CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

May 2020


  1. 1 May 31, 2020
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 N.S. man with non-Hodgkin lymphoma a lead in class action against Monsanto, Bayer - The Chronicle-Herald article by Aaron Beswick
  2. 2 May 30, 2020
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Grasp the opportunity of Pandemic Standard Time - The Eastern Graphic column by Paul MacNeill
  3. 3 May 29, 2020
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  4. 4 May 28, 2020
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 A False Dichotomy - The Guardian Op-Ed by Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition
    3. 4.3 BOB BANCROFT: Politicians must stop selectively listening to science - The Chronicle Hearld Op Ed by Bob Bancroft
  5. 5 May 27, 2020
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 Royalty Oaks plan needs more thought - social media post by Gary Schneider
  6. 6 May 26, 2020
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Cities are closing streets to make way for restaurants and pedestrians - The Washington Post article by Michael Laris
  7. 7 May 25, 2020
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 SONNY GALLANT: Holding government to account - The Guardian Guest Opinion
    3. 7.3 Atlantic Skies for May 25th - June 1st, 2020 - by Glenn K. Roberts
  8. 8 May 24, 2020
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 BECALMED -  by Boyd Allen, Vice-Chair, Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.
  9. 9 May 23, 2020
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  10. 10 May 22, 2020
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 "Royalty Rant" by Doug Millington
  11. 11 May 21, 2020
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 The global pandemic can, and should, transform everything. - The National Observer article by Kamyar Razavi
  12. 12 May 20, 2020
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  13. 13 May 19, 2020
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 May 18, 2020
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 Atlantic Skies for May 18th- May 24th, 2020 - column by Glenn K. Roberts
  15. 15 May 17, 2020
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 What Bryan Adams got right, and what he got wrong - The Star article by Jessica Scott-Reid
  16. 16 May 16, 2020
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 COVID-19 exposes need for rural high-speed internet - The Graphic publications Letter to the Editor
  17. 17 May 15, 2020
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 P.E.I. looks to reallocate protected green space for public trail, road expansion - CBC News post by Jessica Doria-Brown
  18. 18 May 14, 2020
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 How Big Tech Plans to Profit from the Pandemic - The Guardian (UK) article by Naomi Klein, published originally in The Intercept
  19. 19 May 13, 2020
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 Paving Paradise - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 19.3 A Bridge to Nowhere - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Sharon Labchuk,
  20. 20 May 12, 2020
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 LETTER: Logical backfire - The Guardian Letter to the editor
  21. 21 May 11, 2020
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 Five tests to make sure bailouts benefit people, not corporations - Broadbent Institute website post by Katrina Miller
    3. 21.3 Atlantic Skies for May 11th-May 17th - by Glenn K. Roberts
  22. 22 May 10, 2020
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  23. 23 May 9, 2020
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 Taxpayers on the hook for $600K 'bridge to nowhere', says local woman - CBC-PEI online article by Wayne Thibodeau
  24. 24 May 8, 2020
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 24.2 Time to Talk about a Maximum Wage - NDP PEI website post by Joe Byrne, NDP PEI Leader
    3. 24.3 How did Michael Moore become a hero to climate deniers and the far right? - The Guardian (U.K.) article by George Monbiot
  25. 25 May 7, 2020
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 In the middle of a pandemic, renewables are taking over the grid - The National Observer article by Emily Pontecorvo
  26. 26 May 6, 2020
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 Coronavirus is not just a health crisis — it’s an environmental justice crisis - article by Yvette Cabrera
  27. 27 May 5, 2020
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 GUEST OPINION: Now is the time to support cultural institutions - The Guardian Guest opinion by Bruce Craig
  28. 28 May 4, 2020
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 Atlantic Skies - by Glenn Roberts: Interstellar Visitors- for the week of May 4th -May 10th, 20I20
  29. 29 May 3, 2020
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 NFU: Coronavirus is another layer of anxiety for farmers - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Douglas Campbell
  30. 30 May 2, 2020
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 OPINION: Don't stop at condolences - The Guardian Op Ed by Susan Hartley
  31. 31 May 1, 2020
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 LETTER: Reduce vehicles in downtown - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 31.3 GUEST OPINION: Self-isolate P.E.I.'s bees - The Guardian Guest opinion by Stan Sandler

May 31, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Tiny Island Concert tonight --

8PM-- Emerging Artist: Nikkie Gallant Music
8:30PM-- Established Artist: Gordie MacKeeman of Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys

from the MusicPEI website:
Nikkie Gallant writes and performs heart-aching indie pop songs featuring lush vocals and tremolo-laced electric guitar sounds. She has been noted for her work, earning multiple Music PEI Awards nominations, including Songwriter of the Year.…/…/subtle-motions-album/s-gnFXJ

Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys’ latest release, Dreamland, is a refreshing and electric mix of covers and original songs that draws on styles ranging from folky bluegrass to old time country to rockabilly. They have a grand total of 12 Music PEI Awards and East Coast Music Awards for their albums.

The concerts are free to watch, while donations are now being accepted to the Music PEI Crisis Relief Fund for PEI music industry professionals and artists.Those funds will be distributed to PEI artists not performing and industry professionals in need."

Music PEI Facebook page

Met Opera HD transmission
Strauss’s Salome, 7:30PM until Monday late afternoon
"Starring Karita Mattila, Ildikó Komlósi, Kim Begley, Joseph Kaiser, and Juha Uusitalo, conducted by Patrick Summers. From October 11, 2008.... this is one opera that is as shocking today as it was at its premiere in 1905."
Met Opera link


N.S. man with non-Hodgkin lymphoma a lead in class action against Monsanto, Bayer - The Chronicle-Herald article by Aaron Beswick

Published on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

David Mitchell doesn’t know if he’ll have it in him to get his vegetable garden planted this year in the Margaree Valley. The longtime dairy and fruit farmer has spent the winter living in Halifax to be nearer treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

But he does believe he is prepared to be the Canadian face of a class-action lawsuit against two of the world’s biggest agricultural and pharmaceutical companies.

“Oh yeah, I have no problem with that,” the 63-year-old said Friday.

Last July, Mitchell and Ontario hobby farmer Gretta Hutton filed suit against Bayer Inc., Monsanto Company, Monsanto Canada ULC and Monsanto Canada Inc.  Bayer bought Monsanto, maker of the herbicide Roundup, in 2016 for $66 billion.

Mitchell, Hutton and the over 900 signatories to their class action filed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax allege that the current and former producers of Roundup “knew or should have known” that exposure to their product posed an increased risk to developing cancer.

They’re backed up by a study titled Exposure to Glyphosate-based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-analysis and Supporting Evidence, published last February in academic journal Mutation Research/reviews in Mutation Research by researchers at the University of Washington.

Its authors examined epidemiological studies on the connection between glyphosate exposure and cancer published between 2001 and 2018. Included in that was a 2018 study of 54,000 licensed professional pesticide applicators in the United States.

It found that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, increased the risk to non-Hodgkin lymphoma by up to 41 per cent.

“They refused to include a cancer warning or any adequate warning on the label or to instruct users to wear protective clothing or equipment while spraying Roundup, and they unduly influenced, undermined and discredited scientific research that found their product to be harmful to humans,” reads the suit’s statement of claim.  “All of this was for the purpose of safeguarding the enormous profits generated by one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, while disregarding the health and lives of Canadians.”

In 1994, Mitchell left his job with CN Rail, sold his hobby sheep farm near Lunenburg and moved with his then wife and their two young children to Scotsburn, Pictou County.

They started with a herd of 15 purebred jersey dairy cows.  Among the many chores of running a growing farm was keeping those purebred jerseys from escaping.

That meant walking the pasture lines with a backpack sprayer, applying glyphosate to kill the grass that would grow up and arc out the electric fence. Mitchell would make the rounds in the morning before the wind picked up, wearing coveralls and gloves.

“It was very common practice, still is,” said Mitchell.  “You’d try to be careful because it was a chemical. But you still would end up getting the bloody stuff on you. It didn’t matter how careful you tried to be, you’d end up spilling a bit, breathing a bit.”

By 2003, Mitchell was up for a new adventure in agriculture.  He moved to New Zealand to work on a dairy farm.  There, his duties included spraying Roundup.

Glyphosate can be found nearly anywhere there is commercial agriculture.  Since Monsanto began marketing it under the name Roundup in 1974, approximately 9.4 million tonnes have been sprayed. According to U.S. Right to Know, an American non-profit research group, that’s about half a tonne of Roundup for every cultivated acre in the world.

In 2005, he moved back to Nova Scotia to buy an orchard.  “You don’t have to milk them twice a day,” said Mitchell of what attracted him to tree crops.  The 48-hectare farm in Somerset, near Aylesford, included 13 hectares of apple trees and six hectares of grape vines.

He sprayed Roundup daily in the spring when grass was coming up to compete with the trees for nutrients. Wearing a sealed suit but no mask, he sprayed it from a boom mounted on the front of a tractor and using a backpack sprayer.

“I enjoyed it, but there wasn’t enough money in it at the time,” Mitchell said of why they didn’t stick with the orchard.  “I wasn’t trying to get rich. As in most farming, you don’t get rich, just try to be comfortable and at least break even.”

Next came a stint on a nearby cranberry bog, where he sometimes sprayed Roundup, and then trips to Alberta for work.

In 2013, he was preparing to head back to New Zealand when a blood test showed a very high white cell count. He went anyway.  But after eight months, his health deteriorated and he returned to Montreal, where two of his sons were living.

After some false starts, a proper diagnosis finally arrived: Waldenström macroglobulinemia.  It’s a hard-to-pronounce and rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  The doctors gave him five years to live.

“So that changed the whole ball of wax,” Mitchell said.


Suing the makers of the world’s most popular herbicide has become an industry unto itself.

Last May, a California jury awarded $2 billion to Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a couple in their 70s who had been spraying the herbicide since it first went on the market in 1974 and who both were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A judge later lowered the amount Monsanto would be expected to pay to $87 million.

It was the third loss in row for Monsanto and, in its wake, the number of lawsuits against the company skyrocketed from 11,000 to the current 125,000.

There are at least 12 class actions in Canada.  The Canadian Bar Association's traditional protocol for multijurisdictional class proceedings means that they will likely all get rolled into one suit for the sake of efficiency.

“So it really is a competition to see who is going to represent the class,” said Raymond Wagner, the Halifax attorney bringing the Nova Scotia suit.

Whichever suit gets certified in court first is more likely to be the one all the other cases get rolled into.

Last week, Monsanto and Bayer had a request to have the Nova Scotia suit thrown out as an abuse of process, but that was denied by Supreme Court Justice Denise Boudreau.

So Mitchell and Hutton’s suit, with a certification hearing scheduled for next summer, is a leading contender.  William Mcnamara, attorney for Monsanto and Bayer, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mitchell doesn’t know how much time he has left.  He does know that spring is treacherous in the Margaree Valley.

Since moving there a few years ago, he’s kept a large vegetable garden.  “Ha,” he stifles a weak laugh when asked if the first full moon in June would be safe planting there.

If his health allows, he’ll move back there for the summer and get it planted.And he’ll sue two multibillion-dollar companies.


A couple of links  (links only) to interesting articles -- certainly not the only or last word on the coronavirus -- but articles mentioned and shared in other areas and here for your information.

What is the ACE2 receptor, how is it connected to coronavirus and why might it be key to treating COVID-19? The experts explain

from The Conversation  ("Academic rigour, journalistic flare")
published online on Thursday, May 14th, 2020
This is written in the United States, so not applicable here now, where we have no community transmission that we know of, but a very logical read.

The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them

by Erin Bromage, PhD
updated on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 on his personal blog

Bromage has a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, and researches and teaches on infectious diseases and host immune responses of animals, at the University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth).
From a Canadian, and a United States, publication (respectively), and certainly kind of "First-World Problems" but may be of some interest (also Links Only)...

Is It OK to Dread the End of Quarantine?

by Sarah Laing
published on Tuesday, May 26th, 2020, in Flare magazine

PSA: You Make the Rules for Your Family as Lockdowns Lift—Regardless of Peer Pressure to Be Social

by Melissa Mills

published in Parents on-line on Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Global Chorus essay for May 31
Carolyn Herriot

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Have you forgotten who you are?
That 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
Mother Earth, the polluted air and dying oceans are
calling you to

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
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, author of A Year on the Garden Path: A 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide, The Zero Mile Diet and The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook, founder/operator of The Garden Path Centre

More places to read about Carolyn Herriot: Harbour Publishing page on Carolyn's books

This is from another Island....
Island Woman Magazine blogs by Carolyn Herriot
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

May 30, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Some Farmers' Market vendors are outside the Charlottetown Farmers' Market in the parking lot during the morning hours; probably Summerside Market, too.
Heart Beet Organics
"The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Some produce, fermented products and cheeses at their storefront.

More local goods info:
"Where and How to Access Local Organic Products" from The PEI Certified Organic Producers' Co-op newsletter. 
This week's is HERE

Saturday Afternoon Radio/On-line Opera
(Live Metropolitan Opera Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts are over for now, as that season runs from December until May in "normal" years)
Dear Canadian tenor Ben Heppner hosts Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, starting at *1PM*, and featuring interviews with opera legends and their favourite performances rebroadcast -- "Best Opera Ever" series
 This afternoon: Ben with Baritone Michael Volle, presenting Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg by Richard Wagmer.

Sir Georg Solti conducts the Chicago Symphony recording conductor, Jose Van Dam, René Pape and Ben Heppner at Walther

Fair Vote webinar on Organizing for Proportional Representation, 5:30PM our time, with Islander Anna Keenan and MP Paul Manly
"MP Paul Manly is going to be joining Anna Keenan's interactive session on campaigning and organizing at 4:30 PM Eastern on Saturday! Anna and Paul will share practical tools for organizing and connecting with citizens that apply to ALL campaigns, including organizing for PR. You'll be able to interact by video with other PR supporters in small group sessions."
Registration LINK

Met Opera (video) HD broadcast
Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, from 7:30PM to tomorrow late afternoon,
Starring Pretty Yende and Matthew Polenzani, conducted by Domingo Hindoyan. From February 10, 2018. "Donizetti's bubbly romantic comedy about a spunky landowner, ahapless peasant and the dubious love potion that may or may not bring them together never fails to delight audiences."

from Graphic publisher Paul MacNeill, a few weeks ago, and it feels a little different to read it now as the Province pushes to Phase 3 of its opening schedule. And while the IB Programme cited may have to have changes made outside of P.E.I. for it to go to distance learning, in both education and health, video-delivery of services should not edge out real contact and all its benefits.

Grasp the opportunity of Pandemic Standard Time - The Eastern Graphic column by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, May 13th, 2020 in The Graphic publications

Only two Island high schools offer International Baccalaureate programming, with its intensive focus on academic excellence and personal development. It’s a reality that creates an unlevel playing field between schools and students with, and schools and students without.

We see the same reality played out through a variety of programming at all educational levels. It’s one of the excuses used in the past to close rural schools. Bigger begets a better, more expansive education, or so we were told.

But as we tepidly pop our heads up from under the sheets, who will see the opportunity COVID-19 presents to change the conversation and the perception of what is possible?

The Department of Education and Public Schools Branch historically find it difficult to deliver major change, a systematic bias an unseen virus turned on its ear. While it is far from a rousing success educationally, the department has crafted a stop gap distance learning model.

The post COVID-19 challenge is how to avoid slipping back into yesterday’s routine. COVID-19 presents an opportunity to modernize the education system in all corners of the province. This is the opposite of the failed ‘close them because they are small’ attitude of the past. It’s about fresh eyes and for the first time demanding PEI’s education system set the achievement bar as a world leader.

This will serve our children, our province and our economy, an area education is often clueless about.

Can we, for instance, combine in person instruction in rural high schools with a distance learning component to allow Island students, regardless of high school attended, the opportunity to participate in IB programming?

The same logic applies to health care. The use of telemedicine is quickly becoming mainstream and accepted. How can our province embrace technology to tackle significant issues of doctor shortages and access to specialists, while enhancing programs and services in rural health centres?

After more than two months, society is programmed to operate on Pandemic Standard Time, where things once thought impossible are now simply delivered. We shop differently. We do business differently. Government provides services differently. When the virus recedes we’ll return to a reasonable facsimile of yesterday. But we will no longer avoid needed change because of our own stubbornness, narrow views, bureaucratic inertia or just plain ignorance.

Nope. COVID-19 is delivering a shock to the system unlike any in our lifetime. The waves of opposition that normally accompany even modest ideas, now are mute. It doesn’t mean that we’ll all agree. We won’t, and we shouldn’t. Some ideas are better than others. Some will succeed and others will fail. It’s in failing where the greatest promise lies.

If someone had suggested three months ago to Transportation Minister Steven Myers the idea of moving the majority of PEI government employees to home based offices, he likely would have laughed it off as too radical and too much, too soon. It’s a testament to how accustomed we’ve become to the fear of failure that we avoid any change by tying it up in knots with endless meetings and consultation. By the time something is actually done it is so watered down and inefficient that it fails to deliver anything substantive.

Not any more. It’s amazing what Pandemic Standard Time can do to the system. Steven Myers had no choice, so he demanded change. And it was delivered. The question now is what percentage of the workforce can be permanently transitioned? It’s an effort that is good for the employee and the community they live in, as well as making the operation of government more efficient.

More importantly we now know change is possible and the same big idea thinking is applicable to just about everything. In some ways COVID-19 is a gift that unshackles us from the norm and our own limited expectations.

Pandemic Standard Time is shaking us to the core, but it just may lead us toward a better future.

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

Global Chorus essay for May 30
Melanie Fitzpatrick

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, climate scientist, wilderness educator, currently blogging for the Union of Concerned Scientists among other projects

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

May 29, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food planning:

Heart Beet Organics, Order before 4PM today for pickup tomorrow between 9AM-1PM,
The Farmacy, 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Discover Charlottetown Local Goods Guide (from May 21st, 2020), with many listings of food/beverages, take-out, goods, etc.
Link to page with Local Goods Guide

Fridays for Future (F4F) are back!
Fridays for Future Gathering, 3:30PM, Cenotaph in Charlottetown
.  Physical Distancing measures followed. 
F$F are a reminder to all that people are depending on our leaders to work for Climate Change solutions. 
All welcome.

Quarantunes Fundraiser show for PEI Citizen Advocacy starring Bridgette Blanchard, 8PM, on-line
Quarantunes Facebook page

Met Opera free broadcast
Viewers’ Choice: Bellini’s La Sonnambula, 7:30PM until Saturday evening
Starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez, conducted by Evelino Pidò. From March 21, 2009. 

"Just as a young woman is about to marry her sweetheart, she is discovered—by the entire village, to say nothing of her fiancé—asleep in the bedroom of a stranger. It takes the young man two acts to figure out that sleepwalking is to blame, and everything ends happily."   Oh, and with such lovely singing.

Gratitude and Congratulations and Best Wishes to Sylvie Arsenault,

as today is her last day at Executive Director of the P.E.I. Voluntary Resource Council.  She has managed the Council's affairs and the VRC Centre space so graciously and efficiently for the past 14 years, and her work has made all of the volunteer organizations on the Island function so much better. 
And she has dealt with the organization's commitments and work during the COVID-19 changes so determination and her usual good cheer.  Much love to her. 

Good wishes can be sent to <vrc@eastlink. com

Thanks to all who have sent me notices about commentaries and upcoming events.

from the P.E.I. Government website (Links to the legislation cited for background should be working):

Energy Legislation Consultation 

The Government of Prince Edward Island is reviewing energy legislation and is inviting Islanders, businesses, communities and energy partners to provide their feedback.

Some of the major considerations include community energy generation, getting PEI to net-zero, and making PEI's energy grid sustainable for the next 25 years.

About PEI's energy legislation

The Electric Power Act regulates public utilities supplying electric power, along with energy efficiency measures. The goal of the Act is to ensure that rates are reasonable, publicly justifiable, and non-discriminatory.  

The Renewable Energy Act regulates the use of renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on imported energy and to promote the development of PEI solutions to meet the province's energy requirements.

About the consultation

Government will be accepting written submissions from energy partners and from Islanders until end of business day on Monday, June 8.

With COVID-19 public health restrictions in mind, virtual public consultations will also be arranged for the middle of June. Further details will be provided.

To submit feedback on PEI's energy legislation, please send detailed written submissions to


Stan Sandler, beekeeper, follows up on social media about the Small Hive Beetle threat to Island honeybees.  Maybe Stan should be on the Premier's Special Council on the economy and Covid-19.  Well worth reading to get his full take on the situation.

May 22, 2020

In about one week the Wymans blueberry company will bring over 2000 beehives from Ontario into PEI putting all Island beekeepers and their approximately 6000 beehives at risk of getting small hive beetle. Despite his clear promise which is preserved on video and a petition signed by about 750 people, the Premier and the Minister of Agriculture haven't made a single public statement about the fact that they are allowing these bees into PEI with just a 10% cursory inspection by Ontario inspectors. Last year 70% of imported hives were required to be inspected with Island inspectors sent to Ontario. That is a cost saving for PEI which spent about $45,000. for inspection last year, and for which Wymans doesn't pay anything. This corporate bully also pays less to rent local hives than its main competitor in PEI, which naturally is not nearly as short of local beehives for pollination. Wyman's has not sought out more Island beekeepers as a local source and it has given up on keeping its own beehives which seems incomprehensible given its claims that the bees are vital to its success. It only makes sense if one realizes Wyman's is totally confident that it can manipulate the Dept. of Agriculture into allowing Ontario beehives to continue entering despite the risks posed to Island bees and beekeepers.

Now the Department has finally posted its "Small Hive Beetle Response Plan". But the plan does not say what the province WILL do. In several places it says what it MAY do, and even qualifies that saying "Please note that some steps may not be applicable in all scenarios." The plan includes actions such as: If a small hive beetle infected hive is found, it will be closed up pending laboratory confirmation. But the other hives touching it on the pallet can be moved off the Island in the next 48 hours. So Wyman's won't even have to pay the liability for destruction of all the hives on the pallet. Presumably if a PEI hive is infected then all the beekeepers' hives in the whole yard will be quarantined and all the hives on the pallet will be destroyed since there is no option to move them out of province.

The government is also saying that it is importing hives from an area of Ontario that it thinks is safer and from beekeeping operations that it thinks are clear. So if a beetle is found, then it proves that the government is wrong. So would it not make sense to get those hives off the island without delay before the small hive beetle larvae come out and pupate in the soil?

The Response Plan says not a single word about compensation to Island beekeepers whose hives will be destroyed. When I asked the provincial apiarist about this he said it was not provincial policy. But crop insurance compensates growers for field crops which must be destroyed because of disease; yet the department has made no arrangement with crop insurance for similar compensation on behalf of local beekeepers. Who is going to compensate beekeepers not only for hives burnt, but also for hives quarantined in blueberry fields when the blueberry grower wants to spray? And then our government has the gall to say they are trying to move towards an increase in local hives.

There is also nothing in the Small Hive Beetle Response Plan about protecting or compensating beekeepers if their storage or extraction facilities are contaminated with small hive beetles. In Ontario, the government gave grants to beekeepers for freezer storage as a response. Our government even refuses to establish a biosecurity zone around my storage and honeyhouse for half the beehives on the Island even though it is surrounded by Wyman's fields within easy flying distance for the beetles.

But here is the prime failure of the Response Plan: It says nothing about what it will do for future importations. If the beetles come in then it proves that it is impossible to import Ontario beehives without bringing in more beetles. The government seems to believe that the beetles may not overwinter here (although they overwinter in Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, Vermont and Maine, all of which are cold). But if they are correct, then it should be possible to eradicate them. Clearly we should try to do this and certainly we should not bring them in again.

So the primary response of our government should be to say: PEI's border is now closed to all future importations of Ontario beehives and every effort will be made to eradicate any incursions found this year. And then we will quickly see the Island become self sufficient in beehives if they are as important as claimed. The border has to be closed immediately in order to give beekeepers time to make increases. June and July are the best months with some possibility in August. But beekeepers are not going to increase when our government is treating them as expendable pawns. If the Department does not close the border then it proves that it is just totally under the thumb of Wymans and local beekeepers be damned.

--- Stan Sandler

Global Chorus for May 29

Joel Bakan

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, professor of law at University of British Columbia (Canada), author/filmmaker of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power,  author of Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Your Children

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

May 28, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM, if needed, today.
Watch live or view archives here

Tiny Island Concerts on-line, tonight:
8PM -  Rick Sparks
8:30PM - Coyote

The concerts are free to watch, while donations are now being accepted to the Music PEI Crisis Relief Fund for PEI music industry professionals and artists. Those funds will be distributed to PEI artists not performing and industry professionals in need.

Can Geo Talks Virtual Series: Michelle Valberg, 8PM, at the link. Michelle is a Canadian Nikon Ambassador, a Canadian Geographic Photographer-In-Residence and a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Facebook event link


Stratford Festival's Shakespeare productions on film:
Love's Labours Lost joins the line-up of free Stratford Festival filmed productions. MacBeth goes off the rotation today, and The Tempest and Timon of Athens are still available for a week and two weeks, respectively.  These are amazing productions, and relatively short


Met Opera Streaming
Berlioz’s Les Troyens, 7:30PM until Friday late afternoon. 

"Starring Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Bryan Hymel, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From January 5, 2013." 
About the end of the Trojan War, Cassandra and Aeneas and Dido and all; a marathon itself at 4 1/2 hours.

from last week, op-ed:

A False Dichotomy - The Guardian Op-Ed by Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition

Published on Friday, May 22nd, 2020

I was disappointed, but not surprised to read a recent opinion piece by Third Party Leader Sonny Gallant (Holding government to account, May 21) indicating that “...the Liberal caucus will now withdraw from direct participation in decision-making and input” with government. I am disappointed to see a political party abdicate their responsibility to work with other elected MLAs for the benefit of their constituents. But I am also unsurprised as the Liberal caucus had little interest in being collaborative or transparent when in government. Indeed they shamelessly used their parliamentary majority to silence criticism, block legislation that would hold them accountable, and shut down legislative committees.

