Rain Barrel Sales Fund Expanded: New $1,000 Bursary Announced

Rain Barrel Sale Saturday, May 25. $1,000 Bursary Announced for Young Farmer

Image result for rain barrel sale prince edwardThe County Sustainability Group has created a bursary of $1000 to be awarded annually in May to a young farmer (under 40) in Prince Edward County who best demonstrates the values of sound, sustainable, organic farm practices which regenerate soil health, protect vital resources such as water and biodiversity, reduce the need for synthetic inputs and prioritize renewable energy sources.

Applicants should demonstrate an understanding of the goals of Ecological Farmers of Ontario (EFAO). Candidates should submit their application letters describing their reasons for being considered for this award before April 30th to Don Hudson at valleypine.hudson@gmail.com or Don Ross at ecodonross@hotmail.com A winner will be selected and award money presented by May15th.

Funding for this bursary will be generated by proceeds from our annual Rain Barrel & Composter Sale held on the final Saturday of May 25. MORE

Why Don’t You Have an Electric Bike Already?

The Bloomfield Bicycle Company’s Guide to Cycling in the County maps several PEC road routes  for cyclists to enjoy. [See video below] Now ebikes are available from local vendors and offer an additional way to get around and enjoy our island treasure.  But as this article explains, using an ebike as your go-to mode of transportation also comes with a raft of health benefits.  They’re fun. Really fun. And they’re the most energy efficient mode of travel on the planet.

If you’re already making most of your daily trips by bike or on foot, you don’t need to read further. An electric bike is unlikely to improve your life. For everyone else, read on!

Would you like to be stronger and smarter? Would you like to be happier and healthier? Would you like to keep depression at bay without medication? Would you like to reduce your stress by 40% and sleep better? Would you like to do all this in everyday clothes, without sweating, and have fun while you’re at it?

It’s time to get an electric bike. It will change your life. Seriously. I’m not kidding.

The benefits to cycling are legion. If a pill or a gadget could make you happy, improve your immune function, make you less likely to take sick days, make you less likely to get depressed, cure your depression better than current medications, give you more energy throughout the day, help you sleep, improve your skin, promote your brain health, prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes, prevent dementia, reverse heart disease and diabetes, prevent multiple kinds of cancer, help you age well, and help you stay mobile and active until a few short years before your death, you would see people standing in line for days to purchase it. But the fact is exercise can accomplish all of the above for you. Indeed, 30 minutes of exercise a day is basically a wonder drug that is cheap, available to all, and has few side effects. Since you already have errands and commutes to do, walking or biking these trips is an easy way to ensure you get your vital 30 minutes a day. I’m a big fan of walking, but due to how our poorly US suburbs are designed (as opposed to The Ten Minute Neighborhood) most people can do few of their daily trips on foot. However, daily trips on an e-bike are very doable because e-bikes are just that great. Even better, they’re fun. Really fun. And they’re the most energy efficient mode of travel on the planet. MORE

Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives issue warning to Suzuki Foundation after winning Alberta majority

Jason Kenney is just one of the many Conservative politicians (think Ford Nation and Bay of Quinte) who live in a make believe world where climate denial is the coin of the realm. They need to know that you support science based policies and action on our climate emergency. Don’t let them get away with their preposterous bluster unchallenged. Phone or write to them. It’s your family that is under threat.


Jason Kenney addresses a Calgary crowd on Oct. 28, 2017 after winning the United Conservative Party leadership. Photo by Louie Villanueva

Alberta will soon have a new premier who has pledged a crackdown on environmental groups that criticize the oil-rich province’s fossil fuel industry.

Premier-designate Jason Kenney told a cheering crowd in Calgary last night that he would no longer let the province get pushed around by charitable groups such as the David Suzuki Foundation.

Kenney, who won a crushing majority government last night, also said that Alberta would do its part to fight climate change and promote reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, but he pledged to kill the province’s climate change policies, including a carbon tax.

