Newsletter
April 2022

What does change look like? How do you know if the tide is turning? Lobbying, advocacy, and education work within the environmental sector is sometimes a challenging beast to quantify. Did that rally really make a difference? Did I bore everyone at the dinner party by talking about compost too much, or are they really going to look into vermiculture? Is this work making a difference? Is this action?  

As the world opens up again, we are suddenly seeing indications  of quantifiable change – the windows are open on conversations happening on zoom screens, and when you peer inside, it seems things are moving in the right direction. 

Best for an Earth Day that expands through the year, 

Gord, Sue and Emily

1.Climate Day of Action – March 12th in Perth

 

 

Now that there is less hesitation about gathering in public, we are making up for lost time. Thanks to the huge volunteer effort of Anita Payne, Doug Norman, and Tony Cote, March saw two rallies held in Perth. The March 12th rally, in collaboration with 350.org, saw high attendance numbers and those assembled (including political representatives at the municipal and provincial level) heard speeches from local high school students Claire Rinfret and Brigid Mackenzie which were impassioned pleas for regulatory action. Spoke Rinfret: “The repercussions for unethical and unsustainable practices in Canada are appalling, such as water and air pollution, a drastic increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, an inclined increase in temperature across the globe, animals becoming endangered and extinct, increased food and product waste, and more. Making changes to laws and regulations regarding Canadian corporations and businesses is key to stopping these repercussions from continuing.” 

There was clapping and support and then three days later the Perth Council Committee of the Whole (CoW) voted DOWN a motion, 4-3, to hire a Climate Change coordinator. (Perth Courier)

The Perth Climate Change advisory committee then went into action, writing letters and having conversations with the council members – some of which happened at the aforementioned rallies.  As a result of this work, it’s expected that at the full Council meeting at 5:30 on May 10 some of the Councillors will reverse their decisions and vote to hire a coordinator. This has created a moment where your supportive presence at the meeting could mean the difference between a lower-tier municipality vaguely supporting climate change mitigation strategies with their words, and recognizing the need to have a staff person helming the creation of those changes. Please check back HERE to register to attend.

 

2. Survey results show desire for change

Last fall, CNL embarked on its first major public project, a survey. We wanted to get a feel for what our fellow citizens in Lanark County and Smiths Falls felt about their practices and attitudes regarding climate change. 

Here are some general findings from the 900 people who completed the survey:

  • Average household size is 2 people (this is consistent with Stats Canada findings for this region, but is meaningful when discussing household size and energy use.) 
  • 53% were over 65, 35% were 41-65, 11% were 19-40, and 1% were under 18. 
  • 55% of our respondents were either retired or not working, though we must recall that the survey was conducted during the Covid pandemic. Even so, 31% said they worked remotely, either full or part-time.
  • 61% said they did not belong to or support any local or other environmental organization.
  • Still, 87% of all respondents said they were extremely or very concerned about climate change and 94% said climate change is already affecting Eastern Ontario. 
  • 96% said it is very or somewhat important that local municipal governments and Lanark County reduce their own GHG emissions and 95% said it is very or somewhat important that those same local governments help residents and businesses reduce GHGs.  
  • 86% said their own households should do more to reduce GHG emissions.
  • About 31% had a pick-up truck. About 15% had either a hybrid electric vehicle or a full electric vehicle and 30% said they planned to buy an EV in the next 10 years. 
  • 91% owned their own dwelling which means there is huge opportunity for GHG savings, especially since about 60% of those dwellings are more than 30 years old. 
  • Among all the respondents, only 8, or less than 1%, had solar PV, again pointing to huge potential. 
  • As well, only 8% use an electric heat pump, while about 70% use some form of fossil fuels, again pointing to an enormous opportunity for GHG reduction. 
  • Just about 75% compost kitchen scraps. A variety of reasons were given by the ¼ who don’t compost and 43% had not understood that organic materials going into landfill generated methane, a Greenhouse Gas that is 80 times more destructive than carbon dioxide.
  • About 10% of respondents use a burn barrel. 
  • Just about half of respondents reported that they had beef in only one meal a week.
  • Close to half said they planned to create pollinator gardens, the single most favoured gardening improvement. 

These findings present directions for both the County and our organization as the County Climate Action Plan gets finalized and we move onto prioritizing the actions with the biggest impact in our communities.

