CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

May 2017

Contents

  1. 1 May 31, 2017
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  2. 2 May 30, 2017
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 2.2 MARK GREENAN: Who do our MPs work for? - The Guardian Opinion piece by Mark Greenan
    3. 2.3 LETTER: Island MPs can vote reform - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  3. 3 May 29, 2017
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  4. 4 May 28, 2017
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  5. 5 May 27, 2017
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 5.2 Industrial Agriculture Versus Biological Agriculture: An Ethical Debate - Eco Farming Daily
  6. 6 May 26, 2017
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 6.2 $400,000 will not cover the needs or fill the gaps in mental health care - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor
  7. 7 May 25, 2017
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 7.2 Don't build new, fix 'dilapidated' roads, says Green leader - CBC News online article by Kevin Yarr
    3. 7.3 Bridges, Roundabouts, and Driveway Entrances: The Strange Business of Engineering - The Island Heartbeat online article
  8. 8 May 24, 2017
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 8.2 Needs of local beekeepers and their bees are completely off minister’s radar - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor
  9. 9 May 23, 2017
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 9.2 GUEST OPINION: Plans pose negative risks - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Dawn and Strehen Carter
  10. 10 May 22, 2017
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 10.2 Top 10 ways you can stop climate change - David Suzuki Foundation website article
  11. 11 May 21, 2017
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 11.2 OLE HAMMARLUND: Boycott jailed eggs - The Guardian Opinion piece by Ole Hammarlund
  12. 12 May 20, 2017
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 12.2 LETTER: Candian consumers losing faith in government over genetically modified food battle - The Journal Pioneer Letter to the Editor
  13. 13 May 19, 2017
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 13.2 The Mill River Project: Regional Development Is Not Rural Community Development - The Island Heartbeat web article by Allan Rankin
  14. 14 May 18, 2017
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 14.2 LETTER: Unanswered issues concern residents - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 14.3 Unacceptable answer from public servant - The Guardian Opinion piece by Edith Ling
  15. 15 May 17, 2017
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 15.2 LYNNE THIELE: Island MPs can leave a lasting legacy - The Guardian Opinion piece by Lynne Thiele

May 31, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

District 18 (Rustico-Emerald) MLA Brad Trivers has announced his intention to join the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative leadership race.  The convention is on October 20th.  Trivers has a website and is one of the few MLAs to communicate with Islanders that way. He joins Al Mulholland in the leadership contest.

Peter Bevan-Baker (D17: KellysCross-Cumberland) is (I think) the only other MLA who also communicates this way, and recently wrote about his experiences as his fifth legislative session came to a close.
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The Nova Scotia government has a second Liberal majority, a smaller one.  The popular vote is close.  Proportional Representation would have a difference on how governments are formed and represent the citizens just a bit better.

A vote to accept the Electoral Reform  Committee's report is supposed to take place today in the House of Commons.  You can find the contact information for Island MPs here.

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Global Chorus is by Carolyn Herriot, author of A Year on the Garden Path: A 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide,  and The Zero Mile Diet.  Here is a TED Talk on the topic.


Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Have you forgotten who you are? T
hat you are a multidimensional spiritual being in-
habiting a highly evolved human body?
The unborn babies, the sick children and the de-
mented elderly are
calling you to remember.

Have you forgotten why you are here?
That you are here to learn Love.
To learn how to Respect and live in Harmony with
other sentient
beings.
Mother Earth, the polluted air and dying oceans are
calling you to
remember.
Have you forgotten what to do?
Simply go back to the garden
Reconnect to Nature.
Learn to Love yourself.
Nurture your miraculous body.
Put LOVE into action.
Shift from “Me” to “We.”
Participate in the transformation of Human
Consciousness
And together sow seeds of Hope to create a world of
Peace & Plenty
for future generations.
    We are stardust, we are golden, we are
    billion year old carbon,
    And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the
    garden.

        — Joni Mitchell
Bless Us All!
        — Carolyn Herriot

May 30, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

In British Columbia, it appears that the Green Party under Andrew Weaver will support the NDP under John Horgan and support the NDP minority government for the next few years. More details in the coming days (once the NDP Caucus votes on the agreement today).

Nova Scotians hold their provincial election today.

Tomorrow the Federal government will vote on accepting the report of the ERRE Electoral Reform committee.  You can still contact your or any Island MP to discuss your wishes about the Liberal Party campaign promises. 
Contact information for each Riding's MP on P.E.I:
Charlottetown -- Sean Casey  902-566-7770  Sean.Casey@parl.gc.ca
Malpeque -- Wayne Easter  1-800-442-4050 wayne.easter@parl.gc.ca
Cardigan -- Lawrence MacAulay  902-838-4139 lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca
Egmont -- Robert "Bobby" Morrissey  1-800-224-0018  Robert.Morrissey@parl.gc.ca

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Though it appears perhaps that Islanders in the western part of P.E.I. don't support proportional representation as well as in other parts, it's also likely that Mr. Morrissey benefited from "strategic voting" -- with those who may have supported other candidates like the Green Party's Nils Ling or the Herb Dickieson for the NDP voting Liberal to prevent popular Conservative Cabinet minister Gail Shea from being re-elected and a Conservative government under Stephen Harper.
-----
A opinion piece and a letter from Monday's Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/5/29/mark-greenan--who-do-our-mps-work-for-.html

MARK GREENAN: Who do our MPs work for? - The Guardian Opinion piece by Mark Greenan

Vote in Commons this Wednesday to accept report of special committee on electoral reform

Published on Monday, May 29th, 2017

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, May 31, there will be a vote that I, and proportional representation advocates across Canada, will be closely watching.

The vote is to accept the report of the Commons special committee on electoral reform, which called for a national referendum on a proportional representation system that would allow the Trudeau government to fulfill their 2015 election promise that it would be the last federal election using the first-past-the-post system.

However, the report was not what Trudeau wanted to hear, so in a February cabinet shuffle the Minister for Democratic Institutions was replaced, and the new minister made it clear that Trudeau had made a unilateral decision to break his promise.

Undoubtedly, the promise of making every vote count won votes for federal Liberals in 2015 from Canadians like me who believe that every vote should elect someone and that majority governments should not be elected with less than 40 per cent support.

Wednesday offers Liberal MPs an opportunity to fulfill the promises they make as candidates in 2015 to make every vote count and reform how we vote for the next federal election. It is expected that all federal opposition parties will support the motion, so if 20 federal Liberals choose to honour their promises, then electoral reform will be back on the table.

MPs are meant to be the voice of their communities in Ottawa. Here on PEI, our four MPs know better than any of their colleagues exactly what their constituents think about the issue of electoral reform thanks to last fall’s plebiscite.

In my home riding of Egmont, a narrow majority of voters in November’s plebiscite (52 per cent to 48 per cent) supported the current electoral system, so local MP Bobby Morrissey can be excused for aligning with the Prime Minister’s office and opposing the motion.

However, next door in Wayne Easter’s district of Malpeque, and further east, in Lawrence MacAulay’s district of Cardigan, 56 per cent of voters in November chose Proportional Representation - only 44 per cent opted to stick with the current winner-take-all system. Meanwhile, In Sean Casey’s district of Charlottetown, a whopping 64 per cent of voters chose Proportional Representation, nearly twice as many as supported the current system.

If these three P.E.I. MPs truly represent our views in Ottawa - rather than those of Liberal backroom power brokers - they will vote in support of the motion and put Proportional Representation back on the federal agenda. Islanders, and all Canadians, that desire a better democracy will be watching closely.

- Mark Greenan of Summerside has been an activist and advocate for proportional representation for over 15 years. Last fall, he was the campaign manager for the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation
-----------------------------
And by F. Ben Rodgers: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/2017/5/29/letter--island-mps-can-vote-reform.html

LETTER: Island MPs can vote reform - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, May 29th, 2017

On Wednesday May 31, we expect a free vote in the House of Commons on a motion to adopt the report of the all-party committee on electoral reform (ERRE).

Lawrence MacAulay, Wayne Easter and Robert Morrissey answered yes to support the number of candidates elected to government should roughly reflect the proportional votes cast by constituents.

The other one Island MP’s (Casey) remained mute on the question. However, it will be very interesting to see if these three now stand by their word to the voters in their districts.

Sixty-three per cent of Canadians voted for parties who made this promise, 88 per cent of the experts who testified to electoral reform committee and 87 per cent of the public who participated, recommended proportional representation.
If the other parties vote yes and it is expected they will - we will only need yes votes from 20 Liberal MPs, and there are more than 40 that clearly campaigned on a vote for election reform.

Will they actually have a free vote or will the Prime Minister demand they vote with his broken promise that the last election would be the last First Passed the Post??? It remains to be seen if we really have democracy in this country? 

Trudeau may win this vote on May 31, but times they are a changing and he will not be able hold back the irresistible tide for change for very long.

F. Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village

------------------------------
Global Chorus is by Melanie Fitzpatrick, climate scientist and educator, and with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

        Tell me a story. Because story is how we make sense of our world. The journey we are on as a planetary community is surely a heroic epic, one that involves all of us as protagonists.
        Our current narrative, though, is the distressing tale of the demise of our ecological home. Of the terrible destruction wrought on island communities by super typhoons, where thousands lose their lives and millions become homeless. Of the failure of international climate negotiations to agree on reducing our heat-trapping emissions, the very emissions that make the weather more extreme around the world.
        However, the outcome of this story is still being written. The invitation for you and me is to become its authors. Our path ahead, as in every hero’s journey, will be replete with challenges and obstacles. And along the way we will experience loss, we will
grieve and we will learn to accept that the world we used to know has changed irrevocably – the climate my parents grew up with is no longer here.
        So, tell me a story. Discover what the planet needs from us in this time of emergency.
        Physics reveals that all things are interconnected, from the galactic level to the sub-atomic. And psychology shows connection is the essential ingredient for a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. We know connection to the Earth inspires wonder and awe. It is this connection that drives many of us to do the work we do. In the words of Rachel Carson, “Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” As more and more people feel a deep sense of connection to this planet, solutions to the ecological crisis will become limitless.
        So connect. And let’s write a different story.
        — Melanie Fitzpatrick, PhD

May 29, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
May Community Vegan Potluck, 6:30-8PM, Trinity United Church, corner of Richmond and Prince Streets, Charlottetown, $2 with dish or $7 without.
"You don't need to be a vegan or vegetarian to come, just bring an open mind and an empty belly!"
But there are some specific guidelines for dishes you bring, so check out the details.
Facebook event details.
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The P.E.I. Public Rchool review is over, the Trustees' decisions to close small schools overturned by government and presented to look like a positive, well-thought-out strategy.
Perhaps.  Janet Payne, a mother in Kinkora  and a major part of why the opposition to rural school closures was so united, wrote this lengthy but very clear piece on social media Sunday, May 28th, 2017, well worth the time reading (edited slightly to spell out acronyms):

Cuts to education may appear to be fiscally responsible decisions. Would you agree to these cuts once you find out rural schools with INCREASING enrollments are many of the ones being cut?

