CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

August 2019


  1. 1 August 31, 2019
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  2. 2 August 30, 2019
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Upset about Amazon wildfires? There's something you can do - CBC "What on Earth" series posting by Nicole Mortillaro
  3. 3 August 29, 2019
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 Battle over future of Nova Scotia pulp mill reflects wider Canadian debate, filmmaker says - The Globe and Mail article by Michael Tutton, Canadian Press
  4. 4 August 28, 2019
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 Land Limits Do Not Healthy Soil Make - Barnyard Organics blog post by Sally Bernard
  5. 5 August 27, 2019
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 August 26, 2019
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 LETTER: Elected officials must come together and address climate change - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 6.3 Six places where carbon pricing is working - The National Observer article by Brendon Frank, research associate
  7. 7 August 25, 2019
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 Transparency and action needed now - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  8. 8 August 24, 2019
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Recently someone asked me why so many Right whales were killed this summer, and what she could do about it. - Facebook post by Ole Hammarlund, MLA for D13 Charlottetown-Brighton
  9. 9 August 23, 2019
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 Land ownership demands bold response - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  10. 10 August 22, 2019
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  11. 11 August 21, 2019
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  12. 12 August 20, 2019
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Elections Canada says warning covers activities, ads identifying a candidateor party that cost $500 or more -  Canadian Press article
    3. 12.3 Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change - The Guardian (U.K.) article by Agence France-Presse
  13. 13 August 19, 2019
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 Sussex-area fracking plans shelved over 'regulatory uncertainty' - CBC New Brunswick News article by Shane Magee
    3. 13.3 ‘I Want Them to Have Justice’: Inside the Fight to Save the Shubenacadie River - The Tyee article by Michael Harris
  14. 14 August 18, 2019
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 Will I be able to tell when we’ve reached a climate tipping point? - The Grist "Ask Umbra" advice column by Eve Andrews
  15. 15 August 17, 2019
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 Do We Want to Be Irving Islanders? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Douglas Cameron
  16. 16 August 16, 2019
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 How AI could help us respond to climate change - CBC Newsletter article
  17. 17 August 15, 2019
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 A New Farm Economy - article by Elizabeth Warren
  18. 18 August 14, 2019
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 Cast Adrift - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky
  19. 19 August 13, 2019
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 Kombucha on tap at Heart Beet Organics' new Charlottetown business - The Guardian article by Daniel Brown
  20. 20 August 12, 2019
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 P.E.I. Farm Centre program to prepare people for green economy - CBC News online article by Tony Davis
  21. 21 August 11, 2019
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  22. 22 August 10, 2019
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 ATLANTIC SKIES: Preparing for the Perseids - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts
    3. 22.3 Fighting Climate Change on the Farm - The NY Times article by Alan Sano
  23. 23 August 9 2019
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 Some clarity finally on irrigation ponds - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie
    3. 23.3 VisionPEI -posted on their Facebook page
  24. 24 August 8 2019
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  25. 25 August 7 2019
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 'Unloved': Despite the oilsands' relentless cost cutting, investors are still wary of jumping back in - The Guardian article by Geoffrey Morgan, Postmedia News
  26. 26 August 6 2019
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 Bedeque man making a statement with roadside pollinator garden - The Journal-Pioneer article by Colin MacLean
  27. 27 August 5, 2019
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 OPINION: Fishermen still determined: No pipe in the Strait - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ronnie Heighton
  28. 28 August 4, 2019
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 MARGARET PROUSE: Wisdom from a pro - The Guardian article by Margaret Prouse
  29. 29 August 3, 2019
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 Wind research facility looking to complementary solar energy - The Guardian article by Eric McCarthy
    3. 29.3 New solar incentives available to Islanders - from: Government press release
    4. 29.4 Enbridge pipeline explodes in Kentucky, killing 1 person and sending 5 to hospital - CBC online article
  30. 30 August 2, 2019
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  31. 31 August 1, 2019
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 Climate emergency brings youth leaders to Thinkers Lodge - The Amherst News article by Darrell Cole

August 31, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

Strawberry Social, hosted by District 6: Mermaid-Stratford MLA Michele Beaton, 1-3PM, in front of Stratford Town Hall. Free, and the splash pad will be operating for the children.

Last performance:
Ebb and Flow: Tides of Settlement on Prince Edward Island, 7:30PM, Beaconfield's Carriage House, co-created by Laurie Murphy and Amanda Mark. Saturdays until August 31st.

“With fellow Island artists, historians, economists, and community cultural organizations, we are presenting original literature, music and dance along with photography, archive materials and film that together present a living poem,” Murphy says, “a snapshot of PEI’s in and out-migration of settlers, from the indigenous Mi’kmaq to colonizers, and from newcomers to refugees.”
Each evening includes an exhibition of photography, newspaper articles and artifacts, an instrumental ensemble playing 7:30pm, followed by a multimedia stage presentation, at 8pm. For those wishing to join in post-show activities, there will be a facilitated Q&A, with weekly guests, and a music jam."
More details at: Facebook event link
An emotionally moving, nostalgically filmed, series about farming, soil health and the climate crisis, has come from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.
Some are under the "30 Harvests" banner, which reminds us there are just 30 harvests to make the tough decisions about how we grow food on a finite planet and implement the changes. These folks are dealing with many of the same issues we are currently ignoring on The Food Island, feeding our soul and all at shiny festivals and experiences and avoiding the awkward truths that have to be spoken aloud.

"30 Harvests":

"Stories from the Soil", several parts, start here:
"Sometimes it's good to start over."
---Julian, Wonder publication

August 30, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Province House (Grafton Street side). Weekly reminder that we are in a climate crisis and need to hold our elected officials to their promises.
Organized by the non-violent protestors Extinction Rebellion, all welcome.
Amazon fires
Sometimes, our very smart elected or appointed public servants go out of their way to fact check claims made, usually claims made in emotionally charged situations (e.g., watching the Amazon burn).

When provincial Forests, Fish and Wildlife division director posted on social media recently a Snopes article clarifying that the Amazon fires are not depleting the world's oxygen (and it was shared by the provincial Environment Minister), some responses to that not just clarified some more facts but zeroed in on *why* this upsets us so much that we would assume misconceptions on some of the facts.

Response from Anna Keenan, organizer and currently running for MP in Malpeque:

"Correct! The fires aren't depleting the oxygen supply, but they do serve as the 'lungs of the earth' in different ways. The fires will contribute significantly to C02 level increases this year, and will reduce the size of a critically important CO2 sink.

Because, science lesson: Oxygen makes up roughly 19% of the earth's atmosphere (so 190,000 parts per million) but CO2 only 0.04% (410 parts per million)...

A tiny, tiny change of say 10 ppm of CO2 levels has a very large effect. The same size change in oxygen levels is barely noticeable - it could fluctuate significantly without us even noticing.

When human lungs have too much CO2 in them, we exhale. When the atmosphere has too much CO2 in it, it's our tropical rainforests that are meant to be there to soak it up. This is a big problem. "

Kyle MacDonald (former provincial Green Party candidate) further adds:
"Oxygen regeneration is only one aspect that the Amazon rainforest gives to our planet. The unique flora has provided an abundance of medicinal benefits for our species to flourish and combat the many diseases we have faced over the course of our existence. Also the fauna is uniquely diverse, providing the scientific community with a focused insight on our origins as well as life in general on our planet. Some of the trees in the Amazon are the oldest and largest ever on record. It is home to the many indigenous peoples who have a real understanding of the biodiversity and the intricate balance we are precariously perched upon. This isn't just about the loss of something timeless, this is about where we are in history as a species. Do not down play the significance of this tragedy, this is serious."

As the Snopes article says:
There are many reasons to be appalled by this year’s Amazon fires, but depleting Earth’s oxygen supply is not one of them.

Fair enough, but "Appalled by this year's Amazon fires" is the key wording here for many people. It's good to be clear and accurate. It's also good for people in leadership positions to show us how they are going above and beyond to combat the climate crisis and protect our natural world, and help us be able to act positively for the public good.

What can you do? The tech media site CNET published this article this week here:

carefully summarizing events up to now, and offers these suggestions:

How can you help?

Here are some ways you can aid in protecting the rainforest:

  • Donate to Rainforest Action Network to protect an acre of the Amazonian rainforest.
  • Donate to the Rainforest Trust to help buy land in the rainforest. Since 1988, the organization has saved over 23 million acres. 
  • Reduce your paper and wood consumption. Double-check with Rainforest Alliance that what you're buying is considered rainforest-safe. You can also purchase rainforest-safe products from the alliance's site. 
  • Reduce your beef intake. Beef found in processed products and fast-food burgers is often linked to deforestation.
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature (known as the World Wildlife Fund in the US and Canada) works to protect the species in the Amazon and around the world. 
  • is a search engine that plants a tree for every 45 searches you run.  
  • Explore petitions. A lawyer in Rio Branco has accumulated over 3 million signatures to mobilize an investigation into the Amazonian fires
  • Donate to Amazon Watch, an organization that protects the rainforest, defends Indigenous rights and works to address climate change. 
  • Donate to the Amazon Conservation Team, which works to fight climate change, protect the Amazon and empower Indigenous peoples. 
  • Amazon Conservation accepts donations and lists exactly what your money goes toward. You can help plant trees, sponsor education, protect habitats, buy a solar panel, preserve Indigenous lands and more. 
  • Contact your elected officials and make your voice heard
  • Donate to One Tree Planted, which works to stop deforestation around the world and in the Amazon rainforest. One Tree Planted will keep you updated on the Peru Project and the impact your trees are having on the community. 
  • Sign Greenpeace's petition telling the Brazilian government to save the Amazon rainforest and protect the lands of indigenous and traditional communities.
    And also from the weekly CBC posting "What on Earth" series on climate change:

Upset about Amazon wildfires? There's something you can do - CBC "What on Earth" series posting by Nicole Mortillaro

Published on Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Over the past week, the world has watched with concern as flames lick at the lush forests of the Amazon and smoke wafts across parts of South America.

As of Wednesday, there were roughly 179,000 fires burning across the continent, with the vast majority in the Amazon rainforest, a region rich in biodiversity and ecosystems that is shared by eight countries.

Most eyes, however, are on Brazil and its president, Jair Bolsonaro. Elected to office last year, Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for his
policies and actions in the Amazon. The country's space research centre said the number of fires was 80 per cent higher this June compared to last June. Enforcement of environmental laws, including those pertaining to the Amazon, has also decreased by roughly 20 per cent in that same time period.

The Amazon plays a critical role in regulating the global climate and influences regions hundreds of kilometres away. Watching as it succumbs to numerous fires has left many people around the world feeling helpless, but experts say there are things that non-Brazilians can do to reduce the destruction.

Brazil “is a commodity-driven government,” said Christian Poirier, program director at Amazon Watch, a non-profit organization that aims to protect the rainforest. “Therefore, the international community needs to play a much more influential role in the coming years.”

This can take many forms. Since economic growth is front and centre for Bolsonaro, countries can demand better action, such as urging increased environmental protection of the Amazon. Some countries, like Germany and Norway, have already done this by freezing funds that were to be used for sustainability projects in Brazil.

But individuals can also make a difference. Much of the rainforest has been cut down to make way for agricultural activity, such as beef, soy and palm oil production. A great deal of those products are exported.

“The good news is, not only do we have a responsibility … but we also have some power” in determining the future of the Amazon rainforest, said Kai Chan, a professor at the University of British Columbia's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. 

"Something substantial" that consumers can do, he said, is to buy products that are certified to be sustainable.

You can double-check this by looking at the packaging for various items. RSPO stands for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a not-for-profit organization that has developed a set of environmental and social criteria for companies to produce a more responsible product. Another group, Rainforest Alliance, certifies products are made sustainably by ensuring they meet responsibility standards in three areas: environmental, social and economic.

Chan recognizes that it can be difficult for the average consumer to look at labels and try to discern which ones are truly sustainable and which are a case of "greenwashing." 

People can also urge retailers to sell those products, and perhaps sell them exclusively, Chan said. It's an example of how consumer demand at this end can have a positive effect where the items are produced. 

Nicole Mortillaro

"The only way to make people good, is to make them happy."
--- Dinah Craik (1826-1887), English novelist

August 29, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM, Coles Building. The committee will consider its work plan.
Committee members include
Government MLAs Cory Deagle (chair) and MLA Darlene Compton,
Official Opposition MLAs Lynne Lund and Stephen Howard,
and Third Party MLAs Robert Henderson and Hal Perry.
A reminder that this committee deals with "matters concerning agriculture, fisheries, land, water, forests, wildlife, energy, natural resources, environment, climate change, and other such matters relating to natural resources and environmental sustainability."

Special Committee on Climate Change, 1:30PM, Coles Building. "This committee will elect a chair and consider its work plan."
The special committee was created as a result of the unanimous passage of Motion 37 on July 11, 2019, consisting of two members from each Party, " 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."
The committee members consist of
Official Opposition MLAs Stephen Howard and Lynne Lund,
Government members Sidney MacEwen and Brad Trivers (also current Environment and Climate Change Minister),
and Third Party MLAs Heath MacDonald and (former Environment Minister) Robert Mitchell.

These meetings should be live-streamed on the Assembly website, too.

Thursday Farm Centre Pop-up Market, 3-6PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Fresh and prepared fresh food, and crafts. Rain or shine, but there are lots of tents.

Documentary: "Boat Harbour: Northern Pipe Mill", 9PM, CBC Television, "For 50+ years, pulp mill waste has contaminated Pictou Landing First Nation’s land in Nova Scotia..."

Link to watch the documentary:
repeating this background story:

Battle over future of Nova Scotia pulp mill reflects wider Canadian debate, filmmaker says - The Globe and Mail article by Michael Tutton, Canadian Press

Published on Monday, August 19th, 2019

For filmmaker David Craig, a new documentary depicting the fraught emotions over the future of a rural Nova Scotia pulp mill is not solely a local story.

Rather, as tense lines are drawn over Northern Pulp’s plan to pump waste water into the Northumberland Strait, he sees a wider tale of how Canadian communities can become divided as the interests of heavy industry are pitted against the natural environment.

“People are now seriously asking the question ‘What is the limit to resource exploitation?’ ” the 67-year-old seasonal resident of Pictou County said in an interview.

“It’s a microcosm of a much larger national story and international story. And it was taking place in front of my eyes, in my neighbourhood.”

The hour-long production titled The Mill, a co-production from Craig’s firm Site Media and Vertical Productions, is set to air on Aug. 29 at 9 p.m. ET on CBC POV Docs. It is the filmmaker’s directorial debut.

The documentary depicts the subsidiary of Paper Excellence as relying on inexpensive raw materials, while providing well-paid jobs at the centre of a rural forestry industry that supplies the factory with logs and wood chips.

However, a historic wrong to a Mi’kmaq community is finally coming to an end – setting the stage for a developing showdown.

After more than 50 years of dumping effluent from the Abercrombie Point mill into Boat Harbour, the provincial government has committed to a legislated deadline to end the existing outfall by Jan. 31, 2020.

The opening interview with Andrea Paul, the chief of Pictou Landing First Nation, is shown amid stark aerial views of the foaming, brown waters emerging in the lagoon behind her, which her people used to call A’sek.

“It’s affected people so much inside … That was where (the people) went,” she says. “When they were hungry, that was where they went. If they were sick, this was where they got their traditional medicines … All of that was taken away from them.”

Craig shifts the perspectives back and forth, including the mill manager’s view that he and the more than 300 workers are also crucial parts of the community.

No rank-and-file mill worker spoke in the documentary. At times, their perspective is heard second-hand through the voice of a dogged, local reporter who attempts to find all the viewpoints in the struggle. Craig says the film was inspired by Joan Baxter’s book, The Mill: 50 Years of Pulp and Protest, and that he purchased rights to make a film from the book.

Whether the matter will be settled with rational, public debate – or have a harsher ending – is not fully answered, but the faces of the players are depicted in depth and with a human touch.

Images of the Northumberland Strait flip between a tranquil sunrise and a day of fierce winds beating spray against a fishing boat’s bow.

A young fisherman, Colton Cameron of Caribou, N.S., speaks of his passion for going out on these waters to fish for crab, lobster and mackerel.

“It’s nothing but joy,” he says.

Minutes later, the scene shifts to a hall meeting with the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association planning strategy to somehow block the proposed dumping of waste water into the strait.

“There will be an all-out war,” says a fisherman in the back row at the gathering.

For years, Craig gave little thought to the mill as he drove by it on his way to catch the ferry to Prince Edward Island. Over the years, there were community controversies over air pollution from the mill, but on the whole there was a “live and let live” atmosphere to the debate, he says.

However, when Northern Pulp made clear its alternative to the Boat Harbour lagoon was to send its 85 million litres a day of treated waste water into the Northumberland Strait, tensions rose.

In one scene, Krista Fulton, co-founder of Friends of the Northumberland Strait, captures the widening divide within the community.

“I feel like there’s a big division now. My neighbour, she is an executive at Northern Pulp. We don’t even wave to each other any more … It’s become uncomfortable,” she tells the filmmaker.

The film follows the developing saga from living rooms, to town hall meetings organized by Northern Pulp, to an exuberant, 3,000-person “No pipe” protest on the water and waterfront of Pictou last year.

It comes close to the present with footage of the provincial environment minister declaring Northern Pulp needs to provide more answers before its pipeline and effluent treatment project can proceed.

Craig says he wanted to create a documentary that “showed the decisions can no longer be made by a few individuals behind closed doors,” adding: “The climax of the story is yet to come.”

"Everybody knows that if you are too careful you are so preoccupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over somthing."
--- Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), American novelist and collector

August 28, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Wednesday Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM, Belvedere Avenue

District 10 Charlottetown-Winsloe Summer Social, with MLA Liberal Interim Leader Robert Mitchell, 5-7PM, St. Mark's Church Hall, 7 Tamarac Lane, off Brackley Point Road in Sherwood. "...come out and enjoy some refreshments& entertainment."

