CA News


  1. 1 September 16, 2020
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 LETTER: Update on Gunns Bridge - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  2. 2 September 15, 2020
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 GUEST OPINION: Fish kills on P.E.I.: We've been here before - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley
  3. 3 September 14, 2020
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  4. 4 September 13, 2020
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 Former planning expert says Charlottetown will regret approving eight-storey apartment on waterfront - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart
    3. 4.3 GUEST OPINION: Concern for our city - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Doug MacArthur
  5. 5 September 12, 2020
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 September 11, 2020
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 HEATH MACDONALD: Reinvest in mental health and addictions - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Heath MacDonald
  7. 7 September 10, 2020
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 Opinion: What we’ve learned about COVID-19: We have to keep learning - The Globe and Mail article by André Picard
  8. 8 September 9, 2020
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Protecting our seniors - Social Media post by Ole Hammarlund, MLA
  9. 9 September 8, 2020
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 Atlantic Skies for September 7th-13th, 2020 - Could Humans Live on Mars? - by Glenn K. Roberts
  10. 10 September 7, 2020
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  11. 11 September 6, 2020
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  12. 12 September 5, 2020
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Old oil and gas wells find new life with renewable energy - David Suzuki Foundation post by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington
  13. 13 September 4, 2020
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 September 3, 2020
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 Don’t let COVID fiction become unwanted reality - The Eastern Graphic column by Paul MacNeill
  15. 15 September 2, 2020
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 Charlottetown Belongs to Every Islander - The Island Heartbeat essay by Allan Rankin
    3. 15.3 The Haviland Street Project could be a big opportunity for the City -- by Ole Hammarlund
  16. 16 September 1, 2020
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  17. 17 August 31, 2020
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 Atlantic Skies for August 31st-September 6th, 2020 - How Big is the Universe? by Glenn K. Roberts
  18. 18 August 30, 2020
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  19. 19 August 29, 2020
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  20. 20 August 28, 2020
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 P.E.I.'s former auditor general says progress made since e-gaming investigation - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  21. 21 August 27, 2020
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 GUEST OPINION: Land bank study results are credible - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Urban Laughlin
  22. 22 August 26, 2020
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Government Media Release on Expanding Internet:
    3. 22.3 GUEST OPINION: Rural revitalization hamstrung by lack of good internet in P.E.I. -The Guardian Guest opinion by Chris McGarry
  23. 23 August 25, 2020
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  24. 24 August 24, 2020
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  25. 25 August 23, 2020
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 Charlottetown man completes 12-year project making his home energy efficient - The Guardian article by Michael Robar
  26. 26 August 22, 2020
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  27. 27 August 21, 2020
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 Same Issues, Different Times - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie
  28. 28 August 20, 2020
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 PRECYCLING - Social Media blog post by Tanya Ha
    3. 28.3 No Hockeyville, I AM NOT A ROBOT - The Eastern Graphic article by Jeff Hutcheson
  29. 29 August 19, 2020
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 Trudeau accused of attempting to cover up scandal by proroguing parliament - The Guardian (U.K. article) by Tracey Lindeman
  30. 30 August 18, 2020
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 P.E.I. cabinet approves West River amalgamation - CBC News online article by Kerry Campbell
  31. 31 August 17, 2020
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 Here's where the Conservative leadership race stands, with one week of campaign left - CTV News online article by Rachel Aiello
    3. 31.3 Atlantic Skies for August 17th-23rd, 2020 - The Phases of the Moon by Glenn K. Roberts
  32. 32 August 16, 2020
    1. 32.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 32.2 130 Degrees - NYBooks review by Bill McKibben
  33. 33 August 15, 2020
    1. 33.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 33.2 Money on the table: Government's $4.7 million allocation to Cavendish Farms, P.E.I. Potato Board still being spent - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  34. 34 August 14, 2020
    1. 34.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 34.2 GUEST OPINION: Hoping for a green recovery - The Guardian Guest opinion by Marilyn McKay
  35. 35 August 13, 2020
    1. 35.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 35.2 GREENFILE: Water, where are you? - The Guardian column by Mark Cullen
  36. 36 August 12, 2020
    1. 36.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  37. 37 August 11, 2020
    1. 37.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  38. 38 August 10, 2020
    1. 38.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  39. 39 August 9, 2020
    1. 39.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  40. 40 August 8, 2020
    1. 40.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  41. 41 August 7, 2020
    1. 41.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  42. 42 August 5, 2020
    1. 42.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  43. 43 August 4, 2020
    1. 43.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  44. 44 August 3, 2020
    1. 44.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 44.2 Atlantic Skies for August 3rd to August 9th, 2020 - By the Light of Many, Many Moons by Glenn K. Roberts
  45. 45 August 2, 2020
    1. 45.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 45.2 An Irrigation Pond to Support - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie
  46. 46 August 1, 2020
    1. 46.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 46.2 Amid row over research, P.E.I. land bank ‘in limbo’ - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

September 16, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Standing Committee Meetings today:
Special Committee on Government Records Retention, 10AM. Livestreamed and recorded.

Topic: Briefing on IT processes regarding deletion of records

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on the technical process of email record deletion and IT matters relevant to Information and Privacy Commissioner Order No. FI-20-007, by John Brennan, Director of Business Infrastructure Services; and Scott Cudmore, Director of Enterprise Architecture, of Information Technology Shared Services.

The Hon. George Coles Building remains closed to the public. The meeting will be live-streamed on the Legislative Assembly’s website and Facebook page. 

Committee membership:
Michele Beaton (GP)
Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker (GP)
Cory Deagle (PC)
Sidney MacEwen (PC)
Gordon McNeilly (L)
Hal Perry (L)

 Special Committee webpage

More pharmacy:
Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1PM, livestreamed
Topic: Pharmacists scope of practice and pandemic related challenges 
The Committee will meet to receive a briefing from the Prince Edward Island College of Pharmacy's perspective on the scope of practice of pharmacists during the pandemic and challenges faced from their perspective, with Guest: Prince Edward Island College of Pharmacy Registrar, Michelle Wyand.

Gordon McNeilly (Chair) (L)
Trish Altass (GP)
Hannah Bell  (GP)
Hon. Jamie Fox   (PC)
Heath MacDonald   (L)
Hon. Bradley Trivers  (PC)

Committee website

Legislative Assembly website (with Watch Live link when committees are meeting)

Legislative Assembly Facebook page

EatLocalPEI  Online Farmers' Market, due by midnight

From a letter in The Guardian:

LETTER: Update on Gunns Bridge - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020, in The Guardian

I am a seasonal resident with a summer home on the Trout River Road that has a view of Gunns Bridge; now the "new" Gunns Bridge or as someone earlier this year in a letter to The Guardian called it, "The Bridge to Nowhere".

For many summers now I have been visiting Gunns Bridge every evening to observe the state of the river for a survey run by the P.E.I. government. In previous years, the typical characteristics I observed at this time of year were water colours like lime-ricky and milky, a strong odour from decaying sea lettuce and a resultant anoxic river. This year, I am happy to report that the Trout River shows none of these signs. Almost no discolouration, no build-up of dead sea lettuce, no smell, not only at Gunns Bridge, but even further up river.

The doubling of the bridge span in the new bridge has meant that dead sea lettuce has not been able to build up above the bridge but has been washed down river. The river just needed a chance to cleanse itself. I don't think the government could do anything more beneficial towards improving the environment than doubling the width of all the spans of all the bridge/causeway combinations across all the rivers of P.E.I. Indeed, why wait for a hurricane to make it necessary to do something? I would be happy to see the tax dollars I contribute spent in this way.

While I'm at it, kudos to Highfield Construction for a job really well done. 

Andrew Pletch, Millvale

CBC web article from May 202

Some fun and relatively short Metropolitan Opera video streaming:

Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, today until 6:30PM
 From April 9, 2011. "Rossini’s rarely heard comedy receives a brilliant performance in Bartlett Sher’s Met premiere production, with a trio of today’s greatest bel canto stars in the leading roles: Juan Diego Flórez is Count Ory, a handsome rogue who finds women—all women—irresistible. Diana Damrau sings the virtuous Countess Adèle, and Joyce DiDonato is Isolier, the count’s page, who is also in love with the countess. Jokes, misunderstandings, and gender-bending disguises—including knights dressed as nuns— abound in this hilarious tale of deception and seduction. Maurizio Benini conducts."

Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
From April 26, 2008. "Madcap physical comedy and impeccable coloratura come together for Natalie Dessay’s indelible portrayal of the feisty tomboy raised by a regiment of French soldiers. Juan Diego Flórez is the young Swiss villager who conquers her heart—and a slew of high Cs. Also featuring uproarious performances by Felicity Palmer and Alessandro Corbelli, as well as a cameo by Tony Award winner Marian Seldes, this laugh-out-loud production was a runaway hit that left audiences exhilarated." Both are about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Global Chorus essay for September 16
Fernand Pareau

From the time I first saw the mountain, there have been many changes. It is now much more dangerous. In recent years, there have been large rock slides, for example, particularly in the west face of the Dru [l’Aiguille du Dru of the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps]. And the glaciers are shrinking – those of Bossons and the Mer de Glace have lost up to seven metres in thickness per year. They used to descend into the valley. Now, there are two lakes at the bottom of the Mer de Glace! And this decline is everywhere. And faster and faster.

It is we who are responsible for the global warming. It is we who are pollutant.

With the ARSMB (Association pour le Respect du Site du Mont Blanc), we denounced this pollution, and have gained in the knowledge of its components. There is now a regional call to action that is unfolding here, notably with: the involvement of doctors who have reported an increase in certain diseases; changes toward more environmentally friendly heating methods within the municipalities of the Chamonix valley; car-sharing programs that are coming into effect; and an increased number and frequency of trains, in order to encourage commuters to drive less – as the train schedule of Zermatt, Switzerland, is being used as a model example, where there are trains every ten minutes and no cars.

All these measures can be extended and developed even further. But when the air is this polluted, we need even more drastic measures to be put into place. And the ultimate solution for the Chamonix valley will be its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Preservation of the area in this manner will prohibit the passage of all large transport trucks, will reduce this devastating pollution and environmental impact to the site, and will bring an incentive toward buying local and in-season fruits and vegetables.

If pollution is reduced, the air quality will improve, it will slow global warming and the melting of glaciers will stop. And if we save our mountains, we allow our children to live there! Life is in the beauty of Nature and the mountains, which must be preserved.

       —Fernand Pareau, 85-year-old doyen of guides to the peaks of Chamonix (France)

...and who was featured in Franny Armstrong's The Age of Stupid, but I can't find anything more updated that this about him:


In October 2017, Swiss, French and Italian officials signed a joint declaration to classify it (Mont Blanc Massif) as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, which would guarantee the preservation of the natural wonder. - from


essay from:
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 15, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food ordering deadline, 12noon, Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2 GO (CFM2GO), for pickup Thursday.

Legislative Standing Committee meetings today:

Public Accounts Committee, 9:30AM, on-line. 
Topic:  Property Tax and Assessment; Corporate Taxation.  "The committee will meet to receive briefings on property tax and assessment, and corporate taxation, by Beth Gaudet, Provincial Tax Commissioner; and Nigel Burns, Director of Economics, Statistics and Federal Fiscal Relations, of the Department of Finance."  Watch live on the Legislative Assembly website or Legislative Assembly Facebook page or later on the Public Accounts Committee page  Public Accounts Committee is made up of:

Michele Beaton (Green Party) (Chair)
Karla Bernard (GP)
Cory Deagle  (PC)
Robert Henderson (L)
Sidney MacEwen (PC)
Gordon McNeilly (L

Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM,
"The committee will meet to consider its work plan."
Same viewing places as above, except the Committee's page to view later is here:

and the committee's members are:

Karla Bernard  (GP) (Chair)
Hon. James Aylward (PC)
Robert Henderson (L)
Hon. Ernie Hudson  (PC)
Lynne Lund (GP)
Heath MacDonald (L)

Opera Corner:

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and John Del Carlo.  From November 13, 2010.   It ends happily! 2 hours 20 minutes.

Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, and Juan Diego Flórez; conducted by Maurizio Benini.  From April 9, 2011.  A romp, and also 2 hours and 20 minutes. :-)

Metropolitan Opera link
Thursday, September 17th:
Webinar: "Why Canada Needs a Basic Guaranteed Livable Income, 8-9:30PM, on-line (link to registration, below)
"What would be the greatest benefit of a Guaranteed Livable Income to you or someone in your life?  Green Party MP Paul Manly (Nanaimo-Ladysmith), in collaboration with Coalition Canada: Basic Income, is hosting a national town hall on Guaranteed Livable Basic Income with a panel of experts who will explain the basics, talk about the benefits, and break down some myths and misunderstandings. We’ll also hear from Canadians who will speak about guaranteed livable basic income from their personal experiences.  Live simultaneous French translation will be provided.
More details at:

You may remember yesterday I mentioned how the Leap Manifesto has done the work to describe how the economy can move both into a green economy and with social justice as a priority.  Today is:

Happy 5th Birthday, Leap Manifesto!

Organizer Arshia Lakhani writes,

So here’s my ask: for our birthday, will you follow us on:
and our NEW TikTok account**so you can join the celebration?

There’s going to be contests, funny videos, highlights and lowlights from our past five years. We will be taking you back to our proudest moments, and shouting out some of our loudest haters. You’re not going to want to miss this.

Arshia Lakhani,
Communications Manager, The Leap

** I could not get the TikTok link to work, sorry, but you can probably search for it.

Or take a few minutes to go to their website:

and read the FAQs, see what the principles are, etc. 

(once you get past the swirly forested main banner, lovely, but too much screen-motion for some)

Unfortunately, but good for the reminder:
Part one of two:

GUEST OPINION: Fish kills on P.E.I.: We've been here before - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley

Published on Saturday, September 12th, 2020

We have been here so many times before. Now, 2,000 dead trout on the Montrose River, the third fish kill in those waters in 10 years.

Fish kills have come to be a regular, even expected event – an unfortunate fact of Island life. There have been 62 documented fishkills since 1967, including 51 where pesticides are the suspected or identified cause. Multiple fish kills have occurred in 15 watersheds. There have been three or more fish kills in seven watersheds.

Many words have been written and spoken, proposals made, investigations launched: there are even a few successful prosecutions to help assure us that fish kills can be blamed on a few individual farmers, and not on the policies and practices that support industrial agriculture.

It may seem like everything has already been said about fish kills, and perhaps it has. But these points bear repeating: fish kills continue, and things need to change.

Here are some selections from letters by members of the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island over the past 13 years.

Don Mazer (2007), after fish kills on the Tryon and Dunk Rivers:

"The problems that we face go far beyond the restorations of fish habitat and populations; our environmental problems are more systemic and interrelated. We need to be guided by an ecocentric vision, grounded in the value of enhancing ecological health in all of our practices. We can no longer afford the ‘risk management’ models that push the land to its limits. Such a vision requires that we address what even the Guardian recognizes as the chemical dependency of our mainstream farming practices. It is imperative that we recognize that human practices that degrade and endanger the environment actually threaten our economy as well as our human health. There are no healthy humans on a sick planet. We need to regard the death of these fish as a reflection of how much the health of this Island and all of its inhabitants, human and nonhuman alike has been jeopardized … and to make the dramatic changes that would contribute to a truly healthy, sustainable and 'green Island."

Gary Schneider (2012):

"Another year, another fish kill and the start of the anoxic events in Island rivers. Even with the extremely dry weather we’ve been having in Prince Edward Island, we’re still not able to have a summer without dead sections in our streams and rivers . . . Dead zones in our rivers will continue until we actually take the necessary steps to solve the problems.

I would like to feel that the death of thousands of fish and other creatures in the Trout River, the impacts on the health of the Montrose River ecosystem, and the damage to our tourism and recreational fisheries sectors were not in vain. We need our government, and the agricultural community, to stand up, take responsibility and solve these problems. And we need Islanders to support new legislation, not oppose it. We cannot afford to have our reputation, and our very spirit, seriously damaged each summer."

Ann Wheatley (2013): Commenting on the report of the Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management, established to examine the 2011 and 2012 fish kills at Barclay Brook:

"The report fails to address the most important issue affecting the health of our watersheds and all of the plants and animals that depend on them. That is, the prevalence of industrial agriculture in this province. The monoculture of potatoes on such a large scale, with its heavy reliance on large doses of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, is causing great harm to the environment and we need to do something about that."

We don’t need another commission to know which way the wind is blowing. We need our provincial government to come up with a step-by-step plan to significantly reduce pesticide use throughout the province. It is the right thing to do and the only way to get us out of this harmful cycle of annual fish kills.

Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley are members of the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island. This is part one of a two-part series. Part two will offer more analysis of the causes of fish kills, their connection to agricultural and water issues, and offer needed directions for change.


This is an amazingly perceptive piece by Lennie.

Global Chorus for September 15
Lennie Gallant

I often close my concerts with a song titled “The Band’s Still Playing,” which employs the once supposedly unsinkable Titanic as metaphor for the good ship Planet Earth. I ask the audience to become part of the ship’s orchestra, and have them jubilantly singing the horn parts, while the lyric laments the “rearranging of the deck chairs” and the band’s “crying out for our souls.” It is meant to be a sardonic piece about the perilous state of the world and our rather complacent attitude; but I feel the point of the song is often missed … perhaps it’s too subtle.

We cannot be subtle anymore. Te “iceberg” in front of our ship is menacing and ready to rip our hull apart. It will take a tremendous amount of strength and will to turn the wheel and change our course before it’s too late. I believe it can be done, but it must happen now.

The old adage “it is always darkest before the dawn” may be a reality in the world today. I sense there are sparks of hope that are just waiting for the right breath of air to fan them into something far greater. I see it on YouTube in simple acts of kindness that go viral, and in humanitarian movements that kids initiate, first thought to be naïve, that end up having powerful results. I see it in people risking their livelihood and reputations to speak a truth about environmental issues, no matter how unpopular it may be. These things give me hope. We are desperate for inspiration, bravery, ingenuity and real leadership.

How do we fan these embers so they turn into a force passionate and strong enough to change our collective behaviour and present heading? I believe it will take a tremendous shift in our thinking that the media, artists, talk show hosts, bartenders, celebrities, writers, taxi drivers, activists, students, teachers … anyone with any kind of audience, must initiate and propagate. We cannot expect it to come from our political leaders, who far too often have actually become followers. We need a radical change in popular culture as to who and what we designate as being truly newsworthy. It’s time to seriously celebrate those who make courageous efforts in greentech and science and in re-establishing our connection with the natural world. If we can make this the lead story – inspiring, necessary and cool – then I think we just might be blowing our horns for the right reason. “Wake up! Grab the wheel … Iceberg ahead!”

       — Lennie Gallant, songwriter, father


essay from:
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 14, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Ordering Organic vegetable delivery, Monday night:

City of Charlottetown Council meeting, 5PM, City Hall. 
The Towers Road projects are on the agenda.

For those who wish to attend in person, a screen will be set up in the second floor lobby of City Hall for the public to watch the live streaming of the meeting.

Live Stream:

More background and Mayor and City Council contact info in September 7th  Citizens' Alliance News:

In Conversation:  Dimitri and the PEI Greens, 6:30PM, On-line (Zoom)
Join Candidate for the leadership of the Federal Green Party of Canada Dimitri Lascaris
" discuss the climate crisis and our plan to move Canada to a more democratic, egalitarian and green society."
Sign on to Zoom:
Facebook event link

Met Opera offerings:
Massenet’s Werther, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Sophie Koch, Jonas Kaufmann, David Bižić, and Jonathan Summers, conducted by Alain Altinoglu. From March 15, 2014. Kaufman is the epitome of the yearning, suffering poet.

Week 27 (Bel-Canto Favorites)

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and John Del Carlo; conducted by James Levine. From November 13, 2010.  This one is much too much fun, so energetic!

Saturday's The House, the week in Canadian politics on CBCRadio, had two interesting articles in the last half of the program Saturday -- an interview with three of the Green Party leadership contenders, and a bit of a discussion on recovery the economy with the environment and social justice in mind.  The infuriating aspect was hearing the that "nobody has a plan of how to do both simultaneously", when The Leap Manifesto and its braintrust have been working on this for several years. 

CBC The House episode link from Saturday, September 12th, 2020

The Leap Manifesto website

Global Chorus essay for September 14
Lillian Rose Stewart

I believe in miracles, I see them everyday where a modern highway meets an unchanged vista, frozen in time. Earth the way it is meant to be … the way it was in the beginning.

Snow falls gently, the windshield wipers tap a metronome to the clanking of tire chains ringing against the black macadam surface of the highway. It is a violent symphony accompanied by a chorus of strangers from nine sovereign nations, singing out the lyrics. The chatter resonates in languages I cannot speak, nor understand, but I am not disturbed. After twenty years of driving this bus I know that around the bend awaits a miracle. Amber lights flash dance upon the snow, airbrakes blast an awakening for my captive audience. We will make an unscheduled stop.

They gather in awe, these unlikely brethren, as the majestic Sierra Nevada loom in the distance, reflected upon the waters, mighty moraines cloaked in shimmering white sky fall. It is a masterpiece … but I see only the faces of strangers as they turn to share their joy.

In that fleeting moment as they stand shoulder to shoulder, these kings and ditchdiggers, the colours of their skin are merely hues in a human rainbow. There are no angry words or lines drawn on a map, just the beating of hearts speaking a common language. I smile … for in that brief and glorious moment there is … peace on Earth.

I hope … this moment becomes a memory … and the memory becomes … a knowing, a realization of an ancient wisdom … that all things are bound by the wonder and the beauty of our mother Earth. And I hope they take this knowing with them to their towering penthouses in Dubai, or to a shanty on the banks of an Egyptian river, or to a bustling backstreet market in Hong Kong. A knowing … that peace on Earth is an attainable thing … that the beauty and the wonder of a sustained mother Earth is an attainable thing, anywhere, everyday, for all things of this Earth … if only we choose it.

I hope … and hope is a new beginning.

      — Lillian Rose Stewart, retired ski bus driver, screenwriter


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 13, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Sunday Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street (closed to auto traffic for that time). 

Some opera:

Berlioz’s Les Troyens, today until 6:30PM
Starring Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Karen Cargill, Bryan Hymel, Eric Cutler, Dwayne Croft, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From January 5, 2013.  Adapted from the Aenead.

Sunday, September 13
Massenet’s Werther, 7:30PM until 6:30PM Monday
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Sophie Koch, Jonas Kaufmann, David Bižić, and Jonathan Summers, conducted by Alain Altinoglu. From March 15, 2014.  Gorgeous singing, sad story of a poet in love.

Background (printed a while ago, I think), from June:

Former planning expert says Charlottetown will regret approving eight-storey apartment on waterfront - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart

Published on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2020


One of the people who played a lead role in shaping the Charlottetown waterfront says the city is ruining decades of hard work.

Doug MacArthur is talking about council’s decision to approve a $30-million, eight-storey apartment building at 15 Haviland St., directly behind Renaissance Place (the former Sacred Heart Home).

“I do not like to see (all of the work) falling apart at this stage because so many things have been well done since the 1970s," MacArthur said in an interview last week, referring to the city’s waterfront.

MacArthur used to own his own planning firm, called Spatial Planning. He was also one of the federal government officials who worked on developing the waterfront over an industrial site to what it is today. To cite one example, with the help of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, the old Texaco tank farm was transformed into Confederation Landing Park.

MacArthur said he isn’t upset with Pan American Properties and owner Tim Banks, the developer leading the project, acknowledging that the property is as-of-right and was zoned in 2012 in such a way that allows a building of this size to be built on the waterfront.

“What he’s doing is maximizing profit. My problem is the city letting him do it because they have not done the proper due diligence."

MacArthur said his big concern is that the city’s design review board signed off on the project following a 17-minute meeting.

“I still think there is an opportunity to revisit this building. I think there are so many things wrong with the way the design committee went about it and I think there are so many inaccuracies in how this building complies with everything from heritage bylaws to all sorts of things."

MacArthur said people need to realize this eight-storey structure is going to tower over the neighbourhood buildings, which include Queen Charlotte Armouries, Renaissance Place and the Culinary Institute of Canada.

“This must not be allowed to proceed. The first thing the cruise ships will see is this building. New buildings on the waterfront should cannot overwhelm other neighbourhood buildings."

Coun. Greg Rivard, chairman of the planning and heritage committees, said the design review board did its due diligence.  “We have a board in place that has architects on it," Rivard said. “They get reports prior to the meetings, so it is not like they are seeing (proposals) for the first time at the meetings. They’ve had these reports in their hands for a week.

“There are cases, sometimes, where they will reach out to our heritage or planning staff with questions prior to the meeting. A lot of the questions they may have had may have been answered ahead of time."

MacArthur still warns letting eight-storey buildings rise on the waterfront sets a dangerous precedent.  “I think if this proceeds it will be the worst project the waterfront has seen," MacArthur said.


Excellent letter, encouraging all Islanders to remain involved and ask questions:  

GUEST OPINION: Concern for our city - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Doug MacArthur

Published on Saturday, September 12th, 2020

For those who have been fortunate enough to visit European cities, have you noticed how beautiful many of them are, how they attract countless tourists from all over the world, and how proud local residents are of their city. One reason is that hundreds of years ago European planners developed and refined a city planning approach based on "concern for the appearance of the city". To this day, this approach guides urban development and planning in much of Europe.

In the U.S., until the early 20th century, urban planning was largely hit and miss. More recently, the U.S. introduced the concept of "as of right" in its planning procedures. As of right means that a building project can proceed if it meets ALL of the zoning/development requirements on a particular site. Still, in the U.S., a city's mayor and council have final decision-making power.

Throughout much of the world, there is also a concept called participatory planning. The basis for this concept is that the extent to which planning involves public participation reflects the degree of democracy enjoyed in a city or country. Where government is authoritarian, so is planning.

Killam's $30-million, 15 Haviland St., 99-unit project was approved by the city in 17 minutes. As we have argued on our Stop Killam P.E.I. website and Facebook page, the project ignores provisions in the 2012 City Waterfront 30-Year Plan, ignores requirements in the City's 2014 Zoning Bylaws, and suffers from inadequate access/egress issues. Yet, it was approved in 17 minutes. Meanwhile, we also argue the proposed lower Prince Street/Founders Hall seven-storey building has many similar issues.

Right up until today, Mayor Philip Brown has said he is helpless to do anything to reconsider these two projects because the previous mayor and council introduced "as-of-right," and, for a similar reason, he says there can't be any public input into either project. First, as-of-right doesn't apply when a project doesn't meet bylaw requirements. Second, Mayor Brown says he intends to change the bylaw (after these projects proceed!), but he hasn't lifted a finger to change the bylaw since he was elected, and instead on Jan. 6, 2020, he signed a 15 Haviland Development Agreement with Killam that included a clause saying that desired Killam changes to the project particulars could be approved by the city's chief administration officer and would not need to go to council. Does that sound like someone who wants to restore authority and public input in city council?

Just one term in office by the current city administration is damaging our city irreparably, and the damage by these two projects will last 100 years. Meanwhile, how can we as residents and Islanders, have any confidence that this city administration will responsibly address decisions on upcoming projects such as Mount Edward Road/Towers Road and the $80 million or more sports complex?

All Islanders are justifiably proud of our capital city and birthplace of confederation. For 50 years we have been concerned with the appearance of our city and have tried to make wise development decisions, and almost always with opportunity for public input. Mayor Brown has made it clear time and again that he will do nothing to hear our voices or to act on our concerns. I believe it's time for us to stand up and be counted.

Doug MacArthur was actively involved in Charlottetown waterfront development in the 1970s-80s and subsequently played an onsite project management role in development projects in more than 60 countries.


Global Chorus essay for September
David Gershon

Again and again in history some people wake up. They have no ground in the crowd and they move to broader, deeper laws. They carry strange customs with them and demand room for bold and audacious action. The future speaks ruthlessly through them. They change the world.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

From runaway climate change that threatens the survival of humanity and the many life forms on Earth, to the many starving people and those just eking out an existence at the very edge of survival, to the desperation of our inner-city youth, to our patterns of thought that perpetuate a divided world, our planet is in need of a radical transformation that goes to the very root of our vision as human beings.

What could enable such a fundamental transformation is our innate longing as human beings to create a better world for ourselves and our children. This inherent desire for self-improvement is a key lever for human evolution because there are enormous possibilities to tap into it. But to access this potential requires transformative change leaders capable of calling forth our intrinsic aspiration. This is a learnable skill set and transformationally minded leaders are growing as more people attempt to lead lives driven by meaning and purpose. All the more so among the Millennials.

At the Federal Convention of 1787, after three and a half months of deliberation over a constitution for the new United States, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, doctor, what have we got? A republic or monarchy?” “A republic,” replied the doctor, “if you can keep it.” The same could be said about our planet. Whether we get to keep it as a viable dwelling place for human habitation and evolution is up to us. To do this we must be able to change the game. Changing the game is not a spectator sport. It requires each of us to play a position on the team, and to play it with all of our heart and soul and mind. It requires nothing less than our very best and highest efforts.