Beyond disappointment and lack of surprise, I am mostly confused by Gallant’s piece. The Liberals present a bizarre vision of parliamentary democracy where one can either work with government for the benefit of all or hold government to account, but can never do both. Yet, the past 12 months have shown the exact opposite.

Yes, the Official Opposition has worked effectively with government and the Third Party to bring forward many important initiatives that the Liberals unilaterally blocked when they were in power: including the creation of an independent child and youth advocate; legislation to oversee government advertising; improved climate change targets; improved food rates for social assistance clients, and balanced representation on legislative committees.

Although we have succeeded in making government more accountable and addressing the needs of Islanders, we have never shied away from asking difficult questions. Gallant is correct that his party has been strangely silent in the past few months, but using the excuse of collaboration to justify their failure to hold government to account is self-serving.

Throughout this crisis, the Official Opposition has produced numerous statements, blogs and virtual question period videos challenging the King government to do better. We have demanded answers on issues that matter to Islanders including the mysterious Economic Growth Council, the lack of consultation with residents of the Prince Edward Home, the need for childcare to reopen the economy, the premier’s meanspirited insinuation that CERB is a disincentive to work, their failure to address rural internet, and the decision this week to open our borders for cottage owners. If the Third Party has been silent, I doubt it is from an excessive desire to collaborate.

The final thing that puzzles me is Gallant’s claim that his caucus will “withdraw from direct participation in decision-making….” Unless the leader of the Third Party has been invited to meetings that I have not, the opposition parties have not participated in government decision making around the COVID-19 response. We have attended high-level briefings and been given the opportunity to ask questions minutes before the decisions already made were publicly announced. I appreciate the premier offering us this courtesy, and I have learned a lot during these briefings, but they are not, by any definition, collaborative.

I am very much looking forward to returning to the legislature, but I am concerned that the leader of the Third Party’s opinion piece indicates an intention to return to the loud, disrespectful, unproductive and partisan approach to debate that voters so clearly rejected during the last election. Gallant is perhaps right when he says “the Liberal caucus is old-fashioned,” but Islanders deserve MLAs who can work together AND hold each other accountable for the public good.

Peter Bevan-Baker,
Leader of the Official Opposition

Opinion:  Bob Bancroft on science  

BOB BANCROFT: Politicians must stop selectively listening to science - The Chronicle Hearld Op Ed by Bob Bancroft

Published on Monday, May 25th, 2020, in SaltWire publications

It’s good to see politicians turning to science for direction in dealing with COVID-19. When will they use science to foster healthy forest/wildlife management?

1n 1795, Georg Ludwig Hartig, organizer of the Prussian Forest Service, stated: “All wise forest management must endeavour to utilize (woods) in such a way that later generations will be able to derive at least as much benefit from them as the present generation claims for itself.”

More than 200 years of science regarding forestry and forest evolution in central Europe offers some insights for North Americans. The 1700s saw rapid industrialization in Germany and looming timber shortages as a result of unregulated forest exploitation. The response was plantations of fast-growing Scotch pine and Norway spruce. That shifted the composition of German forests from their pre-industrial state of two-thirds mixed hardwood species to two-thirds that were predominantly conifer (softwood) species.

This approach used intensive nursery production, planting, weeding, clearcutting and heavy machinery. It required frequent responses to pests, disease and other stresses, including soil fatigue. By the 1800s, scientists von der Borch (1824), Konig (1849) and Gayer (1886) were demanding a return to mixed (hardwood-softwood) forests and more healthy soils.

Given the myriad of problems that arose using this approach, in the 1880s Frederich von Kalitsch began improving soils and using more tree species. His forests became less attractive for pests. Yield studies confirmed that this approach was more productive.

As this “Dauerwald” approach to forest management unfolded, woodlands once again became more diverse, with older trees and hardwoods included as an essential component for forest health. This return to natural forest ecosystems provided enhanced food sources, shelter for wildlife and other elements of forest diversity.

Lily Tomlin said, “Maybe if people started to listen, history would stop repeating itself.”

It’s time for politicians to listen to sound science and its historical insights. The Department of Lands and Forestry should not convert more than 800,000 acres of public forest land to softwood monocultures.

Bob Bancroft is president of Nature Nova Scotia (Member organizations: Blomidon Field Naturalists Society, Cape Breton Naturalists Society, Friends of Nature, Friends of the Pugwash Estuary, Halifax Field Naturalists, Nova Scotia Bird Society, N0va Scotia Wild Flora Society, Tusket River Environmental Protection Association, Young Naturalists Club of Nova Scotia).

Global Chorus essay for May 28 
Edward O. Wilson

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, university research professor emeritus and honorary curator in entomology at Harvard

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

May 27, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food preordering:
Tonight, Wednesday, just before midnight,is the deadline to web-order from the Charlottetown Farmers' Market on-line and Eat Local PEI, but if the former reaches maximum order numbers the program will stop taking orders, so best to "shop" earlier if possible.

pre-order local food and goods from:

·  Heart Beet Organics (vegetables, eggs, fermented products), order before noon today for pickup at their Great George Street storefront, Wednesday 3-6PM  LINK

·  Charlottetown Farmers' Market On-line service (many products), for Saturday afternoon pickup by the Market) LINK 

·  Eat Local PEI group (many farmers-market-type vendors),  for Saturday late afternoon pickup, near Leon's  

Met Opera for Wednesday, May 27

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, 7:30PM until Thursday late afternoon.
From March 29, 1980.
  Both Puccini and Jules Massenet used the same source material for their versions of the story.  This opera is a classic recording from 1980 with "...Plácido Domingo is Des Grieux, the handsome, headstrong young aristocrat who falls head over heels for the enticing, impetuous Manon Lescaut (Renata Scotto). Manon returns his love, but her obsession with luxury ruins them both.  (The) opulent production superbly captures the colorful world of 18th century France...."

The P.E.I. Legislature meets from 2-5PM today. Watch at the Assembly  Website

The Legislature opened yesterday with physical distancing measures in place, and there was some political distancing during Question Period about the decision to open the P.E.I. border to property owners from away.  Others have commented that the government ministers appeared a bit uncertain about their answers on the return-to-P.E.I. criteria, on responding to the unexpected, and on the process of deciding itself.  The Premier spoke a bit off the cuff then resumed his congenial manner, perhaps remembering that while he does have the most MLAs, he stills leads a minority government.   I also felt the tone may be more on straight economic improving at being paramount, as opposed to a people's well-being during this time and in the future. Also, there doesn't seem to be much of an idea to use this as an opportunity for positive change, for a New Normal, then to get back to where we were.

The afternoon started off with words of condolence on the passing of George Henderson (Inverness-O'Leary MLA Robert Henderson's father), and Wilber MacDonald (former MLA for the last decades of the century and Speaker in the late 1990s). Very sweet reminiscing.

Superfluous Fashion notes: Most of the Third Party Liberals sported Pandemic Beards, perhaps to go with their edgy new attitudes on not supporting government, as Interim Leader Sonny Gallant has announced recently.  And it seems the entire Government Caucus returned looking as youthful as Montague-Kilmuir MLA Cory Deagle (who is youhtful, and still presses his own government on issues he feels they should be moving more forcibly on). 

Yesterday's video and today's live broadcast can be accessed here:

The Assembly plans to meeting today and possibly tomorrow.

I didn't see this until now, but as you might guess, Gary Schneider of  ECOPEI understands and explains the complicated history, and proposal that really needs more time and thought, in a nutshell, an acorn, so to speak.. His point that the Environmental Impact Assessment process is so very flawed is the kernel of this issue.

Royalty Oaks plan needs more thought - social media post by Gary Schneider

Posted on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The province’s plan to remove the NAPA designation from part of Royalty Oaks raises a lot of questions for me. My history with Royalty Oaks spans four decades. At first it was a place where I could find red oak growing. Though it is our provincial tree, red oak is quite rare across the Island. When I started the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project in 1991, Royalty Oaks was the place I turned to for acorns. The beautiful oaks we’ve planted all over the Island began their lives as acorns collected there.

Over thirty years ago, I was hired by the Island Nature Trust to create a trail with the woodland and an accompanying trail guide. It is a place rich in history, once being the site of an active fox farm. The trail has since fallen into neglect, and there is far too much garbage and debris and tree damage. Not much has been done to improve the site. I do find it interesting that the province is making this a trade. They’re taking some land from Royalty Oaks and giving the public back another piece of almost the same size. And they’re promising to do some work removing invasive species, work that should have been done decades ago.

It seems as though the bike lane is another appeasement. I’m all for cycling and active transportation, and there should be many routes in place to provide a safe space and to encourage more cycling. But as Doug Millington has so eloquently written about, the solution to traffic problems should not be to build more roads. That’s like suggesting that if we have a crime wave we just build more prisons. That is simply avoiding the root causes of the problem.

Every decision involves trade-offs, including de-designating natural areas. I’m just wondering if we are doing this for the right reasons. I worry about that intersection every time I use it. Not so much for safety, but for how it seems to be a transportation route for a much larger city.

Before we add additional pavement that makes it even easier to have more cars on the road, let’s think about what this is doing to the environment. Why not look at those root causes and develop some creative solutions. Let’s try staggering work schedules so there is a more even flow of traffic. Let’s see what effect the province’s plan to have more staff work from home has on traffic in the area. Let’s really make a push to improve public transit and target it to reduce traffic in the area – even free bus passes would be cheaper than adding more pavement, especially if you factored in the environmental costs.

And let’s value ride sharing as a real environmental strategy. We could provide tax rebates to people who ride share, or as the Tax Centre in Summerside has already done, create incentives by giving preferential parking to cars that have multiple occupants. One highway outside of Vancouver actually lets cars with multiple passengers drive in a fast lane, while those with a single occupant have to go in the slower, more congested lanes. These are systems that reward good environmental behaviour and are creating habitats that will help the planet.

I also understand that in these trying times we can’t do public meetings as part of the environmental assessment process. And I applaud government’s creativity in having tours for small numbers of the public. But it is the short time period that is the real problem. The Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island and many other organizations here have been calling for change to our environmental assessment process for years. The time periods are grossly inadequate. People have busy lives and need time to process information and make educated comments. Rushing into things without proper consultation results in regrettable decisions.

Royalty Oaks does need some help, and an active transportation lane would be wonderful. If we really need it, the trade-off is not the end of the world. But I would like that question answered before we cut any more trees. Let’s try the other remedies first, and then make a decision on whether we really need more infrastructure.

Gary Schneider, Co-chair
Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island


Global Chorus for May 27
Erin Schrode

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, eco-expert, co-founder of Teens Turning Green
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

May 26, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food
Eat Local PEI has the deadline of 11:59PM Wednesday for pick-up or delivery late afternoon Saturday.  More details at:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market "2GO" also takes orders until they reach their maximum number, or 11:59PM Wednesday.

Met Opera 

Verdi’s Ernani
, 7:30PM until Wednesday early evening
Starring Angela Meade, Marcello Giordani, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From February 25, 2012.

Opening of P.E.I. Legislature
2PM, today

Proceedings may be viewed through:
the Assembly website at
Facebook live stream at
and on Eastlink TV.

Some more details:

Taking advantage of the situation and showing some vision for the future, which Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague,Cornwall, etc. could pay attention to:

(long, but interesting)

Cities are closing streets to make way for restaurants and pedestrians - The Washington Post article by Michael Laris

Published on Monday, May 25th, 2020

The forced distancing required by the coronavirus prompted several cities to quickly close some public roads to make room so cooped-up residents anxious to get outside for exercise could do so safely.

Now, following moves to shut, narrow or repurpose streets from Oakland to Tampa, cities including Washington are seeking to understand how those emergency closures might have lasting impacts on some of urban America’s most important, and contested, real estate. D.C. lawmakers are drafting legislation to make it easier for shutdown-battered restaurants to space out their tables by putting them on public roads, parking spaces and sidewalks at least for months, and to give neighborhoods a way to close streets to traffic to make walking and biking safer. A mayoral advisory group made similar recommendations Thursday.

The pandemic “has been terrible. But there are certain byproducts that, if we take advantage of them, will let us be more of an open city, more of a city that’s usable by all sorts of people, cafes and cyclists,” D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said. “It’s an opportunity to stop doing things in the old polluting and unhealthful ways.”

Officials around the country say their moves to change public roadways have been met so far with broad support, though they acknowledge some early missteps, such as not giving enough emphasis to the specific needs of disadvantaged neighborhoods. Some of the newly closed streets also were underused or met with objections from some businesses.

But cities have taken steps to address those concerns, including reopening some roads and closing others as they seek to get the balance right. Oakland, Calif., home to one of the earliest and most ambitious “Slow Streets” plans, has also been among the most open about early blind spots, with officials there saying humility and accountability are vital for cementing any such changes.

“While the program overall continues to receive overwhelming support among survey respondents, those responding to surveys are more likely to be White, have high incomes and live in North Oakland,” a more well-off swath of the city, officials wrote in a recent summary. That’s true even as public health officials say poorer neighborhoods and “people of color are more likely to suffer harm from this pandemic,” the officials wrote.

To address that, Oakland officials on Friday broadened their effort beyond about 20 miles of “soft closures” of neighborhood streets. Those use barriers and signs to bar through-traffic in particular areas, but they allow residents, trash trucks and delivery vans to drive in slowly.

On Friday, as part of an expansion dubbed “Essential Places,” city officials unveiled barriers in less-well-off East Oakland that are intended to thwart speeding and help pedestrians walk and cross a sometimes-treacherous intersection more safely, with more coming soon in other areas.

“The program was not addressing what we would call arterials, the larger streets that carry buses and trucks,” said Ryan Russo, Oakland’s director of transportation. The city is targeting other such places, including those with high numbers of injuries and areas near essential services such as grocery stores, to add barriers and other safety measures for pedestrians. That’s on top of ongoing efforts to close dozens more miles of smaller neighborhood streets to through-traffic.

“The streets are 25 to 30 percent of any city’s land. We need to manage the public realm in a way that meets people’s needs in this moment and in the future,” Russo said.

“We’re only a couple generations removed from the nostalgia of stick ball in the streets and kids playing in streets,” he added, saying that phenomenon shifted to cul-de-sac communities in the suburbs. “There’s really no reason why cities can’t get the benefit of a more balanced management of the public right of way as well.”

Of course, that balance comes with traffic engineering, congestion and safety questions. But Russo said the evidence so far, at least in the context of dramatic reductions in travel due to the coronavirus, is encouraging for the future. He said after the “No Through Traffic” signs and barriers went up, he watched families with children on scooters sharing the road near their homes with slow-moving recycling trucks and delivery vehicles.

“The real question was, would motorists choose to make good choices in that context, and would people feel comfortable coming into the roadbed?” Russo said.

“The lesson is that those things are coexisting quite well in many cases,” he said, noting “the comfort we’re seeing parents have in letting small children experience this public space with a sense of freedom.”

Communities have different priorities and a different sense of what is possible and appropriate. In Tampa, the focus has been on finding ways to help businesses affected during the pandemic.

Mayor Jane Castor (D), a former police chief, has pushed a “Lift Up Local” campaign that allows restaurants to put tables in some public streets.

“We thought of ways they would be able to increase their customer base while keeping everyone safe. The best way to do that is to move everyone outside,” Castor said.

It’s something she sees as part of the city’s future fabric, she said, though this initial experiment is about to be shaken up by the Sunshine State’s weather.

“Really, for us in Florida, the end date will be determined by Mother Nature. It’s going to get so hot, and we’re going to get afternoon rain showers that just don’t make it an enjoyable experience to be dining outside,” Castor said.

The imperatives of the pandemic have also helped local officials cut through bureaucracy and take swift actions that cross jurisdictional boundaries.

In Minneapolis, work to close scenic waterfront parkways to cars, expand sidewalks and shrink neighborhood roadways to promote safety has created 38 miles of protected pathways for “walking, biking and rolling,” including by people with disabilities, according to Robin Hutcheson, the city’s director of public works.

That work was combined with similar efforts in St. Paul and two area counties, creating 6- and 10-mile regional loops protected from cars, Hutcheson said.

The measures have been varied, she said, including expanding the sidewalk for a couple of blocks “where we need it.”

“And some of it is a full closure of a parkway around a lake, and some if it is a local-only street to serve a neighborhood,” said Hutcheson, the president of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. “It shows people what’s possible.”

In the District, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s ReOpen DC advisory group on Thursday called for similar efforts as part of broader changes to everything from education to health care given the effects of the pandemic.

One recommendation was to “identify select streets to close off to cars and convert to outdoor seating and retail space.”

Another called for “diversifying our streets.” Some city roads “are built to carry cars but do not easily accommodate pedestrians or bikes, even in a non-COVID reality. There is an opportunity to identify locations where vehicular roadways could be converted to allow for widened sidewalks, coupled with bike lanes,” according to the recommendations, which cited the narrow sidewalks along Benning Road near Kingman and Heritage islands as prime candidates.

There have been some modest coronavirus-related closures by the city and National Park Service in the District, including along Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park; on the service road beside Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park; and in Anacostia and Fort Dupont parks.

“We’re evaluating a wide range of ideas, both for restaurant expansion, but also for safer travel,” said Jeff Marootian, director of the D.C. Department of Transportation.

Spurred by ideas from the ReOpen DC advisory group, he also said the city is “doing the necessary planning work to be able to support our businesses when they reopen and to ensure people can get there safely when they do.”


Global Chorus essay for May 26
Piers Guy

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

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

May 25, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Deadlines:

Organic Veggie Delivery,
Orders are due by Monday Night for Friday evening delivery. 
see website
contact:  Aaron Koleszar (902) 659-2575

Receiver Coffee and other products

"Orders are now open and will remain open until Monday May 25th at 9 am and orders will be filled on Wednesday May 27th". Their stores are open various hours -- check the website for that and for ordering. Receiver Coffee website

Cultural events online:
Met Opera for Monday, May 25
Hector Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, 7:30PM until Tuesday afternoon.
Starring Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and John Relyea.  From November 22, 2008. Another Faust!
Met Opera website

For Arbor Day in Charlottetown this year, they are celebrating by hosting a virtual contest where they encourage people to get involved with trees and share what they are doing on social media. 
Media Release website page

Hugging the trees at Royalty Oaks might be a good, if not ironic, entry.

Opening of the Legislature -- Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 26th.

When:  Presumably 2PM

Gallery or press seating -- not available
Where to watch: 
Proceedings may be viewed through the Assembly website at, via the Facebook live stream at, and on Eastlink TV.
Some more details:

setting up in the starting blocks for the opening of the Legislature, but not sure there is a real idea as to what race this is about...  

SONNY GALLANT: Holding government to account - The Guardian Guest Opinion

Published on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

The past several months have been extremely difficult for Islanders.

Worries about health care, family, friends and community have dominated our thoughts and actions.

And now, there is deepening concern about the economic impact that COVID-19 will have on business, employment and the capacity of government to help a struggling province.

During the first phase of the pandemic, the Liberal caucus was very supportive of government’s actions. Liberal members took part in various government committees – and we virtually eliminated any critical public commentary.

We did that for a reason: As a group, we believed it was vitally important to help maintain public trust in institutions during a crisis, and ensure that help was reaching Islanders. Chirping from the sidelines would have helped the sum total of no one.

To a degree, that will have to change. Elected members have two primary roles: Constituency representation and holding government to account. As we move into the next phase of this crisis, the latter role will help to ensure that our longer-term future as a province is protected from rash decisions.

For that reason, the Liberal caucus will now withdraw from direct participation in decision-making and input – and move more toward the pressing challenge Prince Edward Island now faces.

First, we will take on a more direct role in making sure that our province is ready for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

Islanders deserve to know that we have a good stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE). They also need to see a plan that will deal with the backlog of health-care services that has built up – and that safe steps are being taken to care for a potential round of patients affected by the virus. Essentially, we will be looking for a plan that prepares us for a second wave – while simultaneously looking after the ongoing health care needs of Islanders.

Second, Islanders will need to hear a clear, logical and achievable plan for economic recovery. We all know that the pandemic has been an economic wrecking ball. Tourism is uncertain. Demand for lobster will be unpredictable. Labour shortages may worsen – and thousands of Islanders may find it difficult to qualify for employment insurance.

These are very real challenges – and government must be open with Islanders to an unprecedented extent.

We also understand that many Islanders will be unhappy to hear difficult questions posed to government. The desire for uncritical support for all of government’s actions remains very real to many Islanders – and as a group, the Liberal caucus respects that view.

But total support is not our parliamentary role. A good government welcomes reasonable challenges and questions – because that debate tends to produce better results. And we are concerned that the Green Opposition may neglect that job – in favour of seeking deals and accommodations that meet their political agenda.

Now, it is possible the Liberal caucus is old-fashioned. Maybe we should put aside the old ideas of holding government to account in the legislative assembly. But none of the six Liberals are comfortable with that.

Despite being a small group, we take our role seriously – and we will do our best to shed light on government’s actions, so Islanders have a better view of the future that is before us all.

Sonny Gallant is leader of the Third Party for Prince Edward Island.


Tomorrow, the Leader of the Official Opposition comments on this.

Atlantic Skies for May 25th - June 1st, 2020 - by Glenn K. Roberts

How Bright Shine the Stars

Some of my readers have queried me as to why the brighter objects in the night sky have negative magnitude values, while the fainter ones have positive values, when, logically (at least to them), it should be the other way around. For this seemingly "backward" rating system, we can thank the ancient Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, who, in 129 BC, drew up the first recognized star chart. On this chart, he listed the magnitude (from Latin magnitudo or magnus meaning "great") of the stars he could see in the night sky. Hipparchus listed the brightest stars that he could see with his naked eye as mag. +1.0 stars, those half as bright as the mag. +1.0 stars as mag. 2.0 stars, and so on, until reaching mag. +6.0, the faintest he could see. His magnitude scale remained in use for rating the brightness of the stars (and other celestial objects by comparison) for the next 1,400 years. It wasn't until 1609, when the Italian astronomer, Galileo (1564 - 1642), developed his first telescope, and observed much fainter stars than those listed on the star charts in use at that time, that the magnitude scale was extended (with ascending positive numbers) to include the fainter stars. In the mid-1850s, when astronomers discovered that some mag. +1.0 stars are brighter than others, the scale was again extended outward, this time with ascending negative values to reflect the brighter stars. The stars Rigel (Orion), Capella (Auriga), Arcturus (Bootes), and Vega (Lyra) were listed at mag. 0.0, while stars brighter than these were given negative values. Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, is rated at mag.-1.43 , while our Sun is rated at mag. -26.7. Planets and other celestial objects can also be rated on the magnitude scale. Venus, at its brightest, shines at mag. -4.4, while the Full Moon beams (on average) at mag. -12.6. The faintest stars that the average human, naked-eye can see (under a clear sky from a dark site) is mag. +6.0, while binoculars can boost that to mag. +10. In contrast, the Hubble Space Telescope can see stars as faint as mag. +30.

A star's apparent brightness or luminosity refers to the amount of light energy (from thermonuclear fusion within the star's core) it emits, and how much of that energy passes per second through a square meter of the star's surface area.  Basically, how bright a star appears depends on how much of its light energy per second strikes the area of a light detector (in our case, the human eye). The apparent brightness we see or measure is inversely proportional to the square of our distance from the star, with the apparent brightness diminishing as the distance squares.

Astronomers use the terms "apparent magnitude" and "absolute magnitude" when denoting a star's brightness. Apparent magnitude is how bright the star appears to an Earth-bound observer, and is directly related to a star's apparent brightness. Stellar measurements in the 19th century indicated that mag..+1.0 stars are approximately 100 x brighter than mag. +6.0 stars (i.e., it would take 100 mag. +6.0 stars to provide as much light as a single mag. +1.0 star). Subsequently, the stellar magnitude scale was modified so that a magnitude difference of 5 corresponded exactly to a factor of 100 x difference in brightness., while a difference of 1 mag. equaled a difference factor of 2.512 in brightness. This resulting stellar magnitude rating system was based on a logarithmic scale,  with whole numbers, and fractions thereof, indicating varying ratios of brightness (e.g., 0 = 1 to 1; 0.2 = 1.2 to 1; 0.5 = 1.6 to 1; 1 = 2.5 to 1; 5 = 100 to 1, etc.). A star's apparent magnitude depends on its intrinsic luminosity, its distance from Earth, and any dimness of the star's light caused by the interference of interstellar dust along the line of sight of the observer.

When astronomers want to measure how intrinsically bright a star is regardless of its distance from Earth, they measure the star's absolute magnitude, or its apparent magnitude if all the stars it is being compared to were placed at 10 parsecs distance from Earth. With one parsec equaling 3.26 light years (a light year is the distance light travels through the vacuum of space in one year; approximately 10 trillion kms), 10 parsecs equals 32.6 lys, or approximately 100 trillion kms. A star's absolute magnitude measures its true energy output (i.e., its luminosity). As with the apparent magnitude scale, the absolute magnitude scale is also "backward", giving less luminous stars ascending positive values, and more luminous stars ascending negative ones. For celestial objects such as comets and asteroids, the absolute magnitude scale (also with positive through negative values) is based on how bright the object would appear to an observer standing on the Sun if the object were 1 AU (149,597,871 kms) away.

Mercury (mag. -0.8) is visible low (about 8 degrees) above the NW horizon shortly after 9 p.m., before dropping from view shortly after 10 p.m. This bright but small planet (heading towards its greatest eastern  elongation from the Sun on June 2) achieves an altitude of 18 degrees in the evening sky by the 31st. It reaches its half-phase (called dichotomy) on the 29th. Venus (mag. -4.3) appears only about 13 degrees above the western horizon shortly after 9 p.m., before setting shortly before 11 p.m. Jupiter (mag. -2.5) rises in the SE shortly before 1 a.m., reaching 22 degrees height in the S sky before fading from view around 5:15 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.48) follows Jupiter into the SE dawn sky around 1 a.m., rising to about 23 degrees above the S horizon before it fades from sight  shortly before 5 a.m. Mars (mag. +0.16) rises in the SE around 2:30 a.m., reaching an altitude of about 20 degrees above the horizon before fading from view a few minutes before 5 a.m.

