CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

August 2020


  1. 1 August 31, 2020
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 Atlantic Skies for August 31st-September 6th, 2020 - How Big is the Universe? by Glenn K. Roberts
  2. 2 August 30, 2020
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  3. 3 August 29, 2020
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  4. 4 August 28, 2020
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 P.E.I.'s former auditor general says progress made since e-gaming investigation - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  5. 5 August 27, 2020
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 GUEST OPINION: Land bank study results are credible - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Urban Laughlin
  6. 6 August 26, 2020
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Government Media Release on Expanding Internet:
    3. 6.3 GUEST OPINION: Rural revitalization hamstrung by lack of good internet in P.E.I. -The Guardian Guest opinion by Chris McGarry
  7. 7 August 25, 2020
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  8. 8 August 24, 2020
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Atlantic Skies for August 24th-August 30th, 2020 "Selecting Binoculars for Night Sky Observing" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  9. 9 August 23, 2020
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 Charlottetown man completes 12-year project making his home energy efficient - The Guardian article by Michael Robar
  10. 10 August 22, 2020
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  11. 11 August 21, 2020
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 Same Issues, Different Times - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie
  12. 12 August 20, 2020
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 PRECYCLING - Social Media blog post by Tanya Ha
    3. 12.3 No Hockeyville, I AM NOT A ROBOT - The Eastern Graphic article by Jeff Hutcheson
  13. 13 August 19, 2020
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 Trudeau accused of attempting to cover up scandal by proroguing parliament - The Guardian (U.K. article) by Tracey Lindeman
  14. 14 August 18, 2020
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 P.E.I. cabinet approves West River amalgamation - CBC News online article by Kerry Campbell
  15. 15 August 17, 2020
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 Here's where the Conservative leadership race stands, with one week of campaign left - CTV News online article by Rachel Aiello
    3. 15.3 Atlantic Skies for August 17th-23rd, 2020 - The Phases of the Moon by Glenn K. Roberts
  16. 16 August 16, 2020
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 130 Degrees - NYBooks review by Bill McKibben
  17. 17 August 15, 2020
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 Money on the table: Government's $4.7 million allocation to Cavendish Farms, P.E.I. Potato Board still being spent - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  18. 18 August 14, 2020
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 GUEST OPINION: Hoping for a green recovery - The Guardian Guest opinion by Marilyn McKay
  19. 19 August 13, 2020
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 GREENFILE: Water, where are you? - The Guardian column by Mark Cullen
  20. 20 August 12, 2020
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  21. 21 August 11, 2020
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  22. 22 August 10, 2020
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  23. 23 August 9, 2020
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  24. 24 August 8, 2020
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  25. 25 August 7, 2020
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  26. 26 August 6, 2020
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 Atlantic Canadian beekeepers need this pest to buzz off - The Guardian article by Andrew Robinson
    3. 26.3 Charlottetown's City Cinema sold-out during the weekend, but the next three months will be crucial - The Guardian article by Michael Robar
  27. 27 August 5, 2020
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 How to build a better Canada after COVID-19: Launch a fossil-free future - by Kyla Tienhaara,Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment, Queen's University, Ontario Amy Janzwood, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto and Angela Carter, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo
  28. 28 August 4, 2020
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 Online events to give P.E.I. residents closer contact with federal Green leadership hopefuls - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  29. 29 August 3, 2020
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 Atlantic Skies for August 3rd to August 9th, 2020 - By the Light of Many, Many Moons by Glenn K. Roberts
  30. 30 August 2, 2020
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 An Irrigation Pond to Support - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie
  31. 31 August 1, 2020
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 Amid row over research, P.E.I. land bank ‘in limbo’ - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

August 31, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


This afternoon:

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

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

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

Week 25 (20th Century and Beyond)

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

More info:

This Friday!

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

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

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

News you may have heard already:

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

Fish kill reported in Montrose River

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, clear skies.


Sept. 2 - Full (Corn) Moon

         6 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)

Global Chorus essay for August 31

Paul Stamets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Paul Stamets:


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

copyright 2014

August 30, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Met Operas:
Verdi Week concludes with:
Don Carlo, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Marina Poplavskaya, Roberto Alagna and Simon Keenlyside. From December 11, 2010.

Verdi’s Falstaff, 7:30PM Sunday until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Angela Meade and Ambrogio Maestri in the title role.  From December 14, 2013.
More info:

These Global Chorus essays, which editor (musician and all around creative genius) Todd E. MacLean requested and compiled in 2011-2013 into the book, Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, are like little snapshots in time -- before more governments grudgingly got moving on the Climate Crisis, before Greta Thunberg, certainly before COVID-19, and before Peter Bevan-Baker, and then Hannah Bell, got elected as Members of the Legislative Assembly of P.E.I.   (and then becoming the Official Opposition in the last election).  But they are also timeless and good reminders of the big picture.

Good for people believing in their voices and voting, and now for people understanding that the systemic change that's needed is no easy feat to accomplish, but we have some very smart, hardworking and caring people in some of these roles.  And they need us to keep our eyes on the big picture, not the easy, cheap fluff of everyday politics in this world, so our politics and our quality of life on this planet for everything can continue to mature and thrive.


Global Chorus essay for August 30 
Peter Bevan-Baker

When I was young I didn’t think much about the meaning of my life; I was more concerned with learning and growing. I stopped growing physically some time ago, but the learning has continued; I am still growing intellectually and spiritually.

Humanity was, until recently, an insignificant species on a vast and empty planet. For thousands of generations we stumbled around the Earth in small groups learning some useful survival tricks and evolving some valuable traits – like opposable thumbs and big brains. Our impact on the planet back then was minimal. Then we grew, and we grew, and we grew until we now fill almost every corner of the planet, and our sheer size and power threaten to overwhelm Earth’s support systems. It is time for humanity to replace our physical growth with intellectual and spiritual development.

I believe we who are alive today are the most blessed generation ever. We are about to oversee that shift – replacing the central goal of getting bigger through economic expansion – to getting better through spiritual awakening. It is time for us to collectively start thinking about the meaning of our existence here on this beautiful planet.

I know we have the capabilities – never before has there been a species more suited to long-term success; we should effortlessly master living on the Earth. All we need is the will to embrace the wonderful possibilities of being human; recognizing that true fulfillment has to do with relationships, and contentment with spiritual maturity, and that neither has anything to do with material possessions. Our happiness is related to things that are utterly sustainable – friendship, art, spirituality. We can live on this planet in far less consumptive and destructive ways, and find meaning and contentment – indeed it is the only way to discover how to be so.

There is a time for expansion and there is a time for maturation. We are done with the former and about to enter the latter. It will be a time of humanity reaching its true potential. It is time to grow up, and my unwavering belief says that we are ready.

    — Peter Bevan Baker, Green Party candidate in Prince Edward Island, Canada

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

copyright 2014

Peter's home page on the Official Opposition website:

News from the Green Party of PEI:

August 29, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

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

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy" and Cafe, open 9AM until 6PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce and "ferments" and indoor and outdoor seating and meals.

Opera on radio and online:

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

Don Quichotte by Jules Massenet
Prague Philharmonic Choir and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra
and, the world broadcast première of The Monkiest King by composer Alice Ping Yee Ho and librettist Marjorie Chan, Canadian Children’s Opera Company and Orchestra

Video: Metropolitan Opera Livestream HD Video

Verdi’s La Traviata, until noon Saturday
Starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From December 15, 2018.  A beautiful, classic production.

Special (ticketed) concert with Norwegian lyric dramatic soprano Lise Davidsen, from Oslo,
2PM Atlantic Time concert --
concert info
which will be available for the next two weeks.

Verdi’s Don Carlo, Saturday 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
 conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From December 11, 2010.
"Don Carlo (Roberto Alagna), the Spanish crown prince, and Eliabeth of Valois (Marina Poplavskaya), daughter of the King of France, fall in love, only to be torn apart by international politics when Carlo’s father, King Philip II (Ferruccio Furlanetto), decides to marry Elizabeth himself.
Poor Robert Alagna!

from the David Suzuki Foundation, August 28th, 2020

We are living in a plastic world
by David Suzuki and Ian Hanington


Almost every product and material we refer to as “plastic” is made from fossil fuels. Most of it hasn’t been around for long — a little over 70 years for the most common products. North American grocery stores didn’t start offering plastic bags until the late 1970s.
Over that short time, plastics have become ubiquitous. A
Center for International Environmental Law report says global plastic production exploded 200-fold between 1950 and 2015 — from two million to 380 million tonnes. Plastic is everywhere, from the ocean depths to mountaintops, from Antarctica to the Arctic — even in our own bodies.
As the report points out, almost every piece of plastic begins as a fossil fuel. This creates greenhouse gas emissions throughout its life cycle, from extraction and transport to refining and manufacturing to managing waste and impacts. The report projects these emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons per year by 2030 — “equivalent to the emissions released by more than 295 new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants.”
There are good reasons for plastic’s popularity. It’s lightweight, durable, inexpensive, easily shaped and can be used to safely store many materials, from water to chemicals. That it’s long-lasting is part of the problem.
Plastics don’t decompose like organic substances. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, much of which ends up in oceans, where it is consumed by marine life and birds. These “microplastics” work their way through the food web and eventually to humans.
There’s still much to learn about microplastic’s health effects, but exposure in animals has been linked to liver and cell damage, infertility, inflammation, cancer and starvation. The 50,000 plastic particles that each of us breathes and eats every year and the microplastic pollution falling on some cities undoubtedly have an impact, especially as many of the chemicals in plastics are known to cause a
range of health problems.







A recent study also shows the ocean plastics problem is worse than thought — although with tonnes of plastic debris and particles swirling in massive ocean gyres, it’s hard to imagine it could be. The study, from the U.K.’s National Oceanography Centre, found the Atlantic has 10 times more plastic than had been estimated. Researchers previously calculated the amount entering the Atlantic between 1950 and 2015 to be from 17 million to 47 million tonnes. New measurements show it’s closer to 200 million.
Another report, from the World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey and Company, estimated the oceans could hold
more plastic by weight than fish by 2050 if trends continue. Because most plastic doesn’t get recycled, researchers also estimated that 95 per cent of plastic packaging value — worth $80 to $120 billion annually — is lost.
It also found that by 2050, the entire plastics industry will consume 20 per cent of total oil production, and 15 per cent of the world’s annual carbon budget.
The study, “The New Plastics Economy,” outlines steps whereby
circular economy principles could resolve many issues around plastics in the environment. These require eliminating all problematic and unnecessary plastic items, innovating to ensure the plastics are reusable, recyclable or compostable, and circulating all plastic items to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.
And while individual efforts are helpful, they don’t go far enough. As
Carroll Muffett, lead author of the CIEL report, argues, we can’t “recycle our way out of the plastics crisis.” Instead, we must stop producing fossil fuels and unnecessary disposable plastic items. Reducing use is key, but shifting to plant-based plastics and other products is also crucial.




Reducing use is key, but shifting to plant-based plastics and other products is also crucial.




As we’ve written before, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed flaws in our outdated economic systems, but it’s also provided an opportunity to pause and figure out how to build back better. Our constant rush to exploit resources, burn fossil fuels and create disposable plastic products for the sake of short-term profits is putting all life and health at risk.
We should have started phasing out fossil fuels and their byproducts
decades ago when we realized they were creating massive amounts of air, water and land pollution and heating the planet to temperatures that put our health and survival at risk. The longer we delay, the more difficult change becomes. It’s time for new ideas. It’s time for a just, green recovery.

the link:
has a pledge encouraging you to give up single-use plastics (which is harder during the pandemic, I appreciate that)

Some really interesting websites related to Belvie Rooks' work:

Growing a Global Heart


"It’s all alive. It’s all connected. It’s all intelligent. It’s all relatives."

Global Chorus essay for August 29
Belvie Rooks

On a recent early morning walk, I found myself stopping frequently and marvelling at the majesty and beauty of the San Francisco Bay. As I stopped, I noticed a young white crane nearby. Half an hour later, I noticed, what I thought was, the same white crane. Curious, I decided to be sure. I walked quickly ahead and stopped suddenly. A few seconds, my new friend arrived and perched on a nearby bench.

I stood silently for a moment and looked around and realized there were no other cranes in sight. Ironically, a couple of days earlier, I had seen a 50-year-old photograph of this same estuary in which there appeared to be hundreds of cranes – a whole community of cranes.

I was now conscious of the noisy freeway nearby; the profusion of overhead electrical wires; and the danger signs warming about a recent sewage spill. None of this would have existed 50 years ago.

I eased slowly onto the bench next to my new friend and closed my eyes. I had, of course, seen all of this many times before, but now, I was seeing it as if for the first time from my small companion’s perspective. From that perspective, of habitat destruction, the surrounding view was a heartbreaking one.

I slowly opened my eyes and my small friend was not only still there but her head was cocked slightly to one side observing me intently. Our eyes locked and it was as if she spoke directly to the very depths of my soul, “Now that you know, will you remember to tell my story too?”

What was hopeful about the encounter, for me, was that I was fully present to the message being delivered.

Thank you for showing up and I promise to remember!

      — Belvie Rooks, educator; co-founder of Growing a Global Heart   (see links, above)


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

copyright 2014

August 28, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

Met Opera streaming:

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

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

Coverage of the Legislative Assembly Records committee progress:

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

Published on Thursday, August 27th, 2020


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

from the Global Footprint Measure:

Measure what you treasure

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

more at the website, above.

Global Chorus essay for August 28
Shin-ichiro Terayama

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

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

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


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

A lot of imspiring content at this website:

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

August 27, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

Topic: Briefings from current and former Information and Privacy Commissioners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published on Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Chorus essay author for August 27
John Vlahides

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

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

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

August 26, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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


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

Topic: Briefings from current and former Auditor Generals

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

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

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

Facebook event link

Some Arts online:
Metropolitan Opera today and tomorrow:

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

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

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

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

Government Media Release on Expanding Internet:

from yesterday:

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

The two new funding streams are:

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

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

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

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

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

  • Island Telecom Services Inc.