Special thanks to those who donated motivating prizes – Bonnie from Almonte will be getting Garden Advice from Ed Lawrence, Joy from Tay Valley Township is being treated to a vegetarian dinner from an anonymous donor, and Danielle from Mississippi Mills is enjoying local food donated by Maplelane Farms and Nature’s Apprentice.

3. Friends of the Tay Watershed Award

On March 24th, Climate Network Lanark was thrilled to receive the Friends of the Tay Watershed Environmental Award for Contribution to Water Resources. The committee recognized that the future health of the water resources within the Tay Watershed is dependent on the success of CNL’s missions and initiatives, and that these initiatives will also be crucial to the preservation of water resources at all levels including provincial, national, and international. We are grateful for the recognition from our peers for the volunteer work of so many of our supporters.

 

4. Volunteer Spotlight – Meet the Board

Following our recent Incorporation, we now have solidified a Board of Directors to steer the quickly growing CNL ship into the future. Scott Hortop (President), Corry McClure (Vice-President), Gord Harrison (Treasurer), Halina Shannan (Secretary) join Susan Berlin, Janet Duncan, Stephen Graham, Steven Kotze, Paul Lehman, and Susan Brandum on the Board. They bring varied and deep work and professional experiences as well as non-profit experiences from affiliations as diverse as the MVCA, the Hub, The Link, Interval House, Lanark County Community Justice, National Farmers Union, REAL, and Green Learning. We look forward to harnessing their expertise and see the potential for exciting partnerships and a broadened reach.

5. Learning and Events

  • April 7th and April 21st at 7pm in Almonte. Your Next Steps in the Climate Crisis with Bill Eggertson. Presented by the Mississippi Mills Library
    Explore what is climate change, the causes of climate instability and energy end uses.
  • April 16th – 30th. Pitch In Smiths Falls. Presented by REAL
    Join a community clean up event, culminating in a shoreline cleanup on April 30th.
  • Thursday April 21 at 7:00pm via Zoom. Forest Bathing. Presented by Friends of the Tay Watershed.
    Forest Bathing is more than a walk in the woods, for it has shown to have recuperative value for both physical and mental health. Presented by local GIFT certified guide Joanna Kowalczyk
  • Friday April 22nd 6:45 – 8:30. Perth. 7th Annual P’Earth Day Parade
    Come in costume and join the parade, a tree planting and sharing circle.
  • April 23rd, 9am-1pm. Perth’s Climate Change Action Panel’s Trashure Hunt
    A Community clean up event followed by eco and family-friendly fun! And an EV show and tell.
  • Saturday April 23rd from 10-3, Kemptville North Grenville Sustainability Fair and Market Workshops, kids area, delicious food,and more, including what has historically been the biggest EV demo in the region.

6. Local Climate Action in the News

Another way to track change is the volume of local news framed with a Climate Lens. It has been a busy month. 

The Perth Courier explores the future of our waterways in an unstable climate in Climate change as real as the rain, Tay Canal water levels: RVCA

Lake 88 explored the relationship between soil health and emissions in a discussion on Regenerative Agriculture with Alberto Suarez Estaban organized by CNL. 

Just to the east of here, Ottawa takes to heart the fact that leaf blowers produce more emissions than pick up trucks, and they begin phasing out gas powered garden tools this summer

In the Humm – Chandler Swain contemplates The Orange that went to Nunavat and other local food security issues.In The Perth Courier, Tom Shoebridge invites us all to Rethink Transportation Methods especially as they related to rural communities.

7. Actions You Can Take

 

Last Call for Supporting our Emissions Targets Campaign – April 19th is the day we present the results to the County Climate Action Committee, so make sure your name is on the list of people advocating for cutting our community Greenhouse Gas emissions in half!

Earth Day is a great moment to make an environmental change (also Solstice or any old Thursday is good too… Fridays maybe?).  In 2018 Susan Marble of Perth made an Earth Day resolution that has grown into a tiny local movement “On at least one day every week, I would not buy anything made of plastic or wrapped in plastic. I invited friends and family to join my challenge and every week I send participants a short message on their chosen day reminding them to be plastic free and giving them some information (about plastics) that I have found useful.” Her email list is now over 100 folks, and if you would like to join it and receive weekly tips and tricks, you can contact her here.    

Finally – as an Earth Day gesture, might you consider donating to Climate Network Lanark so that we can continue our work in Lanark County and Smiths Falls?  We have partnered with the Salal Foundation and all donations over $25 are tax deductible, but small amounts do truly add up.  

News

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