Valley Residents Offer Climate Change Solutions

There was a great energy and discussion at the Town Hall consultation on climate change for 46 residents of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke on August 16 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Eganville, Ontario. The event, hosted by three community-based organizations: Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County, Bonnechere River Watershed Project, and Ottawa River Institute, raised awareness of climate change issues and provided an opportunity for local residents to propose actions that can be taken by governments, businesses and individuals to address climate change.

Over 150 ideas were suggested as the 46 participants – including about a half dozen local elected municipal officials – engaged in round-table discussions on the following topics and questions:

  • Mitigation: What are the solutions to reducing greenhouse gases that you would like to see governments, businesses, and communities implement?
  • Economy and Jobs: What are your ideas to support the economy and create good jobs while reducing emissions?
  • Innovation and Clean Tech: What are some ideas to promote innovation and new technologies in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Adaptation: What can Canada do to better adapt to impacts of climate change on the environment and support affected communities, including Indigenous communities?
  • Putting a Price on Carbon

Key Messages

Several key messages emerged from the town hall meeting. Some of these are incremental changes to the status quo, while others would require dramatic and transformative change.  Key messages included:

  • Radically increase the sense of urgency about Climate Change;
  • Real change will require challenging basic assumptions (e.g., consumer society, endless growth, urban sprawl, need for population control, intellectual property rights vs. open source as barriers to innovation, etc.);
  • To speed the transition to a low carbon economy, governments should provide incentives for clean technologies and remove subsidies for dirty technologies (e.g., remove subsidies for fossil fuels);
  • Any climate change plan needs to address the unique needs of rural Canadians (e.g., lack of public transit, sparse population, poor access to some services, etc.);
  • More use of trains for passengers and freight should be encouraged;
  • Canada should emphasize and promote local solutions (e.g., local food and energy production) with local control;
  • Forestry and agriculture are promising climate change solutions; We need to promote the use of wood and other renewable feedstocks (e.g., hemp) for energy and materials;
  • Rural Canada can create opportunities by retaining/enhancing natural cover as carbon sinks;
  • Canada needs to keep some fossil fuels in the ground and stop building long lived fossil fuel infrastructure.

A complete list of all the proposed actions and comments by town hall meeting attendees is available here. These ideas were submitted to Environment and Climate Change Canada via http://letstalkclimateaction.ca/ideas on behalf of the 46 attendees, including about a half dozen local elected municipal officials.

Local Residents Talk Climate Change Solutions at RNP Town Hall #CANClimateAction

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Photo: Heather Park-Wheeler

There was great energy and discussion at the Town Hall consultation on climate change for residents of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke on Tuesday evening August 16 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Eganville. The event, hosted by three community-based organizations: Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County, Bonnechere River Watershed Project and Ottawa River Institute, raised awareness of climate change issues and provided an opportunity for residents to get involved in proposing actions that can be taken by governments, businesses and individuals to address climate change.

Many ideas were brought forward as the 46 participants (including about a half dozen local elected municipal officials) engaged in round-table discussions on the following topics:

  • What are the solutions to reducing greenhouse gases that you would like to see governments, businesses, and communities implement?
  • What are your ideas to support the economy and create good jobs while reducing emissions?
  • What are some ideas to promote innovation and new technologies in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
  • What can Canada do to better adapt to impacts of climate change on the environment and support affected communities, including Indigenous communities?
  • Putting a Price on Carbon.
DSCN0975

Photo: Heather Park-Wheeler

Some of the proposed solutions included:

  • Addressing the unique needs of rural Canadians;
  • Providing incentives for clean technologies and removing subsidies for dirty technologies;
  • Keeping some fossil fuels in the ground and stop building long lived fossil fuel infrastructure;
  • Promoting local solutions (e.g., local food and energy production) with local control;
  • Promoting the use of wood for energy and materials; and
  • Retaining/enhancing natural cover as carbon sinks.