  • Granville Ridge Consulting

  • H6 PEI Investments

  • BCD Automation


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


CBC website link on the story:

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

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

Published on Wednesday, August 17th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Chorus essay for August 26
Steven Rockefeller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“There is hope then?”

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

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

from Wikipedia:

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

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

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

August 25, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 24, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Opportunities:
Ordering deadline for Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO online for pick-up --Thursday, August 27th (2-6PM), is tomorrow at noon

Ordering deadline, tonight, for
Aaron's Local Organic Veggie Delivery Service;
 Next Delivery Date : August 27th (Thursday).  More details at:


Meet Judy N Green - Over Green Tea, 8:30-9:30PM, Facebook Live Link
"Each week, 1 candidate for Leader of the Canadian Greens will be chatting with Anna Keenan in this 'Over Green Tea' series.
Candidate 6 of 9 is Judy N Green - a former member of the Canadian Forces Airframe, management expert and computer scientist - and the the only Atlantic-Canadian candidate in the race!
Check out Judy's campaign website here:
Join the conversation live on Monday August 24, at "

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

Metropolitan Opera notes:
Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, today until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Judith Blegen, Frederica von Stade, Jean Kraft, Rosalind Elias, and Michael Devlin, conducted by Thomas Fulton. From December 25, 1982.  Lovely traditional fairy tale version of the story.

This week:
Verdi Week!  This is the 24th week of these free daily filmed opera performances from the Metropolitan  Opera in New York City.  All operas by Giuseppi Verdi (1813-1901)
Verdi’s Rigoletto, Tonight until Tuesday around 6:30PM
Starring Diana Damrau, Piotr Beczała, and Željko Lučić  From February 16, 2013.  This production moves the story to 1960s Las Vegas, with "the Duke" (Beczala) as a charming Mafia/Rat Pack/ casino owner, and Rigoletto is like his Don RIckles insult-machine, who has hidden his one treasure, his daughter Gilda, from his unseemly workplace.  Quite the neon-lit set.

Atlantic Skies for August 24th-August 30th, 2020 "Selecting Binoculars for Night Sky Observing" - by Glenn K. Roberts

The co-vid virus forced a great many people to stay home, and to perhaps, when the opportunity presented itself, spend more time at the beach and/or cottage. Combined with the beautiful summer weather we've had here in the Maritimes the past couple of months, people appear to have been lingering later at the beach or around their campfire than normal at night, and, as a consequence, were (some for the first time in many years) noticing the night sky more. One of the most frequent questions I've received throughout the summer has been how to select binoculars for night sky observing. Though I have, upon occasion, made reference in my columns as what to expect when observing nighttime celestial objects with binoculars, perhaps a more detailed explanation as to what exactly to look for in selecting a pair of binoculars, either for yourself, or a younger family member, is in order. Binoculars are an excellent way to begin exploring the night sky; they are versatile (can be used for observing other things than just the night sky), they are portable and require no expertise to set up and use, viewing with two eyes rather than one is more natural and comfortable, they have a wider field of view than a telescope, the object you are viewing is right-side up (as opposed to upside down in most telescopes), and they are relatively inexpensive compared to telescopes..

Those things being said, there are a number of factors to consider when selecting a pair of binoculars. People tend to get hung up on magnification, whether in a telescope or binoculars, equating higher magnification with the magnificent, colored images of celestial objects seen in astronomy magazines; nothing could be farther from reality. When you pick up a pair of binoculars, you will see a set of numbers on them (e.g., 5 x10). The first number, in this example 5, means the binoculars have a magnification of 5x (i.e., the object will appear 5x closer). These numbers usually range between 5 - 10, though any binoculars with a magnification larger than 10x will probably require a tripod to hold them, as they will be very big. The main problem with higher magnification is that your field of view (i.e., the patch of night sky you are looking at) decreases in size. as magnification increases The second number is much more important than the magnification number. It refers to the size of each of the two front lenses of the binoculars (singularly called the "objective lens") in millimeters (mm). These lenses are, in essence, the light-gathering part of the binoculars; the larger the objective(s), the more light that is gathered to enter your eyes, the brighter the object you are looking at appears, and the more detail you will see. When you look at the objective lenses of the binoculars, you will notice two small, bright  circles of light (referred to as "exit pupils"). The size of the objective lens (e.g., 35 mm) divided by the magnification (e.g., 5x) equals the size of the binoculars' exit pupils, expressed in millimeters (i.e., the size of the light cone exiting the binoculars through the rear lenses and striking the observer's eyes  - 35mm / 5x = 7 mm). This number is important, particularly for older observers, since, ideally, the size of the binoculars' exit pupils should match the size of the pupils of the observer's dark-adapted eyes (when your eyes have self-adjusted to the darkness, usually after about 1/2 hr outside at night, enabling you to see more in the dark). Our eyes change as we grow older, with the dark-adapted pupils of older folks' eyes usually not opening as wide as those of younger folks (especially children). The only real way to figure out what size exit pupil matches that of your eyes, especially if you are an older observer, is to try different binoculars with different magnifications and objective lens sizes. With the proper binoculars, you might not need to wear your glasses (depending on why you need glasses in the first place) to observe the night sky.

Other factors you need to take into consideration when selecting binoculars for night sky observing are  1) are the prisms in the binoculars roof prisms (the binoculars barrels are straight, and, usually, more compact) or Porro prisms (the binoculars have a zig-zag shape, are bigger, and heavier); 2) is the glass in the binoculars (both front and rear lenses) made of high-quality glass (e.g., barium crown glass vs borosilicate glass); 3) are the lenses coated (coated lenses, though more expensive, provide brighter and higher contrast images); 4) how often you are likely to use them, and for what purpose (do you intend to use them for bird watching, sports,  or other daytime activities), and 5) your budget (how much are you prepared to pay for a decent pair of binoculars).

Should you buy a pair of binoculars as an introductory means of becoming familiar with the night sky? Yes! For your youngster(s)? Definitely! Do you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair? Not necessarily. A good, all-round pair of binoculars would be a 8x35mm pair or a 10x50mm pair, though the former would be a bit lighter in weight, and thus easier to carry or hold. The wider field of view of lower power binoculars is usually a plus when it comes to observing the night sky in general. Although it is ultimately up to you where you purchase your binoculars, and how much you pay for them, I would suggest you buy them from a reputable optics company, one that makes both binoculars and telescopes (e.g., Celestron or Meade) rather than a department store brand (even though they will, likely, be much cheaper). With binoculars, as with most things, you get what you pay for. You will not be doing yourself or your youngster(s) a favour by purchasing cheap, poor-quality binoculars; you/they will be disappointed and discouraged from experiencing one of the true pleasures of being outdoors at night - viewing the incredible beauty and diversity of the night sky above you.

Having recently passed superior solar conjunction on Aug.17, Mercury is not currently visible. Venus (mag. -4.24) rises in the east shortly after 2:30 a.m., remaining our "morning star" in the eastern, pre-dawn sky until it fades from sight around 6:00 a.m. Mars (mag. -1.63) is visible around 11:00 p.m., about 7 degrees above the eastern horizon, reaching its highest point (49 degrees) in the southern sky around 4:45 a.m., before becoming lost in the approaching light of dawn shortly after 6:00 a.m. Jupiter (mag. -2.62) is visible in the early evening, just as dusk turns to darkness, 16 degrees above the southeast horizon, reaching its highest point in the evening sky around 1015 p.m., and remaining observable high in the southwest sky until about 1:30 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.27) is Jupiter's constant companion, rising in the southeast shortly after its larger and brighter cohort, and trailing him (about an extended hand's width to Jupiter's left) across the late evening southwest sky, until it, too, disappears from view by about 2:00 a.m.

Until next week, clear skies


Aug. 25 - First Quarter Moon

        30 - Moon at aphelion (farthest distance from Sun)

Planet summary:
Morning --  bright planet is Venus (get binocs and go look at it)
Evening -- Jupiter and Saturn are in the east at sunset, Mars rises later and is high overhead at dawn

The Global Chorus essayist is "Grimes", Canadian musician and artist, and may be familiar in the news for recently becoming the partner of inventor Elon Musk.

Global Chorus essay for August 24
Claire Boucher, aka “Grimes ”

I don’t know if we’ll be able to reverse the damage we’ve already done, but I do believe we can slow it significantly. I think there are two key hurdles that, if overcome, will have a domino effect with regards to solving our environmental problems. First is education, and particularly the education of women globally. Our growing population is a huge problem and women who are educated have less children and are better equipped to care for them.

I also think a broader “environmental education” initiative could yield a lot of positive change. When I was on tour in Asia, many countries had radio commercials encouraging people to unplug lights at night to reduce electricity use. Cities like Singapore and Jakarta would be very dark at night (despite being massive cities) due to people turning of all the lights in their closed businesses. I feel like this kind of government-funded public education is crucial and effective. There was very noticeable pollution in Asia, but there was also a more concerted effort to stop it than I have ever seen elsewhere, and a far more acute public understanding of the dangers of pollution.

The other key issue is lobbying. I think the only way we can save our planet is if there is a complete ban of all lobbying or industry involvement in government decisions. Canada, for example, is completely run by the oil industry and no matter how many people show up and protest, pipelines are always approved, fracking is always approved. This is one of the largest issues facing the world today. Governments need to recognize this, and stop giving dangerous industries control over their policies.

     — Claire Boucher, aka “Grimes,” producer, singer, songwriter, director, painter, writer


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

copyright 2014

August 23, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

One of some cultural events available live:

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

Met Opera video streaming

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

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

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

from The Guardian this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting started

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

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

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

Next he removed the asbestos siding and added more insulation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy rebates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice for others

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

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

Beyond that, planning and patience are key.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Global Chorus essay for August 23 

Doug McKenzie-Mohr

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

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

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

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

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


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

August 22, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

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

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


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

Opera on radio and online:

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

Die Frau ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss

Video streaming of Met Opera recordings:

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

Next week:
Wednesday, August 26th:

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

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

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

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

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

Registration Link

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

Home Page of Schumacher Center:

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

Global Chorus essay for August 22
Frank Rotering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 21, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

Facebook event lin

Opera corner:  Tandem Verdi!  and Lots of Amelias.

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

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

Scarborough Fair meets Farm Centre Legacy Garden

"Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

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

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

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

The Land Institute

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Global Chorus essay for August 21
Wes Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

August 20, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

PRECYCLING - Social Media blog post by Tanya Ha

Published in July 2019

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

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

  • Reduce your waste-producing behaviour.

  • Reuse items that would otherwise be rubbish wherever possible.

  • Recycle materials instead of throwing them away.

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

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

Tips to avoid and reduce waste

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opera Corner:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Chorus essay for August 20
Tanya Ha

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

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

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

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

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

A lot of articles on her website:

good biography of her from The Conversation:

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

August 19, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

and more details at:
Facebook event link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo by Chris O.

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

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

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

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

Published on Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

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

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

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

Prorogation will suspend all government business, including the investigation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Global Chorus essay for August 19
Don Gayton

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

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

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

Who can stand and acknowledge this?

Who can stand at all?

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


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

August 18, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 19th:

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

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

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

Met Opera Streaming Notes:

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

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

News Bits:

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

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

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

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

Published on Monday, August 17th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended by IRAC

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

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

  This line from the article says a lot:  

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

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

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

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

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

Global Chorus essay for August 18
Sara Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

August 17, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Conservative Party Leadership vote update, from CTV News:

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

Published online on Friday, August 14th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, clear skies.


Aug. 17 - Mercury reaches superior solar conjunction

        18 - New Moon

        20 - Moon at perihelion (closest approach to Sun)

        21 - Moon at perigee (closest approach to Earth)


Global Chorus essay for August 17 
Lamberto Zannier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 16, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

One of some cultural events available live:

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

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

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

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

Bill McKibben's website:

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

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

130 Degrees - NYBooks review by Bill McKibben

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then comes four degrees:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. *

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

Review link with graphics:

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

Global Chorus essay for August 16
Jamie Henn

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

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

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

     —Jamie Henn, co-founder and communications director of

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

August 15, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

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

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


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

Opera on radio and online:

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

Met Opera offerings:

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

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

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

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

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

still trying to understand this... 

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

Published on Saturday, August 15th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

The $4.7 million agreement:

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

  • Potato Board contracts Cavendish Farms to transport, store potatoes

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

Thompson also told the legislature the funds might be allocated to seed potato growers who have also experienced economic losses. 

But in an interview on Tuesday, Thompson said the agreement to disperse the $4.7 million to the P.E.I. Potato Board has been signed and is in effect until March 2021. The contract requires the P.E.I. Potato Board to submit periodic invoices each month.

"The contract was signed and it's all in discussion with the potato board," Thompson said in a phone interview. 

"The markets have changed. We're in full understanding that this money won't be all used. But it is still on the table to manage some risk if COVID changes."

Thompson said the restaurant market is still in a state of flux, due in part to the COVID-19 lockdowns that have continued in the United States. 

As of Thursday, only $50,000 of this has been dispersed to the P.E.I. Potato Board.

Mary Keith, vice president of communications for JD Irving, confirmed the funds have been allocated for potato storage but have not been dispersed.

“So, status quo, in other words,” Keith said in an email to The Guardian.

Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, confirmed the agreement between the province and the P.E.I. Potato Board has been signed. A second agreement with the potato board and Cavendish Farms is still in process.

"The agreements are in place and it's in the process of being administered," Donald said.

"I don't know where the final figure is going to end up at this time."

Michele Beaton, the Green agriculture critic, said the multi-million dollar agreement still raises red flags.

"I'm concerned that government is propping up what looks to be an unsustainable agricultural model by giving millions of taxpayers' money to a large multi-billion dollar processor," Beaton said.

"I'd rather see government supporting local farmers directly instead of solving Cavendish [Farms'] business problems."

Donald agreed with Thompson that the potato market has been fluctuating severely due to the summer increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. 

"It definitely got impacted early. But it rebounded quicker than anticipated," he said.  "That period of time in the mid-to-latter part of March and into April, it'll never be made back up again."

The agreement allowed for the cold storage of potatoes until there was a market for them. Donald also said the 2020 growing season in P.E.I. has been very difficult due to an unusually dry summer. He described the conditions as “desperate”.


