Green Gazette - January 2007

Sierra Club of Canada's monthly electronic newsletter

What's Inside

NATIONAL

SIERRA CLUB IN THE NEWS

ATLANTIC CANADA CHAPTER

QUÉBEC CHAPTER /
SECTION DU QUÉBEC

ONTARIO CHAPTER

PRAIRIE CHAPTER

BRITISH COLUMBIA CHAPTER

SIERRA YOUTH COALITION

SIERRA CLUB OF CANADA FOUNDATION

NATIONAL

2006 Award Winners

On behalf of the National Board of Directors and all of Sierra Club of Canada, we would like to take a moment to recognize 2006’s Sierra Club of Canada Award Winners

Congratulations to all the winners!

Shuffling Cabinet

With the cabinet shuffle Thursday January 5th, the environment now has a new minister, the Hon. John Baird.

The question must be asked, “Will environmental policy shift with new minister?

Read Sierra Club of Canada’s press release for our to-do list for Mr. Baird.

Changing Roles at National Office

We’re delighted to announce that Tania Beriau is the successful candidate for the position of Development Manager. Tania had substantial experience in fund raising with the Ottawa Humane Society and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, before she came to Sierra Club. Her specific strengths are in the areas of direct mail, online giving and data management, so she brings excellent skills to the position. Tania joined Sierra Club in February 2006 and provided support to the membership department as well as directly to Stephen Hazell – she has quickly become a member of the SCC family.

Jaymini Bhikha―who joined us as an intern in 2006―will take on three main responsibilities: she will become Stephen’s assistant, supporting him in scheduling, travel and administration of his needs. She will also take on support of environmental campaigns as required. Her third duty will be to provide support in data input for the membership department.

New Faces at National Office

Sierra Club of Canada National would like to welcome two new interns. Christine Simpson and Elizabeth Boileau started Monday, January 8, 2007 and will be with us until the end of April 2007.

Elizabeth Boileau has a BA in Environment and Health Studies from the Glendon College, York University and is currently working towards a BA Honours with a major in Environmental studies and a minor in Biology at the University of Ottawa and will be our campaign intern.

Christine Simpson is our first library/information science intern. Christine has a MLIS from the University of Western Ontario, a MA English from Carleton University and a BA Honours from Carleton University.

Welcome Christine and Elizabeth!


SIERRA CLUB - IN THE NEWS

Ottawa seeks advice on green plan

By Bill Curry
Globe and Mail, A4
January 3rd, 2007

OTTAWA -- The Prime Minister's senior aides, including legislative assistant Bruce Carson and policy director Mark Cameron, are seeking advice from environmentalists on how to beef up the government's record heading in to a key winter session.

After being shut out in the past, environmentalists are reluctant to discuss the meetings. But sources confirmed the Prime Minister's Office is quietly opening the lines of communication with its harshest critics.

The discussions are focused on the government's Clean Air Act -- which the opposition has vowed to change dramatically -- and the short and medium regulations for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions that will be announced early this year. The overture follows private meetings on the same issues last month attended by more than a half dozen environmental groups and MPs from the three opposition parties.

Mr. Carson was closely involved in designing the government's existing environmental plans, having been seconded briefly last year as Environment Minister Rona Ambrose's chief of staff. Mr. Cameron was once a Liberal cabinet aide to Stéphane Dion in the 1990s before changing parties.

The move by the Conservatives occurs as the PMO is leading efforts to rebrand the party's environmental credentials, leaving Ms. Ambrose in limbo over her political future.

It also comes on the heels of comments from former prime minister Brian Mulroney that environmental issues might be a key to capturing the next federal election.

He said if the Stephen Harper government doesn't move faster, other parties are waiting to claim the environment as their issue. Mr. Dion, the new leader of the Liberal Party, has vowed to make the environment his central campaign issue in the next election.

In year-end interviews, the Prime Minister said he agreed with Mr. Mulroney's comments.