Local climate activist Duncan Noble said that “we need to react to climate change with the same urgency as we did to WWII” and that the organizers were “very pleased with the turn out and the energy and enthusiasm of participants for climate change solutions”. According to Noble, it will take “many more conversations like the ones we had tonight to build and maintain the political will necessary to respond to climate change effectively”. Bonnechere Valley councillor Meredith Jamieson chaired the meeting and remarked that she was “inspired to see so many people engaged in making a difference”.

All of the proposed ideas are being compiled by the host organizations into a detailed report that will be submitted to the federal government as a contribution from RNP to inform Canada’s strategy on climate change. It will also be publically available on-line at http://letstalkclimateaction.ca/ideas. Residents can also submit ideas on how to address climate change by visiting this interactive website.

Thanks to all of those who organized and participated in this event for RNP. Together, we can make a real difference.

More photos from the event can be seen here, courtesy of Heather Park-Wheeler.

Local media covered the event here.

Climate Consultation for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke

The federal government is asking for public input on Canada’s national climate change plan. We are co-hosting a climate change town hall consultation for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke on Tuesday, August 16 at the Eganville Legion. It’s up to us to show up and speak up in support of an ambitious national climate strategy.

Date and Time: Tuesday, August 16 at 7:00pm

Location: Royal Canadian Legion, 57 Veterans Way, Eganville, ON  K0J 1T0

This location is wheelchair accessible and refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP so we know how many people are coming and can plan accordingly.

You can RSVP for the event on Facebook here.

If you are not on Facebook, you can RSVP for the event here.

More information about the federal government’s climate change consultation process is available here.

During the consultation, attendees will have the opportunity to address the following questions:

What are the solutions to reducing greenhouse gases that you would like to see governments, businesses, and communities implement?

What are your ideas to support the economy and create good jobs while reducing emissions?

What are some ideas to promote innovation and new technologies in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

What can Canada do to better adapt to impacts of climate change on the environment and support affected communities, including Indigenous communities?

Bringing the Pope’s Encyclical to Renfrew County

In June 2015, Pope Francis released his encyclical on ecology out of his concern for the world. The encyclical argues persuasively that the environmental crisis and the social crisis are not separate, but instead are manifestations of the same underlying patterns.

Francis draws attention to climate change through the lens of human suffering and poverty, and deals with climate change as a moral issue. He builds on the works of previous Popes who have addressed ecological issues, and goes deeper and broader.

The encyclical is a “sweeping, radical and highly persuasive critique on how we inhabit this planet”. [Bill McKibben]

The message of the encyclical is urgent, yet the tone is full of compassion and extreme clarity, filled with hope as opposed to despair.

To help amplify the message of Pope Francis’ encyclical, we are reaching out to Renfrew County churches by presenting a summary of the encyclical, and encouraging deeper engagement. To support this effort, we have prepared this presentation. Please let us know if you have comments or would like to host a discussion about the Pope’s encyclical.

PARC presentation on Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

100% Possible: Marching together for Climate Solutions and Justice

Originally posted by Avaaz

THIS FALL, WE HAVE AN HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD BY OUR GOVERNMENT.

A consensus is growing around the world that the transition to a 100% clean energy economy by 2050 is not only necessary, it’s 100% possible. It’s a vision for a healthy, diverse economy with low-carbon jobs, that respects Indigenous rights, and stops growing the tar sands and new pipeline infrastructure, and it will lead to a safer, more sustainable, and more just future.

That’s why this November 29, people are gathering in our nation’s capital to send a message to our new government on the eve of their first international meeting – the high profile UN climate summit in Paris. It’s time the politics of climate action caught up with the science.

Join us in Ottawa on November 29 for 100% Possible: Marching Together for Climate Solutions and Justice, and show our government that solutions to the climate crisis are not only real, they are already on their way.

Join Us : www.100possible.ca

To see one PARC member’s reasons for joining this event, see his letter to the editor.

A group of us from Renfrew County plan on attending this event. If you are interested in joining us and car-pooling, please leave a reply to this post or contact us.

