Thank you for showing up to stay in tune with climate action in Lanark County! You may be enjoying this newsletter from the embrace of a cozy blanket while sipping on a hot beverage. Or maybe you have just come from a hike on Blueberry Mountain, where the vantage point of the colourful forests below has left you inspired. Wherever you are in your day, and however you are enjoying this newsletter we hope it finds you well, as we all embrace autumn and ease into hibernation.
This month CNL members have been hard at it! With municipal elections approaching, we have been working to make sure that climate change is a priority on the agenda for the future council members. There are a number of county updates in this issue from the Lanark County Climate Action Committee meeting in September. To learn more about what this committee is doing, consider attending the next meeting in November.
In September, we had Bob Argue, a local climate advocate instrumental in the creation of EcoPerth, give a presentation to our board on “The Climate Lens” approach. His easy to use tools for calculating greenhouse gas emissions and costs associated with certain activities sparked a lot of interest amongst the board, and a general consensus towards the use of this tool in municipal decision making and individual climate awareness.
Join our co-founder Gord Harrison on October 5th, in the Nature Canada hosted Webinar: Implementing Nature-Based Climate Solutions in Ontario. Show up and learn about the importance of protecting our local ecosystems and their services in the fight against climate change.
For actions you can take this month, we encourage you to rethink your fall clean-up and leave your leaves.
We also recommend visiting a wetland and appreciating their wild beauty. Lastly, and definitely most importantly, get out and VOTE in the municipal election at the end of this month! Your voice matters in your community and in climate action.
We hope you enjoy this issue, and we thank you for your continued support!
The Climate Network Lanark Team
1. Bob Argue’s “The Climate Lens”- Implementation in Personal and Municipal Decision Making
On September 14th, Bob Argue, a local climate advocate and key member in the establishment of ecoPerth, presented to our CNL Board of Directors. With him, he brought his wealth of knowledge and a presentation representing his dedication and commitment to climate action locally.
The presentation entitled “The Climate Lens”, highlighted his work producing tools that showed the monetary value of greenhouse gas emissions produced from various activities. His peer-reviewed tools can be used to calculate the carbon footprint associated with various actions, while also showing the cost differences between energy sources. The tools created in excel software have been formulated using assumptions, current data, and calculations, to present accurate estimates on emissions and costs. The value of this tool was apparent amongst everyone who was present. An understanding of how much carbon is produced by even the simplest of activities such as mowing your lawn, was enough to make you reconsider. The cost savings associated with switching to ground heat pumps vs. natural gas were astounding!
Bob’s main objective is to present and train municipalities on using these tools, helping them further understand the carbon footprint associated with decisions. The desired outcome of the Climate Lens is to have a line item stating the carbon footprint for every decision on council, not necessarily to impose but to allow council to make informed decisions that take this into consideration.
2. Webinar: Implementing Nature-Based Climate Solutions in Ontario
CNL’s very own Co-Founder Gord Harrison will be participating in a discussion with 2 other experts on the importance of Implementing Nature-Based Climate Solutions (NBCS) in Ontario. Nature-based climate solutions are an integrated approach combining the principles of conservation, restoration, and land management to support carbon storage in our environment that helps with climate change.
This Nature Canada webinar will also give people ideas as to how they can get involved with NBCS, and implement them in communities. For more information follow the link in our “Events and Learning” section, and tune in on October 5th @ 1pm!
3. County Update by Sue Brandum
Due to the summer break and conferences, the regular meeting of the Lanark County Climate Action Committee was delayed until September 6th. The minutes to the meeting can be viewed HERE https://lanarkcounty.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/127415/?preview=135208
Two reports were presented at this meeting:
- Town of Smiths Falls FoodCycler Pilot Program – The Town reported great satisfaction with the FoodCycler and Carleton Place, which had also piloted the device, concurred. However, see the discussion later, below. To view the report click here: https://lanarkcounty.civicweb.net/FileStorage/1F6CA536EE3C4086A7685F8ED8291C85-Report%202022-120-PW-FoodCycler%20Pilot%20Program%20Comple.pdf
- CNL brought forward a report from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance on Electrifying Ontario’s Gas-Heated Homes by installing Air-Source Heat Pumps. Because the report concludes that electric heat pumps are cost effective against methane/natural gas. Heather McDiarmid, the author of the report presented at the October 3rd Lanark County Climate Action Committee meeting. To view the report click here: https://lanarkcounty.civicweb.net/FileStorage/53F6429449734B36B1EEBD6CDD27DB17-Heat%20Pump%20Report_Clean%20Air%20Alliance_2022.pdf
The County Climate Action Committee is a public meeting and the public is invited to attend. To attend contact the Clerk Jasmin Ralph at email@example.com. A report on the composting options for the County’s municipalities will also be presented at the next meeting. If you are interested in Heather McDiarmid’s presentation on heat pumps check out our “Events and Learning” section for more information.
Discussion – Updated Corporate and Community Climate Action Tables. These tables are the core of the County’s Climate Action Plan. The County Public Works Committee, comprised of all the Councillors on County Council, had approved them at a special meeting June 30, with some minor revisions except for the major action of making the Climate Lens the overarching action. The revisions, including others made by staff, were presented to the committee for its approval.
A couple were challenged and revised or rejected:
- Divert municipal solid waste from landfills by supporting waste conversion or recycling solutions such as Sustane Technologies Inc. proposal to build a facility in Renfrew County. (Sustane would need the waste from Lanark County to meet minimum operation requirements.) CNL and others on the committee rejected the statement to “support” this outright, preferring to just continue to evaluate it given the unsuccessful history of pyrolysis systems.
