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SCC Green Gazette

Sierra Club of Canada's monthly news update
from the National Office, Chapters and Groups

National Office
Atlantic Canada Chapter
BC Chapter
Prairie Chapter
Sierra Youth Coalition

March 2004


Conference Reminder People and the Planet

People and the Planet: Changing Values for a Sustainable Future
May 14 2004 to May 16 2004
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Calgary, Alberta

On the 10th Anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit, in June 2002, the Sierra Club of Canada held a conference to address the state of our natural and human environments. By popular demand, Sierra Club of Canada will host the second People and the Planet conference in Calgary, Alberta, from May 14-16, 2004. Speakers include Maude Barlow, David Korten, Andrew Nikiforuk, Ken Wiwa, Elizabeth May, Jerry Mander, and many others. Topics examined will include climate change, water, biodiversity, food safety and sustainable agriculture, faith, social justice, and many more. Contact: Angela Rickman, email:, 1-888-810-4204

Earth Day 2004

April 22nd is the 34th anniversary of Earth Day. The national office along with local and national environmental groups, social justice groups and green businesses will be celebrating in Ottawa on Sparks Street Mall near Parliament Hill. This year’s theme is “Sustainable Cities”. Please visit


You can nominate a member or yourself! Candidates must be members in good standing of Sierra Club of Canada (for at least the previous year). Send the nominations by March 19, 2004 to the national office, attn: Nominations Committee. We will be voting for the candidates and ensuring nominations in two categories national-at-large members and separately for those under 25 years of age to ensure adequate youth representation in organizational governance. You may also run as a petition candidate. Petition candidates are included on the ballot, as long as supported by the signature of 1 percent of the membership. Petitions must be received by the national office by April 23, 2004. Contact the national office for details about becoming a petition candidate.

Making Change, Making A Difference
July 4 - 7
Elizabeth May, Tzeporah Berman, Karen Mahon, David Schulman

Using real grassroots examples the workshop leaders illustrate the many ways it is possible to engage in and change the issues that effect our lives.

The Air We Breathe & the Water We Drink, Strategies & Inspiration for the Earth
July 8 - 11
Tzeporah Berman, David Boyd & Elizabeth May

Three of Canada’s modern day leaders share inspiring stories of how individuals and communities have turned the tide and created successful models of environmental protection.

Health and Environment

Compassionate Passion

SCC held a press conference just prior to Valentine’s Day announcing the release of their sustainable Valentine’s Day guide Compassionate Passion : A Guide for Lovers and Others. The guide reviews many of the ethical concerns with traditional Valentine’s Day gifts such as pesticide use and unfair labour conditions in the fresh cut flower industry, child slavery in the cocoa trade, as well as child labour, civil war and suffering in the diamond trade. However the purpose of the guide is to suggest other healthy, ecological and ethical alternatives to traditional gifts.

The guide is available at:

Or, review the Sierra Club’s press release and information backgrounder at:

No Appeal on SD Myers case

The January 15th court ruling affirmed an earlier trade tribunal decision that Canada could not prohibit the export of hazardous waste contaminated with PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) into the United States without violating the US corporation’s so-called “investor-rights.” Despite the Council of Canadians and Sierra Club of Canada demanding that the Canadian government appeal this ruling, this month the government confirmed that they would NOT be appealing the case. An inside source stated that the government felt the federal court judge had not given them enough room in the decision to appeal and that according to the federal government, it would not be time and money well spent.

The January 16th press release is available at:

The Great Wheat Uprising

The Safe Food and Sustainable Agriculture Campaign against the commercialization of GE wheat continues. Following a series of actions and letter writing campaigns, a 5ft. by 3ft. Valentine’s Day card filled with letters from farmers across the country was prepared for Paul Martin with one over-arching message Don’t Break Our Hearts - Please no GE wheat!! Look for upcoming Great Wheat Uprising information, plans and actions in and around the Great Wheat Uprising week of action March 13th to 20th.

