August 31, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Today, Thursday, August 31st:
It is the last day to comment on your priorities for the federal government's food policy, via their survey.
from the government survey page:
What is a food policy?
A Food Policy for Canada will set a long-term vision for the health, environmental, social, and economic goals related to food, while identifying actions we can take in the short-term.
A food policy is a way to address issues related to the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food.
The non-profit organization USC Canada ("How we grow our food matters.") offers some background to the food policy, some excellent discussion points you can copy and paste, and a link to the survey.
The survey took me about ten minutes, even with some extra comments like "support small, diversified farming". Sometimes the tone of such government works can be that only professional farmers are responsible or are able to grow food, and that can be addressed, too.
You can get some local food and crafts at the:
Farm Centre Farmers' Market, 4-8PM, Farm Centre, University Avenue.
Brad Trivers (Progressive Conservative leadership candidate) Live on Facebook, 8-9PM, details here:
A very introspective article about Climate Change and Hurricane Harvey:
Climate Change Did Not "Cause" Harvey, But It's A Huge Part of the Story
by David Roberts
Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 on Vox.com
<snip from the end of the article, but the whole thing is worth reading>
Everything human beings do, we do in a climate (except hang out on the space station, I suppose).
Our climate has been in a rough temperature equilibrium for about 10,000 years, while we developed agriculture and advanced civilization and Netflix.
Now our climate is about to rocket out of that equilibrium, in what is, geologically speaking, the blink of an eye. We’re not sure exactly what’s going to happen, but we have a decent idea, and we know it’s going to be weird. With more heat energy in the system, everything’s going to get crazier — more heat waves, more giant rainstorms, more droughts, more floods.
That means climate change is part of every story now. The climate we live in shapes agriculture, it shapes cities and economies and trade, it shapes culture and learning, it shapes human conflict. It is a background condition of all these stories, and its changes are reflected in them.
So we’ve got to get past this “did climate change cause it?” argument. A story like Harvey is primarily a set of local narratives, about the lives immediately affected. But it is also part of a larger narrative, one developing over decades and centuries, with potentially existential stakes.
We’ve got to find a way to weave those narratives together while respecting and doing justice to both. <snip>
Paul Stamets is the author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, TED Talk speaker, and founder and managing director of Fungi Perfecti. He writes the August 31st Global Chorus essay.
We are fully engaged in 6x – the sixth greatest extinction of life on this planet known thus far. There are an estimated 8.3 million species on Earth. We are losing nearly 30,000 species per year and may lose ~3,000,000 over the next century. Unlike previous celestial cataclysms, however, this extinction is uniquely caused by an organism – Us.
Loss of biodiversity directly threatens our environmental health. Fungi and algae first marched onto land around a billion years ago. Some 300 million years later, “higher life forms” surged onto land, made possible by a holy union between the roots of plants and fungi.
Then, ~250 million years ago and again ~65 million years ago, two great extinction level cataclysms impacted the biosphere. The Earth was shrouded in dust, sunlight was cut off, the majority of plants and animals died … and fungi inherited the Earth. Those organisms pairing with fungi (whose mycelial networks do not need light) had better chances for survival.
With the passing of each generation of life, fungi built lenses of soils by decomposing the deceased, creating the foundation of the food webs for descendants. The lessons of evolution have repeatedly shown that alliances with fungi can help us survive. Putting into practice ecologically rational myco-remedies can help make the course change needed to prevent 6x.
Myco Practices for Protecting our Biospheres:
1. Mushroom cultivation centers should be located in every community for recycling debris and reinvented as environmental healing arts centers. Link all of these centers (“I.A.M.S” – “Institutes of Applied Mycology”) through www.fungi.net.
2. Grow mushrooms and mycelium as fungal foods for people and livestock.
3. Use the leftover mycelium from growing mushrooms, to filter water of pathogens (such as E. coli, cholera and listeria), phosphates, fertilizers, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals and petroleum-based toxins.
4. Use mycelium and commensal bacteria for biofuels, enzymes, mycoattractants and medicines.
5. Integrate fungal platforms for Permaculture, no-till farming, forestry and aquaculture practices.
6. row mycelial mats that service bees by providing essential myconutrients, enhancing bees’ host defences of immunity to prevent colony collapse disorder (CCD).
We must muster the courage to chart a new course. The solutions are literally underneath our feet. Please find more information in what is below.
— Paul Stamets
August 30, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
The Farmers' Markets are open in Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM).
Tomorrow, Thursday, August 31st:
"Brad Goes LIVE for Q&A", 8-9PM, via Facebook (you can type in questions to PC leadership candidate Brad Trivers, he answers in real time).
"Thursday evening from 8-9 I am going FB LIVE to answer all of your questions! I believe in 'Getting Back to Basics" in a new, innovative and progressive way. FB LIVE offers us this opportunity to have direct, free and open conversations with each other that are easily accessible, open and absolutely transparent. So please tune in, I am looking forward to your questions, especially the tough ones! Let's Get Back To Basics."
Progressive Conservative leadership contenders:
Pauline Howard of the PEI Food Exchange wrote this so well:
It is with a heavy heart that I notify you of the sudden death of Cindy Richards' only son in BC. Cindy is a founding member of the Food Exchange, an active board member, and passionate about issues of food insecurity on PEI.
Cindy is also a leader in the environmental rights movement on P.E.I. and a board member of the Citizens' Alliance of PEI. She was heavily involved in the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water and led the BLUE DOT PEI movement on PEI.
Her commitment to making PEI a better place for everyone has been massive.
Cindy plans to go to BC with her daughter.
A fund has been set up to help with expenses at this time.
You can donate by way of:
- cash or cheques (made out to "Citizens' Alliance" ) and dropped off at the Voluntary Resource Centre on weekdays or mail to VRC, 81 Prince Street, Charlottetown, C1A 4R3
- e-transfer to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- you can go to any Provincial Credit Union on the Island and make a donation to "Cindy Richards Benefit Account". The account number is 40467-107 but you shouldn't need that, just Cindy's name, to make a donation.
There is a book for messages of condolence at the Volunteer Resource Centre at 81 Prince St, C'town. I know it means a lot to Cindy to feel the support of her community right now, so if you can, drop by and leave a message for her.
Hey, we know this guy! Peter Bevan-Baker wrote the essay used for the August 30th entry in Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, edited by Todd E. MacLean. He was listed as "Green Party candidate" and that does show how times change.
When I was young I didn’t think much about the meaning of my life; I was more concerned with learning and growing. I stopped growing physically some time ago, but the learning has continued; I am still growing intellectually and spiritually.
Humanity was, until recently, an insignificant species on a vast and empty planet. For thousands of generations we stumbled around the Earth in small groups learning some useful survival tricks and evolving some valuable traits – like opposable thumbs and big brains. Our impact on the planet back then was minimal. Then we grew, and we grew, and we grew until we now fill almost every corner of the planet, and our sheer size and power threaten to overwhelm Earth’s support systems. It is time for humanity to replace our physical growth with intellectual and spiritual development.
I believe we who are alive today are the most blessed generation ever. We are about to oversee that shift – replacing the central goal of getting bigger through economic expansion – to getting better through spiritual awakening. It is time for us to collectively start thinking about the meaning of our existence here on this beautiful planet.
I know we have the capabilities – never before has there been a species more suited to long-term success; we should effortlessly master living on the Earth. All we need is the will to embrace the wonderful possibilities of being human; recognizing that true fulfillment has to do with relationships, and contentment with spiritual maturity, and that neither has anything to do with material possessions. Our happiness is related to things that are utterly sustainable – friendship, art, spirituality. We can live on this planet in far less consumptive and destructive ways, and find meaning and contentment – indeed it is the only way to discover how to be so.
There is a time for expansion and there is a time for maturation. We are done with the former and about to enter the latter. It will be a time of humanity reaching its true potential. It is time to grow up, and my unwavering belief says that we are ready.
— Peter Bevan-Baker
August 29, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Standing Committee on Health and Wellness, 10AM-noon, J. Angus MacLean Building. All welcome. There will be a briefing on suicide prevention strategy from the Canadian Mental Health Association.
NAFTA Town Hall Meeting, 4-5PM, Crowbush Room, Rodd Royalty Inn, Capital Drive in Charlottetown. All welcome.
The UPEI Office of Recruitment and International Relations wishes to extend an invitation to the campus community from Global Affairs Canada to a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) town hall meeting. Hosted by the Honourable Andrew Leslie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada-U.S. Relations), the town hall meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 29, 2017 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Rodd Royalty Hotel, Crowbush Room, 14 Capital Drive, Charlottetown.
The Honourable Andrew Leslie will also be giving the keynote address at the Palmer Conference on Public Leadership, taking place August 29-31 on the UPEI campus.
Federally, there will may other public meetings planned, but certainly this one has just been advertised to the UPEI campus communications. Meetings with the Eastern Premiers and Governors in the past days have included business representatives from places like Cavendish Farms and Irving Oil. There have been no other provincially organized public meetings on NAFTA and its effects on communities -- not just big businesses (that I am aware of).
Provincial Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker wrote a piece called "Reconfederation" which is very thoughtful:
from his blog, published Thursday, August 24th, 2017
25 years ago historian Francis Fukuyama wrote a book called “The End of History.” In it he suggested that with the advent of Western liberal democracy, we had all that was needed to ensure sustained prosperity, peace and good government for the entire world forever and a day. We had reached, as the author puts it: “…the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”
History has shown that those who feel with utter confidence that a final understanding has been reached on any weighty matter are inevitably proved wrong. The world and how humans live on it continue to present endlessly confounding and marvellous new challenges, and – dare I say it – I have no doubt will continue to do so as long as we strut and fret upon this stage.
Canada is a young country. Confederated in 1867, we are a jurisdictional baby in global terms, but our geological and human history stretch back far, far longer than the 150th anniversary we are celebrating this year. Though “founded by two peoples”, Canada was initially essentially a British country, governed by the British North American Act and ruled in the image of Westminster. The Quiet Revolution in the 1960s and 70s had a profound impact on the Canadian federation, when those empowered and emboldened by the rise of Quebec separatism shone a light on the accepted notion of “two founding nations”, and as Quebec asserted itself, our understanding of what Canada is changed dramatically.
Today another community in Canada is finally starting to fully assert itself, and the question is, are we at a similarly seismic moment in Canadian history, this time recognizing that the story of Canada involves more than two peoples? With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action, and a renewed commitment from our federal government, are we finally going to Re-Confederate Canada to include all Indigenous Peoples and recognize their rightful place on this land?
I believe we stand at a turning point in how we understand our history and our future. I see this turning point in the response of ordinary Canadians to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; I see it in the ambivalence expressed by many during our recent Canada 150 celebrations; and I see it in the vigorous and sometimes divisive debates over how history should be commemorated. When the Prime Minister speaks of a new nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, I feel hope. And when elders share traditional knowledge on caring for the environment, the importance of community, and the spiritual connection that all Creation has with Mother Earth, I realize we must learn from the wisdom of people who successfully lived on this land for millennia.
If I try to identify the source of this turning point, I would say it is a longing for reconciliation: a deep yearning to recognize the harms of the past, support the need to mourn and heal, and build the foundations for a new relationship between Indigenous peoples and settler peoples. I won’t pretend that reconciliation will be easy: we cannot simply wipe the slate clean and start over again. We will need to question many of our assumptions about the Western world-view and recognize that we must not only respect other worldviews, but also be willing to learn from and adapt to their wisdom.
We are at the beginning of our journey and have taken only a few small steps on the road to reconciliation. This will be a new and hard path for many of us, as we learn new ways of understanding this nation and our place in it. I hope it is a journey that we can all take together; that we can all share in a better future and fulfill the potential and promise of this great land.
Belvie Rooks is an educator and co-founder of Growing a Global Heart, and wrote the August 29th essay for the anthology Global Chorus.
On a recent early morning walk, I found myself stopping frequently and marvelling at the majesty and beauty of the San Francisco Bay. As I stopped, I noticed a young white crane nearby. Half an hour later, I noticed, what I thought was, the same white crane. Curious, I decided to be sure. I walked quickly ahead and stopped suddenly. A few seconds, my new friend arrived and perched on a nearby bench.
I stood silently for a moment and looked around and realized there were no other cranes in sight. Ironically, a couple of days earlier, I had seen a 50-year-old photograph of this same estuary in which there appeared to be hundreds of cranes – a whole community of cranes.
I was now conscious of the noisy freeway nearby; the profusion of overhead electrical wires; and the danger signs warming about a recent sewage spill. None of this would have existed 50 years ago.
I eased slowly onto the bench next to my new friend and closed my eyes. I had, of course, seen all of this many times before, but now, I was seeing it as if for the first time from my small companion’s perspective. From that perspective, of habitat destruction, the surrounding view was a heartbreaking one.
I slowly opened my eyes and my small friend was not only still there but her head was cocked slightly to one side observing me intently. Our eyes locked and it was as if she spoke directly to the very depths of my soul, “Now that you know, will you remember to tell my story too?”
What was hopeful about the encounter, for me, was that I was fully present to the message being delivered.
Thank you for showing up and I promise to remember!
— Belvie Rooks
August 28, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
District 10 (Charlottetown-Sherwood) Sherwood Summer Social with MLA Robert Mitchell, 5-7PM, St. Mark's Church Hall, corner of Pine Drive and Brackley Point Road. It appears these social events are sponsored by the MLA's party, as evidenced by the newspaper ad's large "Liberal- Prince Edward Island" logo in the corner, and the text says "Join MLA Robert Mitchell and the District 10 Liberal Association for a Summer Social". One hopes all constituents will truly feel welcome to go and chat with Minister Mitchell, and mention their concerns. District 10 residents voted for Proportional Representation in the Plebiscite last Fall.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 29th:
Standing Committee on Health and Wellness, 10AM-noon, J. Angus MacLean Building. All welcome.
"The committee will receive a briefing on the PEI Suicide Prevention Strategy from Reid Burke, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, PEI Division."
Some members of the Island New Democratic Party held a press conference outside City Hall to highlight the problem of affordable housing in Charlottetown.
There just isn't a lot of leadership from the incumbent municipal and provincial leaders on this, and an immense need.
Where's the plan for affordable housing? asks P.E.I.'s NDP - CBC News online article by Natalia Goodwin
Mike Redmond says all levels of government need to work together
Posted on August 25th, 2017, on-line CBC
The leader of the NDP on P.E.I. is calling on the mayor of Charlottetown to make a better commitment to affordable and accessible housing. Mike Redmond stood in front of Charlottetown City Hall Friday morning with three other members of the provincial NDP to share his thoughts.
"We feel that all levels of government, not just provincial and federal governments should be at the table committing dollars to this very, very serious issue that needs our attention on Prince Edward Island," Redmond said. "We're asking the mayor 'Where is your commitment to dollars? Where is your commitment to infrastructure for housing in the Charlottetown area?'"
Chris Clay, the NDP's spokesperson for poverty, shared a personal story of trouble finding an affordable place to live. "My daughter tried to move to Charlottetown and it took them four and a half months before they could find an apartment," he said.
"More and more … affordable housing and apartments are being torn down lately, while bigger, more expensive developments are coming up. "
The group not only wanted to focus on affordability, but also accessibility. "I've lived in Charlottetown for almost 10 years and I have never lived in an actual accessible apartment the entire time I've lived in Charlottetown," said former NDP candidate Jen Coughlin, who uses a wheelchair. "You know the bathrooms aren't properly accessible, the kitchens aren't properly accessible so it's like people can't meet their basic needs inside their own home."
Couglin said places with better accessibility are much more expensive. "I feel like a second class citizen sometimes because you know if I can't meet my basic needs in my own home, you know it's seems very wrong, that should be just something that everyone has."
Redmond said the $7.2 million from the federal government that is expected in 2019 in coming to late. The bottom line for him and his party is that all levels of government should be at the table to find a solution.
"Too often we look at the provincial government and we say it's your responsibility, and the province will say it's the federal government's responsibility," he said.
"It's all of our responsibility, collectively we should all come together and say how can we make this work for everybody and work for the developers as well, because obviously if they're not involved then we can't have programs and opportunities for housing."
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee declined an interview. "When the City of Charlottetown has an announcement to make about affordable and accessible housing, we will let the public and the media know," he said in an email. "In the meantime, we look forward to continuing our discussions with the province about this issue."
Shin-ichiro Terayama is president of Shin-Terayama Ofﬁce Co. Ltd., and author of My Cancer Disappeared: A Document of the Natural Healing of Cancer. He writes the August 29th Global Chorus essay.
I was a physicist and suffered from cancer in 1984. I transformed, and have been free of metastasized kidney cancer for more than 25 years. I tell the story of the recovery from cancer with cello-playing, confessing how I loved my cancer instead of fighting it. I changed to a vegetarian “macrobiotic” diet, drinking selected good mineral water, and most importantly, I watched the sunrise every day in the morning. It was in front of the morning sun that I made an exciting discovery. I found I was becoming very positive, very relaxed, and healing energy was entering my heart chakra, first through my heart and then to all seven chakras. I began to practise cello again after a long absence. These things were done harmoniously by my intuition and not by instruction.
