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environment

Wetlands need our protection, says reader, not MPP’s tabled bill

in Letters to the Editor by

Wetlands enrich our lives. They are places where we can observe and learn about a diversity of plants and animals while enjoying a quiet, natural environment.

But wetlands accomplish much, much more. They are crucial in preventing climate change through carbon storage which takes place in vegetation, sediment and dead plants. Complementing our efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels, removal of carbon from the atmosphere is essential to avoid a climate crisis.

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We need climate change accountability with new bill before Parliament, says reader

in Letters to the Editor by

Imagine you create a budget. You want to eliminate wasteful, unhealthy spending in 10 years.  Maybe it’s omitting the cigarettes, or the weekly case of beer, or the family-sized packs of candy and cookies.  Then you put the kids, the smokers, and the beer drinkers in charge of monitoring your progress toward your goal.

And they don’t have to report on that progress for, oh, say 10 years – the year by which you want to have reached the goal.  And if they miss the target?  They just have to say:  Yup, we missed it.

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Environmental business heroes named by city

in Municipal by

During the committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 12, the Kawartha Lakes Environmental Advisory Committee presented the 2020 Environmental Business Hero and Environmental Youth Hero Awards.

Each year, the committee awards the title to businesses and students living in Kawartha Lakes who have shown a commitment to improving the wellness of the environment.

This past year saw a variety of nominations and efforts, from more sustainable products, to waste collection, to recycling and education programs. Here are the 2020 heroes:

Environmental Business Hero Awards

*   Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault (Lindsay) is a great example of a small business making many small changes to reduce their environmental impact, including: switching to “sippy” lids to reduce straws, switching to paper straws, biodegradable cutlery, products and packaging, and more. They also donate their surplus food through FoodRescue.ca.
*   Burns Bulk Food (Lindsay) has been a family business for over 35 years and has recently taken additional steps to promote zero-waste, encouraging shoppers to bring their own containers. As an incentive to shoppers who bring their own containers, Burns is providing a 10 per cent discount for everything purchased in one’s own container.
*   Country Cupboard (Fenelon Falls) has gone above and beyond trying to reduce plastics, making sure their products are produced as environmentally friendly as possible and by encouraging other local businesses to do the same. They offer a discount for patrons who use reusable containers, made the switch to compostable spoons and containers and offer sterilized glass jars for use instead of plastic bags. Owner Julia Taylor has also spoken at different events offering environmental ideas and suggestions.
*   Dive Kawartha (Lindsay) has made a massive impact on the Kawartha Lakes community by holding multiple events called Dive Against Debris, where the team dive into local rivers and waterways to remove waste. The last event saw over 700lbs of garbage removed. They also have a fun promotion where if an employee spots you using one of their stainless-steel straws you get a free tank refill.
*   Flex Fitness (Lindsay) is a fitness studio that has become more of a community hub. Owner Cathy Steffler takes extra steps to make sure the environmental footprint of her studio is as small as possible, encouraging people to use refillable containers and providing glassware for her members to use. You won’t find any vending machines filled with plastic bottles, Cathy leads by example and would rather do dishes for her members than create unnecessary waste.
*   La Mantia’s Country Market (Lindsay) has become a model of environmental responsibility thanks to the practices Owner Dave La Mantia has put in place. Before the City’s policy on plastic recycling for businesses had even taken effect last year, La Mantia’s was achieving a 78 per cent waste diversion rate and they’ve kept that momentum going. Vegetable scraps go to local farmers for animal feed or composting, the store avoids unrecyclable waxed cardboard and 144 solar panels are mounted on the roof and sides of the building. All light fixtures are being replaced with LEDs and display cases for dairy products have been upgraded to be more energy-efficient.
*   Unwrapped (Lindsay) was opened in January 2020 after its owners struggled for many years to find more sustainable options for household goods in the Kawartha Lakes. Today, Owners Jenny Connell and Jessica Moynes, sell refillable bulk items like shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products and more to reduce the amount of plastic bottles used in our area. They also offer a variety of eco-friendly alternatives to other disposable items. More importantly, they’re both committed to helping people in Kawartha Lakes make the switch to more sustainable lifestyles and are willing to chat about ways to reduce household waste.

