Green Gazette

Green Gazette - May 2007

What's Inside











Spin Alert!

By now you will likely have heard that Environment Minister John Baird announced Canada's new climate change plan and that Canada's greenhouse gases will be down 20% below 2006 levels by 2020.

This announcement, which is a plan based on intensity targets and the abandonment of Kyoto is being touted by Minister Baird as a green plan.

We won't be sucked in by the spin.

What this announcement really means, is that by 2020:

  1. Given that the industry targets are based on intensity, and given that the economy is growing 3% per year, it's doubtful that the 20% target is even remotely feasible—growth could offset any emission reductions.
  2. If Canada achieves this target of 20% below 2006 levels, Canada will still be 5% above 1990 levels.
  3. European countries will be as much as 30% below 1990 levels.

Emilie Moorhouse, Sierra Club's Atmosphere and Energy coordinator says that if we follow Minister Baird’s plan "we will be a generation behind the environmental leaders of the planet. We will be 20 years behind Great Britain and 15 years behind Sweden."

Email Minister Baird today to tell him that you won't be fooled by his spin and you expect much more!

Read the April 26th press release: Minister Baird's greenhouse gas regulations a big let down.

Tar Sands Timeout!

The Alberta government is wrapping up the final rounds of public hearings to determine the future of the Alberta tar sands. Let Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach know that he should declare a moratorium on new tar sands projects right now.  Send your email to Premier Stelmach at 

You can also call him at (780) 427-2251 in Edmonton or toll-free from anywhere in Alberta by dialing 310-0000 followed by (780) 427-2251!
For more info on the hearings, and other options being considered - visit the consultations website at and download the proposed options paper (on the right hand tool bar).

Read CBC's coverage of Sierra Club's demonstration in Calgary on Monday April 23rd.

Other April Press Releases

April 20 - Sierra Club of Canada calls for environmental assessment of proposed tire incinerator in Pennsylvania
April 17 - Government plans emissions increase
April 16 - Broad Coalition Calls for Premier to Install Some Brakes


Great Lakes agreement could spring a leak

By Tim Morris, national water campaigner for the Sierra Club of Canada.
Toronto Star
April 10, 2007

Last week, Ontario's government introduced legislation in support of a regional agreement to oversee large-scale water use in the region. Significantly, the regional agreement prohibits siphoning Great Lakes water to thirsty regions in the American southwest.

Known as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, the pact is between Ontario, Quebec and the eight U.S. Great Lakes' states.

This is an important piece of legislation. Preventing long-range diversions out of the Great Lakes basin is critical for the protection of the lakes and their dependent ecosystems.

But there is a worrying loophole: Even though the proposed legislation bans diversions out of the basin, it still permits large-scale diversions between individual Great Lakes within the basin.


Read Sierra Club of Canada's Press Release - Diversions wil drain Georgian Bay.


Conference and Annual General Meeting this June

From June 23 – 25, 2007 enjoy beautiful surroundings, all vegetarian meals, and networking with like-minded environmentalists at our Conference and Annual General Meeting at Camp Keir, PEI.  For more information, please visit or contact the Chapter office at 902-444-3113.

Take Climate Action in New Brunswick

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB) has recently launched its Climate Action Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to make 2007 the turning point for carbon emissions reductions in New Brunswick. Both British Columbia and Nova Scotia have agreed to a target of 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and are determined to reach it. CCNB is calling on the Premier to commit to this target.  Please download CCNB's climate action plan at and write to Premier Graham to tell him you want him to adopt the Conservation Council's plan to cut GHG emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Wilderness Campaign Gearing Up – Call for Volunteers

The Atlantic Canada Chapter is gearing up a wilderness campaign and we need your help! This campaign will be focused on N.B. and N.S. for now.  Our goals are to protect forested land by pushing for greater public consultation in forest management, for more protected areas, for a reduction in clearcutting, and for the elimination of herbicide use. We will do this through a public awareness campaign which will make our forest management more closely reflect the public values of preserving diversity in our landscape.  If you are interested in helping, please contact Emily McMillan at (902) 444-3113 or at


Coalition Jeunesse Sierra au Québec / Sierra Youth Coalition

Du nouveau concernant le financement des initiatives de durabilité sur les campus québécois. Eh oui, les étudiants se prennent en main!

Ceux de l'Université McGill ont ainsi voté à majorité OUI, à un référendum mettant en place un fond vert et en augmentant leurs frais de scolarité de quelques dollars par année. Ce fond vert sera géré par l'association étudiante et servira à financer des emplois pour les étudiants et des initiatives environnementales sur le campus.   