Currently at mag. +4.5, , Comet C/2020 F8 SWAN is now in the constellation of Perseus - the Warrior Prince, This fading comet will be difficult to see, as it reaches an altitude of only about 10 degrees above the NE horizon between 4 - 5 a.m., before the glow of the rising Sun overtakes it. With clear skies and an unobstructed view of the NE horizon, it might still be seen in binoculars and small scopes

Until next week, clear skies.


May 29 - Mercury reaches dichotomy

        30 - First Quarter Moon

Global Chorus essay for May 25
Jim Barton

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, director of Smith Mill Creek Institute, board member of Citizens for Global Solutions


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

May 24, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tiny Island Concert Series, 8PM- Maureen Trainor, 8:30PM -- Atlantic String Machine.

Yo-to Ma Plays Bach Live, 4PM,
WETA station online
Met Opera

Met Opera live recordings:
Jules Massenet’s Manon, from 7:30PM to tomorrow late afternoon,

Starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczała, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From April 7, 2012. 
Gorgeous costumes, tragic story, amazing singing by the Russian soprano and the Polish tenor.   Lots of additional material HERE.

The following essay was sent to The Guardian and the Graphic publications with the express request to include the explanatory preamble and the writer's organizational affiliation, neither of which happened in either paper (printed on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020, in the former and Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, in the latter), as the editorial page layout for all seems to be a bit of a "dog's breakfast" recently, to borrow a phrase.

This is the first in a series from the Citizens' Alliance about the "New Normal", in a positive perspective:

BECALMED by Boyd Allen, Vice-Chair, Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

I’ve spent a significant portion of my life on the water. The rhythms and routines aboard a boat are critical to its existence. The current pandemic has jolted the world as we know it into unknown territory. It is the equivalent of a sailing vessel being becalmed for an undetermined period of time. Onboard a becalmed vessel the time is made use of. This time is of great value because all the assets aboard the boat are no longer solely directed toward maintaining maximum speed toward its destination. Long term weather can now be accessed and analyzed. The planning scope is expanded beyond the immediate future. A damage assessment is made and repairs undertaken. An inventory of supplies is compiled and plans updated depending on its contents. Crucial numbers such as food stores and fuel stock are incorporated into planning the remainder of the passage. Mistakes made and dangers encountered earlier in the passage can also impact practices and tactics once there is enough wind to fill the sails once again.

We as a society have a rare opportunity to make use of this time productively.

The status quo should not be considered our ultimate goal as the pandemic lessens its grip. Pervasive systemic biases such as gender and income inequity must be addressed and now would be the opportune time to do it. Climate change must be brought to the forefront as our national economies are rebuilt. Economic growth cannot be the linchpin of our strategy anymore. Public policy can no longer be dictated by the commodity market. Governments must resume their primary role as representatives of the people who elected them. As has become evident during this pandemic crises, people are capable of collectively accepting responsibility for wellbeing of each other. My hope is that this can be the catalyst for positive change.


Steadfast Darragh Mogan writes on behalf of many Islanders about this. This was in Wednesday's Guardian, I think.

LETTER: Scratching our heads at Royalty Oaks

Parts of the Island are designated as protected under law from any form of encroachment because of their environmental and/or historical sensitivity and importance.

The proposal by the province to de-designate part of the Royalty Oaks forest in East Royalty so that some of its trees can be removed to make way for road upgrades is doubly shocking.

The first shock is that no lessons were learned from the environmental fiascos that attended Plans A and B. The second is that such a move is being undertaken with little more than a week's notice and with no provision for any form of public hearings or any discussion/debate that should occur in the legislative assembly.

Why the rush, why the secrecy?

There are many questions that want answers. Principal among them is why would any government — especially one that ran on being green, sensitive and transparent — even propose such an assault on legally protected green forest and why apparently try to push this through under cover of pandemic darkness?

And there are other questions like what alternatives were considered and what are the consequences of not proceeding at all? And would not the capital money to be spent on this be better used to encourage non carbon-based transportation alternatives?

People at Island Nature Trust are scratching their heads at this one ... so should we all be.

Darragh Mogan,
Chair, Ellen's Creek Watershed Group

Global Chorus for May 24 
Ricken Patel

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, executive director of Avaaz

essay from:

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

May 23, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Some produce, fermented products and cheeses at their storefront. 

Some Farmers' Market vendors are outside the Charlottetown Farmers' Market in the parking lot during the morning hours, and I think the Summerside Market, too.  

So much local food if you can make the effort to find them:
The PEI Certified Organic Producers' Co-op produces a weekly newsletter with a
"Where and How to Access Local Organic Products" section.  This week's is HERE

Met Opera from 7:30PM to tomorrow late afternoon,
Saturday, May 23
Gounod’s Faust

"Tenor Jonas Kaufmann is riveting as the title character of Gounod’s popular opera, seen in this Live in HD presentation of Des McAnuff’s thrilling 2011 production that places the mythical and timeless story in an early 20th-century setting. René Pape as Méphistophélès is menacing and elegant in equal measure, and Marina Poplavskaya delivers a searingly intense portrayal of the innocent Marguerite. Russell Braun as her brother, Valentin, shines in his Act II aria. On the podium, Yannick Nézet-Séguin brings out all the lyricism and drama of Gounod’s score."

Tomorrow, Sunday, May 24th:

A Musical Memorial and Tribute: Yo-Yo Ma Live, 4PM, WETA Radio online  "Cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform J.S. Bach’s six cello suites live as a memorial for those we have lost in the pandemic and a tribute to the resilience of our communities."

Today and this weekend:
Island Roadside Cleanup, pickup of bags and waste starting Monday, May 25th

Deadline, today, 4PM:

Royalty Oaks Project, De-designation of NAPA land and right-turn lane proposal:
Comments and feedback can also be provided by emailing

Comments must be received by 4PM today

A lot to explore in Global Chorus essayist Hazel Henderson's website:

From last week, in case you missed it:  LINK ONLY
Elizabeth May Responds to critics of her criticism of investing in the oilsands
(with apologies for poor formatting)

Global Chorus for May 23
Hazel Henderson

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, president of Ethical Markets Media LLC (USA and Brazil), author of The Politics of the Solar Age, Ethical Markets and Building A Win Win World,  co-author of Planetary Citizenship


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

May 22, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Today and this weekend:
Island Roadside Cleanup,
pickup of bags and waste starting Monday, May 25th. More below.

Local Food planning:

Heart Beet Organics, Order before 4PM today for pickup tomorrow between 9AM-1PM, The Farmacy, 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Discover Charlottetown Local Goods Guide (the most recent one online looks to be from May 7th, 2020, with many listings of food/beverages, take-out, goods, etc. for te long-weekend planning
Link to page with Local Goods Guide

Tai Chi (for beginners or experienced people), 7PM, Live with Craig Mackie.  This is apparently the last week of the GoPEI! live activity sessions, which is a shame, as it seemed to be a good public service.  There are some videos of past classes at the Facebook page, and the few remaining live classes are broadcast from there.
Facebook page for GoPEI!

Quarantunes, in-home concert by Dave Woodside, 8PM.

Quarantunes Facebook page

Met Opera free broadcast
Friday, May 22nd

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, 7:30PM until Saturday evening
Starring Joan Sutherland, James Morris, and Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Richard Bonynge. From March 16, 1978.   A classic!

Roadside cleanup notes (which I wrote and shared on social media a few days ago):

Roadside Cleanup is happening, with a few changes:
*Get your family and friends involved, following physical distancing guidelines (so no big potlucks after a collection party this year!), wear bright colours or reflective clothing
*Use any clear bags that you provide for stuff that's baggable
*Go anytime between NOW and Monday (as just one Saturday is just the traditional day it's tagged that worked in the past)
*Have stuff on paved roads (or clearly traveled unpaved) by Monday, May 25th for Dept. of Transportation pick-up.
*No contest with cash prizes this year, sorry.

But no change in this: **Thanks to all you tidy Islanders!!** and for those that need a new mindset: STOP LITTERING

CBC article

"Royalty Rant" by Doug Millington

Not a rant, as much as a clear and detailed assessment of a proposed government project, the lack of good, meaningful public consultation, and the bigger picture of our priorities.

Royalty Oaks Project: Why?

by Doug Millingtown
Thursday, May 21st, 2020

For the past few days Islanders have been offered tours of the proposed Royalty Oaks Project at St. Peter’s Road and the TCH bypass. Project enthusiasts boast several planned ’improvements’, but the primary stated objective is to “accommodate an additional right turn lane onto Route 2”,  thus alleviating 5 o’clock west-bound congestion.

Taking the tour, one learns what is to be added in terms of concrete and pavement (several lanes and a footpath), what is to be lost in terms of protected land (.72 acres) and trees (many.. some quite old), what is the timeline (this summer) and what it will cost ($4-5 million according to our government guides).

Lots of ‘what’ questions answered, but most ’why’ questions unanswered by our cordial guides whose knowledge base was road building, not planning and priorities. And so, as the severely curtailed public feedback window on this project expires, many ‘why’ questions remain.

Why are we removing protection from a rare patch of treasured Acadian forest and possibly weakening our standards for protected areas, with only a few days of hopelessly limited public consultation, all for the sake of possibly easing late afternoon traffic flow in one direction?

Why is there such a rush to begin construction of this project which, it must be noted, lies within the riding of the environment minister?  And why did the project plans recently disappear from the Transportation Department’s website?

Why does the ’horse-trading’ of protected and unprotected land fragments detailed in these suddenly unavailable plans result in the creation of a potentially commercial property next to Murphy’s Pharmacy and the KFC?

Why are we still trying to fight traffic congestion by encouraging more traffic? Why not mitigate congestion with plans creating less traffic, not more highway space. Why do our planners overlook the fact that traffic, like bureaucracy, expands to fill available space. 

Heavy traffic is inconvenient, noisy and dangerous. Less obvious but even worse, it is a significant contributor to global warming.  We have recently re-thought and re-designed almost every aspect of our daily lives in order to meet an impending challenge.  Global warming remains in many ways a more threatening challenge.  Why are we not focusing on CO2 reduction, and instead encouraging further CO2 creation with a significantly expanded intersection? 

Finally, why not save the millions in Royalty Oaks Project cash and use the current congestion problem at this intersection as the catalyst for behavioural change aimed at easing rush-hour traffic throughout the city?  Why not rejig a few work schedules?  Between QEH, DVA, TIE and maybe half dozen other major employers, a half-hour delay or advance in start/quit times might significantly ease the daily rush-hour spasms in all directions.  Why not take a million or so of the project’s capital budget and devote it to augmented public transit?  Why not take another million and incentivize car-pooling by somehow compensating ride-sharers.  We would still be several million to the good and Royalty Oaks would remain, as it should, undisturbed.



The government website on NAPA "designation" with the active links to the project proposal and map is here -- and NOT an easy find for me.

And from the government media release on the proposed project:
"Site visits will be scheduled ...through Saturday, May 23.

Interested Islanders are asked to call (902) 213-5087 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to schedule a visit.

Comments and feedback can also be provided by emailing

Comments must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, 2020.

So, last day to schedule a visit, and tomorrow at 4PM last time to submit e-mail comments before the project goes ahead.

Global Chorus essay for May 22
Jeff Gailus

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, father, writer, educator, lecturer, environmental advocate, author of The Grizzly Manifesto and Little Black Lies

LinkedIn article

essay from:

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

May 21, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Webinar this afternoon, Number 1
Alternative trade rules for climate action, 12noon, with Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung with guest Avi Lewis and others,
 The Green New Deal proposals emerging around the world call for transformation of our economies so they meet the needs of people and the planet. In this session we will explore trade alternatives that go beyond the false choice between right-wing nationalism and neoliberal free trade. How do current trade rules constrain us, and how could alternatives be designed that prioritize human rights and the environment?

Webinar this afternoon, Number 2
Open Dialogue Live: Examining the Future Economy, 1-2PM
, hosted by Dalhousie University Alumni and Friends and Dalhousie University Faculty of Management

What will the post-pandemic economy look like? There is much uncertainty that surrounds the question. This week on Open Dialogue Live, #DalhousieU professors Rick Nason and Lars Osberg will explore the question through different lenses.
Dr. Nason, an associate professor of finance in the Rowe School of Business, will offer perspectives on some interesting possibilities about how the economy might function as COVID-19 recedes and a new “normal” begins. Dr. Osberg, a professor in the Department of Economics, will bring his insights on the need for a much stronger social safety net based on lessons learned already during the current pandemic....Do you have your own questions or comments about the future economy? Dr. Nason and Dr. Osberg will do a Q&A as part of the episode.

Facebook event link

Webinar this evening, 8PM
New York Times’ Deputy Managing Editor Matt Purdy with National Observer editor Linda Solomon Wood. " ...a remarkable opportunity to engage with a key New York Times editor about what it's been like reporting from the heart of the pandemic, how editorial decisions get made about climate and political reporting. We'll also talk about what things look going into America's perilous presidential election and hear at least one good story about Matt's encounters with Donald Trump. We'll take questions from participants, too."
To register:

Tiny Island Concerts on-line,
8PM - Brad Milligan Band,
8:30PM - Scott Parsons

The concerts are free to watch, while donations are now being accepted to the Music PEI Crisis Relief Fund for PEI music industry professionals and artists. Those funds will be distributed to PEI artists not performing and industry professionals in need.

Sunday, May 24th:
Emerging Artist: Maureen Trainor at 8PM
Established Artist: The Atlantic String Machine at 8:30PM

Stratford Festival's Shakespeare productions on film:
Timon of Athens joins the line-up of free Stratford Festival filmed productions. Coriolanus goes off the rotation today, and MacBeth and The Tempest are still available for a week and two weeks, respectively.


Met Opera Streaming

Puccini’s Turandot, 7:30PM until Friday late afternoon. 
Starring Christine Goerke, Eleonora Buratto, Yusif Eyvazov, and James Morris, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From October 12, 2019
. The story, set in "Mythic China" of a cruel princess, an unknown prince, riddles, etc., has the most famous tenor aria "Nessun dorma" ("None shall sleep") toward the beginning of the third and final act.  It's the one sung by Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo at World Cups in the 1990s.
More on the opera:

Some of us have tried to find diagrams and more details on exactly where the land to be de-designated at protected by NAPA to make a turning lane in the Royalty Oaks section of Hillsborough Park of the bypass and Route 2.  Here are some that Doug Millington found:

From the Government's website, at least it was available for a little while. 
The public can book a site tour, and now comment by website,
call (902) 213-5087 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
and comment until Saturday, May 23rd, at 4PM by e-mail:

From the National Observer: OPINION PIECE

The global pandemic can, and should, transform everything. - The National Observer article by Kamyar Razavi

Published on Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

In Milan, the mayor says the coronavirus crisis has made it more politically feasible to transform swaths of the city into walking and cycling zones. Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is transforming its public square and spaces into open-air cafés and restaurants in an effort to get the hospitality industry back on its feet. Vancouver is toying with the same idea.

It’s hard to talk about “upsides” when referring to a disease that has killed more than 300,000 people worldwide. But there are, in spite of the virus’s tragic toll, many potential positive outcomes.

Many commentators, notably U.S. environmentalist Bill McKibben, have talked about how the coronavirus crisis will cast a spotlight on the importance of listening to the science. That’s a huge takeaway, for sure.

But there is arguably an even bigger takeaway — though it doesn’t get as much attention. The virus has, once again, shown concerted collective action is what makes the difference when it comes to solving complex problems, from the fight against climate change to the fight for civil rights, or gay rights.

With respect to the coronavirus crisis, countries that got a quick handle on the pandemic were the ones defined by a stronger sense of community — a feeling people could work collectively to solve complex political problems, and that government could be trusted to actually work.

Add to that sense of efficacy the faith in science, embodied most notably by Germany’s “scientist” leader Angela Merkel, and you get some of the best-case scenarios in terms of the pandemic response.

Then, look at the places where the emphasis has long been on the individual — the U.S., the U.K. and, to a lesser extent, Canada — and you get a less impressive response.

The sense people can work together to solve complex issues is one of the biggest determinants of how we respond to fear and danger. But for the past four decades, a growing cult of individuality has been one of the defining features of countries like the U.S. It’s survival of the fittest, with the least amount of government intervention possible.

If the rich got richer, their wealth would simply trickle down to the rest of us, or so the thinking went. The coronavirus crisis has exposed, once and for all, the “bankruptcy” of the idea of ‘trickle-down’ economics.

And so, the coronavirus crisis boils down to a crisis of justice, and of inequality. Among other things, it’s exposed the chronic underfunding of public health, the poor cousin of the medical system.

But it has also exposed the various class inequalities in our society. It’s the meat cutters, home-care workers, grocery-store workers and communities of colour largely bearing the brunt of this crisis. Then there is the tragedy at long-term-care homes — COVID-19 has exposed how we treat our seniors, too.

There are obvious moral considerations for addressing such gross inequalities. But there are other reasons for acting, too; for the first time, we’re also taking stock that there are serious economic costs to continuing with the status quo.

Industrial development pulled millions out of poverty, but it also poisoned the air, land and water, costs the world is only now taking stock of. Neoliberalism made a few people very rich, but it left most everyone else in neutral mode, if one considers being burdened by huge levels of household debt “neutral.” Transnational capitalism meant you could buy a good TV for less than $500 at the local big-box store, but it also often meant turning a blind eye to good governance (including human rights, rule of law, environmental rights) in the developing world.

So, when international bankers like Mark Carney talk about the starting point of industrial capitalism in the 21st century being the protection of the natural world, it’s presumably not just out of moral considerations that they’re saying that. The chickens have come home to roost — failing to confront our assumptions about how the world works comes with a huge price tag attached.

Yes, we’re all socialists now, as evidenced by the Republicans’ embrace of a universal basic income in the U.S. But the new post-COVID-19 world isn’t one that’s going to all of a sudden result in the collapse of capitalism — nor should it. Instead, it’s hoped (though nobody really knows) the virus will herald a new era where everyone at least recognizes there is the need for a fairer, slower, more humane way forward — a world where capitalism begins from the starting point of protecting the planet, not from enriching the select few.

Already, change is happening. More and more news stories are looking at what’s working, and who is leading the way. It’s happening in Milan, Vilnius, Vancouver. And it’s happening in politics. The Canadian government recently announced a plan to clean up abandoned oil wells in Alberta. The plan will put people back to work, and help clean up the environment. Could a program for building retrofits be next?

In an era of individualism, COVID-19 has made us realize how badly we depend on in real life social interaction, within our communities, and with family, friends and fellow citizens.

With any luck, the global pandemic will also drive home the idea that we need that spirit of collective action when it comes to education, economic development and politics, too. COVID-19 is forcing people and governments to challenge status quos. Hopefully, the reckoning will lead to a greener planet, a more equal society and thus a safer world.


Global Chorus essay for May 21
Sarah Backhouse

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, television host, founder and CEO of

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

May 20, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food preordering:
Tonight, Wednesday, just before midnight,is the deadline to web-order from the Charlottetown Farmers' Market on-line and Eat Local PEI, but if the former reaches maximum order numbers the program will stop taking orders, so best to "shop" earlier if possible.

pre-order local food and goods from:

·  Heart Beet Organics (vegetables, eggs, fermented products), order before noon today for pickup at their Great George Street storefront, Wednesday 3-6PM  LINK

·  Charlottetown Farmers' Market On-line service (many products), for Saturday afternoon pickup by the Market) LINK 

·  Eat Local PEI group (many farmers-market-type vendors),  for Saturday late afternoon pickup, near Leon's (old Sears), and Mondays and Tuesdays, with a fee structure (quoted from an e-mail):

o As always, Saturday pickup is free and delivery is $5.

o The pickup or delivery fee for Monday and Tuesday is $5.

o All delivery and pickups fees are waived for any order over $100 on any day!    LINK to EatLocal PEI

  • Receiver Coffee has changed its ordering deadline day to Monday, but stores are open for limited hours.  LINK

Met Opera
Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, 7:30PM until Thursday late afternoon.
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From December 8, 2012.  "The Masked Ball", Conspiracy in the 18th Century Swedish court. More info on the opera

Some Good News, on YouTube, has continued to have darling, inspiring 20 minute shows, hosted by John Krasinski featuring many regular people and regular celebrities at home, with the most recent one here; and with some many not so good news that they are taking a little break.  Past episodes should be available at the link.

Maybe some good news:  Podcast (20minutes) on What We Know about COVID-19
from The Guardian (U.K.), Wednesday, May 20th, 2020:

Coronaviruses have been causing problems for humanity for a long time. Several versions are known to trigger common colds and more recently two types have set off outbreaks of deadly illnesses: severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).

But their impact has been mild compared with the global havoc unleashed by the coronavirus that is causing the Covid-19 pandemic. Anushka Asthana talks to Robin McKie, the Observer’s science editor, about what we know about this organism unknown to science five months ago – and how this knowledge can put an end to the pandemic.""

link to podcast:

Staycation opportunity:
Book your trip to "
visit Royalty Oaks area to learn about project plans"

Islanders can now sign-up for in-person consultations of the Royalty Oaks project in East Royalty to learn more about project plans and provide their feedback.  Ensuring public health measures, including physical distancing, are maintained, on site consultations of the Royalty Oaks project will be scheduled in groups of no more than four people and will be led by one member of the project team. 

Site visits will be scheduled for Tuesday, May 18 through Saturday, May 23. Interested Islanders are asked to call (902) 213-5087 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to schedule a visit.

Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers announced the in-person consultation approach earlier this week as a way for government to perform public consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic while respecting public health measures. 

Comments and feedback can also be provided by emailing or mailing:
Chair of the Natural Areas Protection Act Technical Advisory Committee
P.O. Box 2000,

183 Upton Road,
Charlottetown, PE, C1A

Comments must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, 2020.

from the P.E.I. Government website on the proposal to de-designate NAPA land to build an active transport lane through part of the Royalty Oaks area, near the intersection of Route 2 and the bypass in Charlottetown (""the KFC intersection")

Grist on-line, from the United States
Tuesday, May 19th, 2020,

Climate in the Time of Coronavirus is Grist’s newsletter, covering all things at the intersection of climate change and the novel coronavirus."


Questions to Umbra -- 

1 The plastic use and throwaways in this time of COVID is making me sick! How to support local restaurants if they use plastic to-go containers?

There’s a bit of a tradeoff between best practices for preventing coronavirus and environmental sustainability at the moment, and we’re just going to have to accept that. You could encourage your favorite local spots to use compostable plastic alternatives for their takeout containers, but many restaurants are probably more worried about their immediate survival. What you can do — which is a very minor lift for them and might alleviate some of your guilt — is ask that they leave out things like plastic utensils, napkins, tiny condiment packages, or anything that you already have at home. And I, for one, reuse plastic takeout containers all the time! It’s only single-use if you let it be!

2 Can sustainability be a requirement to restart an economy, to take advantage of pollution reductions that have resulted from the virus?

Yes, actually, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just did this. To be eligible for pandemic relief via the newly created Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), companies have to provide plans to reduce their carbon emissions. Canada’s climate commitments seem to have fallen by the wayside in recent years as Trudeau has greenlit new fossil fuel infrastructure across the country, but this might signal some renewed energy (forgive the pun) around a greener future north of the border.

3 When will one of your predictions even come close to being accurate? Not one prediction that I have heard since the 1970s has happened.

Well, I’ve only been alive since 1989, and Grist has only existed since 1999, so it’s not super logical for us to take personal responsibility for at least some of the disappointment you’re describing. As a journalistic outlet, we’re also not generally in the business of palm-reading, so we wouldn’t be so bold as to tell you what’s going to happen in the future. Speaking for myself, the events of 2020 have relieved me of any illusions I ever had about being able to predict what might happen even a week down the line!

But seriously? In 50 years, you’ve never heard a prediction that has come true? That seems statistically improbable.

-- Eve Andrews, staff writer

Global Chorus for May 20
Olivier Oullier

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, emorational behavioural and brain scientist, strategist and musician  

Bio of Olivier Oullier from his blog


essay from:

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

May 19, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food
Eat Local PEI has the deadline of 11:59PM Wednesday for pick-up or delivery late afternoon Saturday, and now has extended its pick-up and delivery days to Monday and Tuesday, adding the T3 Transit location as the pickup spot.  There is also a discount on ADL dairy products this week. More details on the About page of:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market "2GO" also takes orders until they reach their maximum number, or 11:59PM Wednesday.

Met Opera 
Wagner's Lohengrin
, 7:30PM until Wednesday early evening

Holy Grail, singing, sorcessory accusations, almost four hours, opera themes you'll recognize, etc.  A classic video recording from 1986.

More on Gunn's Bridge again

In social media this past weekend a photo with local MLA and Education Minister Brad Trivers and Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Steven Myers at the Gunn bridge replacement was on social media, with Trivers abundantly thanking Myers for the project.

There is still a petition on requesting government stop this project, LINK HERE

And there have been discussions on social media, from many viewpoints.

Here is one, from around May 12, 2020 and later, on Facebook
based on comments Islander, naturalist, former fisheries administrator, and VisionPEI co-founder Dale Small received after posting the petition link and some comments about the wasteful spending on projects like these.

postings used with permission of both gentlemen, and edited for space

Response by Paul Gunn

This is one of Prince Edward Islands most beautiful drives across Gunn’s Bridge and up through beautiful PEI wooded roads. My family has travelled this bridge and up through one of the most beautiful backwoods road on PEI for decades. Even fished at the bridge.
What I’d really like to know is where did this “petition” originate.
Is this petition really the only thing that is political?
Is this a kick at the current party in power? Who loses if the bridge is NOT built? Future generations of Islanders who will not be able to enjoy this rural unique part of our beautiful Island. I vote “fix” the bridge so others can experience it in the future.