Those of us alive on the planet at this moment in time have a special destiny in its evolution. We are the ones who must reinvent our world to sustain the fragile social experiment of human civilization. This is a momentous responsibility and opportunity. As we accept this responsibility and seize this opportunity, we align our individual purpose with humanity’s advancement. We become conscious actors in our planet’s great evolutionary adventure. I wish you and all of us Godspeed on this epic journey.

     —David Gershon, co-founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014


September 12, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

September 11, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Fridays for Future, 4PM, Province House (Grafton Street side). "All are welcome! We gather to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future. Feel free to bring your own signs and invite others.
We urge everyone to contact your MLAs, MPs and city/town Councillors and ask what actions they are taking to address the climate emergency. Email is good for keeping a record of answers.
We want young people and future generations to have a planet on which they can thrive. Children are welcome in this movement; all events will be peaceful, civil gatherings. We are moved to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future."  from the event link


Massenet’s Cendrillon, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Kathleen Kim, Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote, Stephanie Blythe, and Laurent Naouri, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. From April 28, 2018.
Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, tonight 7:30PM until about noon Saturday
Starring Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and Nicolas Testé, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 16, 2016.  This opera has the gorgeous tenor-baritone duet, “Au fond du temple saint.”

While bitterly true, this is a tiny bit rich coming from the finance minister for several years while provincial Liberal government with various Health Ministers *knew* about these mental health needs and families' and professionals' ideas on how to improve services. 

HEATH MACDONALD: Reinvest in mental health and addictions - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Heath MacDonald

Published on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2020

Over the past several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious gaps in many of the ways we respond to Islanders in crisis.

In particular, I am very concerned with mental health and addictions – and the very real prospect of a difficult situation being made much worse.

As we all know, there are thousands of Islanders and families who deal with the challenges of mental health every day. During the pandemic, I have heard heartbreaking stories of individuals and families who are finding it more difficult to cope, and even more problematically, to find help and treatment.

For instance, we know from a recent Statistics Canada report that one in five Islanders consulted with a mental health professional last year.

Add in the difficult toll of the pandemic, and it’s clear that government has to quickly adapt its services and programs to meet needs that are shifting very quickly.

For instance, I know of a family that is diligently helping out with an elderly parent at home. The main caregiver suffers from complicated mental health issues, and in spite of that individual’s absolute dedication to the task, the strain of providing daily care is showing. But with the pressures currently faced by those Islanders who work in mental health, it is difficult for that family to get the assistance they so often need.

There are many stories like that, and they are not confined to those with mental health challenges.

As the pandemic wore on, I began to hear more and more about the growing problem of opioid addictions. Unfortunately, in a stressful time, many people have found it more difficult to cope with addictions and gain access to the professional help they need. Furthermore, I have heard many cases of addictions relapse, which is very painful for both the addicts and their families.

In my opinion, we need to examine our current mental health and addictions programs in the light of COVID-19. We all know the systems that serve Islanders were at capacity limits pre-pandemic. Now, it’s quite apparent that our investments in mental health and addictions will require major new investments, and most particularly in training more people to help Islanders with growing challenges.

Recently, the federal government took the first major step in helping Islanders. The Safe Restart Agreement provides about $50 million to the Island for a variety of new initiatives, which include improvements to mental health and addictions.

I will be looking to the provincial government for its plans to reinvest in mental health and addictions – and furthermore, will advocate for a comprehensive new plan to increase the number of people trained to provide these much needed services to Islanders.

And frankly, there is no time for delay. For instance, this is what United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had to say recently: “Unless we act now to address the mental health needs associated with the pandemic, there will be enormous long-term consequences for families, communities and societies.”

To my mind, a concentrated, immediate and dedicated effort will help prevent those long-term consequences.

Heath MacDonald is the Liberal MLA for Cornwall-Meadowbank.

Heath MacDonald, MLA for District 16's page on the Legislative Assembly website

Smiles, from human interpretation of wildlife in photos:

The other Guardian published the "Comedy Wildlife Photography Award" winners,
and the organization helps wildlife through its efforts

One winner:

Surprise smiles, Lake Bogoria, Kenya
While walking on trail at the southern side of Lake Bogoria, the photographer spotted a group of dwarf mongooses
Photograph: Asaf Sereth/CWPAs 2020

from the above article

Global Chorus essay for September 11
Nikki Stern

Contemporary culture doesn’t always seem to value the idea of hope. No wonder, when conventional wisdom also confuses hope with expectation: if I hope for the best, the best will surely follow. Yet we soon learn the universe doesn’t automatically give back what we put out, or we discover a benevolent deity isn’t likely to rush to our aid. Disappointed, we might conclude that hope is a waste of time, has no meaning in modern times or, worst of all, is a nasty trickster making promises it has no intention of keeping.

We mustn’t let that happen.

The truth is that we humans are overdue for a retooled version of hope that rejects certainty but embraces possibility. We can’t know what the future will bring, but we can envision the best possible future and work for it. Hope freed from the constraints of guaranteed outcomes emboldens us, empowers us and gives us purpose. It sparks the imagination and strengthens our resolve. Flexible, nimble and never without a sense of humor, this hope celebrates discovery, applauds adaptability and thrives on creativity.

Feet on the ground and head in the clouds, hope rejoices in the journey, not the destination. It asks, why can’t we? It answers, we can.

There will be days when our better selves go into hiding. There will be nights when we yearn for reassurance. Yet hope is available to light the way, no matter where our paths begin or where they end.

     — Nikki Stern, writer, non-profit adviser, former executive director of Families of September 11, author of Hope in Small Doses

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 10, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Standing Committee meeting:  Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM -- *This meeting will be live-streamed*

Topic: Presentation on the Water Act by Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association Executive Director, Ian MacPherson.

The Hon. George Coles Building remains closed to the public for in-person attendance, but this meeting will be live-streamed on the Legislative Assembly’s website and Facebook page. Audio and video recordings of the meeting and a transcript of same will later be made publicly available as well.

Members of this committee include:
Cory Deagle (Chair) (PC)
Hon. Darlene Compton (PC)
Robert Henderson (L)
Stephen Howard (GP)
Lynne Lund (GP)
Hal Perry (L)
Committee page link

Legislative Assembly website
"Watch Live" link will be on front page

Legislative Assembly Facebook page
Fall Gardening and Season Extension Workshop, 7PM, Zoom. 

"Join this on line gardening workshop and get your gardening questions addressed by farmer Stephanie of Morning Dew Garden. Steph has worked with some of the best organic farmers in Atlantic Canada. Some of you may have attended her garden workshops at the Farm Centre Legacy Garden sponsored by the Food Exchange in 2018. Steph is the author of "Edible Gardening for Beginners" on the FX website
Steph will be sharing tips and techniques for growing vegetables through September and making the most of this abundant season. She will be taking questions."
Facebook event link for workshop link
Opera Corner:
Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and John Relyea. From November 22, 2008.  A beloved tenor (who passed away last fall) in a tough role.
Massenet’s Cendrillon, tonight 7:30PM until Friday 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote. From April 28, 2018. "Storybook" is truly the theme, as books and pages form the set.  DiDonato is her charming self as the CInderella character, Coote is a convincing prince in the trousers role, and Kim is dynamite as the sprite-like Fairy Godmother.  The dancers dressed as the carriage's prancing horses for their few minutes on stage are darling, too.

Global wildlife being decimated by human actions, WWF report warns

by Malavika Vyawahare
published on Wednesday, September 9th, 2020, on the Mongabay website

Article at LINK above

A Malagasy dwarf chameleon (Brookesia micra), the world’s smallest chameleon. It is found in the Nosy Hara archipelago in Madagascar. Image by Nick Riley/WWF-Madagascar. 
Image taken from the article, below.

Full Report here from the World Wildlife Fund:

This came my way via Ian Petrie, and it's both bracing and reassuring.

Opinion: What we’ve learned about COVID-19: We have to keep learning - The Globe and Mail article by André Picard

Published on Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

In the seven months that the novel coronavirus has stalked the world, we’ve learned a lot of science about how the virus spreads, how it kills and how we develop immunity (or not).

That knowledge has forced us to change our beliefs and approaches.

Masks went from irrelevancy to the forefront of public-health measures. We went from obsessing about surface contamination to fretting about ventilation. We shifted from fearing those who cough, to wondering who was asymptomatic and spreading disease silently.

One of the important lessons to draw from this is that we need to follow the evidence. Public-health officials changing their guidance is not flip-flopping – it’s adapting.

The other key takeaway is to beware of false dichotomies. The coronavirus is not spread only by droplets or aerosols, but likely by both. Similarly, we should be equally wary of symptomatic and asymptomatic spread, but also realize the coronavirus does not spread that easily.

The distance and the duration of exposure matters, as does the environment. We’re way safer outdoors than indoors, and when not speaking at all instead of speaking/singing/yelling moistly. We can now direct our wrath at overeager karaoke aficionados instead of runners.

Most important of all, we have to dispense with the fiction that recovery efforts will be either about the economy or about health. The surest way to get the economy back on track is to limit – or ideally, eliminate – the spread of COVID-19.

Canada is not the U.S. – where many states have embraced a destructive “reopen and illness be damned” attitude – but many provinces have loosened restrictions hastily. We didn’t need to open bars when we did; there is no logic to allowing gatherings of 250 people, and as important as it is to get kids back to school, class sizes of 30 students should have been a non-starter.

We’re seeing the consequences of that short-sighted impatience as cases creep up again. We are nervous about what will happen after Labour Day, with a lot of kids returning to school, many workers going back to offices and the cooling weather chasing us indoors.

The trepidation is justified, and we have to prepare ourselves psychologically for the possibility of more lockdowns.

What is not certain, though, is an inevitable second wave. Increasingly, it appears that the coronavirus pandemic will play out as one long wave, with the occasional ripple when we become complacent.

We should not assume there will be huge spikes in deaths in the fall. Nor should we see low mortality as the sole measure of success. One of the most unpleasant surprises that COVID-19 has delivered is that it appears to cause long-term damage, especially to the heart. We are seeing a small but significant number of those who get infected developing chronic illness. We call them “long-haulers.”

The most intriguing development to come, however, will be in our approach to testing.

Since the outset of the pandemic, the mot d’ordre has been to test, test and test some more. Canada has done more than six million tests. But the PCR test – the current standard, a molecular tool that tells us if someone has been infected – is slow, costly and has limitations.

As we learn to live with the coronavirus and as social interactions escalate, what we need to know is not so much who has been infected, but who is still infectious. For that, we need a rapid diagnostic test, one in which you swab your nose or spit in a tube and get results within minutes. If you’re negative, you can head off to work or school in confidence.

The knock against diagnostic tests is that they are not accurate, but that’s not a deal-breaker. If you’re positive, you stay home, and then get a follow-up test. But a lot of unnecessary tests and quarantines can be avoided.

Finally, we are learning a lot about immunity.

Not that long ago, we were certain that people who were infected with coronavirus would develop immunity. There was serious discussion about “immunity passports” so the recovered could return to work.

Now, it appears immunity may be fleeting, and re-infection possible. But again, these are not black-or-white issues.

Most people who get infected have at least some immunity, and it seems to last for some time, if not forever. That bodes well for vaccine development.

As vaccines are tested in controlled conditions and in the real world, you can bet our views on immunity will change again. And that’s okay. As the pandemic evolves, so too must our responses.


Global Chorus essay for September 10
Rhett Butler

Every year more creatures are added to endangered species lists, oceans rise with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and more wild places disappear. Humanity’s footprint on the planet is ever larger and deeper. But while it is easy to view these trends with great despair, we would be wrong to abandon hope. Indeed, there are nascent signs that things can change for the better.

In the past 30 years there have been important developments that have laid the groundwork for a new revolution, where services generated by healthy natural ecosystems are recognized and valued. These are services like erosion control, carbon storage, maintenance of the water cycle and the option value afforded by biodiversity.

Recognizing the value of Nature requires us to first understand it. That’s already happening – there have been major advances in quantifying Nature’s services. For example, we know that pest control services by native birds in Costa Rica are worth $10,000 a year to a small coffee farmer in Costa Rica, while mangroves and coral reefs generate more than $400-million annually for Belize from ecotourism, erosion control and fisheries.

While this is admittedly a very narrow way to view the value of Nature, it’s a first step to engaging decision makers and the public.

Engagement is critical if we hope to transform how humanity stewards the planet’s resources. The good news is that new tools – ubiquitous mobile phones, social media and free access to virtually limitless amounts of information – enable public participation like never before. We’re already seeing the power of targeted participation in the form of protests movements that are transforming commodity supply chains. Due to activist-led campaigns, today it is taboo for soy farmers in the Amazon to chop down rainforests for farms. It will soon be the same for palm oil producers in Malaysia and paper manufacturers in Indonesia.

Change will not come easily, but greater knowledge of Nature’s services, combined with participation by an increasingly informed and active populace, will move us toward a world where humans will live in greater balance with the planet’s other inhabitants.

     — Rhett A. Butler, author of Rainforests, founder of

Rhett Butler founded in 1999 with the mission of raising interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife. For the first ten years of the project, he operated Mongabay on his own, publishing thousands of stories and tens of thousands of photos.
Today Rhett Butler serves as editor-in-chief of the web site as well as CEO of, Mongabay’s non-profit arm, which is now responsible for all of Mongabay news content...
Beyond Mongabay, Rhett Butler runs, a site that highlights the spectacular cultural and biological richness of Madagascar and reports on environmental news for the Indian Ocean island nation.
Rhett Butler is also co-founder of Tropical Conservation Science, an open-access academic journal that aims to provide opportunities for scientists in developing countries to publish their research, and the Tropical Forest Network, a social network in the San Francisco Bay Area broadly interested in tropical forest conservation and ecology.


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 9, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Green and Just Recovery Twitterstorm (and other social media platforms), all day.
organized by Stand.Earth, the David Suzuki Foundation, and others
"Join the online Day of Action on Wednesday, September 9th, and help pressure politicians to implement a green and just recovery!
background: The federal government is about to give the Canadian economy a multi-billion-dollar kick-start in an effort to recover from the COVID-19 health crisis. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build back a more just, sustainable, and healthy Canada - a Canada that works for everyone, not just the few. But big polluters are pushing the federal government to funnel recovery spending into their pockets instead.
With the federal government about to lay out its recovery priorities in the September 23rd Throne Speech, we don’t have a moment to waste.
**Join the online Day of Action on Wednesday, September 9th, and help pressure politicians to implement a green and just recovery!**
Sample text for targeting key ministers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, and by phone will be posted soon for you to use.
Millions have already joined the call for a green and just recovery. On September 9th, let’s unite with one voice and make our message impossible to ignore.
HOW: Watch this space (link below) for sample text to use in your posts!"

Facebook event link
Standing Committee meetings:

Special Committee on Poverty on PEI is meeting this morning to discuss its report, but this is an in camera meeting only and won't be recorded for the public.

Trish Altass (Chair)
Hannah Bell
Sonny Gallant
Hon. Ernie Hudson
Gordon McNeilly
Hon. Bradley Trivers

Health and Social Development Committee Meeting, 1PM,
Topic: How pharmacists have been managing during the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming flu season
Guest: PEI Pharmacists Association, Erin MacKenzie
The committee will receive a briefing on how pharmacists have dealt with the pandemic thus
far and plans going fo
rward as we enter flu season.

The buildings in the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public. The live-stream will be available on the website and Facebook as well as in the archive section after the meeting as ended.
The Special Committee consists of:
Gordon McNeilly (Chair)
Trish Altass
Hannah Bell
Hon. Jamie Fox
Heath MacDonald
Hon. Bradley Trivers

More here:

Little brown birdies:

Bird ID Workshop: All about Sparrows, 3PM, on-line live and available afterwards. Hosted by the several New Brunswick Nature organizations
"Even a good birder will tell you that it can be difficult to identify sparrows. Well, we are here to help. Join the Nature Trust, Nature NB, and Ornithologist Dorothy Diamond on Wednesday, September 9th for a free, family-friendly webinar to learn about how to identify sparrows in New Brunswick.
During this 1-hour webinar, you will learn how to identify sparrows based on their field marks and calls, how to use e-bird to contribute to the conservation of birds, and more.
This webinar is a part of our digital Passport to Nature...."
* If you cannot attend this webinar live, a recording will be available.
Register at:

Opera Corner:
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Diana Damrau, Vittorio Grigolo, Elliot Madore, and Mikhail Petrenko, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 21, 2017.

Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, 7:30PM until Thursday at 6:30PM
Starring Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and John Relyea. From November 22, 2008.

from the Green Party MLA Ole Hammarlund, District 13: Charlottetown-Brighton, who is very thoughtfully presents a situation and resolutions:

Protecting our seniors - Social Media post by Ole Hammarlund, MLA

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020, on Social Media

Generally our province has been a 100% successful in protecting our seniors from Covid-19. First line of defense is our policy of tracing, testing and self-isolation, which has been so successful that we have not yet had a single case of community spread. Well over 10,000 people have crossed our borders from all over the world, including widely Covid-19 infected countries, and even though 51of those people were in fact tested positive, they all recovered or are recovering in self-isolation.

Our second line of defense has been in our nursing homes where visitors were first banned and now restricted. While some may well be suffering from too little contact with family, thankfully no one has contacted the Covid-19 virus that we know is particularly dangerous for seniors.

But not all seniors live in nursing homes. My district Charlottetown-Brighton has government built and operated seniors homes. 501 Queen Street for instance is an excellent example of a high quality senior’s home, which the provincial and federal governments constructed about 40 years ago. There are other projects as well and generally the occupants I have spoken to are happy to have their affordable apartments available, knowing that rents and facilities such as common rooms cannot be found on the open market without paying twice the rent. Indeed there are hundreds of seniors on the waiting lists for apartments in provincially operated homes.

But all is not well in these buildings. Complaints about repairs or services, if answered at all, is sometimes followed with suggestions that if the occupant is not happy, they can move elsewhere. This is of course an insulting suggestion, since no occupant would be able to find an alternate apartment at an equally affordable rent.

Lately I hear complaints about the cleaning process. Residents are happy about the increased cleaning, but really concerned that the cleaners do not wear masks or practice social distancing. Their complaints to the Minister are going un-answered. How is it possible that these groups of seniors are not afforded similar protection as seniors in nursing homes? Indeed they are offered no protection at all.

The complaints do not stop here. In fact there seem to be a consistent chorus of complaints that have been told me in confidence, since residents fear consequences (or inaction) if they complain themselves.

Many complaints are related to lack of maintenance or updating of mechanical systems. Ventilation systems for instance, may have met code 40 years ago, but these systems are now unable to cope, so that one resident’s need to smoke makes life impossible for other neighbor residents who don’t smoke. Others complain about the ban against having even small dogs. This despite the fact that for seniors having a dog can extend their life and make them happier as well.

Many buildings are in fact so large that different life styles can easily be accommodated by simply grouping the occupants in different wings or different floors, according to preferences regarding smoking, pets and noise, but there is no attempt to do that and occupants moving within the building or to other projects is forbidden or discouraged.

It seems obvious to me that the Minister and other staff responsible for the operation of senior’s homes are missing an important aspect of housing. It is not enough to supply affordable apartments. The goal should be to provide an environment that is supportive so that the seniors living there can live their lives in full comfort and maximum happiness. That of course includes high levels of maintenance, updating of mechanical systems such as heat and ventilation, a friendly method of receiving complaints and requests, accommodation of all types of lifestyles and pets and of course that staff wear masks when in contact with the senior occupants during our Covid-19 crisis.

Why would we offer anything less to our seniors!

Ole Hammarlund

Ole Hammarlund is the MLA for Charlottetown-Brighton. In his earlier years as an architect, he designed many seniors and nursing homes. At 78 he is now a senior himself and the oldest member of the legislature. He can be reached at

There is SO much forward thinking information here, at the website of the organization founded by the September 9 Global Chorus essayist:

Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE)

"CASSE is an organization that explores economic growth in earnest, including its downsides. We refuse to ignore the costs of economic growth, and our position sets the record straight. We recognize the conflict between economic growth and various goals for society, and we stand up for rational macroeconomic policies. Continuous economic growth on a finite planet is wishful thinking. We confront the truth that there are limits to growth, and we examine other possibilities for managing our economic affairs. "
Things have been adjusted for COVID-19's effects

Global Chorus essay for September 9
Herman Daly

(answering the question of is their hope for the Earth and why they think there may be)

I think the answer depends ultimately on who (or what) we think we are.

1. Are we the blind result of chance who happen to have evolved a bigger more complex brain than other animals, a brain whose merely epiphenomenal consciousness may amuse itself by projecting picture shows inside our cranium, but having no real purpose or independently causative impact on the world other than diferential reproduction?


2. Are we creatures evolved from the rest of Creation with the purpose of reflecting to some degree the image of God, and therefore capable of distinguishing good from evil, and true from false, and thereby acting responsibly as stewards and caretakers of the Earth?

If we think we are as described in 1 then in my opinion we are already cooked. Indeed, what reason would there be to care, and in what would we place our hope? Nevertheless, 1 is the worldview of “scientific materialism,” which is very influential in our modern secular society.

The second view affirms a basis for hope, and for our own adequacy to respond to that hope. Its truth is recognized in many of the world’s religions and does not contradict true science. As for the details of a viable and good future society I have argued that a steady-state economy is a necessary condition. But I doubt that it, or any solution, could be achieved unless “we” see ourselves as the people in 2 rather than 1.

      — Herman Daly, professor emeritus in the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 8, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food Ordering:
Deadline Noon today for ordering: from "Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO", for pickup Thursday:

Eat Local PEI orders due by midnight, Wednesday, September 9th:

Tuesday, September 8th:
City of Charlottetown Planning Committee meeting, 4PM"Sherwood Crossing" (North of Towers) Project, to be discussed and voted on at Public invited (or can watch on-line if unable to attend).  The meeting will be live streamed online at  
Link to yesterday's Citizens' Alliance News with all the Mayor's and Councillors' contact info.

More, below
Met Opera video streaming
"French Week" continues:

Massenet’s Manon, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, Paulo Szot, and David Pittsinger, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From April 7, 2012.

Tuesday, September 8
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, tonight at 7:30PM until Wednesday at 6:30PM
Starring Diana Damrau, Vittorio Grigolo, Elliot Madore, and Mikhail Petrenko, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 21, 2017.

Atlantic Skies for September 7th-13th, 2020 - Could Humans Live on Mars? - by Glenn K. Roberts

As NASA's Perserverance spacecraft speeds towards its February 2021 landing on Mars, many people are, once again, pondering the possibility of ordinary humans one day traveling to and living on the planet. In the 1910s, Edgar Rice Burroughs' masterfully written fictional books about Mars excited the public's imagination with tales of humans traveling to the Red Planet, and interacting with the native Martians. Hollywood's 2015 movie, The Martian, teased the possibility of human-survival (tenuous as it was) on Mars. Could humans really live, work and play on the surface of Mars, or will such an idea forever remain but a fantasy of literary fiction and cinematic CGI?

The problem of safely traveling to Mars aside, the first question that needs to be asked and answered is where would we live once we got to Mars? Due to the significant, constant solar radiation (not to mention periodic solar flares) that the surface of Mars is subject to due to its thin atmosphere (Earth's atmosphere protects all life on its surface from the greater portion of the Sun's harmful radiation), we would have to live in some sort of underground structure. Current estimates indicate at least 5 meters below the surface would provide the same protection level as our atmosphere. While the technology certainly exists to build such structures (NASA already has proto-type Mars One shelters under construction), they would still have to be transported to Mars and constructed, perhaps by robotic construction crews, prior to any human settlers arriving. Okay, so we have a place to live once there, what other things are required? Foremost would be a supply of air to breathe - a properly proportioned mixture of oxygen, nitrogen, and other trace gases to match that of Earth's atmosphere. We would have to transport an adequate supply for the number of settlers on hand, not a problem for a couple of astronauts carrying their own backpack supply, but certainly a more difficult task for a large number of settlers planning on emigrating there. It might be possible, over time, to grow enough oxygen-producing plants within specialized structures to generate the oxygen amount (to then be mixed with the other required gases) needed; something, with enough space and time, well within the realm of achievable, perhaps, once again, by robots pre-human arrival. The next two requirements would, by necessity, be a high priority - food and water. Since, at least initially, there would be no immediate means of obtaining water or growing crops, all water and food supplies would have to be transported to Mars, a significant and expensive logistics problem for those planning the trip, particularly if a large number. Terra-forming the Martian surface to generate a breathable atmosphere, a climate and soil conducive to growing crops, and establishing an adequate water supply (from underground ice deposits) would probably take at least a few hundred years.

Could humans survive on Mars?  Yes, at least a few could, for a short period of time, provided they took everything they needed (prefab shelters, and sufficient food and water) for the time they planned to be there. Long-term settlement, however, would require a massive investment of time, money, technology and effort; doable, yes, but would it be worth it? Perhaps. Afterall, the early explorers and settlers of our own planet faced many unknown challenges and life-threatening risks (though, perhaps, not to the same degree) when they set sail for distant lands, unsure of a safe arrival and what life would be like in the new world. In many ways, settling Mars would be a similar challenge, just on a much larger scale.

However, despite my own astronomy interests and science fiction-fueled dreams of traveling to distant planets, I think we humans would be far better off to invest all that time, money, technology and effort into mitigating the significantantly endangering environmental and social issues that are already confronting us. We live on a very unique (as far as we know), special and extremely beautiful island in the middle of a vast celestial ocean. It's time we woke up to that fact, and collectively worked to maintain and preserve that uniqueness, specialness and beauty, not only for ourselves, but also for the generations that follow. Yes, the urge to and fascination of traveling midst the stars to other planets is exciting, and perhaps one day, in the distant future, humans will travel out there and settle other planets (including Mars), but if we don't soon start to take care of the planet we live on, we're not likely to survive as a species to ever step foot on any of those distant worlds.

Mercury is too close to the Sun, and, thus, not observable at present. Jupiter (mag. -2.54) is visible above the southern horizon around 8 p.m. It reaches its highest point (21 degrees) in the southern evening sky around 9:20 p.m., remaining visible until about 12:40 a.m., when it sinks below 7 degrees above the southwest horizon. Saturn (mag. +0.35), as it has all summer, follows Jupiter into and across the early evening sky, becoming visible 18 degrees above the southeast horizon around 8:15 p.m. It remains visible until shortly before 10 p.m., when it disappears from view after dropping below 10 degrees above the southwest horizon shortly after 1 a.m. Mars (mag. -1.98 on the 7th, and -2.12 by the 13th) will continue to brighten this month and next, as it heads for its Oct. 13 opposition (when it will be at its brightest). The Red Planet is visible above the eastern horizon shortly after 10 p.m., reaching an altitude of 50 degrees above the southern horizon shortly before 4 a.m., and lingering in view until it's lost in the dawn twilight around 6:25 a.m. Venus (mag. -4.3) rises in the east around 2:50 a.m., and reaches a height of 38 degrees (its highest point of the year) above the horizon before fading with the approaching dawn by about 6:25 a.m. On the morning of Sept. 13, look for the crescent Moon directly above Venus in the pre-dawn sky.

Until next week, clear skies.


Sept.   7 - Venus at highest point in sky for 2020

         10 -  Last Quarter Moon

from The (Other) Guardian (U.K.) edition today:

Harken to the Ghost Hedgehog – White likenesses of hedgehogs are starting to appear on roadsides in Dorset to highlight that they are being killed by fast-moving vehicles. The hedgehogs, made of white-painted wood, are being put up by the Dorset Mammal Group after one small village, Pimperne, reported more than 20 squashed hedgehogs in just a year.

from the online story in today's Guardian (U.K.):
Ghost hedgehogs in Briantspuddle, Dorset, which reported more than 20 squashed hedgehogs on its roads in just one year. Photograph: Colin Varndell

It is hoped that the “ghost hedgehogs”, like the “ghost bikes” where cyclists have lost their lives, will encourage motorists to slow down and drive with more care. Hugh Warwick, ecologist and author of The Hedgehog Book, said: “Hedgehogs provide a point of connection to the natural world more effectively than any other animal. They share our gardens and green spaces – but for that to happen, we need to help them.”

Ghost Hedgehog story link

Here is an example excerpt from a note not-in-Charlottetown Tony Reddin wrote, which he would be fine if you wish to copy or adapt:

"Please do not allow more natural areas to be bulldozed and paved over and do not approve the Sherwood Crossing/North of Towers development. 

Please do adopt building regulations that protect green space and make Charlottetown a leader in appropriate development and protection of natural areas, which are so important for the health and well-being of residents and visitors..

I am not presently a Charlottetown resident but I spend a lot of time in Charlottetown and I care a lot about our capital city. As Alan Rankin has written: Charlottetown Belongs to Every Islander. "

Global Chorus essay for September 8
Trudie Styler

Do we want to be the generation that destroyed ourselves?

Rainforests once covered 14 per cent of the Earth’s land surface. Now they only cover 6 per cent. When they’ve been decimated to the tipping point, there will be no way back. We will face such extreme weather conditions that our planet will no longer support human life. What will it take for us to stop hiding from these terrible truths?

Well, there is a way out of this mess. But we have to face the truth, and we have to embrace change. We can’t leave it to the next governments, and the next generation. It’s time to take the responsibility – not by 2020, not by 2050, but now – to cut carbon emissions decisively and urgently. Deforestation accounts for around 20 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. Simply halting deforestation would be the single fastest and cheapest way to make a significant reduction. So why aren’t we doing it?