De leur côté, après la conférence d'Al Gore et de David Suzuki le 22 mars dernier au Palais des Congrès, les étudiants de l'Université Concordia ont voté pour savoir s'ils voulaient participer à la « campagne des 1% » et créer un fond équivalent pour financer les initiatives de durabilité déjà entreprises sur le campus dans les prochaines années. Il s'agit là d'un gros fond puisque l'on parle d'un peu moins d'un million de dollars dans les cinq prochaines années.

Something is happening on Quebec campuses regarding the financing of sustainability initiatives. Yes, students are taking the lead!

At McGill University they have just passed a referendum increasing their fees by a few dollars a year.  This money will go into a green fund which will be managed by the student union and used to fund student jobs and environmental initiatives on the campus.

At Concordia University, after the Al Gore and David Suzuki show on March 22nd at the Palais des Congrès, students voted to participate in the "1% campaign" and create a similar green fund.  This would be used to provide on-going support for sustainability initiatives that are already in place on the campus. It could mean a big fund: almost 1 dollars in the next 5 years!

Stagiaire au Québec / Summer Student for the Quebec Chapter

Quebec Summer StudentCet été, nous pourrons compter sur l’aide d’un stagiaire. Eddy Vaubourg travaillera avec le Sierra Club du Québec en raison de deux jours par semaine. C’est l’Union St-Laurent – Grands-Lacs, nos voisins de bureau, qui nous ont offert de partager son temps dans le cadre du programme d’échange étudiant Franco-Québec.  Eddy Vaubourg est un citoyen planétaire accompli : il est originaire de l’Île de la Réunion et présentement vit à Paris. Il sera avec nous pour le courant de l’été. Voici une photo d’Eddy avec notre kiosque.

Eddy Vaubourg will be helping two days a week in the office.  We are actually sharing his time with Great Lakes Union whose office is next to ours in Montréal. Eddy is a participant in the Franco-Québec Student Exchange program and, though originally from Reunion Island, he is now living in Paris. He will be with us until the end of the summer. Here is a picture of Eddy with our kiosk.

Jour de la Terre / Earth Day in Montréal

Earth Day QuebecGérald Tremblay, Maire de Montréal, prend la pose avec nos bénévoles Diana Guibbs et Karine Boilly durant la plantation d’arbre officielle du Jour de la Terre le 22 avril 2007.

Gérald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal, poses with our volunteers Diana Guibbs and Karine Boilly (volunteers) during the tree planting activity of Earth Day celebration on April 22, 2007.


Get Involved

Check out some of the ongoing campaigns and see how you can get involved!


Prairie Water Scarcity Predicted by International Report:
Oldman Headwaters Need Park Protection

The Rosenberg Forum on Water Policy raised awareness of the significance of the proposed Andy Russell-I’tai sah kòp Park in its report on “Lessons for Canada and Alberta” from last September’s international forum in Banff, Alberta. The report identifies that the headwaters of the Oldman River Basin, located along Alberta’s southern Rocky Mountains, “may be a good candidate for special watershed protection.”  It notes the proposed park by name, which Sierra Club of Canada has been advocating be established and states that its protection “will pay for itself over and over again in the value of the ecological services it provides alone.” 

Minister Delays Decision on Logging Plan for Southern Rockies

SCC gained a timely win along the way to achieving the Andy Russell-I’tai sah kòp Park  when Alberta’s Minister of Sustainable Resource Development recently announced that he is delaying his decision on the department’s Forest Management Plan for all of the Rocky Mountains and foothills located between Kananaskis Country, west of Calgary and Waterton Lakes National Park—that is, for the headwaters of the Oldman River Basin.  This plan for 20 more years of clear-cut logging was headed for approval last April. 

Landowner & Environment Coalition Calls on Premier for a Pause and Plan

In the face of rapid development and disappearing native grasslands and wildlands, a dozen rural landowner and environment groups, including SCC and representing nearly 10,000 Albertans have jointly called on Alberta’s Premier to institute a moratorium on new development and develop a plan that will protect Alberta’s southern Eastern Slopes.  The area of concern encompasses both settled lands and the public lands of the Rocky Mountains and foothills from the Bow Valley west of Calgary, south to the Canada-US border. 

Our letter to the Premier warns, "Sacrificing renewable resources, threatening ecological integrity and creating a future economic and ecological debt is not in Albertans best interest."


