CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

June 2017

Contents

  1. 1 June 30, 2017
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  2. 2 June 29, 2017
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  3. 3 June 28, 2017
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 3.2 Advocates ask McKenna to halt Aquabounty's GM salmon plans for P.E.I. - The Guardian article by Teresa Wright
  4. 4 June 27, 2017
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 4.2 LETTER: No news, good news for P.E.I. premier - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  5. 5 June 26, 2017
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  6. 6 June 25, 2017
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  7. 7 June 24, 2017
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 7.2 MPs strike blow against GMO salmon - The Chronicle-Herald article by Fram Dinshaw
  8. 8 June 23, 2017
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  9. 9 June 22, 2017
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 9.2 Please Support Environmental Groups in Their Court Case Against Drilling int the Gulf of St. Lawrence! - Save Our Seas and Shores PEI
  10. 10 June 21, 2017
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  11. 11 June 20, 2017
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  12. 12 June 19, 2017
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  13. 13 June 18, 2017
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 13.2 The MacLauchlan Government Must Have A Political Death Wish When It Comes To Education - The Island Heartbeat blogsite article by Allan Rankin
  14. 14 June 17, 2017
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 14.2 LETTER: A fair slice of those billions - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  15. 15 June 16, 2017
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  16. 16 June 15, 2017
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  17. 17 June 14, 2017
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 17.2 JUDY & JOE GRANT: A mental health crisis - The Guardian Opinion piece by Judy and Joe Grant
  18. 18 June 13, 2017
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  19. 19 June 12, 2017
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  20. 20 June 11, 2017
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 20.2 Russell Wangersky: Taking comfort in denying climate change - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky
  21. 21 June 10, 2017
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 21.2 P.E.I. government misrepresenting role of child advocate: UNICEF advisor - The Guardian article by Teresa Wright
  22. 22 June 9, 2017
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  23. 23 June 8, 2017
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 23.2 DON WILSON: Time to get serious with electoral reform - The Guardian Opinion piece by Don Wilson
  24. 24 June 7, 2017
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 24.2 SCOTT ROLOSON: Flying a corporate trial balloon - The Guardian Opinion piece by Scott Roloson
  25. 25 June 6, 2017
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  26. 26 June 5, 2017
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  27. 27 June 4, 2017
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 27.2 TERESA WRIGHT: Biggar was misinformed in attempt to publicly shame The Guardian as sexist - The Guardian article by Teresa Wright
  28. 28 June 3, 2017
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 28.2 Education decisions revert to secretive cocoon - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  29. 29 June 2, 2017
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  30. 30 June 1, 2017
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News

June 30, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Yesterday saw Canada's Prime Minister make a drop-in visit to P.E.I., with time for meeting folks in Kings County and a bit of a stop in Charlottetown.  In a couple of hours, Islanders wanting electoral reform wrote an open letter requesting he stop and seriously consider proportional representation, got several hundred signatures, printed it off and presented it to him.  With his usual grace, he accepted the gesture, but followed the question of why not implement Proportional Representation, with these cringingly reactionary words, "I won't do it; it's bad for the country."

With thanks to the person who snapped and shred this shot of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepting the open letter from PR supporter Jordan Bober; Thursday, June 29th, 2017.

You can still sign the open letter here:  http://www.pronpei.vote/DearJustin

------------------------
Comments on the Cornwall Bypass Environmental Assessment public meeting, which happened last night, on another day.  There are ten days to comment on it, with the information here.
------------------------------
This has kind of slipped under the radar, but the last day to comment on the public consultation call before the Provincial Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (part of the Climate Change Action Plan) is worked on by the UPEI Climate group and the Department of Environment is *today*.  (Probably, comments will be accepted this long weekend....)

A short summary document and the on-line form are here.
 
-------------------------
Mark Plotkin, an ethnobotanist (studying how a region's plants are used and relate to the living and culture of a people) writes today's Global Chorus essay.  Here is a link to his work with the Amazon Conservation Team.

        Hope motivates my work. In my 20 years working with indigenous peoples of the Amazon forests, I have watched with horror as great swathes of the jungle have been burned or converted. As we have all learned, the survival of these forests is critical to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change. What once was distressing with respect to irreversible loss of biological diversity is now alarming.
        But even after so much depredation, some fourfifths of the original Amazon forest remains. There is still time, and moreover, there is new awareness: awareness of the remarkable synergy that occurs when increasingly novel technologies are integrated with traditional knowledge regarding forest management; awareness of the value of that knowledge, amassed and preserved over thousands of years; and awareness – in classic Margaret Mead terms – of the large-scale changes in conservation and consciousness that can be leveraged from relatively small grassroots groups and communities working passionately with the generous support of those with financial resources. These groups exist in multitudes, and thanks in part to those new technologies, their voice is being heard ever louder on the world stage.
        I believe in a positive future that nonetheless will contain many cautionary lessons for new generations: we will be glad for the great forests and ancestral wisdom that we still have, and we will grieve that which we have lost.
        — Mark Plotkin

June 29, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting P.E.I., then leaving for New Brunswick later in the afternoon.

There will be opportunities for interaction with the public:
from the Prime Minister's Office:

Itinerary for the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, for Thursday, June 29, 2017:

Cardigan, Prince Edward Island
8:40 a.m. The Prime Minister will meet with the Premier of Prince Edward Island, Wade MacLauchlan.
Rodd Brudenell Resort
86 Dewars Lane, Cardigan

Montague, Prince Edward Island
9:30 a.m. The Prime Minister will attend a Community Coffee Meet & Greet with the Member of Parliament for Cardigan, Lawrence MacAulay, and will deliver remarks.
Montague Curling Club
23 Central Street, Montague


Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

11:15 a.m. The Prime Minister will tour the Canada C3 Expedition ship.
Charlottetown Harbour

12:30 p.m. The Prime Minister will hold a media availability.
Charlottetown Harbour
---------------------------
It's the last one where it might be easiest for people to come down and meet the Prime Minister, or perhaps express a message you would like him to see.  One of the media outlets sent out a post asking what's "one question you would ask the PM", and some bubbled up:

  • When will you move forward on P.E.I. being the pilot project for a Basic Income Guarantee? 
  • When will you show true climate change and environmental leadership and stop investing in fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines and sea drilling?
  • When will you keep your promises to Canada's Indigenous peoples?

but especially:

  • When will you implement proportional representation?

I am sure there are others :-)

The Prime Minister's comments this week on on electoral reform, rather ridiculous, are discussed well in this Huffington Post blog:  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/06/27/trudeau-blames-opposition-electoral-reform_a_23004520/

And it is always sobering to check in with Trudeau's Promise Tracker:

https://trudeaumetre.polimeter.org/

screenshot from "Trudeaumetre" website.

--------------------

Tonight:
Environmental Impact Assessment meeting, "Phase IIB" of the Cornwall bypass, 7-9PM,
Cornwall Civic Centre (not APM Centre/rink -- the Civic Centre is the building on Cornwall Road with the Curling Club downstairs, pool outside).  All welcome to hear first a presentation on this giant project and then be able to go to stations and talk to department representatives.
The public has ten days (and that likely includes the Canada Day holiday) to submit comments or questions to be answered.
More information from government website here.

--------------------------------

Wen Bo,  former editor of China Environment News, writes this very succinct Global Chorus essay for June 29th.

        In the Planet’s voyage through time and space, we humans are passengers who get on and off.

        The defenders of the Earth, like captain and sailor, see through the mist and far into the horizon. They know we have only this Planet Ark and have to maintain it well.

        When we enslave other people, we end up enslaving ourselves; when we wipe out other species, we lead to our own demise; when we exploit Nature, we will have it hitting back on us.

        We all should answer the call of the Earth guardian and follow the light of the guiding star. And the sail of Planet Ark must go on.

        — Wen Bo

June 28, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Charlottetown Farmers' market is open today from 9AM-2PM.

Pauline Howard sends a reminder that some CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture farmers have shares still available for summer vegetables and other food items. See:
http://www.foodexchangepei.com/list-of-csas-on-pei.html

The Commission on Environmental Cooperation concludes its sessions today at UPEI at the Engineering Building, today focusing on youth engagement and initiatives. More info here.

Yesterday, the "WE" movement was mentioned and their Facebook page to follow with information about their WE Day Canada event Sunday is here:
https://www.facebook.com/WEmovement/

Yesterday, five representatives of environmental and social justice groups held a press conference on the rapid approval by the P.E.I. government of the GM salmon rearing facility.  The news story copied here:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/2017/6/27/advocates-ask-mckenna-to-halt-aquabounty-s-gm-salmon-plans-for-p.html

Advocates ask McKenna to halt Aquabounty's GM salmon plans for P.E.I. - The Guardian article by Teresa Wright

Published on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Environmental advocacy groups from across Canada gathered in Charlottetown Tuesday to call on Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to halt the development a controversial facility that plans to grow genetically modified salmon in Prince Edward Island. 

Last week, the provincial government approved AquaBounty Canada Inc.’s application to expand its current facility in Rollo Bay by building two 40,000 square foot structures where they company will rear AquaAdvantage salmon, a sterile genetically modified (GM) salmon, from eyed egg to market size.

On Tuesday, representatives from local and national environmental groups held a joint press conference to call on McKenna to step in and conduct further study on this project. McKenna is in Prince Edward Island this week for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation meetings. “There has been no scientific assessment of the commercial production of this animal, and commercial production is a whole different ballgame,” said Mark Butler of Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre, which was part of an unsuccessfully court challenge against Aquabounty. “What we’re asking the federal minister to do is to step in and to do a full assessment of the commercial production to GM salmon.” Environmental advocates are concerned about the possibility that the genetically modified salmon could escape and cause harm to natural salmon stocks and ecosystems. Karen Wristen from the British Columbia-based Living Oceans Society says Aquabounty’s salmon grow twice as fast as wild salmon and thus could threaten food stocks. There are also concerns about the claim GM salmon would not be able to reproduce. “The problem, if they are infertile, is still competition for habitat and food… and the process for creating infertile eggs is not foolproof, it’s about 95 per cent effective,” Wristen said. That’s why the Living Oceans Society wants a full risk-assessment done on what would happen if the salmon were to escape. “Thus far they are just relying on the suggestion that because there is containment built into the plan design, the fish will never escape. How many times have human systems we’ve created failed? It’s certainly not one I want to rely on in order to protect an entire ecosystem.” Butler pointed to a parliamentary report tabled earlier this month by the federal Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development that called for a more effective and transparent regulatory regime for genetically modified organisms in Canada. “There are clearly issues surrounding the current regulatory regime for genetically modified organisms that renders it inadequate to face the challenges posed by the rapidly advancing area of biotechnology,” the committee report states. Environmental advocates are hoping the federal and provincial governments will slow down the development of this GMO facility until a national conversation has been held into the ethics behind growing genetically modified animals. “There needs to be robust debate on whether or not this should be done,” Wristen said.  “Halt the approval and study what will happen, specifically, what will happen if these fish escape and how we protect wild salmon from the escapees.”  ------------------------------------------------

The days got a bit mixey, and the Global Chorus essays out of sync.  Here is actually the June 25th Global Chorus essay, by physics professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz,  co-author with Nancy Ellen Abrams of The View from the Center of the Universe  and The New Universe and the Human Future
http://viewfromthecenter.com/

        Traditional creation stories start with “In the beginning …” But it may never be possible to discover the “beginning.” A practical alternative is to perceive time outward from the present, as science discovers it. A tiny consciousness of history is mirrored in a tiny consciousness of the future. Many people who think of the Earth as only a few thousand years old have no compunction about ending it shortly. For some messianic believers, this symmetric sort of closure gives the whole thing meaning. But our solar system will continue to exist for more than five billion years until the sun becomes a red giant star and ultimately a fading white dwarf. After our Milky Way galaxy merges with the great galaxy in Andromeda in a few billion years, the stars in the combined galaxy will continue to shine brightly for a trillion years. But Milky Andromeda may become completely isolated as galaxies not gravitationally bound to it disappear over the cosmic horizon due to the accelerating expansion of the universe. Our view of the distant future, like that of the distant past, grows increasingly fuzzy, but without doubt both must be thought of in many billions of years, not thousands.

        Complex structures like the eye have evolved independently several times, but high intelligence only once on Earth thus far. Primitive life may be common, but we humans might be the first intelligence in our entire galaxy. If we can learn to value our beautiful planet and the other things we share higher than the conflicts that divide us, we can create a long-lived planetary civilization. Such longevity will be necessary for ambitious space travel that will require many human generations, but which could make humanity the source of intelligence in the ultimately visible universe.
        — Joel R. Primack

June 27, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today and tomorrow:
Tuesday and Wednesday, June 27th and 28th:
24th Regular Session of the CEC Council (
Commission for Environmental Cooperation), all day, UPEI, SSDE (School of Sustainable Design Engineering) building, free but preregistration may have been required.
 Robert Mitchell, P.E.I. Environment Minister, is giving the Keynote Address at 9:30AM.
Provisional agenda:
http://www.cec.org/news-and-outreach/events/24th-regular-session-cec-council-and-meeting-joint-public-advisory-committee-jpac

This morning:
The public is more than welcome to a:
Press Conference Responding to the P.E.I. government's AquaBounty GM-fish expansion project approval, 11AM, UPEI, Student Union (south entrance lounge)
sponsored by several Island groups including EarthAction, MacKillop Centre for Social Justice, and the Ecology Action Centre.

----------------------------------
F. Ben Rodgers points out a few things:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/2017/6/22/letter--no-news--good-news-for-p-e-i--premier.html

LETTER: No news, good news for P.E.I. premier - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Just recently an email turned up unexpectedly at the legislative assembly. It was quite unintentional, apparently just got mixed in with some files. The email was a directive from the premier that the cabinet should only release good news announcements over the next few weeks. This was to hopefully improve the Liberals standing in the upcoming June poll.

In the last poll the premier and his crew had done very poorly indeed. Releasing good news items was an attempt to manipulate and raise their polling numbers. Then the premier announced the hiring of 27 new teaching positions, a good news announcement, eh! Strangely nothing was in the recent budget about this new hiring? Does this mean that tiny but loudly hailed surplus is now gone?
The other side of this good news announcement must have thrown cold water on it. The Kinkora High School students walked out of class on June 5 to protest the cutting of staff position at their school. At the same time another crowd of protesters arrived at the Stratford School Board offices with a similar protest.
So much for the premier’s good news! Maybe he should stick with "no news is good news"? Better still, why not try to be honest and transparent like you said you'd be during the election campaign? Now that would be good news.

F. Ben Rodgers,
Abram-Village

------------------------------
The Global Chorus essay for June 27th is by Spencer West, author, motivational speaker, and with the social enterprise organization Me to We .
(Note: Since this essay was submitted to the anthology, he (and his wheelchair) did climb Mount Kilimanjaro.)

By the way, Sunday, July 2nd is a "WE Day Canada" -- details from their website:

WE Day Canada is coming soon!
Mark July 2, 2017, on your calendar and join us, Canada Day weekend, on Parliament Hill for a family-friendly event, bringing together world-renowned speakers, A-list performers, and tens of thousands of Canadians celebrating our commitment to making the next 150 years count. Help us inspire the next generation of change-makers make their mark on our beautiful nation.
RSVP on Facebook for exclusive offers, sneak peeks and real-time updates. Not in Ottawa? Watch us on Facebook Live!

-----------------------------------
       
Am I a world-problem solver? Well, if the topic is overcoming obstacles, it’s pretty safe to say I’ve got some “hands-on” experience.
        Yet, when it comes to tackling the current global environmental and social crises we all face, some may feel the issues are too colossal to consider on par with personal challenges. It’s a valid point. But don’t all obstacles seem insurmountable when we face them alone? I’m certain it’s how we approach our challenges and not their scope that holds the key. And it’s my profound belief that when we come together as a community to tackle issues – no matter how daunting – and support one another, anything is possible.
         I just might be living proof of this. I was born with a rare disorder that rendered my legs essentially useless. The doctors said that I would never sit up or walk, let alone become a functioning member of society. Sure, there’s no denying that I felt discouraged at times, but I was determined to get the most out of life (and, more importantly, put the most back into it!). And it has been the unwavering support of my family and friends – an ever-growing community that believes in me – that has fuelled this conviction, obliterating any doubt that my chosen path is, in turn, to instill belief in others.
        Today, I travel the world as a motivational speaker, meeting thousands of young people each year. All over this planet, I see that same belief in their eyes, and I hear it in their voices. They’re saying, we can redefine what’s possible. And every last one of those voices will echo in my ears later this year when I climb Mount Kilimanjaro with my two best friends to raise funds and awareness for water projects in drought-affected communities in East Africa.         No one climbs a mountain by themselves. Because what’s incredibly difficult to face alone diminishes when me becomes we. We are a generation who evens out the odds and defines impossible as possible. There is no can’t or won’t, only how. Let’s not get discouraged. Let’s get together. And let’s get the world to where we know it can be.
        — Spencer West

June 26, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The "How Many, Wade?" rally yesterday was very well attended, a sad but positive energy coming from it.

