December 2022

As the year draws to a near end, we would like to wish everybody happy holidays! May the season be filled with peace, joy and relaxation. With the new year fast approaching, this year has been a great one in Lanark County for moving forward on climate action. These strides would not be possible without the dedication of our volunteers, and membership. As the season allows us to reflect back on the last year, we extend gratitude to everyone who continues to take climate action through their work, volunteering and in their personal lives.

In this edition of our newsletter we will provide you with an update on CNL’s response to Bill 23. As this Bill transpired at the beginning of November, this has been a time sensitive matter and primary focus of the organization. Read on to learn more about how CNL responded to this bill and made headlines in the process. We also have some county updates regarding the official launch of ALUS and the Climate Action Seminars hosted by Lanark County.

Take a peek at our helpful resources, and for actions you can take this month, we provide you with some “stuff-free” gift ideas during the season of giving.

Thank you for your continued support,

The CNL Team

1. Bill 23- CNL Response

On October 25th, just moments after the municipal election was complete, the provincial government announced the introduction of Bill 23 the “More Homes Built Faster Act”. This untimely announcement came when municipalities were transitioning into new councils, providing no consultation and limited time for municipalities to respond.

As an organization committed to the well-being of our communities, we acknowledge the housing crisis in Ontario. Lanark County by no means is exempt from this crisis. With skyrocketing real estate prices in the area, and limited availability of reasonably priced rentals, it is clear that we need a real solution. This solution does not come with Bill 23. The “More Homes Built Faster Act” is marketed with claims to help the housing crisis in Ontario, when in fact it does nothing to address affordable housing. Instead it aims to increase municipal taxes, undermine the valuable work that conservation authorities contribute to protect our environment and citizens from natural hazards; and strip forests, wetlands, and farmlands of their necessary protections. The protection of our carbon sinks is incredibly important as we navigate our changing climate. To learn more about wetlands’ important role in climate action check out our Wetlands Flyer.

As part of our response we worked through short deadlines to make sure the voice of our organization and supporters was heard. To learn more about CNL’s response check out our submissions below. Additionally, we also organized a protest on November 26th in collaboration with Sarah Harmer. We had a great turnout of people, and we thank everyone who showed up and supported the protest.

Even though Bill 23 passed, this does not mean that action can’t still be taken. There is still widespread disapproval and  pushback from many organizations and governments at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. CNL is still working to strategize next steps for our organization as this situation develops. We still encourage people to contact the municipal, provincial, and federal government to let them know what you oppose about this bill.

CNL’s Submissions

The Environmental Registry of Ontario

019-6141 Legislative and regulatory proposals affecting conservation authorities

019-6160 Proposed Updates to the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System

The Hearings by the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy

Submission by CNL to the Hearings by the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy on Bill 23, The More Homes Built Faster Act

2. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED- Communication is KEY!

CNL is currently looking for volunteers to join our Communications Working Group. If you’re the type of person who is bursting at the seams with creativity, loves to write articles, strategizing communication approaches to climate issues, has a great vocabulary, a good sense of humour, and real nack for spelling and grammar, send us an email at

We are looking for people who are passionate about getting the message out in Lanark County about climate action. Just like relationships, climate action requires strong communication to be successful!

3. Lanark County Climate Update

ALUS Lanark is Official!

In last month’s issue, we talked about the soft launch of ALUS (Alternative Land Use Service). For those of you who may not have had the opportunity to read our last issue, ALUS is a charitable organization supporting community-developed and farmer-delivered programs to produce, enhance, and maintain ecosystem services on agricultural lands. The project target areas are marginally productive, inefficient to farm, or environmentally sensitive areas. Projects carried out under ALUS can include wetland restoration and enhancement, riparian buffers, shelterbelts, and afforestation.

On November 8th, the county announced the official launch of this program. As CNL played a key role in initiating this collaboration, it is rewarding to see the program come to fruition.  An official launch event will be held in 2023 to celebrate. One of the current project locations from Lanark County will be showcased to illustrate the amazing partnerships formed between ALUS and local farmers.

To learn more about this program, check out the blog post by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority in our local news section of this newsletter. To view the media release from Lanark County click here

Climate Action Seminars – Lanark County

In Late November, Lanark County hosted online and in-person seminars on how citizens can take climate action in Lanark County.  The two online seminars were filled with valuable information and resources. “How to Take Climate Action at Home, highlighted improving home energy efficiency, tiny home energy efficient design, management of food waste, and electric vehicles. “Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture” had speakers from programs such as ALUS Lanark, Rural Clean Water Program, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, and Cleanfarms.

The in-person information session was a great way to learn more about initiatives taken by the county. Michelle Rabbetts, the Climate Environmental Coordinator, gave a presentation that touched on a variety of different actions that are being taken by Lanark County. Michelle gave great insight into the milestones reached in terms of the Climate Action Plan and the adoption of the Climate Lens by the county. To see the other great initiatives and collaborations with the county, see the slide deck below.

