Has biogas a potential in Prince Edward/Quinte?

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Canadian cities are discovering a new energy source: spoiled food

It can be hard to imagine household food waste producing anything more than a putrid odour. But it’s also a potential energy source.

In Canadian municipalities with green bin programs, household organics are collected at the curb and sent to a central facility where they are broken down by microorganisms. One result of this process is something called raw biogas. 

A growing number of these cities are upgrading that biogas (from a methane concentration of 55 to 60 per cent to 90 per cent or more) to produce what is called renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG is similar in quality to conventional natural gas and can be injected into a natural gas pipeline to heat buildings and fuel vehicles.

The City of Toronto, for example, is getting into the RNG business by expanding and upgrading one of its organics processing facilities. Once the equipment is installed this year, the biogas will be “purified” to RNG and injected into Enbridge’s natural gas grid.

“It seems like such a no-brainer, in my mind,” said Carlyle Khan, a director in Toronto’s solid waste management department. “I don’t understand why other municipalities aren’t doing it.”

According to a 2013 study by the Canadian Biogas Association, capturing biogas from all potential sources (agriculture, landfill, wastewater and municipal organics) could produce 2.42 billion cubic metres of RNG annually and reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 37.5 million tonnes — the equivalent of removing 7.5 million cars from the road.

Biogas harvested from residential organic waste alone could produce 140 million cubic metres of RNG and reduce GHGs by 2.2 million tonnes.

RNG is still very much an emerging field. According to Jennifer Green, executive director of the Canadian Biogas Association, there are only about 12 RNG facilities in operation or due to come online in Canada.

Green said the City of Hamilton was the first Ontario municipality to use its wastewater treatment facility to generate RNG. In 2006, it installed a 1.6-megawatt cogeneration unit at the Woodward plant to produce electricity and heat facility buildings.

Meanwhile, Surrey, B.C., has been processing the 65,000 tonnes of organic material it collects annually from residences and apartment buildings at a new facility that opened last spring. Harry Janda, Surrey’s solid waste manager, said the city is using RNG to fuel its garbage trucks and is on target to reduce its carbon footprint by about 22,000 tonnes a year.

And then there’s Stratford, Ont. It’s embarking on a $15.5-million RNG project in partnership with its wastewater treatment plant operator that is set to open in 2020-21. Ed Dujlovic, Stratford’s director of infrastructure and development services, said his city is in the final stages of inking a 20-year deal to sell RNG in Ontario to FortisBC Energy on the West Coast. 

Dujlovic said as soon as the deal is done, it “gives the roadmap for everyone else.” SOURCE

We are not just a small bit player’: National Inuit organization launches climate change strategy

“Our land underneath us is melting as we speak. It’s climate change and it’s not faring well for a lot of people up here.”

Inuit have largely been ‘excluded’ from climate change decisions, says Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president

The landscape of the Mackenzie Delta is a maze of small lakes and rivers. Thawing permafrost is now transforming it in ways no one has ever seen. Canada’s Inuit want a bigger role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. (David Michael Lamb/CBC)

On Friday in Inuvik, N.W.T., Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is releasing a national climate change strategy to help Inuit adapt and thrive while becoming climate change leaders, according to the organization.

Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland, accounts for 35 per cent of Canada’s landmass. (CBC)

“Inuit are often brought into the conversation as ‘canaries in a coal mine’ talking about the personal lived experience of the effects of climate change,” Natan Obed, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president, said in Inuvik.

The organization represents roughly 65,000 Inuit in Canada. Most live in 51 communities spread out over four regions, areas warming at a rate up to three times faster than the global average.

Far too often, Obed says, Inuit are “largely excluded” from developing climate change policy and research.

“We are not just a small bit player. We don’t want to sit by and listen to others talk about our fate. We want to be participating and active actors in creating solutions that will not only help Inuit Nunangat, but the globe.”

The strategy focuses on five priorities:

  • Knowledge and capacity building.
  • Health and well-being.
  • Food security.
  • Energy.
  • Infrastructure.


First Nations lead transition to conservation-based economy in Great Bear Rainforest, Haida Gwaii

Haida women - Photo Brodie GuyHaida women support their relatives in raising a carved monumental column by master carver Kilthguulans Christian White at Hl’yaalan ‘Lngee. The pole was raised in 2017 at Hiellen Longhouse Village, a promising venture in cultural revitalization and economic development. Photo: Brodie Guy

The last decade has seen the creation of more than 100 businesses, 1,000 permanent jobs and 14 regional monitoring and Guardian Watchmen programs through conservation finance program

The grizzly bears of Glendale Cove are the stars that draw international visitors to Knight Inlet Lodge. They are also the catalyst for one of the more than 100 successful First Nations businesses launched with the help of Coast Funds, an Indigenous-led conservation finance organization created through the 2006 Great Bear Rainforest agreements.

