Sunday, October 28, 2007
There was a small turn out but it was really interesting to hear that this church is interested in figuring out a way they can help their members with their battery disposal needs- it sounds a little complicated (license?) but it's something worth looking into anyway.
Sean Botham is helping deliver our pledge and also the energy saving kits to interested parishioners who want them.
Building an Environmentally Friendly Home
Environment Hamilton and Dave Braden invite you to learn more about:
An environmentally-friendly home that
can be heated with a hair dryer
comes with its own electricity supply
avoids the use of toxic materials
Dave Braden is a former city councillor and
a member of the Board of Directors of Environment Hamilton
who has been building energy efficient homes for many years,
including homes specifically designed for people with extreme chemical sensitivities.
He is now constructing his own family home near Valens Conservation Area. He will take us through it and explain the techniques that he has used to make this the most environmentally friendly home in Hamilton, and perhaps in the province or the country.
Dave will be happy to answer your questions,
including on how you can reduce the energy costs in your own home.
Sunday, November 18 – 2 pm
(in Flamborough near Valens Conservation Area)
Please pre-register by November 6
Or phone (905) 649-0900
1130 Barton Street East, Suite 207, Hamilton, Ontario L8H 7P9
Melrose Buffet Breakfast
Melrose United Church is all set to present another Melrose Buffet Breakfast discussion organized by Environment Hamilton and featuring a Green Venture speaker;
Saturday Nov. 10th [9am]: Converting an Old Home to a Greener Home ( greening your home room by room)
Suggested Donation: $10 (Free for kids 10 and under)
86 Homewood Avenue | Hamilton, Ontario | L8P 2M4 | 905 522 1323
Drop by melroseunited.ca & www.wondercafe.ca
Join the Discussion!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Environment Hamilton's climate change project partnered with Green Venture to deliver the first of our workshops- a practical response to climate change (see below for list of workshops).
Matt Xagoraris hosted the workshop- Energy Saving in the Home at his Melrose Breakfast October 13th.
It was pretty well attended. Most people heard about it through the church proper- the demographics were mostly seniors.
Matt reported that he would have liked a more in depth approach-( screwing in energy efficient light bulbs is all very well but not nearly enough).
He looks forward to the next session being more about using renewable energies and general renovations we can make to the home November 10th
(one of workshops with Dave Braden goings into depth about living off grid etc)
Perhaps there is truth to the notion that we ought to ask people to do more instead of less.
That's what people like at the Step it Up - 1 Sky organization in the US are finding out as they try to establish a climate change movement comparable to the Civil Rights movement. ( To read this article see The Nation October 22, 2007
Any body out there ready to 'march for the climate?'
To December 2007
Energy Conservation in the home
Power Shift Community Presentation: Energy Conservation provides
a general overview of energy saving retrofits for the home/business
owner and/or apartment dweller. Information is divided into
categories which include: lighting, heating and cooling, windows and
drafts, and hot water. Presentations can be tailored to specific
circumstances or areas of interest (i.e.: Electrical, Gas, or Oil
heating, etc.). Through demonstration items, we encourage audience
members to participate at a hands-on level.
Green Venture Energy Coordinator to discuss the conservation,
retrofits & government incentives
Greening your Home One Room at a Time
Take a virtual walk through Green Venture's EcoHouse and find
out how taking simple steps can lighten the ecological foot print of
your living space. Through a power point presentation, one of Green
Venture’s EcoHouse coordinators will demonstrate ways you can
usewater wisely, conserve energy, garden naturally, and reduce
waste in the home or apartment.
Leader: Eco House, Green Venture Co-ordinator
Living Off the Grid
Leader: Former Councillor Dave Braden will lead hands-on
workshops at his home.
Really want to reduce your ecological footprint?
Reduce your car dependency
'Commuting Challenge' (CD) game; this involves using a city map to
locate your home and dropping a CD over the spot. The radius of
the CD represents 2km.