CNL was present at both the online and in-person sessions.  We shared our climate information and Sue Brandum gave an insightful presentation on the mission of our organization, objectives we have delivered on, and plans for 2023. A brief outline of our Climate Concierge project was also presented in this presentation. We will provide a more detailed update in our January newsletter.

We thank the county for this initiative, and the hard work that went into organizing and planning this. We hope that these information sessions continue to happen as people become increasingly more aware of the climate crisis at hand.

Climate Action Series: Information Session- Slide Deck

4. Helpful Resources

An Analysis of the Financial and Climate Benefits of Using Ground-Source Heat Pumps to Electrify Ontario’s Gas-Heated Homes

This report finds that ground source heat pumps — systems that collect or disperse heat through loops laid horizontally or vertically in the ground — can save homeowners $24,000 over the lifespan of the equipment compared to conventional HVAC equipment (gas furnace and AC).  These savings are even larger than those from installing a cold climate air source heat pump, but ground source systems have higher upfront costs and require space to install the ground loops.  Therefore, these systems are ideal for rural or suburban properties with larger lots.  Ground source systems also maintain their efficiency under extreme cold, giving them a further operational cost advantage.  For homes currently using fuel oil or propane, switching to a ground source system is much more financially beneficial than signing up to Enbridge Gas new communities service. We calculate that such homes would save more than $37,000 by opting for a ground source heat pump instead of a gas connection. 

Read the report

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Composting Resource

Interested in composting but don’t know where to start? Check out our composting resource and find out what works best for you!

5. Local Climate Action in the News

Protesters converge on MPP’s office over controversial housing bill- Guy Quenneville · CBC News.

‘It’s egregious’: Activists against Bill 23 stage protest in Smiths Falls- Evelyn Harford- Smiths Falls Record News.–it-s-egregious-activists-against-bill-23-stage-protest-in-smiths-falls/?fbclid=IwAR39mU-_Fm3xs_DiwzDAkXjub2N7X88cyQ1VEAwulgn-8EfMTFDOaWyEGRY

Bill 23: More Strain on the Vulnerable and Our Natural World! – the Humm December 2022.

In Focus – Climate Network Lanark’s Alberto Suarez-Esteban discusses the Alternative Land Use Services Program.

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority- Sheep farmers step up sustainability with help from ALUS, RVCA.

6. Actions You Can Take

Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

With the holidays approaching fast, we all have that one family member who is impossible to buy for. Sometimes we panic, and end up ordering anything we think they might like online, just so there is something under the tree. We have also all been on the receiving end of that random item that we didn’t necessarily want. You don’t want to be ungrateful but you may think “Now I have to store this item that I never wanted in the first place”.

Here are some stuff-free and climate-friendly options for gift giving this holiday season:

  1. Support Locally

    Lanark county is home to some great local artisans, stores, and places to eat. Check and see if your gift idea is something that can be sourced through a local retailer.

  2. Buy a Second Hand Item

    If you want to buy something, check out a thrift store. Oftentimes items in thrift stores are perfectly functional but may need a make-over, a perfect opportunity for a DIY gift.

  3. Donate to a charity on behalf of someone

    Charities and non-profit organizations rely heavily on donations to ensure they are able to function and deliver on important projects. A donation to honour a cause someone supports is a great way to give back. You can even ask them what organization they would like you to donate to.

  4. Offer your time

    In our fast paced, busy lives, sometimes offering your time to help someone can be more meaningful than any item.

  5. Experiences

    Look into local experiences like a spa treatment, weekend get-aways, festivals, or concerts.

  6. Classes

    Maybe someone has expressed interest in wanting to learn more about a new hobby like yoga or art.

  7. Membership

    Give the gift of education and self improvement! Community organizations and businesses offer memberships for people to participate and learn more on certain topics of interest. Check out membership options either virtually or locally.

  8. Craft Something

    This can go two ways… If you don’t excel in the arts and crafts department maybe opt for the other options.

  9. Consumables (food and drink)

    Check out local food vendors and farmers markets, and put together a food basket. Dust off grandma’s baking recipes and make a cute tin of cookies and squares. If that’s not your fancy,  treat someone to a gift certificate to dine out at one of the many amazing eateries in Lanark County.

7. Happy Holidays from CNL!

The CNL team sends its warmest season’s greetings to you and your friends and family! We hope that everybody finds a way to enjoy the holiday season however they choose to celebrate. We thank you for all your support in 2022 and hope you will continue to follow and participate with us in 2023.

Consider making a donation this holiday season to help us deliver climate action in 2023. If you are curious about our work, or what is in line for the upcoming year visit our website or drop us a line. To donate to Climate Action Lanark click the button below. Every donation matters and there is no amount too small!


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