Ministry of Energy and Mines Backtracks on No Plan to Cap Contaminating Drill Hole

John Perkins spokesperson for Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia says “SuNNS membership and Tatamagouche area residents are pleased to hear the Ministry of Energy and Mines is committed to capping a leaking exploration drill hole in the French River Watershed”.

Perkins notes “this is a big change in the Ministry of Energy and Mines
approach to this contaminating drill hole.” Frances Willick reported in a January 25 CBC article that Don James, Ministry of Energy and Mines, had stated “the responsibility for the hole now rests with the landowner”. “Mines and Energy’s reversal indicates the power of a Free Press, the effectiveness of local community advocacy groups like SuNNS and the power of municipal governments to bring pressure on the provincial government” says Perkins.
“The contaminating drill hole sits in the French River watershed, the sole source of water for the Village of Tatamagouche, so I think the Municipality of Colchester and area Councilor Michael Gregory were very upset when Mines and Energy failed to contact them regarding their plans to not address the polluting drill hole” says SuNNS member Paul Jenkinson.
“The discovery of one uncapped contaminating drill hole on Warwick Mountain and the possibility of more leaking drill holes has raised the spectre of 780 other unmonitored mining exploration drill holes across the province”, Perkins notes.
SuNNS is asking the Ministry of Energy and Mines to immediately instruct staff to visit all drill hole sites and return in 6 months with a report on their condition.
SuNNS is asking Minister Mombourquette to issue an order that any polluting drill holes be immediately capped by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, upon discovery of their “leaking” status.
SuNNS is asking Minister Mombourquette to remove new regulatory language that allows landowners to request wells remain uncapped.
SuNNS once again calls on the Ministry of Energy and Mines to abandon plans to issue a Request for Proposals for gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed and the six other watersheds in the current Enclosure Area.
SuNNS further supports the efforts of the Municipality of Colchester as it seeks “Protected“ status for the French River Watershed under the Environmental Act given that the French River is the sole source of water for the Village of Tatamagouche.

Advertisements

Environment Network (EN) Report to Diocesan Council Dec. 2018

National recognition: I am pleased to say that our diocese EN was featured in a national church article during Seasons of Creation:  https://www.anglican.ca/news/diocesan-environment-network-builds-alliances-in-nova-scotia-and-p-e-i/30022769/

Membership is approximately 200 and growing. Many churches have multiple members. The Church of St Andrew in Cole Harbour probably has the most, approximately a dozen parishioners are members of the EN. Members are involved in varying degrees.

Communication: At our September meeting we reviewed the EN’s call to teach, inform and motivate parishes to be greener, support all people who care about God’s creation, encouraging environmental activism, energy conservation and waste reduction. We agreed to take advantage of the Diocesan Times, to submit articles about people and parishes, profile them, what they are doing and how they are accomplishing it. Good news stories, for example the St Margaret’s community garden. Provide information on where to go to obtain information and funding. We should also continue to promote the EN in parishes and throughout the diocese. Engaging parishes in greening our buildings. A subcommittee developed a resource list for our webpage with the DT. One of our members, a journalist, will write articles featuring parishes that are engaged in caring for creation and a quarterly article on a “big issue”.

EN Retreat Weekend and Day Retreats: Evaluations showed satisfaction with the retreat in May and there were requests for more retreats. Some asked for annual retreats and one person asked for “mini day retreats”. As a result, the EN partnered with Kairos Canada and Christ Church, Darmouth and held an initial day retreat Nov. 18 with 30 participants. More day retreats are being planned for 2019 in Charlottetown, Pictou, Cape Breton, possibly Amherst and Yarmouth. Day retreats spreads those events throughout the diocese, engages more people and reduces costs. We would also be happy to provide day retreats for parishes, regions and various groups within the diocese as well. The EN is requesting Diocesan Council support. Estimated costs of day retreats is $500 each.

Season of Creation: We will approach Archbishop Ron about in promoting Season of Creation next year to increase participation. That being said, from my latest Creation Matters meeting, it appears that our diocese has more parishes engaged in Season of Creation than any other diocese in the country. At least a dozen parishes engaged in Season of Creation. I was guest preacher at the Church of St Andrew in Cole Harbour the end of September. Kudos to all who celebrated Seasons of Creation particularly:

Parish of Horton, Wolfville:

Held a mid-week book study using “Grounded: Finding God in the World.