In the Future:
Tuesday, September 3rd:
Public Meeting Discussing multi-use trail on Towers Road, 7PM
, Cody Banks Arena, Maplewood Room, 50 Maple Avenue, Sherwood.
"Residents are invited to a neighbourhood meeting for a discussion around a proposed multi-purpose path on Towers Road...a multi-purpose pathway is a paved section on the shoulder of a road that cyclists and pedestrians can use collectively, safely away from motor vehicle traffic. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting."
Always the wise-Yoda-voice, this blog-post from Freetown organic farmer Sally Bernard:

Land Limits Do Not Healthy Soil Make - Barnyard Organics blog post by Sally Bernard

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

The Lands Protection Act is the real problem, not the Irvings (although a vigilant eye is not remiss). Relying on “the spirit” of anything in 2019 is frankly, naïve. If the intention of the Act is to preserve soil health, small farms and healthy, vibrant economies, I would suggest that history shows it has been failing for decades and that even those original intentions are not enough. We are no longer at a stage where preservation is sufficient. We, as people of a small, rural province need to be looking beyond sustainability to enrichment and regeneration. Being outraged by exceeding arbitrary land limits is distracting us from the real, tangible issues of land and soil management

Perhaps it’s (past) time to consider an amendment to the lauded land limits portion of the Land Protections Act.  Let’s move beyond the idea of sustainable farms being a specific size and consider instead the priority of what they do and how they do it. What if instead of the focus being on number of acres, the application for land acquisition was instead treated like a job interview?  What if the questions had weight and required sincere thought and consideration? Questions that lawyers couldn’t answer. Questions whose answers could be seen born out. Questions like, but certainly not limited to;

  • How often will you, the owner of the land, physically be on the property to feel the soil, smell the air and monitor the biodiversity?
  • What will you do to care for the soil? 
  • How often will you test the soil?
  • What sort of management practices will you put in place to mitigate contributions to climate change? 
  • What sorts of innovative plans do you have to help build soil and prevent it from eroding by wind or water?
  • Will you plant crop varieties that can be harvested early enough to put some winter soil cover in place? 
  • Will there be livestock on the land? If so, how will they be housed and what is the plan for their manure?
  • Are you aware of wetlands and waterways within and adjacent to your property? What will you do to improve and maintain those? 
  • Does your pesticide management plan include a reduction in inputs? Explain. 
  • Will you source any manure in place of chemical fertilizers?
  • How will you help build biodiversity? 
  • Will you be planting any trees? 
  • Do you have plans to clear land or remove hedgerows? 
  • What will your rotation look like? Anything new and interesting on your radar that is particularly good for building soil? 
  • How will you contribute to the local community? (Coach soccer, volunteer at 4-H, church, watershed group?)  Will you know your neighbouring land owners?

Soil health is too precious to spend any more time wailing about the evils of owning too much land. If a province has the power to limit land ownership, then it surely has the power to require answers to questions that address the issues those limits were once meant to. And the subsequent power to deny requests that don’t meet the needs of Islanders and their precious soil, air and water. What got us here, will not get us there, and it’s time to move forward with intention and focus on the thing that matters; protecting the land. 

Posted by Sally Bernard
"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day."
--- Sally Koch

August 27, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tuesday, August 27th:
Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM
, Coles Building.
"The committee will meet to receive presentations by the Construction Association of PEI and Holland College on the shortage of skilled labour in PEI."
This committee is chaired by D12 MLA Karla Bernard, Official Opposition, and includes Official Opposition MLA Ole Hammarlund, government members MLAs James Aylward and Ernie Hudson, and Third Party Leader Robert Mitchell and MLA Sonny Gallant.

More info:
Just the blog posting headline from Peter Rukavina is all you need to know, of the kind-hearted and multi-talented Tony Reddin, part of an extraordinary environmentally and civically-minded due (Marion Copleston):

Tony Reddin Saves the Day
"The Earth is what we all have in common."
--- Wendell Berry

August 26, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

It is a week filled with musical and theatrical events, and some committee meetings later on, but acknowledging the last week of summer break.

Tuesday, August 27th:
MacPhail Homestead, Orwell. "Dr. Samuel Johnson, famous talker, dictionary-maker, and curmudgeon, returns to the Island..." for two select performances, this Tuesday, and Saturday, September 7th, at the Bonshaw Community Centre, also at 2PM.
Terry Pratt portrays Johnson in YR. OBEDIENT SERVANT, a one-man, full-length slice of 18th-century London life by Kay Eldredge. Admission is by donation in support of the hosting venues. Audience members may wish to book lunch at the MacPhail Homestead before that show. To be sure of a seat at the Bonshaw performance, please call Terry at 675-3672.
Over the past winter, Pratt/Johnson appeared at Andrews Lodge of Charlottetown, the Haviland Club, the UPEI Faculty Lounge, and Watermark Theatre. For a future booking of this chamber play in your chamber, house, club, or classroom -- or only its self-contained first half (50 minutes) -- call Terry or email
from the redoubtable F. Ben Rodgers:

LETTER: Elected officials must come together and address climate change - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, August 13th, 2019, in

Listening to the news, I hear of floods in England, forest fires in Siberia, heat waves in Japan, drought in Australia, crisis in India and several other nations situated around the world. Here in Canada, I believe the great majority of the population are doing their best to curb pollution and reduce their carbon footprint. However, half of our nation’s elected premiers are fighting with the federal government over the carbon tax.

They are hell-bent on challenging the government in the Supreme Court of Canada. I have to assume these premiers are intelligent people, and they surely know the risks of changing climates. I’m not saying the government is doing the right thing imposing the carbon tax. Nevertheless, it must be a wiser course of action than wasting huge sums of taxpayers’ money fighting a court case. The five premiers would do better to engage the government in serious discussion. Our leaders need to come together and seek solutions to the serious world threat, instead of squabbling among themselves.

The time of party politics is over. Elected members, both federal and provincial, must dedicate all their efforts to this looming problem. If we can’t come to a sensible solution very soon, it may be too late. It has been said many times, “there is no Planet B.”

So, instead of blaming other countries, why can’t we be a world leader? We have heard a variety of naysayers each claiming things like ‘we aren’t as bad as other countries’ and ‘we have the trees that are reducing our carbon so don’t need this tax.’ The list goes on, but in the meantime, global warming and severe weather patterns continue unabated.

It is time for everyone to pull together in the hope of meeting the challenge of climate change. It’s beyond reason that we have to fight with elected officials to make them do the right and necessary thing.

F. Ben Rodgers,
Opinion piece, published in The National Observer, from Canada's Ecofiscal Commission ("Practical Solutions for Growing Prosperity", and definitely from a climate change mitigation standpoint)

Six places where carbon pricing is working - The National Observer article by Brendon Frank, research associate

Published on Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Climate change will be an important part of the national conversation this fall. One part of Canada’s strategy to deal with climate change has been to put a price on carbon.

What’s a price on carbon? Glad you asked. It’s a charge on fossil fuels, the main drivers of climate change.

The charge is based on how much carbon pollution (a.k.a. greenhouse gas emissions) the fuel produces when it is burned. For example, a litre of diesel produces more carbon pollution than a litre of gasoline, so the carbon price is higher on a litre of diesel. This creates an incentive to conserve energy, or look for alternative sources.

If we want our climate to remain as stable as possible, economists overwhelmingly recommend we start by putting a price on carbon. The evidence shows that it helps the environment in a way that’s best for the economy.

More to the point: carbon pricing works. It has for a long time.

Here are six places where carbon pricing has worked:

British Columbia

We don’t have to go far for our first example. British Columbia adopted a carbon tax in 2008 and hasn’t looked back. Its economy has grown at one of the fastest rates in Canada (the carbon tax didn’t cause this, but it sure doesn’t seem to have hurt the economy).

  • How it worked: B.C.’s carbon tax reduced the use of gasoline and natural gas by seven per cent per person. There’s even evidence that it spurred people to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

  • Key fact: B.C. used the revenues to cut income taxes and, more recently, to cut health premiums and invest in green technologies. It has some of the lowest income tax rates in Canada.

Northeastern United States

In 2009, 10 states, including New York and Massachusetts, worked together to put a price on carbon. They used the other type of carbon pricing: cap-and-trade. Their system is known as RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), or “Reggie.”

  • How it worked: Electricity producers started burning way less coal and started using more natural gas and renewable energy, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Key fact: “Reggie” improved public health. Less coal meant less soot, and these states avoided more than US$5 billion worth of asthma attacks, hospital visits, chronic illnesses and premature deaths.


Sweden has had a carbon tax since 1991. It started at €25 per tonne of greenhouse gases and is now €120 per tonne, the highest carbon tax in the world. Since implementing carbon pricing, Sweden’s economy has grown well above the European average.

  • How it worked: Businesses and homes started using less coal, gas and oil for heating, and started using biofuels instead. Sweden has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent since 1995. Its carbon tax was a key contributor.

  • Key fact: Sweden wants to be carbon neutral by 2045 and will use pricing to help get there.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has had a bipartisan consensus on climate change for a long time. They introduced a carbon price in 2001 and gradually ramped it up over time.

  • How it worked: The carbon price completely transformed how the U.K. generates and uses electricity. Its emissions haven’t been this low since 1890, and studies point to carbon pricing as a key contributor.

  • Key fact: The U.K. got serious about carbon pricing in 2013. In 2012, the U.K. got 36 per cent of its electricity from coal. In 2018, it got six per cent of its electricity from coal.


Tokyo was the first city to put a price on pollution back in 2010. About 1,300 of its largest buildings pay a price on carbon.

  • How it worked: Building operators started massive upgrades and retrofits. The most common initiatives were the installation of high-efficiency furnaces and lights.

  • Key fact: Over 70 per cent of buildings met their 2020 targets by 2013.

European Union

Fighting climate change isn’t controversial in the EU. It has had a price on carbon for 15 years, fostered international co-operation and emphasized the need for collective action. The system applies to most of Europe’s large industrial facilities (manufacturing, power, etc.).

  • How it worked: It took a while to get working, but the EU’s system is finally humming along. It led to a direct increase in the number of low-carbon patents and innovations, and it’s slowly changing how the EU produces electricity.

  • Key fact: The EU’s carbon market is the largest in the world, but it will fall to No. 2 when China launches its carbon market in 2020.

Bonus: The United States (again)

Pricing has worked on pollutants other than carbon. Just ask acid rain. Oh wait, you can’t. We got rid of it by putting a price on it. In 1990, two conservative politicians, former prime minister Brian Mulroney and former U.S. president George H.W. Bush, agreed to address sulfur dioxide pollution, the main cause of acid rain. The U.S. did this by putting a price on sulfur dioxide.

  • How it worked: Power plants, the main source of sulfur dioxide emissions, responded quickly. They rerouted rail cars so they could burn coal with less sulfur content, and they invested in pollution scrubbers that pulled out sulfur before it left their smokestacks.

  • Key fact: By 2004, sulfur dioxide emissions had fallen by 36 per cent, even as coal-fired power grew by 25 per cent.

The bottom line

Pollution pricing works. It’s working around the world. It’s working here in Canada.

A climate change plan without a price on carbon is like a house without a foundation. Sure, it can do the job, but you’ll take on a lot of unnecessary costs.

As long as we take the time to do it properly, carbon pricing can be a key part of the solution to climate change. And at a time when cost-of-living concerns are high, how we get there matters. Let’s lay the right foundation.

Brendan Frank is a research associate with Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission.

"The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before."
--- Neil Gaiman (b. 1960), English author

August 25, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Sunday Downtown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street, Charlottetown

Free Corn Boil, 12noon-2PM, Victoria Park, near Kiwanis Dairy Bar, Charlottetown. Hosted by Karla Bernard and Ole Hammarlund, MLAs for Districts 12 and 13.

Bonshaw Ceilidh, 7-9PM, Bonshaw Hall, TCH and Green Road, Bonshaw. This month's proceeds going to the Sierra Club's PEI Wild Child Program. Admission by donation. Always a rolicking time, with cookies at the tea provided by local Chef Peter Hicks.
Legislative Assembly Standing Committee meetings this week (adapted from their meeting schedule listed on this very useful page):

Tuesday, August 27th:
Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM,
Coles Building.

"The committee will meet to receive presentations by the Construction Association of PEI and Holland College on the shortage of skilled labour in PEI."
This committee is chaired by D12 MLA Karla Bernard, Official Opposition, and includes Official Opposition MLA Ole Hammarlund, government members MLAs James Aylward and Ernie Hudson, and Third Party Leader Robert Mitchell and MLA Sonny Gallant.

Thursday, April 29th:
Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM
, Coles Building. The committee will consider its work plan. It consists of Chair government MLA Cory Deagle and MLA Darlene Compton, Official Opposition MLAs Lynne Lund and Stephen Howard, and Third Party MLAs Robert Henderson and Hal Perry.
(How does this committee differ from the Special Committee on Climate Change? This one includes climate change, but also:

"The Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability is charged with matters concerning agriculture, fisheries, land, water, forests, wildlife, energy, natural resources, environment, climate change, and other such matters relating to natural resources and environmental sustainability."
from its webpage on the Legislative Assembly website

Thursday, August 29th:
Special Committee on Climate Change, 1:30PM
, Coles Building. "This committee will elect a chair and consider its work plan."

The special committee was created as a result of the unanimous passage of Motion 37 (below) on July 11, 2019:

WHEREAS the Legislative Assembly has established targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Prince Edward Island;

AND WHEREAS there are many options available to reduce GHG emissions;

AND WHEREAS the province should adopt emission reduction measures that are cost effective in order to reduce, as much as possible, the potential burden on Islanders and Island businesses of reducing emissions;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that a Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly, consisting of two representatives to be named by the Premier; two to be named by the Leader of the Opposition; and two to be named by the Leader of the Third Party, be 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.

THEREFORE BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED the Committee shall engage with the public and government in its deliberations.

The committee members consist of Official Opposition MLAs Stephen Howard and Lynne Lund, Government members Sidney MacEwen and Brad Trivers (also current Environment and Climate Change Minister), and Third Party MLAs Heath MacDonald and (former Environment Minister) Robert Mitchell.

These meetings should be live-streamed on the Assembly website, too.
Here is the text, with permission from Joan Diamond of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land, from Thursday's Guardian, regarding the recent Irving land deal. (The paper is a bit behind in getting some of their opinion pieces on-line after they are published.)

Transparency and action needed now - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

by Joan Diamond
published on Thursday, August 22nd, 2019, in The Guardian

Anyone paying attention during the leadup to the provincial election last spring will know that our Premier, Dennis King, was paying attention and actually quite vocal and resolute in his acknowledgement of and intention to rectify the continuous exploitation of loopholes in the Land Protection Act (LPA). King was in attendance at the land grabbing forum hosted by the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land on February 23rd. During the election campaign he was adamant in all his responses concerning the LPA that, if given the opportunity, he would close those loopholes. In the following quote from the Leaders Forum the Coalition hosted on April 9th, he demonstrates a clear understanding of the problem and solution.

"Its design (LPA) was to limit the size of corporations to 3000 acres.Interlocking in the same family name extending over the 3000 acre limit was never the intent, and in fact I believe Angus MacLean would be very disappointed to see how the LPA has not been enforced to the level that it should be. I would like to go back to remember what the spirit and intent is...I think we have to do a review. I think we have to recognize what the loopholes are;not just close them, but enforce them, and in the spirit of Angus I would love to be in a position to do that.” -- Dennis King

Mr King is now Premier and many Islanders were convinced that he would be dealing with this issue as promised. During the spring legislature sitting, Official Opposition Agriculture and Land Critic, Michele Beaton asked Agriculture minister, Bloyce Thompson whether he thought the spirit and intent of the act had been followed in a recent transaction of land leasing to Irvings, to which he responded that indeed they had. When she later asked Thompson about rumours that a deal was in the works for Irving to purchase land in Bedeque, he replied,“This government doesn’t operate on rumours.” His responses indicate that he has much to learn about the LPA. In August, Rebecca Irving, daughter of Mary Jane Irving, purchased a 2200 acre parcel of land in Bedeque area, the purchase of which had been vetoed last year. Irving lawyer, Geoffrey Connolly admits that they used a “loophole” in the LPA in order to justify this transaction. It seems it was not approved by IRAC. Minister Thompson says he is looking into it, and the Premier has not made a statement. Our group, the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land, sent the Minister a request in early June in order to introduce our group and its concerns around land use. We have had no response.

What are islanders to think? Many are fearful that this government is reneging on its election promise to stop this abuse of our land. We fear that King, like many premiers before him, has decided to throw his support behind corporations like Irvings, rather than our small farms that the LPA was designed to protect. Admittedly, this government is new and we acknowledge that it takes time to get ministers up to speed on policy, etc, but in the name of transparency, the minister or premier, or both, need to let us know what they are doing about this continued abuse. If there is one thing we islanders know all too well, it is that words ring hollow unless action follows them. We need transparency and action and we need them now. Otherwise we are left to draw our own conclusions.

Joan Diamond,
On behalf of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought."
--- Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Japanese poet

August 24, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

NaturePEI 50th Anniversary special events today:
All About Dragonflies, 1:30PM
, Southport Room, Stratford Town Hall. If the weather cooperates, a nature walk/catch-and-release at Pondside Park after the presentation.

Mackerel Fishing, 6PM, Charlottetown Waterfront. Meet at the red 2019 sign **Pre-Register with leader Gerald MacDougall Gerald will provide a limited number of rods, or bring your own fishing rod. No license is required.**
Art in the Open, 4PM-midnight, Various locations. Details here.

Ebb and Flow: Tides of Settlement on Prince Edward Island, 7:30PM, Beaconfield's Carriage House, co-created by Laurie Murphy and Amanda Mark. Saturdays until August 31st. Multimedia presentation and music...."a snapshot of PEI’s in and out-migration of settlers, from the indigenous Mi’kmaq to colonizers, and from newcomers to refugees.”
Facebook event link

Sunday, August 25th:
Cornboil with Charlottetown MLAs Karla Bernard (D12) and Ole Hammarlund (D13), 12noon-2PM, Victoria Park near Kiwanis Dairy Bar.