Global Chorus essay for August 15
Maren and Jan Enkelmann

Why it is more likely to live a happy and fulfilled life after surviving a life-threatening accident than after winning the lottery? In either case you are facing circumstances you hadn’t and weren’t prepared for. However, those who almost lost their lives are much more likely to reassess what’s truly important to them and pour all their energy into it. The lucky winners who should be able to realize all their wildest dreams often lose sight of the essentials as life suddenly gets a lot more complicated.

Is there something to be learned from the way human beings are able to focus their energies when faced with a major crisis?

As the world today is facing countless challenges – climate change, migration, poverty, shrinking natural resources, the banking system – fewer and fewer people seem bothered to even vote or take an active part in society. The issues appear too big and too complex to even contemplate how to come to grips with them. But in order to tackle the global issues we need people to take on these challenges on a level that’s relevant to them and take pride in playing their part. Like the accident survivor gains strength and focus from a profound personal experience, engaging ourselves in matters that we can actively help to improve might just give us the power to change the world.  

     ---  Maren Kleinert and Jan Enkelmann, authors of Happiness: How the World Keeps Smiling


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

August 14, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Fringe Festival, "Pounding the Pavement", 8-11PM
, Confederation Amphitheatre, more details here:
Facebook event link
Next week:
Wednesday, August 19th,
Dreaming Forward webinar on Food,
online, hosted by the Green Party of PEI

from the event notice:
" our Dreaming Forward series of forums next Wednesday, August 19th with a forum on the future of PEI's Food & Agriculture systems with Green Agriculture Critic and District 5 MLA, Michele Beaton!The pandemic has shone a light on the vulnerabilities of many of our systems, not least our agriculture and food systems. Islanders have already begun feeling the consequences of our reliance on imported food, on volatile and not-very-diverse export markets, and the role of imported labour in the food sector. We have seen increasing food insecurity as low-income Islanders experienced disruptions in income and services. PEI now has the urgency and opportunity to reimagine our agriculture and food systems as part of a resilient, sustainable and just future for our province.
Registration details: via Zoom videoconferencing, here:
Please note: We would love for you to participate in this forum even if your internet is not always up to snuff! You will have the option of dialling into the forum using a regular telephone as well.

About Dreaming Forward forums
Dreaming Forward is an initiative of the Green Party of PEI to engage Islanders in envisioning a better post-COVID future for PEI - one in which we don't merely return to default "normal" that wasn't working well to begin with for people and our environment. The forums are designed for a maximum of interactivity and sharing of ideas, using online break-out rooms to ensure that everyone has a chance to be heard. 

  Facebook event link
Met Opera link
Free Video Streaming of recorded operas

Puccini’s Turandot, until 6:30PM tonight

Starring Nina Stemme, Anita Hartig, Marco Berti, and Alexander Tsymbalyuk, conducted by Paolo Carignani. From January 30, 2016.

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, 7:30PM until noon Saturday

Starring Deborah Voigt, Michelle DeYoung, Robert Dean Smith, and Matti Salminen.  From March 22, 2008. 

GUEST OPINION: Hoping for a green recovery - The Guardian Guest opinion by Marilyn McKay

Published on Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

The federal government is making plans to spend billions of dollars to help the economy recover from the effects of COVID-19. Let’s hope that spending is directed toward a green and just recovery – one that takes us on a path to net-zero carbon emissions and supports the well being of our citizens and our earth.

There is lots of good advice and expertise available on an economic recovery. None of that advice includes funding or promoting the fossil fuel industry. Rather we need to pour our resources into making our homes and buildings energy efficient and our natural environments sustainable. Research and development into clean technologies as well as education and training for jobs in the green economy are also important areas for investment.

While the potential and optimism for a green economy and a liveable future is there; so are the warning signs. One of these signs came with the recent revelation by Energy Policy Tracker that, since the beginning of the COVID- 19 pandemic, Canada has committed $12 billion US of public money to support fossil fuel production and consumption. This compares to $1.58 billion US committed to support clean energy. While some of that $12 billion is allocated for relief to airports and for highway projects, much of it goes directly to the fossil fuel industry via regulatory rollbacks, fee breaks, transfers and loan guarantees. In any event, the balance is all wrong.

The Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, an independent and diverse group of Canadian finance, policy and sustainability leaders, released an interim report on July 22 advising that Canada needs to invest $50 billion “... to put our economy on a low-carbon, climate-resilient, sustainable and competitive pathway.“ They recommend investing in energy efficient buildings, jump starting the production and adoption of zero-emissions vehicles, growing the clean energy sector and protecting our eco-systems. These types of initiatives will create good jobs in a low carbon, resilient economy.

The advice contained in this report mirrors the recommendations made in the May, 2020 report of Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and is in keeping with the EU’s fiscal recovery plan based in The European Green New Deal. There is much consensus about the direction we need to head. But Canada’s economy is heavily embedded in fossil fuel production — which has made it a leading laggard in meeting its CO2 commitments. Will the federal government remain “completely captured by the oil industry” as Greenpeace Canada’s senior energy strategist, Keith Stewart, suggests it is; or will it boldly lead us toward a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren? The good news is that, according to a recent Abacus poll, the majority of Canadians say that, in spite of the pandemic, we need to stay focused on combating climate change. Let’s hope our governments are listening.

Marilyn McKay is a resident of Charlottetown and a member of the P.E.I. Fridays for Future Climate Action Group.


Global Chorus essay for August 14
Moh Hardin

How we move forward cannot depend on one spiritual tradition, economy, or political system, but rather should depend on who we feel we are, both personally and socially. What is the nature of humans and society? In this light, human nature is the most important global issue.
Shambhala Principle, Sakyong Mipham

We live in a time of tremendous doubt about the goodness of human nature, and with good reason. Acts of cruelty and random violence make big news weekly. We are bombarded by bad. From a bigger point of view, however, these are relatively random acts that exist in a sea of goodness – human society. With all its flaws, human society could not exist and flourish on Earth if its nature had not been basically good from the beginning: caring, with the ability to communicate and co-operate with each other. When a baby is born, their very survival depends on human goodness. This goodness is more basic than good versus bad.

We can reconnect with this basic goodness by reflecting on our own humanity, our human experience, right now. Slow down, soften and touch our aliveness. Appreciate that we can see, hear sounds, smell, taste and touch our world. Awaken to our humanity. It’s simple and profound. It doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, being human is our common experience. Slow down, soften and touch.

Because human nature is basically good, I think that humanity has a very good chance to find its way through our current crises. But it is not guaranteed. We can help create the conditions we need to survive on this planet now, in this “every” moment, by awakening to our humanity.

What would this look like? It would look like the Global Chorus. It would look like what so many people are already doing: investing creativity, energy, vision and money into innovation and international communication between people. It would look like networks of people aware of themselves and their interconnectivity with everything else, networks of connectivity working together. It would look like a society whose foremost principle is bringing forth the basic goodness of humanity.

    —Moh Hardin, author of A Little Book of Love: Heart Advice to Bring Happiness to Ourselves and Our World

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

August 13, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Island-grown garlic is being harvested -- no need for imported garlic

from the Farm Centre Legacy Garden:
"We’re in the midst of garlic harvesting! We have raw garlic for sale and cured garlic in the next couple weeks. Raw garlic for $1 a bulb. Order here:"

Parsley and patty-pan squash also available; see the Facebook group page for more details:

Met Opera offerings -- old gems, one from four decades ago and the other from four years ago.

Verdi’s Rigoletto, today until 6:30PM
Starring Christiane Eda-Pierre, Isola Jones, Luciano Pavarotti, Louis Quilico, and Ara Berberian, conducted by James Levine. From December 15, 1981.

Puccini’s Turandot, tonight 7:30PM until Friday at 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Anita Hartig, Marco Berti, and Alexander Tsymbalyuk, conducted by Paolo Carignani. From January 30, 2016.

from this week's Guardian:

GREENFILE: Water, where are you? - The Guardian column by Mark Cullen

Water is essential to life.

This is a fact that will surprise no one. Most gardening “problems” we hear about relate to over-watering. Indeed, we are better at killing our plants with kindness than ignoring them.

As we enter the second half of the gardening season, we recommend that you think about water. This summer we have experienced periods of heat and drought. What have we learned from this experience? With a few basic principles in mind you can enjoy a fabulous garden while minimizing the use of water and the time spent watering.

Here is what we recommend:

Use a rain barrel

An old story, but a good one. Place a rain barrel at the bottom of a downspout and collect the warm, oxygen-rich water that falls from the sky. Plants perform better when watered with it and it is free. So that’s two good reasons to give this a go. When there is no rain and your barrels are empty, fill them from your garden hose. Let the water warm with the summer temperatures. Plants prefer it.

Eliminate hard surfaces

Removing asphalt or cement pavers is a great start, though tough work. But once you have minimized the hard surfaces in your yard, replace them with permeable pavers, gravel or plants. Low-growing plants that will withstand some foot traffic include creeping thyme (flowers/scent), Irish moss (looks great) and creeping oregano (you might have to discourage the chef in the house from over foraging).

A lawn is still the most sophisticated living groundcover out there. You will need a minimum of six hours of sunshine per day to grow a good lawn. During a drought, it will become brown and even a bit crispy. Do not worry about this. The best time of year to sow grass seed arrives in a couple of weeks. More in a later column.

Build a green roof

Green roofs absorb enormous amounts of water, cool the area beneath, and divert heavy rain away from the storm water sewers.

Mark built green roofs on two of the sheds on his property. If he can do it, anyone can. Place a water barrier between the planting and the soil and make sure that the structure is built to withstand the weight of wet soil. Plant it up with sempervivums and sedums. A year or two after they are planted, they can take all the heat and drought you throw at them. They flower too, early to mid summer. Look at Mark’s “gas shed”, a photo taken the first week of July.

Plant for drought and heat.

The plants that we choose have a lasting impact on the water that we use to sustain them. Look for perennial plants that put down a drought-resistant root. Here are some of our favourites:


Hosta – Grows well in dry shade. Flowers annually, attracting hummingbirds. Growth habits range from a mere six centimetres across to a full metre in breadth and height.

Sweet Woodruff – Rises early in spring and produces attractive white flowers.

Pachysandra – Evergreen, hardy to zone 5 (Guelph). Attractive and easy to grow. Matures at about 20-25 cm. Glossy green leaves. Indestructible, even if you have a dog, but not one that digs.


Ornamental grasses – There are dozens, if not, hundreds to choose from. They grow slowly in spring but take off in the heat of summer. All ornamental grasses tolerate heat and drought once established.

Echinacea and Black-Eyed Susan – Two of the most popular native flowers for good reason. Pollinators love them, long flowering from late June to fall.

Peonies – Spectacular June flowers. Attractive foliage for the balance of the season.

Sedums and sempervivums – As per the green roof idea.

Relax. A great garden is possible without overwatering.

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster, tree advocate and member of the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at, @markcullengardening, and on Facebook.

Global Chorus essay for August 13 
Lee Gerdes

Trauma is not individually experienced today. In fact, horrendous trauma is shared with millions of people worldwide as soon as it happens. Whether experienced personally, vicariously though a close friend, or even experienced remotely via a news report – every trauma adds a drop of stress to our system. Our brains are reservoirs for trauma. In a world more connected, more immediate and more open than ever, the downpour of trauma into our brains is torrential.

The full impact of trauma on brain function is only beginning to be understood. The traumatized brain slips into patterns of overactivation. Even after the traumatic incident has passed, the brain can remain in these overactivated patterns. The brain overactivation may manifest as “striking out” or “running away,” if the trauma has been collected in the fight–fight or sympathetic response mechanism of the brain. Or the overactivation may manifest as “freezing in despair” if the trauma has been collected in the parasympathetic response mechanism of the brain. Trauma overactivation may happen suddenly or it may accumulate over time – drop by drop, little by little. We each seem uniquely limited in our capacity to withstand trauma. Yet, where trauma is most severe, most persistent and most widespread, all people in a community experience the brain overactivation. Community fear, war and/or political chaos is the likely result.

Humanity needs help to release both the individual and the collective effects of trauma. Such a process is based on individuals recovering balance and harmony in brain patterns. Diets built more on plant-based foods, together with exercise, quiet times, communing with Nature, and most importantly, a means to directly balance seriously overactivated brains, will enable humanity to evolve beyond the chaos produced from trauma.

Nothing in the world, I feel, is more important for the survival of humanity. As the leader of Brain State Technologies I am dedicated to finding a solution to mitigate trauma in an affordable manner for a significant part of humanity.

    — Lee Gerdes, author of Limitless You: The Infinite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain, founder and CEO of Brain State Technologies
essay from

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

August 12, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today is United Nations International Youth Day


International Youth Day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement. The commemoration will take the form of a podcast-style discussion that is hosted by youth for youth, together with independently organized commemorations around the world that recognize the importance of youth participation in political, economic and social life and processes.
2020 Theme: Youth Engagement for Global Action
The theme of International Youth Day 2020, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.

So while we think global, the Citizens' Alliance is fortunate enough to be acting locally in that we have a student volunteer, Brennan McDuffee:

Brennan is a grade eleven student at Bluefield High School '...where I'm involved with Student Council, Concert/Jazz Band, Art Club, and Peer Helping (assuming all those are still a go this year). Some of my Hobbies are song writing, cycling, and writing. I reached out to Citizens' Alliance after having read "No one is too small to make a difference" by Greta Thunberg and "Dreams From my Father" by Barack Obama, both books to the power of strengthening the democratic process to help improve communities and the world."  Pronouns are he/him

And we are pretty lucky, we Islanders and the Citizens' Alliance!   Brennan has brought us into the current century by setting up an Instagram account for the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

Our Instagram page: (@citizensallaincepei)

and is working on other social media projects. You can tag the Instagram or email <> if you have any ideas for him to consider working on!

