Archive for 2006 December

Chappy Chanukah

Chanukah menorah on blue tableclothEvery year our family celebrates one night of Chanukah with whatever Jewish or sympathetic friends we can find.  We especially appreciate Jewish friends because we don’t actually know what we’re doing.  My family is not very observant Ukrainian Catholic, and Charlie’s is even less observant Jewish.  So beyond the latkes, dreidels, gelt and the menorah at nightfall, we pretty much wing it.     Read more »

Sleepless bears

Yet another disturbing sign of global warming reported in the Independent:

In a December in which bumblebees, butterflies and even swallows have been on the wing in Britain, European brown bears have been lumbering through the forests of Spain’s Cantabrian mountains, when normally they would already be in their long, annual sleep.

Geothermal heat and insulation

On Tuesday morning, Andrew James and I participated in a meeting at Cosburn Middle School organized by Gord Crann, the candidate for school trustee you may remember I endorsed.  Gord had come to realize that the lawn at the school needed to be resodded, and thought this would be an excellent opportunity to install the loops for a geothermal heating project.  Gord is promoting this project and brought in Ben Chin, the former (and presumably future) Liberal candidate in the provincial byelection to meet with school officials.

While I’m supportive of any project that reduces energy demand, my involvement in the project so far has been to redirect the enthusiasm to the best and most cost-effective solutions.  This process demonstrates the challenge of reducing energy use in buildings, particularly in a world where the price signals do nothing to encourage retrofits.     Read more »

The Federal NDP Climate Change Plan

Having already discussed several approaches to climate change, I’d like to look at the Green Agenda for Canada [see also NDP Kyoto plan].  Everything indicates to me that this plan would be outrageously expensive and would probably fail to accomplish its fairly ambitious goals.     Read more »

Greenpeace recommendations

Greenpeace submitted their recommendations to the same Ontario Climate Change and Clean Air Plan that I participated in, along with a letter criticizing the sudden way in which this plan was launched with very little time allocated for consultation.  In many ways, the Greenpeace recommendations are the ones I wish I had written.  They are concise and informed and cover most of the same territory I do.     Read more »

Recommendations for Ontario’s Climate Change Plan

On December 7, I participated in hastily convened consultations to develop a Climate Change and Clean Air Plan for Ontario.  The McGuinty Liberals are running scared.  Climate change is on everyone’s agenda and they haven’t got a wisp of a plan to deal with it.     Read more »

Save Cherry Beach

I should have blogged this post weeks ago, after the November 16 PLAC meeting where we discussed the Cherry Beach soccer fields.  I must say that this was not an easy issue for me to take a stand on.

It was first discussed at a PLAC meeting this summer, where the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation presented the plan, and it seemed, if not particularly inspiring, at least mostly harmless.  We were told that this was an area of scrub with an open toxic ditch in dire need of remediation and capping.  We were told it wasn’t being used at all.  Making it into temporary astroturf soccer fields would be a small step to satisfying the demand for sports fields in the city, and could be rethought later into a broader park vision.

I went to the November 16 PLAC meeting and felt I had been lied to.  Look at the Save Cherry Beach site to see a picture of the wasteland that was described.  There are hundreds of trees on the site, some more than 40 feet tall.  There is an open meadow that is currently enjoyed by butterfly enthusiasts.  Worst of all, it is apparent that the remediation plan was developed after the site had been identified as a potential sports field.  In other words, there was no concern about the toxicity until they thought about bulldozing it anyway.  Seems awfully convenient then, to discover it is in need of capping.  The truth is that by this reasoning the entire Portlands and much of Toronto might need to be covered over.     Read more »

Global dimming, more global warming

This is the second frightening blog I’m posting in 2 days.  Sorry about that.  I just watched a video clip which I was pointed to by Jeff Berg, who I know from Post Carbon Toronto.  This is perhaps the most frightening clip I’ve ever seen on global warming.  As always, I hope that the worst-case scenarios it portrays are entirely wrong.  But once again, I question, who would want to take that chance?

What the movie explains in excruciating detail, is the effect that pollutants in the atmosphere have of shielding us from the worst effects of global warming.      Read more »

Introducing our new executive

On November 21, our Federal Green Party Association in Toronto-Danforth held its Annual General Meeting.  It was a great atmosphere, with 25 enthusiastic people in a small room at Frankland Community Centre, 12 of whom jumped on board to form the new executive for 2007.  These include most of the old faces as well as some enthusiastic and capable new ones.  I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of them, and I’m hoping that with this larger board, we’ll be able to expand the work we do for our members and supporters in Toronto-Danforth.  Here is your new executive:

  1. Susan Anderson
  2. Ron Chambers
  3. Ed Chin
  4. Joseph Cunko
  5. Mary Ann Grainger (new Financial Agent)
  6. Barbora Grochalova
  7. Andrew James
  8. Elena Jusenlijska
  9. Anthony Lucic
  10. Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu (CEO — you’re stuck with me for another year)
  11. Dan Morgan
  12. Doug Wright

Keep us from ourselves

I wanted to share my views on why green government is important.  Please note the little g green.  I would not have joined the Green Party if any of the other parties actually had a realistic environmental policy that they supported in power.

There is a dialogue about what individuals can do and what government can do.  While both are important, it’s my opinion that if we ever want to lick this climate change threat, the participation of government at all levels will be absolutely critical.     Read more »