Valentine’s Day 2017

heart by couleur on pixabay Creative Commons CC0 public domain
heart by couleur on pixabay Creative Commons CC0 public domain

Here are three ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day:

1 – If it’s through chocolate, go fair trade and sustainable. Camino, Hummingbird and Olivia are three locally based companies that sell great organic, fairtrade and/or sustainable chocolate around town.

2 – All that snow we’re getting has wreaked havoc for pedestrians and cyclists trying to use sidewalks or bike lanes. (Funny how the roads seem to get plowed first.) Do a bit of shovelling if you have sidewalk nearby; help out a neighbour.

3 – Most importantly, take part in Have a Heart Day. Have a Heart Day is all about showing support for First Nations children to get the services they need to live the healthy, safe and honoured lives they deserve and have a right to. The Canadian government has so far failed to comply with a 2016 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that found the government is racially discriminating against First Nations children and their families by not providing services that other children have access to. Have a Heart Day supports the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society’s efforts to change this situation.

There are several ways to get involved in Have a Heart Day:

Send a Valentine to the Prime Minister and your MP, calling for immediate action and an end to discrimination;

Raise awareness in your workplace, school or community (try an activity or talk about it), and spread the word through social media;

Come to Parliament Hill from 10:30-11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 to show support. Bring your letter, song or poem of respect, support and love for First Nations children!



Lighting the Way

Written by Denise Deby.

Heart on Pixabay CC0 Public Domain
Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

It’s been said that it’s hard for one person to make a difference in the world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about one person who did make a difference. Even more remarkable, she was an eight-year-old.

Kate inspired many people here in Ottawa, and elsewhere, with her joy and determination. All the more impressive because she lived with a rare form of mitochondrial disease—so rare that she was the first person in the world ever to be diagnosed with it.

She literally changed the lives of others for the better. She was the embodiment of what is right with this world and what we should all strive for.” – Julie (Kate’s mom)

You can read about Kate on Julie’s blog at

CBC did a story here.



Support for Climate Solutions and Justice

Written by Denise Deby.

photo 4 (2)

Way to go, Ottawa and Canada!

10,000-25,000 of us gathered at Ottawa City Hall and on Parliament Hill to tell leaders that we want to see climate solutions and justice.

It was a purposeful, joyful event.

Now it’s time for decisions, and action. We’ll be watching, and leading.

via Ecology Ottawa
Via Ecology Ottawa on Facebook

Jane’s Walk Ottawa 2015

Written by Denise Deby.

Jane’s Walk 2013 with Martha Webber through Ottawa’s Great Forest – J Makin (via Jane’s Walk Ottawa)

It’s one of my favourite times of the year—Jane’s Walk time!

Jane’s Walk is an international celebration of cities and the people who live in and shape them. It’s a weekend of free walking tours led by volunteers who know something interesting about their city and are willing to share it.

In Ottawa, more than 50 walks will take place in neighbourhoods, historic places and natural spaces on May 2 and 3, 2015.

Here are a few examples:

Check out these and other walks at All walks are free, take about an hour, and run in English or French.

Jane’s Walk organizers welcome volunteers, too.

There’s a “Jane’s Talk” on New Directions for Urban Infill with Ottawa city planner Alain Miguelez on Wednesday, Apr. 29, 7 p.m. at the NCC’s Urbanism Lab, 40 Elgin St. The weekend wraps up with a party on Sunday, May 3 at 4 p.m. at the Lieutenant’s Pump on Elgin.

Jane’s Walk is a great way to get to know your city, meet other people and get outdoors. Check it out!

From Jane’s Walk Ottawa:

The weekend-long festival of free walking tours is held to celebrate the work of urban thinker Jane Jacobs, who promoted livable cities, street-life vitality and attractive, uplifting places where people feel safe. It’s is a pedestrian-focused event that improves urban literacy by offering insights into planning, design, local history, and civic engagement through the simple acts of walking, observing, and discussing.”

Earth Day 2015 in Ottawa

Written by Denise Deby.

John McConnell's Earth Day flag by John McConnell (flag designer) NASA (Earth photograph) SiBr4 (flag image) via Wikimedia Commons
John McConnell’s Earth Day flag by John McConnell (flag designer) NASA (Earth photograph) SiBr4 (flag image) via Wikimedia Commons

April 22 is Earth Day. Of course, it’s just one day. Nonetheless, for 45 years now, the designation of a day for the earth has prompted people to reflect and act on how to live more sustainably. (The Earth Day Network says more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities around the world.)

Here are a few ways to mark Earth Day 2015:

Take part in an event

How about a feast, a film and a thought-provoking discussion? The Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa holds their annual celebration of the Defence of Mother Earth on Wednesday, Apr. 22 from 6-9:30 p.m. The film, Karistatsi Onienre: The Iron Snake, looks at Indigenous resistance to pipelines carrying tar sands oil. A panel with Jocelyn Iahtail (Cree mother, survivor and cultural teacher), Gabrielle Fayant (Metis and co-founder of the youth-led Assembly of Seven Generations) and Lynn Gehl (Algonquin learner-researcher, writer and rights advocate) will focus on Indigenous women. The event is a fundraiser for Shawnejeagamik, the 510 Rideau Indigenous Drop-In Centre. Check here for event details.

Want to talk trees? Tree Ottawa is holding a workshop with Master Gardener Ed Lawrence and other tree experts on Wednesday, Apr. 22 from 7-9:30 p.m. Details here.

Join the river cleanup

Interested in lending a hand for river health? The Ottawa Riverkeeper is organizing shoreline cleanups on Wednesday, Apr. 22 from 10 a.m.-noon at Parc Moussette and from 1-3 p.m. at Lemieux Island and Bate Island. Details and RSVP here. (See other upcoming shoreline cleanup events here or here.)

Green your transportation

Inspired to ride your bike, walk or take the bus more often? “Clean Your Commute” is Earth Day Canada’s theme for 2015, so check their website for green options. Earth Day Canada is also launching “Earth Day Every Day” on Earth Day this year. It’s a campaign to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint by 20% by 2020. Check here for information. Why not sign up for Ottawa’s Bike to Work Month in May, too? Information and registration here.

For some background on Earth Day and additional suggestions of what you can do, from ordering CSA food shares to supporting renewable energy, see this previous post.