With gratitude to Brennan and all the young people caring and working hard for the future.
More on United Nations International Youth Day, also from:

"As the United Nations turns 75, and with only 10 years remaining to make the 2030 Agenda a reality for all, trust in public institutions is eroding. At the international level, against the backdrop of an increasingly polarized world, the international system of governance is currently undergoing a crisis of legitimacy and relevance. In particular, this crisis is rooted in the need to strengthen the capacity of the international system to act in concert and implement solutions to pressing challenges and threats (examples include some of the worst contemporary conflicts and humanitarian emergencies, such as Syria and Myanmar, as well as global challenges, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change).

Enabling the engagement of youth in formal political mechanisms does increase the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies, and also has symbolic importance that can further contribute to restore trust in public institutions, especially among youth. Moreover, the vast majority of challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement and participation of young people to be addressed effectively.

Join #31DaysOfYOUth, a social media campaign that will celebrate young people throughout the month of August, leading up and following International Day, to help spread the word and strike up a conversation surrounding youth engagement for global action!

This year’s IYD seeks to put the spotlight on youth engagement through the following three interconnected streams:

  • Engagement at the local/community level;

  • Engagement at the national level (formulation of laws, policies, and their implementation); and,

  • Engagement at the global level.


More events today:

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

Heart Beet Organics: order this morning, or stop by between 3-6PM this afternoon, 152 Great George Street.

Some Arts online:
Metropolitan Opera today and tomorrow:

Bizet’s Carmen, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Aleksandra Kurzak, Clémentine Margaine, Roberto Alagna, and Alexander Vinogradov, conducted by Louis Langrée. From February 2, 2019.

Wednesday, August 12
Verdi’s Rigoletto, tonight from 7:30PM until 6:30PM Thursday.  *Classic performance, with classic production*
Luciano Pavarotti is the elegant, reckless Duke of Mantua whose betrayal of the innocent Gilda (Christiane Eda-Pierre) leads to a tragic ending. Louis Quilico plays Rigoletto, the court jester and Gilda’s father, who has dedicated his life to keeping his daughter away from the Duke—only to have her sacrifice her own life for the villainous nobleman. From December 15, 1981.

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

Today's Global Chorus author, Nancy Knowlton, writes extensively, and here (below) are links to just a few articles from the page:

Photo of the head of a leafy seadragon

article  Devoted Dads: From Seahorses to Sea Spiders

Colorful corals are disappearing in the Great Barrier Reef.

article The Great Barrier Reef – Going, Going, Gone???

Black and white image of the Western Flyer boat at dock.

Article  Bringing the Western Flyer, and History, Back to Life

Global Chorus essay for August 12
Nancy Knowlton

Half-way between Tahiti and Hawaii lie the Southern Line Islands. Too remote to be a commercially viable destination, and too small or harsh to support self-sustaining human settlements on land, they teem below the surface of the waves with sharks, snappers and turtles swimming amongst a profusion of living coral. To go there, as I did recently, is to travel back in time, to a planet only lightly touched by people. Yes, the water is both warmer and more acidic, but these communities still thrive because they are protected from the day-to-day traumas of habitat demolition, rapacious harvesting and sickening pollution. The message is simple – it is not, yet, too late.

It can be hard to remember that there is still hope for this damaged but far from dead planet that we share with millions of other life forms. In years past, my husband and I, jokingly referred to as Drs. Doom and Gloom, trained our students, future doctors of the planet, to write ever more refined obituaries of Nature. Yet human medicine, despite the fact that in the end there is always an obituary, is underpinned by hope.

And so began a search for ocean success stories. In fact, there are many, and not just in wealthy countries with resources to spare. Yet, most conservation practitioners we met initially seemed unaware that progress was being made. We were once even told that a day-long program focused on ocean success stories would be impossible to fill. But that is changing.

Most success stories begin with one or a few individuals unwilling to take “No” for an answer. They energize others to band together to establish protected areas, manage resources sustainably, restore devastated seascapes and reduce the flow of damaging chemicals into the ocean. Some use the power of art to inspire action. In the end, these efforts promote not just healthy oceans, but also human well-being.

Conservation successes make compelling stories because they are centred on people rather than tables or graphs. They need to be told, so that success can breed more success. So when someone asks you if there is hope, share this African proverb: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.”

     — Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair in Marine Science at the Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institutions, USA)


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

August 11, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Hello, all,
List Housekeeping: 

A notice: In an effort to keep some filters from automatically sending this newsletter to a spam file, I have attempted the "personalized To:" field on the e-mail listings.  I apologize for any garbling it does to your name.  Please feel free to write me if it does.
A request or two: 

  • you may want to check your "Promotions" folder, especially if you use Gmail, as it often sends the CANews (even the copy that's sent to me from me!) to a less visible file. You can select "Move to" and your "Primary" email list.

  • and you can add the <> email address to your list of contacts.

  • check your Spam folder as sometimes an issue or two may have ended up there.  You can select "Not Junk" or something and then it's likely not to be sent there automatically some days.

If you want to invite anyone to subscribe, here is a link:

And if you what to look at past issues, they are here on MailChimp, with a link to subscribe.

Ordering local food for Thursday afternoon pickup at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market Belvedere Avenue parking lot:
Charlottetown Farmers Market 2GO:

Legislative Assembly Committees today:

Today, but no video available at all, and no live audio due to construction in the building; the audio recording will be available on the Legislative Assembly website soon after the meeting (and transcript at a later date):

Special Committee on Government Records Retention, 10AM, but not available live.

"The committee will meet to elect a Chair and consider its work plan.
The Legislative Assembly Chamber in the Hon. George Coles Building is closed for the installation of new video equipment. Video recording is not available in the Committee Room of the J. Angus MacLean Building; an audio recording of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting. The buildings of the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public."


Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM.

They are also meeting to discuss their workplan, and there will be no live transmission either, but an audio recording soon afterward, and transcript at a later date.

Tomorrow, Wednesday,
the buzz about Blum's Sweet Corn:
for sale on Wednesday, August 12th:
Bellevue Farm Stand, 9AM-6PM
Montague Down East Mall, 11AM-5:30PM
Cash only, bring your own bags.
No sales in Charlottetown this year.

Met Operas today and tomorrow:

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut,
until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Karita Mattila, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft. From February 16, 2008.

Bizet’s Carmen, 7:30PM Tuesday until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Aleksandra Kurzak, Clémentine Margaine, and Roberto Alagna.  Handsome and talented real-life duo Kurzak and Alagna star in this, with Alagna as the smitten and then obsessed Don Jose, and Kurzak as the demure (but soon former) girlfriend Michaela.  Clementine Margaine is the clementine-eating and vocal superstar (but doomed) Carmen.  Recorded last year.

Note that Kurzak and Alagna are next up this Saturday in France as part of a live ticketed concert series, organized by the Met Opera, with bi-weekly performances this summer and fall.  Details here.

Here is more on the Special Committee on Government Records Retention, from:

The special committee was created as a result of the passage of Motion 86 on June 30, 2020:

WHEREAS a June 9, 2020, order of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (Order No FI-20-007) raised serious questions about the possibility of government records being improperly deleted;

AND WHEREAS access to government records is fundamental to open and transparent government;

AND WHEREAS government has committed to an external review of this issue;

AND WHEREAS an external review will not provide the openness and transparency that the public expects and deserves;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that a Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Government Records Retention be created: with a six person membership, consisting of two members from government members, two members from the Official Opposition and two members from the Third Party;

AND THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the committee study the missing records referred in the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s order and the current practices related to electronic records and security;

AND THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this committee report back to the Legislative Assembly with recommendations within six months.


Michele Beaton
Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker
Cory Deagle
Sidney MacEwen
Gordon McNeilly
Hal Perry


The (U.K.) Guardian's lunchtime read, from today's publication, on comedian Steve Martin, turning 75:

Global Chorus essay for August 11
Exequiel Ezcurra

My lifelong friend Enriqueta Velarde spends every spring studying seabirds in Isla Rasa, a small flat island in the Gulf of California. Single-handedly, alone in the remote island, she has done that for over thirty years. Through her research, she has restored the health of the island and saved two species, the Elegant Tern and the Heermann’s Gull, from almost certain extinction. She is a hero.

Fifteen years ago, analyzing her painstakingly collected data set, we found that when the equatorial currents slow down, marine productivity collapses and the birds cannot find enough sardines to feed their chicks, which die tragically in their own nests.

The fact that the speed of ocean currents twelve thousand miles away could predict the fate of a million seabird chicks was for me an epiphany, a sudden revelation of the deep intricate nature of the biosphere. The complex ecological processes that drive life in our planet were much more connected than I had ever realized before. I understood vividly that the Earth has processes that bind all life together, and in the small Isla Rasa we could fathom the pulse of the biosphere.

Since then, my research changed, and so did my view of life. I became much more interested in understanding the enigmatic connections between the land and the sea, and devoted much more of my time and efforts to advancing conservation science; because, how can we allow Nature to be destroyed if we don’t even know the impact this destruction will have on the continuity of life on Earth?

     — Exequiel Ezcurra, ecologist with the National Research System of Mexico and University of California, Riverside


More about him:


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

August 10, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 9, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Anna Keenan hosts another Green Party Federal Leadership Candidate for Tea, on-line:

Meet Glen Murray - Over Green Tea, 8:30-9:30PM, more details at:
Facebook event link
Candidate 4 of 9 is Glen Murray, former Mayor of Winnipeg, and former Ontario Cabinet Minister.
Check out Glen's campaign website here:
Join the conversation live on SUNDAY August 9, at

Some opera offerings:

Handel’s Agrippina, until 6:30PM today. 
Starring Joyce DiDonato as the title character, Kate Lindsey as Nero, and others. From February 29, 2020. 
Modern setting, ancient story, Handel's music!

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, 7:30PM Sunday until 6:30PM Monday
"Starring Hibla Gerzmava, Malin Byström, Serena Malfi, Paul Appleby, Simon Keenlyside, and Adam Plachetka, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From October 22, 2016."  Don Juan ala Mozart.

Met has many articles on these pieces and others; nice for reading on a warm Sunday afternoon.

More with Anna Maria and David Suzuki:

When Anna Maria Tremonti retired from hosting the CBC morning news show The Current, she said she would be back at CBC with a new idea, and she is back with More, a one-hour interview where she and a guest have lots of time (so she doesn't have to keep interrupting so often as she did in the faster-paced format ;-)  

Here is an article with excerpts from her chat with David Suzuki, on aging, living life, climate change, Greta, and much more:
and here is a link to the full podcast (which I have only managed to hear big chunks).

More is broadcast on Sundays at 11AM and during the week (Wednesdays at 2PM?)

and the list and links to all the More podcsts:

And here, too: 

Global Chorus essay for August 9
Dave Toycen

During the conflict in Kosovo, I interviewed a ten year-old boy named Liridan who had fled with his parents from the conflict to neighbouring Albania. While boarding a farm wagon in his village to escape the invading soldiers, he was struck in the arm by a rifle butt. His arm was broken and over the course of a harrowing three-day journey, Liridan lost consciousness. But in the end, he made it to freedom. Now Liridan and his family were crowded together in a broken-down gymnasium with scores of other refugee families. There was little privacy, a shortage of water and putrid, overcrowded latrines. His mother wept as she described the terror of their ordeal, especially the fear that the soldiers would kill Liridan. As the interview was coming to an end, I noticed a small package of tinfoil in Liridan’s good hand. Earlier, one of the church groups had distributed small presents for the children, most of whom owned nothing now except the clothes on their backs. With a child’s spontaneity, this traumatized little boy opened his hand, peeled back the foil, broke a section of chocolate into two pieces and offered one to me. I could only nod my expression of appreciation. I felt so small before this selfless act of generosity.

I have hope for our collective future because I have met children like Liridan the world over. I have seen a child’s courage reconcile communities, heal deep wounds of conflict and even ignite passionate movements to better serve the most vulnerable among us. Hope is inextricably tied to these children. They don’t carry our baggage, they’re inquisitive, and they have the capacity to show remarkable gestures of mercy, of care and of affection. They will be the leaders of tomorrow. It’s no wonder Jesus remarked, “Let the little children come to me … for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

     —Dave Toycen, (now past) president and CEO of World Vision Canada

'World Vision Canada is "a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice." Based in Mississauga, Ontario, World Vision Canada is the largest private relief and development agency in Canada."-- Wikipedia

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

copyright 2014

August 8, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

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

Vendors are outside, with directional markers for customers.   Lots of local produce, meats and crafts.

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, etc.

The Farm Centre Legacy Garden has new Red and White Potatoes available (bagged or make appointment to dig your own) and basil; see their Facebook page for details:


Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEI 2020, 8-10PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Charlottetown.    "Told and untold stories about the Island and its people: music, comedy and animation!  Show creators and producers Laurie Murphy and Amanda Mark invite people of all ages to experience ... a live stage show where performers present music, text, archives, photographs and video."
Facebook event listing


Opera on radio and online:

Radio: Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, CBC Music Radio), 1PM, 104.7FM,
August 8th, 2020

I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Vincenzo Bellini
as you can guess, a reworking of Romeo and Juliet

Online streaming performance:

Wagner’s Parsifal  until 6:30PM
 From March 28, 1992.

Handel’s Agrippina, 7:30PM until about 6:30PM Sunday
It's a wow, I think:  "Handel’s breakout opera masterpiece, Agrippina offers a wryly satirical look at the political maneuverings and personal entanglements of the Roman emperor Claudius, his cadre of advisers and hangers-on, and his cunning wife, Agrippina. During the 2019–20 season, the Baroque black comedy had its long-awaited Met premiere in new production by Sir David McVicar that updated the action to the present age. In this Live in HD transmission, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato delivers a knockout performance of the title role, a woman who will stop at nothing to get her depraved son, Nero (sung by mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey), on the throne."   From February 29, 2020. 

Some local opinions:

On Food Security -
from social media, by Phil Ferraro
Friday, August 7th, 2020

(note: I couldn't find the exact story link, but you can guess its contents)

As reported in the Washington Post today, grocery prices are rising at the fastest pace in decades after the pandemic sickened food plant workers, broke supply chains and otherwise upended the complex network of farms, factories and shipping routes. The sticker shock is hitting people already struggling with unemployment and lost income, forcing families to reckon with a scarcity of basic necessities.
This coupled with the foreseeable collapse of the globalized food system due to climate change and soil depletion provides ample evidence of the need to take measures to enhance regional food self-reliance and support for diversified, ecological farming practices.