Kevin Arsenault's observations, reprinted from social media, with permission (and abridged):
I attended the rally today calling for a response from the government to the first 50 tragic stories posted thusfar in the #HowManyWade campaign. A growing number of Islanders are demanding government take immediate and emergency action to address the current mental health and addictions crisis happening on PEI.  A heart-felt thank you to Sarah Elizabeth and Tyler Crane for organizing this important event. And given the beautiful beach weather as well as the fact that the Diverscity festival started at the very same time as the rally, there was a surprisingly large turnout. Sarah Elizabeth, Tyler Crane, Lynne Lund (with the Green Party) and James Alyward (with the PC Official Opposition) all spoke eloquently and directly to the urgent need for new and immediate mesures to address the ongoing mental health and addictions crisis.

When Sarah Elizabeth introduced the Health Minister, Hon. Rob Henderson, she respectively asked him to speak directly to the 50 families who shared their desperation and despair at not being able to receive adequate help for family members suffering severe mental health crises. She also asked that he respond to the 8 specific "Needs" identified as priorities, which have been included in the Open Letter to the Premier preceding each of the 50 Facebook postings to date, for which no government response has yet been given. Henderson did neither! You can listen to his entire speech online here: https://www.facebook.com/melody.garnhum/videos/10160083612250206/ starting at -12:30.

So one can hardly blame members of the crowd for speaking out in frustration and anger when the minister not only refused to address the specific items he had been asked to address, but wrapped up his remarks by saying, "So I certainly ask for your patience, as we roll out new....we always want it tomorrow, but we have to make sure we have a proper plan so we've thought this thing out..." THOSE 8 IDENTIFIED NEEDS ARE ENOUGH OF A PLAN FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THREATENING SUICIDE AND GETTING NO HELP!

Lynne Lund explained that Peter Bevan-Baker and the Green Party Health Critic wanted to be present, but unfortunately could not be - they were both out of the country. Rob Henderson didn't say that Wade wanted to be there but couldn't be, nor did he explain why Wade MacLauchlan didn't attend [He was no doubt too embarrassed to tell us that Wade was in Souris judging and eating lobster rolls at a festival]. The Premier's absence was clearly a big disappointment for everyone who attended.

Although Sarah was both professional and polite, after the Minister finished his remarks, she bravely asked: "So what have we asked for? We've asked for 8 items....we asked government to listen, to listen and respond to your 50 stories....the rally started with a question, to which we still don't have a question: How many Wade?" .......and that's when the chant started, which everyone continued for quite a long time: "How many Wade?" "How many Wade?".........as Rob Henderson shuffled his feet in the grass and nervously scratched his arms.

Here are some of the items (from The Guardian article):  more ER nurses with psychiatric training, a mobile mental health crisis team, a child psychiatrist in Charlottetown, the implementation of a suicide prevention strategy, a child advocate and more therapists in the public school system.
-----------------------------------------------
Today:
Presentation by Josh MacFadyen: "Canadian Food and Energy Frontiers: Mapping the Past to Prepare Leaders for the Future", 4:30PM, UPEI, Kelley Building, Room 237. More details from UPEI's website.
Note that Colonel Gray High School's graduation starts at 2PM at the UPEI Field House, if there is still a bit of traffic around then.
----------------------------------------------------

Sara Oldfield, secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, writes the June 26th Global Chorus essay.


       
The fascination of plants caught me early in life. Bluebell woods, ragged robins, scarlet pimpernels, brilliant red garden poppies and degraded mine sites – all exerted their influence. When I went on to become a botanist, in becoming acutely aware of the dangers faced by plant species worldwide, I became increasingly filled with concern – and have in turn committed my life’s work toward sustaining their existence on this planet. But I now I know that we can save plant species from extinction, restore damaged ecosystems and fundamentally change the future – if we choose to.
        There is a plan, the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, signed by governments worldwide. We need to shout about this, raise the profile of the Strategy and make sure that it is implemented. We need to raise funds to secure the basis of our oxygen and food supply. Wild plant diversity is essential for the future of the planet. Degraded habitats can be restored using our accumulated knowledge of collecting and growing wild plants. Around one-third of all plant species are cultivated in botanic gardens or stored in seed banks providing an insurance policy for the future. Botanic Gardens have formed a new Ecological Restoration Alliance to use this stored material together with the knowledge of where and why species grow in the wild. Combining this with local and indigenous knowledge provides a tremendous opportunity to restore natural habitats – the repositories of wild crop relatives, medicinal plants and other species of livelihood value for millions of people who depend directly on natural resources – and to sequester carbon, using the power of plants.        
         Save a plant – save the planet!
        — Sara Oldfield

June 25, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today:
#HowManyWade Protest, 2-4PM
, Province House area, to persuade government to make necessary changes in its approach to mental illness.
Facebook event details
(Here is the audio broadcast from CBC Radio's The Current from Tuesday, June 20th, 2017, about Island parents fighting for better mental health care. 23 minutes)

DiverseCity Multicultural street festival -- Charlottetown, 2-10PM, Queen Street (Grafton to Sydney), free.  Facebook page.
http://www.peianc.com/content/page/community_diversecity

Registration Deadline to attend Tuesday and Wednesday's Commission for Environmental Cooperation Sessions and Forum, **5PM** today:
Registration site
It's a pretty short form, and apparently, and I think even if you are interested in attending as a member of the public, you are asked to register. 

Bonshaw Ceilidh, 7-9PM
, Bonshaw Hall, admission by donation with proceeds going to SpayAid P.E.I.  More details.

--------------------
Coming up this week:
Monday, June 26th:
Presentation by Josh MacFadyen: "Canadian Food and Energy Frontiers: Mapping the Past to Prepare Leaders for the Future", 4:30PM
, UPEI, Kelley Building, Room 237.  John MacFadyen is a professor of environmental humanities at Arizona State University, and co-edited (with Ed MacDonald and Irene Novaczek) the recently published and absolutely fascinating book, Time and a Place: An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island.  More details from UPEI's website.

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 27th and 28th:
24th Regular Session of the CEC Council (
Commission for Environmental Cooperation)
Tuesday, Joint Public Advisory Committee, UPEI, new engineering building. Free.
 Robert Mitchell, P.E.I. Environment Minister, is giving the Keynote Address at 9:30AM.
Pre-registration encouraged:  https://moose.cec.org/moose/meetingservices/regform/

About the Council meeting:
http://www.cec.org/about-us/jpac/joint-public-advisory-committee-jpac
I believe the deadline to register to attend is tonight, Sunday, June 25th, at 5PM (see above)

Website with notice, registration link, and provisional agenda:
http://www.cec.org/news-and-outreach/events/24th-regular-session-cec-council-and-meeting-joint-public-advisory-committee-jpac

I wonder if the GMO salmon issue will be discussed?
----------------------------------
Summer Rayne Oakes is a model and activist, founder of Le Souk fashions material and currently working on healthy food systems.


Let me present
the proposition
if only for the sake
of dreaming:
What if this Earth of ours
is a thing alive?
If this is so,
then we have
a living, breathing organism
that we continue to
extract,
partition,
fragment
in order to sell
ourselves pretty promises
in perfectly produced packages,
compliments of our
unfulfilling quest to satiate
our conveyor belt consumerism.
We are part of a unique,
integrative, living organism –
and as we discover more,
we uncover that there are no
“short cut” solutions to systemic issues.
We cannot day trade our way
through short-term gains
and assume we’ll achieve
long-term sustainability.

Let us squarely face
the extent of the challenges
before us.
Not just the ones
we see on the surfaces
of our screens, tablets, newspapers, devices.
It is not the obviousness
of markets and tsunamis,
poisoned sushi and celebrity babies.
It is the acceptance
that we will lose some of
the world we love
For it is then – and only then –
that we will gain
the insight
and the bravery to pursue
the solutions
that will remedy
some of the wrongs
we have collectively –
and sometimes unknowingly
pursued in the process.

Be aware, however:
Even when these solutions
rise to the surface … Even when the answers
lay so plainly before us –
It is the personal, political
and market support
that will be needed
to move mass culture.

If eighty years of measuring
our world’s wealth remains
locked up in the three letter
acronym of “GDP”
and we remain tied to
our financial revolver,
then let us consider:
Qualitative screening
on what we choose to invest in;
increased investment into businesses
that truly offer integrated solutions
(After all, does the world need another app?);
and integrated, systemic approaches
to sustainable development.

Realize this:
The extent of our challenges
are now far too vast
for our silver bullets …
The target has grown,
but so has our understanding
and our appetite for
changing our world
in which we live,
For as history has shown,
it is the enduring
and incredible strength
of the human spirit
and ingenuity
that will engender
to overcome,
to survive,
to thrive.
    --Summer Rayne Oakes

June 24, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some events going on today and tomorrow:

Farmers' Markets are open today in Charlottetown (9AM-2PM), Summerside (9AM-1PM), and Cardigan (10AM-2PM).

Duck Day, 10AM-2PM, Farm Centre, sponsored by Ducks Unlimited Canada.   Music, Dog Retriever Demonstration, Nature walks, Falcon demonstrations, BBQ.  Free.

Urban Farming: Free Permaculture Workshop, 9AM-noon, Desbrisay Community Gardens, Ch'town. With Adam MacLean.
http://organicpei.com/urban-farming-free-workshop/
Adam is the co-creator of the Legacy Community Garden and is passionate about food production.  The workshop will explore creating a diverse edible landscape. We will learn how to incorporate fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and perennials into a lower-maintenance, edible landscape using applied ecology and permaculture design. The workshop will also include an introduction to permaculture ethics and design principles that can guide you in creating your own edible landscape.

PEI Jazz and Blues Festival wraps up today and tonight.  Student bands and others are live on Victoria Row all afternoon, etc.  Facebook details here.
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Sunday, June 25th:
#HowManyWade Protest, 2PM,
Province House, for more mental health coordination of care.Facebook event details
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Some updates:
Even Panama won't approve it, but PEI did -- regarding the GMO fish:-raising facility on P.E.I. approved this week:
This CBC Story contains some good points by P.E.I. Salmon Council president Scott Roloson.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-aquabounty-gmo-rollo-bay-west-1.4174761

And in this Chronicle-Herald story (printed in full at the end of this newsletter) about a segment of that very full report from the federal Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (which I have not read but tiny bits), released late last week:

Federal MPs are urging clear rules on approving genetically modified foods nearly four years after the Ecology Action Centre accused Ottawa of violating environmental law by allowing the export of modified salmon eggs.

MPs recommended that Canadian Environmental Protection Act rules on introducing new GM foods be amended, citing the EAC’s concerns over public consultation around approving the modified salmon eggs and a lack of clarity on transferring GM foods between companies. <snip>

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1478693-mps-strike-blow-against-gmo-salmon#
Gee, I wonder if the Environmental Impact Assessment folks and Minister Mitchell knew of this section of the federal Standing Committee report before so swiftly approving the AquaBounty GMO salmon "amended" proposal.
-----------------
An Update on the Hughes-Jones Centre, the week in court in arbitration for the payment for her land, home and business set to be part of the "Cornwall Bypass Phase IIB" and Ellen Hughes' observations. 
The whole blog posting is good reading, and it sounds like the judge hopes to have her ruling by the end of July. https://medium.com/@HJCPEI/arbitration-and-gratitude-566d6a67ce07

--------------------------------------------------
Global Chorus for June 25th is by John Raulston Paul, author of Voltaire’s Bastards, The Unconscious Civilization, On Equilibrium and The Collapse of Globalism.

Of course, better hope than no hope. But hope without a strategy, hope without power, without using that power to act, will end up in the worst forms of romanticism.        

Take a look at the environmental movement, but with a cool eye. Around the globe, tens of millions of people, filled with a mixture of hope and despair, are engaged in tens of thousands of specific campaigns to save one thing or another. And with them are hundreds of thousands of engaged specialists – the technocrats of hope – each arguing their tight corners with endless reports, campaigns and conferences. All of this represents tens of millions of hours dedicated by volunteers to hope – to environmental change. 

The result? Almost no progress. Certainly no broad change in habits. There have been some breakthroughs, almost all of them very specific and narrow. But many things are worse. Why? 

Because real change does require hope, just as it does outrage and determination, but it requires a great deal more. Above all, change requires ideas and plans. And only the possession of real power gives these meaning. Over the last four decades the forces of humanism have raised their voices, but from within the heavy fog of global optimism. Generation after generation has largely stayed clear of old-fashioned politics in the name of this new global lobbying. 

But democracy – the power of citizens – lies within constituted structures. Governments hold the real power to make broad, long changes. Why has so little progress been made? Because governments have refused to make changes. Why? Because political parties and legislative bodies have not been invested by environmentalists. 

The history of change is clear about this. Those who don’t believe in global warming have gone out and occupied as much power as they can. Power and therefore politics is the mechanism of change. That is how we got public education and public healthcare. We can lobby all we want, but if environmentalists do not seek real power, change will not come.
        — John Ralston Saul

MPs strike blow against GMO salmon - The Chronicle-Herald article by Fram Dinshaw

by Fram Dinshaw, Staff Reporter
Published on Friday, June 16th, 2017, in  The Chronicle-Herald

Federal MPs are urging clear rules on approving genetically modified foods nearly four years after the Ecology Action Centre accused Ottawa of violating environmental law by allowing the export of modified salmon eggs.

MPs recommended that Canadian Environmental Protection Act rules on introducing new GM foods be amended, citing the EAC’s concerns over public consultation around approving the modified salmon eggs and a lack of clarity on transferring GM foods between companies.

“Canada’s most important law to defend the health of Canadians and ecosystems from pollution is the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, a law passed in 1988 and last updated in 1999. Parliamentarians of all stripes acknowledge the need to strengthen CEPA, based on regulatory experience and scientific evidence,” said Pontiac MP William Amos in a release Friday.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development also recommended that Part 6 of CEPA be changed from ‘Animate Products of Biotechnology’ to a term more widely used such as ‘Genetically Engineered or Modified Organisms’.

Regarding the scope of risk assessments for living organisms, the committee says the current review of the federal environmental assessment regime is an opportunity to improve public participation in assessing genetically modified organisms.

The committee is also open to linking the CEPA assessment with a new environmental assessment regime when evaluating genetically modified organisms, taking into account their complete life cycle.

The EAC launched its lawsuit in November 2013 after Ottawa permitted the manufacture and export of genetically modified salmon eggs by Aquabounty, Inc., an American company with a production facility at Bay Fortune in Prince Edward Island.

The EAC says this type of salmon is genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as a natural wild Atlantic salmon. The group also claims that it may be the world’s first genetically modified edible animal.

In its 2013 lawsuit, the EAC warned of “a growing threat to global biodiversity from genetically engineered organisms with wild counterparts,” as ever-cheaper gene editing gives rise to altered plant and animal products.

“I am thrilled that a broad coalition of environmental, health and civil society groups which include EcoJustice, the David Suzuki Foundation and Équiterre are applauding this report,” said Amos.

All told, the parliamentary committee tabled 87 recommendations to the federal government including prohibiting substances of high concern unless industry can prove their safe use and there are no feasible substitutes; ensuring that vulnerable people are taken into consideration when the government assesses and manages new substances; implementing action timelines on toxic substances; and facilitating public participation in environmental decision-making and enforcing CEPA.

MPs warned that children, the elderly, First Nations citizens and low-income people “bear an unfair share of the pollution burden.”

“Toxic substances in our air, food, water and products we use every day are linked to impacts that include cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, damage to children’s brains, and birth defects,” said Amos.

Also undergoing review this week is the Oceans Act, with a view to creating more marine protected areas in Canadian waters.

Proposed amendments could also restrict offshore oil and gas drilling, but environmental groups say they fall short of setting minimum legal protection requirements.

