Flooding in Ottawa-Gatineau

Thoughts go out to everyone affected by the flooding.

The City of Ottawa and the City of Gatineau have posted information about the flooding, how to stay safe in flood conditions (around the water, near electricity and with drinking water), and where to obtain assistance.

Other information available:

How to volunteer to help with flooding recovery over the next few weeks: https://ottawa.ca/en/register-volunteer-flooding-efforts

Where to donate to support recovery efforts through the Salvation Army or Canadian Red Cross: http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/older-adults/safety/emergency-preparedness/emergency-notifications-flooding-information#-donations

Where to get help for coping with stress, worry and other mental health needs (links for the Distress Centre, Tel-Aide Outaouais, Walk-In Counselling Clinics and other supports): http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/older-adults/safety/emergency-preparedness/emergency-notifications-flooding-information#responding-stressful-events

The Ottawa Riverkeeper also has information and links on what to do and where to get help.

Stay safe, everyone.

Posted by Denise Deby.

 

 

Local Writers/Activists Talk Indigenous Land Defence

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.

More Actions for the Environment

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.

* * *

Via https://www.facebook.com/events/276625229401814/
Via https://www.facebook.com/events/276625229401814/

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.

Land and Water Defenders

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/

 

March To Save Our Rivers

Posted by Denise Deby.

Image via Facebook/Ecology Ottawa
Image via Facebook/Ecology Ottawa

Last month’s spill of oil from a Husky Energy pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River contaminated drinking water systems in communities and cities along the river, killed fish, birds and other species, and polluted soil and vegetation.

It’s a scenario that people opposing the Energy East pipeline want to avoid. Energy East would carry tar sands bitumen from Alberta to New Brunswick, with risks to ecosystems and waterways along the way.

Participants in the March to Save Our Rivers, organized by STOP Oléoduc Outaouais, are travelling this week from Saint-André d’Argenteuil near Montreal to Ottawa, along the Ottawa River and the proposed Energy East route.

Ecology Ottawa is encouraging people to come out to welcome the marchers to Gatineau and Ottawa, and join them for the final leg from Major’s Hill Park to Parliament Hill. They’re expected to arrive in Major’s Hill Park on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. For details and to RSVP, see http://www.ecologyottawa.org/welcoming_the_march_to_save_our_rivers or https://www.facebook.com/events/1030299940358766/.

From Ecology Ottawa’s invitation:

The March to Save our Rivers highlights the pipeline’s risks while underscoring the resolve of groups in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere who are committed to preserving our shared natural environment…. Let’s all come out and show the city and the country that Ottawans do NOT want their climate, land and water threatened by this pipeline, and that we stand in solidarity with all opposition in the country.”

Protecting the South March Highlands Now and in Future

Written by Denise Deby.

IMG_0160

The South March Highlands is a unique area in Ottawa. It’s not well known, yet the forests, wetlands and rocky Canadian Shield within it are ecologically, geologically and culturally significant.

Home to more than 800 species, including at least 20 at risk, the Highlands contain some of Ottawa’s densest biodiversity. They also serve as important “green infrastructure”—storing and filtering water, cleaning the air, moderating climate and temperature, providing eco-corridors for species to survive, and offering trails for walkers and bikers, for example.

The Highlands are not protected, though.

Outside the city’s South March Highlands Conservation Forest, much of the rest is slated for development, which has been encroaching on the Highlands for years. Recently, developer KNL has applied to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to destroy up to 120 Butternut trees, as well as Blandings Turtles and Least Bitterns–all species at risk–and their habitats, which are protected under legislation.

What can you do to help protect the South March Highlands?

Paul Renaud, a field naturalist and long-time advocate for the Highlands, has some recommendations:

* Ask the City of Ottawa to include all of the South March Highlands in its Urban Forest Management Plan. Several areas including Trillium Woods and other forest and wetlands are being left out, says Paul. You can write to Mayor Jim Watson (jim.watson@ottawa.ca), City Councillor and Environment Committee Chair David Chernushenko (david.chernushenko@ottawa.ca), and urban forester Martha Copestake (martha.copestake@ottawa.ca). Find more information here.

* Comment by February 3, February 17, 2016 on KNL’s application to adversely affect several species at risk and their habitats in the South March Highlands. You can write or submit comments online at http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTI3MTcw&statusId=MTkyMDg1&language=en.

* Contact Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna (Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca), and ask her to get the National Capital Commission to declare the entire South March Highlands a National Interest Land Mass that can no longer be developed. (If you post your message to UnpublishedOttawa.com, too, more people will see it.)

If you’d like more information on the South March Highlands and what can be done, check out these links and video:

http://www.renaud.ca/…/Pres…/2016-01-01_SMH_Overview_v21.pdf

https://www.facebook.com/groups/southmarchhighlands/

http://unpublishedottawa.com/campaign/41276/include-south-march-highlands-ottawas-urban-forest-management-plan

Things To Be Thankful For

Written by Denise Deby.

Rideau River - Strathcona Park - D. Deby photo

Here are a few things I’m thankful for these days:

Advocacy: I’m grateful to all the wonderful people around who are speaking up about what needs to be changed, finding creative solutionsorganizing opportunities for others to make a difference, and inspiring the rest of us to think, live and act more mindfully.

Art: Ottawa has many impressive people who through their art, music, films, stories and other creative pursuits are not just spreading the work about environmental and social issues, but helping us see that different ways of thinking and acting are possible. (Don’t miss the Walking With Our Sisters memorial, a powerful tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women, at Carleton University’s Art Gallery until Oct. 16, 2015.)

Being a part of nature: Getting outdoors is calming, rejuvenating and a reminder of our connection with other things. Right now the air is crisp, the colours magnificent and local forests, parks and recreational paths plentiful. (Gatineau Park and Greenbelt trails can be crowded this time of year, but they’re splendid, as is the South March Highlands. Going for a bike ride, or a walk through a park or neighbourhood, are other things that make me happy.)

Biodiversity: Although we’re losing ground on biodiversity, it’s what keeps us resilient. Fortunately, there are organizations and individuals helping us rebuild biodiversity in our food system, and protect species and habitats. (Try USC Canada’s 10-minute game to get family or friends talking about biodiversity and why it matters, or read up about it.)

Food: This is of course the time of year to celebrate the harvest. (A visit to a farmers’ market or pumpkin patch is a great autumn activity.)

Water: I’m thankful for water and its life-giving properties. I’m worried about threats to it, and grateful to groups working to protect water sources locally and farther afield. (Check out these suggestions of water issues to raise with your federal candidates.)

Other things I’m thankful for: family, friends and community; health; time (including time to be thankful!); and oh, so much more.

You’re welcome to share some of the things you’re thankful for, in the comments—I’ll be grateful. : )