Why "Canada Reads" Should be Shelved
totally my opinion
Chris O., after listening to parts of the production last month

The annual event to find the one book all Canadians should read was a novel (haha) concept, promoted the treasure of Canadian literature, and surged along annually for almost two decades.  Now, I think it's run its course as being a winner-take-all/rock 'em-sock'em competition and needs a rewrite.
The actual week of discussion/elimination competition was postponed in March due to the pandemic, and reappeared a couple of weeks ago.  CBC lost an opportunity in the meantime to encourage as many people as possible actually to read the books in the weeks they were stuck home before the TV/radio show was rescheduled.  And after weeks of Canadians working on being kind to others, the show came back and seemed all put-downs and shouting and take-downs.  (At least to the casual observer, the radio version was so acrimonious as to be off-putting, as was watching it in the industrial studio setting -- I admit, I couldn't take much of any format at all.)
So maybe it's time to stop going for the "one book to rule them all" mentality and create a short list each year and encourage authors and celebs to celebrate them all?  And make the books accessible in every format possible and encourage discussion groups in every format possible to read them all?  That may be the new edition for new times.
This year's "contenders":

and the public library system page explaining how the libraries are open now:

Global Chorus essay for August 8
Temple Grandin

To solve big problems will require people to work together. Unfortunately, adversity is often required to motivate people to collaborate as a team. When Hurricane Sandy flooded the New York subway system, petty labour squabbles and politics were set aside to get the subway working again so quickly. A certain amount of adversity can have a great motivating effect but an overwhelming adversity may cause people to give up. The subway was repairable and it got fixed, but the earthquake in Haiti was so devastating that the people have not recovered. There are increasing problems with dwindling water supplies, drought and worse weather events. Ways to remedy these problems will range from high technology to simpler back to basics.

High-tech methods that could be developed are economical desalination of seawater and methods for storing electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind. Local low-tech methods such as improved integration of animal and crop agriculture could help insure a steady supply of food. Both hightech and low-tech developers must work together for this common goal. The world needs both of them.

We need people in the world who do real stuff to improve the world and not just talk and theorize about it. Many policy-makers have no practical experience with the things they make policy about. Their policies have become so abstract that when they are implemented by the people in the field, they may have unintended bad consequences. Policymakers need to get out of their ofces and fnd out what really is happening.

     —Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University


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

copyright 2014

August 7, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Fridays4Future, 4-5PM, outside Province House, Grafton Street and Great George Street, Charlottetown. " call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy."

More details:
Facebook event link

Met Opera Offerings:
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, until 6:30PM
Starring Kristine Opolais, Maria Zifchak, Roberto Alagna, and Dwayne Croft. From April 2, 2016.

Wagner’s Parsifal , 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM.  Starring Waltraud Meier, Siegfried Jerusalem, Bernd Weikl, and Kurt Moll. From March 28, 1992.  Holy Grail and all!

Local Food, Supporting the Local Community:

Basil for Pesto this week, new potatoes, black currants, raspberry-picking -- always something at its peak at the Farm Centre Legacy Gardens, behind the Farm Centre at 420 University Avenue. 

part of the Farm Centre Legacy Garden, from their Facebook page

Since you can't really just drop in any old time due to physical distancing procedures**, one way to see what's going on is to check out their Facebook Group page for updates from their organizers, gardeners and volunteers.

Farm Centre Legacy Community Garden Facebook Group page, which you might consider joining to get their notices, or just browse to see what's going on. 

from the description on their Facebook Group page:
"This group is for members of the Farm Centre's Legacy Community Garden, and our supporters and garden mentors. It is designed to help us share relevant information about our gardens and the overall garden project. Watch this space for information about upcoming events, or current happenings in the garden."

Basil is available (info here) right now, and potatoes, and there might be some raspberries left. 


Nice little article with an interview with Phil Ferraro, Farm Centre Legacy Garden CEO, and all-around visionary,

(this was pre-Covid)

"At the centre of the PEI Community Garden in downtown Charlottetown, is not what you’d expect. Surrounded by garden plots filled with vegetables in this, the largest urban farm in Canada, is a circle of green lawn with picnic tables, a children’s play area, strawberry patch and an events stage....

That’s because people in Charlottetown come to the Legacy Garden for more than tilling and weeding, growing and harvesting, says Phil Ferraro, the Garden’s CEO. They come to connect with their community.

Senior citizens stay active, spending hours tending to their tomatoes, peppers and lettuces. Newcomers share their cultures, bringing unusual seeds from their homelands to plant and nurture. Families introduce new generations to the land, entertaining little ones with the unbridled joy of digging in the soil. And then … they chat about the unpredictable PEI weather. Share different ways to tickle new growth from the earth. Swap tools and stories. And so much more.

From just a few allotments when shovels first broke ground in 2014 to 150 today, the Legacy Garden has grown significantly in five short years. Over 1,000 volunteers dedicate countless hours to maintain the 8.5-acre land and the two-acre “Goodwill Garden”, providing an incredible 20,000 lbs of produce a year to local charities.

From forging strong community connections to revitalizing farming culture in the city, the PEI Legacy Garden demonstrates what can happen when a passion for planting meets a thriving and committed community."

The Legacy Garden Website:

**And a recent CBC on-line article about the Garden in the time of Covid-19:

disclosure: one of my kids is working at the Farm Centre Legacy Garden right now as a summer student garden-worker, so I am reminded of what a treasure that bit of land is and what a big idea Phil and others had, and truly a long-lasting legacy from the 2014 Celebration funds.

a man of few, but impressive, words....

Global Chorus
essay for August 7
Paul Crutzen

May the Anthropocene in future be guided by the collective wisdom of many generations of intelligent humans, through peace and global co-operation, stimulated by Nature’s beauty.

Welcome to the Anthropocene!

     —Dr. Paul J. Crutzen, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany, Nobel Prize in chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1995 was awarded jointly to Paul J. Crutzen, Mario J. Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland "for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone."   

and he is credited with being one of the people to coin the term "Anthropocene"


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

August 6, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Webinar: Gender Justice and the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, 11AM-1PM,

Hosted by Plataforma de Acuerdos Público Comunitarios de Las Américas - PAPC, Food & Water Action and Blue Planet Project

"On July 28, 2010 the United Nations General Assembly voted to enshrine the human rights to water and sanitation in international law. As part of a series examining the 10-year history of the rights to water and sanitation, this webinar looks at their relevance in gendered and women-led struggles for access to and control over water around the world. Hear from women community leaders, policy experts and activists leading important struggles for water justice in the USA, South Africa, Nigeria, Palestine and Indonesia. Zoom registration at:"

Growing Veggies organically- tips and tricks - on line event, 7PM, details below

Farmer Stephanie Dewar "fields" your questions. You can leave questions in the discussion on this event page.
This will be a casual format with the main objective being to address question gardeners have at this time.
Please sign in to Zoom at least 5 minutes early and test you are good to go.
Stephanie is the owner of Morning Dew Gardens.
Facebook event details

Met Opera streaming
Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, until 6:30PM tonight, from January 26, 1995.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, 7:30PM Thursday until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Kristine Opolais and Roberto Alagna. From April 2, 2016.

"When the late filmmaker Anthony Minghella’s breathtaking production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly premiered at the Met in 2006, it became an instant company classic, breaking hearts with its vivid depiction of a too-trusting young geisha and her callous American lover."  It's just so ridiculously sad.

Atlantic Canadian beekeepers need this pest to buzz off - The Guardian article by Andrew Robinson

Published in The Guardian on Tuesday, July 6th, 2020

Just about all you need to know about the Varroa mite can be found in part of its scientific name: Destructor

Its scientific name is Varroa Destructor and it can only reproduce in the hives of honey bees.

Beekeepers worry, but the parasitic mites are either a pest or a pestilence, depending on where in Atlantic Canada you look.

Dave MacNearney knows what the Varroa mite can do. He has had issues at Bristol Berry Farm in West St. Peters, P.E.I.

But in Newfoundland and Labrador, they have simply never had to contend with the mite or other invasive pests. It's one of the few places in the world where this can be said.

Rodney Reid, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association, says the short summer season would make it significantly more challenging for beekeepers here to contend with a pest like Varroa mite compared to places with longer growing seasons like British Columbia or Ontario.

"They're able to manage the Varroa mite," said Reid, who has been beekeeping for about six years at Exploits Meadow Farms in Bishop Falls. "They have so many mites there. Every jurisdiction to date that's lost their Varroa-free status, by the time it was noticed, it had already gone too far. Then it becomes managing the Varroa mite, which requires pharmaceuticals."

Varroa mite can function as a vector for debilitating bee viruses, and it also complicates the process of keeping hives healthy through the winter.

Essential pollinator

Reid harvests honey, but also rents out his hives to a local cranberry farm to help pollinate the plants. It's something MacNearney does for his own farm, where he grows blueberries.

"Pollination is essential to blueberry crops” and his province has less than half the number of colonies necessary to pollinate the commercial blueberry fields.

According to Reid, the provincial beekeeping industry has grown steadily over the last 10 years. There are now 130 beekeepers in Newfoundland and Labrador operating 800 to 900 colonies. That’s small compared to the other Atlantic provinces. 

MacNearney, noting Prince Edward Island has a strong agriculture industry, calls beekeeping there a relatively small part of it. Hobbyists tend to have fewer than 25 hives, he said. One major producer runs 3,000 of the 7,000 hives existing on the island, while MacNearney is among half-a-dozen mid-level beekeepers with 200 to 500 hives each. Nova Scotia has 400 active beekeepers and approximately 25,000 hives, while New Brunswick has a similar number of beekeepers and about 10,000 registered honey bee colonies.


New Brunswick imports bees for pollination, while Nova Scotia allows it so long as a permit is obtained from the provincial government. Newfoundland and Labrador only allows imports from Western Australia (where the Varroa mite is not present), while the other Atlantic provinces get most of their imported bees from Ontario.

According to MacNearney, bees for pollination are simply brought in and sent away once the job is done, though he can buy hives from Nova Scotia to keep permanently if they're properly inspected for disease first. These days, the small hive beetle is the pest of concern for P.E.I. beekeepers.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial government recently announced legislative changes to enable mandatory registration and inspection of all beekeeping operations, as well $300,000 in funding for training and supports to enable beekeepers to test for and manage Varroa mite. Reid said this news is something the association has wanted for about five years.

"Our biggest threat is not legal importation," he explained. "It's about mitigating risks. If somebody currently from Nova Scotia just decided to buy a (nucleus colony) ... they could put it in their car, wrap it up and bring it here, and nobody would be the wiser until somebody notices Varroa."

One commercial company, Adelaide's Newfoundland Honey, has come out against bee importation. In a recent news release accompanied by a six-page document, owners Brenda and Paul Dinn state they "do not want any risk of Varroa entering our province."

Reid said the importation of live bees is heavily regulated. He also suggested there are genetic benefits, noting there was previously a project where Varroa-resistant eggs were imported into the province as a means to increase the likelihood of survival for local hives in the event the Varroa mite were to enter the province.

"If we close the door, it's not so simple to open up the door again," he said. Reid expects the association will advocate for continued support of the provincial apiarist to ensure all vendors are inspected. He also sees a need for increased penalties for anyone who imports bees illegally.

Hive strength

MacNearney admits there has been some division within his province's beekeeping community on whether to close the border to importation. Support for the importation has generally come from the community of beekeepers who also need them to pollinate berries, which is a bigger industry than honey bee farming, he said.

"A strong hive has a strong immune system," said MacNearney. "They can take care of themselves and resist these diseases and a weak hive is susceptible to anything that's out there. What small hive beetle does is attack the weak hives. It makes us better beekeepers, or it will, because right now we can keep those weak hives kicking around and it doesn't cause us any problems. But if we have small hive beetle, that will just become a source of infection and you'll have to cull it out. There's a cost for doing that."

Working in P.E.I.'s favour is the fact small hive beetles tend to be a bigger problem for warmer climates where the pests can reproduce year-round.

"We know it's not going to reproduce here through our winter. We have a hard enough time keeping bees alive, let alone their parasites," he said.

Local Film News

Charlottetown's City Cinema sold-out during the weekend, but the next three months will be crucial - The Guardian article by Michael Robar

Published on Monday, August 3rd, 2020

City Cinema sold-out during the weekend for the first time since reopening on July 17.  It sold less than 20 tickets due to its socially distanced seating plan.

Reduced seating is only a part of what the theatre has done to make the movie-going experience safer, though it’s the main thing the cinema is looking at modifying moving forward so it can start generating needed revenue.

Carol Horne, president of the Charlottetown Film Society, is happy with the work her team has done, but knows some people are still too uncomfortable with the idea of going out to see a movie.

“There’s going to be people who aren’t ready to come out to a cinema, and I totally understand that, but the ones who really want to see a movie, I think we’ve set it up the best we can.”

The cinema had a slow first week after reopening but has seen a steady flow of regulars wanting to get back to watching movies on a big screen, said Horne.

“We definitely have a very loyal following.”

Other coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) precautions include two lanes when entering, for those skipping food, with arrows on the floor and plexiglass installed at the ticket table and concessions.

Masks are also highly recommended and available for those who forget to bring their own.

The theatre also has a new booking system on its website, so people can order tickets with a credit card ahead of time, along with new debit and credit machines at the door and concessions.

Pre-pandemic, online purchasing was through PayPal and the theatre was a cash-only business.

Though the features were planned in advance of the pandemic, they came at an opportune time.

“During the time we were closed we were able to get our new system up and running, so very much now we’re no cash, unless you don’t have anything else," Horne said.

Though there aren’t any big movie releases in the coming months, City Cinema has always focused on smaller, older or independent films, so its lineup doesn’t look too different than usual, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any issues, said Derek Martin, the former owner who is helping out with bookings.

“In this case, we had less choice of new titles, so we were less fussy about shows already being out on pay-per-view than we might normally be," he said in an email.

The schedule, whatever it turns out to be for the coming months, will be crucial for the theatre, which needs to increase its cashflow after receiving assistance through government relief programs, said Horne.

