Waste Reduction Fair 2017!

thegreenrock.ca ~ habits for your habitat had a kickin’ great time at the Waste Reduction Week Fair, put off by as part of #WasteReductionWeek with the City of St. John’s and Clean St. John’s at the Memorial University Botanical Gardens on Saturday Oct 21st. (read story on the event in the Telegram here )

thegreenrock-ers volunteering at the Waste Reduction Fair!

thegreenrock-ers volunteering at the Waste Reduction Fair!

thegreenrock.ca was in good company – old and new friends included  Home Again Furniture BankSt. John’s Tool Library,  the Product Care Association, Boomerang Bags, Recycle in Newfoundland, the City of St. John’s Waste Division and others were part of the event!

thegreenrock.ca is about promoting sustainability, Waste Reduction is a key component.  leading up to Waste Reduction Week, thegreenrock.ca launched In its Place a composting and reycling project being piloted at Macdonald Drive Junior High breakfast program in collaboration with Kids Eat Smart Foundation, Clean St.  John’s, Island Compost, and the City of St.  John’s, with a financial contribution from the Wellness Coalition Avalon East. later this fall thegreenrock.ca will be launching InterGeneration~ the plastic bag project, a waste awareness and up-cycling project supported by the IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Fund and in collaboration with Agnes Pratt Home and Waterford Valley High that gets youth and seniors together to up-cycle plastic bags and share skills.

thegreenrock.ca launched last year the Guide to the Good website which promotes local businesses and organizations in the Northeast Avalon. all these projects bring different ideas on how people can live differently and more environmentally conscious way.

visitors to thegreenrock.ca booth got in on the action, and wrote ways in which their everyday actions can have an impact on the environment and to post them on the How Do you fit? board (see photo below to the left).  they were rewarded with a seedling from the Department of Forestry and Agrifoods, and a chance to win a local and green gift

Perla Hernandez talking about thegreenrock.ca's projects
Perla Hernandez talking about thegreenrock.ca’s projects

basket including:
– free month trial of Island Compost by Phill Coates (see Guide to the Good profile)
– skincare samples from Esskin by Esther Squires (see Guide to the Good profile)
– delicious natural soap from Suds~Natural Cooked Soap by Leah Grannon Bryant
– free coupons for delicious Soul Azteka and free coupons from Fixed Coffee!

and we got a winner!! congrats Julia thank you for participating!

 

And we are all winners when we take care of the planet.

(ps – thegreenrock was thrilled to have such an excellent group of volunteers helping out at the booth ~ thank you Leah Grannon Bryant, Amanda Russell, Kate Finn and Mary Anna Duggan you guys rocked!)

 

kathysgreenrock (2).pngthegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca                     twitter: @thegreenrockca

thegreenrock.ca deep into an exciting 2017!

The first half of 2017 has been busy and gratifying – many great things have happened as thegreenrock.ca ~ Live Sustainably NL continues in its mission of promoting ‘habits for your habitat’ – things we can all do where we are to live more sustainably.   it’s a time of ‘twos’ –  thegreenrock.ca has won two awards, has been awarded two grants, and will be launching two waste reduction programs this fall!

  •  thegreenrock.ca receives The Co-operators Group IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Fund!
IMPACT! Fund photo-op

thegreenrock-ers: Perla Hernandez (project coordinator) and Kim Todd (founder and director) accept the IMPACT! Sustainability Fund from Robert Conway of The Co-operators Group

In April thegreenrock.ca  was successful in its proposal to the Co-operators Group IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Fund to pilot ReGeneration~ The Plastic Bag project. reGeneration is an intergenerational awareness and action program that brings seniors and students together to share strengths, and transfer skills towards a common purpose of up-cycling plastic bags into durable goods like tote bags.

thegreenrock-er Perla Hernandez, is an alumni of the Co-operators’ IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Leadership Program which makes her eligible to apply for the IMPACT! Sustainability Fund!   reGeneration will launch this fall in collaboration with youth and seniors from Waterford Valley High School and the Agnes Pratt Nursing Home, as well as the rest of the community as we come together to share strengths and divert plastic bags.

