April 16 Climate Vote at City Hall

Councillor Shawn Menard plans to bring a motion at Environment Committee on April 16 that would declare a climate emergency in a similar way to Gatineau, Kingston and numerous other cities.

I join Ecology Ottawa in urging citizens to tell their city councillors and the mayor that they support such a declaration.

For more info see Ecology Ottawa’s web page where there’s also info on a rally at city hall on the morning of the vote. I plan to be there.

Charles Hodgson

Making Cities Environmentally Sustainable – An Exciting Evening

The Deputy Mayor of Vancouver Andrea Reimer came to town Sept 16 and wowed a 350 strong audience at city hall with the why and how of becoming the greenest city on earth. Vancouver city council has worked on this over three elections and now stands at fourth greenest city in the world. Techniques revealed included implementing as many environmental improvements as they could think of (84) even before they had an official greening plan; and engaging hundreds of thousands of citizens in pushing for green improvements. Ottawa’s Chair of Environment Committee Councillor David Chernushenko said “there is no reason why we could not or should not be doing everything that Vancouver is doing.”

Here are some of the highlights.

City Budget Fails on Promised Climate Action

The City budget 2015 goes to full City Council on March 11.

Last spring City Council approved its 2014 Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan which promised many initiatives including five specifically for inclusion in the 2015 budget.

A number of Champlain Park residents have been particularly active in promoting climate action at the City and were very pleased with the attitude of Councillors including Jeff Leiper at election time last fall.

However, we should be disappointed now because of those five recommended budget items, only one is included in the budget.

All hope is not lost though, and you can help.

The budget sets aside $34 million for “priority initiatives” which may or may not include climate change depending on what the new council decides are its “Term of Council Priorities.” The city website lists some suggested priorities here and it is notable that climate change is not among them.

Certainly Jeff Leiper and Environment Committee Chair David Chernushenko agree that climate change is a priority, but they will have to convince their peers.

Telling Jeff Leiper that you agree that climate change should be a priority will strengthen that position.

To contact Jeff Leiper
phone (613) 580-2485 or
email Jeff.Leiper@ottawa.ca

More info from Ecology Ottawa can be found here (including specific initiatives that the City had promised).

Health event at U of Ottawa

Doctor holding out hand.Titled Sick of Climate Change? Local Health Impacts in a Warming World Ecology Ottawa and the U of O Centre on Governance is organizing a panel discussion with experts from Ottawa’s local health community plus speakers of international stature. At issue – how is climate change hurting Ottawans’ health?

Please register to attend here

Hear from:

  • Sir Michael Marmot, Chair, World Health Organization Commission on the Social Determinants of Health
  • Councillor Diane Holmes, Chair, Ottawa Board of Health
  • Dr. Rosamund Lewis, Associate Medical Officer of Health, City of Ottawa
  • Frank Welsh, Director of Policy, Canadian Public Health Association
  • Dr. Curtis Lavoie, Emergency Physician, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
  • Alice Hutton, former Community Health Planner, Centretown Community Health Centre
  • Prof. Matthew Paterson, University of Ottawa School of Political Studies, and lead author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The session will include both audience Q&A and breakout discussion sessions. It takes place from 7pm to 9pm.

Please register to attend here

Pipeline Wine & Cheese January 20 2014

Full red wine glass gobletAre you concerned about the planned tar sands oil pipeline that would run inside Ottawa city limits and cross the Rideau River?

If so YOU’RE INVITED to a friendly social event Jwhere our elected officials from all three levels of government will be available to chat and will each say a few words about the pipeline.

It takes place January 20th at 7pm Charles Hodgson’s home here in Champlain Park. Ottawa City Councillor Katherine Hobbs; Ontario Minister of Labour Yasir Naqvi; and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Center Paul Dewar will all be in attendance.

Attendance limited to 40 residents of Kitchissippi ward. Please RSVP here.