“The government programs have helped us, like so many other businesses, but the test will be the next three months, I think.”


Global Chorus essay for August 6
John Lundin

We are living in a time of unprecedented challenge and unprecedented opportunity. We are on the brink of self-destruction and at the same time witnessing the dawn of global civilization. For the first time in the history of human being we have the capacity to destroy our planetary home and also the ability to restore the planet and the human community to a more perfect whole.

We are in the midst of an environmental crisis. But the environment is much more than the air we breathe and the water and the plants and the animals. Our environment is shaped by the way we think, act and speak. In fact, what we think, what we say, what is in our heart and how we act can cause greater damage to our environment than burning fossil fuels or extracting them from the land.

Fortunately, our thoughts, words and deeds can also heal and restore.

All the world’s wisdom traditions share a common understanding that our Earth Mother was entrusted to the care of her original peoples. We have inherited the Earth from our indigenous ancestors. The question confronting our generation today is will we be good ancestors for our children and our children’s children?

Is there hope? Yes. You and I are that hope.

If we are to be co-creators of a sustainable environment we must become cultivators of hope. Hope is as necessary to life as water. Hope is the ultimate nurturer. We would never plant another seed if we didn’t carry within us the hope of its blossoming.

We must learn again to live together in harmony with the Earth and with one another.

We must listen to the cries of our Earth Mother and her pain, and cry aloud for our sisters and brothers to come together for the first time in history as a true global chorus.

As individuals in isolation we can do little, but in raising our voices together we can restore balance and harmony to the human community and our planetary home.

As a global chorus we can literally save the world.

      —John Lundin, spiritual writer, environmental activist, author of The New Mandala: Eastern Wisdom for Western Living, written in collaboration with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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

copyright 2014

August 5, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Heart Beet Organics: order this morning, and/or stop by between 3-6PM this afternoon, 152 Great George Street.

Some Arts local:
"Set in the Sun", Confederation Centre amphitheatre, 5PM tonight, featuring Nick Doneff.  Free, open-air 45 minute concerts featuring local performers twice weekly, in a physically-distanced setting.  All welcome
Facebook event details

Some Arts online:

Metropolitan Opera today and tomorrow: 

Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, until 6:30PM tonight
(2hr 50min) Starring Erin Morley, Hibla Gerzmava, Kate Lindsey, Christine Rice, Vittorio Grigolo, and Thomas Hampso. From January 31, 2015.

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, 7:30PM tonight until 6:30PM Thursday
(2hr 20min) "This evocative production...sumptuously captures the look and feel of 14th century Genoa and is a perfect compliment to Verdi’s setting of this story of searing conflict between public duty and private grief. Plácido Domingo is Gabriele Adorno, sworn enemy of the doge of Genoa, Simon Boccanegra (Vladimir Chernov). Gabriele is in love with the beautiful Amelia (Kiri Te Kanawa at her most affecting) who turns out to be none other than the long-lost daughter of the doge."  It does not get any better than this.  (This recording is from 1995, so Domingo is playing the young tenor lead, and in the past few decades, his voice has furthered matured that he now has played Simon, the dad/doge.)

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

Stratford Festival at Home Shakespeare performances streaming for this summer is ending tomorrow. The Taming of the Shrew will be available until Thursday evening, I think.
Thursday, August 6th:

Growing Veggies organically- tips and tricks - on line event, 7PM, details below

Do you have questions about growing food organically/naturally? Join us starting August 6th at 7 pm while farmer Stephanie Dewar fields your questions. Just leave your question in the discussion on this event page and Steph will try to address them Thursday August 6th.
This will be a casual format with the main objective being to address question gardeners have at this time. Feel free to share your knowledge and experience.
Food Exchange PEI recognizes that many people are growing food for the first time this year and we want to do something to help gardeners feel confident so they continue to grow some of their own food.

Please sign in to Zoom at least 5 minutes early and test you are good to go. Zoom is a free download and has been used widely during covid as people have been restricted from meeting up.
Here's the link

Stephanie is the owner of
Morning Dew Gardens, out Warren Grove way, and sells flowers and veggies direct to consumers. She has worked with a number of organic farms in the Atlantic Region including Heart Beet Organics and Soleil's Farm. Stephanie presented a series of gardening workshops for the Food Exchange and produced the manual "Edible Gardening for Beginners" (download for free at
We appreciate the support of the Community Foundation through the Gardening Together fund.

Facebook event details

a good long read....

The Conversation "Academic rigour, journalistic flair"

How to build a better Canada after COVID-19: Launch a fossil-free future - by Kyla Tienhaara,Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment, Queen's University, Ontario Amy JanzwoodPhD Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto and Angela Carter, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo

Originally published on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020, the in The Guardian and other Saltwire publications. 

Here is the original link with all the graphics intact:


This story is part of a series that proposes solutions to the many issues exposed during the coronavirus pandemic and what government and citizens can do to make Canada a better place.

Demand for fossil fuels collapsed during the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdown measures were introduced. In the second quarter of 2020, experts predict that global oil demand will be down 20 per cent from this time last year. Although demand is likely to recover somewhat in the next two years, some major oil company executives believe that it may never return to pre-2020 levels.

At the same time, the world remains “on fire” due to climate change, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. The year began with fires ravaging Australia, and in June, temperatures in the Arctic hit a record-breaking 38C.

The world is now at a critical juncture — a moment of uncertainty where decisions can cause dramatic shifts in the direction a society takes. The choices we make now will define Canada’s — and humanity’s — future.

As governments look for ways to help the Canadian economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they must be guided by one incontestable principle: We cannot afford to invest in and expand the fossil fuel industry any further.

Why we need structural change

Daily global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 17 per cent in early April, when lockdowns were at their peak, compared to 2019. In the U.K., the decline hit 31 per cent, while in Canada it reached 20 per cent.

But emissions are now rebounding — much quicker than expected — as cars and trucks take to the roads again.

Emissions in 2020 are expected to be down by four per cent to (at most) seven per cent from 2019. But this falls short of the emissions cuts needed to achieve the Paris Agreement targets — 7.6 per cent a year, every year.

The lockdown has demonstrated that behavioural change alone is insufficient to decarbonize the economy; we also need structural change that gets at the root of emissions. This means addressing the contribution of the oil sector, particularly the oil sands.

While emissions from other sectors in Canada have levelled off or are declining, oil sands emissions increased by 456 per cent between 1990 and 2018. Emissions from conventional oil production have also increased, but only by 24 per cent.

Despite a valiant attempt by the Alberta NDP government in 2015, successive provincial governments have failed to reduce oil sands emissions. And since the COVID-19 crisis, “green initiatives,” such as Suncor’s plan to replace coke-fired boilers with natural gas units at its base operations, have been shelved to cut costs, undermining claims from the industry that it is part of the solution.

Industry crisis deepens

The oil and gas industry was in trouble before the pandemic hit, but it is now facing potential collapse.

For a brief period in early April and again later that month, a barrel of Alberta oil was selling for less than a bottle of maple syrup. Although the price has since recovered somewhat, expectations for capital expenditures have changed dramatically.

Now, almost 40 per cent less financing is anticipated for 2020. A second wave of coronavirus infections and lockdowns could send oil markets into another tailspin.

While the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has indefinitely deferred its long-term production forecast, Alberta has cut production by about 25 per cent, or one million barrels per day. According to Alberta, mega pipelines are now “fairly empty,” and Enbridge plans to use part of its aging Line 3 for oil storage. BP has written off its oil sands investments entirely.

More subsidies won’t save jobs

It’s not surprising then that the Canadian oil industry has redoubled its demands for government support as well as the suspension of environmental regulations and monitoring requirements. In April, CAPP was the most active federal lobbying body, recording over 40 meetings with federal officials.

Any government response to this lobbying isn’t a question of weighing “jobs versus the environment”: the industry has been shedding jobs for years, while extracting more oil. From 2014 to 2019, in the midst of surging production, Canada’s oil and gas sector cut 53,000 jobs — about a quarter of the sector’s 225,000 jobs. Advancements in automation and other changes in the industry mean that those jobs are not coming back, even if the troubled Keystone XL pipeline is somehow built.

Read more: Biden, Keystone XL and a Green New Deal could shake up Canada's energy industry

While oil workers have faced unemployment and anxiety about their futures, executives and shareholders have continued to reap huge benefits. The five largest oil sands producers doled out $12.6 billion in dividends to shareholders (the majority of which are not Canadian) from late 2014 to 2017.

As the fossil fuel sector scrambles to protect profits while shedding jobs, Canada’s clean tech sector is experiencing “explosive” growth, bringing impressive earnings and jobs. Clean energy jobs are anticipated to grow to over 550,000 in the next decade from 300,000 in 2019.

Stranded assets, stranded communities

In May, the Canadian oil and gas industry employed roughly 163,000 people, which was less than one per cent of all workers in the country. But those jobs are highly geographically concentrated. As oil assets increasingly become stranded assets, Canada’s oil workers and oil-dependent communities will likewise become stranded.

But that doesn’t have to be our future.

A slight majority of Albertans appear to understand this and support a transition away from oil and gas. The key conversations are about how and when this transition occurs.

The question of when has been answered for us. If, as a country, we can agree that bailouts are not justifiable on economic or environmental grounds, then the oil price crash dictates that the transition starts now. Recent polling indicates that the vast majority of Canadians want the federal government to invest in a “green recovery".

In terms of how the transition occurs, redirecting the billions of dollars in subsidies that the federal government currently provides the fossil fuel industry to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects is a good place to start. This could create far more jobs while also making a contribution to our emissions reductions targets.

Paths to a fossil-free Canada

Beyond this, there are plenty of good proposals to bring about deep emissions reductions through everything from increased investments in public transportation to regenerative agriculture.


Jobs created, directly and indirectly, per $10 million in government spending. (Data: H. Garrett-Peltier, Economic Modelling, pp. 439-47, 2017)

It is also clear that we should invest more in care work — so that we have more and better-paid nurses, and universal child care. Jobs in this sector are low-carbon and, as the pandemic has demonstrated so vividly, essential to the functioning of our society.

We can also think outside the box. The pandemic response has substantially increased awareness and acceptance of previously overlooked policy options such as universal basic income, job guarantees, and a shorter work week.

Read more: How to build a better Canada after COVID-19: Transform CERB into a basic annual income program

Reimagining our relationship to work and focusing on outcomes that address inequality and improve well-being can help us to reduce our emissions as well as our reliance on the industries that can no longer offer the employment opportunities that we need.


Global Chorus essay for August 5
Farley Mowat

We are behaving like yeasts
in a brewer’s vat,
multiplying mindlessly
while greedily consuming
the substance of a finite world.

If we continue
to imitate the yeasts
we will perish as they perish,
having exhausted our resources
and poisoned ourselves
in the lethal brew
of our own wastes.

Unlike the yeasts
we have a choice:
what will it be?

    --- Farley Mowat, Canadian author and environmentalist (1921-2014)


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

copyright 2014

August 4, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local food deadlines:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market to Go online ordering (CFM2GO),  until noon today for Thursday afternoon pickup:

EatLocalPEI open until Wednesday night for pickup Saturday afternoon.

Get Acquainted Series - Green Party Leadership Candidates, 5:30-8PM, Founders Hall (but please sign up for tickets for space reasons)
Meet a couple of leadership candidates virtually, but meet together:
"Greens are invited to get together and 'Get Acquainted' with Leadership Candidates. A Ranked Ballot means you'll want to meet them all.
PEI rules permit up to 50 Greens to meet in person and we'll meet two Candidates at each outing. Meetings will be held in the large space on the second floor of Founders' Hall which will allow us to safely distance.
Unlike other Green Events, there will be no hugs or potluck but we can still have fun. Famous Peppers Fiamma will be available for food and drink. Doors open at 5:30 and Candidates will join us (virtually) at 6:00.
We hope you can come, we miss you.
💚 "
Facebook event link

Met Opera streaming

Mozart’s The Magic Flute, today until about 6:30PM
Starring Ying Huang, Erika Miklósa, Matthew Polenzani and René Pape. Giant puppets and an English version of this fairy tale.

Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, 7:30PM until 6:30PM Wednesday
Starring Erin Morley, Hibla Gerzmava, Kate Lindsey, Christine Rice, Vittorio Grigolo, and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Yves Abel. An engrossing story.  From January 31, 2015.

Darcie adapts:

Online events to give P.E.I. residents closer contact with federal Green leadership hopefuls - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Back in February, Charlottetown was told it was going to play host to its first-ever leadership convention for a national political party.  The successor to federal Green Leader Elizabeth May was to be announced at the Delta Prince Edward in the fall. Then the global coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic hit and the in-person convention had to be cancelled. 

"We had expected to host all of these candidates here in person along with 800 of my closest friends,” Darcie Lanthier, a former federal candidate for the party, told the Guardian on Friday.  "That part is really disappointing. You plan a great big party and then you can't have it."

Darcie Lanthier, former MP candidate and federal Green Party representative, and excellent party (and just about anything) planner (submitted to The Guardian)

Despite this setback, the federal Green leadership contest has been ongoing, although it has received comparatively less attention than the current leadership contest of the federal Conservative Party. 

In all, nine candidates, representing the west and east coasts, Quebec, Ontario and the Northwest Territories, are looking to succeed May, who has held the position since 2006 and was the party's first member of Parliament.

Lanthier is hoping to give Island party members a chance to meet almost all leadership candidates up close and virtually. 

In August and September, she is hosting a series of physically distanced gatherings, with a hard cap limit of up to 50 as per public health guidelines, to let local party members have a chance to meet the leadership hopefuls in an informal setting.

"Greens want to get together, even in a distanced, safe way. It's been so long since we had a Green Drinks or any kind of social activity," Lanthier said.

The first gathering will take place Tuesday at 5 p.m. on the second floor of Founders Hall. Famous Peppers Fiamma will be available on the first floor for attendees to order food and drink.

The gathering will feature two leadership candidates, David Merner, a former Liberal candidate with a background working with B.C.’s Ministry of Attorney General, and Amita Kuttner, an astrophysicist who has served as the party’s critic for science and innovation. Both will be appearing via video link.