June 23, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The "Redevelopment" of a facility approved last year to raise salmon eggs to a facility to raise genetically modified salmon to market size has been quietly approved by the Environment Minister Robert Mitchell on Monday of this week.
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/communities-land-and-environment/redevelopment-facility-aqua-bounty-canada-ltd-eia

In the approval letter, the stipulations include testing the effluent for nitrates, make a water management plan, and, oh, promise to call the Environmental Emergency Response number and e-mail the Environment Department EIA officer and his boss if fish escape. 

There were calls for more federal input in this project, due to its implications, and calls for it not to be approved while the provincial Water Act is so close to being re-legislated.

This approval is surprising to some -- to many it reinforces that Prince Edward Island is a banana republic, controllable by those with misguided, shallow principles and absolutely no vision for the land or people.

Minister Mitchell is at rjmitchell@goc.pe.ca
-------------------------
The same folks are now moving to the approval of the next phase of the Cornwall bypass:
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/communities-land-and-environment/cornwall-perimeter-highway-department-transportation
It's not on their website that I can find, but the public meeting is:

Thursday, June 29th,
Cornwall Bypass Environmental Impact Assessment Public Meeting,  7-9PM
, Cornwall Civic Centre, and will be half public presentation, and half walk-around-the-stations.

Taking into account concerns about the highway in Cornwall, this proposal remains an extravagant of land and money solution:

  • a 61 m (200 ft.) wide, 7.8 km long corridor between North River and Clyde River, PEI, beginning just west of the existing intersection in North River;
  • a diamond interchange at the Cornwall Road;
  • three overpass structures (at the Linwood, Bannockburn, and Baltic Roads);
  • a watercourse crossing over the Clyde River;
  • a trumpet interchange where the new highway will join the existing TCH in Clyde River, PEI; and
  • temporary work space development beyond the RoW on properties currently owned by PEI TIE that may be used as borrow pits or laydown areas during construction.

    (from the EIA page)

 And the land price arbitration has not been solved yet for the Hughes Jones Centre, either, to my knowledge.

-----------------------

Today's Global Chorus is by Des Ritchie, president of Queensland Folk Federation in Australia.  Yes to #8 especially today  ;-)

    When we stop the CO2 going into the air we will stop: the Earth warming, the climate changing, the Arctic and Himalayan ice melting, the seas rising, the catastrophe for all species and the present financial crisis. In order to achieve these goals we will have to follow some of the actions carried out in 1939. It is a different war, but a greater emergency. The actions are as follows:

    1. The federal government declares a “State of Emergency.”

     2. Government parties form an “All-Party Cabinet.”

    3. All deniers and skeptics are given two weeks to declare their loyalty to the country or will be interned until the emergency is over.

    4. A carbon tax of $50 per tonne is declared.

    5. All defence forces are required to plant several million trees per year, starting with riparian corridors on rivers and highways. No Wars!!

    6. No more felling forests.

    7. All schools spend one day per week learning how to grow food in school gardens.

    8. No more new highways until emergency is over.

    9. All possible manufacturing is converted to building alternative energies, and access to the patent office is granted to the energy commission.

    10. All coal and coal seam gas to be phased out over five years.

    11. All men and women discouraged from increasing the population. Baby bonuses diverted to alternative energies.

    12. Funds for alternative energies should flow from superannuation funds: we had the best standard of living while creating the problem.

    13. All new houses must have solar panels – mandatory.

    14. All lawns should be growing food or trees – not wasting fuel. These actions may seem draconian to some, but were accepted without delay by the people of Britain, Canada and Australia in 1939. Knowledge of the present conflict was available 30 years ago and still little or nothing is happening. Will we be known as a bunch of wimps by those who may survive?
    — Des Ritchie

June 22, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today:
Farm Centre Market, 4-8PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown.  Produce, locally produced items and entertainment!

Most of today's Citizens' Alliance News is courtesy of some members of the Island's wonderful Reddin family:

Aggie-Rose Reddin, who has worked for years on environmental health issues (and has done wonderful presentations on products that can cause poor health in the home), is also a board member of the Glenaladale Heritage Trust, which is trying to win a pot of money to help with operations and plans at the property.   For your consideration, I am passing on the CBC news story and chance to donate or vote to help Glenaladale Heritage Trust: 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-glenaladale-estate-seeks-votes-national-contest-1.4172380

The Glenaladale Heritage Trust is hoping votes and donations will help it win $30,000 from a national contest. 
The Glenaladale Estate in Tracadie, P.E.I., has been selected as one of 25 participants in the "This Place Matters" crowdfunding competition held by National Trust, the national heritage protection group.
The estate, where Capt. John MacDonald settled with Scots in 1772, is one of nine projects vying for the top prize in the "Small Projects" category, made up of projects with a budget of $60,000 or less.
Board member Mary Bradley says if Glenaladale wins the money they would use it to stabilize and revitalize the 1899 school house for a gateway for visitors coming to the property.
"So when you go (to the contest website) you'll see three pages of entries...Glenaladale is on the second page close to the bottom and then you'll be able to see how many votes we've gotten and how many money has been donated as well." 
People can vote once a day until July 17 and there is also a link for donations. Every dollar donated is counted as one vote. 
Voting is also giving the heritage trust group exposure so others can learn about the historic property.

To donate, or register to vote:
https://thisplacematters.ca/project/stabilization-glenaladale-schoolhouse/
and you can vote once every day.
----------------------------------------------
Ellie Reddin has been a member of Save Our Seas and Shores PEI, and has asked me to share this notice with you:

Please Support Environmental Groups in Their Court Case Against Drilling int the Gulf of St. Lawrence! - Save Our Seas and Shores PEI

Five environmental groups are taking legal action against the reissuance of an exploration licence at Old Harry, located midway between the Magdalen Islands and the western Newfoundland coast.  (Link to the media release here: http://bit.ly/2rny5x5 )

Corridor Resources’ licence was first issued in 2008 with an explicit nine-year cap that prohibits further extensions. The licence should have expired last January. Despite this very clear legal constraint, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (the Board) unlawfully replaced Corridor’s old licence on January 15, 2017. 

Ecojustice lawyers, on behalf of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS/SNAP Québec), Attention FragÎles, Nature Québec, David Suzuki Foundation and Sierra Club Canada Foundation, filed a lawsuit against the Board on May 16, 2017 to protect the Gulf of St Lawrence — home to more than 4,000 species including blue whale, salmon and cod — from unlawful oil exploration.  The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Save Our Seas and Shores PEI (SOSS PEI) supports this legal action and urges all concerned Islanders to contribute by making a tax-deductible donation to Ecojustice and/or the Sierra Club Canada Foundation.  For further information, see https://www.facebook.com/SOSSPEI/ .

Ecojustice is Canada’s largest environmental law charity.  Ecojustice uses the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.  Ecojustice’s team of experts is 100 per cent funded by individuals and organizations. To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit www.ecojustice.ca, call 1-800-926-7744, or mail a cheque to Ecojustice at 390-425 Carrell St., Vancouver B.C., V6B 6E3.  If making a gift to support Ecojustice’s work by phone or cheque, please reference “Old Harry” to let us know that you are interested in this case.

Sierra Club Canada Foundation is a national and grassroots non-profit charitable organization committed to protecting our environment, communities, and future. It is one of the five groups initiating this action through Ecojustice, and has supported Save Our Seas and Shores and protection of the Gulf of St. Lawrence for many years, most recently through the Blue Whale campaign.  To make a tax-deductible donation, go to www.sierraclub.ca phone 1-613-241-4611, or mail a cheque to Sierra Club Canada Foundation National Office, PO Box 2007, STN B, Ottawa On K1P 5W3.  Please designate your donation to support the court case against the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

-------------------------------------
And brother Tony Reddin, Tony the Troubadour, organizes the Bonshaw Ceilidhs each month.  Sunday, June 25th at 7PM at the Bonshaw Hall is the next one, with proceeds from the admission-by-donation going to the charity SpayAid, which helps Islanders afford neutering of their cats and dogs.
Facebook event details.

--------------------------
S
uch a publication, YES! Magazine.
Sarah van Gelder, co-founder and editor-in-chief of YES! Magazine, writes today's Global Chorus essay.

       
I live among Chief Seattle’s people, and one of the things I’ve learned from this experience is humility.
        I say, “I’ve lived here 12 years – longer than I’ve lived anywhere!” And then I come upon an ancient petroglyph or a shell midden, and I remember that my neighbours’ ancestors have lived here for thousands of years.
        I critique our society’s divide between rich and poor. Then I’m invited to a seafood feast followed by an outpouring of gift giving. Ah yes, these people figured out centuries ago that inequality upsets the delicate balances that allow societies to thrive. So instead of gaining status from accumulating stuff, they earn respect by giving it away.
        One of the old stories tells of a time when people and animals were on equal footing, and they were all hungry. They made a wager. Whichever side won a game of chance could eat the other. Humans won, but not by much. There’s humility in that story, too – it could have gone the other way.
        It takes humility to recognize that “progress” isn’t always for the better and that our future relies on learning Nature’s original ideas:

        * Nature works in cycles. Every kind of waste nourishes something else.
        * Nature is a network of relationships capable of generating yet more life and relationships, in unimaginably diverse forms.
        * Nature uses current energy (mostly from the sun), and it doesn’t draw down the principal of the Earth’s largess. It lives off the interest.

        I grew up in a culture that claimed the right to conquer, use up and displace Nature. Human intelligence coupled with technology would take us to a brighter future, we were told.
        Today, as we reach the limits of what life on Earth can tolerate, we need a little less hubris and a little more humility. If we learn from Nature and from our indigenous brothers and sisters, I now believe we’ll have a much better shot at that bright future.7
        — Sarah van Gelder

June 21, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Happy Summer!  It's the longest day of the year, and it's counter-intuitive to think the days are going to get shorter from now until the Winter Solstice.  ;-)


Today is National Aboriginal Day -- here is the
federal government website with lots of information
APTN Aboriginal Day live will be streaming gatherings  (One Big Gathering) from eight cities on this website:
aboriginaldaylive.ca

The Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open from 9AM-2PM

Tonight:
Basic Income Guarantee session -- Charlottetown, 6:30-8:30PM, Murphy Community Centre, free; hosted by John Rix, and MLA Richard Brown.
Facebook event details

And the P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival gets underway tonight, with an all East Coast line-up.

Ellen Jones and her family are in the third day of the arbitration hearing to settle how much the government should be paying to buy out the Jones and allow them to rebuild their horse and people centre in the area.   Monday was the Department of Transportation and the government's land people, yesterday was Ellen Jones' chance to call witnesses, and today may be the final day.
Wrap-up from yesterday's CBC on-line story
----------------------------
LeadNow asked Canadians what they want to see the Leadnow organization focus on, and they got lots of suggestions.  Here are the main two:
Environmental Protection
Electoral Reform
from their website:


----------------------------
Paolo Soleri is the founder of Arcosantt, an "urban laboratory focused on innovative design, community, and environmental accountability."

       
Our responsibilities as habitat makers are great. Eventually every single one of us must respond to his or her conscience: will we be makers or breakers of a sustainable civilization, a coherent ecology on our planet?
        For our architecture to metamorphose into a coherent human ecology, a reformulation is necessary that puts distance between it and our powerfully materialistic present. The unfortunate trend so far – promoted by architects, developers, governments and speculators – has been overwhelmingly in the opposite direction, toward urban sprawl and a “planetary hermitage.” The American dream of giving each person, isolated in his or her home, all that is needed for self-sufficiency feeds a monumental delusion, a direct route to degenerating the human persona and culture, the space and species it controls, the planet itself. The immense consumption of land and resources needed to build the “dream” and keep it running has never before been experienced on this planet.
        My proposal for reformulation: Lean Linear City, a dense and continuous urban ribbon designed to take advantage of the urban effect, regional wind patterns and solar radiation while incorporating an arterial/venous system of parallel roads, cycling pathways, public-transit services and stations for local, regional and transcontinental trains. Leanness here requires recoordinating cultures within and along intense, broad-ranging experiences, only available in true urban conditions. It will be a way to insert our thinking and doing into the historical progression human beings have long been authoring, coherent with the continuous evolutionary tide we are now co-authoring.
        — Paolo Soleri


June 20, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tomorrow:
Wednesday, June 21th,
Basic Income Guarantee session -- Charlottetown, 6:30-8:30PM
, Murphy Community Centre, free.  This is the last of this series of information sessions on a guaranteed income, hosted by Working Group for a Livable Income member John Rix, and MLA Richard Brown.
Facebook event details
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Often, when just about any issue comes up or decision is made, many of us are reminded of this, and the imperative need to move to a more proportional system on both the provincial and federal level.  FairVote Canada sums it up:


More at http://www.fairvote.ca/
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        Roman Dial, from Alaska Pacific University, writes the Global Chorus essay for today.  He is a National Geographic Explorer, with many excursions in remote Alaska.  After he wrote this piece, he lost an adult son, also an explorer, during his son's solo trip in the jungle of Costa Rica. An in-depth magazine story by Damon Tabor is here: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/lost-in-the-jungle-the-search-for-cody-dial-20150206
For the June 20th Global Chorus:

        For 40 years I’ve explored the world, climbing mountains, rafting rivers, skiing glaciers, walking wilderness, even traversing forest canopies. For 20 years I’ve taught university science, researched and published on the environment. During my lifetime, the four billion of us added to the planet have clearly changed our Earth. The scale and pace of that change, exemplified in a dying glacier, the clearing of a childhood wood, the conversion of tropical rainforest to oil palm saddens, even scares me.
        A friend and I once walked 600 untracked miles across Alaska’s Arctic, passing through the point farthest from roads and habitation in all of the USA. During that walk I pondered us humans as an ultimate weed, spreading even to space.
        Weeds are eventually replaced by the less wasteful. The early, exponential growth of natural communities always levels out, unless a physical force wipes it clean. Our population will obey these laws of resource consumption, no matter what the economists and politicians claim.
        While there are too many of us to go extinct, natural selection will yet apply. The Earth for us will be worse than many claim, but better than doomsayers fear. Still, over the next century or so we will be sad, scared, nostalgic and wistful for a world of better views, fewer people, more interesting/more unusual landscapes and life. But there is hope, because our children, weedy or not, will also want to live, and the wanting to live is the best hope of all.
        —Roman Dial

June 19, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some notices and events in the coming weeks:

Today, Monday, June 19th, the Hughes-Jones Centre people go to arbitration with the Province regarding expropriation of their property to make the Cornwall bypass route.
A petition voicing concerns and requesting fair treatment is here.

-----------------------
Wednesday, June 21st -- Saturday, June 24th:
P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival
, various times, locations and pricing.
Facebook event details
Website
Congratulations to Citizens' Alliance Board member Doug Millington, who has been designated this year's "Doug Riley Artist"!

-----------------
Sunday, June 25th:
#HowManyWade Protest
, for better mental health care, 2-4PM, outside Province House.  Facebook event details.

---------------
And it's not too soon to think of October 2017, and events still in the planning stages:
Stop Plan B 5th Year Anniversary -- where has the time gone?  We'll commemorate the movement with an event including a discussion, and some sort of party, of course.

and, from Janet Payne of Kinkora, regarding small schools,
PEI Small Schools Summit

from her Facebook posting regarding this idea:

Small Schools
Janet Payne, Sunday, June 18th, 2017
(edited slightly, bold is mine)

There is a time to FIGHT and a time to CREATE.

From the ashes of the School Review Fiasco of 2017 comes the the Prince Edward Island Small Schools Initiative, inspired by the incredible efforts of our neighbours across the Strait.

For the past nine months, parents and community members have been fighting the Liberal government and PSB (Public Schools Branch) to protect small schools and rural education. While the initial phase of this battle has come to an end, many of us realize that this journey is far from over. What has been born from this school review process is an awareness that we must imagine, create, and demand a much better system.

Yesterday at the Small Schools Summit in Pictou, NS, delegates came from across Atlantic Canada to talk about the value of small schools, the integral relationship between rural communities and education, shared space models that are working well, and challenges with current school governance in both provinces. The NS delegates were cautioned that advisory boards such as the (District Advisory Councils) DAC's in PEI are ineffective because they lack decision-making authority and simply provide the false appearance of parental input. Local decision making relevant to individual families of schools is essential.

Those of us from PEI who attended this Summit left with a renewed sense of energy and vision. While our current government has failed badly in it's attempt to restructure our education system within PEI, it's time for parents and community members to take an active role. The energy that had been spent fighting this government all winter long can now be directed towards something positive, exciting, and meaningful. Rather than working from a defensive stance of saving our schools, we can now use this shared energy to create a vision for education within our communities and our province as a whole.