Liberal MP John Godfrey said he finds it hard to blame Ms. Ambrose for the government's environmental performance given the clear direction from Mr. Harper.

"She's tried to do the best with the hand that she's been dealt," Mr. Godfrey said. "In a government which is so strongly directed from the centre, the ultimate responsibility belongs with the Prime Minister and not with the minister."

It has been three weeks since reports first surfaced indicating Ms. Ambrose would be shuffled out of the Environment post. The Prime Minister did little to quell that speculation during a year-end news conference on Parliament Hill.

Various ministers have been spotted in Ottawa this week even though Parliament is in recess.

The other key minister responsible for environmental policies, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn, has also been mentioned amid the shuffle speculation.

The uncertainty hanging over the two key cabinet posts comes during an important few weeks for the government on the environment file.

When MPs return to Ottawa at the end of the month, a special legislative committee dominated by opposition MPs will begin hearings on how to amend the Clean Air Act. The act is the government's centrepiece environmental bill.

In spite of the speculation, Ms. Ambrose continues her work on a range of matters, from last month's toxics and renewable fuels announcements to this month's work on the Clean Air Act, said her spokesman Bob Klager.

"Minister Ambrose is a very disciplined and focused politician and she's been on the job, fully engaged, from Day 1 and making significant process when you consider the deficit from where this government began on the environment," he said. Rick Smith, the executive director of the Toronto-based Environmental Defence lobby group, says he is indifferent to political intrigue over who may or may not be the next environment minister.

"There are many, many things that I worry about on a daily basis," he said, listing melting ice caps, toxic chemicals and endangered species. "There's some things I can't worry about, nor do I have any control over them whatsoever."

But others say Ms. Ambrose has been too weakened politically by the unchallenged cabinet speculation to continue in the job.

"I think they're at a point now where they really have to have a new minister," said Stephen Hazell, the executive director of the Sierra Club. "Simply because there's been so much speculation about the change in the media and secondly because she has been singularly ineffective. Whether it's her fault or not is another issue."

Mr. Hazell said there are also potential problems for the rumoured replacements. Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has been dismissive of environmental assessments while managing the northern gas pipeline issue, he said, while Industry Minister Maxime Bernier is a known advocate of less regulation.

Health Minister Tony Clement or Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon have a stronger track record on the environment, he said.


ATLANTIC CANADA CHAPTER

Had enough waffling about the environment?

Jean LangloisYou are invited to a waffle brunch on Sunday, January 14th starting at 10am! Come on out and meet our NEW Executive Director, Stephen Hazell, who will be visiting us from Ottawa. Have some delicious organic home made waffles and ask your questions about national environmental issues and the Sierra Club of Canada.

 Everyone is welcome!

 The event will be held in our new office, Suite 533 in the Roy Building, 1657 Barrington St. Halifax, NS.

 Hope to see you there!

Invitation for you to get more involved with the SCC-ACC Education Programs.

The programs are highly successful and every year reach out to over 6000 students in the Atlantic region (NL, PEI, NB, NS). Along with the programs we are also taking on some extra projects to get more youth involved such as youth gatherings and media-based projects. To make sure these programs continue at the quality they have been known for we need your help.

Below are several volunteer positions that are open:

1) Evaluation Manager – this includes keeping track of evaluation forms we received from teachers and students, entering information in database, updating evaluation forms, coordinate one-on-one interviews with teachers and students. This position requires someone who is organized and reliable and can work with Excel. This position is needed immediately.

2) Program Deliverer (positions open in NB, PEI, NS) – this would involve actually getting in the classrooms and helping deliver existing programs either on Acadian and Boreal Forests or Coastal and Marine Environments in high schools and/or elementary schools. This requires someone who has some background knowledge, has lots of enthusiasm to work with children and youth, and is reliable and committed. Schedule will vary from province to province. Programs for 07 will start again Feb 6th and end June 1st. Honourariums or financial rewards are a possibility depending on experience.