On the ballot

The following people are vying to be the Green Party of Canada's next leader:

  • Annamie Paul

  • David Merner

  • Amita Kuttner

  • Glen Murray

  • Dimitri Lascaris

  • Meryam Haddad

  • Judy N Green

  • Andrew West

  • Courtney Howard


Another event on Aug. 18 will feature Toronto-based lawyer and entrepreneur Annamie Paul and Montreal-based class action lawyer and journalist Dimitri Lascaris.

A Sept. 1 event will feature Glen Murray, a former Winnipeg mayor and Ontario Liberal MLA, and Northwest Territory emergency room doctor Courtney Howard. The final event on Sept. 15 will feature Montreal-based refugee lawyer Meryam Haddad and Nova Scotia-based veteran Judy N. Green. 

Ottawa-based lawyer Andrew West will not be appearing due to scheduling conflicts. 

Lanthier said live-streamed debates have limited each candidate’s ability to present their experience and ideas.   “The cast of characters is so large," Lanthier said. "I think this might be the only time for them that they're getting a bit of audience feedback because, really, they've been just on-screen in boxes."

A recent Atlantic debate, moderated by Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin and P.E.I. Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, saw more agreement than disagreements amongst the nine candidates.

When asked how to best transition the Atlantic region away from fossil fuels to a more environmentally friendly economy, six of nine candidates suggested adopting a basic income guarantee to help workers who will suffer job losses due to such a transition.

Other ideas included allowing municipalities to produce their own energy, reinvesting more into green technology research and development and investing in a national energy grid.

There has been ongoing debate about how best to make the party more inclusive and whether the party should move closer to the centre or the left.

The deadline to sign up as a party member is Sept. 3 with online voting taking place Sept. 26-Oct. 3. The new leader will be announced Oct. 3. 


This is a link-only to today's "Lunchtime Read" from The (U.K.) Guardian, on the history and future of Extinction Rebellion.

the last paragraph is so prescriptive as to warrant bolding:

Global Chorus essay for August 4
Sandra Bessudo

To speak about real sustainable development implies taking a step back so as to look ahead. As such, current environmental and social crises are a symptom of much deeper problems that afflict society. In the struggle between particular interests and needs, as well as the fight for economic and political power, leaders around the world have forgotten to think about future generations and in our legacy for them, as such forgetting the most basic common links that define our survival as a species, regardless of nationality.

Countries need to modify their practices towards development if they really wish to generate changes that give us hope. It is vital for a country like Colombia, for example, to grow in the path of sustainable development, mindful of Nature’s resilience limits, and with a vision that goes beyond shortsighted and fleeting benefits that are commonly disguised as illusions of wealth. Green growth, beyond the mainstream pop cultural conception, actually means to foster economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. It goes to the very basis of survival, rather than emphasizing a vision purely focused on wealth at all costs. It redefines the notion of wealth as such, so as to give value to life rather than economy alone.

Ocean conservation can be seen as a good example of measures oriented towards true green growth. Oceans are an important source of livelihood for an important part of the world’s population, by means of, amongst others, sustainable fishing activities and ecotourism that provide for the well-being of coastal communities. Furthermore, oceans play a vital role in terms of climate regulation. This is a good scenario to see how proper environmental management contributes to sustainable development.

The challenge relies on thinking not only in economic development in terms of GDP but to see it as a much broader concept that includes an improvement in people’s well-being and quality of life. Stakeholders should incorporate environmental criteria into their decisions to ensure sustainable and adequate measures that will really provide for our survival as a species.

      — Sandra Bessudo Lion, former High Presidential Counsel for Environment, Biodiversity, Water and Climate Change of the Republic of Colombia, current general director of the Colombian Presidential Agency for International Cooperation, creator of Malpelo and Other Marine Ecosystems Foundation

About Malpelo:

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

August 3, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events Today:

Webinar discussion: 
"The Path Forward: The Airline Industry"
12:30PM our time,
with Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius

"With more than 80 percent of travel at a near standstill, airlines are adapting to a new reality. As some push for a return to business as usual, Delta Air Lines has continued to block middle seats, cap plane capacity and ban passengers who refuse to wear masks. (A discussion on).. the airline’s commitment to safety despite economic uncertainty, its program for ongoing, company-wide testing and what travel will look like in the future."
More info at this link

Federal Green Party Leadership Race candidates:
"Meet Dimitri Lascaris - Over Green Tea," 8:30-9:30PM,
hosted by Anna Keenan.

Each week, 1 candidate for Leader of the Canadian Greens will be chatting with Anna Keenan in this 'Over Green Tea' series.
Candidate 3 of 9 is Dimitri Lascaris, a class action lawyer, journalist and activist.
Check out Dimitri's campaign website here:
(The remaining candidates will featured on future Monday nights from now until September 7.)
Facebook event link

Met Opera streaming:

Wagner’s Die Walküre, Until 6:30PM tonight
from last year. Starring Christine Goerke, Ride of the Valkyries!

Mozart’s The Magic Flute, 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM.
Starring Ying Huang, Erika Miklósa, Matthew Polenzani, Nathan Gunn, and René Pape....From December 30, 2006.  So fanciful and charming!  Like La Boheme, a good opera for people who think they don't like opera. "Adults and children alike...enchanted by the whimsical humor and breathtaking puppetry of Julie Taymor’s hit production, presented in a shortened English-language version."  Under two hours.

Links to interesting articles, From The (other) Guardian (U.K.),

SUV pollution threat – Advertising of sports utility vehicles, which emit more greenhouse gases than other cars, should be banned so the UK can meet its climate goals, a report by the New Weather Institute thinktank, and climate charity Possible, has said. “Now that we know the human health and climate damage done by car pollution, it’s time to stop adverts making the problem worse,” said Andrew Simms, co-director of the thinktank. The large increase in numbers of the cars in the UK and around the world is the second-largest contributor to the increase in global emissions since 2010, according to the International Energy Agency. SUVs make up more than 40% of new cars sold in the UK – while fully electric vehicles account for less than 2%.
Full article:

a truly
"lunchtime read" interview with British chef and healthy food promoter Jamie Oliver:

Atlantic Skies for August 3rd to August 9th, 2020 - By the Light of Many, Many Moons by Glenn K. Roberts

The Moon is full on the night of Aug. 3. Sometimes referred to as the "Sturgeon Moon" (for the large sturgeon caught in the Great Lakes in August), it will be a splendid sight (weather permitting) as it rises in the ESE shortly after 9:00 p.m., shining its silvery glow across the night sky before setting in the WSW around 6:30 a.m. It is our planet's only moon, and, as discussed in an earlier column, is thought to have formed when a Mars-sized object (given the name Theia) crashed into the newly-formed Earth millions of years ago, with some of the collision debris eventually coalescing to form the Moon.

However, it is by no means the only moon orbiting the planets of our solar system. There are, in fact, currently 210 known moons, with possibly others waiting to be discovered. Leading the pack with 82 (53 named, 29 awaiting names) known moons is Saturn. While the vast majority of its moons are classified as "moonlets", many of which are embedded in its ring system, there are a number which are quite sizeable. Titan is Saturn's largest moon, and the second-largest moon in the solar system after Jupiter's moon Ganymede. Larger than the planet Mercury, Titan is the only moon with a substantial atmosphere (primarily nitrogen), and the only planet, besides Earth, to have liquids (methane and ethane hydrocarbons) in the form of rivers and lakes on its icy surface. Like our Moon, Titan is "phase locked" with Saturn, meaning the same side of the moon always faces towards Saturn as it orbits the planet. Enceladus is Saturn's 6th largest moon, and is the whitest, most reflective object in the solar system. Named after a Greek giant, Enceladus sprays icy material out into space from cracks in its icy surface, with this material essentially forming the "E Ring" of the planet's multi-ring system.

Jupiter is the next planet with a substantial number of moons - 79. Most people interested in the planets know of Jupiter's four Galilean moons (discovered by the Italian astronomer Galileo in 1610) - Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede - which are visible in binoculars and small telescopes, as they orbit their parent-planet. Io is the most volcanically active moon in our solar system; Europa is thought to have a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust; Callisto is the third largest moon in our solar system, and is heavily cratered, and, thus, thought to be extremely old; and Ganymede, in addition to being the largest moon in the solar system (2% bigger than Saturn's Titan), is, like Titan, larger than Mercury, and is the only moon known to have its own internally-generated magnetic field.

Rounding out the number of known moons around the remaining planets, we have Uranus with 27; Neptune with 14; Pluto with 5; Mars with 2; and, as noted, Earth with 1. Both Mercury and Venus have no known moons. Most of the moons mentioned above, except Earth's Moon, are probably space-faring objects captured by their respective planet's gravity at some point in the distant past, or, possibly, captured debris pieces from colliding objects that were present as the solar system was forming. Only when future space probes land on them and analyze their composition, will we be able to ascertain their most likely origin source.

So, as enchanting and interesting as our Moon is to us here on Earth, imagine what it would be like to stand on the surface of Mars and watch two moons cross the sky, or five moons cross Pluto's sky, or to orbit Saturn, Jupiter or Neptune in a spaceship, and watch a large number of moons pass in front of you. Who knows, perhaps our grandchildren or great grandchildren will get that opportunity. In the mean time, I encourage you to google each planet, and discover many interesting facts about, not only the planet itself, but also its moons.

You'll need an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon, and a clear, cloudless sky if you want to catch a glimpse of Mercury (mag. -1.08) this coming week. Visible about 7 degrees above the eastern horizon at dawn, Mercury, having reached its greatest western elongation from the Sun on July 22, is now heading back towards the Sun (as seen from Earth), and will be very difficult to see in the coming weeks. Venus (mag. -4.36) rises in the east around 2:30 a.m., reaching about 28 degrees above the eastern horizon before, like Mercury, fading from view with the rising Sun. Jupiter (mag. -2.71) is visible in the evening sky 11 degrees above the southeast horizon around 9:00 p.m., and remains visible in the southwest, pre-dawn sky until shortly after 3:00 p.m. when it sinks below 7 degrees above the horizon. Saturn follows Jupiter into the late evening, southeast sky, rising shortly after 9:00 p.m., and joining Jupiter (on its left) high in the southern, pre-dawn sky until around 3:30 a.m., when it, too, drops too low above the southwest horizon to be seen. Mars (mag. -1.15) rises in the east shortly after 11:00 p.m., and is visible in the pre-dawn sky, reaching 48 degrees above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 5:30 a.m..

Next week, information on the Perseid meteor shower peak.


Aug. 3  - Full (Sturgeon) Moon

            - Mars at perihelion (closest to Sun)

         6 - Mercury at perihelion (closest to Sun)

         9 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)

Global Chorus essay for August 3 
Robert (Birdlegs) Caughlan

There are huge waves on the horizon. We can’t stop them, so we must ride them. Riding big waves takes strength and courage and good judgment. But the most important thing a surfer needs is balance. That’s what I think we need. Balance in politics. Balance with the environment. Balance in life.

When I was young, I asked Captain Jacques Cousteau if he had any good advice for young people who wanted to help protect the ocean. He said, “Yes! Don’t follow gurus like me. Go out and do it yourself.”

I’ve been trying to do that ever since. I’ve won some great fights and lost a couple of heartbreakers. But you can’t be afraid of losing. Thomas Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That statement helps keep me from getting too cocky when I win and too ruined if I wipe out.

The great waves, planet sizzling, overpopulation, species extinctions etc. are daunting. When I worked for President Carter on The Global 2000 Report, I learned that there are no big magic solutions to any of them. That’s why thinking globally and acting locally is so important. We need millions of local actions.

I believe that life on other planets is probable. But just in case we are the only speck in the universe where life has reached our level of knowledge and appreciation, wouldn’t it be terrible to turn this beautiful blue planet into a cold lifeless moon? Without hope we don’t have a chance. We have to keep trying. From Captain Cousteau to me to you: “Don’t follow gurus like me, go out and do it yourself.”

     — Robert (Birdlegs) Caughlan, environmentalist, political pro, surfer

His website:

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

copyright 2014

August 2, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Monday - Wednesday, August 3rd-5th:
Raspberries: "U-pick with a twist"
from the Legacy Garden at the PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown

"The garden is overflowing with raspberries so we're offering a U-Pick with a twist! Pay $10 to pick 4 pints - 2 for you to enjoy and 2 for us to keep to give away. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, our u-pick will be by appointment only. "
For more information and to sign up for any slots early this week:
Google Docs form link with more information

Met Opera streaming:
Verdi’s Ernani, tonight until about 6:30PM
Starring Leona Mitchell, Luciano Pavarotti, from 1983, the nobleman-turned-bandit, with gorgeous singing.  From December 17, 1983.

Sunday, August 2nd
Wagner’s Die Walküre, tonight from 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Christine Goerke, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jamie Barton, Günther Groissböck and others.  From last year!  So fresh new staging and costumes for this "second and most popular installment in the composer’s sweeping tetralogy", and just under four hours!

always good to read Ian's point of view:

An Irrigation Pond to Support - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie

Published on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020,  in The Graphic publications (Island Farmer)

It was quite the contrast.

In early July, the Saskatchewan government announced it would spend $4 billion over the next decade to double the amount of irrigated farmland in the province. Canals will be constructed to move water from Lake Diefenbaker to irrigate up to 500,000 acres of land.

At the same time, the PEI legislature adopted a motion for a moratorium on the construction of new irrigation ponds. This is coupled with an 18 year moratorium on new high capacity irrigation wells, something that’s now fixed in stone. While Saskatchewan claims to be preparing for the challenges of climate change, PEI has been taking a very thoughtful approach to water use policy that I fully support. We can’t get this wrong.

PEI is deep into the “precautionary principle” when it comes to water use in agriculture. Successive governments have promised first rate, independent research to see if these moratoriums are necessary, but the politics and perception of this issue appear just too difficult for any government to take on.

Farmers concerned with yearly periods of drought during the growing season, and the threat of increased weather uncertainty from climate change, have accepted that new irrigation wells are a non-starter, so much more expensive holding ponds have been a fallback. There have been 29 ponds built, most in the last five years, and two over the last 10 months.