Next Week:
Tuesday and Wednesday, August 27 and 28th:

Pickle Night, 6PM, Farm Centre kitchen.
"Cindy Burton has offered to make pickles on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, 6:00 p.m. at the Farm Centre. Come out and help her and stock up your pantry with a winter's supply of pickles.
The Legacy Garden will supply the fruit. The Farm Centre will supply the kitchen and supplies. You share in the labour. Half of what is produced goes to the Farm Centre the other half is for the participants to take home.
((You can attend either evening, but SPACE MAY BE LIMITED)) Please sign up by calling the Farm Centre at 902-892-3419 and leave a message with your name and phone number."
Meanwhile, Ole Hammarlund wrote this piece about Right Whales, on social media yesterday, for all us "Whale Worriers":

Ole Hammarlund, MLA for D13 Charlottetown-Brighton
Friday August 23rd, 2019

Recently someone asked me why so many Right whales were killed this summer, and what she could do about it. - Facebook post by Ole Hammarlund, MLA for D13 Charlottetown-Brighton

I am no expert in whales, but I do know Pierre-Yves Daoust. He is frequently seen standing on whale carcasses investigating the cause of death and taking samples. Here is what I learned.

Right whales are huge animals, weighing over 50 metric tons when mature. They were named “right” whales because they move slowly at 3-5 knots (roughly 5-9 km/hour) and, due to their very thick blubber (up to 30 cm), float when killed, both critical points for whale hunters. Their prey, Copepods, are tiny shrimp-like creatures that they catch with their very long (up to 2.7 m) strainer-like baleen plates suspended from the roof of their mouth.

The whales go where their food is abundant. In previous years they favored the Bay of Fundy, but since 2015 they have gradually increased in numbers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Cabot Strait. These areas have many busy shipping lanes and are active fishing areas. In 2017, there were several instances of whales killed by collision or entanglement.
This resulted in the creation of zones with speed restrictions and fishing limitations being implemented in 2018 and carried on in 2019. I asked Pierre-Yves why many whales are still dying?

His answer was complicated and is based on a long-detailed report from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) dated June 2019, and on discussions with non-government marine mammal specialists.

Restrictive zones are based on aerial and acoustic surveys. Aerial surveys only detect whales at the surface and acoustic surveys only when the whales are “talking”. This means we never have a complete picture of their total presence. In addition, the whales follow their prey, sometimes to unrestricted zones where they may be struck by large vessels or get entangled in fishing gear. Unrestricted zones may actually become more dangerous now because some boats speed up, to make up for time lost in the restricted zones. Restricted zones have also decreased slightly in area in 2019. However, the main factor still remains that we simply do not know where the whales are and where they are going to go at any given time. Furthermore, while the animals in general spend time off Florida during the winter and spend the summer in the Maritime and Maine waters, individual whales can be encountered almost anywhere in the North Atlantic almost any time of the year.

DFO has made credible efforts to minimize impact on the whales with its restriction on our main shipping and fishing areas. More can be done in terms of continued surveys and restrictions, but these activities have suffered from budget cuts. If you want to do something for the whales, you should let your MP know this is important to you, and that funding must be secured.

Pierre-Yves recently retired from teaching at the veterinary college, but he is not at all retired from investigating whale deaths. He will continue to be the Hercules Poirot of the whale crime scene for the near future. This should provide some comfort for whale worriers.

"Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do you will be certain to find something you have never seen before."
--- Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), Scottish-born American inventor

August 23, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Insect Presentation and Garden Walk, 9AM-10:30AM
, Farm Centre, presentation; 10:30AM-12noon garden walk showing insects. PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Hosted by the Acadian Entomological Society and the PEI Horticultural Association.

Fridays for the Future, 3:30PM, Province House, Grafton Street side. Non-violent protest to remind politicians and the public of the urgency of the climate crisis.

Nature PEI 50th Anniversary "Picnic Weekend", Celebrating 50 years of Citizen Science, various times and locations:
Tonight: Friday, August 23rd:
Reception, 5-7PM, Ravenwood, Experimental Farm (off Mount Edward Road, Charlottetown).
Nature Walk on the Confederation Trail, 7-7:45PM, meeting at Ravenwood.

Tomorrow, Saturday, August 25th:
All About Dragonflies, 1:30PM
, Southport Room, Stratford Town Hall. If the weather cooperates, a nature walk/catch-and-release at Pondside Park after the presentation.

Mackerel Fishing, 6PM, Charlottetown Waterfront. Meet at the red 2019 sign **Pre-Register with leader Gerald MacDougall Gerald will provide a limited number of rods, or bring your own fishing rod. No license is required.**

Sunday August 25th:
Birding trip Charlottetown to East Point, 6AM
, Meet at Provincial Administration Building parking lot by 11 Kent Street Charlottetown for car-pooling and departure **at 6AM** Travelling to East Pt. with stops along the way and returning via Greenwich, PEI National Park for the Nature PEI – Natural History Society 50th Anniversary Picnic at noon. Led by: Dan McAskill, Dwaine Oakley

10AM Greenwich Walk. Meet at Greenwich Interpretive Center PEI National Park. Walk through woods, wetland boardwalk and dunes to the beach with leader, Senator Diane Griffin.

12Noon Greenwich Barbecue and Picnic at the Greenwich Interpretive Centre, PEI National Park. Bring your own picnic lunch or consume favorites from the barbecue and salad table.

1:30PM Greenwich Walk. Meet at Greenwich Interpretive Center. Walk through woods, wetland boardwalk and dunes to the beach with leader, Robert Harding of Parks Canada.

Everyone is welcome to attend all these free events – please spread the word and bring a friend along.
Paul MacNeill's editorial this week:

Land ownership demands bold response - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019, in The Graphic Newspapers

The Tory government can count its blessing that the biggest issue it’s faced since coming to power happened in the hazy heat of Old Home Week, when Islanders are more interested in harness racing by night and beaches by day.

When news of a legal end run around the Lands Protection Act became public is less important than how the King government will respond. Dennis King campaigned on enforcing not only the letter, but the spirit of the act. Since taking office, however, government’s tone has changed from populism to meekness.

And that was before Guardian reporter Stu Neatby broke news that the daughter of Mary Jean Irving purchased the 2,200 acre Brendel Farms.

By its own admission, Irvings used a loophole in the act to complete a purchase the former Liberal cabinet had rejected in March. At that time the proposal from three Irving related companies, each listing Mary Jean Irving or one of her two daughters as a shareholder and director, was rejected for violating the 3,000 acre corporate ownership limit. Mary Jean Irving owns Indian River Farms, a major potato producer.

Not one to take no for an answer, the Irving clan opted for a new strategy. Rather than buy the land, buy the corporation that owns the land. Sale of large swaths of land must be reviewed by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission and approved by cabinet; land included within corporate purchase and sale agreements do not.

In July Green MLA Michele Beaton raised the spectre that the deal denied by the MacLauchlan cabinet was still proceeding. Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson responded by saying “our government doesn’t operate on rumours.”

The fact Minister Thompson was taken by surprise by The Guardian story indicates his department also did nothing to follow up on the Beaton’s question. Out of sight, out of mind does not meet the standard of enforcing the spirit of the Lands Protection Act.

The National Farmers Union is a vocal critic of loopholes within the Lands Protection Act. But the union’s concerns have been largely ignored. This is the first example of an intentional, legal, walk around of regulations. Liberals are unaware of a similar process being utilized under their watch.

But would government even know? If there is no requirement to obtain IRAC approval for land included in the sale of a corporation, then government would need to specifically search every agreement to have a full understanding of land ownership by individual and related corporations. IRAC doesn’t do that.

This is a serious issue that demands a serious response. So far the King government has offered the predictable. Minister Thompson has asked IRAC to review the purchase while refusing to speak publicly about it. The premier has busied himself with summer social events and photo opportunities while remaining silent on an issue that is front and centre for many PC supporters. It doesn’t matter if it’s corporate potato growers, foreign cottage owners or those affiliated with the growing Buddhist presence, Islanders want to trust that the rules are being enforced.

The lack of a forceful response is both disappointing and troubling. In flipping the file to IRAC the minister indicated in an unofficial social media post “I am NOT happy.” But he said nothing about determining how extensive the use of loopholes has been or offered a promise to eliminate them from the Lands Protection Act.

What more evidence does the King government need? An acknowledged loophole was used to buy a farm government had already rejected for being in violation of provincial law. Yet neither the minister nor premier has committed to closing it. The only thing government has done is pass the buck to IRAC, and it’s questionable whether it has the capacity or mandate to investigate anything but this specific transaction.

So much for the boldness Dennis King promised Islanders.

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

"After all there is but one race -- humanity."
--- George Moore

August 22, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event today -- the Farm Centre is the place to be:
Farm Centre Pop-Up Market, 3-6PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Fresh vegetables and meats, bread, prepared foods and crafted items.

Games Day in the Legacy Garden, 4:30-6:30PM, Farm Centre Legacy Garden (in back, beyond the parking lot), 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. "Come to the Legacy Garden to enjoy some casual, low-impact games for people of all ages! The Legacy Garden will continue to be open for plot-owners to use, but people from within the gardens and those who have never been here alike are welcome to come together in community. We will have Bocce Ball (aka lawn bowling), bean bag toss, giant ring toss, frisbee tic tac toe, giant jenga, and lawn twister!"
Facebook event link
-----------------------------------If you haven't contacted Elections Canada to lodge a complaint about their concerns that Climate Change could be a partisan issue, here is two-minutes-or-less way of doing it, from their website:

After some identifying information, you can just type "The Climate Crisis is a non-partisan election issue" or however you want to put that.

Sounds like they are hearing from voters, but the more the better.
Embarrassment from me for mislabeling the satire article about topics we can't talk about in the next federal election from the New Brunswick-based The Manatee, with the premier Canadian environmental journalism publication, The Narwhal.

From The Narwhal's "About Us" page:
"Our team of investigative journalists dives deep to tell stories about Canada’s natural world you can’t find anywhere else.
We have just two rules: 1) Follow the facts. 2) Tell it like it is.

We’re tired of false dichotomies and business-as-usual perspectives. We’re not shy about the fact we think Canada’s greatest assets are our people, our lakes, our rivers, our forests. We tell stories Canada’s big news outlets miss and hustle to help our readers make sense of complex (sometimes downright messy) issues.
As a non-profit magazine, our goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians."

The Narwhal is funded by donations and people can donate kind of like a monthly subscription, too.
On Extinction Rebeliion PEI (which is holding its weekly 3:30PM "Fridays for Future" tomorrow outside Province House), an excerpt from blogger Peter Rukavina yesterday, regarding how we are all dealing with the Climate Crisis, and how Extinction Rebellion is distinct in this regard:
"...a group of people with unusually fine-tuned empathy; spiritual canaries in the climate crisis coal mine, so to speak.
And that, to my mind, is reason enough to pay attention to Extinction Rebellion: they are grappling with the psychological effects of climate crisis, and this is something we’re all going to have to come to terms with, sooner than later.
To understand more about our near-future selves, to understand more about the stresses we are all under from the cognitive dissonance of living one way while logic dictates we live another, to see what happens when remorse and anger and confusion and planetary grief boil over into direct action, we should look to our Extinction Rebellion forerunners."

"Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment."
---George Santayana

August 21, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM. Belvedere Avenue. Superb mix of prepared food, fresh foods, and crafts. Nice place for lunch, too.

Artists Meet and Greet -- Art in the Open, 5-7PM, Merchantman Pub outdoor area.
Facebook event link

A note that Art in the Open is Saturday, August 24th.
Art in the Open Link

Green Drinks at the Silver Fox, 6:30-8:30PM, Silver Fox Curling Club rooftop, 110 Water Street, E., Summerside.Join Summerside and area MLAs Lynne Lund and Trish Altass and others. All welcome. Facebook event link

Saturday, August 24th:
All About Dragonflies, 1:30PM
, Southport Room, Stratford Town Hall. Hosted by Nature PEI, welcoming "...Robert Harding of Parks Canada, an excellent teacher and a student of these superb hunters/fliers. After the presentation, weather permitting, we hope to capture (and release) some dragonflies at Pondside Park. All ages are welcome."

Odds and Sods:

Deadline, Thursday, August 29th:
Single-Use Plastic Survey, for residents of the City of Charlottetown
(but I feel if you are in the Capital City patronizing businesses, then perhaps your voice should be heard).
In response to the silly but serious announcement about Elections Canada warning of penalties for references to Climate Change in a political manner during the upcoming federal election, silly but believable satire is appearing to right our human nature. Here is something from The Manatee, with some language edited.

Listicle: 8 more things you shouldn’t promote as ‘real’ during election season **satire** - The Manatee article by Paul William Lewis

Published on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019, in The Manatee

Atlantic Canada — Earlier this week Elections Canada warned environmental groups that they should be wary of promoting climate change as real during the upcoming federal election, because it could be seen as a partisan move.

Now, The Mantatee wants to provide our readers with a comprehensive list of other things that shouldn’t be touted as real for that same reason.

1: Round Earth: With all the controversy these days around the shape of the planet, we find it’s best not to talk about the Earth as being “round,” at least until this fall’s election wraps up. There are flat-Earthers everywhere, lurking where you least expect. So, avoid saying things like “I took a trip around the world” that could betray your allegiances to the Green Party.

2: Poverty:
Be careful while describing poverty as something you’ve witnessed or experienced. It’s very possible that homeless people and those living on social assistance in our country are all actors hired by the Conservatives to illustrate that the Liberals are doing a terrible job at growing the economy.

3: Science: Of course you think science is a real thing, you Green Party-loving hippie!

4: Mental health: A crisis in Canadian society currently, sure. But there are plenty of people out there who still believe all of your problems could be solved by suppressing your feelings, drinking hard liquor and saying you’re “fine.” The quest for mental health could very well be an NDP plot. Speaking of the NDP…

5: The NDP: We’ve seen lots of pictures — probably doctored, by the way — and we’ve heard the news stories, but has anyone ever really glimpsed a member of the NDP in person? No, so it’s best not to come off as totally bats**t crazy by talking about the orange party or mentioning Jagmeet Singh. Not everyone believes he’s real.

6: Moon landing: Maybe it happened for real and maybe it happened in a Hollywood studio, but who knows for sure? What we do know is that if you’re publicly saying that men went to the actual moon, what you’re really saying is “I’m voting Liberal!” It’s so obvious that we don’t even need to explain why that’s part of their agenda.

7: Rainbows: Posting pictures of the beautiful drawing of a rainbow your child made at day camp this week? Of course you’re a Justin Trudeau mega-fan! You might as well be walking in the parade and wearing the flag. Our advice? Don’t even look at rainbows if you want to keep who you’re voting for a secret. Probably best to just stay inside when there’s a chance of rain.

8: New Brunswick: The Picture Province is picturesque for those who live there, but for the rest of Canada it’s as mythical as the Bermuda Triangle — a place where people get swallowed up and disappear forever. Andrew Scheer talks about it a lot as somewhere he can frack the h**l out of when he’s elected. You don’t want to seem like you’re on his side.

There are plenty more topics to avoid talking about or defending as “real” or “legitimate,” especially if you work in politics. Just to be completely safe, we think it’s probably better if you don’t take an official stance on anything at all until at least 2020.

Remember, you can comment to Elections Canada about this:

Commissioner of Canada Elections
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M6

Where is young Climate Crisis activist Greta Thunberg on her way to North America on a solar-powered yacht? No guessing: You can see the boat's progress here:

Recent CBC article on her journey
A timely message from 750 years ago that apparently applies to Greta:

"The secret of getting things done is to act!"
--- Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

August 20, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The Talk: The Ongoing Climate Crisis and What We Can Do About It, 6PM
, Trinity United Church Hall, Charlottetown. "... this is a place where you can meet with like-minded people, and find ways to do something about it."
Facebook event link
This is one of those headlines, like Trump musing about buying Greenland, that you have to wonder if it's our plentiful and razor-sharp satire like The Beaverton or The Narwahl. But, alas, no.

Environmental groups were warned that some climate change ads could be seen as partisan during election period

Elections Canada says warning covers activities, ads identifying a candidateor party that cost $500 or more Canadian Press article

Posted on the CBC's website on Monday, August 19th, 2019

Elections Canada has warned environmental groups that running ads about the dangers of climate change during the upcoming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity.

An Elections Canada official warned groups in a training session earlier this summer that since Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People's Party of Canada, has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change, any group that promotes it as an issue in its paid advertising could be considered partisan and may need to register as a third party with Elections Canada.

Elections Canada said the warning applies only to "activities or ads that specifically identify a candidate or party" and cost $500 or more.

"The only place the act covers the promotion of an issue without mentioning a candidate or party is where someone spends money on 'issue ad' during the election period, but the issue must be associated with a candidate or party," Elections Canada said in a statement.

Such issue ads have been regulated during the election period for the last 20 years, the agency said.

Tim Gray, executive director of the advocacy group Environmental Defence, says registering as a third party is not only onerous for groups like his; it could also draw unwanted attention from the Canada Revenue Agency, which prohibits charities from engaging in partisan activity if they want to maintain their tax exempt status.

It is "discouraging" that Environmental Defence and other charities may have to revise their messaging about climate change during the campaign period "because one party has chosen to deny the existence of this basic fact," Gray said.

An Elections Canada spokesman confirmed "such a recommendation would be something we would give." It doesn't mean Gray is forbidden from giving interviews or press conferences about climate change during the campaign, the spokesperson said.

Rather, it would affect things such as Facebook ad campaigns that cost $500 or more.

"Lots of other activities, such as sending emails or text messages, having a website or canvassing door-to-door about issues raised during the election are not covered by the act, where they do not identify a candidate or a party," Ghislain Desjardins, Elections Canada's senior media relations adviser, said in a statement to CBC News.

"This is true even if the activity promotes an issue that is associated with a candidate or a party." 

Audits targeted some environmental charities

Environment groups in Canada are still on edge after being singled out by the Canada Revenue Agency in recent years for their political advocacy and some fear that if Elections Canada accuses them of being partisan, it will attract another round of audits.

In 2012, the former Conservative government unveiled a $13-million audit program to seek out charities the Conservatives alleged were abusing their tax status with partisan activities.

The probes went after two dozen environment, human rights, anti-poverty and religious groups — none of them considered partisan — for going beyond a rule that limited their spending on political advocacy work to no more than 10 per cent of their funding.