3) Film production assistant – we have recently received a grant to do a youth –driven film on climate change that will be carbon neutral (in other words all carbon emitted will have to be off-set). This will involve working with youth directly and helping them put together the film from writing the screen-play to editing. Experience and knowledge in film production is recommended. Position is flexible but the timeline is tight. Must be available in the Halifax region between Jan 15 to Feb 28th. This is a very cool project and a great opportunity! Many people can be involved in this.

4) Website developer – the education program has a website that needs to be retrofitted and updated. We need someone who is creative and is tech savvy to help design a dynamic website where students and teachers can go regularly to get more information.

5) Action Challenge Coordinator – this involves contacting schools and teachers with reminders, helping locate prizes, compile content for newsletter to be sent to all schools. Need someone who is personable and is organized.

Other volunteer positions are also available and we can always use the help. Please do not hesitate to inquire with Myriam Hammami, Education Program Coordinator. Please email myriamh@sierraclub.ca or call (902) 444-3113.

Also, as a reminder, the highly acclaimed humorous film “The Endangered Treehuggers” is on sale for $8 or by donation. Proceeds go to education program.


QUÉBEC CHAPTER / SECTION DU QUÉBEC

Bénévoles / Volunteering

Venez nous donner un coup de main, il suffit de quelques heures par mois et vous en tirerez une expérience très enrichissante. Communiquez avec claudem@sierraclub.ca ou au (514) 651-5847 (laissez un message).

If you wish to help us out, please contact Claude Martel, at claudem@sierraclub.ca or by phone at (514) 651-5847 (leave a message). A few hours of your time can make a difference.


ONTARIO CHAPTER

Volunteers needed in Toronto!

The Ontario Chapter is gearing up for several environmental campaign actions in and around the city of Toronto. We need your help as volunteers to ensure their success. Call the office at 416-960-9606 or email ontariochapter@sierraclub.ca if you would like to get involved.


PRAIRIE CHAPTER

2006 Protected Areas Grade Disappointing
Poplar River Park Reserve Waiting for Permanent Protection

Manitoba received a ‘D’ from Manitoba Wildlands in this year’s annual Protected Areas Grade. The Manitoba Government’s failure to date to permanently protect the Poplar/Nanowin Rivers Park Reserve was a significant factor in driving down the 2006 Grade. As Manitoba Wildlands director Gaile Whelan Enns said, “It is particularly worrisome to see no action on permanent protection of the Poplar/Nanowin Rivers Park Reserve.”

Manitoba's government has been graded on protected areas actions each year for 15 years. The grade is based on the government's commitments, methods, data, and regulations, and uses the same criteria each year. This year the Protected Areas Audit was also released in conjunction with the annual grade on November 9, 2006.


BC CHAPTER

Going Under?

Jean LangloisIn May, the BC Chapter published a map showing potential flooding in the Lower Mainland due to a six-metre sea level rise caused by climate change.

Now, we’ve released a map of the Capital Regional District. This time, we want to show what BC’s capital might look like if we continue to pump carbon into the atmosphere at the current rates. The business-as-usual scenario would mean an increase in temperature between 2 and 3 degrees C this century, in addition to the 2 degrees which are already inevitable due to existing emissions. Once global temperatures reach those levels, scientists warn we could reach a tipping point: the last time Earth was three to five degrees warmer, sea levels were 25 metres higher.

The map can be viewed on BC Chapter’s website (www.sierraclub.ca/bc), and map postcards for mailing to the Premier are also available from BC Chapter.

Chopped trees at UBC

UBC is logging much of its remaining forest land.  Developments with names like Wesbrook Place and University Town will soon sprout where some of the oldest and biggest trees in Vancouver once stood.

BC Chapter’s Lower Mainland group documented trees, stumps and logs before the area was paved. They created a GoogleEarth map of what the forests look like now, which can be viewed at the BC Chapter website:. UBC students, prospective University Town homeowners and other local residents are invited to send an email to UBC’s president asking him to protect the remaining trees over 90 years old on University land.