- Divert food waste from landfills by developing a FoodCycler program in Lanark County. Committee member Bob Argue presented the following data (see Table 1) on the FoodCycler and also showed that the units don’t produce compost but produce a material that when added to soil saps nitrogen and produces methane.
Table 1: Citizens Costs Associated with FoodCycler Program for Citizens
|Annual Energy Cost||~250 kWh, or ~$35 to $50/year (@15¢/kWh)|
|Annual Filter Cost||$68 to $135/year|
|Optional Tablet and Bucket Filter||$53/year|
|For a Basic Annual Cost||$100 to $230/household per year|
|PLUS: Wholesale capital cost of $300, with an eight-year lifespan (?)||$38/year|
These operating costs are downloaded to the public.
* Assuming 250 kg/hhld/year = $520/tonne to $1,000/tonne
Consequently the later motion to include funding for the FoodCycler program from the County was rejected by the Committee.
Here are links to the two tables prior to the above revisions:
4. LEARNING AND EVENTS
October 3rd- Lanark County Climate Action Committee Meeting- Lanark County Administrative Building, Council Chambers 10:00 AM- To attend contact the Clerk Jasmin Ralph at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 5th- Webinar: Implementing Nature-Based Climate Solutions in Ontario- Webinar- 1pm- For more details click HERE https://act.naturecanada.ca/page/113609/event/1
October 5th– “Rethinking Your Lawn and it’s Place in the Ecology of the Earth”- Karen Smereka- Rideau Lakes Horticultural Society- 7pm at Elgin Municipal Complex Click here for more information https://www.rideaulakeshorticulturalsociety.ca/events
October 12th– Webinar: “Heat Pumps Save Money and Emissions (Even Compared with Natural Gas)” by Heather McDiarmid, for more information email email@example.com
October 14th- Recent Reports on Biodiversity from Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development with Jerry V. Demarco, David Normand and Milan Duvnjak- To register click HERE https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UbWEu1k-Q32c6inlx4aQZg
October 15th- Municipal Election Advance Polls
October 17th to October 24th- Voting Period Until 8:00 p.m. October 24
October 22nd- Lake Links- Watesheds Canada- Online- 10am-12:30pm- For more details click HERE https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/watershedscanada/events/lake-links-2022/
October 24th- 26th- Environmental Science and Applications Conference (ICESA’22) – Canada & worldwide – For more details click HERE
October 25- Declaration of Official Municipal Election Results
LOCAL CLIMATE ACTION IN THE NEWS
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 the article by clicking HERE
5. Actions You Can Take
- Municipal Elections- Get out and VOTE! We’ve said it before and we will say it again! VOTE! Write a letter to a candidate or attend a candidate meeting. Visit your municipality’s website for more information on your candidates.
- Leave the Leaves- Say Goodbye to Your Fall Clean-UpSave yourself both time and effort this fall by leaving the leaves on the ground! Leaving the leaves provides a diversity of benefits to humans and wildlife when left for the winter. The survival of many insects and amphibians depend on leaf litter to protect them from harsh winter elements. Amphibians such as the Wood Frog, burrow down into leaf litter just before temperatures freeze, while their incredible physiological adaptation allows them to freeze without dying, they still rely on a layer of leaves to protect and minimize the extreme temperature fluctuations, especially those presented by climate change. Additionally, insects of various species, such as butterflies, moths, centipedes, and springtails, rely on leaves as a food and protection to help complete their life cycle. The value of decomposing leaves in an ecosystem are broad amongst both plants and wildlife. Leaving the leaves is part of the circle of life for many terrestrial creatures.
Watch our Wood Frog friend nestled amongst the leaf litter come back to life in the spring Click HERE
Although some people enjoy the work out of a fall raking, a large proportion of people turn to gas powered equipment like leaf blowers. A study from California (where they have banned gas powered equipment), showed that a leaf blower running for 1 hour generates as much pollution as driving 1760 km in a 2016 Toyota Camry. To put that into context, that’s roughly the equivalent of driving from Perth to Dryden, Ontario (Pritchard, 2021). For many people in rural areas where parcels of property are larger, the amount of time that equipment is running can be upwards of an hour. That’s a lot of emissions!
It is important that we shift our perceptions around the aesthetics of our yards, and view things through both an ecological and climate lens. Breaking the societal norms surrounding manicured lawns is a great way to give back to the environment. Rather than sending your leaves to produce methane in a landfill this fall, watch our CNL members demonstrate how you can use your leaves by clicking HERE
- Visit a Wetland- Support our Wetlands CampaignThe beginning of fall is usually signalled by the red maples changing to vibrant red in the wetlands. Fall may be the end of summer, but it is definitely one of the best times to visit a wetland. One of the main reasons being their sheer beauty, but also there are no pesky mosquitoes to carry you away, making it much easier to enjoy! CNL is working hard this election season to ensure that wetlands are protected in municipal decisions. One of the best approaches our municipalities can take to protect people and the environment from climate change is the conservation of our local wetlands. We have started to get things in place to launch our Wetlands Campaign prior to this municipal election. This campaign will be targeted towards prospective councillors, mayors, deputy mayors, reeves, and deputy reeves, in this area. Stay tuned for more details in our November Newsletter!The value of wetlands are often overlooked but their benefit to us is priceless. Take a look at our Infographic below showing the “7 Reasons Why We Need Wetlands”. With this knowledge in mind, take some time to visit a wetland this fall and truly appreciate the value they add to our planet.
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
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