Stockholm Convention Ratified

France deposited its ratification of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants with the UN on Tuesday, February 17th - making it the threshold 50th country to ratify the international Convention. As a result, the Stockholm Convention will enter into force on May 17th, 2004, less than 3 years from the date on which the Convention was adopted and opened for ratification of Stockholm. Canada was the first country to sign and ratify the Stockholm convention. The Convention deals with Intentionally produced pesticides (Aldrin, Chlordane, DDT, Eieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene, Mirex, Toxaphene), industrial chemicals (Hexachlorobenzene, Mirex, PCBs) and unintentionally produced persistent organic pollutants (dioxins and furans, Hexachlorobenzene & PCBs)

Press Release:
Neighborhoods surrounding Sydney tar ponds heavily contaminated

Tuesday, February 24, 2004(Ottawa) New evidence shows that the neighborhoods surrounding the Sydney tar ponds are heavily contaminated; without remediation, they are unsafe for long-term human habitation.

Atmosphere and Energy

Fuel efficient vehicles for Canadians!

SCC has launched its campaign to mobilize public support for federal government action to boost the fuel efficiency of Canadian vehicles.

You can help by writing a letter to Paul Martin, telling him to force Canadian auto-makers to produce more efficient and less-polluting cars and trucks by establishing a regulated fuel efficiency standard for Canadian vehicles.

For help on writing a letter, please see:

For more background on why Canada should regulate vehicle fuel efficiency, please see the opinion piece by Shawn-Patrick Stensil, published in the Toronto Star on February 16th. Please see : Insert web site


Press Release:
SOSS Coaltion Would Welcome One Oil and Gas Licensing Agency / New Legislation for Eastern Canada

February 25th, 2004 (Ottawa-Halifax)-The announcement by federal Minister of Natural Resources, the Hon John Efford, that the federal government is prepared to re-negotiate royalty agreements is an important step towards reforming the regulatory framework for offshore petroleum development in Atlantic Canada.

Press Release: Science Panel Reviewing British Columbia Oil and Gas Moratoria Comes Out Against Near Shores Development

February 17th 2004 (Ottawa) - While environmental and fishing organizations rejected the findings of the Royal Society of Canada Panel report that science gaps do not need to be closed prior to lifting the moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development off the B.C. coast, they noted that the panel report would preclude oil and gas development in the near shore. 




The Nova Scotia Voluntary Planning Task Force has released their interim report on Off-Highway Vehicle use. The report makes 48 recommendations for stricter Off-Highway vehicle use, including the development of trails to keep the vehicles out of sensitive wilderness areas and phasing out trails that currently cross protected wilderness areas. There is still time to make your opinion known! The public is being asked to review the interim report before March 15. The committee will then send a final report to the government, with legislative changes expected to be seen in 2005. You can view the document and comment at:


The Kaizer Meadow Brook Preservation Group, which is fighting Bowater Mersey for protection of land now owned by the company, met with Bowater on December 12, 2003 to review the company’s five-year plan for the land. Though the plan does not include everything the Kaizer Meadow group hoped for (Bowater still plans to use pesticides in places, for example) there are parts of the plan they are happy with, such as plans to use variable retention and select harvesting, rather than clearcutting, which will retain some of the older trees on the land that provide essential animal habitat. Also, a rare lichen found on the land may qualify as part of the Bowater’s Unique Areas Program. More information is available on Sierra Club of Canada Atlantic Canada Chapter web site:


The Sierra Club of Canada - Atlantic Canada Chapter will be holding our first Public Event of the year!!
Date: Saturday, March 6, 2004 Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Location: Saint Mary’s University, Sobey’s Building, Room 260

- Hear Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada speak
- Under the Gun: Nova Scotia’s Natural Wealth.
- Learn more about Atlantic Canada Chapter’s current issues.
- Get involved in your community! Followed up by the first meeting of the Halifax Group on March 10th, 5pm. For more information please contact the office at (902) 444-3113.