Free Environmental Education Newsletter

Interested in connecting with a wider audience of environmental educators?  Learning about upcoming Green events and new environmentally-focused learning resources? Drawing inspiration from schools taking action for the environment?  If so, consider subscribing to the Sierra Club of Canada BC Chapter's monthly Education E-News.  

Each month the BC Chapter's Education Program sends out an e-newsletter profiling hands-on, classroom-friendly environmental education learning resources; local (BC) and international events of interest; BC Chapter School Program highlights; Schools In Action Challenge updates; and other special information. Each newsletter is thematically linked, and is designed for both formal classroom teachers as well as those just interested in learning about―and taking action for―the earth!

The most recent copy of the e-news, with a special focus on anti-idling and climate change is now available.  To subscribe to the Education E-news, send an email to education@sierraclub.bc.ca.


SIERRA YOUTH COALITION

Jean Langlois




Canadian and American youth are calling for five days of demonstrations to jump-start the second semester of the Campus Climate Challenge and put the heat on a returning Canadian Parliament and a new US Congress to begin aggressive national power shifts on global warming. The first thousand campuses who register will be offered the chance to host a free campus screening of An Inconvenient Truth.

January 29th through February 2nd young people will speak to their campus and political leaders about how the decisions they make today will directly affect the world we inherit tomorrow. Actions will include an "Adopt-an-MP" initiative through SYC and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition.

The Campus Climate Challenge is a core aspect of the Sierra Youth Coalition's Sustainable Campuses project.
Updates to the WEEK OF ACTION campaign will be posted on the youth climate blog.

For more information: www.climatechallenge.org

2nd Annual Atlantic Sustainable Campuses Conference

February 2 - 3, 2007
University of King's College
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Keynote speaker:  Elizabeth May, O.C.
Former Executive Director of Sierra Club of Canada

  • Join us for 2 days of collaborative discussions, hands-on workshops, inspiring lectures and informative panels.
  • The conference will focus 3 tracks―building sustainable operations and policy, curriculum, and campus culture―all of which will span the core concepts of sustainability: economics, society and environment.
  • These topics will be complimented by building skills within the Sustainable Campuses project, including organization, capacity building, and creating successes.

Early-bird registration (before January 12th):
Members  $ 20
Non-members  $ 40
Regular registration (after January 12th):
Members $ 30
Non-members $ 50

NOTE: Fee includes all meals, workshops, and registration package. (If cost is a barrier to attendance, please contact atlantic@syc-cjs.org). Registration forms and Conference Agenda will be available soon at: www.syc-cjs.org/sustainable/atlantic

SIERRA CLUB OF CANADA FOUNDATION

One more way to support the Sierra Club of Canada Foundation

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This means you can support the Sierra Club while receiving professional hosting services at great rates. It’s a donation that doesn’t cost you anything extra. Visit their website at www.ecohosting.com or call toll free 1-866-235-2828 or (514) 990-0420 for more information and a complete description of their hosting packages and prices.

Remember, the more people know about this opportunity, the more support for the Sierra Club, so tell all your friends!

Eligible charitable organizations receive a 30% discount on hosting services.

Carbon-Friendly Colleagues

From biodiesel school buses to wind-powered computers, Sierra Club of Canada supporters are taking action to save our climate.
Planet Organic Markets, a natural products company that partnered with Sierra Club of Canada in 2006, has struck an “Eco Karma Committee” to search for ways to help the environment. So far, among other initiatives, the energetic committee has arranged for the purchase of wind power to run 50 company computers, including all cashier tills.

The committee is also searching for environmentally superior products to clean supermarkets and eco-friendly deli containers. “We’re testing out new pagoda containers, which are made from managed trees and can be composed,” said Planet Organic founder Diane Shaskin.

Planet Organic’s wind power purchase, from the Pembina Institute, reduces the company’s annual CO2 emissions by 24 tonnes—the equivalent of taking 20 cars off the road for an entire year.



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