“An impassioned generational perspective on how to stay sane amid climate disruption.”
Climate and environment-related fears and anxieties are on the rise everywhere. As with any type of stress, eco-anxiety can lead to lead to burnout, avoidance, or a disturbance of daily functioning.
In Generation Dread, Britt Wray seamlessly merges scientific knowledge with emotional insight to show how these intense feelings are a healthy response to the troubled state of the world.
BOOK LAUNCH — Generation Dread:
Finding Purpose in an age of Climate Crisis
Now available in bookstores, audiobook and e-book… GoodWork.ca/BrittWray
On CBC Radio & Podcast — Thursday May 26
Britt Wray on Generation Dread — On CBC Ideas, Thursday, May 26, 2022
In a world of climate crisis and inaction, the kids are not alright. Neither are many adults, including those considering parenthood. Science writer and scholar Britt Wray was one of the latter when she made a 2018 IDEAS documentary on the topic. Now she is a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, specializing in the mental health impacts of the ecological crisis. Her new book details her work and conversations, and synthesizes her insights. It shares productive ways to cope, think, and act while facing an anxious ecological present and uncertain future. At an event recorded at the Toronto Reference Library, Britt Wray talks to Nahlah Ayed about Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis. — CBC Ideas | Schedule (May) | Radio Schedule | Podcast
“The antidote to anxiety is action”
A few weeks ago, we spoke about the City of Ottawa redeveloping its Solid Waste Master Plan to decrease the volume of waste added to our landfill as it steadily approaches its maximum capacity. (Jump to The Ottawa landfill is filling up article)
The city has opened up the next round of public consultations until September 12th concerning three ideas proposed to regulate waste:
- Partial pay-as-you-throw
- There will be a limit to the number of garbage bags collected from each house, and anything extra requires a purchased garbage tag. (There will be no limits to yard waste, organics or recyclables)
- Reduced item limits
- There will be a limit to the number of garbage bags collected from each house, and anything extra is not collected.
- Clear garbage bags with recycling and organics bans
- Households will use clear garbage bags, and they will not be collected if there is anything organic or recyclable found inside.
How can you participate?
- Voice your thoughts for each idea by filling out a survey
- Join a virtual workshop on September 8th or 9th
- Submit your questions and get a response
- Submit your ideas for the city to consider
When you look out your window, it is common to see neatly maintained grass lawns fronting the neighbouring properties—this is all part of the long-standing “American Dream.” But, as a Native Plant News article explains, the ideal lawn grass is native to Europe rather than North America. This grass species is poorly suited to our climate and usually requires fertilizers, all the while risking being overrun by other plants (such as clovers or dandelions).
But before you bring out the herbicides to remove these broad-leaf plants, let’s take a look into these chemicals.
Herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides—these “icides” can get quite confusing. Pesticides are known for their general removal of pests, and as a result, they are considered the overarching family name. While herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are pesticide subsets—each with specific targets to remove (plants, insects and fungi, respectively).
The use of pesticide chemicals has long been debated over, and while there are some benefits to their use, there are also many drawbacks. For example, pesticide use increases food production in the agriculture industry by negating insects or aggressive plants, but decreases the local biodiversity of plants and insects (both targeted and unintentionally targeted species). They also increase the likelihood of human health complications.
Bringing pesticides to the home for cosmetic uses (aesthetics and visual appeal) increases the interactions between people and the chemicals. While the Government of Ontario regulates cosmetic pesticides, organizations like the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) have expressed health concerns over their allowed use.
According to Dr. Jane McArthur, Toxics Campaign Director at CAPE, “Children are especially vulnerable during the early stages of physical development and periods of rapid growth.”
Depending on the mother’s exposure during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of childhood cancers and premature births. And in adults, there is an increased risk of cancers, lung complications and Parkinson’s disease.
“A need remains for public education on achieving beautiful, healthy landscapes without harmful chemicals”
But if we stop using herbicides, won’t the lawn be overtaken by weeds?
Let’s talk monocultures
Everyone knows the struggle each spring to remove all weeds from our lawn before they go to seed and stay indefinitely, and then the upkeep throughout the year. Together, this is what creates a monoculture (single species) lawn. While the uniform look may be pleasing, did you know this maintenance is harming your lawn’s health? Polyculture (multiple species) lawns are different, as you can see from the comparison below.
- Intense weed control
- Lack of resilience to environmental factors
- Often require additional fertilizers
- Less (or no) weeding
- More resilient to environmental factors (such as drought)
- The mix of species help maintain/cycle nutrients in the soil
- More on herbicides
- More on monoculture lawns
- A list of plants for your polyculture lawn and garden
- Native plants to the City of Ottawa
Article Photos: Green Ottawa
Ottawa faced extreme heat warnings last week, proving climate change is here and its effects are impacting us. This coincided with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issuing their dire report on how the climate will fare under the current predictions.
Under the report, Canada is expected to experience a continuation of rising temperatures, while CBC reported that heatwaves are expected to become more frequent and more severe as temperature continue to climb year-round.
3 Ways to help reduce your impact on the climate
- Keep in mind your carbon footprint—this is the representation of the amount of greenhouse gases that your actions generate (calculate yours here).
- Shop local and reduce the kilometres your food has to travel.
- Use active transportation (walk, bike, bus, etc.).
Tips for heatwaves
We also touched base with Ottawa Public Health regarding the heat warnings. They explained that “heat warnings issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada mean extra precautions need to be taken by everyone… it [is] important to think ahead and plan for ways to stay cool while respecting Public Health COVID-19 prevention measures.”
- Engage in outdoor activities during the coolest parts of the day (typically in the early morning and evening).
- When going out in the sun, wear sunscreen and remember to reapply.