Dale Small
Paul my old friend, I have exactly the same thoughts in regard to the beauty of the area. Fished there many times and walked the road through the woods. I do see the issue from a different perspective though. Decades ago engineers were unconcerned or unaware of the ecological destruction that causeways create. ( remember the push to build a causeway across Northumberland Strait?) . We now know that restricting the natural flow of water to this degree causes enormous damage to the environment. The catch is it's not visible to the naked eye on the surface. It is invisible on the seabed for a great distance around the obstruction. So, it boils down to a question of our priorities. Does bridge access in this particular location trump the environment? Could these dollars be better spent on other priorities for PEI? In my view the answers are "no" and "yes". As a person who has explored most every waterway on PEI, I place a high priority on rehab and protection for our watersheds. I hope you can appreciate my point of view. Best to you!

Paul Gunn
Dale my old S'Side High School friend. Thank you for the explanation and reason for all this attention to this small country bridge. Absolutely the environment and the water flow are very important.... always. That brings us to the style of bridge to be constructed. Have they already started to rebuild? possibly a "more bridge ... less causeway" would solve most concerns. I believe, maps back in the early 1900's show of the existence of Gunn's bridge, so it's been there a long time. (Just a coincidence on the name, by the way, there was a fellow many years ago refereed to as "Old Ken Gunn" that had a little house on the west side just up Trout Road {North Road?}) I imagine the local population would appreciate it being restored and I do believe a vehicle bridge should be maintained. To be fair, a petition "for" the bridge might attract just as much, if not more attention. I hope you can appreciate my point of view. All the best Dale.

Yup I was wondering if you had a family connection to the area LOL. I do understand your point. The "more bridge...less causeway" principle has been somewhat helpful with water flow. The West River bridge re-build is a good example. But again we run into the $$ factor. Causeways are cheap to construct, bridges are not. Be great to see you some day, have a chat and tell b**t stories.

Thanks for letting me share your comments, Dale and Paul.
What I appreciated also was the effort to back up and find common ground on what people agree on and then facing the parts they don't -- it's the same way we can deal with working on combating climate change and other major issues we are facing. 

An amazing number of very recent podcasts and essays at the personal site of the May 19 Global Chorus essay writer, James Howard Kunstler, who has written a lot about various paths to the future, and has adapted his potential outcomes as conditions have changed.

Global Chorus for May 19
James Howard Kunstler

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, author of The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic, The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind and the World Made By Hand series, weekly blogger and podcaster at


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

May 18, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food:
Organic Veggie Delivery,
Orders are due by Monday Night for Friday evening delivery. 
see website
contact:  Aaron Koleszar (902) 659-2575

Go!PEI hosts daily fitness programs, often 10AM and 7PM

Though the Government has moved up the "Renew PEI Together" implementation schedule and businesses such as gyms and fitness places may be allowed to open Monday, June 1st (two weeks from now), GoPEI! has announced this is the last week of live programming. (Videos should be available on their Facebook page)

Met Opera for Monday, May 18
Mozart’s Idomeneo

"Mozart’s early masterpiece returned to the Met ...Tenor Matthew Polenzani brings both steely resolve and compassionate warmth to the title king of Crete, who is faced with an impossible decision. With her rich mezzo-soprano, Alice Coote sings the trouser role of Idomeneo’s son Idamante, who loves the Trojan princess Ilia, sung with delicate lyricism by Nadine Sierra. Elza van den Heever gives a thrillingly unhinged portrayal of the jealous Elettra. Jean Pierre-Ponnelle’s timeless production blends the grandeur of ancient myth with the elegance of Enlightenment ideals."
Who can resist "thrillingly unhinged portrayal"?  3 hours 20 minutes, in Italian with English subtitles.

When he's not putting out fires in Souris....

Statement from the Honourable Colin LaVie, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, on Resuming the Spring Sitting

Legislative Assembly media release page

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, May 15, 2020 - Following a request by Premier, the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Leader of the Third Party, I am recalling the Legislative Assembly on May 26 to deal with measures regarding COVID-19. This will be a resumption of the 1st Session of the 66th Assembly, which was originally scheduled to begin on April 7, 2020. Pursuant to Rule 3.(4), I am waiving the requirement of 60 days’ notice for the opening of the sitting.

The operations of the Legislative Assembly have been reviewed, in consultation with the Chief Public Health Office, in order to ensure that physical distancing and other safety protocols are observed. Most notably, the Legislative Chamber has been reconfigured to allow Members to observe the recommended six-foot separation. In order to achieve this, the public gallery and media gallery have been removed. At this time the Hon. George Coles Building remains closed to the public.

Proceedings may be viewed through the Assembly website at, via the Facebook live stream at, and on Eastlink TV.

I wish all Islanders continued safety in this current public health situation. 
---Honourable Colin LaVie, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly

Atlantic Skies for May 18th- May 24th, 2020 - column by Glenn K. Roberts

Why the Daytime Sky is Blue, and not Pink

My 8-year-old granddaughter Scarlet (inquisitive soul that she is) asked me the other day, while we were out for a walk, why the sky is blue, and not pink (her favorite colour of the moment). After I had explained to her, in pretty basic terms, about the sunlight, atmospheric scattering, etc., and she had returned to gathering dandelions, it occurred to me that perhaps some of my readers might not fully understand why the sky appears blue as well. The following is a very simplified explanation, as the whole subject of sunlight, visual spectrum, colours, etc, is a very complicated, though interesting, topic.

The electromagnetic radiation emanating from the Sun travels through space at various wavelengths and frequencies. This radiation includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, and gamma rays, plus, most important to us earthlings, visible white light. The portion of the electromagnetic spectrum visible to the human eye is what we perceive as sunlight. Some of you may remember from your high school science class how sunlight, when directed through a prism, spread a beautiful band of colours (the colours of the rainbow) on the classroom wall. This band of colours is called the "visible spectrum". While some of the sunlight goes straight  through the Earth's atmosphere (direct radiation) to the ground, some of it gets captured in the atmosphere (diffuse radiation) before proceeding on to the Earth's surface. Our atmosphere is not completely transparent or empty; in addition to the 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen, it contains large amounts of man-made and natural aerosols, microscopic particulates, water vapor and other elemental gases. When sunlight strikes these atoms and molecules in the atmosphere, the longer wavelengths (red, yellow and orange) pass through, while the shorter wavelengths (violet and blue) are absorbed, and then scattered in different directions at different intensities. Because human eyes are more receptive to the blue wavelengths than the violet ones, it is the scattered blue wavelengths that we see, and why the daytime sky appears blue (and not pink) when we look up at it.  The primary radiation scattering process in the atmosphere is called Rayleigh scattering.

However, we do see other colours in the sky, particularly during sunsets and sunrises. Light from the setting (or rising) Sun passes through a greater density of atmosphere (relative to the oblique angle of the viewer's position to that of the Sun) than when it is higher in the daytime sky.  At these times of the day, Rayleigh scattering now scatters the shorter, blue wavelengths to such an extent that they almost disappear entirely, leaving the longer wavelength colours (red, orange, and yellow) visible, resulting in colourful sunsets and sunrises, particularly if there are clouds close to the horizon, or large amounts of dust, pollutants or water vapor in the air. The old mariner's saying, "red sky at night, sailor's delight; red in the morning, sailors take warning", actually has to do with the longer, red wavelengths of the light from the setting or rising Sun being more visible, as a result of the denser, moisture-laden atmosphere of a receding storm system (to the west in the evening) signaling good weather the following day, or an approaching storm system (from the east in the morning) boding wet weather for the coming day.

Both Mercury and Venus become visible as the evening sky begins to darken. Mercury (mag. -0.8) appears about 8 degrees above the north-west horizon, setting around 9:00 p.m. Venus (mag. -4.2), heading towards inferior conjunction with the Sun in early June, sits a bit higher (about 15 degrees) in the western sky, before it follows Mercury below the horizon around 9:30 p.m. As they have for the past few weeks, Jupiter Saturn and Mars are arraigned in a shallow arc across the eastern, pre-dawn sky. Jupiter (mag. -2.3) rises first, in the south-east, shortly after midnight, reaching about 22 degrees above the southern horizon, before fading from view shortly after 5:00 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.5) appears in the south-east around 2:30 a.m., likewise reaching about 22 degrees above the southern horizon, before fading from sight shortly before 5:00 a.m.  Rising shortly before 3:00 a.m., Mars (mag. +0.2) manages a height of approximately 19 degrees above the horizon before fading from view as the eastern sky brightens around 5:00 a.m.

From a dark site away from city lights,  and under a clear, moonless sky, Comet C/2020 F8 SWAN will be visible during the coming weeks. Currently at approximately mag. +5.1, the greenish-coloured comet, sporting a long, bluish tail, should be visible to the naked-eye or in binoculars and small scopes in the constellation of Pisces - the Fish in the east-southeast sky around 4:00 a.m. The pre-dawn period a few days either side of the New Moon (May 22) will, weather permitting, afford the best opportunity to see this bright comet. SWAN reaches perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun, on May 27. Google the comet on-line to find a current, up-to-date chart of the comet's location.

Until next week, clear skies.


May 19 - Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth)

        22 - New Moon


Amazon Promise, the organization founded by Patty Webster, who wrote the Global Chorus essay for May 18, has nothing to do with a similar sounding organization involved in the delivery of stuff.  It's a nonprofit medical relief organization, and more can be found out about it here
Amazon Promise Facebook page

Global Chorus for May 18
Patty Webster

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,  founder and president of Amazon Promise

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

May 17, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tiny Island Concert Series, 8PM -- Brandon Howard Roy, 8:30 -- John MacPhee (from Paper Lion).  Concerts are viewed at the Music PEI Facebook page:

Tandem Verdi operas for livestreaming:
Giuseppi Verdi's Rigoletto is still available today until this evening.
Verdi’s Nabucco, 7:30PM tonight until tomorrow evening,
From January 7, 2017. "Placido Domingo portrays Nabucco, the King of Babylon, who is supernaturally driven mad when he proclaims himself God, then restored to health when he repents."

The Global Chorus essay used today is by Kennette Benedict, who at the time of the compilation of the Global Chorus anthology was the Executive Director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, but has retired to Senior Adviser.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists website has a lot for the wannabe atomic scientist in us all, including a good diagram of the COVID-19 and a timeline of its appearance and effects until (late April).

and about the Bulletin, from Wikipedia:
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a nonprofit organization concerning science and global security issues resulting from accelerating technological advances that have negative consequences for humanity. The Bulletin publishes content at both a free-access website and a bi-monthly, nontechnical academic journal. The organization has been publishing continuously since 1945, when it was founded by former Manhattan Project scientists as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of Chicago immediately following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The organization is also the keeper of the internationally recognized Doomsday Clock, the time of which is announced each January. 


What Bryan Adams got right, and what he got wrong - The Star article by Jessica Scott-Reid

Published on Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Famed Canadian singer Bryan Adams isn’t particularly known for his grand opinions or brash statements on current happenings. Even for a vegan and animal activist, he’s never really been the loud and proud type.

It seems though, that much like many of us on week whatever-it-is of this pandemic, he’s kind of lost it, and decided to take to social media to air his grievances.

Via Instagram and Twitter on Monday, Adams complained about having to postpone upcoming shows, zeroing in on “some f-king bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy b-ds,” as the ones to blame for putting the whole world “on hold.”

The reaction to Adams’ posts was swift, with many calling him out for being racist, and bypassing the important point about animal suffering. Adams later apologized, stating he just wanted to discuss “animal cruelty in the wet-markets being the possible source of the virus,” and to “promote veganism.”

Unfortunately, what was meant to be a well-intentioned outburst in defence of animals, ended up a racially insensitive rant, steeped in ethnocentrism and missed opportunity.

Adams, a vegan for over 30 years, was right for calling out animal exploitation and cruelty, and for discussing the probable link between COVID-19 and animal consumption.

Past pandemics including SARS, H1N1, Ebola, MERS, have all been tied to animal consumption. And footage from wet markets, where live animals are sold and killed out in the open (as opposed to behind the walls of a slaughterhouse) show obvious animal suffering.

What Adams got wrong, though, was pointing his white, Western finger elsewhere, othering the issue, and failing to see how it involves us all.

Zoonotic disease risk and animal cruelty are not exclusive to other places or other people. Here in Canada, for example, we slaughter over 800 million land animals a year.

Cruel farming practices such as “piglet thumping” (slamming baby pigs into the ground until dead), chick macerating (grinding up live male chicks deemed useless to the egg industry), and taking newborn calves away from their mothers (in dairy production), are all standard and exempt from animal welfare laws.

We cram chickens into battery cages, pigs into gestation crates, and cows into sheds, to live their lives in filth, while imagining that zoonotic diseases could somehow never emerge or spread here.

And in the midst of this pandemic, farmed animals across Canada and the U.S. are being culled on the farm en masse, as slaughterhouse workers fall ill at a rapid rate, and kill floors come to a halt.

There is too much animal suffering and disease risk right here at home to be condemning some far away villain for their version of animal exploitation and slaughter.

Veganism, let’s not forget, is a movement based on total anti-oppression, and that includes human animals, too.

As a seasoned animal activist and person of influence, Adams missed an obvious opportunity to draw attention to broader concerns associated with animal protein production, not only in wet markets abroad, but also in his own backyard.

Instead, by othering the issue he clouded it with racism, intentional or not, and lost the important messaging that animal cruelty, confinement, and disease risk exist everywhere.

Jessica Scott-Reid is a Canadian writer and animal advocate.

From late March 2020, from the Wildlife Conservation Society, their policy on ending wildlife trade for human consumption (and thanks to those who passed this my way some time ago) -- LINK only:

Global Chorus essay catch-up
Kennette Benedict

With the unleashing of nuclear energy, we have developed a source of energy for economic growth, but we also have created nuclear bombs: a technology that can destroy the Earth and nearly every living thing on it.

Incredibly, and for nearly 70 years, we have survived this existential threat. How have we done it? What are the conditions that have prevented us from blowing ourselves up? Are there lessons to be learned that could be applied to other problems?

After World War II and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, scientists foresaw the dangers of a nuclear arms race culminating in a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. To prevent such a terrible war, these scientists established regular dialogues with their counterparts in other countries – even those hostile to them, and even at the risk of being called traitors. This same group of scientists, along with medical doctors, informed the public about the harmful effects of radiation from nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, and supported citizen protests demanding an end to testing. And as advisers and government officials, scientists also influenced and supported leaders who called for an end to the nuclear madness.

Out of these actions by independent scientists, informed citizens and courageous political leaders came the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and most recently the New Start Treaty. These treaties and their implementing agencies are the institutions of co-operation that have prevented nuclear war so far. And since 1992, working side by side, Russian and U.S. engineers, military officers and government experts have begun to end the nuclear arms race by reducing their combined nuclear arsenals from nearly 80,000 in 1987 to less than 20,000 in 2012.

While the threats to humanity from nuclear weapons are not over, we are beginning to create the conditions for our survival, including telling the truth about the dangers of nuclear technologies; building networks for communication, especially with our adversaries; and co-operating with other countries to dismantle nuclear weapons and relegate them to the dustbin of history.

  — Dr. Kennette Benedict, executive director of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
About her:
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

May 16, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local lobster, side dishes and other seafood:
MR Seafood, 61 Thompson Drive, Charlottetown, (902) 388-1525.
Prices between $6-7/pound.

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Some produce, fermented products and cheeses at their storefront. 

Some Farmers' Market vendors are outside the Charlottetown Farmers' Market in the parking lot during the morning hours, and I think the Summerside Market, too.  

The PEI Certified Organic Producers' Co-op produces a weekly newsletter with a "Where and How to Access Local Organic Products" section.  This week's is HERE.

Met Opera recorded livestream:
Giuseppi Verdi’s Rigoletto  (Synopsis and viewing LINK), 7:30PM tonight until Sunday 7:30PM
Michael Mayer’s acclaimed production, sets the action of Verdi’s masterpiece in 1960 Las Vegas—a neon-lit world ruled by money and ruthless, powerful men. Piotr Beczała is the Duke, a popular entertainer and casino owner who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Željko Lučić sings Rigoletto, his sidekick and comedian, and Diana Damrau is Rigoletto’s innocent daughter, Gilda. When she is seduced by the Duke, Rigoletto sets out on a tragic course of murderous revenge.  From 2013.

Tomorrow, Sunday, May 17th:
Tiny Island Concert, 8PM -- Brandon Howard Roy, 8:30 -- John MacPhee
Music PEI Facebook LINK

From Dr. Herb:

COVID-19 exposes need for rural high-speed internet - The Graphic publications Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented changes affecting every aspect of Island and Canadian life and demonstrating the need for quality and affordable high-speed internet service for all Islanders, including rural Prince Edward Island.

Island schools are now attempting to provide on-line learning, but reception is patchy and often unreliable, placing many students and families at a disadvantage in rural areas. Home businesses and now many employees attempting to work at home in rural PEI are facing obstacles in internet communication. Health care services are now being provided on-line.

Many unemployed workers and families seeking needed support from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are having problems making the necessary contacts.

Broadband internet service has many practical uses, not only in education, business and health care, but also in our ability to have instant contact and communication with family who are separated by COVID-19 distancing restrictions. It is also an important source of entertainment programming needed in times such as we are now experiencing.

The government has promised improved service levels to 30,000 Islanders over the next two to three years with major funding to Bell Aliant and Explornet. Two to three years is too long to wait.

Local Island internet providers have proven to be more sensitive and agile at serving the internet needs for rural Islanders, and given a fraction of the investment government has lavished on larger corporations with off shore head offices, local companies could have high-speed internet up and running within a matter of weeks, not years as has been laid out by the provincial government.

Given the COVID-12 pandemic health and financial crisis, the need for quality high-speed internet to rural PEI has taken on a much higher level of urgency. The provincial and federal governments must source more funding for Island companies to expedite high-speed internet service to rural Islanders.

Dr. Herb Dickieson, O’Leary

Various News bits

from P.E.I. Government media release, Friday, May 15th, 2020, sent about 5:30PM

Government website LINK (bold is mine)

Islanders to visit Royalty Oaks area to learn about project plans

Islanders can now sign-up for in-person consultations of the Royalty Oaks project in East Royalty to learn more about project plans and provide their feedback.

Ensuring public health measures, including physical distancing, are maintained, on site consultations of the Royalty Oaks project will be scheduled in groups of no more than four people and will be led by one member of the project team. 

Site visits will be scheduled for Tuesday, May 18 through Saturday, May 23. Interested Islanders are asked to call (902) 213-5087 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to schedule a visit.

Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers announced the in-person consultation approach earlier this week as a way for government to perform public consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic while respecting public health measures. 

Comments and feedback can also be provided by emailing

or mailing:
Chair of the Natural Areas Protection Act Technical Advisory Committee
P.O. Box 2000,
183 Upton Road,
Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7N8

Comments must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, 2020.

A note on Addressing Climate Change in the Fall U.S. election, from The Beacon, a newsletter from The Grist, published Friday, Mary 15th, 2020:

On Wednesday, a trio of major progressive political organizations — the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters — launched a new project called Climate Power 2020.

The group aims to accomplish the dual tasks of galvanizing the growing bloc of American voters who care about climate and furnishing Democrats with a workable offensive strategy on the issue of climate change.

Climate Power 2020’s advisory board gathers factions of the party that were just recently at odds with each other under the same umbrella. It’s a hodgepodge of Democratic operatives and activists from across the climate spectrum, including party heavyweights like former Secretary of State John Kerry and Georgia politician Stacey Abrams, and climate activists like Varshini Prakash of the left-wing, youth-oriented group the Sunrise Movement. <snip>
Grist story LINK

from The Guardian (P.E.I.), Friday, May 15th, 2020:
   Article LINK

Federal Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay has gained the endorsement of former Progressive Conservative Premier Pat Binns and Former Egmont MP Gail Shea.

The endorsements were announced in a media statement from the MacKay campaign on Thursday. 

Nationally, all four candidates for leadership – Erin O’Toole, MacKay, Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis – have until midnight on Friday to sign up new members. In political leadership campaigns, the push for membership sign-ups is often critical for garnering supporters. Conservative party members will choose a new leader as of August 21. <snip>   Full article at link, above

Global Chorus for May 16
Satish Kumar

I am an optimist: I believe that the human spirit is resilient. Faced with the demise of biodiversity, rise of population, prospects of climate change, world hunger and many other similar global crises, humanity is bound to rise to the occasion and bring about changes towards a more sustainable future.

Once upon a time, colonialism and imperialism were powerful forces, but in the first half of the 20th century that came to an end. Similarly, former Soviet satellite states and Eastern European countries were liberated from the Soviet empire and the Berlin Wall came down through non-violent means. After 27 years in jail, Nelson Mandela became the president of South Africa and the apartheid system was dissolved. More recently, after 16 years of house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi has been elected as a member of the Myanmar Parliament and there are good signs of freedom in that country. These examples give me hope that another world is possible where sustainability, conservation, an end of hunger and world peace will prevail.

A few years ago the idea of generating power through windmills and solar collectors was considered utopian, but now governments around the world are subsidizing renewable energy. Businesses are investing money in it and scientists and technocrats are busy innovating new ways of harvesting natural energy.

It is my conviction that we can create a world where humanity can be at ease with itself and stride toward an elegant and simple lifestyle which is benevolent to Nature and fulfilling to humanity.

       — Satish Kumar, editor-in-chief of Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, founder of Schumacher College (UK), author of No Destination and

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

May 15, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Fridays for Future Digital
Some information and interesting articles here at the Climate Change Charlottetown Facebook page:  Facebook page link

CBC Analysis article from Wednesday, May 13th, 2020: Pandemic or not, Canada still faces a climate crisis — and the clock is ticking

Heart Beet Organics, Order before 4PM today for pickup tomorrow between 9AM-1PM, The Farmacy, 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Discover Charlottetown Local Goods Guide (the most recent one online looks to be from May 7th, 2020, with many listings of food/beverages, take-out, goods, etc. for te long-weekend planning
Link to page with Local Goods Guide for May 7th, 2020

GoPEI! returns live Tai Chi beginner lessons with Craig Mackie, 7PM, GoPEI!Facebook page

Quarantunes In home concerts, tonight, 8PM, featuring Adam MacGregor  Quarantunes Facebook page

Met Opera viewing for May 15th:
Viewers’ Choice: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor , available 7:30PM until Saturday late afternoon.
Starring Joan Sutherland, Alfredo Kraus, Pablo Elvira, and Paul Plishka, conducted by Richard Bonynge. From November 13, 1982.

"This telecast offers a rare opportunity to see the legendary Joan Sutherland in the role that first catapulted her to international stardom. She drove audiences wild by the way her opulent voice caressed the music’s long phrases and sprinted effortlessly through the fiendish runs, trills, embellishments and stratospheric high notes. One of the glories of the operatic world, her portrayal of Donizetti’s hapless heroine is a multifaceted and moving characterization. The incomparable tenor Alfredo Kraus is Edgardo, the man Lucia loves but cannot have."

On the Royalty Oaks issue:

P.E.I. looks to reallocate protected green space for public trail, road expansion - CBC News post by Jessica Doria-Brown

The green space is protected under Natural Areas Protection Act

Published on Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

The P.E.I. government is looking to de-designate protected green space for a road expansion and public trail project, and the Island Nature Trust has concerns about removing its protection.

The province plans to expand the turning lane from Highway 1 onto St. Peters Road to address traffic congestion in East Royalty, and construct a multi-use active-transportation path from that intersection to Murchison Lane, (note:  LINK to article from February 2020) a joint project between the province and the City of Charlottetown. 

The land required for both is designated under the Natural Areas Protection Act, or NAPA. To move forward, that designation would need to be removed.

"It is something that we never want to see, because it weakens the whole act when you de-designate something," said Megan Harris, executive director of the Island Nature Trust. 

She said the protection is written into the NAPA legislation, and is supposed to be in place forever. That protection is immovable when it comes to private lands, but not with public lands — the designation can be removed if it's deemed to be in the public good.

"That's a little loophole there that we prefer not to see, and that is what's being used," said Harris. 

If the project goes ahead as planned, 0.72 acres would be de-designated.

Harris said, even though it's a small area of land — any de-designation of protected green space sets an unwanted precedent. 

"It's really the principle of de-designation that is the major issue here," said Harris.  "It effectively dilutes that designation on all public land because there is no certainty that it won't be taken off elsewhere. If somebody wants to … if the province decides that it's a good place for some commercial development."

Public meeting not possible

Steven Myers, P.E.I.'s minister of transportation, said normally a public meeting would be held to gather feedback on the project, but because of COVID-19, that's not possible.

For now the department is soliciting input via phone call or email, and Myers said the province is looking at ways to hold this type of meeting online.

"We're working … to try to figure out how we can best communicate with the public and get the proper feedback that we need to have to move forward on anything, and keep people safe at the same time," said Myers.

Myers said the plan is to designate some green space adjacent to the project, so the total amount of land in the area with the NAPA designation would be the same.

"We're pretty satisfied that what we're going to do there is very environmentally friendly, given that it's an active transportation link and a bike/walking path," said Myers. 

"Over the next five years, you're going to see us linking up pretty near the whole Island. So we're going to try to work it in as environmentally friendly space as we can, and always keeping in mind that our final goal is going to help us meet our carbon targets." 

The tender for the project closes May 20. Myers said he'd like to see the work done this summer. 

Anyone wishing to provide feedback on the project can call or email the department at until May 23.



And yesterday, from the Provincial media release in the late afternoon after the 4PM announcement:

Thursday, May 14th, 2020:

"Minister Myers also provided an update on the public consultation process for the Royalty Oaks Natural Area.

Members of the public are able to submit their written feedback on the project. As well, beginning next week, the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy will be inviting the public to come to the project site to hear the project plans, see the location and provide their feedback.  