Kenney’s victory coincides with the release of a new federal government climate change report showing that the province’s oilsands sector now produces more carbon pollution than the entire province of Quebec or the entire province of British Columbia. MORE

RELATED:

Oilsands polluted more than entire economies of B.C. or Quebec

An easy, cost-effective way to address climate change? Massive reforestation


Quinte Conservation has a tree seeding program. Potential landowners may be eligible for a subsidized program.

As the implications of climate change become starker and the world faces up to a biodiversity crisis that threatens humanity’s existence, a group of campaigners from across the world are saying there is one clear way to get us out of this mess, but that governments are ignoring it.

In an open letter published in the British newspaper, The Guardian, the group tells governments that the best and cheapest way to avert a climate catastrophe is to heal nature by restoring and replanting degraded forests and by better conserving the natural world.

They call for the defense, restoration and reestablishment of forests, peatlands, mangroves, salt marshes, natural seabeds, and other crucial ecosystems, to remove and store large amounts of carbon from the air. The protection and restoration of these ecosystems can help minimize a sixth great extinction, they say.

The group says that nearly a third of the greenhouse gas reductions needed to hold temperatures to a 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) rise can be provided by the restoration of natural habitats. But natural solutions are calculated to have attracted just a small fraction of the funding so far committed, according to journalist an author George Monbiot, one of the signatories.

Protecting and restoring natural forests is seen as vital. Trees suck carbon dioxide from the air and store itNearly one-quarter of all the emissions reductions pledged by countries in the 2015 Paris agreement could come from tree planting and restoration. The U.N. has challenged countries to restore 865 million acres of farm and forest land by 2030 — an area bigger than India. And countries are responding. MORE

Cheap, safe 100% renewable energy possible before 2050, says Finnish uni study

A global roadmap to reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius target proposed by the IPCC is tremendous, positive news. Deploying wind and solar technology can get us there inexpensively. Prince Edward County, blessed with some of the best wind resources in the Province and with excellent potential for solar could do its part. Prince Edward County could be carbon emissions free by 2030.  What we lack is political leadership to remove the roadblocks.

The report is the first of its kind to suggest a cost-effective, all-inclusive, global roadmap to keep average global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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Solar panels gathering energy in Taipei. Image: David Chang / EPA

A global transition to the exclusive use of renewable energy sources is not only possible but also cheaper and safer than reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, according to a new study from the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Energy Watch Group (EWG) from Germany.

The study claims that the rapid development of renewable energy sources and energy storage technology will likely make it possible for the entire planet to reduce its CO2 emissions to zero even earlier than the current 2050 deadline.

The report is the first of its kind to suggest a cost-effective, all-inclusive, global roadmap to keep average global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. It is also the first planet-wide climate change resistance plan that suggests not using carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) techniques to mechanically remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

According to the model, in 2050 some 69 percent of the world’s energy would come from solar panels, 18 percent from wind power, 3 percent from hydropower systems and 6 percent from bioenergy.

MORE

After a decade of research, here’s what scientists know about the health impacts of fracking

This is important scientific health information that you need to know to protect your family. It’s also important to get this information to policy makers. For example, Alberta and British Columbia are embarking on major LNG developments. The bottom line is these developments will further frustrate our efforts to meet our climate targets.

“This should be of serious concern to policymakers interested in protecting public health.”


Credit: Mark Dixon/Flickr

Fracking has been linked to preterm births, high-risk pregnancies, asthma, migraine headaches, fatigue, nasal and sinus symptoms, and skin disorders over the last 10 years, according to a new study.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a process of extracting oil and gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting a mixture of liquids and chemicals at high pressure.

The study, which was published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health in February, looked at several hundred scientific articles about the community and health impacts of fracking. The researchers focused on the design of those studies to ensure that the ones they included in their study were scientifically valid, then summarized what’s been learned about the industry in the last decade.


