le visage des enfants, pour prendre des photos et plein d’autres choses (samedi 26 mai)
If, like me, you’ve been too busy with life to focus on seasonal pursuits (or blog posts–sorry about that), here are some earth-friendly (and local!) gift ideas that you can still find before the holidays.
Escape from the Museum! is a mystery-adventure set in the impressive Canadian Museum of Nature, offered in collaboration with Escape Manor, that would make a fun gift for kids or adults alike. Groups can choose from two themes: “Back to the Fossils,” involving time travel to help some lost dinosaurs, and “Framed,” investigating a heist of specimens from the Mammals Gallery. It’s an opportunity to explore the museum’s collections and spaces while solving challenges before the time runs out. (Escape Manor offers escape adventures at several other locations including Diefenbunker, downtown and at their Hintonburg location.)
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Ottawa Chapter of Faith & The Common Good if you have any questions or want more information.
The Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale is a garage sale, fundraiser, vegetarian BBQ, family activity spot and party all rolled into one. There’s baked goods and coffee, a water bottle refilling station, massage therapists and live DJs. Even better, proceeds support the great work of Ecology Ottawa (90%) and the Ottawa Food Bank (10%), and the event helps raise awareness of environmental issues in Ottawa–not to mention keeping reusable items from the landfill.
Ecology Ottawa is looking for volunteers to make the GGGG sale happen:
Everything is coordinated by more than 100 passionate volunteers, without whom this event would not be possible. This year we are looking for volunteers of all ages for various jobs, including:
– People with access to a vehicle (or a bike with trailer) to pick-up donations ahead of the sale, and to distribute leftover items to worthy organizations after the event (May 23-31).
– Folks to sort donations in the days leading up to the event (May 23-27).
– Lots of help at the actual event, including some brave souls to help set everything up at the crack of dawn, salespeople, folks to run the BBQ, people to paint kids’ faces, and plenty of other help to make the event run smoothly (Saturday, May 28).
– Help in the days following the event, to sort the leftover items, distribute them to worthy local organizations, return items borrowed from our supporters, and tidy the venue (May 29-31).