The program was launched as the Conservatives labelled some environment groups "radical" and a "threat" to Canada.

The Liberals promised to end what they called a "witch hunt" against any civil society groups that opposed the government's policies. It took more than three years, but eventually legislation was changed last year to lift the 10 per cent limitation. The non-partisan rule, however, remains.

Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada, called the Elections Canada warning "shocking."

"Climate change is a scientific fact," she said. "It's not an opinion."

The situation is "contributing to ongoing confusion" about what environment charities can and cannot do, and will give fuel to pro-oil groups that want to silence their opponents, Abreu added.

Natasha Gauthier, a spokesperson for Elections Canada, told CBC's Power and Politics that any action taken against specific advertising activities would be decided on a case-by-case basis and only if someone made a complaint. She said the decision whether to issue a fine would be made by the commissioner of Canada Elections.

Completely annoyed? Here is something we can do, contributed by Suzanne Coutrine, on CBC Waves of Change Facebook group comment section:

"Elections Canada warned some environmental charities that promoting climate change as real or an emergency during the upcoming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity.
If you think it is important to maintain that science doesn't become partisan because someone who denies it runs for office, and that it is important for Canadian environmental organizations to continue to raise awareness about climate change facts at this time, you can send a letter to the Commissioner of Canada Elections."

Commissioner of Canada Elections
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M6


Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change - The Guardian (U.K.) article by Agence France-Presse

Nation commemorates the once huge Okjokull glacier with plaque that warns action is needed to prevent climate change

Published on Monday, August 19th, 2019

Iceland has marked its first-ever loss of a glacier to climate change as scientists warn that hundreds of other ice sheets on the subarctic island risk the same fate.

As the world recently marked the warmest July ever on record, a bronze plaque was mounted on a bare rock in a ceremony on the barren terrain once covered by the Okjökull glacier in western Iceland.

<snip> rest of article at the link above
"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."
--- Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

August 19, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Green Party Egmont Federal Election MP Nomination Meeting, Registration 6:30, Meeting at 7PM
. Silver Fox Curling Club. Two candidates are running for the Green party Nomination in this riding, currently held by Bobby Morrissey.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 20th:The Talk: The Ongoing Climate Crisis and What We Can Do About It, 6PM, Trinity United Church Hall, Charlottetown.
from the event listing:

"There is only one question left: Will we chose extinction or rebellion?” -XR
Why come to this meeting?
If you get a nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear about or experience extreme weather events like floods, fires, massive hurricanes and tornadoes, or see serious coastal erosion on the Island;
If you are nagged by worries about the effects of global climate crisis, but feel powerless to do anything about it;
If you try to avoid thinking about what the future will bring;
Then this is a place where you can meet with like-minded people, and find ways to do something about it.
Join the rebellion!

What is Extinction Rebellion (XR)?
A movement attempting, through non-violent direct action (NVDA), to stave off the extinction of humans and other species, due to accelerating climate change.
We have three demands of governments:
1. TELL THE TRUTH about the oncoming climate crisis
2. ACT AS IF YOU BELIEVE IT by enacting legislation to force a reduction to net zero Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2025, and
3. Create a Citizen's Assembly, advised by acknowledged leading climate scientists, in charge of deciding the measures needed to reach goals and guarantee a just and fair transition.
History and social science research have shown that the only way to succeed in changing established political systems is through NVDA. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Suffragettes, all used these tactics to win advances in social justice. XR is effectively using these tactics in the UK, and around the world.
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.” -Arundhati Roy
Extinction Rebellion Canada’s website:

News from our neighbouring provinces:
there are some concerns this is just a last minute "ploy" to get the New Brunswick government to get moving and make things easier.-- CO

Sussex-area fracking plans shelved over 'regulatory uncertainty' - CBC New Brunswick News article by Shane Magee

Posted on Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Corridor Resources says it is halting a search for investors to back a multimillion-dollar plan to frack for natural gas near Sussex, citing "regulatory uncertainty" in New Brunswick. The provincial government recently took steps to partially lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial process that breaks shale deposits to extract gas.

But the Halifax-based company says the provincial government has advised it's "unable to consider applications for an exemption to the moratorium as they undertake a consultation process with the New Brunswick First Nations."

The company made the announcement in a quarterly financial update to investors Monday. "Due to the regulatory uncertainty in New Brunswick, in particular when or if Corridor's lands will become exempt from the moratorium, Corridor is and has been limited in its ability to market the Frederick Brook Shale prospect to potential joint venture partners," the company said in a news release.

Given the uncertainty, the company says it has deferred "the marketing" of the work "until such time that the moratorium is lifted in respect of our licenses and the New Brunswick regulatory process becomes clear and is consistent with other oil and gas producing jurisdictions."

Mike Holland, the New Brunswick minister of energy and resource development, said the department hasn't received an application from the company to begin fracking. He directed questions about whether the government told Corridor it isn't able to consider applications back to the company.

Steve Moran, Corridor's president and CEO, declined an interview Tuesday.

Corridor Resources has extracted natural gas east of Sussex since 1999. It stopped fracking after the former Liberal government imposed a moratorium after the 2014 election. Corridor was seeking investors to expand its extraction network.

The company's 32 existing wells are centred in the Penobsquis area in the McCully Field. The company was looking for a partner to develop wells in the Frederick Brook shale, farther east toward the Elgin area.

Holland said it's disappointing the investment isn't taking place at this point. "I would have loved to see more activity take place," Holland said in an interview.

Sussex Mayor Marc Thorne said the town would love to see more money spent in the region but understands consultation must take place. "We certainly would love to see them at work exploring and contributing to the economy, but we also realize having said that that it needs to be done right," Thorne said.

Meanwhile, the company said it is looking to spend outside the province. "With working capital of approximately $64 million, Corridor enjoys considerable optionality to pursue opportunities for deployment of our capital," Moran said in a news release.

Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs said lifting the moratorium would help the company as it sought investors. "My goal is to be able to tell Corridor [Resources] within a month's timeframe that we are open for business," Higgs said in June.

Higgs, after announcing the partial lifting of the moratorium, said the government would consult with Indigenous people.

The announcement about loosening the moratorium was called a "serious mistake" by top Indigenous leaders. Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg First Nation had said the province must consult with Indigenous people before making a decision, not after.

Last month, Higgs told the Assembly of First Nations that the duty to consult remains vague and undefined. "We also need a clear understanding of what consultation means to ensure we've done it effectively," he said.

The province's 2011 policy on the duty to consult says it must take place when "contemplating an action or a decision that may infringe upon proven or asserted Aboriginal and treaty rights."

On Tuesday, Holland said consultations with Indigenous people have been taking place on a number of files, including natural gas. He wasn't able to provide a specific date when talks began on fracking.

He said consultation isn't "checking a box" but about building a relationship.

Also, this very good in-depth article by Michael Harris (a bit too long to copy, so just leaving the link), about the gas storage project proposed by Alton Gas in Nova Scotia.


‘I Want Them to Have Justice’: Inside the Fight to Save the Shubenacadie River - The Tyee article by Michael Harris

In Nova Scotia, water protectors have fiercely opposed a gas company’s plans for a decade, helped by a celebrity supporter.

by Michael Harris
published on Tuesday, August 13th, 2019, in The Tyee

It is so quiet on the banks of the Shubenacadie you can almost hear the river breathe.

Standing by the Treaty Truckhouse with Rachael Greenland-Smith and Dale Poulette, the instinct is to fall silent. The landscape draws you in with elemental power — an Alex Colville painting come to life.

Blue sky above, tawny long grass below, all of it bisected by the reddish tidal waters of the Shubenacadie. The only sound is the flapping of the Indigenous Unity flag when the wind picks up from the river.

The RCMP didn’t want any flags flying on nearby Treaty Island, but Mi’kmaq water protectors felt they had no choice. They believed that the Alton Gas company’s storage project, which would dump huge amounts of brine into the Shubenacadie, would endanger the river.

rest of article here:
"Do anything, but let it produce joy. Do anything, but let it yield ecstasy."
---Henry Miller (1891-1980), writer

August 18, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

With today's rain, I am not sure if this is still going on:
Large outdoor fundraising concert for the fire victims of the (Harley Street) Charlottetown Apartment Complex, 11AM-evening,14155 St. Peter's Road (Music at the Manse). "Bring your chair. silent auction. 50 50 draw.
for more information call 902 213 2861."

This IS going on, rain or shine, but the bouncy house won't be set up:
OUT in the Park, 1-5PM, Victoria Park, hosted by PEERS Alliance. All welcome for "...a day of fun for Island 2SLGBTQ+ families and their allies! Same as last year we will have face painting, crafts, barbecue hot dogs, and lawn games! We also have the absolute joy of this year bringing in a bounce house, dunk tank, cotton candy and snocones! And even better this is a free event!" Facebook event link

Celebration and Open House for Leo Broderick, 2-4PM, home of Marian White, 1257 Donaldton Road, Tracadie. "Leo recently retired as Chair of Council of Canadian National Board where he put in many, many hours building a strong Council. In addition, Leo received the Order of PEI - a well deserved honour for a man who cares and advocates for his community. We want to acknowledge the work that Leo and Vangie contribute to our Island home." I think anyone who knows Leo Broderick is welcome, though the original invitations came to organizations through the Council of Canadians PEI Chapter.
Climate Change "Ask Umbra" advice column:

Will I be able to tell when we’ve reached a climate tipping point? - The Grist "Ask Umbra" advice column by Eve Andrews

Published on Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Q. Dear Umbra,

What is the full list of climate tipping points for melting ice, permafrost, etc.? And what’s the best guess of when each becomes irreversible?

— Not Ever Ready for Vast Ocean, Understanding Science


Woooo, OK. I’m not going to deny that this is an important question, especially given that it conveys a sense of much-needed urgency around climate change. But I’m going to be very candid: It took me a lot of anxiety-fighting self-care steps to start writing this column. I lay on the floor for a while, checked statements for every financial account I have, stared out the window, watched the Audubon Puffin Cam for too long, and drank about four liters of water.

It wasn’t because I’m a reckless procrastinator (I am, but this behavior is above and beyond even for me); your question is inherently, existentially, and unavoidably upsetting.

Simply put, a climate “tipping point” would mean that an ecosystem or social system has reached a degree of change that results in a new state of reality. That kind of milestone is the result of “feedback loops” — some kind of mechanism that causes change to compound on itself, like melting sea ice creating more water that melts more ice. The system could become so transformed that the rules governing it would be fundamentally changed: “Hundred-year storms” become regular occurrences, temperatures across the U.S. regularly exceed the current National Weather Service heat index range, and a delta becomes a gulf.

That is a new world for which humans are not currently ready. We are barely able to wrap our heads around the ecosystem changes going on right now. But pretending we don’t understand what’s going on isn’t going to make the situation any better, so we might as well get into what kinds of apocalyptic predictions pave the path of climate inaction.
The tipping points you can’t see

So let’s start with the big ones. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report names four major planetary components that we really, really don’t want to change that much: the ice sheets of West Antarctica and Greenland; the El Niño and La Niña cycle; the circulation of water throughout the Atlantic Ocean; and the Southern (Antarctic) Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon.

Let’s start with those ice sheets: They’re already melting. Greenland is currently suffering through a heat wave that’s turning its glaciers into water — this July, the country lost 2 billion tons of ice in a single day. And recent observations of the West Antarctic ice sheet already suggest it might be approaching instability. While all that ice isn’t necessarily done for at this point, we’re getting closer to the warming range (between 1.5 and 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels) at which there’s a “moderate” risk of those sheets melting into 1-2 meters of sea level rise.

Next up, El Niño — the periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean, with worldwide weather consequences. As Eric Holthaus wrote for Grist, “The so-called Godzilla” El Niño of 2015-2016 boosted global temperatures to all-time records, snuffed out entire coral reef ecosystems, and created havoc for about 60 million people worldwide.” The hotter the atmosphere gets, the higher the frequency of extreme El Niño events.

The Southern Ocean one has to do with the Antarctic water’s ability to function as a carbon sink — something we really don’t want to “break.” Even a 1 degree C temperature increase (which at this point is already locked in) comes with a moderate risk of reducing its ability to uptake and trap CO2 from the atmosphere.

As for North Atlantic Ocean circulation, we know that is already changing, but scientists aren’t sure if that’s due to human activities. That changing circulation is problematic because, for example, it can push warm water up to the Arctic and keep it there for longer periods of time, further contributing to melting ice. But scientists know for sure that slowed circulation in the North Atlantic would have global climate impacts.

So what are we to do with that jarring information? I assume you’re asking this question because you want to know how to tell when the worst happens and it’s too late to save ourselves; if the point of no return is already here, or if it’s yet to come. Well, of course it’s not quite that straightforward.
… and the ones you can

It’s good to be aware of the big, scary tipping points, but they’re hard to envision and fully comprehend. For example, I’ve never thought about the circulation of the Atlantic ocean in my entire life, and now I learn it’s key to keeping the globe intact?

More localized ecosystem “tipping points,” which I think you’re referring to with your mention of permafrost, are easier to grasp. Between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming, up to half of permafrost is predicted to melt, releasing even more carbon into the atmosphere; deadly heat waves are likely to increase; and summers in which Arctic sea ice disappears completely become 50 percent more likely.

Another reason not to get too focused on the big four tipping points alone: smaller species- and ecosystem-related milestones are also quite serious, and should snap us to attention.

“Is it too late for the coral reefs that died in 2016 due to ocean warming? Yes, it’s too late, they’re not coming back. It’s too late for a lot of Arctic melt, for the Greenland ice sheet that’s fallen into the ocean, it’s too late for quite a few important things,” said Kim Cobb, paleoclimatologist and director of the Global Change program at Georgia Tech. “But it’s not too late to avert the worst kind of ugly surprises that come from pushing the accelerator down on a geological system that we know has not responded steadily.”

Cobb explained that predictions for what will happen in Earth’s physical systems should theoretically be informed by what has happened, but what is happening is so new and unparalleled in Earth’s history that even the best projections carry a hefty amount of uncertainty. There has never been such a rapid change to the atmosphere in human history.

“All we can say, as loud as we can, is that every half degree matters, but especially regarding stability of polar ice sheets,” Cobb explains.

You could think of those half-degree increments of warming — 1.5 to 2 degrees C, 2 to 2.5 degrees C — as their own tipping points. “Overall, the difference of 0.5 degrees can possibly be the difference between a degraded — but still functional — ecosystem and a collapsed one,” said Sonali McDermid, a professor of environmental studies at New York University. “The risks go up substantially across most of these systems between 1 and 1.5, and all these systems would experience unprecedented levels of risk and harm at 2 degrees C.”

René W. Brown, a natural resources manager for county government in Florida, added that even if we eventually reach 2 degrees C of warming, prolonging the amount of time it takes us to get there will give species time to adjust — and a better fighting chance at survival.

“If we can’t avoid 2 degrees [of warming], the longer it takes to get there, the better,” Brown said.
So what’s to become of us?

Over geologic time, Earth may be able to “correct” what humans have done to it; temperatures can drop, ice sheets can refreeze, different habitats can move around and change and resettle. That doesn’t take into account, of course, the millions of species that will go extinct, and the “corrected” planet may be unrecognizable from the one we see today. But it’s one reason I tend to balk at the term “good for the planet” when describing actions or behaviors that will slow climate change or curb carbon emissions. The planet will eventually take care of itself, thank you.

Our actual concern is whether we humans can survive that correction process, which will be longer and more aggressive depending on how much carbon we pump into the atmosphere. If the outcome of that correction — the reformation of ice sheets, for example — is thousands or millions of years down the line, we won’t see it.

But at least when it comes to climate tipping points, it’s not just about our own demise — it’s about the ushering in of a world that, on a fundamental, physical level, we don’t recognize or understand. We can prepare for all kinds of random ways death might find us — a car crash, a brain amoeba, a slippery set of stairs — but as the planet keeps warming, we begin to venture into risks so foreign to our current state of being that our brains struggle to fathom them.

The “tipping point” that I believe we should look out for is the one at which we have no idea what’s coming, and we can’t possibly prepare for it. And make no mistake, some communities are already reaching something very close to that reality. We’re currently at 1 degree C of warming, but barring some swift and comprehensive change, our business-as-usual policies and practices have us on track for as much as 3.5 degrees C.

In my mind, that means the tipping point we should all be looking out for is the one that tips the scales in the direction of timely and aggressive slashing of carbon emissions.


"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."
-- Kahlil Gibran

August 17, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Hello, all,

Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

Ebb and Flow: Tides of Settlement on Prince Edward Island, 7:30PM, Beaconfield's Carriage House, co-created by Laurie Murphy and Amanda Mark. Saturdays until August 31st. Multimedia presentation and music...."a snapshot of PEI’s in and out-migration of settlers, from the indigenous Mi’kmaq to colonizers, and from newcomers to refugees.”
Facebook event link
This is both article and quote:

Do We Want to Be Irving Islanders? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Douglas Cameron

Published on Friday, August 16th, 2019
IRAC A map of the 2,220-acre parcels of land previously owned by Brendel Farms Ltd. Haslemere, whose sole director is Rebecca Irving, is listed as the current owner of the land.

The National Farmers Union is shocked beyond belief that the Irving corporation has found a way to access the 2,200 acres of prime Island farm land they coveted. It seems that the Irvings, by whatever corporate designation they choose, have found a loophole to circumvent the P.E.I. Lands Protection Act. This latest acquisition goes against the earlier recommendation of IRAC and the decision of the P.E.I. government to deny the Irvings that specific land purchase.

This recent land transaction is, to date, their loudest public proclamation of their contempt of the spirit and intent of the 1982 Lands Protection Act. The act was put in place to enable Islanders to protect our land from corporate and foreign ownership as well as to ensure the livelihood of independent farmers.

Geoffrey Connolly, who is a Haslemere Farms representative (the newly formed corporation that obtained the land), is referenced by Stu Neatby in The Guardian (Aug. 13) giving details of how the deal was done. Connolly, a lawyer with Stewart McKelvey in Charlottetown, indicates that the transaction was allowed due to a “loophole” in the Lands Protection Act. This is one of a number of loopholes in the act the NFU has written and spoken about at every opportunity. Lawyers and accountants have eagerly and profitably searched these out over the years. Previous governments have willingly turned a blind eye. Apparently, the current government was caught unaware of this latest strategy by the Irving family.

