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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Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale 2018

Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale – image courtesy Ecology Ottawa

It’s almost time again for the Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale. The GGGGS happens on Saturday, May 26, 2018 as part of the Great Glebe Garage Sale.

Ecology Ottawa, which organizes the Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale, is looking for volunteers. Here’s a message from Léna Ndoye at Ecology Ottawa:

(français suit)

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)
  • People to clean up the space (May 26)

Get involved in one of the year’s most fun and exciting events. Learn more and sign-up to volunteer today at https://ecologyottawa.ca/events/annual-events/garage-sale/.

// 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)
  • Des gens pour nettoyer l’endroit (26 mai)

Venez-vous engager dans un des événements les plus plaisants et excitants de l’année. Apprenez en plus et devenez bénévole aujourd’hui sur https://ecologieottawa.ca/more/evenements-annuels/vente-debarras/.

Gifts that Won’t Cost the Earth

Image via Pexels Creative Commons Zero (CC0) https://www.pexels.com/

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.

The Maple Leaves of Kichi Makwa, a children’s book by local Algonquin elder, poet and storyteller Albert Dumont, addresses themes of nature, respect and support, and is written in Algonquin, English and French. Find it at Singing Pebble Booksonline, or from the author.

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.)

These days it’s possible to find plenty of eco-friendly, locally crafted items around town that would make thoughtful gifts. One place to check out is Maker House. They have wall hooks made from fallen branches by Not Mother, a window planter made from reclaimed wood marked “less stuff more life” by Grains of Truth, and a framed vintage Ottawa map print, hand embroidered with a red heart, by Sadie & June, as well as much more. Plus, if you buy from Maker House during December, they’ll donate 2% of the sales to Parkdale Food Centre through the #craftchange program.

For more green gift ideas, see our past posts on Thingless GivingA Gift of ReadingGifts that Give Twice and Greening the Season.

Seasons greetings!

Written by Denise Deby.

Give Away Weekend June 2017

Arrow by MoneyForCoffee on pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/arrow-sign-direction-free-image-964733/

Here’s an opportunity to get rid of things you no longer use but are still in good condition.

Give Away Weekend happens Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11, 2017 in Ottawa.

You can put used household items, furniture, books, toys and other good stuff out at the curb, marked with a sign that says “FREE,” and people can come by and take what they need.

Be sure to take back any unclaimed items and recycle or dispose of them appropriately.

Find out more on the City of Ottawa’s 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.

 

Volunteer Opportunities with Ecology Ottawa’s Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Gabrielle White, Ecology Ottawa volunteer, for the information.

Ecology Ottawa's Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale 2012 FB photo httpsecologyottawa.caannual-eventsgarage-sale
Ecology Ottawa’s Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale 2012 https://ecologyottawa.ca/annual-events/garage-sale/

Every year (for 9 years now!), Ecology Ottawa organizes the Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale during the Glebe Community Association’s Great Glebe Garage Sale. This year it all happens on Saturday, May 28, 2016.

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).

… and many more volunteer roles.”

Find out more, or sign up to volunteer, donate or bake goods for the sale, at http://ecologyottawa.ca/garage-sale/, or contact garagesale@ecologyottawa.ca.

 

Where to Donate Clothes and Furniture

Written by Denise Deby.

Clothes - D. Deby

If you’re clearing out stuff you don’t need, and think someone else could use it, consider these options:

Agencies in Ottawa are co-ordinating to collect clothes and household items in good shape for refugees and residents in need. Councillor Rick Chiarelli has posted a handy map here of drop-off locations and links for Ottawa Neighbourhood Services, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul and other organizations.

Helping With Furniture collects used furniture and household goods from certain parts of the city for delivery to refugee families. See details here.

Matthew House operates a Furniture Bank for people in need.

Organizations such as the Ottawa Mission and Cornerstone that provide shelter and services to people sometimes accept clothing and personal items, but check first to see what they need.

Dress for Success and Suits His Style provide professional work clothing to women and men who are economically disadvantaged.

Clothing and other donations to the Youville Centre go to young mothers and their children.

The Snowsuit Fund makes winter jackets, mitts and other outerwear available to kids who need them.

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore accepts furniture and e-waste.

St. Mark School is hosting an Electronic Waste Collection Depot this weekend. Find them on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 from 12-4 p.m. at 1040 Dozois Road in Manotick. (They’re also collecting gently used clothing.)

Alternatively, take your e-waste to EnviroCentre or another official centre or event near you.

You can consult the City of Ottawa’s Take It Back program to find out where to recycle or discard used clothes, household goods, electronics, hazardous materials and other things, or use their “Waste Explorer” to search for where to take a specific item.

There are lots of donation boxes around the city, but if you use them make sure they belong to a legitimate charity.

Remember to recycle only things in good condition that someone else will want—don’t use these services as a way to get rid of junk.

Recycling used items is good, but it’s also good to donate cash (or volunteer) for causes you care about, and/or groups helping people stay out of poverty and conflict in the first place.