We’re now at a turning point in our short human history. We have a unique opportunity to shift our focus and to change our priorities. We don’t have to make a choice between the economy and the environment. A transition to a clean economic system, one that values vital natural systems, one that understands the cost of pollution and waste, will open up huge opportunities. The shift is inevitable. Countries can’t stop it. They can only slow it down. And as they do so, they will be left behind. The time when leaders could claim not to understand the implications of the evidence before us is long past.

You will be judged by your children, your grandchildren and all the generations to come. They will ask, “Did you do everything you possibly could to stop climate change?” We’re all mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters: as a planetary family, whatever our differences, we share one world, one fate and one chance.

     —Trudie Styler, actress, producer, creator of the Rainforest Foundation UK

essay from:
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 7, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

September 6, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

September 5, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets in Charlottetown (8-1PM) and Summerside (9-noon)


Saturday afternoon radio with Ben Heppner, 1PM, 104.7FM
Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni
with Elīna Garanča andI Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Met Opera video streaming:  Two day special
The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary, conducted by David Robertson. From February 1, 2020.  Three hours.  A modern classic.

from the David Suzuki Foundation:
Friday, September 4th, 2020

Old oil and gas wells find new life with renewable energy - David Suzuki Foundation post by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington

As part of its COVID-19 response, Canada’s government is spending $1.7 billion to clean up “orphan” and inactive oil and gas wells in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Industry should be footing the bill, but the work is critical and will keep people employed and, in some cases, help them upgrade skills.

Orphan wells are those with no known legal or financial owner, often because a company has gone bankrupt. Finance Canada says Alberta has about 4,700, Saskatchewan 600 and B.C. 350, with another 91,000 inactive wells (no longer productive) in Alberta, 36,000 in Saskatchewan and 12,000 in B.C. Some have been “abandoned” — industry-speak for capped to prevent toxic leakage.

Subsidies that help workers are fine, but those that allow industry to continue business as usual while avoiding responsibility for repairing the damage it’s caused aren’t the way to recover from a pandemic or economic downturn. That’s why some forward-thinking people are taking it a step further.

In most cases, it’s best to restore sites to more natural states. But, with roads, grid connections and infrastructure already in place, some can be converted to renewable energy operations, from geothermal to solar.

Around Taber, Alberta, the RenuWell project plans to employ fossil fuel industry workers to convert two to four inactive wells to solar energy installations that can generate 2,900 MWh and more than $224,000 in electricity sales a year to the area. It’s an idea that could easily be scaled up. As project originator Keith Hirsche explained, transforming 10 per cent of inactive wells to solar installations in Alberta alone would provide enough renewable energy to meet the government’s 2030 goals without removing additional land from agriculture.

The project is supported by funding from the Municipal Community Generation Challenge, an initiative of provincial and municipal agencies. As part of the project, an organization of former oil workers called Iron & Earth is partnering with Medicine Hat College to develop a five-day “rapid upskilling program for fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to learn the basics of solar before working on transforming the well sites themselves.”

Seeing the need to diversify in the face of falling oil prices, increasing automation and climate disruption, oilsands workers started Iron & Earth in 2015. As executive director Lliam Hildebrand and board member Bruce Wilson wrote in an Edmonton Journal article, “It’s not a case of fossil-fuel industry workers versus the rest, or Alberta versus British Columbia. We are all in this together. The challenge now is how to move forward in a way that leaves no one behind.”

Geothermal energy also shows promise for transforming some wells. In April, the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, Petroleum Services Association of Canada and geothermal developers formed a partnership to promote geothermal development and create opportunities for displaced oil and gas drillers and service workers. Some deeper wells can be used for exploration and monitoring for geothermal potential.

Narwhal article details Fort Nelson First Nation’s efforts to turn 6,800 hectares of land in the Clarke Lake gas field in northeastern B.C. into a commercial-scale geothermal project. It would reduce reliance on fossil fuels (and thus greenhouse gas emissions) and could provide heat for homes, businesses and greenhouses.

Although data from existing wells in the nearly depleted gas field show high enough underground temperatures for good geothermal potential, drilling is required to determine if water flows are adequate. That can be expensive, but preliminary studies show it will likely pay off.

Other uses for depleted wells include hydrogen production, lithium recovery (used in batteries) and carbon capture and storage.

Ideally, most former oil and gas wells and related infrastructure would be returned as close to natural states as possible, restoring habitat for animals like caribou and reversing some of the devastation to traditional Indigenous territories and ways of life.

But in many cases, old well sites provide opportunities to scale up renewable energy without building new roads and infrastructure and encroaching on valuable agricultural land. Some solar installations are also compatible with nature restoration and agriculture.

We must find better ways to hold industry accountable for the many oil and gas wells yet to be orphaned. Innovation for a transition to cleaner energy is something everyone can get behind.

Written by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington


Global Chorus essay for September 5
Mustafa Abu Sway

The relationship with the environment should be based on companionship. In the Islamic worldview, every component in the environment is a Sign pointing in the direction of God. When members of the environment go extinct, it simply means that we are treading on a path with less Signs, leading to a spiritual vacuum, and endangering our very existence.

Yet, there is hope!

The Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) prohibited polluting the water sources, and the path of people. He also encouraged his followers to continuously plant fruitful saplings under the most difficult situations, even under apocalyptic conditions, he said:

If one of you had a sapling [of a palm tree] in his hand, and the Hour [of the Day of Judgment] has arrived, and he could [still manage to] plant it, then he should plant it.

If you become aware of an issue, then you should act accordingly.
And we are conscientious of the environmental crises, and we are invited to act now.

My understanding of the Islamic worldview is that it is imperative to maintain the natural habitat of all species, and to care for the environment as a whole. We should act responsibly and consume food and other materials in moderation and in a sustainable way. Our survival as humanity is intertwined with the survival of other species. But also we should address economic policies that lead to inequality, which in turn affect the environment negatively.

It is not morally acceptable that our globe has two major groups: one that has plenty, and the other hardly subsists. In addition, one cannot neglect warfare and the resources wasted in this respect. Peace is vital for the environment. I have high hopes in our ability to rise to the environmental challenges, and for this, Muslims and non-Muslim alike need to co-operate and rub shoulders in action-based programs.  

Prof. Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work at Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds University, Palestine

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 4, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Standing Committee Meeting:
Health and Social Development Committee, 1PM,

Topic: Hurricane season planning

Location: First floor, J. Angus MacLean Building, 94 Great George Street

The committee will receive a briefing on post-tropical storm Dorian and planning for the upcoming hurricane season during the pandemic from the Minister of Justice and Public Safety.

The buildings in the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public. The audio of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting.

Friday4Future, 4PM, Province House, Grafton and Great George Streets side.
from their Facebook event link

We meet weekly, slight time change to 4-5pm, usually in front of Province House (on Grafton St.), to call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy.
Haviland Club --  Book Launch, 7PM, Esther of Farringford, with author Lynne Thiele.


Sunday, September 6th:
Tomato Fest, Heart Beet Organics, 1PM, ticketed.
742 Darlington Road, off Rte, 2 in Darlington.  Ticketed.  Tomato salsas and soups and variety tasting, with physical distance guidelines followed.
Facebook event link

News of Robert Mitchell, MLA for Charlottetown-Sherwood area, resigning as MLA:

from Stu Neatby's article yesterday:

"Mitchell said he was proud of his work in these departments. He noted the early stages of work on the Water Act began under his tenure, as did the revamping of the Municipal Government Act. During his time as health minister, plans for the completion of the new mental health campus at the Hillsborough Hospital were announced. "

'Under the Elections Act, voters in Charlottetown-Winsloe can expect a by-election to be called within six months."  Or by March 2021.

Legislative Assembly link to Map of District 10 -- Charlottetown-Winsloe, which still has area a lot of Sherwood in it.

Map, originally from Brad Trivers' website, showing the current District -Charlottetown-Winsloe (in darker purple) and some outlines of the former Districts that make it up.

Though a devoted constituency man with devoted followers (CBC reporter Kerry Campbell told of "The Robert Mitchell Song" going through many choruses at a nomination meeting some years back), Mitchell is going to get more time to be the "Poppy" he so enjoys being. 

Global Chorus essay for September 4
Fatima Jibrell

I live in a small village called Durduri, on the coast of the Puntland State of Somalia, where life evades international conscience. My coastal village is the epicenter for illegal and extractive charcoal production from very scarce acacia trees; something which largely escapes media attention. Unemployment and scarce livelihood opportunities afflict our young men, leaving them vulnerable to the lure of piracy, charcoal burning and chewing Mira. At the same time, foreign nations are looting Somalia’s waters through illegal fishing and trawling, while foreign navies patrolling those same waters often deny Somali youth access to fishing as a local livelihood opportunity to which they are fundamentally entitled.

What is happening in my village and across Somalia demonstrates the fractured relationship between local and global. Humanity is united by a common cause – to preserve our planet and empower our people – and yet I see a world that shrugs of its responsibilities and works against its people. But I also see a world that is waking up.

Grassroots efforts have shown that environmental degradation can be reversed, and that livelihood opportunities can be created. Relentless commitment is however required from all parties, from local communities to national governments through to world bodies such as NATO and the UN. People from around the globe must think about the impact of their actions, and like-minded individuals must come together with a shared vision and commitment to do things differently.

We still have a long, long way to go, but I am not without hope.

     —Fatima Jibrell, women’s rights and environmental protection advocate, founder and senior advisor of Adeso African Development Solution, founder of Sun Fire Cooking (older website)

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 3, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Congratulations to Joe Byrne on his work talking the helm of the provincial NDP.  Joe resigned from that position yesterday.
Joe's unabashed socialist perspective is sorely needed in the P.E.I. Legislature, but it's grinding to steer a smaller party when its leader has to work other jobs, too.  AND when we are in a First-Past-the-Post voting system that inculcates the larger Parties and results in much resistance to real reform. 

Joe will undoubted continue to play a role in commenting on how we could be governing with our better nature and looking out for all people and the environment, too.

Special Legislative Committee on Climate Change,  1:30PM.
Topic: Briefing on promotion of electric transportation in Quebec

"Location: Committee Room, J. Angus MacLean Building, 94 Great George Street
The committee will meet to receive a briefing on efforts to promote electric transportation in Quebec, by representatives of Transition énergétique Québec.
Video recording will not be available for this meeting; an audio recording of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting. The buildings of the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public."

Notes on the Special Committee on Climate Change:
This committee has been  "created to explore the options available to reduce GHG emissions and to make fully costed recommendations on how the province can best meet its emission reduction targets." and to engage with the public.
Lynne Lund is chair, and with Steven Howard,  is the Green Party (Official Opposition) contingent
(Interim Third Party leader) Sonny Gallant and Deputy Speaker Hal Perry are the Liberals
and Natalie James (Honourable Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change) and Sidney MacEwen are the Government representatives.
Green Party Federal Leadership race and eligibility to vote deadline to register:
Today  (midnight, Pacific time) is the last day to purchase or renew a membership to be able to vote in the leadership contest which begins later this month.  Those 14 and older are eligible.
Operatunities, streamed recorded live operas from The Metropolitan Opera Company

John Adams’s Nixon in China, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena, and Richard Paul Fink, conducted by John Adams. From February 12, 2011.
Berg’s Lulu, 7:30PM tonight until Friday at 6:30PM
Starring Marlis Petersen, Susan Graham, Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves, Johan Reuter, and Franz Grundheber, conducted by Lothar Koenigs. From November 21, 2015

Paul MacNeill spins a possible scenario:

Don’t let COVID fiction become unwanted reality - The Eastern Graphic column by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020, in The Graphic newspapers

It started with 100 people gathering for a beach party on a cool, moonlit, early fall night. There was beer, guitars and revelry at a summer enjoyed. Social distancing and masks were definitely not mandatory. In fact, no one seemed to think twice about it. Martha was a designated driver. She enjoyed the night and when the time came drove her friends home and headed to her parent’s place in Stratford. She was keen to get an early start the next morning on a project assigned to her Grade 12 English class at Charlottetown Rural.

A couple days later Martha’s mother, Susan, was also enjoying fall’s crispness. The traditional beginning of respiratory disease season, a time when the number of cold and flu cases increase dramatically, was the furthest thing from her mind. The easing of restrictions at long-term care facilities meant she and her siblings could now visit their aging father on a more regular basis. Normalcy was returning; it was exciting, she thought, as she walked in the front door and headed for her father’s room.

A week went by before Martha noticed the first symptom, a fever, followed by a dry cough and exhaustion. Susan called 811, explained the symptoms and arranged a COVID test for her daughter. It would be 24 hours before Martha learned she was COVID positive.

A day before, the aged gentleman Susan’s father shares a dinner table with in the dining hall suddenly fell ill. His lungs struggled for air and his fever spiked. The care facility went into immediate COVID lockdown. The gentleman, who took pride in telling harness racing stories of bygone days, tested positive for COVID.

The first days and weeks of the school year were hectic. Teachers and administrators did the best they could to enforce social distancing. But in a school with a capacity of 950 and an actual student population of 1,076, it quickly became wishful thinking. Hallways, bathrooms and classrooms when the teacher had their back turned or left the room, offered ample opportunity to push back on regulations telling students what to do and when to do it.

Word of a Rural student testing positive for COVID spread like wildfire. In the ensuing days, seven more students, two teachers and a bus driver tested positive. The school opted to shift to online instruction for two weeks.

The affable 91-year-old seat mate of Susan’s father would become PEI’s first COVID hospitalization and death.

COVID is insidious. The virus travels unseen in a community, if given opportunity, and can move from a beach to classroom to long-term care facility in the blink of an eye. Family members pass it to relatives, friends to friends and strangers to strangers.

The outbreak presented here is fiction. Thankfully. But it is scenarios just like this that have fueled outbreaks around the world.

As we return thousands of children to Island schools, while simultaneously expanding public access to long-term care facilities, it is a realistic picture of what could happen if we make a mistake. With every step forward on PEI the risk of a COVID outbreak, and community spread, increases exponentially. We are a province with a greater direct social connection between youth and seniors. Opening schools and expanding access at LTC are connected.

Our provincial path forward is rightly reopening and government has done a good job doing it. But now is not the time to rest on our laurels. It’s the time to ask more questions, seek more data and implement as many early warning signs as possible, like those in a Quebec school last week where two teachers were found COVID positive and 20 teachers were quarantined on day two of the school year.

This is not failure, it is a success of safety protocols.

Now is not the time to listen to those who righteously say “We’re different. We have no virus on PEI.” BS. We do. It’s here, lurking. The more we open and the less we ignore public health guidance to social distance and wash our hands, the greater the opportunity COVID has to emerge.

To remain open requires ingenuity and personal commitment. Reopening schools sets aside the number one public health rule of the last six months. Social distancing in Island schools is functionally impossible and government needs to acknowledge it. The question then becomes how do we mitigate risk.

Dealing with class size in a substantive and imaginative way would be a big part of any solution. The Public Schools Branch and the Department of Education have shown no imagination on this front, virtually every school has multiple classes with 30 or more students.

PEI, with luck and skill, avoided two small clusters from leaping into community spread. One involved a long-term care facility, the other the QEH. Will we be as lucky when faced with something like the fictional scenario presented here? We all hope so. But if we’re not, we need targeted testing of ordinary Islanders with no symptoms, including in schools and LTC homes. Why? We need to determine the rate of virus in the community. (Boasts about the level of testing on PEI are artificially skewed by immigrant workers). It’s important data for future COVID outbreaks and it will help with community containment. Not to mention the halo effect of easing some of the anxiety of students, parents and teachers.

Any such effort requires testing capacity. Some on PEI are reluctant to implement community testing for this reason. Capacity is not an excuse to avoid doing what is right. So pick select schools, LTC and communities with higher risk factors and then build on that. We don’t need to do it all at once, but we do need a detailed plan.

Why do we continuously test for signs of the next earthquake or volcano eruption? So we aren’t surprised when one happens. Without community testing, we are opening ourselves up to a big, unwanted surprise.

Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at


screenshot from the website mentioned below

Not to be too bleak, but more to inspire Earth-caretaking, is sharing this website called The Footprint Network, which measures earthlings use of the Earth's resources and the day each year we overshoot and use more that the Earth can sustainably offer.  This year it was calculated on August 22.

And, there are solutions offered ("Move the Date"), here:

Global Chorus essay for September 3rd
Robert J. Birgeneau

The most significant social crisis facing our world today is the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. Three billion of the world’s seven billion people live on less than $2 per day, with the most acute poverty occurring in South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In India, one of the world’s most-rapidly developing countries, 380 million of its 1.2 billion people still struggle on less than $1 a day.

The Arab Spring uprisings have illustrated that people will not be shut out of the world’s growing wealth. Even in Western countries, the increasing wealth gap has sparked recent violent demonstrations in the U.K. and other parts of Europe.

These are complex problems to which there is no simple solution. In 1959, British scientist and novelist, C.P. Snow, in his famous lecture “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution,” saw that the growing inequality separating the rich from the poor worldwide would lead to social turmoil. He believed that science and technology could solve the disparity and make the world prosperous and secure but that the different cultures of humanists and scientists would hinder scientific progress.

Although science and technology have made incredible strides in the last half-century, we have not solved the problem of abating global poverty through technological solutions. We need to understand why the gap between rich and poor is growing.

Education that values and unites the “two cultures” must be the answer. This education must be broadly accessible, not just reserved for the privileged few. Solving the world’s most challenging problems requires the attention of many academic disciplines coming together to seek solutions. Multidisciplinary, collaborative approaches across the physical and biological sciences, mathematics, engineering, social sciences, arts and humanities and the professions, hold the promise of enhancing our contributions to a better world.

     — Robert J. Birgeneau, chancellor of University of California, Berkeley  (retired -- now Professor Emeritus at MIT in Physics)
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 2, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Health and Social Development Committee meeting, 1PM,

Topic: Briefing from Chief Public Health Officer

The committee will receive a briefing from Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Public Health Officer in regards to COVID-19 related matters.

Please note: due to the installation of the new video equipment the Legislative Chamber, the meeting will be held at the J. Angus MacLean Building (94 Great George Street).

The buildings in the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public. The audio of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting.

Local Food Opportunities:
Farm Centre Legacy Garden has fresh and dried herbs, and garden amendments and Google Form and contact information here.

Now, if they only had canning jars for sale.....

EatLocalPEI order deadline:
tonight at midnight
for Saturday pickup/some area delivery: 
Order information

The Farmacy grocery and cafe is open today until Saturday, 11AM-eveningtime, 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Opera corner

Britten’s Peter Grimes, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Donald Runnicles. From March 15, 2008.

John Adams’s Nixon in China, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena, and Richard Paul Fink, conducted by *the composer* John Adams. From February 12, 2011. An odd choice for an opera, but it somehow works.  Canadian baritone Braun sympathetically portrays the Chinese premier.

Some urban perspectives...


The Island Hearbeat website

Charlottetown Belongs to Every Islander - The Island Heartbeat essay by Allan Rankin

Published on Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

Capital cities have a unique status and role.

They are the seat of government and justice, and in most instances the major administrative centre of a province, state, or nation.

They are also municipalities, and legal creatures of a higher governmental authority.

And while it is true that individuals and businesses residing within the boundaries of a capital city pay annual taxes and other charges, capital cities are handsomely supported by their respective provincial governments.

The City of Charlottetown for instance could never begin to offer municipal services at their current levels, or undertake its many capital projects, without major financial support from both the Province and the Federal Government.

In the City’s 2019-20 budget, the annual municipal grant and infrastructure funding represents nearly thirty percent (30%) of the total revenue.

Add to this the direct and indirect economic impact of provincial and federal institutions like the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters and the University of Prince Edward Island, and it’s safe to say the City of Charlottetown certainly doesn’t pull its own weight financially.

Therefore, when any Islander regardless of where they live expresses an opinion about life in their capital city, or God forbid questions a decision made by City Council, they have a right to do so. As our capital city, Charlottetown is a favored community. It enjoys a special status and every Islander has an investment in its sound administration and future development.

It is important to point all of this out because the capital city establishment, especially the lawyers and developers, and municipal leaders, tend to view the city as their own private backyard, and everyone else should, well, just mind their own business.

Although I reside in Hunter River, and try to support all of our local services, I venture into “town” frequently to shop, see my doctor, go to a movie, or enjoy a shawarma at Cedar’s Eatery, in my opinion the best Lebanese restaurant in Canada.

I also try to keep up with the issues and challenges confronting our capital city, and certainly affordable housing, or the lack thereof, has been at the top of the priority list.

That is why I was shocked when City Council a few months ago, using a very unorthodox and limited review process, approved a $30 million 8-story luxury apartment complex for the Charlottetown waterfront, a 99-unit building to be erected on Haviland Street.

According to APM developer Tim Banks, these luxury apartments will include “everything from a gym to a dog wash” and rent for about 15% more than existing apartments in the city. Banks claims the housing market needs more than affordable units, which should be music to the ears of wealthier clients but not to working families and younger professionals who are already paying exorbitant rents for often substandard housing.

But what is especially galling about this development is the abbreviated and under-the-covers approval process, without any opportunity for public review or consultation. Evidently, the city bylaw for the waterfront zone does not require a public meeting.

But there is strong opposition to the apartment complex and the only avenue concerned residents have to voice their opinions is social media, unless some individual or group directly effected by the APM development launches a formal appeal to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC).

During my time as Vice Chair of the Commission, I was amazed at how pliant the City was when it came to reviewing and assessing proposed development projects, sometimes willing to go against the recommendations of its own planning board to satisfy a developer’s wishes.

Undoubtedly, Tim Banks and APM have that kind of influence over the City, and the prevailing view is that “any build is a good build”.

Mr. Banks in his Twitter ramblings likes to call me the “Captain of the Can’t Get Ahead Gang”, whatever that means. He has me figured as an ignoramus when it comes to the construction industry, and adverse to the very notion of progress.

I grew up on construction work sites and know a little about that industry.

My father was a successful general contractor for most of his working life, building schools, post offices, and other commercial buildings throughout the province, and his father was a bridge builder who also put in the first concrete waterfront in Summerside, not far from where Mr. Banks’ father ran his service station. Not to belabor the point but my late brother Richard was an award-winning construction project manager, and his younger son is Chair of the Engineering Department at UNB.

But I also know something about responsible public administration, and what fair-minded government looks like, and I strongly believe the APM project on Haviland Street because of its scale and location, and impact on neighboring properties, should undergo a thorough public review.

That’s the view from Hunter River.


Note that recently it was announced that the Haviland development is on hold until the Spring -- but only on hold.

This was probably in the papers but I think I missed it.  Ole was kind enough to send it to me.

The Haviland Street Project could be a big opportunity for the City -- by Ole Hammarlund

As an MLA in Charlottetown I have been bombarded with request to do something about the proposed apartment tower on Haviland Street.   The opponents claim that the proposed new tower will be too tall and completely block the views from the existing building behind it.  But I am also aware that Charlottetown is in a housing crisis and higher-density housing is part of the solution.
Too often discussions on new development are framed as either “yes” or “no”, where one side wins and the other side loses.   Instead we should look at smart design that improves quality of life and the public space for all.  Is that even possible on this small site?
Definitely!  For inspiration just look to the Harborside One, the first section of the waterfront developments that began over 40 years ago.  This project featured underground parking with a well-developed public plaza and park on top.  The waterfront itself is enhanced with a busy marina and the place is both attractive to live in and a delight for the public to walk through.
This is exactly what could happen at the Haviland site if the City, CADC, the Province and the Feds get behind it.  It could be an advantage that the entire site is currently owned by one owner and involving the developer should be no hindrance.   Just look what developer Mike Arnold made happen at the Confederation Center Mall decades ago!
What is needed here is a re-design that looks at both the existing building and the new buildings as a single comprehensive project.  With a proper re-design, the parking could be reduced to a single story, covering more of the site.   Instead of the current two story parking garage facades, a lower single story could be softened with terraces and planters.   The actual water front could be extended with a marina, which could serve those boaters not allowed to use the dock in Victoria Park.
Most importantly the new apartments should be re-designed as two shallower blocks perpendicular to the shore so that existing views are not blocked and ALL new apartments get water views instead of just the front half as proposed.
The developers claim that they can build their proposed development without any public hearing, and in fact recent City by-law changes allow development without a public hearing as long as zoning and building codes are met.
This is of course a big IF.  In fact the review by an independent architect points out that the proposed project does NOT meet the zoning requirements.  The review shows that a maximum of 79 units are allowed, while the developer’s plan show 99 units, 20 more than allowed.   Pouring over the plans myself I also note that over two thirds of the bedrooms have no windows, a code requirement for bedrooms.   Developers often get around this by labeling such rooms as offices, leaving it up to the tenant what he want to use it for.  In any case, there would be plenty of reasons why City council could turn down this proposal, if they so choose.
Recently the developer announced that they are withdrawing their application.   This will give time to think about making something really good happen here, and include all levels of government.   Nothing worthwhile happens without a lot of effort, so let us get started now.  I am not against dense development, but all development should be good for all, including the neighbors and the citizens of Charlottetown.

Ole Hammarlund is the MLA for Charlottetown-Brighton and an architect.  Please comment at

Global Chorus essay for September 2nd
Paul Polman

If we are to overcome the enormous social and environmental challenges which face us – and I believe we can – then we will have to work differently in future. We will have to work in big partnerships where governments, business and civil society organizations collaborate together.

As a member of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda I became convinced that we could “put an end to extreme poverty” whilst at the same time safeguarding the planet for future generations. Central to the achievement of this goal was the idea of a “Partnership for Development” – grounded in a new spirit of solidarity and realized through a compact of commitments.

This is not a pipe dream. A number of such multi-stakeholder partnerships are already in place and delivering results at global scale. The GAVI Alliance is on track to immunize 243 million children against killer diseases in 73 of the world’s poorest countries. The Scaling Up Nutrition initiative has brought together multinational food companies, governments and NGOs in 43 countries to address malnutrition.

In the environmental area Unilever and the U.S. government have created the Tropical Forest Alliance. The goal of this partnership is to eliminate tropical deforestation from the supply chains of commodities like palm oil and soy. The Alliance now includes the governments of Indonesia, Norway, UK, the Netherlands and Liberia; dozens of NGOs as well as over 400 companies whose combined revenues exceed $3-trillion. Good progress is being made. If we succeed we will have overcome an issue which accounts for over 17 per cent of all greenhouse gases – more than the entire transportation sector.

In the years to come we will see many more such partnerships. Their energy will be fuelled by an irresistible demand for change from the young. Their call will be heeded by a new generation of business leaders who understand that the economic case for sustainable development is overwhelmingly strong.

I am convinced that we can forge a pathway that will deliver a better future for all – one where prosperity and environmental sustainability walk hand in hand.

     — Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever

Update: Polman is "Co-founder and Chair of IMAGINE, a benefit corporation and foundation accelerating business leadership to achieve the Global Goals."

One of his articles published on the LinkedIn site on charities, businesses and government stepping up to help stop the suffering caused by COVID-19.

essay from

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 1, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Virtual event: Islands and COVID-19 Recovery Plans:
Promoting Resilience and Sustainability, 11AM-12:30PM, free and all welcome

Click here to register
The Institute of Island Studies is delighted to kick off a season of online programming with a Virtual Hub event discussing Islands and COVID-19 Recovery Plans: Promoting Resilience and Sustainability.
This virtual panel and discussion will be an opportunity to share lessons on how islands are demonstrating resilience as they respond to COVID-19, and bring a collection of local voices together to discuss the challenges and opportunities that we are navigating here on Prince Edward Island.

Moderated by Dr. Laurie Brinklow, the discussion will be led by our key speakers (see below) who will then be joined by representatives from island communities around the world and here on PEI, before opening the floor up to questions from attendees.

• Dr. Jim Randall UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, UPEI
• Dr. Francesco Sindico Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG)

 Jane Ledwell (Prince Edward Island) Executive Director, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
• Dr. Giulia Sajeva (Egadi Islands, Italy) Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship holder with SCELG
• Dr. Andrew Jennings (Shetland Islands, Scotland) Institute for Northern Studies, University of Highlands and Islands
• Dr. John Telesford (Grenada) School of Continuing Education, T. A. Marryshow Community College
Registration link
Deadline Noon today for ordering: from Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO, for pickup Thursday:
Legislative Committee meeting today:
Public Accounts committee, 9:30AM

Topic: 2020 Report of the Auditor General to the Legislative Assembly

"The committee will meet to continue its review the 2020 Report of the Auditor General to the Legislative Assembly. Auditor General Darren Noonan will be in attendance.

Video recording is not available in the Committee Room of the J. Angus MacLean Building; an audio recording of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting."  
More details


Get Acquainted Series - Green Leadership Candidates III, 5:30-8PM, Founders Hall and online, all welcome.

With Courtney Howard and Glen Murray

....get together and 'Get Acquainted' with Federal Green Party of Canada Leadership Candidates.  People are gathering at Founder' Hall for food and discussion (social distancing rules followed) and candidates will be brought in virtually.  All welcome to attend in person or by Zoom:

See for more details:
Facebook event link

Met Opera corner:  20th Century works!