Adapted a creation focused Eucharist from South Africa. “The response from a diverse group of folks was thought-provoking and theologically deep.”

Undertook a day retreat called “Soil and Spirituality” According to the rector, “Quiet contemplation on dirt, spirit, connecting with our roots in a beautiful garden setting at the Quiet Garden in Wolfville. Rev’d Lynn Uzans of the Anglican Parish of Wilmot lead this restorative day retreat.”

St. John the Evangelist, Middle Sackville:

Who marked the Season of Creation on four Sundays through September.
One of their Lay Readers, Maxine Simpkin found an “Earth” beach ball that was suspended from the cross beam in the middle of the congregation. They used the Joe Miller piece, “If the Earth were only a few feet…” as part of the liturgy opening. Maxine also found some “Earth” squeezy balls that they gave out to the children and the rest of those present the next week which was Welcome Back Sunday had a caring for creation theme.
One week they located the new baptismal promise to sustain and restore the Earth at the opening of the service as a reminder of our commitment.
They used the “Earth Blue Marble” photo from space on their bulletin covers (instead of the church photo) and on their slides for the projector.

“This was St. John’s first year so we started small and hope to do better next year.”

Developing relationships with like-minded organizations inside and outside the church: The church is in the unique position of being able to provide spiritual care and support to environmentalists. To better connect with other environmental groups and individuals Tory Byrne represents our network on the board of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network and serves as treasurer, https://nsenvironmentalnetwork.com/

Our EN promoted and supported Nova Scotia Environmental Network, Ecology Action Centre, Healthy Forest Coalition, Northern Pulp, Alton Gas and Council of Canadians Blue Community campaign.

Our expression of support to the fishers who are protesting pollution by Northern Pulp on Facebook resulted in well over 60 likes and positive comments from members of the Clean Up the Pictou County Pulp Mill FB page.

Provided support to Joanne Light for travel to Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada ‘s 13th National Conference and Lobbying Days, “Building Bridges,” on Parliament Hill (https://canada.citizensclimatelobby.org/).  

I am still an active member of national church’s Creation Matters Task Group and represent the ACC on the Kairos Eco justice Circle. And I recently acted as a resource to United Church Maritime Conference on their new environmental program Faithful Footprints.

Lenten Practice in our diocese: It was agreed at our September meeting that the EN would develop a “Stations of the Cross” type spiritual practice for Lent using local photographs taken by Donna Giles from the Church of St Andrew in Cole Harbour. The Stations will be available to parishes and regions throughout the diocese. Parishes or regions will be able to book the Stations in advance. EN members could be available for support. Contact Rev Marian if your parish would like to book the Stations. marian.lucas.jefferies@gmail.com 902-483-6866

On Line Book Club: After a member of the EN lent me a book called Chasing Francis, I am hoping to introduce an on line book club.

Tory Byrne’s letter to the Nova Scotia Environmental Network re the meeting with the Minister of the Environment:

Specifically, the three areas I would like to see addressed are

1. The need for environmental non-profits to have core funding support from government, especially at a network level. It’s hard enough to find financial support for specific projects; it’s nearly impossible for administration, coordination, communication and education. Governments, both federal and provincial have noted the need for the public community groups to do monitoring and education because governments aren’t doing it. – And because self-monitoring by industry fails in the face of the need for industry and shareholder profits.

2. The environment can heal us, physically, mentally and spiritually, and keep us healthy. But if we continue to destroy the environment, it will kill us. This is a link which governments are missing. This government is taking a beating on health care, yet ignores practices and papers from other parts of the world that show that healthcare costs can be significantly reduced and health significantly improved by maintaining and building healthy forests, waterways and air, while providing access to all people. This is an environment issue, a health issue, a social justice issue and a spiritual wellbeing issue.