“It is 100 per cent First Nations owned and it opened up our eyes to opportunities beyond resource extraction and shone a light on the opportunities and benefits of ecotourism,” Dallas Smith, president of Nanwakolas Council and Knight Inlet Lodge, told The Narwhal.

The former fishing lodge was bought two years ago from Dean and Kathy Wyatt by Nanwakolas — representing the Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala, Mamalilikulla, Tlowitsis, Wei Wai Kum and K’omoks First Nations — with a $6-million investment from Coast Funds, which allocates funds across the Indigenous communities of the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

“It was a fair chunk of change and one of the great things is it has shown First Nations can work together in ecotourism opportunities when we pool our assets and those of Coast Funds,” Smith said.

The success of the ecolodge can be measured in occupancy rates of 90 to 95 per cent, with the majority of visitors coming from markets such as Europe and Australia.

The Great Bear Rainforest covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast — equivalent in size to Ireland. The land is home to 26 First Nations. The 2006 agreements outlined forest practices for the area, including protecting 70 per cent of old-growth forest. MORE


This First Nation has a plan to protect a pristine landscape in northern B.C.

What does it mean to call Canada’s treatment of Indigenous women a ‘genocide’?

In international relations, words have weight – and some are much heavier than others

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured at the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver on Tuesday, said he accepted the MMIWG inquiry’s conclusion that the massive number of deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women constituted “a genocide.” (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Now, the debate over the unique nature of the crime of genocide has become part of Canada’s political dialogue going into the fall election campaign. In its final report, released this week, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls described those thousands of victims as casualties of a “genocide.”

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau adopted that language as his own, telling an audience in Vancouver that “we accept the findings of the commissioners that it was genocide.”

But despite Trudeau’s careful use of the past tense, the commissioners who drafted that report were talking very explicitly about the present. They wrote that Canada has pursued “a continuous policy, with shifting expressed motives but an ultimately steady intention, to destroy Indigenous peoples physically, biologically, and as social units.”

The report points a finger of blame at “present-day Canadian state conduct,” including what it calls “proactive measures to destroy, assimilate and eliminate Indigenous peoples.”

National Inquiry commissioner Marion Buller defended her commission’s decision to use the genocide label, saying comparisons to other countries are misleading.

Chief Commissioner of the National Inquiry Marion Buller addresses a crowd at the closing ceremonies for community hearings in April 2018. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

“I think it’s important for everybody, for all Canadians, to know that we often think of genocide as the Holocaust, the killings in Africa or elsewhere. And of course that is genocide, and of course that is tragedy,” she said.

“But the type of genocide we have in Canada is, as my colleague Commissioner Robinson said, death by a million paper cuts for generations.”

“Examinations of the commission and risk of genocide largely and unhelpfully revolve around the numbers killed,” the report says, suggesting that the definition is bad at capturing what it calls “the particular nature of Colonial Genocide.”

The report then says that Canada should be judged not only by its actions, but also by its omissions. Together, it says, they constitute the Canadian government’s “genocidal policy, a ‘manifest pattern of similar conduct’, which reflects an intention to destroy Indigenous peoples.” MORE


The political quagmire of the prime minister accepting his country’s complicity in genocide: Robyn Urback
Will the Canadian government acknowledge the genocide against Indigenous peoples?

“This [declaration of genocide] is likely to spur commentary in mainstream media about the veracity of that conclusion, but if we were to apply the United Nations definition of genocide, it should be undeniable that the Canadian state has committed genocide against Indigenous peoples.”

And today, the genocide continues,

UN representative finds Canada’s Indigenous people are ‘disproportionately’ affected by toxic waste
Mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows example of government ‘inaction’: UN human rights expert

This is HUGE! Europe’s leaders are about to decide whether to END carbon pollution completely

Image result for Climate change: Parliament’s blueprint for long-term CO2 cuts
Decarbonisation is also an opportunity for industry, say MEPs© AP Images/European Union-EP

This is HUGE — Europe’s leaders are about to decide whether to END carbon pollution completely! But dirty energy blockers like Poland are trying to derail the plan. Let’s show governments there’s massive public support for 100% clean energy to tackle the climate crisis — add your name now and share widely!