Strauss’s Elektra, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, Burkhard Ulrich, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. From April 30, 2016.

Britten’s Peter Grimes, 7:30PM Tuesday, until about 6:30PM Wednesday
Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Donald Runnicles. From March 15, 2008.

Global Chorus essay for September 1
Alexia Lane

How can we save the world? First we must ask ourselves if we willing to pay more for energy and water. Democratic governments recognize that their tenure would be short-lived if they insisted that oil and gas companies, for example, show minimal profits in order to reduce the cost of home utilities. Lack of profit from large companies, associated job losses, and rising unemployment would result in mobilization of voters to oust the government that restricted company profits.

However, if consumers accepted paying more for water, electricity and natural gas, governments would be free to impose restrictions not on company profits, but on company practices.

If consumers are prepared to pay more for water, electricity and natural gas, governments are in a position to mandate “cost-prohibitive” extraction technologies and to force the oil and gas industry, for example, to respond accordingly. Waterless methods to extract unconventional fossil fuels exist, but are rarely used due to the high cost associated with the technologies when compared with using essentially free fresh water. Costly technology ultimately translates into higher costs for us as consumers. If we are willing to pay more for our water and energy needs, the conservation effects would be twofold. Firstly, there would be greater impetus to conserve water and energy resources on a home-to-home basis. Secondly, industry would be forced to leave water resources intact, while continuing to surge forward in fossil fuel extraction.

If we are not prepared to pay more for water, electricity and natural gas, we will continue on the current path of destruction using primarily freshwater-intensive extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), because that is the less expensive solution, the one that keeps our water and natural gas bills at their current rates. The extent and intensity with which wells are being fracked across the globe is ever increasing despite known adverse environmental and public health effects. Moreover, fracking permanently removes water from the hydrologic cycle, a phenomenon that cannot be undone. All the water that will ever be on Earth is here today. How much are you willing to pay for that?

       — Alexia Lane, Water Lane Consulting, author of On Fracking

excellent book -- more about it here
more about the author here 

Note that it is my understanding that fracking is expressing forbidden on P.E.I. in the Water Act, (thanks to many Islanders who spoke out about the need to ban this) though the Act has actually not passed through all the legislative hoops as the regulations on groundwater extraction are being finalized.

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 31, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


This afternoon:

Back-to-School Q&A, 4:30PM, Facebook (Government of Prince Edward Island website), Education Minister Brad Trivers, Francois Rouleau from CSLF, and Norbert Carpenter

"Can't watch it live on Monday? No problem. You can have your own personal replay anytime on Facebook or on YouTube at"

Meet Annamie Paul over Green Tea, with Anna Keenan, 8:30-9:30PM, also over Facebook:
Each week, 1 candidate for Leader of the Canadian Greens will be chatting with Anna Keenan in this 'Over Green Tea' series.
Candidate 7 of 9 is Annamie Paul - a civic engagement activist, lawyer and international affairs professional who has focused on social innovation.
Check out Annamie's campaign website here:
Join the conversation live on Monday August 31, at
Remaining candidates are scheduled for:
Sunday Sep 6 - Meryam Haddad
Monday Sep 7 - David Merner 
Facebook event link
The deadline to register as a member of the Federal Green Party to vote in the leadership race is Thursday, September 3rd.
Met Opera
Verdi’s Falstaff, until tonight about 6:30PM
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Angela Meade, Stephanie Blythe and Ambrogio Maestri as Falstaff. From December 14, 2013. It's a Verdi comedy! 
Monday begins the 25th week of free daily Met Opera broadcasts and the theme is

Week 25 (20th Century and Beyond)

Monday, August 31
Strauss’s Elektra, Monday 7:30PM until 6:30PM Tuesday
Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, Burkhard Ulrich, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. From April 30, 2016.  Under two hours, set in a more modern setting, and shall we saw an electric performance by all?

More info:

This Friday!

Friday, September 4th:
Book Launch:
Esther of Farringford, 7PM, Haviland Club, free.

Learn about this fascinating woman in a book authored by Islander Lynne Thiele.

apologies for the poor quality of the poster -- my fault -- CO

News you may have heard already:

Sunday, August 30th, about 4:30PM, form P.E.I. Government press release:

Fish kill reported in Montrose River

On Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, Conservation Officers received a call from John Lane, Cascumpec Bay Watershed Association coordinator, reporting a fish kill in Alma on the Montrose River. Justice and Public Safety Conservation Officers, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Environment, Water and Climate Change staff attended.

The fish kill covers from Marchbank pond to the Confederation Trail in Alma. Just over 2,000 dead Brook Trout were collected Friday and Saturday and a couple hundred more were not able to be collected.

No cause has been determined. Samples have been collected and sent for analysis. The incident remains under investigation.

This section of river has had three reported fish kills since 2010, occurring July 13, 2010, Aug. 18, 2017, and Aug. 28, 2020.

Clean up is complete and the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change is assessing the area to determine next steps to help the fish population recover.

Atlantic Skies for August 31st-September 6th, 2020 - How Big is the Universe? by Glenn K. Roberts

The joy of my life, my granddaughter Scarlet, asked me the other day, "Poppy, how big is the universe?" Her boundless curiosity never ceases to amaze me. I attempted to explain to her, as best I could to an eight-year-old who has never traveled further than Halifax, Nova Scotia, that the universe, as we currently understand it, is very large, so large in fact, that we have to measure it, not in terms of kilometers, but, rather, in light years, and that, even then, the numbers are extremely big. I am not sure my explanation of exactly what a light year is (how far light travels through space in the course of one year, or approximately 9.5 trillion kilometers), and, how when multiplied by how far (in light years) we can see out into space, did much to answer her initial query, as the resulting silence and quizzical expression on her face told me she couldn't really grasp such distances (who can blame her?). Her response just about summed up what, I imagine, most people would say, "Guess that really is pretty big, isn't it, Poppy?"  "Yes, my darling, it certainly is", I replied.

In the 1920s, the American astronomer, Edwin Hubble (after whom the Hubble Space Telescope is named) and his assistant, Milton Humason, proved that the galaxies they were studying and photographing were, in fact, moving outward as viewed from Earth, or receding, into deep space, and, further, that the more distant the galaxy, the faster it was receding. This became known as Hubble's Law. Hubble's discovery actually grew out of earlier work by Albert Einstein, who, in 1917, predicted that the universe was expanding, because space itself was expanding. Although, at the time, Einstein wasn't confident enough in his expanding universe theory to publish it, it later formed the basis for his famous General Theory of Relativity.

When I use the term "universe" here, I mean the observable universe, the farthest point that we can see out into space with our best astronomical telescope - the Hubble Space telescope (HST). In 2016, the HST photographed what, to date, is the most distant object - the galaxy GN-z11, which, taking the expansion of the universe into consideration, is approximately 32 billion light years, or approximately 3.04 sextillion (3.04 followed by 21 zeros) kilometers away; a truly mind-boggling distance. However, astronomers theorize that the actual universe is much, much larger. Starting at the moment of the universe's theoretical creation (called the "Big Bang", though not an actual explosion), the accepted age of the universe is now thought to be approximately 13.8 billion years.  As the universe continues to expand, the most distant point in space from which we will ultimately receive light back from distant galaxies (which are increasingly moving away from us), known as the "cosmic horizon", is estimated to be about 46 billion light years away. It is theorized that, due to the increasingly rapid rate of expansion of the universe as a whole, we will never see any light from objects beyond the cosmic horizon. However, when the James Webb telescope (a much larger and more sophisticated telescope than the HST) is launched on Oct. 31, 2021, the boundaries of the known universe will, undoubtedly, be extended.  Though the above distance figures are truly mind-blowing. and may make you feel incredibly small, it should, at the very least, underscore just how unique our life-bearing planet Earth is in the great infinite vastness of the cosmos. and how wonderfully precious it is to have children and grandchildren who challenge you to think about it.

Mercury remains too close to the Sun to be visible this coming week. Venus (mag. -4.2) is visible, as it has been these past few weeks, in the pre-dawn sky. It rises around 2:45 a.m., reaching its highest point 34 degrees above the eastern horizon, before fading from sight as dawn breaks around 6:15. Mars (mag. -1.8) is visible in the early morning sky, rising in the east around 10:30 p.m., achieving its highest altitude (50 degrees) above the southern horizon by about 4:20 a.m., before becoming lost in the dawn twilight by 6:15 a.m. Jupiter and Saturn remain early evening objects, both visible side-by-side (bright Jupiter to the right) above the southeast horizon by about 8:30 p.m. Jupiter (mag. -2.58) disappears from view around 12:40 a.m., when it sinks below 7 degrees above the southeast horizon, followed by Saturn (mag. +0.31) around 1:30 a.m., when it sinks below 10 degrees above the southwest horizon.

When the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox (Sept. 22, 2020), occurs in October, as it does this year on Oct. 1, it is known as the "Harvest Moon". September's Full Moon (Sept. 2, 2020) is then referred to as the "Corn Moon", the name given to it by native American tribes, as this was when they usually harvested their corn crops..

Until next week, clear skies.


Sept. 2 - Full (Corn) Moon

         6 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)

Global Chorus essay for August 31

Paul Stamets

We are fully engaged in 6x – the sixth greatest extinction of life on this planet known thus far. There are an estimated 8.3 million species on Earth. We are losing nearly 30,000 species per year and may lose ~3,000,000 over the next century. Unlike previous celestial cataclysms, however, this extinction is uniquely caused by an organism – Us.

Loss of biodiversity directly threatens our environmental health. Fungi and algae frst marched onto land around a billion years ago. Some 300 million years later, “higher life forms” surged onto land, made possible by a holy union between the roots of plants and fungi.

Then, ~250 million years ago and again ~65 million years ago, two great extinction level cataclysms impacted the biosphere. The Earth was shrouded in dust, sunlight was cut of, the majority of plants and animals died … and fungi inherited the Earth. Those organisms pairing with fungi (whose mycelial networks do not need light) had better chances for survival.

With the passing of each generation of life, fungi built lenses of soils by decomposing the deceased, creating the foundation of the food webs for descendants.

The lessons of evolution have repeatedly shown that alliances with fungi can help us survive. Putting into practice ecologically rational myco-remedies can help make the course change needed to prevent 6x. Myco Practices for Protecting our Biospheres:

1. Mushroom cultivation centers should be located in every community for recycling debris and reinvented as environmental healing arts centers. Link all of these centers (“I.A.M.S” – “Institutes of Applied Mycology”) through

2. Grow mushrooms and mycelium as fungal foods for people and livestock.

3. Use the leftover mycelium from growing mushrooms, to fllter water of pathogens (such as E. coli, cholera and listeria), phosphates, fertilizers, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals and petroleum-based toxins.

4. Use mycelium and commensal bacteria for biofuels, enzymes, mycoattractants and medicines.

5. Integrate fungal platforms for Permaculture, no-till farming, forestry and aquaculture practices.

6. Grow mycelial mats that service bees by providing essential myconutrients, enhancing bees’ host defences of immunity to prevent colony collapse disorder (CCD). We must muster the courage to chart a new course. The solutions are literally underneath our feet. Please find more information in what is below.

    — Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, founder and managing director of Fungi Perfecti LLC

website and store, with lots of interesting links to fungi related areas:

About Paul Stamets:


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014

August 30, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 29, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 28, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Friday4Future, 4PM, Province House, Grafton and Great George Streets side.
We meet weekly, slight time change to 4-5pm, usually in front of Province House (on Grafton St.), to call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy.
Join us in solidarity with youth-led
#FridaysForFuture school climate strikes happening across Canada and around the world on Fridays, as founded by Greta Thunberg in Aug 2018,
All are welcome! We gather to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future. Feel free to bring your own signs and invite others.
We urge everyone to contact your MLAs, MPs and city/town Councillors and ask what actions they are taking to address the climate emergency. Email is good for keeping a record of answers.
We want young people and future generations to have a planet on which they can thrive. Children are welcome in this movement; all events will be peaceful, civil gatherings. We are moved to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future.

#Charlottetown #Canada #TellTheTruth #ActNow #BeyondPolitics
Tomorrow, Saturday, August 29th:
Art in the Open,  4PM-midnight.  Free public art festival.  No "March of the Crows" but lots to see and experience anyway.  Maps, Covid guidelines, etc., here:

Met Opera streaming:

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From December 8, 2012.  A masked ball goes awry, set in a "Film Noir" setting.

Friday, August 28
Verdi’s La Traviata, 7:30PM until tomorrow noon
Starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From December 15, 2018.  "As Violetta, the consumptive heroine fighting to find true happiness, soprano Diana Damrau delivers yet another compelling portrayal on the Met stage. Tenor Juan Diego Flórez sings his first Verdi role with the company, as Violetta’s ardent yet impetuous lover, Alfredo, and baritone Quinn Kelsey rounds out the principal cast as Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s implacable father. "  So this doesn't end well, with both consumptive heroine AND disapproving not-nice rich father....Damrau was just Gilda in Rigoletto, so it's cool to see her do something completely different, but still Verdi.

Coverage of the Legislative Assembly Records committee progress:

P.E.I.'s former auditor general says progress made since e-gaming investigation - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Thursday, August 27th, 2020


Investigators in the office of P.E.I.’s auditor general believe the province has made progress on improving records retention, amid an ongoing investigation related to deleted government email accounts of staff involved in the failed e-gaming initiative.

Former auditor general Jane MacAdam stepped out of retirement on Wednesday to speak before the legislative standing committee on records retention.

The all-party committee was struck in late June after the province’s information and privacy commissioner found that several years of emails of a government employee involved in the e-gaming initiative were missing.

The commissioner deemed these missing records to be a violation of the Archives and Records Act.

The missing records have raised questions about the retention of internal communication of government employees, which can be subject to public disclosure under freedom of information requests.

The e-gaming initiative involved a failed attempt under the former Liberal government of Robert Ghiz to establish P.E.I. as a regulatory hub for online gambling.

The fallout from the initiative has been an ongoing lawsuit involving a company that has accused Provincial government officials of violating the terms of a signed agreement and of deliberately deleting internal government records.  Two variations of this lawsuit have been dismissed, but a decision related to an appeal is expected in the coming months.

In a 2016 investigation into the e-gaming initiative MacAdam and staff of the auditor general’s office concluded that provincial departments were not adequately retaining documents, including email accounts of top government staff, in contravention of the Archives and Records Act. 

But a follow-up to the 2016 report, completed last fall, concluded that some progress had been made in relation to government records retention practices.

Jennifer Bowness, a senior audit manager with the auditor general's office, said compliance with records retention policy has improved.

"Compliance was reported in 2019 as being between 60 and 80 per cent of all departments," Bowness said.  By contrast, Bowness said an internal assessment conducted by the Public Archives and Records office in 2009 found that 93 per cent of provincial departments “had not addressed electronic records management".

Bowness said more civil servants have received some training in records retention, and more records and information management staff have been hired.  "I really do think there has been a lot more buy-in in regards to records retention,” Bowness said.

MacAdam told the committee that, during the 2016 investigation, investigators in her office felt that they had not been provided with records from some key civil servants involved in the initiative.

"Email accounts of some former senior government officials who were key participants in the e-gaming initiative, the loyalty card program and/or the financial services platform were closed, deleted or could not be recovered," MacAdam told the standing committee.

MacAdam said the deleted accounts included those of a former chief of staff of former premier Robert Ghiz, a former deputy minister and a former executive council clerk.  The follow-up report examined the status of the 15 recommendations made in the 2016 special assignment report on e-gaming. Eight of the recommendations were deemed to have been complete, while seven were classified as “ongoing”.

Among the recommendations deemed “ongoing” was one calling for the Public Archives and Records Office to regularly monitor compliance with records retention policies of government departments and submit these reports to the Department of Education, which governs the office. Another recommendation deemed to be “ongoing” called for the minister of education to ensure these policies are followed. 

MacAdam said recommendations were deemed “ongoing” if some action had been taken to enforce existing legislation, but the need to comply to the legislation remained present.  “This is an ongoing action item to be assessed at least annually and updated as circumstances change," MacAdam said of these recommendations.

MacAdam and Bowness also said text messages and instant messages should be considered government records and should be retained in a manner similar to internal emails.


I am not sure when the committee will meet next.  Calendar of Committee meetings for next Tuesday- Thursday:

Last week the not-so-good milestone of Earth Overshoot Day passed, which marks the day when it's estimated "...humanity’s demand for ecological resources surpasses what the planet can regenerate in that year."

from the Global Footprint Measure:

Measure what you treasure

Humans use as much ecological resources as if we lived on 1.6 Earths. The Ecological Footprint is the only metric that compares the resource demand of individuals, governments, and businesses against what Earth can renew.

more at the website, above.

Global Chorus essay for August 28
Shin-ichiro Terayama

I was a physicist and suffered from cancer in 1984. I transformed, and have been free of metastasized kidney cancer for more than 25 years. I tell the story of the recovery from cancer with cello-playing, confessing how I loved my cancer instead of fighting it. I changed to a vegetarian “macrobiotic” diet, drinking selected good mineral water, and most importantly, I watched the sunrise every day in the morning. It was in front of the morning sun that I made an exciting discovery. I found I was becoming very positive, very relaxed, and healing energy was entering my heart chakra, first through my heart and then to all seven chakras. I began to practise cello again after a long absence. These things were done harmoniously by my intuition and not by instruction.

I call myself a “holistic management consultant” because I approach the healing of the person, company, community and system through holistic means … as a whole. My work is educating people with loving wisdom, using the tools of subtle energy and energy medicine.

And so, in turn, for healing our Earth and ourselves, here is the prayer that I offer you today:
Now it is the very precious time for us human beings to pray for the future of the Earth.
This is the prayer without wishes.
We should also pray for us with love.
This love is unconditional love.
We also pray for us within to our inside.
It is also the time for us to transform by ourselves.
Pray for us with love.


    — Shin-ichiro Terayama, president of Shin-Terayama Office Co. Ltd., fellow of the Findhorn Foundation, vice-president of Japan Weller-Than-Well Society, author of My Cancer Disappeared: A Document of the Natural Healing of Cancer

A lot of imspiring content at this website:

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 27, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Special Committee on Government Records Retention, 1:30PM, audiorecording available afterwards here.

Topic: Briefings from current and former Information and Privacy Commissioners

The committee will meet to receive a briefing from Information and Privacy Commissioner Denise Doiron and former Information and Privacy Commissioner Karen Rose.

Video recording will not be available for these meetings; an audio recording of the meetings will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meetings. The buildings of the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public.

Yesterday's audio recordings (and the other past meetings) are here:
as will today's after the meeting.

Monday, August 31st:
Before the Bell,  Questions and Answers for Parents, 4:30PM, Facebook Live and PEI Government website, hosted by PEI Government.
Questions can be submitted ahead of time here:

Watch live (or replay anytime afterwards) at or
Met Opera streaming

Verdi’s Luisa Miller, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Olesya Petrova, Piotr Beczała, Plácido Domingo, Alexander Vinogradov, and Dmitry Belosselskiy, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. From April 14, 2018.  Rich nice young man loves not-rich nice girl and rich dad interferes; tragedy results, breaking heart of not-rich dad.  Everyone sings so heatbreakingly beautifully.

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, 7:30PM tonight until Friday 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From December 8, 2012.  "David Alden’s elegant 2012 production moves Verdi’s thrilling drama to a timeless setting inspired by film noir. Marcelo Álvarez is Gustavo III, the Swedish king in love with Amelia (Sondra Radvanovsky), the wife of his best friend and counselor, Count Anckarström (Dmitri Hvorostovsky). When Anckarström joins a conspiracy to murder the king, tragedy ensues."

The "Land Matters PEI" website, presumably externally crafted, graphics heavy and a bit hard on the eyes and the rural internet capacity, has background on what Government is planning to do with some prickly land use issues facing Islanders.  Originally, I thought the public consultation was until the end of August, but I am not finding a deadline in my cursory reading.  They are printing others' feedback, personal info removed, if you want to get an idea what people are saying.

Thanks to Barb Dylla for her research on this:
About Urban Laughlin: When he was inducted into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2010:

GUEST OPINION: Land bank study results are credible - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Urban Laughlin

Published on Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

I am writing this letter in response to the story in The Guardian (Land bank in limbo, Aug. 1). It seems that Transportation Minister Steven Myers did not get what he expected from the comprehensive report on land banking submitted by Dr. Kevin J. Arsenault. 

It is never prudent to have any pre-conceived notions of what such a report will or will not contain. From the information written by Guardian reporter Stu Neatby, I understand that Kevin Arsenault's report did in fact delve into the ways in which a land banking system could be established. In addition, the report went into detail about the absolute need to protect and improve Island soil which has become very depleted over the past number of years. Including recommendations needed to improve and protect Island soil seems to have struck a nerve with Transportation Minister Myers.

Kevin Arsenault certainly has the credibility to write the report, which he did and deserves and has earned credit for what he has written. 

In fact, he deserves an apology from the Transportation minister. Premier Dennis King apparently agreed initially that the report should contain information on the degradation of Island soil and ways to improve this situation. Now the Transportation minister is planning to have a "more formal staff person" write a more pleasing report at the cost of an additional $50,000. One cannot help but wonder why this staff person was not asked to submit a report on land banking in the first place. The department was, in fact, very fortunate to have a person of Kevin Arsenault's calibre and research capabilities to compile the report.

The Arsenault report recommended ways in which young farmers would be able to procure land to get started and other farm families would be able to gain access to additional land instead of land being amassed by large corporations and industrial agriculture corporations, which is happening today. Protecting farm land for farm families who live on the farm and carefully tend the soil is more in line with the thinking of former premier J. Angus MacLean and attorney general Horace Carver many years ago.

I would submit to Mr. Myers that nothing is a mistake as long as it is corrected. The report is extremely well researched and the protection of Island soil is so very important. This is not about what Transportation Minister Steven Myers wants — it is all about what Island farm families and the soil itself needs.

Please get on with the job of establishing a farm land banking system for P.E.I.

Urban Laughlin is a retired dairy farmer in Sherbrooke, P.E.I. 

Global Chorus essay author for August 27
John Vlahides

I’ve travelled the world, known princes and stars, yet the wisest words I’ve ever heard spoken came not from a statesman or celebrity, but from a humble mystic yogi in San Francisco, who told me, “The best thing any of us can do is to sweeten the psychic atmosphere.” Our hope lies in the pursuit of spiritual values. We must expand our consciousness. Excelsior! To find the way forward, go within: meditate.

       —John A. Vlahides, travel writer, California television personality

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 26, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food: 
EatLocalPEI: order local food until midnight tonight, for pickup Saturday late afternoon.

Heart Beet Organics: order this morning, or stop by between 3-6PM this afternoon, 152 Great George Street.  Cafe and patio open Wednesdays through Saturdays.


This morning:
Special (Legislative)  Committee on Government Records Retention, 10AM,

Topic: Briefings from current and former Auditor Generals

"The committee will meet to receive a briefing from Auditor General Darren Noonan and former Auditor General Jane MacAdam.

Video recording will not be available for these meetings; an audio recording of the meetings will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meetings. The buildings of the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public."

Committee home page:
Protecting Animals on P.E.I.: Law, Policy and Food Culture, 7PM, Haviland Club, in-person event (still a few spaces left, see link to register)
Facebook event link

Some Arts online:
Metropolitan Opera today and tomorrow:

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, until 6:30PM tonight
"Starring Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick, Yonghoon Lee, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Stefan Kocán, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From October 3, 2015." Amazing cast.

Verdi’s Luisa Miller, 7:30PM Today Wednesday until about 6:30PM Thursday 
"Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Olesya Petrova, Piotr Beczała, Plácido Domingo, Alexander Vinogradov, and Dmitry Belosselskiy, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. From April 14, 2018."   Also an amazing cast.  And handkerchiefs, please.

  Met Opera website for performances and lots of background articles and video:

Yesterday's Education and Economic Growth Committee meeting on resuming public school was audio-recorded and is here (bottom of list):

Government Media Release on Expanding Internet:

from yesterday:

The PEI Broadband Fund has added two new funding streams to help Islanders access improved Internet service.

The two new funding streams are:

  • Accelerated Internet Service Provider Pilot – funding for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to upgrade or expand their networks to reach more Island residents

  • Residential Pilot – funding for Island residents to purchase equipment that will provide connections to wireless broadband services

The Accelerated Internet Service Provider Pilot will provide grants up to 90 per cent with a maximum of $150,000 per project. A call for applications is now open and will be accepted until September 8th. Projects will be subject to a completion date of December 31, 2020. ISPs can apply for funding by visiting Prince Edward Island Broadband Fund

Islanders eligible for the Residential Pilot will receive up to 100 per cent funding with a maximum of $5,000 per household. Eligible connection equipment costs include antennas, tripods, towers, and hydro poles. One project per household will be approved. Applications are now open and residents can apply for funding by visiting Prince Edward Island Broadband Fund.

Four new recipients have received funding from the PEI Broadband Fund, they are:

  • Island Telecom Services Inc.

  • Granville Ridge Consulting

  • H6 PEI Investments

  • BCD Automation


The PEI Broadband Fund launched in September 2019. The program provides financial support to communities, businesses, and internet service providers for the installation of infrastructure for enhanced broadband services. 


CBC website link on the story:

  It would be good to hear some comments/critical review on the internet proposals from neither politicians nor those with vested interests.

GUEST OPINION: Rural revitalization hamstrung by lack of good internet in P.E.I. -The Guardian Guest opinion by Chris McGarry

Published on Wednesday, August 17th, 2020

​​These days, one can barely turn on their phone or open a local newspaper without their eyes gazing upon a news headline that includes the words “revitalization” or “transparency”. Island politicos are especially skilled in their efforts to placate the masses with false promises of transparency which – at best – has become a tired, meaningless platitude.

A similar approach has been taken toward revitalizing the rural regions of Prince Edward Island. Election after election, we are treated to the same old assurances by already sitting MLAs or those with a desire to entire the political arena regarding what their plans are to give rural P.E.I. a new lease on life.

Unless one has been living on the moon for the past four decades, they most likely have taken notice and cringed at the decline of the small communities that dot this beautiful island from North Cape to East Point. Loss of small farms in lieu of corporate agriculture. Local stores and businesses shuttering their doors. Services taken from rural areas and centralized in Charlottetown and Summerside.

Another buzzword politicians love to throw around is infrastructure, as in, there is always a need for increased and improved infrastructure. While I would be in full agreement that many of the roads in rural P.E.I. are akin to something one might find in a second-world country, if MLAs are serious about resurrecting the Island countryside, the most crucial piece of infrastructure needed right now is high-speed internet.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world and our small island, working remotely was increasingly becoming a "new normal" with regards to employment. As the office increasingly becomes a relic of the past – and more people work from home – top-notch internet services will ensure that more Islanders as well as newcomers choose the rural areas for living.

Struggling to get work done using slow, dawdling internet is a harrowing (not to mention, time-consuming) exercise in frustration. In this day and age, when the world has never been so well-connected, operating a remote business means building up a clientele through social media platforms and mailing lists — not to mention communicating with the entire planet. If the political will existed to fix this pressing matter, working from home could all be done from the comfort of a bedroom or office in Tignish, Iona, Souris or Bonshaw just as easily as it is in the province’s two urban centres.

Sadly, as we speak, there is little in the way of political will to provide every corner of P.E.I. with high-speed internet.

Small businesses, community schools, farming cooperatives, rural transportation systems and better roads are all excellent initiatives which should be implemented, but without the most critical piece of infrastructure of all – excellent internet – those proposals will never get off the ground.

If the province’s political class is truly serious about making rural P.E.I. great again, they will put their money where their mouths are and devise a plan for tip-to-tip internet.

Chris McGarry lives in the rural community of Belfast, P.E.I.

Global Chorus essay for August 26
Steven Rockefeller

The students sitting in a circle outdoors were looking dejected when the fap of wings startled them. A raven landed in their midst. “Hey,” he croaked, “put that UN report on the state of the world away and listen up. The last thing anyone, including all the birds, needs right now is for you to fall into a state of despair.”

“The damage industrial societies have done to the beauty and biodiversity of Earth is a terrible tragedy. Humankind is a frightening predator out of control,” blurted a young woman.

“Only part of the story,” responded the raven. “It is humanity’s destiny to become the mind of Earth’s biosphere, to create a global civilization that is culturally diverse, just, sustainable and peaceful, and to celebrate the sacredness of life.”

“A fine vision,” said another student, “but how is it possible to transform industrial-technological society?”

“Don’t lose faith in the creative potential of human intelligence and the basic goodness of the human heart when liberated from ignorance and fear,” said the bird.

“The advance of education, science and participatory democracy is the way forward. Adaptation to climate change will be difficult, but the building of clean energy economies that maximize reuse and recycling and dramatically reduce waste is underway. Innovative leaders are also finding the path to sustainability and the eradication of poverty by creating vibrant, resilient, local communities well integrated with their bioregions.”

“Will people develop the sense of shared responsibility and courage to make the hard choices and necessary sacrifices to safeguard the environment?”