“There seems to be some confusion because these are very preliminary numbers to start the staffing process,” (Education Minister Doug) Currie said. “Schools still have an opportunity to go back to the PSB (Public School Branch) to negotiate and discuss any additional staffing needs.”

This past week my fifteen year old casually asked me: “Are you finally going to get around to painting and renovating our bedrooms now that the school fight is over? You promised.” But before I had a chance to respond, feeling that internal twinge of guilt over all of the home and family things that I had paid little attention to while fighting for our schools all fall and winter, (her son) quickly replied by saying: “You know that these cuts that have been announced are a lot worse than the school review, don’t you? This is a way bigger deal. If they closed our school that would have been horrible. But now they are keeping us open but they are cutting things by so much that I won’t have any electives at all. It’s the worst for the grade nines like me because these cuts are happening over three years. What are you going to do about that?”

My first response was to pour a glass of wine. My second move was to determine exactly what our numbers are and what the cuts will mean. KRHS, like many schools, is actually UP this year. But instead of gaining FTE’s, we are being CUT by over 25% over the next three years. Many schools like KISH are in the very same boat, with enrollments increasing and yet cuts that will take away over 22% of their staff over the next three years. Logical?

When I requested information from our administration, I learned that they are fearful of being cut by 3.5 FTE’s (Full Time Equivalent's) over 3 years. It was explained to me that one full time teacher is expected to teach 3 courses/semester, which would mean that by year three KRHS (Kinkora Regional High School) will be down by over ten courses/semester. This would make it impossible to offer the necessary courses at our rural school no matter how creative the scheduling becomes. While we have always been able to boast that we offer all of the key courses available at other high schools, cutting us this significantly is one underhanded way of forcing our children into the newly renovated TOSH – government’s plan all along. While the 15 million dollar reno budget has now been rumoured to be up over 24 million, I am not surprised that gov’t is looking for every reason possible to send our kids to town…Now it looks like they may have their sights on KISH (Kensington Intermediate Senior High) students as well!

At a recent Principals’ Council meeting, it was announced that nine schools on PEI have been determined to be “overstaffed”. A HR expert here from Montreal has determined, based on a mathematical formula, these nine schools will need to have their staff reduced significantly over the next three years. What would she know about the needs of rural communities and these individual schools, especially when this is the very first year that teacher allotments have been announced BEFORE any discussions with principals about the needs of their schools communities? The first in a series of three reductions has been announced for this coming fall. This will allow 50 FTE’s to be redirected to other schools across PEI. So- rather than allocating more teachers to the new ESL and French Immersion programs announced for Ch’town, the PSB has simply decided to relocate these positions from other schools, most of which are in the rural areas.

While I could certainly see logic in any argument that would require schools with DECREASING enrollments to redirect teaching positions to other schools, how does this make any logical sense when our schools (KRHS and KISH and Somerset and Georgetown to name a few) have INCREASED numbers for this coming fall!!! Amazing that our government would publicly state their commitment to rural schools and then move forward with a plan that would sabotage our programming in spite of our increased numbers. When you are a small school, taking away several positions can mean the inability to continue to offer the very basic requirements for graduation, especially at a high school level. Did our HR expert from Montreal take this into consideration? She certainly did not bother to ask our principal, unlike the process that has always taken place in years gone by…

Currie and (Director of Public Schools Branch Parker) Grimmer have both stated publicly that these are just preliminary numbers and that there has been a misunderstanding about redirecting FTE’s from rural to urban areas. Is it a misunderstanding that our principals are now in the position of having to fight to keep the BARE BONES staff that they have had in the past? Is it a misunderstanding that they have said they are committed to student mental health and have CUT the counselling position at KRHS? Is it a misunderstanding that in light of the loss of trust that this recent school review fiasco has left in the minds of many Island parents, the PSB continues to take steps that leave not only our parents but our principals and staff in a defensive stance once again?

Former Superintendent Cynthia Fleet was known to have told parents within our working group, when questioned about small school closures in the past: “We will not close your schools. YOU will decide to close your own schools when your enrollments are down and you can no longer offer the program you need.” Is this the ultimate goal that Wade, Parker, Doug and the PSB have for our rural schools? It certainly appears to be so.

-Janet N. Payne, May 28th, 2017

------------------------------
In a book of excellent essays, this one is especially good.
Global Chorus is by Joel Bakan,  professor of law at UBC,  author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power and of Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Your Children


       
Humanity is in crisis. Over the course of modern history we have failed, miserably, to create just and sustainable societies. Moreover, much of what we have created – petroleum-fuelled engines, synthetic chemicals, nuclear weapons, to take just a few examples – now threatens our very existence. Climate change, social inequalities and dysfunctions, deteriorating ecosystems, war – these kinds of problems have to be solved. And the only way we can solve them is through coordinated, collective action, at all levels of society: local, national and international. But here’s the rub – our very ability to act collectively, in the public interest, has been profoundly weakened and diminished by growing corporate power and influence over governments and public institutions.
        Finding a way past current global crises, and creating conditions necessary for good, just and sustainable societies, requires, at a minimum, restoring the authority, integrity and legitimacy of public democratic institutions. We need to actively resist the creeping logic of private ordering and collapsing public spheres; to understand, for example, that corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs cannot replace mandatory public regulations; that privatized public services cannot replace public delivery; that consumer preferences in markets cannot replace citizen participation in democratic institutions.
        At the moment, our governments and public institutions, unduly influenced by the needs and perspectives of big business, are justifiably mistrusted as protectors and promoters of public interests. That needs to change. We need to reoccupy government and the public sphere, push back the current occupation by big business, and then begin work to solve the world’s problems, collectively. That is, after all, what democracy has always envisioned and required of us.
        — Joel Bakan


May 28, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Federal Progressive Conservatives selected Andrew Scheer as their new leader yesterday in a ranked ballot voting structure. Here is the federal website, which appears to have some montages of people holding their heads in their hands and looming images of Justin Trudeau.
https://www.conservative.ca/
------------------------------
The federal NDP is moving along with a leadership campaign to replace Thomas Mulcair, with the convention in the Fall.  The website is informative and upbeat.
Federal NDP leadership website
---------------------------------
The federal Green Party website has news and information, and the federal Liberal Party website is here, and one of the banners is "27 Promises Kept".

Great, though it depends on the promise. When campaigning in the fall 2015 federal election,  Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promised countless times that the election would be the last one held under the First Past the Post system.  (Of course, the NDP and Green Party already endorse electoral reform by means of a proportional system.)  Many Canadians voted strategically in the 2015 elections to elect the candidate most likely to beat the incumbent Conservative candidate, which often meant voting for a Liberal candidate over a third party candidate.  (Fear is a powerful motivator, and a false majority under Trudeau was felt to be much better that one under Stephen Harper.)
        The Electoral Reform (ERRE) Committee was struck, soon had the membership adjusted to reflect the popular vote, and went across the country, including a stop in Charlottetown, to hear what residents had to say about electoral reform.  (Which was largely that most people were in favour of a proportional system.)  Perhaps both Conservative and Liberal parties realize that a proportional system would result in fewer episodes of absolute power; and that's just too alluring to give up, even to look like more evolved human beings.  The committee's report was a bit creaky, suggesting a referendum before anything changed; and even the minister for democratic renewal made fun of the ways suggested to assess proportionality.
         Folks on P.E.I. know how things start out looking "democratic" but the powers-that-be can manage and interpret things, and in the end, put off any real change.  Prime Minister Trudeau in early February of this year said the process was too hasty and there was no consensus and he had to focus on growing the middle class. So "no electoral reform for you", basically.
....
    This coming week, on Wednesday, it sounds like a motion in the House of Commons to support the ERRE report will be debated.  It sounds like Opposition Parties will support this, but not sure about Government members.  FairVote Canada asks voters to contact their MPs to encourage them to support this, and to visit an MP if possible.  Malpeque MP Wayne Easter was visited yesterday by Leo Cheverie and myself and someone who will be a new voter in the 2019 election.  To Wayne's credit, he made time for a chat and listened to our frank concerns.  But he feels that it's too late to do be able to adopt the recommendations to change things for 2019, and has some of the usual almost outlandish fears about proportional representation -- voting based on lists of secretly picked individuals and unstable governments forming and falling willynilly.  These inaccuracies were explained, and the reasonable idea was discussed of following what New Zealand has done most recently and using a proportional system for an election or two and then voting to keep it or revert.
        We are fortunate that most of the Island MPs are *very* accessible and at least hear what you are saying. The MPs could be reminded of the vote Wednesday and why they should consider sending a message to support true electoral reform, as they promised in the last election campaign.

Contact local phone and e-mail for the Island MPs:
Charlottetown -- Sean Casey  902-566-7770  Sean.Casey@parl.gc.ca
Malpeque -- Wayne Easter  1-800-442-4050 wayne.easter@parl.gc.ca
Cardigan -- Lawrence MacAulay  902-838-4139 lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca
Egmont -- Robert "Bobby" Morrissey  1-800-224-0018  Robert.Morrissey@parl.gc.ca
from: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/Constituencies/FindMP?textCriteria=prince%20edward%20island

And more background on this:
http://www.fairvote.ca/errevote/

------------------------------
Global Chorus is by Edward O. Wilson, preeminent entomologist at Harvard University


       
Humanity is in a strange period at the present time (2013), which I hope will prove to be only a brief interval. We’ve awakened to the critical state of Earth’s environment in general, but by for the larger part of public and scientific attention is focused on the physical part, for example, on climate change, pollution and resource shortage, as opposed to biodiversity – Earth’s variety of ecosystems, species and genes. In a phrase we are destroying much of the rest of life, a unique and precious part of our natural heritage. Forever.
        How much biodiversity is there, and how fast is it disappearing? A lot, and tragically fast, although exact measures are hard to come by. In 2009, when a careful count was made of the species of plants, animals, fungi and microbes known to science, the number worldwide was found to be about 1.9 million. But the true number, including small invertebrates and (especially) microorganisms, could be somewhere between five and 100 million. In short, we live on a little-known planet.
        The human agents of destruction – in descending order of impact: habitat destruction, spread of invasive species, pollution and overharvesting – have lifted the rate of species extinction by 100–1,000 times the basal rate before humanity began its expansion from Africa over the remainder of the world. Sadly, because of underfunding of the science and the overall inadequacy of conservation efforts, we are destroying many million-year-old species before we even know they existed.
        In speaking for the rest of life, conservation biologists are not asking for anything close to the amount of funds and effort being devoted to the nonliving environment. We are in agreement that an expansion, say a doubling, of funding for research on biodiversity and widening of protected areas around the world would yield an immense improvement in the quality of the environment, for ourselves and for future generations.
        — Edward O. Wilson

May 27, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today:
Farmers' Markets are open in Summerside and Charlottetown.