Thank you- Wade and Doug, Bob and Parker - for being the catalysts necessary for change. Rather than complain about your mismanagement of our education system, parents will now taking a leading role in determining what we need. Our list may include a Rural Education Strategy, a new model of school governance, a thorough Zoning and Transportation Study, and a restructuring of the top-heavy bureaucracy that we call the PSB with more teachers in the classroom and fewer bureaucrats behind desks. Public education simply cannot be delivered by a crown corporation. This is an efficient way to produce widgets, but not an acceptable way to nurture and educate our youngest citizens.

It's time to take the energy of the Rural Strong Movement, the networks and relationships forged between individuals and communities, and the shared expertise and talents demonstrated all across this Island to work together to CREATE something better. Luckily, our small jurisdiction means that this it is absolutely possible.

It is now overwhelmingly obvious that the Liberal government cannot be trusted when it comes to a Rural Education Strategy. Rather than wait for our NEXT government to create something better, let's set the stage and do the ground work on our own.

What our current government has failed to do we will do together.

Looking forward to the PEI Small Schools Summit - October 2017

-------------------------------------

Diane Beresford-Kroeger wrote the June 19th essay for the Global Chorus anthology.  She is a botanist and biomedical researcher, and author of several books including The Sweetness of the Simple Life.  Of Irish descent, she knows lives near Ottawa.  Here is the link to her documentary, The Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees.

        A mountain of my childhood in Ireland was called Dόchus, or hope. And hope alone, braids the entire human family together. In turn, we are just one ply of Nature in a common pattern of language of life.
        In truth, I am the daughter of a noble line. I was inducted into the ancient wisdoms when I became an orphan at a young age. I was given a sacred trust to which I have been faithful.
        Recently, while filming Ten Trees to Save the World, I was invited by Professor Akira Miyawaki to plant trees. It was in Shonan Village of Kanagawa prefecture of Japan. There were hundreds of men, women and children there. We planted broadleaved evergreens to withstand earthquakes and tsunamis.
        It was misting. I wrapped my scarf around my head. I was no beauty with both knees buried in the mud. Akira saw my hands and passed me a pair of snow-white gloves. I gently tapped a laurel sapling out of its pot. The root tip meristems were healthy and ready for a millennium of growth. I oriented the baby, broad-leaved canopy to the sun and told it to grow. I tucked the soil around the roots. Sheaves of rice straw were opened and placed around the young stems. When the planting was finished, I helped to hold the rice ropes criss-cross over the rice mulch to hold the new forest in place. The roots would, now, protect the coastline.
        A Japanese woman stepped up to embrace me. The young followed suit. No award can be greater than this for me. I will now hold this new forest in my heart. I am truly honoured to be asked to do this for Japan. And for you.
        — Diana Beresford-Kroeger

June 18, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Happy Father's Day!

The Ban the Bomb rally in Charlottetown was organized by very caring and visionary individuals, and I am sorry I was unable to attend.  Here is The Guardian on-line story on it:

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/2017/6/17/islanders-urge-united-nations-to-ban-the-bomb.html

-------------------------

An upcoming event:

Tuesday, June 27 and Wednesday, June 28th, various times, UPEI, Engineering Building (School of Sustainable Engineering Design).  From the media release:
On June 27 and 28, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) invites the general public to join the annual gathering of its governing body, the Council of the federal environment ministers of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This year, Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna will host Mexico’s Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Rafael Pacchiano Alamán and US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, the 2017 CEC Council Session will take place in the birthplace of Canadian Confederation: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

The public is encouraged to participate in the following events:

  • Let’s Talk Innovation, an engagement with the registered participants on “Innovation for clean growth in North America” on the afternoon of June 28.
  • Connecting Communities for a #HealthyFuture: An Interactive Exhibit will give the public the opportunity to learn more about the Commission’s work to protect and enhance North America’s environment.
  • A one-day public forum of the CEC Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) will be held prior to the Council Session, on June 27, in which North American coastal, shoreline, and riverbank communities share their innovative local solutions to the environmental challenges they face.

Participation at the 2017 CEC Council Session and Joint Public Advisory Committee forum is open to the public and free of charge. Participants must register in advance by 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 25.
Simultaneous translation to English, French and Spanish is available for in person and online participants.
More details:
http://www.cec.org/news-and-outreach/events/24th-regular-session-cec-council-and-meeting-joint-public-advisory-committee-jpac

-----------------------------------
Former provincial government executive official, musician and commentator Allan Rankin's column in The Graphic newspapers this week
and his blogsite: The Island Heartbeat http://www.theislandheartbeat.com/?p=2154:

The MacLauchlan Government Must Have A Political Death Wish When It Comes To Education - The Island Heartbeat blogsite article by Allan Rankin

Published on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

It almost seems that Premier MacLauchlan has a political death wish when it comes to public education in the province.

The appointment of former western school board superintendent Dale Sabean as a replacement for Pat Mella on the Public Schools Branch Board of Directors, is the most tone deaf, politically stupid, and cynical decision the MacLauchlan government has made to date, and there have been a few.

On the heels of a tumultuous school review process, in which small schools were threatened with closure, based upon the recommendations of a Department of Education report so deficient it could not be defended by department officials at public meetings, Minister Doug Currie has circled the wagons, and appointed yet another educational bureaucrat to his governing board.

That appointment comes as parents and local communities across the Island are demanding a return of elected school boards, and a more effective voice in the education of their children.

The existing multi-layered system of advisory councils and panels is a ruse, buffering and insulating government decision making from the concerns and meaningful input of parents.

Was there not a nurse, fisherman, blueberry grower, car salesman, or God forbid, even a lawyer, qualified to sit on the PSB board and represent the Island community?

How is that the board of Health PEI includes Islanders from various walks of life outside the health profession, but the Public Schools Branch board of directors is a closed shop?

There is a program called Engage PEI, where Islanders interested in serving on a government agency, board, or commission, can apply for a position. When I worked in Executive Council, the list of applicants was long and impressive. Apparently, Currie didn’t consult that list. He heard Sabien was interested, and then offered him the three-year appointment.

Now that’s what I call an open public process.

The wagons have been circled, and the public at large denied participation in the governance of their school system. The three-member board of directors of the PSB now is comprised of the deputy minister of the department, Susan Willis, as chairperson, along with former finance director of the western school board, Harvey MacEwen, and the former western school board superintendent Dale Sabean.

What do you think the chances are of that board considering reforms or changes to the school system that in any way threaten or go against the interests of administrators and the educational establishment?

I would say about as much chance as a tropical breeze at Cavendish beach in January.

This Saturday in Pictou, Nova Scotia, a Small Schools Summit will take place to discuss the future of rural education. It is an opportunity for practitioners, academics, and supporters to explore innovative approaches within the public school system.

Pictou is a short ferry ride across the Strait, and certainly not a major excursion for our Public Schools Branch officials in Charlottetown, although I doubt if any of them will be in attendance. It is supreme irony that the individuals responsible for public education in our province are not interested in learning themselves.

Director Sabean already has shown his willingness to tow the department line, in claiming that government “has added significant resources to staff to fund those schools from tip to tip.” Looking at staffing allocations for the coming 2017 school year, that is simply false, and most rural schools have been allocated fewer resources.

In the spring session of the legislature, Minister Currie made it clear that government will not return governance of the Island school system to parents, and communities, through elected school boards. In adopting that hard-fast position, Premier MacLauchlan has walked away from almost two centuries of Liberal tradition, and made us the only province in Canada that does not have elected boards.

It is a disgrace, and the ceding of total control over public education to a deputy minister, directly accountable to the premier, and two former senior bureaucrats, will carry a political price for a government already out of touch with Islanders and sliding in the polls.

-----------------

Poet Peter Hay writes today's Global Chorus essay:

        Away with breezy optimism. Therein lodges delusion. If the planet is to have a livable future we must acknowledge the enormity of problem(s), the intransigence of resolutions. We must not kid ourselves.
        The planetary systems that sustain the miracle of life are stressed – and we are the stressors. There are “tipping points,” we are told, beyond which remedial action is doomed.
        It may be so.
        We seem unable to modify the rapacity with which we devour the planet’s life-sustaining systems. Instead, we engage in history’s most disastrous manifestation of mass cognitive dissonance: “If science is out of whack with the sacred ‘truths’ of the market, it is the facts, not the ideology, that must be wrong.”
        We seem unable to accommodate the interests of life going about its evolutionary business.  We seem unable to defend the public realm against technological and economic determinism, and the systematic production of democracy-denying disinformation.
        We need a gentle, knowledge-rich, other-regarding way of being that is low in dynamism and throughput.
        It is hopeless. Too big an ask.
        Not so.
        There is another tipping point. It is in the realm of culture, and it can effect change with unpredictable rapidity. It can prise political and economic rigidities open. If anyone had predicted in early 1989 that the Berlin Wall would be breached by year’s end, we’d have laughed. Yet it happened.
        Hope lies in the unknowingness of change. I cannot see a path through our linked planetary crises to that gentler realm. But it is there.
        — Pete Hay

June 17, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open today in Charlottetown (9AM-2PM), Summerside (9AM-1PM), and Cardigan (10AM-2PM).

Ban the Bomb Rally, 2-3PM, Province HouseFacebook event details

Tonight:
"Let Them Eat Cake!" Rock Barra Artists' Retreat Fundraiser, 7-10PM,
Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, Charlottetown.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1354554927960200/

--------------------------
Here is a link to a site by the Friends of Public Service" to encourage Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Public Services Minister Judy Foote to keep the Liberals' election promise to restore door-to-door mail delivery. (In December 2016, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates recommended restoring door-to-door service nationwide in their report.) 

http://www.publicservices.ca/restoredoortodoor

---------------
From Roger Greaves, who used to be the manager of the Charlottetown Farmers' Market:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/2017/6/15/letter--a-fair-slice-of-those-billions.html

LETTER: A fair slice of those billions - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, June 15th, 2017

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies is complaining about government short sightedness in raising the minimum wage. Agriculture and the service sector will be noncompetitive and consequently jobs will be lost. In the long term there is no evidence that the raising of the minimum wage leads to a loss of jobs. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

The fact is, although I am a "free enterprise guy", it’s time for the free market to introduce some values. A living wage. There are lots of economic models out there that achieve this.

The Americans subsidize many sectors of their economy. They tax bank profits, the oil sector, the defense industry, big pharma and other very profitable multi nationals at 35 per cent (Canada`s rate is 17 per cent), and subsidize agriculture or whoever needs help to create a balance across all sectors of the economy and society.

Norway, which has 1/6 of the oil resources we have, kept control of their oil for the people's purse, hired their own experts from the petroleum sector and now have a fund with $1.3 trillion in it. Alberta is in deficit after only a couple of years of low oil prices.

The myth that low wages and low corporate taxes will help more money trickle down are over.

We now live in a world where information is at our fingertips. We know the game. We just need a fair slice of those billions of dollars that just seem to disappear.

Roger Greaves, Stratford

---

A reminder that the Charlottetown location of the information session on a Basic Income Guarantee is next Wednesday, June 21st, at 6:30PM at the Murphy Centre.
------------------------------
Andy Lipkis is the founder of Tree People, an organization which "inspires and supports the people of (Los Angeles) to come together to plant and care for trees, harvest the rain, and renew depleted landscapes. We unite with communities to grow a greener, shadier and more water-secure city at homes, neighborhoods, schools and in the local mountains. We work with volunteer leaders using our unique Citizen Forester model, and we influence government agencies for a healthy, thriving Los Angeles." 
He wrote the essay for June 17th for the anthology, Global Chorus.

       
Humanity absolutely can bring about a world that is safe, healthy, equitable and sustainable. Over the last 42 years I’ve participated in making rapid changes in government agencies, programs and infrastructure systems in Los Angeles. I’ve seen this happen even when elected officials, government bureaucrats and conventional wisdom said that change was impossible or would be insufficient. But in each case a vision was launched outside the politics of division, and people came together and achieved the impossible: planting millions of trees, rescuing thousands of people in extreme weather disasters, achieving unprecedented levels of recycling of waste and conserving of water, and restoring damaged ecosystems.
        I sense that the Earth’s ecosystem has adapted humans to be its healers. Consider the impact if we all deploy the capacities with which we are equipped: compassion, passion, science, creativity, perspective, intuition, global communication and interaction and love. I’ve seen millions of people experience their true joy and power when they work together and devote themselves to helping. They experience that the most selfish thing they can do is what others have said is contrary to basic human nature: they get better, stronger and happier when they co-create with other people.             Humanity has reached the point where we now extract more natural resources each year than the Earth can regenerate without our conscious and active help. The key is for each of us to behave as if we are a manager of the whole ecosystem. We can deliberately choose whether every action we take contributes to planetary health or depletes it, whether we only consume, or whether we rebuild and restore.
        — Andy Lipkis

June 16, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Very good news in hearing that the federal Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (bold is mine):

 "...calls on the government to recognize and protect environmental rights – the right to clean air and water and a healthy and ecologically balanced environment; the obligation of non-discrimination in environmental protection; and procedural rights, including access to information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.
“The Act has now been in place for almost three decades,” noted Committee Chair, Deb Schulte. “It is time to bring it into the 21st century by taking into account new scientific knowledge and evolving concepts in environmental law.”

The Committee made 87 recommendations to the federal government, including prohibiting substances of very high concern unless industry can prove the substances can be used or emitted safely and there are no feasible substitutes; ensuring that vulnerable people are taken into consideration when the government assesses and manages new substances; implementing timelines throughout the Act to oblige action on toxic substances; and facilitating public participation in environmental decision-making and in enforcement of the Act. Some of the recommendations were made by the Committee in 2007.
“Toxic substances are all around us in products we consume or use every day. They pose a threat to our health and to biodiversity,” stated the Chair. “We all need to be better protected, especially vulnerable people and communities.”
Chaired by Deb Schulte, M.P., during the study the Committee comprised: Liberals John Aldag, William Amos, Mike Bossio, Darren Fisher and Mark Gerretsen; Conservatives Jim Eglinski (Vice-Chair), Hon. Ed Fast, Joël Godin, and Martin Shields; and from the New Democratic Party, Linda Duncan (Vice-Chair) and Nathan Cullen.
A copy of the report may be obtained from the Committee’s website.

The above is from this news release:
http://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/ENVI/news-release/9038123
And here is some information from EcoJustice, which has been working very hard on this for several years, and got a boost with the David Suzuki Foundation's Blue Dot Movement in the past couple of years.  From EcoJustice:
https://www.ecojustice.ca/much-celebrate-committee-report-canadian-environmental-protection-act/

It's a ways until this would become federal law, but it's a grand step in the right direction.
---------------
Today:
BioBlitz in the Trout River Natural Area, noon today until noon Saturday
.
More details from NaturePEI's website
along with contact information and a schedule.
------------------------
Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Paula Biggar announced via her private Facebook page yesterday that construction on the replacement of the Riverview Manor is Montague will begin Monday, June 19th.  Other Cabinet Ministers like Allen Roach chose the exact same wording and posted the news, too.  Social media training?
This is good news, but the word "Finally!" is probably on a lot of people's lips.
  -------------------------------
Some things happening tomorrow, Saturday, June 17th:
Cardigan Farmers' Market opens for the season, 10AM-2PM, The Old Train Station, Cardigan.
Facebook page
Eastern PEI and Cardigan website

Rock Barra Artist Retreat Fundraiser, 7-10PM, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, Ch'town.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1354554927960200/
------------------------------------

The Global Chorus essay for June 16th is written by Leila Conners, founder and president of Tree Media Group, writer and director of We the People 2.0, Into Eden and The 11th Hour  About TreeMedia here.