I call myself a “holistic management consultant” because I approach the healing of the person, company, community and system through holistic means … as a whole. My work is educating people with loving wisdom, using the tools of subtle energy and energy medicine.
And so, in turn, for healing our Earth and ourselves, here is the prayer that I offer you today:
Now it is the very precious time for us human beings
to pray for the future of the Earth.
This is the prayer without wishes.
We should also pray for us with love.
This love is unconditional love.
We also pray for us within to our inside.
It is also the time for us to transform by ourselves.
Pray for us with love.
— Shin-ichiro Terayama
August 27, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Much going on today:
Food and Crafts:
Morell Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM
Montague Make, Bake or Grow, 10AM-3PM, Down East Mall.
Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street
Events-- Environmental/Cultural -- west of Charlottetown
Stanley Bridge River Days, breakfasts, kids' activities in the afternoon, and
Irene Novaczek giving a talk on "Time and a Place", 2PM, Stanley Bridge WI Hall, focusing on the environmental history of watersheds. (She co-edited a book of the same name.) Free talk, weekend sponsored by the Trout River Environmental Committee (TREC). Facebook page with some details of weekend events
Lennox Island Pow Wow, all day:
from CBC on-line (edited):
The 17th annual Lennox Island Powwow takes place this weekend starting with breakfast served on the powwow grounds from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Dancer and drummer registration runs from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., leading up to the Grand Entry at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
On Sunday, a feast will be served at 4 p.m., followed by a give away ceremony and the Grand Exit.
East of Charlottetown (Macphail Homestead and Woods, Orwell):
Island History Sunday Brunch Series, "The 1971 National Farmers Union Highway Demonstration", by historian Ryan O'Connor. Brunch at 11AM, followed by talk. Macphail Homestead.
On August 12, 1971, hundreds of PEI farmers boarded their tractors and proceeded to bring traffic to a halt on the province’s major roadways. Held during the peak of the tourism season, the demonstration continued for ten days. This talk examines the highway demonstration’s inspiration, context and consequences. Ryan’s PhD is in Canadian history, with expertise in the history of environmental activism in Canada and the United States.
We will start with a nutritious and delicious brunch (a loaded Island Breakfast with ham and bacon from Taylor’s meats, home-made baked beans, eggs etc. We can accommodate dietary restrictions.) Serving will begin at 11 am. Once you have dined, the talk will commence. The meal will be served in the room that once hosted Steven Leacock, Earl Grey, Lucy Maud Montgomery and John McCrea at the same time, as guests of Sir Andrew Macphail.
The cost is $25.00 ($20 for members and residents of Orwell and Kings County).
Please call the Macphail Homestead at 902-651-2789 to make your reservation.
Macphail Woods Festival of Forests, 2-6PM, Macphail Woods, Orwell.
Our second annual Festival of Forests will be a family-friendly event, with children’s activities, guided walks, local music, food and micro-workshops. Everyone is invited to join the staff and friends of Macphail Woods in the celebration.
Activities for children will include face-painting, games, a scavenger hunt, wagon rides and arts & crafts. Local food will be available for sale but families are also encouraged to bring their own picnics. There will be guided forest walks, “micro” workshops on topics such as plant identification and bushcraft, and a silent auction.
Admission is $10.00 per person, and $25.00 for families of 3 or more. Tickets will be sold on-site. For more information, call (902) 651-2575 or email email@example.com
Music from Bonshaw people:
The Brunch Prophets Good Time Gospel Radio Show, 10:15AM-12noon or 12:15-2PM, Trailside Cafe, Mount Stewart. This is their last Sunday for this season. Featuring Karen Graves and Cam MacDuffee, new Bonshaw neighbours.
"The Good-Time Gospel is the ultimate in ecumenical worship, where we sing the praises of everything that is, where all are welcome, and the only currency is love. Good-Time Gospel is best served with food, preferably brunch and the soul purpose is to gather together for a good time. We Sing. You Eat. Praise Be.”
This week the special guest is JOHN CONNOLLY!
There are two seatings to choose from (edited) 10:15-12pm and 12:15 – 2:15pm. For $22 you get admission to the music, a choice of one of three brunches and unlimited coffee or tea. This is not a ticketed event so please call 902-394-3626 to reserve a table. Facebook event details
Bonshaw Ceilidh, 7-9PM, Bonshaw Hall. Admission by donation.
Performers include our special musical guests:
Harp in the Hills: Celtic singer/harpist Lana Quinn with guitarist Byron Olsen; the Long River Players- Pete Blanding, Gayle Murphy, Gary Arsenault, and Cindy Blanding, singer Carl Wigmore, stepdancers Lexi and Tasha Kowalchuk, plus local entertainers Herb MacDonald, Phil Pineau and/or Tony the Troubador. 50/50 draw, lunch, and open stage time.
Admission is by donation (suggested is $10/adult) with proceeds going to the Fund for the Auret Family in Bonshaw, who had a costly fire last winter (we apologize for our slow response to their need). Everyone welcome; accessible for small wheelchairs. For more information phone 675-4093. from:Facebook event details
For reading and thinking:
From David Weale, yesterday on social media:
THE VIEW FROM THIS BRANCH
The Fate of the Timid - by David Weale
Published on Saturday, August 26th, 2017
The first thing I would like to express this morning is my admiration for those Islanders willing to speak out openly about the alarming things happening within our society.
The second thing I would like to express is my concern about the much larger number of Islanders who, for one reason or another, are afraid to speak openly about what is going on.
The third thing is that for the last decade or more (and much longer actually) politicians have been able to count on the fact that when it comes to speaking openly and critically Islanders are astonishingly timid. Dear God, we practically invented political correctness.
The fourth thing is that it is the timid, and the afraid, who are most likely to become the victims of exploitation, manipulation, bullying and profiteering, and we’ve seen a lot of that these last few years.
It’s why I am unwilling to stop speaking about the reprehensible way the three female whistle-blowers were treated. They were shamed publicly by Robert Ghiz, (without a word of protest from his colleagues) and then shamed again by premier MacLauchlan when he simply dismissed it as an issue of no import.
And why did they behave so dishonourably? Because they wanted to send a clear message that they were in charge and should not be questioned. It was a bully-boy tactic, and on PEI it seems to work.
That silencing was a terrible moment in our public life. Islanders’ long- standing belief that it doesn’t pay to voice concern was reinforced powerfully. The culture of timidity deepened, both in the public realm, and within the public service.
Ominous things are happening in the province presently, and the only way the will ever be addressed openly is for Islanders to realize that the risk of silence is, in the long run, much greater than the risk of speaking out.
The silence of the lambs is very empowering to the wolves, and presently we are wolf-infested.
[We are also aware that the reason some Islanders are so silent is because they, or those close to them, are profiting personally from the sell-off. Big money buys a lot of silence].
John Vlahides is a travel journalist and television producer and personality. He wrote a short essay for the August 27th Global Chorus anthology.
I’ve travelled the world, known princes and stars, yet the wisest words I’ve ever heard spoken came not from a statesman or celebrity, but from a humble mystic yogi in San Francisco, who told me, “The best thing any of us can do is to sweeten the psychic atmosphere.” Our hope lies in the pursuit of spiritual values. We must expand our consciousness. Excelsior! To find the way forward, go within: meditate.
— John A. Vlahides
August 26, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Word of the sudden death out west of the son of Cindy Richards has many wondering what they can do. Cindy is a main force in the PEI Food Exchange, a leader in the environmental rights movement on P.E.I., and was a public environmental monitor during the Plan B highway construction and current Citizens' Alliance Board member. A fund is being set up by her friends to help with expenses at this time.
People can donate:
cash or cheques (made out to "Citizens' Alliance" right now)
drop-off at the Voluntary Resource Centre, weekdays, or mail to VRC, 81 Prince Street, Charlottetown, C1A 4R3
there is also a book for messages of condolence at the VRC
e-transfer to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(if you on-line bank)
and after we get the fund set up, people can go to any Provincial Credit Union on the Island and make a donation to her fund.
Farmers' markets are open in all the usual places today:
O'Leary(9AM-noon), O'Leary Legion Hall
Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM)
New Glasgow, The Mill Restaurant parking lot (8AM-1PM)
Murray Harbour (9AM-noon)
Market on the Plaza, 11AM-8:30PM, Confederation Centre of the Arts concourse. Facebook event details
Art in the Open, 4-8PM, various locations. Website
An Evening with Elizabeth May, 7-9PM, Farm Centre. All welcome -- she is a fantastic orator. Facebook event details
Tomorrow, Sunday, August 27th:
Festival of Forests, 2-6PM, Macphail Woods. Facebook event details
Steven C. Rockefeller is "fourth-generation member of the Rockefeller family, former dean of Middlebury College in Vermont, and philanthropist who focuses on education, Planned Parenthood, human rights and environmental causes." (Wikipedia biography) He wrote the August 26th Global Chorus essay.
The students sitting in a circle outdoors were looking dejected when the flap of wings startled them. A raven landed in their midst. “Hey,” he croaked, “put that UN report on the state of the world away and listen up. The last thing anyone, including all the birds, needs right now is for you to fall into a state of despair.”
“The damage industrial societies have done to the beauty and biodiversity of Earth is a terrible tragedy. Humankind is a frightening predator out of control,” blurted a young woman.
“Only part of the story,” responded the raven. “It is humanity’s destiny to become the mind of Earth’s biosphere, to create a global civilization that is culturally diverse, just, sustainable and peaceful, and to celebrate the sacredness of life.”
“A fine vision,” said another student, “but how is it possible to transform industrial-technological society?”
“Don’t lose faith in the creative potential of human intelligence and the basic goodness of the human heart when liberated from ignorance and fear,” said the bird. “The advance of education, science and participatory democracy is the way forward. Adaptation to climate change will be difficult, but the building of clean energy economies that maximize reuse and recycling and dramatically reduce waste is underway. Innovative leaders are also finding the path to sustainability and
the eradication of poverty by creating vibrant, resilient, local communities well integrated with their bioregions.”
“Will people develop the sense of shared responsibility and courage to make the hard choices and necessary sacrifices to safeguard the environment?”
“Excellent question. You have inspiring spiritual traditions that emphasize being more, not having more, with a focus on right relationship with oneself, other persons, the larger living world and the mystery of being, the sacred source of the universe. Humanity is beginning to awaken from its anthropocentric delusions. The natural world is not just a collection of resources for human exploitation. Earth’s biosphere is a community of life and you are interdependent members of it. Your democracy must evolve into more of a biocracy and implement the global ethic of respect and care for the greater community of life already widely supported in civil society. A new sense of global interdependence and universal responsibility is emerging in the consciousness of millions of women and men.”
“There is hope then?”
“There is hope only if you go out and join those brave and visionary women and men who are striving to be their best and build a better world.” With that, the raven took two hops and flew away.
— Steven C. Rockefeller
August 25, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Today, the Cardigan Farmers' Market is open from 10AM to 2PM.
Bulldozing has begun in the past days in the field heading northwest from the new roundabout at North River for the Cornwall Bypass Phase IIB. The Environmental Impact Assessment was approved on August 10th. Funny how the armoury of communications personnel in the government complex didn't send out a press release or even a human-interest story about it, as they so often do these days.
Environment Minister Robert Mitchell approved the project with some conditions, with the usual ministerial admonishments and some minor tweaking of some of the plans, likely in response to questions raised by public consultation.
The approval for the GM fish plant "redevelopment" is still listed as approved on this EIA Projects page on the government website
despite the Federal government saying the project needs to have a new federal Assessment due to it being a new location.
Here is a link to an article in the other Guardian, about the fact that Canadians were being sold GM-fish without their knowledge and of the billionaire behind the GM-fish. The article just lets him go on making one fairly arrogant statement after another.
Elections PEI hints that some very interesting news is going to be shared at 3PM today. "Information You've Been Looking For!"
Come visit the Elections PEI Facebook page Friday afternoon at 3pm. We'd like to share some information with you that we have received a lot of phone calls on over the past several months.
David Suzuki, broadcaster an proponent of environmental rights, writes the August 25th Global Chorus essay:
When asked what the chances are that humanity will survive to the end of this century, Sir Martin Rees, Royal Astronomer in the UK replied, “Fifty fifty!” James Lovelock, who named the web of life on Earth “Gaia,” predicts billions of people will die in this century, reducing global population to 10 per cent, while Australian eco-philosopher Clive Hamilton’s book Requiem for a Species is about our demise.
The eco-crisis of the 21st century is not going to be solved by “ten easy ways” or even a hundred. Despite decades of warnings by top scientists that we are heading along a very destructive path, countries around the world continue the drive for endless economic growth that is undermining the life support systems of the planet.
All I have left is hope, hope that is based on the fact that we don’t know enough even to say it is too late to turn things around, but it is very, very late.
— David Suzuki
August 24, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
The Farm Centre Market is open today from 4-8PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.
This is just *one* listing from one producer (Eastside Organics):
FRESH PRODUCE: Garlic; Beets; Celery; Carrots; White Carrots; Red Leaf Lettuce; Romaine Lettuce; Green Cabbage; Broccoli; Kale; Red Onions; Yellow Onions; ; Kohlrabi; Zucchini; Green Peppers, Cucumbers; Sweet Banana Peppers; Acorn Squash; Butternut Squash; Swiss Chard and hand-picked wild PEI blueberries.
PRESERVES: Blueberry Jam; Pickled Beets; Mustard Pickles; Salsa; Red Pepper Jelly; Green Pepper Jelly; Rhubarb Jam; Grape Jam; Pickled Garlic Scapes; and Green Tomato Chow.
And there are many others, and wonderful crafts and other goods.
District 17 Summer Social with MLA Peter Bevan-Baker, 6-8PM, Kingston Legion, corner of Rte. 9 and TCH in New Haven.
All welcome. Make sure you remind him (and your MLA at his or her summer events) about electoral reform and investigating what's going on with PNP and all the other sort of wonderful summer chat we should be having with our MLAs :-)
Saturday, August 26th:
Art in the Open, 4PM-midnight, various locations in Charlottetown.
An Evening with Elizabeth May, 6:30-9PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.
The Legislative Assembly office announced yesterday that as of September 1st and later, Standing Committee meetings will be broadcast live on-line through their website. These meetings will move to the Coles Building Assembly floor, as the cameras are already in place there. Kudos to PC Interim Leader Jamie Fox and others for continuing to push this suggestion forward.
(When Standing Committee meetings take place during the Sittings -- the Fall Sitting starts after Remembrance Day and most of the committees wrap up their current work to report to the Assembly -- then these meetings would not be broadcast.)
Richard and Stacy Toms own and operate the Maroon Pig Art Gallery and Sweet Shop in Georgetown, and are passionate about their local community, writing about the plans to close Georgetown Elementary and other issues, in addition to being a real force in what makes small communities vibrant and healthy.
They share these thoughts about Amalgamation, fyi, Monday, August 21st, 2017, on Facebook page, and copied with permission:
In Bobcaygeon I saw the Amalgamation -By Richard N Stacy Toms
August 21st, 2017
When I was 5 years old my family bought a cottage in Bobcaygeon, Ontario. Yes, the Bobcaygeon that the Tragically Hip made famous in their song. It is a small community of a few thousand people in the heart of cottage country Ontario. A place dotted with fresh water lakes, a place that booms in summer with tourism and cottagers and lies fallow through the winter. It is a beautiful place, a place that has a lot of similarities with Prince Edward Island.
My father and mother retired to Bobcaygeon and on retiring built a house there. In the 1990’s there was a huge incentive by the Ontario Provincial government to amalgamate smaller communities into more manageable municipal governments. Despite two plebiscites that revealed the communities were against amalgamation. The Provincial government forced them to amalgamate anyway, through new legislation. They said the advantages of amalgamation would be a larger tax base, and efficiencies and saving through cooperative and combined services and infrastructure. Sound familiar?
Ask my Father what happened. He lives on Richmond Street in Georgetown, PE now. He will tell you first-hand how successful this amalgamation was for Bobcaygeon.
· It centralized government and government services to a more distant community making it harder to access, especially for an older demographic.
· It created a larger government that was less responsive to issues in his community. (Just try to get a road paved).
· It created a more expensive government and more bureaucracy to handle the larger extended geographic area of the new municipality.
· It created a larger tax base, but any additional revenue was swallowed up by the larger municipal government through increased wages, expanded staff and additional infrastructure and services required by the larger community.
· It centralized services including water and utilities and these services were more expensive.
· It raised his taxes.
The result- there was no net advantages or gains for his community. He paid more taxes, he paid more for services, local government was less responsive, his community was not better off under amalgamation.