This breach of the act through the selling of a corporation, which holds the land assets rather than a straight land transaction, puts the Island in a precarious position.

If allowed to be finalized, it further opens the Island to the worldwide land grab that is making land a commodity in the power games of corporations and financial elites. This is far bigger than the Irvings getting another 2,200 acres to add to their already “over the limits” Island land stock. If the Island government doesn’t act swiftly and with conviction to prevent this deal, the very future of the control of our land is at stake. We are in a deep crisis.

The Island government is not helpless. The government can do something in this instance. The agriculture minister, Bloyce Thompson, has the power to deem what a corporation is, and whether Haslemere Farms is an “interlocking” corporation connected with J.D Irving Ltd. Thompson has power to protect the very future of this province. The government can move to repeal Wade MacLauchlan’s work of replacing the Companies Act with the Corporate Business Directory that allows corporate shareholders not to be named. They can move to tighten the Lands Protection Act so that its spirit and intent are honoured.

Every elected member of the legislature needs to get immediately invested in the welfare of our primary resource. Prove you are as smart and diligent as those who are attempting to undermine the very fabric of this province. Prove that you do stand for Islanders and that you have a real commitment to honour the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act.

As Islanders, we all need to take a stand for our land and for the future of every Islander. The Irvings have once again snubbed their noses at the P.E.I. government. We must join together to make our voices heard about the future of P.E.I. lands. How the land is owned, controlled, and used has a deep impact on all of us. We are facing serious consequences if we remain silent now. Future generations will judge us if we do not speak up against the current and ongoing violations of the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act.

Douglas Campbell is a dairy farmer in P.E.I.’s Southwest Lot 16 and District Director of the National Farmers Union.

August 16, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Sorry, on the road and fiddling with compiling this on a small screen with fussy wifi.....

An Event:

An Art in the Open Bike Rave fundraiser sponsored by Upstreet Brewery, tonight, licenced, more info here:

Art in the Open is Saturday, August 24th.
There is a lot of extreme air conditioning all over Canada and the U.S....sweaters inside most buildings...awful use of resources snd poor design....

Article From: "What on Earth?, CBC's weekly Climate Change newletter

How AI could help us respond to climate change - CBC Newsletter article

Given the likelihood of higher temperatures and more extreme weather in our future, experts are searching for ways to sustain the planet. Some believe machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) offer promising strategies to respond to the effects of climate change.

AI can work faster than a human, can forecast further into the future, has a low error rate and is available 24/7. Many people believe this allows it to better predict flooding, natural disasters and other destruction linked to climate change.

And that's why in June, the University of Waterloo partnered with Microsoft AI for Earth. Launched in 2017, AI for Earth is a program that issues grants to projects using AI to address climate change challenges. It is dedicating $50 million US to this cause, and has given grants to more than 250 applicants in 66 countries.

The project focuses on finding solutions in four specific areas — agriculture, water, biodiversity and climate change.

The AI uses combinations of historical data, simulations and real-time satellite observations to track patterns much faster than a human being. This technology can better predict future events, including potentially forecasting the location of the next wildfire or using past data to improve food production through weather tracking and soil information.

Christopher Fletcher, associate professor at the University of Waterloo and grantee of the AI for Earth program, acknowledges there is fear of AI in some quarters. "I think most people think about AI as being a machine somehow replacing something that a human being does," Fletcher said.

His project aims to use AI to predict future climate forecasts more accurately. "I have a machine that is able to kind of learn, but it's not replacing a human. It's actually replacing a more complicated computer model."

There are other commercially available projects, which focus on everything from creating sustainable, data-driven farming to analyzing blood from mosquitoes to stay ahead of diseases.

These applications could go some way in addressing climate change, but one analyst fears AI's success could dissuade people from altering their consumption habits, which contribute to environmental degradation.

"Although [AI] could be helpful for tracking things like overfishing or pollution, it takes people off the hook," said Kerry Bowmen, a bioethicist and conservationist.

"Solving challenges like these doesn't make people change. This brings an issue of intergenerational ethics — we have a responsibility to future generations. We need more long-term solutions."

— Taylor Logan
"Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life."
---John Muir (1838-1914), conservationist

August 15, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Hello, all,
Legislative Committee Meeting:
Standing Committee on Rules, Regulatrons, Private Bills and Privileges, 10AM-12noon, Coles Building. This committee will also meet to figure out its workplan. Hannah Bell, Opposition House Leader, is chair, with Sidney MacEwen (Government House Leader), Lynne Lund, Gordie McNeilly, and Third Party House Leader Sonny Gallant.

Farm Centre Pop-Up Market, 3-6PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Worth the trip to the shady little market under the trees and the tents, with lots of fantastic local food.
Elizabeth Warren, U.S. presidential candidate, writes about her ideas and plans for transforming agriculture in the United States. It's a long read (about 7 minutes it says, though I didn't time it) and found completely, here:
and well worth reading the whole thing, for the problems affect all of North America. Some excerpts below.

A New Farm Economy - article by Elizabeth Warren

Published on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Consolidation in the agriculture sector is leaving America’s family farmers with lower prices and fewer choices. Giant corporations use their market share to squeeze farmers from both sides. Farmers are pressured into taking on huge debts to pay the high prices that a small number of large suppliers charge them for inputs like seeds and fertilizer. Then, farmers are at the whim of a market that is controlled by meatpackers and grain traders that can pay them low prices for the commodities they produce — prices that often don’t cover all the money farmers had to spend in the first place.

All of this causes tremendous overproduction of commodities. In the face of lower and lower prices in the market, farmers are left to produce more to try and break even. But this just causes prices to go down even further, benefiting the huge corporations looking to buy goods on the cheap and leaving farmers dependent on the government to backfill their costs.

As a consequence, the agriculture sector has become one of the largest polluters in our economy. As farmers are pressured to plant fence row to fence row and use more fertilizer in search of a higher yield, rural communities lose their soil and water and the environment suffers.

Much of this situation is the direct result of government policy. Our current system of subsidies is supposed to make up the difference between the low prices farmers get on the market and what they have to pay to grow food. But instead it lets big corporations at the top of the supply chain get away with paying artificially low costs while farmers struggle and taxpayers make up the difference. It encourages overproduction by guaranteeing revenue regardless of prices or environmental conditions. And it feeds climate change.

Farmers are stewards of the land, and they know this system of overproduction is unsustainable — but without a change in incentives, they have no other choice.

To fix this problem, we need big, structural change. That’s why I’m calling for a complete overhaul of our failed approach to the farm economy. Instead of subsidizing industrial agriculture and starving farmers and rural communities, my new approach will guarantee farmers a fair price, reduce overproduction, and pay farmers for environmental conservation.

By making this shift, we can raise farm incomes and reduce taxpayer expenditures. We can break the stranglehold that giant agribusinesses have over our farm economy, and expand economic opportunities for small- and medium-sized farmers, family farmers, women farmers, and farmers of color. We can also provide consumers with affordable, high-quality, and often local food, while protecting our land and water and combating the existential threat of climate change.


And the last paragraph:

"My plan will help create a new farm economy where family farmers have financial security and the freedom to do what they do best. Farmers of all backgrounds will finally have the economic freedom to pursue diverse, sustainable farming — and get paid up front for doing so. Americans will have a steady and affordable supply of food. Kids in rural communities will have healthy lunches grown in their backyards and packaged at local food hubs run by small town entrepreneurs. Taxpayers won’t pay twice — once at the grocery store and once through their taxes — for overproduced commodities. We will replenish our soil and our water to chart a path towards a climate solution and achieve the goals of the Green New Deal." -- Elizabeth Warren

Full article here:

With thanks to Ian Petrie for pointing the article out.
"When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere."
---Francois de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

August 14, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A Legislative Standing Committee meeting:
Health and Social Development Standing Committee Meeting, 10AM-12noon
, Coles Building.
This group will meet to figure out its work plan.
The committee is chaired by Gordon McNeilly, new Liberal MLA, more information about the Committee is here.
Today marks one year since my mother died, and my father passed away several years ago. This essay by Russell Wangersky was in The Guardian last month and I thought it too poignant not to share, and saved it for today.

Cast Adrift - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky

Published on Saturday, July 13th, 2019

It’s just one of all those things that no one really can tell you. The things you’re destined to learn — to really learn — for yourself.

Two days from the end of June, and I was on the edge of a huge field under the hot Manitoba sun with a collection of my in-laws, the wind fickle and dry on our skin. Standing on dry, stiff grass, watching the dust rise.

The soil bone-dry deep down into the ground, powdery black-grey, the sky thrown up blue and huge above us from flat horizon to flat horizon.

We were there to spread the comingled ashes of my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Ralph and Elizabeth (Billie) Vryenhoek.

He died several years ago: she passed away in January. I could tell you plenty about both of them, most of all that they were truly good, caring, charming people. I could tell you stories — of which there are plenty — but that wouldn’t help you with what I really want to explain. About the true line of many families, and how suddenly it vanishes.

What I want to tell you is something I realized myself after my parents died, but could never really put together in words. I was too much at the core of it then, reeling. Now, I’m slightly further away, so here goes.

When one parent dies, all of your attention goes to the other: you focus on them, keenly aware that they have suffered the greater loss. You’ve lost someone you love, absolutely, but your surviving parent may have lost the only constant they still had in their lives. The natural response is to try to help: to sort out what you can about how they’re live, what you can do to ease the pile of complications, from funerals to finances to living arrangements. Things have to be done. You tuck your loss a little to one side, aware of the greater needs, and perhaps hiding yourself in them.

When a second parent dies, a lot of that still has to be done — but sooner or later, you realize that the one crucial string has broken as well, sinking out of reach.

Right then, you lose the ability to contact the past, left only with your own memory and perhaps the memories of your siblings.

It was far easier to pick up the phone, dial, and ask my mother whether Fanny Brown was the first dog we ever had, and be sure to get the right answer. My memory works in strings of pictures or strings of film clips: often, they’re ordered most by what age I was when they happened, and what concerned me the most. I will never forget the otherwise useless memory of being a child in front of a Florida beach vending machine that dropped a plastic-smelling elephant figurine into my hands, still warm from its twin metal molds. I was so impressed with the hot pressed plastic that I can still remember the palm trees hemming the whole scene in like a picture frame. I have no idea where that beach was.

Before I was 10, my memories have very little in the way of organized mapping: I went where I was taken, so I didn’t have to remember how I got there, beyond the confines of my immediate Halifax neighbourhood.

But I could always anchor loosely remembered trips by going to the Dewey decimal systems of my parents’ memories, and eventually just my mother’s, after Dad died. “Where did this happen? When, exactly?” I might not get a complete answer, but I’d get a starting place.

But that firm history flees from reach along with the second parent — and it’s an unwelcome surprise.

The rope is gone: the world you know is adrift in a way it hadn’t been before.

And there is nowhere left to turn, no one to turn to.

I thought that on the Manitoba prairie, miles from the ocean and watching ships at sea around me.

Shivered, in the heat.

Anchors, away.

“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.”
– William Gibson, writer

August 13, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tuesday, August 13th:
Bumblebee Walk (6-7PM) and Talk (7-8PM)
, P.E.I. Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. Free. Hosted by the Ellen's Creek Watershed and others.
Pollination Biologist, Victoria MacPhail, will lead a walk through the Farm Centre Legacy Gardens where people can join her (weather permitting) in catching native pollinators which she will help identify. We will have insect nets for people to try. Following the walk, we will move into the Farm Centre for further discussion on the insects we captured and her presentation on native pollinators....This is a free child friendly event and people are welcome to attend either the walk or the talk or both.
(And tomorrow, the vegetable stand with ferments. at the downtown Farmers' Market...)

Kombucha on tap at Heart Beet Organics' new Charlottetown business - The Guardian article by Daniel Brown

Published on Sunday, August 11th, 2019


Kombucha lovers now have a place to call their own.

Verena Varga and Amy Smith, co-owners of Heart Beet Organics farm in Darlington, opened their first store on Great George Street in Charlottetown on Aug. 1. The marché and taproom called Farmacy+Fermentary will sell locally-sourced produce, fermented vegetables, and seven flavours of kombucha, which is a fermented tea drink.

They’ve been selling their produce and kombucha at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market and a few restaurants for the past while. They were looking into becoming more independent, so when the space beside Timothy’s World Coffee became available, they decided to go for it, Varga said. “It just all kind of lined up. We wanted to do something more.”

They’ve been working on it since last March. They wanted to open sooner, but renovations slowed things down. “So it’s been a long time in the works," she said.

Other restaurants sell kombucha, which caused some controversy due to its minor liquor content. In 2018, a warning from a liquor inspector forced one restaurant to stop selling it.

“Our liquor laws on P.E.I. are fairly outdated.” Smith said.

But the ban was lifted just a couple days later, and the situation made opening Farmacy+Fermentary much easier.

“Working with the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission was great. They were really supportive,” Smith said. “(Because) they were already well aware of what kombucha was.”

The business has two extra taps for local beers and ciders. They can use these to mix their booch with some booze, resulting in kombucha cocktails.

Many are turning to kombucha as an alternative to alcohol, rather than less healthy drinks like soda. Smith hopes the downtown taproom will provide a social setting where people who choose not to drink alcohol can be more comfortable.

“I think it’s new for Charlottetown.”

She and Varga also hope to host lots of live entertainment, and they want to offer workshops teaching people to ferment kombucha and kimchi. There are lots of possibilities, Smith said.

The store space they’re using has had lots of turnover throughout the years, with many small businesses coming and going. But Smith and Varga thought hard about their business plan, and with all the support and feedback they’ve received, they’re confident locals and tourists will love the concept.

“We’re pretty confident that Charlottetown is ready for a business like this,” Smith said.

"And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials."
---John Steinbeck (1902-1968), writing about "Ma" in The Grapes of Wrath

August 12, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 13th:

Tuesday, August 13th:
Bumblebee Walk (6-7PM) and Talk (7-8PM), P.E.I. Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. Free. Hosted by the Ellen's Creek Watershed, NaturePEI, and the City of Charlottetown.
Pollination Biologist, Victoria MacPhail, will be doing a walk through the Farm Centre Legacy Gardens where people can join her (weather permitting) in catching native pollinators which she will help identify. We will have insect nets for people to try. Following the walk, we will move into the Farm Centre for further discussion on the insects we captured and her presentation on native pollinators....This is a free child friendly event and people are welcome to attend either the walk or the talk or both.

Saturday, August 17th:
Volunteer Afternoon at Macphail Woods, 1-4PM, Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, Orwell. "...Come out and help expand our native plant arboretum, one of the most beautiful settings for native plants in the province.
Anyone interested in native plants, wildlife enhancement or Acadian forests is encouraged to attend. Macphail Woods staff will be on-site to lead the work and there will be lots of shovels and other tools available. This will be a great time to learn about native plants and to work with other volunteers. You can come for all or part of the afternoon.
For more information on this or upcoming events, please call 651-2575, visit or check out our Facebook page."

Save the Date:

Tuesday, August 20th:
The Talk: The Ongoing Climate Emergency & What We Can Do About It, 6-8PM, Trinity United Church, Charlottetown. Hosted by Extinction Rebellion PEI.
here is an excerpt from the event description -- full listing here
If you get a nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear about or experience extreme weather events like floods, fires, massive hurricanes and tornadoes, or see serious coastal erosion on the Island;
If you are nagged by worries about the effects of global climate crisis, but feel powerless to do anything about it;
If you try to avoid thinking about what the future will bring;
Then this is a place where you can meet with like-minded people, and find ways to do something about it. <snip>

News! Phil Ferraro to help assist younger people be ready to participate in the Green Economy

P.E.I. Farm Centre program to prepare people for green economy - CBC News online article by Tony Davis

CBC online on Sunday, August 11th, 2019

There's a new program coming to P.E.I. to help young people find work in the green economy.

The pilot project is offered by the P.E.I. Farm Centre and is called Engaging Youth in the Era of Climate Change.

"Our objective is to work with young people to help them develop transferable skills that would be important in the emerging new economy in terms of the green economy, dealing with climate change and social enterprises," said Phil Ferraro, CEO of the farm centre.

He said he is always concerned about climate change and he has heard more and more about how the "jobs of today and yesterday" could be lost to automation. "It's the youth of today that will be most impacted tomorrow and what we wanted to do is develop a program that helps them develop their general employability skills, but also to prepare them for the future," Ferraro said.

He said the program is geared toward people ages 18-30 who have had trouble finding work. The program will combine classroom studies, experiential learning opportunities and work placements.

"This is a pilot project that we will be running over the course of the fall, winter and spring and the total budget really depends on the number of participants," Ferraro said.

The program is being funded by the federal government. Depending on the number of participants that funding could reach $450,000, he said. "We actually have money to pay the participants during their training period," he said.

The program is looking for at least 20 paid participants. Ferraro said he expects the program to begin in October.

And a timely post from "Umbra" at

We have a guest Umbra this week, and it’s Grist senior fellow Zoe Sayler! Follow her on Twitter here.

Q. Dear Umbra:

What types of programs, initiatives, etc. can help high school students prepare for employment within the green economy?
— Leaping Onto the Sustainability Train

A. Dear LOST,

This advice goes out to all the climate-conscious teens out there. And, at least career-wise, I have some good news: There's never been a better market for a climate-related job. I mean, someone’s gotta design disaster-resilient buildings, get wind turbines up and running, and litigate all those new climate change lawsuits. How’s that for a silver lining?

Although the Green New Deal resolution isn’t yet a fully formed plan, that doesn’t mean the green job boom isn’t already in motion. Major metro areas like New York are taking on projects that push economic, social, and environmental change simultaneously. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the two fastest-growing jobs between 2016 and 2026 will be solar installers and wind turbine technicians. As a bonus, both jobs pay well over the median U.S. salary — and that’s before activists rise up and murder all the billionaires in their quest for more equal wealth distribution! I’m kidding — one-percenter assassin is not a green job.

