Tuesday, 16 July 2019

EcoSask News, July 16, 2019


Upcoming Events
Change the Debate on CBC, July 17 (Regina, Saskatoon) 
Regina and Saskatoon are joining a nation-wide rally to urge the CBC to host a debate on climate issues during the upcoming federal election. Meet in front of the CBC studio at 6 pm, July 17, in both Regina and Saskatoon.

YXE Talks Trash, July 23 (Saskatoon) 
City of Saskatoon is inviting businesses and organizations to share their ideas on recycling and organics policies and programs from 7 am-8 pm, July 23.

Farmland Drainage, July 24 (Saskatoon) 
Jeff Olson will speak on Farmland Drainage: A Looming Environmental Crisis at 7 pm, July 24, as part of the National Farmers Union Region 6 convention. The public is welcome.

Busy Bees, Please!, July 24 (Gravelbourg) 
Kids are invited to build a bee bath from 3-4 pm, July 24, at Gravelbourg Public Library.

Go Science Program, July 25 (Springside) 
Join the Saskatchewan Science Centre in Springside for a nature/science program for kids from 1-4 pm, July 25.

Snakes, July 26 (Cypress Hills) 
Join bull snake researcher, Noah Johnson, for a presentation on Saskatchewan snakes at 7:30 pm, July 26, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.


Looking Ahead
Putting Beavers to Work, Oct. 23 & 24 (Calgary) 
A two-day seminar in Calgary on Oct. 23 & 24 will look at beavers’ role in watershed resiliency and restoration through both talks and a coexistence tools demonstration.

Agricultural Drainage & the Environment, Nov. 6 (Regina) 
The Citizens Environmental Alliance and its partners are hosting a one-day conference on agricultural drainage and the environment on Nov. 6 in Regina. Topics include carbon and habitat loss, enforcement and compliance, and water quality. For more information, contact Jeff Olson at cea.sask.2018@gmail.com

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 

In the News
Do you live in the Saskatoon neighbourhoods of Aspen Ridge, Silverspring, or Evergreen? If so, help the City of Saskatoon in its land use planning by completing a survey on the value of the Northeast Swale.

“People can’t see noise, but if you were to kind of visualize it, it’s like if everybody was throwing candy wrappers out here as they were driving by with those modified mufflers.”

What if we could heat our home by burning our trash?

“We organised a conference for 570 people without using plastic. Here’s how it went.”

Pop-up parks can increase biodiversity, especially if you include organic materials and lots of plants.

San Francisco's coyote families: a wildlife soap opera.

San Francisco residents have launched a campaign to install 1000 drinking fountains.

An online course explores the captivating behaviour and creative genius of crows.

The UK’s Food Forest Project has been established to help communities to plant food forests – growing food for the local community and providing food and habitats for wildlife.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

EcoSask News, July 9, 2019

Bald eagle

Upcoming Events
Grassroots Voices, July 8-11 (Saskatoon)
Join Saskatoon’s climate justice community in Kiwanis Park from Monday to Thursday evening, July 8-11, to let the premiers know that you’re concerned about the climate crisis, the Trans Mountain pipeline, the transition to fossil fuels, and the response to the MMIWG Commission report.

The Natural World, July 11-Aug. 8(Eastend)
Kids can enjoy activities involving the natural world from 10 am-12 pm, every Thursday morning, from July 11 to Aug. 8 at the Eastend Public Library.

The Natural World, July 12-Aug. 16 (Maple Creek)
Kids can enjoy activities involving the natural world from 2-4 pm, every Friday afternoon, from July 11 to Aug. 16 at the Maple Creek Public Library.

Falconry, July 14 (Saskatoon)
Join Wild Birds Unlimited for a visit to Drs. Lynn and Rhonda Oliphant’s 2019 brood of falcons at 6:30 pm, July 14. Carpooling is available.

All About Water, July 17 (Gravelbourg)
Kids can learn about water conservation and watersheds from 3-4 pm, July 17, at Gravelbourg Public Library.

Garden Patch Bioblitz, July 17 (Saskatoon)
Learn about biodiversity and identify plants and insects with members of the Saskatoon Nature Society at the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre’s Garden Patch from 5:30-7:30 pm, July 17.

Butcher Birds, July 18 (Val Marie)
There will be a presentation on butcher birds and the Stewards of Saskatchewan at 7 pm, July 18, in Val Marie.

Going Zero Waste, July 18 (Regina)
Find out how to go zero-waste and minimize your impact on the environment from 7-8 pm, July 18, at the Regent Place Branch Library.