 

  • Guide to the Good wins the IMPACT Social Innovation Challenge Competition!
Kim Todd and Myles Green

Myles Green from NL’s Association of CBDC presenting Kim Todd, thegreenrock.ca’s founder and director with Social Innovation Challenge award

In May 2017 during Innovation Week , Memorial University’s Centre for Social Enterprise in partnership with the United Church hosted the Social Innovation Challenge for entrepreneurs who had a business idea or initiative that would have a positive impact on the community. After a two-day  intensive process Kim Todd, Founder and Director of thegreenrock.ca won the first place for her pitch on the social enterpirse Guide to the Good! Have you checked the guide to the good? Check it out!

  • thegreenrock.ca takes home an  IABC Pinnacle Award for #playoutdoors 

Early in June thegreenrock.ca won a Pinnacle Award from the International Association of Business Communicators for the #playoutdoors recruitment campaign.  The project was in collaboration with the Junior Forest Wardens NL to get families outdoors and active, and in particular to start new Junior Forest Warden Clubs. Together thegreenrock.ca and JFW launched a successful campaign that delivered 10 community outreach events, reached out to 17 community organizations which engaged over 50 families in the St. John’s metro area and led to the start of two new JFW Clubs:  the Wild Wanderers and the Rollin’ Capelin.

  • thegreenrock.ca receives Wellness Coalition Avalon East Grant for a composting project

Later in June 2017 thegreenrock.ca received the happy news that our application to pilot the In it’s Place  compost project was approved by the Wellness Coalition Avalon East Grant  This pilot will be launched this fall at Macdonald Drive Junior High School with support from Kids Eat Smart Foundation.   ‘In its Place’ is an environmental health awareness pilot project that educates students on the system of food production and waste, and pilots initiatives to fill gaps.

one more good thing…

  • Diploma in Environmental Ethics for thegreenrock.ca founder

Iethics from Aristotle to Certified B Corp with a few stops in betweenn July of 2017, Kim Todd, thegreenrock.ca founder received the Diploma in Applied Ethics from the Department of Humanities, Memorial University.   The final component of the program was a presentation entitled ethics from Aristotle to BCorp, and a few stops in between that had been delivered in April.

 

It all bodes well for the second half of 2017, and beyond!

 

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.pngthegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca         twitter: @thegreenrockca

 

Climate Change: Staying below 1.5ºC, why it’s important for NL

Ferryland Iceberg photo credit: by Perla Hernandez

Ferryland Iceberg – photo credit:  Perla Hernandez

By Perla Hernandez

Climate change is a hot topic. In the aftermath of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, cities and states have vowed to step up.    Perla Hernandez checks in on what climate change means to us here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1º C since 1850 as a result of increased greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. According to a NASA report, most of this warming has happened in the past 35 years with 2016 being the warmest year on record — due in part to El Niño, which changes weather patterns in the short term.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, 195 nations agreed to limit the rise in global temperatures this century “well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”. The 1.5 mark is considered to be a safer defense line against the effects of climate change.

Meeting the Paris Agreement aspirational mark of 1.5 degrees matters to Newfoundland and Labrador.   Between the island and Labrador, the province has 29,000 k of coastline and is vulnerable to damages caused by coastal erosion, sea-level rise, and increased storms as well as adaptation challenges among communities.

In Newfoundland and Labrador climate change means rising sea-levels, more storms and coastal erosion

Canada’s warming rate is twice the global rate.  According to Environment Canada, since 1948,  Canada’s North has been hit by an increase in temperatures of 3 degrees Celsius, while other regions like the East Coast have warmed by 1 degree Celsius. An increase of 2 degrees in global temperatures could mean for Canada a temperature increase of  3 to 4 degrees.

According to Turn Back the Tide, Newfoundland and Labrador has already warmed by 1.5°C  degrees, and some areas in the province could warm between 2.2°C and 4.0°C by mid-century.  A warmer climate will bring longer tourism and growing seasons for the province, but also stormier, wetter weather, coastal erosion and sea level rise.

According to a 2010 study by the Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador, sea level rise could be as high as 40 centimetres by 2050 and 100 centimetres by 2100 (see below).

FIgure 1 - Rise in Sea level predictions for NL

Figure 1 – Sea level rise predictions for Newfoundland and Labrador . Source: Turn Back the Tide  http://www.turnbackthetide.ca/impacts-of-climate-change/slr-overview.shtml

Although Newfoundland and Labrador has a high rocky rugged coast area, rising sea levels and coastal erosion pose challenges for coastal communities.

