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GASP Weekend Wrap-up - May 21, 2021  

"We're part of the solution #ForNature” is the slogan for International Biodiversity Day 2021 on May 22.  The slogan is a reminder that biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges. From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better.

A Challenge for ALL Gardeners: Create your own Homegrown National Park with 50% native plants
If 2020 was the year of vegetable gardening, perhaps 2021 can be a time to shift our focus to the broader ecosystem – not just for the sake of our wilder neighbours, but for our human communities, too.  American ecologist Douglas W. Tallamy, whose book Nature’s Best Hope urges readers to set aside half their properties for native plants, a concept he calls Homegrown National Park.

Canada’s Biggest Wildlife Garden is Growing a Green Future
The vision for Canada’s Biggest Wildlife Garden connects Toronto to Windsor with healthy habitat to save local wildlife, water and our way of life.   The seeds we plant today will define our future. Thousands of people are growing hope with native plants to address the triple threat of extinction, climate and health crises in the spirit and practice of reconciliation.

Loblaw Garden Centres to carry native plants in partnership with WWF-Canada and Carolinian Canada
This year, 123 Loblaw Garden Centres will carry native plants, which can be easily identified through the In the Zone plant tag. The benefits of using native plants in your garden or balcony garden include: 
  • Native plants are beautiful, hardy and low-maintenance species (almost all are perennial) that have adapted to local environmental conditions through thousands of years of natural selection.  
  • Native plants are essential for healthy landscapes, clean water and climate-smart yards. 
  • They support a vast diversity of insects, birds, mammals, healthy soil ecosystems and other living organisms through the food web.

If you can support local native plant suppliers even better!
Northlands Nurseries on 722 Concession 5 West has lots of Native plants!


Electing Good People not Enough by Duncan Cameron 

The 2018 special report sparked a groundswell of protests and political action around the world... Caught up in their struggle to attain or hold on to power, political parties are reacting to what they think matters for the next election campaign -- and ignoring issues that matter for the future of humanity, including ensuring that the future includes a liveable planet.

Instead of doing everything in their power to respond to the needs of the ecological activists, governments are content to make soothing noises, thinking that is all they need to do in order to succeed electorally.

BBC Interview: Andrew Marr interviewed Secretary John Kerry, US Special Envoy on Climate 
John Kerry: Quality of life and climate change are not a trade-off

Solutions for Reducing our GHG emissions

Messge from Lorraine and Carole: This is huge!
The IEA has usually spoken FOR gas, coal, and oil companies, so this is a great news! Not one single new well; pipeline; coal mine ANYWHERE!

It’s the end of oil: 
Blockbuster IEA Report urges no new fossil development 
No new investment in oil, gas, or coal development, a massive increase in renewable energy adoption, speedy global phaseouts for new natural gas boilers and internal combustion vehicles, and a sharp focus on short-term action are key elements of a blockbuster Net Zero by 2050 report the International Energy Agency (IEA). Now finance institutions can no longer justify lending, underwriting, insuring, or investing in coal, gas, or oil expansion projects, or the infrastructure that facilitates that expansion. This isn’t an optional pathway. The IEA roadmap below shows the direction we must take in order to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis from becoming reality.

Hitting climate targets depends on building smaller homes and more multi-family units—not just energy efficiency
The results suggest that what really needs to change is the trend towards more floor space per person. In other words, hitting climate targets depends on building smaller single-family homes and more multi-family housing (including converting large single-family homes to multi-unit dwellings), consistent with the shrinking number of people per household. Yet another recent study by the same researchers showed that federal housing policies aren’t in line with these needs. “We need decarbonization of electricity, but we can’t rely on that alone for the residential emission reductions,” Berrill says. “We need to also make houses more efficient (especially existing homes), and allow for smaller housing to be built/redeveloped!  Read more

The Power of Big Oil  

ExxonMobil wants you to feel responsible for climate change 
so it doesn’t have to
Blaming the individual user, rather than the producers, is a well-worn tactic of other industries with dangerous products, including tobacco and firearms. In the case of fossil fuel products, individualizing the responsibility for climate change obfuscates the responsibility of companies like Exxon — one of 20 companies responsible for one-third of energy-related global carbon emissions since 1965 — to extract fewer fossil fuels and shift to cleaner technologies.

Or Listen here to a What On Earth Podcast:

As Lorraine says: David and Goliath story --- Goliath won! 
The Brutal Legal Odyssey of Jessica Ernst Comes to an End -
The Alberta landowner fought an epic battle against fracking interests.