     
   YES: we will prevail because the conditions necessary for our survival already live within us. We know what to do to solve the environmental crisis, we have known for years; the problem is that we haven’t yet found the will to do so. It is in the activation of our will where our salvation lies.
        Much of humanity is currently living in a somnambulant state because we have been raised (since the industrial revolution) to depend on centralized processes and large-scale corporations that create great distances between us and the realities that support our way of life. We have given over the responsibility for much of our lives to forces that make us feel infantile and powerless. It is in this distance and in this lack of responsibility where the destructive forces live.
        So how do we change this? How do we activate our will? To use an old but very important phrase, we “think global and act local.” Keeping in mind the global thought – the need to transition from a
fossil-fuel-based economy to a sustainable economy – we bring it home. We find the sources of pollution that impact our local drinking water, and clean it up; we heal our soil, we eliminate sources of air pollution. We start growing more food locally and making other goods locally. We support alternative energy, building and transportation technologies. We delink from the larger processes. And in sum, by waking up to the world closest to you, and taking responsibility for it, the will is activated and your caring about the world has palpable results. This is so because you don’t have to wait for any larger force to make this change, you just have to work with your neighbours and the results are clearly visible. We become dynamic, we shift demand, create new supply chains and thus create new, sustainable economies and models for a future that can support us all.
        Millions of people fixing their local communities will make it right and make the destructive forces obsolete.
        — Leila Conners

June 15, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This afternoon, June 15th:
Grand Opening Farm Centre Market, 4-8PM,
Farm Centre, University Avenue.
All welcome to shop in a new Market venture, with food and entertainment.
Facebook event details

Tonight:
Wind Energy Farm possibility public meeting -- Kings County, 7PM, 
Eastern Kings Community Centre, 85 Munns Road, Elmira. All welcome.
More information from the government press release:
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/news/public-meeting-discuss-wind-farm-expansion

--------------
Sunday, June 17th:
Ban the Bomb Rally, 2-3PM,
Province House. from the event details:

The Island Peace Committee will act in solidarity with the women’s march to ban the bomb taking place at the United Nations.
A Peace Rally will take place at Province House at 2pm on Saturday, June 17th. All peace loving people from around the world want to live without nuclear weapons.
Spokesperson from Island Peace Committee states "Humanity has the right to live with dignity, free from the fear and threat of nuclear annihilation.
Our governments have a duty to serve the best interests of all people, rather than investing in weapons of mass destruction that can only result in death, poverty and war."
For more information - call 902 368-7337  Facebook event details
-------------------------------

Wednesday, June 21st:
Final BIG income seminar, Charlottetown, 6:30PM,
Murphy Centre, with facilitators Marcia Carroll and Laurel Smyth of the Working Group for a Livable Wage. Remarks by MLA Richard Brown.
---------------------------
At the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) information session last night in Bonshaw, the participants discuss what it is and isn't, got some basic principles about it, discussed those and ways the idea could move forward, both in helping the public understand it, and urging politicians to move it forward. 
The Motion (No. 83 Universal Basic Income) passed in the P.E.I. Legislature this spring, introduced by Peter Bevan-Baker and passed unanimously, was for the P.E.I. government to urge the Federal government to make the province of P.E.I. a pilot project for a BIG program. 
Ann Wheatley moderated and Trish Altass (both members of the Working Group for a Livable Wage) presented.  District 17 MLA and Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker hosted and Richard Brown was there for more of it.
It was *very* informative and interactive -- whether you know a lot about the subject or very little, it was a good event.
The final one of this series is next week in Charlottetown (see above).
---------------------------------
Today's essay from Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, edited by Todd E. MacLean, is by independent journalist Will Potter, author of Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege

        I have been struggling to write something about hope and perseverance in this space, because today, like many days, the weight of the challenge ahead of us makes me feel quite dark.
        It strikes me, though, that the greatest danger of that darkness is that we always convince ourselves that it is unique to us and we are experiencing it alone.
        Far from it.
        Whatever doubts and despair you may feel as you read these passages and engage with the state of our culture and our planet, know this: you are not the only one feeling it. I am here. So are millions
more. I say this not so we can take solace in each other’s despair, but because I think there is an untapped power in coming together and acknowledging that we are all, to varying degrees, stumbling along in this fight against dark days.
        Our path forward must involve a concrete response to unsustainable lifestyles and an economic system driven by greed – for together they have created a culture of death. In order to do that, we are going to have to remind ourselves and each other of something whenever we feel that darkness begin to creep: we are not alone.
        — Will Potter

June 14, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market Wednesday Opening for the Summer, 9AM-2PM,
Belvedere Avenue.  Though the variety of vegetables won't be as impressive as it will be in a month or two, and some vendors opt out of Wednesdays until later in the season, it is a grand place to get a few things, have a terrific lunch, and be able to wander around without quite so much commotion as there is during summer Saturdays.

Tonight:
Basic Income Guarantee information sessions, 6:30PM
,
Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road (off the TCH), with MLA Peter Bevan-Baker and Trish Altass from the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income
Facebook event details
 AND
Mount Stewart Fire Hall, 6:30PM,  with MLA Sidney MacEwen and Jane Ledwell and Michelle Jay from the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income.
Facebook event details

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 15th:
Opening evening of Farm Centre/Pop Up Farmers' Market, 4-8PM
, Charlottetown Farm Centre.

Public Meeting to Discuss Wind Farm Expansion, 7PM, Eastern Kings Community Centre, all welcome.  from the e-mail update:

The 2016/17 Provincial Energy Strategy called for two more wind farms to be developed in the province, a 30-megawatt wind farm in 2019 and a 40-megawatt farm in 2025.  As a first step toward meeting the 2019 goal, PEI Energy Corporation will be holding a public meeting in Eastern Kings this week.

For more information, please see the Government of PEI news release 08 June 2017: Public meeting to discuss wind farm expansion or visit the PEI Energy Corporation website: www.peiec.ca

---------------------
I was able to go to the Important Announcement last night, which of course was that James Aylward, MLA for District 6: Stratford-Kinlock, is running for the leadership of the PEI Progressive Conservative party.  Several people spoke first, citing aspects of his hard work up to now.  His theme is "Principled, Proven, Progressive."
Several people were hailed for their contributions (Rob Lantz, former leader, for instance) but no shout-out of thanks was given to the fellow who was doing the thankless job of interim Party Leader, Jamie Fox.  The PC Caucus (except Matt MacKay, who is attending to family with his wife giving birth to twins this weekend, and Sidney MacEwen) were there, including declared leadership candidate Brad Trivers.  (Brad has a website, here. and had updated it about his leadership; James needs to follow suit.)  The election is in

Aylward said if elected leader and if his Party formed government, he *would* #honour-the-vote from the Fall Plebiscite, and change rules so Parties would not accept corporate or union donations; he is starting his campaign yesterday by not accepting those donations.
------------------------------------
A very good opinion piece in yesterday's Guardian; bold is mine:

JUDY & JOE GRANT: A mental health crisis - The Guardian Opinion piece by Judy and Joe Grant

The problem on P.E.I. is political; the issue is grossly underfunded

Published on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

We are writing in response to the Guardian's editorial of Wednesday, May 24, 2017 and other previous and subsequent related articles.When we realized the extent of the mental health crisis/situation on our loved, adopted province, we contacted our recently retired, life long friend, Dr. Richard Hibbard of Alberta. He has had a long and distinguished medical career - first as a pharmacist, then a family physician, and finally as a psychiatrist, researcher, writer, speaker, and chief psychiatrist in the Edmonton region.

In response to our request that he consider adding his expertise and talent to help out in P.E.I., he emailed the following:

"Much as I appreciate the vote of confidence and the invitation, I would have to say that the problem is political. Mental health is grossly underfunded; then the P.E.I. government turns around and diverts money from mental health. All governments do it, and that is the scandal in mental health care.
“Individual psychiatrists can do very little to alleviate the crisis without adequate funding for mental health services, and are at great risk of burnout given the pressures and meagre resources.

“P.E.I. residents need to pressure their government to create a mental health care system that creates an incentive for psychiatrists to relocate on the Island. I encourage activism.

“The government has a moral and ethical duty to provide funding and leadership to enhance mental health services. Individual psychiatrists can have little impact if there isn't a team to work with, and without a team, individual psychiatrists will burn out and leave. Even if I were 20 years younger, I would be hesitant to move to a place where I had to work in isolation. Mental health team structure is essential: build it and they (psychiatrists) will come."

Lastly, Dr. Hibbard mentions two systems that work:

"There is ‘The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (APT)’ in Britain. Their mental health system was completely revamped, which is what Canada needs to do. Australia has also revamped its mental health care system with good results."

We cannot imagine the level of frustration and stress Dr. Heather Keizer as chief mental health and addictions officer and the other front line mental health professionals must be experiencing, being hamstrung by a lack of sufficient staff and political and financial support. We, as three more voices, truly hope that Dr. Keizer and other courageous, highly qualified and dedicated front line workers can stay working on P.E.I.

However, my husband and I have seen the results of grass roots politics (for example, the ongoing school reorganization and shutdown issues) in action on this beautiful island that punches above its weight. We have hope.

- Judy and Joe Grant live in Hunter River. They have a keen interest in mental health issues

---------------------------------------

Professor David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey writes the essay for today's Global Chorus.

        The geological and climate record of planet Earth holds much evidence that the Earth System and the life it supports interact in ways that are unfathomably complex and sensitive, but are, at the same time, flexible and robust.
        Only a few thousand years ago, tiny changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around our sun caused the ice that covered much of the land surface to melt into the oceans. Earth’s climate changed dramatically, but most plants and animals simply moved around and found new places to survive.
        Since I first visited the Antarctic Peninsula in 1985, I have seen for myself the effects of climate change in one of the most rapidly warming parts of the planet. Ice shelves the size of small countries, which existed for thousands of years, have collapsed; and hundreds of glaciers have retreated and thinned. This first-hand experience, together with the accumulated mass of scientific evidence
pointing to change across the planet, has convinced me that the cumulative effect of everything we do in our day-to-day lives today, especially in the developed world, is altering our planet at a fundamental level.
        Quite soon those changes will be evident to all, and eventually many parts of the planet will change in ways we can only begin to predict. But in a strange and wonderful universe, the most boundless thing we have yet observed is the scope of the human mind, the strongest is the human spirit, and the most hopeful, the sound of our children learning what we do not yet know.
        I am optimistic that as a species we will eventually find ways to repair our damaged planet, and build ourselves a truly sustainable future. But building that future will take time and many brave choices: if we are not brave enough to begin, let’s raise children who are.
        — David Vaughan

June 13, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
James Aylward's Important Announcement,
reception 6:30, announcement at 7PM, Florence Simmons Hall at Holland College (140 Weymouth Street), all welcome to hear the District 6 PC MLA's future plans.
Facebook event details

Bat lecture by Jordi Segers of the Canadian Wildlife Coorperative, 7PM, Atlantic Veterinary College, Room 286A/287, free.  Bats are much less complicated that the room-naming system at AVC.  All welcome!
AVC webpage with more information

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 14th:
Basic Income Guarantee information sessions, 6:30PM
,
Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road (off the TCH), with MLA Peter Bevan-Baker and Trish Altass from the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income
Facebook event details
 AND
Mount Stewart Fire Hall, 6:30PM,  with MLA Sidney MacEwen and Jane Ledwell and Michelle Jay from the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income.
Facebook event details
----------------------------
Today's Global Chorus is by Sylvia Earle, who is a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, and the founder of Mission Blue, "which inspires action to explore and protect the ocean."

        Consider this: for humankind this is the “sweet spot” in history, and people alive today are the luckiest ever to exist.
        Never before have we had the critical level of knowledge needed to see Earth as a miraculous blue speck in a universe inhospitable to the likes of us, or to understand that our prosperity is pushing the limits of the natural systems that sustain us. In a few centuries we have burned through more natural assets than all who preceded us, and the pace is picking up.
        Never again will there be a better time to take action to reverse the sharp decline in the nature of air, water and the fabric of life upon which our lives depend. Half the coral reefs are still in pretty good shape, ice still graces polar regions, there are still
sharks, whales, tunas and turtles in the sea. We can still breathe.
        Half a century ago it was too soon to act. Not enough was known about our ability to change the nature of Nature. Half a century from now, it will be too late to seize options now open. There is time, but not a lot, to reverse the dangerous trends set in motion by our predecessors and continuing today.
        Lucky us – now we know. Making peace with Nature is not a luxury, it is essential for the survival of everything we care about.
        Even luckier will be those who follow, if our knowing leads to caring, and caring inspires actions to secure an enduring place for humankind within the living systems that make our lives possible.
        — Sylvia Earle

June 12, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
Voluntary Resource Council Potluck and AGM, 5-7PM
, Central Christian Church, 217 Kent Street, Charlottetown.
"The VRC is having our annual general meeting this Monday! If you're wondering what we do or how we operate, if you have any questions or comments, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Engage with our board members to let us better serve the community around us.
In addition, this meeting is also a potluck supper! If you'd like to participate in the supper, please bring food to share. The supper will kick off our evening, and the meeting itself will begin at 5:30.
All people are welcome and we hope to see you there."
Facebook event details

----------------------------------------
The provincial climate change strategy has been being worked on in specific parts by Todd Dupuis and the team in the Climate Change Secretariat's office, as I understand it.  One has been the Mitigation part -- dealing with cutting green house gas emissions, which should fit in with the Island's Energy Strategy which was release a few months ago and being worked on by the same Dunsky Consulting group.  The second Climate Change part is the Adaptation, or dealing with the real effects coming out way, both the people, their structures, and the natural life on the Island. from their ad on social media:

Islanders - we want to know what you have to say. Your input is important to the next phase of the PEI strategy to address the effects of climate change.
• How important is climate change adaptation?
• What roles should businesses, property owners, the public, and the different levels of government play in climate change adaptation?
• How do you recommend each of the sectors adapt to climate change?
• How should climate change adaptation work be prioritized?

The Prince Edward Island Climate Change Adaptation: Public Input Document is available for public comment at
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/climate-change-adaptation-strategy-public-consultation
until June 30.

The link reviews the processes and has another link to an 11-page document from the UPEI Climate Lab, with some background, statements regarding climate change, challenges and opportunities climate change will bring to various sectors of P.E.I. life, and encourages input (both as individuals and as part of sector consultations, which people or organizations can participate in by e-mailing climate@upei.ca). 

Timeline-- from the document:


screenshot from page 9 of  https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/adaptation_public_input_document.pdf

General public comments are invited on-line until the end of June.
There does not appear to be any public meetings to solicit input, nor "adaptation" for people not on-line.   But I am sure comments could be mailed to:

Climate Lab
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University Avenue
Charlottetown, PEI  C1A 4P3

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The June 12th Global Chorus essay is by former Peruvian Minister of the Environment, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal.  Mr. Pulgar-Vidal is now head of climate chief for the WWF (known as the World Wildlife Fund in Canada and the U.S., and the World Wide Fund for Nature everywhere else). 

        I am an optimist by nature, and I have devoted my life to working for the environment and for natural resources issues, from the civil society perspective, always with an intention to improve public policies. In 2011, when I was appointed Minister of the Environment of Peru, I found myself at the other side of the table. One of the most notable challenges thus far as minister has been the creation of a national agency for environmental certification. With Peru’s growing economy, and thus growing economic activities, the efficient management of the impacts of these activities on the environment is crucial for the long-term quality and quantity of resources. On a positive note, however, the recent green economic developments, focused on an efficient use of resources with decreased carbon output, should ensure growth in a sustainable fashion. These strategies develop economic and environmental policies that incentivize green projects and green economic activities. It is my belief that countries such as Peru, with strong economic fundamentals, are in a position to use institutional and operative frameworks to build solid pathways to transformational change, introducing environmentally sound considerations to our current public policies.
        Mankind assumes challenges and produces changes, especially when facing crises that generate the need to explore new grounds, to find new answers. Climate change, population growth, climatic events, ecosystems degradation, loss of species and resources, scarcity, inequality and inequity, poverty and war should make us aware of that need; but sometimes we seem unaware. Inadequate leadership is assumed on the actions necessary to take to combat climate change; bad practices that generate biodiversity loss are not confronted with courage; and we still think in terms of territorial or individual interests instead of as a community, as humanity. Should this lead us to pessimism? No. Nature will continue to demand action from us, our survival instinct will guide us to take the lead, and our sense of responsibility will cause us to think of the future generations that we must be keeping in mind, for they will inherit the consequences of our actions and omissions.
        — Manuel Pulgar-Vidal

June 11, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today:
Bob Bancroft at Macphail Woods
Ecological Centre at 2PM.
Facebook event details.

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Clarification:
James Aylward's Announcement is Tuesday, June 13th
(not Monday) at Holland College's Florence Simmons Hall, reception at 6:30PM with things getting underway at 7PM.  Facebook event details.

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Russel Wangersky's recent column in The Guardian was brought to my attention.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/columnists/2017/6/9/russell-wangersky--taking-comfort-in-denying-climate-change.html

Russell Wangersky: Taking comfort in denying climate change - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky

Published on Friday, June 9th, 2017

One story? That there’s a shortage of small lobsters in the Gulf of Maine, and that means big trouble in upcoming years.

The cause? Either reductions in the abundance of copepods the small lobsters eat, or an increase in predators, both potentially due to ocean temperature changes.