Credit: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public

They found evidence that water pollution, air pollution, and soil contamination caused by the industry have been linked to adverse health impacts through both exposure to toxic chemicals released during fracking, and through increased stress and anxiety caused by the increased light, noise, and truck traffic associated with fracking.

“As a fossil fuel, natural gas extraction and use is contributing to climate change, of course,” Gorski said, “but before conducting this study, I didn’t realize the amount of of evidence we have that it may be even worse than coal.”

MORE

What the SNC board may have known about the firm’s dealings in Libya — like the office safe with $10M cash

 

Corruption? Justin Trudeau has always stated that he was trying to protect the jobs of SNC-Lavalin employees and that obtaining a deferred prosecution agreement for the company was essential. Now it seems that there may as well have been a very different motive–protecting the 1% from liability. The NDP has called for a public enquiry to get to the truth. Your MP needs to know how you feel.

High-paid former directors could face tough questions if SNC-Lavalin bribery trial goes ahead


The SNC-Lavalin board in 2011. From top left: Ian A. Bourne, David Goldman, Patricia A. Hammick, Pierre H. Lessard, Edythe A. Parkinson-Marcoux and Lorna R. Marsden. From bottom left: Claude Mongeau, Gwyn Morgan, Michael D. Parker, Hugh D. Segal, Pierre Duhaime, Lawrence N. Stevenson. (SNC-Lavalin/CBC)

There’s no question that millions of dollars in bribes were paid to the Gadhafi regime in Libya to win lucrative contracts for SNC-Lavalin.

The former head of the company’s global construction arm admitted to bribery, corruption and money laundering in 2014. He pleaded guilty in a Swiss court.

But the Quebec-based engineering firm has long insisted that Riadh Ben Aïssa was acting alone and in secret.

Ben Aïssa has a very different story to tell. He is back in Canada after having spent more than two years in prison in Switzerland. He has turned on his former executives and board of directors and has been co-operating with police and prosecutors.

SNC-Lavalin has been lobbying hard behind the scenes to secure what’s called a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to avoid going to trial. The company, as well as its supporters in government, argue thousands of jobs are at risk if it is convicted and barred from bidding on federal contracts.

But a CBC News investigation reveals why 12 top directors who left the company years ago also have plenty at stake if the case goes to trial. SNC-Lavalin’s former board is an influential who’s who of the corporate elite that includes former senators, banking executives and members of the Order of Canada. They will all likely face close — and very public — scrutiny if called to testify about whether they knew of any corruption happening on their watch.

The board at the time comprised luminaries of the corporate world, including Sen. Hugh Segal, former senator and Liberal Party executive Lorna Marsden, four members of the Order of Canada, and heavyweights from the banking, energy and railways sectors.

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Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren: My plan for public lands

Elizabeth Warren has just promised to end Arctic drilling if elected!This is really good news for the climate. If elected her environmental leadership will set a new standard for politicians globally. We need to demand that our MPs show leadership to achieve the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change’s targets

Bruce and I love to hike. We’ve been all over, from Bryce Canyon in Utah to Alaska to the Cape Cod National Seashore in our backyard. America’s public lands are one of our greatest treasures. They provide us with clean air and water, sustain our fish and wildlife, and offer a place where millions of Americans go every year to experience the beauty of our natural environment. At 25% of America’s total land, they are also an irreplaceable resource.

But today, those lands are under threat. The Trump administration is busy selling off our public lands to the oil, gas and coal industries for pennies on the dollar — expanding fossil fuel extraction that destroys pristine sites across the country while pouring an accelerant on our climate crisis.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We must not allow corporations to pillage our public lands and leave taxpayers to clean up the mess. All of us — local communities and tribes, hunters and anglers, ranchers and weekend backpackers — must work together to manage and protect our shared heritage. That’s why today I’m rolling out my plan to protect our public lands and preserve wild, natural places for future generations.