Herb Day, 10AM-4PM
, Farm Centre.  Many activities, workshops, seedling (and herbs!) for sale, etc.

Workshop:
Planning and Planting Hedgerows and Windbreaks, 10AM, Macphail Woods Nature Centre, Orwell.  Free, but donations are accepted. Dress for the weather, as there is an "outside component".  Edited from the media release: 

Hedgerows are an important part of today’s Island landscape.  They protect us from the wind, help slow soil erosion, and create privacy for our homes.  They also provide food, homes and protection for everything from flickers to flying squirrels.   Participants will learn about assessing site conditions and planning the planting.  There will also be a discussion on identifying native plants, when they bloom, what types of wildlife will make use of them, and their fall colours.  Proper planting and maintenance techniques will be discussed, including timing of the planting, watering, mulching and pruning.

 ------------------------------------

From ACRES U.S.A. on-line reprinted on Friday, but originally from 18 years ago -- and still reads pretty well today.  If you can't read it now, consider saving it to read how Joel Salatin compares the four pillars of industrialization to the four pillars of nature.  The first part of article is printed below and the whole article is found at this link:

http://ecofarmingdaily.com/industrial-agriculture-versus-biological-agriculture-ethical-debate/#more-839

Industrial Agriculture Versus Biological Agriculture: An Ethical Debate - Eco Farming Daily

Industrial agriculture and biological agriculture differ on one very fundamental point: ethics.

by Joel Salatin

Sometimes it behooves us all to step back and look at the foundations of our own paradigm in order to give us a greater conviction in its defense. The philosophical underpinnings of our views are often easier to defend than specific details.

For example, I have debated agri-industrial darling Dennis Avery, author of Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic, three times in public forums, and he is no dummy. A retired USDA big-wheel economist, a Ph.D. and spokesman for everything genetically engineered, irradiated or confinement reared, he is articulate and likable.

Statistics, data and details flow off his tongue fast enough to paralyze the most intrepid debater. Certainly, some of it seems twisted, illogical, or even contrived, but his appearances on the evening news with Peter Jennings, numerous national talk shows and constant speeches before prestigious scientific and agribusiness conventions attest that he is no pushover. He plays argumentation hardball.

But I have found a soft underbelly — philosophy. I look forward now to our next exchange. More importantly, honing this line of thought has actually made some diehard anti-biological folks turn their heads. All of us need ammunition in this war of ideas, this clash of paradigms between a system of food production that stimulates earthworms and one that destroys earthworms. To be able to articulate our position well should be the goal of all who espouse the eco-friendly approach.

I am borrowing the industrial approach heavily from agriculture economist John Ikerd of the University of Missouri. He says the four pillars of industrial paradigms are:

  • Specialization
  • Simplification
  • Routinization
  • Mechanization

In contrast, nature’s pillars are:

  • Diversified
  • Complex
  • Flexible
  • Biological

Let’s take these one by one and deal with the ramifications in our world.  <snip>

>>>>>>>
Rest of the article at this link:
http://ecofarmingdaily.com/industrial-agriculture-versus-biological-agriculture-ethical-debate/#more-839

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Erin Schrode is a citizen-activist and co-founder of Turning Green, "a global student-led movement devoted to cultivating a healthy, just and thriving planet through education and advocacy around environmentally sustainable and socially responsible choices."  One program of Turning Green is called The Conscious Kitchen, helping with the shift to "fresh, local, organic, seasonal non-GMO food" in schools.  She wrote the May 27th Global Chorus essay.

        I am an eternal optimist – and I have hope for humanity and the planet. My whole-hearted belief in the goodness of people propels me to use my words and deeds to activate the spark that lies within every individual, to catalyze the inner change-maker around necessary action in all walks of life.

        Education is the crux of change. I view information as a liberating force, rather than a paralyzing one. The more one knows, the more global and comprehensive a frame of reference one possesses, and the more diverse experiences one can draw upon, the more capable that individual becomes to innovate, develop ideas and realize solutions to pressing global challenges. A person can never be “aware enough” or “active enough” – there is no plateau at which one arrives where the journey of learning or doing ends. Inaction is the largest issue plaguing
society today, so we must collectively vow to change that state of mind and lead a collaborative, purpose driven, positive movement.

        The opportunities for discovery and impact are limitless – and the need for action by individuals, corporations, government, all actors on both local and global scales is critical. When a person makes the conscious choice to not stand apathetically in the face of injustice or wrongdoing, he or she changes the future of our world.

        Through cross-sector communication, global leadership and the sharing of tools and resources, humanity can transform the revolutionary into routine and bring about a paradigm shift that prioritizes peace, health, justice and sustainability for this generation and beyond.

        I passionately believe this to be true.
        — Erin Schrode

May 26, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Herb Day, 10AM-4PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.
"Admission to this family friendly event is free. Goodwill donations for the workshops are gratefully accepted.
What's happening - plant and seed sale, hourly workshops, marketplace, garden tool repair, yoga in the garden, garden tour, kids activities and more."

Facebook event details
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There is a petition supporting the Hughes Jones Centre efforts to rebuild their equine facility in the Cornwall community ( you could consider supporting.
Change.org petition link
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Excellent letter on the recent news about a small amount of additional funding for mental health and where it was earmarked for, by psychologist and Green Party Health and Wellness Critic Susan Hartley:
http://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/article_bc7c7ad2-3fce-11e7-b611-9fb8fc50f228.html

$400,000 will not cover the needs or fill the gaps in mental health care - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, in The Graphic newspapers

The #HowManyWade Campaign coupled with the recent coverage in the local media and by the University of King’s College Journalism school is bringing the reality of mental health needs to the forefront of our conversations and concerns. Vulnerable Islanders have found the courage to publicly speak up and talk about their fears, anxieties and distress. All Islanders deserve this issue to be part of a bigger conversation than what is currently happening in government.

I work in the mental health system in PEI. I choose to work outside of the government funded programs for many reasons and recognize the privilege I have in being able to speak out without concern of repercussions. My independence also allows me to be an advocate for individuals in the system who are not receiving appropriate, ethical, or timely care. In this role I have had the opportunity to interact with many professionals and bureaucrats within the publicly funded system. At times I have been impressed by the willingness of bureaucrats, physicians, and front-line workers to go out of their way to make my clients’ situations just a bit better.

Too often, however, there has been an unwillingness to collaborate or even engage in discussion regarding a mutual client’s needs. Most concerning is when well intentioned, compassionate, and dedicated mental health workers are asked to offer intervention that is beyond their scope of expertise because there just isn’t anyone else; or when clients are seen on an urgent basis and there isn’t a program for comprehensive or follow-up care to offer them. To be honest, this doesn’t feel like a System.

I have commented previously that Islanders are being offered Band-aid solutions rather than coordinated, sustainable options. And it seems to me the rhetoric of the past week is about how to share the only Band-aid left in the box. $400,000 will not cover the needs or fill the gaps. Some within the system are advocating for expanded acute care services while others defend the decision to spend the money on preventive measures within the school system. It is a shame this has become an either/or scrap over limited funds when we clearly have needs in both places, and more importantly, distracts us from the bigger conversation about the overarching need for an integrated system joining all the parts in a coordinated, seamless manner.

It is not apparent to me that the Department of Health and Wellness has applied best practices in its management of the resources allocated to Mental Health. Islanders need a plan that is regularly evaluated and reviewed, and adapted as unintended consequences are identified and as needs change. Without a plan, how is it determined where best to spend the next $400,000? By whoever wins the scrap? Not good enough.

Our decision makers must become focused on the realities at hand. Islanders are anxious and concerned and we need leaders who know how to resolve their differences, apply best practice management and design approaches, and provide well thought out direction.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Susan Hartley,

Clinical Psychologist, and Critic for

Health and Wellness, Green Party of PEI

-------------------------------------------
Piers Guy,  wind farm developer and wrote the May 26th Global Chorus essay.  Here is a short YouTube interview with him.

        A recent discussion with an eminent climate scientist gave me hope. He said that extreme climate change scenarios predicted a few years ago are now less likely in the short to medium term. Phew! The problem is still enormous but maybe our climate system is more resilient than first feared. So let’s take this undeserved reprieve and have a new culture to reflect a new era; where the majority of our (reduced) consumption is sustainable with any environmental impacts either avoided or properly mitigated. This is the approach I try and work with in my own industry of wind farming.         Generating electricity from the wind is sustainable, but there are impacts, real and perceived, and addressing them provides wonderful opportunities for all kinds of creativity: like the creation and enhancement of large-scale wildlife habitats around the wind farm that otherwise would not have happened and community and educational initiatives which build upon what the local community really values long-term.
        Applying a sustainable approach to business does mean less financial profit and a consumer base that begins to pay the real cost for goods. It is not likely without multilateral regulation. But to get to this point, we need to start as individuals who make good choices and understand that happiness and well-being are not inextricably linked to material wealth. We must recognize that our population is excessive, and know that biodiversity is essential for our survival and our happiness.
        We could socialize, shop, travel, have babies and even do Christmas differently! This is activism in our own homes. By communicating, demonstrating, lobbying and voting we can change things. I have hope that there is a majority of people out there who would be quite prepared to rid themselves of a lot of their consumerist paraphernalia in exchange for a more balanced, happy and healthier life and planet.
        — Piers Guy,  wind farm developer

May 25, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
Lecture: “Travelling the Literary Landscape of Iceland, " 7:30PM, BIS Hall on North River Road.  An introduction to Icelandic literature and geography, in the context of the development of literary tourism, sponsored by the Vinland Society of Prince Edward Island.

"Learning and Sharing in Guyana", about volunteering with CUSO, 7-9PM, Murphy's Community Centre, free. 

CUSO International places skilled Canadians with partner groups in over 20 countries around the world. Hear about work with Volunteer Youth Corps in Guyana, South America. Learn how you can volunteer globally or act locally. www.cusointernational.org

Facebook event details
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From a CBC story over a week ago:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-new-roads-infrastructure-1.4110529

Don't build new, fix 'dilapidated' roads, says Green leader - CBC News online article by Kevin Yarr

Published on CBC on-line on May 11, 2017

Minister defends building new as economic investment

The P.E.I. government should focus on fixing up the roads we have, rather than trying to build new ones, says Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.

Bevan-Baker tied his concern to an accident earlier this week. A fisherman on the way to the wharf hit a deep depression in the road and was taken to hospital.

He questioned the wisdom of spending $32 million in provincial money to build a bypass around Cornwall.

"Travel the roads of P.E.I. and you can see what a dilapidated state they're in," said Bevan-Baker.

"This is not the only old, failing culvert on Prince Edward Island. My question was how many more of these are waiting to happen?"

Investment 'for safety and for the economy'

Transportation Minister Paula Biggar argued the Cornwall bypass is an important economic investment.

She said 500 trucks a day exit Charlottetown through Cornwall.

