Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hamilton Day of Action on Climate Change - December 8 2007

Hamilton Day of Action on Climate Change - December 8 2007

December 8 has been designated a day of global action on climate change and Hamiltonians can register their concern for the fate of the planet in a very individual way. Environment Hamilton invites you to be part of the first Hamilton Day of Action on Climate Change by taking at least one of the following individual actions on Saturday, December 8.

To participate, register with EH by email or phone, and tell us which of the following actions you will complete on December 8.

1. I will write a personal letter to Prime Minister Harper and my Member of Parliament expressing my concerns about climate change. (You can come to the EH office on the evening of Wednesday, December 5 for assistance, and to join others in this action).

2. I will sign up for the Environment Hamilton pilot vehicle use log and commit to recording all use of my car for one month.

3. I will park my car for the weekend and try out public transit (this option should not be chosen by regular HSR users).

4. I will borrow a copy of the Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth and show it to friends or family over the weekend.

5. I will take public transit to Toronto on December 8 and participate in the climate change rally starting at 12 noon – at Dundas Square on Yonge Street.

Call (905) 549-0900 or email to register. Just tell us the number of the action(s) you are pledging to take, and provide us with your contact information. Call anytime and leave a message. Please register by December 6 so we can announce how many Hamiltonians are participating in the Day of Action on Climate Change.

Also as part of Environment Hamilton's workshops and presentations series, Melrose Buffet Breakfast will host Crystle Numan (Evangelical Environmental Network) who will be presenting a talk on Climate Change and Social Justice. Suggested donation $10 (includes breakfast)

Talk starts at 9am at Melrose United Church,
86 Homewood Avenue in Hamilton.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Vehicle Log

We are launching a vehicle log that will help gather information to learn how people use their vehicles. Participants record their vehicle use for a month and might find it useful to map out where their fuel costs go. Hopefully it will reveal ways to reduce fossil fuel use.

If you are interested in participating and would like a vehicle log mailed to you, please contact Environment Hamilton by phone- 905 549 0900
or email

Here's a condensed form of what the log contains; consider one line one return trip.


Start date odometer reading: _________________

Date of trip
Highway or City driving?
Purpose of the trip (check all that apply, specify other)
Number in the Vehicle
Parking costs
Time Spent in Vehicle

work__ school__ food shopping __ other shopping __ recreation/entertainment__ kids_ other (x 30 days)

End Odometer Reading: ______________________________

Please provide the following additional information:

Do you use your car as part of your job?_______________
Vehicle make/model/year:__________________________
Annual vehicle insurance cost:______________________
Monthly vehicle payments: _________________________
Estimated annual maintenance costs: _________________

Braden House Tour

The tour was a great success with 35 interested people who came out to visit Dave and Cathy Braden's off - grid house. Participants learned a lot about building a home energy efficiently, and about powering the home with out hydro ( but using wind and solar energy).
Thanks Dave and Cathy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Eco -Friendly Holiday Season

Looking for ways to simplify the holiday season? Here are some tips from local Hamiltonians on how you can curb over consumption, reduce your carbon footprint save money and celebrate the true meaning of the season!

Making wreaths or swags to adorn any door for the season out of collected pine cones and twigs etc. This is a great craft for kids at any age at after the season it can be go into the green bin or the compost. Sylvia

My family and I got overwhelmed with gifts one year and decided not to do it again. The following year, and the three years since, we have used Mission Services to find a family in need. Instead of spending the build up to the holidays running around the mall, be do our shopping for our family together in one day, and have dinner together after. On Christmas day i like to think of our family enjoying their day as we enjoy being around loved ones. OH! and this year we may try Geocaching..... Nancy

My siblings and I, along with my parents donate in each other's names, in lieu of gifts. Last year we bought goat's for my sisters and a donkey for my parents from Oxfam.

I try to buy second-hand toys, but I confess, children gift giving is still a conundrum for me.

I did just attend a 5-year-old's birthday whose Moms requested a $15 donation that Libby would take out to buy one favourite toy and donate the remainder to Cerebral Palsy. I really like that idea.


We try to wrap all gifts in reusable gift bags rather than paper. We cut up Christmas cards rec'd in previous years to make gift tags. We save and reuse tissue paper, bows, ribbon. We carpool to houses. We minimize exterior Christmas decorations. We don't keep our tree lights on when we're not home or throughout the night. We encourage donations to charities of our choice via rather than giving us gifts. We try to give to charities in others names in lieu of a gift to them.


I used to make preserves and baby spider plants and xmas card 'boxes' from used cards (which are kind of cool actually, but never knew what to put in them) and similar homemade stuff for teacher gifts.
Instead of giving each other gifts, my two daughters and I sponsor a
family at Mission Services and buy them all gifts and food for theChristmas Holidays. The two grandchildren join in too, but we do get
them a gift.

