Tuesday 2 August 2011

EcoSask News, August 2, 2011

New Provincial Parks
The Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport is proposing to establish two new provincial parks, one in the Emma and Anglin Lakes area and one in the Porcupine Hills area. Additional information is available on their website. The Ministry is asking for your feedback, on an online survey or in writing, by August 3, 2011.

Celebrate Restraint, August 14
The Sask MB Conference, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, and MCC Saskatchewan are presenting, Celebrate Restraint, a community event themed on Simple Living on Sunday, August 14 starting at 2 pm. Hugo and Doreen Neufeld will lead a discussion on living in a culture of affluence. This will be followed by skill-sharing workshops on topics ranging from beekeeping, to composting, to sewing. There will be a picnic supper at 6 pm. The event will be held at Mount Royal Church (610 Avenue O North).

Saskatoon’s Bicycle Valet
Road Map Saskatoon works with the public, businesses and institutions to promote a sustainable Saskatoon. Their signature project is the Bicycle Valet. The Bicycle Valet provides a secure area where cyclists can leave their bikes while attending local festivals.

The Bicycle Valet safely stored over 1500 bicycles during the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival and just under 1200 bicycles during Taste of Saskatchewan (over 300 in a single day). The Valet supports an active means of transportation, reduces theft and congestion on the streets, and makes the festival grounds less crowded and more enjoyable for pedestrians.

Developing public policies to support renewable energy
The Saskatchewan office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has just released the third and final part of its series on Transforming Saskatchewan’s Electrical Future. The Public Policy Needed to Build a Renewable Energy Society in Saskatchewan is written by Peter Prebble, former Saskatchewan cabinet minister.

The report begins by noting that Saskatchewan has a remarkable array of renewable energy resources (wind, solar, small-scale hydro, bio mass) for its population size. Fully utilizing these resources could be an important source of job creation and community economic development as well as reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

Experience in other countries has shown that public policy can play a key role in successfully developing renewable energy potential. The report recommends a number of different public policies, including the following:
  • Adopt legislation requiring that Saskatchewan meet at least 40% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2020 (double the current contribution);
  • Partner with local communities to install wind turbines, small-scale hydro and biomass generation;
  • Incorporate energy-efficiency standards into the province’s building code;
  • Establish feed-in tariffs to encourage locally-owned renewable energy production;
  • Phase out coal-fired power plants as they are a major source of greenhouse gas pollution;
  • Negotiate the purchase of hydro power from Manitoba in exchange for wind power from Saskatchewan; and
  • Establish training programs in order to create a workforce with the skills and knowledge to lead the transition to a renewable energy economy.
Environmental Scientist of the Year
Monique Dubé has received the Canadian Geographic Environmental Scientist of the Year award. Dubé is a Canada Research Chair for Aquatic Ecosystem Health Diagnosis at the University of Saskatchewan. Dubé’s goal is to apply scientific knowledge to resolve real-life problems. “I want to do science on water that benefits as many people as possible,” she said. “If you look at the science I have done, it has all been to generate products or technology or information to serve a particular community. That gives me absolute satisfaction.”

Dubé’s talk at TEDx Saskatoon, Women, Water and Willpower, considers the importance of water and how it relates to the influence of women.

Canadian Wildlife Federation conservation award
Dennis Sherratt of Silton, Saskatchewan, was the co-recipient of the of the 2011 Roland Michener Conservation award from the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Sherratt began his career as a research biologist with the Wildlife Research Branch of Saskatchewan’s provincial government. He spearheaded Saskatchewan’s internationally recognized Heritage Marsh Program and the adoption of the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act as well as paving the way for wetland development in Canada under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

Sherratt is currently a research fellow with the Canadian Plains Research Center where he is researching the development and application of carbon offsets as part of an Ecological Goods and Services Program for southern Saskatchewan.

Photos: electric scooter charging station and bicycles for rent in Valencia and Barcelona, Spain (Penny McKinlay)

EcoSask News is a weekly Tuesday feature. Email ecofriendlysask@gmail.com if you have news or events that you would like us to include.

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