“It isn’t encouraging. You’ve got to find out what’s causing it if we’re losing baby lobsters,” David Cousens, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, told the Associated Press.

Lobster fisheries to the south of Maine have already slowed, as water warms: “(We) need to do as much as we can to slow down global warming. That is critical to our existence,” Cousens says.

The next story? That, as CO2 levels in the upper atmosphere continue to increase, air travel is likely to become more and more uncomfortable as something called extreme clear-air turbulence increases. The Independent looked at a study in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, which predicted that “doubling CO2 levels will increase light turbulence by 59 per cent, light-to-moderate turbulence by 75 per cent, moderate turbulence by 94 per cent, moderate-to-severe turbulence by 127 per cent, and severe turbulence by 149 per cent.”

Ouch — literally.

A sheet of ice the size of Delaware is about to break off of Antarctica — and the list of clearly measurable effects goes on, from elevations in CO2 levels to increasing ocean temperatures.

Meanwhile, Toronto Island is virtually underwater, with Lake Ontario some 32 inches higher than its average level, and there’s been massive flooding along parts of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers — situations that climate scientists say we should expect more of as the direction and force of the high-altitude jet stream changes and weather systems both intensify and stay in place for longer. Exactly — exactly — what was predicted more than a decade ago, and summarily dismissed by the comfortable.

Why?

I have a theory about that, though it’s less than scientific: too many comfortable, well-off old men are in charge.

Find a climate-change denier, and you’re often likely to find someone who’s happy with the way things are, thank you very much.

They don’t want anything to interfere with the profitability of their investments, the availability of their creature comforts or the size of their cars. If they are in government, they don’t want to make the kind of hard decision that could get them turfed from their comfortable jobs.

They’re also old enough that the prediction of a dramatic sea level rise some 30 years from now is an ineffective way of raising concern — because, whether it happens or not, they’ll be dead already anyway.

Famines in drought-stricken areas are far away and do little to affect the cost of single scotch or a nice restaurant meal, and denial is more comfortable — and personally cheaper — than action. Look no further than the U.S. and the narcissist-in-chief — the entire direction of one of the most powerful nations in the world is being set according to the personal lens of someone who can’t see past the end of his own ego.

Like I said, there’s no science to what I’m suggesting.

But think of it this way: who is the most concerned about crime? Well, the people with the most stuff to lose. Why do you think law-and-order, tough-on-crime conservative voters trend towards being older? Well, because they have the most equity.

And so it is, I’d suggest, with the pricy but rumpled suits and long ties of the climate-change deniers.

It’s in their own interests to continue denying that global warming exists.

Comfortable old men, shaking their fists at the clouds — and forgetting that the clouds always win.

The one consolation? They won’t always be at the levers of government. Let’s hope it’s not too late by then.

Russell Wangersky’s column appears in 30 SaltWire newspapers and websites in Atlantic Canada. He can be reached at rwanger@thetelegram.com — Twitter: @wangersky.

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Today's Global Chorus is by Ravi Ravinra,   author and spiritual lecturer.  Thought-provoking.

      
  We may not be able to find a way past the current global crises, but a way may be found through us if we are willing and able to be instruments of subtler levels of energy which permeate the entire universe.
        If we contemplate the universe and the extremely intricate laws which govern the appearance and disappearance of galaxies as well as the emergence of the butterfly from a cocoon, it is difficult to persuade oneself that human beings are in control and are at the top of the spectrum of consciousness or intelligence. How can we not feel the sentiment expressed by Albert Einstein when he speaks of his “rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection”?
        It is the unanimous testimony of all the sages in the history of humanity that the entire universe is pervaded by subtle and conscious energies – variously labelled as the “Holy Spirit,” or the “Buddha Mind,” or “Allah” or the “Tao.” All spiritual traditions say that without the subtle and conscious energies of Brahman (or God or the Eternal) nothing can be done, but without human beings nothing will be done. We need to do our part as instruments of the all-pervasive Intelligence. In our individual or collective hubris we forget the obvious – that we do not know all there is to know, and that neither the physical nor the spiritual universe is centred on any individual or on humanity or on the Earth. We need to search for our contribution to the continuing unfolding of the Mystery, not so much from ignorance but from innocence, open to unexpected voices and solutions.
        Ahimsa, usually understood as non-violence or physical non-harming, is in fact closer to non-violation, non-imposition or non-manipulation. Ahimsa is the essential principle of all true ecology. Finding our place and playing our part, making room for and caring for other human beings, for all creatures and for the planet naturally follows from this.
        — Ravi Ravindra

June 10, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open today in Summerside and Charlottetown.  More are opening later this week (Thursday at the Farm Centre, for instance).

Today:
BioBlitz
at the PEI National Park at the Dalvay area is still going on until noon, more details here:
http://pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/pe/pei-ipe/activ/activ-menu/evenements-events/bioblitz

Tomorrow:
Talk: Nature-Friendly Forest Management with Bob-Bancroft, 2PM
, Macphail Woods Ecological Centre, free
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Regarding the Spring Sitting of the Legislature, when all Opposition Parties called for a child advocate, as opposed to a children's lawyer that the MacLauchlan government hired and sent much government communications about -- 
This article in today's paper and on-line is with someone who knows that "child advocate" means "a voice to children", not a government lawyer for representation in specific court situations.  He certainly gives voice to the concerns that many of us were raising about how the position was being framed.  Bold is mine:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/2017/6/9/p-e-i--government-misrepresenting-role-of-child-advocate--unicef.html

P.E.I. government misrepresenting role of child advocate: UNICEF advisor - The Guardian article by Teresa Wright

Published in today's print Guardian

UNICEF Canada’s chief policy advisor is adding his voice to the ongoing calls for Prince Edward Island to appoint a child advocate for the province.

Marvin Bernstein was in P.E.I. this week, meeting with various officials to provide information and expertise on why he believes a child advocacy office is needed in P.E.I.  Bernstein says UNICEF has been actively advocating for P.E.I. to implement a child advocacy office, as it is the only province in Canada without one.

A child advocate would protect the human rights of children under the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, Bernstein said.  “Part of the mission for UNICEF is that no child should be left behind, and part of the concern here is that we don’t think children in Prince Edward Island should be short-changed,” he told The Guardian.  “They shouldn’t have to be disadvantaged and denied an opportunity to access advocacy services that exist in every other province in Canada.”

Bernstein says he has been following media coverage of the issue in P.E.I. and has been surprised by some of the government’s response.  He pointed specifically to a package of information tabled by Premier Wade MacLauchlan in the legislature this spring, which includes some broad analysis of services offered in other jurisdictions and the costs.

The material also includes a definition of a child advocates as “an administrative, bureaucratic position similar to an ombudsman.”

“An advocate is anything but a bureaucrat, you don’t report to government, you act proactively and you can direct your own agenda,” Bernstein said.

As Saskatchewan’s former children’s advocate, Bernstein was involved in individual investigations involving children, but these could sometimes lead to a more system-wide review if he identified trends in the concerns being brought to his office.

In 2009, for example, he dealt with a number of individual cases involving overcrowded foster homes in Saskatchewan. This led him to delve deeper into the issue and, after a province-wide investigation, he released a scathing report that outlined major concerns related to children in foster homes, including an extensive, 20-year history of allegations of abuse and mistreatment of children in foster homes. This led to a number of key improvements to the child welfare system in Saskatchewan.

Calls for a child advocate for Prince Edward Island have been ongoing for the last two years, but MacLauchlan has remained firm that beefing up existing front-line services for families and adding a child lawyer, parenting co-ordination services and conflict resolution measures to the mix are better ways to address service gaps for vulnerable children in P.E.I.

Bernstein says he supports these initiatives as ways to improve P.E.I.’s child welfare system, but he noted none of those roles are independent of government, and that a children’s lawyer is only focused on the legal interests of a child in a particular court proceeding.

“All of those are important initiatives. But I think the fundamental point I would make is they are not a substitute for establishing an office of a child advocate,” he said, noting an advocate has investigative powers, the power of subpoena and can make recommendations to government for necessary changes.  “Part of the role of the children’s advocate is to be an amplifier of the child’s voice to be able to say, ‘This is what I’m hearing, this is what I believe young people are experiencing.’ ”

But despite his many years of experience in advocacy and in the child welfare field, Bernstein was not able to secure a meeting with MacLauchlan this week. Similarly Family and Human Services Minister Tina also declined to speak with him when he reached out to her by telephone last fall.

He did meet with some senior government officials, but noted the reception he received from them was far less enthusiastic than from the Opposition MLAs he also met with this week.  “It was very cordial, and they were certainly listening and taking down information, but no commitment, no sense that this was necessarily going to be taking a particular direction, that things had shifted, that they had an open mind.”

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Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation household products, and a "leading authority on corporate responsibility", writes a rather bleak Global Chorus essay for June 10th.

       
We absolutely have the ability to solve our current global environmental, social and economic crises. For me the question is, do we have the will? The challenge is not about technology but about consciousness, values and priorities. Me vs. We. Quantity vs. Quality.
        With two million NGOs working to save the world, the challenge is to co-operate rather than compete. Each one thinks that their issue is the most important issue. They compete for resources and attention. Together they could make rapid progress. Alone they will all fail.
        Pension funds, foundations, not-for-profits, educational institutions, credit unions and other socially and financially responsible entities control huge financial resources. They don’t use their leverage, let alone co-operate with each other to insist on change. They could. It’s about will and commitment.
        Our system is broken. We are headed at 90 miles an hour into a brick wall. So far, all we do is tap gently on the brakes and celebrate as our speed slows temporarily down to 89. The brakes work.
        We can stop the car and change direction. The question is, will we? The alternative is ugly. Likely billions of casualties as we let disaster and pain force a change in consciousness.
        — Jeffrey Hollender

June 9, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today to tomorrow:
BioBlitz in the P.E.I. National Park, 12noon to 12noon Saturday,
starting at Dalvay National Park.
"A BioBlitz is a combination of two words: “bio” meaning life and “blitz” meaning to do something very quickly. In a BioBlitz, experts and the public work together to identify as many species as possible within a given amount of time. This informative, hands-on event in PEI National Park will run for 24 hours." 
But you don't have to go for the whole time.  Schedule and more information here:
http://pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/pe/pei-ipe/activ/activ-menu/evenements-events/bioblitz

Tonight:
Potluck Social and Peter Bevan-Baker's Leader's Address, 5:30PM-10PM,
Emerald Community Centre, 1910 Nodd Road.
"Please join us in Emerald on Friday, June 9th for a potluck and social event on the eve of the Green Party of PEI's weekend Spring Conference. This event is open to all - no need to be registered in the conference or be a Green Party member!  Please arrive at 5:30pm with a small dish to share."
Facebook event details
Green Party of PEI's Spring Conference information
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And another BioBlitz next weekend:
Friday, June 16th to Saturday, June 17th:
BioBlitz in Trout River Natural Area
, with NaturePEI's Rosemary Curley
http://bioblitzcanada.ca/events_community-pei.aspx

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World Oceans Day was a few days earlier, and if you are interested in contacting politicians to remind them to protect more of the ocean ecosystem, see the David Suzuki Foundation information page, here.
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The Global Chorus essay for today is written by Beth Doane, author, founder of Rain Tees. from the website: "Raintees founder Beth Doane was running a fashion company in 2007 when she first witnessed the human rights abuses and environmental pollution occurring in the industry. Beth had a vision that fashion could be made ethically while making a difference and she designed every Raintee to give back."
 

       
There is no doubt that the human race is now facing our greatest challenge. We have driven our planet into a state of such immense turmoil that our own survival is jeopardized.
        I have witnessed the disappearance of endangered species, the mass contamination of our oceans and rivers and the severe weather patterns that have resulted in extreme loss of life on every continent on Earth. It’s heartbreaking, and the question is, is it too late to make a difference?
        For me, the answer is that it’s never too late. Miraculous outcomes to seemingly impossible situations occur every day. There is nothing stronger than the human spirit and change is always possible despite the enormity of the odds we face. However, if we are going to save our home before it’s too late we will have to work together and truly understand the gravity of the situation we face in order to take the necessary action. If we can see just how connected we really are to each other and our Earth and remember all the wisdom we have forgotten through centuries of abuse of our planet and each other, we can indeed overcome the issues we have created, and do so very quickly.
        The Earth can heal itself remarkably well when we stop the devastating harm we are doing, but it’s up to us to end the trauma we have caused and remind each other, as the Native Americans so wisely stated, that we don’t have to wait for the last river to be poisoned, the last fish to be caught and the last tree to be cut down to realize that we cannot eat money.
        — Beth Doane

June 8, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today, celebrating World Ocean's Day:
Thursday, June 8th:
Movie: Sonic Seas, with discussion afterward, 7PM
, Holland College Room 21C, free but donations accepted to Save Our Seas and Shores P.E.I.  Dr. Lindy Weilgart will be around later to discuss the movie's themes.
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Friday, June 9th:
Potluck Social and address by Peter Bevan-Baker, 5:30PM-10PM
, Emerald Community Centre, 1910 Nodd Road, Emerald. Open to all; part of the Green Party of PEI Spring Conference running this weekend.
Facebook Event details for Friday evening
More information about the 2017 Green party Spring Conference:
http://www.greenparty.pe.ca/2017springconference

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Monday, June 13th:
James Aylward's Important Announcement, 6:30-8PM,
Florence Simmonds Hall at Holland College, free and all welcome.  The hard-working Stratford-Kinlock MLA....Provincial Progressive Conservative leadership race...?
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Looking for a good strong leader for the PCs is mentioned by Don Wilson in his letter below, as part of a yes-we-can get electoral reform moving now, keeping in mind many that minority governments can work very effectively for most of the citizens most of the time:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/6/7/don-wilson--time-to-get-serious-with-electoral-reform.html

DON WILSON: Time to get serious with electoral reform - The Guardian Opinion piece by Don Wilson

PR would likely result in never having another majority government on P.E.I.

Published on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Surely we’ve about had it. Voters on P.E.I. expressed their desire for a system of Proportional Representation, and we all know very well what happened to that.

And we know why it happened; the old line parties don’t like it. Even after they campaigned on the idea. Why is that? Well, it’s actually quite simple. And so is the solution.

We have a lot of really good people elected to represent us in the legislature. Really. And during an election, these people listen carefully to the electorate, determine what we want, and promise to provide it. And they even mean it. 

But then they find themselves elected and, under our present system, they’re no longer able to listen to their constituents. They listen to the leaders of their parties. In particular, to the leader of the governing party; in our case, the premier. That’s because he or she has the power to affect the pay, the perks, and the influence of those people on the government side of the House, who have had to stop listening to us.

You can’t really blame these good people. They know they can get more accomplished personally if the Premier (and the back room hacks) smile on their co-operation. That’s the way the system works.

We can stop it. Between now and the next election. If we get right at it right away. First, we have to hope the Conservatives can choose a good, strong leader - to make his or her party strong enough to take seats from the Liberals. Ideally, to take enough seats so that the two old line parties are equally represented in the legislature. 

And those of us who support neither of the old-line parties manage to elect enough Green members to support Peter Bevan-Baker in holding the balance of power between the Liberals and Conservatives. 

Probably just five or six seats would do it, and it wouldn’t matter who turns out to be leader of the party allowed to govern; the power over his or her trained seals would be gone. And at least some of those former seals would suddenly remember the promise they made. And the Green members would help them to keep those promises.

Because one of those promises would result in proportional representation, we would not likely ever have another majority government on Prince Edward Island.   

That’s not a problem, that’s the solution.

So, let’s get to work.

- Don Wilson, Charlottetown, comments occasionally on social issues

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The Global Chorus essay for today is written by Michael Dowd,  an "evolutionary theologian" and bestselling author of Thank God for Evolution
 
        Yes, we have hope, and yes, we can do it. What will it take?

        1. We must be committed. Whether we speak about it in religious or secular terms, we must be committed to growing in right relationship to reality and helping our friends, family and elected officials do the same. This becomes easier when we see the Great Work of ensuring a just and healthy future as our call to greatness. When we are committed to doing whatever it takes to co-create a thriving future for humanity and the larger body of life, our priorities become clear. We are filled with passion and purpose. Our lives become meaningful beyond measure.

        2. We must tax carbon. This is the most important systemic change [that] needs to be made. James [Hansen] refers to it as “fee and dividend” and “putting an honest price on carbon”  (See, e.g., citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-fee-and-dividend-faq).