1. Pick names and place a monetary limit
2. Host a "white elephant" gift exchange with a mix of $10 and gag gifts
3. Put money toward sustainable development assistance for a family in a developing country (ie: world vision gift guide)

A few tips we do at home:
1. use newspaper to wrap gifts and then tie them up with twine or pretty ribbon.
2. reuse old Christmas cards as gift tags - just cut off the back and punch a hole through.
3. On Christmas morning have brown bags ready to receive the folded used gift wrap as you unwrap things and take them all out to the blue bin.
4. LED Christmas lights on tree and outside.
5. Put Christmas lights on timer so as not to take up so much energy.


Support local and Free Trade; Mixed Media on James st N has really neat stuff.
OPIRG McMaster has some free trade items and goodies too. Church bazaars and craft shows are nice places to support.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Peaked Out?

For another good article on peak oil check out Michael T. Klare's piece Beyond the Age of Petroleum in The Nation

Michael T. Klare is the defense correspondent of The Nation and a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College.

Here's an excerpt from the article;

"This past May, in an unheralded and almost unnoticed move, the Energy Department signalled a fundamental, near epochal shift in US and indeed world history: we are nearing the end of the Petroleum Age and have entered the Age of Insufficiency. The department stopped talking about "oil" in its projections of future petroleum availability and began speaking of "liquids."
The global output of "liquids," the department indicated, would rise from 84 million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe) per day in 2005 to a projected 117.7 mboe in 2030--barely enough to satisfy anticipated world demand of 117.6 mboe. Aside from suggesting the degree to which oil companies have ceased being mere suppliers of petroleum and are now purveyors of a wide variety of liquid products--including synthetic fuels derived from natural gas, corn, coal and other substances--this change hints at something more fundamental: we have entered a new era of intensified energy competition and growing reliance on the use of force to protect overseas sources of petroleum."

Peak Oil Expert Speaking to Council; Nov 12th 2007

Monday morning’s committee of the whole meeting will hear from Daniel Lerch, author of a new guidebook for municipalities on peak oil and global warming. The presentation to city councillors comes in the wake of recent rapid increases in the price of oil and concerns about looming fuel shortages.
Lerch is the program director of the Post-Carbon Institute, a California organization that has been warning about the end of cheap oil since 2003. Concerns about peak oil led Hamilton’s council to commission a report in June 2005 – only the second municipality in Canada to do so – just a couple of months before Hurricane Katrina briefly sent gas prices soaring.
That report was delivered by Richard Gilbert in April 2006, at a time when peak oil was still widely regarded as a fringe theory. At that point oil futures were selling around $55 a barrel. This week they climbed above $98 a barrel for the first time, having more than doubled in the last year.
The Institute believes those prices will continue to rise dramatically, making long distance shipment of food and other consumer goods prohibitively expensive. They argue that cities should respond with a strategy of “relocalization” including “the local production of food and energy, and the relocalization of currency, governance and culture.”
Yesterday’s New York Times says the world is heading for an oil shock and warns consumers to brace for significantly higher fuel costs. As evidence it quotes a spokesperson from one of the world’s biggest oil companies.
“The concern today is over how will the energy sector meet the anticipated growth in demand over the longer term,” Linda Z. Cook, a board member of Royal Dutch Shell. “Energy demand is increasing at a rate we’ve not seen before. On the supply side, we’re seeing it is struggling to keep up. That’s the energy challenge.”
But the newspaper isn’t using the term peak oil yet, and contends that a “frenzied search for new sources” will, over time, provide additional supplies.
Peak oil theorists suggest that’s unlikely, arguing that the world has probably already reached the point where the most accessible oil has been extracted, and the difficulties in obtaining the rest mean the amount on the market is going to shrink. That will mean the growing demand from countries like China and India will exceed the supply and result in much higher prices.
The Spectator’s international columnist Gwynne Dyer is using the term peak oil and is willing to accept that it may have been reached, but holds out hope that the impending fall in availability can be successfully managed if action is taken quickly.
“The German-based Energy Watch Group declared last month that global oil output peaked in 2006 at 81 million barrels per day,” notes Dyer. “It will fall to 58 million b/d by 2020, they predict, and to only 39 million b/d by 2030.”
Lerch is in Hamilton to address the annual Spirit of Red Hill Valley lecture on Monday evening. Panelists helping to question him include Gilbert and Mayor Eisenberger. He’s also speaking in the afternoon to students at Assumption high school in Burlington, and Tuesday morning to a graduate class at McMaster.

CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) updates use transcripts and/or public documents to highlight information about Hamilton civic affairs that is not generally available in the mass media. Detailed reports of City Hall meetings can be reviewed at You can receive all CATCH free updates by sending an email to

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Converting your home into a greener one

Saturday 10th November at 9am;

Melrose Breakfast Buffet
invites you to attend another Environment Hamilton workshop featuring Green Venture presentation of-

Converting Your Old

Home to a Greener


Melrose United Church

86 Homewood Avenue | Hamilton, Ontario | L8P 2M4 | 905 522 1323

Drop by &

Join the Discussion!

Suggested Donation: $10 (Free for kids 10 and under)