Run, hide, pretend it’s not happening?

Think about it.

If I walk down the street naked, harming nobody, I’ll be arrested.

But if I drive a belching muscle car down the same street, or idle it for hours, I’ll be fine.

Nudity is a crime — but escalating the Climate Crisis and endangering millions of lives, is still  considered a normal, acceptable thing to do.

Air travel causing climate change

At this moment, a friend is flying to BC — where Climate Fires of historic proportions have created so much smoke it’s dangerous to exercise. She’s going hiking.

Not to judge, but spot the irony here? Flying is the single worst thing you can do, to inflate the fires and drive us towards climate disaster.

Are we totally out of touch with reality?

In the age of climate breakdown, we still feel it’s “okay” to fly, to drive for fun, to use as much energy as you like.

It’s “okay”, it’s “normal”, “everybody else does it”.

We’re facing fires, floods, drought, famine — yet we’re more concerned with vacations, shiny cars, home renos. We save for retirement, while at the same time destroying our chances of having anything left to retire to.

While we dilly-dally, the planet burns. We edge dangerously closer to a runaway climate scenario / tipping point — mass famine, even the end of civilization.

Photo of car with road kill

Are our lives, our morals dangerously out of date?

Should recreational, gratuitous use of fossil fuels be shameful, the new nudity?

Or, impose enormous carbon taxes to fund climate action, mitigation?

When will we take our feet off the gas?


What do you think? How does this make you feel?

(a) Not my fault / not my problem
(b) It’s overblown / “climate is always changing”
(c) We’re screwed, nothing you can do about it
(d) China’s fault / the US / rich people / anybody other than me
(e) I’m going to DO something, as long as I am able



 

10 tips for a great urban walk

Covid-19 — Can we go for a walk?

Covid-19 — Can we go for a walk

“Stay home” may be the sound bite we’re hearing, but two words don’t tell the whole story. “While the messaging has been occasionally muddled from different levels of government, Toronto’s top public health officers have been consistent: you can go for a walk. You actually should go for a walk.” —  Can we go for a walk?  | Updates: Ottawa Public Health | CBC Ottawa

“You can go outside (for example, to take a walk). While outside, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Make an effort to step-aside, or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.” — Ottawa Public Health, April 20, 2020


10 tips for a great urban walk

walking-02We all know how to put one leg in front of the other. But how many have really learned how to walk? Once you’ve mastered the tricks of the trade, walking is fun, great exercise and good for the environment.

(1) Time of day — Morning can be ideal… it tends to have the bluest skies, and is the best time to enhance your circadian rythms, e.g. a good night’s sleep. But anytime is good, whatever works for you. Once or twice a day is ideal, but if you can’t do that, aim for every second day.

(2) Plan a route, or spontaneous? — If you’re new to walking, it can be a good idea to plan your route, along quiet streets, through parks, etc. But sometimes the most fun is to “follow your nose”. Just step out your door, stand still for a moment and turn your head left and right. Then go whichever way you feel like. At each intersection do the same thing. It can be quite liberating, and you never know where you’ll turn up.

(3) Out-and-back or one way? — I usually prefer an out-and-back or circular route that starts and ends at home; no car or bus required. But to change things up sometimes, try a one-way route. I walk as far as I can, then take a bus or cab home.

(4) What to bring? — A reusable water bottle, your cellphone, a jacket or rainjacket, a hat or cap. Maybe a snack? Your bus pass or cab fare? Other options: pen and paper; laptop; lunch; backpack and/or reusable bag for groceries? I always bring a pen and pad of paper… for any thoughts or creative ideas that might pop out of my brain that day.

june-admiraal-2JEcozuh9mU-unsplash(5) Rainy day? — With a little practice, walking can be fun in almost any weather. You need the right clothes. Cotton jackets, shorts or jeans are terrible if you get caught in the rain.

  • Jacket or umbrella? An umbrella is not much fun for walking more than a few blocks, and offers no warmth if the temperature dips. Instead, choose either a light, synthetic jacket, or a semi-permeable rain jacket. I prefer one that I can either comfortably tie around my waist, or stuff in my pack. (Available at MEC and other outdoor stores)
  • Convertible pants. The most flexible option is nylon “convertible” pants — the lower legs quickly zip off for warmer weather, and are very light and compact, so you can carry them in even the smallest pack. Nylon pants are much lighter, thinner and cooler than jeans. If the weather is cool or damp, wear a pair of synthetic long underwear underneath. No need for fancy “semi-permeable” pants, unless you’re planning a long walk in pouring rain. They’re also heavier. Both are available at MEC and other outdoor stores. Just stay away from cotton!
  • Rain pants. Another option is to carry along a pair of lightweight rainpants. If you get caught in the rain, you can pull over whatever you’re wearing. Lightweight is crucial: if they’re at all heavy or bulky, you won’t want to carry them with you. Available at MEC and other outdoor stores.
  • Wait it out. Or, if you have no raingear but get stuck in an unexpected shower, just wait it out under a roof or nearby cafe. If you’re stuck, call a taxi home.