        3. We must honour Nature. We must respect the integrity, stability and beauty of the life community as our fundamental moral responsibility. If we continue to see Nature as an “it” to be exploited rather than a “thou” to be related to, we condemn future generations to hell and high water. In the inimitable words of Thomas Berry:

"The world we live in is an honorable world. To refuse this deepest instinct of our being, to deny honor where honor is due, to withdraw reverence from divine manifestation, is to place ourselves on a head-on collision course with the ultimate forces of the Universe. This question of honor must be dealt with before any other question. We miss both the intrinsic nature and the magnitude of the issue if we place our response to the present crises of our planet on any other basis. It is not ultimately a political or economic or scientific or psychological issue. It is ultimately a question of honor. Only the sense of the violated honor of Earth and the need to restore this honor can evoke the understanding as well as the energy needed to carry out the renewal of the planet in any effective manner."

Michael Dowd

June 7, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 8th:
Movie: Sonic Seas, with discussion afterward, 7PM
, Holland College Room 21C, free but donations accepted for Save Our Seas and Shores P.E.I.  Dr. Lindy Weilgart will be around later to discuss the movie's themes.

Sunday, June 11th,
Bob Bancroft speaks on Nature-Friendly Forest Management, 2-4PM
, Macphail Woods Ecological Centre, Orwell, free; plan to get there early for a good seat -- Bob is a legend.
Facebook event details
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And more on AquaBounty:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/6/5/flying-a-corporate-trial-balloon.html

SCOTT ROLOSON: Flying a corporate trial balloon - The Guardian Opinion piece by Scott Roloson

 A closer look at AquaBounty’s plans for GM salmon at Rollo Bay

Published on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

The proposal by AquaBounty Technologies to grow genetically modified (GM) salmon at an old hatchery in Rollo Bay has been pitched as an eco-friendly way to produce fish when ocean stocks are crashing and there’s strong consumer demand.

On the surface it’s true. Land-based, closed containment aquaculture eliminates almost all the environmental problems that come with sea cages.

However, in this case there are unique risks that are being overlooked for the sake of development. As a result, the company is being allowed to forgo scrutiny as they push to make P.E.I. home to the first commercial production of GM salmon in North America.

In 2013, the federal government conducted a risk assessment of AquaBounty’s original plan to create 100,000 genetically modified salmon eggs yearly on P.E.I. for shipment to Panama where they would be grown out. Although Fisheries and Oceans Canada concluded the risk to small populations of wild Atlantic salmon would be high if these genetically modified fish escaped and interbred, moving them to Central America was an assurance this would not happen. The project was approved.

Now, based on that same situation-specific risk assessment, the federal government says a new one is not required even though the stakes have been raised dramatically. AquaBounty now intends to produce 13-million GM salmon eggs yearly and raise a portion of them to market size on P.E.I. The remainder of the eggs will go up for sale.

We believe that if there is even a remote chance of these fish escaping and causing irreparable damage to the genetics of wild fish stocks there should be a new federal risk assessment. 

AquaBounty is pitching two ways to prevent the escape of fertile fish. Staff will employ state of the art escape proofing and will sterilize the fish by introducing a third chromosome at the egg stage, a process called triploidy induction. Both procedures are necessary, but they are not perfect. 

The company’s own research suggests the sterilization process is 95 per cent to 99.8 per cent effective, meaning there could be up to 650,000 fertile eggs in a batch of 13 million. Millions of these eggs will be exported, so even if AquaB ounty can prevent escapes, companies elsewhere may not be as well equipped. The spectre of GM eggs being sent to other facilities within the range of wild Atlantic salmon presents more risks that warrant review.

AquaBounty’s expansion could also lead to pollution of nearby, wild fish bearing, Rollo Bay stream. Plans are to discharge liquid waste from the aquaculture facility into that small, sensitive watershed. While the outflow will be tested annually for basics like temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, and ammonia, there will be no testing for viruses, bacteria, or pharmaceuticals. Surely all parties would welcome a rigorous monitoring program to protect the environment and reassure the public.

In choosing P.E.I. as a base for operations, the company claims to be interested in helping the Island economy. However, it’s more likely they have chosen Rollo Bay to take advantage of a political thirst for investment which makes it easier to get permission. AquaBounty is a subsidiary of Intrexon, a publicly-traded company worth $2.7 billion. Their interests may reside more in profits and leading a GM food revolution than helping rural P.E.I.

In the coming days or weeks, the provincial government will rule on whether this expansion can proceed while Ottawa watches from the sidelines. The P.E.I. Salmon Council supports closed containment aquaculture, but let’s make sure it is done right, with the dangers properly studied and planned for.

Because this project involves genetically modified animals, the decision that will have national and international implications. P.E.I. has worked hard to build its reputation as a food island, let’s not spoil that by turning our backs on the risks that the AquaBounty project poses.

- Scott Roloson is president of the P.E.I. Salmon Council, a conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon.

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The Global Chorus essay for today is written by Holmes Rolston III, distinguished professor of philosophy at Colorado State University,  nd author of A New Environmental Ethics: The Next Millennium for Life on Earth

        We live at a change of epochs, a hinge point of history. We have entered the first century in the 45 million centuries of life on Earth in which one species can jeopardize the planet’s future. From this point on, culture more than nature is the principal determinant of Earth’s future.
        For some this is cause for congratulation, the fulfillment of our destiny as a species. We enter a new era: the Anthropocene. For others this is cause for concern. We worried throughout much of the past century that humans would destroy themselves in inter-human conflict. The worry for the next century is that if our present heading is uncorrected, humans may ruin their planet and themselves along with it.
        Paradoxes and challenges confront and confound us. Although we congratulate ourselves on our powers, humans are not well equipped to manage the sorts of global-level problems we face in this new era. Yet, this wonderland Earth is a planet with promise. If we are to realize the abundant life for all time, both policy and ethics must enlarge the scope of concern. We are Earthlings. Our integrity is inseparable from Earth’s integrity. The ultimate unit of moral concern is the ultimate survival unit: this wonderland biosphere. We can and we ought to get humans put in their place. Our best hope lies in global convictions that for the richest human living we do not want a denatured life on a denatured planet.
        — Holmes Rolston III

June 6, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
Forum on Basic Income Guarantee, 6:30-8:30PM
, Lane's Riverhouse Inn and Cottages (33 Brook St. in Montague), free, but pre-registration appreciated. 

District 3 New Democratic Party and The PEI Working Group for a Livable Income (WGLI). Michael Redmond, NDP Leader, and Marie Burge, member of WGLI are presenting. The aim of this forum is to engage more Islanders in working toward a Basic Income Guarantee Pilot for PEI and to share some Island beliefs about Basic Income Guarantee. To Pre-register contact Lynne Thiele thiele@bellaliant.net (902) 892-6106

There are three other sessions in the coming weeks (June 14th in Bonshaw ans Morell-Mermaid, and June 21st in Charlottetown).

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Forty-nine years ago today, Robert F. Kennedy's life was ended as he campaigned for the Democratic Party nomination to run for the U.S. presidency.  It is one of my earliest memories, the confused and confusing black and white TV coverage, the struck, shocked faces of my parents and older siblings, the "blow upon the bruise" that marked another senseless death in a series of leaders.  Republican Richard Nixon would go on to win the U.S. presidential election in November of 1968.

The following segment of Robert Kennedy's speech, delivered at the University of Kansas in March of that year, is often quoted for its clear assessment, and condemnation, of the bastion of standard economics and their measurements.   While the whole speech is truly awesome, it's also easy to shift it to describe our country, and the economic dance we perform to continually  "grow" and become "mighty", both federally and provincially.

In the preceding part, he reminded the audience of how they can help improve the world, and was giving examples of horrible treatment and conditions for various groups in the country, and continues: <snip>

If we believe that we, as Americans, are bound together by a common concern for each other, then an urgent national priority is upon us.  We must begin to end the disgrace of this other America.
    
And this is one of the great tasks of leadership for us, as individuals and citizens this year.  But even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction - purpose and dignity - that afflicts us all.  Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.  It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them.  It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.  It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities.  It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.  Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.  It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.  And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
--Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

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The Global Chorus essay for today is written by Costa Rican environmental economist Monica Araya, PhD, advisor and founder of the citizenship group Costa Rica Limpia and the Nivela, whose mission is "to challenge conventional wisdom on development using multidisciplinary analysis and reflections from the ground to spur changes in how environmental, climate and socio-economic goals are integrated in our countries’ pursuit of prosperity." (emphasis mine)

       
Traditional wisdom has it that society will always choose growth over the environment. The scale of our dirty energy choices continues to spoil collective mood which each year seems to fall into a deeper downward spiral as unsettling images of environmental destruction and climate injustice at home and abroad fill our TV and phone screens. Climate scientists talk about our entering a turning point. So what comes next? Action, indifference or despair?
        I see the dawn of loud, imaginative and committed citizen action, outrage and courage as the engine of a new politics that will bring us out of this comfort zone (because thinking that nothing can be done is a dangerous comfort zone). I observe the many enraged citizens making brave political choices that threw or will throw reckless decision-makers out of power. I also see citizens standing against powerful media for manipulating public debates – even elections. Social media amplifies our voices as citizens and lets us mobilize other citizens giving us permission to defend the
vision of a cleaner society; cleaner from an environmental standpoint but also – and here is a key issue – clean from corruption. A movement of citizens are standing for each other in ways that set smarter political choices together.
        The refreshing clarity and unapologetic inspiration from citizens, especially the youngest, energizes my own imagination on what to do in my own country and internationally. That is why I helped set up two organizations. Only with citizen action, discipline and determination will we see a fossil fuel phase-out in our lifetimes.
        Defending the public interest of the many over the vested interests of the few, that is the common agenda that will get us closer to the clean society. The divestment movement is a prime example of citizen-led actions that are making a transformative difference this decade.
        I never forget the words of a Costa Rican poet, Isaac Felipe Azofeifa, who noted: “Son, while it is true that all the stars are gone, it never gets darker than before dawn.”
        — Monica Araya

June 5, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today is World Environment Day,
World Environment Day (WED) occurs on 5 June every year, is
"the United Nation's principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment."

Today is World Environment Day and, gloomy though we all may be over the US pull out of the Paris climate deal, we are all encouraged to come together, reconnect with nature and celebrate the places that matter most to us.

The event, a UN initiative, aims to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

This year's host country is Canada, where there will be lots of official celebrations. It coincides with Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations and represents the pride and sense of identity the Canadian people draw from their incredible natural heritage.

the rest of article at Cosmos magazine.

The provincial government has made funding announcements last week mentioning World Environmental Day in the press releases, but unfortunately, not a big deal is made out of this, as opposed to Earth Day.  Still, getting out in to nature, planting a tree, or perhaps through maintaining the trees you have by some mulching or weeding to help them out -- really good ways to celebrate any day!
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Thursday, June 8th:
Movie: Sonic Sea, 7PM,
Holland College Room 21C, free.
from the media release:
Thursday, June 8th is World Oceans Day, and to mark the occasion, Save our Seas and Shores PEI and the Holland College Green Machine will present Sonic Sea, the award-winning documentary film about the devastating impact of human-produced ocean noise on whales and other marine life. 
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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and now activist resisting many of Donald Trump's policies, made a three minute video about the influence of the Koch Brothers on American environmental and monetary policies, which have global implications.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJip9qX-Qy8
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Jen Boulden, environmentalist, author, public speaker and entrepreneur, writes the June 5th Global Chorus essay.


       
OF COURSE humanity can find a way past our environmental and social crises. We are incredibly clever, especially when motivated. In fact, it was our cleverness that got us into this predicament – we figured out how to live beyond our means, and push the costs out into the future. Today that future is becoming the present, and we can tap that same cleverness to redesign our systems that were created over 250 years ago – in a time when people were scarce and raw materials were plenty. Now, it’s the exact opposite, and so capitalism as we know it must adapt to these new conditions. Luckily there’s no greater motivation than money. When we focus funding on the companies that employ “cradle to cradle” methodologies and create life-sustaining products and services, the rest will follow. Imagine the historians of 2313 looking back, and reading about most companies of 2013 that produced 96 per cent waste for every 4 per cent product. They will have a good laugh at how ridiculous that was!
        In order to help catalyze these new markets at the consumer level, I co-founded Ideal Bite in 2005, a “sassy” daily email with small ideas to go green. I believed then, and still do today, that people don’t want to do the wrong thing, they just lack both the knowledge and the alternatives. But when those things are provided, people are game: Ideal Bite amassed over half a million subscribers in just three and a half years, and voted with the dollars on the products we featured  – sometimes inadvertently crashing their websites with all the visitors we sent!
        So now it’s time for the world’s institutional investors and legislative power brokers to step into the driver’s seat. The “buy now, pay later” game is over. We know now after these financial meltdowns that true wealth can only be created by providing solutions for true sustainability. So not only do I have hope that we can do it, I also have faith that our most clever leaders – across all sectors – will show us how to make a lot of money with “business as unusual.”
        — Jen Boulden


June 4, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Here is Teresa Wright's column from yesterday regarding Minister Paula Biggar's out-of-left-field social media statements on the newspaper's ads featuring Chef Ilora Daniel. (The article has an illustration of one of the ads.)

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/6/3/teresa-wright--biggar-accuses-the-guardian-of-promoting-sexual-v.html

TERESA WRIGHT: Biggar was misinformed in attempt to publicly shame The Guardian as sexist - The Guardian article by Teresa Wright

Published on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Paula Biggar could use some serious social media training.

P.E.I.’s minister of transportation and minister responsible for the status of women has become known for her caustic tweets and Facebook posts, and on Tuesday she took aim at The Guardian on Facebook, accusing the paper of objectifying a female food columnist.

*As minister responsible for the Status of Women for P.E.I. I must comment that I am concerned that the Guardian of P.E.I. has resorted to a "sex sells" type of advertising with this banner on the front page of today's May 30th edition,” Biggar wrote Tuesday morning.

She included a photo of the ad, which promotes P.E.I. chef Ilona Daniel’s monthly food column in The Guardian, which is called “Food Seductress.” The ad includes a photo of the stunning Daniel leaning in to her kitchen counter, with the tag line, “Do you want to be seduced?”

“With all the work and education being done by women's organizations to prevent sexual violence against women and girls I am saddened by this ad and that the publishers would not have had second thoughts before printing. I offer any opportunity to meet with the new owner of this paper to discuss the need for more sensitivity,” Biggar said in her Facebook post.

First of all, some clarification is required.

Daniel has been a columnist for The Guardian for a year and this exact ad has run intermittently for the last year, so it’s not new.

Secondly, it is Daniel herself who identifies as the Island’s “food seductress.” She had a column in The Guardian’s former G! Magazine for several years in which she also used this moniker, and she even includes it in her Twitter bio. It’s part of her personal brand.

She explained to me that anyone who follows her knows she’s not selling sex but rather trying to enhance people’s relationship with food in a positive and fun way.

It also should be noted that Daniel approved all advertising related to her column in The Guardian and at no time has raised concern about being objectified.

If Biggar, as status of women minister, was truly concerned about The Guardian’s ad campaign and wanted to speak with the former or new owners to “discuss the need for more sensitivity,” why did she not pick up the phone to register these concerns? No calls were made. Instead, Biggar – a minister of the Crown – used her social media account to accuse a local business of promoting sexual violence against women. It’s a powerful charge and one that is 100 per cent false.

The reality is, Biggar’s misinformed attempt to publicly shame The Guardian for supposedly being sexist did more to sexualize Daniel’s food column than anything The Guardian has done.

And young women in P.E.I. are making sure the status of women minister knows it.Alicia Marie Denison was among several women who commented on Biggar’s post, saying it was akin to “calling into question Chef Ilona’s personal agency.”

“Instead of this performative allyship, I suggest, Minister Biggar, that you talk and connect with the women working in our culinary industry. Taking a look at sexism and the circumvention of labour laws would be a good place to start.”

That sounds like a far more productive use of time for the minister responsible for the status of women than spending her day on Facebook, defending her misinformed attack on The Guardian.

And as for a “need for more sensitivity,” I would suggest the minister might perhaps take her own advice regarding her use of social media.

Earlier this month, she was taken to task in the legislature over some tweets in which she said she would “get even” with Opposition MLA Matthew MacKay for raising concerns about expropriation of land for the Cornwall bypass. Others have shared screenshots with me of their own testy exchanges with Biggar on Twitter and Facebook.

I am reminded of some advice I read from a social media expert a few years ago that I will respectfully pass on to Minister Biggar: you are always one tweet away from being fired.

