Eco-Justice Fair to take place Saturday, September 14th from 10am-3pm in Halifax

 

Eco-Justice-Fair-Poster-Sept-14.jpgThe Environment Network of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI in partnership with Kairos Halifax is hosting an Eco-Justice Fair on September 14, 2019, from 10:00am –3:00pm in The Hydrostone Park 5547 Young St, Halifax, NS B3K 1Z7 and at St. Marks Church 5522 Russell St, Halifax, NS B3K 1X2.


The Environment Network is guided by the Fifth Mark of Mission, calling Anglicans to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation by actively caring for the earth and working with and supporting other environmental groups and individuals. Kairos Canada, an ecumenical organization is involved in teaching and advocating on social and ecological justice.

The Eco-Justice Fair will provide space and time for networking, community building and developing solidarity between environmental groups and community members.

The general public is welcome to drop by, enjoy the day and learn from a variety of environmental groups and organization providing displays and activities that will include everything from green cemeteries, to reducing your carbon footprint, to climate change advocacy. There will be children’s activities, artistic expressions of appreciation for creation (music, poetry, visual art), creation based spiritual practices, dynamic speakers, and mid-afternoon, Blane Finnie, an arborist, will lead a neighbourhood “Tree Walk”. Learn about the ecology of landscapes, urban forestry and the various species of trees that can be seen in the city.


Included in the line-up of speakers are:
Ryan Weston, Lead Animator for Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice, Anglican Church of Canada
Amelia Berot-Burns, Ecological Justice Program Coordinator, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
Stephen Thomas, Ecology Action Centre
Dr. Kathleen Kevany, an Associate Professor at Dalhousie University, where she is a Canadian expert on sustainable diets and plant-rich living.

For more information contact:
The Rev. Marian Lucas-Jefferies,
Eco-Justice Fair Planning Committee
Phone: 902-483-6866
Email: marian.lucas.jefferies@gmail.com

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Cruise Ship Employee Inquiry on Industry Eco-Regulations

My name is Erin.

I work as a cruise ship employee, and lately I’ve been thinking about how we can do better.

This is a proposal I am trying to put together to pitch to the cruising industry. Cruise ships are not and never will be environmentally friendly, but if given the chance I believe plenty of vacationers would be happy to do the planet some good on their vacation. I do not make any money on this, I just believe it is the right thing to do.

I would like to find a way for environmental organizations to partner with cruise companies so that ships can offer tours to the guests that are actually helpful to the port they are visiting. My question to your organization is, what could you do with a nearly endless supply of volunteer labor?

Could you add a plastic-collecting session to a diving tour? 

Do you need people to plant trees, dig up invasive plants, clean up trails? 

Could people help with water quality sampling or data collection of some sort?

Would you teach people about sustainable farming or animal husbandry or local wildlife?

The benefits to the partnering organizations should be manifold. This could be a chance to help raise environmental awareness with people from all over the world, publicize the work you’re doing, and work with nearly endless supply of enthusiastic volunteers. 

Cruise ship guest are only in a port for a day, and the average shore excursion lasts anywhere from three to eight hours. While that may not seem like a lot of time, busy ports can get multiple ships a day every day for an entire season. That adds up quickly. The tour groups can be as large or small as your organization would feel comfortable working with- from ten people to fifty. How your organization would structure your time with the guests is up to you (and I would love to hear ideas.)

This is all still hypothetical. I’m still in the data collection phase, and I need to know that there are organizations who would be interested in the partnership before I pitch this idea to a cruise company.  By replying to this email you are not signing up for anything or obliged to anyone, just helping to get this project off the ground. If you’re not interested or this does not sound like a fit for your organization I completely understand. Any advise and additional ideas would be wonderful. If you know of environmental organization in the area that would be interested in hearing about this or having input, feel free to pass it on. I only ask that this be confined to strictly nature related environmental organizations. 