Challenge yourself to walk or cycle within this radial distance.
Cycling in the city: safety tips
and bike routes
Transit in the city: More buses more often
Getting around by bus; Bus pass, tickets
an fare guides, free route maps and
schedules, information on new routes
(Bee-line, Bayfront Shuttle), safety tips
while riding the bus, trans-cab services.
Also included: Letter writing station to
write to elected representatives for more
buses more often.
Leader: Don McLean–Environment Hamilton
Randy Kay–Transportation for Liveable Communities
Make Your Own Rain Barrel
Come and learn how to make your own rain barrel
and bring home your masterpiece to put to the test.
Discuss other sustainable uses for water on your
Leader: Sean Burak
cost: cover costs of materials ($50)
How to eat locally all year round:
planting and eating from your garden, how to properly store/freeze
summer yield to eat all year round, recipes for seasonal cooking, the
'100mile' diet. Free eat local map.
Leader: Sarah Megens,
(Environment Hamilton Eat Local project manager)
Power Shift Expert Panel Presentation: Renewable Energy Now
In panel format, representatives from the local renewable energy
sector provide practical information on innovative technologies,
products, processes, and services related to wind, solar and
geothermal energy. Because we tailor each presentation to the
individual audience, speakers can focus on urban or rural
residential, commercial, or industrial applications (e.g.: Solar hot
water heating for urban multi-use building, geothermal applications
for residential home in the rural environment, and investment
opportunities around Wind energy, to name a few). Regional case
studies and energy champions are integrated into each presentation
making the information relevant and tangible to the viewer.
Local Hamilton resident or business owner who has invested in
renewable technology (Case Study)
Green Venture Energy Advisor
Representative from the Renewable Energy Sector to discuss
innovative products and/or services
Pesticide free lawns
Green Venture’s Naturally Hamilton project is visiting community
groups across the Hamilton area conducting free seminars on
healthy safe pesticide-free lawn and garden maintenance. More
specifically, learn the difference between organic and petroleum
based fertilizers and pesticides. Information on the following topics
will also be available: healthy lawns, questions to ask lawn care
companies, alternative and native landscapes, dealing with weeds or
insects, and more.
Leader: Green Venture Energy Advisor
In touch with Nature
You have to know and love what you're fighting for! Get in touch
with nature with Dieter Staudinger, Dundas-based spiritual
Dieter will take the group on a hike where they will get reacquainted
with wild life and plant life.
Climate Change and Social Justice
(Details to follow)
Leader: Crystle Numan http://cdn.gv.ca
An Inconvenient Truth will continue to be screened on request.
A Crude Awakening is available for screening with a following
discussion on peak oil with Richard Reble, retired teacher and EH
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The need to make crystal clear to people what they need to be doing was stressed.
There was a speaker before me who was marketing a tool for measuring air quality and green house gases emissions in a municipality. Sounded pretty high tech indeed- combined monitoring methods such as satellite remote sensing, atmospheric modelling and ground level monitoring to deliver active, web based maps of environmental processes.
(A-Maps Environmental Inc).
I had to skip out before they got to the Upwind Downwind Climate Change and Healthy Cities Conference next February 2008- http://www.cleanair.hamilton
EH expects to attend this.
We attended the KAIROS event at Mount Mary Retreat Centre in Ancaster on Friday 12th October. Emily and I staffed the booth and we many some interesting contacts.
Our wonderful volunteer Betsy Agar was registered for the conference and was able to staff the booth as well when she wasn't in the workshops.
She wrote up a report which I have edited below;
Transportation and the future of cars
Presented by: Liz Benneian (Pronounced Bennyan)
President, Oakvillegreen Conservation Association
Key Transportation Issues: Peak Oil and Global Warming
Oil is a finite resource and the world’s geologists estimate that half of our oil reserves have been used. Peak Oil is not to be confused with running out of oil. Peak oil is a point at which demand exceeds supply, which carries with it tremendous social impacts.