"Those are high traffic export areas for fishing and farming," said Biggar.

"We are investing those dollars in infrastructure for safety and for the economy to keep traffic moving."

Biggar also noted half the money for the project is coming from the federal government.
----------------------
And a bit of history from Allan Rankin, originally from his blog, Heartbeat -- Prince Edward Island from the Inside Out:

http://www.theislandheartbeat.com/?p=2116

Bridges, Roundabouts, and Driveway Entrances: The Strange Business of Engineering - The Island Heartbeat online article

Published on May 24th, 2017 on-line

Like medical doctors, we seldom question the decisions of engineers, those highly-skilled people who design and construct so much of our physical world.

Building things is part of my heritage.

My father and his father before him, as well as my brother, spent their working lives constructing buildings, large and small, and I am only content when there is a project to complete.

As a result, I have more than a healthy respect and admiration for architects, engineers, builders, and tradesmen.

But I remain puzzled, and even mystified at times, by some engineering decisions that just don’t make any sense.

When I was a senior official with government, my colleague the deputy minister of transportation and public works would often become exasperated with my questions, and by what he regarded as a suspicious, almost conspiracy prone mind.

Responsible for the issuing of building and development permits, I sometimes found unreasonable the “safe sight distance” regulations determining where a driveway entrance could be located. Local MLAs were always trying to bend those regulations, to accommodate constituents, and I was often sympathetic. However, any flexibility vanished when government lawyers explained to us that liability for an unsafe driveway entrance rested firstly with the public employees making the decision.                                                                                                                                            

But it still concerns me that “safe sight distance” guidelines had their origin in new highway construction, as opposed to development along existing highways, and in existing communities.

I have also been amazed by government’s interest of late in building traffic roundabouts seemingly at every intersection throughout the Island, and the engineering rationale behind this proliferation.

Are these roundabouts necessary to improve highway safety, or are they simply the engineering and road construction flavour of the day, and an opportunity to spend public money.

The reconfiguration of the Trans Canada highway coming out of Charlottetown towards Cornwall is now a bizarre series of roundabouts, slowing traffic, and certainly frustrating truckers who work their gears through a kilometer of craziness.

That highway reconfiguration initially had one less roundabout, and traffic was supposed to come off the arterial just below the COWS factory, but that plan was changed when a group of Brighton area ladies protested to former Premier Robert Ghiz, claiming the first route endangered their favorite dog walking area.

As the result of that design change, government spent about a half million dollars building an additional roundabout. You might say it was a rough (spelled ruff) decision for Island taxpayers, and proof that local politics can run circles around financial responsibility any day.

But the engineering project that has me scratching my head, more than any other, is the Confederation Bridge.                                                                                                                                              

It is the longest bridge in the world built over ice-covered water, and quite a marvellous structure, though it embodied off-the-shelf technology at the time. But have you ever wondered why the bridge is so darn high, why even the approach sections on either side tower 131 feet above the water? The navigation spans in the centre must be high enough of course to allow for the passage of ocean going vessels, but why is the rest of the bridge at its current height?

Driving on the bridge last month to a medical appointment in Moncton, I imagined the entire structure sitting down closer to the water, and how different and more scenic the crossing would be.

I also pondered the immense cost of building Confederation Bridge. It would seem to make logical sense that if less concrete and steel, and other materials, were required to build the bridge, and labour costs were also reduced, it would be a less costly piece of infrastructure to finance and operate.

I put that question to an experienced civil engineer recently, who postulated that the height of the bridge above the water was determined by the height of the navigation section, at 197 feet, and that the rest of the bridge was given its height so that traffic could gradually ramp up to the highest point in the navigation section.

That engineer explained that salt water spray onto the deck of the bridge was also a consideration during design, and that it factored into the height of the entire structure.

But I remain skeptical.

The bridge was a massive project, creating hundreds of jobs and contributing significantly to the economy of Prince Edward Island over a four-year period. Was its design driven in part by the need to create this economic activity. In other words, was the Confederation Bridge intentionally over designed, and overbuilt?                                                                                                                                            

Island Senator Percy Downe has questioned the policies of the federal government with respect to major transportation infrastructure in Canada, and why it is that Islanders pay such high tolls to get on and off their Island, while elsewhere, particularly in Quebec, Canadians pay nothing to use bridges.

Senator Downe has raised an important issue of fundamental equity and fairness.

But perhaps we need to go back to the beginning, and re-examine the design decisions for the Confederation Bridge, which led to its final cost, and ultimately to the tolls paid by Islanders.

We may discover that engineering is not the problem, but rather the underlying motives of those who directed the engineers.

Questions, questions, and more questions.

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There is the story that the only reason the TCH in Bonshaw/Churchill went there was because a former MLA Transportation Minister (Alan Stewart, I think) lived in Strathgartney....

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Jim Barton is a director of Smith Mill Creek Institute near the beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, and is a board member of Citizens for Global Solutions
and writes the May 25th Global Chorus.
       
Every good chorus has a director – but how do we create a global, democratic chorus?
        All too often, people speak of “global citizenship,” but fail to talk of citizenship structures for:

1. Common welfare
2. Common biosphere stewardship
3. Common security
4. Common decision-making

        Many peace and ecology advocates look at the UN and see only its failings. They don’t realize that earlier peace advocates, like Jane Addams, worked long and hard to create global democratic structures to enhance the lives of all people on Earth.
        Many people think the UN and global co-operation have achieved nothing. They are wrong. We have created treaties that have eliminated atmospheric nuclear testing, and have just about done away with any nuclear tests since 1996. The nations of the world agreed in 1968 to negotiate seriously for nuclear disarmament. We need a renewed global chorus of voices to call for disarmament and a conversion to a global peace economy.
        One crucial element of a global peace economy is the elimination of the extreme poverty affecting the poorest one billion people – one seventh – of the planet.
        Through the UN Millennium Development goals process of 2000–2015, we have continued to substantially reduce illiteracy, deaths of children under 5 and deaths from hunger and malnutrition. Smallpox has been eliminated, and polio has been reduced by 99 per cent since 1988, with entire continents polio-free.
         In 2015 we need to renew and extend these objectives into the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to complete the previous goals and add new ones to deal with the looming ecological and resource crisis, as well as include goals on nuclear weapons and reducing arms and conflict.
        But we should go beyond this, and talk of stronger global law, openly arrived at, and a global parliament, directly elected.
         Let’s take a pause from singing so that we can get on the same page with a common song. And when we get there, let’s sing as loudly as we can – a song by, of and for all of us on our planet.
        — Jim Barton

May 24, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Reminder of some events taking place today:
Wednesday, May 24th,
Information Session on Stratford Roundabout
proposed for construction (Mason Road, Georgetown Road and TCH), 7PM, Stratford Town Hall.

Seniors College Art Show Opening, 7PM, The Guild, Facebook event details

Lecture: “Tourism, Place and Identity: Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island”, 7PM, UPEI McDougall Hall Room 242, sponsored by the Institute for Island Studies, all welcome.
-------------------------------
Some government announcements recently:
On the holiday weekend Sunday, the start of Public Works Week in Canada, press releases and tweets were sent reminding Islanders of the millions in cost-shared infrastructure (that would be the roundabout in North River and prep work for the Cornwall bypass) and such. 

Yesterday, the P.E.I. government announced it is to create a suicide prevention plan (CBC story here),
but some are wondering how this connects with the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy announced previously, and what happened to a previously announced strategy from a couple of years ago. The PCs have persistently called for coherent and quick improvements to all these services, and the Greens and NDP have made numerous suggestions.


Over the weekend, many people shared an item via social media about the importation of honey bees to P.E.I. for blueberry (primarily) pollination, from regions in Canada that have a pest called the small hive beetle.   So far as I know, it's not on P.E.I.yet, and there are protocols to inspect the temporary imported hives; these can never be full-proof.  Also, it sounds possible that Island beekeepers could have met the pollination demands of the blueberry growers this year. Anyway, perhaps seeing things flipping about on social media, the Agriculture Minister J. Alan McIsaac sent out a statement reassuring the public about the whole issue. 

Letter recently from Island beekeeper Stan Sandler:
http://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/article_7cb1aada-3a38-11e7-b192-5f6c4aa76cc7.html

Needs of local beekeepers and their bees are completely off minister’s radar - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Since the PEI Department of Agriculture opened the border to Ontario beehives they have brought in one bad exotic pest we didn’t have before, the tracheal mite. They have tried to “mitigate” that introduction with a queen subsidy program supposedly to encourage tracheal mite resistant hives, but that program only covers less than half of the cost of those queens and it is now capped at a certain number of queens so in a big operation only a proportion (and maybe a small one, they do not tell us what we will be capped at) will be eligible.

The Department recognizes we now have to treat hives on PEI with formic acid to keep tracheal mites under control (in fact they require Ontario hives entering be treated with formic so they will bring less tracheal mites in) but they do not give any money to local beekeepers to treat for a pest which they knowingly allowed in by opening the border to hives they knew would carry tracheal mites. Basically they are catering to the blueberry industry, an industry they have heavily subsidized, at the expense of beekeepeers.

Now they are set to knowingly bring in another exotic pest, the small hive beetle, and even before it has come in they have a “small hive beetle mitigation program”. But this year their previous argument supporting importation of hives (a supposed lack of beehives on PEI for the needs of the blueberry industry) does not hold true. Due to the low price of blueberries growers are cutting back on the hives they rent and it appears that here, as in Nova Scotia, not all the local beehives will be rented.

So why allow high risk hives in?

This year’s importation protocol allows hives in from the Niagara region, which is a part of Ontario which has small hive beetle. Although the inspection requirements are a little more stringent than those for the rest of Ontario, they are not 100 per cent. For 10 per cent someone will pull brood frames to look at them. For 30 per cent more they will do a “top bar inspection” (just a peek under the cover). This is a high risk importation (which is why they already have the mitigation program set up) and it is totally unnecessary.

They know hives from that part of Ontario are high risk and do not allow them to come into PEI on a permanent basis. They are banned from that. Yet they are allowed in to pollinate. The department brought an expert from Ontario two years ago to “educate” us on small hive beetle and his data showed May and June, which is when the hives come in, are the main months when the small hive beetle larvae leave the infected beehives to go and pupate in the ground. So it doesn’t matter if the infected hives leave Prince Edward, they will leave their deadly legacy behind.

Nova Scotia is not going to bring in any hives from Ontario this year. Newfoundland has a very strict closed border. Last year 675 people signed a petition asking the Minister of Agriculture to keep small hive beetle out of PEI. Apparently the needs of local beekeepers and their bees are completely off his radar.

Stan Sandler, Murray River

A Change.org petition:
(closed now) started by Stan over a year ago on this issue.
(disclosure -- I have one beehive that I purchased from Stan a couple of years ago.)
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Speaking of petitions and community organization, Global Chorus today is by Ricken Patel, the executive director of Avaaz, an organization which "empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change" through petitions and other actions. Ricken's biography (including his motivations for this work) is found here.