“Excellent question. You have inspiring spiritual traditions that emphasize being more, not having more, with a focus on right relationship with oneself, other persons, the larger living world and the mystery of being, the sacred source of the universe. Humanity is beginning to awaken from its anthropocentric delusions. The natural world is not just a collection of resources for human exploitation. Earth’s biosphere is a community of life and you are interdependent members of it. Your democracy must evolve into more of a biocracy and implement the global ethic of respect and care for the greater community of life already widely supported in civil society. A new sense of global interdependence and universal responsibility is emerging in the consciousness of millions of women and men.”

“There is hope then?”

“There is hope only if you go out and join those brave and visionary women and men who are striving to be their best and build a better world.” With that, the raven took two hops and few away.

     — Steven C. Rockefeller, professor emeritus of religion at Middlebury College, Vermont

from Wikipedia:

Steven Clark Rockefeller (born April 19, 1936) is a fourth-generation member of the Rockefeller family, and a former dean of Middlebury College. He is the oldest living member of the family who still carries the Rockefeller name, and has been the oldest living Rockefeller since his uncle David Rockefeller died (at the age of 101) in March 2017.

Rockefeller is a philanthropist who focuses on education, Planned Parenthood, human rights and environmental causes. He is a trustee of the Asian Cultural Council and an advisory trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He has also served as a director of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.  <snip>

  essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 25, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 24, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 23, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

People Power
Haviland/waterfront multi-story apartment building put on hold

"Great news! Killam/Banks has just now announced that 15 Haviland has been put on hold til at least spring 2021. As you know, until this announcement, the project was to break ground this summer. Thank you to everyone who helped mount opposition to what would have been an urban design disaster and flawed approval process that our city does not deserve.
--- from Doug MacArthur, Saturday, August 22nd, 2020, on social media

Sunday Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street (closed to auto traffic for that time). 

One of some cultural events available live:

Music at Confederation Landing Park, 2-4PM and 6-8PM, most days, today featuring Joce Reyome from 2-4PM, and Baryy O'Brien from 6-8PM
Facebook event details

Met Opera video streaming

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, today until about 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Battle, Rockwell Blake, Leo Nucci, Enzo Dara, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Ralf Weikert. From December 3, 1988.

Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, tonight 7:30PM until about 6:30PM Monday
Starring Judith Blegen, Frederica von Stade, Jean Kraft, Rosalind Elias, and Michael Devlin, conducted by Thomas Fulton. From December 25, 1982.  one hour 40 minutes.
This is the older production, the one before the last decade, very classic set and all, with the wonderfully talented Frederica von Stade as Hansel.

The Federal Conservative Party Leadership contest results will be announced this evening, on local CBC TV, also.

from The Guardian this week:

Charlottetown man completes 12-year project making his home energy efficient - The Guardian article by Michael Robar

Published on Wednesday, August 19th, 2020
full article, photos and video at the link

One day 13 years ago, as Tim McCullough was going through a divorce, one of his daughters asked him to build a gingerbread house with her.

With no gingerbread on hand, they ended up building a cardboard house instead.

That arts and crafts project served as an outlet and distraction from his grief, and spurred McCullough to think bigger. Soon he was thinking about how he could build his very own engery-efficent "gingerbread" house.

Twelve years later, with the installation of solar panels on his home on Valley Street in Charlottetown last week, his environmentally friendly, real-life house is finally complete.

While McCullough hopes to be an inspiration to others to make energy-efficient changes, he is quick to recognize his own shortcomings.

Tim McCullough stands in front of his Charlottetown home as workers install solar panels on his home on Aug. 13, bringing a 12-year project to an end.Tim McCullough stands in front of his Charlottetown home as workers install solar panels on his home on Aug. 13, bringing a 12-year project to an end. - photo by Michael Robar

“I’m not ideal, but at least I’m trying, you know. I’m moving in that direction. I’m trying to set an example.”

Getting started

The selection of the house was important, as it needed to be close to the city centre to reduce his reliance on a car.

After purchasing the property, the first step was to get rid of the oil furnace. He replaced it with a low-emissions wood stove and electric heat. Later, he installed a heat pump.

“As it is right now, I can heat the whole house with either my wood stove only … or I can also heat it right now efficiently with only one heat pump.”

Next he removed the asbestos siding and added more insulation.

Throughout the process, McCullough tried to source local as much as he could.

His windows were made in Cornwall; the cedar shingles he used for siding were from New Brunswick. He also sourced antique parts and furniture.

“I’d buy the raw lumber, I’d dry it and then I’d put it through a planer and use it.”

McCullough did much of the work, though he had help from more than 40 people over the years.

One of those people was Ole Hammarlund, who thinks McCullough has made a beautiful home despite — or because of — its size.

“His house is, or was, a small house. It was even smaller at first.” 

The current Green MLA for Charlottetown-Brighton was a former architect who specialized in sustainable builds. He helped design parts of the home, including an addition on the back.

“I helped him fix the foundation and showed him how you could add an extra bedroom and a bathroom upstairs just by building up.”

Energy rebates:

  • Heat pumps: regular rebates between $1,200 and $4,000 depending on type. Low-income rebates between $2,400 and $7,000.

  • Boiler and heaters: regular rebates between $500 and $1,500 depending on type. Low-income rebates between $900 and $2,750.

  • Hot water heaters and recovery: regular rebates between $500 and $1,500 depending on type. Low-income rebates between $900 and $2,750.

  • Biomass heat: regular rebates between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on type. Low-income rebates between $1,800 and $3,500

  • Visit the Efficiency P.E.I. website to find out how to apply under Transportation and Infrastructure.

  • Apply online or mail or drop off an application form with copies of dated receipt(s), a Certificate of Compliance, and proof of income (if required) to the address listed at the bottom of the webpage.

Advice for others

McCullough understands making renovations to a house can be daunting. Part of that comes from how people think about it, he said.

“We need to, as people, not think that everything has to be all or nothing. It’s gradual improvements, individually and collectively.”

Beyond that, planning and patience are key.

“You get a much nicer product if you take your time and think about what you want. People rush too much, I think.”

It’s also best to make energy efficient changes as early as possible, if only for the savings provided, said Hammarlund.

“It may take 10 years, it may take 20 years, but ultimately the yearly savings would pay for what you do.”

McCullough also recommends people take advantage of rebates and advice through Efficiency P.E.I.

“Having that rebate program available for us means that more people can do this and be involved at a reasonable economic thing.”

As for how McCullough feels now that his home is complete, he’s modest.

“It’s so nice to have a house that, you know, this is not an expensive house to own or run.”


A lot at this website:
Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) with today's Global Chorus essayist Doug McKenzie-Mohr:

"For over two decades Dr. McKenzie-Mohr has been working to incorporate scientific knowledge on behaviour change into the design and delivery of community programs. He is the founder of community-based social marketing and the author of three books on the topic.

Global Chorus essay for August 23 

Doug McKenzie-Mohr

Humanity will make the transition to a sustainable future. Nature bats last and, ultimately, will dictate that we fully embrace sustainability. While we have no choice regarding whether we make this transition, we do have a choice regarding how gracefully we do so.

The grace with which we make this transition will be largely determined by how we envision the future. At present, we are rudderless. We have no compelling, broadly understood visions of a sustainable future. Without such foresight, how do we mobilize seven billion to work in concert? Without a clear understanding of what is to be gained, how do we build broad support for the difficult choices that need to be made? These shared visions must be both inspirational and collective in their origin. They must also clearly articulate a pathway from here to there.

Just as our collective actions presently undermine the world’s ecosystems, collective action catalyzed by shared purpose can heal not only the Earth, but also humanity. Who hasn’t been heartbroken by the gulf between what we know to be possible and what humanity has settled for? Acting with shared purpose can embolden the human spirit to expect and strive for more.

We can story our present circumstances as dire and intractable, and in so doing ensure the very future that we hope to avoid. Or, we can story our circumstances as dire but surmountable, and in so doing mobilize the very actions that sustainability requires. How we story this inevitable transition will in large part determine the grace with which we make it.

     — Doug McKenzie-Mohr, PhD, environmental psychologist, author of Fostering Sustainable Behaviour


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 22, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Open-Air Market, open 8AM-1PM, outside, along the parking lot.

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-12noon**, outside the Holman Building

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-6PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, bulk ordering for you to process at home, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, etc.
**Cafe and store now open, Wednesday-Saturday**


Tonight -- Last show!
Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEI 2020, 8-10PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Charlottetown.   
Facebook event listing

Opera on radio and online:

Radio: Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, CBC Music Radio), 1PM, 104.7FM,

Die Frau ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss

Video streaming of Met Opera recordings:

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra until about 6:30PM tonight
Starring Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani, Plácido Domingo, and James Morris. An amazing cast. From February 6, 2010.
Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia , tonight until Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Battle, Rockwell Blake, Leo Nucci, Enzo Dara, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Ralf Weikert. From December 3, 1988.  A Classic!

Next week:
Wednesday, August 26th:

Protecting Animals on PEI: Law, policy, and food culture, 7-9PM, Haviland Club, small fee $5.
from the Facebook event notice (edited):
A discussion of issues related to animal protection legislation, regulation, enforcement, and industry accountability in our own backyard and beyond.
Attendees will learn about effective advocacy, the legislative process, and the role of federal, provincial, and municipal governments in promoting the enactment of laws that protect all animals from cruelty.
Speakers include:
Camille Labchuk, leading animal rights lawyers, executive director of Animal Justice. She has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, and testified before legislative committees to advance animal protections.
Dr. Elizabeth Schoales, Atlantic representative for Animal Justice, former professor of history, working fulltime to improve animal protection legislation.
Currently the session is in-person only, following social distancing guidelines. For more information, see the Facebook event link or email:

Also next week:
Thursday, August 27th,:
Schumacher Center for Economics Conversation, with Mary Berry and Bill McKibben, on Zoom, 3PM webinar.

They will reflect on their (previous) talks given current political, economic, and social realities and will then comment on each other’s work. Registration is free. A question and answer period will follow initial presentations.

Mary Berry is the Executive Director of The Berry Center and a leader in the movement for sustainable agriculture. A well-known advocate for the preservation of rural culture and agriculture, she is currently working to reconnect cities with landscapes around them. Founded in 2011, The Berry Center advocates for small farmers, land conservation, and healthy regional economies by focusing on land use, farm policy, farmer education, urban education about farming, and local food infrastructure. Its goal is to establish within the Commonwealth of Kentucky a national model of urban-rural connectedness.
Berry is attempting to restore a culture that has been lost in rural America.

Bill McKibben is an environmentalist and author who frequently writes about global warming, alternative energy, and the risks associated with human genetic engineering. Awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the Alternative Nobel, in 2014, he is the founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate-change movement, and is a fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute.

Registration Link

A further note from Schumacher Center:
In celebration of 40 years of the Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures, and in anticipation of the October 25, 2020 Lectures with Kali Akuno and George Monbiot, we are highlighting the work of past speakers, asking for updates of their earlier remarks, and inviting them to reflect on current conditions. Previous Schumacher Conversations archived here.  

Home Page of Schumacher Center:

Tough reading but eye-opening on the website from today's Global Chorus essayist, Frank Rotering:

Global Chorus essay for August 22
Frank Rotering

Humankind does have hope, but it is the limited hope of salvaging what remains of the biosphere, and it will require effective action rooted in historical imagination and political courage. With imagination we can envision a sustainable world beyond capitalism and socialism. With courage we will acknowledge that environmental reforms have failed, that time is running out, and that the only remaining choice is between revolutionary change and ecological catastrophe.

My proposed movement, contractionism, is a response to this reality. Its central tenet is that the core component of capitalism, which generates the system’s remorseless expansion, must be immediately replaced. For this purpose I have developed an economic framework called the Economics of Needs and Limits, or ENL. The application of ENL’s principles will result in the rapid contraction of the world’s bloated economies while satisfying human needs within natural limits.

The unavoidable consequence of this replacement is that capitalism will be historically superseded, a momentous shift that will be fiercely resisted by those in power. This is why contractionism is a revolutionary movement – one that seeks to replace the current ruling class with a group dedicated to sustainable well-being. Such revolutions are particularly necessary in the rich capitalist countries. Their economies are causing the most severe environmental degradation, and must therefore be curtailed with the greatest urgency.

Social turmoil is not a valid argument against revolution because turmoil is now inevitable. In the absence of contractionary revolutions, escalating environmental degradation will cause social chaos as people – especially the poor – face increasing hunger and fee from the rising seas and unbearable heat. We are again faced with only one choice: between revolutionary disruption and a chance to solve the crisis, and non-revolutionary disruption and the certainty of ecological collapse.

The critical need today is for talented leaders to step forward and initiate these movements. An important strategy will be to redefine popular interests: to shift the focus from short-term consumption to long-term well-being. A crucial consideration will be to include conservatives as well as progressives. Business and justice, after all, are both impossible on a dead planet.     

      —Frank Rotering, independent economic and political thinker, author of The Economics of Needs and Limits and Contractionary Revolution

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 21, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Friday4Future, 4PM, By Grafton side of Province House. "All are welcome! We gather to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future. Feel free to bring your own signs and invite others."
Facebook event details link

Fundraiser for Beirut, 5-7PM, Founders Hall Food Court
"The explosion in Beirut on August 4th killed over 200, injured over 6,000 and destroyed the homes of over 300,000. The devastation is compounded by Covid and the loss of their food supply.
Founders Food Hall has graciously allowed us to host a fundraiser on August 21 from 5pm - 7pm. There will be storytelling, music and a silent auction.
Many vendors have generously agreed to donate proceeds from sales that day. All funds raised will go to local organizations in Beirut.
If you would like to help, donate an item or funds, please contact Georgina Bassett at 902-316-0004. Donations can also be made by e-transfer to"

Facebook event lin

Opera corner:  Tandem Verdi!  and Lots of Amelias.

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, today until about 6:30PM   Old CLASSIC!!
This two hour production "...captures all the brooding power and elegance of Verdi’s drama of love and politics. Luciano Pavarotti stars as Riccardo, the unlucky ruler in love with his best friend’s wife, Amelia (Aprile Millo). Leo Nucci is the husband torn between loyalty and his thirst for revenge, and Florence Quivar sings Ulrica, the fortuneteller who prophesizes the tragic ending."  And a masked ball.   Uh-oh.   From January 26, 1991.

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, tonight 7:30PM until tomorrow about 6:30PM.  Newish CLASSIC!
"Boccanegra is beset on all sides, juggling political adversaries bent on murder with his love for his long-lost daughter Amelia (Adrianne Pieczonka)."  This is one of the earliest performances with Placido Domingo taking on the baritone role of Simon, after playing the tenor revolutionary Gabriele in earlier productions.  From February 6, 2010.

Scarborough Fair meets Farm Centre Legacy Garden

"Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there

She once was a true love of mine...."
---traditional English ballad, popularized by American folk duo Simon and Garfunkel

Though the song lists impossible tasks, it's quite possible to order these herbs and others, fresh or dried, plus soil amendments, potatoes, and more.  Not 100% sure about rosemary, but there is chamomile for tea. Straightforward Google form here and more info at the Farm Legacy Garden Facebook page

The Land Institute

You could just immerse yourself in this website from The Land Institute, in the United States, founded by today's Global Chorus essayist Wes Jackson.

"The Land Institute is a ...non-profit organization based in Salina, Kansas, that was founded in 1976. The Land Institute’s work, led by a team of plant breeders and ecologists in multiple partnerships worldwide, is focused on developing perennial grains, pulses and oilseed bearing plants to be grown in ecologically intensified, diverse crop mixtures known as perennial polycultures. The Institute’s goal is to create an agriculture system that mimics natural systems in order to produce ample food and reduce or eliminate the negative impacts of industrial agriculture."

For instance, on perennial crops:
"Humans have been producing food using the same paradigm for 10,000 years. But the burden of a growing population and the impacts of an industrial approach to farming threaten the entire enterprise. We are working toward a solution."

There is video (one hour 11 minutes) of founder and journalist Bill McKibben giving the main aaddress on conservation and restoration at the 2019 Prairie Festival:

and so much more.
Here is a little bit about Kernza (registered trademark), a perennial "intermediate wheatgrass" from a non-GMO information site:

and more from the Land Institute's Lunch and Learn videos from April of this year:

Is anyone actually working on any of these ideas (the perennials, etc., besides in Lethbridge and at the University of Manitoba) on the Island, and/or been in touch with The Land Institute?

I think most Islanders, most people who eat food, want to be there to support farmers.  I think most of us are dismayed that food and land get used as political objects, or ways for already rich people to get richer (let's look at the temporary foreign worker issue, shall we?)
It's truly not clearly good/bad, or farmers' right/non-farmers' interests.

Same Issues, Different Times - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie

Published on Wednesday, August 19th, 2020, in The Graphic publications (Island Farmer)

Not surprisingly there’s a plaque of former premier J. Angus MacLean just inside the building that bears his name on Great George Street. Despite his many, many accomplishments as a war survivor, federal cabinet minister, leader of the Conservative Party, PEI premier, what’s the very first word identifying who he was? Farmer.

Angus MacLean’s legacy of course includes the Lands Protection Act, which required significant political determination (prevent property rights from being included when repatriating the Constitution) and vision. His “farmer” instincts convinced him that the agriculture policy coming out of the 1970’s Development Plan, specialization and bigger farms, needed some guardrails, and more importantly the stated intention of Irving owned Cavendish Farms to acquire more land to support their french fry operation had to be stopped.

It began with hearings by the Standing Committee on Agriculture. Afterwards the chair of the committee Gordon Lank, was pretty blunt about its recommendation: "Don't let Cavendish Farms do what they want to do.” There have been tweaks along the way but the Lands Protection Act established limits of 1,000 acres for individuals, and 3,000 acres for corporations.

Here we are almost 40 years later and Dennis King’s Conservative government is promising the Lands Protection Act 2.0. It’s launched Land Matters PEI. There will be public input, and new legislation. Agriculture and Land Minister Bloyce Thompson told the legislature "The Lands Protection Act 2.0 is something that I am going to take pride in doing and we’re going to do it right. We want to consult with Islanders and we want to consult with all the stakeholders.”

What’s interesting are the striking differences between then and now. Again the Irving family played a pivotal role in initiating this new inquiry. Back then it was a corporation, Cavendish Farms, headquartered in Moncton, that wanted to buy land. The french fry business was still small but growing, and there was strong agreement amongst farmers and others that a wealthy corporation could easily purchase a lot of land and, if allowed to grow too many potatoes, farmers would lose any leverage when negotiating a price.

Today, it’s a land purchase by Rebecca Irving, a young woman born and living on PEI, already involved in farming, and her family claims, anxious to do more. Yes not every young farmer could come up with the $5 to 6 Million needed to purchase Brendel Farms, and it took some fancy legal maneuvering to close the sale after it had first been rejected as illegal. Outside legal advice was sought by IRAC, the regulatory agency that monitors land purchases, to discover if this latest sale is legal, and, as of this writing, we still don’t know. However given the call for this new inquiry it would appear legislative changes are needed to prevent something similar from happening again.

PEI’s population make-up has changed a lot in 40 years too. Urbanization and demographics mean growth has been strong in Charlottetown, Summerside and the surrounding communities while rural areas continue to struggle. The same amount of land is being farmed but there are half the number of farmers. This matters because the development of the Water Act has shown that urban Islanders and non-farmers feel every right and reason to influence government policy on farm issues like deep water irrigation wells, and holding ponds, and political parties have shown no desire to push back against these demands. That’s called political clout.

I think we’ll see the same effort to influence land use issues like buffer zones, crop rotations, fall plowing, fall cover crops and so on during this review. There’s already reference to these in the input section of the Land Matters web page.

Kevin Arsenault’s five alarm call for measures to improve and protect soils will add to this push. Arsenault worked closely with Dennis King during the election campaign and was asked to write a report on creating a farmland bank. He did that, but then included a lot of evidence that it’s PEI soils that are really at risk and had to be the government’s first priority.

Another important difference from 40 years ago: the Maritimes remains unceded territory and Miꞌkmaq leaders have gained an important voice on land issues. They will be heard during this inquiry.

And finally there’s the make-up of the legislature. The Conservatives are a minority government supported by the Greens. The Greens may well view this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to put its stamp on land ownership and land use issues that matter to its members. Farmers may again find themselves outgunned politically.

I believe what Angus MacLean really wanted was opportunity for those with a passion for farming, and that passion had to include a deep caring for the land. It’s an intangible in a business that’s become ruthlessly competitive, but that spirit must somehow be captured in the Lands Protection Act 2.0.


Global Chorus essay for August 21
Wes Jackson

A friend and colleague of mine, the late Chuck Washburn, once said to me in a phone conversation:

“If we don’t get sustainability in agriculture first, it is not going to happen.”

I can’t accurately recount all of Chuck’s elaboration, but he did say at one point:

“Agriculture ultimately has a discipline standing behind it. The material sector, the industrial sector has no discipline to call on.”

With industrial agriculture, featuring high fossil-fuel-based inputs, the role of the discipline is weak. When thinking about sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, the role of that discipline is strong. What is that discipline? It is the very broad discipline of ecology/evolutionary biology with the modern molecular synthesis.

With annual grains (responsible for 70 per cent of the calories we consume and grown on 70 per cent of the agricultural acreage) the opportunity for those processes of the wild, such as we find on prairies, to exist are greatly reduced. But with perennial grains on the horizon, we can imagine those processes being brought to the farm, making the promises of sustainability in agriculture within reach and by extension into the other sectors of society which currently has no discipline to draw upon.

    —Wes Jackson, President(Emeritus) of the Land Institute


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 20, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A bit of a mix, since summer (and n the time of Covid) means not as many events or activities going on.

From Tanya Ha, Global Chorus essayist, from Australia, who writes in her blog from last year:

PRECYCLING - Social Media blog post by Tanya Ha

Published in July 2019

Did you know that recycling starts at the supermarket? If you’re standing next to the rubbish and recycling bins at home wondering what to do with the plastic tray and wrap your lemons came in, you’re TOO LATE!

Many people focus their efforts on recycling packaging waste after it’s been used. However, ‘precycling’ or avoiding the creation of extra waste by buying wisely in the first place is even better for the environment. You’ll often hear this spoken of as the 3Rs of waste minimisation:

  • Reduce your waste-producing behaviour.

  • Reuse items that would otherwise be rubbish wherever possible.

  • Recycle materials instead of throwing them away.

Giving credit where credit is due, packaging has allowed food to be contained and preserved for longer than fresh food would otherwise keep. Packaging has meant that food can be preserved until times when it is out of season, stockpiled in times of plenty, and transported to places with inadequate food supplies. But the production of this packaging, like all material goods, has had an environmental cost, and once used, has the impacts of disposal. We need to minimise these impacts as much as possible.

Precycling saves you from having to think about recycling or responsible waste disposal later. You can reduce the waste and packaging problem by taking care with what you purchase at the supermarket or grocery store. Here’s a bunch of tips:

Tips to avoid and reduce waste

•  Avoid over-packaged products. Don’t buy individually wrapped items or those with unnecessary packaging. Do you really need your coffee grounds in a coffee bag, each individually wrapped, collectively boxed and wrapped in cellophane? That’s 4 layers between you and your caffeine fix!

•  Favour unpackaged goods or buy from store that allow you to BYO containers. Avoid packaging where it isn’t needed in the first instance. Fruit and vegetables are a good example (see next bullet point). Many stores have dispensers and sell their products by weight (such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, gains, sweets) or volume (cleaning liquids, shampoo and conditioner), and allow customers to bring their own containers to take them home.

**NOTE:  Bulk Barn and other larger places have suspended this practice for the time being.**

• Avoid fresh produce pre-packaged on plastic trays. The plastic wrap is generally not recyclable. Besides, some produce (like citrus and bananas) has it’s own natural, compostable packaging – it’s called ‘peel’! Over-packaged fresh produce received the (dis)honour of a 2009 ‘DUMP’ award from the green group Environment Victoria (video in link)

•  Buy in bulk. Buying non-perishable products in bulk quantities means less packaging is used per unit of product. It’s also often cheaper to buy in bulk.

•  Buy products that come in refillable or reusable containers. Many manufacturers now make products and packaging that can be reused. For example, Colgate makes a toothbrush with a replaceable head, and biscuits often come in a retro-style biscuit tin that can be kept and reused. Think about the waste that will be generated as a result of you buying that item, and choose products accordingly.

 Buy goods in recyclable packaging. Make sure that the products you buy have recyclable packaging, which can be recycled in your local area. If you’re not sure what you can recycle, call your local council or, if in Australia, visit Planet Ark’s online recycling guide.

On P.E.I.-- Island Waste Management Corporation has info and tips:

Opera Corner:

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Elena Maximova, Alexey Dolgov, Peter Mattei, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Robin Ticciati. From April 22, 2017.

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, From 7:30PM tonight until Friday evening
Starring Aprile Millo, Luciano Pavarotti, and Leo Nucci.  From January 26, 1991.
More information and articles:

Opinion piece from The Graphic newspapers, and the "hoops" we jumped through to push a multinational corporation to give a little bit to some worthy communities for their ice rinks (and get a lot of advertising in the process)....

No Hockeyville, I AM NOT A ROBOT - The Eastern Graphic article by Jeff Hutcheson

Published on Wednesday, August 19th, 2020, in The Graphic publications

At the end of the day, Tyne Valley is going to have a wonderful new arena. It’s coming sooner than later. Still, winning a quarter million bucks from Kraft Hockeyville would have gone a long way to help pay off the municipal portion of the cost to build a new rink, which, after insurance, is said to be in the neighbourhood of $700,000 to one million dollars.

Like a lot of Islanders I got caught up in the cause, posted a couple of support videos and encouraged people to vote. Like O’Leary in 2017, Islanders were quick to rally for the cause, and the support then put O’Leary over the top. They were announced as winners on April 2nd, 2017. But in COVID times, the process was different. Gatherings to vote were off limits. You couldn’t go to a mall, rink or community centre and hang out with a bunch of computers. Teams couldn’t sit in their dressing rooms and submit thousands of votes before or after their minor hockey games. And hockey in August?  People just aren’t engaged as much as they are during a ‘regular’ season. To be sure, each community faced these challenges, but Tyne Valley, being the smallest, found it too hard to overcome in the current environment. With little face to face contact allowed this time, it came down to a social media campaign to get enough people to vote for you.

Like thousands of others though, I was up and at it voting last Friday morning. It couldn’t have been simpler. Register, and start voting. I’m sure every community had dedicated voters who just sat there and pressed the vote button for hours and hours on end. I quickly started voting, and after a short while, what seemed like just a couple of minutes, a box popped up on my screen which said “I am not a robot”. (This is done to prevent automated programmed responses, referred to as bots). Once you clicked on that box, it took you to a grid that had several photos on it, divided into squares. You were asked to check all the squares containing a stoplight. OK. So, do you mean a complete stoplight? Part of a stoplight? I mean there’s a tiny fraction of a stoplight in this one.

Undaunted, I checked all the squares that had the tiniest morsel of a stoplight, pressed OK, and presto, success, I was back to voting. For 40 more votes. Then the box. ‘I am not a robot’. This time it was crosswalks. Got em’, press OK, back to voting. Forty more votes. Another ‘I am not a robot’ box to check. Motorcycles. Done. Then it happened. A box came up, with a street scene, and asked me to check on all the stoplights in the photo. Wait, what? There were no stoplights in the photo. Oh, gosh, I cannot see a stoplight! Is my voting over? Definitely zero stoplights in the photo.

So, with literally millions of votes being cast in real-time, Hockeyville comes up with a trick question? If I get it wrong, are all my votes disqualified? I took a deep breath, didn’t check any squares at all, hit OK, and ... back to voting. Oh, Hockeyville, how you toyed with my emotions.

As I sat up and watched the announcement of the winner on Saturday night, I was disappointed Tyne Valley wasn’t the winner. But in the end, I mean, it’s PEI, and like I said, at the end of the day, Tyne Valley is going to have a wonderful new arena.

Global Chorus essay for August 20
Tanya Ha

For me, it started with the gentle kicks of my unborn child. I had always loved Nature and had an interest in environmental issues, but the birth of my child extended this into my very soul. Suddenly, the vague, nebulous Future became her Future. I also found a new connection to the millions of other mothers in the world, the overwhelming majority of whom I will never meet. But I know they’re there, with the same love for their children.

I am one of the lucky ones to be born in Australia, with its high quality of life. Today we live in such a specialized and complicated world; it’s all too easy to disconnect from the consequences of our choices. We don’t necessarily live near the land that grew our food, see the labour conditions of factories that make our gadgets, or breathe the air polluted by power plants. But other mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters do; their children breathe that polluted air.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” I remember this in my work teaching greener living to householders. The people I work with don’t always understand “carbon sequestration” or “environmental flows,” but they do understand fresh air, family and love.

I have choices that many other mothers in the world don’t have. We need to have the courage and compassion to make better choices and remember those who have so few. If you live and if you love, you have enough reasons to look after the planet. Our shared future depends on it.

     —Tanya Ha, environmentalist, author, television presenter, science journalist, sustainable living advocate

A lot of articles on her website:

good biography of her from The Conversation:

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 19, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Future of Agriculture on P.E.I. webinar:
Dreaming Forward: Future of Agriculture and Food on P.E.I., 7-9PM, online

and more details at:
Facebook event link

All welcome, and you can phone in if that is easier with your internet speeds.
very timely discussion, with Island agriculture, temporary foreign workers, environmental issues all being in the news.