Citing the statistic that 20% of our fossil fuel energy is used in transport, Liz made the direct connection between transportation and Peak Oil. In fact, she refers to Peak Oil as a transportation issue, reasoning that built environment energy needs have so many alternatives available. As such, she projects that we will travel less in the future.
She spoke briefly of the limited fuel alternatives currently proposed for transportation: biofuels, ethanol and sugar cane.
Biofuels are not the answer because of the threat to food production.
Ethanol she discredits as an energy loser. That is to say, it takes too much energy to produce ethanol.
Sugar cane is the most promising alternative energy for transportation, but this option is not without drawbacks. Sugar cane is associated with deforestation and monocropping. Field burning is a practice that facilitates harvest but also produces pollution. Finally, sugar cane fuel production is another energy intensive process. The Return on Investment (ROI) is 8:1, which is significantly less than oil’s ROI of 40:1
Liz drew audible gasps from her audience when she reported that that the U.S. is responsible for 45% of global auto emissions, and that SUVs in the U.S. emit as much as the sum of 55 of their biggest coal-fired power plants. She is particularly concerned with the land use patterns developing nations are adopting: they are building suburbs; they are repeating our mistakes.
She briefly mentioned the environmental impacts of the practices of the developed world, not to diminish their importance, probably to reserve attention for the social justice issues that, in my view, are often overshadowed by more locally relevant environmental issues. She highlighted our intense use of energy and raw materials.
She directly connected our car culture with an undeniable rise in obesity rates, as well as pollution related illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases. The prevalence of road accidents and our perception of risk were also discussed. We seem to have accepted these risks or somehow discounted their importance.
However, impacts not easily ignored but not often felt by people in developed nations, such as Canada include wars, civil conflicts and food scarcity. Without mention of every environmental activist’s favourite target, she drew attention to the immoral choices made in the name of oil. She linked the lack of action in Darfur to China’s import of Sudanese oil. Taking action in Darfur could, and likely would, threaten Chinese-Sudanese relations.
She illustrated the connection between food scarcity and Peak Oil, using corn as the example. Corn-based fuels increase demand for corn. Corn prices rise. Corn becomes expensive for consumption and farmers begin to cater to fuel producers. Also, excess corn is no longer available for humanitarian aid.
Under the heading:
“Why it is hard to change?” Liz suggested 10 reasons why these problems persist:
10 biggest companies in the world (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2007/)
Royal Dutch Shell
BP (British Petroleum)
Her technique was effective. She stirred her audience, but did not leave them feeling helpless. She then proposed a challenge.
Envisioning the future
To begin the interactive portion of the workshop, she explicitly reminded:
We can’t take more than we give back
We can’t give back petroleum
Then she formed six groups of 5. Each group was to envision an ideal living scenario and work backwards to determine the necessary steps to achieve that ideal.
What – Explore visions/options
How – Strategize how this ideal can be achieved
Who – Examine who will have to take action
When – Examine short and long term goals to set out a timeline for action
Following the small group exercise, she invited the whole group to discuss their results. The following are some of those suggestions:
individual involvement in community
lobby government to cut oil and gas subsidies
pesticides will disappear, they are petroleum based
from the people
workplace “Green Team”
mandatory local civil service
like German model
Her final point was that no matter what the demographic, every group she meets with calls for a re-engineering of society. She has promised to post her slides online, which will be very valuable as she suggests a number of personal and corporate actions that can be taken. The highlights of her suggestions include:
Policy changes happen at the budget stage, the planning(?) stage is too late
Public transportation must be in place before people move in or they buy two cars
Bus rapid transit is the cheapest most flexible public transit option
Greening Sacred Spaces
Presented by: Rory O’Brien
GSS Coordinator, Faith & the Common Good
Rory was not originally slated to speak and chose to screen their movie: Greening Sacred Spaces, the research for which is credited to Rory O’Brien. The following are notes from the movie.