3. Listen to environmentalists: indigenous, academic, and the ecologically involved. Value all the knowledge that is out there. We don’t expect legislators to be environmental experts. We do expect them to listen and consider, act on and continue to be visibly acting on advice and information from all sources. Don’t pit industry against environmentalists (we do that well enough) but work with the issues to protect the environment AND provide for jobs. And probably profits – though these tend to leave the province anyhow). Example: according to the Economist, it costs $14,000 to extract one kilo of gold from the ground, as is currently being proposed for the Goldboro area gold mine, a mine which will devastate the land and waters and wildlife for generations. It costs only $4,000 to extract that same one kilo of gold from recycling electronics, which does minimal damage or even benefits to the environment. Both methods provide jobs. Due diligence may provide ways to better outcomes for the environment and for the people.

Tory

Respectfully submitted,

The Rev. Marian Lucas-Jefferies

Coordinator, Environment Network

The East Coast’s First Package Free Shop

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

According to the CRC’s website, Canadians produce 31 million tonnes of waste each year. Only about 30% of those 31 million tonnes is recycled, and the rest is added to landfills, or worse, ends up polluting the natural environment.

Kate Pepler has been making an impactful change with the recent opening of a package-free cafe, bulk store, and community hub, The Tare Shop, in the north end of Halifax. When asked where the idea for the shop came from, Pepler explained, “After graduating, I was pretty depressed about the state of the world, so I started Our Positive Planet as a way to seek out and share environmental success stories to inspire action. That’s how I fell into the zero waste movement and started looking at my own plastic consumption… I realized how hard it was in Halifax to shop package free. There wasn’t one place that offered it all, so that’s where the idea came from.”

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

The shop carries a variety of products in bulk that you can fill your own containers with, as well as sustainable lifestyle items. “The easier it is for people to access these products package free, the more people will live this way,” says Pepler.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetIn the shop’s cafe, there are no disposable cups or plastic food wraps. You have the option of bringing your own travel mug to take out, or sitting in to use one of theirs. If you don’t have a travel mug, there are some available for purchase, or you can borrow one from the store’s mug library.

Not only does The Tare Shop greatly help people live a life with less waste, but it also encourages taking a few minutes out of your busy day to sit down and enjoy a coffee, which is something we all could get value from. The cafe carries Java Blend coffee, World Tea House, and fresh goodies from local bakeries (often with gluten-free and vegan options!).

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Clearly, waste is a huge problem that the whole world faces. When considering this pressing issue, Pepler suggested, “I think that the biggest issue is how disconnected we’ve become from everything. From where we get our food, to the products that we use, how things are made, the impacts that our actions have. I think that’s where the biggest issue lies. We consume without thinking about our actions… When we throw something ‘away,’ it isn’t going away. There is no magical land that is ‘away’. It goes somewhere, whether it’s a landfill or an ocean, it goes somewhere.”

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

If you’re interested in seeing more from The Tare Shop and learning about upcoming events, you can check out thetareshop.com, find them on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram: @thetareshop.

 

Words & Photos by Jenna Clayton

Update & Request from the Canadian Environmental Network

Note from the Chair:

Somehow it’s always surprising how much activity takes place in the fall. September hits, and suddenly it’s time to dive into new projects and catch up on existing ones.

These have been an exciting couple of months around here. Mike Simpson, an RCEN alumnus and Executive Director of the British Colombia Council for International Co-operation (BCCIC), joined the board in October. Mike has been doing excellent work in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals, and his experience with RCEN’s International Caucus will be incredibly valuable as we reclaim our role as a voice for Canadian ENGOs at home and abroad. He will be replacing Deborah Glaser, also of BCCIC, who joined the RCEN board for a brief period before making the decision to return to the United States with her family. So thank you Deborah, and welcome Mike!

In other news, a group of Ottawa-based RCEN-ers met this month for an in-depth conversation (sure to be the first of many) about where RCEN stands and where we want to go. Although technology expands our ability to communicate across large distances, there’s nothing like a face-to-face meeting to really get things done. We had some frank discussions about our hopes for the Network and the realities that we currently face, and we started to craft a vision of the RCEN we want to create.

One important point that emerged during this meeting was that the federal government has commitments that it will be trying to meet by summer 2019 (see the “Resources” section below for a link to summaries of relevant federal mandates). RCEN and its members have an opportunity to show that we have the expertise to support Canada in achieving those goals.