Environmental Youth Hero Award

The Grade 5 and 6 Student Leadership Team at King Albert Public School (Lindsay) embarked on an ambitious project to support Kawartha Lakes’ voluntary ban on plastic shopping bags, by educating their school and the wider community about the impact plastic shopping bags have on the environment.

To facilitate change, the team is also working on a project to design and produce environmentally friendly bags to replace plastic bags, with the partnership of local businesses. The project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is still very much alive and planned to continue in 2021.

Controversial bill to change conservation authorities in pro-development move by province

in Environment by
The lookout at Ken Reid Conservation Area. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Conservation Ontario has asked its members, environmental groups, and citizens to petition for changes to the Conservative government’s new developer-friendly bill — but a motion from Mayor Andy Letham led to a 6-3 vote not to pursue the matter.

Under the new bill, known as Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act, members will be required to act in the best interests of their municipalities, not the best interests of the watershed. Further, every member of the authority board would need to be an elected municipal councillor, eliminating appointed citizen representatives.

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Ford undermining environmental protections, says reader

in Letters to the Editor by
Ford government undermines environmental protections, says reader

The Ford government is taking steps to undemocratically undermine Ontario’s environmental protections.

Ministerial Zoning Orders, a little used tool allowing the government to override protective legislation in times of emergency, has been used excessively in the last two years.

One example is the case of the Lower Duffins Creek, a provincially significant wetland which, if the Ford government gets its way, will be destroyed to accommodate a warehouse and parking lot. There has been prohibition on development in this unique wetland since 1991.

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Reader says Ford’s pro-development bills are hurting environment, seniors

in Letters to the Editor by

There is an old adage that goes way back in time and that has been used by political leaders of all stripes. That adage is, ‘never waste a good crisis.’

The basic premise is that in times of crisis the public’s attention is almost totally focused on the crisis at hand, and a government in power can often push through legislation that would normally get much more scrutiny and public attention/outcry, were it not for the singular focus on the given crisis. War is a good example of this.

Our current crisis is, of course, COVID-19. Our provincial government under Premier Doug Ford has made good use of this technique in 2020, largely through omnibus bills where legislation is hidden, often under the guise of dealing with the pandemic.

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Wild Ideas: A place for hunting in a more environmentally-conscious world

in Environment by

Camouflage gear is not an unusual sight in Kawartha Lakes. Like many rural Ontario communities, hunting is part of our recreational history and has long kept retailers stocked with leaf-adorned bedspreads, decals and, yes, even masks.

But people don’t relate to hunting, or to hunters, like they once did. Despite hunters’ widespread presence in our community, a lot of folks are uncomfortable or even downright angry that some among us would go out of our way to kill an animal. Hunters are increasingly portrayed as behind the times, the strange and unfortunate remnants of a less progressive era. So, it raises the question — does hunting still have a place in our society?

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Lindsay to Fenelon Falls on an electric bike: Here’s what it’s like

in Community/Environment/Opinion by
Lindsay to Fenelon Falls: Here’s what it’s like on an electric bike                                
The Advocate's Jamie Morris on a Pedego electric bike. Photo: Sienna Frost.

It’s the first “heat event” of the season and temperatures are forecast to reach 35 degrees with the humidity. This — of all days — is the day I’ve arranged to borrow an electric bike and ride the Victoria Rail Trail from Lindsay to Fenelon Falls and back.

Maybe not what the doctor ordered for a 68-year-old who’s barely broken a sweat since early March, when the pandemic confined many of us to long stretches at home with brief, anxious expeditions to pick up groceries.

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The Icelandic fish sticks revelation

in Opinion by
Reykjavik, Iceland's capital. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Common sense is apparently what my grandmother had and what I lacked, at least as a child. This information was often relayed to me at her rural Apsley home many decades ago, when I would spend time with her almost every summer. If I acted too much the smart aleck she would remind me of how much I still didn’t know.

The Oxford dictionary defines common sense as “the ability to think about things in a practical way and make sensible decisions.”

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New episode of The Advocate Podcast to feature interview — with a cup

in Community/Environment by
New episode of The Advocate Podcast to feature interview -- with a cup

Podcast producer and host Denis Grignon has drawn on his 30-plus years as a journalist to conduct an interview…with a discarded Styrofoam cup.

It’s a unique interview, to be sure. “And, likely, the first of its kind,” boasts the Dunsford-area resident, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, before adding that he also drew on his training as a professional standup comic and sketch writer.

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