Again, this is not a business venture for me, but I do think I have an opportunity to make a difference for the better so that I what I am trying to do.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely, 

Erin

Please email nsenvironmentalnetwork@gmail.com to connect with Erin!

60 day comment period for ECCC Recovery Document -Blanding’s Turtle, Nova Scotia Population

On August 1, 2019, Environment and Climate Change Canada posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry the Action Plan for the Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), Nova Scotia Population, in Canada [Proposed version].

The document is open for a 60-day comment period. The Department will then have 30 days to consider the comments received, after which the final version of the recovery planning documents will be posted on the Public Registry.

 

The document can be found at:

https://wildlife-species.canada.ca/species-risk-registry/document/default_e.cfm?documentID=1844

Nature Trust’s Big Win for the Birds: Seal Island Protected

Aug. 16, 2019 (Clark’s Harbour, NS)—A   conservation achievement by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust brings good news for birds and bird lovers. Tonight they announced the protection of 650 acres on Seal Island, off the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia. One of the region’s most important sites for migratory birds, the remote island is renowned for its vast numbers of birds, variety of species and rarities. Its protection is welcome news amidst plummeting migratory bird populations across the planet.

The news was celebrated at a community event in Clark’s Harbour on Cape Sable Island—a traditional jumping-off point for reaching remote Seal Island.

The 650 acre Seal Island Conservation Lands, encompassing nearly 80 per cent of the island, had been threatened by private development, which would have devastated the natural habitats and the birds they support, and ended traditional use of much of the island. Thanks to the Nature Trust, birds will thrive, and people can continue enjoy what has been called the ‘wondrous foggy isle’ as they always have.

The Nature Trust’s Executive Director, Bonnie Sutherland noted, “Protecting Seal Island, one of the most important islands for migratory birds in Atlantic Canada, is a major win for bird conservation and recovery.”

One of Nova Scotia’s largest and most remote islands, located 32 km off the coast, Seal Island features a diversity of habitats, from stunted, mossy forest, salt marsh, bog and barachois pond, to rocky shore, sandy beach and grass dunes. This diversity, its isolation from the mainland and major human impacts, and location in the flight path of countless migratory birds all contribute to its significance for birds and bird conservation.

Over 330 species have been recorded on Seal Island, using it for breeding, overwintering, migration or storm shelter. Recorded species include over 20 nationally and provincially-designated bird species at risk such as Roseate Tern, Harlequin Duck, Canada Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, Red Knot, and Barn Swallow. Other birds of conservation concern have been sighted on the island, including Common Eider, Leach’s Storm-petrel, and Atlantic Puffin.

Located strategically on a major migration path called the Atlantic Flyway, the island acts like a migrant trap, drawing in birds from across a vast swath of ocean, and providing a critical refuge for birds to refuel and replenish on their long migratory journeys.

Astounding numbers of birds have been recorded, including single day reports of 5000 American Robins, 1100 White-throated Sparrows, 1000 Palm Warblers and 500 raptors. Seal Island also provides refuge for rarely seen visitors to Nova Scotia, exotic birds blown far off course during storms.

Protecting this unparalleled migratory hotspot and large, ecologically rich island is not only significant for bird conservation. It is also significant in addressing biodiversity loss, and conservation of over 20 species at risk in Canada and many other species of increasing concern for conservation.

Eric Mills, a passionate birder who has been visiting Seal Island with his bird-loving family and friends almost every year since 1967, was delighted with the news.

“The Nature Trust’s protection of Seal Island is an important step forward for migratory bird populations” Mills said. He noted that migratory birds face the continuing loss of food and shelter across many parts of eastern North America. “Ensuring these necessities, especially at Seal Island—the critical beginning or ending point of their long migrations—is a highly significant,” he added.

Protecting the island from private development also preserves its rich history and culture. Although year-round habitation ended in the 1990s, it is still used seasonally by fishermen, birders, and many local families who have been connected to the island for generations.