Despite an extensive Fraser Institute Study showing the systemic and widespread failure of amalgamation in Ontario to address the real concerns of small, rural communities- the provincial and local governments on the Island are trying to convince you they will somehow make this same process work. Forgive me if I’m skeptical.
By a narrow margin, the citizens of Kawartha Lakes voted to de-amalgamate in a November 2003 local plebiscite, but the provincial and municipal governments have not taken any steps since the vote to initiate de-amalgamation
Claire Boucher, aka “Grimes” is a Canadian singer-songwriter , producer and visual artist
Her website is here.
I don’t know if we’ll be able to reverse the damage we’ve already done, but I do believe we can slow it significantly. I think there are two key hurdles that, if overcome, will have a domino effect with regards to solving our environmental problems. First is education, and particularly the education of women globally. Our growing population is a huge problem and women who are educated have less children and are better equipped to care for them.
I also think a broader “environmental education” initiative could yield a lot of positive change. When I was on tour in Asia, many countries had radio commercials encouraging people to unplug lights at night to reduce electricity use. Cities like Singapore and Jakarta would be very dark at night (despite being massive cities) due to people turning off all the lights in their closed businesses. I feel like this kind of government-funded public education is crucial and effective. There was very noticeable pollution in Asia, but there was also a more concerted effort to stop it than I have ever seen elsewhere, and a far more acute public understanding of the dangers of pollution. The other key issue is lobbying. I think the only way we can save our planet is if there is a complete ban of all lobbying or industry involvement in government decisions. Canada, for example, is completely run by the oil industry and no matter how many people show up and protest, pipelines are always approved, fracking is always approved. This is one of the largest issues facing the world today. Governments need to recognize this, and stop giving dangerous industries control over their policies.
— Claire Boucher, aka “Grimes,”
August 23, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
The Farmers' Markets are open in Charlottetown and in Stanley Bridge.
Legislative Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 10AM -12noon, J. Angus MacLean Building (across from Province House at the corner of Great George Street and Richmond Streets). "The committee will continue its review of the Report of the Auditor General to the Legislative Assembly, dated March 10, 2017. Auditor General B. Jane MacAdam will be in attendance."
Public Accounts committee has PC leadership contender James Aylward as chair, with members Leader of the Third Party Peter Bevan-Baker; Jordan Brown, Kathleen Casey, Bush Dumville, Chris Palmer and Hal Perry as government members, and Darlene Compton as the other Official Opposition member. All are welcome to sit in the comfy chairs that constitute the Gallery, and you can come and go as time allows. More details: https://www.facebook.com/events/685164301677058/
Some farmed Atlantic salmon escaped on the West Coast, reported yesterday on CBC on-line. To be sure, this was a different set-up than the one proposed for the GM-fish factory in Rollo Bay, but it's a reminder that "the unexpected" can happen.
Here is an excerpt, which was published on August 22nd, 2017:
Thousands of Atlantic salmon have escaped into Pacific waters east of Victoria after nets containing an estimated 305,000 fish were damaged at a U.S. fish farm in the San Juan Islands on Saturday.
The company, Cooke Aquaculture, blamed "exceptionally high tides and currents coinciding with this week's solar eclipse" for the failure of the net pen near Cypress Island.
The nets "broke loose" from their anchor Saturday afternoon, said Ron Warren, assistant director of the fish program for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Warren said strong tidal flows — which are tied to the lunar cycles, not the eclipse itself — could be a factor in the damage, along with the amount of fish in the pens, which he estimated at more than 1.3-million kilograms.<snip>
from a couple of weeks ago, a critique of the Regional Economic Development Councils, from The Graphic newspapers:
When in doubt appoint another council - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
Published on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
Wade MacLauchlan calls them Regional Economic Development Councils. They could just as easily be called the white flag of surrender because rather than show strength, the appointed councils magnify all of what is perceived wrong with the Liberal government.
The premier announced their creation earlier this year, notably during a polling period when Liberals publicly put a premium on releasing good news. He rushed to name the chairpeople who accepted their role without benefit of seeing terms of reference for their work. Last week, committee rosters were filled and for the most part consist of a stellar group of individuals with long track records of service. This is no criticism of council members.
Don’t confuse individual success with the necessity to create a new level of bureaucracy that only serves to raise more questions than it answers.
And don’t believe government’s spin that committee members are random individuals who happened to throw their name in the hat at Engage PEI. This is a group that is, by and large, handpicked by the premier’s office. It shows.
Appointees include a defeated Liberal candidate from the last election who the premier considered a star candidate in Ramona Roberts. The Western Regional council is chaired by a senior executive of McCain Produce, which would not normally raise an eyebrow unless you remember that it was just three years ago that a sister company, McCain Foods, closed a plant in Borden and threw 121 people out of work. Did no one in the premier’s office think of the optics? Apparently not.
The eastern council includes supporters of the premier in former members of the short-lived Nova Scotia ferry task force, Scott Annear and Ray Keenan. Fully three members of the council sat on that task force, which shows the 5th floor is drawing from a very limited pool.
While there is a definite Liberal tinge to appointees, in fairness, the central PEI council includes Jennifer Dunn, who moved the leadership nomination for former PC leader Rob Lantz.
The question is what can these councils do that could not be achieved through existing infrastructure or basic networking.
The answer is nothing.
The Liberals have been in office since 2007.
Wade MacLauchlan became premier two years ago and appointed the Board of Economic Advisors to the Premier. When was the last time you heard from this group?
We have a Department of Innovation and a Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning. When rural communities once again raised their voice in anger, the premier did what he said he wouldn’t and expanded cabinet to create a make work position for Pat Murphy, who is now Minister of Rural and Regional Development. It’s a department created without budget, staff or authority to do anything of substance. But still the premier promised Murphy would deliver.
We have 27 MLAs whose constituencies are among the smallest in the country and a legislature that sits for among the fewest days a year in the country. Our MLAs have plenty of time to be local experts.
There are chambers of commerce throughout the province with boards of directors that could collectively provide greater insight than staff members the premier chose to appoint.
There are elected municipal councils and development agencies that now must compete with another unelected, unaccountable body for face time with cabinet ministers.
And the problem is the premier’s fondness for unelected appointed boards is based on a miserably failed model. Councils were supposed to redefine our education system. Instead they elevated mistrust, been manipulated by government, lack transparency and accountability and most importantly done nothing to bring excellence to our classrooms.
Why would anyone want to repeat that record of lack of achievement?
Is there any chance the eastern council will demand government reverse attempts to force a multimillion wind project down the throat of Eastern Kings without adequately compensating the community? Of course not. Government doesn’t really want these councils to act, as much as it wants them to act in ways it supports. This is the history of education councils.
In reality creation of these councils probably has more to do with government’s agenda to dismantle both the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation and the Summerside and Area Development Corporation. Once again, rather than deal with the real issue, government confuses it.
From a political perspective this effort with not stop the growing public perception of underwhelming leadership. The premier expects recommendations by the end of the year on ‘strategic opportunities’ for each region as well as general advice to government. He talks as if PEI is the size of Ontario rather than a province that takes 2.5 hours to drive tip to tip.
Islanders look at the councils and say ‘This is it? This is all you’ve got?’ After 10 plus years in office this is the great idea? Even if they deliver a mysterious, never thought of before thunderbolt, credit won’t go to the guy who needs it most – Premier Wade MacLauchlan. He needs a win and this won’t do it because it is not broad based input. It is selective.
To change government’s downward trajectory the premier must deliver the bold leadership Islanders are starved for and expected of him. It means real action and real change now because the patience of Islanders for more idle chatter is whisper thin.
--Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Doug McKenzie-Mohr is an environmental psychologist, and author of Fostering Sustainable Behaviour. He writes the essay for the August 23rd Global Chorus anthology.
Humanity will make the transition to a sustainable future. Nature bats last and, ultimately, will dictate that we fully embrace sustainability. While we have no choice regarding whether we make this transition, we do have a choice regarding how gracefully we do so.
The grace with which we make this transition will be largely determined by how we envision the future. At present, we are rudderless. We have no compelling, broadly understood visions of a sustainable future. Without such foresight, how do we mobilize seven billion to work in concert? Without a clear understanding of what is to be gained, how do we build broad support for the difficult choices that need to be made? These shared visions must be both inspirational and collective in their origin. They must also clearly articulate a pathway from here to there.
Just as our collective actions presently undermine the world’s ecosystems, collective action catalyzed by shared purpose can heal not only the Earth, but also humanity. Who hasn’t been heartbroken by the gulf between what we know to be possible and what humanity has settled for? Acting with shared purpose can embolden the human spirit to expect and strive for more.
We can story our present circumstances as dire and intractable, and in so doing ensure the very future that we hope to avoid. Or, we can story our circumstances as dire but surmountable, and in so doing mobilize the very actions that sustainability requires. How we story this inevitable transition will in large part determine the grace with which we make it.
— Doug McKenzie-Mohr
August 22, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
This morning is the last of the Summer Breakfast Seminar Series with former MP David MacDonald:
Breakfast on big questions with former MP David MacDonald, 8-10AM, UPEI building on University Avenue. Topic this morning is: Is Reconciliation possible? Why do we need to ‘Unsettle the Settler’?
Sunday, August 27th:
Festival of Forests, 2-6PM, Macphail Woods Nature Centre, Orwell, $10/person or $25/family. Many activities. Funds raised going to non-profit activities at Macphail Woods.
For more information, call (902) 651-2575
or e-mail Daniel at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yesterday, the Supreme Court Justice issued the ruling in the expropriation compensation case of the Hughes-Jones Centre versus the P.E.I. Department of Transportation. The justice ruled to a settlement of close to $300,000 more that what the provincial government said they would pay.
The Province, which hired Spencer Campbell of the law firm Stewart McKelvey to make their case, has 30 days to decide to appeal the ruling.
The full ruling can be found here (I have skimmed just a bit, but it is very readable and very detailed):
Ellen Jones and company can now (tentatively -- depending on if there is an appeal) figure out how to do what they do in another bit of land in the same region.
Just having government get reminded that they really need to think before plotting more paved roads over what unpaved land we have would be a huge step. I am not sure if we are there, yet.
Frank Rotering is an economic and political thinker, and author of The Economics of Needs and Limits and Contractionary Revolution. Many points to consider on his website, here:
He wrote the August 22nd Global Chorus essay.
Humankind does have hope, but it is the limited hope of salvaging what remains of the biosphere, and it will require effective action rooted in historical imagination and political courage. With imagination we can envision a sustainable world beyond capitalism and socialism. With courage we will acknowledge that environmental reforms have failed, that time is running out, and that the only remaining choice is between revolutionary change and ecological catastrophe.
My proposed movement, contractionism, is a response to this reality. Its central tenet is that the core component of capitalism, which generates the system’s remorseless expansion, must be immediately replaced. For this purpose I have developed an economic framework called the Economics of Needs and Limits, or ENL. The application of ENL’s principles will result in the rapid contraction of the world’s bloated economies while satisfying human needs within natural limits.
The unavoidable consequence of this replacement is that capitalism will be historically superseded, a momentous shift that will be fiercely resisted by those in power. This is why contractionism is a revolutionary movement – one that seeks to
replace the current ruling class with a group dedicated to sustainable well-being. Such revolutions are particularly necessary in the rich capitalist countries. Their economies are causing the most severe environmental degradation, and must therefore be curtailed with the greatest urgency.
Social turmoil is not a valid argument against revolution because turmoil is now inevitable. In the absence of contractionary revolutions, escalating environmental degradation will cause social chaos as people – especially the poor – face increasing hunger and flee from the rising seas and unbearable heat. We are again faced with only one choice: between revolutionary disruption and a chance to solve the crisis, and non-revolutionary disruption and the certainty of ecological collapse.
The critical need today is for talented leaders to step forward and initiate these movements. An important strategy will be to redefine popular interests: to shift the focus from short-term consumption to long-term well-being. A crucial consideration will be to include conservatives as well as progressives. Business and justice, after all, are both impossible on a dead planet.
— Frank Rotering
August 21, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
In case you are near a computer and can't get out to see the bit of the solar eclipse today we get to see here, Carlo Hengst has kindly shared a super-duper list of livestreams he found:
Times for our regions are: starting about 2:30PM, peaking about 3:50 Peak, finishing up by 5PM. We get to see about 40% of a total eclipse. CBC is talking to the Physics Department person who is helping organize the public viewing at UPEI today.
Thursday, August 24th:
Peter Bevan-Baker's District 17 Summer Social, 6-8PM, Kingston Legion, which is actually in New Haven at the intersection of Highway 9 and the TCH.
Saturday, August 26th:
Elizabeth May AND Art in the Open
An Evening with Elizabeth May, 6:30-9PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.Tickets are $10. Federal Green Party leader, and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May, and music by singer-songwriters Alyssa Pridham and Laura-Beth. This is a fundraising social event.
Art in the Open, Main Event 4PM-midnight, Charlottetown.
In case you have a calendar for Fall hand -- Reserve the date:
Saturday, November 18th, 2017.
Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. AGM and Plan B Reunion, 7PM, Farm Centre.
This Fall marks five years since the Plan B highway construction began. What have we learned? What hasn't been learned? Join us for a night that's a bit of retrospective and a good bit of reunion and fun. All welcome.
Wes Jackson writes the August 21st essay for the anthology Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, which is edited by the multi-talented Island musician and writer Todd E. MacLean.
Wes Jackson is president emeritus of The Land Institute, which works toward sustainable agriculture. Truly sustainable agriculture.
There is a lot to read and explore on that website.
A friend and colleague of mine, the late Chuck Washburn, once said to me in a phone conversation:
“If we don’t get sustainability in agriculture first, it is not going to happen.”
I can’t accurately recount all of Chuck’s elaboration, but he did say at one point: “Agriculture ultimately has a discipline standing behind it. The material sector, the industrial sector has no discipline to call on.”
With industrial agriculture, featuring high fossil-fuel-based inputs, the role of the discipline is weak. When thinking about sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, the role of that discipline is strong. What is that discipline? It is the very broad discipline of ecology/evolutionary biology with the modern molecular synthesis.
With annual grains (responsible for 70 per cent of the calories we consume and grown on 70 per cent of the agricultural acreage) the opportunity for those processes of the wild, such as we find on prairies, to exist are greatly reduced. But with perennial grains on the horizon, we can imagine those processes being brought to the farm, making the promises of sustainability in agriculture within reach and by extension into the other sectors of society which currently has no discipline to draw upon.
— Wes Jackson
August 20, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
The Downtown Farmers' Market will be from 11AM-4PM today, lower Queen Street.
Morell Farmers' Market is also open (9AM -1PM). Apparently, Blum's sweet corn will be there, too (until it runs out), along with blueberries, and many other vegetable, bakery and other vendors.
Solar Eclipse Monday, August 21st:
Jay Scotland, who I gather is the new Compass weatherperson, gives a very fast discussion on what's safe to wear to look at the sun, and how to easily make a "pinhole camera" to project the sun's image onto another piece of cardstock or cereal box board. Sounds like the time we can see any bites out of the Sun here are between 2-5PM.
Another astronomy note: on Friday, September 1st, the asteroid "Florence Nightingale" will pass pretty darn close to the Earth, but not calculated to hit. NASA details here:
Well over 200 people attending the walk and rally yesterday to protest white supremacy and all forms of racism. It was a good to see so many people taking this issue very seriously and being encouraged to point it out at our workplaces and small gatherings and such. Thanks to the organizers and those who spoke so succinctly and eloquently.
Sarah Stewart-Clark lists some excellent media stories, and looks at some numbers on the 100 days #HowManyWade initiative. Here:
Another number to keep in mind is how many times our premier Wade MacLauchlan addressed us. That number is 0. I spent my time here on PEI in Stanhope, where our premier lives. I've walked at sunset along the same marshes that our premier posts pictures of sea lavender and lupins and I've walked by his home many times. A small body of water, Covehead Bay, seperates our two properties. But his silence on this issue made that bay seem like the Atlantic Ocean. To be fair- he did send his health minister in his place to our rally. But for me that fell far short of the response acceptable for a premier on an issue that is a crisis in the province. Especially when it turns out that he instead chose to attend an event one block from our rally. It was very tough to be so close geographically to our premier, but to feel like I was living on a separate planet when it came to leadership in our mental healthcare system. I urge all of you to remember at our next election that our premier chose to ignore the fact that mentally ill individuals were being failed by the system we pay for with our taxes. That when young mothers were being killed by their illness our premier remained silent. In 100 days he has never once spoken to me or to our 100 families who wrote letters to him. We usually rely on our premier to lead the direction our province. It is clear from this campaign that the premier does not value equitable healthcare for all islanders, he doesn't step forward and lead in a crisis and he did nothing to intervene when he became aware of major failures in our mental healthcare system.
--Sarah Stewart-Clark, August 19th, 2017, on the #HowManyWade Facebook group
That's pretty damning.