And remember, you certainly don’t have to be dangling from a wind turbine for your career to be climate-forward. Receptionist at a solar technology company? That’s a green job! Sustainable landscape architect? That’s a green job! High school counselor working your butt off to connect students to green jobs? That’s a super-meta green job! If you want work that will help the climate, the best way to prepare for it is simply by pursuing what you love to do. (Unless your passion is pouring oil on pelicans, in which case you might be out of luck.)

"If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting the rest of our lives."
---Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler, b. 1970)

August 11, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event coming up:
Tuesday, August 13th:
Bumblebee Walk (6-7PM) and Talk (7-8PM)
, P.E.I. Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. Free. Hosted by the Ellen's Creek Watershed, NaturePEI, and the City of Charlottetown.
Pollination Biologist, Victoria MacPhail, will be doing a walk through the Farm Centre Legacy Gardens where people can join her (weather permitting) in catching native pollinators which she will help identify. We will have insect nets for people to try. Following the walk, we will move into the Farm Centre for further discussion on the insects we captured and her presentation on native pollinators....This is a free child friendly event and people are welcome to attend either the walk or the talk or both.
Housing Issues
Jordan Bobar, Charlottetown resident and who has worked for various levels of the Green Party, wrote last month about being evicted from his rental apartment. He has since found another place to live, and clearly described the problem and potential short-term solutions, in this social media posting in mid-July (and this was a week before the fire at the new building The Harold displaced over fifty city residents):

The housing crisis just hit home for me yesterday, when I was served notice by my teary-eyed landlady that, due to an order by the Charlottetown Fire Department, all tenants in the house I live in, plus another multi-dwelling house next door that they also own, will need to move out by August 11th.

Apparently, these houses are no longer deemed to be compliant with the latest fire code, and the cost of renovations that would be required to bring it up to code are cost-prohibitive for my landlord if the buildings are to be kept as affordable rental units. 

My landlady also told me that, according to the fire marshall, there are at least half a dozen buildings in the immediate area that are similarly being shut down. Some of these houses have operated as rooming houses for a century, providing affordable housing to many. That means that within a month, dozens more renters will be out looking for a new place to live in a city with a 0.2% rental vacancy rate. I'm worried enough about myself, but I know that I am by far not the most vulnerable person to be affected by this situation. What will become of us all? Will we even be able to remain in the province? Where is there to go in a province with virtually no rental vacancy? 

What particularly angers me about this situation is that, of all the pressures on Charlottetown's rental stock, this is the City itself systematically shutting down affordable rental units - and for no good reason. If the house I am living in was used as a single-family home, there would be no issue. But because its rooms are rented out individually to provide affordable housing to several individuals, we are instead help up to the same fire-safety standards as an apartment building. How does that help alleviate our current housing crisis? 

I believe in the strongest terms that both the City and the Province need to recognize and declare that Charlottetown and PEI are in a state of housing emergency, and not just rhetorically, but by bringing in immediate measures to help protect existing rental stock.

At the municipal level, the very least that the City of Charlottetown could do right now is place a moratorium on the enforcement of bylaws that arbitrarily shut down well-functioning affordable housing at a time when there is virtually nowhere else for tenants to go.

At the provincial level, I believe it is time for a moratorium to be placed on evictions on the pretext of renovations, which has become an epidemic in this province. It is so nakedly obvious that renovictions are being exploited as a loophole to convert affordable rentals into much more expensive rentals or into lucrative short-term rentals.
Having moved to PEI from Vancouver three years ago, it is highly distressing to see the exact same patterns of affordable housing loss repeating themselves here on PEI. Without immediate action, the social upheaval caused by the housing crisis will tear at the fabric of this beautiful Island in a way that it may never recover from.
--Jordan Bobar
July 13th, 2019

Related CBC on-line story from July 24th, 2019.

Bobar makes two clear and relatively easy immediate action points. I did not notice a comment in the CBC article or anywhere else from former Charlottetown mayor and current provincial "Affordable Housing Chief" Clifford Lee, who was appointed on August 1st, 2018, to that role.
Guardian story on Lee's appointment as Affordable Housing Chief

All Charlottetown and Summerside city councillors, and all MLAs, need to be reminded to work together, but to work on this issue.
"The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment."

August 10, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

Summer Social and Birthday Party with District 11 MLA Hannah Bell, 1-3PM
, J. Frank Macaulay Park, Spring Lane.
"...Cake and ice cream will be served. In lieu of birthday gifts, bring a non-perishable food or toiletry item to be donated to the Food Bank. Please bring your own chair."

Ebb and Flow: Tides of Settlement on Prince Edward Island, 7:30PM, Beaconfield's Carriage House, co-created by Laurie Murphy and Amanda Mark. Saturdays until August 31st.
“With fellow Island artists, historians, economists, and community cultural organizations, we are presenting original literature, music and dance along with photography, archive materials and film that together present a living poem,” Murphy says, “a snapshot of PEI’s in and out-migration of settlers, from the indigenous Mi’kmaq to colonizers, and from newcomers to refugees.”
Each evening includes an exhibition of photography, newspaper articles and artifacts, an instrumental ensemble playing 7:30pm, followed by a multimedia stage presentation, at 8pm. For those wishing to join in post-show activities, there will be a facilitated Q&A, with weekly guests, and a music jam."
So much information! More at Facebook event link
August! The beginning of Old Home Week! It must mean the Perseid Meteor Showers are about here. Glenn Roberts explains the night sky for this part of the month.

ATLANTIC SKIES: Preparing for the Perseids - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts

Published on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

The summer's premier (and one of the year's best) meteor shower - the Perseids - will peak during the evening/pre-dawn hours of Aug. 12-13.

This is when the Earth, in its orbit around the sun, intercepts the Perseid meteor stream. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, the moon interferes, as will the waxing, gibbous moon this time around. All is not lost though, as this shower is known for its bright fireballs; the possibility of seeing several streak across the night sky, even as the moonlight washes out the majority of fainter meteors, is quite good.

The Perseid meteor shower's radiant (apparent point of origin in the night sky) lies in the constellation of Perseus - the Warrior Prince, which during mid-August clears the northeast horizon around 10 p.m., and is directly overhead (the zenith; usually when the most meteors are observed) around 4 a.m.

The Perseids are debris associated with Comet Swift-Tuttle, a comet which was discovered in 1862 by astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, and which has an orbital period of approximately 133 years. The Perseid shower is usually a very reliable and prolific meteor shower, with a zenith rate (under a moonless sky, and from a dark site) of about 100+ meteors per hour. The shower itself actually lasts from around July 17 until Aug. 24, so it will still be possible, on any clear night, to catch sight of some of the later Perseids after they peak on Aug. 12 and 13.

To see the greatest number of Perseids, start watching the night sky as soon as it turns dark. You may see some meteors skim across the Earth's upper atmosphere. If possible, try to put a tall object - like a tree or a building - between you and the moon. The best, and most comfortable, way to observe any meteor shower is to lie on a blanket on the ground or a lounge chair, with a pillow behind your head, and an extra blanket to keep the late night/early morning chill and mosquitos at bay. If you place the northeast horizon behind you, you stand the best chance of maximizing the number of meteors seen, as the meteors will be radiating out across the sky from that direction. Of course, the later you stay up, the higher the Perseus constellation will rise in the night sky, until the radiant is directly above you around 4 a.m. The meteors will then radiate downwards, streaking towards all points of the horizon.

For anyone interested in the night sky, the Perseids are a favourite rite of summer, given the fact that a great many people are usually camping out during August, the weather is almost always warm, and the night sky above is usually clear (and moonless). Some of my fondest memories of when my children were young, were the summer nights we spent together lying on the beach late at night in the PEI National Park, observing the Perseid meteor shower. Wrapped in sleeping bags, we would ooh and ahh as each bright meteor streaked across the sky, until, as the eastern horizon began to lighten and Perseus faded from into the brightening sky, we drifted off to sleep to the sound of the waves gently rolling against the shore.

My kids often recall those magical nights when I mention that the Perseids are coming. It is a legacy that they will, I'm sure, pass along to their young children in the coming years. Though I may not be with them then, I know, as they lie there with their youngsters oohing and aahing at the "shooting stars", they will think of me; I am content with that.

While waiting for the Perseids to arrive, there is still much to see in the night sky. In addition to the many bright stars and constellations, two bright planets are visible during the coming weeks. Even the waxing moon will not wash out glorious Jupiter shining high in the south-west sky as the early evening sky darkens. Binoculars will show the four largest Galilean moons - Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede - circling Jupiter.

If you are unsure which object is Jupiter, look for the brightest point of light just under and slightly to the right of the waxing, gibbous Moon on the night of Aug. 9. Jupiter remains visible almost the entire night, not setting in the south-west until the pre-dawn hours.

The bright, reddish star to the lower right of Jupiter is Antares ("Rival of Mars"), the heart-star of Scorpius - the Scorpion.

Though the ringed planet shines only at mag. +0.2 (10 times fainter than Jupiter's mag. -2.4), Saturn is still readily visible to the far left of Jupiter in the southern sky as it darkens. On the evening of Aug. 11, Saturn (still in the "teapot" asterism of Sagittarius - the Archer) sits immediately to the left of the near-full, gibbous moon. Like its larger sibling, Saturn stays up until the pre-dawn hours.

Having made its inferior conjunction with the sun last month, Mercury has transitioned from the evening sky to the morning sky. It should be visible above the east-northeast horizon about an hour before sunrise during the middle two weeks of August, though it will be too close to the Sun to be readily visible during the month's final week.

On Aug. 9, Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation (angular distance from the Sun as seen from Earth), and highest point in the pre-sunrise sky. Incidentally, when Mercury made its inferior conjunction between the Earth and the sun on July 21, it passed south of the sun's disk. When it makes its next inferior conjunction in November of this year, Mercury will actually transit (pass) across the sun's surface as seen from Earth. More on this rare event in November.

As they have for the past two weeks, Venus and Mars remain lost from view in the glare of the sun this month.

Until next time, clear skies.

Aug. 7 - First Quarter Moon

9 - Mercury at greatest western elongation

12/13 - Perseid meteor shower peak

15 - Full Moon

17 - Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth)

Glenn K. Roberts lives in Stratford, P.E.I., and has been an avid amateur astronomer since he was a small child. His column, Atlantic Skies, appears every two weeks. He welcomes comments from readers at

Reminders from Martin Rutte and others to pass this article link, a synopsis from The New York Times, about a recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on how we grow food and how we will need to change that to mitigate, and adapt, to climate change. From The New York Times:

Fighting Climate Change on the Farm - The NY Times article by Alan Sano

A new study warns of widespread disruptions to agriculture.

And this page about the IPCC has a direct link to the report, and to others:
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
---Mary Anne Radmacher, writer

August 9 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM
, Province House, Grafton Street side, all welcome to join Extinction Rebellion at these weekly reminders about the urgency of climate action.

Gallery Under the Stars, 9:30-11PM, Confederation Centre grounds.
"Gallery Under the Stars is a unique art experience featuring a series of video installations projected on the walls of Confederation Centre of the Arts. Featuring works of art by 12 renowned artists from around the world, this series of video installations has been curated by Ihor Holubizky. Gallery Under the Stars is available for viewing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Aug 1 - Oct 12 between 9.30pm and 11pm.
Artists featured in the gallery: Shaun Gladwell, John Marriott, Mischa Kuball, Suzy Lake, Gary Pearson, Liss Platt, Arryn Snowball, Jinny Yu, Michael Snow, Judith Scherer, Bard Isaacs, and Paul Collins.
Presented by Discover Charlottetown and Confederation Centre of the Arts with support from ACOA, the Government of Canada, the Government of Prince Edward Island and SERF.
For more information visit:
Ian Petrie strives for common, and with adequate moisture, ground:

Some clarity finally on irrigation ponds - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie

from Island Farmer, PEI Canada publications
Published on Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

I can be a little dense, so it took a while, including some phone calls and emails, before I came to understand what Environment Minister Brad Trivers was saying about multiple wells supplying water to irrigation holding ponds. In the end it made perfect sense.

“Under the new regulations, when multiple low-capacity wells are used together to pump the same volume as a high capacity well, they will be treated as a high capacity well” said Trivers in early July.

And here’s what matters, because there’s a moratorium on high-capacity wells, multiple low capacity wells will be illegal.

There is some irony in this. These ponds are being built because of the moratorium on hi-capacity irrigation wells. No one would spend the tens of thousands of dollars constructing a pond if there was any chance new permits would be issued. The moratorium is now so central to the environmental credentials of all political parties, especially the opposition Green Party whose support is needed by the minority Conservatives, that it could well become entrenched in law once the new Water Act is declared.

But there’s a more serious consequence from the current focus on holding ponds, the continuing loss of trust between large farmers and many in the general public. It’s been self-evident for almost two years now that the province would strictly regulate how these ponds could be supplied with water. It was laid out in recommended management practices for pond construction with little doubt these practices would be the law once the Water Act is proclaimed. It clearly states one low capacity well (like the ones used by rural Islanders) per pond, per property, and that properties could not be subdivided to get around the restriction.

The only exceptions: if farmers already have a permit for a high capacity well, it can be used to fill a pond, and some farmers have bought adjacent properties to increase pumping capacity. Regardless, Trivers’ comments indicate there are farms not following these guidelines. This gives concerned citizens every reason to declare that the ponds have become a workaround to the moratorium, and that farmers will break the rules whenever they’re given a chance.

The fact that these ponds are very expensive to construct, and only farming operations with deep pockets can afford them adds to their notoriety (could use a different word). I expect there will be calls to outlaw irrigation holding ponds during the next round of public hearings on the Water Act this fall.

There have been many times I’ve been tempted to join the anti-irrigation brigade. People I respect have been fiercely opposed to the practice for years. I worry too that if there’s any relenting on the issue, Cavendish Farms will make irrigation a condition for getting a contract, and this will further burden farmers already carrying heavy debt loads.

I just can’t get past a few things. Groundwater is our “hidden resource” so precise information will always be hard to get, but credible hydrologists say Islanders use about 2% of the recharge (rainfall) every year, and of that farm irrigation (including golf courses) uses about 2% of the fresh water pumped on PEI annually. The biggest user of groundwater, 47%, are homeowners, both urban and rural. 36% is used industrially by food processors, fish plants, aquaculture industry, car washes and so on.

Interestingly about 10% flows through heat pumps to heat and cool homes. Livestock farmers use the remaining 6%. There are definitely areas on PEI that are at risk of saltwater intrusion, or over pumping (Kensington area watersheds, Charlottetown), but generally the professionals say there is lots of water down there.

There were 288 high capacity wells on PEI as of 2018. The ones pumping the most water are for cities and towns (full list: ). What’s important here is that all of these other big users of water, and others, can get permits for more high capacity wells. It’s only farmers that are prohibited from doing so.

Again I wish irrigation wasn’t necessary, but climate researchers say the worrying trend is rain in the spring and fall, and dry summers. Farmers may well need this option. It’s not perfect but I like the use of ponds that can capture snow and spring rains, use a low capacity well when the water table is high in the early summer, and as important pump water from shallow depths, the chequing account of our groundwater reserves rather than the deeper layers, the savings account that keeps saltwater at bay.

If the goal of those opposed to ponds is to squeeze the french fry industry hard enough so it shuts down, let’s talk about that directly. Otherwise farmers have to be given a chance to succeed in the challenging years ahead, and they have to show they’ll use these ponds responsibly.

And an excerpt from a rebuttal by the Vision PEI main writers, from

VisionPEI -posted on their Facebook page

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

"We have great respect for our friend Ian Petrie. In regard to the irrigation of potato crops, we disagree.

There are a number of factors we believe he has failed to recognize.

1. There is a tremendous loss of water (90% , depending on temps, wind etc. ?) due to evaporation using the current overhead spray equipment. Incredibly wasteful and inefficient. Why not irrigate overnight rather than daytime? Why not rely on rain and snow-melt exclusively?

2. Freely acknowledging our limited knowledge of geology and hydrology, we do know that PEI's fractured shale substrate is unique to Canada. There is currently no credible science dealing with the complex impacts of water draw-downs over various levels of substrate like ours. Given this fact, we must use the precautionary principle. It's simply not worth the risk for a longer french fry. People before potatoes 3. The fact that Irvings and others have blatantly circumvented the current deep well moratorium speaks volumes regarding their commitment to environmental responsibility. How can Islanders possibly trust them?
"Never explain -- your friend do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyhow."
---Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), American writer, publisher and artist

August 8 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thursday Pop-Up Farm Centre Market, 3-6PM
, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Food, fresh and prepared, herbs, and more.
Facebook page

The on again/off again Charlottetown Natal Week Food Council Garden Party, rescheduled to tonight from 5-7PM at the Farm Centre Legacy Garden, appears to be off again.

However, there is:
Free Strawberry Social with MP Sean Casey, 5-7PM, Sherwood Recreation Hall, 56 Maple Avenue, Charlottetown. "Join MP Sean Casey and special guest, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Canadian Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen for a FREE Strawberry Social.... Enjoy strawberries, ice cream, and cake while listening to the tunes of local duo Ryan Merry and Emily Coffin. All are welcome!"

did it mention it's free? Is there no such thing as a free strawberry social?

Just around the corner!
Elections Canada is looking for workers for the October 2019 Federal election. Start here.
-----------------------'s weekly Climate Change question is answered by Umbra, with apologies from me for the formatting....

Q. Dear Umbra,

What's the best way to offset the carbon emissions from my vacation?
(--Guilty-feeling vacationer)

A. We’ve been getting so many versions of this question that I figured I should address it, well, quickly. I’m sure a lot of you already have vacation plans that involve boarding a plane, even though we know flying is pretty much the most carbon-intensive activity a person can participate in. If that makes you feel a little bad, you’re not alone. The Swedes already have a word for this: flygskam, or flight shame.