Seal Island was acquired with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal department of Environment and Climate Change, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust, and many generous families and individuals.

The island adds to a growing network of protected islands in the area including the Nature Trust’s nearby Outer Bald Group and Bon Portage Island Conservation Lands, conserved in partnership with the Nova Scotia Bird Society and Acadia University, respectively.

But according to the Nature Trust, with 96% of coastal islands in the area privately-owned and very few (about 6%) formally protected, more island conservation is critical in protecting coastal biodiversity and recovering and sustaining bird populations. The Nature Trust is already working to secure its next island win for birds. They have also begun collaborative planning for long-term restoration, monitoring, and management of Seal and surrounding islands, in partnership with community members and other research and conservation partners.

Sutherland noted, “People keen to make a difference for birds can join in the conservation action. Charitable donations are critical to help protect more coastal islands and to ensure their long-term stewardship.”

To donate, volunteer, or find out more, visit nsnt.ca or telephone the Nature Trust at 1 (877) 434-LAND.

Estimated 195,000 of Trees Cut in Mount Ida, Turkey for Canadian Company Alamos Gold Mine

NSEN received over 1400 emails all outraged about the same topic:
pollution from a Canadian gold mine project in Turkey

“Nature catastrophe at Taz Mountain, Turkey.”
“Alamos Gold destroying forests and lands in Turkey for gold.” 
“Tragic destruction of Turkey’s Forest and Groundwater by a Canadian Company”

Most environmental organizations / individuals we heard from sent the following letter:
_______________________________________________________

Dear Sirs;

I am writing this letter to inform you about a Toronto based Canadian Company Alamos Gold’s actions in Turkey.

Recently, there has been a big public outcry about deforestation of the “Kaz Dağları” (Kaz Mountains).

This mountain range is of critical importance and a nature wonderland.

The current government authorities of Turkey obviously gave license to Alamos Gold. To date it was estimated that 195,000 trees were cut in these mountains and below pictures should give you some idea of the disaster.

People of the region have been desperately trying to stop this carnage. They claim that their livelihood is at stake.

Kaz Dağları is known for its clean air that many asthma patients come to feel better.

Below please find the points that the CEO of Alamos Gold gave during an interview. He is boasting that the investment they made is only100 million USD. The estimated earnings from this operation can be as high as 4 billion USD. The people of the region and Turkey will be left with contaminated land and groundwater while some take their profits and go away.

These types of licensing cannot be received easily. The Turkish company they set up for this operation is Dogu Biga Madencilik has received so many exemptions including financial and tax-related ones from the Turkish government.

The below link also shows the CEO’s comments during an interview;

https://streamable.com/ofied

I know as a fact that such companies cannot behave the way they do overseas. I am very upset seeing these images day after day and the desperate fight people do. As a citizen of the world, I believe each tree and nature belongs to all of us.

We cannot have different standards for different parts of the world. Canada’s forested areas are even bigger than the entire land of Turkey.

Think about cutting close to 200.000 trees in Canada! I can probably hear the public outcry all the way from here.

So, why a different standard applies to Turkish forests?

This is not moral or ethical either. Protection and preservation of nature is a universal value for all of us…or is it not?

Below please find more pictures showing ordinary citizens putting up a fight. They say “forest, soil, water and mercy”. The awareness has been growing and this news has been on the front pages for some time.

I am not sure if this may catch your attention. However, I have personally experienced and seen that if a western company did something against people’s will in another part of the world, there is a chance that the citizens of that country could change anything. To enable people to have a voice, that country needs a proper democracy and strong public institutions. As a result, the only way out is to bring the issue home, to Toronto and greater Canada.

The concern about nature is universal for all of us. I would appreciate your attention to this matter and similar ones.