Tanya Ha is an Australian science journalist, a behaviour-change researcher, and author of Greeniology 2020 andGreen Stuff for Kids.
For me, it started with the gentle kicks of my unborn child. I had always loved Nature and had an interest in environmental issues, but the birth of my child extended this into my very soul. Suddenly, the vague, nebulous Future became her Future. I also found a new connection to the millions of other mothers in the world, the overwhelming majority of whom I will never meet. But I know they’re there, with the same love for their children.
I am one of the lucky ones to be born in Australia, with its high quality of life. Today we live in such a specialized and complicated world; it’s all too easy to disconnect from the consequences of our choices. We don’t necessarily live near the land that grew our food, see the labour conditions of factories that make our gadgets, or breathe the air polluted by power plants. But other mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters do; their children breathe that polluted air.
John F. Kennedy once said, “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” I remember this in my work teaching greener living to householders. The people I work with don’t always understand “carbon sequestration” or “environmental flows,” but they do understand fresh air, family and love.
I have choices that many other mothers in the world don’t have. We need to have the courage and compassion to make better choices and remember those who have so few. If you live and if you love, you have enough reasons to look after the planet. Our shared future depends on it.
— Tanya Ha
August 19, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Farmers' Markets today:
*O'Leary* (9AM-noon), O'Leary Legion Hall (new listing)
Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM)
New Glasgow, The Mill Restaurant parking lot (8AM-1PM)
Murray Harbour (9AM-noon)
Repair Cafe,10AM-4PM, Farm Centre, free.
Rally: Inaction is Not an Option: Resisting White Supremacy, gathering at 11AM, Coles Building (next to Province House on Grafton Street), or meet up with people at the 2017 numbers at the end of Queen Street.
Upstreet Block Party, 12noon - 10PM, rain or shine. Big music line-up and many activities, free. Facebook event details. Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project
Volunteer Afternoon, 1-4PM, Macphail Homestead, near Orwell. Come out and help expand our native plant arboretum, one of the most beautiful settings for native plants in the province.
Anyone interested in native plants, wildlife enhancement or Acadian forests is encouraged to attend. The plantings will be used in our educational activities for young and old. They will also improve wildlife habitat, increase biodiversity and provide future seed sources for both rare and common native plants.
The newest area of the arboretum already has large beds of swamp milkweed, yellow coneflower, wild rose, eastern hemlock – a whole range of beautiful plants. Eventually we would like to see most of the Island’s native plant species represented, highlighting the trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns of the Acadian forest region.
Macphail Woods staff will be on-site to lead the work and there will be lots of shovels and other tools available. Besides the planting, we will be weeding and mulching the existing beds, so there will be lots of opportunities to help.
This event is part of an extensive series of outdoor activities at Macphail Woods, a project of the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island. For more information on this or upcoming events, please call 651-2575, visit macphailwoods.org or check out our Facebook page.
The Veranda Café at the Macphail Homestead will be serving light lunch from noon to 3pm. Visitors can have a taste of the Macphail’s Scottish background using produce grown in the gardens on site.
I assume this will go ahead rain or shine but call if you are concerned.
From Laurent Beaulieu, an opinion piece in yesterday's Guardian:
An Expensive Betrayal - The Guardian Opinion piece by Laurent Beaulieu
Charlottetown's Water Front Master Plan will be nothing more than exercise in futility
Published on Friday, August 18th, 2017
Some years ago the City of Charlottetown developed, with the help of consultations with citizens, a Water Front Master Plan which was to be the way forward in opening up park land and access to the Hillsborough River.
It was to highlight our heritage as Birthplace of Confederation.
The land targeted for re-development was the old railway yards and dock area from Weymouth to Queen Street. The idea was to enhance Charlottetown with pleasing park-like settings following the urban development plans adopted globally by so many cities on major waterways.
The citizens of Charlottetown spoke clearly; they wanted a vast park and easy access to the river, with promenade and activities. This is all in the records.
Founder’s Hall was re-habilitated and turned into a museum at a multi-million dollar cost. The City of Quebec was involved in the Confederation Landing Park project to mark its participation in the Conferences of 1864. The old potato warehouse was transformed into a modern cruise ship terminal. There was great hope; yes things were moving in the right direction, that was the adopted plan in 2012.
Then, in the winter of 2015-16, suddenly the museum at Founder’s Hall closed without much fanfare. The building and surrounding parkland were put up for sale. The Round House Park and adjacent Founder’s Hall were sold at a discount price. The developer announced great plans in the spring of 2017; however that was not to be. Suddenly in June, “lots for sale” signs appeared on Round House Park. The possibility of building a seven-floor building is now very real.
The current (July 2017) Water Front Master Plan clearly identifies Round House Park as a park now and for the future, not a building site. This is all too ominous. Parkland giving us access to the river for our enjoyment, being turned into yet another condo and creating other urban problems. No city on a major waterway in the world would consider doing this.
Does Charlottetown still wish to promote its history and lifestyle? Why is this taking place in secrecy, ignoring the established Master Plan, without consultations?
We need to hear what the Mayor and City Council really thinks and what action they intend to take to protect our parks and riverfront. Otherwise the Water Front Master Plan will be nothing more than an exercise in futility, and an expensive betrayal of the wishes of taxpayers. Charlottetown will have lost a major opportunity.
- Laurent Beaulieu of Charlottetown is Docent at Government House, and at the Art Gallery of the Confederation Centre and a former diplomat of the Canadian Foreign Service
Don Gayton , who writes the August 19th Global Chorus essay, is an ecologist and author of works including Man Facing West, Interwoven Wild and Kokanee. He was a visiting writer-in-residence at UPEI in 2014 for a short period. Here is an archive of an interview he did with Karen Mair on Mainstreet, with a recording of their conversation. I could not get the player to work correctly but perhaps you will have better luck.
Here in North America, we revel in unlimited and nearly free access to energy and automobiles. Right from the 1950s, it has been a rollicking fun trip. Without realizing it, we became addicted; people, business, governments, society. But the initial high has now worn off, and our petroleum drug of choice is getting expensive. A grim list of unpleasant side effects are kicking in. Who knew that cars and their fossil fuels could melt glaciers, ruin cities and change climates?
Getting off drugs is profoundly difficult, but at least the individual user is surrounded by an unaddicted population. With petroleum, we are all junkies. Our governments and businesses pimp the addiction. We now fracture the Earth, scrape buried tar sands and weld enormous injectable pipelines to support our habit. We happily deal our drug to other countries. The refineries are tucked away, and the actual product is cleverly hidden. We don’t ever see or touch or feel the actual substance, only the side effects. A climate is sacrificed on the altar of a massively selfish consumption quest, one which delivers less satisfaction with each coming day. As nations we are drug-addicted teenagers, willing to throw our planet away for the sake of that momentary energy rush. We kill agriculture to build soulless suburbs and then perform high-speed commutes through carbon-enhanced air in 300-horse gas pigs on endless high-maintenance asphalt ribbons to clog cities with dead parkades and angry gridlock.
Who can stand and acknowledge this?
Who can stand at all?
— Don Gayton
August 18, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM, Old train station.
The Gold Cup and Saucer Parade runs from about 9AM-noon, with Chief Brian Francis of Abegweit First Nation as Grand Marshall.
Today and tomorrow -- last two days:
Noon Young Company Show: The Dream Catchers, 12noon, Confederation Centre Amphitheatre (moved inside if rainy). Really amazing hour-long storytelling, singing, dancing. Very moving.
Saturday, August 19th:
March and Rally -- "Inaction is not an option: Resisting white supremacy in PEI", 11AM, gathering at Coles Building (Grafton Street, not Richmond Street side) and walking to Queen Street and down to the big 2017 numbers for a few speeches.
Repair Cafe, 10AM-4PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. "Repair Café Charlottetown aims to be a little smaller <than the huge Fix It Fair was> and more frequent but the idea is just the same - neighbours helping neighbours to learn how to fix their broken belongings." from: Facebook event details
August 19th and Sunday, August 20th:
Panmure Island PowWow, Grand Entry at 1PM,
More details here: http://www.panmureisland.com/pow-wow.html
(The Lennox Island PowWow is next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 25, 26 and 27, and the Charlottetown Pow Wow was last week.)
An article from CBC Arts from June:
Point of View: How to be an ally during pow wow season
Catherine Hernandez and Waawaate Fobister share advice for non-Indigenous folks joining in the celebrations
Sara E. Anderson is the senior adviser for advocacy and innovation at ReSurge International, which provides "reconstructive surgical care for poor children and adults who lack access and builds surgical capacity in devleoping countries. She wrote the August 18th Global Chorus essay. The last paragraph is particularly prescriptive and helpful.
In global health, some issues disproportionally get more attention than others. The attention and the resources that follow are not based strictly on need, severity, or even interventions available. They are based on which health challenges receive the most political will. For example in low-income countries, HIV/AIDS represents 5.7 per cent of the mortality burden and receives 47.2 per cent of the health funding in those countries. All of the other causes of death combined (94.3 per cent) receive 52.8 per cent of the health funding. So one disease, albeit a terrible one, gets almost half of all funding, while all other diseases and health conditions compete for the remainder.
This insightful research is Dr. Jeremy Shiffman’s of American University, and it rings true in my work advocating for neglected humanitarian issues. For the last five years, I have been advocating for the forgotten global health crisis of burns. Nearly 11 million people worldwide are burned annually and more women worldwide are severely burned each year than are diagnosed with HIV and TB combined, according to the World Health Organization’s estimate.
However, the U.S. government has yet to devote any foreign assistance funding for burn prevention or burn treatment. We are working to change that, with some minor success, because vulnerable people without access to adequate healthcare should not have to suffer disabilities or life-threatening injuries caused by severe burns.
This advocacy work relates to environmental issues in that both are issues Westerns rarely see or have to face the consequences of – yet. Even for me, who travels to the developing world often, it is hard to grasp a world with limited resources, with half of the population still using open fires for cooking, heating and lighting – when abundance surrounds my daily life.
But I remain hopeful. The political will to combat environmental degradation has been building for years. Although naysayers remain, many are working in their small ways to make a difference, whether it be recycling, consuming less or investing in new eco-friendly technologies. The solution lies in making those small ways expand exponentially to make dramatic and sustainable changes that will allow the next generations to flourish as we have.
— Sara E. Anderson
August 17, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Everyone is welcome to stop by the Farm Centre Market, 4-8PM, at 420 University Avenue, tonight.
A recent article from the business news publishers Bloomberg:
Monsanto Was Its Own Ghostwriter for Some Safety Reviews - Bloomberg online article by Peter Waldman, Tiffany Stecker and Joel Reosenblatt
Published on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017, on-line at Blomberg.com
"Monsanto started an agricultural revolution with its “Roundup Ready” seeds, genetically modified to resist the effects of its blockbuster herbicide called Roundup. That ability to kill weeds while leaving desirable crops intact helped the company turn Roundup’s active ingredient, the chemical glyphosate, into one of the world’s most-used crop chemicals. When that heavy use raised health concerns, Monsanto noted that the herbicide’s safety had repeatedly been vetted by outsiders. But now there’s new evidence that Monsanto’s claims of rigorous scientific review are suspect."
(rest of article at link above)
Lamberto Zannier, former secretary general of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, writes the August 17th Global Chorus essay.
The world has changed dramatically in recent decades. At the same time that traditional threats persist – most prominently poverty and armed conflict – we have seen a re-emergence of dividing lines along ideologies and religions and the rise of new global challenges. Confronting the impact of climate change, managing limited natural resources, addressing population growth and reducing the impact of human activities on wildlife and biodiversity – to name just a few interlinked challenges – are all issues that require global solutions.
Important ethical considerations come to mind. Though we have reached an unprecedented level of development, the benefits of progress are unevenly shared across nations and within states. Environmental and social concerns, coupled with the global financial crisis, have revived calls to make development sustainable and to address growing inequalities in the distribution of wealth and resources.
Today, leadership is needed to look beyond short-term political agendas and address difficult global issues for which no silver bullet exists. As people claim their right to play a role in decisions that affect their future and that of their children, global leaders must meet their expectations by adopting participatory and inclusive processes that ensure their voices are heard.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) offers a vehicle for finding common ground and a platform for dialogue not only among States but also with civil society, academia and youth. Although our 57 participating states have different perspectives and sometimes conflicting priorities, by engaging constructively in the OSCE, their leaders can demonstrate their readiness to work together to deliver what was promised to their citizens in the Helsinki Final Act in 1975 – peace, security and justice.
The OSCE experience provides a hopeful example of the fruitfulness of political courage. In the midst of the Cold War, leaders of states with profound ideological differences dared to sit together at the same table and engaged in a dialogue to prevent a new war. The same spirit is needed today, leaving zero-sum games aside, in facing urgent challenges that threaten our security and possibly even our survival.
— Lamberto Zannier
August 16, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
"Let's Chat about PEI's 2018 Municipal Elections!", 6-9PM, Central Christian Church, 223 Kent Street. All welcome. from the event notice:
There's been a lot of talk about next year's municipal elections here on PEI! If you're interested in municipal government, municipal politics, running as a candidate or working on a campaign, this meeting may be a helpful place to share, learn, and ask questions.
Co-hosted and supported by the PEI Coalition for Women in Government, this get-together aims to give space for folks to share their thoughts, concerns, and experiences re: municipal politics. We'll then try to take those thoughts and move forward with some visioning - what SHOULD municipal politics look like? What COULD our municipalities accomplish with more diverse representation in its council? Where do we all go from here? We hope to identify barriers and challenges, but also forge connections and find ways to address those barriers together. <snip>
Talks to "renegotiate" NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) are apparently going to begin soon, and while there is a huge amount of rhetoric about it from some of the countries involved, one thing for Canadians is that the environmental qualifications in it could be strengthened.
You can sign a letter written by the Sierra Club of Canada, here:
Thanks to Tony Reddin, the Atlantic Canada for pointing this out.
An interesting personal account in last week's Eastern Graphic:
IRAC has a mandate to follow - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor
Published on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
In your editorial in the August 2nd Graphic “Where are the Big Ideas?”, I wish to dispute your statement- “that many farms were growing over have been purchased by new Islanders taking advantage of the fact that Islanders were not rushing to buy them.”
I am aware of several farms in the local area which were sold without being advertised as I understand is the law. I am also aware of some local farmers who were wishing to purchase these farms, but before they even knew they were on the market they were bought by off-Island people.
One large parcel of land not far from you was purchased, but the buyer did not adhere to the regulation of residing on the Island.
It is quite evident to me, as well as to the farming community, that the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) does not follow the rules as laid out in its mandate.
It is clearly stated under the Land Protection Act that a non-resident or corporation must include in their application details of recent advertising of the land by the local real estate market.
Hope this first hand information is of interest to you, as this practise is very detrimental to an already struggling agriculture industry.
a life time farmer
Jamie Henn is the co-founder and strategic communications director of 350.org, and writes the August 15th Global Chorus essay. The 350.org website has so much information.
Here is a photo of Jamie Henn and friends from the 2009 Youth Conference in Denmark as part of the COP15. Photo by Robert Van Waarden and used with permission. Robert is an Islander and internationally-acclaimed photographer documenting climate change and profiling people affected by it. http://vanwaardenphoto.com/
Richard Graves, Jamie Henn and Joe Sampson in 2009. Photo by Robert Van Waarden
Four years ago, a group of college friends and I helped co-found the international climate campaign 350.org with author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. Our dream was to unite a new type of global campaign to solve the climate crisis – an “open-source” movement that could involve people from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, no matter their class, gender or religious affiliation.
We decided to name our effort after the number 350 because according to the latest science, 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (right now, the atmosphere contains over 392 ppm). The figure 350 was a clear line in the sand, a north star that we could only reach if we united as a global community.
On October 24, 2009, our network came together for the first time in a massive, global day of climate action that connected over 5,200 events in 182 countries. CNN called it “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.” The events ranged from more than 10,000 schoolchildren marching in the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to one lone woman holding a 350 banner in Babylon, Iraq. Together, we’ve gone on to organize more than 15,000 demonstrations worldwide.
Our movement to solve the climate crisis will never have the money of the fossil fuel industry that stands in our way, so we’ll have to find a different currency to work in. At 350.org, that currency has been our creativity, spirit and unwavering commitment to a sustainable future. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a movement is beginning to be born.
— Jamie Henn
August 15, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Some events today:
Breakfast and big questions (this week is about racism) with David MacDonald, 8AM, UPEI building on University Avenue. Free
Action on GM Salmon, 11:30AM-12:30PM, corner of Water and Queen Streets. All welcome to hand out leaflets or just show your concerns about GM salmon already being sold in Canada without consumers knowing, and the plans for a production factory in Rollo Bay.
"The Current" from CBC yesterday discussed this issue and the link (when found) will be shared.