Small but Mighty – and Determined to Make a Point

Submitted by Judy Sauve, PARC Member

When PARC members learned that TransCanada was a “gold sponsor” of the 2015 World Freestyle Kayak Championship held in Beachburg, we decided it was important to go there to inform the public. Time was short for organizing but a group came together, gathered up previously used pickets, made some new ones and set up a carpool heading to Beachburg. We discussed en route how difficult it was to do this at an international event because we, like everyone else, instinctively want Canada to make a good impression. But we agreed that our reason for being there outweighed our discomfort.

The event was being held on the Ottawa River, specifically in the whitewater wonders which the media had described as the best natural location in the world for this sport. It is a priceless asset to the region, not only for recreation but it also creates employment. TransCanada’s sponsorship was considered by PARC to be grossly inappropriate because that company proposes to ship oil through the Energy East pipeline which would cross at least 24 waterways draining into the Ottawa River. A spill could potentially destroy this celebrated asset.

Members protested with pickets at the entrance to the event on closing day, September 5. It was encouraging to see many thumbs up as cars entered the grounds, although many others drove by intentionally ignoring the pickets. We didn’t interfere with the flow of traffic getting into the grounds but if windows were down, people were offered pamphlets.

We were told initially that we could stay, provided we remained on the strip between the ditch and the road. We set up and began displaying our pickets. After a while, the chief organizer of the kayak championship came by to talk to us. He clearly wanted us to leave, pointing out that this was just a competition involving amateur athletes. Tricia Darley, our spokesperson and co-founder of PARC, spoke with him and explained that our objection was not with the event but with the TransCanada sponsorship. He said they had donated $5,000 and if they had offered $10,000 he would have accepted it. He also suggested we could donate to the cause! He then gave up and drove away, not happy that we were staying but not interfering with our actions.

We stayed for a couple of hours, feeling by that time that most people had entered the grounds and that we had sent our message. During that time, Tricia completed two media interviews, one with myFM radio and another with COGECO cable. myFM immediately posted a picture and brief story on several websites and as yet, we don’t know when/if the video and interview will be carried on COGECO.

Conclusion? A successful day in getting the word out!

Inappropriate TransCanada Sponsorship for Ottawa Valley Canoeing Event Raises Questions

Originally posted by Environmental Defence on 3 September, 2015

TORONTO, ON – Pipeline company TransCanada is apparently seeking social license for its planned massive oil pipeline along the Ottawa River by sponsoring a major canoe competition. If built, the Energy East tar sands pipeline would create the risk of a major oil spill in the Ottawa valley, threatening the very recreational activities TransCanada is now sponsoring.

TransCanada is a gold sponsor of the 2015 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships taking place near Beachburg, Ontario this week. TransCanada’s sponsorship comes on the heels of similarly questionable grants in communities close to the proposed pipeline route.

“The timing of TransCanada’s sponsorship raises flags, given that the Energy East application is being reviewed by federal regulators,” Environmental Defence Climate Program Manager Adam Scott said. “TransCanada’s sponsorship looks like an attempt to curry favour with Ottawa valley residents – who would be negatively impacted by Energy East pipeline.”

There is a clear pattern of TransCanada sprinkling money on communities along the Energy East route in the months leading up to regulatory hearings:

  • Last year: money donated to Mattawa Township for a new fire truck, controversially asking them to sign a gag order in exchange.
  • May: Kemptville’s Dandelion Festival sponsorship was returned after musicians protested.
  • August: purchased sports equipment for the township of South Glengarry, near Cornwall.

“The question is, are we being bought by TransCanada? This is the second contribution that TransCanada has made in our area financially,” Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County co-founder Tricia Darley said. “Are they trying to buy our municipalities’ votes to have the Energy East pipeline run through our backyard? If so, it’s unethical.”

Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County is planning to gather on the last day of the competition on Saturday, September 5th, highlighting that the Energy East pipeline proposal puts the river in jeopardy and is incompatible with recreational activities like canoeing that depend on clean and healthy rivers.

The attempts by TransCanada come weeks after a critical Ontario Energy Board report on Energy East that highlighted risks to water and widespread local opposition in communities along the pipeline route.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

About Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County (parcrenfrew.org): PARC is a newly-formed grassroots group of citizens in Renfrew County, Ontario concerned about the impacts of the Energy East pipeline.