“CO2 Man” Leads Greenhouse Gas Parade on the Step-it-Up Climate Change Day of Action

co2ies Group

“We don’t want no Coyote Protocol” is the message of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new mascot, the CO2 Man, parading with a retinue of CO2 molecules at a climate change day of action organized by the BC Chapter and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee on April 14.

The hyperactive molecules, affectionately known as CO2-ies, personify the CO2 villains who allow greenhouse gases to be pumped into the atmosphere in potentially deadly quantities. Wearing goofy hats, the CO2-ies form a cloud at political and community events to “make people laugh and motivate politicians to act.” Their leader, clad in a red cape and brandishing a giant jerry-can, is the CO2 Man, better known to the readers of the Green Gazette in his previous incarnation as “Mr. Floatie,” the giant turd that helped to successfully raise public awareness of the need for sewage treatment in Victoria.

Sierra Club supporters and volunteers engaged in mock combat with these climate change villains, asking passers-by to write letters to the Conservative government in support of the recently strengthened Clean Air Act (which now includes hard caps on emissions). The letter bee was busy all day at the Wilderness Committee storefront, netting 389 letters, which have been deposited in a special red and white “Climate Change Mailbox”, to be sent to the federal government.

Sierra Club BC Short-listed for $1 Million

For a non-profit association, it’s akin to winning the lottery—and spending the windfall on all the work you’ve always wanted to do.

Each year, VanCity (Canada’s largest credit union) awards a cool $1 million to an innovative community project that leaves a “lasting legacy in the communities where our members live and work.”  The Sierra Club’s BC Chapter is one of seven non-profit organizations short-listed for this year’s $1 million grant.

Our project, Solar for Schools, will introduce solar energy to B.C. schools and neighbourhoods.  A joint initiative with the BC Sustainable Energy Association, Solar for Schools willallow 20 schools to install solar photovoltaic systems and solar hot water heating systems, becoming Solar Learning Centres.  Community-wide school programs on solar and other renewable energy sources will be offered. 

As B.C. communities strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Solar for Schools will increase the visibility of renewable energy solutions.  It will also spur student interest in careers in renewable energy through new curriculum materials, giving them a chance to act as Solar Ambassadors in the community.

Solar for Schools will help make renewable energy a priority in B.C.,” says Sierra Club of BC Executive Director Kathryn Molloy. “We can reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, help the next generation gain technical and environmental skills that will give them a distinct advantage in the job market.” 

A VanCity committee will whittle down short-listed proposals to a list of three finalists by the end of June. VanCity members will vote for a winning candidate in the early fall.

If you’re not already a VanCity member, join now and help us win a solar victory


Zoë Caron and Anjali Helferty in Vanity Fair's 2nd Green Issue

Vanity Fair CoverTwo Sierra Youth Coalition Sustainable Campuses coordinator were featured in the second annual Vanity Fair Green Issue.

During a Campus Climate Challenge meeting in Washington, Zoë Caron and Anjali Helferty were part of a photo shoot for youth activists working on greening campuses across North America. They, with 33 other youth working on greening college campuses, were photographed by Art Streiber in a Greenpeace warehouse in Washington.

Take a moment to write a letter to the editor of Vanity Fair congratulating them on their second Green Issue, but calling on the magazine to switch to post-consumer recycled paper!

Reach Out Speak UpInvitation to Participate in 2007 Global Youth Assembly

This summer, hundred of young activists from around the world will converge in Edmonton, Alberta to discuss major global issues and what can be done about them. Reach out, Speak up! Ignite Change Now takes place August 1-4, 2007.

The Assembly will be jam-packed with fascinating experiences, including educational keynote addresses, a mini film Festival, leadership skills training, workshops, an arts showcase and a wrap-up concert. For all of the details, visit


One more way to support the Sierra Club of Canada Foundation

Do you, or someone you know, need web hosting services? is a socially responsible web hosting and web development company that puts its money where its mouth is. Every time someone signs up for web hosting services, they will donate 20% of their hosting fees to the Sierra Club of Canada Foundation.

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 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.

Join Today

View previous editions of the Sierra Club of Canada Green Gazette at the Green Gazette Archives.

Thank you to all contributors to this publication.

Do you have any comments about any of the stories in this newsletter? Need to subscribe or unsubscribe?
Send an email to Katie Albright, Communications Coordinator,

Sierra Club of Canada, 412-1 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7, 613-241-4611