Best Regards,

(Thousands of Trees Cut in Mount Ida for Gold MineConcerned citizens of Turkey)
_______________________________________________________

A petition to pressure Alamo Gold to stop is here:https://www.change.org/p/pressure-alamos-gold-to-stop-forest-massacre-in-turkey-alamosgoldinc-canada-justintrudeau

CBC article:https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/turkey-cdn-mine-alamos-protest-1.5237104

OPINION: Multiple Stakeholders to Consider Regarding Nuttby Mountain Clearcut

Laurent LePierres,
Opinion Page Editor,
The Chronicle Herald,
Dear Laurent ,
I enjoy the Opinion section of the paper under your editorship. As a resident of Nuttby Mountain where clearcutting is all around me, this topic weighs heavily on me. wish to submit the following piece to the Opinion page as a Readers’ Corner or Op. Ed. article.
In response to today’s report “Union warns of huge job losses if mill closes” I wish to wonder a bit more deeply than the union has.  I always thought that trucks would work the same regardless of what they were moving.  The service industries could serve environmentally- friendly businesses instead of the environmentally unfriendly businesses,  My grandfather changed from being a horse teamster moving logs in New Brunswick, to being a horse teamster moving commodities in Massachusetts. The trucker to whom Donna Crossland spoke, said he wouldn’t have any trouble finding a new trucking job.
I wonder how many jobs, closing that mill down, would be saved and how many jobs, getting rid of the pulp mill would help create?  Fishing, sports fishing, sports hunting, waterway tourism, eco tourism, upland tourism (which had been decimated), genealogical tourism (who wants to visit a cemetery or ancestor’s former home surrounded by or including clearcuts), ordinary tourism, herbalists, medicinal industries, scientific work with real sustainability in mind, maple syrup industry, flooring industry, value-added wood industries, and real lumber industry. 
I am sure the rarer real hardwood will get, the more valuable it will be. The rarer water’s value, being quickly ruined, certainly has to be considered.  One also needs to take into consideration the service industries for each of those above industries and take into consideration service industries lost while those areas keep getting polluted and the forests raped. I wonder how the value of properties might go up if they weren’t surrounded by clearcuts.
I wonder how many people would be saved or health improved, without those unnecessary pollutants and with the forest being the best means of clearing pollutants out. I wonder how much better the Earth would be, having atmospheric Carbon and Nitrogen kept in the forest, with soils cooled and shaded so they wouldn’t lose their long stored carbon and nitrates. I wonder how much better off the soils and, consequently, the water would be with their systems protected instead of allowing the leaching and erosion to take place.  
All and all there are certainly many more jobs gained than lost and more people living longer as a consequence. Financially the Earth would be better off with environmentally friendly jobs–and wouldn’t the people be as well?  
Sincerely,

Norris Whiston

Retired Public Educator; BSc Engineering, University of Rhode Island; MEd Acadia University

Earltown Mountain, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia B0K 1V0

902-657-3476

REPORT ON CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT PLAN: Meetings of the Stakeholder Advisory Council and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting, May 21 – 24, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario

REPORT ON CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT PLAN
Meetings of the Stakeholder Advisory Council and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting
May 21 – 24, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario
Report by Sheila Cole Environment and Health Expert and CHNNE (Representative for the NSEN)

These three and a half days of meetings involved presentations on several topics. I have concentrated on the topics of highest interest to me in relation to my areas of work and expertise.

NPRI
Knowledge regarding the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) needs to be increased across Canada. At the moment, this consists mostly of dissemination of information out, and reliance on people finding their way inside a very complex and technical website.
In general, it would be best for Canadians to have NPRI data interpreted for them and circulated through common media. It is important for Canadians to know the rich knowledge available on the site such as which pollutants are decreasing, where they are increasing, what the most common sources are, etc. These are the kinds of important information that may not be readily grasped and interpreted by the public as they navigate the site, trying to make sense of graphs and charts. The media would be more inclined to print stories related to the CMP and the NPRI if this information is provided in interesting and accessible news releases.

