Green Revolution in English Village
September 12, 2016
In Ashton Hayes, a village of about 1000 people near Liverpool, England, hundreds of residents have banded together to cut greenhouse emissions—they use clotheslines instead of dryers, take fewer flights, install solar panels and glaze windows to better insulate their homes. The effort, which reached its 10th anniversary this year, has led to a 24 percent cut in emissions.
But what makes Ashton Hayes unusual is its approach: Residents have done it themselves, without prodding from government. One of their secrets is that the people of Ashton Hayes feel in charge—they have declined participation by politicians, saying party politics would only divide them along ideological lines. Another is that they have made light of the situation, holding wine-and-cheese meetings in the biggest houses, and community cafes in a solar-powered pavilion.
As the effects of a warming planet are becoming ever clearer, Ashton Hayes is a case study for the next phase of battling climate change: getting people to change their habits.
See more at http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/the-uk-village-leading-a-green-revolution/vp-AAiN8k3.
About the Author
Neal Bonnor is the current secretary of the Hamilton 350 Committee. He is a long-time resident of Hamilton, where he raised his two children. Neal has been actively involved in environmental issues since completing his Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, working for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change while volunteering his free time with non-profit environmental groups. Neal participated in the People’s Climate March in New York City with the Toronto 350 Committee in 2014, and marched in similar rallies in Toronto and Hamilton in 2015. Most recently he made his views known outside the National Energy Board hearings for the Enbridge Line 10 proposal in Hamilton. Neal is an active member of the Stewards of Cootes Watershed, holds membership in the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Hamilton Conservation Authority, and regularly attends lectures and events on environmental issues.
Something HUGE is Happening!
On Monday October 24, at 9am, Canadian youth are converging in Ottawa to tell the world and our leaders that we cannot live on an inhabitable planet. They attest that no pipelines can be built if we want to survive climate catastrophe. The science is there folks, it's just whether you want to listen to it.
Earlier today, ten very well-known figures in the Environmental Sector, composed a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau saying, "In other words, if you approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline this December, you will put Canada on a path to burn ¼ of the world’s remaining carbon budget, a pretty selfish, and frankly un-Canadian move."
Many of you know the fight we all face when standing in opposition of a giant. Their is strength in numbers when we unite as one. We cannot continue going on in this world if we cannot work together.
There must be no new pipeline infrastructure or projects if we want to adhere to the global Paris agreement. What kind of image do you want Canada to have, if it shy's away now? The world looked at Stephen Harper in a very negative way, what will they think of Justin Trudeau when he campaigned on real change, and cannot even uphold that promise?
I stand in solidarity with the Sioux Nation at #StandingRock #WaterIsLife #NoDAPL I stand in solidarity with the youth in Ottawa this coming Monday #NoKinderMorgan #NoMorePipelines I stand in solidarity with all land defenders, water protectors #NoPlanetB
Robyn is a passionate environmentalist from Hamilton, Ontario where she sits on the Hamilton 350 Committee as social media manager.
Hey everyone! Just wanted to say thank you to all of our supporters for getting the word up and out from our committee meetings. We are finally beginning to grow.
I can confirm at this point in time that we will be on cable 14 tomorrow at 1230pm. Don and myself will be interviewed in regards to the pipeline rally. Don and I are both excited and are adamant with our message.
We put in another order for posters, so if there is anyone who wants to put some up in their neighborhood please, please, reach out to me. You can reach me at this address and I will hook you up with some posters.
I think one part of what Hamilton 350 is about, is really getting personal with this issue of Climate Change. We see crazy, intense natural disasters happening almost yearly, around the world. And they're getting worse. It's easy to deflect, I have almost kind of become numb, to these events. It's scary to me, that I feel this way because the rest of me, is so lucid and angry that it's happening. But then, I come out to these meetings and I really see the impact that all of this has, on each and every one of us. Is it weird that I see us as warriors? In our own unique way, we are all fighting against the reality of our future becoming uninhabitable. It's terrifying that there are people out there who knew about these catastrophic scenarios (that are now realities) were ever possible.
Sorry for this sobering thought; please, please, engage with us. We have a really great group of people who come from all different humanities of life and well, networking is the best.
“Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights and You” Presentation by Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, Dr. Diane Saxe at Hamilton City Hall September 27, 2016 by Mary Ann Blair
In light of November 8, 2016 being the last day for the public to submit comments for the revision of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, local environmental advocacy groups Environment Hamilton and Hamilton Blue Dot, co-sponsored a talk by Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, Dr. Dianne Saxe at Hamilton’s City Hall at 7pm on Tuesday September 27th. Approximately 50 people attended including Environment Hamilton’s Executive Director Lynda Lukasik, Volunteer Blue Dot presenter Fiona Parascandalo, Councillor Matthew Green and Green Party Canada 2015 candidates for Hamilton Centre and Hamilton Mountain, Ute Schmid-Jones and Raheem Aman. Dr. Saxe gave a brief overview of the history of environmental rights in Ontario-we’ve come a long way- explained what her office does and how its website is a powerful tool for activists providing research and help with navigation for sending feedback to the right government channels.