       
Even more than hope, we have good sense, and I believe that a clear-eyed look at our past and present tells us not only that we have a very strong probability of surviving, but that many signs point to a tremendous awakening and acceleration of our wisdom as we meet the real challenges we face.
        Look at our recent past – in just the last generation, we have massively reduced global poverty and deaths in war, massively expanded the number of people living under democratic governance, rapidly increased public health and life expectancy, profoundly elevated the status of women in our societies and governance, and achieved historic progress in a host of other ways.
        We do face profound challenges that threaten our survival. Humanity’s interdependence, vulnerability and power is escalating, and with it our capacity to destroy ourselves. Nuclear weapons were our first “doomsday power,” and we’re quickly acquiring more.
        But as our power to destroy ourselves is escalating, so is our wisdom to manage this power. Disciplines like psychology, management and leadership are quite new, but are accelerating in their capacity to help us understand and manage ourselves. The empowerment of women to greater political and social leadership is profoundly impacting the emotional intelligence and wisdom of our societies. And while we may not be able to change human nature with all our flaws and fears, we know that with attention to children and families, education, and the culture of our institutions, workplaces, democracies and art, we can get better and better at bringing out the best in each other collectively. It’s not a utopia, it’s the difference between Somalia and Sweden, Congo and Costa Rica.
        So I believe that not only can we make it, we can come together to make it big. And far more than just a basis for hope, we have every reason to dream.
        — Ricken Patel

May 23, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Events:
Wednesday, May 24th,
Information Session on Stratford Roundabout
proposed for construction (Mason Road, Georgetown Road and TCH), 7PM, Stratford Town Hall.

Seniors College Art Show Opening, 7PM, The Guild, Facebook event details
The show runs for a couple of weeks.
------
Two Icelandic Tourism talks are being held Wednesday and Thursday:
“Tourism, Place and Identity: Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island”, 7PM, UPEI McDougall Hall Room 242, sponsored by the Institute for Island Studies.

Thursday, May 25th:

“Travelling the Literary Landscape of Iceland", 7:30PM
, BIS Hall. 
(details below)

--------------------------------
As if most of us needed any more reasons to call on Government not to approve this project, here is a opinion piece by some local residents.  My understanding (errors are my own) of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is that the EIA Officer (Dale Thompson) and the Environmental Lands manager (Greg Wilson) go over the submissions, refer any questions to the applicants for clarification, and make their recommendation on whether the project should go ahead or not to the Community, Lands and Environment Minister, Robert Mitchell <rjmitchell@gove.pc.ca> .
Minister Mitchell decides and as the recommendation of the EIA folks is "advice", does not have to share their recommendation publicly. 
Dale Thompson was the Environment Department person tasked with being the "Dedicated Environment Employee" for the Plan B highway project, and both he and Greg were always above board about their work.
 
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/5/22/guest-opinion--plans-pose-negative-risks.html

GUEST OPINION: Plans pose negative risks - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Dawn and Strehen Carter

DAWN & STEPHEN CARTER: It makes no sense for ACOA, Finance P.E.I. to help when company owned by billionaires

Published on Saturday, May 20th, 2017

BEAR RIVER, P.E.I.
Like many residents, we strongly oppose AquaBounty’s proposed plans to build a highly controversial GMO salmon farm in Rollo Bay/Bear River.

The site, just a few hundred meters from our home, has four high capacity wells, a stream for effluent discharge into Rollo Bay, acreage for expansion, and seclusion from the worlds’ eye.

With all due respect to Ms. Braden’s support for AquaBounty, it’s obvious she didn’t do in-depth research into this project as a whole. Local opposition researched thousands of pages of scientific, legal, government and financial documents.

We’re proud when our area has growth and innovation but AquaBounty’s plans pose serious negative risks to our local water, our environment, our fisheries and the public’s finances. On paper, their plans went from a small conventional Atlantic salmon hatchery to a large-scale, GMO salmon egg to grow-out facility, literally in one day.

AquaBounty applied for an Environmental Impact Assessment on April 12/17; on the same day an amended statement (EIS) was released. The document outlines they consulted these new plans with two provincial and three federal government departments in one single day. This is one example of the countless irregularities in the 89 pg. EIS.

AquaBounty’s recirculating water system (RAS) looks good on paper but the quantity of water required to fill the tanks in the massive buildings will total five million liters. They were granted a Groundwater Extraction Permit to pump 9 million L/day with peak pumping of 13 million L in 24 hr. periods in the event the RAS “goes down for any length of time.” There is no equipment known to man that operates 100 per cent perfectly, all the time.

The EIS doesn’t address the impact the effluent will have as it flows down the Rollo Bay stream, into the Lower Rollo Bay estuary, the clam beds, fishing grounds and beyond. Clear water does not mean good water.

AquaBounty claims their fish are all female and sterile. However, in 2013, AquaBounty supplied DFO a 95 per cent sterility rate. Other scientific documents point out that no containment measures are 100 per cent effective and there have been questions raised to their claim of rendering of all females. These fish are engineered to grow twice as fast, so one can imagine the consequences if they establish themselves in the natural environment. We feel it’s a not a matter of “if.” it’s a matter of when.

AquaBounty has had constant legal challenges. They’ve also had numerous violations of environmental law for their operations in Panama. One would be hopeful they would follow environmental rules here on P.E.I., but in early May, an official from the Dept. of Environment advised them to stop unapproved site-work at the Rollo Bay site until the environmental process is complete.

AquaBounty’s board admits they are a financial risk in their public 2016 year-end financial statement. “We may never achieve or maintain profitability.” They have a deficit of $99.3 million, an unpaid $3 million loan from ACOA since 2009 but yet in 2016 ACOA gave them another $337,000 to help buy the Rollo Bay site, with 0 per cent interest and the timing of repayment is “uncertain.” Finance P.E.I. also gave AquaBounty a loan for over $700,000 in 2016 to help purchase the Rollo Bay site.

Originally, it was thought their funding for this project would be supplied by their billionaire-owned parent company, Intrexon. However, AquaBounty states on their application this project will cost $13 million with funds requested from ACOA and Finance P.E.I. Ms. Braden stated in her letter AquaBounty’s operations will support our economy, but it appears our economy will be supporting them.

It makes no sense for ACOA and Finance P.E.I. to help AquaBounty when it is owned by billionaire executives and the board admits they may never be profitable. There are people in crisis in our province who need immediate help; funds given to and requested by AquaBounty should instead go directly to helping P.E.I. citizens.

We’ve said many times that the U.S. board of CEO’s and executives could build this facility in their own backyard and pay for it themselves. AquaBounty has always been under worldwide scrutiny; we hope our government is mindful of that when they are deciding to approve or deny AquaBounty’s proposal.

Dawn and Stephen Carter, Bear River, P.E.I. live a few hundred meters from where AquaBounty proposes to build North America’s first and only GMO salmon operation. They have a keen interest in protection of their local water, the fisheries and the environment.
----------------------------------

Today's Global Chorus essay will have many of us agreeing, as we see small-scale solar more available on P.E.I.  It's by Hazel Henderson, author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy and founder of Ethical Markets Media. The 84 year old is called "a futurist and economic iconoclast."

        Humanity is already finding many ways past our current global environmental and social crises. 2012 was the inflection point when we began reintegrating our knowledge and transitioning from the fossil fuel Industrial Era to the knowledge-richer, more equitable, cleaner green economies of the Solar Age. From digging into our Earth for energy, we began looking up and seeing the infinite abundant flow of free photons showering our planet. Just one hour of this flow could meet all our energy needs for a year!
        We began in earnest to harness these photons, just as green plants do with photosynthesis – providing all humans with our food and fibre today. We do not need much more research – only to accelerate our investments in energy efficiency, renewable solar, wind, ocean, hydro and geothermal sources – while ending our wasteful subsidies, 95 per cent of which go to fossil fuels and nuclear power. With this level playing field, even the 5 per cent of subsidies to solar and efficient use of renewable energy will be cheaper than polluting dangerous fossil and nuclear power. This crossover has already made solar and wind power cheaper than nuclear.
        When the social and environmental costs are finally counted and included in prices, renewables will out compete all earlier energy. If the current $1-trillion in annual private investments continue ($4.1-trillion by 2013), by 2020 humanity will have exited the fossil fuel Industrial Era and entered the sustainable Solar Age and the promise of an equitable, abundant future for all life forms on our planet.
        — Hazel Henderson

Details on Icelandic Talks: Two Talks About Icelandic Tourism

This week, Icelandic tourism scholar Gudrun Gunnarsdottir will be giving two illustrated public talks about tourism in Iceland. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of tourists visiting Iceland, so that the tourism density there now rivals that of Prince Edward Island.

The first of these lectures will be on Wednesday, the 24th, as part of a public symposium – entitled “Tourism, Place and Identity: Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island” -- and sponsored by Island Studies/UPEI, with support from the Rural Policy Learning Commons and Meetings & Conventions PEI.  The location is the Alex H. MacKinnon Lecture Theatre, Room 242, Don and Marion McDougall Hall, UPEI.  Start time is 7:00 p.m.

The second is on the following evening, Thursday, the 25th, and is sponsored by the Vinland Society of Prince Edward Island.  This time, the topic will be literary tourism, and the title, “Travelling the Literary Landscape of Iceland.”  This talk will provide an introduction to Icelandic literature and geography, in the context of the development of literary tourism. The lecture location is the BIS Hall on North River Road. Start time is 7:30.

Gudrun Gunnarsdottir is Director of the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre in Akureyri, northern Iceland.  She is also an authority on Icelandic literature and culture.     

May 22, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today:
Dandelion Festival, 10AM-3PM
, Stratford Town Hall,
Workshops, among other activities:
    10:00AM with Cooking with Dandelions (Margaret Prouse)

    11:15AM Vegetable Fermentation & Kombucha (Amy Smith & Verena Varga)
    12:30PM Pesticide-Free Lawn & Garden Care (Jamey Smith)
    1:45PM Herbs for Wellness (Cassandra Goodwin)

    Facebook event details

Saturday, May 27th:
Herb Day, 10AM-4PM
, Farm Centre, free, but plants and items for sale.

"What's happening - plant and seed sale, hourly workshops, marketplace, garden tool repair, yoga in the garden, garden tour, kids activities and more.
Herbs are a great way to get started growing some of your own food and to add nutrients and deliciousness to every meal. Cilantro (coriander) is the Herb of the Year for 2017 so expect to see it making a appearance during the day.  New this year - garden tool repair and yoga in the garden. Bring your garden tools for sharpening."
Facebook event details

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Usually, the essay from the Global Chorus:365 Voices on the Future of the Planet edited by Todd E. MacLean anthology is printed at the end of this daily newsletter, but today, it encourages action, and I have then printed some things you can do. (Note that No. 6 and a carbon tax needs to be thought out well for P.E.I. -- a discussion another day.)
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Global Chorus is written by Jeff Gailus, a father, educator, environmental advocate,  author of The Grizzly Manifesto and Little Black Lies. 