(6) Shoes and socks — Much urban walking is on sidewalks or other hard ground. Good walking, hiking or ‘approach’ shoes can make or break your love of walking.

  • Where to buy? If possible, always buy from MEC or another reputable outdoor store where you can find great walking and hiking shoes, as well as qualified staff to help you choose the right one. If there’s no outdoor store near you, a sports/fitness store might have one or two decent walking shoes such as Merrell. Most regular shoe stores do not have good walking shoes, although they’ll try to sell you something! In our culture, a lot of people walk no farther than the parking lot. Outdoor stores in Canada: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) | SAIL | Atmosphere | Trailhead
  • Shoes or boots? Walking should be a pleasure. Shoes weigh much less than boots — and if you’re walking any distance, more pleasant to walk in. Choose boots if you’re going to be hiking rough terrain, or in winter, or have ankles that easily twist. Otherwise, shoes are usually the best option. In either case, take the time to test several different shoes by walking around the store at a brisk pace. You won’t get far in shoes that bind or chafe.
  • Full leather or mesh? Shoes with mesh tend to be cooler, lighter, breath better and be less expensive. On the other hand, good leather boots can be stronger for rugged hiking. There are also some stylish urban leather options for those who don’t like the mesh look.
  • Waterproof? For better or worse, many hiking shoes these days have waterproof-breathable membranes, such as Goretex/GTX. They will keep your feet dry if it’s pouring rain, or you step in a stream. Problem is, such shoes can be too warm in summer. So, unless you’ll be walking in the rain or bushwhacking the wilderness, you can do just fine without. It’s also lighter, cheaper, and more breathable that way.
  • Dress shoes? Looking for something more dressy or stylish? There are a few stores that carry high quality urban shoes, a few of which are designed for walking (try brands like RockportDunhamClarks). But for longer walks, there’s usually a trade-off between style and comfort/ walkability.
  • Can I wear sneakers? Yes, if you like, it’s certainly better than nothing. But if you invest in a good pair of walking shoes, you’ll probably find yourself having twice the fun, while easily covering longer distances (without it feeling like it’s longer).
  • Socks. Padded socks can make it even more comfortable for longer walks on sidewalks or pavement. I’ve always found Fox River Tramper socks to have the best padding, but they’re too warm for summer. For wet or cool weather, always choose wool or synthetic, never cotton.
  • Shoes or sandals? How far can you walk, comfortably, without tiring, in sandals? I guess it depends. I’ve never taken them seriously for walking more than a few blocks. For summer I prefer summer walking shoes with a thin, light mesh such as the the Vasque Breeze (without Goretex if possible). These and quite a few other models are at MEC and other outdoor stores.

(7) Alone or with company? — Walking is great, it should be experienced in as many ways and as often as possible. I very much enjoy walking alone, with a friend, or occasionally with a group. All three can be fun, social experiences, in different ways.

(8) Leave the car at home? — Many of the best walks don’t involve getting in a car at all. It’s better for you and the planet. If you need to drive to get to nature… sometimes it’s worth it. But why not try more walks right in your ‘hood? There may be much more right under your nose, than you ever expected. — Climate Action

(9) Music, podcast… or creative silence? — Some people prefer to walk only with music in their ears. Nothing wrong with that, but there is another way. Could you entertain yourself… follow your own thoughts… or just relax into the rhythm? Could you walk for an hour with no music, just thinking, observing and enjoying your surroundings? With a little practice, you might find that another part of your mind wakes up and keeps you good company along the way.

Great podcasts for walking:
If you listen while you walk, always be extra cautious of your surroundings, traffic, etc. Here are a few good sources:

(10) Motivation — Need something to get you going? Would a destination help? When I walk, I often choose a destination such as getting down to the river, or walking by my favourite cafe (even if I’m not going in). When possible, I try to include errands or social visits in my walk. Or, set up a favourite podcast or radio program. Another option is to wear a Pedometer/Fitbit on your wrist — set yourself a goal in time or kilometers, whichever works for you. Or make it a rule to walk at the same time every day. More motivation ideas.