Anyone interested in attending will be asked to sign up in advance. Groups of four people will be allowed to tour the site led by a member of the project team. Physical distancing will be practiced at all times. More details on the sign-up process will be available May 15. "


Global Chorus for May 15
Peter Sale

In 2013 the world is a lot less rich than it was when I landed in Honolulu in August 1964, ready to begin my life as a coral reef ecologist. Since then, our activities in the coastal oceans have reduced, simplified and homogenized the biotic richness that used to be. Our CO2 emissions are altering the climate and the oceans in fundamental ways. And coral reefs are in global decline. The Great Barrier Reef and most of the Caribbean have lost over 50 per cent of their living coral cover in just the last 30 years. By 2050, on current trends, we will not have anything resembling the reefs I first saw in the sixties. This fact alone should be a wake-up call, but it’s not just reefs. We are reshaping our world, creating a new environment outside our collective experience across all of history, civilization and tribal memory. It’s a world bringing great hardships for us and extinction for much of Nature.

Evolved to jump out of the way of sabre-tooth cats, but to ignore advancing glaciers, we are slow to respond to the damage we are causing. Cocooned in our civilization, many of us fail to see what we are doing; deluded by our technology, others assume we can invent our way out of this mess. Still others understand the problem and the possible solutions, but we fail to act because the pain is not yet great enough. We need that approaching predator to shock us into action. It might come as a series of extreme weather events, or as a global pandemic, an abrupt rise in sea level as the West Antarctic shelf fails, or continental-scale famine following widespread drought. It might appear as a global economic collapse. If it comes soon, and if it is not too vicious, we can still get to a good future. If it does not, I fear we will simply watch and wonder as our civilization collapses. I hope that cat is coming soon.

       — Peter F. Sale, university professor emeritus at University of Windsor, former assistant director of the Institute for Water, Environment and Health at United Nations University, author of Our Dying Planet
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

May 14, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


"How Do We Restart?": A Conversation with Karri Green-Schuermans and Linda Solomon Wood (National Observer publisher), 8PM our time

"Join us for a discussion with Karri Green-Schuermans, co-owner of the iconic Chambar Restaurant in Vancouver on 'how do we restart?'
We'll talk about the dramatic devastating hit to her business and the industry and about what the future for small restaurants looks like."  LINK to register for webinar

Tiny Island Concerts on-line, 8PM - Soul Filter, 8:30PM - Gordon Belsher

Stratford Festival's Shakespeare productions on film:
The Tempest joins the line-up of free Stratford Festival filmed productions. King Lear goes off the rotation today, and Coriolanus and MacBeth are still available for a week and two weeks, respectively.

Met Opera Streaming

Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes, 7:30PM until Friday late afternoon. 
Haunting story of a fisherman in a small village struggling under the burden of presumed guilt. 
Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles. From March 15, 2008Synopsis

Two interesting articles from yesterday's Guardian (U.K.)

Wind power ramp-up – "Britain’s biggest green energy companies are working on multibillion-pound wind farm investments across the north-east of England and Scotland to help power a cleaner economic recovery. Scottish Power will revamp Hagshaw Hill, Scotland’s oldest commercial wind farm, as part of a £150m scheme to develop a clean energy cluster capable of supplying 100,000 homes. Separately, SSE and Equinor plan to use the Port of Tyne to host the operations base for the world’s largest offshore wind development, the £9bn Dogger Bank project."

Beware the "Screen New Deal", writes Naomi Klein in a good and very long article  -- here is just an excerpt, with the article being at the link. 

How Big Tech Plans to Profit from the Pandemic - The Guardian (UK) article by Naomi Klein, published originally in The Intercept

As the coronavirus continues to kill thousands each day, tech companies are seizing the opportunity to extend their reach and power.

Published in The Guardian on Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

For a few fleeting moments during the New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday 6 May, the sombre grimace that has filled our screens for weeks was briefly replaced by something resembling a smile.

“We are ready, we’re all-in,” the governor gushed. “We are New Yorkers, so we’re aggressive about it, we’re ambitious about it … We realise that change is not only imminent, but it can actually be a friend if done the right way.”

The inspiration for these uncharacteristically good vibes was a video visit from the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined the governor’s briefing to announce that he will be heading up a panel to reimagine New York state’s post-Covid reality, with an emphasis on permanently integrating technology into every aspect of civic life.

“The first priorities of what we’re trying to do,” Schmidt said, “are focused on telehealth, remote learning, and broadband … We need to look for solutions that can be presented now, and accelerated, and use technology to make things better.” Lest there be any doubt that the former Google chair’s goals were purely benevolent, his video background featured a framed pair of golden angel wings.

Just one day earlier, Cuomo had announced a similar partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop “a smarter education system”. Calling Gates a “visionary”, Cuomo said the pandemic has created “a moment in history when we can actually incorporate and advance [Gates’s] ideas … all these buildings, all these physical classrooms – why, with all the technology you have?” he asked, apparently rhetorically.

It has taken some time to gel, but something resembling a coherent pandemic shock doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the Screen New Deal. Far more hi-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent – and highly profitable – no-touch future.

Anuja Sonalker, the CEO of Steer Tech, a Maryland-based company selling self-parking technology, recently summed up the new virus-personalised pitch. “There has been a distinct warming up to humanless, contactless technology,” she said. “Humans are biohazards, machines are not.”

It’s a future in which our homes are never again exclusively personal spaces, but are also, via high-speed digital connectivity, our schools, our doctor’s offices, our gyms, and, if determined by the state, our jails. Of course, for many of us, those same homes were already turning into our never-off workplaces and our primary entertainment venues before the pandemic, and surveillance incarceration “in the community” was already booming. But in the future that is hastily being constructed, all of these trends are poised for a warp-speed acceleration.

This is a future in which, for the privileged, almost everything is home delivered, either virtually via streaming and cloud technology, or physically via driverless vehicle or drone, then screen “shared” on a mediated platform. It’s a future that employs far fewer teachers, doctors and drivers. It accepts no cash or credit cards (under guise of virus control), and has skeletal mass transit and far less live art. It’s a future that claims to be run on “artificial intelligence”, but is actually held together by tens of millions of anonymous workers tucked away in warehouses, data centres, content-moderation mills, electronic sweatshops, lithium mines, industrial farms, meat-processing plants and prisons, where they are left unprotected from disease and hyper-exploitation. It’s a future in which our every move, our every word, our every relationship is trackable, traceable and data-mineable by unprecedented collaborations between government and tech giants.

If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because, pre-Covid, this precise app-driven, gig-fuelled future was being sold to us in the name of friction-free convenience and personalisation. But many of us had concerns. About the security, quality and inequity of telehealth and online classrooms. About driverless cars mowing down pedestrians and drones smashing packages (and people). About location tracking and cash-free commerce obliterating our privacy and entrenching racial and gender discrimination. About unscrupulous social media platforms poisoning our information ecology and our kids’ mental health. About “smart cities” filled with sensors supplanting local government. About the good jobs these technologies wiped out. About the bad jobs they mass produced.

And most of all, we had concerns about the democracy-threatening wealth and power accumulated by a handful of tech companies that are masters of abdication – eschewing all responsibility for the wreckage left behind in the fields they now dominate, whether media, retail or transportation.

That was the ancient past, also known as February. Today, a great many of those well-founded concerns are being swept away by a tidal wave of panic, and this warmed-over dystopia is going through a rush-job rebranding. Now, against a harrowing backdrop of mass death, it is being sold to us on the dubious promise that these technologies are the only possible way to pandemic-proof our lives, the indispensable keys to keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe.

<Snip>   rest of the article at the LINK

Global Chorus for May 14 
Joanna Macy

Prayer to Future Beings

You live inside us, beings of the future.
In the spiral ribbons of our cells, you are here.
In our rage for the burning forests, the poisoned
the oil-drowned seals,
you are here.

You beat in our hearts through late-night meetings.
You accompany us to clear-cuts and toxic dumps
and the halls of the lawmakers.
It is you who drive our dogged labours to save what
is left.

O you who will walk this Earth when we are gone,
stir us awake.
Behold through our eyes
the beauty of this world.
Let us feel your breath in our lungs,
your cry in our throat.

Let us see you in the poor, the homeless, the sick.
Haunt us with your hunger, hound us with your claims,
that we may honour the life that links us.

You have as yet no faces we can see,
no names we can say.
But we need only hold you in our mind,
and you teach us patience.
You attune us to measures of time
where healing can happen,
where soil and souls can mend.

You reveal courage within us we had not suspected,
love we had not owned.
O you who come after, help us remember: we are your ancestors. Fill us with gladness for the work that must be done.
       — Joanna Macy, root teacher of the Work That Reconnects

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

May 13, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events: Local Food Ordering deadlines today: 

Local Food preordering:
Tonight, Wednesday, just before midnight,is the deadline to web-order from the Charlottetown Farmers' Market on-line and Eat Local PEI, but if the former reaches maximum order numbers the program will stop taking orders, so best to "shop" earlier if possible.

pre-order local food and goods from:

  • Heart Beet Organics (vegetables, eggs, fermented products), order before noon today for pickup at their Great George Street storefront, Wednesday 3-6PM  LINK

  • Charlottetown Farmers' Market On-line service (many products), for Saturday afternoon pickup by the Market) LINK 

  • Eat Local PEI group (many farmers-market-type vendors),  for Saturday late afternoon pickup, near Leon's (old Sears)   LINK

  • Receiver Coffee (and baked goods and prepared meals), order before 9AM today for Friday pick-up.   **Note that this is the last week of this ordering schedule as their shops are reopening**.  To order or check online: LINK

Met Opera today
Wednesday, May 13th:
Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, 7:30PM to Thursday afternoon, at  Met Opera LINK
Starring Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, and Tatiana Troyanos. From March 12, 1988.
"Combining slapstick comedy and beautiful music in a competition of “high” and “low” art, Ariadne auf Naxos is a cock-eyed tale about art, love, and infidelity. A wealthy patron commissions two pieces of entertainment for a party—an opera based on the Ariadne myth and a comedy by a song and dance troupe. Shortly before the performances are to begin, he orders that they be performed simultaneously in order for a fireworks display to begin on time. What follows is a class war in Strauss’ brilliant opera based on a Molière comedy."

Here is another free performance of the opera, from Virginia's Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts LINK

Organizing for a Just Recovery: Mass Strategy Session with the 350 Canada Team, 8PM,   LINK to RSVP

"Join the 350 Canada team for a strategy session on building power for a just recovery from the COVID 19 talk about what a just recovery means for Canada and our 3-part plan to make it a reality."

Two letter commenting on "progress":

Paving Paradise - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

I’m getting into a bit of hyperbole here, but what is this obsession the City of Charlottetown has with allowing the construction of walls on its waterfront? Donald Trump would be proud.

Our capital city is blessed with many attributes, including green spaces, a clean environment, recreational facilities and an abundance of entertainment and eatery options. But perhaps its most precious asset is the scenic waterfront.

I write this letter in light of the May 6 news story in The Guardian announcing another high-rise building planned for the waterfront. This one is a 99-unit, $30 million, eight-storey apartment building planned on a vacant lot behind Renaissance Place (the former Sacred Heart Home) on Haviland Street, between the Queen Charlotte Armouries and the Culinary Institute.

When the original City Fathers developed their vision of how Charlottetown would grow, it called for a streetscape that provided for plenty of access to the waterfront, both physically and visually.

In her song Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell sang:

“Don’t it always seem to go/ That you don’t know what you've got/ 'Til it’s gone/ They paved paradise /Put up a parking lot.” I think Mitchell’s song should be played at the start of the next meeting of Charlottetown City Council.

Gary MacDougall, Cornwall

A Bridge to Nowhere - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Sharon Labchuk,

Published on Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

The P.E.I. Department of Transportation plans to get half a million dollars out of the federal government. If this outrageous abuse of tax dollars fails, P.E.I. taxpayers will be on the hook for the entire amount.

The scheme involves replacing Gunn’s Bridge on the Trout River in Millvale, Queens County. Already in sad shape, it was closed after Dorian damaged the structure and caused the dirt and rock causeway, throttling most of the river, to detach from the bridge. A call to the engineer in charge at Transportation, to hopefully learn the unnecessary bridge would be removed once and for all, revealed their plan.

The province must first build the bridge with P.E.I. tax dollars and then try to recover the money from Canadian taxpayers via the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements fund.

In the meantime, the snowmobile lobby got Transportation Minister Steven Myers to cough up $50-$60,000 of taxpayers' money to build a temporary snowmobile bridge over the river in the middle of winter. A lot of money to let joy riders bomb around for a few months, disturbing the peace.

Gunn’s Bridge is a relic from the old days when people lived on the other side. Today, that side is heavily forested. After crossing the bridge, two steep seasonal roads climb one of the higher hills on the Island. Like every other seasonal 

road in the high hills of Millvale, they are so damaged from graders and erosion they’ve become sluices, funnelling water and silt into the river.

The runoff from these roads is serious and looks to be in violation of the federal Fisheries Act. An employee at Transportation told me these seasonal roads cannot be fixed without massive, publicly unacceptable infusions of tax dollars and closures need to be an option.

When I asked the Transportation engineer why they’d even consider rebuilding the bridge, he said people need access to their properties. It was clear to me that either he hadn't even bothered to look at a map or there was some other reason for approving this crazy project — because the two seasonal roads across the bridge both end up on the top of the hill at the Smith Road, a road Transportation inexplicably just spent a ton of money on. Nevertheless, Transportation planned to start construction this week on an unneeded bridge to nowhere.

The entire area around the bridge is an environmental mess. It’s in the river’s floodplain and during storm surges I’ve seen the dirt causeway and the bridge submerged. Four dirt roads converge at the bridge and all funnel silt into the river.

Premier King must explain why his government feels entitled to Canadian tax dollars to build a completely unnecessary bridge to nowhere during a time when all of us, and generations to come, will struggle to pay off pandemic debt. And if the Department of Transportation’s bid to access Canadian tax dollars fails, how will he justify spending half a million P.E.I. tax dollars on what could be a make-work project for friends of the PC party?

When residents on my unpaved two-kilometre section of the Millvale Road, a mud hole in spring, asked Transportation to gravel the road, we were told we might get on a list this year, and even if we did, the department could only afford to gravel a half kilometre per year. Yet up to $60,000 was squandered on a temporary snowmobile bridge. Earth Action lobbied MP Wayne Easter and will be organizing citizens to lobby MP Bill Blair, the minister in charge of the disaster fund, to refuse to hand over half a million dollars for a bridge to nowhere.

Sharon Labchuk is co-ordinator of Earth Action, a P.E.I. environmental activist organization, former leader of the Green Party of P.E.I. and resident of Millvale.


Global Chorus for May 13
Linda Lear
Over the course of the last fifty years, many of us, but not enough of us, have understood the extent of the damage that human hubris has inflicted upon the natural world. Some of us tried to ignore the indisputable fact that global pollution was caused by human actions and activities, and not by some invisible malevolent hand. Others simply denied reality.

In 1962 the nature writer Rachel Carson (1907– 1964) awakened us to the horrific consequences of human activity on the Earth’s systems in her iconic and still revolutionary book Silent Spring. Carson began her tale of the potential death of Nature with a fable based on the real and terrifying disasters suffered by many American communities where chemical pesticides had been used and misused. “No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves.” Rachel Carson never knew how prescient her words would be. Her hope was that the potential silencing of spring would spur us to recognize the terrible consequences of putting anything into the natural world before we understood the impact it might have on human and nonhuman nature: on all life. She trusted, perhaps naively, that the next generation would carry forth an inextinguishable “sense of wonder” that would ensure that life would continue and that humans could and would live co-operatively with Nature. Sadly, we have not heeded Carson’s warning well enough, and human destruction of the planet has continued with terrifying speed. But is it really too late to turn around?
Carson’s hope, and mine too, is based on a belief in our continuing sense of moral responsibility to the future of human and nonhuman life. It is imperative that we be very clear about what we stand for and what we oppose. The continuation of the life support systems of the living Earth – clean water, fresh air, fertile soil and the biodiversity of the species – is our responsibility to the future. We can do it. We simply must do it. And we must do it NOW.
       — Linda Lear, PhD, environmental biographer/historian, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature and Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature
Linda Lear's website


essay from

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014

May 12, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thursday, May 14th:

"How Do We Restart?": A Conversation with Karri Green-Schuermans and Linda Solomon Wood (National Observer publisher), 8PM our time

"Join us for a discussion with Karri Green-Schuermans, co-owner of the iconic Chambar Restaurant in Vancouver on 'how do we restart?'
We'll talk about the dramatic devastating hit to her business and the industry and about what the future for small restaurants looks like."

LINK to register for webinar

Tonight's Met Opera is
Thomas Adès’s The Tempest, 7:30PM until Wednesday evening
Starring Audrey Luna, Isabel Leonard, Alek Shrader, Alan Oke, and Simon Keenlyside, conducted by Thomas Adès. From November 10, 2012.
Met Opera website

Louise Martin of CBC TV's Compass hosted a virtual political panel, with Paul MacNeill, Graphics publisher, and UPEI political scientist Don Desserud.  About six minutes long:
Compass Political Panel, Thursday, May 7th, 2020

LETTER: Logical backfire - The Guardian Letter to the editor

Published on Monday, May 11th, 2020

Some forceful arguments from a member of the National Firearms Association (NFA) leapt from the pages of Wednesday’s letter section (LINK to orignal letter: (Gun control is folly, May 6), forceful and false, involving two prime examples of faulty reasoning.

Fallacy No. 1 False equivalence: Drawing an invalid link between two subjects based on flawed reasoning, e.g., presenting apples as oranges. Readers were asked how they would like it if their car was seized because of the actions of a prohibited driver. Vehicles and AR-15s are not actually comparable. Vehicles are highly useful, indeed essential, means of conveying people and goods from place to place. Semi-automatic weapons, on the contrary, serve no useful, non-lethal purpose. Freedoms pertaining to vehicle ownership do not pertain to rifle ownership.

Fallacy No. 2 Ad populum: An argument that presents what a group of people think, in order to make one think the same way. The NFA member claimed that the percentage of Canadians supporting gun control is decreasing. Approval ratings are irrelevant. Public opinion does not always support good public policy. The NFA argument is further eroded by the fact that its premise appears to be dubious. An Angus Reid poll recently found that 80 per cent of Canadians support the announced rifle ban.

And while we’re in “ad populum” territory, consider the logically irrelevant NFA claim that “as many as 83,000 licensed shooters” own AR-15s. Don’t we just love that “as many as” qualifier? But even if the number is related to reality, it does not serve to make such deadly devices as the AR-15, M16, M14, CX4, AR-10, etc., essential staples of Canadian living. Rather, it serves as an alarming reminder of how unsafe our society is becoming under the influence of the many-headed, profit-driven affiliation that is the NFA-CCFR-CSAA-NRA industrial gun lobby.

Doug Millington,Charlottetown
Jeff Smith
"Remember, every dollar you spend is a vote for what you want to exist when the crisis is over."
---Jeff Smith, of The Comic Hunter, Charlottetown

Global Chorus for May 12   
Patrick Curry

When I look at the world dominated by human beings, I see (in the words of Max Weber) one of unpunished injustice, undeserved suffering and hopeless stupidity. So far as I can tell, the future consists of humanity sliding further into the abyss and continuing to take much of the natural world with it. Anthropocentrism – the assumption that human beings are the centre of the world and its highest (if not only) source of value – will continue to dominate actions and discussions. The model for how to live will continue to be dominated by corporatism and big business on the one hand and increasingly fundamentalist monotheism on the other. Both are inherently anti-ecological and, insofar as human beings are natural beings, anti-humanity. Both will also continue to undermine the kind of education we most urgently need: not teaching our young to be consumers or believers, but citizens. The attack on civil society will continue but mesmerized by the twin gods (under Mammon) of Convenience and Entertainment, few will notice, and fewer care.

For the same reasons, we will continue to destroy, pollute and desecrate the natural world past the point of our own ability to flourish and possibly even survive. The mass extinction of species for which we are responsible will continue to accelerate as will global climate change, driven by our addiction to industrial-scale energy and “development.” Will humanity survive? I think so, although in what numbers and with what ways of life I cannot say. But we seem to be well on our way into a new Dark Age where culture, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, only survives in isolated pockets.

The only thing that prevents despair is that I don’t know beyond any doubt that this is the future. By the same token, though, no one else knows for sure that it isn’t. In any case, it is only after fully acknowledging how dire is the situation and the outlook, without indulging in any comforting nostrums or pious evasions, that we are entitled to whatever hope remains. And even if none, we can still resist; you don’t need hope for that. What you need is courage.

      — Patrick Curry, independent scholar, writer, environmentalist

LINK to his book, Environmental Ethics


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

May 11, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food:

Organic Veggie Delivery,
Orders are due by Monday Night for Friday evening delivery.
see website
contact:  Aaron Koleszar (902) 659-2575

Go!PEI hosts daily fitness programs,
10AM and 7PM:

Met Opera livestream
Massenet’s Werther, 7:30PM until Tuesday late afternoon, at Met Opera link
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Jonas Kaufmann, and David Bižić. From March 15, 2014.  Australian Opera "cheat sheet" on the opera.

The Broadbent Blog

Five tests to make sure bailouts benefit people, not corporations - Broadbent Institute website post by Katrina Miller

Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Canada’s corporate bailouts need to cut out tax dodgers and profiteers, and show long-term commitments are attached to the money.

The great recession of 2008 was an expensive lesson for governments around the world. Specifically, why providing large corporate and banking industry bailouts with little to no enforced conditions is a terrible idea. Massive loans and grants were used too often to rack up profit, pad executive pay, buy back shares to further inflate profit margins, and shell out even larger dividends to shareholders. Adding insult to injury, some of these corporations then moved their operations offshore, taking much needed jobs with them and extending one of the most detrimental impacts of the recession: the loss of full-time well-paying work. Since then, we’ve discovered the wide use of tax havens. It begs the question of how many of corporations we were bailing out were partaking in such schemes to avoid having their publicly funded profit taxed. 

The coronavirus crisis has pushed many businesses and corporations to the edge and government assistance to protect jobs is needed, but the learnings of the great recession should make us smarter this time around. 

We need to focus our spending on workers, their livelihoods and our collective goals as a society. Strict conditions should be placed on large loans or other significant financial support going out the door to big corporations.

You can’t be a tax cheat

It’s pretty simple. If you are using tax havens and other schemes to avoid paying Canadian taxes, you're out, even if some of those schemes are legal. According to Canadians for Tax Fairness, the federal government loses at least $8 billion yearly to the use of tax havens. While we likely can’t solve the complicated mess of international tax avoidance in the middle of a pandemic, we can send a strong message – we’ll support you when you pay your fair share. If you are using a tax haven for your head office, or if you are storing profit in offshore accounts, it’s time to stop.

You can’t use our money to get richer

Strict conditions that cap executive pay (including bonuses), ban share-buyback schemes and freeze increases to shareholder dividends should accompany any loan or financing to large corporations. Those conditions should stay in place for the term of the loan. In the instance of a grant, they should stay in place for the period that the economy is in recession.

No free money

Any large capital bailout that isn’t a short-term loan should come with an equity-stake in the company. If we are covering your debt and risk, then we should also get a share of profits (should they return) and the ability to influence corporate decisions in the future.

We need decent green jobs in return 

Companies need to commit to maintaining jobs, and further conditions should be created to ensure they are decent jobs, with livable wages and adequate paid sick days. We could go a step further, casting our eyes down the road to recognize that Canada’s long-term success relies on greening every part of our economy, and require commitments to environmental improvements.

No secret deals

For years following the 2008 financial crisis, murky details emerged about the bailout packages given to banks and corporations, opening up questions that should have been addressed at the time. Too often, the public found out after the fact that there were too few conditions to ensure public benefit or halt profiteering. This time, we want transparency up front. That includes disclosure of the conditions of the bailout and proof that those conditions are being met.

Our economy’s success should be measured by how well it provides jobs, goods and services in a fair and equitable way, and how well it aids our collective goals, like tackling climate change. Denmark, Poland, Germany, France and others have started putting similar conditions on companies seeking government bailouts. Canada should too.


Atlantic Skies for May 11th-May 17th - by Glenn K. Roberts

Where Stars are Born

Most people, when they think of "space", probably think of it as an endless void, empty of anything but the stars, and, upon occasion, meteors, asteroids and comets.  However, this area is anything but empty, though its individual components can be, and often are, separated by huge distances. Referred to by astronomers as the "interstellar medium", it is composed of vast quantities of microscopic dust particles and various gases that comprise our galaxy. Where the dust and gases collect in dense concentrations, they become "stellar nurseries", areas where stars, like our own Sun (a star), are formed. After a star has formed, vast amounts of this nursery medium often remains unused, and simply floats around in the neighbourhood of the nearby star. With the aid of telescopes, and sometime with the naked-eye and binoculars, we can see these patches of unused interstellar medium, patches which are referred to as "nebula (singular)" or "nebulae (plural)". There are three basic types of nebulae - emission nebulae, reflection nebulae, and dark nebulae. Though the nebulae that are visible to us here on Earth lie with our own Milky Way Galaxy, they are also found in areas where stars are forming within other distant galaxies.

Emission nebulae are ones that emit their own light. They are found near hot, luminous stars that emit huge amounts of ultraviolet radiation, which causes the nearby interstellar gas to become ionized, and through a process called recombination, to emit visible-light (often reddish in colour). A reflection nebula, on the other hand, does not generate light of its own, as it is an area where light from a nearby star is scattered and reflected by the dust particles in the surrounding interstellar medium. Because the surrounding medium has not undergone ionization, the colour of the reflected light often has a bluish tint. Dark nebulae are areas where the concentration of dust particles is so dense that it blocks any visible light. Before this was understood, astronomers thought such areas where actually holes in the Milky Way Galaxy, where no stars existed. The black, starless patches that you see with your naked-eye or binoculars in the Milky Way Galaxy are, in fact, dark nebulae.