Efficiency PEI's Electric Vehicle Tour (last tour planned), all day, various locations in Kings County:
8:30AM: Stratford - Charging on Sheppard Drive
9:40AM: Cardigan - Irving Parking Lot
10:15AM: Georgetown - Daryl's General Store
11:10AM: Montague - Marina, Charging on Station Road
2:30PM: Murray River - Millstone Grill
News of the resignation of Health PEI CEO Michael Mayne was released by the government in not just one but two press releases from the ample resources at "Communications and Public Engagement PEI". The second was primarily expanded quotes or "statements" from the Premier and Health Minister. (Links in the text)
Sarah Stewart-Clark of "#HowManyWade" spoke on CBC's morning program yesterday:
about the 100 days campaign to bring awareness to the issues with provincial mental health services.
Another tireless advocate about quality health care, in particular access to care across the province, from Alan MacPhee:
Time to tell the true facts - The Eastern Graphic article by Alan MacPhee
Published on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017, in The East Prince Graphic
By the general direction of government it appears leadership doesn’t want to let the facts get in the way of a good story.
The unofficial, yet official, directive by provincial government leadership to only communicate ‘good news’ is most disturbing.
This is a deliberate effort to leave out facts that do not fit a desired narrative. It is a deliberate attempt to ignore certain inconvenient truths. It is an effort to mislead. It is fake news, in a word – it is deceit. Though deceit has been part of political behaviour ever since there has been politics, when leaders issue a directive and that directive is promoted by government functionaries, it is in a realm beyond being slippery; this behaviour undermines the love of truth which is a cornerstone of democratic principles, of justice and of religious and ethical observance.
Government functionaries promoting such fakery, deserve our pity but certainly not our subservience. We must refuse this polyanna of deceit of half news and insist as in Anne of Green Gables for ‘the facts, the facts, the facts.”
For instance, Health PEI tells us and expects us to believe PEI ranks as one of the best in the country with 85 per cent of people having a doctor versus 75 per cent in Canada. Yep, its good news if you say it often enough however, it is not true.
Health PEI fails to tell you that PEI has consistently had the lowest number of doctors per 1000 patients in the country, which leads to being among the worst wait times to see a doctor. Instead of hiring more doctors, the province is assigning nurse practitioners, who though valuable, have a limited capability. Health PEI doesn’t tell you that it is limiting patient visitation to doctors or that mental health resources are grossly inadequate or that Health PEI is continually losing specialists and key medical directors because the administration system is broken. Health PEI doesn’t tell you that it has an administration cost three times the national average yet PEI has the lowest per capita spending on healthcare in Canada.
Health PEI tells us there are only 4500 people on the patient registry and that it is meaningful and working. However, there is more than double the amount of people waiting for a doctor but Health PEI has ‘parked’ them instead of listing them so they do not count. It is a sleight of fact that only Health PEI or an imaginative four-year-old could concoct.
By their own admission, Health PEI patient registry reports have over double the people listed as needing a doctor. The registry is beyond fake news, it is just fake, yet Health PEI management insists on painting its picture with these half truths.
The provincial government will eventually be confronted by Abe Lincoln’s “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Leadership and management must change its approach to reporting facts or we must change our leadership and management. If not our souls, then at the very least, our society depends upon it. In this instance, not only we can do better, we must do better.
-- Alan E.MacPhee, Chairman, Islandwide Hospital Access
Maren and Jan Enkelmann are the authors of Happiness: How the World Keeps Smiling
Why it is more likely to live a happy and fulfilled life after surviving a life-threatening accident than after winning the lottery? In either case you are facing circumstances you hadn’t and weren’t prepared for. However, those who almost lost their lives are much more likely to reassess what’s truly important to them and pour all their energy into it. The lucky winners who should be able to realize all their wildest dreams often lose sight of the essentials as life suddenly gets a lot more complicated.
Is there something to be learned from the way human beings are able to focus their energies when faced with a major crisis?
As the world today is facing countless challenges – climate change, migration, poverty, shrinking natural resources, the banking system – fewer and fewer people seem bothered to even vote or take an active part in society. The issues appear too big and too complex to even contemplate how to come to grips with them.
But in order to tackle the global issues we need people to take on these challenges on a level that’s relevant to them and take pride in playing their part. Like the accident survivor gains strength and focus from a profound personal experience, engaging ourselves in matters that we can actively help to improve might just give us the power to change the world.
— Maren Kleinert and Jan Enkelmann
August 14, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
A few events coming up this week:
Public Meeting on Three Rivers Municipality amalgamation plans, 7PM, Dunderave Room Rodds Brudenell River Resort. People who live in unincorporated areas in the proposed zone are invited.
Teresa Doyle & Pat Bunston with Emilee Sorrey at the Trailside Cafe, 8-10PM, Trailside Cafe, Mount Stewart. "Teresa Doyle, a vocal explorer with a passion for seeking new textures and tapestries to her sound and music, will play Trailside Cafe with her son Patrick Bunston accompanying her....Her repertoire reflects her journey but is always firmly rooted in the Celtic music and stories of her native Prince Edward Island. Emilee Sorrey will open the show with her honest, unapologetic songwriting that will wash over you, creating sweet airy melodies anchored by crisp performance. For tickets contact Trailside Cafe at 902-394-3626 or visit http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1492718
Tuesday, August 15th:
Tuesday UPEI breakfast seminar with David MacDonald, 8-10AM, UPEI's upcampus building, 618 University Avenue. Free.
Topic: Why Racism? Its Roots and Branches—‘The African Condition’ meets ‘Black Lives Matter’
Registration requested: email <email@example.com>, or call (902) 894-2852
Join Us: GM Salmon Action in PEI, 11:30AM-12:30PM, corner of Queen and Water Streets, downtown Charlottetown. Facebook event details.
Wednesday, August 16th:
"Let's Chat about PEI's 2018 Municipal Elections", 6-9PM, Central Christian Church.
Photography Exhibition Opening: The Secret Language of Trees, 7-9PM, The Guild (art gallery, lower level)
Runs until August 27th. Photography by Light Weaver Photographic Art photographer Mireille Poirier. From the event description:
I adore our little Island paradise home. In every season I love capturing the light and glory of nature's bounty. Please join me in celebrating PEI's beauty at The Guild on August 16th, from 7-9pm for a viewing of my photography. All proceeds of sales will benefit the Dr. Jane Goodall Grove, at Stratford Elementary School. The show runs from August 16th, until the 27th. All photos and installations are for sale.
This is a two year old CBC article being recirculated recently on social media, about what amalgamation effects were on some parameters for unincorporated areas in Ontario, commissioned from the Fraser Institute. Basically, promised cost-savings and efficiencies didn't happen. The link to the report is in the article.
Here are some good Monday morning words, especially after the week that was in our world.
Moh Hardin is the author of A Little Book of Love: Heart Advice to Bring Happiness to Ourselves and Our World. He writes the August 14th Global Chorus essay.
How we move forward cannot depend on one spiritual tradition, economy, or political system, but rather should depend on who we feel we are, both personally and socially. What is the nature of humans and society? In this light, human nature is the most important global issue.
— Shambhala Principle, Sakyong Mipham
We live in a time of tremendous doubt about the goodness of human nature, and with good reason. Acts of cruelty and random violence make big news weekly. We are bombarded by bad. From a bigger point of view, however, these are relatively random acts that exist in a sea of goodness – human society. With all its flaws, human society could not exist and flourish on Earth if its nature had not been basically good from the beginning: caring, with the ability to communicate and co-operate with each other. When a baby is born, their very survival depends on human goodness. This goodness is more basic than good versus bad.
We can reconnect with this basic goodness by reflecting on our own humanity, our human experience, right now. Slow down, soften and touch our aliveness. Appreciate that we can see, hear sounds, smell, taste and touch our world. Awaken to our humanity. It’s simple and profound. It doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, being human is our common experience. Slow down, soften and touch.
Because human nature is basically good, I think that humanity has a very good chance to find its way through our current crises. But it is not guaranteed. We can help create the conditions we need to survive on this planet now, in this “every” moment, by awakening to our humanity.
What would this look like? It would look like the Global Chorus. It would look like what so many people are already doing: investing creativity, energy, vision and money into innovation and international communication between people. It would look like networks of people aware of themselves and their interconnectivity with everything else, networks of connectivity working together. It would look like a society whose foremost principle is bringing forth the basic goodness of humanity.
— Moh Hardin
August 13, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Water Walk at Government Pond, part of The Water Story Tour, 1:30PM, Government Pond by Victoria Park, rain or shine, free.
Today, PC Leadership candidate Brad Trivers is in West Prince:
District 25, 26, 27 PC Family Social, 2-4PM, Bloomfield Park, (38093 Route 2, Bloomfield).
It's also the birthday of Gary Larson, cartoonist of the cartoons The Far Side.
Article in Crixeo on-line
and here is an active facebook page
An excerpt from a recent posting by the group's founder, Sarah Stewart-Clark, in response to government press releases and ads citing new doctors:
An inappropriate for Sunday -- but typical of his humour -- comic from the archives of The Far Side, by Gary Larson.
Not funny at all:
The #HowManyWade group highlights the stresses in Island families trying to find help for their loved ones' mental health issues in a stressed system. There are just a few days more in its 100 days' campaign sharing stories from Islanders, and requesting a clear list of items which would certainly make a difference.
The stories are shocking, both for the intense suffering being shared, and for the repetition of disconnect in the system.
PEI recruited the most doctors in 2017 - only 1 of them was in psychiatry. Our province hit an all time low with the psychiatrist numbers dropping to 10 for most of the year. We now sit at 11. We do not have a child psychiatrist in Charlottetown. The Canadian Medical Association recommends that based on our population size we should have 17 psychiatrists in the province.
So the government is bragging that they recruited the most ever doctors in 2017. Where's the graphic for losing the most psychiatrists ever as a province?
Also from the Group:
Everyday for the next 100 days we'll be releasing stories of 100 families who have been failed by your government. Each week we will release our list of items we need to be changed within the next 100 days.
1.We need more nurses with psychiatric training in the ERs in PEI
2. We need a mobile mental health crisis team
3. We need our islanders with mental illness to be moved out of ERs and into appropriate psychiatric units.
4. We need a child psychiatrist practising in person in Charlottetown
5. We need a suicide prevention strategy implemented in PEI.
6. We need PEI to have a serious conversation about child molestation and develop a strategy to help survivors.
7. We need more therapists in the public system -especially those trained in trauma.
8. We need a child advocate
9. We need a full complement of 15-17 psychiatrists practising on PEI
You can request to join the Facebook group, link here:
Lee Gerdes is the author of Limitless You: The Inﬁnite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain, and founder and former CEO of Brain State Technologies He writes this very relevant Global Chorus essay.
Trauma is not individually experienced today. In fact, horrendous trauma is shared with millions of people worldwide as soon as it happens. Whether experienced personally, vicariously though a close friend, or even experienced remotely via a news report – every trauma adds a drop of stress to our system. Our brains are reservoirs for trauma. In a world more connected, more immediate and more open than ever, the downpour of trauma into our brains is torrential.
The full impact of trauma on brain function is only beginning to be understood. The traumatized brain slips into patterns of overactivation. Even after the traumatic incident has passed, the brain can remain in these overactivated patterns. The brain overactivation may manifest as “striking out” or “running away,” if the trauma has been collected in the fight–flight or sympathetic response mechanism of the brain. Or the overactivation may manifest as “freezing in despair” if the trauma has been collected in the parasympathetic response mechanism of the brain. Trauma overactivation may happen suddenly or it may accumulate over time – drop by drop, little by little. We each seem uniquely limited in our capacity to withstand trauma. Yet, where trauma is most severe, most persistent and most widespread, all people in a community experience the brain overactivation. Community fear, war and/or political chaos is the likely result. Humanity needs help to release both the individual and the collective effects of trauma. Such a process is based on individuals recovering balance and harmony in brain patterns. Diets built more on plant-based foods, together with exercise, quiet times, communing with Nature, and most importantly, a means to directly balance seriously overactivated brains, will enable humanity to evolve beyond the chaos produced from trauma.
Nothing in the world, I feel, is more important for the survival of humanity. As the leader of Brain State Technologies I am dedicated to finding a solution to mitigate trauma in an affordable manner for a significant part of humanity.
— Lee Gerdes
August 12, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Farmers' Markets today:
Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM)
New Glasgow, The Mill Restaurant parking lot (8AM-1PM)
Murray Harbour (9AM-noon)
Some recent notes on the provincial PC leadership race:
James Aylward had a race (a horse race) at Old Home Week last night called The James Alyward Leadership Pace. (Old Home Week runs a full week and has a lot going on, including demonstrations daily at 2:30PM featuring local, organic food.)
Brad Trivers is traveling the Island, in Georgetown today at a fundraising breakfast and then Cloggeroo. A trip to town for the Connaught Square Social this afternoon, and tonight the Acadian Festical in Souris. More details.
If you cross paths with these leadership candidates or your MLAs at any of these summer events, consider mentioning electoral reform, digging into the PNP concerns, etc.
More events coming up:
Sunday, August 13th:
Rediscovering Governor's Pond, 1:30-4:30PM, near the entrance to Victoria Park.
An interpretive walk around Governors Pond and a painting session to capture the experience is the inaugural event of The Water Story Tour.
Tuesday, August 15th:
Join us: GM Salmon Salmon Action in PEI, 11:30AM-12:30PM, corner of Water and Queen Streets, Charlottetown. From the event details:
Join us to alert people they may unknowingly be eating GM salmon. We'll be at the corner of Queen Street and Water Street with a banner and leaflets to hand out on the sidewalk. It was just discovered that the US company AquaBounty sold almost 5 tonnes of unlabelled GM salmon to unsuspecting Canadians, with no public notification or product announcement. Canadians are now the first people in the world to have eaten a GM animal commercially produced for human consumption. The eggs for this GM salmon are produced in PEI and AquaBounty wants to build a GM fish factory in Rollo Bay, PEI.
Member groups of Islanders Say No to Frankenfish are: Earth Action, Council of Canadians-PEI Chapter, Mackillop Centre for Social Justice.
As mentioned above, each day from 2:30-3:30PM at the provincial exhibition, the Certified Organic Producers Cooperative is sponsoring a cooking demonstration, utilizing a CSA box of vegetables. However, Wednesday, August 16th will be Amy Smith and Verena Varga from Heartbeet Organics, demonstrating brining vegetables.
Amy and Verena from Heartbeet Organics are profiled by Andy Walker in the most recent Island Farmer newspaper:
Small farming on a commercial scale - Island Farmer article by Andy Walker
Published on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
The first impression of Heart Beet Organics can be deceptive.
With two greenhouses and a wide variety of plants under cultivation, it has to be bigger than an acre and a half. However, Amy Smith and Verena Varga have learned to make the most of every available centimeter of space since they set up their operation in Darlington back in 2010. Their vegetable farm was one of the stops on a tour recently organized by the PEI Organic Producers Cooperative.
Small scale agriculture is a growing trend in the country but the owners of Heart Beet Organics don't consider themselves trendsetters. Their goal from day one was to be successful farmers, not just environmentally and socially but also economically. "We grow almost every vegetable you can grow in this climate," Amy said. "Some, like ginger, are grown in the greenhouse."
That is no idle boast. They have over 40 different kinds of vegetables under production, with over 200 varieties including heirloom vegetables which are uniquely coloured. They offer veggie pick-up at the farm and also sell their products at the Charlottetown Farmers Market.
The farm uses insect netting and plastic barriers to protect the crops and Verena noted they used raised beds to help with the soil structure. Amy adds it has been a learning curve, noting "the first year we lost all our tomatoes to blight." That curve also extended to what the marketplace wants, joking "we didn't grow yellow beans the first year and we never made that mistake again."
"We are too small to get crop insurance so our insurance is to grow as diverse a crop as possible," Amy said. For example, they have learned the key to controlling blight is to make sure the foliage is kept relatively dry. Amy noted a couple of the years ago, a conventional potato grower nearby had blight but it did not impact their farm.
They both noted the rise in small farming across the country means there are a number of tools (most of them hand held although they do have a small gas power machine with some attachments to perform a number of farm tasks.)"I would estimate that about 95 per cent of the tomatoes we grow, we save our own seed for," Verena said.
One of their most popular products is proving to be Kombucha, a fermented tea drink that has been popular in Asia for centuries but is now just starting to catch on in North America. They sell the tea at the Charlottetown Farmers Market, as well as at My Plum My Duck and Timothy’s World Coffee in Charlottetown.
They make the tea in stainless steel wine vats and Verena said the demand is growing steadily. The drink claims a number of health benefits including boosting the immune system, better digestion and high levels of vitamins B and C.
Dr. Nancy Knowlton writes the August 12th Global Chorus entry. Here is a great biography of her from from the Smithsonian Institution Ocean Portal website:
(She) is the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and a scientific leader of the Census of Marine Life. She wrote the book Citizens of the Sea, to celebrate the ten years of the Census. She founded the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego. Knowlton has devoted her life to studying, celebrating, and striving to protect the multitude of life-forms that call the sea home. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.