(note that this essay was written about three years ago, when Stephen Harper was Prime Minister and Barack Obama U.S. President)

       Looking out across the political landscape these days, it is easy, even logical, to conclude there is little hope we will take the necessary actions to overcome what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently called “the greatest challenge of our generation.”         For 17 years one Canadian government after another has failed to meet our international commitments to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and we are on track to fail again. Recent polls indicate that today, the majority of Canadians want the federal government to protect the planet from the ravages of runaway climate change, and yet the politicians who represent us still refuse to adequately regulate greenhouse gas emissions. They know we hope they will do otherwise, but they’re betting, as they always have, that we will forgive them for their sins.
        So far, they’ve been right: we are mired in hope.
        It’s easy to see that hope is not the answer. “Hope,” derived from the Germanic word for “wish,” is an illusion, a false prophet. Hope is what we cling to as our ship sinks into the cold dark waters of fear.
        We did not hope an end to slavery. We did not hope an end to the Second World War. We did not hope an end to discrimination based on the colour of our skin. All of these challenges were overcome by government intervention made strong by the concerted efforts of individuals just like you.
        We will not hope climate change away. When we quit hope, we free ourselves from the bondage of our fears and allow ourselves to act, to protect the people and places we love.
        I implore you: abandon all hope and commit to action. Only then will we be able to build the clean-energy economy that will provide our children and grandchildren with the prosperous and stable futures they deserve.
        — Jeff Gailus

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Here are actions you can take right now, from:
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/top-10-ways-you-can-stop-climate-change/

Top 10 ways you can stop climate change - David Suzuki Foundation website article

by David Suzuki's staff

Ever wonder how your tiny carbon footprint really impacts the big picture of climate change? Though you might feel like your lifestyle is insignificant compared to things like oil extraction or vehicle emissions, the choices we make in our day-to-day life — how we get around, what we eat, how we live — play a major role in slowing climate change.

Here's a list of 10 ways you can join in the fight to reduce our carbon footprint. Whether you save it on your desktop, share it with friends, or stick this on your fridge (link to printable PDF), this quick reference guide breaks down what you can do today to protect the planet for future generations.

1. Get involved

Take a few minutes to contact your political representatives and the media to tell them you want immediate action on climate change. Remind them that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also build healthier communities, spur economic innovation and create new jobs. And next time you're at the polls, vote for politicians who support effective climate policies.

Send a message to the Federal Government

2. Be energy efficient

You already switch off lights — what's next? Change light bulbs to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when not in use. Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water. Dryers are energy hogs, so hang dry when you can. Install a programmable thermostat. Look for the Energy Star® label when buying new appliances. And a home energy audit is cheaper than you think — book one today to find even more ways to save energy.

3. Choose renewable power

Ask your utility to switch your account to clean, renewable power, such as from wind farms. If it doesn't offer this option yet, ask it to.

4. Eat wisely

Buy organic and locally grown foods. Avoid processed items. Grow some of your own food. And eat low on the food chain — at least one meat-free meal a day — since 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. Food writer Michael Pollan sums it up best: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

5. Trim your waste

Garbage buried in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Keep stuff out of landfills by composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass. Let store managers and manufacturers know you want products with minimal or recyclable packaging.

6. Let polluters pay

Carbon taxes make polluting activities more expensive and green solutions more affordable, allowing energy-efficient businesses and households to save money. They are one of the most effective ways to reduce Canada's climate impact. If your province doesn't have a carbon tax, ask your premier and MLA to implement one.

7. Fly less

Air travel leaves behind a huge carbon footprint. Before you book your next airline ticket, consider greener options such as buses or trains, or try vacationing closer to home. You can also stay in touch with people by videoconferencing, which saves time as well as travel and accommodation costs.

8. Get informed

Follow the latest news about climate change.  Sign up for the David Suzuki Foundation newsletter.

9. Green your commute

Transportation causes about 25 per cent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, so walk, cycle or take transit whenever you can. You'll save money and get into better shape! If you can't go car-free, try carpooling or car sharing, and use the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle possible.

10. Support and Donate

Many organizations, including the David Suzuki Foundation, are working hard on solutions to climate change and rely on financial support from citizens like you. Consider making a donation today by calling 1-800-453-1533 or by visiting the donate page at the David Suzuki Foundation website.

May 21, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

On local food, from Charlottetown resident Ole Hammarlund:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/5/19/ole-hammarlund--boycott-jailed-eggs.html

OLE HAMMARLUND: Boycott jailed eggs - The Guardian Opinion piece by Ole Hammarlund

Expanding use of free run eggs, and eggs from small producers is a very big issue

printed on Friday, May 19th, 2017

Recently a local soup kitchen was offered 40 dozen eggs. Not just any dozen eggs, but eggs from organically fed free run hens raised by Organic Farmyards in Freetown. However as detailed in Tuesdays Guardian, local health authorities forbid the use of such eggs in kitchens serving the public.

Personally I only buy eggs from free run hens. I love the taste and the bright orange color colour of the yolk but the main reason is that I do not believe in jailing hens for life, as is the fate of most hens supplying eggs to the supermarkets.

Hens to my mind should live a good life and that involves being able to walk around, scratch the ground and other wholesome chicken activities, instead of being caged in a tiny cage forever.

Then there is the feed. The very best eggs come from hens allowed to roam eating seeds, insects and supplementary food supplied by the owner, hopefully just grain or flaxseed. I am always worried about livestock being fed antibiotics, which is the norm for most large-scale producers. Their chickens and hens living condition are so crowded that only antibiotics can keep them alive. The antibiotics invariably end up in your own food, and before you know it, you are hosting antibiotic resistant bacteria.

So free run eggs are popular. So popular that people flock to the Farmers Market on Saturdays, sometimes even before the official opening time, to secure a dozen free run eggs. Alas I am a late sleeper, so the eggs are often all gone when I get there. Desperate, I have to go to the supermarket and one of them does carry free run eggs, although more expensive than market eggs.

But I noticed that the free run eggs in the super market are not from P.E.I., but from Ontario. Egg producers are controlled by a marketing board and there are seven Island ‘factory’ producers. I spoke to Michael Cummisky, manager of P.E.I. Egg Producers. It turns out that one of the producers does operate a free run facility, but the eggs are sent to Nova Scotia for grading and selling. Michael was telling me that the licensed producers follow strict protocols, keeping records of feed and animal care. The eggs are graded in a federally inspected facility, where they are also washed in bleach and candled for internal spots. Eggs are kept cool at all times and arrive fresh to the supermarket.

Michael stated that the licensed producers hens and eggs receive a lot more care than the hens and eggs of the small, under-200 hens producers selling eggs at the farmers markets. This may well be true, but one wonders if the extra care is simply needed to counteract the crowded conditions of thousands of birds, jailed or not. Compare this to the hens in Freetown where owner Sandy Bernard explains that the hens run completely free during the day, feasting on grass, insects and fallen seeds supplemented with organic seeds. Sounds healthier to me, and I know that it is this diet and lifestyle that produce the bright orange yolk that I love.

Meanwhile the local health authorities are doing all they can to favour jailed and factory eggs. They forbid any public food establishment from using free run eggs and a few years ago they stopped Paul Offer from serving them to his guests in his Doctors Inn in Tyne Valley, even though his eggs are some of the best eggs to be had on P.E.I. The authorities claim it is a public health issue, but clearly they are just doing their best to keep small independent producers from making their natural association with local restaurants (and soup kitchens).

Expanding the use of free run eggs and eggs from small producers may seem like a small issue, but in reality it is a very big issue. People come to P.E.I. for the close connection we have to the land here, including the food, so serving them the same pale and tasteless fare as is available in the big cities does not promote tourism to P.E.I.

Let’s promote the local, small-scale egg producers by buying free run eggs from them. If you get there too late, buy only free run and un-jailed eggs at the supermarket. Eventually the Island factory egg producers will get the point, and produce better eggs themselves, but only if you boycott jailed eggs.

Vote with your money and make a chicken happy.

- Ole Hammarlund, a Charlottetown architect, has been working on projects to reduce carbon emissions since he came to P.E.I. in 1974 to design and build the Ark.

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

From the good ideas an Island Grade 5 teacher is trying, helping her students create websites which illustrate their graphically organized information on topics; this one was produced by the daughter of proud father Brad Trivers:
https://sites.google.com/cloud.edu.pe.ca/5ela-trivers/home

from the website "Save The Bees"

How We Can Help

Everyone says that you should plant flowers because they help bees. But have they done any research? The answer to that is NO! Some flowers are actually bad for bees. Also, planting flowers is not the only thing we can do. Here are some things you can do to the save the bees.

1. Planting flowers
Remember that some flowers are bad for bees and can do the opposite of what you want them to do. Here is a list of flowers that are extra good for bees.
Flowers that bees are attracted to:
Bee balm, Black-eyed Susan, Stonecrop, Goldenrod, Butterfly Bush, Purple coneflower, Joe-pye weed, Lavender

2. Letting them bee (be)
It is so important that we let bees be and always stay calm when bees are around. We should never exterminate bees; they are harmless when we are harmless to them.
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Sarah Backhouse is the founder and host of Future360TV and wrote the May 21st Global Chorus essay.


       
How do we get humans to care about and take action on climate change? As an environmental journalist and media entrepreneur, I am haunted by this question. The science is in, we know the facts, and yet we’re swimming against the tide to engage the public.
        To be fair, storytelling around this issue is challenging. Climate change is abstract – it’s a difficult concept for people to grasp. The scope of the problem is overwhelming – we’ve suffered profound ecological damage and species loss, much of it irreversible. Climate change is inaccurately perceived as long-term – it has to compete with more immediate concerns like jobs and mortgages.
        To get humans to engage, we need to humanize climate change. We need to share powerful stories about the thousands of lives it’s affecting everyday. Sobering stories about families in Los Angeles whose children suffer from asthma. Tragic stories about victims of weather events like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy in the U.S. and savage wildfires in Australia and about ecological refugees in Bangladesh and Africa. Inspiring stories about the innovators who are working tirelessly to develop clean-energy solutions, design better products and create new business models that encourage sharing and responsible use of resources.
        One of our most compelling video stories is about a sustainably built school in San Francisco, as seen through the eyes of a remarkable teenager. Fourteen-year-old Sonia effortlessly cartwheels through sustainability concepts and possesses a passion for life that touches everyone who watches.
        This story became more than one about a green school. It viscerally embodies the imagination and hope of a future generation – one that appears ready to tackle the threat that has paralyzed their parents. Sonia proves that we can change the world, one story at a time.
        — Sarah Backhouse

May 20, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open today in Charlottetown and Summerside.