Local Food: 
Heart Beet Organics: order info at the link for pick-up today, or stop by their storefront: 152 Great George Street.
Their store and restaurant
The Farmacy is now open Wednesdays -- Saturdays 11AM-6PM or so for menu options, kombucha bar, and more.  New patio seating outside.  Facebook page for updates
 order local food until midnight tonight, for pickup Saturday late afternoon.

Some Arts online:
Metropolitan Opera today and tomorrow:
Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini ,
until 6:30PM tonight
A classic production of this Dante story starring Renata Scotto and Plácido Domingo.  From April 7, 1984.

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin,
tonight from 7:30PM until 6:30PM Thursday.
Starring Anna Netrebko, Elena Maximova and Peter Mattei.  From April 22, 2017.   Sounds like a really good version of the opera.

Met Opera website for performances and lots of background articles and video:

Farm Centre Legacy Garden news:
Herbs available: Basil, tarragon, parsley, sage; patty pan squash, potatoes and garlic, and other plants and garden amendments:

Also U-pick potatoes, appointment sign-up form:

The P.E.I. Farm Centre is at 420 Univeristy Avenue, Charlottetown, near the "Allen Street Sobey's"
if you're not familiar with these Google forms, they are relatively easy to get the hang of, and apparently helpful to keep track of orders and requests. 

A second book, curated by the Tryon and Area Historical Society and being sold as a fundraiser for them, of the writings and recipes of the generous and insightful Betty Howatt:

photo by Chris O.

Tales and Tasty Treats (a second book of Betty Howatt's writing and recipes) is now available
Betty Howatt, 1929 – 2017, is remembered by many people as a teacher, farmer, writer, broadcaster, historian, volunteer, and advocate for positive change in various social and environmental issues. As a contributor to the arts and cultural aspects in the province, she is well known for her CBC radio commentaries on various subjects, and writings published by the Guardian and Voice for Island Seniors.  A prized accomplishment of Betty’s was her first book, “Tales of Willowshade Farm”, published in 2003.
Her second book highlights many stories originating from her home at Willowshade Farm in Tryon and surrounding areas. Several of her favorite recipes are included as well as pictures of the homestead.
The cost of each book is $20, payable by cash or cheque made out to “Tryon & Area Historical Society”. Several copies of Betty’s first book, “Tales from Willowshade Farm” are also available for $20.
Because of Covid-19 the Tryon Museum is open by appointment. For those who have pre-ordered, or for new purchases, pick-up of the books please call 902-658-2009. The museum is located at #47 Route 10 off the TransCanada Highway in Tryon.
thanks to Fran Albrecht for sending me the information

From The Guardian (U.K.), with their "across the pond" view of the Federal Government and its recent issues, with a zinger last line....

Trudeau accused of attempting to cover up scandal by proroguing parliament - The Guardian (U.K. article) by Tracey Lindeman

Move to ‘reset’ government due to coronavirus comes amid committee investigations into WE charity affair

Published on Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is facing accusations that his decision to prorogue parliament is little more than an attempt to cover up an ethics scandal – and walk away from his duties during a pivotal moment in the pandemic.

On Tuesday afternoon, Trudeau asked Julie Payette, governor general, to prematurely end the current parliamentary session. He vowed to resume on 23 September with a speech from the throne, followed by a confidence vote.

The move to “reset” the government because of Covid comes amid committee investigations into the WE charity affair, in which Trudeau and former finance minister Bill Morneau face accusations of an improper financial relationship with the international development organization. Both men have apologized for not recusing themselves amid apparent conflicts of interest.

Prorogation will suspend all government business, including the investigation.

The Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, called Trudeau “spineless” and said the prime minister is “walking out on Canadians in the middle of a major health and economic crisis, in a disgusting attempt to make Canadians forget about his [alleged] corruption”.

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democrats, also questioned the timing of Trudeau’s decision.

“Shutting down parliament in the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis, with a planned sitting next week and committees working hard to get answers and solutions for Canadians is wrong,” he tweeted.

The timing of prorogation is questionable even beyond the WE affair, Singh pointed out.

With Cerb – Canada’s $2,000-a-month emergency citizen relief benefit – ending 26 September, and with schools returning to class in the coming weeks, the country is at a particularly volatile point of its pandemic recovery.

In a news conference Tuesday, Trudeau attempted to put a positive spin on the move, saying his government would use the five weeks between now and the throne speech to reset the Liberal agenda.

“We are taking a moment to recognize that the throne speech we delivered eight months ago made no mention of Covid-19, had no conception of the reality we find ourselves in right now,” he told journalists in Ottawa.

He said his minority government would put together a new ambitious plan that took the pandemic into consideration.

In a question-and-answer period with the media, he hammered home his intentions to deliver a green post-pandemic economic recovery plan. He will also be expected to reveal details of how his government will support Canadians left unemployed and underemployed by Covid.

Prorogation, however, is a politically risky move no matter what he unveils in September.

It has been wielded by previous prime ministers, including Stephen Harper and Jean Chrétien, to avoid scrutiny of various financial and geopolitical scandals.

Ahead of the 2015 federal election, the Liberals promised to never use the measure to “avoid difficult political circumstances”.


One of the many intriguing quotes from Don Gayton, who wrote the essay from August 19 in Global Chorus:
“Pay equal attention to lore, science and spirituality. Talk to visionaries. Restore an eroded gully. Understand the genius of the horned toad. Design a landscape ritual that your mother would be willing to participate in. Learn geology.”
-- Don Gayton from

Global Chorus essay for August 19
Don Gayton

Here in North America, we revel in unlimited and nearly free access to energy and automobiles. Right from the 1950s, it has been a rollicking fun trip.

Without realizing it, we became addicted; people, business, governments, society. But the initial high has now worn of, and our petroleum drug of choice is getting expensive. A grim list of unpleasant side effects are kicking in. Who knew that cars and their fossil fuels could melt glaciers, ruin cities and change climates?

Getting off drugs is profoundly difficult, but at least the individual user is surrounded by an unaddicted population. With petroleum, we are all junkies. Our governments and businesses pimp the addiction. We now fracture the Earth, scrape buried tar sands and weld enormous injectable pipelines to support our habit. We happily deal our drug to other countries. The refineries are tucked away, and the actual product is cleverly hidden. We don’t ever see or touch or feel the actual substance, only the side effects. A climate is sacrificed on the altar of a massively selfish consumption quest, one which delivers less satisfaction with each coming day. As nations we are drug-addicted teenagers, willing to throw our planet away for the sake of that momentary energy rush. We kill agriculture to build soulless suburbs and then perform high-speed commutes through carbon-enhanced air in 300-horse gas pigs on endless high-maintenance asphalt ribbons to clog cities with dead parkades and angry gridlock.

Who can stand and acknowledge this?

Who can stand at all?

      —Don Gayton, ecologist, author of Man Facing West, Interwoven Wild and Kokanee


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 18, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Ordering local food for Thursday pickup:
Charlottetown Farmers Market 2GO, deadline noon today.

On-line Debate between two of the Candidates Running for the Federal Green Party Leadership, 6:30PM-9PM, with candidates Annamie Paul and Dimitri Lascaris.
"Tune in as they discuss the climate crisis, workers' and Indigenous rights, economic and racial justice and more."
Facebook event link

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 19th:

Health and Social Development Committee meeting, 1:30PM, audio to be recorded and on their website later. Meeting to discuss their workplan.
More details on the Legislative Assembly website

Webinar Discussion -- Dreaming Forward: Agriculture & Food Systems, 7-9PM, hosted by MLA Michele Beaton, Green Party Agriculture Critic. All welcome.

What should agriculture on the Island look as we transition in many ways, and certainly after COVID-19 exposed more vulnerabilities?
"What are your ideas?
Please register for this online forum, which will take place via Zoom videoconferencing, here:"
Facebook event link for more details

Met Opera Streaming Notes:

Puccini’s Tosca, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Roberto Alagna, and George Gagnidze, conducted by Riccardo Frizza. From November 9, 2013.

Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini , tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM  **Classic!**
Starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil. From April 7, 1984.  It's a "retelling of Dante’s story of the immortal passion of Paolo and Francesca in 13th century Italy is as musically elegant and beautiful as the details of the production on stage."

News Bits:

Update on what's going on with protesting the Very Large Apartment building project on Haviland Street, from the website organized by citizens against the project and the process that got it where it is:

When communities get scared and jump in line to comply with Legislation based on whose interests?

P.E.I. cabinet approves West River amalgamation - CBC News online article by Kerry Campbell

New municipality will be province’s sixth-largest when it’s created Sept. 1

Published on Monday, August 17th, 2020

P.E.I.'s cabinet has given final approval for five municipalities south and west of Charlottetown to amalgamate to form the new Rural Municipality of West River. When the municipality comes into being Sept. 1, it will become the sixth-largest in the province, with a population of approximately 3,200 and a property tax base worth close to $300 million.

The communities of Afton, West River, New Haven-Riverdale, Meadowbank and Bonshaw have been working toward amalgamation for the past four to five years, according to the person tapped to serve as interim mayor of the new municipality.

"It's easier to go it as a larger municipality than it is to go each person, each municipality to their own," said Meadowbank Mayor Helen Smith-MacPhail, who will lead the new municipality as mayor until the next round of municipal elections is held in November 2022.  "It did make sense to come together … as one larger municipality."

Smith-MacPhail said the five rural municipalities share much in common, including the challenges they were facing.

One of those was finding people to serve on each individual council. But the municipalities were also warning of significant increases in tax rates in order to pay for services they're now required to provide under P.E.I.'s Municipal Government Act, proclaimed in 2017. Under that legislation, all municipalities in the province must have an approved emergency management plan, enact a land-use bylaw and maintain a municipal office open 20 hours per week.

But Elizabeth Wilson, a long-time Afton council member who helped guide the amalgamation process, said she's concerned the smaller municipalities may regret giving up control to a regional council.  "Each municipality has their own council and their own agendas, their own priorities and those might not necessarily move forward into the new council," she said. "We hope that it does."

Recommended by IRAC

A spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Communities said the proposed amalgamation was supported by Minister Jamie Fox. The proposal was reviewed by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, which recommended the amalgamation go forward.
The department said "as there were no written comments or [objections] to the proposal, IRAC decided to proceed without public meeting."

However, the province said a petition was submitted against the proposal, bearing 84 signatures representing 43 households, which was forwarded to IRAC.

  This line from the article says a lot:  

"...the municipalities were also warned of significant increases in tax rates in order to pay for services they’re now required to provide under P.E.I.’s Municipal Government Act proclaimed in 2017."

(Chris's opinion)
....and the current Progressive Conservative government (including MLAs who voted against the Bill when they were in Opposition) refused to deal with any of the Act's concerns (even those brought up by their own members as Private Members Bills once again when they were in Opposition), and has retreated entirely from figuring out how unincorporated areas play a role in all this.  We have serious issues of infrastructure, internet, working on climate change, land use matters... and we get the Municipal Government Act to deal with. 
It's been a textbook lesson in how to damage local community in many ways.
(I obviously have strong opinions on this legislation and the entire process.)

Just in case you want to read The Guardian (U.K.)'s coverage of the United States' Democratic National Convention (DNC)   (LINK only):

A pandemic DNC: telethon, commercial, and awkward family Zoom call in one

What it lacked in showy applause, it made up for by highlighting diversity and the stories of ordinary citizens

Global Chorus essay for August 18
Sara Anderson

In global health, some issues disproportionally get more attention than others. The attention and the resources that follow are not based strictly on need, severity, or even interventions available. They are based on which health challenges receive the most political will. For example in low-income countries, HIV/AIDS represents 5.7 per cent of the mortality burden and receives 47.2 per cent of the health funding in those countries. All of the other causes of death combined (94.3 per cent) receive 52.8 per cent of the health funding. So one disease, albeit a terrible one, gets almost half of all funding, while all other diseases and health conditions compete for the remainder.

This insightful research is Dr. Jeremy Shiffman’s of American University, and it rings true in my work advocating for neglected humanitarian issues. For the last five years, I have been advocating for the forgotten global health crisis of burns. Nearly 11 million people worldwide are burned annually and more women worldwide are severely burned each year than are diagnosed with HIV and TB combined, according to the World Health Organization’s estimate.

However, the U.S. government has yet to devote any foreign assistance funding for burn prevention or burn treatment. We are working to change that, with some minor success, because vulnerable people without access to adequate healthcare should not have to suffer disabilities or life-threatening injuries caused by severe burns.

This advocacy work relates to environmental issues in that both are issues Westerns rarely see or have to face the consequences of – yet. Even for me, who travels to the developing world often, it is hard to grasp a world with limited resources, with half of the population still using open fires for cooking, heating and lighting – when abundance surrounds my daily life.

But I remain hopeful. The political will to combat environmental degradation has been building for years. Although naysayers remain, many are working in their small ways to make a difference, whether it be recycling, consuming less or investing in new eco-friendly technologies. The solution lies in making those small ways expand exponentially to make dramatic and sustainable changes that will allow the next generations to flourish as we have.

       — Sara E. Anderson, chief advocacy officer of ReSurge International
which tries to make reconstructive plastic surgery accessible for all

"At ReSurge, she founded the organization’s advocacy program, developed its burns advocacy, led its humanitarian efforts after the Nepal earthquakes and helped develop strategy. She continues to lead ReSurge’s work in advocacy, policy, research and strategic alliances."


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 17, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 18th:
On-line Debate between two of the Candidates Running for the Federal Green Party Leadership, 6:30PM-9PM, with candidates Annamie Paul and Dimitri Lascaris.

"Tune in as they discuss the climate crisis, workers' and Indigenous rights, economic and racial justice and more."
Facebook event link

Thursday, September 3rd:
Deadline to become a member of the Green Party of Canada to vote for the leadership candidates.  The leader will be selected in October.

Met Opera online (free streaming)
Verdi’s Luisa Miller, Until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Bonaldo Giaiotti, and James Morris.  CLASSIC: From January 20, 1979.

Puccini’s Tosca, Monday 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Roberto Alagna, and George Gagnidze, conducted by Riccardo Frizza. From November 9, 2013.  A showstopper.

Federal Conservative Party Leadership vote update, from CTV News:

Here's where the Conservative leadership race stands, with one week of campaign left - CTV News online article by Rachel Aiello

Published online on Friday, August 14th, 2020

OTTAWA -- There is a week left in the federal Conservative leadership campaign, and the pressure is on.

A week from now all of the ballots will have been mailed to the Conservative Party of Canada’s Ottawa headquarters, where over the last few weeks ballot verification and processing has been underway on the still-running live feed on the party’s website. 

Due to the pandemic, the entire election is being decided by mail-in votes, which once all submitted will be tallied to determine the victor. Ballots are due by Aug. 21, and the party will hold an event in Ottawa on Aug. 23 to announce the winner, under required COVID-19 precautions.

In the final days candidates Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole, Leslyn Lewis, and Derek Sloan are focusing on their get-out-the-vote pushes, trying to meet with as many supporters and have their teams collect as many outstanding ballots as possible, with the effort being heavily documented on their respective social media accounts.

While the race has largely been framed as a battle between MacKay and O’Toole, the backing Lewis and Sloan have from the social conservatives within the party as well as the second quarter fundraising Lewis’ campaign has drummed up has opened up the possibility of a closer race to replace outgoing leader Andrew Scheer than initially thought. 


As was the case in the 2017 leadership race that saw Scheer elected in a narrow victory over Maxime Bernier, the Conservative party is once again using a ranked ballot system. This means that the party’s internal record-setting 269,469 voters are able to indicate on their ballots their first through fourth choices to be their party’s next leader.

While not all voting members will fill in the ballot past their first choice, those down-ballot votes become key should none of the four candidates secure the required 50 per cent of the vote on the first ballot.

Should the voting need to go to a second, or even third ballot to determine a winner, in each required round the candidate with the fewest votes will have their voters’ next choices allocated to the remaining hopefuls. This process of support reallocation will continue until a candidate hits the 50 per cent threshold and is declared the winner.

The rest of the article and photos and more info on how the candidates are running their campaigns is here:

Atlantic Skies for August 17th-23rd, 2020 - The Phases of the Moon by Glenn K. Roberts

Although I was wishing the night sky devoid of the interfering light of the Moon on the nights and mornings preceding and following the Perseid meteor shower's peak dates last week, it did afford me the opportunity to pay closer attention to the slowly changing phases of the Moon. Most people only notice the Full Moon, giving little, if any, attention to the other lunar phases. The changing phases of the Moon follow a precise timetable, which, once you understand it, might help with your plans, and bolster your interest, to observe the Moon. It is always best to observe the Moon, whether with a telescope or binoculars, in its quarter, crescent or gibbous phases, During these phases, the Sun's light strikes the Moon at a shallower angle (as opposed to directly, at the Full Moon phase), highlighting the Moon's terminator (the line between the illuminated and non-illuminated sides), and markedly defining the Moon's mountains, ridges and impact crater walls.

A lunar phase is defined as the shape of the sunlit portion of the Moon's surface as seen from Earth. The Moon completely orbits the Earth in an average time of 29.5 days (referred to as a "synodic month" or a "lunation"), marking, essentially, the period between consecutive New Moon phases. Due to variations in the angular rate at which the Earth orbits the Sun (based on the fact that the Earth's orbital path around the Sun is elliptical, rather than circular, in shape), the actual time between lunations varies between 29.18 days and 29.93 days (the average being 29.530588 days, or 29 days, 12 hrs., 44 mins., and  2.8 secs.). As the Moon orbits the Earth, and as the Earth orbits the Sun (also an elliptical path), the area of the sunlit portion of the Moon changes. As discussed in one of my earlier columns, gravity tidally locks one side (or face) of the Moon towards Earth. Each Moon phase depends on the position of the Moon relative to the Sun as seen from Earth, and the portion of the Earth-facing side that is illuminated by the Sun.

There are four distinct lunar phases, with an average of 7.38 days between each of these phases. The first phase, the New Moon,  is when the Sun and the Moon are aligned on the same side (called a "conjunction") of Earth. During this time, the Moon is too close to the Sun to be seen, and the side of the Moon facing Earth is not illuminated by the Sun (though, in fact, it is faintly lit by "earthshine", which is washed out by the Sun's light). In the northern hemisphere, the New Moon rises around 6 a.m., and sets around 6 p.m. The next distinct lunar phase is the First Quarter Moon, where the Moon's right side is 50% lit by the Sun. In the northern hemisphere, First Quarter Moons are visible in the afternoon and early evening skies, rising around noon and setting around midnight. Next is the Full Moon, with 100% of its Earth-facing side illuminated. Full Moons rise at sunset and set at sunrise. The fourth lunar phase is the Last Quarter Moon, with 50% of its left side illuminated. A Last Quarter Moon, visible from late night through the following morning, rises around midnight and sets around noon. It should be noted that the actual timing of the phases in the sky, and their location along the horizon, will vary with the latitude of the observer.

Between the four major phases, there are a number of intermediate phases: between the New Moon and the First Quarter Moon is the waxing (thickening), crescent Moon (right side 1% - 49.9% lit); between the First Quarter Moon and the Full Moon is the waxing, gibbous Moon (right side 50.1% - 99.9% lit); between the Full Moon and the Last Quarter Moon is the waning (thinning), gibbous Moon (left side 99.9% - 50.1% lit); and between the Last Quarter Moon and the New Moon is the waning, crescent Moon (left side 49.9 - 0.1% lit). If you've ever heard the phrase, "the old moon in the new moon's arms" , this refers to when the waning, crescent moon has shrunk to just a thin sliver. Also, the crescent Moon (either waxing or waning) is sometimes referred to as the "Cheshire Cat Moon", as it resembles, at some point, the glowing smile that the Cheshire Cat left hanging in the air when it disappeared whilst talking with Alice (in 'Alice in Wonderland'). On a clear night, look for "earthshine" on the unlit, back portion of the crescent Moon - a faint illumination caused by indirect sunlight reflecting off Earth's lit half striking that dark side.

Mercury achieves superior solar conjunction  (passes behind the Sun as seen from Earth) on Aug. 17, and is not observable. Mars (mag. -1.47) rises in the east around 11:30 p.m., reaching its highest point (49 degrees) in the southern sky shortly after 5 a.m., before being lost in the dawn twilight 47 degrees above the southern horizon by about 6 a.m. Mighty Jupiter (mag. -2.65) is visible in the southeast sky around 8:30 p.m., reaching 21 degrees above the southern horizon by 10:45 p.m., before sinking below 8 degrees above the southwest horizon shortly after 2 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.23) trails Jupiter across the evening sky, becoming visible to the left of the larger and brighter planet around 8:45 p.m., remaining visible until it, too,disappears from view as it sinks below 10 degrees above the southwest horizon around 2:30 a.m.

Until next week, clear skies.


Aug. 17 - Mercury reaches superior solar conjunction

        18 - New Moon

        20 - Moon at perihelion (closest approach to Sun)

        21 - Moon at perigee (closest approach to Earth)


Global Chorus essay for August 17 
Lamberto Zannier

The world has changed dramatically in recent decades. At the same time that traditional threats persist – most prominently poverty and armed conflict – we have seen a re-emergence of dividing lines along ideologies and religions and the rise of new global challenges. Confronting the impact of climate change, managing limited natural resources, addressing population growth and reducing the impact of human activities on wildlife and biodiversity – to name just a few interlinked challenges – are all issues that require global solutions.

Important ethical considerations come to mind. Though we have reached an unprecedented level of development, the benefits of progress are unevenly shared across nations and within states. Environmental and social concerns, coupled with the global financial crisis, have revived calls to make development sustainable and to address growing inequalities in the distribution of wealth and resources.

Today, leadership is needed to look beyond short-term political agendas and address difficult global issues for which no silver bullet exists. As people claim their right to play a role in decisions that affect their future and that of their children, global leaders must meet their expectations by adopting participatory and inclusive processes that ensure their voices are heard.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) offers a vehicle for finding common ground and a platform for dialogue not only among States but also with civil society, academia and youth. Although our 57 participating states have different perspectives and sometimes conflicting priorities, by engaging constructively in the OSCE, their leaders can demonstrate their readiness to work together to deliver what was promised to their citizens in the Helsinki Final Act in 1975  – peace, security and justice.

The OSCE experience provides a hopeful example of the fruitfulness of political courage. In the midst of the Cold War, leaders of states with profound ideological differences dared to sit together at the same table and engaged in a dialogue to prevent a new war. The same spirit is needed today, leaving zero-sum games aside, in facing urgent challenges that threaten our security and possibly even our survival.

      — Lamberto Zannier, secretary general of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Update:  "Lamberto Zannier (born 15 June 1954) is an Italian diplomat who is currently OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and earlier served as the Secretary General of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe)." -- Wikipedia

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 16, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Sunday Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street (closed to auto traffic for that time). 

One of some cultural events available live:

Music at Confederation Landing Park, 2-4PM and 6-8PM, most days
Facebook event details
Met Opera streaming:
Puccini’s La Bohème, until about noon today
Starring Kristine Opolais, Susanna Phillips, Vittorio Grigolo, Massimo Cavalletti. Opalais apparently sang Madama Butterfly the night before and was asked to step in the next morning when the booked soprano fell ill!  She, of course, makes a splendid and tragic Mimi. From April 5, 2014.

Today, Sunday, August 16th:
Live concert: Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak, 2:30PM local time, 1:30PM Eastern Time.  Available live and for two weeks, ticketed.
Tenor Roberto Alagna and soprano Aleksandra Kurzak give a concert of arias and duets, from France.  Link Details

Verdi’s Luisa Miller, about 7:30PM tonight until Monday about 6:30PM   *Classic*
Starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Bonaldo Giaiotti, and James Morris. From January 20, 1979.  And, of course, with his voice deepening as he matures, Domingo plays *Luisa's dad* in Luisa Miller productions now, but is the boyfriend tenor role during these years.   The boyfriend's rich dad doesn't approve of his son's love, with really tragic results.

About Climate Change: website:
(background on the organization, below in the Global Chorus essay for today)

Bill McKibben's website:

from Catherine O'Brien, in sending me this link:  One of many key quotes from this review: Humans as a species are not facing extinction—not yet anyway. But advanced industrial civilisation, with its constantly increasing levels of material consumption, energy use and living standards—the system that we call modernity…is tottering.

A review, by Bill McKibben, of a new book, in The New York Review of Books:

130 Degrees - NYBooks review by Bill McKibben

Published in the Thursday, August 20th, 2020, issue

Book reviewed:
Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency ( book link) by Mark Lynas

London: 4th Estate, 372 pp., $27.99

So now we have some sense of what it’s like: a full-on global-scale crisis, one that disrupts everything. Normal life—shopping for food, holding a wedding, going to work, seeing your parents—shifts dramatically. The world feels different, with every assumption about safety and predictability upended. Will you have a job? Will you die? Will you ever ride a subway again, or take a plane? It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

The upheaval that has been caused by Covid-19 is also very much a harbinger of global warming. Because humans have fundamentally altered the physical workings of planet Earth, this is going to be a century of crises, many of them more dangerous than what we’re living through now. The main question is whether we’ll be able to hold the rise in temperature to a point where we can, at great expense and suffering, deal with those crises coherently, or whether they will overwhelm the coping abilities of our civilization. The latter is a distinct possibility, as Mark Lynas’s new book, Our Final Warning, makes painfully clear.

Lynas is a British journalist and activist, and in 2007, in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference, he published a book titled Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. His new volume echoes that earlier work, which was by no means cheerful. But because scientists have spent the last decade dramatically increasing understanding of the Earth’s systems, and because our societies wasted that decade by pouring ever more carbon into the atmosphere, this book—impeccably sourced and careful to hew to the wide body of published research—is far, far darker. As Lynas says in his opening sentences, he had long assumed that we “could probably survive climate change. Now I am not so sure.”

The nations that use fossil fuel in large quantities have raised the temperature of the planet one degree Celsius (that’s about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above its level before the Industrial Revolution. We passed the mark around 2015, which was coincidentally also the year we reached the first real global accords on climate action, in Paris. A rise of one degree doesn’t sound like an extraordinary change, but it is: each second, the carbon and methane we’ve emitted trap heat equivalent to the explosion of three Hiroshima-sized bombs. The carbon dioxide sensors erected in 1959 on the shoulder of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii recorded a new record high in late May of this year, showing an atmosphere of about 417 parts per million CO2, more than a hundred above the levels our great-great-grandparents would have known, and indeed higher than anything in at least the last three million years.

As we drive and heat and light and build, we put about 35 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually. At the moment oceans and forests soak up slightly more than half of that, but as we shall see, that grace is not to be depended on into the future, and in any event it means we still add about 18 billion tons annually to the air. That is by far the most important bottom line for the planet’s future.

A survey of the damage done at one degree is impressive and unsettling, especially since in almost every case it exceeds what scientists would have predicted thirty years ago. (Scientists, it turns out, are by nature cautious.) Lynas offers a planetary tour of the current carnage, ranging from Greenland (where melt rates are already at the level once predicted for 2070); to the world’s forests (across the planet, fire season has increased in duration by a fifth); to urban areas in Asia and the Middle East, which in the last few summers have seen the highest reliably recorded temperatures on Earth, approaching 54 degrees Celsius, or 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a one-degree world that has seen a girdle of bleached coral across the tropics—a 90 percent collapse in reproductive success along the Great Barrier Reef, the planet’s largest living structure—and the appalling scenes from Australia in December, as thousands of people waded into the ocean at resort towns to escape the firestorms barreling down from the hills.

Consider what we’ve seen so far as a baseline: we’re definitely not going to get any cooler. But now consider the real problem, the news that scientists have been trying to get across for many years but that has not really sunk in with the public or with political leaders. As Lynas puts it:

If we stay on the current business-as-usual trajectory, we could see two degrees as soon as the early 2030s, three degrees around mid-century, and four degrees by 2075 or so. If we’re unlucky with positive feedbacks…from thawing permafrost in the Arctic or collapsing tropical rainforests, then we could be in for five or even six degrees by century’s end.

That’s a paragraph worth reading again. It’s an aggressive reading of the available science (research published in early July estimates we could cross the 1.5-degree threshold by 2025), but it’s not outlandish. And it implies an unimaginable future. Two degrees will not be twice as bad as one, or three degrees three times as bad. The damage is certain to increase exponentially, not linearly, because the Earth will move past grave tipping points as we slide up this thermometer.

You may be thinking: Didn’t the world leaders who signed the Paris climate accords commit to holding temperature increases to “well below” two degrees Celsius, and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees? They did—in the preamble to the agreement. But then they appended their actual pledges, country by country. When scientists added up all those promises—to cut emissions, to build renewable energy, to save forests—and fed them into a computer, it spit out the news that we are headed for about a 3.5-degree rise this century. And not enough countries are keeping the promises they made in Paris—indeed, our country, which has produced far more carbon than any other over the last two centuries, has withdrawn from the accords entirely, led by a president who has pronounced climate change a hoax. The En-ROADS online simulator, developed by Climate Interactive, a nonprofit think tank, predicts that at this point we can expect a 4.1-degree rise in temperature this century—7.4 degrees Fahrenheit. All of which is to say that, unless we get to work on a scale few nations are currently planning, Lynas’s careful degree-by-degree delineation is a straight-on forecast for our future. It’s also a tour of hell.