Half-way between Tahiti and Hawaii lie the Southern Line Islands. Too remote to be a commercially viable destination, and too small or harsh to support self-sustaining human settlements on land, they teem below the surface of the waves with sharks, snappers and turtles swimming amongst a profusion of living coral. To go there, as I did recently, is to travel back in time, to a planet only lightly touched by people. Yes, the water is both warmer and more acidic, but these communities still thrive because they are protected from the day-to-day traumas of habitat demolition, rapacious harvesting and sickening pollution. The message is simple – it is not, yet, too late.
It can be hard to remember that there is still hope for this damaged but far from dead planet that we share with millions of other life forms. In years past, my husband and I, jokingly referred to as Drs. Doom and Gloom, trained our students, future doctors of the planet, to write ever more refined obituaries of Nature. Yet human medicine, despite the fact that in the end there is always an obituary, is underpinned by hope. And so began a search for ocean success stories. In fact, there are many, and not just in wealthy countries with resources to spare. Yet, most conservation practitioners we met initially seemed unaware that progress was being made. We were once even told that a day-long program focused on ocean success stories would be impossible to fill. But that is changing.
Most success stories begin with one or a few individuals unwilling to take “No” for an answer. They energize others to band together to establish protected areas, manage resources sustainably, restore devastated seascapes and reduce the flow of damaging chemicals into the ocean. Some use the power of art to inspire action. In the end, these efforts promote not just healthy oceans, but also human well-being.
Conservation successes make compelling stories because they are centred on people rather than tables or graphs. They need to be told, so that success can breed more success. So when someone asks you if there is hope, share this African proverb: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.”
— Nancy Knowlton
August 11, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
The Cardigan Farmers' Market is open today from 10AM-2PM.
Saturday, August 12th:
Breakfast in Georgetown with PC Leadership Candidate Brad Trivers, 10-11AM, Georgetown Inn, Georgetown. Cost is $25 and reservations can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org or (902) 218-3852
Wednesday, August 16th:
"Let's Chat About PEI's 2018 Municipal Elections!", 6-9PM, Central Christian Church, 223 Kent St. Free.
from the media release
There's been a lot of talk about next year's municipal elections here on PEI! If you're interested in municipal government, municipal politics, running as a candidate or working on a campaign, this meeting may be a helpful place to share, learn, and ask questions.
Co-hosted and supported by the PEI Coalition for Women in Government, this get-together aims to give space for folks to share their thoughts, concerns, and experiences re: municipal politics.
We'll then try to take those thoughts and move forward with some visioning - what SHOULD municipal politics look like? What COULD our municipalities accomplish with more diverse representation in its council? Where do we all go from here?
We hope to identify barriers and challenges, but also forge connections and find ways to address those barriers together.
For those looking for concrete, detailed strategic planning for candidacy or campaigns, future events held by the Coalition will look to support and address those needs. This particular meeting will be more about sharing, learning and connecting the dots. Think of it as a first step for many of us.
All genders, ages, wards/districts, etc. are welcome! We have done our best to ensure that the venue is fully physically accessible. If you require support for either travel or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact Dawn (902-218-2184). There is no need to register, just come as you are the night of the event. There will be light snacks and we encourage you to bring a water bottle. Facebook event listing.
David Suzuki writes a column on the significance of the federal Standing Committee's report recommending the federal government formalize the right to a healthy environment. The whole column is here.
His team has created a webpage with a form you can enter your postal code and have a message of support sent to your MP.
The straightforward action:
Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra is an Argentinian conservationist and plant ecologist who currently is a professor at University of California and Director of the UC Institute for Mexico and the United States. He writes the August 11th Global Chorus essay.
My lifelong friend Enriqueta Velarde spends every spring studying seabirds in Isla Rasa, a small flat island in the Gulf of California. Single-handedly, alone in the remote island, she has done that for over thirty years. Through her research, she has restored the health of the island and saved two species, the Elegant Tern and the Heermann’s Gull, from almost certain extinction. She is a hero.
Fifteen years ago, analyzing her painstakingly collected data set, we found that when the equatorial currents slow down, marine productivity collapses and the birds cannot find enough sardines to feed their chicks, which die tragically in their own nests. The fact that the speed of ocean currents twelve thousand miles away could predict the fate of a million seabird chicks was for me an epiphany, a sudden revelation of the deep intricate nature of the biosphere. The complex ecological processes that drive life in our planet were much more connected than I had ever realized before. I understood vividly that the Earth has processes that bin d all life together, and in the small Isla Rasa we could fathom the pulse of the biosphere.
Since then, my research changed, and so did my view of life. I became much more interested in understanding the enigmatic connections between the land and the sea, and devoted much more of my time and efforts to advancing conservation science; because, how can we allow Nature to be destroyed if we don’t even know the impact this destruction will have on the continuity of life on Earth?
— Exequiel Ezcurra
August 10, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
The Farm Centre Market is open today, 4-8PM, Farm Centre at 420 University Avenue. Much Island goodness to be had.
It wasn't Island goodness to hear chef Michael Smith announce yesterday that genetically modified foods should be embraced. About a decade ago, Smith showed so much vision in urging P.E.I. to become organic; and as GM foods are not permitted in most organic certifications, something has convinced him to change his mind. The idea that high input salmon is going to be a big part of feeding an overpopulated world is an argument often put forward by those making money on the technology or production.
(Smith also said that there should be better labeling, but that's very likely not to be embraced as easily. Food labeling that helps consumers make nutritional choices does seem to improve over time, due to much health- and consumer-groups advocacy, but labeling which informs consumers on other aspects often has deep-pocketed lobbying pushing against it.) CBC News on-line article
The provincial and federal governments and the groups one can guess have their ear must be quite delighted in this "catch", but many feel with a sense of misgiving that he's been caught, hook, link and sinker.
Public comments on a national food policy are still being accepted until August 31st here.
Earlier yesterday I was trying to find an on-line version of an Associate Press story that was on the back page of the Life section of The Guardian on Saturday, August 6th, just above a beautiful ad for the theatrical production of Glenda's Kitchen.
The story was printed in many newspapers (completely unchanged for local audiences except for the headline), and here it is (bold is mine):
Canada OKs Idaho Company's Genetically Engineered Potatoes - Associated Press article by Ketih Ridler
Published in early August 2017, various media sources
BOISE, Idaho – Three types of potatoes genetically engineered by an Idaho company to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine are safe for the environment and safe to eat, Canadian officials said Thursday.
The approval by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency means the J.R. Simplot Co. potatoes can be imported, planted and sold in Canada.
The company said it received approval letters from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the last several days. Health Canada spokeswoman Renelle Briand confirmed the approvals to The Associated Press on Thursday.
“We have no objection to the sale of food derived from J.R. Simplot Company’s” potatoes for human consumption, Karen McIntyre, director general of Health Canada, said in a letter sent on July 28 to the company.
Canadian officials in two other letters sent on Monday approved the environmental release of planting the potatoes and using the potatoes for livestock feed. Misshapen potatoes not considered top quality are used to feed livestock.
The three varieties of potato — the Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic — were approved by U.S. regulatory agencies in February.
The approval by Canada means the two nations can import and export with each other the potatoes that contain a gene resistant to late blight that led to the Irish potato famine.
The company said the potatoes contain only potato genes and that the resistance to late blight comes from an Argentine variety of potato that naturally produced a defence.
J.R. Simplot spokesman Doug Cole said the company has been doing experimental field trials in three Canadian provinces: Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.
Farmers on Prince Edward Island successfully grow Russet Burbank potatoes, Cole said, but the wet climate makes late blight a problem. A potato with resistance to late blight could help. “There’s strong interest from farmers to get that potato with that trait so they can spray less and have a better quality crop,” Cole said.
There is no evidence that genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs, are unsafe to eat, but changing the genetic code of foods presents an ethical issue for some. McDonald’s declines to use Simplot’s genetically engineered potatoes for its French fries.
Simplot officials said the potatoes also have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced storage capacity and a lower amount of a chemical that’s a potential carcinogen and is created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures.
Potatoes are considered the fourth food staple crop in the world behind corn, rice and wheat. Late blight, which rotted entire crops and led to the deaths of about a million Irish in the 1840s, is still a major problem for potato growers, especially in wetter regions.
Fungicides have been used for decades to prevent the blight. Simplot said the genetically engineered potatoes reduce the use of fungicide by half.
The most recent Canada and U.S. approvals apply to Simplot’s second generation of Innate potatoes. The first generation didn’t include protection from late blight or enhanced cold storage. The company said the potatoes have the same taste, texture and nutritional qualities as conventional potatoes.
Production of the first generation potatoes started with 400 acres (162 hectares) in 2015, jumped to 1,000 acres (405 hectares) in 2016 and 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) this year.
Those potatoes are now available in 40 states and 4,000 supermarkets, Cole said, with about 60 million pounds (27.2 million kilograms) sold. “We are pleased with sales in the U.S. and hope they will continue,” he said.
Rick Fedrizzi is the current chairman of the International WELL Building Institute and author of Greenthink: How Profit Can Save the Planet.
Unless you’re doing a little wilderness camping today, you’ll find yourself inside of a building. You’ll wake up in your home, then stop at the coffee shop for your latte. You’ll escort your kids into a school building and then you’ll sit down at your desk on a corporate campus or in a skyscraper or in a Main Street storefront. Maybe you have the day off, and you’ll head to the mall, or the zoo.
Our buildings and communities define our lives. They are habitat. Shelter. Places for assembly or sanctuary. But they are also our first line of defence in battling climate change and the final piece of a complex puzzle in how we create communities that enhance our lives, not compromise them. The walls around you and the floor beneath your feet, the sidewalks and bike paths that are increasingly linking us together all factor into how we are reimagining our lives and our economy. And the fact that so many of us have undertaken this quest for a sustainable future is what gives me great hope.
But, as someone once said, hope is not a strategy. So together we act. We build green buildings and communities. Energy-efficient, water-efficient, daylight-filled, toxin-and-pollutant-free buildings in walkable communities with access to fresh food and green space, with recycling and composting. It takes all of us working together to fashion these places that protect our planet and nourish our souls. And we’re creating more of them every day.
There are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are undertaking this important work. They are engineers, architects and building facility managers. They are teachers, lawyers, scientists, business owners, manufacturers and writers.
But for reasons unfathomable, not everyone is on board. Our hardest job it seems isn’t figuring out how to build green, it’s to convince the naysayers that it matters. That it works. That it is a singularly powerful path forward to bringing our world through these times.
Green building is not just about market transformation. It’s about human transformation. And we’ll get there if we convince everyone to pack up their small tents of special interest and join us in the big tent of collaboration and common purpose. That’s how we’ll achieve the sustainable future that we owe our children and the generations to come.
— Rick Fedrizzi
August 9, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM
Stanley Bridge Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM
The Bulk Barn flyer in the mail yesterday reminds me that if you choose to shop there, you can bring your glass containers in to put your items in, and not have to use the plastic bags. It is more work for the consumer -- the jars must be clean and in good shape with no chips, and you have to have a checker check and weigh them first -- but there then your food is in your jars and check-put is quite quick. A tiny financial incentive from the store for not using plastic bags would be appreciated (as would country-of-origin labeling on all the products), but at this point, this is a big step for a franchise store.
Here is a pretty infographic from earlier this year about "Purging the plastic: How to free your kitchen of plastic" from Quill.com. (Of course, you have to be able to find and afford alternatives, and then you have plastic you basically done need anymore; but intent and ideas are noteworthy, as is trying to reduce the plastic in the first place.)
screenshot from the "Purge the Plastic" inforgraphic
You may find some nice bags and containers (don't forget ceramics!) at the markets or local shops today.
Dave Toycen is past-president and CEO of World Vision Canada, and wrote the August 9th Global Chorus essay.
During the conflict in Kosovo, I interviewed a ten-year-old boy named Liridan who had fled with his parents from the conflict to neighbouring Albania. While boarding a farm wagon in his village to escape the invading soldiers, he was struck in the arm by a rifle butt. His arm was broken and over the course of a harrowing three-day journey, Liridan lost consciousness. But in the end, he made it to freedom. Now Liridan and his family were crowded together in a broken-down gymnasium with scores of other refugee families. There was little privacy, a shortage of water and putrid, overcrowded latrines. His mother wept as she described the terror of their ordeal, especially the fear that the soldiers would kill Liridan. As the interview was coming to an end, I noticed a small package of tinfoil in Liridan’s good hand. Earlier, one of the church groups had distributed small presents for the children, most of whom owned nothing now
except the clothes on their backs. With a child’s spontaneity, this traumatized little boy opened his hand, peeled back the foil, broke a section of chocolate into two pieces and offered one to me. I could only nod my expression of appreciation. I felt so small before this selfless act of generosity.
I have hope for our collective future because I have met children like Liridan the world over. I have seen a child’s courage reconcile communities, heal deep wounds of conflict and even ignite passionate movements to better serve the most vulnerable among us. Hope is inextricably tied to these children. They don’t carry our baggage, they’re inquisitive, and they have the capacity to show remarkable gestures of mercy, of care and of affection. They will be the leaders of tomorrow. It’s no wonder Jesus remarked, “Let the little children come to me … for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
— Dave Toycen
August 8, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Breakfast on big questions with former MP David MacDonald, 8-10AM, UPEI building on University Avenue. Topic: Why does our culture depend on Violence? If we love this Planet, can we Live in an age of Mass Destruction?
The Chevy Volt that the Province is using for among other things educational outreach about electric vehicles (EVs) was in the south Queens County area yesterday, and is going to be in "Eastern P.E.I. -- North Loop" today with a timetable of:
Scotchfort - 9:00AM - Ultramar
Morell - 9:45AM - Co-op
St. Peter's Bay - 10:30AM - Dr. Roddie Community Center
Souris - 11:30AM - Independent Grocer
East Point - 12:30PM - Charging at East Point
Monday, August 18th, will be the last day of this summer tour and will be in the South Loop of Eastern P.E.I. More on the "efficiencyPEI EV Tour" visit.
The Legislative Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Energy should consider being caught up on the most recent trends in electric vehicles and climate change mitigation during the meeting time before the Fall Sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature. They could go further than the P.E.I. Energy Strategy (link here) and make some clear recommendations to their colleagues.
The other thing besides incentives for electric vehicles would be - the other have of their committee title -- the infrastructure part of it, that is to say the infrastructure that will be needed to charge these vehicles. Are Holland College and UPEI planning for more than a token charging station or two for their students, faculty, staff, and guests? Government buildings and others (like the hospitals) and such? What about the ferries -- if there was ever a place for an easy time to car recharging (and appealing to tourists), it would be the ferry rides to and from the Island.
The effiencyPEI EV Tour yesterday undoubtedly drove on the TCH right by the Bonshaw Post Office nestled in the fine Bonshaw Hall. Building charging stations and renewable energy into post offices locations is a proposal in The Leap Manifesto.
And many good, clear, sensible energy recommendations are contained in the the 2016 "Charlottetown Initiative", found here https://ecologyaction.ca/charlottetowninitiative
made by people who know what is happening (see Temple's comments, below).
Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and an advocate for those with autism. Her website
She writes the August 8th Global Chorus essay.
To solve big problems will require people to work together. Unfortunately, adversity is often required to motivate people to collaborate as a team. When Hurricane Sandy flooded the New York subway system, petty labour squabbles and politics were set aside to get the subway working again so quickly. A certain amount of adversity can have a great motivating effect but an overwhelming adversity may cause people to give up. The subway was repairable and it got fixed, but the earthquake in Haiti was so devastating that the people have not recovered. There are increasing problems with dwindling water supplies, drought and worse weather events. Ways to remedy these problems will range from high technology to simpler back to basics. High-tech methods that could be developed are economical desalination of seawater and methods for storing electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind. Local low-tech methods such as improved integration of animal and crop agriculture could help insure a steady supply of food. Both hightech and low-tech developers must work together for this common goal. The world needs both of them. We need people in the world who do real stuff to improve the world and not just talk and theorize about it. Many policy-makers have no practical experience with the things they make policy about. Their policies have become so abstract that when they are implemented by the people in the field, they may have unintended bad consequences. Policymakers need to get out of their offices and find out what really is happening.
— Temple Grandin
August 7, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Tuesday UPEI breakfast seminar with David MacDonald, 8-10AM, UPEI's new-to-them building, 618 University Avenue, north of main campus entrance. Free.
Topic: Why does our culture depend on Violence? If we love this Planet, can we Live in an age of Mass Destruction? Registration requested: email <email@example.com>, or call (902) 894-2852
Wayne Carver discusses real "democratic renewal": http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/8/5/wayne-carver--protecting-the-party-and-its-interests.html
Published on Saturday, August 5th, 2017, in The Guardian
WAYNE CARVER: Protecting the party and its interests - The Guardian Opinion piece by Wayne Carver
This process would also require that the Attorney General report to the assembly, not the government
Many Islanders have come to the realization that the present political system as we now know it, is not democratic or sustainable.