The Atlantic Canada Chapter encourages all of our Nova Scotia members to make comments on The Green Plan (Towards a Sustainable Environment)(submit your comments at: This is our chance to influence Government policy and make sure they know people care about environmental issues in Nova Scotia. Don’t feel you have to write a lot, just comment on the parts you are interested in. It only takes a few minutes so please do it now! Deadline for comments is March 31st.


Press Release:
Logging Cathedral Grove for Parking Lot Disgraceful

Feb 13th, 2004 ( Victoria , B.C.)-The new Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection, Bill Barisoff, has enraged citizens by seeking an injunction to bar them from witnessing logging at Vancouver Island’s Cathedral Grove (MacMillan Park).

Press Release:
Offshore Oil and Gas Report Relies on Dangerous Assumptions

February 17, 2004 (Victoria, B.C.)-Sierra Club of Canada is deeply concerned the report by the Royal Society Panel on Oil and Gas relies on dangerous assumptions. The report, released today, states there are no science gaps that need to be filled before lifting the moratoria on oil and gas development in the Queen Charlotte Basin.


Steer Clear Campaign to launch Earthday (April 22nd)

This project is a social marketing based campaign focusing on encouraging the City of Edmonton’s 8000 employees to use alternative means of transportation. Components include the Take Transit Challenge and weekly outreach sessions. For more information visit our website.

Prairie Chapter set to launch Pesticide Free Yards Campaign May 1, 2004

Join us in Edmonton, Alberta on May 1st as we launch our “Join the Growing Movement - Pesticide Free Yards Campaign”. May 1st at Stanley A. Milner Library 1:00 p.m. Pesticides, Politics and Health - Panel Discussion featuring Carole Rubin, Helen Jones and additional guest speaker TBA. 3:00 p.m. - Green Thumb/Green Planet Workshop featuring Helen Jones.

New Staff joins Prairie Chapter

Please welcome Brenda Heyer, our new Community Outreach Coordinator. Brenda will be working on developing our volunteer program and general public outreach. She can be contacted at


On February 3rd the Sustainable Concordia Project launched their campus sustainability report (

SYC is working with over 20 campuses from across Canada to assess the sustainability of their campuses. Concordia students have set the bar for the future of sustainability assessments in Canada! For more information on this project check out

Climate Campaign’s Northwest Climate Conference

A whole crew of SYCers headed down to Boston from the Climate Campaign’s Northeast Climate Conference (Feb.20-22)( also check out for pictures and a description of the event). The Canadian Contingent was very vocal and visible, conducting several workshops and conducting planning for the Canada/US Climate Day of Action coming up April 1, 2004 . this event is being called Fossil Fools day (more info can be found at

On February 18, 2004 the SYC Ottawa group spearheaded a protest at the Canadian Nuclear Association’s annual meeting.

SYC Ottawa youth were asking Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources to stop wasting taxpayers’ money in nuclear energy and start investing truly renewable and environmentally responsible alternatives. This action received coverage on the local CBC radio station, on the community television station, as well as giving out over 200 fliers on the shameful history of nuclear energy in Canada.

February 11, 2004 the Sierra Youth Coalition and Greenpeace Canada launched the “It’s My Future” Campaign.

It’s My Future seeks to inform teachers about the investment practices of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and build the capacity of students, teachers and community members to lobby the plan to divest from companies like Phillip Morris and invest in Socially Responsible Investment Options. The launch received CBC Radio coverage, 11 print media stories across the country, as well as electronic media coverage.


We are happy to welcome our SYC Intern Caroline Fournier who will be helping out with this event as well as helping SYC plan for our MacKenzie Valley Pipeline Campaign. For more info on the It’s My Future Campaign check out

SYC is happy to welcome Julia Ostertag who has joined the Sustainable Campuses Project to research our database of Sustainable Campuses Success Stories. Over the next few months we will be contacting schools across the country searching for all the successes that show how Canadian Students are leading the way to healthy and sustainable futures! Database will be open for project submission soon.check out for more details!

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