Teresa Wright is The Guardian’s chief political reporter. She can be reached at twright@theguardian.pe.ca. Follow her tweets about P.E.I. politics at Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa.

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Teresa mentioned Minister Biggar's social media comments about the Cornwall Bypass and Hughes Jones Centre land situation.  She's made some rather head-scratching comments to about the Centre.  Ellen Jones from the Centre has links to her blog and to the petition regarding the land expropriation here.  Consider signing the petition.
http://www.thehughesjonescentre.ca/wearehjc/

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Global Chorus is by former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, founding chairman of Green Cross International

        I always regarded environmental problems as of great urgency. That started when I was still working in my home country in the Caucasus and then when I started to work in Moscow. I learned of shocking facts regarding the mistreatment of the earth, water, soil and air in my home country. And like many people, I was ready to start working in order to revive our forests, land, rivers and lakes. And this was one reason why I gave such a prompt reply to the requests to become the founder of Green Cross International.
        Nevertheless, we are still in the process of losing our planet. We are very close to the “red line.” Even though we have had many discussions, and many conferences and forums on water and other environmental problems, we are not even close to achieving our goal. We still see that the environment and nature are shrinking. The Earth will of course survive anyway, but it will be a very different Earth for those who live on it. It is not an exaggeration. I think that we feel almost physically the shrinking of the water, the air and living space.
        Remember, after WWII, there was a strong peace movement that included prominent people who created a committee to defend peace. The most credible people in the world were in that movement. I am not calling for repeating it in the same way, but we need to do more. It is very important that we have glasnost on the environment. It is very important we have organizations that work for it. But we have not achieved enough. I believe that the problem of the environment is the number one challenge for the 21st century, as well as, of course, the problem of getting rid of nuclear weapons. That is still the number one challenge that we need to address. When we ended the Cold War, we wanted to create conditions for a peaceful world. I am
         82 years old but I still want to act. I still want to do something. This goes back to my youth when I was part of that same peace movement. It is still very much a part of me, this vigour, this motivation, this enthusiasm, that I would like to convey, that I would like to hand over to younger people who will fight for the future of our planet.6
        — Mikhail Gorbachev


June 3, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open in Charlottetown and Summerside today.  Other markets will be opening throughout the month.
-----------------------
A series of government announcements were made yesterday, as if there is some weekly quota that has to be filled and the early part of the week was slow.  Press releases fluttered about:  Future numbers of construction workers needed, the urging of sharing of economic successes, 25 new teaching positions being filled, $2000 being given to the PEI Watershed Alliance, a feature on a watershed group summer worker -- whew, that's a lot, even from the apparently well-funded and stocked government communication stables.  (I mused it probably cost government more than the $2,000 pledged to the Watershed Alliance just to package the press release.)

The teaching positions announcements are particularly eyebrow-raising, as parent councils were hearing in the days before about rural cuts to staffing to send teachers to the Charlottetown schools. 

Paul MacNeill writes in his Graphic newspaper editorial: http://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/article_428634c6-4540-11e7-90f5-3f655908e85b.html

Education decisions revert to secretive cocoon - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published by Paul MacNeill on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017, in The Graphic newspapers

PEI’s manipulative education bureaucracy continues to be a noose around the neck of Premier Wade MacLauchlan. But after two years in office it is no longer an inherited problem, it is one of the premier’s making.

Education reform was supposed to lead to a smaller bureaucracy. Anything less than three dozen fewer positions, government operatives said off the record, and the merger of the English Language School Board and Department of Education would be a failure.

Well, today the bureaucracy is indistinguishable in size.

Creation of three unelected councils to replace an elected school board - parent, principal and learning partners – was supposed to enhance transparency.

Nothing is further from the truth. In the lead up to, and during, the school review process, the Department of Education’s appointed representatives dictated what documents parent councils received and what agenda items were discussed. Information flow to principals was stuttered.

The premier and cabinet did the right thing to reject a recommendation to close rural schools. But the goodwill of that decision is being sapped by the secretive actions of the Public School Branch in its efforts to staff Island schools.

Rumours began swirling two weeks ago that massive cuts to rural teaching positions would be made. Minister Doug Currie came out and publicly said the suggestion was wrong.

Turns out Doug Currie was wrong. Either that or the minister intentionally misled Islanders knowing that less than a week later the PSB would deliver specifics of exactly what rural schools feared; rural teaching positions were being cut and transferred to larger centres. Regardless, it is just the latest in a long list of utterances that have wiped out the minister’s credibility with the public.

The staffing process adopted by the PSB is one cloaked in secrecy. It did not consult principals, as is the norm. It did not consult parent councils, which are supposed to guide education decisions on a local level. In short, the public school branch is making a mockery of the tenants (probably means tenets) of partnership and transparency. It is making a mockery of what Premier Wade MacLauchlan promised education reform would deliver.

Many of the schools that will lose teaching positions will actually see an increase in students next year; Georgetown will increase by 25 per cent, yet it’s been told to expect one fewer teacher. How does this make sense? How can any politician or bureaucrat possibly argue this will promote educational excellence?

There are two issues that must be dealt with. The first is government’s refusal to invest what is needed to make PEI’s education system truly world class, a system that will help build our population and economy. Actions like those of the past week occur because generations of Island politicians have paid lip service to true education excellence. The second issue is the continued indifference of the education bureaucracy toward needed change.

All students, regardless of where they live, deserve access to a world class education. Rural students should not be punished because populations are not the equal of urban areas. Urban students should not be punished with unduly large class sizes. If it takes investment in more teaching positions, so be it. That becomes a provincial competitive advantage.

But we cannot throw money at the system without systematic change. The government promised a slimmer bureaucracy and failed to deliver. Do it now. Change the bureaucracy and send the overflow back to the classroom.

Without systematic change the institutional biases will flourish and only continue to hurt our children, our teachers, our communities and our economy.

We’ve had enough of the broken promises and misleading comments. We’ve had enough of the ministerial bob and weave. We’ve had enough of the secrecy. We’ve had enough of the centralization of decision making into the hands of few.

Wade MacLauchlan owns the education file now, for better or for worse, and without needed change the noose will only tighten.

Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at paul@peicanada.com

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There will be a rally Monday, June 5th, 2PM in front of the Public Schools Branch (English School Board office, next to Stratford Town Hall), for any Islanders to express opinions about the decision-making on schools.

from The Guardian article on it (edited):

Rally Monday opposing cuts to teaching positions at P.E.I. schools
STRATFORD, P.E.I. – Schools may not be closing, but education officials will be facing another protest with a rally planned for Monday in Stratford.

Janet Payne, one of the rally’s organizers, said the issue this time is that principals have been told several schools across the Island have been identified as being overstaffed.  “The big issue is that it’s one thing for Wade (MacLauchlan) to have announced that this is not the time to close schools, but the actions that are being taken right now achieve the very same goal,” she said.

For several months, the government faced pressure across the province as a school review was underway.
<snip>

With possible school closures no longer on the horizon, some concerned parents have turned their attention to staffing numbers.  The Public Schools Branch has given principals the preliminary staffing numbers for the coming school year but won’t release them to the public, saying they are not final.

Payne said it’s not just about the number of teachers employed for the fall.  “This is about letting the public know what this means for the programs that are going to be cut,” she said.

Some schools won’t be able to offer some programs in the next school year with cuts to teaching positions, Payne said.  “So, there’s real, tangible, negative results coming from theses cuts, and we need parents and we need the community to know what these numbers really mean.”

The rally is planned for Monday at 2 p.m. outside the Public Schools Branch office in Stratford.
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Global Chorus today is by Harvey Locke,  conservationist, writer, photographer,  co-founder of Yellowstone to Yukon and Nature Needs Half; here is website about these initiatives: https://y2y.net/about-us/y2y-team-current/strategic-advisors/harvey-locke

A native of the Calgary-Banff area of Canada

Harvey has led

Harvey has led work on major private lands conservation projects for connectivity, national park creation and management, climate change and nature conservation - See more at: https://y2y.net/about-us/y2y-team-current/strategic-advisors/harvey-locke#sthash.uJiGNYH4.dpuf

Harvey has led

Harvey has led work on major private lands conservation projects for connectivity, national park creation and management, climate change and nature conservation, - See more at: https://y2y.net/about-us/y2y-team-current/strategic-advisors/harvey-locke#sthash.gqKwlt4P.dpuf

Here is a recent interview in The Calgary Herald: http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/alberta-conservationist-harvey-locke-leads-charge-to-prevent-global-scale-extinction

      
  I imagine a beautiful future where civilized humanity and wild nature are reconciled. All it will take is for us humans to remember that we are in a relationship that requires us to think of Nature’s needs as well as our own and to strive to meet them both.
        If we were to remember Nature’s needs we would be more measured in our use of nitrogen fertilizer and carbon-based energy. We would value efficiency and avoid waste. We would let rivers run free to ensure Earth’s resilience in the wake of climate change. We would take only what we need and share the rest. We would know the liberation of self-restraint.
        People who embrace reciprocal relationships are also naturally inclined to take positive steps to make things better. We would be enthusiastic about investing in alternative energy sources and food production systems that are good for both us and Nature. We would act on the conservation science that indicates we should protect at least half of the world in an interconnected network of protected areas so that all species and the natural processes on which both they and we depend for our survival can continue to flourish. We would also restore species and ecosystems that we have damaged in the past. We would know that we can do things to address the global changes we have set in motion and that we need not be victims.
        We would also teach our children the enchantment of the wild world, to appreciate that much of Nature exists for its own sake in the ongoing pageant of evolution and is there to serve God, not humans. To hear the dawn chorus of songbirds, to feel the wind in our hair, to smell the sea, to see clouds drifting across a blue sky, to swim in clear water and to inhale clean air after healthful physical exertion has been an essential part of human experience throughout our species’ entire history. It is time to bring ourselves back outdoors and the outdoors back into our lives. We would feel better.
        Yet for all these positive behaviours we can embrace, there is more to human life than self-restraint and positive actions; there is meaning too. Love of Nature is deeply ingrained in us. If we start meeting Nature’s needs with love and generosity then our lives will be more fulfilling and we will have a 21st century full of hope and promise.
        — Harvey Locke

June 2, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
Brad's Big Announcement, 7:30-9PM
, Hunter River Community Centre, free.  Progressive Conservative MLA for District 18 (Rustico-Emerald) Brad Trivers is set to announce his bid for leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservative Party.
Facebook event details
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Federal Electoral Reform: Leadnow (working toward electoral reform and other issues) has a website where you can:  "Let your MP know you are disappointed about yesterday's vote on electoral reform, and ask them what's next. We've provided suggested text but you can add your own personalized message too."    https://act.leadnow.ca/mp-ask/
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Regarding the United States and the Paris Climate Change Accord, two American responses:

Bill McKibbon, founder of the Climate Change awareness group 350.org, spells it out clearly in a New York Times article yesterday: 
Trump's Stupid and Reckless Climate Change Decision
"...it amounts to a thorough repudiation of two of the civilizing forces on our planet: diplomacy and science."  (for full essay, see link, above)

And from Slate.com, by their science editor Susan Matthews, published on Wednesday:
"The World is Better Off if We Leave the Paris Agreement -- Will America finally realize that we are no longer the world leader we think we are?
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/05/america_doesn_t_deserve_the_paris_agreement.html

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Global Chorus today is by Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey, social architects, founders of the International Center for Resilience, Wellness and Wisdom at Work and authors of Living in Balance, Luminous Mind and Wisdom at Work. Timely things to consider.

       
Ultimately, the essential question is not whether we will survive, but rather how do we individually and collectively choose to live? In great suffering there is always the potential of awakening to great compassion based on the wisdom of the profound interdependence of all beings. If we have the courage and the discipline, this could be an ennobling and enlightening time for each of us and for humanity as a whole. To the degree that we have the courage to be fully present and discern the complex interdependencies of our lives without being overwhelmed, we free ourselves from what Einstein called, “the optical delusion of consciousness” that leads us to regard others as anything less than “another myself.” Awakening this intimate wisdom of interdependence naturally widens “the circle of our compassion to embrace all living beings and the whole of Nature in all of its beauty.” To the degree that we develop such wisdom and compassion, the outlook for our future appears brighter. If we miss this opportunity, we are in great peril.
        As we realize that we can’t solve problems from the same levels of consciousness that created them, we realize that what is required is nothing less than a global revolution in consciousness, to transform the delusional mind states at the root of so many global crises.
        Studying with the Dalai Lama over the years, we’ve often heard him teach about adopting an attitude of “universal responsibility.” To take this principle to heart is to dedicate ourselves to realizing our true nature and highest human potentials in order to inspire and activate these potentials within all beings. To embody this archetype of selfless leadership in service of all life is to be a Bodhisattva, which is to us the most relevant archetype/ideal we can aspire to attune to in these perilous times. By dedicating ourselves to live for the benefit of all who share the web of life, we align
ourselves with all great sages, activists and leaders who have dedicated themselves to selfless service for the good of all.
        — Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey

June 1, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

As you as probably already heard, Charlottetown MP Sean Casey was one of only two Liberal MPs to vote yesterday for Parliament to accept the Electoral Reform committee's report. CBC story.
Casey's statement is here.
He credited his decision-making on the provincial plebiscite and knowing what many of his constituents are thinking.
Apparently, Malpeque MP Wayne Easter and Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay, whose constituents voted similarly, chose not to vote for electoral reform.
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Happy June!
Next Thursday, June 8th:
Movie: Sonic Sea, 7PM,
Holland College Room 21C, free.
from the media release:

World Oceans Day Film Screening - SONIC SEA
Thursday, June 8th is World Oceans Day, and to mark the occasion, Save our Seas and Shores PEI and the Holland College Green Machine will present SONIC SEA, the award-winning documentary film about the devastating impact of human-produced ocean noise on whales and other marine life. 
SONIC SEA travels beneath the ocean's surface to uncover the damaging consequences of increased ocean noise pollution and what can be done to stop it. Narrated by Academy Award-nominated actress Rachel McAdams and featuring interviews with marine ecologists, ocean life experts, and wildlife activists, including Grammy-Award winning musician, human rights and environmental activist Sting, SONIC SEA highlights how noise from a range of human-made sources has affected whales in recent years, including the mass stranding of whales around the planet. The film uncovers how better ship design, speed limits for large ships, quieter methods for underwater resource exploration, and exclusion zones for sonar training can work to reduce the noise in our oceans and stop the deaths of our ocean's beloved creatures, as long as society has the political will to solve it. [discovery.com]
The film will be shown in Room 21C at Holland College, main campus, starting at 7 p.m.  
Immediately following the screening, Dr Lindy Weilgart will be available to comment and answer questions. Lindy is an Adjunct Research Associate at Dalhousie University, and specialist in the effects of underwater noise pollution on cetaceans. She has served as invited noise expert for DFO Canada, U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, International Whaling Commission, NATO, European Parliament, Convention on Biodiversity, and the United Nations, and has published numerous peer-reviewed papers. She currently serves as Scientific Advisor for the International Ocean Noise Coalition.

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The Global Chorus essay for June 1st is by Chef Michael Smith, from Bay Fortune.  

        Food is the way forward. Our relationship to our food is our best chance to catalyze systems evolution and generate ongoing hope for humanity. Current food systems contribute mightily to our global paradigm largely because of western ignorance. The environmental atrocities perpetrated on our wasteful behalf dwarf our awareness of them. Thus any solution must begin with engagement with our food. Easily done when you’re friends with a farmer!
        There are more great reasons to integrate local food into your lifestyle than there are local ants a picnic but perhaps the most compelling is the opportunity to forge a personal connection with a food producer. In fact, much of what ails the global food system is a direct result of its dehumanization. As far as most of us know food is produced far away by nameless machines and blameless factories.
        Time was we all knew someone who produced food, we knew exactly how much work it took and thus we respected the cost of that work. A strawberry is not just a strawberry when you know the farmer sweated all spring waiting for rain. A cow somehow tastes better when you know your farmer feeds it to their own family. Spend a day at sea with a fisherman and you’ll never find lobster high-priced again!
        As we build a new sustainable food system it can help us solve an even deeper problem: our fundamental loss of connection to the world around us. We’ve taken Mother Nature and Father Time for granted for too long. Our efficient systems have eliminated our essential need to work the land, feel the weather and be in balance with ourselves. It’s balance we seek.
        As humans we gather, prepare and share food. It’s human nature to do so efficiently but not at the expense of losing our connection to each other. We’re at our best together. On the farm, in the kitchen or at the table.
        — Chef Michael Smith,  television host of Chef Abroad, Chef at Home

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