Port Moody leads the region in waste reduction

Port Moody BC as accomplished a 75% reduction in waste going to the landfill. A three-part waste collection system is largely responsible for the reduction. In Port Moody residents have one container for garbage, one for kitchen waste and yard trimmings, and one for recyclables. The system also requires a charge for larger garbage bins, and the inconvenience of a bi-weekly pick up. Impressed by Port Moody’s success, Vancouver is introducing a pilot waste collection program that follows the same system.  Read more in the Globe and Mail.

Despite NAFTA challenge, municipalities and provinces maintain right to ban pesticides

 Canadian provinces and municipalities have won the right to maintain their own laws regarding pesticide use, despite challenges under the NAFTA Agreement. In 2009 DOW Chemicals claimed Quebec’s pesticide ban had resulted a loss of $2 million due to the ban of 2, 4-D herbicides. They have since dropped their case and have “acknowledg[ed] that provinces, territories and municipalities may regulate pesticides in a more restrictive manner than provided for under federal law.” Read more at David Suzuki Foundation.

As plastic bag consumption rises, the UK prepares to legislate

The UK’s Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is preparing to legislate plastic bags. Although UK retailers voluntarily agreed in 2008 to do their part to reduce their use, plastic bag consumption has risen during that time. In contrast, both Ireland and Wales legislate plastic bags, forcing a fee on consumers, and their use has dropped significantly. Read more inusiness Green . 

Edmonton embarks on ambitious green plan

A comprehensive sustainable growth plan for Edmonton was approved by city council on July 20th. “The Way We Green describes a future Edmonton that is carbon-neutral, generates zero waste, is significantly less dependent on fossil fuels, has clean air and water, is able to withstand and bounce back intact from a range of possible environmental disturbances, and where in the course of everyday life, residents experience a strong connection with nature.” City staff is now working on an implementation plan to be presented in the fall.

Click here for more information on “The Way We Green.”

Climate change unleashing toxic chemicals stored in arctic ice

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are man-made substances that were once heavily used in pesticides and insecticides, but were restricted in 2001 due to their toxic nature. Air and ocean currents carried many of the pollutants to the arctic where they became trapped in the ice. A new study has shown that  climate change and the melting of artcic ice is allowing  the toxins to  remobilize.  POPs are now being discovered in high concentrations in the food chain and are becoming a threat to human and animal health.  Read more at the Toronto Sun. 

Find Report: Revolatilization of persistent organic pollutants in the Arctic induced by climate change, in the Nature Climate Change Journal here.

Closed-door CETA negotiations may be handing over local water rights

BC municipalities are becoming increasingly concerned about CETA negotiations that are taking place behind closed doors. It appears that the trade agreement between Canada and the European Union would give limit the right to procure local goods and services and would give large multinationals access to local water contracts. Squamish councillor Patricia Heintzman has pointed out that municipalities have tried to get a permanent exemption from the CETA contract, even passing a motion at UBCM and FCM, but so far, the federal and provincial governments have been unresponsive to their requests. Read more in the Squamish Chief.

CRD bans biosolids from farmland

Applying biosolids (treated sewage) to farmland as a fertilizer is a common, but controversial practice that has resulted in some very toxic fields. Although it is banned in some countries, Canada has no such policy. Victoria councillor Philippe Lucas made a motion to the CRD to ban biosolids and it passed unanimously. Read more in the Times Colonist. 

What is poverty costing us in BC?

A new video from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)  on the cost of poverty in BC. It turns out it costs more to allow poverty to continue than it does to implement solutions. Read the CCPA’s full report, “The Cost of Poverty in BC” here.

Report shows dramatic widening in Canada’s income gap

The Conference Board of Canada has released a new report titled, How Canada Performs: Is Canada becoming more unequal? The study shows that while income gap has been a trend for 33 years, it has accelerated since 1993. The study uses median income to gauge whether or not incomes have been increasing amongst low and medium income and the study shows only a 5.5% rise since 1976. In fact,only the richest Canadians have seen their incomes grow. Currently the richest Canadians take home 39.2 per cent of total national income.

Report: How Canada Performs: Is Canada becoming more unequal? 

Grand Forks council oppose CETA agreement

Councillors in Grand Forks have voted to send a letter to their local MLA and MP expressing their opposition to the CETA agreement currently being negotiated. Council member Gene Robert explained,

“The first thing that bothers me about CETA is that they’re negotiating our procurement ability, our ability to purchase as a municipality…I think these European major corporations are looking at possibly taking over management of our water, our waste and of our recycling – these are big companies. The thing that bothers me the most about CETA is the fact that we’re not at the table.”


Read more in the Grand Forks Gazette.

Local food policy passes in Saanich

Despite worries that a Canada European Trade Agreement (CETA) will threaten local procurement policies, many Canadian municipalities are moving ahead and developing their local food motions. THe Saanich District in BC just passed a policy that would make local food a priority at district events,  at council meetings, and at cafes in recreation centres.

Read more in the Tyee. 

Toronto looking to scrap bike lanes

A few of Toronto’s bike lanes, Jarvis St., Pharmacy Ave. and Birchmount Rd. may be scrapped if Mayor Ford has his way. A vote will be held this week to decide if they stay or go. Despite a large amount of public support for the lanes, particularly from residents in the nearby areas, the Mayor and some councillors believe the lanes pose too much of an inconvenience to drivers. 

Read more in the Toronto Sun.