Bald eagle (juvenile)

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Saskatoon Young Naturalists
July 17, 11 am-1 pm – Butterfly Field Trip
Sept. 28 – Sandhill Crane field trip
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

Golden Eagles
July 18, 8 am – Stuglin Acreage & Gardens
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
July 13, 8 am-8 pm – Ponass Lake IBA
July 27 – Shorebird Trip
Everyone is welcome. Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar

In the News
Public Pastures Public Interest has made a video showing the impact of a solution potash mine on the environment. “The well sites cover 14 acres, stripping off the soil and plant cover, leveling the land into a sterile gravel and sand-scape. The pipelines or “flow lines” cut a 100 metre swath of disturbed land connecting well sites to the plant. New roads are built much wider than one would think necessary, introducing noxious weeds. Dust and noise from heavy equipment and trucks fills the air; municipal roads degrade and in spring duck cannons fire off every few minutes to keep waterfowl from lighting on toxic wastewater ponds. The land becomes for all purposes an industrial zone. Is this what the people of Sedley and Vibank want for their land when the Province gives its blessing to Rio Tinto for Project Albany? Will the surface lease income justify the loss of beauty and quiet in the landscape?” 

SaskEnergy has announced a $650 rebate for the purchase and installation of a new high-efficiency furnace between Aug. 1 and November.

Natural gas production is a failing business model and can’t compete with renewables.

Wetlands packed with soaking wet layers of peat can act as a fire break to stop wildfires from spreading.

We walk less, but we die more. Pedestrian deaths increased by 51% in the United States from 2009-2018. In Europe, they declined by 36%.

Take Bugs 101, a free online entomology course, and take away a new appreciation for the diversity and importance of insects to human society.

We've all benefited from China's rare earth minerals in our high-tech products. Should we help pay for clean-up?

Sustainable transport options – stop, share, switch.

The new leftwing economics wants to see the redistribution of economic power so that it is held by everyone – how a network of thinkers is transforming capitalism.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Saskatchewan Contributes to a Green New Deal for Canada

pool surrounded by greenery

In February 2019, two Democratic members of the US House of Representatives introduced a Green New Deal resolution. The plan incorporated “a massive program of investments in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, meant to transform not just the energy sector, but the entire economy. It is meant both to decarbonize the economy and to make it fairer and more just.” The proposal has generated interest worldwide, responding to a common concern that governments are not doing enough to address the climate emergency and social injustice.

In Canada, a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations decided to instigate a Green New Deal for Canada. The coalition invited Canadians to sign a Pact for a Green New Deal, which “demands we cut emissions in half by 2030, protect critical cultural and biological diversity, create a million jobs, and address the multiple crises we face through a holistic and far reaching plan that respects the constitutionally enshrined and internationally recognized rights of Indigenous peoples.”

The coalition went on to invite communities across Canada to hold town hall meetings to develop and refine the plan for a Green New Deal. Over 150 events involving more than 7,000 people were held in communities across Canada in May 2018.

Saskatchewan hosted 3 town hall meetings in Prince Albert, Regina, and Saskatoon, all of which were very well attended.

Prince Albert
Nancy Carswell, Council of Canadians – Prince Albert Chapter, reports that they were very pleased with the turnout in Prince Albert.

On a national level, Prince Albert participants wanted to hold corporations accountable for pollution and regulate automakers to achieve higher sustainability standards. They recommended that the government improve building standards, invest in renewable public transportation, ban single-use plastics, end uranium extraction, and legislate earth-friendly and healthy food production (e.g. eliminate pesticides, restrict hormones, limit distances food can travel). Participants supported proportional representation, a national basic annual income, universal pharmacare and dental care, as well as a national housing first policy offering cooperative, low-carbon affordable green housing, especially for Indigenous communities.

On a local level, participants focused on personal initiatives. These included travelling less and avoiding use of cars, investing in solar and wind energy, shopping locally and supporting farmers’ markets, participating in climate justice activism, voting for candidates who are committed to the environment, working in solidarity with Indigenous people, and embracing and becoming an advocate for diverse communities.

moss and leaves

Jim Elliott, Council of Canadians – Regina Chapter, says there was a mix of local, provincial, and national issues raised at their town hall meeting. These ranged from stopping construction on flood plains to eliminating urban sprawl and tax havens for the rich, and abolishing the Indian Act. There were lots of ideas on energy conservation, ending oil and gas subsidies, and achieving renewable quicker.

Jim says, “What was rewarding was the breadth of thought from cultural industries to housing, education, water, agriculture, welcoming refugees, and listening to children and elders.”

Dianne Rhodes, a member of Climate Justice Saskatoon, was one of the organizers of Saskatoon’s town hall meeting.

Federal concerns included transportation (need for better bike lanes, electric cars, and green electricity sources); keeping air, water, and soil clean; the federal election as an opportunity to move things forward; and reconciliation. Participants wanted to work with unions to find green jobs for workers on pipelines and in extractive industries. They felt it was important to work together and to counteract what the public is hearing from the extractive industries.

The discussion on community initiatives focused on personal, individual actions such as composting, talking to family and friends about what’s going on, retrofitting homes, gardening, spending time outdoors, and learning more about nature.


National Compilation
Each group forwarded the local feedback for compilation into a national plan. Responses were then sorted into categories with the following areas emerging as key priorities:

Economy and Government: a legally binding climate target keeping global warming to 1.5°C; a green jobs plan ensuring fossil fuel workers and affected community members receive the training and support needed to guarantee good, dignified work; increased unionization and implementation of workers’ rights; and personal and public subsidies for greener technology.