Many people see carbon offsets as an antidote to that flygskam feeling. When you buy a carbon offset you’re ostensibly buying a tiny piece of some sort of venture that reduces carbon emissions, like a reforestation project or a hydropower plant, with the idea that the carbon saved by that contribution makes up for your expenditure. Last summer, associate video producer Jesse Nichols and I looked into what a carbon offset I’d buy for a trip to Japan would actually accomplish. LINK

The answer? That offset would have paid for a teeny, tiny bit of the operational costs for a device that burns methane coming off a landfill so the gas didn’t end up going into the atmosphere. It was a little, ah, uninspiring. But other types of carbon offsets can be much worse than that: They can be straight-up deceitful, as an excellent in-depth report from ProPublica showed this year. LINK So what’s a guilty traveler to do?

Our suggestion: Take the money you’d use to buy a carbon offset and put it where it might go further, such as a direct donation to an organization that you know is doing solid, empirically beneficial climate-fighting work. If you wanted your carbon offset to, say, help reforest the Amazon, give directly to an organization that can show receipts of its accomplishments.
---Umbra at

"Yes, if you're looking for eternity, just close your eyes!"
---Milan Kundera (b. 1929), author (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)

August 7 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM, Belvedere Avenue. Look at their gorgeous social media photos, and stop by for local food and crafts:

Polly Day Tea, 2-4PM, at Orwell Corner Historic Village. Small admission fee.
Belfast Historical Society has arranged for a very special painting of The Polly at Anchor to be brought out of storage and unveiled at Orwell Corner Historic Village in their hall. Canadian artist John M. Horton painted the piece in 2003 (the 200th anniversary of "The Landing"). Admission to the Village will be reduced to $5 and that includes tea and all of the activities of the park.
adapted from: Facebook event link
Sometimes a series of news headlines or articles can make some of us feel like "Same planet, different worlds" as in this old The Far Side by Gary Larsen comic drawing:
The Far Side comic by Gary Larsen
These three stories are highlighted here not just to be grumpy and complain, but to point out an issue that could use some deeper digging to get to more of the whole story, and to point to positive change that could result, especially if we as Islanders speak up, continue the conversation, and take action.

1) There is no mention in this article that I could find of the divestment movement due to awareness of climate change, etc.

'Unloved': Despite the oilsands' relentless cost cutting, investors are still wary of jumping back in - The Guardian article by Geoffrey Morgan, Postmedia News

Published on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019, in The Guardian online

CALGARY – Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. president Tim McKay describes his company’s ongoing push to convince fund managers that oilsands are a more investible business today than before the oil price collapse of 2014 as “a marathon.”

On the company’s earnings call last Thursday — and indeed, as all oilsands companies reported second quarter results in the last two weeks — executives faced questions about why their stocks continue to suffer institutional investor apathy despite significantly improved costs and a better market outlook for heavy oil given production declines in places like Mexico and Venezuela.
<snip> Despite the belt-tightening and efficiencies, major Canadian energy companies continue to trade near multi-year lows and some oilsands focused producers are trading near their historic lows as analysts say generalist investors have largely abandoned the sector to invest in tech.

To date, McKay said, Canadian Natural and its competitors in the oilsands haven’t gotten much credit for the cost cutting initiatives the industry has undertaken.

However, with ground breaking imminent on projects such as the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the company is hopeful sentiment toward the industry is turning.

“I think we’re starting to get some traction,” CNRL executive vice-chair Steve Laut said, adding that part of his responsibilities for the past year have been highlighting his company’s and his industry’s improvements on cost and environmental performance. “That’s starting to make a difference,” he said. <snip>“Generally, broadly speaking, energy is an unloved sector,” said Jennifer Rowland, a St. Louis-based oil and gas analyst for Edward Jones, who covers both U.S. and Canadian oil producers. “It just seems like the industry can’t win.”“General investors are saying, ‘To heck with energy,’” she said.

Positive Actions: Call on provincial and federal government for Fossil Fuel Divestment, especially citing responsible financial stewardship, in addition to the "moral ambiguity" of these investments and our children's future.

Read more and discuss the Green New Deal ideas with friends and family and investing in clean energy jobs and improving people's lives
Perhaps due to the atrocious mass shootings in the States, this blog by Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer from May 2017 "Common Sense on Firearms" is being passed around again.

While he does raise some points to discuss, he is scoring political points, and his description with all but "30-point buck" braggadocio is a bit chocolate-milk rich.
"I won’t go into all the details about the trip (except to say that I dropped a buck from 400 metres away using a friend’s .308 precision rifle! And the jerky tasted terrific)."

Actions: See through the political bombast, and look for the valid complaints, and work together to address those.
3) Worrisome state of Tuna and other fisheries -- stark, forceful observations from John Hopkins, who has been documenting changes over the years (and made the gorgeously filmed and heart-breaking film Bluefin)

John Hopkins, late yesterday, commenting on this CBC story on government investing in a bluefin tuna processing plant:

'PEI based Tuna-buyer-turned-tuna butcher Jason Tompkins has just opened Canada’s first “chop shop” in Souris. Here he cuts up what is left of pathetic, skinny and starving Bluefin mature tuna caught here. The federal and PEI government supported Tompkins with $500,000 of taxpayer’s money to do this. Then he pays fishermen squat for tuna because they have no fat (due to the herring overfishing collapse off PEI) and then sells them to American and Canadian sushi joints for customers who don’t know the difference. Tompkins pays no where near $10 lb he claims and continues to deceive as fishermen know he is buying garbage tuna (no or little fat content). Two years ago the largest tuna caught on PEI sold for $1.25 per pound. Why is local CBC reporting and taking what these guys say verbatim without researching their answers or providing balanced reporting.Tompkins’ friend, Chef Michael Smith also continues to serve bluefin and distribute bluefin to Island chefs.

Show these people that this greed and contempt for endangered ocean wildlife is unacceptable: Boycott the Poke Shack and Smith’s retail/restaurant/hotels and let them know that butchering and selling endangered animals is not acceptable on PEI.

It is clear to ocean scientists that these tuna are important breeders (which you can hand feed off PEI) yet they are in such poor condition here they will not fetch a high enough price to pay for the airfare to send to Japan. Pathetic. This is how we treat endangered ocean animals in Canada.

Last year, PEI could not catch its tuna quota (most have left the region from lack of baitfish) yet the federal government this year under Trudeau, (following Harper) has raised the quota for both tuna and collapsed herring.

Meanwhile, the PEI Fishing Association has been recently stripped of its MSC herring certification this year, while DFO reports the herring stock has fallen to critical levels thanks to its own mis-management (yet doubles the quota?)

Mackerel also in deep trouble in the Gulf. Fishermen are sweating bullets because of the bait shortage from overfishing these bait fish and putting their own fishery and communities in peril. Whales, dolphins, sharks are also starving as a result.

The tuna abundance in the Gulf turns out to be 59% European Bluefin, according to DFO’s own otolith research. This means they used a mixed stock numbers (both Western and European bluefin) to go to ICCAT to successfully get mote quota to kill more mature tuna here using false data. Catch effort data reported is also false as starving tuna are far too easy to carch.

It’s a complete and crooked scam which should be exposed. Demand your MLA and MP do away with the slaughter of these endangered animals in PEI. Time for PEI to grow up. Why did out government’s approve $500,000 to open up a tuna slaughter house on PEI with your tax dollars? Shame on our elected officials and their continued ignorance. Time to see this all end here. With the <federal> election coming make your voice heard on PEI. Demand your politicians state their position on this." -- John Hopkins, Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Some background on bluefin tuna from the World Wildlife Fund
"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of a single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."
---Bukkya Denda Kyokai (Society for the Promotion of Buddhism)

August 6 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

One of many ceilidhs happening this month, this one with Arygle Shore resident and world-renowned fiddler Roy Johnstone:

Ceili and Craic, 7:30PM, Irish Hall (BIS Hall, North River Road), featuring Cian Ó Móráin & Mary MacGillivray with Roy Johnstone, Family & Friends. Admission charged.
Facebook event link
A monarch butterfly visited my common milkweek yesterday, after many years of common milkweek blooming. I am also trying to grow swamp milkweed, which is native.
every little bit helps...

Bedeque man making a statement with roadside pollinator garden - The Journal-Pioneer article by Colin MacLean

Published on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019


As Ron Rayner and Garth Harper laboured under Monday’s hot sun to pull weed after weed from the former’s new pollinator garden, a truck with Nova Scotia plates pulled over on the road above them.

Hella Barwise clambered out of the vehicle and down the small embankment onto Rayner’s lawn.

“This is just beautiful,” she said before adding, “we don’t have enough bees."

Rayner has an expansive front lawn on his Bedeque property and routinely uses parts of it to grow things that strike his interest, towering sunflowers especially.

But a couple of years ago he decided he wanted to do more for local pollinators, like bees and started tilling up a handful of large patches of earth near his property’s border with Route 1A.

“I love it,” he said. “I’ve got the time, I’ve got the energy, I’ve got every piece of equipment you could want to do this,” he said.

The butterfly and pollinator garden movement has been growing around the world for years now. The idea is to give nature’s workhorses, bees, birds, moths, bats, butterflies and other pollinators a helping hand by growing plants with them in mind.

The Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association (BBEMA) has been at the forefront of this movement locally for several years.

That group’s executive director, Tracy Brown, was happy to hear about Rayner’s gardens. They regularly get people reaching out, looking for more information about how to help pollinators, she said, and it’s always nice to see people getting involved. For more information about BBEMA’s pollinator and monarch butterfly programs, check out their website

But Brown also encouraged caution for any potential green thumb who buys “wildflower mixes,” to help pollinators.

Some of these mixes have been shown to include potentially problematic species that, if left unchecked by inexperienced gardeners, can spread quickly and become invasive.

“Just see what species are in there before you dump them. Because you could have your neighbour be cranky with you in about two years,” said Brown.

John Barrett, media representative with Vessey’s, said the company has horticulturalists on staff who can answer questions from the public if they have those types of concerns.

Rayner did his research before planting his pollinator garden. The poppies flowers that currently make his beds so colourful can spread like crazy, so they have an upcoming date with a scythe to prevent most of them from setting seeds. He still expects many to grow back next year but they will be in manageable numbers.

Rayner expects all beds to change significantly as the various species mature and die back over the course of the summer and fall.

Just so there’s no confusion about what the flowers represent, he’s installed three bright signs, provided at a discount by Sign Station, explaining what the garden is for.

Since the signs went up, people have been pulling over to take a look or snap pictures, which Rayner doesn’t mind people doing at all.

“I love my property,” he said, smiling as he went right back to weeding.

Buzzing about colours

Want to attract pollinators to your garden? Keep an eye on what colours you’re planting.
  • Bees are more attracted to blue and violets and like cup-shaped flowers they can crawl inside of.
  • Hummingbirds are attracted to pinks, reds and fuchsias and like bees prefer cupped flowers.
  • Butterflies are more attracted to yellows and oranges and enjoy flat flowers that are easy to settle their weight on. Monarchs especially require swamp milkweed as part of their diet.
  • Night pollinators like lunar moths and bats are attracted to whites and pale-yellow flowers.
  • If you’re looking to find a happy medium that will attract some of all these species, focus on red and purple flowers.
The weeks can be measured by the local fruits that come and go -- rhubarb, strawberries, sour cherries, and now black currants.
from Sara Lippman Walsh in near Hunter River:
We are harvesting now and it is a very good year for black currants.
Same price as last year.
A discount for
6lbs at $36.00
or $7.00 per lb.
More information: e-mail <>

The do freeze nicely and can be added to just about anything and just a small amount really boost the flavour and nutrition -- and local and organic and seasonal.
"There is a crack,
a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."
---Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

August 5, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

It is relatively quiet due to the Civic holiday federally and in our neighbouring provinces, but some food and nature things going on.

Raspberry U-pick Fundraiser, 8AM-noon, Wheatley's Raspberries, 630 Suffolk Road. U-pick raspberries with all proceeds donated to Winter River - Tracadie Bay Watershed Association.
More info

Community Outreach -- The Ecology of Charlottetown Ponds -- Barbour's Pond, 2:30-6PM, near Elmer MacFaydan Ball Diamond, MacRae Drive in East Royalty.
"The Holland College Environmental Science program is hosting an afternoon of ecological exploration at Barbour's Pond. Join us as students from our program guide you through invertebrate identification and a water quality testing station. Microscopes will also be set up to give you a look into the life in Barbour's Pond. This event is a great opportunity to experience and learn about the new East Royalty Trails. A BBQ will also be held behind Elmer MacFaydan Ball Diamond. All are welcome
This free Community Outreach Event is part of a larger study into the ecology of Charlottetown ponds and is partially supported through the Charlottetown micro-grant program.Facebook event details
Entertainment and good theatre in all directions this month, at sweet little venues:
Kings Playhouse in Georgetown, Mondays:
Tellers and Tunes with Gary Evans and Rachel Beck and special guests each week.

More info

Victoria Playhouse, Victoria-by-the-Sea, August 6th-September:
Real Estate by Allana Harkin.

More info

Fast approaching:
Thursday, August 8th-Saturday, August 17th:
Old Home Week (Provincial Exhibition), Charlottetown, various events each day
Old Home Week website

Friday, August 9th- Sunday, August 11th:
Cloggeroo, Georgetown

Facebook event details

OPINION: Fishermen still determined: No pipe in the Strait - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ronnie Heighton

Published on Saturday, July 17th, 2019

Lobster traps are out of the water now in Nova Scotia as fishermen along the Northumberland Strait wrap up a successful spring season. The wharves on the Nova Scotia side are quieter than they were a year ago when 200 fishing and pleasure boats and 3,500 people readied for the #NOPIPE Land and Sea Rally on July 6 in Pictou Town and Harbour.

People and boats from Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick and Pictou Landing First Nation gathered in strong and vocal opposition to Northern Pulp’s proposal to discharge 60-80 million litres of treated pulp effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait.

Don’t be misled by the calm surface of fishing activities today. #NOPIPE determination remains solid. #NOPIPE flags still fly from fishing boats, and lawn signs still proclaim, “No Pulp Waste in our Waters.”

It’s been a year and a half of hard work to protect the Northumberland Strait. It’s not over yet.

One year ago, days before the Land and Sea Rally of July 2018, Northern Pulp announced that their plan to discharge effluent into Pictou Harbour would not work due to risks from ice and the presence of shipwrecks. They would need to find another route. Then the company went quiet.

Almost four months later in October 2018, a leak from Northern Pulp’s effluent pipe was discovered by neighbours out for a walk. Not everyone realizes that Northern Pulp is required to have a system in place to immediately alert the company of a pipe leak. Why that system did not work, how much effluent leaked and what was the composition of the effluent – all these questions remain unanswered today, nine months later.

Yet the day after the leak was discovered, Northern Pulp announced a new pipe route. The company planned to run their effluent pipe 11 kilometres overland through the Town of Pictou’s watershed, underwater through Caribou Harbour, the busiest fishing wharf on the Nova Scotia side of the Strait, four kilometres through a scallop protected area, to discharge effluent offshore of Caribou Island.

It’s hardly surprising that the Mayor of Pictou objected, and local fishermen gathered for a floating protest across the entrance to Caribou Harbour in opposition to survey activity for the new route.

Fast forward to Jan. 31, 2019. As Pictou Landing First Nation held a countdown celebration, marking 365 days to the end of 53 years of pollution of their community, Northern Pulp held a press conference to announce they were submitting their project for environmental assessment, and would ask for an extension to the Boat Harbour Act for as long as needed to allow the mill to continue operating without interruption.

But the information the company submitted to N.S. Environment had holes big enough to drive the P.E.I. ferry through.

Our organizations, along with hundreds of other people, submitted detailed information to N.S. Environment, pointing out the gaps and errors in Northern Pulp’s submission. Biologists, chemists, ecologists, pharmacists and physicians added their expertise to the local knowledge of fishers and residents, pointing to risk after risk to the delicate ecosystem of the strait and to the health of local residents.

The problems with Northern Pulp’s information were too big, and too public, to be ignored. N.S. Environment did not approve Northern Pulp’s project, and required the company to provide more information in nineteen critical areas. The missing information included wetlands, species at risk, migratory birds, freshwater and marine fish, effluent composition, marine water quality, ice impacts, air contaminants, impacts on human health and more.

And that is where we stand now. Northern Pulp has not yet presented a viable plan. Pulp effluent must stop flowing into Boat Harbour in seven months.

Fishermen are as determined as ever to protect the Northumberland Strait, and we support the closure of Boat Harbour on schedule.

We do not believe that Northern Pulp’s plan to discharge treated effluent into the strait can ever meet the environmental standards of not harming fish or fish habitat. Similar plans have been rejected before on environmental grounds.

As lobster season ends, we switch out our gear and get ready to fish for other species in the pristine waters of the strait – rock crab, scallops, mackerel, herring, tuna. We wait and we watch, ready to ensure there will be no effluent pipe in the Northumberland Strait.

Ronnie Heighton is the president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association, Nova Scotia.

"You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it."
---John Updike, American writer

August 4, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown Natal Day Parade, 10AM, Kent Street Fire Hall to Queen, Grafton and Prince, ending at Trinity United Church at Prince and Richmond Streets, rolling road closures for this short but traditional parade of mayor, councillors, and military units.

Natal Day Church Service, 10:30AM, Trinity United Church.

Downtown Charlottetown Sunday Market, 11AM-4PM, lower Queen Street. Lots of fresh food, prepared foods, and artisans' wares.

Veg on the Block, presented by VegPEI, 12noon-6PM, Confederation Landing, 2 Great George St. "PEI's first ever plant-based festival. A day full of delicious food, activities, music and fun! There will be local plant-based entrepreneurs, restaurants, farmers, artisans and musicians all showcasing what they have to offer."

Afternoon Fun in the Park, 1-4PM, Victoria Park, Cupcakes, and goats from Island Hill Farms (1-3PM). What more could you want?