Although a small, localized approach has practical advantages for the early stages of this process, I want to make sure that your voices are heard at. In particular, I want to hear from you about:

1) how a national network of ENGOs and activists could best serve your organization and fill the existing gaps in Canada’s environmental community;

2) how your work could help advance the government’s environmental goals and mandates; and

3) your “wish list” of the collaboration and support that you’d like to find within the ENGO community.

And as always, if you want to strut your stuff or reach out to your fellow members, please get in touch. We would love to showcase your projects or accomplishments in our newsletter or on social media. This is your network – please use it!

 

Contact: Alex Keenan | RCEN  chair@rcen.ca

Corporate staff to get hands dirty for nature

Natural health product maker Nature’s Way is changing the way companies support charities

September 28, 2018 [Halifax, NS] – As well as making a significant corporate donation, staff from Nature’s Way Canada are picking up grinders, shovels, clippers and brushes today in support of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. What’s new is that this is not your typical “corporate sponsorship.”

Along with the donation, which will be $75,000 over three years, Nature’s Way staff will provide volunteer support. Starting today, 30 staff will rise from their desks to hit the woods at the Nature Trust’s Purcells Cove property to help with the stewardship needs of the land. They will work in two shifts; the first arriving at 11:30AM, the second at 1:30PM. Each group will get a vigorous 90-minute workout helping to care for irreplaceable urban wildlands in Purcells Cove.

A new way of corporate giving?

This generous corporate donation is also “undesignated,” which means the charity, and not the company, will decide how it will be used.

“A donation that is undesignated means the company knows and trusts us to use their gift in the best possible way,” says Nature Trust director of conservation Ross Firth. “Nature’s Way is letting us do our job of protecting Nova Scotia’s outstanding natural legacy through land conservation; they just want to help. Companies can add stipulations that can be complex. Instead, Nature’s Way is saying, ‘Just go and do what you do best.’ It’s the ideal way to support a cause.”

A spin-off benefit

Nature Trust executive director Bonnie Sutherland sees yet another benefit from an undesignated gift. It can be used for stewardship, which, for the Nature Trust, tends to be “less sexy” than acquiring a new piece of property. While Sutherland sees people respond with excitement (and donations) to help acquire land, she says it’s more of a challenge to get people excited about all the work that needs to be done on those lands—and for years to come.

“While a new land acquisition by the Nature Trust gets lots of headlines,” says Sutherland, “the ongoing stewardship and care of these properties tends to be less splashy, less sexy, but it is vitally important to the overall conservation effort—and it’s an ongoing process. It doesn’t stop.”

A perfect fit for Corporate Canada

According to Sutherland, corporate leaders tend to “get” stewardship and its importance, with its elements of investing now for the future, seeing the big picture, being in it for the long haul; they get it because “that’s the kind of vision you need for success in business.”

“Any astute business person understands there is no point in acquiring something unless you plan to take care of it, tend to it, grow it, so it will yield the desired benefits,” says Sutherland. “So while the behind-the-scenes work of land stewardship may seem less exciting in the public sphere, corporate leaders get it because it makes good business sense. I’ve always seen our stewardship work as being a great fit for corporate giving. Hopefully there’s a trend here.”

Supporting the community you live and work in

“We’re looking forward to being out in nature today, helping steward this land,” says Pam McEwing, Vice President of Operations for Nature’s Way Canada. “Nature’s Way is committed to helping people and the planet through our products and how they are manufactured. Companies have an obligation to give back to the community. As a Nova Scotia-based company, this is a perfect way for us to support the community that our staff and their families live in.”

Nature’s Way of Canada (formerly Ascenta Health) has supported the Nature Trust since 2006.

A pioneer in herbal supplements, Nature’s Way® is one of the most recognized and trusted consumer brands of nutritional supplements and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019.  Nature’s Way is known for its expansive line of omega-3 supplements, herbs, probiotics, vitamins & minerals, and other natural health products.  Nature’s Way® products include brands such as NutraSea® omega-3 oils, Alive!® multi-vitamins, Umcka® Cold Care, Sambucus® elderberry extracts, and Fortify® probiotics. They offer over 250 premium nutritional and natural products.  For more information visit www.natureswaycanada.ca.