We might as well take that tour systematically, as Lynas does.

At two degrees’ elevated temperature, “scientists are now confident” that we will see an Arctic Ocean free of ice in the summer—when already the loss of ice in the North has dramatically altered weather systems, apparently weakening the jet stream and stalling weather patterns in North America and elsewhere. A two-degree rise in temperature could see 40 percent of the permafrost region melt away, which in turn would release massive amounts of methane and carbon, which would whisk us nearer to three degrees. But we’re getting ahead of the story. Two degrees likely also initiates the “irreversible loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet.” Even modest estimates of the resulting sea-level rise project that 79 million people will be displaced, and protecting vulnerable cities and towns just along the Eastern Seaboard of the US behind dikes and walls will cost as much as $1 million per person. “I suspect no one will want to pay for sea walls at such vast expense, and the most vulnerable (and the poorest) communities will simply be abandoned,” Lynas writes.

Researchers once hoped that modest warming of two degrees might actually slightly increase food production, but “now these rosy expectations look dangerously naïve.” He cites recent studies predicting that two degrees will reduce “global food availability” by about 99 calories a day—again, obviously, the pain will not be equally or fairly shared. Cities will grow steadily hotter: current warming means everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is effectively moving southward at about 12.5 miles a year. That’s half a millimeter a second, which is actually easy to see with the naked eye: “a slow-moving giant conveyor belt” transporting us “deeper and deeper towards the sub-tropics at the same speed as the second hand on a small wristwatch.”

But that statistical average masks extremes: we can expect ever-fiercer heatwaves, so, for instance, in China hundreds of millions of people will deal with temperatures they’ve never encountered before. The natural world will suffer dramatically—99 percent of coral reefs are likely to die, reducing one of the most fascinating (and productive) corners of creation to “flattened, algae-covered rubble.”

As we head past two degrees and into the realm of three, “we will stress our civilization towards the point of collapse.” A three-degree rise in temperature takes us to a level of global heat no human has ever experienced—you have to wind time back at least to the Pleistocene, three million years ago, before the Ice Ages. In his last volume, Lynas said scientists thought the onset of the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet would take place at four degrees; now, as we’ve seen above, it seems a deadly concern at two, and a certainty at three. Higher sea levels mean that storm surges like those that marked Superstorm Sandy in 2012 could be expected, on average, three times a year. The record-setting heatwaves of 2019 “will be considered an unusually cool summer in the three-degree world”; over a billion people would live in zones of the planet “where it becomes impossible to safely work outside artificially cooled environments, even in the shade.” The Amazon dies back, permafrost collapses. Change feeds on itself: at three degrees the albedo, or reflectivity, of the planet is grossly altered, with white ice that bounces sunshine back out to space replaced by blue ocean or brown land that absorbs those rays, amplifying the process.

And then comes four degrees:

Humans as a species are not facing extinction—not yet anyway. But advanced industrial civilisation, with its constantly increasing levels of material consumption, energy use and living standards—the system that we call modernity…is tottering.

In places like Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas, peak temperatures each year will be hotter than the 120s one now finds in Death Valley, and three quarters of the globe’s population will be “exposed to deadly heat more than 20 days per year.” In New York, the number will be fifty days; in Jakarta, 365. A “belt of uninhabitability” will run through the Middle East, most of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and eastern China; expanding deserts will consume whole countries “from Iraq to Botswana.”

Depending on the study, the risk of “very large fires” in the western US rises between 100 and 600 percent; the risk of flooding in India rises twenty-fold. Right now the risk that the biggest grain-growing regions will have simultaneous crop failures due to drought is “virtually zero,” but at four degrees “this probability rises to 86%.” Vast “marine heatwaves” will scour the oceans: “One study projects that in a four-degree world sea temperatures will be above the thermal tolerance threshold of 100% of species in many tropical marine ecoregions.” The extinctions on land and sea will certainly be the worst since the end of the Cretaceous, 65 million years ago, when an asteroid helped bring the age of the dinosaurs to an end. “The difference,” Lynas notes, “is that this time the ‘meteor’ was visible decades in advance, but we simply turned away as it loomed ever larger in the sky.”

I’m not going to bother much with Lynas’s descriptions of what happens at five degrees or six. It’s not that they’re not plausible—they are, especially if humanity never gets its act together and shifts course. It’s that they’re pornographic. If we get anywhere near these levels, the living will truly envy the dead: this is a world where people are trying to crowd into Patagonia or perhaps the South Island of New Zealand, a world where massive monsoons wash away soil down to the rock, where the oceans turn anoxic, or completely deprived of oxygen. Forget the Cretaceous and the asteroids—at six degrees we’re approaching the kind of damage associated with the end of the Permian, the greatest biological cataclysm in the planet’s history, when 90 percent of species disappeared. Does that seem hyperbolic? At the moment our cars and factories are increasing the planet’s CO2 concentration roughly ten times faster than the giant Siberian volcanoes that drove that long-ago disaster.

With the climate crisis, returning to “normal” is not a feasible goal—no one is going to produce a vaccine.* But that doesn’t mean we have no possibilities. In fact, right now we have more options than at any previous point in the climate fight, but we would need to use them at dramatic scale and with dramatic speed.

For one thing, engineers have done their work and done it well. About a decade ago the price of renewable energy began to plummet, and that decline keeps accelerating. The price per kilowatt hour of solar power has fallen 82 percent since 2010—this spring in the sunny deserts of Dubai the winning bid for what will be the world’s largest solar array came in at not much more than a penny. The price of wind power has fallen nearly as dramatically. Now batteries are whooshing down the same curve. In many places, within a few years, it will actually be cheaper to build new solar arrays than it will be to keep running already-built-and-paid-for gas and coal-fired power plants. (That’s because, when the sun comes up in the morning, it delivers the power for free.) Because of this, and because of strong campaigns from activists targeting banks and asset managers, investors have begun to move decisively toward renewable energy. Such activist campaigns have also begun to weaken the political power of the fossil fuel industry, which has used its clout for three decades to block a transition to new forms of energy.

But—and this is the terrible sticking point—economics itself won’t move us nearly fast enough. Inertia is a powerful force—inertia, and the need to abandon trillions of dollars of “stranded assets.” That is, vast reserves of oil and gas that currently underpin the value of companies (and of countries that act like companies—think Saudi Arabia) would need to be left in the ground; infrastructure like pipelines and powerplants would need to be shuttered long before their useful life is over. This process would probably create more jobs than it eliminated (fossil fuel tends to be capital-intensive, and renewable energy labor-intensive), but political systems respond more to current jobholders than to their potential replacements. The poorest nations should not be expected to pay as much as rich nations for the transition: they’re already dealing with the staggering cost of rising sea levels and melting glaciers, which they did very little to cause. So even absent leaders like Donald Trump, the required effort is enormous—that’s precisely why those pledges by the signatories in Paris fell so far short of the targets they’d set. And leaders like Trump not only exist, they seem to be multiplying: Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro can singlehandedly rewrite the climate math simply by continuing to encourage Amazonian deforestation. It will take a mighty and ongoing movement to speed up change.

What Lynas’s book should perhaps have made slightly more explicit is how little margin we have to accomplish these tasks. In a coda, he writes valiantly, “It is not too late, and in fact it never will be too late. Just as 1.5°C is better than 2°C, so 2°C is better than 2.5°C, 3°C is better than 3.5°C and so on. We should never give up.” This is inarguable, at least emotionally. It’s just that, as the studies he cites makes clear, if we go to two degrees, that will cause feedbacks that take us automatically higher. At a certain point, it will be too late. The first of these deadlines might be 2030—the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in 2018, told us we needed a “fundamental transformation” of energy systems by that date or the targets set in Paris would slip through our grasp. (By “fundamental transformation,” it meant a 50 percent fall in emissions.) That is, the period in which we retain the most leverage to really affect the outcome may be measured in years that correspond to the digits on your two hands.

The Covid pandemic has provided us with some way to gauge how important time is in a crisis. South Korea and the US reported their first casualties on the same day in January. And then the American government wasted February as the president dithered and tweeted; now Seoul has something closer to normalcy, and we have something closer to chaos. (In a single day in July, the state of Florida reported more cases than South Korea had registered since the start of the pandemic.) As the US wasted February spinning its wheels on the pandemic, so the planet has wasted thirty years. Speed matters, now more than ever. And of course the remarkable progress made by the Black Lives Matter protests this summer reminds us both that activism can be successful and that environmental efforts need to be strongly linked to other campaigns for social justice. The climate plan announced by the Biden campaign last month is a credible start toward the necessary effort.

The pandemic provides some useful sense of scale—some sense of how much we’re going to have to change to meet the climate challenge. We ended business as usual for a time this spring, pretty much across the planet—changed our lifestyles far more than we’d imagined possible. We stopped flying, stopped commuting, stopped many factories. The bottom line was that emissions fell, but not by as much as you might expect: by many calculations little more than 10 or 15 percent. What that seems to indicate is that most of the momentum destroying our Earth is hardwired into the systems that run it. Only by attacking those systems—ripping out the fossil-fueled guts and replacing them with renewable energy, even as we make them far more efficient—can we push emissions down to where we stand a chance. Not, as Lynas sadly makes clear, a chance at stopping global warming. A chance at surviving.


  1. *

Some have called for “geoengineering” solutions to global warming—techniques like spraying sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere in an attempt to block incoming sunshine, which would do nothing to slow the other dire crisis caused by the burst of carbon we’ve sent into the air, the acidification of the ocean, and might well wreak new forms of havoc with the planet’s weather. Such methods are rightly described by Lynas as at best a Faustian bargain: “The planet we would bring into being would not be the Earth I love and want to protect.” 

Review link with graphics:

Some background on from one of its founders
(note that this was written about 2013)

Global Chorus essay for August 16
Jamie Henn

Four years ago, a group of college friends and I helped co-found the international climate campaign with author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. Our dream was to unite a new type of global campaign to solve the climate crisis – an “open-source” movement that could involve people from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, no matter their class, gender or religious affiliation.

We decided to name our effort after the number 350 because according to the latest science, 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (right now, the atmosphere contains over 392 ppm). The figure 350 was a clear line in the sand, a north star that we could only reach if we united as a global community. On October 24, 2009, our network came together for the first time in a massive, global day of climate action that connected over 5,200 events in 182 countries. CNN called it “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.” The events ranged from more than 10,000 schoolchildren marching in the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to one lone woman holding a 350 banner in Babylon, Iraq. Together, we’ve gone on to organize more than 15,000 demonstrations worldwide.

Our movement to solve the climate crisis will never have the money of the fossil fuel industry that stands in our way, so we’ll have to find a different currency to work in. At, that currency has been our creativity, spirit and unwavering commitment to a sustainable future. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a movement is beginning to be born.

     —Jamie Henn, co-founder and communications director of

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 15, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Open-Air Market, open 8AM-1PM, outside, along the parking lot.

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM, outside the Holman Building

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, etc.
**Cafe and store now open, Wednesday-Saturday


Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEI 2020, 8-10PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Charlottetown.   Tonight's special guest is storyteller Dutch Thompson.Visual and musical storytelling; a few performances left.
Facebook event listing

Opera on radio and online:

Radio: Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, CBC Music Radio), 1PM, 104.7FM,

Met Opera offerings:

If you happen to have a little time this morning -- all four hours or just get a sample -- there is:

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, until about 6:30PM
Starring Deborah Voigt and Robert Dean Smith.  From March 22, 2008. Really fantastic Wagner stuff, about the "proud Irish princess" and her the men who love her.

Puccini’s La Bohème, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about noon 
Starring Kristine Opolais, Susanna Phillips, Vittorio Grigolo, and Massimo Cavalletti.  From April 5, 2014. Opolais was the searing lead in the broadcast of Puccini's Madama Butterfly earlier this week, and Phillips is a wonderfully spirited Musetta -- this looks like a sweet version, and a good opera to take in (at a bit over two hours) if you want a just try it out (between hockey playoff games).

Sunday, August 16th, 2:30PM local time
Live concert: Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak, available live and for two weeks, ticketed.

'The dynamic husband-and-wife duo of tenor Roberto Alagna and soprano Aleksandra Kurzak give a concert of arias and duets, accompanied by string quintet, from an outdoor terrace in Èze, France, with a spectacular view of the Mediterranean. From the rhapsodic love duet from Madama Butterfly to the hilarious hijinks of “Caro elisir” from L’Elisir d’Amore to surprising selections such as the Mexican favorite “Cielito lindo,” the program promises to be a joyful encapsulation of these two inimitable artists.'
Concert details link from Metropolitan Opera

still trying to understand this... 

Money on the table: Government's $4.7 million allocation to Cavendish Farms, P.E.I. Potato Board still being spent - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Saturday, August 15th, 2020

An agreement that would see $4.7 million dispersed to the P.E.I. Potato Board and Cavendish Farms, to allow millions of pounds of potatoes to be stored, is still in effect.

P.E.I. Minister of Agriculture Bloyce Thompson announced the initiative in May of 2020 in reaction to a deterioration of the market for potatoes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, the province claimed there were 100 million pounds of potatoes remaining from the 2019 growing season. The remaining crop was partly due to the closure of restaurants throughout North American due to the pandemic.

P.E.I.'s agreement would see the Potato Board contract Cavendish Farms to transport and store the potatoes in facilities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Florida. The cold storage facilities belong to the Oxford Frozen Foods, based in Nova Scotia.

But after scrutiny from the Opposition Greens, Thompson acknowledged late in the spring legislature session that the potato market had since improved. He suggested the funds would not be fully dispersed to either the P.E.I. Potato Board or Cavendish Farms.

“The latest update is that this money probably won’t be needed because of the situation,” Thompson told the legislature on July 14.

The $4.7 million agreement:

  • Agreement signed between province and P.E.I. Potato Board

  • Potato Board contracts Cavendish Farms to transport, store potatoes

  • Cavendish Farms contracts Oxford Frozen Foods, which owns cold storage facilities

Thompson also told the legislature the funds might be allocated to seed potato growers who have also experienced economic losses. 

But in an interview on Tuesday, Thompson said the agreement to disperse the $4.7 million to the P.E.I. Potato Board has been signed and is in effect until March 2021. The contract requires the P.E.I. Potato Board to submit periodic invoices each month.

"The contract was signed and it's all in discussion with the potato board," Thompson said in a phone interview. 

"The markets have changed. We're in full understanding that this money won't be all used. But it is still on the table to manage some risk if COVID changes."

Thompson said the restaurant market is still in a state of flux, due in part to the COVID-19 lockdowns that have continued in the United States. 

As of Thursday, only $50,000 of this has been dispersed to the P.E.I. Potato Board.

Mary Keith, vice president of communications for JD Irving, confirmed the funds have been allocated for potato storage but have not been dispersed.

“So, status quo, in other words,” Keith said in an email to The Guardian.

Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, confirmed the agreement between the province and the P.E.I. Potato Board has been signed. A second agreement with the potato board and Cavendish Farms is still in process.

"The agreements are in place and it's in the process of being administered," Donald said.

"I don't know where the final figure is going to end up at this time."

Michele Beaton, the Green agriculture critic, said the multi-million dollar agreement still raises red flags.

"I'm concerned that government is propping up what looks to be an unsustainable agricultural model by giving millions of taxpayers' money to a large multi-billion dollar processor," Beaton said.

"I'd rather see government supporting local farmers directly instead of solving Cavendish [Farms'] business problems."

Donald agreed with Thompson that the potato market has been fluctuating severely due to the summer increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. 

"It definitely got impacted early. But it rebounded quicker than anticipated," he said.  "That period of time in the mid-to-latter part of March and into April, it'll never be made back up again."

The agreement allowed for the cold storage of potatoes until there was a market for them. Donald also said the 2020 growing season in P.E.I. has been very difficult due to an unusually dry summer. He described the conditions as “desperate”.


Global Chorus essay for August 15
Maren and Jan Enkelmann

Why it is more likely to live a happy and fulfilled life after surviving a life-threatening accident than after winning the lottery? In either case you are facing circumstances you hadn’t and weren’t prepared for. However, those who almost lost their lives are much more likely to reassess what’s truly important to them and pour all their energy into it. The lucky winners who should be able to realize all their wildest dreams often lose sight of the essentials as life suddenly gets a lot more complicated.

Is there something to be learned from the way human beings are able to focus their energies when faced with a major crisis?

As the world today is facing countless challenges – climate change, migration, poverty, shrinking natural resources, the banking system – fewer and fewer people seem bothered to even vote or take an active part in society. The issues appear too big and too complex to even contemplate how to come to grips with them. But in order to tackle the global issues we need people to take on these challenges on a level that’s relevant to them and take pride in playing their part. Like the accident survivor gains strength and focus from a profound personal experience, engaging ourselves in matters that we can actively help to improve might just give us the power to change the world.  

     ---  Maren Kleinert and Jan Enkelmann, authors of Happiness: How the World Keeps Smiling


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 14, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Friday4Future, 4PM, By Grafton side of Province House. "All are welcome! We gather to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future. Feel free to bring your own signs and invite others."

Fringe Festival, "Pounding the Pavement", 8-11PM
, Confederation Amphitheatre, more details here:
Facebook event link
Next week:
Wednesday, August 19th,
Dreaming Forward webinar on Food,
online, hosted by the Green Party of PEI

from the event notice:
" our Dreaming Forward series of forums next Wednesday, August 19th with a forum on the future of PEI's Food & Agriculture systems with Green Agriculture Critic and District 5 MLA, Michele Beaton!The pandemic has shone a light on the vulnerabilities of many of our systems, not least our agriculture and food systems. Islanders have already begun feeling the consequences of our reliance on imported food, on volatile and not-very-diverse export markets, and the role of imported labour in the food sector. We have seen increasing food insecurity as low-income Islanders experienced disruptions in income and services. PEI now has the urgency and opportunity to reimagine our agriculture and food systems as part of a resilient, sustainable and just future for our province.
Registration details: via Zoom videoconferencing, here:
Please note: We would love for you to participate in this forum even if your internet is not always up to snuff! You will have the option of dialling into the forum using a regular telephone as well.

About Dreaming Forward forums
Dreaming Forward is an initiative of the Green Party of PEI to engage Islanders in envisioning a better post-COVID future for PEI - one in which we don't merely return to default "normal" that wasn't working well to begin with for people and our environment. The forums are designed for a maximum of interactivity and sharing of ideas, using online break-out rooms to ensure that everyone has a chance to be heard. 

  Facebook event link
Met Opera link
Free Video Streaming of recorded operas

Puccini’s Turandot, until 6:30PM tonight

Starring Nina Stemme, Anita Hartig, Marco Berti, and Alexander Tsymbalyuk, conducted by Paolo Carignani. From January 30, 2016.

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, 7:30PM until noon Saturday

Starring Deborah Voigt, Michelle DeYoung, Robert Dean Smith, and Matti Salminen.  From March 22, 2008. 

GUEST OPINION: Hoping for a green recovery - The Guardian Guest opinion by Marilyn McKay

Published on Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

The federal government is making plans to spend billions of dollars to help the economy recover from the effects of COVID-19. Let’s hope that spending is directed toward a green and just recovery – one that takes us on a path to net-zero carbon emissions and supports the well being of our citizens and our earth.

There is lots of good advice and expertise available on an economic recovery. None of that advice includes funding or promoting the fossil fuel industry. Rather we need to pour our resources into making our homes and buildings energy efficient and our natural environments sustainable. Research and development into clean technologies as well as education and training for jobs in the green economy are also important areas for investment.

While the potential and optimism for a green economy and a liveable future is there; so are the warning signs. One of these signs came with the recent revelation by Energy Policy Tracker that, since the beginning of the COVID- 19 pandemic, Canada has committed $12 billion US of public money to support fossil fuel production and consumption. This compares to $1.58 billion US committed to support clean energy. While some of that $12 billion is allocated for relief to airports and for highway projects, much of it goes directly to the fossil fuel industry via regulatory rollbacks, fee breaks, transfers and loan guarantees. In any event, the balance is all wrong.

The Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, an independent and diverse group of Canadian finance, policy and sustainability leaders, released an interim report on July 22 advising that Canada needs to invest $50 billion “... to put our economy on a low-carbon, climate-resilient, sustainable and competitive pathway.“ They recommend investing in energy efficient buildings, jump starting the production and adoption of zero-emissions vehicles, growing the clean energy sector and protecting our eco-systems. These types of initiatives will create good jobs in a low carbon, resilient economy.

The advice contained in this report mirrors the recommendations made in the May, 2020 report of Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and is in keeping with the EU’s fiscal recovery plan based in The European Green New Deal. There is much consensus about the direction we need to head. But Canada’s economy is heavily embedded in fossil fuel production — which has made it a leading laggard in meeting its CO2 commitments. Will the federal government remain “completely captured by the oil industry” as Greenpeace Canada’s senior energy strategist, Keith Stewart, suggests it is; or will it boldly lead us toward a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren? The good news is that, according to a recent Abacus poll, the majority of Canadians say that, in spite of the pandemic, we need to stay focused on combating climate change. Let’s hope our governments are listening.

Marilyn McKay is a resident of Charlottetown and a member of the P.E.I. Fridays for Future Climate Action Group.


Global Chorus essay for August 14
Moh Hardin

How we move forward cannot depend on one spiritual tradition, economy, or political system, but rather should depend on who we feel we are, both personally and socially. What is the nature of humans and society? In this light, human nature is the most important global issue.
Shambhala Principle, Sakyong Mipham

We live in a time of tremendous doubt about the goodness of human nature, and with good reason. Acts of cruelty and random violence make big news weekly. We are bombarded by bad. From a bigger point of view, however, these are relatively random acts that exist in a sea of goodness – human society. With all its flaws, human society could not exist and flourish on Earth if its nature had not been basically good from the beginning: caring, with the ability to communicate and co-operate with each other. When a baby is born, their very survival depends on human goodness. This goodness is more basic than good versus bad.

We can reconnect with this basic goodness by reflecting on our own humanity, our human experience, right now. Slow down, soften and touch our aliveness. Appreciate that we can see, hear sounds, smell, taste and touch our world. Awaken to our humanity. It’s simple and profound. It doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, being human is our common experience. Slow down, soften and touch.

Because human nature is basically good, I think that humanity has a very good chance to find its way through our current crises. But it is not guaranteed. We can help create the conditions we need to survive on this planet now, in this “every” moment, by awakening to our humanity.

What would this look like? It would look like the Global Chorus. It would look like what so many people are already doing: investing creativity, energy, vision and money into innovation and international communication between people. It would look like networks of people aware of themselves and their interconnectivity with everything else, networks of connectivity working together. It would look like a society whose foremost principle is bringing forth the basic goodness of humanity.

    —Moh Hardin, author of A Little Book of Love: Heart Advice to Bring Happiness to Ourselves and Our World

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 13, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Island-grown garlic is being harvested -- no need for imported garlic

from the Farm Centre Legacy Garden:
"We’re in the midst of garlic harvesting! We have raw garlic for sale and cured garlic in the next couple weeks. Raw garlic for $1 a bulb. Order here:"

Parsley and patty-pan squash also available; see the Facebook group page for more details:

Met Opera offerings -- old gems, one from four decades ago and the other from four years ago.

Verdi’s Rigoletto, today until 6:30PM
Starring Christiane Eda-Pierre, Isola Jones, Luciano Pavarotti, Louis Quilico, and Ara Berberian, conducted by James Levine. From December 15, 1981.

Puccini’s Turandot, tonight 7:30PM until Friday at 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Anita Hartig, Marco Berti, and Alexander Tsymbalyuk, conducted by Paolo Carignani. From January 30, 2016.

from this week's Guardian:

GREENFILE: Water, where are you? - The Guardian column by Mark Cullen

Water is essential to life.

This is a fact that will surprise no one. Most gardening “problems” we hear about relate to over-watering. Indeed, we are better at killing our plants with kindness than ignoring them.

As we enter the second half of the gardening season, we recommend that you think about water. This summer we have experienced periods of heat and drought. What have we learned from this experience? With a few basic principles in mind you can enjoy a fabulous garden while minimizing the use of water and the time spent watering.

Here is what we recommend:

Use a rain barrel

An old story, but a good one. Place a rain barrel at the bottom of a downspout and collect the warm, oxygen-rich water that falls from the sky. Plants perform better when watered with it and it is free. So that’s two good reasons to give this a go. When there is no rain and your barrels are empty, fill them from your garden hose. Let the water warm with the summer temperatures. Plants prefer it.

Eliminate hard surfaces

Removing asphalt or cement pavers is a great start, though tough work. But once you have minimized the hard surfaces in your yard, replace them with permeable pavers, gravel or plants. Low-growing plants that will withstand some foot traffic include creeping thyme (flowers/scent), Irish moss (looks great) and creeping oregano (you might have to discourage the chef in the house from over foraging).

A lawn is still the most sophisticated living groundcover out there. You will need a minimum of six hours of sunshine per day to grow a good lawn. During a drought, it will become brown and even a bit crispy. Do not worry about this. The best time of year to sow grass seed arrives in a couple of weeks. More in a later column.

Build a green roof

Green roofs absorb enormous amounts of water, cool the area beneath, and divert heavy rain away from the storm water sewers.

Mark built green roofs on two of the sheds on his property. If he can do it, anyone can. Place a water barrier between the planting and the soil and make sure that the structure is built to withstand the weight of wet soil. Plant it up with sempervivums and sedums. A year or two after they are planted, they can take all the heat and drought you throw at them. They flower too, early to mid summer. Look at Mark’s “gas shed”, a photo taken the first week of July.

Plant for drought and heat.

The plants that we choose have a lasting impact on the water that we use to sustain them. Look for perennial plants that put down a drought-resistant root. Here are some of our favourites:


Hosta – Grows well in dry shade. Flowers annually, attracting hummingbirds. Growth habits range from a mere six centimetres across to a full metre in breadth and height.

Sweet Woodruff – Rises early in spring and produces attractive white flowers.

Pachysandra – Evergreen, hardy to zone 5 (Guelph). Attractive and easy to grow. Matures at about 20-25 cm. Glossy green leaves. Indestructible, even if you have a dog, but not one that digs.


Ornamental grasses – There are dozens, if not, hundreds to choose from. They grow slowly in spring but take off in the heat of summer. All ornamental grasses tolerate heat and drought once established.

Echinacea and Black-Eyed Susan – Two of the most popular native flowers for good reason. Pollinators love them, long flowering from late June to fall.

Peonies – Spectacular June flowers. Attractive foliage for the balance of the season.

Sedums and sempervivums – As per the green roof idea.

Relax. A great garden is possible without overwatering.

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster, tree advocate and member of the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at, @markcullengardening, and on Facebook.

Global Chorus essay for August 13 
Lee Gerdes

Trauma is not individually experienced today. In fact, horrendous trauma is shared with millions of people worldwide as soon as it happens. Whether experienced personally, vicariously though a close friend, or even experienced remotely via a news report – every trauma adds a drop of stress to our system. Our brains are reservoirs for trauma. In a world more connected, more immediate and more open than ever, the downpour of trauma into our brains is torrential.

The full impact of trauma on brain function is only beginning to be understood. The traumatized brain slips into patterns of overactivation. Even after the traumatic incident has passed, the brain can remain in these overactivated patterns. The brain overactivation may manifest as “striking out” or “running away,” if the trauma has been collected in the fight–fight or sympathetic response mechanism of the brain. Or the overactivation may manifest as “freezing in despair” if the trauma has been collected in the parasympathetic response mechanism of the brain. Trauma overactivation may happen suddenly or it may accumulate over time – drop by drop, little by little. We each seem uniquely limited in our capacity to withstand trauma. Yet, where trauma is most severe, most persistent and most widespread, all people in a community experience the brain overactivation. Community fear, war and/or political chaos is the likely result.

Humanity needs help to release both the individual and the collective effects of trauma. Such a process is based on individuals recovering balance and harmony in brain patterns. Diets built more on plant-based foods, together with exercise, quiet times, communing with Nature, and most importantly, a means to directly balance seriously overactivated brains, will enable humanity to evolve beyond the chaos produced from trauma.

Nothing in the world, I feel, is more important for the survival of humanity. As the leader of Brain State Technologies I am dedicated to finding a solution to mitigate trauma in an affordable manner for a significant part of humanity.

    — Lee Gerdes, author of Limitless You: The Infinite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain, founder and CEO of Brain State Technologies
essay from

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 12, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today is United Nations International Youth Day


International Youth Day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement. The commemoration will take the form of a podcast-style discussion that is hosted by youth for youth, together with independently organized commemorations around the world that recognize the importance of youth participation in political, economic and social life and processes.
2020 Theme: Youth Engagement for Global Action
The theme of International Youth Day 2020, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.

So while we think global, the Citizens' Alliance is fortunate enough to be acting locally in that we have a student volunteer, Brennan McDuffee:

Brennan is a grade eleven student at Bluefield High School '...where I'm involved with Student Council, Concert/Jazz Band, Art Club, and Peer Helping (assuming all those are still a go this year). Some of my Hobbies are song writing, cycling, and writing. I reached out to Citizens' Alliance after having read "No one is too small to make a difference" by Greta Thunberg and "Dreams From my Father" by Barack Obama, both books to the power of strengthening the democratic process to help improve communities and the world."  Pronouns are he/him

And we are pretty lucky, we Islanders and the Citizens' Alliance!   Brennan has brought us into the current century by setting up an Instagram account for the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

Our Instagram page: (@citizensallaincepei)

and is working on other social media projects. You can tag the Instagram or email <> if you have any ideas for him to consider working on!