The previous Liberal government did establish a set of “requirements” to build these ponds and supply them with water, promising these would be put into regulations once the Water Act passed. Only one shallow, domestic sized well could be used. Many farmers building ponds ignored this requirement, allowing opponents of irrigation to successfully argue that the ponds are simply a workaround to the deep well moratorium.

I’ve written before that these additional wells should not be grandfathered in when the Water Act becomes law. Yes there will be legal challenges. Let the lawyers fight it out, and do the long promised research to see if these additional wells can be used without harm, but don’t OK them before that. Don’t leave any wiggle room for farmers to think that they can build ponds with multiple wells legally before the Water Act is proclaimed. That’s better than a non-binding moratorium.

That’s why I found it so ironic (and frustrating really) that the new pond in Shamrock was the backdrop for the latest public demonstration against holding ponds. I think it’s the kind of project people should support. Most of the ponds in East Prince have been built by large highly capitalized operations like Vanco and Indian River Farms. This one was constructed by R & L Farms, a joint venture owned by Andrew Lawless and Austin Roberts, two younger farmers who have been committed for years to soil conservation projects, ditching the moldboard plow for high residue tillage equipment, minimizing fertilizer use, proper rotations and research and on farm practices promoting increased soil organic matter and soil health.

Yes they grow potatoes, which for some would be all they need to know before passing judgment, but if we can accept that potato production isn’t going to vanish overnight then these two farmers and a dozen other young farm families that are part of a group called the East Prince Agri-Environment Association are operations we should support.

They’re curious, they’re educated, they want to know the best way to do things. They’ve watched their parents struggle through tough years and wrenching changes as the industry moved from profitable seed, to marginal process potato production. Part of what they’ve learned is that proper rotations, new soil conservation equipment, fall cover crops and so on all cost money. If this pond can supply water for two or three weeks a year and make their crop more productive and profitable, then these other practices become sustainable.

What I especially like about this project is that it’s located in an area that naturally collects runoff from hundreds of acres around it using grassed waterways and culverts. It is pumping two shallow, low volume, domestic wells right now, but the hope is just one will be needed in the years ahead after the winter and spring run-off is collected.

I can’t speak to the construction or location of other ponds, but I thought this one should be a model: collect water when it’s naturally available, use the water when it’s hard to come by, and don’t threaten groundwater resources.

Saskatchewan is obviously going all in with its ambitious irrigation plans and it will take a couple of decades to know if the concern about climate change justifies the cost and environmental impact of this policy. PEI, on the other hand, is still struggling to find a way forward. Preventing the construction of irrigation ponds, maintaining the moratorium on drilling deep water wells (only for farmers mind you, residents of Charlottetown and Summerside both enjoying new well fields) may feel like pushback and progress for some.

I’ll continue to pay more attention to land use and attitude, the willingness of farmers to work with local watershed groups and researchers looking for better rotation crops, and ways to prevent erosion and fish kills, build soil health. What I haven’t seen from Andrew Lawless and Austin Roberts and others in their group is that limiting stubbornness that they know better. It’s something we could all learn from.


Global Chorus essay for August 2
Jay Ingram

I worry about the future of the planet, but more about us. For the most part we are just too shortterm in our thinking, too determined to stick to our values (even when they are in direct conflict with a livable future) and too tilted toward optimism to grapple effectively with the idea of environmental ruin.

That optimism is the real stickler: humans tend to be optimistic, and many studies have claimed that optimistic people enjoy greater personal and physical well-being than do pessimists. It might even have survival value. So if you tell me you’re optimistic about the future, what are you really saying? Nothing more than “I’m human.”

We need to be able to think differently – throw of the cognitive shackles – so here’s a radical suggestion. In an article in the online journal, linguist Julie Sedivy points to research showing that because poetry uses language in unfamiliar ways, people keep thinking about the words long after they’ve finished reading. We need to keep thinking about the planet’s future, so I offer this poem “Whistledown,” by Dennis Lee, as a way of triggering that thinking.

Cold kaddish. In majuscule winter,
whistle down dixie to dusk;
coho with agave to dust.

Bison with orca commingled
– whistle down dixie. With
condor to audubon dust.

52 pickup, the species.
Beothuk, manatee, ash:
whistledown emu.

Vireo, mussel, verbena – cry
bygones, from heyday to dusk.
All whistling down dixie to dust.

     —Jay Ingram, science writer, broadcaster 

lots of fun stuff at:


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

copyright 2014

August 1, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

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

Vendors are outside, with directional markers for customers.   Lots of local produce, meats and crafts.

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, etc.


Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEI 2020, 8-10PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Charlottetown.   
Facebook event listin

Opera on radio and online:

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

August 1, 2020
The Snow Queen by Hans Abrahamsen
Bavarian State Orchestra and Chorus

Video: Metropolitan Opera Livestream HD Video
Dvorak's Rusalka - until noon PM Saturday
as there is special ticketed Renee Fleming 2PM Atlantic Time concert --

Verdi’s Ernani, 
7:30PM Saturday until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Leona Mitchell, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and Ruggero Raimondi, conducted by James Levine. From December 17, 1983
"...Pavorotti as the wronged nobleman turned bandit..."!

From today's paper, after the report sitting quietly on a shelf since April:

Amid row over research, P.E.I. land bank ‘in limbo’ - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Printed on Saturday, August 1st, 2020 

An election promise made by the Progressive Conservatives to set up a farm land bank is on hold due in part to a difference of opinion between a provincial department and a consultant tasked with coming up with recommendations related to its establishment.

A farm land bank would involve the province purchasing thousands of acres of arable land. The property could then be leased to new or existing farmers and would be kept in food production.

In a phone interview, Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers told The Guardian that work on establishing a land bank was "in limbo right now."

Myers said this was due in part to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But it also involves the outcome of $50,000 study into the background of land banks in P.E.I. and in other provinces in Canada.

To carry out the study, the province commissioned Kevin Arsenault, a well-known blogger and gardener who in July 2019 ran against Premier Dennis King for the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative party leadership.

"The research he provided was good and we will be able to use it. But arguably, I didn't get what I wanted,” Myers said.  Myers said that when Arsenault was commissioned to conduct the study in the summer of 2019, the expectation was that the research would focus on the “mechanisms” required for his department to purchase land, as well as possible ways in which a land bank could be funded.

Arsenault’s final report, which was quietly posted online in April, contains nine policy-related recommendations about the establishment of the land bank. But it also contained a larger, systemic critique of large-scale industrial agriculture in P.E.I. The report focused heavily on the need for improvement of soil health to be a key policy objective in the establishment of a land bank.

As of 2017, about 25 per cent of farms on P.E.I. have soil organic matter at levels of 3 per cent or higher, a drop from close to 90 per cent in 1998 according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Soil Science.

"In the author's case, he very much wanted to talk about the health of the soil and other things which, while very important, didn't really fit with what I was trying to accomplish with it," Myers said.  Myers said his focus was on how to ensure younger farmers or smaller-size operations to have more access to farmland than they otherwise would have.

Myers also said his department, which is responsible for land purchases on P.E.I., does not have expertise in soil organic matter. The department of Agriculture was reviewing the research conducted by Arsenault but was not directly responsible for the initiative.

Arsenault disputes that the findings of his report were outside the bounds of what was expected at the outset.

He said he met with Premier King in August 2019, along with principal secretary Adam Ross. In this meeting, Arsenault said he told the premier that he would need to extend the timeline and scope of his research.

"I realized two things. One, I had to do a much more significant jurisdictional scan of all the provinces. And I also needed to do a longer overview of soil-related issues in terms of what's gone on here in the last 20 years," Arsenault said.   "His words exactly — he looked at Adam and he nodded and he said 'we've got to make sure we do this right,'" he said, referring to King.

Arsenault said Myers’ objections to the report’s wider focus are in contrast to his communication with the minister throughout the fall of 2019.  "It's absolutely a betrayal of the policy that I gave to Premier King before he became premier and what he publicly said he was going to do," Arsenault said.

Arsenault has been a vocal critic of large-scale agricultural operations for many years. His report was submitted on Dec. 19, 2019, ahead of a Jan. 31, 2020 deadline.

The 128-page study examines land leasing programs in other jurisdictions and the now-defunct land banks that were established in Saskatchewan between 1972 and 1983 and in P.E.I. under the Liberal Alex Campbell government between 1969 and 1990.  The report also examines 20 years of public studies on land use in P.E.I.

Arsenault says the “consistent thread” from these studies is a need to preserve P.E.I. farmland and to restore soil health.  “We hear time and again recommendations to improve soil health, bring nitrate levels within acceptable ranges in ground and surface water, and decrease pesticide use in food production,” Arsenault says in the report.

Arsenault states in the report that much of the responsibility for the declining soil health falls to practices commonly used in “intensive late-variety potato production for the french fry market,” as well as those used in soybean production as a rotational crop.

Arsenault’s recommendations for the establishment of a farm land bank include making soil organic matter a key indicator to assess land parcels considered for purchase or lease.

The report’s eight other land bank recommendations include ensuring the bank be publicly controlled through a collaboration agreement between the Department of Transportation and the Department of Agriculture and Land, and that it be publicly funded to the tune of $100 million. The recommended mechanism for funding involves a $60-million loan from either the Island Investment Development Inc. or Finance P.E.I., as well as an additional $40 million raised through public bonds. The report recommends the land bank purchase 25,000 acres of arable farmland.

Historical Objectives

P.E.I.'s 1969 Land Development Corporation had as its objectives

  1. To assist the agriculture industry;

  2. To acquire, develop and improve land;

  3. To make land available to farmers;

  4. To enable consolidation of farm lands;

  5. To provide credit to farmers for land consolidation; and

  6. Generally to advance the interests of farmers in an economic and efficient manner in the province.

The corporation was eventually wound down, with most land sold off to farmers by 1990.

Source: Carver Commission, 2013.

The (2019 Arsenault) report also includes five recommendations outside the scope of the land bank, including prohibiting the sale of agricultural land to non-residents unless they have a farm plan in place, increasing funding for soil health and testing and completing the first state-of-the -environment report for P.E.I. since 2010.

READ: Soil Health Study

“Unless a farmland banking system is implemented in conjunction with a multifaceted agricultural and environmental strategy, designed to bring about a progressive transformation in P.E.I. agriculture … such an endeavour will be of little benefit to farmers or Islanders in the long run,” Arsenault writes in the report.

Myers said the wider critique on large-scale commercial agriculture was not what he asked for.

"That's not what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm not trying to attack. I'm trying to put protections in place so that everybody kind of has an equal opportunity to farm on P.E.I. regardless of their past capacity," Myers said.

A 2013 Commission on the Lands Protection Act noted that two prominent agricultural organizations, the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union, both agreed that establishing a land bank was desirable. The two organizations often disagree on many other matters related to intensive agriculture on P.E.I.

In additional to the $50,000 allocated for Arsenault’s study, a further $50,000 remains budgeted for Myers’ department to continue work focused on establishing the land bank. Myers said this amount would likely be allocated to a more formal staff person on the file.

Myers said he believes the establishment of the land bank, initially slated for next year, will be delayed by six to eight months.


Thoughts on City's potential decisions regarding the Ice Rink Report

City Press release:

The City of Charlottetown announced its adopting the  recommendations from a consultant on building a new arena and other objectives yesterday, and it sounds like it was recommended to build a double rink building at the site of the provincial Department of Transportation depot on Riverside Drive/ the Hillsborough Bridge, and remove the ice surface at Simmons.

Mayor Philip Brown on the radio said while paying for and building the grand new structure would be years away, they could get going and close Simmons, and a comment about adding a rink at MacLauchlan complex at UPEI/Bell Aliant Centre was mentioned (I think).

Despite not living in the City nor having kids in hockey and only occasionally going shaking, I question this decision, for I don't think we are recognizing the value (and then the loss) of a neighbourhood rink.  Now all the kids that could walk or get a short drive to Simmons for various ice sport practices will have to get to UPEI, or eventually the disorder of getting to Riverside Drive.  No more skating times with school children, or preschoolers, or seniors, all of whom would walk or take a short trip.  Simmons seems pretty busy, close to two or three schools, and relatively easy to park around.  The shabby state it was allowed to get in most years (peeling paint, one could hardly read the sign) was a bit of portent of the decision that would likely be made that due to  it being in such rough shape, they have no choice but to knock it down.  I understand new is often better, but it's hard to see this saving money or promoting active living and community in the long run, to have these small rinks be closed and sports time consolidated.  It's tough when it happens in the country and likely tough in the city.

I am sure City Councillors could be given comments, though it looks like a bit of a "done deal" if the report has been adopted before any public consultation.

Global Chorus essay for August 1
Elisabet Sahtouris

Humanity, like all other species on Earth before and with us, is evolving – and evolution, for humans as for all species, is neither predictably linear nor based solely on competitive Darwinism. Rather, evolution reveals a repeating maturation cycle in which species evolve from hostile competition to peaceful co-operation. Earth’s nearly four billion years of evolutionary experience reveals that this pattern predominates, giving us hope and inspiration, along with valuable guidance for getting ourselves through the unprecedented confluence of enormous crises in which we humans now find ourselves.

The evolutionary Big Picture includes the amazingly complex lives of our remotest bacterial ancestors, who had Earth to themselves for fully half of evolution, and much of whose experience we seem to be mirroring now. They engaged in hostilities, generated global crises of hunger and pollution as great as ours today, and solved them without benefit of brain!

Along the way they invented electric motors, atomic piles and the first World Wide Web of DNA exchange. Ten, in the greatest of all evolutionary ventures, they formed co-operative communities that became nucleated cells. These co-operatives were the later basis for the evolution of multi-celled creatures as co-operatives on a larger scale yet. And eventually they evolved our own hundred-trillion-celled human bodies, which role-model amazingly co-operative living economies.

Learning from these newly revealed patterns of problems and solutions in biological evolution, we too are finding out how to survive and even thrive into a better future despite – perhaps because of – our greatest challenges. That is indeed cause for celebration.

     —Elisabet Sahtouris, PhD, evolution biologist, futurist, author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution 
her website:,0,

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