good stewards of Earth; calling for people of faith
balance utility of space with environmental requirements
Energy Audit (In shortened version)
municipal subsidies may be available
HVAC distribution systems
Guide available at http://www.faith-commongood.net/docs/gsspracticalguide.swf
place to begin
hand wash dishes
Environmental cleaning products
Fair trade products
Low maintenance plants
more time and money
longer term payoffs
structural engineering analysis
churches are landmark buildings
lead by example
High efficiency furnace
Geothermal or ground source heat pumps
Sophisticated distribution system
long term project; time to deliberate
Reuse of materials to divert waste
Reducing water use
Link between architecture with theology
Passive solar collection
Cool air from raised floor
Fake floor; plenum
Hot air rises and is redirected
Into floor plenum in the winter
Outside in the summer
Four Major Barriers
Following the video, Rory discussed the major barriers to greening sacred spaces.
For those not convinced of the social or environmental purpose, good energy conservation is just economic sense
Guidebook available on website http://www.faith-commongood.net/docs/gsspracticalguide.swf
Maintain HVAC systems
Develop a green team
Audit can cost thousands
Recommendations can be very expensive
Long term benefits provide whole picture and convince it is worth while
Green Communities Canada is an umbrella organization of Canadian energy auditors. Hamilton’s own Greenventure is a founding member (http://www.greenventure.ca/gv.asp?ID=100). A guidebook for going green is provided on the website of Faith and the Common Good, and it includes a “walk through” energy audit template. He strongly supports a professional audit, suggesting that the walk through audit starts people thinking and prompts behavioural change.
Monday, October 1, 2007
last updated:Monday, October 1, 2007
An influential group of Canadian chief executives says climate change is the "most pressing and daunting" issue the world faces today and business must do its share to fight the problem.
A task force of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives released a report Monday that calls for a national action plan that would see government, business and individuals working in concert to make real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
"We know enough about the science of climate change to recognize that aggressive global action is required," the report said.
The CEOs acknowledge that success in this area will come at a "significant" cost, but say it's one that must be borne by all sectors.
"The key is to make the right decisions about what investments in the short term will produce the greatest returns both now and over the long haul, for Canada's economy and for the global environment," the report said.
The CEOs argue that Canadian businesses have already done much to make their operations more energy-efficient, but say industry must do more.
The document said: "The ultimate goal must be to achieve substantial absolute reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases in Canada and globally."
But to achieve that, the report said government must ensure that companies are not "arbitrarily penalized in the short term" so they can make the necessary investments to cut their emissions while still improving productivity.
Investing in technological innovation is the best way to bring about the cleaner technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the task force said.
The technology funds being proposed by the federal and Alberta governments are critical to provide industry with the kind of incentives needed, the CEOs said.
Government intervention seen
They acknowledge that market forces alone are unlikely to be enough to do the job and that some kind of government intervention will be necessary.
One way to foster the needed change, they say, is through emissions trading systems that set a cap on emissions and then allow companies to take part in a market in tradable permits — much as the Kyoto Protocol does.
The federal government is proposing a domestic emissions trading system that would allow heavy polluters to buy carbon credits from other companies as one way to meet new greenhouse gas targets.
The CEOs' report said emissions trading is "attractive in theory" and that challenges in creating a fair and effective system can be worked out.
The other way governments can persuade businesses and consumers to cut emissions is by imposing a carbon tax. "But Canadians must recognize that significant levels of taxation likely would be required to drive significant changes in behaviour."
The CEOs said they are not proposing a new carbon tax. But they say if government decides to go that route, it should replace other forms of taxation so it doesn't turn into a "revenue grab."
They also warn that "any new tax in Canada must not discriminate against any particular sector or region" — a clear reference that Alberta's oilsands operations not be singled out for special tax attention.
The report was released the same day that Quebec's controversial carbon tax on energy companies goes into effect — the first of its kind in Canada.