Island Fringe Festival, Last Day. Website

Tomorrow, Monday, August 5th:
The Ecology of Charlottetown Ponds and BBQ, 2:30-6PM, Barbour's Pond, by Elmer MacFayden Park, MacRae Drive in East Royalty. Holland College Environmental Science program is hosting this event, and all are welcome to this afternoon of "ecological exploration" followed by a BBQ. Presumably, the contents of the ecology of Charlottetown ponds will not be the BBQ offerings. ;-)
A forthright comment from PEI Extinction Rebellion's David Woodbury, regarding the full-page ad in Thursday's Guardian from three oil and gas companies/lobby groups:

"...a classic "straw man" argument. No one is saying it would be possible to halt all fossil fuel production and consumption instantaneously. But, we could stop subsidizing it TODAY, and stop enabling the continued growth of green house gas emissions. To continue on this course is to be an accessory to the crime of ecocide: truly a crime against Humanity!"
The Amazingly talented Chef Peter Hicks took time from his busy schedule to prepare and explain accessible and tasty dishes using local foods, at the Crapaud Exhibition last weekend.
Margaret Prouse wrote this in her column on Food in Thursday's Guardian, and both Margaret and Chef Peter were pleased to share the following in this newsletter.

MARGARET PROUSE: Wisdom from a pro - The Guardian article by Margaret Prouse

Chef Peter Hicks has plenty of food for thought at Crapaud Exhibition

Published on Thursday, August 1st, 2019


I love to take advantage of opportunities for learning from experts, and last Saturday I had such an opportunity. Chef Peter Hicks spent much of the day doing food demonstrations at Crapaud Exhibition, and, as his announcer, I was able to watch every one of them.

Hicks loves to use local ingredients to create food that looks appealing and tastes great, and last weekend he demonstrated dishes that do so. Both practical and realistic, he planned his demonstrations with the intention of sending people home with recipes they will actually use. The food had to taste good, but it was just as important that a person with average cooking skills could prepare the recipes in the limited time they have available for cooking. He knows that busy people seldom have time to prepare complicated recipes, regardless of how delicious they are.

He gave me permission to share the recipes he used at Crapaud Exhibition. I added the metric measurements. You will find all of his Crapaud Exhibition recipes, featuring Island lamb, potatoes, sweetened condensed milk, berries and salad greens, at

For an impressive budget-friendly dish featuring P.E.I. lobster, try these Lobster Fritters. Manage your time by making them early and reheating quickly in the oven just before serving. To make fritters of uniform size, follow Hicks’ example and portion batter with a scoop when frying.

Lobster Fritters

From Chef Peter Hicks
Crapaud Exhibition 2019

150 mL (⅔ cup) flour
5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
1 mL (¼ tsp) salt
0.5 mL (⅛ tsp) pepper
250 mL (1 cup) minced lobster meat
1 egg
45 mL (3 tbsp) milk
30 mL (2 tbsp) lobster juice
75 mL (⅓ cup) minced green onion

Drain lobster meat and reserve juice.

Beat egg and add milk and lobster juice. Stir in dry ingredients until evenly moist. Add lobster meat and onion.

Heat deep-fat fryer oil to 190 C (375 F). Drop tablespoons of batter into fat. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, turning occasionally. Put on paper towel to absorb excess fat.

Serve fritters with tartar sauce or lemon wedges.

Makes 14-16 fritters.

With his years of experience as a culinary professional, Hicks knows how to manage his time and the kitchen environment. When days are hot, and people are busy, he suggests making this slow cooker pulled pork. It calls for one of the less expensive cuts of pork, the shoulder roast, and sauce made from ingredients that you might just find in your fridge and pantry. Put it together early in the morning, go about your day’s activities, and serve it for dinner or – even better – make it today, refrigerate overnight and serve tomorrow.

Pulled Pork

From Chef Peter Hicks
Crapaud Exhibition 2019

1 medium onion, chopped
125 mL (½ cup) ketchup
75 mL (⅓ cup) cider vinegar
50 mL (¼ cup) brown sugar
50 mL (¼ cup) tomato paste
30 mL (2 tbsp) sweet paprika
30 mL (2 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce
30 mL (2 tbsp) prepared mustard
7 mL (1½ tsp) salt
7 mL (1½ tsp) pepper
1.8 kg (4 lb) shoulder pork roast

Mix all ingredients together well.

Put roast in slow cooker. Spread mixture over roast, turning roast so all sides are coated. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Remove roast from cooker and turn to high. Cover and heat to boiling to thicken the sauce.

Pull pork roast apart, return shredded pork to cooker, mix and heat through.

Serve on a bun, on top of rice or with a baked potato.

The Southern tradition for pulled pork on a bun is to top the pork with coleslaw so that you get the combined flavours with each bite. Here is Hicks’ recipe for a speedy but flavourful, coleslaw to serve with slow cooked pulled pork.

Quick Coleslaw

From Chef Peter Hicks
Crapaud Exhibition 2019

750 mL (3 cups) chopped cabbage
2 green onions
1 medium carrot, shredded
125 mL (½ cup) mayonnaise
5 mL (1 tsp) celery seed
2 mL (½ tsp) ground mustard
1 mL (¼ tsp) salt

Put cabbage, onions, and carrot in bowl and toss.

Mix mayonnaise, celery seed, mustard, and salt together well.

Pour over vegetables and toss until evenly mixed.
Margaret Prouse, a home economist, can be reached by writing her at RR#2, North Wiltshire, P.E.I., C0A 1Y0, or by email at
"Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind."
--- Eric Hopper (1898-1983), moral and social philosopher

August 3, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

Note that the Down East Farmer's Market (at Kaylee Hall in Pooles Corner) has closed. They cite poor attendance, but thank their patrons and hope they will support other markets. "If anyone is looking for large quantities of beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, herbs etc for preserving, let us know and we can help you out." contact through

Charlottetown Natal Day Activities (my synopsis):
Family-Friendly Yoga in the Park, 8-8:30AM,
Rochford Square. Bring your own mat.

Pancake Breakfast, 8:30-10:30AM, Rochford Square (if raining, Kent Street Fire Station)

Wheeled Stuff competitions (skateboard, BMX, scooters), 10AM-2PM (registration 9:30AM), Victoria Park Skateboard park. Prizes, fun to watch. Helmets required if participating.

Seniors' Social, 2-4PM, Murphy Community Centre

19+ Dance, 9PM-midnight, West Royalty Community Centre. Phase II performing.

Island Fringe Festival continues today and tomorrow
Food event in the Future:
Saturday, August 10th:
Farmers Helping Farmers Annual Beef Barbecue

Tickets available at Riverside Market, PEI Federation of Agriculture's office, or through a Farmers Helping Farmers board member.
Energy News:

Wind research facility looking to complementary solar energy - The Guardian article by Eric McCarthy

Published on Friday, August 2nd, 2019, in The Guardian

ACOA is providing funding


The Wind Energy Institute of Canada is about to tiptoe into solar energy at its national research facility at North Cape. Scott Harper, executive director of WEICan said the research facility is not looking at a switch to solar, but a way to maintain production at times when the wind is not blowing.

On Friday Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey announced the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is providing a non-repayable $600,000 contribution to WEICan to help with the purchase and installation of solar panels and to increase the facility’s energy storage capabilities.

The total cost of the project is around $800,000 with WEICan covering the remaining costs. It will allow for the creation of a 100-kilowatt solar farm beside the facility’s substation in Norway, near North Cape.

Solar, Harper explained, will help the facility’s wind farm respond to challenges that can occur when the wind is not blowing or the wind turbines are down because of a storm or a power outage. Oil in the wind turbines gearboxes must be kept warm even when the blades are not turning so that the turbines can be switched on again as quickly as possible when conditions permit. Solar energy, in tandem with power supplied from a battery storage system, could help keep the oil warm while reducing the energy demand from idle turbines.

“Renewable energy is a broad area. I think, at our core, wind is where we’re going to be. The resource here is why we’re here. We’ve cut our teeth on that,” said Harper. “We’re interested in getting more engaged with solar, but I think, frankly, it will be what solar does as a complement to wind.”

In the end, it doesn’t matter to the consumer where the power comes from, he agrees. “The battery doesn’t care and, frankly, your house doesn’t care once it gets in.”

Morrissey acknowledged WEICan’s expertise in green energy production. The research facility at North Cape has been operating for 38 years. He said the North Cape area has always been receptive to wind energy and has one of the best wind regimes in the region. We’ve embraced it and we should also benefit from that.

WEICan to study green energy options for Tignish port

Besides the $600,000 ACOA is providing the Wind Energy Institute of Canada to expand into solar energy it is providing the national research facility with $60,000 to conduct research to help the Tignish Harbour Authority and Tignish Fisheries/Royal Star Foods explore green energy alternatives.​​​

Port Authority manager, Russell Gallant said it is something the fishermen and the fish processor have been interested in pursuing. “We toyed around with putting several solar panels at least provide enough energy to provide the consumption that we as a harbour authority consume,” Gallant said . Besides the 60 street lights that illuminate the area, Gallant said many of the boats require nighttime power for their electronics and other equipment.

He said the port and Royal Star combined consume about 1.5 million liters of diesel and about three-quarters of a million dollars worth of electricity annually. “Electricity is a big cost.” He said the two organizations believe green energy could help reduce their energy costs and their carbon footprint.

The $60,000 is just for a study, Gallant said, estimating with could cost five to seven million dollars to get the actual infrastructure in place if the research project deems it feasible. To boost the feasibility, they hope to involve other energy consumers in the same general area.

Scott Harper, executive director of the Wind Energy Institute of Canada, suggested there might be a possibility for a microgrid to be erected near the fishing port, but he stressed everything is still on the table. A steering committee made up of representatives from the port authority and Royal Star has held an initial planning meeting. Gallant said the study will look at different green energy options as well as energy storage.


New solar incentives available to Islanders - from: Government press release

Friday, August 2nd, 2019 

Islanders will soon be getting financial help to install solar panels that will convert sunlight into clean energy for their homes, farms and businesses. <snip>

efficiencyPEI’s solar incentives provide a rebate of up to 40 per cent of the cost of installing solar panels – up to $10,000. The incentives are supported by $2 million in funding from the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Government of Canada through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund.

"I have seen the interest in solar grow exponentially over the past ten years and this new incentive program means that solar is a lot more affordable for Islanders," said Matt Eye, a solar PV installer and owner of M.B. Eye Electrical. "If you’ve been on the fence about this investment, now is the time to do it. Solar energy is good for the planet, and it’s a great way to reduce utility costs."

Islanders can apply for solar rebates through efficiencyPEI starting August 7. Financing is available through Finance PEI. For more information or assistance with your application, call efficiencyPEI toll-free at 1-877-734-6336.

The last page of Thursday's Guardian, August 1st, 2019 (screenshot of headline and of text of open letter, signed by presidents of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Cenovus Energy, and MEG Energy):

Screenshots of page C8 from Thursday, August 1st, 2019's Guardian
smack-dab in the middle of Kentucky:

Enbridge pipeline explodes in Kentucky, killing 1 person and sending 5 to hospital - CBC online article

 Thursday, August 1st, 2019

A regional gas pipeline ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed one person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of a nearby mobile home park, authorities said. <snip> Purdy said several agencies are investigating to determine what caused the explosion. The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending three investigators to the site.
"Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”
– Stephen Leacock (1869-1944), Canadian political scientist and humourist

August 2, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"It's Alive!" -- Microscopic Examination of Dead Man's Pond for the Public, drop by 10AM-2PM
, Victoria Park, free. Co-hosted by Ellen's Creek Watershed.
edited from the event notice: "Dead Man's Pond in the centre of Victoria Park is full of life. The Holland College Environmental Science Program... students ...will be on hand to help any budding kid scientists or curious adults discover what lives in Dead Man's Pond. There will be microscope station set up so you can get a good look at the smaller creatures that live in the Pond, and it can be pretty amazing what you can see. A light snack will be provided. If you haven't been to Dead Man's Pond before, the easiest is to come in the ball field entrance, take the first path on your right, and a path to the left will lead you to the pond."

Roma Heritage Chocolate Festival, this weekend, more details here:

"One Peace Won't Hurt", business seminar by Tareq Hadhad, 1-3PM, Georgetown Playhouse complex, ticket info at above Roma link.

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Province House, Grafton Street side, all welcome to join Extinction Rebellion at these weekly reminders about the urgency of climate action.

Today through Sunday, August 4th:
Island Fringe Festival, various times and locations
"...a site-specific summer festival celebrating independent art and alternative theatre and performance in downtown Charlottetown. The Island Fringe gives local, Canadian, and international artists the opportunity to create and perform new theatrical works in unconventional venues throughout the city. After the purchase of a $5 Patron Pin, all Island Fringe shows are pay-what-you-can admission, with 100% of the donations going directly to the artists. More information can be found at

Saturday, August 3rd and Sunday, August 4th:
Charlottetown Natal Day Weekend Festivities
-- special and regular weekend events happening all day Saturday and Sunday, schedule here.

Saturday, August 3rd:
Farm and Food Care Free Breakfast
, Vanco Farms, free, reserved tickets all gone, but invitation is here

Encouraging local food and helping Islanders understand the challenges of farming are great goals; people just need to be aware that Farm and Food Care PEI (and more so in chapters in Ontario and Saskatchewan) have some pretty big corporate sponsors and the messaging originally had more of an edge about providing "valid" information which would refute those concerned about pesticides and run-off, and pressures on small family farms. One is reminded of there being no such thing as a free lunch (or breakfast).
Speaking of some farming practices, the relationship between particular crops grown (with their fertilizer inputs needed, the excess "leaking" into waterways, the resulting algal blooms, die-off) and anoxic events seen every summer was discussed in a refreshingly cogent and forthright manner by Bruce Raymond, Manager of Water and Air Monitoring for the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change in a CBC Radio news story (not on-line yet).

A description of anoxic events, with links to where there have been any reported this year, is here:
and here is the most recent map:

Compass TV News may have carried an interview with Mr. Raymond and Jessica Doria-Brown, but I couldn't get it to play on my rural internet yesterday.
"Remember one thing only: that it's you -- nobody else -- who determine your destiny and decide your fate. Nobody else can be alive for you: nor can you be alive for anybody else."
--- E. E. Cummings, poet (1894-1962)

August 1, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thursday Pop-Up Farm Centre Market, 3-6PM
, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Food, fresh and prepared, herbs, and more.

Book Launch -- Anne of Green Gables: the Original Manuscript, 3:30-5PM, Confederation Centre of the Arts. “Anne” as you have never seen her before! This new volume shows L.M. Montgomery’s creative process in crafting one of the world’s most famous novels. Editor Carolyn Strom Collins will discuss some of the discoveries she made while transcribing the manuscript.

Island Fringe Festival, today through Sunday, various times, locations and performances, more details
New story:
Greta Thunberg is to sail across the Atlantic in a high-speed racing yacht next month to attend UN climate summits in the US and Chile as part of a sabbatical year the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist will spend in the US.

Climate emergency brings youth leaders to Thinkers Lodge - The Amherst News article by Darrell Cole

Published on Monday, July 29th, 2019

High school, university students answer call to action


If anyone should be sounding the alarm about climate change it should the young people of today. After all, it’s them who will inherit the mess that’s been left for them to deal with.

Youth climate leaders from across the Atlantic region came to historic Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash for a three-day retreat that featured what organizers called brave and deep discussions about climate change and culminated July 28 with statements, poetry and a tree-planting ceremony.

“Climate change is important to me because it’s about my future. I know I’m going to be the one that has to deal with it because of the past generations and the actions they made,” 15-year-old Pugwash District High School student and conference participant Cadence Steeves said. “It’s my responsibility to take care of the earth and make sure I have a safe place to grow up, have a family and my children and their children are safe and can life safe and happy lives.”

The youth retreat was co-hosted by the Centre for Local Prosperity and the Thinkers Lodge.

Steeves said it was important for all the young people attending the conference to open up to help themselves so they would be in a better position to help others. There was also a lot of anti-oppression training and learning to listen to other people’s stories and experiences.

“We have to make decisions that benefit everyone when focusing on issues like this,” fellow Pugwash student and participant Megumi Ozawa said. “This conference really helped. I’m 15 and I don’t have a lot of experience doing a lot of conference and being an activist.”

Steeves said she and Ozawa are from rural Nova Scotia and they don’t get the exposure to activism in larger centres. It was also beneficial to hear from older students about their experiences and learn how those strategies can be used in smaller areas like Cumberland County.

Ozawa said she hopes to spread the message through social media and the school community. Steeves said science has already provided answers on how to stop climate change, but it’s up to the people to become activists for that change to occur.

“We have to break the systems that are meant to destroy us,” Steeves said. “We have to talk to people to understand and be informed.”

One of the youth organizers, Lily Barraclough, said the weekend was powerful and transformational.

“Twenty of us came together from all across Atlantic Canada to learn, to open our hearts and minds, to connect and to build relationships across our generation that will help us solve this crisis that we are in,” Barraclough said. “These thinkers have been brave, vulnerable, and open with each other. We have people from ages 15 to 29 involved with the student movement, free tuition, migrant rights, fighting for a liveable wage, 2SLGBTQ+ rights, Indigenous sovereignty, science, arts and many others. Everyone has been brave and open.”

A red oak tree planting ceremony was led by Mi’kmaq women Hannah Martin and Paulina Meader, which included a smudge and water offering ceremonies.

A commemorative plaque will be placed at the foot of the tree acknowledging the previous seven generations that built the work and to protect the world for the next seven generations.

Robert Cervelli, the executive director of the Centre for Local Prosperity, said conference participants included high school and university students.

“This was probably the first opportunity for youth from across the region to get together, bond, look at how they can network and leverage their energies and work for climate change,” Cervelli said. “They’re the ones that have to live with it more than my generation. The biggest joke I’ve heard about my generation is we’re future challenged. It’s the youth who are going to bear this and they know that.”

The conference was the latest in a series of climate change meetings at Thinkers Lodge. Last fall, a group of leaders from across the region met in Pugwash to identify a list of actions that every citizen, business and government can take immediately to lessen the impacts and decrease the harm from global warming.

Cervelli said another conference is being planned for this fall for faith leaders from around Atlantic Canada while plans are in the works for another conference in 2020 of municipal leaders.

“This is a three-year plan, if not longer, of continuing what is called the Pugwash Mission – a location to have deep, brave conversations about existential threats to mankind. It started with nuclear proliferation that continues today and now it’s climate change,” he said.

"A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words, and deeds is like that."
--- Dorothy Day (1897-1980), social activist