(11) Safety — Always be aware of traffic and look all four ways before crossing. Don’t assume that cars will stop, even if the light is red. Pause the music, use your eyes and ears while crossing. Don’t depend only on your ears — bikes and electric vehicles can be quite silent. Of course, be prudent about walking in cities or neighbourhoods you’re not familiar with, especially at night. See: urban walking safety tips.

(12) Physical distancing

Walking during a pandemic — is it okay to walk? When possible, it’s a good idea to avoid very busy paths or sidewalks, choose a quieter route instead. Good news for sidewalk walking — apparently the 2-metre rule has an exception. From Ottawa Public Health:

“You can go outside (for example – to take a walk). While outside, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Make an effort to step-aside, or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.” — Ottawa Public Health Physical Distancing

The park is too busy? Find quiet streets or other areas to walk. Explore!


Want walk-friendly communities, habits, culture?

Join, follow, support…


How Walking Makes Us Healthier, Happier and Brainier 

“Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara believes that plenty of regular walking unlocks the cognitive powers of the brain like nothing else. He explains why you should exchange your gym kit for a pair of comfy shoes and get strolling.” Full story…

Please note that the above information is provided on an “As Is” basis and for general informational purposes only. People and Planet (also known as “Green Ottawa”) is not responsible for the content, accuracy, timeliness, completeness, legality, reliability, quality or suitability of the information and opinions provided. When you go walking, you do so at your own risk!

Let’s Talk Green Economy

We all know that taking action on climate is necessary, but how can concerns about the environment fit into the logic of small and medium businesses here in Ottawa?

That’s what our free workshop series Let’s Talk Green Economy sets out to explain: green can work for your business. Let us show you how.

Find answers to questions like:  What is the Green Economy? How do I Save Energy? Can my Business be Green?  Can Green Grow My Market? Does my Impact Matter?

Let’s Talk Green Economy Workshops will be offered across Ottawa from January to March 2020. Free for Ottawa Businesses! Delivered in-person and online, at your business or at a public space. You choose what works best for you and your staff.

Contact us today to book a workshop at your place of business or to find out about upcoming public workshops.

https://www.envirocentre.ca/de-mystifying-the-green-economy-one-workshop-at-a-time/

Workshops included in the series

10 Steps to a Low Carbon Workplace

An interactive workshop that will provide you with practical tips on reducing your environmental impact in the workplace. Learn how to assess your current greenhouse gas impact and simple ways to reduce it. Register today!

Make Green Work for Your Business

The business landscape is changing, and getting ahead of those changes gives your workplace a competitive advantage! Get past the jargon, and discover how to make “green” work for your business. No matter what sector, services or products you’re providing, you can take action to reduce your footprint now. Register today!

Building Retrofits for SMEs: Where to Start (part 1)

An interactive workshop for Business Owners on energy savings in renovation and the meaning of Net Zero labelling. Register today!

Building Retrofits for SMEs: From Plan to Project (part 2)

An interactive workshop for Business Owners on how to add energy savings to your renovation plans and even reach Net Zero. Register today!

Workshops for Builders & Contractors

Retrofitting to Net Zero: Knowing the Landscape (part 1)

A workshop for Builders, Renovators and Contractors interested in learning about Net Zero Housing. You’ll leave with a clear understanding of what Net Zero means, what its benefits and costs are, and what Net Zero looks like in Ottawa today.  Register today!

Retrofitting to Net Zero: Getting it Right (part 2)

A workshop for Builders, Renovators and Contractors that will take a deeper dive into the building science behind Net Zero. You’ll leave with a clear understanding of the available training opportunities, green building certifications, and how to move from plan to action. Register today!

Eco-friendly gift ideas

christmas-gift-01

This year, will your Christmas be eco-friendly? With a little thought, it can be environmentally friendly — as well as more fun and rewarding for all. “Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.” (George Monbiot) / Eco-friendly Christmas Gift Ideas

War, Peace and Remembrance

What you can do | Peace groups and organizations

war-no-more-10If we love our kids, the least we can do is give some serious thought to peace, greed and violence. It’s the biggest single issue affecting our future. Bigger even than climate change, which is likely to cause many wars, if we don’t act sensibly.

What does “Remembrance Day” mean to you? Is it still about remembering the horrors of war — preventing it from happening again? Or has it become the opposite, a celebration of military might, the ‘glory’ of war? If it’s not about “never again”, then what? Does it fan the flames of nationalism, militarism — the kind that starts wars, not ends them?

Continue reading “War, Peace and Remembrance”

Organic Farming & Gardening Ottawa

cog-ottawa-fall-reflectionsConcerned about the future of food in your community? Come on out to this year’s gathering of organic growers in Ottawa–St. Lawrence–Outaouais!

Sunday November 17 at 1pm, Hintonburg Community Centre.

