February 2022

Ah February – a month of love to get us through the cold before the sap starts running. 

This month we are thinking about how our volunteers’ love of the natural world drives the (low emissions) boat that is Climate Network Lanark. We are happy to spotlight one of our most hard-working volunteers and let you know some opportunities for joining us. Currently that looks like helping out with our emissions reduction target campaign (make sure to sign it if you haven’t already) but we also will give you a taste of what other opportunities exist to activate change in your community.

In Solidarity, 

Gord, Sue and Emily

1.Highlights from the January County Climate Action Plan Steering Committee Meeting – Jan 17, 2022

As Mayor John Fenik of Perth is now Warden of Lanark County, he has reduced his role to co-chair of the County CAP Committee and Mississippi Mills Deputy Mayor Rickey Minnille has assumed the other co-chair. 

  • Whitby Green Development Standards
    • Too many times, CNL volunteers on our Working Groups have complained there is only so much that local municipal governments can do to affect new construction, that they are constrained by the Ontario Building Code, for example. We are all rather aghast at the subdivision developments going up throughout our region. If there is any time to be implementing building and site planning that curtails climate change it is now. CNL arranged for Jade Schofield from Whitby to present to the Committee on that city’s Green Building Standards which are the leading edge in Ontario. More than a dozen other municipalities are following Whitby’s lead, the Ontario Clean Air Partnership is facilitating a municipal group, and, most exciting, the committee was very enthused by what could be done under these standards, and Mayor John Fenik, now Warden of Lanark County, said he would take this to the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus. Anyone with a concern about this at all, please do review Schofield’s presentation at pages 3-21
  • Retrofit Program Developing
    • Following on Dave Roewade’s presentation to the Committee (organized by CNL – see last month’s newsletter), Lanark County has been accepted as a test user of the FCM’s new user guide for home energy retrofit programs. As a first-in on this project, Lanark County will receive some pro bono consulting time, be engaged in an innovative program to target retrofits for the greatest GHG reductions possible and be in line for funding to assist it. This is an evolving program. Pg 22-31 of the agenda package. Note, Bob Argue on the Committee recommended that the assessment of the potential GHG reduction come from assessing fossil fuel use, not electricity consumption since Ontario’s electricity system produces few GHGs.
  • Prioritizing List of Actions
    • The Committee will hold a special meeting Feb. 7 to begin to prioritize the long list of actions that have been compiled over the past few months. To note, all Committee meetings are open to the public. Email Michelle Vala to arrange attendance. The report on the process and the long list is pages 32-50.
  • Westport Net Zero Ready Subdivision
    • Stephen Rolston and Kevin Rankin presented on the Westport Watercolour Net Zero Community, noting that it made sense to them to build houses today to the efficiency standards that will be coming in with the Ontario Building Code in 2030, that it was a cost increase of only $20,000. It was also noted that the houses are “net zero ready” not net zero, i.e., they do not have solar panels on them and because of the Hydro One line constraints in our region, they could likely only be adapted to solar systems on battery, not net-metered.
  • Cabinscape project gets go ahead for Perth
    • County Council approved the proposal from Cabinscape to apply for funding to build two prefab net zero tiny houses that would be built on County land in Perth for low-income seniors.Read the full minutes here:If you are interested in more Climate News directly from the County, you can subscribe to their climate webpage (at the bottom) and receive notifications when it is updated. Alternatively you can add your name to the mailing list for climate initiative updates by sending your email address to

2. Volunteer Spotlight – Louise McDiarmid

I support Cutting Community Greenhouse Emissions in Half

But I am prejudiced beyond debate in favor of my right to choose which side shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight. – Bonaro W. Overstreet

When Louise was 12, she moved to a village outside of Peterborough. The woods and wetlands were her backyard. One day on her explorations, she came across a drumlin – a hill filled with sand and gravel left by a receding glacier. Long and narrow, covered with spring green grass and crowned with young white birch trees, it had a magic ambiance that she never forgot. Louise later left the area for school, but didn’t forget that transformative spot in nature. Years later she returned, looking for her drumlin and sense of place. To her chagrin, she instead saw that it had been turned into a gravel pit, a dead dog lying there as a metaphor so blatant, you might edit it out if it was fiction. She has kept this image for decades however – a reminder of the need for advocates to stand up for wild spaces. 

Louise has always been convinced that keeping and telling stories is what is going to move us forwards. It was as a children’s librarian that she first got to exercise that belief –  “When you are telling a story, there is an immediate connection because there is nothing between you and the listener – if I describe something, you have to go through the practice of imagining it. Storytelling exercises the imagination” That type of imagining becomes a vital skill in a landscape where the role of activists and advocates is to imagine a future that is not yet written.

That future, however, is easier written in a group, which is why Louise seeks out volunteer opportunities with like-minded people. She cites the very first live meeting of the organization in Feb 2020, before the world shut down. “That first meeting of CNL was so hopeful – all those people gathered who heard the message and came together from all their different corners to say “What can I do?” Later, when canvassing for people to fill out CNL surveys at a Tree Giveaway event, the reception from people who were already doing something positive was another boost to her spirits as again and again they presented moments to discover a shared commitment to creating a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren – together.

The recognition that she is not alone is key for her keeping at the cause.  “I can’t do everything, but I can do something. And if enough people do that, there is hope”

3. Contribute to our Emissions Reductions Target Campaign

The date draws near for the County Climate Action Steering Committee to set emissions reduction targets for their Climate Action Plan. We need all hands on deck getting this information out there so that we can present a substantial show of support for cutting our emissions in half by 2030.



Other than sharing this with all your friends and family via social media, we are also looking for some folks to volunteer as CNL SOCIAL MEDIA AMBASSADORS. Lanark County is a large geographic region, so we are looking for folks who are willing to reach out to the online communities in their municipality, promoting discourse and local climate initiatives. If writing content is more your speed,  we are also on the lookout for CONTENT CREATORS who are interested in writing articles or creating social media content. 

Drop us a line here if you are interested.


4. Learning and Events

Valley Heartland Workshops presented with Envirocentre
Feb 10th – 12-1:30pm  Make Green Work for Your Business
Feb 17th – 12-1:30 10 Steps to a Low Carbon Workplace
Feb 24th – 12-1:30 Retrofitting to Net Zero: Knowing the Landscape 

Tuesday February 22 at 7 pm Permaculture Garden
Scott Sigurdson, Indian Creek Orchard Gardens
Presented by Neighbourhood Tomato Community Farm
Scott will continue to enlighten us about permaculture and organic strategies for the home gardener including four crucial aspects of organic agriculture: fertility, pest, disease, and vegetation management. Email Jay Young to reserve your spot.

5. Local Climate Action in the News

Sue Brandum chats about our Emissions Campaign on Lake 88 and The Millstone frames it as how to Take a Simple Step to Curb Climate Change

In the Humm, Chandler Swain lets us know what Climate Strategies are being taken on in other municipalities.



The Orange That Went to Nunavut

The Orange That Went to Nunavut

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

Volunteer Spotlight – Sadie Brule

Volunteer Spotlight – Sadie Brule

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 © Monique Renaud

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