- Consume plenty of fluids (water is best) throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty!
- Wear light-coloured and loose clothing.
For more tips and tricks, check out Ottawa Public Health’s page on Beating the Heat!
Canada Is [Still] On Fire — Mass Organizing Call
Climate scientists just declared a code red. But our politicians aren’t acting like it’s an emergency. Time to ramp up the pressure.
Join us on Tuesday, August 17 at 3pm PT / 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET / 7pm AT / 7:30pm NDT to learn about our bold, unapologetic plans to demand real action on the climate emergency.
Sign up – https://act.350.org/signup/still-on-fire
Extreme heat early this summer has sparked one of the worst wildfire seasons on record. We’ve seen smoke cover cities, flooding, droughts and just heard from the IPCC that this is a “code red” moment when it comes to tackling the climate emergency. And, this is all happening with the specter of an election on the horizon. That’s why we’ve got a plan to bring climate action to the forefront of the Canadian political landscape but we can’t do it without you.
Work for Climate Action – Jobs, Internships, Volunteer, Action: GoodWork.ca/Climate
Please contact your Councillor and the mayor.
Spring is the season for most animal babies, but some critters like squirrels and rabbits have multiple litters throughout the warmer months. And as a result, it’s more likely you will come across their injured or orphaned babies—creating a confusing situation if you don’t know what to do. So we spoke with the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (RVWS) and got a quick how-to-help guide.
3 golden rules to helping wild animals
- It is important not to provide any food or water if you discover an injured/orphaned animal. According to RVWS, this “risks doing more harm than good.”
- Always wear protective gloves when handling wildlife and avoid touching adult animals.
- If you are unsure of the situation — call RVWS or your local animal rehabilitator.
As we enter the last month of summer, squirrels about to have their second litter. As a result, in the coming weeks, people may encounter some orphaned babies.
When does a squirrel need your help?
- If they seem to be following people (may crawl up your leg), cars or pets.
- If there was an incident involving a dog, cat or crow.
- If multiple babies fall out of the nest/the nest is destroyed.
- If they show other signs of sickness or injury (such as: bleeding, bug/flies over the body, difficulty breathing or discharge from mouth, nose or eyes, etc.).
If you encounter this situation, the first thing to do is determine if the squirrel has any injuries/if it’s an orphaned baby and then call RVWS for further direction. Depending on the situation, they may direct you to try reuniting the baby with its mother or temporarily care for it before bringing it to the sanctuary.
Contrary to many animals, rabbits have multiple litters through the warmer months. Though most of the baby bunnies you will encounter will not need any help. Mum will only visit around twice a day to keep attention drawn away from them, but not to worry, she’s still taking care of her fluffle (a group of wild bunnies)! And the smaller rabbits you see out on their own are likely okay too because they can care for themselves at 3-4 weeks old.
When do bunnies need your help?
- If the babies were abandoned (steps to help determine this).
- If there was an incident involving a dog, cat or crow.
- If they show other signs of sickness or injury (such as bleeding, bug/flies over the body, difficulty breathing or discharge from mouth, nose or eyes, etc.).
If the bunny needs rescuing, call RVWS, and they will direct you on temporary care before bringing it to the sanctuary. Otherwise, leave the bunnies alone!
**Additional animal help
- RVWS resources if you encounter different mammals or reptiles in need of help
- If you find birds that need rescuing, contact the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre
Featured image: Green Ottawa
This weekend, the National Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is hosting their Big Backyard BioBlitz from July 29th to August 2nd. This event is all about finding wild plants, animals or insects outside—anywhere from your backyard to a hiking trail—taking pictures and helping identify their species on the free iNaturalist app.
- Take a photo of a plant, animal, or insect
- Upload the picture to the app
- Log the location
- Select a matching species from the app’s suggestions
iNaturalist generates suggestions using Artificial Intelligence (AI), matching your picture with similar-looking species. Experts will later review any submitted images and verify the species.
This form of data collection is known as “Citizen Science” and is extremely valuable because the public has more eyes and ears on the ground than our scientists do. Collectively, we can gather a massive dataset that helps scientists track native, invasive and at-risk populations all across Canada.
This event is for the whole family, so head outside this weekend, grab your phone and take some pictures!
Register for the Big Backyard BioBlitz here!
Get the iNaturalist App:
Article photos: Green Ottawa
Due to climate change, ticks are making a rise in Southwestern Ontario. Warming temperatures are shortening the cold season, increasing the number of warm days and resulting in a climate more accommodating for species like ticks.
Ticks to know
There are a few different types of ticks, but the two of importance in Ontario are dog ticks and deer/blacklegged ticks.
- Are carriers of Lyme disease
- Live in forested areas
- Found in early spring/late fall
- Do not carry Lyme disease
- Live in tree cover/long grass
- Found in spring/summer
- Make sure to check yourself, your children, and you pets after having been outside.
- Wear pants and long sleeves to reduce skin exposure.
- When hiking, stay on the path instead of bushwhacking.
- Maintain your property:
- If you have a lawn, keep the grass cut short.
- Consider creating a woodchip/gravel border between your lawn and a naturalized/wooded area.
Think twice before using pesticides. Ontario prohibits their use for most cosmetic purposes, and pesticides increase health risks for both humans and native species.
If you find a tick
Remove the tick using a tick key or a pair of tweezers—grabbing it as close to the skin as possible and carefully pulling it straight out. Do not use other “techniques” such as using petroleum jelly or a lit match, and avoid crushing the tick as it can cause Lyme disease bacteria to pass into the bloodstream.
- Access eTick for quick image identification.
- To help officials monitor where ticks live, you can submit ones you’ve found for testing at your public health unit.
Check out our sources for more information!