Nationally-recognized climatologist, Dr. Joel Finnis from Memorial University’s Department of Geography completed a study on 50-year climate projections for the province.  Finnis explains:  “We do have a lot of sea front but one of the things that helps us even though we are on the water is our rocky rugged coastline. However, you are still going to see that erosion is going to pick up as sea level rises.  All the storms that pass by throw a lot of waves at the coast lines causing damage.  There are also indications that we might get more strong storms, and the more storms we experience, the more damage we’ll get. A rugged coastline partially protects us, but there will still be impacts and costs to the province.

This is consistent with the findings from a 2016 report by Natural Resources Canada pointing that as a climate change consequence, sea ice cover, increased storms and sea-level rise are likely to increase coastal erosion rate in Canada’s East Coast.

Storm events can cause flooding, wind damage and coastal erosion which ultimately have negative impacts in coastal communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems.  For instance,  tropical storm Igor in Newfoundland caused $51,000,000 in damages, isolated approximately 90 communities due to road closures, and put 22 communities in a state of emergency (see below).

“Canada’s Marine Coast in a Changing Climate” report by Natural Resources Canada

Figure 2- Canada’s Marine Coast in a Changing Climate. Source: Natural Resources www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/earthsciences/files/pdf/NRCAN_fullBook%20%20accessible.pdf

Finnis says, “Think about the winter storms that we had the last few years here, we had some big ones. If you have a strong sea ice presence, say for example on the coast of Labrador, and you have strong winds come along, that sea ice can help buffer and prevent the erosion. But if you have loose pack of ice, like we had at the harbour this spring, and you throw a big storm at it then the ice is going to start to move with the waves.  It is not necessarily going to dampen the waves so much but it is going to cause some damage to the boats, the infrastructure and the coastlines as well. It is not just water anymore, but loose and very heavy chunks of ice being battered against things”.

From an insurance perspective, it is estimated that by 2020, the annual economic damages to Canada’s coasts from sea-level rise and storm surges could reach between $2.6 – $5.4 billion increasing to an estimated $48.1 billion by 2080.

Climate change also poses the biggest challenges to the most vulnerable. According to a study by the Director of Labrador Institute of Memorial University, Ashlee Cunsolo, climate change is causing tremendous pain and distress in Inuit communities in northern Labrador.  Their relation to sea ice and cold is part of their cultural identity, and it’s under threat. According to the study, this changing environment is intensifying already complex mental health issues derived from intergenerational trauma of colonization, forced relocation and the impact of residential schools.

Global implications: climate-driven migrations

Climate displacement is becoming one of the world’s most powerful and destabilizing geopolitical forces. A recent study looks at how climate change played a role in the Syrian war that has destabilized European countries. Since 2015, Canada has welcomed 40,081 Syrian Refugees, but the UN still estimates that there are 13.5 million refugees requiring humanitarian assistance. Climate change will destabilize borders and increase humanitarian crises.  From droughts in the East Africa region, to unusually heavy rains pre-monsoon season in Bangladesh, the climate change impacts on people, economies and environments around the world will also have repercussions for Canada and for our province.  Finnis says, “We need to keep in mind that drought is going to increase food insecurity, and new insect pests could create all kinds of problems and health issues. And then you start thinking: What’s going to happen when people start getting displaced as a consequence of climate change?”

Although climate change is a global issue, the solution lies in sustained collaborative action at all levels: the international, national and local levels.

For instance, on average Canadians contribute to about 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year which is about three times the world average. In order to reduce emissions at home, Canada’s is taking action at the federal and the provincial level.  This May,  Environment Minister Catherine McKenna unveiled a technical document on the federal government’s carbon pricing plan which will be implemented across provinces by 2018.  The carbon tax will start at $10 per tone, rising $10 each year until reaching $50 in 2022. The carbon pricing is central to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change which includes measures to achieve emissions reductions across all sectors while driving innovation and growth in a low-carbon economy.

From a provincial front, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador is taking steps to cut emissions and promote renewable energy in the province. A net metering plan has just been approved by the Public Utilities Board, and as of July 1st of this year, net metering with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Power is possible. This allows customers to offset energy costs by generating their own power using renewable energy like solar, wind and geothermal. This also allows customers to feed surplus power back into the distribution system so it can be used later or sell it to neighbours and other businesses in the area.

Ferryland Windmils.jpg

Fermeuse wind farm –  photo credit: Perla Hernandez

The effects of climate change will continue to grow and scale as temperature increases in Canada and in the rest of the world. The closer we stay within the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, the less challenging it will be to adapt and to mitigate. In order to keep earth’s climate from moving into unchartered and more unpredictable scenarios, action is also needed from municipalities, businesses, people and others.