There has been some outreach to spread knowledge of the NPRI and help people to learn how to use the site, but that outreach is very NCR concentrated. After that, the outreach has been mostly within Ontario and Quebec. In the meantime, knowledge about the program is badly needed in the regions. NPRI program and outreach developers are missing the target by focussing on the general public and youth. They should, instead be working with municipalities, groups and communities, especially in hotspot areas.

Communities need a mechanism to get direct help with such things as information and
analysis. They need a number to call for help… a Help Line. The program could train people as technicians who would work at the provincial or regional level. These technicians could then be the help on the ground for groups, communities and individuals who need help addressing sources of pollutants, mitigation of pollutants and overall reduction of pollutants in their own neighbourhoods.
How are individual Canadians supposed to navigate the NPRI website and make some sense of it, when even technically experienced people in industry, academia and the NGO community struggle with it. I have noticed that within the whole multi-stakeholder community it is those with a background in engineering, mathematics etc. who have the greatest ease with accessing and interpreting the NPRI data.
In order to raise its profile, the NPRI needs a public relations injection. It is a very rich but unfortunately highly underutilized resource because it is a very complicated index and simply not easily accessed or understood.

BPA
Bisphenol A (BPA)was discussed as a success story in terms of its having been removed, most notably, from the plastics in infant baby bottles. Perhaps this success would be merited if the substitute chemical were not also toxic. In this regard, the public has been misled. They think that anything which is marketed as being BPA free is therefore not toxic. It is important to remember that Canadians expect the government of Canada to protect them from toxins. In this instance, Canadians are being misinformed, while the program celebrates success. The public is now buying products like BPA free, reusable drinking containers to carry their water, thinking that the container is safe. Stores that market these products also feel confident that they are offering a healthy product to their customers.

NANOMATERIALS
Nanomaterials are being developed at a very fast pace with the intention of broad usage in products. While this field is developing rapidly, there are a few current checks and balances to ensure that these materials are safe for human health and the environment. The development of the materials and usages is swift, yet the government’s response is, typically, slow and measured. This raises obvious concern that if there are problems arising, how do these materials get removed from the market place before extreme damage occurs. It’s already too late to address these issues in the products that are already utilizing nanomaterials and already circulating in the marketplace. One example of this is the current usage in cosmetics and personal care products. Who, if anyone, is tracking the range of their usage and the impact on individuals using these products and also their environmental impacts?

As Barbara McKinnon aptly commented, “There are unknown unknowns“! While the broad range of work being done internationally on nanomaterials is encouraging, the field is left wide open for data gaps that could have serious implications for both human health and the environment.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS – MCS
It is encouraging that the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) has undertaken to focus on Vulnerable Populations (VPs). One such population is those with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities ( MCS). It is critically important that this group be included, in writing, in the list of VPs, along with infants, expectant mothers, the elderly, etc.
In terms of chemical exposure, this group has long been referred to as “Canaries”, for very obvious reasons. Yet, to date, few people and institutions have followed their warning. This is the group that the CMP should be paying closer attention to, as a means of data collection, and importantly to understand, address and to deal with the reality of the ugly cumulative impact that chemicals are having on humans, in particular, those suffering from MCS.
The medical speciality known as Environmental Medicine has been established for several decades now, and hundreds of physicians have been trained in the speciality. It would be an excellent and most appropriate idea to have an Environmental Medicine Specialist sitting as a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC). They could speak with first-hand knowledge on the rising impact of chemicals on human health and the way chemically related diseases are affecting the human body. There is one such specialist in Ottawa, namely Dr. Jennifer Armstrong. Dr. John Molot is nearby in Toronto. Either of these physicians would be a huge asset to the program.