There is far too much cronyism, nepotism and corruption in politics. The secret deals, giveaways, interference in community affairs and incremental implementation of controversial or unpopular initiatives against the public’s concerns, are indicators of just how unresponsive and indifferent our major political parties have become. Politics is all about the power and the money, not good public policy.
We have witnessed the mismanagement of billions of dollars in taxpayers’ funds in the past decade. The PNP, the e-gaming fiasco, the loan write offs, the back room deals, the high speed internet farce with its understated costs, and much more. People have wondered and wonder still, why the federal police force did not actively investigate several of these matters.
The answer is simple. The federal police force will not investigate such actives until called upon by the first minister or the Attorney General of the province, which in our province is one and the same. Obviously, that did not happen.
One would expect that in this day and age, in a modern civilized society, citizens would have some recourse, some one or some arm of government we could turn to investigate such matters thoroughly. Not so in this political climate and the reason is political. As long as we continue to allow the First Minister to hold the office of Premier and Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General, the citizens of this fair Island will never have a democratic government.
The practice of combining the ministries is not without ulterior motives, that being to give the ruling party ultimate political, and lawful control. That is part of the reason the ruling parties on the Island have ruled with an iron fist for several decades.
That is why we do not see the federal police forces engage in any investigations into nefarious government dealings or outright government abuses. The main role of the ruling party is to protect the party and the party’s interests.
It would better serve the people if the office of the Attorney General, who is the chief law enforcement officer and guardian of the public interest, were appointed by the Lt.-Gov.-in-Council, on the recommendation of the legislative assembly, not the ruling party.
This process would also require that the Attorney General report to the assembly, not the government, which would allow all members of the assembly and the general public to examine the government's activities and hold it to account.
It would also allow the opposition members an avenue to pursue questionable partisan activities of consequence. Perhaps then our ruling political parties would not be able to run amuck over the citizens right to openness and accountability.
When electoral reform comes about, I expect that future political leaders will consider the merit in making the law enforcement branches accountable to the legislative assembly. The notion of the Premier or Attorney General ignoring questionable political practices in the name of partisanship or monetary advantage is unsettling to say the least. Yet, it happens and will continue to do so until we change the political process.
Citizens have not lost sight of electoral reform and will continue to pursue this goal until it has been achieved. Right now the Conservative Party of P.E.I. is searching for a new leader in hopes of winning the next election. Doubtless they are beginning to realize the voters do not want more of the same in a new face. Voters want to see meaningful change in the political process. Having our political leaders subject to the laws of the land seems like a good place to start.
- Wayne Carver of Long Creek is a supporter of electoral reform and comments frequently on social issues
The website "Environment and Society" writes this biography of the Dr. Paul Crutzen, writer of the August 7th Global Chorus essay -- it's brief, but still longer than his essay ;-)
Paul J. Crutzen: “Mister Anthropocene” - Environment and Society website
Born in 1933 in Amsterdam, Crutzen studied engineering before turning to atmospheric science. His research specialties include the ozone hole, nuclear winter, and global environmental change.
In the 1970s Crutzen discovered that certain substances cause damage to the ozone layer. He campaigned for a worldwide ban on all substances dangerous to the atmosphere that protects the Earth The Montreal Protocol -- the most successful international environmental treaty to date—is also largely the result of his efforts.
Crutzen and his colleagues Mario J. Molina and Frank Sherwood Rowland received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1995 in recognition of their work in protecting the ozone layer.
At a conference in Mexico in 2000, Crutzen coined the term “Anthropocene”; the idea has been closely associated with his name ever since.
May the Anthropocene in future be guided by the collective wisdom of many generations of intelligent humans, through peace and global co-operation, stimulated by Nature’s beauty.
Welcome to the Anthropocene!
— Paul J. Crutzen
August 6, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Montague Make, Bake or Grow, 10AM-3PM, Down East Mall.
"...a nice selection of mustards, vinegars, organic bread, jams and honey from Lucky Bee Homestead and candles from Perry PEI Handcraft, knitted toys from hopeful creations, maple syrup, organic canola oil from Heatherdale Wholesome Goods, free range eggs and more." There is also a draw going on today.
Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street. A lot of variety!
Evidently, yesterday was Food Day Canada, the day appointed to celebrate those who grow and prepare our food. I would like to think nearly every day is thought of as such.
Walking History tour of Government Pond, 1:30PM - 3:30PM
Last Day of Island Fringe Festival
Provincial Nominee Program, again
The following is a copied Facebook posting from researcher, organic farmer and theologian Kevin J. Arsenault, reacting to an apparent shift in emphasis by government on encouraging rural immigration. It's a lengthy read but the cloudy weather may provide some time for that. I have inserted the link to the Compass archive, but you will have to slide the cursor to the 39minute mark to get to the interview Arsenault refers to.
It's Time to Expose Another PNP Scandal - article by Kevin J. Arsenault
August 3rd, 2017
NOTE: This is actually an "article" being presented as a Facebook Post...I want to make it available with a video clip of Hon. Sonny Gallants' CBC Compass interview which aired on Wednesday, August 2, on the government's plan to use the Provincial Nominee Program to revitalize rural communities across the Island. Watch the video, then read my article.
Compass from August 2nd, about 39-and-a-half minutes in:
I can't remember ever seeing such a misleading explanation for what the provincial government is actually doing with immigration - and “why” they are doing it - than what the Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning, Hon. Sonny Gallant, gave to Kerry Campbell during a Compass Interview on Wednesday, August 2nd.
I'm currently in the process of investigating the PNP program - more precisely, the revamped version of the PNP which began roughly around 2010, after the Federal government changed the regulations shutting down the previous PNP program – and I'm not yet ready to present a comprehensive analysis; but after hearing what Minister Gallant said publicly, I feel compelled to share some of my concerns about the provincial government's "new" rural immigration strategy immediately.
In truth, the PNP program is not changing in any substantial way at all, and the promise of more immigrants settling in rural PEI is completely bogus. The MacLauchlan government is certainly not playing the “rural card" to revitalize rural PEI - the PNP is incapable of doing that, given it's current structure and limitations. In order to effect positive change in rural PEI using immigration, the government would need to abandon its deeply-flawed strategy of luring wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs to “buy” Island businesses, and negotiate a completely new PNP agreement with the federal government with new immigration programs designed to bring different classes of immigrants, from different countries, etc. which the government has absolutely no intention of doing.
Gallant's response to Kerry's excellent question about why the government is not transitioning more temporary workers to Permanent Resident status through the PNP program was disingenuous and very misleading: there has never been an interest with any PEI government - Conservative or Liberal - to focus on bringing either skilled or unskilled workers to PEI since the time the PNP began nearly two decades ago. In fact, the focus has never been on bringing “immigrants” here who plan to stay....it's always been on bringing in money, not people.
In order for the PEI government to continue to collect PNP application fees from immigrant entrepreneurs ($10,000 per applicant) and continue to pocket $200,000 security deposits from immigrant entrepreneurs who are really only interested in buying a Permanent Residency Card into Canada – not living in PEI - the provincial government has had to encourage Islanders to sell their businesses. The government has even set up a matching "tool" that operates like a Real Estate page on their PNP website, where local business “sellers” and immigrant "buyers" can meet.
And there is no shortage of Chinese entrepreneurs who are eager and wealthy enough to happily forfeit $200,000 to the PEI government as part of the cost of getting that permanent residency card - immigrants who are also willing to pay exorbitant prices for Island businesses, far above market value, just so they can tick off a box on the PNP application form to meet the most important requirement for PNP nomination.
The previous PNP scandal was all about the provincial government pretending that wealthy foreigners from mainly China, Taiwan and South Korea were becoming “entrepreneurs” in PEI when, in fact, the vast majority didn't even know what Island companies they were investing in....they were purely “passive” investors, and most of them had no intention of ever residing in PEI. That scheme resulted in the provincial government accruing millions in administration fees and “failed deposits,” and funneling hundreds of millions to lawyers, accountants and only those Island business owners they personally invited to apply for “PNP immigration units”. There are countless ways the government can ensure that only immigrants wanting to actually live here are “nominated” under the PNP, but such measures have never been put into place, which makes it abundantly clear that immigrant “retention” has never been a goal of PEI's immigration policy, despite frequent claims that efforts were underway to "increase retention of immigrants." The sad fact is that government nominates people who won't stay so it can keep their deposits.
When the Federal government changed the terms of the PNP agreement around 2009, making the “purchase” of a business (or starting a new business) an essential requirement for provincial nomination of immigrant entrepreneurs, the PEI government – with it's well established addiction to an easy and lucrative revenue stream – immediately began pushing the sale of Island businesses, regardless of whether those sales were good for the economy, or contributed positively to the social and cultural life of PEI. And we really don't have a clear picture of what's happened on that front over the past few years – there's simply no way to map the phenomenal changes that have taken place in the Island business community.
However, my research has revealed an alarming trend: while there was apparently only 14 businesses “purchased” in the 2012-13 fiscal year by PNP Immigrant Entrepreneurs, there has been a steady increase in the rate of purchased Island businesses since then, with a whopping 148 Island businesses having been purchased in the first three months of 2017 alone!
What were those 148 businesses? Your guess is as good as mine. But shouldn't we know? Shouldn't all Islanders have access to that information? And now we're hearing stories of businesses that were once vibrant with many employees being more or less “shuttered up,” existing as “businesses” in name only; or of entire clusters of businesses (such as tourism businesses in Cavendish) being acquired by Immigrant Entrepreneurs. But who and where are these new owners? PEI regulations (unlike some other provinces) don't require any directors of Island businesses to reside in Canada, so the new owners may not even live in PEI or Canada.
There's also talk of Chinese entrepreneurs buying businesses, then selling those same businesses to other Chinese entrepreneurs once they get their Permanent Resident Cards, so the same “businesses” can, in effect, facilitate the entry of many entrepreneurs, while doing nothing to bolster the Island economy. If that is indeed happening, it would be a clear violation of the “spirit” of the PNP agreement with the federal government, and perhaps even the “letter” of the legal terms and conditions. To be honest, we – the electorate - don't have a clue what's going on with PEI immigration. Despite Wade's promise of being “open and transparent” there's a shroud of secrecy hanging over the entire PNP program.
Something I do know, however - having been deeply involved in immigration and settlement of immigrants and refugees for many years – is that the current plan to “move” the PNP program into Rural PEI is very bad news....and I sincerely suspect it's a complete scam.
Why is the PEI government announcing this initiative now? Obviously because it creates a positive story by giving the impression that the government is finally taking action to do more to revitalize rural PEI. But I suspect the real reason is to justify enlisting new PNP immigration agents familiar with rural PEI to facilitate the ongoing sale of more Island businesses so the PNP money train will keep chugging along. Minister Gallant said as much in his CBC interview: “These agents will have a knowledge of rural PEI, what exists out there, if there are businesses for sale, what labour shortages there is (sic), and they'll try to get some skilled workers or business people to take over businesses, or start new businesses in rural PEI.”
Due to a complete lack of government transparency, it's impossible to know what the real motives are for this recent immigration announcement promising to “settle” more immigrants in rural PEI using the PNP program. If the PEI government was serious about bringing appropriate immigrants and refugees to live in rural PEI; immigrants who are able to fill labour-market gaps and contribute to the rural economy of PEI for many years to come, then it would most definitely NOT be enlisting new agents skilled at identifying rural business owners who they can persuade to sell out to Chinese entrepreneurs!
Islanders need to demand answers that will provide the information needed to fully expose the PNP scandal that is secretly unfolding on our fair Isle before it's too late! Will we once again have to wait for the Globe and Mail to do an exposé, as was the case with the previous PNP scandal, to discover the truth? And WHY are our political opposition leaders (Peter Bevan-Baker, Jamie Fox, and Mike Redmond) not screaming from the housetops about this PNP scandal? And perhaps even more importantly, why are the two contenders for the leadership of the PC party (Brad Trivers and James Aylward) not demanding information and answers from the government about the PNP? Will it take a rogue late entrant to the PC leadership race to put this crucial issue on the public agenda?
I'll have more to release about the PNP program in the Fall, but for the time being, here's a couple of things to ponder: (1) the revenue that the province has raked in from administration fees and failed deposits with the PNP by facilitating the sale of Island businesses to the super-rich in China for the 6 year period from 2010 – 2016 was over $85 million; (2) although the total amount of administration fees has been increasing significantly since Wade MacLauchlan became Premier – thereby signifying many more entrepreneurs than skilled workers coming through the PNP – the total amount of “failed deposits” being reported has dropped significantly during the same time period. How is that possible? There is no reason to believe that the retention rate of PNP immigrants from China has changed significantly, which strongly suggests that the provincial government is simply not reporting all the failed deposits... has the government “extended” the period for declaring defaults, thereby circumventing legal requirements to report them? If only we had opposition members; political party leaders (and contenders); and media personnel willing to ask these questions and investigate these critically-important issues? If only!
--by Kevin J. Arsenault
John Lundin is a spiritual and environmental writer and activist, author of The New Mandala: Eastern Wisdom for Western Living (written in collaboration with His Holiness the Dalai Lama)
We are living in a time of unprecedented challenge and unprecedented opportunity. We are on the brink of self-destruction and at the same time witnessing the dawn of global civilization. For the first time in the history of human being we have the capacity to destroy our planetary home and also the ability to restore the planet and the human community to a more perfect whole.
We are in the midst of an environmental crisis. But the environment is much more than the air we breathe and the water and the plants and the animals. Our environment is shaped by the way we think, act and speak. In fact, what we think, what we say, what is in our heart and how we act can cause greater damage to our environment than burning fossil fuels or extracting them from the land.
Fortunately, our thoughts, words and deeds can also heal and restore.
All the world’s wisdom traditions share a common understanding that our Earth Mother was entrusted to the care of her original peoples. We have inherited the Earth from our indigenous ancestors. The question confronting our generation today is will we be good ancestors for our children and our children’s children?
Is there hope? Yes. You and I are that hope.
If we are to be co-creators of a sustainable environment we must become cultivators of hope. Hope is as necessary to life as water. Hope is the ultimate nurturer. We would never plant another seed if we didn’t carry within us the hope of its blossoming.
We must learn again to live together in harmony with the Earth and with one another.
We must listen to the cries of our Earth Mother and her pain, and cry aloud for our sisters and brothers to come together for the first time in history as a true global chorus.
As individuals in isolation we can do little, but in raising our voices together we can restore balance and harmony to the human community and our planetary home. As a global chorus we can literally save the world.
— John Lundin
August 5, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Many Farmers' Markets are open today including:
Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM)
New Glasgow, The Mill Restaurant parking lot,(8AM-1PM)
Murray Harbour (9AM-noon)
Open House in Harrington, 10AM-2PM, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's facility at 1200 Brackley Point Road (Rte 15). Free. Wagon rides, tours, displays.
Here is the link to an in-depth article by the National Observer which discusses the weaknesses of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada. Thanks to the person who reminded me about it.
Has Ottawa sold out to Big Agro and its toxic chemicals? - The National Observer online article by Bruce Livesey
Published on-line on Wednesday, July 25th, 2017
The first of a two-part series, "Bureau of Poison"
The lengthy and informative article starts with the story of a beekeeper suffering losses of bees and the issue of neonicotinoid insecticides.
As pesticides like neonics have generated controversy in recent years, the role of the PMRA has come into sharp relief. Critics of the agency accuse it of being “captured” by the very agrochemical companies - such as Bayer, Syngenta, Dow-Dupont, Monsanto and BASF - that it’s supposed to be regulating. “There is a wide perception they provide cover for allowing industry to carry on," says Dr. Warren Bell, founding president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and contributing editorialist to National Observer.<snip>
The P.E.I. Certified Organic Producers Co-operative writes a weekly newsletter for members and supporters with a lot of great information. Here is the latest:
Farley Mowat (1921-2014), the Canadian environmentalist, author and legend, wrote this poem for the August 5th Global Chorus essay.
We are behaving like yeasts
in a brewer’s vat,
while greedily consuming
the substance of a finite world.
If we continue
to imitate the yeasts
we will perish as they perish,
having exhausted our resources
and poisoned ourselves
in the lethal brew
of our own wastes.
Unlike the yeasts
we have a choice:
what will it be?
— Farley Mowat
August 4, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Cardigan Farmers' Market is open today, 10AM-2PM.