With gratitude to Brennan and all the young people caring and working hard for the future.
More on United Nations International Youth Day, also from:

"As the United Nations turns 75, and with only 10 years remaining to make the 2030 Agenda a reality for all, trust in public institutions is eroding. At the international level, against the backdrop of an increasingly polarized world, the international system of governance is currently undergoing a crisis of legitimacy and relevance. In particular, this crisis is rooted in the need to strengthen the capacity of the international system to act in concert and implement solutions to pressing challenges and threats (examples include some of the worst contemporary conflicts and humanitarian emergencies, such as Syria and Myanmar, as well as global challenges, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change).

Enabling the engagement of youth in formal political mechanisms does increase the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies, and also has symbolic importance that can further contribute to restore trust in public institutions, especially among youth. Moreover, the vast majority of challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement and participation of young people to be addressed effectively.

Join #31DaysOfYOUth, a social media campaign that will celebrate young people throughout the month of August, leading up and following International Day, to help spread the word and strike up a conversation surrounding youth engagement for global action!

This year’s IYD seeks to put the spotlight on youth engagement through the following three interconnected streams:

  • Engagement at the local/community level;

  • Engagement at the national level (formulation of laws, policies, and their implementation); and,

  • Engagement at the global level.


More events today:

Local Food: 
EatLocalPEI: order local food until midnight tonight, for pickup Saturday late afternoon.

Heart Beet Organics: order this morning, or stop by between 3-6PM this afternoon, 152 Great George Street.

Some Arts online:
Metropolitan Opera today and tomorrow:

Bizet’s Carmen, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Aleksandra Kurzak, Clémentine Margaine, Roberto Alagna, and Alexander Vinogradov, conducted by Louis Langrée. From February 2, 2019.

Wednesday, August 12
Verdi’s Rigoletto, tonight from 7:30PM until 6:30PM Thursday.  *Classic performance, with classic production*
Luciano Pavarotti is the elegant, reckless Duke of Mantua whose betrayal of the innocent Gilda (Christiane Eda-Pierre) leads to a tragic ending. Louis Quilico plays Rigoletto, the court jester and Gilda’s father, who has dedicated his life to keeping his daughter away from the Duke—only to have her sacrifice her own life for the villainous nobleman. From December 15, 1981.

  Met Opera website for performances and lots of background articles and video:

Today's Global Chorus author, Nancy Knowlton, writes extensively, and here (below) are links to just a few articles from the page:

Photo of the head of a leafy seadragon

article  Devoted Dads: From Seahorses to Sea Spiders

Colorful corals are disappearing in the Great Barrier Reef.

article The Great Barrier Reef – Going, Going, Gone???

Black and white image of the Western Flyer boat at dock.

Article  Bringing the Western Flyer, and History, Back to Life

Global Chorus essay for August 12
Nancy Knowlton

Half-way between Tahiti and Hawaii lie the Southern Line Islands. Too remote to be a commercially viable destination, and too small or harsh to support self-sustaining human settlements on land, they teem below the surface of the waves with sharks, snappers and turtles swimming amongst a profusion of living coral. To go there, as I did recently, is to travel back in time, to a planet only lightly touched by people. Yes, the water is both warmer and more acidic, but these communities still thrive because they are protected from the day-to-day traumas of habitat demolition, rapacious harvesting and sickening pollution. The message is simple – it is not, yet, too late.

It can be hard to remember that there is still hope for this damaged but far from dead planet that we share with millions of other life forms. In years past, my husband and I, jokingly referred to as Drs. Doom and Gloom, trained our students, future doctors of the planet, to write ever more refined obituaries of Nature. Yet human medicine, despite the fact that in the end there is always an obituary, is underpinned by hope.

And so began a search for ocean success stories. In fact, there are many, and not just in wealthy countries with resources to spare. Yet, most conservation practitioners we met initially seemed unaware that progress was being made. We were once even told that a day-long program focused on ocean success stories would be impossible to fill. But that is changing.

Most success stories begin with one or a few individuals unwilling to take “No” for an answer. They energize others to band together to establish protected areas, manage resources sustainably, restore devastated seascapes and reduce the flow of damaging chemicals into the ocean. Some use the power of art to inspire action. In the end, these efforts promote not just healthy oceans, but also human well-being.

Conservation successes make compelling stories because they are centred on people rather than tables or graphs. They need to be told, so that success can breed more success. So when someone asks you if there is hope, share this African proverb: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.”

     — Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair in Marine Science at the Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institutions, USA)


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

August 11, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 10, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 9, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 8, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 7, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 5, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 4, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 3, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events Today:

Webinar discussion: 
"The Path Forward: The Airline Industry"
12:30PM our time,
with Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius

"With more than 80 percent of travel at a near standstill, airlines are adapting to a new reality. As some push for a return to business as usual, Delta Air Lines has continued to block middle seats, cap plane capacity and ban passengers who refuse to wear masks. (A discussion on).. the airline’s commitment to safety despite economic uncertainty, its program for ongoing, company-wide testing and what travel will look like in the future."
More info at this link

Federal Green Party Leadership Race candidates:
"Meet Dimitri Lascaris - Over Green Tea," 8:30-9:30PM,
hosted by Anna Keenan.

Each week, 1 candidate for Leader of the Canadian Greens will be chatting with Anna Keenan in this 'Over Green Tea' series.
Candidate 3 of 9 is Dimitri Lascaris, a class action lawyer, journalist and activist.
Check out Dimitri's campaign website here:
(The remaining candidates will featured on future Monday nights from now until September 7.)
Facebook event link

Met Opera streaming:

Wagner’s Die Walküre, Until 6:30PM tonight
from last year. Starring Christine Goerke, Ride of the Valkyries!

Mozart’s The Magic Flute, 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM.
Starring Ying Huang, Erika Miklósa, Matthew Polenzani, Nathan Gunn, and René Pape....From December 30, 2006.  So fanciful and charming!  Like La Boheme, a good opera for people who think they don't like opera. "Adults and children alike...enchanted by the whimsical humor and breathtaking puppetry of Julie Taymor’s hit production, presented in a shortened English-language version."  Under two hours.

Links to interesting articles, From The (other) Guardian (U.K.),

SUV pollution threat – Advertising of sports utility vehicles, which emit more greenhouse gases than other cars, should be banned so the UK can meet its climate goals, a report by the New Weather Institute thinktank, and climate charity Possible, has said. “Now that we know the human health and climate damage done by car pollution, it’s time to stop adverts making the problem worse,” said Andrew Simms, co-director of the thinktank. The large increase in numbers of the cars in the UK and around the world is the second-largest contributor to the increase in global emissions since 2010, according to the International Energy Agency. SUVs make up more than 40% of new cars sold in the UK – while fully electric vehicles account for less than 2%.
Full article:

a truly
"lunchtime read" interview with British chef and healthy food promoter Jamie Oliver:

Atlantic Skies for August 3rd to August 9th, 2020 - By the Light of Many, Many Moons by Glenn K. Roberts

The Moon is full on the night of Aug. 3. Sometimes referred to as the "Sturgeon Moon" (for the large sturgeon caught in the Great Lakes in August), it will be a splendid sight (weather permitting) as it rises in the ESE shortly after 9:00 p.m., shining its silvery glow across the night sky before setting in the WSW around 6:30 a.m. It is our planet's only moon, and, as discussed in an earlier column, is thought to have formed when a Mars-sized object (given the name Theia) crashed into the newly-formed Earth millions of years ago, with some of the collision debris eventually coalescing to form the Moon.

However, it is by no means the only moon orbiting the planets of our solar system. There are, in fact, currently 210 known moons, with possibly others waiting to be discovered. Leading the pack with 82 (53 named, 29 awaiting names) known moons is Saturn. While the vast majority of its moons are classified as "moonlets", many of which are embedded in its ring system, there are a number which are quite sizeable. Titan is Saturn's largest moon, and the second-largest moon in the solar system after Jupiter's moon Ganymede. Larger than the planet Mercury, Titan is the only moon with a substantial atmosphere (primarily nitrogen), and the only planet, besides Earth, to have liquids (methane and ethane hydrocarbons) in the form of rivers and lakes on its icy surface. Like our Moon, Titan is "phase locked" with Saturn, meaning the same side of the moon always faces towards Saturn as it orbits the planet. Enceladus is Saturn's 6th largest moon, and is the whitest, most reflective object in the solar system. Named after a Greek giant, Enceladus sprays icy material out into space from cracks in its icy surface, with this material essentially forming the "E Ring" of the planet's multi-ring system.

Jupiter is the next planet with a substantial number of moons - 79. Most people interested in the planets know of Jupiter's four Galilean moons (discovered by the Italian astronomer Galileo in 1610) - Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede - which are visible in binoculars and small telescopes, as they orbit their parent-planet. Io is the most volcanically active moon in our solar system; Europa is thought to have a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust; Callisto is the third largest moon in our solar system, and is heavily cratered, and, thus, thought to be extremely old; and Ganymede, in addition to being the largest moon in the solar system (2% bigger than Saturn's Titan), is, like Titan, larger than Mercury, and is the only moon known to have its own internally-generated magnetic field.

Rounding out the number of known moons around the remaining planets, we have Uranus with 27; Neptune with 14; Pluto with 5; Mars with 2; and, as noted, Earth with 1. Both Mercury and Venus have no known moons. Most of the moons mentioned above, except Earth's Moon, are probably space-faring objects captured by their respective planet's gravity at some point in the distant past, or, possibly, captured debris pieces from colliding objects that were present as the solar system was forming. Only when future space probes land on them and analyze their composition, will we be able to ascertain their most likely origin source.

So, as enchanting and interesting as our Moon is to us here on Earth, imagine what it would be like to stand on the surface of Mars and watch two moons cross the sky, or five moons cross Pluto's sky, or to orbit Saturn, Jupiter or Neptune in a spaceship, and watch a large number of moons pass in front of you. Who knows, perhaps our grandchildren or great grandchildren will get that opportunity. In the mean time, I encourage you to google each planet, and discover many interesting facts about, not only the planet itself, but also its moons.

You'll need an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon, and a clear, cloudless sky if you want to catch a glimpse of Mercury (mag. -1.08) this coming week. Visible about 7 degrees above the eastern horizon at dawn, Mercury, having reached its greatest western elongation from the Sun on July 22, is now heading back towards the Sun (as seen from Earth), and will be very difficult to see in the coming weeks. Venus (mag. -4.36) rises in the east around 2:30 a.m., reaching about 28 degrees above the eastern horizon before, like Mercury, fading from view with the rising Sun. Jupiter (mag. -2.71) is visible in the evening sky 11 degrees above the southeast horizon around 9:00 p.m., and remains visible in the southwest, pre-dawn sky until shortly after 3:00 p.m. when it sinks below 7 degrees above the horizon. Saturn follows Jupiter into the late evening, southeast sky, rising shortly after 9:00 p.m., and joining Jupiter (on its left) high in the southern, pre-dawn sky until around 3:30 a.m., when it, too, drops too low above the southwest horizon to be seen. Mars (mag. -1.15) rises in the east shortly after 11:00 p.m., and is visible in the pre-dawn sky, reaching 48 degrees above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 5:30 a.m..

Next week, information on the Perseid meteor shower peak.


Aug. 3  - Full (Sturgeon) Moon

            - Mars at perihelion (closest to Sun)

         6 - Mercury at perihelion (closest to Sun)

         9 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)

Global Chorus essay for August 3 
Robert (Birdlegs) Caughlan

There are huge waves on the horizon. We can’t stop them, so we must ride them. Riding big waves takes strength and courage and good judgment. But the most important thing a surfer needs is balance. That’s what I think we need. Balance in politics. Balance with the environment. Balance in life.

When I was young, I asked Captain Jacques Cousteau if he had any good advice for young people who wanted to help protect the ocean. He said, “Yes! Don’t follow gurus like me. Go out and do it yourself.”

I’ve been trying to do that ever since. I’ve won some great fights and lost a couple of heartbreakers. But you can’t be afraid of losing. Thomas Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That statement helps keep me from getting too cocky when I win and too ruined if I wipe out.

The great waves, planet sizzling, overpopulation, species extinctions etc. are daunting. When I worked for President Carter on The Global 2000 Report, I learned that there are no big magic solutions to any of them. That’s why thinking globally and acting locally is so important. We need millions of local actions.

I believe that life on other planets is probable. But just in case we are the only speck in the universe where life has reached our level of knowledge and appreciation, wouldn’t it be terrible to turn this beautiful blue planet into a cold lifeless moon? Without hope we don’t have a chance. We have to keep trying. From Captain Cousteau to me to you: “Don’t follow gurus like me, go out and do it yourself.”

     — Robert (Birdlegs) Caughlan, environmentalist, political pro, surfer

His website:

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014

August 2, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Sunday Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street (closed to auto traffic for that time).

Monday - Wednesday, August 3rd-5th:
Raspberries: "U-pick with a twist"
from the Legacy Garden at the PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown

"The garden is overflowing with raspberries so we're offering a U-Pick with a twist! Pay $10 to pick 4 pints - 2 for you to enjoy and 2 for us to keep to give away. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, our u-pick will be by appointment only. "
For more information and to sign up for any slots early this week:
Google Docs form link with more information

Met Opera streaming:
Verdi’s Ernani, tonight until about 6:30PM
Starring Leona Mitchell, Luciano Pavarotti, from 1983, the nobleman-turned-bandit, with gorgeous singing.  From December 17, 1983.

Sunday, August 2nd
Wagner’s Die Walküre, tonight from 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Christine Goerke, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jamie Barton, Günther Groissböck and others.  From last year!  So fresh new staging and costumes for this "second and most popular installment in the composer’s sweeping tetralogy", and just under four hours!

always good to read Ian's point of view:

An Irrigation Pond to Support - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie

Published on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020,  in The Graphic publications (Island Farmer)

It was quite the contrast.

In early July, the Saskatchewan government announced it would spend $4 billion over the next decade to double the amount of irrigated farmland in the province. Canals will be constructed to move water from Lake Diefenbaker to irrigate up to 500,000 acres of land.

At the same time, the PEI legislature adopted a motion for a moratorium on the construction of new irrigation ponds. This is coupled with an 18 year moratorium on new high capacity irrigation wells, something that’s now fixed in stone. While Saskatchewan claims to be preparing for the challenges of climate change, PEI has been taking a very thoughtful approach to water use policy that I fully support. We can’t get this wrong.

PEI is deep into the “precautionary principle” when it comes to water use in agriculture. Successive governments have promised first rate, independent research to see if these moratoriums are necessary, but the politics and perception of this issue appear just too difficult for any government to take on.

Farmers concerned with yearly periods of drought during the growing season, and the threat of increased weather uncertainty from climate change, have accepted that new irrigation wells are a non-starter, so much more expensive holding ponds have been a fallback. There have been 29 ponds built, most in the last five years, and two over the last 10 months.

The previous Liberal government did establish a set of “requirements” to build these ponds and supply them with water, promising these would be put into regulations once the Water Act passed. Only one shallow, domestic sized well could be used. Many farmers building ponds ignored this requirement, allowing opponents of irrigation to successfully argue that the ponds are simply a workaround to the deep well moratorium.

I’ve written before that these additional wells should not be grandfathered in when the Water Act becomes law. Yes there will be legal challenges. Let the lawyers fight it out, and do the long promised research to see if these additional wells can be used without harm, but don’t OK them before that. Don’t leave any wiggle room for farmers to think that they can build ponds with multiple wells legally before the Water Act is proclaimed. That’s better than a non-binding moratorium.

That’s why I found it so ironic (and frustrating really) that the new pond in Shamrock was the backdrop for the latest public demonstration against holding ponds. I think it’s the kind of project people should support. Most of the ponds in East Prince have been built by large highly capitalized operations like Vanco and Indian River Farms. This one was constructed by R & L Farms, a joint venture owned by Andrew Lawless and Austin Roberts, two younger farmers who have been committed for years to soil conservation projects, ditching the moldboard plow for high residue tillage equipment, minimizing fertilizer use, proper rotations and research and on farm practices promoting increased soil organic matter and soil health.

Yes they grow potatoes, which for some would be all they need to know before passing judgment, but if we can accept that potato production isn’t going to vanish overnight then these two farmers and a dozen other young farm families that are part of a group called the East Prince Agri-Environment Association are operations we should support.

They’re curious, they’re educated, they want to know the best way to do things. They’ve watched their parents struggle through tough years and wrenching changes as the industry moved from profitable seed, to marginal process potato production. Part of what they’ve learned is that proper rotations, new soil conservation equipment, fall cover crops and so on all cost money. If this pond can supply water for two or three weeks a year and make their crop more productive and profitable, then these other practices become sustainable.

What I especially like about this project is that it’s located in an area that naturally collects runoff from hundreds of acres around it using grassed waterways and culverts. It is pumping two shallow, low volume, domestic wells right now, but the hope is just one will be needed in the years ahead after the winter and spring run-off is collected.

I can’t speak to the construction or location of other ponds, but I thought this one should be a model: collect water when it’s naturally available, use the water when it’s hard to come by, and don’t threaten groundwater resources.

Saskatchewan is obviously going all in with its ambitious irrigation plans and it will take a couple of decades to know if the concern about climate change justifies the cost and environmental impact of this policy. PEI, on the other hand, is still struggling to find a way forward. Preventing the construction of irrigation ponds, maintaining the moratorium on drilling deep water wells (only for farmers mind you, residents of Charlottetown and Summerside both enjoying new well fields) may feel like pushback and progress for some.

I’ll continue to pay more attention to land use and attitude, the willingness of farmers to work with local watershed groups and researchers looking for better rotation crops, and ways to prevent erosion and fish kills, build soil health. What I haven’t seen from Andrew Lawless and Austin Roberts and others in their group is that limiting stubbornness that they know better. It’s something we could all learn from.


Global Chorus essay for August 2
Jay Ingram

I worry about the future of the planet, but more about us. For the most part we are just too shortterm in our thinking, too determined to stick to our values (even when they are in direct conflict with a livable future) and too tilted toward optimism to grapple effectively with the idea of environmental ruin.

That optimism is the real stickler: humans tend to be optimistic, and many studies have claimed that optimistic people enjoy greater personal and physical well-being than do pessimists. It might even have survival value. So if you tell me you’re optimistic about the future, what are you really saying? Nothing more than “I’m human.”

We need to be able to think differently – throw of the cognitive shackles – so here’s a radical suggestion. In an article in the online journal, linguist Julie Sedivy points to research showing that because poetry uses language in unfamiliar ways, people keep thinking about the words long after they’ve finished reading. We need to keep thinking about the planet’s future, so I offer this poem “Whistledown,” by Dennis Lee, as a way of triggering that thinking.

Cold kaddish. In majuscule winter,
whistle down dixie to dusk;
coho with agave to dust.

Bison with orca commingled
– whistle down dixie. With
condor to audubon dust.

52 pickup, the species.
Beothuk, manatee, ash:
whistledown emu.

Vireo, mussel, verbena – cry
bygones, from heyday to dusk.
All whistling down dixie to dust.

     —Jay Ingram, science writer, broadcaster 

lots of fun stuff at:


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014

August 1, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Open-Air Market, open 8AM-1PM, outside, along the parking lot.

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM, outside the Holman Building

Vendors are outside, with directional markers for customers.   Lots of local produce, meats and crafts.

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, etc.


Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEI 2020, 8-10PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Charlottetown.   
Facebook event listin

Opera on radio and online:

Radio: Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, CBC Music Radio), 1PM, 104.7FM,

August 1, 2020
The Snow Queen by Hans Abrahamsen
Bavarian State Orchestra and Chorus

Video: Metropolitan Opera Livestream HD Video
Dvorak's Rusalka - until noon PM Saturday
as there is special ticketed Renee Fleming 2PM Atlantic Time concert --

Verdi’s Ernani, 
7:30PM Saturday until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Leona Mitchell, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and Ruggero Raimondi, conducted by James Levine. From December 17, 1983
"...Pavorotti as the wronged nobleman turned bandit..."!

From today's paper, after the report sitting quietly on a shelf since April:

Amid row over research, P.E.I. land bank ‘in limbo’ - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Printed on Saturday, August 1st, 2020 

An election promise made by the Progressive Conservatives to set up a farm land bank is on hold due in part to a difference of opinion between a provincial department and a consultant tasked with coming up with recommendations related to its establishment.

A farm land bank would involve the province purchasing thousands of acres of arable land. The property could then be leased to new or existing farmers and would be kept in food production.

In a phone interview, Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers told The Guardian that work on establishing a land bank was "in limbo right now."

Myers said this was due in part to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But it also involves the outcome of $50,000 study into the background of land banks in P.E.I. and in other provinces in Canada.

To carry out the study, the province commissioned Kevin Arsenault, a well-known blogger and gardener who in July 2019 ran against Premier Dennis King for the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative party leadership.

"The research he provided was good and we will be able to use it. But arguably, I didn't get what I wanted,” Myers said.  Myers said that when Arsenault was commissioned to conduct the study in the summer of 2019, the expectation was that the research would focus on the “mechanisms” required for his department to purchase land, as well as possible ways in which a land bank could be funded.

Arsenault’s final report, which was quietly posted online in April, contains nine policy-related recommendations about the establishment of the land bank. But it also contained a larger, systemic critique of large-scale industrial agriculture in P.E.I. The report focused heavily on the need for improvement of soil health to be a key policy objective in the establishment of a land bank.

As of 2017, about 25 per cent of farms on P.E.I. have soil organic matter at levels of 3 per cent or higher, a drop from close to 90 per cent in 1998 according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Soil Science.

"In the author's case, he very much wanted to talk about the health of the soil and other things which, while very important, didn't really fit with what I was trying to accomplish with it," Myers said.  Myers said his focus was on how to ensure younger farmers or smaller-size operations to have more access to farmland than they otherwise would have.

Myers also said his department, which is responsible for land purchases on P.E.I., does not have expertise in soil organic matter. The department of Agriculture was reviewing the research conducted by Arsenault but was not directly responsible for the initiative.

Arsenault disputes that the findings of his report were outside the bounds of what was expected at the outset.

He said he met with Premier King in August 2019, along with principal secretary Adam Ross. In this meeting, Arsenault said he told the premier that he would need to extend the timeline and scope of his research.

"I realized two things. One, I had to do a much more significant jurisdictional scan of all the provinces. And I also needed to do a longer overview of soil-related issues in terms of what's gone on here in the last 20 years," Arsenault said.   "His words exactly — he looked at Adam and he nodded and he said 'we've got to make sure we do this right,'" he said, referring to King.

Arsenault said Myers’ objections to the report’s wider focus are in contrast to his communication with the minister throughout the fall of 2019.  "It's absolutely a betrayal of the policy that I gave to Premier King before he became premier and what he publicly said he was going to do," Arsenault said.

Arsenault has been a vocal critic of large-scale agricultural operations for many years. His report was submitted on Dec. 19, 2019, ahead of a Jan. 31, 2020 deadline.

The 128-page study examines land leasing programs in other jurisdictions and the now-defunct land banks that were established in Saskatchewan between 1972 and 1983 and in P.E.I. under the Liberal Alex Campbell government between 1969 and 1990.  The report also examines 20 years of public studies on land use in P.E.I.

Arsenault says the “consistent thread” from these studies is a need to preserve P.E.I. farmland and to restore soil health.  “We hear time and again recommendations to improve soil health, bring nitrate levels within acceptable ranges in ground and surface water, and decrease pesticide use in food production,” Arsenault says in the report.

Arsenault states in the report that much of the responsibility for the declining soil health falls to practices commonly used in “intensive late-variety potato production for the french fry market,” as well as those used in soybean production as a rotational crop.

Arsenault’s recommendations for the establishment of a farm land bank include making soil organic matter a key indicator to assess land parcels considered for purchase or lease.

The report’s eight other land bank recommendations include ensuring the bank be publicly controlled through a collaboration agreement between the Department of Transportation and the Department of Agriculture and Land, and that it be publicly funded to the tune of $100 million. The recommended mechanism for funding involves a $60-million loan from either the Island Investment Development Inc. or Finance P.E.I., as well as an additional $40 million raised through public bonds. The report recommends the land bank purchase 25,000 acres of arable farmland.

Historical Objectives

P.E.I.'s 1969 Land Development Corporation had as its objectives

  1. To assist the agriculture industry;

  2. To acquire, develop and improve land;

  3. To make land available to farmers;

  4. To enable consolidation of farm lands;

  5. To provide credit to farmers for land consolidation; and

  6. Generally to advance the interests of farmers in an economic and efficient manner in the province.

The corporation was eventually wound down, with most land sold off to farmers by 1990.

Source: Carver Commission, 2013.

The (2019 Arsenault) report also includes five recommendations outside the scope of the land bank, including prohibiting the sale of agricultural land to non-residents unless they have a farm plan in place, increasing funding for soil health and testing and completing the first state-of-the -environment report for P.E.I. since 2010.

READ: Soil Health Study

“Unless a farmland banking system is implemented in conjunction with a multifaceted agricultural and environmental strategy, designed to bring about a progressive transformation in P.E.I. agriculture … such an endeavour will be of little benefit to farmers or Islanders in the long run,” Arsenault writes in the report.

Myers said the wider critique on large-scale commercial agriculture was not what he asked for.

"That's not what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm not trying to attack. I'm trying to put protections in place so that everybody kind of has an equal opportunity to farm on P.E.I. regardless of their past capacity," Myers said.

A 2013 Commission on the Lands Protection Act noted that two prominent agricultural organizations, the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union, both agreed that establishing a land bank was desirable. The two organizations often disagree on many other matters related to intensive agriculture on P.E.I.

In additional to the $50,000 allocated for Arsenault’s study, a further $50,000 remains budgeted for Myers’ department to continue work focused on establishing the land bank. Myers said this amount would likely be allocated to a more formal staff person on the file.

Myers said he believes the establishment of the land bank, initially slated for next year, will be delayed by six to eight months.


Thoughts on City's potential decisions regarding the Ice Rink Report

City Press release:

The City of Charlottetown announced its adopting the  recommendations from a consultant on building a new arena and other objectives yesterday, and it sounds like it was recommended to build a double rink building at the site of the provincial Department of Transportation depot on Riverside Drive/ the Hillsborough Bridge, and remove the ice surface at Simmons.

Mayor Philip Brown on the radio said while paying for and building the grand new structure would be years away, they could get going and close Simmons, and a comment about adding a rink at MacLauchlan complex at UPEI/Bell Aliant Centre was mentioned (I think).

Despite not living in the City nor having kids in hockey and only occasionally going shaking, I question this decision, for I don't think we are recognizing the value (and then the loss) of a neighbourhood rink.  Now all the kids that could walk or get a short drive to Simmons for various ice sport practices will have to get to UPEI, or eventually the disorder of getting to Riverside Drive.  No more skating times with school children, or preschoolers, or seniors, all of whom would walk or take a short trip.  Simmons seems pretty busy, close to two or three schools, and relatively easy to park around.  The shabby state it was allowed to get in most years (peeling paint, one could hardly read the sign) was a bit of portent of the decision that would likely be made that due to  it being in such rough shape, they have no choice but to knock it down.  I understand new is often better, but it's hard to see this saving money or promoting active living and community in the long run, to have these small rinks be closed and sports time consolidated.  It's tough when it happens in the country and likely tough in the city.

I am sure City Councillors could be given comments, though it looks like a bit of a "done deal" if the report has been adopted before any public consultation.

Global Chorus essay for August 1
Elisabet Sahtouris

Humanity, like all other species on Earth before and with us, is evolving – and evolution, for humans as for all species, is neither predictably linear nor based solely on competitive Darwinism. Rather, evolution reveals a repeating maturation cycle in which species evolve from hostile competition to peaceful co-operation. Earth’s nearly four billion years of evolutionary experience reveals that this pattern predominates, giving us hope and inspiration, along with valuable guidance for getting ourselves through the unprecedented confluence of enormous crises in which we humans now find ourselves.

The evolutionary Big Picture includes the amazingly complex lives of our remotest bacterial ancestors, who had Earth to themselves for fully half of evolution, and much of whose experience we seem to be mirroring now. They engaged in hostilities, generated global crises of hunger and pollution as great as ours today, and solved them without benefit of brain!

Along the way they invented electric motors, atomic piles and the first World Wide Web of DNA exchange. Ten, in the greatest of all evolutionary ventures, they formed co-operative communities that became nucleated cells. These co-operatives were the later basis for the evolution of multi-celled creatures as co-operatives on a larger scale yet. And eventually they evolved our own hundred-trillion-celled human bodies, which role-model amazingly co-operative living economies.

Learning from these newly revealed patterns of problems and solutions in biological evolution, we too are finding out how to survive and even thrive into a better future despite – perhaps because of – our greatest challenges. That is indeed cause for celebration.

     —Elisabet Sahtouris, PhD, evolution biologist, futurist, author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution 
her website:,0,

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014