The Nature Trust is dedicated to protecting habitats that provide a home for Nova Scotia’s endangered species such as Blanding’s Turtles, Plymouth Gentian, Canada Warbler and Eastern Ribbon snake. In order to ensure the ecological integrity of the places they protect so imperilled species can recover and thrive, the Nature Trust undertakes active stewardship of their protected lands. Stewardship involves monitoring, cleanups, trail maintenance and restoration (in cases of invasive species).

Companies wanting to learn more about supporting conservation work are encouraged to contact the Nova Scotia Nature Trust at www.nsnt.ca. Individual donations are also welcome.

Stay Safe in the Season of Love – Watch for Wildlife urges drivers to be extra cautious during deer & moose mating season.

FREDERICTON, NB [Oct 2nd, 2018]— Watch for Wildlife is asking drivers to take extra care to avoid collisions with wildlife over the Thanksgiving long weekend and into the weeks that follow.

“It’s that time of year again,” says Kristin Elton, Watch for Wildlife’s Outreach Coordinator for New Brunswick. “The annual fall rut for deer and moose is upon us, so these animals are on the move looking for mates. As a result, they are crossing more roads as they move through the landscape on their search.”

These animals are most active at dawn and dusk and with decreasing daylight hours, more drivers are on the roads at this time. This, combined with the change in animal behaviour, results in a spike in deer and moose collisions at this time of year.

Mating season also causes deer and moose to be bolder so they may be less apprehensive of roads and people. The onset of hunting season and colder weather also means deer, moose and other wildlife are moving from place to place and may run and bolt suddenly.  

WildLife Fall Sierra Club.pngThe Watch for Wildlife program urges drivers to be extra aware driving over the next month and to keep in mind tips for preventing collisions including:

  • paying extra attention at the wheel and obeying the speed limit, especially in areas where you aren’t familiar with the road
  • scanning ahead and looking for movement or shining eyes on the sides of the road
  • slowing down when you see an animal if it is safe to do so as even a slight reduction in speed can give animals enough time to get out of the way safely and
  • if a collision is inevitable, the best thing to do is ‘steer for the rear’ of the deer or moose, as this is less likely to cause as much damage as hitting the animal straight on.

Beyond the increased risk of interactions on the roads, it is also important to give these animals extra space if you encounter them on your property or out on the trails, in order to avoid human-wildlife conflicts in general.

For further tips on preventing wildlife-vehicle collisions, you can visit Watch for Wildlife’s website at www.watchforwildlife.ca for more information.

Sierra Club Applauds Neonicotinoid Pesticide Phase-Out, Calls for Fast Action to Protect Bees

OTTAWA, ON, August 15, 2018 – Sierra Club welcomes the ban of dangerous neonicotinoid pesticides, announced today by Health Canada, and urges a more rapid phase-out than the proposed three-year timeline. Health Canada announced today it was phasing out two of the more commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides.
Neonicotinoids contain neurotoxins that affect insect life. Concerns about impacts on pollinators, especially bees, has mobilized Canadians to stop the use of these chemicals.
Neo-Sierra.png
Last year, the international body devoted to protecting global biodiversity, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released a review of over 1,100 peer-reviewed scientific studies, concluding there is no doubt neonicotinoids harm bees.

Health Canada’s own research found that impacts on aquatic insects, often vital to food webs – including fish and birds – are threatened by harmful levels of at least one of these chemicals found in the environment. And because insects are the most diverse known form of life on the planet, impacts on insects should raise alarm for global biodiversity.

“The scientific evidence that these pesticides were hurting pollinators and aquatic life is overwhelming and alarming,” according to Sierra Club Canada Foundation National Program Director Gretchen Fitzgerald. This evidence is being taken seriously by Health Canada, and we applaud them for taking action. We are breathing a sigh of relief today, but hope Health Canada will move quickly to make sure use is stopped sooner than their 2021 deadline.”
“For years, our supporters have pushed for the rapid ban of these pesticides,” according to Fitzgerald. “I can only hope that the damage we have already seen caused by neonics – and the resulting massive public concern – will result in reform for how we approve such pesticides in the first place.”