Tonight, as part of the Island Fringe Festival:
What's So Funny About...? with Guest Dr. Adam Fenech, 9:30-10:30PM, Startup Zone, 31 Queen Street, Charlottetown, admission by donation, but $5 "Patron Pin" purchase may be required (available at door). from the Facebook event description (edited):
"Presented in a talk show style format, 'What's So Funny About...?' pairs a group of comedians with guests from unique fields or careers and tries to find out... what's so funny about it!....Our guest is Adam Fenech, PhD (U of T), Director of the UPEI Climate Lab. Dr. Fenech has worked extensively in the area of climate change since 1988 starting with the IPCC First Assessment Report. He has edited 7 books on climate change, most recently as editor of the international journal on Climate Impacts and Adaptation Science. Dr. Fenech has taught at the University of Toronto since 1998, and lectures regularly at universities across Canada and around the world."
Sunday, August 6th:
Water Story Tour Launch, 1:30PM, Governor's Pond, at the entrance to Victoria Park in Charlottetown.from the posting on the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water's Facebook page:
...(T)he Water Story Tour...was created as part of the Great Water Challenge, which is a Canada wide event started by Waterlution. The Water Story Tour is meant to teach people about where their water comes from and goes in Charlottetown, and is built with an app called Strollopia, which lets you view checkpoints when you get close enough to them. You can also view all the content here:
The recent rains have skipped some areas of the province (though too much too fast for others). One tip is saving vegetable washing water or dish rinsing water (and other "grey water") to give to some vulnerable plants. A dishpan or other shallow pan for the sink and a bucket to collect and carry it out helps. It's may not be much, but it's something and not newly drawn from our watersheds and wells.
Recently news is that the Deputy Minister of Transportation, John MacQuarrie, has retired and Darren Chaisson has been appointed Acting Deputy Minister. Mr. MacQuarrie had been deputy minister of Agriculture and its various departmental permutations in recent years.
Retirement is short, and Mr. MacQuarrie is now listed as Director of Environmental Sustainability at Cavendish Farms.
That announcement may not have been a press release, but The Guardian printed earlier this week what read like a business press release about Cavendish Farms expanding.
The other half of a fish-and-chips news stories:
LUCY SHARRATT: Caught in a tangled net - The Guardian Opinion piece by Lucy Sharratt
Company starts construction without federal approval to produce GM salmon at Rollo Bay
Published on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017
The genetically modified (GM) fish company AquaBounty appears to have hit a major snag of its own making. It started construction of the world’s first GM fish factory at Rollo Bay but it doesn’t actually have permission to grow the GM fish there.
The company took a $14,000 provincial grant to propose construction, and drew P.E.I.’s Environment Minister into a global controversy over the world’s first GM food animal - all without a green light from the federal government.
AquaBounty has approval to grow GM Atlantic salmon at Bay Fortune, not Rollo Bay. This distinction was clarified by the Federal Court and is now confirmed by Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change in response to letters from a coalition of environmental groups. The location of the facility is highly relevant to the question of environmental risk.
It was the company’s own request to avoid providing scientific information on GM salmon toxicity and invasiveness that restricted the federal approval to Bay Fortune. In 2013, when the Minister granted AquaBounty a “waiver of information requirements” to skip over this data, the waiver applied to the Bay Fortune facility alone. At that time, the company’s proposal was to produce GM salmon eggs, not fish.
Last year, AquaBounty assured the province, “The proposed facility at Rollo Bay West will have no GMO salmon“ but this June it got permission from P.E.I. to build a facility to produce 250 metric tonnes of GM salmon each year. Now, we get confirmation that it doesn’t in fact have federal approval to use or manufacture GM fish at this facility. This may have come as a surprise to the P.E.I. government.
AquaBounty has continually changed its plans. First, P.E.I. was going to supply GM salmon eggs for grow-out in Panama. Then, Rollo Bay was going to be the world’s first GM fish factory. Now, AquaBounty has started construction at Rollo Bay, without knowing if GM salmon can be grown there.
The irony is that AquaBounty’s success in, so far, avoiding a full scientific risk assessment has led to this situation. For Rollo Bay, the company needs to submit a new notification to the federal government. It is our hope that we will now see a full scientific assessment of the environmental risks of GM salmon production in Canada.
- Lucy Sharratt is co-ordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network www.cban.ca/fish Editor's note -- what could be added to the last paragraph -- a full scientific assessment including thorough public consultation....The P.E.I. Environment Minister and Department acted too fast to approve this, and there was no reason to fast-track it in the first place. Or as least no reason ever given.
The August 4th Global Chorus is by Sandra Bessudo Lion, a Colombian marine biologist now at the Ecole Pratique de Hautes Etudes in Paris, former High Presidential Counsel for Environment, Biodiversity, Water and Climate Change of the Republic of Colombia.
To speak about real sustainable development implies taking a step back so as to look ahead. As such, current environmental and social crises are a symptom of much deeper problems that afflict society. In the struggle between particular interests and needs, as well as the fight for economic and political power, leaders around the world have forgotten to think about future generations and in our legacy for them, as such forgetting the most basic common links that define our survival as a species, regardless of nationality.
Countries need to modify their practices towards development if they really wish to generate changes that give us hope. It is vital for a country like Colombia, for example, to grow in the path of sustainable development, mindful of Nature’s resilience limits, and with a vision that goes beyond shortsighted and fleeting benefits that are commonly disguised as illusions of wealth. Green growth, beyond the mainstream pop cultural conception, actually means to foster economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. It goes to the very basis of survival, rather than emphasizing a vision purely focused on wealth at all costs. It redefines the notion of wealth as such, so as to give value to life rather than economy alone.
Ocean conservation can be seen as a good example of measures oriented towards true green growth. Oceans are an important source of livelihood for an important part of the world’s population, by means of, amongst others, sustainable fishing activities and ecotourism that provide for the well-being of coastal communities. Furthermore, oceans play a vital role in terms of climate regulation. This is a good scenario to see how proper environmental management contributes to sustainable development.
The challenge relies on thinking not only in economic development in terms of GDP but to see it as a much broader concept that includes an improvement in people’s well-being and quality of life. Stakeholders should incorporate environmental criteria into their decisions to ensure sustainable and adequate measures that will really provide for our survival as a species.
— Sandra Bessudo Lion
August 3, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Farm Centre Market, 4-8PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. The "micropaving"-related construction on University Avenue should be nearly over.
Island Fringe Festival, Thursday until Sunday, mostly evenings, various locations, admission by donation. One play (Just the Way It Is) is written and performed by Rory Starkman, a wonderful, caring person who made such a positive impact during the Plan B highway episode a few years ago.
Saturday, August 5th:
Open House at Ag Canada site in Harrington, 10AM-2PM.
From yesterday's paper, a reminder from the long-sighted: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/2017/8/2/tony-reddin--canada-must-say-no.html
TONY REDDIN: Canada must say no - The Guardian Opinion piece by Tony Reddin
All Marine Protected Areas must be off limits to oil and gas exploration activity
Published on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 (edited slightly)
Thank you for your recent editorial regarding oil industry development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As you stated, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced last month that 80 per cent of a new so-called marine protected area (MPA) would be open to oil and gas development. The area in question is the Laurentian Channel, the southeast entryway to the Gulf of St. Lawrence – and a key feeding and migratory pathway for whales - including the mighty right whale - and the endangered leatherback turtle.
After years of consultations, the process for designating the Laurentian Channel MPA as protected is working its way through the parliamentary system: the proposed rules and boundaries have been published in the Canada Gazette at:
It's clear from what’s laid out there that the lobbying from the oil and gas industry has made its mark: only two small patches of the area will truly be protected. The rest will be open to oil and gas.
The region is very important to skates and sharks, too. The area is one of the only known mating grounds for porbeagle sharks, a species designated endangered by the COSEWIC, and habitat for basking sharks, high numbers of smooth skates, and black dogfish. It’s home to high densities and diversity of deep-sea corals, including high concentrations of a fragile type of coral known as a sea pen.
The response from Sierra Club and other public interest groups has been rapid and unanimous: no oil and gas in our marine protected areas. Meanwhile, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Vice President Paul Barnes, was quick to comment, “that the whole area still holds some promise” for oil and gas.
The announcement calls into question the government’s commitment to truly protecting 5 per cent of our oceans and coastal areas this year, and 10 per cent by 2020. It came on the heels of a new study demonstrating the devastating impacts of seismic airguns (which are used in oil exploration) on marine plankton, which are the basis of the marine food web.
In the lazy days of summer, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans probably did not expect the push back he received to his announcement. But now he seems to be listening. Our members and supporters have sent Minister LeBlanc and other leaders thousands of letters saying they don’t want oil and gas in marine protected areas.
Now the Minister needs to make changes in response to this overwhelming concern. We’ll be watching to see what the final version of the regulations look like. This area deserves full protection. And Canadians deserve to know that our commitment to protect key ocean and coastal seascapes will not be swayed by the lobbying of the oil and gas industry.
We urge your readers to go to our action page on: http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/Saddest-news or contact Fisheries Minister LeBlanc directly, to tell him you want all of the Laurentian Channel – and all MPAs – to be off-limits to oil and gas.
- Tony Reddin is a volunteer member of Atlantic Chapter Sierra Club Canada Foundation Executive Committee. The Foundation is part of a coalition of groups currently going to court to challenge the Newfoundland government on development activity in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In a fight to save the endangered right whale, its habitat in the Gulf, and the marine chain of life it relies upon, the group is challenging a drilling licence in the Gulf given to Corridor Resources -----------------------------------------
Robert (Birdlegs) Caughlan, environmentalist and surfer, writes the August 3rd Global Chorus essay.
There are huge waves on the horizon. We can’t stop them, so we must ride them. Riding big waves takes strength and courage and good judgment. But the most important thing a surfer needs is balance. That’s what I think we need. Balance in politics. Balance with the environment. Balance in life.
When I was young, I asked Captain Jacques Cousteau if he had any good advice for young people who wanted to help protect the ocean. He said, “Yes! Don’t follow gurus like me. Go out and do it yourself.”
I’ve been trying to do that ever since. I’ve won some great fights and lost a couple of heartbreakers. But you can’t be afraid of losing. Thomas Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That statement helps keep me from getting too cocky when I win and too ruined if I wipe out.
The great waves, planet sizzling, overpopulation, species extinctions etc. are daunting. When I worked for President Carter on The Global 2000 Report, I learned that there are no big magic solutions to any of them. That’s why thinking globally
and acting locally is so important. We need millions of local actions.
I believe that life on other planets is probable. But just in case we are the only speck in the universe where life has reached our level of knowledge and appreciation, wouldn’t it be terrible to turn this beautiful blue planet into a cold lifeless moon? Without hope we don’t have a chance. We have to keep trying. From Captain Cousteau to me to you: “Don’t follow gurus like me, go out and do it yourself.”
— Robert (Birdlegs) Caughlan
August 2, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
Farmers' Markets are open today in:
Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and
Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM).
Maude Barlow, the Honourary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, narrates a minute-and-a-half animation about NAFTA, and water rights for the planet.
The animated video and some straightforward suggestions for actions you may take are here:
screenshot from the Council of Canadians' webpage (play button won't work ;-)
Did you know Leo Broderick is now the national Chairperson of the Council of Canadians? And Nouhad Mourad and Betty Wilcox and keep us connected on P.E.I.? These Islanders give SO much.
Jay Ingram is a science writer and broadcaster, and wrote the August 2nd Global Chorus essay.
I worry about the future of the planet, but more about us. For the most part we are just too shortterm in our thinking, too determined to stick to our values (even when they are in direct conflict with a livable future) and too tilted toward optimism to grapple effectively with the idea of environmental ruin.
That optimism is the real stickler: humans tend to be optimistic, and many studies have claimed that optimistic people enjoy greater personal and physical well-being than do pessimists. It might even have survival value. So if you tell me you’re optimistic about the future, what are you really saying? Nothing more than “I’m human.”
We need to be able to think differently – throw off the cognitive shackles – so here’s a radical suggestion. In an article in the online journal www. boulderpavement.ca, linguist Julie Sedivy points to research showing that because poetry uses language
in unfamiliar ways, people keep thinking about the words long after they’ve finished reading. We need to keep thinking about the planet’s future, so I offer this poem “Whistledown,” by Dennis Lee, as a way of triggering that thinking.
Cold kaddish. In majuscule winter,
whistle down dixie to dusk;
coho with agave to dust.
Bison with orca commingled –
whistle down dixie. With
condor to audubon dust.
52 pickup, the species.
Beothuk, manatee, ash:
Vireo, mussel, verbena – cry
bygones, from heyday to dusk.
All whistling down dixie to dust.
— essay by Jay Ingram
August 1, 2017
Chris Ortenburger's CA News
A few things to keep in mind for this month:
The Good Questions Breakfasts with former MP David MacDonald continue on Tuesdays this month.
And if you are able to pop in to the one starting at 8AM this morning, it's
Tuesday, August 1st, 8-10AM:
Is Capitalism over? What are Healthy Models for a Caring Economy?
These are free, registration is not mandatory, and are held at the UPEI building north of campus, across from Enman Crescent.
Also later this month:
the comment period on the federal food policy ends August 31st.
Old Home Week, the Provincial Exhibition, is in Charlottetown, August 10-18th, and this year the Certified Organic Producers Cooperative is doing something different with their food demonstrations -- the chefs will be given a CSA box of a week's share and create some meals to use everything in the box. This is brilliant and very helpful.
Even though the provincial legislature won't officially sit until after Remembrance Day, and standing committees are not meeting regularly in the next coming weeks, there some talk recently about electric vehicles and incentives for them.
Efficiency PEI has an electric vehicle (a Chevy Volt) making daytrips in several parts of the Island. Yesterday was Western PEI (I missed mentioning it) and the next ones are next Tuesday, August 8th (Central PEI) and Eastern PEI (Northern part) on August 9th.
Education on electric vehicles is important, though some feel the province needs to do more sooner and reinstate and improve an incentive on electric vehicle purchases, and of course plan for the infrastructure needed to maintain electric vehicles.
A group called Renewable Transport PEI, which is student-driven (pun unintended), has been calling on MLAs to become aware of this and plan to act. Thanks to Brad Trivers for passing on the information from Noah Ellis, one of the students.
their press release:
The creation of a better PEI and a better planet
To make a more sustainable future through subsidizing electric vehicles as well as encouraging ownership
by Renewable Transport PEI, released on Friday, July 28th, 2017
Renewable Transport Prince Edward Island (RTPEI) is a group of concerned students of PEI who want to see action on the climate change issue. In particular, we would like to see the provincial government encourage the ownership of electric vehicles through a rebate or subsidy, financial support for an electric charging infrastructure network, and a public awareness campaign to help residents of PEI understand the threat of climate change and what steps can and should be taken to address it.
RTPEI is encouraging all Island politicians to sign a pledge committing to implement policies that would better our province and our country. We believe that this is the time to act on this issue. If we do nothing, climate change will drastically alter our way of life and the expense of that life. It is already estimated that the coastline of this province is eroding at a rate of thirty centimetres per year. This erosion will cost more than a hundred million dollars in damages over the years to come and will harm our economy, according to the Globe and Mail.
RTPEI has already engaged in very productive conversations with Mr. Peter Bevan-Baker, Mr. James Aylward, and Mr. Brad Trivers. All have expressed support for our proposals to implement a rebate for electric cars before taxes are applied. Moreover, they have all stated that climate change and the environment are important issues facing this island and that we must take action to stop it.
We are currently engaging with the provincial government in this matter, including the office of Minister Biggar. RTPEI hopes to establish a productive dialogue that will bring forth swift and meaningful action on the renewable transport file.
Elisabet Sahtouris has a PhD in evolution biologist, is a futurist, and the author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution. She writes the August 1st Global Chorus essay. On her website, she shares many of her ideas and projects.
Humanity, like all other species on Earth before and with us, is evolving – and evolution, for humans as for all species, is neither predictably linear nor based solely on competitive Darwinism. Rather, evolution reveals a repeating maturation cycle in which species evolve from hostile competition to peaceful co-operation. Earth’s nearly four billion years of evolutionary experience reveals that this pattern predominates, giving us hope and inspiration, along with valuable guidance for getting ourselves through the unprecedented confluence of enormous crises in which we humans now find ourselves. The evolutionary Big Picture includes the amazingly complex lives of our remotest bacterial ancestors, who had Earth to themselves for fully half of evolution, and much of whose experience we seem to be mirroring now. They engaged in hostilities, generated global crises of hunger and pollution as great as ours today, and solved them without benefit of brain!
Along the way they invented electric motors, atomic piles and the first World Wide Web of DNA exchange. Then, in the greatest of all evolutionary ventures, they formed co-operative communities that became nucleated cells. These co-operatives were the later basis for the evolution of multi-celled creatures as co-operatives on a larger scale yet. And eventually they evolved our own hundred-trillion-celled human bodies, which role-model amazingly co-operative living economies.
Learning from these newly revealed patterns of problems and solutions in biological evolution, we too are finding out how to survive and even thrive into a better future despite – perhaps because of – our greatest challenges. That is indeed cause for celebration.
— Elisabet Sahtouris