Many books have been published on this subject by well-known physicians, such as: Dr. Sherry Rogers, and Dr. Claudia Miller (together with her research partner, Nicholas Ashford, Phd.). Dr. Samuel Epstein’s book The Politics of Cancer is also a compelling reference on the impact of chemicals on health. Many more books can be found on this subject. The scientific literature is well established, rich, plentiful, authoritative, and continually being updated. Children with multiple chemical sensitivities often have behaviour problems and learning disabilities. All people with MCS have issues of accessibility-related to public buildings, workplaces, hospitals, schools, recreation facilities, etc. Common exposures include strong cleaning substances, people wearing scented products, and off-gassing from building materials, flooring, furnishings, etc. Adults with MCS have difficulty holding down jobs to support their families and caring for their children due to this extremely disabling condition. With respect to disability, it must be noted that MCS is recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It is time that the CMP boldly steps forth to recognize and embrace this very real and disabling disease that is undeniably connected squarely to chemical exposure.

INTERNATIONAL CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT – SOUNDING THE ALARM
Canada is very well respected internationally for the work it has done on chemicals through our highly respected Chemicals Management Plan. Our country works closely harmonizing our chemicals management with the United States, Mexico, the European Union, Japan, China and other countries around the globe. Also, Canada is engaged in helping many countries who do not have such a plan to establish their own chemicals management plans, using the CMP as a model.

But there is an aspect to international chemical management discussions that is not being fully embraced. That is the GLOBAL REDUCTION of CHEMICALS PRODUCTION. None of the larger bodies such as the OECD or the WHO, for example, has advanced this topic as an area needing immediate attention. There are some 130 million chemicals now in the global registry. The value of the global chemical industry exceeded 5 trillion dollars in 2017. The international production of chemicals is slated to double by 2030. China alone is expected to contribute half of the volume to that estimate. There is much talk of various means of minimizing adverse impacts of these chemicals and wastes and reducing the risks of some chemicals and wastes. Also, much work is being advanced in the field of green chemistry. Yet, no coordinating body is calling for an overall reduction in the production of chemicals.

In the meantime, diseases of the central nervous system, many different cancers, childhood asthma, autism, and other diseases are continuing to spike in countries around the world. Air, soil and water in countries the world over are heavily contaminated with chemicals. Entire ecosystems are damaged and unable to deliver their vital and critically important services. These are known facts. In the face of this knowledge, how can we continue to allow more and more and more chemicals to be developed and to enter into commerce? This makes no sense. Something must be done to curb the overall global production of chemicals.

Canada is very well-placed to advocate for such an initiative. I highly recommend that action is undertaken immediately to do so. Canada has the proven knowledge and capability to lead discussions and action on this growing threat to the environment and to the very survival of humans and other living things.

PLASTIC USE and DISPOSAL
Canada’s new initiative to promote zero plastic waste is an excellent one.

There are many very good ideas already in discussion to increase recycling of plastics: eliminating single use plastics, and reducing excess packaging in the food industry and in consumer products in general. It was noted in one of the presentations that the hierarchy of prevention begins with elimination, banning and informed substitution. In terms of elimination, one of the obvious places that plastics can be reduced is by banning the use of plastic bags in stores.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia the Atlantic Superstore on Quinpool Road has already completed a 10-year pilot study on diversion of plastic bags from landfills. This was done by banning the use of plastic shopping bags in that store. It has been a successful experiment and worth attention as a model study in Canada.
Usually, the store would use 36 cases of bags annually. Each case contains 1000 bags, at a cost of $1200.00 per month. Over the ten year period, this would have added up to 4320 cases of bags. That translates to 4,320,000 bags having been diverted from landfills. In addition to the diversion of plastics, this represented cost savings to the store of $156,000.

This Superstore continues to permanently ban the use of plastic shopping bags. The store manager also noted that the store is anxiously awaiting the reduction of plastics use through reducing excess packaging in food products supplied to the store. In addition to the reduction of excess packaging in food products, there should also be a reduction in the use of plastic vats and jugs of various designs that hold larger quantities of food for restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and other institutions. This would help to reduce the level of microplastics currently consumed by humans.