With 40 years experience as an environmental lawyer previous to her appointment as Environmental Commissioner, last December, she has seen how the law has changed and how we have moved beyond a “Government knows best” culture. The environmental and human health catastrophes such as Love Canal, the use of Agent Orange for clearing brush on Ontario highways and acid rain have eroded that trust and the law has changed. For example, in the 1950’s companies could dump toxic waste directly in rivers, in the 1970’s it went to landfill, now there are strict provisions for the handling of toxic waste. Still, as Hamilton Blue Dot presenter Fiona Parascandalo noted in her introductory presentation, Ontarians have a right to notification about pollution, but no enforceable provisions for protection. To quote Dr. Saxe, the Environmental Commissioner is a “Watch Dog, not a Police Dog”. Still, she explained that the government needs public support for “social legitimacy” to implement its decisions and public input has actually influenced 37 percent of government decisions.
Dr. Saxe explained that as citizens we have a right to notification of government proposals for projects affecting the environment, the right to comment and the right to appeal any government decision. Her website is “a tool box” for making our comments more effective in content. Her office publishes three annual reports per year on environmental conservation: green house gas emissions, and environmental protection, and in process. Her website offers under drop down menu “Your Rights/Comment on Government Proposals” access to the registry where citizens can make their comments for the reform of the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights using reference #012-8002.
Since taking office in December, Dr. Saxe is “more frightened” by the rapidity of climate change now and underlined the need to “get ready for what is coming”. Submitting our ideas for the reform of the Environmental Bill of Rights is one way that we can push for greater government accountability to respond to the climate crisis.
About the Author
Mary Ann Blair has been volunteering with Hamilton 350 since the Fall of 2015 preparations for the Hamilton 2 Paris climate rally on November 29th. She is deeply concerned about climate change and the need to radically change our lifestyles to support a local, ecologically sound, climate resilient economy. She wrote this article for readers because until attending Dr. Saxe's talk at Hamilton City Hall, she did not know what her environmental rights were as an Ontarian, what an Environmental Commissioner was and how effective sending comments through the provincial government's registry can be.
Tonight I had the astounding pleasure in meeting Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, in Guelph, Ontario. Originally I had planned on arriving early, getting a good seat and all that jazz, but I was late. I got lucky, but I was late. On arrival, I got to sign a few petitions to help protect water sources in the area, as well as meeting Maude and having a book signed. I was ecstatic. Not because I idolize this woman, but because I idolize her intelligence. Her passion. Her ideology in regards to protecting our land, air and water. Her big, beautiful brain.
The first speaker Arlene Slocombe spoke from a local perspective, talking about how Nestle is invading their land in hopes to obtain permits to extract more water from Wellington County. They are already extracting water from two wells, and in process to extract from a third in Alberfoyle. The uproar is loud. The audience before her booed and booed, all in unison. The thing with licenses and permits, they expire but Arlene compared an expired driver's license to Nestle's expired water extraction license, and felt compelled to share with us that there is no fine, no charges, no real stress at all for the multinational corporation. But for us? If we drove with an expired license, we are fined, charged, and deemed unworthy of the privilege.
Where do we draw the line?
Where do corporations end, and people begin? I have a bit of a problem. I like to humanize. I like to think that at the bottom of every smelly, corporate pig, is a person who is someone's child or someone's parent. I like to think that behind the facades that these CEOs and executives are still people too. Like you and me. Yet so many actions and statements significantly say otherwise.
Maude was pleasant. She could have tore into Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestle but I would like to say she was fair. She painted him in a light you would be blinded by. That's how it felt for me. I was blind. I've read articles before that mention him saying 'water is not a human right' but hearing it from Maude, it just became that much more surreal. I do not like to not like people, but if there were someone not to like, it might just be this man.
The event itself gathered I want to guess, over 100 folks at the Harcourt United Church. All different ages: kids, teenagers, parents, grandparents. The plethora was there. And I am glad I was too. When you're surrounded by so many people who care and are revolutionaries in their own ways, it really helps unify and collectively produce a solid foundation.
I will be submitting a review of Boiling Point on here within the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
The Council of Canadians is launching a national campaign to boycott Nestle. They will be promoting this campaign starting tomorrow.
There will also be a direct action this Monday September 26 at 630pm outside the Guelph City Hall, hosted by the Wellington Water Watchers, more information can be found here http://wellingtonwaterwatchers.ca/event/pack-guelph-council-chambers/
About the Author
Robyn Sifton is a Mcmaster University graduate, social media guru and website moderator for Hamilton 350 and a full-time advocate for clean air, water and land. #BoycottNestle