Green Infrastructure: massive public investments in the infrastructure to build a 100% renewable energy economy, sustainable public transportation, and prioritization of local renewable energy creation.

Social Justice: justice and equity for marginalized communities, free post-secondary education, full access to quality public services, permanent resident status and family unity for refugees and immigrants, and payment of Canada’s share of the climate debt of southern countries impacted by practices and decisions in Canada and of corporations operating abroad.

Fossil Fuels: freeze all new projects, develop a plan to phase out fossil fuels and move to 100% renewable energy by 2040, and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies from provincial and federal governments.

Biodiversity & Nature: grant personhood protection to forests and bodies of water, create an environmental bill of rights, stop dumping waste into bodies of water, greater protection for critical biodiversity and natural areas, and protection of at least 30% of land and waters by 2030.

Plastics: develop alternatives to single-use plastics, legislate curtailment of excessive packaging, and end boil water advisories in Indigenous communities.

Democracy: end corporate lobbying and introduce proportional representation. Indigenous Sovereignty: full recognition of Indigenous title and rights.

Moving Ahead
The town hall meetings were an initial step towards uniting, developing a voice, and obtaining a green new deal. National organizers are recommending continued discussions and further coalition-building, particularly with groups that are not traditionally included in environmental discussions.

Plans are in place nationally to hold 100 non-partisan, all-candidate debates on the environment prior to the federal election.

Both Prince Albert and Regina are planning follow-up meetings.

Saskatoon is planning a full-day event on September 20 as part of the global Climate Strike initiative. All local groups will be invited to participate. “We want it to be a big, family-friendly day of coming together and sharing information,” Dianne says.

Climate Justice Saskatoon is following Regina’s lead and has initiated a petition encouraging the City of Saskatoon to become a blue dot community in support of the right to a healthy environment. The Council of Canadians’ Prince Albert chapter has been working on a similar initiative with a specific focus on water.

To get involved, contact one of the following organizations: 
Council of Canadians – Prince Albert Chapter
Council of Canadians – Regina Chapter
Climate Justice Saskatoon

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

EcoSask News, July 2, 2019

black bear

E. O. Wilson’s most fervent dream: “That somehow we have as a value, a human value, that we not destroy but we protect and study and understand and love the environment that was our birthplace.”

Upcoming Events
Seeds & Plants, July 3 (Churchbridge) 
Learn how to plant seeds plus reading and activities from 2-3 pm, July 3, at Churchbridge Public Library.

Pasqua Nature Conservancy Hike, July 4 (Fort Qu’Appelle) 
The Fort Qu’Appelle Nature Society is planning a nature hike in the Nature Conservancy Pasqua land on July 4. Meet at the train station at 7:30 am to car pool. The hike will last from 8-11 am.

The Natural World, July 6 (Prince Albert) 
Join the Saskatchewan Science Centre for a nature/science program for kids from 9 am-12 pm, July 6.

Hidden Valley Wildflowers, July 6 (Regina) 
Join Nature Regina in looking for wildflowers from 8 am-12 pm, July 6, as they hike their Hidden Valley sanctuary.

Household Hazardous Waste, July 7 (Saskatoon) 
You can dispose of household hazardous waste at City of Saskatoon’s Civic Operations Centre from 9 am–3:30 pm, July 7.

AB Greater Sage-grouse Recovery Program, July 9 (webinar) 
Joel Nicholson, Senior Wildlife Biologist with AB Environment and Parks, will discuss Alberta’s greater sage-grouse recovery program in a noon-hour webinar on July 9.

Composting Workshop, July 11 (Saskatoon) 
Join Saskatoon’s compost coaches for a workshop on composting and low-waste strategies from 7-9 pm, July 11.

black bear eating weeds

Looking Ahead
Wanted – Volunteers, Aug. 25 (Regina) 
Friends of Wascana Marsh are looking for volunteers with a nature/biology background to help them set up a booth, host activities such as pond dipping, and offer guided tours at Harbour Landing’s Summer Bash on Aug. 25. Email friendsofwascanamarsh@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Putting Beavers to Work, Oct. 23 & 24 (Calgary) 
A two-day seminar in Calgary on Oct. 23 & 24 will look at beavers’ role in watershed resiliency and restoration through both talks and a coexistence tools demonstration.

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 

In the News
The Endangered Grasslands Alliance has made it easy to express your concerns about the perimeter highway running through the Northeast Swale by emailing your letter to local and provincial politicians directly from their website.

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities will be working with First Nations Power Authority and the U of S School of Environment and Sustainability to develop better wind and solar power systems for rural communities.

Federal and provincial government funding will support transition away from coal in Saskatchewan’s mining communities.

Local theatre group tries to promote hope and change in all-ages play about climate change.

Take your car to a self-service car wash – you’ll save water and avoid runoff pollution.

Raymond, AB plans to go solar for all its municipal energy needs – from heating buildings to streetlights.

Growth is pointless in a mature economy. We should be looking for “qualitative improvement rather than economic enlargement.”

A female Arctic fox travelled more than 3500 km from Norway to Canada in just 76 days.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).