Examples of all three nebulae types (emission, reflection and dark) can be seen in the Orion Nebula, the middle "star" of the "sword" hanging from the middle star in Orion's "belt" in the constellation of Orion - the Hunter. This nebula is visible in binoculars as a bright, fuzzy, concentration of light surrounding the bright star Alnitak. Though you will need a good-sized telescope to see the actual detail of the three nebulae types, photos of the Orion Nebula on-line or in astronomy books will show them in detail. Probably the most famous example of a dark nebula, the Horsehead Nebula (it actually does resemble a horse's head), is in the Orion Nebula  Another excellent (and extremely beautiful) example of a reflection nebula is that surrounding the Pleiades ("The Seven Sisters") open-star cluster visible between the constellations of Taurus - the Bull and Aries - the Ram. Like Orion, these two constellations are best viewed on winter evenings when they are high in the sky.

Mercury (mag. -1.5) should be visible now in the early evening sky, low above the western horizon near the sunset point, about an hour after the Sun has disappeared, with Venus (mag. -4.3 ) visible to the upper left. This is the last month for Venus as an evening sky object, as it heads towards inferior conjunction with the Sun on June 3, before emerging as our "morning star" later in the month. Jupiter (mag. -2.3), Saturn (mag. +0.5) and Mars (mag. +0.3) remain pre-dawn objects in the SE sky. Jupiter and Saturn rise almost in tandem around midnight (half-way between sunset and sunrise), with Mars loitering abed for another two hours. All three planets fade from view with the light of the rising Sun. Watch the waning Moon slip beneath the three planets on the mornings of May 11 - 15.

Until next week, clear skies.


Global Chorus essay for May 11
Rob Dietz

In the early 21st century, humanity sits in a precarious position. Reams of evidence support a conclusion that’s hard to comprehend: people are consuming resources at a rate beyond the Earth’s regenerative capacity. Like Icarus, humanity is flying too high, ignoring the warning signs and courting disaster. The main question, then, is how to straighten out and fly right – what’s the most practical path for achieving the good life on our one and only planet?

The dominant philosophy of nations since the birth of industrialism and capitalism has been more. More people, more production, more consumption, more technology, more income. Professors, politicians and pundits commonly tout increasing devotion to more as the way to solve our environmental and social problems, but it’s a deeply flawed approach. There’s no logic in resorting to the very philosophy that has pushed us into planetary overshoot. Instead we need to reconfigure our economic systems to embrace the philosophy of enough – we need to recognize the limits we face and structure the economy so that it meets people’s needs within environmental limits.

To build an economy focused on better rather than bigger requires surprisingly straightforward policy changes. For example, we can limit the flow of materials and energy to sustainable levels, stabilize population by means that are compassionate and non-coercive, achieve a fair distribution of wealth and income, reform monetary and financial systems for stability, change the way we measure progress, secure meaningful jobs and full employment, and reconfigure the way businesses create value. We’ll continue to fly, but we won’t blindly fly into the sun, soaring beyond planetary means. Hope for achieving an economy that works for people and the planet resides in the simple concept of enough.

    — Rob Dietz,  co-author of Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources

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

May 10, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Tiny Island Concert Series, 8PM- Logan Richard, 8:30PM - Andrew Waite.  What a line-up! Concerts are viewed at the Music PEI Facebook page:

Met Opera -- two one-act operas you may not know the plots of, but you have likely heard the melodies in modern settings:
Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, 7:30PM to Monday evening,
Both with Marcelo Álvarez. From April 25, 2015.

and here is a great "cheat sheet" from Opera Australia

Martin Rutte, of many talents and concerns making this a more caring, harmonious planet, shared this amazing compilation of opera works, a gift for anyone interested on any level, and one I am thankful for, and happy to share:

Of interest -- International Union of Conservation of Nature's website:
Ernesto C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich, today's Global Chorus essayist, is chair of the World Commission on Protected Areas–IUCN, and the website has a lot to explore

Happy Mother's Day, to all who nurture:

Julia Roberts as Mother Nature

Global Chorus for May 10 
Ernesto Enkerlin

Today is a beautiful day and it is wonderful to be alive. Such awareness comes from being human and confers a sense of duty for maintaining life and making peace with Nature.

In such a day, and in times ahead, there will also be despair and sadness. This is part reality and part perception. Even in those moments we can find many good reasons to stand strong. “Hope?”

YES, hope based on real possibility to change the world. The future is what we make it. We can help to heal Nature so it continues to nurture us. We are increasingly interdependent and opting for the good. Technology and simple things like protected areas will make all the difference.

What can I do as an individual and influence others to do what is good for Nature and therefore for humans? Every day … every moment …: Inspire: What can I do? Expire: What can we do?

This Decalogue shared with students 20 years ago remains pertinent and practical to living and securing a space for Nature and ALL life in the Anthropocene.

These are just some ideas. I challenge you for even better ones but please … be part of the solution:


1. Seek, envision, apply and enjoy a lifestyle that is light on the planet. Repel materialism.

2. If you exercise your privilege to have descendants these should be at most two and brought up as champions for the planet.

3. Learn, recognize, promote and be willing to pay the real value for Nature’s goods and services.

4. Work as a volunteer in your community.

5. Use your purchasing power to demand a better world.

6. Participate actively in restoring and healing Nature.

7. Demand from our leaders or be a leader caring for the planet and be true and congruent.

8. Photograph, paint, write, meditate, touch, observe and in general know, respect and love Nature.

9. Respectfully explain to whoever neglects the environmental crisis, becoming a joyful ambassador for Earth.

10. Live and persevere on the previous nine points (or your own list) and spread the word. Get others to join in!


       — Ernesto C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich, conservationist, ecologist, pragmatic dreamer,  professor of sustainability at Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), president for science at Pronatura (Mexico), chair of the World Commission on Protected Areas–IUCN

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

May 9, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food:
Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Some produce, fermented products and cheeses at their storefront. 

Some Farmers' Market vendors are outside the Charlottetown Farmers' Market in the parking lot during the morning hours.  

The PEI Certified Organic Producers' Co-op produces a weekly newsletter with a
"Where and How to Access Local Organic Products" section.  This week's is HERE.

Met Opera livestream for tonight (but note that La Boheme is available until late afternoon today)
Documentary: The Opera House, 7:30PM until Sunday afternoon
"A 2017 feature-length documentary by Susan Froemke about the creation and 1966 opening of the new Met at Lincoln Center."  Film description LINK
Met Opera website LINK

Gunn's Bridge -- everything old is new

A small bridge on Route 240 near Millvale was damaged in the Hurricane Dorian and its rebuilding may be eligible for federal funding.  Local resident Sharon Labchuk points out the bridge, with its typical design for the times with little thought to the health of the watershed, chokes the river and with nearby alternatives, it's really unnecessary to rebuild. 
And she started a petition to see if some numbers backed her up: Petition LINK

This brings out a sadly familiar response from Minister of Transportation of the Day, (even if he used to be a former Transportation Opposition Critic and rally against expensive projects that damaged wetlands, etc) that the trained professionals in the Department deem the building project necessary and thus it is going forward. 

And unfortunately any watershed people may not comment on issues like these.  Even though the health of the river should be primary, a common citizen might perceive that criticizing government might had an untoward influence on what services and such are done by government that summer for the watershed group

So I take articles like this --written by someone who was around during the Plan B highway debacle -- with a huge grain of salt.

Taxpayers on the hook for $600K 'bridge to nowhere', says local woman - CBC-PEI online article by Wayne Thibodeau

‘We think it’s necessary or else we wouldn’t be putting it in’

Published on Friday, May 8th, 2020

A petition is being circulated to get a $600,000 bridge replacement project near Millvale, P.E.I., scrapped.

Sharon Labchuk, who lives in the area, calls the bridge completely unnecessary. She said few people use the bridge and there is another road that can be used less than five minutes away.  

In a letter to the media, Labchuk described it as an "unneeded bridge to nowhere."

"There is no reason whatsoever for that bridge to be replaced," Labchuk said. "Yes, people know the bridge is out and vaguely some people know that it is going to be rebuilt but most people don't know the circumstances of it and I think they would be as outraged as I am to find out that a half a million dollars of taxpayers' money is going unnecessarily to a bridge that no one really needs." 

Labchuk said removing the bridge would also be better for the environment. She said the issue is not only the bridge, but the long causeway that leads to the bridge which she says chokes off the water flow.

"We all know causeways are not good for the ecology of rivers," she said.

'We think it's necessary' 

The Gunn's bridge crosses the Trout River along Route 240 in central Queens County.

The bridge sustained extensive damage during post-tropical storm Dorian last September. It has been closed to vehicle traffic ever since. 

Transportation Minister Steven Myers said they plan to begin the project within days. He said the wooden structure will be completed by July. 

The province hopes the cost of the bridge will be covered by the federal disaster relief program because it was damaged during Dorian.  

"We think it's necessary or else we wouldn't be putting it in," said Myers.  "These would be decisions that would be basically made by the engineers and by our highway staff. This wouldn't be a political decision at all. We don't get involved in bridges at all ...If we're building it they certainly determined it was necessary to have."   

'Lots of people use it'

Michael Gallant lives in the area, and he supports the construction of a new bridge.

It's great they are replacing it," said Gallant.  "Lots of people use it. There's a slip up there for boats, for kayaks. I live right there pretty well. I see the traffic flow that goes through there. I'd say there's no reason on Earth why the bridge shouldn't be replaced"   

The P.E.I. government did spend about $80,000 on a temporary bridge last winter to accommodate snowmobilers.

Myers said this structure is what they call a Baily bridge, or a temporary structure that will be picked up and used in another location after the Gunn's bridge is replaced.

'There was tremendous pressure on me'

Myers said he's not convinced Labchuk's opinion of the bridge is shared by everybody who lives in the area.

"As you recall last fall, there was tremendous pressure on me to make the changes necessary to keep that bridge open for the snowmobile traffic," said Myers.  "My understanding from the discussions I had with my colleagues who represent out in that area and a number of private conversations I had with people is that it is a very important road and a very important bridge that intersects two different areas and that it will be widely used by people in that area."


And here again is the link to Petition Link
calling for the bridge not to be replaced, for your consideration

Global Chorus for May 9
Kate Dillon

When I was eighteen years old my parents and I travelled to Alaska. I remember sitting on the banks of the small creek trickling past our cabin in the forested foothills of Denali, feeling awestruck by the wildness of my surroundings – the trees, bears and moose, the soil, shrubs and mountain peaks. It was an extraordinarily beautiful and formative moment in my life, and I understood then that neither I nor my species – however unique and intelligent – were as central to life on Earth as social conceptions instruct.

I had always observed that humankind was at best the Earth’s steward and at worst its master. I believe the environmental and social crisis we now face is a result of this core belief, and decision-makers and thought-leaders must contribute to a new worldview, one of respect for the global ecosystem we inhabit. We can and we must learn to live our lives as a part of the natural world rather than outside or above it.

I have hope because we have come so far. When I was a high school student in the late 1980s, talk of global warming, recycling and eating local was fringe at best, reserved for hippie holdouts and eccentric vegetarian restaurants. Today these ideas are mainstream, and environmental consciousness is actually chic. We have proven our ability to change our most insidious historical practices, and while we cannot reverse all the damage done, there is ample time to be better human beings.

Kate Dillon, mommy, fashion model, environmental advocate


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

May 8, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Fridays for Future Digital
Some information and interesting articles here at the Climate Change Charlottetown Facebook page:  Facebook page link

Tony Reddin reminds us: "Every day is a good day to remind political leaders that the climate crisis hasn't gone away! #fridaysforfuture"

Heart Beet Organics, Order before 4PM today for pickup tomorrow between 9AM-1PM, The Farmacy, 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Discover Charlottetown Local Goods Guide for this week, with many listings of food/beverages, take-out, goods, etc. for weekend planning
Link to page with Local Goods Guide for May 7th, 2020

Quarantunes tonight, 8PM, the superb Kelley Mooney,
"cozy in for a beautiful in-home show with the wonderful Kelley Mooney!! Visit the Quarantunes page at 8pm as the show kicks off!"
Quarantunes Facebook page

Met Opera viewing for May 8th:
Viewers’ Choice: Viewers’ Choice: Puccini’s La Bohème
available 7:30PM until Saturday late afternoon.
Starring Renata Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti.... From March 15, 1977.
Probably all you need to know.  Exactly two hours of classic opera tragedy and bliss.  A very good one for people looking for an introduction to opera.

The Global Chorus essay writer today, Göran Broman, mentions this website, which has so much to look at:

The Alliance for Strategic Sustainable Development

When we see "business as usual" in the allocation of giant government bailouts, when we hear the racheting of the tone of anger or anxiety and despair of how the economy will recover and how will we pay for all this relief (as you can tell, now the tune of some sides of government and of some media angles), it's good to stop and look through any haze, and listen for caring ideas and discussion from people in organizations like The Leap Manesto,, the Council of Canadians (all to be discussed in future Citizens' Alliance News) and on the ground here in the Island like the PEI Green Party Caucus (which hosted the first of open sessions on discussing concerns and working on policy options) and in letters from people like Joe:

Time to Talk about a Maximum Wage - NDP PEI website post by Joe Byrne, NDP PEI Leader

Published on Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Several years ago I listened to an interview on CBC radio with a Buddhist monk from Bhutan. He made an amusing and accurate statement linking happiness and excess. To paraphrase his comment he said, ‘Everything in moderation except moderation, which should be done to excess.’

The point of excess is a good one and we should hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will encourage us to look at this excess in our own community, province, country and world. Many Canadians have found ourselves thrust into unemployment and reliant on federal and provincial benefits. We are also being introduced into how the economy is stratified and full of insecurity for many. This insecurity provides the opportunity to focus on ideas like a basic income, affordable housing and food security. 

We will have to find ways to pay for the benefits that are being used right now to get us through these surreal times. It is time to take up an idea that has been around for more than 100 years – the idea of a maximum wage. The basic principle is simple. Establishing a maximum wage incentivizes a distribution of income where it is produced, principally by workers, and disincentivizes grotesque incomes through taxation.

A maximum wage can be linked to the minimum wage and would require policy makers to have a discussion about wages at both ends of the spectrum. Too often a discussion on wages is fixated solely on minimum wage. Those who would slow down increases to minimum wage focus on the perception of economic hardship on businesses. Proponents of increases to minimum wage can often highlight the economic benefit for all by lifting workers out of poverty or income insecurity.

Maximum wage legislation would work differently than minimum wage legislation but still encourage robust discussion of the economic benefits (or lack thereof) of excessive wages.

For argument’s sake, let’s say that a maximum wage is set at 25 times that of minimum wage. The current average minimum wage across Canada is approximately $12.65/hour, slightly less than that of PEI which is $12.85. In the above scenario, the maximum wage would be $316.25 per hour.  For a 40 hour work week over the entire year, this translates into $657,000/yr. Once someone hits that income threshold, the tax rate could be 90-95% for all earnings over that amount. Just to be clear $657,800 is slightly less than $55,500 per month. Contrast this with the minimum wage of slightly under $2,200/month or $26,000/yr.

An applied example is CEO compensation. In 2018 the CEOs of the top Canadian banks earned a total of $63,200,000 among them. Collectively their maximum income is $3,289,000 (taxed at regular rates) and the excess of $59,911,000 would be taxed at 92.5%. This latter amount would generate $55,417,675 in tax revenue. In turn, it would leave $4,493,325 to divide up among themselves or approximately $900,000 each.

COVID-19 had demonstrated how much we can do collectively when we put our mind to it. The pandemic can be the start of doing things differently with a focus on the common good.


More very good criticism of American documentary filmmaker's Planet of the Humans, from The Guardian (U.K.)'s columnist George Monbiot:

How did Michael Moore become a hero to climate deniers and the far right? - The Guardian (U.K.) article by George Monbiot

Published on Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Denial never dies; it just goes quiet and waits. Today, after years of irrelevance, the climate science deniers are triumphant. Long after their last, desperate claims had collapsed, when they had traction only on “alt-right” conspiracy sites, a hero of the left turns up and gives them more than they could have dreamed of.

Planet of the Humans, whose executive producer and chief promoter is Michael Moore, now has more than 6 million views on YouTube. The film does not deny climate science. But it promotes the discredited myths that deniers have used for years to justify their position. It claims that environmentalism is a self-seeking scam, doing immense harm to the living world while enriching a group of con artists. This has long been the most effective means by which denial – most of which has been funded by the fossil fuel industry – has been spread. Everyone hates a scammer.

And yes, there are scammers. There are real issues and real conflicts to be explored in seeking to prevent the collapse of our life support systems. But they are handled so clumsily and incoherently by this film that watching it is like seeing someone start a drunken brawl over a spilled pint, then lamping his friends when they try to restrain him. It stumbles so blindly into toxic issues that Moore, former champion of the underdog, unwittingly aligns himself with white supremacists and the extreme right.

Occasionally, the film lands a punch on the right nose. It is right to attack the burning of trees to make electricity. But when the film’s presenter and director, Jeff Gibbs, claims, “I found only one environmental leader willing to reject biomass and biofuels”, he can’t have been looking very far. Some people have been speaking out against them ever since they became a serious proposition (since 2004 in my case). Almost every environmental leader I know opposes the burning of fresh materials to generate power.

There are also some genuine and difficult problems with renewable energy, particularly the mining of the necessary materials. But the film’s attacks on solar and wind power rely on a series of blatant falsehoods. It claims that, in producing electricity from renewables, “You use more fossil fuels to do this than you’re getting benefit from it. You would have been better off just burning fossil fuels in the first place”. This is flat wrong. On average, a solar panel generates 26 units of solar energy for every unit of fossil energy required to build and install it. For wind turbines the ratio is 44 to one.

Planet of the Humans also claims that you can’t reduce fossil fuel use through renewable energy: coal is instead being replaced by gas. Well, in the third quarter of 2019, renewables in the UK generated more electricity than coal, oil and gas plants put together. As a result of the switch to renewables in this country, the amount of fossil fuel used for power generation has halved since 2010. By 2025, the government forecasts, roughly half our electricity will come from renewables, while gas burning will drop by a further 40%. To hammer home its point, the film shows footage of a “large terminal to import natural gas from the United States” that “Germany just built”. Germany has no such terminal. The footage was shot in Turkey.

There is also a real story to be told about the co-option and capture of some environmental groups by the industries they should hold to account. A remarkable number of large conservation organisations take money from fossil fuel companies. This is a disgrace. But rather than pinning the blame where it lies, Planet of the Humans concentrates its attacks on Bill McKibben, the co-founder of, who takes no money from any of his campaigning work. It’s an almost comic exercise in misdirection, but unfortunately it has horrible, real-world consequences, as McKibben now faces even more threats and attacks than he confronted before.

But this is by no means the worst of it. The film offers only one concrete solution to our predicament: the most toxic of all possible answers. “We really have got to start dealing with the issue of population … without seeing some sort of major die-off in population, there’s no turning back.”

Yes, population growth does contribute to the pressures on the natural world. But while the global population is rising by 1% a year, consumption, until the pandemic, was rising at a steady 3%. High consumption is concentrated in countries where population growth is low. Where population growth is highest, consumption tends to be extremely low. Almost all the growth in numbers is in poor countries largely inhabited by black and brown people. When wealthy people, such as Moore and Gibbs, point to this issue without the necessary caveats, they are saying, in effect, “it’s not Us consuming, it’s Them breeding.” It’s not hard to see why the far right loves this film.

Population is where you go when you haven’t thought your argument through. Population is where you go when you don’t have the guts to face the structural, systemic causes of our predicament: inequality, oligarchic power, capitalism. Population is where you go when you want to kick down.

We have been here many times before. Dozens of films have spread falsehoods about environmental activists and ripped into green technologies, while letting fossil fuels off the hook. But never before have these attacks come from a famous campaigner for social justice, rubbing our faces in the dirt.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist


Global Chorus essay for May 8
Göran Broman

Transformation of society toward sustainability both demands, and brings great opportunity for, innovation. Since there is no attractive alternative to sustainability, organizations that learn to innovate toward sustainability will have great opportunities for economic success while serving a higher purpose. By systematically reducing their contribution to the problem and by early-on becoming part of the solution, they support the transition in a direct way and become more attractive and successful in the increasingly sustainability-driven market. Doing this, they become good examples that also encourage others, both in business and governance, to be proactive and strategic about sustainability.

In this way, we get an accelerating countermovement that will hopefully overcome the current unsustainable development before we reach a tipping point of self-reinforcing degradation. To support this transition, we need new research and education. It is not enough for scientists to acquire more and more evidence of unsustainability-related impacts. Nor does it suffice to make more and better predictions of impacts should civilization fail to put a halt to unsustainable development. Nor does it suffice with psychological or sociological theories aiming at explaining why more is not done to stop unsustainable development. Finally, it is not enough to attempt to develop various solutions, in isolation, to individual sustainability problems. There is now a strong need for making much more and much better use of the great results from the above types of research.

Therefore, the next big challenge is systems science for cross-disciplinary and cross-sector leadership and innovation for sustainability. We need this to develop coordinated solutions so that they support each other and together result in societal change at a scale and pace appropriate for sustainability to become a feasible option for the future. To develop and promote this type of science, we have formed an international alliance for strategic sustainable development (, aiming at providing ways of putting any specialist discipline in the context of, and to the service of, strategic sustainable development. We invite all who want to contribute to join this alliance.

       — Göran Broman, professor at Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden)


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

May 7, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


On local food procurement:
from the Charlottetown Farmers' Market, about 4PM yesterday, for those that tried to order until their originally stated midnight deadline:

"Our online market, CFM2GO, is now closed for this week as we have reached max capacity. Thank you for shopping!
Come back again on Monday...
Many of our vendors have set up their own pick-up/delivery options. For more info, visit our website at:
This afternoon, webinar:
The Narrative Project session, "Nourishing out Communities", 12noon--1:30PM, on-line register LINK

With: Coco Love Alcorn, singer; Sally Bernard, Barnyard Organics and East Coast Organic Feed Mill, PEI; Rébeka Frazer-Chiasson, Ferme Terre Partagée Cooperative
Tonight, Green Party of PEI is hosting a Webinar on planning for the future

Dreaming Forward: Choosing a Better Future for PEI After COVID, 7-8:30PM, on-line

from the Facebook event link:
"We have a unique opportunity to imagine a different kind of Island. I want Islanders together to create a vision of the best Island that we can possibly imagine. So rather than thinking of "easing back", let's think of "dreaming forward". Let's create a working model of what it looks like to live well together, in community, in this vastly changed world."
-Peter Bevan-Baker

This spring, the world has changed before our very eyes - so much so that virtually everything we had accepted as "normal" before the pandemic is now open to question, re-evaluation and re-invention.
Just one year ago during the election, the Green Party of PEI asked Islanders to "Imagine something better". Today, we are renewing that call to imagine the better, stronger, and more resilient Island that we can become as we emerge from the current crisis.
Please join us on May 7, 2020 to share your ideas - and let's "dream forward" together!
This online forum will take place using the Zoom videoconferencing platform. To register and receive a link to participate in this forum, please click here:


Lots of Arts:

Film of theatre 1
City Cinema is recommending free daily movie broadcasts
"Antony & Cleopatra is streaming for free Thursday 7 May until Thursday 14 May 2020.
Watch the trailer for Simon Godwin's Antony & Cleopatra. Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, James Bond: Spectre) and Sophie Okonedo (Chimerica, Hotel Rwanda) play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion and power."

Trailer link which should have details on movie link later today:

Film of theatre 2
Stratford Festival recordings of live theatre performances continues by adding MacBeth tonight, starting at 7PM

Thursday, May 7
Strauss’s Capriccio, 7:30PM until Friday late afternoon
Starring Renée Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaiser, Russell Braun, Morten Frank Larsen, and Peter Rose, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. From April 23, 2011.

News good climate news from The National Observer:

In the middle of a pandemic, renewables are taking over the grid - The National Observer article by Emily Pontecorvo

Published on Monday, May 4th, 2020

The reduction in driving, flying, and industrial activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic has cleared the air in typically smog-choked cities all over the world, inspiring awe in residents who are seeing more blue skies and starry nights than ever before. While the drop in pollution doesn’t necessarily mean we’re making progress in mitigating climate change, it’s now proving to be a boon for solar energy generation.

Pollution blocks solar radiation, and the fine particles spat out during combustion can settle on the surface of solar panels, reducing their efficiency. Smog-free skies, along with a lucky combination of sunny days and cooler temperatures, which boost panel efficiency, have helped solar panels break records in the U.K., Germany, and Spain this spring. The trend points to the potential for a positive (and hopeful) feedback loop — as polluting energy sources are replaced by solar panels, those solar panels will be able to generate more energy.

In Germany, a record that was set in March was broken again on April 20, when solar generated 40 percent of the country’s electricity, while coal and nuclear power generated just 22 percent. It’s actually not unusual to see solar generation records this time of year, when new panels installed in the winter get their first time to shine in the spring weather. While the added capacity explains some of solar’s grid takeover, the drop in electricity demand right now due to the pandemic has also inflated its proportion in the total mix.

In the U.K., record solar power generation also helped coal plants set a major record, but the opposite kind. The entire U.K. energy system ran with zero coal-fired power plant generation for more than 18 days, the longest streak in more than a century. Britain has just four remaining coal plants, all of which are scheduled to close by 2025.

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched renewable energy in myriad ways, and not all good. In early March, it became clear that the virus was disrupting supply chains and financing, which will delay new solar and wind projects in the U.S. For the first time in decades, we probably won’t see increased growth in U.S. renewable energy capacity this year. But even if growth is slower, a new report from the International Energy Agency released Thursday predicts that renewables will likely be the only energy sector to see any growth in demand this year, and that coal is set for the largest decline in demand since World War II.