Ecology Ottawa Annual Dinner October 24 has a Business Focus

From Ecology Ottawa:

Buy your Annual Dinner tickets here

What better way to show your support for Ecology Ottawa than tucking into a mouthwateringly fabulous four-course meal, created by inspirational chef Murray Wilson of the Courtyard Restaurant for the 6th Annual Eco Gala networking dinner on Wednesday October 24, 2012 at St Elias Banquet Centre,750 Ridgewood Avenue,Ottawa?

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options will be available as part of this sumptuous feast showcasing the finest locally-sourced Ontario produce, lovingly prepared and served in this comfortable, informal venue – with no stuffy dress code to curtail your enjoyment.

Tickets – priced at $60 a person, $50 for students and seniors, tables offered at $440 – extend you the perfect opportunity to network with like-minded, environmentally-committed friends and neighbours, and reinforcing your commitment to makingOttawathe green capital ofCanada.

We are thrilled that numerous city councillors, business luminaries and opinion leaders have accepted our invitation, and that CBC’s Adrian Harewood from ‘News at 5, 5.30 and 6’ will oversee proceedings. Doors open at 5.30 pm for socializing, networking and silent auction bids before dinner kicks off at 

Entertainment will follow at 8pm, with sustainable business entrepreneurs Jeff Westeinde (Invest Ottawa) and Jonathan Westeinde (Windmill Developments) sharing practical strategies through whichOttawacan transform itself into an environmental protection leader by shifting to a more sustainable economy, including introducing world-class sustainable businesses and designating our downtown core an Eco-District.

It’s the Eco event of the year.  Tickets from our website – http://ecologyottawa.nationbuilder.com/annual_dinner_2012

UPDATED First Local Renewable Energy Investment Opportunity in Ottawa

UPDATE: The first share offering closed Aug 27 and succeeded amazingly. It overshot it’s $500k target, reaching in excess of $900k! There will be more opportunities to come in the future.

Have you been wanting to get involved in solar power but don’t have a sunny roof? Want to shift your long term investments into local, green investment options? You can do just that through the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op (OREC).

I found out about OREC through Ecology Ottawa and I’m investing because I want to support more green energy use and generation in Ottawa and because OREC have signed agreements and approvals.

The Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative officially launched their investment opportunities on June 16th at the Ottawa Solar Fair, meaning that there is now, for the first time in Ottawa, an opportunity to invest in a community-owned solar power project in Ottawa. There are only a few co-ops in Ontario taking similar initiatives and Ottawa’s co-op is one of the farthest along.

The investments are through preference shares which sell for a minimum of $5000 and pay out dividends of approximately 5% for 20 years, along with a return of the capital. Only members can invest; all Ottawa residents are welcome to join as members for a $100 per person one time fee. To find out more about the co-op, go to www.ottawarenewablenergycoop.ca or email ottawacommunityenergy@gmail.com.

(your Ecology Ottawa rep in Champlain Park)

Ecology Ottawa aims at 10,000 Signatures

This update to an earlier blog post explains the next phase in our efforts to stop sewage going into the river.

As of the end of March more than 1000 letters were sent to local MPs, more than 10 community associations – including ours – sent official letters, a “cut the crap” press conference on the frozen river got wide media exposure (see YouTube at the end of this post). As a result cabinet minister John Baird brought the topic up at a post-budget speech, putting responsibility on the City of Ottawa; mayor Jim Watson then publicly disagreed.

So we’ve got their attention, but we haven’t yet gotten the money needed to stop the 400+ million liters of untreated sewage spills happening every year.

Ecology Ottawa is now launching the next stage of its campaign to stop this revolting and irresponsible problem.

1) We’ve started a petition with a target of 10,000 signatures. You can sign that here:

2) We’re inviting high school students to earn their required volunteer hours with Ecology Ottawa, in teams gathering petition signatures in their own neighbourhoods. They can sign up here:

3) We’ve begun the Ecology Ottawa Community Network with local organizers in neighbourhoods across Ottawa to manage this campaign and others in the future. You can help out with that by going here.

Ecology Ottawa is a not-for-profit, grassroots, volunteer-driven organization working to make Ottawa the green capital of Canada.