Rain Gardens & the Peoples’ Social Forum

Kelly Pike

This week, completely unintentionally, we’re all in Ontario! We’ve got a story from Hamilton for anyone with a roof over their heads—did you know it might be making life harder for your local wetland? Rain gardens can help, and we’re going to find out how to make them. We’re also stopping in on the Peoples’ Social Forum in Ottawa, where thousands of community activists and organizations are cooking up a social change soup. We’ll find out how they intend to work together to build Canada’s future.

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Messy, Loud, and Joyous

In one corner you’ve got people defending refugee rights. In another you’ve got a group bringing down the cost of healthy food in Nunavut. Over by the door you’ve got an activist fighting against mining in her community. Often this is how civil society works on Canada. You’ve got a room full of people in NGOs, unions, Facebook groups, all fighting for their own cause, without seeing how they could support each other.

Last week’s Peoples’ Social Forum in Ottawa brought together thousands of people from across Canada who want to shift the direction the country is going. And it basically said, to have the future any of us want, we’ve got to build a future together. Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was in Ottawa at the Peoples’ Social Forum. Here’s his take on the messy, loud, and joyous business of bringing all these groups together.

Links: Peoples’ Social Forum, #FSP2014

Rain Gardens

Now, flower gardens are full of flowers. Rock gardens are full of rocks. A zoo—or, zoological garden—is full of animals. So that means rain gardens are… full of rain? Well, sort of. Rain gardens are designed to trap rain temporarily, holding the water in for hours or days at a time. Why would you want to do that? Let’s find out. Trevor Chow-Fraser speaks with Kelly Pike, Program Manager for the Bay Area Restoration Council in Hamilton, Ontario.

Links: About Rain Gardens, Princess Point Rain Garden, Bay Area Restoration Council

What’s Happening

Wednesday Night Walks

It’s the final Wednesday Night Walk in Guelph this week. Join in for an End of Summer Science Fair. Share your knowledge by making a display, or preparing a presentation. Pick a topic and share how amazing nature can be! Starts at 7 pm at the J.C. Taylor Nature Centre. Cost is $2 / person and children under 5 are free.

Passive House Experience – Victoria

Interested in sustainable design? And what it might be like to like in a highly energy-efficient build? Passive house, considered to be one of the most rigorous energy efficient building standards in the world is starting to take shape in Canada. Victoria’s Bernhardt Contracting built one of these efficient beauties in 2013, and a couple of the employees have lived in the Passive House since last summer. Come learn about the trials and tribulations of living in an ultra-low energy building on September 4th at the Burnside Gorge Community Centre in Victoria.

Edmonton – Blatchford

The City of Edmonton is hosting a series of Open House consultations on the Blatchord redevelopment. That’s the neighborhood planned for the old city centre airport lands. The city hopes it will be a model for sustainable development, despite recent budget troubles. Come learn about the plans and provide your own insight on what sustainability and livability features should be added. Come to Chateau Nova Hotel & Suites (159 Airport Road, Edmonton) on the following dates:

  • Thursday, September 4, 2014 (4:30-8:30pm)
  • Saturday, September 6, 2014 (1-5pm)
  • Tuesday, September 9, 2014 (4:30-8:30pm)

Silent Partners: Truly Local Food – Toronto

Redefining how we consume, especially in the kitchen, is Scott Sniedzins’ specialty. As the founder of Truly Local Farms, Scott has a lot of insight into composting, aquaponics and his development of the ‘living fridge’. If you are interested in learning more – Scott will be speaking at Silent Partners: Truly Local Food on Thursday, August 28 at the Conservation Council of Ontario. Space is limited, so ensure that you pre-register.


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