The Same River Twice: Nature, Media, and Philosophy in the Anthropocene – Wednesday, Apr. 12, 2017
Carleton Climate Commons Working Group presents this talk by Dr. Etienne Turpin on urban ecologies, human understandings of nature and much more (see the website for details). At Carleton University, 132 Azrieli Pavilion from 3-4:30 p.m.
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Zero Waste Talk with Bea Johnson – Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017
Bea Johnson’s zero waste lifestyle launched a movement on living waste-free. The creator of Zero Waste Home will be speaking at this session hosted by NU Grocery—Ottawa’s first zero waste grocery store—in collaboration with city councillors David Chernushenko, Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper, Mathieu Fleury and Tobi Nussbaum, EnviroCentre and EcoLead. At First Baptist Church, 7-9:30 p.m. See Eventbrite for details.
Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa – St. Lawrence – Outaouais (COG-OSO) presents its spring series of seminars on growing organic vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. Topics include getting started, healthy soils, in-ground and container gardening, pest management, vertical gardening and more–you can sign up for one seminar, or the whole series. At City Hall, 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. See the schedule and registration information on the COG-OSO 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Municipal governments have a lot of influence on the environment. Their decisions affect how we manage waste, use energy, take transportation and nurture green space. Through their actions, or inaction, cities influence air, land and water health, climate change, and the distribution of resources and benefits among citizens.
Urban governments can also be at the forefront of spurring positive environmental change, sometimes even when other levels of government fall short.
Vancouver is one city that has committed to being “the greenest city in the world,” with 2020 as the target date. Vancouver’s plan includes developing renewable energy systems, enhancing sustainable transportation, creating zero waste, strengthening the local food system and taking action in several other areas.
Can its commitment inspire Ottawa? On Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, Vancouver city councillor and deputy mayor Andrea Reimer will be here to talk about her city’s plan. Joining her are Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams, who is active locally, nationally and internationally in prompting decision-makers to address environmental and social justice, and Ottawa city councillor and chair of the city’s Environment Committee David Chernushenko.
The event, from 6-9 p.m. at City Hall, is organized by Ecology Ottawa, which in addition to its regular campaigns, promotes environmental leadership and stewardship at all levels of government, including federal.
September brings pressures to buy stuff, like fall clothes and school supplies. Buying sustainable is one option; re-using, recycling and buying local or handcrafted items can be great alternatives.
Here are a few opportunities to shop local and/or repurposed:
The Old Ottawa South Community Association holds its Community Wide Porch Sale on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. The sale includes a tool drive for the Ottawa Tool Library, and an e-waste depot that supports Hopewell School Council and HealthBridge. Centretown, Sandy Hill and other communities are also holding neighbourhood-wide garage sales on Saturday.
Also on Saturday, Sept. 12, the new 613flea, a non-profit marketplace for artists, artisans, antique vendors, vintage clothing sellers and other creative types to sell their wares, launches at Lansdowne Park. At the annual punkottawa.comflea market at the Bronson Centre, you’ll find records, clothing, jewelry, art and more.
Update:Dress for Success Ottawa is holding a Fall Hidden Treasures Saleon Saturday, Sept. 12 until noon. Proceeds support DFS’s efforts to enable women in difficult circumstances to obtain clothes suitable for work.
(When you’re cleaning up at home this weekend, gather up any empty beer and wine bottles—if you return them to Beer Stores on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12 and 13, 2015, all of the proceeds support Rogers House, which provides respite and palliative care to families at CHEO.)
Stock up on used books when Friends of the Ottawa Public Library hold their next Mammoth Book Sale on Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 100 Tallwood Drive. You can also purchase used books at many library branches; proceeds support the library through FOPL. If you’d like to donate books, check here for details on what’s needed.
If you’re looking for home renovation supplies, check out Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores—there’s one in Ottawa East and one in Ottawa West. Profits support Habitat for Humanity. They also accept donations of building and home décor materials, although it’s best to call to find out what they need. The stores also accept used electronics for recycling.
Need a bike to get to work or school, or just to ride? Try re-Cycles or Cycle Salvation. They sell refurbished bikes, and also accept bike donations. Check their websites for details.
Tool libraries lend out tools, just as conventional libraries lend out books. Tool libraries have been set up in Toronto, Hamilton, Halifax and Calgary. Most charge an annual membership fee for the opportunity to borrow tools from the inventory.
Tool libraries are a great example of the sharing economy, minimizing the amount of “stuff” people have to buy, and pooling community resources for items that most people need only once in a while.
In Ottawa, the tool library is a non-profit initiative intended to provide people with affordable access to tools. It will open at Arts Court in the new year.Update: The Ottawa Tool Library opened in August at MakerSpace North, 250 City Centre. Check them out here!
In the meantime, the Ottawa Tool Library is holding a tool drive to help them get up and running. You can donate used or new hand tools, power tools and kitchen equipment. Check your cupboards, basement or garage for underused items you might have, clear the clutter and share with others! There are several drop off locations; check the website for details. They’ll be accepting donations again in January, and can use volunteers, too.
Stay tuned for more news about the Ottawa Tool Library!