Monday, May 22nd:
Dandelion Festival, 10AM-3PM,
Stratford Town Hall gym, various events and displays, free but charges for most foods and other aspects.
Facebook Event Details

Saturday, May 27th: ,
Herb Day, 10AM-4PM
, Farm Centre, displays, free with various seedlings for sale.
Facebook Event Details

The Thursday night (4-8PM) Farm Centre Market will open in June 15th, and one of the farmers there will be Ft. Augustus' Kevin Arsenault, who wrote this letter in yesterday's Journal-Pioneer (yes, the paper misspelled "Canadian" in the theadline and link):

http://www.journalpioneer.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/2017/5/18/letter--candian-consumers-losing-faith-in-government-over-geneti.html

LETTER: Candian consumers losing faith in government over genetically modified food battle - The Journal Pioneer Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, May 18th, 2017

An overwhelming majority of Canadians believe that Genetically-Modified (GM) food should be labelled. But agri-food corporations don't want consumers to know their food is genetically-engineered.

Why? Because they know that most people would buy non-GMO food given the choice, and not simply because they suspect non-GMO food is healthier, but also because they are aware that most GM crops are altered to tolerate pesticides, and that growing GM crops invariably leads to increased pesticide use over time (especially the use of Monsanto-owned “glyphosphate,” which the UN has ruled is “probably” carcinogenic). Consumers also realize GM technology and seeds are owned and controlled by a handful of transnational corporations, such as Monsanto, and they would much rather support a less industrialized and chemical-intensive method of food production.

Despite very valid reasons for wanting a choice, Liberal and Conservative governments have consistently denied consumers that freedom, always siding with corporations by defeating Private Member Bills to label GM foods. For example, in 2008, the Conservative government under Stephen Harper defeated such a Bill (C-517) at second reading.

With growing demands for GM food labeling during the last federal election, Canadians expected a different outcome with the Trudeau government. In early 2016, a Health Canada-commissioned survey found that 78 per cent of Canadians want mandatory labeling of GM Food. Bolstered by these results, NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault introduced Bill C-291 in June, 2016, to amend the Food and Drugs Act to require labeling of GM Food.

On Dec. 15, 2016, during a Radio-Canada interview, Trudeau was asked if he supported labeling GM food. He responded by saying: “This is about protecting consumers. I am hearing consumers say loud and clear that they want to know more about what they are putting in their bodies. This is a good thing.”

Bill C-291 passed second reading in Parliament on May 10, 2017, then came back to the House for final reading and a vote during the evening session on Wed., May 17, 2017. The Majority Liberal government defeated the Bill with 216 "nays" to just 67 "yeahs."

Sean Casey was the only P.E.I. Liberal MP to vote in favour of the Bill. Lawrence MacAulay, Robert Morrissey and Wayne Easter (who, as NFU President was once the loudest voice in the country calling for GM labeling) voted against the Bill, obviously believing it's more important for transnational corporations to be able to hide the truth about what they are selling, than for us to know the truth about what we are buying and eating.

Let's read what Trudeau said about GM labeling one more time: “This is about protecting consumers. I am hearing consumers say loud and clear that they want to know more about what they are putting in their bodies. This is a good thing.”

Now let's read what Trudeau said about politicians making promises they have no intention of keeping: “Promising something that seems popular at the time that you know you’re never going to deliver – that’s the kind of cynical politics that I don’t want any part of [June 18, 2015, Ottawa Citizen]. And Liberal politicians wonder why we're losing faith in them and our system of democracy they treat with such disdain!


Kevin J. Arsenault obtained his Ph.D from McGill University and lives in Ft. Augustus.

Kudos to Sean Casey for voting for that Bill.
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Olivier Oullier an "emorational" behavioural and brain scientist and musician, and writes the May 20th essay for Global Chorus.  Here is a bit about him and his blog.

       
We humans entertain the belief that we are rational and intelligent creatures. However, our creative and innovative power endangers our own species on a social, economic and environmental level. Not the best display of intelligence and rationality.         Although (sometimes) unintentional, the negative consequences of our behaviours on our peers and the planet are more and more visible each day. The measures taken by public authorities – i.e., bombarding us with alarming facts and figures together with endless lectures on what to do – are simply not working.
        Humans and their behaviours are beautifully complex. So are their perceptions and attitudes toward their physical and social environments. This complexity cannot be captured by the ungrounded rational economic models policy-makers rely upon that consider short-term focus, biases and affective fluctuations as (economic) “anomalies.” Big mistake. They are just human nature.
        People in charge need to face this reality and use the recent findings in psychology, behavioural economics and neuroscience to inform and improve their social change strategies. The unprecedented insights provided by these fields allow us to better study, learn and understand why real people engage (or not) in certain behaviours, make counter-intuitive decisions and put their lives and environments at risk, in spite of being well aware of the stakes.
        Behaviourally evidence-informed policy-making is the only way to better engage citizens in taking care of themselves, their peers and the planet. In order to be successful, such an approach requires a profound systemic change. Designers, together with behavioural and brain scientists, must help policy-makers embrace our emorational nature and therefore ground their strategies. Making it as easy and effortless as possible for people to change their behaviours to improve their health and well-being and stop destroying our ecosystem must be a priority.
        Good news: this is possible. But we need to quickly take a vital step by putting the best innovation ever at the core of policy-making: humans themselves.
        — Olivier Oullier

May 19, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some updates:
Yesterday, The Guardian focused on the mental health services on P.E.I., as did the Graphic newspapers, publishing a lengthy in-depth article by the King's College journalism team.  Here it is from The Walrus magazine:
https://thewalrus.ca/overburdened/
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How trying the arbitration process for her land for the Cornwall Bypass project has been on her and the Hughes-Jones family, in Ellen Hughes' recent blog:
https://medium.com/@HJCPEI/the-easy-road-is-never-the-road-i-choose-5bcc51d52d4d
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From writer, entertainer and former executive civil servant Allan Rankin, a clear piece on the difference between regional (economic) development and rural community development, from his blog and also his column in the Graphic newspapers. Bold is mine.

http://www.theislandheartbeat.com/?p=2099

The Mill River Project: Regional Development Is Not Rural Community Development - The Island Heartbeat web article by Allan Rankin

Published on Wednesday, May 17th 2017

Regional development is an upper Canadian idea. 

It had its origins in the decades following the last world war, as Ottawa attempted to stimulate economic development and job creation in the so-called ‘depressed’ parts of the country like Atlantic Canada. We are all familiar with the acronyms – ERDA, FRED, ACOA.

There are now six regional development agencies across the country.

But the regionalism template hardly fits a small, densely-populated, and decentralized province like Prince Edward Island. To speak of the different ‘regions’ of the Island, aside from acknowledging their feeling of estrangement from the government in Charlottetown, is a misnomer and serves no strategic planning benefit.

The Island consists of two quaisi urban communities pretending to be cities, a bunch of rural towns and villages, seasonal residential development along the shoreline, and some open countryside.

We have no regional hinterlands.

In April, the MacLauchlan government appointed a new Minister of Rural and Regional Development. The timing was precipitous, and to some a disingenuous attempt to appease a rural uprising around proposed rural school closures. The new minister is respected Alberton-Roseville MLA Pat Murphy, but the operating mandate of the department has not been elaborated upon, and the recent provincial budget has accorded it no dedicated financial resources. Once more, the responsibility for bodies like the Area Industrial Commissions has been retained by Murphy’s colleague the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

This must leave Minister Murphy wondering what his job is.

Rural Islanders should look closely at the terminology used, because “regional development” and “rural community development” are not at all the same things. While making strategic economic investments in one part of the province or another may have merit, that is far different than rural economic, social, and cultural development at the community level, with local citizens identifying opportunities and planning their own futures.

There is no sign that the MacLauchlan government is interested in rural community development.

The recently-announced Mill River Development project is a good case in point. Here we have a successful Islander, home from away, tagged with the re-development of a strategic piece of tourism infrastructure in the western part of the province. The seven-million-dollar deal relinquishes public ownership of the property, provides development capital, and a guarantee against operating losses, in return for a small investment by Don MacDougall, the new owner and developer.

The agreement between the Province and Mr. MacDougall is one sided, in favor of the developer, and a wider RFP might have led to a more advantageous financial arrangement for Island taxpayers. Most Islanders wish the new owner success, and I hope the west Prince region benefits in the long term.

But an important distinction must be made. The Mill River re-development is not rural community development, as evidenced by the fact that Minister Murphy was not a part of its rollout, nor to my knowledge was he involved in the discussions leading up to the eventual agreement between government and the developer. More importantly, I am not aware of any direct community consultation or discussion process that took place.

Mill River is old fashioned large-scale, strategic economic development, planned by government together with a selected private developer, and with no involvement of the community.

Had a rural community development approach been taken, the impact of such a huge financial investment by government upon other businesses in the area might have been considered.

Within the west Prince area, there are several other community and privately operated inns and small hotels, and for those businesses the playing field is now anything but fair or even. What provincial government help can they expect? Are there programs to assist their future capital improvements or development? A community development approach to the Mill River project would have taken their needs, realities, and aspirations into consideration.

Let’s look at language again.

The mandate of minister Murphy’s department speaks about “sustained growth,” “employment investment” and of a “population strategy”. But there is no focus on community, and no indication that government is interested in embarking on a truly dynamic, community development process with rural Islanders.

Premier MacLauchlan’s government seems to fearful of allowing communities too much latitude and self-determination. This is unfortunate, and government shouldn’t define the community landscape either, or limit the discussion. For rural community development is also about schools, and medical clinics, land use, clean air and water resources, and access to a whole range of provincial programs and services.

Community development can be cumbersome and not always coincide with the strategic economic and social development priorities of government. But I believe it’s the only way to engage people where they live, achieve bottom up development, and move the province forward.

I am hoping that premier MacLauchlan’s government adopts such a genuine approach to rural development, and that partnering with our rural communities becomes more than funding strategic projects like the Mill River re-development.

The Island is not an easily managed assemblage of regions, but a small community of even smaller communities, and only by preserving and fostering that decentralized rural character will our economic future be assured.

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Global Chorus is by James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency (about what would happen to most countries with t he end of oil).  Wikipedia writes, "Kunstler, a long-time critic of suburban design, advises people should begin learning to grow food."  He blogs here.