Waking up to Climate Crisis, Climate Action

It’s finally happening, the world is waking up to the climate crisis. Oil companies are in court for lying, the truth is coming out about climate breakdown, and millions are standing up for truth and action. All this is thanks to you — everyday people who care about our future — and are doing everything we can. It is only with our eyes wide open, that we have the opportunity to rebuild our world.

tell-the-truth-2In the news:

markus-spiske-tyfI3RGqL7Y-unsplashWhat you can do:

  • Support groups and organizations working for climate action: Climate Action Network Canada | GoodWork. Join two or three that seem most important to you. Without you and me, they are nothing — our participation is crucial.
  • Live as sustainably as you can. Reduce your consumption, fly less or not at all, switch to renewables. It might sound difficult, but it will lead to a happier, healthier life. Top Ten Things You Can Do About Climate Change
  • Participate in nonviolent Climate Strikes. Strikes continue every Friday in thousands of locations worldwide. The next Global Strike is planned for Friday November 29. Join a strike or start your own: Fridaysforfuture.ca | FridaysforFuture.orgGoodWork.ca/Strike

Do meaningful work:

Because, without a stable climate and a healthy ecosystem, there is no economy, no future.

Environmental News

Eco Gala 2019

On Wednesday November 20th, at the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park, Ecology Ottawa will be celebrating our 13th Eco Gala  – Ottawa’s biggest gathering of the environmental community.

This year is going to be huge. Featuring speakers, food and drinks from local vendors, silent auctions, green activities, and organizations and businesses sharing their exciting environmental initiatives, Eco Gala is a must-attend event.

Celebrate with us! Save the date: Wednesday, November 20th at Lansdowne’s Hoticulture Building.

We’re looking for local businesses who want to tell the world about their green products and services – everything from breweries to bike shops to solar companies. This is the place! To explore sponsorship opportunities, click here.

This is an important event, and we won’t be able to do it without your help. Click here to join Ecology Ottawa’s volunteer team today. 

Join us for Eco Gala 2019

Youth Unstoppable

Youth Unstoppable — the rise of the Global Youth Climate Movement

Free screening
Thursday October 10, 7PM
at the Bytowne Cinema, Rideau St, Ottawa

www.bytowne.ca/movie/youth-unstoppable
www.youthunstoppable.com
www.greenscreenottawa.ca

Youth Unstoppable takes us inside the rise of the Global Youth Climate Movement. Canadian Slater Jewell-Kemker was 15 when she began documenting the untold stories of youth on the front lines of climate change activism, refusing to let their future slip away.

Over more than a decade, set against stunning visuals of a planet in crisis, this award-winning film follows the growth of a diverse network of youth, rising up to shape the world they will live in. Through the lens of Jewell-Kemker’s camera, we see the struggles, events, and firsthand effects on youth fighting to be heard, both at home and within the complex process of UN Climate Change negotiations.

From flood-ravaged villages in Nepal to luxury hotels in Cancún, from the tailings ponds of the Alberta Tar Sands to the riots of Copenhagen, culminating with the intense and defining events at the 21st UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, this urgent and timely documentary shows us a powerful vision for the future of our planet and the young people who will lead us there.

A joint presentation of The 30th One World Film Festival, Our Time, Green Screen Ottawa, and the Group of 78.

A panel discussion on Canadian responses to the climate crisis will follow the screening.

Global Climate Strike – Fri Sep 27 – Ottawa & Worldwide

On March 15th, more than 150,000 students were officially on strike across Québec, and young people across Canada marched in the streets, demanding action today to ensure we have future generations.

Young people have been going on strike every Friday the several months, young people have been waging creative protest to push politicians to take bold action and tackle the climate crisis head on.

On September 27, the planet is on strike. Not just students, but also workers, citizens. Because the climate crisis spares nobody, we must all be mobilized. Let’s make this date a historic moment. The one of true change.

Because it is high time we take matters into our own hands.

Join us at the Global Climate Strike to demand accountability and action regarding the climate crisis!

Let us know you’re coming! RSVP now at this link:  https://www.ecologyottawa.org/ottawa_climate_strike

We need organizers! Will you step up to invite your friends to join you on the big day? Contact Clara to see how you can help out.

CONTACT: Clara Cuny · clara.cuny@ecologyottawa.ca · 613-860-5353

For more information about the march, please see the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2358161320964436/

We will be meeting at Confederation Park at 11:30am.

Hope to see you there!

WHEN: September 27, 2019 at 11:30am – 2pm
WHERE: Confederation Park (Laurier Ave. and Elgin St.)


Strikes across Canada, worldwide, organizations & resources: https://GoodWork.ca/strike