Something to be learned from the set of events that followed on from the US withdrawal on the Paris Agreement is that even with the US government withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, there is US climate commitment.  Climate response will continue globally and within the US as non-state actors step up and become climate leaders.  Shortly after the US announced its decision to withdraw, mayors from 30 cities, 3 governors, 80 universities, and more than 100 businesses in the United States stepped-up by reassuring their commitment to the Paris Agreement and they’re in negotiations with the UN to submit their contributions as part of the US.

In the same way, people, communities and institutions here in the province can all step up to take action.  Be it through putting up solar panels to generate your own electricity at home, or by composting, recycling and reducing waste in order to cut down methane emissions, we are all part of the solution.

 

Perla Hernandez thegreenrock.ca project coordinator

Perla Hernandez is thegreenrock.ca’s project coordinator. She has a B.A. in political science and environmental studies from Memorial University. She attended the U.N. Climate change negotiations in Doha Qatar (COP18) as a Canadian youth delegate. Perla collaborated with the Climate Tracker and was a climate  columnist  for the Independent.  She is interested in the intersections between local and global climate change actions and solutions.

 

 

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.pngthegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca         twitter: @thegreenrockca

 

#playoutdoors – less screen time, more outdoor time

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spending time in nature has positive physical and mental health benefits for both adults and children

in the fall of 2016, thegreenrock.ca in collaboration with the  Junior Forest Wardens NL launched a  #playoutdoors awareness campaign to get people outdoors and start new Junior Forest Warden NL Clubs.  Junior Forest Wardens, a family-based outdoor adventure group, has been active in NL since the 1940s.  numerous families have reaped the benefits of outdoor together time over the years, but numbers have been declining since the 1980s.

nature deficit disorder: kids are spending less time outdoors

kids these days are spending more time on screens than outdoors and that’s causing problems to their health. there’s extensive research about Nature Deficit Disorder. conversely, spending time in nature for adults, and especially for children brings the mental and physical health benefits. children experience positive social, psychological, and spiritual impacts on their personal and cognitive development.

 

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JFW helps families and friends find time to hang out in the woods

as a side effect of modern, busy and sedentary lifestyles in recent years our exposure to nature has diminished. within a generation, Canada has transitioned from a rural to an urban nation, with 80% of Canadians now living in cities. as a result of this transition, it is estimated that Canadians today spend on average 90% of their time indoors, which has lead to a variety of chronic health issues as a result of sedentary lifestyles

aside from the mental and physical health benefits, getting kids in nature can also have positive impacts on our environment and our communities. a study by the University of British Columbia, suggests that providing positive childhood experiences in nature, can help to develop care and awareness of the environment as adults.

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children who play outside are more likely to protect nature as adults

#playoutdoors campaign

the Junior Forest Wardens NL is dedicated to bringing families with school-aged children together to enjoy and learn about the natural environment. together thegreenrock.ca and JFW launched a successful campaign that delivered 10 community outreach events, reached out to 17 community organizations which engaged over 50 families in the St. John’s metro area and led to the start of two new JFW Clubs:  the Wild Wanderers and the Rollin’ Capelin.

up next
after all the success of the #playoutdoors thegreenrock.ca is working with JFW and other community partners to look into ways to expand the project this year. stay tuned!

update! #playoutdoors won a 2017 Pinnacle Award by the International Association of Business Communicators Newfoundland and Labrador! read all about it here

 

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thegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

Facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca
twitter: @thegreenrockca

think planet. live local ~ how do you fit in?

the challenges of the great big world can get a little smaller when we all work together to take action!  for Earth Day 2016 thegreenrock.ca, with support from Memorial University’s Office of Public Engagement and the Department of Forestry and Agrifoods, asked human beings how their actions fit in with their larger planetary system at the Suncor Fluvarium Earth Day Fair in St. John’s.

good news: people are taking action!  so many things – from recycling to composting to saying no to plastic bags, buying less and riding more, and generally keeping the planet in mind.  every little bit makes a difference, but to put all these great actions in the great big context, we asked Dr. Sean McGrath, Head of the Department of Philosophy at Memorial University and core member of the For A New Earth group, to offer his perspective.

there is hope!  we are all part of the solution by taking action together!

 

 

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.pngthegreenrock.ca is a non-profit that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like and share!

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