        The master task at hand for the human race is managing the contraction of an industrial economy that has reached its limits.
        The human race has no experience with this, and for the moment we are in thrall to wishful thinking in the hope that some techno rescue remedy will allow us to keep that system going – shale oil, hydrogen, electric cars, thorium reactors, methane clathrates, etc. We’re wasting our time wishing for these things. We need to downscale and relocalize all the activities of daily life: agriculture, commerce, capital finance, governance, education, healthcare.
        It is important to remember that reality has mandates of its own and will compel us to behave differently whether we get with the program, or not – it just depends on how disorderly we want the transition to be.
        I attempted to depict such a successful transition in a series of two (soon to be three) recent novels set in the post-petroleum American future: World Made by Hand and The Witch of Hebron, if anyone is interested in an imagined outcome that is not in the Mad Max mould. It’s not utopia but it shows people managing to remain civilized under conditions of relative hardship. Farming has come back to the centre of their economy, they work shoulder to shoulder with their neighbours on things that matter, and they make music together. It’s a start. It’s also still recognizably American culture.
        — James Howard Kunstler

May 18, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Event today -- all welcome:
Thursday, May 18th, 2-5PM:
"Growing Food & Education: Getting more local food in our schools", Food Security Network Panel Discussion and AGM, 2-5PM,
Farm Centre, free
Facebook event details

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Two letters reflecting how citizens have to be vigilant to make up for practices that benefit certain corporations and a small handful of people over the environment.

Calling out Aqua Bounty's apologists:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/2017/5/16/letter--unanswered-issues-concern-residents.html

LETTER: Unanswered issues concern residents - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Re: Laura Braden: Sustainable way to raise fish, The Guardian May 13, 2017.

          Recent news reports including Laura Braden’s article published on May 13 totally miss the point of the local opposition to the AquaBounty plant expansion in Rollo Bay. As property owners in Rollo Bay, we share the local opposition and frustration with the lack of clarity and transparency in the process being followed by governments and the company for this project.
        We are puzzled by the government’s (provincial and federal) endorsement and financial assistance to AquaBounty to go forward with a GMO salmon growing facility in Rollo Bay without carrying out a new Environmental Impact Assessment. The company plans have changed dramatically in the last year and the original assessment was very specific and limited to salmon egg production and not a full-blown salmon hatchery.         There is a significant difference in the environmental footprint for the much larger scale plant particularly as it relates to water usage and water/waste dispersal.
        There are numerous and substantive unanswered questions, particularly with respect the impact on local water quality- answers not yet forthcoming from either level of government or the US owned company. We have asked for a more robust local consultation with officials from each level of government and senior company executives to provide the assurances and commitments local residents need to grant the “social license “ to have this revised and significant player in our community proceed with its project.

Irene Peters MacDonald and Colin MacDonald, Rollo Bay

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And from the magnificent Edith Ling:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/5/17/unacceptable-answer-from-public-servant.html

Unacceptable answer from public servant - The Guardian Opinion piece by Edith Ling

Public needs vigilance to ensure holding ponds won’t circumvent moratorium on high capacity wells

Published on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

        The general public needs to be very concerned about the construction of holding ponds used to hold water for agricultural irrigation purposes. It appears to me that these holding ponds are a way around the 2002 moratorium placed on the drilling of high capacity wells in this province. 

        At a meeting with Department of Environment officials on March 29, 2017 to review the draft Water Act, the question was asked about how these ponds were going to be filled. The answer given on that day was that there would be one well (low capacity) allowed per pond. That seemed to be a reasonable answer.
The same question was asked of the Dept. of Environment official at the public meeting to consider the draft Water Act in Charlottetown on April 10, 2017. The information given at that meeting was there would be one well allowed per property identification number (PID) per pond.
        This is a substantial difference. Many farmers have a number of parcels of land, each with a different identification number and we know water can be piped for great distances. It is easy to see that the plan is to use several wells to fill these holding ponds.
        In a telephone call to the same Department of Environment official, Jim Young, a day or so later, he was asked why the change had been made. He replied that there were no changes made. When he was questioned as to why he had not mentioned the property identification number involvement at the March 29, 2017 meeting, his response was "You did not ask."
        This is a totally unacceptable answer from a public servant. It would appear that not all the information was shared at the March 29 meeting or indeed a change has been made.
        It is difficult to understand what the difference would be between one high capacity well filling a pond or several low capacity wells doing the same job.
Either way, hundreds of thousands of gallons of precious water are being extracted.
Even more interesting is the fact that the highest pumping capacity for a low capacity well is 50 igpm (imperial gallons per minute) while the lowest pumping capacity for a high capacity well is just over 50 igpm. Both wells will require permits.
        I realize that the matter of these holding ponds will be dealt with in the Regulations under the Water Act. Regulations can be changed by the stroke of a pen at any meeting of the cabinet.
        The general public needs to be vigilant about this matter and ensure that these holding ponds are not an innovative way to circumvent the moratorium on high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation. We need to make sure that our water supply is protected and preserved for this and future generations.

- Edith Ling of North Winsloe is a beef farmer and Women's District Director of the National Farmers Union.

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Global Chorus is by Patty Webster, the founder of Amazon Promise, an organization, a "U.S. based, non-profit organization founded to provide desperately needed medical and dental care to remote populations living in the Upper Amazon Basin of Northeastern Peru." Amazon Promise website

   
    It is difficult to be optimistic about the human capacity to survive when, as a whole, we appear so hell-bent on creating the perfect conditions for our demise. Observing the natural world in the Amazon jungle, I have seen thousands of species coexist perfectly with the environment that supports them. Why can’t we do that? Is it that other “simple” species actually “think” long-term and we “big-brained” humans only in the short? We are destroying what keeps us and other species alive – the plants that provide the oxygen we breathe, the rivers, oceans and forests that supply the food and medicine that sustains us.
        People complain that technology is moving too fast. I disagree. Unless a major global event alters our trajectory, we are never returning to a time when things were “better.” In fact, if we are to outrun an approaching crisis, technology is part of the answer and must be propelled to hyperspeed. We need to put extreme effort into technological innovations that have the potential for global impact. Incredible breakthroughs, such as turning plastics and algae into oil, have been developed by people just like you and I, people who saw a negative situation and wanted to change it.         Twenty years ago, I was inspired to bring desperately needed medical care to the neglected people of the Peruvian Amazon. My advice is to discover what motivates YOU and get involved in improving our situation. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the immensity of the issues and adopt a complacent, “getwhat-you-can-while-you-can” attitude, but people who take on one problem at a time are overcoming paralysis and having great success all over the world. Their small triumph connects with other small triumphs and together, they become a force. Everyone is part of the solution. Governments are not the change agents. We are.
        — Patty Webster

May 17, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today:
Wednesday, May 17th:
Information Session on Construction at Province House, 1-2:30PM
, Confederation Centre Studio 1, free.
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Thursday, May 18th, 2-5PM:
"Growing Food & Education: Getting more local food in our schools", Food Security Network Panel Discussion and AGM, 2-5PM,
Farm Centre, free
Facebook event details

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A good note to send to your MPs
from: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/Constituencies/FindMP?textCriteria=prince%20edward%20island

Sean Casey:  Sean.Casey@parl.gc.ca
Wayne Easter: wayne.easter@parl.gc.ca
Lawrence MacAulay: lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca
Robert "Bobby" Morrissey: Robert.Morrissey@parl.gc.ca


http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/5/16/lynne-thiele--sland-mps-can-leave-a-lasting-legacy.html

LYNNE THIELE: Island MPs can leave a lasting legacy - The Guardian Opinion piece by Lynne Thiele

Published on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Liberal governments in both cases denied voters Proportional Representation in next elections

With the following five suggestions, I invite our four Members of Parliament to lead with principles, create a legacy, and bring a better life to Islanders and Canadians.

1) Proportional Representation was promised 1,600 times by Justin Trudeau before the last election. It was, he vowed with hand over heart, the last election that would use First Past the Post. In P.E.I., a majority of Islanders voted for a Proportional Representation system with MMP and DMP. Liberal governments in both cases have denied the voters Proportional Representation in the next elections. I call on all four MPs to rise up and based on principle, to ask the PM to concede to Canadians a right to have their vote count. Don't delay or disrespect our democracy as did the provincial Liberals.

2) Create a furor until, in partnership with the federal and provincial government, a pilot project for Basic Income Guarantee is created for P.E.I.

3) Use your voices at the federal level to support educational and business opportunities by bringing high speed internet to every part of the Island. The provincial government promises for this are a disgrace.

4) Demand the federal government provide a pilot project for Pharmacare here on P.E.I. Such a plan could have saved Islanders $270 million over the past 10 years. Saying we can't afford it, is like saying we can't afford a sink stopper because the water bill is too high.

5) Islanders have a deep respect for veterans and those who serve in our Armed Forces. Complaints of torture to new recruits that were alleged against the commanding officers and soldiers under their command, must be investigated, and if proven to be true, then all the torturers must be held individually responsible and punished. Commands from superior officers do not exonerate soldiers from laws against torture and heinous crime. Our honourable members should not take their titles lightly. To do the job with honour, takes courage. It means speaking against a leader who has lied and misused his power. When you read about the soldiers who were tortured by their leaders, you are called to judge yourselves.
Do you abide by leaders who misuse their power? I ask you to be a voice for us that will be heard across the nation. We are the birthplace of Canadian Confederation and you represent us.

- Lynne Thiele of Stratford is a writer, editor and retired educator.
(And I would add demanding the reestablishment of Door-to-Door mail delivery...that was a big promise....)
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Global Chorus today is a poem by Robert Ferrari, an Alberta physician and poet


Renewal
Change is too constant for history,
Which comes, considers and makes a stand,
In clearings, and elsewhere along the road of
Values, questions, necessity and growth;
Constant the change comes, sometimes quietly, as though,
Holding its breath, it is planning a lesson;
Or sometimes unquietly resting, like an animal
Being tracked, made to camouflage,
Hunted by progress,
Tired and terrified, chased by dreams,
By aspirations, man’s fears of being lost,
Beneath the world, beneath leaves,
Hidden forever in the secrets of weather.

Whether time, water, wind or fire invades
With violence upon history,
Or, with even less drama, flatters inhabitants
With long memories, beyond the recollections
Of a millennium, a folk-song, or even this morning,
Whether these strikes breach the walls,
Patina the years, favour the return to leaves
Or not, there is a pressure to place the past
Into smaller spaces, disappearing venues,
Closing circuits and cramped opportunities.
This is the change too constant for history,
The insistent rewriting that wanders into
Our lives and underlines in the dictionary
The word renewal.

There’s a murmur in the world theatre:
The curtain is drawing,
And the third act has yet to be written.
In act one, the sun prays for renewal;
In act two, renewal prays for sunlight,
For some truth unvarnished by myths of collapse,
That life is not a last look or sometime space,
But an immersion in change, fibre deep, forest deep,
And willing.

Renewal is yours, your task and work and hope.
Understand it as a name, and call it.
Everything yields.
Yesterday’s poems are dead,
And the poets have gone off to fish.
The temples of Art and Hope are constantly rebuilt,
Less so by masters and more by neighbours
Seeking shelter from the rains, finding
That the clouds in their lives speak only grey ideas,
Or rebuilt by those asking for directions to the theatre,
Hearing that the third act has not yet been written,
And feeling that their tongue has the courage to speak the lines,
And recite the monologue of renewal.
        — Robert Ferrari
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