While it’s still hard to say how the industry will emerge from the rubble of a massive recession — especially as efforts to help it domestically have been a nonstarter in Congress — a new study by clean energy research firm BloombergNEF paints an optimistic picture that the renewable energy takeover will continue on a global scale. The financial research firm found that utility-scale solar farms and onshore wind farms now offer the cheapest source of electricity for about two-thirds of the world’s population.

The study finds that falling costs, more efficient technology, and government support in some parts of the world have fostered larger renewable power plants, with the average wind farm now double the size it was four years ago. The larger the plant, the lower the cost of generation. The price of electricity from onshore wind farms dropped 9 percent since mid-2019, and solar electricity prices likewise declined 4 percent.

The pandemic has depressed the price of coal and natural gas, so it remains to be seen whether and how quickly wind and solar will push them off the grid. But Tifenn Brandily, an analyst at BNEF, said in a statement that solar and wind prices haven’t hit the floor yet. “There are plenty of innovations in the pipeline that will drive down costs further,” he said.


The Global Chorus essay author, Joseph Tainter, was interviewed by the Peak Prosperity podcast and website people a couple of years ago.  It's all seems more relevant now with COVID-19, but I haven't scratched the surface about Tainter's book (a free link to which is found on the PeakProsperity website) or PeakProsperity, but it might be of some interest to poke around and see what their message is.

Global Chorus essay for May 7
Joseph Tainter

The collapse of our civilization is too gruesome to contemplate. Millions of people would die. Diseases once conquered would return. The wealthy alone would have access to education. Most of us would be farmers, often hungry, tilling someone else’s land and living short lives (about 40 years) in poor health. Most people would die in infancy or childhood. No one wants such a future. Clearly we must find a path to sustainability.

Societies sustain themselves by combining ingenuity and resources to solve problems. Societies grow complex as they solve complex problems. Complexity requires resources, especially energy. Here is our dilemma: we achieve sustainability by using resources to solve problems, yet the rate at which we use resources is precisely our current challenge. Will we have the resources to solve sustainability problems? Can we solve problems using less energy?

Humans did not evolve to think broadly in time or space. We think of little beyond the circumstances of our lives. This is the scale at which we solve problems. Yet the challenges of sustainability are great in size and long in duration. Are humans intellectually able to solve the problems of sustainability? Can we develop ways of thinking that evolution did not equip us for?

Our first challenge is to understand how our limitations and inclinations undermine our chance to become sustainable. A sustainable future requires that we change fundamentally in how we think and act. That step is the most difficult challenge of all.
       — Joseph Tainter, professor at Utah State University,  author of The Collapse of Complex Societies


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

May 6, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food preordering:
Tonight, Wednesday, just before midnight,is the deadline to web-order from the Charlottetown Farmers' Market on-line and Eat Local PEI:

pre-order local food and goods from:

  • Receiver Coffee (and baked goods and prepared meals), order before 9AM today LINK

  • Heart Beet Organics (vegetables, eggs, fermented products), order before noon today for pickup at their Great George Street storefront, Wednesday 3-6PM  LINK

  • Charlottetown Farmers' Market On-line service (many products), for Saturday afternoon pickup by the Market) LINK 

  • Eat Local PEI group (many farmers-market-type vendors),  for Saturday late afternoon pickup, near Leon's (old Sears)   LINK

Met Opera today
Wednesday, May 6th, 7:30PM until Thursday late afternoon
Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin
"From December 10, 2016. Robert Lepage’s dreamlike production, with its thousands of twinkling LED lights stretching across the stage to represent the sea, encapsulates the mystic feeling of L’Amour de Loin, Saariaho’s haunting opera of distant love. Eric Owens is Jaufré Rudel, a troubadour in 12th century France who has become tired of his hedonistic life and longs for an idealized love. Enter the Pilgrim (Tamara Mumford) who tells him his perfect love does, in fact, exist, far across the sea. She is Clémence, Countess of Tripoli (Susanna Phillips). The magic of the characters’ inner lives as they explore the meaning of love, longing, life, and death is heightened by Saariaho’s hypnotic and bewitching score, conducted by Susanna Mälkki." In French with English subtititles.
Met Opera LINK

This is tomorrow, but it might be good to get a Zoom spot today:

Thursday, May 7th,
The Narrative Project session, "Nourishing out Communities", 12noon--1:30PM, on-line register LINK

Hosts: Jason Doiron and Duncan Ebata

Guests: Coco Love Alcorn, singer; Sally Bernard, Barnyard Organics and East Coast Organic Feed Mill, PEI; Rébeka Frazer-Chiasson, Ferme Terre Partagée Cooperative

"At this moment in time, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen the food stories we want more of in our communities. As the pandemic exposes inequities and vulnerabilities in our local and globalsystems, food is on the collective mind. Food has the potential to be at the centre of how we gather and how we share our love. Food is essential to how we nourish our bodies and also our communities and families.

In this session Duncan Ebata and Jason Doiron will host a conversation with two food producers about their relationship to the land they cultivate and the communities they feed with more than food. Because food, stories, and music are gorgeous together, we’re also delighted that Coco Love Alcorn will be joining our session.

This will be an opportunity to explore what food means to all of us—in our families, our communities, and region."

More on The Narrative Project HERE
and thanks to Lobie Doughton for letting me know about it.

A long article, based in the States, but lessons for everywhere in the Climate in the Time of Coronavirus series, published by various writers at the Grist organization, with bold by me

Coronavirus is not just a health crisis — it’s an environmental justice crisis - article by Yvette Cabrera

Published on Friday, April 24th, 2020

More than 50 years ago, despite a storm that was brewing in Memphis, an overflow crowd of hundreds gathered to hear a rousing speech from Martin Luther King, Jr., who encouraged the city’s striking sanitation workers not to give up their struggle for safer working conditions and better wages. “Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point,” he told them, in what would turn out to be his last speech.

King saw the workers’ quest as one that aligned with his national Poor People’s Campaign. When King spoke of a human rights revolution, he spoke broadly of seeking justice for people living in slums, for hungry children, and for the disenfranchised. He was fighting so that everyone could one day have a safe place to live, work, and play. He wanted “massive industries” to treat people right. “The nation is sick, trouble is in the land, confusion all around,” King said that spring night in 1968. He could have easily been speaking about the United States in 2020.

In the decades that followed, environmental justice advocates told us to pay heed to these same communities that King died trying to help. We were warned that the storm was coming. The environmental movement, they said, should reckon with the disproportionate effects of environmental contamination — from petrochemical facilities, landfills, waste incinerators, oil refineries, smelters, and freeways — on low-income residents and communities of color.

Then, the novel coronavirus struck.

Now, as skyrocketing unemployment is predicted to increase poverty rates and widen racial disparities, these same communities find themselves in the crosshairs of COVID-19. In Chicago, African Americans represent 60 percent of the city’s COVID-19-related deaths, despite only comprising 30 percent of the city’s population. African Americans in states such as Michigan, Illinois, and Louisiana have also been disproportionately killed by COVID-19 — and early data suggest the disparity could be widest in the South.

Across the country, Latinos are also feeling the brunt of the virus, with health experts particularly worried that overcrowded housing, lack of health insurance, and workplace exposure in jobs like agriculture will cause the number of cases to skyrocket. And in the Navajo Nation the numbers are grim as well, with a positive test rate that is nine times that of the rest of Arizona. Underlying issues there, including a lack of access to safe drinking water and an underfunded health care system, are putting many at risk.

The disparities send a clear message: The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health crisis, it’s an environmental justice crisis.

Over the past month, I’ve seen in my reporting why many of these populations are so vulnerable: Farmworkers toil in unsafe conditions before returning home to overcrowded mobile homes, apartments, and houses where they cannot self-isolate. Residents who live near or work in warehouses in the nation’s logistics hubs already suffer fragile respiratory health conditions — conditions that will only worsen as pollution threatens to spike during this crisis. Environmental justice advocates who work in these communities are not surprised that the hardest hit populations are found in areas that are also overburdened by pollution, poverty, and illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer, as well as asthma and cardiovascular disease. So, when governors across the country order residents to stay home during the pandemic, these residents are not retreating to safety — they are retreating to toxicity.

Decades ago, sociologist and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois zeroed in on how social and environmental conditions led to health disparities betweens black and whites, and he offered solutions that addressed the physical environment. More recently, political scientist Fatemeh Shafiei, director of environmental studies at Spelman College, has studied the social conditions that determine a person’s health outcomes. She found a preponderance of evidence showing that, from cradle to grave, low-income residents and people of color are disproportionately exposed to health-threatening environments in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

Earlier this month, we heard the U.S. Surgeon General essentially blame the drinking and smoking habits of African Americans and Latinos for contributing to the severity with which they have been hit by COVID-19 — even though he noted during the same press conference that it is likely the “burden of social ills” is contributing to the disparities. He was rightly criticized for failing to acknowledge that these disparities are rooted in entrenched structural inequalities that have been in place for centuries and are the product of systemic prejudice. Long after formal segregation was struck down by the courts, for instance, targeted zoning has maintained formerly segregated neighborhoods and put them in the crosshairs of industrial pollution. It’s one of the reasons why today your zip code is still determinative of your life outcome — including your health. Geography is destiny.

COVID-19 is one more chapter in this saga, and we’re seeing that the severity of outcomes is related to a person’s environment. Public health researchers and advocates are concerned that those who live in polluted neighborhoods will fare the worst. It’s why residents are pleading for stronger air pollution regulations in San Bernardino, California, and why residents of Louisiana’s St. James Parish are battling yet another plastics plant. Not only do they not want to heighten their risk of severe coronavirus outcomes, but they also don’t want to see more friends and family diagnosed with cancer. Latinos who live in Houston’s Manchester neighborhood worry that the EPA’s relaxing of environmental enforcement will worsen the already-elevated rates of respiratory illness and asthma among residents. Navajo Nation residents want to access clean water and medical services —and not just during this crisis. As these communities fight for life during the pandemic, they’re also fighting for the right to a safe, clean environment.

King talked of the struggle to help his brethren gain their rightful place in this country, of making “America what it ought to be.” At the heart of that is the right to equal protection under the law, something that Shafiei sees as the end goal of a long history — from slavery to segregation — that has denied these vulnerable communities environmental justice by implementing policies and practices that direct pollution into their neighborhoods.

“People are being denied their equal rights,” said Shafiei. “If you look at the disproportionate number of COVID victims and the percentage of African Americans in the general population — 13 percent — then that means it has really impacted their right to live.”

The right to a healthy home is considered by most Americans to be a fundamental part of the American dream, Shafiei writes in a chapter on health disparities in the first American Public Health Association book on healthy homes. But even today more than a third of housing units across the nation — 37 million units — contain lead-based paint. Children of color, particularly African American children, have historically been more likely to have elevated blood lead levels, and researchers have found that racial and economic disparities persist today largely due to differences in environmental exposure.

We have waited far too long to address environmental injustices, and generations of Americans have paid the price. Lead exposure is just one example: Local health care agencies wait until children are exposed to lead before intervening, rather than preventing the exposure from happening in the first place. Today we face a similar challenge when it comes to addressing COVID-19 in these communities. This is why U.S. Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva, A. Donald McEachin, and Alan Lowenthal are scheduled to host an upcoming live-streamed roundtable to discuss how the fight for environmental justice can be incorporated into the government’s coronavirus response efforts.

If Americans recognize that these two battles are one in the same — and find the moral courage and political will to fix them — then perhaps environmental justice communities won’t be so hospitable to the ravages of diseases like COVID-19, said Michele Roberts, the national co-coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, which aids grassroots organizations working in communities burdened by toxic chemicals, polluting facilities, and contaminated sites.

“[Vulnerable communities] don’t have access to the protective gear, yet they have access to this virus in disparate forms and they equally have access to toxic pollution in disparate forms,” said Roberts. “Something is wrong with that.”

For Shafiei, collecting more COVID-19 data on race/ethnicity and income is key, in addition to assessing social, economic, and environmental stresses and vulnerabilities. This can help policymakers effectively direct resources to these communities. She points out that one of the obstacles to documenting the health effects of environmental hazards is the delay between exposure and the appearance of disease. With COVID-19, however, we immediately see not only how vulnerability translates into exposure, but we can also see how decades of environmental health disparities have contributed to underlying health conditions.

“COVID showed that it is the result of all these years of policies and practices that have really been detrimental to the health of minority communities and has put them at risk,” said Shafiei, a former member of the EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council from 2012 to 2018. (She also served as an environmental justice consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

As we battle this disease, will we also work to find a solution to the underlying condition that plagues our country? Will we finally tear down the structural inequalities that prevent the Manchesters, the St. James Parishes, and the San Bernardinos from escaping the chokehold of industrial pollution?

In 1968, King didn’t shy away from the challenges that his generation faced. His words ring even truer today: “We have been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them.”

As we shelter in our homes and ask ourselves what comes next, let’s remember what King told the hundreds who gathered that April night in Memphis. He reminded the crowd that they too faced a decision: whether to support the sanitation workers, even though it was not their fight. “Be concerned about your brother,” said King. “You may not be on strike, but either we go up together or we go down together.”

As families continue to lose loved ones to COVID-19 and we determine how best to help those in need, let’s not forget the other crisis that is so closely related to the pandemic’s ravages — the environmental justice crisis. As King said, nothing would be more tragic than to stop now.


Sorry, no Global Chorus essay is available today

May 5, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food:
Tomorrow, Wednesday, just before midnight, deadline to web-order from *both* the Charlottetown Farmers' Market on-line and EatLocal PEI:

pre-order local food and goods from the:

  •  Charlottetown Farmers' Market On-line service, orders now due WEDNESDAY before midnight for Saturday afternoon pickup by the Market) LINK 

  •  Eat Local PEI group (that started earlier, coordinated by Jordan MacPhee of Maple Bloom Farm, orders due Wednesdays before midnight for Saturday late afternoon pickup, now near Leon's (old Sears) )   LINK

  •  Heart Beet Organics, order before noon tomorrow for pickup at their Great George Street storefront, Wednesday 3-6PM  LINK

Thomas’s Hamlet, from 7:30PM tonight until late afternoon tomorrow.
Starring Marlis Petersen, Jennifer Larmore, Simon Keenlyside, and James Morris, conducted by Louis Langrée. From March 27, 2010. More on the opera

So much interesting information at the Rainforest Information Centre, which was founded by John Seed, author of today's Global Chorus essay.

This op-ed is from last month, so some stuff is outdated, but the Sunday Eastlink TV concerts continue, and Today is an online Giving Tuesday,

GUEST OPINION: Now is the time to support cultural institutions - The Guardian Guest opinion by Bruce Craig

Published on Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

 The Confederation Centre of the Arts is closed until further notice. In Nova Scotia, Symphony Nova Scotia has suspended or cancelled public activities, including concerts and lectures until further notice. Here on the Island, the Indian River Festival will not take place this year. And the remaining concert season of our own P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra has been cancelled along with two major fundraising events that the organization has traditionally counted on for its economic survival — all because of the coronavirus outbreak.

While the wave of pandemic closures has temporarily silenced even our nation’s largest cultural institutions and though such organizations undoubtedly face fiscal challenges, by virtue of their sheer size, these organizations will survive. But can the same be said for smaller, regional and community-based arts and cultural organizations that face severe if not catastrophic fiscal challenges because of the pandemic?

With non-profit groups being largely dependant on philanthropy, many are now worrying about the pandemic’s impact on their operations going forward. And their fears are real. Estimates are that most small organizations can expect a 25 to 30 per cent reduction in revenue because of pandemic impacts. And that’s not sustainable.

Where can they turn for help? With downturns in the stock market, major donors may not be able to help bail out struggling organizations. The business community that traditionally has helped support cultural organizations with corporate donations is also strapped for cash: when a company can’t afford to pay its staff, it certainly can’t be expected to be in a position to contribute to community organizations. So helping our cultural organizations weather the pandemic is left up to you – the event participant.

This raises the question: what can P.E.I. concert-goers and cultural event audiences do to respond to the pandemic and help these smaller, largely volunteer-driven organizations survive this difficult time?

There are several ways you can help. First, take advantage of online concert offerings and virtual gatherings such as the Community Foundation of P.E.I.’s upcoming April 24 “Stay-At-Home Online Gala” – an event designed to bring people together online. And when asked for a freewill gift, donate what you can to support individual artists and their organizations. If you surf the web, you will also find several Island organizations, including the P.E.I. Symphony, have launched Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns designed to help sustain them through this difficult time.

Finally, there’s another way to show your support. It has a minimal impact on a concert-goer’s pocketbook but maximum impact on the bank account of small community arts groups: If a concert or other cultural event has been cancelled due to COVID-19, don’t ask for a ticket refund, just donate the value of the ticket to the organization in exchange for a charitable donation receipt, which is equal to the value of the ticket for that cultural event you can’t attend.

For cultural institutions, a variety of forms of financial relief may be in the offing from the federal, provincial and municipal governments. We can only hope that a portion of these funds will be earmarked for our Island’s cultural groups, for the future of our cultural institutions is at stake.

Bruce Craig is president of the P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra and a board member of several non-profit organizations.


PEISO website

PEI Symphony Orchestra's Indiegogo Campaign, open for about ten more days, is here:

Global Chorus essay for May 5
John Seed

Of all the species that have ever existed, less than one in a hundred survives today. The rest are extinct. Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.

As environment changes, any species unable to adapt, change and evolve is extinguished. All evolution takes place in this fashion. In this way, a fish starved of oxygen, an ancestor of yours and mine, commenced to colonize the land. The threat of extinction is the potter’s hand that moulds all the forms of life.

The human species is one of millions threatened by imminent extinction. While it is true that the “human nature” revealed by 12,000 years of written history does not offer much hope that we can change our warlike, greedy, ignorant ways, the vastly longer fossil history assures us that we can change. We are those fish, and the myriad other death-defying feats of flexibility which a study of evolution reveals to us. A certain confidence (in spite of our recent “humanity”) is warranted. From this point of view, the threat of extinction appears as the invitation to change, to evolve. After a brief respite from the potter’s hand, here we are back on the wheel again. The change that is required is a change in consciousness. Indeed, nothing but a revolution in consciousness can possibly save us.

Surely consciousness emerged and evolved according to the same laws as everything else. Moulded by environmental pressures, the mind of our ancestors must time and again have been forced to transcend itself.

The conditions for evolving a new consciousness must include fully facing up to our impending extinction (the ultimate environmental pressure).

We must now stop shying away from the truth and hiding in intoxication or busyness from the despair of the human, whose four billion year race is run, whose organic life is a mere hair’s breadth from finished. Join in community to publicly embrace this despair and allow it to squeeze and pressure new consciousness into existence.

      — John Seed,  founder of the Rainforest Information Centre 

About him:


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

May 4, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food:

Organic Veggie Delivery,
Orders are due by Monday Night for Friday evening delivery.
see website
Aaron Koleszar (902) 659-2575

Go!PEI hosts daily fitness programs,
10AM and 7PM:
This week's schedule:

Unfortunately, Friday AM's Beginner Tai Chi was dropped since instructor Craig Mackie needed to move on to his work figuring out how reopening the  PEI Association for Newcomers is going to look, but the three sessions started should be in the video section of the Facebook page.

Baby Yoda Painting Class rebroadcast, 11AM, hosted by East Coast Art Party, link is here:
Facebook event link

The Child (a.k.a. Baby Yoda)'s likeness on canvass, the goal of the 11AM Art Party rebroadcast online this morning, to celebrate Star Wars Day.

Met Opera simulcast:
Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, 7:30PM tonight until Tuesday later afternoon.
Starring Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, and Sir Bryn Terfel.... From November 11, 1998.
Met Opera homepage

Five Years Ago, May the Fourth, 2015, was the provincial Election Day, and the Force was with Peter Bevan-Baker winning as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for District 17, the first Third Party seat achieved since the election of Dr. Herb Dickieson, who was in the Legislature representing the NDP from 1996-2000.  Liberal leader Wade MacLauchlan won his first and only election. Then-PC Party leader Rob Lantz did not win a seat in this election.
CBC Story from 2015

This election (like all the others) clearly showed why proportional representation would be a much more accurate, fair voting system.

From Phil Ferraro, writing in the Future PEI social media group, with his permission to repost:

Responding to the CBC story on: "Facing fears workers won't work, P.E.I. asks Ottawa to change COVID benefits programs",

Phil Ferraro wrote on Saturday, May 2nd, 2020:

Premier King was riding high on the coattails of Dr. Heather Morrison then he made the mistake of expressing his own thoughts leaving us all wondering if the Conservatives have any idea what they are doing.

If he thinks $2k a month (pre-tax) CERB which is below the national poverty line, is a disincentive to work, he should try living on that level of income.

Perhaps he will learn that it's the exploitation of low wage earners that is really the disincentive to work.

Perhaps COVID19 has taught us that we should be paying people enough to live on and that a transition plan should include a guaranteed livable income and the option of full-time work being a four day work week.

Maybe rather than ramping the economy up to the point that we go back to destroying the planet, we should rebuild a collaborative, localized economy and learn to do more with less?

The mindset of competitiveness, the domination of nature and hierarchy in society are the real disincentives to work.

The lessons learned from COVID-19 remind us how people are willing to work, even risk their lives for the common good.

We now have a chance to rebuild an economy that is S.A.F.E. -Secure for all. Accessible to the disadvantaged, Fairly traded for workers and consumers and Ecological for the sustainability of the biosphere

If our politicians and business owners cannot share this vision perhaps they are the ones who should remain in isolation


Consider joining Future PEI Facebook Group.

Atlantic Skies - by Glenn Roberts: Interstellar Visitors- for the week of May 4th -May 10th, 20I20

No, I'm not talking about little green men from Mars or an alien race from another dimension popularized in sci-fi comics and movies, but rather those celestial objects (primarily asteroids) that have entered our solar system from interstellar space, the vast, distant regions between the stars.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of asteroids orbiting the neighbourhood of our solar system, debris left over from when the planets formed, some 4.5 billion years ago, from the protoplanetary disk of dust ad gas surrounding our newly-formed Sun. The vast majority of these asteroids are concentrated in either the Main Asteroid Belt (between Mars and Jupiter), or the Kuiper Belt, a vast circumstellar disk of dust, gas, small planetesimals and asteroids out beyond the orbit of Neptune. Asteroids are initially sorted into two distinct, though somewhat over-lapping,categories. The first, NEOs (Near Earth Objects), are asteroids whose orbit crosses that of Mars, or whose orbit lies within that of Mars. There are some 2,500+ NEOs currently catalogued and being monitored by NASA, the majority of which are < 1 km wide. The second category, PHOs (Potentially Hazardous Objects) is reserved for those NEOs whose orbit has the potential to bring them within less than 0.05 AU (approx. 7.4 million kms or 19.5x lunar distance) of Earth.  The majority of the known PHOs are asteroids (currently 2,000+, 157 of which are > 1 km in size), though there are a few comets.  If their projected orbit within the next 100 years has them possibly impacting Earth, they become of utmost concern to astronomers, and to global governments, due to their potential, if very large, to cause cataclysmic damage on a massive scale, possibly to a civilization-ending extent. These get listed on NASA's Sentry Risk Table for special monitoring; to date, there are < 50 PHOs on the list.

However, some of these celestial travelers visiting our solar system are merely tourists, just passing through our part of the galaxy bound for a celestial vacation elsewhere.

In 2017, the first interstellar object, 'Oumuamua (Hawaiian for "a messenger from afar arriving first") passed through our solar system on its journey through space. Studies of the asteroid, as it swept passed Earth, suggest that it was a shard of a planet that fragmented due to the tidal forces of its distant host star.

Comet Q4 Borisov was the next interstellar tourist to visit our solar system in 2019. Analysis of the chemical composition of the comet's coma/halo, as it hurled inward to dive around our Sun last December, indicate that it likely originated around a distant red dwarf star somewhere in our galaxy, before being cast outward towards our solar system. Our most recent visitor was 1998 OR2, a 2-3 kilometer-wide asteroid, which zipped past our planet last Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Astronomers had been following this asteroid for over 20 years, and knew that its trajectory would safely carry it some 6.3 million kms (about 16x lunar distances) beyond our planet. Hopes for a naked-eye comet were dashed in March, when the comet fragmented into numerous pieces, and faded in magnitude. What remains of Borisov is now continuing its celestial voyage to another port of call.

Not all interstellar objects simply pay a quick visit before moving on. In 2014, BZ509, a 3 kilometer-wide asteroid, the first object known to have an extra-solar (outside our solar system) origin, became the first such object to become a permanent member of our solar system. This asteroid currently orbits our Sun within the orbit of Jupiter (though with a retrograde and highly eccentric orbit relative to Jupiter's). Astronomers have recently discovered that, in the distant past, around the time that our solar system was taking shape, 19 small interstellar asteroids liked the climate and scenery of our solar system so much that they decided to stay, taking up residency in the suburbs between Jupiter and Neptune. These asteroids belong to a group of objects called Centaurs (named for the wild, untamed half-man, half-horse creatures of Greek mythology), small rocky bodies orbiting between the Trojan asteroids (each named for a figure in the famous story of the Trojan War) that share Jupiter's orbit around the Sun, and the distant  Kuiper Belt. They are thought to have been asteroids from a distant planetary system captured by Jupiter's gravity.

Mercury, still very close to the Sun, cannot be seen at present. On May 4, it reaches superior conjunction with the Sun, and on the 10th is at perihelion. Jupiter (mag -2.2) rises in the SE shortly before 2 a.m. , reaching about 22 degrees above the S horizon, before fading from view around 5:30 a.m.  Saturn (mag. +0.8) is next up in the SE pre-dawn sky shortly after 2 a.m., fading from view as dawn brightens the eastern sky around 5 a.m. Mars (mag. +0.4) makes an appearance in the SE sky shortly after 3 a.m., before fading from view shortly after 5.a.m.. Venus, still our "evening star", is visible high in the SW sky by 9 p.m., setting a few minutes before midnight.