If they do it, it would be a giant leap towards a safe climate for all. But dirty energy blockers, like Poland, are already trying to derail the plan — and it’s up to us to defend it.

We urgently need a massive show of public support from the whole world for the plan — so let’s build one, and we’ll deliver it to all the key governments before EU leaders meet in days. Add your name now to join the call for 100% clean energy to meet the climate emergency!

Europe: End climate pollution!

Can you imagine how big a deal it would be if an entire continent announced a plan to abandon the filthy fossil fuels that are choking our skies with carbon? It could really happen — and soon!

Under the Paris climate deal, countries are required to develop new plans for rapidly reducing carbon emissions. The EU’s will be one of the first plans to be published — and experts say it will set the tone for other plans all over the world.

So let’s throw the whole weight of our magical movement behind this amazing idea. We’ll deliver our voices to all the governments ahead of the talks, and pressure blockers like Poland to back down. Join now, and let’s make this the end for dirty climate pollution!

Europe: End climate pollution!

The fight for our climate is a fight for humanity’s future. And our movement has risen time and time again to fight for the safe, sustainable future that is within our grasp. Now we must do it again — to end the era of fossil fuels for good.

We don’t need to bulldoze their homes to build ours.

We’re in the midst of an extinction crisis that could kill off 1 million species from the planet.

We all deserve a place to call home, including Ontario’s vulnerable wildlife.

This is about bees, butterflies and other pollinators at the foundation of our food system.

This is about wolves, caribou and foxes that are part of our rich Canadian identity.

This is about saving habitat for plants and animals struggling to adapt to climate change.

Bill 108 hands over the keys to big developers.
Expensive subdivisions will chew up more wildlife habitat without making homes any cheaper.

But there’s a better way to grow our communities:

  • Approving more tiny and laneway homes, granny and secondary suites;
  • Incentivizing mid-rise buildings that keep the feel of a neighbourhood
  • Converting abandoned urban brownfield sites into affordable housing
  • Building housing in the Whitebelt – the area within the GTHA already zoned for development

Take Action: tweet, email or phone them to ask them to VOTE NO on Bill 108.  Contact you MPP

Prince Edward County where climate urgency becomes a climate emergency (but not a declaration of emergency)

Mayor Ferguson calls a press conference to explain 

SCARY SCENE- A washout of shoreline along County Rd 12 on Athol Bay has forced the municipality to close a portion of the roadway. Repairs are expected to start Monday. (Mitch McKibbon/For The Gazette)

In the 17th Century  Thomas Aquinas had it easy when his fellow scholastics tried answering questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Consider Mayor Steve Ferguson challenge.

As Jason Parks reports in the Picton Gazette,

“While an emergency hasn’t been declared in Prince Edward County as of yet in relation to elevated water levels, it’s becoming painfully obvious the horrors shore line owners and tourism operators suffered just two years ago are set to return.

“With kilometres of Prince Edward County shoreline slowly eroding by the day, roadways being closed due to standing water or washout and hundreds of acres of farm land under water and unable to be planted, Mayor Steve Ferguson convened a press conference at Shire Hall on Monday to discuss current conditions and explain why the municipality wasn’t declaring a state-of-emergency like it did in 2017.”

The Gazette quotes the Mayor, “We would also like to thank residents, businesses and visitors for their cooperation while we try to deal with circumstances we can to little about and our staff for their tireless efforts. Our primary concern has been and will remain public safety. While this might cause inconvenience to some people, public safety is of preeminent importance to us.”

He went on to explain, declaring an emergency was necessary in 2017 because the municipality had never experienced water levels as high as they had risen in 2017, our first 100-year flood.

To access, the province’s disaster relief program, current indications are the County would have to spend over $3 million in recovery costs to obtain a level of compensation and its doubtful the 2019 flood recovery would cost that much.

That declaration in 2017 caused a steep drop in the county’s own business. “With the primary tourist season upon us, the message of a state-of-emergency is not a favourable one.”

Beach Street in Wellington is closed. (Scott Johnston For the Gazette)

“We are open for business and welcome everyone. If visitors stay away because of a state- of-emergency and we lose out on business, that negatively impacts employment and that negatively affects the local economy.”

Case closed.

Still, there is no doubt that global warming has arrived in Prince Edward County. That troublesome Climate Emergency declaration remains.

It suggests, with lake levels rising and nibbling at Prince Edward’s shoreline,  the County should be taking some immediate concrete actions to reduce our climate footprint.