Making our public lands part of the climate solution — not the problem.

It is wrong to prioritize corporate profits over the health and safety of our local communities. That’s why on my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands. I’d also reinstate the methane pollution rule to limit existing oil and gas projects from releasing harmful gases that poison our air, and reinstitute the clean water rule to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, and the drinking water they provide.


NDP MP asks public safety minister to trigger RCMP probe into coerced sterilization

 

Cultural genocide? Forced sterilizations of Canadian Indigenous women are occurring and the Trudeau government is ignoring the UN Committee Against Torture’s report calling on Ottawa to investigate “all allegations of forced or coerced sterilization” and hold those responsible accountable.  The response? The federal government said it wouldn’t amend the Criminal Code to outlaw it, saying existing criminal provisions were enough. Here is a list of MPs emails

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office says it recognizes barriers keep victims from coming forward

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale’s office is encouraging victims of coerced sterilization to come forward. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

An NDP MP has written to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale urging him to use “all legitimate tools” to have the RCMP open an investigation into coerced sterilization allegations that have come from mostly Indigenous women across the country.

About 100 allegations of coerced sterilization have surfaced across the Prairies and in Ontario and Quebec since 2017, when a lawsuit was filed in Saskatchewan.

Don Davies, NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway, handed the letter to Goodale on Thursday after question period.

“I … request that you use all legitimate tools at your disposal to ensure that the RCMP opens an investigation into all allegations of forced or coerced sterilization within its jurisdiction in Canada and lay appropriate charges against those responsible for committing them,” wrote Davies in the letter.

In a statement, Goodale’s office said coerced sterilization was “a serious violation of human rights.”

However, the statement sidestepped Davies’ request saying that the RCMP is one of 300 police forces across Canada and can’t investigate crimes outside of its jurisdiction. “We encourage anyone with specific criminal allegations to report them to the police of jurisdiction,” said the statement. “There is no time limit to report an assault to police.”

Davies said in an interview that Ottawa was ignoring its international obligations as a party to the UN Convention Against Torture which requires governments to proactively investigate violations of human rights.

  MORE

Anti-capitalism is entering the mainstream. Are we ready?

Faced with the urgent need to address climate change, the pitch that individual environmentally-friendly consumerist choices is finally falling flat with more and more people. The New Green Deal proposes a blueprint to address climate change that will demand concerted action by all levels of government, national, provincial or state, and municipalities if we are to reach the IPCC’s crucial targets to avoid climate disaster It’s time to ask,  Where is the County’s New Green Deal?

George MonbiotGeorge Monbiot. Image: John Russell/Flickr

For years it seemed that anti-capitalism wasn’t really the stuff of polite conversation.

It may have been okay to talk about corporate power or corporate rule and maybe more recently about the 1% or even neo-liberalism, but in many civil society circles in this country, it felt like it was a step too far to be explicitly anti-capitalist.

With climate breakdown upon us, might that be changing?

 “What we have to do is the big structural, political economic stuff. We have to overthrow this system which is eating the planet with perpetual growth. We’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.” -George Monbiot

Naomi Klein — whose 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate helped move this critique along — tweeted about Monbiot’s TV appearance, “Gotta love it when the live studio audience of a British chat show cheers for overthrowing capitalism to save our habitat.”

Klein has commented, “After years of recycling, carbon offsetting and light bulb changing, it is obvious that individual action will never be an adequate response to the climate crisis. Climate change is a collective problem, and it demands collective action.”

Always ready with a new trick, the Trudeau government is now trying to sell us the spin that the carbon tax is a significant measure to address climate breakdown.

But that argument quickly breaks down when you look at the numbers, says Mark Jaccard, professor in the School of Environment and Resource Management at Simon Fraser University….the federal carbon tax is $20 a tonne and will max out at $50 a tonne in 2022. In other words, it’s an insufficient tax that won’t help us reach an insufficient target. MORE