May's Full Moon on the 7th is sometimes referred to as the "Flower Moon", for the garden flowers that begin to appear this month. It is also called the "Corn Planting Moon", as May is often the month when farmers begin to plant their corn.

Until next week, clear skies.


May 4 - Mercury at superior solar conjunction
6 - Moon at perigee (closest to Earth)
7 - Full Moon
10 - Mercury at perihelion (closest to Sun)


Global Chorus for May 4th
David Tracey

We have hope because hope is a strategy too.

We know the alternatives don’t work. Extreme responses are no solution for troubled times, although some expect answers from fundamentalist religion or fascist politics. Apathy and cynicism do less harm but still not much good – certainly not what we need to turn the planet away from meltdown.

We also know big change is coming. Many fear it, but why not consider it an opportunity? We can do better than a world where one billion people have no clean drinking water and three million children die each year from malnourishment. Lessons we take from this failed experiment can only help with the next.

But can we make it that far?

Hope says we can. And so does logic, if you think of what we can do as a species. We’re good in an emergency. It brings out the best in us. It’s when we discover how powerful, and how good, we really are.

Heroes are forged out of fire. A crisis is an opportunity for any of us to become something larger than ourselves. Look at the footage of people in yetanother climate catastrophe. Volunteers filling sandbags are not gloomy. They’re working. Together. In confronting the latest disaster, they’re gaining a chance to discover what it means to be human, a social animal, bound to care about each other and our shared home.

It’s too bad it has to come to a crisis so big the living Earth itself is at risk. It’s also too bad there are still some who believe profit is worth risking the future of everyone. That’s their burden. Right now, for the rest of us, we have a new world to create, and so many opportunities to thrive

     — David Tracey,  writer, designer, community ecologist


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

May 3, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Eastlink TV broadcast of PEI Symphony Orchestra's Concert from last Fall, "Space and the Rocket", 2:30PM, Eastlink cable TV

Tiny Island Concert Series, Sunday evening with Ava & Lily Rashed on at 8PM, and Rachel Beck at 8:30 PM

Met Opera simulcast for today
Borodin’s Prince Igor, 7:30PM tonight until late Monday afternoon
"Starring Oksana Dyka, Anita Rachvelishvili, and Ildar Abdrazakov, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.
From March 1, 2014."   Haunting music.

From the author of today's Global Chorus essay, Pamela Meyer, a self-described "premier agile innovation catalyst", on her website:

There is a lot to explore, including:

"In this challenging time, our goal is to provide as many resources for you as possible to help you maintain your sanity, find your footing, and succeed in the current uncharted territory.

With this purpose in mind, we have launched a series of Making the Agility Shift in Turbulent Times micro-webinars (20 minutes or less) on special topics that may be particularly helpful right now.
There are three available right now.(see website link)

Available Now On-Demand

  • Tapping Your Relational Web for Sanity and Success

  • Making the Mindset Shift for Managing Uncertainty

  • Six Critical Dynamics and Agility Best Practices


An excellent opinion piece, published in April in The Guardian, with some bolding by me at the end.

NFU: Coronavirus is another layer of anxiety for farmers - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Douglas Campbell

The National Farmers Union (NFU) adds its concerned voice about COVID-19 to that of many people in P.E.I., in Canada, and the whole world. We have never experienced a global health threat as serious as this one. Everyone is affected. Our health and our lives are at risk. For many of us our livelihoods are at risk. The fear and anxieties which accompany any major disaster are at a high level.

Just as in any widespread tragedy, not all people are affected to the same degree. Not all people have the same level of angst. Those who are usually on the lower economic and social rungs in our community live in a constant state of alarm and fear for their survival.

It has been encouraging to see the federal government step up and lessen the immediate suffering of those who have lost their jobs due to the shut-downs across the country. Many are relieved by the emergency funds governments have made available for the next few months. However, there will be long-term consequences which everyday people will feel for years to come. When you live on the margins, any setback can mean a permanent shift in our individual lives and those of our families. COVID-19 amplifies our on-going vulnerabilities, our fear and anxiety.

Not many people are talking about the specific effects of the pandemic on farmers. Nor are they asking why this is adding one more layer of worry to the ongoing stress on farmers. We are a sector for which tension and mental stress is a permanent feature. It was suddenly fashionable early this year for government, their related organizations, and the media to bring to light that farmers’ stress and depression are widespread. Yet they all seem to be missing the story. They are not examining why more and more farmers have been seeking mental health treatment.

The “big picture” source of farmers’ unease is that they are trying to produce food within an impossible model. Farmers are merely cogs in the wheels of an industrial agricultural system. They create wealth for the few at the top and are barely surviving themselves, receiving low prices for their product. Most farmers regard land and water as a trust for generations to come. The industrialists and their mouthpieces in the farm community see land and water as resources to be exploited. They see these life sources merely as means to produce wealth in the short term at whatever cost.

A resulting source of anxiety is the concrete reality that family farms will disappear unless they are forced under the umbrella of the industrial sector, the processors and retailer. Farmers are often under pressure to use farm practices which they know are destructive. In P.E.I. alone thousands of farm families have been pushed off the land. Those who remain feel that it’s just matter of time before a larger operation will buy them out, The level of impossible debt makes this inevitable. So what happens to farmers who have given their lives to this way of life and the find that they can no longer continue?

So what happens when we add to this the grief and fear of COVID-19 for ourselves and our families? Farmers also have to self- isolate to prevent the spread of the virus. It will soon be cultivation and planting time. Access to input suppliers is more difficult. Add to that the news that there is a glut in the french-fry market and in dairy. Farmers have to find new markets or they have to destroy product as some dairy farmers are required to do in Ontario and elsewhere. Then there is the economic crisis. In earlier recessions when the market crashed, many investors turned to land grabbing. They saw land as a safe area for long-term investment. We may see a drive to buy up land while there is no one on watch.

The NFU urges people to listen to the health requirements so that we can stop the virus COVID-19: stay home; wash your hands many times during the day; keep a distance of 2 metres apart; and stay well,

As well, the National Farmers Union challenges all Islanders to think of ways to engage government and others. We need to stop the viral threat of the industrial model of agriculture to farmers and to the land. Let’s stop saying, “when we get back to normal…” The normal is pretty disastrous for farmers and the land. We can do better than the “normal”. Let’s find new ways together!

Douglas Campbell lives on his farm in Southwest Lot 16 and is district director of the National Farmers Union.


Global Chorus for May 3
Pamela Meyer

Anyone who has taken a workshop in improvisational theater has learned the most important lesson necessary for a hopeful future. Improvisers, those courageous and playful souls who create entire evenings of theatre based on a single suggestion from the audience, have learned that in order to create something out of nothing, on the spot, they must say, “yes” to whatever they are given, no matter how outlandish or mundane. This “yes” is not the anemic variety of passive acceptance or disengagement, but an enthusiastic wholehearted embrace of the possibilities that will be uncovered and the adventures that will be had if we accept what we are given and build on it.

Improvisers have full confidence that they have all of the resources they need to create a positive future, because they do not say “yes” in the spirit of resignation or compliance, but with an attitude of inquiry and collaboration. Improvisers are not just saying “yes,” they are saying “yes, and …” Before they have even set foot on stage they have made an agreement with their fellow players to accept whatever they are given and then add to it as they co-create a more interesting present and future rich with possibilities.

I do believe there is hope for creating this future on a global scale because I have seen it done hundreds of times in classrooms, community groups and corporations by people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, who came together with the shared intention to accept what they were given and build on it. “Yes, and …” is a powerful facilitator of progress, even in the midst of significant differences. Improvisers have learned that they deny another player or the audience’s idea, or the current reality at their peril along with destroying the trust needed for the players to continue to co-create.

The conditions, then, that are necessary to move through our current reality are to approach it with the same attitude of gift-giving as do improvisers in the theater. When we intentionally practise the principle of saying “yes, and …” we also create the conditions for inclusion, where there is room for all voices and perspectives to be heard and for all to build on the gifts that we bring to the party.

     — Pamela Meyer, PhD,  author of From Workplace to Playspace: Innovating, Learning and Changing Through Dynamic Engagement, president of Meyer Creativity Associates Inc.


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

May 2, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Foods today, and in the coming week:
Informally, both Charlottetown and Summerside Farmers' Market may have some vendors out in the parking lots today, with customers maintaining physical distancing, and helping some farmers and other producers.

Next week, you can pre-order local food and goods from both the:

  • Charlottetown Farmers' Market On-line service (just started this week, orders due Tuesdays before midnight for Saturday afternoon pickup by the Market) LINK  and from the:

  •  Eat Local PEI group (that started earlier, coordinated by Jordan MacPhee of Maple Bloom Farm, orders due Wednesdays before midnight for Saturday late afternoon pickup, now near Leon's (old Sears) )   LINK

I probably still have some details in error in those descriptions, but I will clarify as I figure them out.  The point is to try to support local as much as your budget and ability to figure out their systems allow :-)

Heart Beet Organics will have some produce and fermented products at their storefront, 9AM-1PM, The Farmacy, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown

The Discover Charlottetown Local Goods Guide has many options for shopping and take-out today.  The Wednesday, April 29th, 2020, edition is found on this page:

Opera stream available 7:30PMtoday, until tomorrow later afternoon:
Verdi’s Luisa Miller

Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Piotr Beczała, and Plácido Domingo, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. From April 14, 2018.

Met Opera link

Quarantunes Concert tonight, 8PM, "Quarantunes is proud to present its first ever comedy feature...with Justin Shaw!!"

Facebook event link



Here is part of what was announced in yesterday's Federal briefing by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Cabinet Ministers, on new gun control regulations  (CBC news article link).  About 26 minutes in, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke, addressing what the other ministers had touched on.  Here is the link to the entire transcript, from:

Chrystia Freeland: (26:05)

Good morning. I grew up on a farm in Northern Alberta. We had guns on our farm and we still do, as on many farms across our country. If there were bears around, my dad would keep a gun in his truck and sometimes he’d hunt prairie chickens on his way home for supper. And you know what? Neither my dad nor any other farmer I knew then or have known since, owned an assault rifle or an assault style rifle. That’s because those weapons are not for hunting. They aren’t for shooting a prairie chicken or scaring off a bear. They’re designed for only one purpose: to kill people and to look like they can kill people.
When we reflect on the massacre of 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1989, or the Dawson College shooting in 2006, or the horrible tragedy in Portapique, Nova Scotia just 12 days ago, those heinous acts strengthen our resolve. That resolve is to close the gaps in our gun control laws and to keep the most dangerous firearms out of civilian hands. We neither need nor want such weapons in our homes, in our pickups, in our communities, or on our streets. These guns make it easier to commit mass murder and the culture around their fetishization makes our country inherently more dangerous for the people most vulnerable. That is women and girls. [foreign language 00:12:26]. Every woman and girl listening today remembers a time when she was made to feel unsafe, vulnerable, or in harm’s way. We all know what that’s like. It’s unacceptable that in 2020, gender continues to be a determining factor in whether you feel safe in your home or on your street. During this pandemic, we are particularly concerned about the rise in gender-based and domestic violence. Frontline organizations have seen a surge in appeals from women and children fleeing violence. British Columbia’s Battered Women’s Support Services has received 300% more calls since the beginning of the pandemic. A Toronto based shelter has seen a 400% increase in demand for shelter. Unfortunately, this isn’t new. From 2010 to 2015, according to statistics compiled by the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative, there were 418 cases of domestic homicide in Canada with 476 victims. Of the 427 adult victims, 79% were women. Let that number sink in. In 2019, according to the Canadian Femicide Observatory For Justice and Accountability, 118 women and girls died violently in Canada. On average, one every three days. Again, let that number sink in. [ foreign language 00:14:56] We also know that the availability of assault style weapons puts vulnerable populations, women, queer and trans people, indigenous people, and people of color at particular risk. The missing and murdered indigenous women, girls, and two spirited people are for me, one of the starkest and most tragic examples of systemic violence in our society.

Tragic examples of systemic violence in our society. Tackling systemic violence is our collective responsibility. One that requires us to challenge our attitudes, strengthen community support, ensure accountability for perpetrators and critically keep deadly weapons out of their hands. [foreign language 00:00:25]. Feminicide has long been a scourge in our society. It remains a scourge, we must stop it. In saying no to assault style weapons, we are putting feminist ideas into practice. We are acting to ensure that our sisters, our mothers, our grandmothers, our daughters, and we ourselves indeed that all women who have been victimized, frightened, threatened, harmed, brutalized and killed by gun violence have not suffered in vain. Enough is enough.


Susan Hartley addresses more of the picture, in her recent op-ed in The Guardian  

OPINION: Don't stop at condolences - The Guardian Op Ed by Susan Hartley

Published on Wednesday, April 29th,2020

Like most of us, upon learning of the tragic events in Nova Scotia, I felt overwhelming feelings of shock, sadness, and grief. But mostly I felt anger.

The last time I felt this angry was on Dec. 6 at the memorial service for victims of gender based violence. At that memorial service, several members of our government and legislative assembly lit candles for women who have lost their lives to gender-based violence (GBV). Women who were killed because they were women.

Dawn Wilson spoke of her experiences as a child growing up in a home where women and children lived in fear of violence every day. She offered very specific things legislators could do to give our children and our women safety and protection from domestic GBV. My anger now is as it was that day — related to the lack of action by legislators and my sad expectation that nothing is going to change.

In the face of the extensive and overwhelming tragedy of the April 18 weekend, expressions of sincere empathy and compassion — condolences — are called for and I was grateful to hear our leaders genuinely offer theirs.

But we must not stop at condolences. Headlines are reading: “Nova Scotia shooting may have begun as a domestic violence dispute.” Given that this violence very likely began with fatal gender-based violence I wonder that perhaps condolences need to be given to every family, child and community every time a woman has been killed because she is a woman. If this were the case, condolences would be given every three days in Canada — much more often in many other countries. Or, if public condolences were given every time a woman was assaulted by an intimate partner we would be hearing them many times every day. Or if public condolences were given for every murdered and missing Indigenous woman in Canada it would take several weeks to acknowledge the over 1,000 (maybe more like 4,000+) women and their communities.

We have kicked this particular can down the road constantly and for decades. To our legislators and decision makers: Now that the condolences have been given please do not stop there. You have the capacity and power to make a difference — to act on upstream initiatives now. (Downstream is when you pluck a woman out of the ‘river’ of violence and offer them services on an individual basis; Upstream is when prevention and early-intervention are in place to prevent those women from falling into the river in the first place.)

I have started this to-do list for our provincial government — and it is certainly not exhaustive:

• Enact the Child Advocate Act and hire an independent child advocate

• Implement all recommendations of the Child Protection Act Review (

• Fully regulate midwifery services that cannot only address the social, emotional and physical pre-, peri- and post-natal needs of a woman and her family, but support healthy attachment and parenting from pre-birth, and recognize the need for earliest intervention

• Establish social-emotional learning based education from pre-school through to graduation; SEL provides a learning environment that supports a child’s social, emotional and learning needs, teaches children how to understand, express, and cope with emotions in healthy ways, and teaches how to establish healthy relationships based on compassion and empathy,

• Teach healthy relationships and healthy sexuality in schools

• Eliminate poverty — bring in BIG or UBI

• Eliminate the gender-based wage gap

• Implement measures that will ensure more diversity around decision making tables now, not in 100 years

• Train all people working with children in Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale (ACES) and intervention for children who score high on the ACES (

• Use a gender lens when making decisions and policy. For example: address the genderization of low-income, seasonal labour and unpaid work; increase affordable housing that is close to services and offers security ;develop addictions treatment programs that are gender-informed; require regulated health professionals to screen for family violence and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Research has shown that paving roads in rural settings benefits men more than women. But money spent on rural public transportation will benefit everyone.

So yes, thank you to our political leaders for giving condolences on our behalf. But just as we ask Americans to not stop at sending thoughts and prayers when there is yet another school shooting — but to bring in legislation and mental health services to reduce the likelihood of these events — we, in P.E.I. and Canada, need to not stop at offering condolences. It is just too dangerous to do so.

Susan Hartley, PhD, is a psychologist who lives in Georgetown Royalty.


Global Chorus essay for May 2
Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Attiya

Science has spoken unequivocally. Unless substantial and sustained changes to our development and environmental models are made, our common legacy to future generations on Earth may well be the ultimate destruction of our planet.

Whether in the field of climate change, renewable energy, water management, food security or conservation, reneging on our commitments has become a tolerated habit and postponing our actions the new norm.

Surely, solutions to the various challenges that we face as a global polity are complex, transversal and difficult to enact. However, we no longer enjoy the luxury of time.

Brazilian legal theorist Roberto Mangabeira Unger once described the fundamental problem inherent to “social change” in the manner of a conundrum, namely that the goals achievable over a lifetime do not appear worth fighting for, while the goals actually deemed worth fighting for are not achievable over a lifetime. How does one, he asked, find the will and indeed the means to alter the status quo, when the “future” is not part of our cost-accounting mechanisms?

Part of the answer to Unger’s riddle, I strongly believe, lies in informed, persistent and innovative public policy. Part of the answer to humanity’s future rests on our ability to design holistic approaches – both tangible and intangible – to tackle the most pressing realities of our global commons. Part of the answer to the issue of trans-generational reforms ultimately remains in the power of our collective institutions and the unsuspected value that can be unlocked from smart governance.

The Qatar National Food Security Programme is my country’s humble contribution in light of this predicament. It is a growth plan that seeks to balance the relationship between economic and population growth, reduce overall risk to the country and foster a diversified economy.

Designed for a country subject to severe resource constraints and unprecedented demographic pressures, the plan’s solutions are based on the principles of security, system sustainability and private sector development.

May this kind of policy innovation find 364 additional echoes around the globe and play its rightful part in making our world truly sustainable at last.

      — Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, executive chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Programme,  Member of the Legislation Council of Qatar and the Board of Governors of the World Water Council, chairman of the Organizing Subcommittee for the  2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8)

Wikipedia entry

2013 TED Talk --
Fahad Al-Attiya: A country with no water

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

May 1, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Fridays for Future Digital, 
Some information and interesting articles here at the Climate Change Charlottetown Facebook page:  Facebook page link

"Every day is a good day to remind political leaders that the climate crisis hasn't gone away! #fridaysforfuture"

Heart Beet Organics, Order before 4PM today for pickup tomorrow between 9AM-1PM, The Farmacy, 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Discover Charlottetown Local Goods Guide for this week, with many listings of food/beverages, take-out, goods, etc. for weekend planning
Link to page with Local Goods Guide for April 29th, 2020

GoPEI! activity livestreamed, 10AM, More beginner Tai Chi with Craig MacKie, and other activities listed Facebook page link

No Quarantunes tonight, since there is the
At-Home Gala for the Community Foundation of PEI, 6-9PM, free online (get link at the website, below).  This is the one with Boomer Gallant, Gerard Turk Gallant, and Lennie Gallant all participating remotely, to entertain and raise funds for the Community Foundation's grant program:

Met Opera viewing for May 1st:
Viewers’ Choice: Verdi’s Aida
available 7:30PM until Saturday late afternoon.
Starring Leontyne Price, Fiorenza Cossotto, James McCracken, and Simon Estes.Transmitted live on January 3, 1985. A classic gem of a performance, it sounds like.

Some good letters and op-ed pieces in the last few weeks to share. 

LETTER: Reduce vehicles in downtown - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

As spring arrives and we all spend more time outside, those of us who live in downtown Charlottetown are awakening to a very changed urban landscape, where there are more pedestrians, wheelchairs and bicycles than there are vehicles.

We’re discovering that, suddenly, we have the wrong kind of streetscape for the times: vast swathes of pavement devoted to the absent automobiles, while we all crowd together on the sidewalks and sides of the streets.

And so I have a proposal: during the time of this pandemic, let’s declare the streets of Charlottetown, from Grafton Street to the water, as an “active transportation first” zone. Encourage vehicles, other than those of residents and those making deliveries, to stay out of the area. Lower the speed limit to 20 km/h. And allow wheelchairs, bicycles and pedestrians to freely and safely use the streets, to get the exercise and fresh air that we all need so much.

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experiment with what a car-free downtown might look like; let’s take this horrible pandemic and try and leverage the slivers of opportunity it offers us.
Peter Rukavina, Charlottetown

GUEST OPINION: Self-isolate P.E.I.'s bees - The Guardian Guest opinion by Stan Sandler

Printed on Monday, April 27th, 2020, in

The COVID-19 crisis has made us all aware that preventing an outbreak of an exotic disease is far easier than trying to respond once it is spreading. Our Island bees are also facing a new threat, the small hive beetle parasite (SHB), but the Department of Agriculture seems set on a course that is very likely to bring it to P.E.I. rather than prevent it.

The COVID-19 crisis also highlights the need to be proactive, to support and protect Island industries, and to bolster local supply chains and food security. Evidence, science and experience all show that P.E.I.’s border should be closed to the importation of potentially infected bees. In turn, Island bees and beekeepers should be supported to meet local pollination needs.

The 2020 Bee Importation Protocol does the opposite.

It does away with the area restrictions found in previous protocols that excluded bees from known SHB areas. In 2020, only 10 per cent of hives need to be inspected. This inadequate level of inspection can now be done after the bees are gathered together into holding yards for shipping, so there is no control over whether they are coming from infected yards, and SHB can spread within the holding yards. The inspections will be done by Ontario inspectors and there is no requirement this year to send Island inspectors. Ontario has given up on controlling the spread of SHB. New Brunswick, which was infected in 2017 by hives from Ontario, has also given up on controlling the spread. Nova Scotia, by contrast, locked down its border in 2017 and remains SHB free. Nova Scotia is now self-sufficient for its pollination needs with local hives. P.E.I. needs to follow suit.

The P.E.I. beekeepers are not involved in bringing the hives in. The hives are just rented from Ontario beekeepers by the blueberry farmers for pollination. Then they go back. They are brought in to the province by blueberry processors Wymans and Braggs (Oxford foods).

Premier Dennis King, you were asked about the importation of beehives at the leaders’ environmental debate before last year's election. The question was: "Will you would commit to full inspection of beehives imported from Ontario?" You said: "If it is an issue of having a professional there and funding then I would be happy to reinstate the funding." Instead, the 2020 protocol requires no inspection by P.E.I. inspectors.

You also said: "You have a willing partner in government that wants to help you (beekeepers) succeed and if there is anything that you think we should be doing better and if you are giving us that feedback based on science, based on research, and based on experience then I think it is important to live up to that."

The best science available comes from Italy where scientists have contained an incursion of SHB and prevented it from spreading to the rest of Europe. They have evidence-based data that quantifies the amount of testing and inspection necessary to declare with some assurance that an area is free of SHB and safe to import hives from. P.E.I.’s 2020 inspection requirement doesn’t even come close to what the science-based data indicates is necessary.

Research on SHB was provided by the tech-transfer experts at Perennia. It was funded by the Departments of Agriculture of P.E.I., Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and also by the blueberry producers and the beekeeping associations of all three provinces. They said, "The most considerable damage performed by SHB occurs during the larval stage. Larvae consume virtually every edible substance in the hive except for the wooden hive-ware itself. A large infestation of SHB will cause significant damage to brood, comb, pollen and honey. Entire seasons' worth of honey in extraction lines can be spoiled and valuable frames of empty wax comb can be lost if indoor storage facilities are infested."

The experience is also clear. In 2017 hives were imported into New Brunswick with almost exactly the same protocol that P.E.I. is proposing to use this year. That inspection protocol failed to detect SHB in hives prior to importation. As a result, hives belonging to New Brunswick beekeepers were infected with SHB.

My feedback for you, Mr. Premier, is that I believe you can do better to protect our bees from being infected by an invasive parasite. As with COVID-19, the best way to do that is to close our border, like Nova Scotia. If beehives are as important to blueberries as the growers and processors say and you close the border and let everyone know that you are committed to protecting Island bees, then growers and processors will begin working with Island beekeepers to find long-term sustainable solutions. It is as simple as that.

This would be a good year to close our border. The forecast is not good for a strong price for blueberries. Growers probably shouldn’t put large inputs into pollination. Island beekeepers are reporting excellent overwintering. If Island beekeepers know that they are going to be protected, and if blueberry growers/processors and government are giving them the help they need, they can expand quickly. But this needs to start now.

When you appointed your ministers, Mr. Premier, you charged them to be bold and innovative. But the Department of Agriculture seems not to have heard you yet. Now is your chance.

Stan Sandler is a long-time Island beekeeper from Iris, P.E.I., who is circulating a petition online to the premier on this matter:

Global Chorus essay for May 1
Terry Collins

My generation is sleepwalking while sustainability crises are casting cruel shadows over the living world.

To my students I say, don’t let oppressive jeopardies forged from our inadequacies crush you. Turn instead to wisdom, vision, courage, justice, ingenuity and self-discipline. These mighty weapons can overcome our indifference, incompetence and greed. Kill our unsustainable legacy at its roots. Our money-first-in-all-things dictum must perish or your world will. Jettison the crippling precept that only humans should count when money and jobs are at stake. In our better moments, we have produced some sustainable technologies for you – sustainable energy is already a significant reality in a few wise countries. Eliminate endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are undermining the nature of life itself, perhaps irreversibly.

Each country is a ship sailing the great ocean of time where sustainability is a direction, not an endpoint. Globalization is grouping countries into an ever-tighter flotilla. Find charismatic admirals who can inspire the whole fleet to cherish the living world. Appoint creative navigators who care not what peers think, but pursue first the welfare of future generations. Choose sober helmsmen to follow over the long haul the compass settings toward sustainability. Commission officers you can trust not to be seduced by money, tribute or political favors. Build for everyone on board full justice and equitable opportunity.

There is no place for pessimism. Human beings are endowed with the ability to hold the welfare of life and the future good as precious beyond compare. So let’s reset civilization’s compass accordingly.

      — Terrence J. Collins,
Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry, director of the Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

There are many interesting articles on the Institute for Green Sciences website, to remind us of what we were working for before the pandemic.

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