Ah December, the season of gratitude. Top of our gratitude list this year is the volunteer effort that has gone into making Climate Network Lanark thrive. Did you know that our work this year was driven by over 50 volunteers age 15-90 who logged thousands of hours on Zoom and in person, representing nine lower-tier municipalities?
- We lobbied the County to develop a Climate Action Plan, helped set the terms of reference and now play an active role on the Committee.
- CNL’s Youth group took the initiative to plant over 15 pollinator gardens in community and residential spaces including a school, retirement home and public greenspaces — recognized by the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterfly Ranger project for their work.
- We brought ALUS to Lanark County — ALUS, the Alternative Land Use Services program, pays farmers to undertake environmental projects.
- We have developed monthly media partnerships with The Humm, Metroland, Lake 88 and doubled our Social Media presence.
The tipping point is happening. We have seen it as people rush forwards live tabling events, eager to help, urgently share stories.
“I have been looking for you! I just moved back to Almonte as a Climate Change Refugee from Alberta and people need to know about it!”
“I’m in grade 6 and I want to do something, can I help? Can I give you $10?”
“I just built an off-grid house, but the bureaucracy around it was so difficult – can I share my experience to make it easier for others?”
We are growing, we are adapting and we are looking forward to the new year where we will focus our efforts on ensuring the County and municipalities complete and implement aggressive Climate Action Plans and Official Plans that will drive and enable real action. If you are interested in donating to support our work, we have partnered with Nature Canada to implement nature-based climate solutions projects and to improve our communications tools for broad engagement. To support our efforts, please donate to the “Project of Nature Canada with Climate Network Lanark.” The project is hosted by Nature Canada and Nature Canada will provide tax receipts for all project donations.
Please make cheques payable to Nature Canada — with “Nature Canada-CNL project” in the memo line — and mail to Nature Canada, Attn: Lindsay Royston, Suite 300 — 240 Bank St., Ottawa, ON, K2P 1X4.
Thank you for your continued support,
Sue, Gord and Emily
1. Highlights from the November County Climate Action Plan Steering Committee Meeting
At the November 15th meeting of the County’s Climate Action Plan Steering Committee the committee received the growing list of possible actions that could be included in the Plan. Actions are being added through Dec. Please look at the list, and tell us what other ideas you would like to see included in the Climate Action Plan that is being developed for all of us.
The Committee will be shortlisting the actions and deciding on a reductions target for our whole community at its Feb. meeting. This is very important. Broadly, we all need to cut our emissions in half by 2030. We could set a target that reflects that, or a lesser target, or a stronger one. CNL needs to know from you so we can take your direction to the committee. The only public consultation will happen in May, once the draft report is done. CNL will be embarking on a campaign to find out what reduction targets the public wants.
The committee heard a presentation from Cabinscape. They are hoping to build two tiny homes that would be more than net-zero, would in fact be carbon negative and provide a carbon sink. They’re seeking funding and a partnership in Lanark County that would result in two affordable houses and a process for educating local builders.
The County has proposed putting $200,000 into a climate action budget for 2022. John Fenik, Chair of the committee, and new County Warden for 2022, has argued for a budget of $1 million.
The committee had further discussions on the FoodCycler appliance and decided not to proceed with a pilot immediately, but to wait to decide until it had the short list of actions in the new year so that it could better evaluate the cost against GHG reductions.
Finally, County Council has passed a motion to widen the vision of the current terms of reference and to adjust to include representation from the indigenous community.
2. Official Plans – They are coming but what can you do about it?
Many of our lower-tier municipalities are going to be writing their official plans in the next year. This is really important! Why? Because these documents provide a map for the environmental, economic and social futures of our communities – and they are legally binding. Check to see if the official plans of your municipality are in process and open for consultation. Susan Berlin, retired City of Toronto Community Planner, offers up this Guide to Critiquing Official Plans to help you voice your desires to the planning Committees.
3. Learning and Events
- December 14 @ 7 pm on Zoom – Regenerative Agriculture in Action presented by the Neighbourhood Tomato.
Nature’s Apprentice CSA owner Alberto Suarez Estaban will continue to enlighten us about the practice of regenerative agriculture. As the owner of a thriving local CSA, Alberto will share the tricks of the trade and other practical information. Contact Jay Young at for Zoom links
- December 15th 12-1pm on Zoom – Canada Greener Home Grant Program Lunch and Learn presented by Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.
4. Actions You Can Take
#1 Ontario Power Generation has announced that it plans to build a new nuclear reactor in the Greater Toronto Area for $3 billion with US-based GE Hitachi – this will cost two to five times more than solar, wind, or water power. There are no working commercial small nuclear reactors in the world; it is a technology that is still on the drawing board with unproven performance and no track record of safety. Add your voice to the Clean Air Alliance’s campaign to say NO to new Nuclear in Ontario.
#2 Do you have a Low Carbon Holiday Tradition? Did you get all your holiday gifts from your local Buy Nothing Group? Did you make dinner using all local foods? Did you find a way to celebrate the magic of the season outside of consuming more? Tell us about it by sending us an email or sharing it on instagram at #CNLholidaychallenge.
#3 All we want for Christmas is just a few more people to do our Climate Survey. If you have not done so, join the over 1000 who have!
5. Local Climate Action in the News
- The New year is a great time to think about Green Investing, and in this Metroland piece, Sue Brandum highlights where you can go to make sure your investments are aligning with your values.
- Metroland’s Climate Matters CNL columnist Tom Shoebridge reports on Lanark County Students highlighted by the David Suzuki Foundation
- In the Humm this month, Chandler Swain looks into Ye Merrie olde low carbon holiday season! plunging into X-mas trees and re-imagined gifts
If you are feeling daunted by the scope of the climate crisis, Climate Network Lanark has an idea you will love — something easy, cheap and effective. read article
Director of CNL Sue Brandum and CNL Board Chair Scott Hortop sit down with Lake 88.1’s Lynda D’Aoust to talk about the power of composting. listen here
Sue Brandum goes in depth about how municipal action can be a powerful response to climate change in light of the upcoming election. The article also provides great questions to ask at your All-Candidate meetings this October. read article
Transportation in this area is a huge source of greenhouse gases (GHGs) as the county, a microcosm of Canada, has lots of space and not many people but all have to travel. It presents a real challenge as transportation in a rural area like ours is necessary for work,...
It can’t be emphasized more urgently how we need to reassess how we think about the food we grow and consume. We must make sure we are doing our part to address these complex issues in the intertwined web of living on planet Earth. .. read more
Just to the east of here, Ottawa takes to heart the fact that leaf blowers produce more emissions than pick up trucks. ... read more
Local food grower, educator and biologist, Alberto Suarez-Esteban, tackles climate change by practicing regenerative farming. ... listen to interview
Lanark County’s best-known waterways are due to face a difficult future, while also contending with droughts at the moment. .. read more
Meet our New Staff Member - Sadie Brule We are pleased to welcome Sadie Brule to our administrative team. You may find her at the end of an email, or roaming through her hometown of Perth, but until you meet, here is a little bit about what moves her to act on...
Image © Charlotte Pragnell