After 14 years of battling Alberta regulators and the fracking industry over a water well contaminated with methane and chemicals, Jessica Ernst says she feels incalculable grief and anger. The former oil-patch consultant went on gruelling speaking tours organized by community groups in Ireland, England, New York, Nova Scotia, Yukon and Newfoundland to inform citizens about the realities of fracking. Almost every jurisdiction she visited ended up banning fracking or putting a moratorium on the highly disruptive technology. Read more

Impact of Climate Change 

Economc hit from prairie drought could be ‘like losing Ontario auto 
With one of the most parched springs in recent years coming on the heels of an unusually dry fall, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is reporting extreme drought conditions in southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan, with moderate drought across most of the rest of the Prairies, CBC News reports.

The above story explains why GASP is fighting to preserve maximum farmland - Option 3 B - in the Halton Region growth planning process. We want to ensure food security in the event of major droughts in California or major crop failures locally due to weather extremes which are becoming more common. 

Social Justice 

Council is about to mull a bold solution to Vancouver’s housing crisis.
NOTE: Clr. Boyle is Seth Klein's wife! 
Why Councillor Boyle’s motion to give density bonuses just to non-profits in some areas could be a game-changer. Vancouver’s gap between average wages and housing cost is the highest in the world beyond Hong Kong. If Vancouverites refuse to be the vanguard of a new more socially-committed housing development strategy who will? Who will care more than us?  Read more

Privilege, power, patriarchy: are these the reasons for the mess we're in?

Patriarchy positions all people on a scale of entitlement to power and control: men have power over women, some men have power over other men, white people have power over people of colour, heterosexuals have power over LGBTQI, rich have power over poor, adults have power over children, all people have power over nature, and so on. ...We are born longing for connection, for tenderness; to love and be loved. Patriarchy seeks to override those natural feelings in boys – to literally sever their capacities for emotional connection – by rendering those feelings weak and shameful. But this project to undo patriarchy cannot truly accelerate in Australia until we have an honest reckoning with our colonial past and present....The original Greek word for apocalypse – apokalypsis – does not mean “end times”. It means “to unveil”. This is the apocalypse we are living through: a process of unveiling and revealing. Patriarchy is not inevitable. It is not sustainable. If we are to survive and thrive as a species, we must first reveal it, and then undo it: in our systems, and in ourselves. Read more

A Climate Dystopia in Northern California: California’s divided and fire-scarred cities, reeling from climate disasters, need a Green New Deal.
About a quarter of Chico’s unsheltered residents lost their homes in the 2018 Camp Fire which burned the neighboring town of Paradise to the ground, taking the lives of 85 people. For this reason, Chico’s war on the unhoused may be providing a grim glimpse into an eco-authoritarian future, in which the poor victims of climate change-fueled disasters are treated like human refuse by those whose wealth has protected them, at least in the short term, from the worst impacts of planetary warming.
Read more

Ford Watch 

The Ford government is focusing on gas and nuclear as energy sources for Ontario. Currently, there are 5 Ontario Power Generation gas plants in Ontario. On April 29, 2020, the Ontario government signed a deal to purchase 3 of these gas plants, signaling a commitment to natural gas to meet Ontario’s new electricity requirements.  This new energy strategy is expected to wipe out 40% of emissions reduction gains Ontario achieved after phasing out coal in 2014. Emissions from the gas fired plants will rise and Ontario will not be able to meet its GHG emissions reduction targets.

Tuesday, May 25 Oakville Town Council Meeting 
Oakville Resolution to Phase-Out Gas-Fired Electricity Generation, a motion for discussion, is on the Agenda. We are hoping GASP members will delegate in support of this resolution. Contact Lorraine. 
For more information on why phasng out Ontario gas plants helps our environment, visit

Environmentalists make their case at Bill 197 hearing

The Ford government failed in its duty to consult the public when it passed the omnibus Bill 197, environmental groups argued in court Monday.
Bill 197, an omnibus piece of legislation passed last July, included a sweeping rewrite of Ontario’s environmental assessment rules. ... Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights dictates that the government must consult the public for 30 days on changes affecting the environment. The Progressive Conservatives did not do so with Bill 197, instead including a clause in the bill that would retroactively exempt it from the rule.

New agricultural campaign seeks to raise awareness of importance of farmland protection
Farmland that supports food production is a finite and shrinking resource. Once it’s paved over, it’s gone forever. That’s the message behind Home Grown, a new advocacy campaign launched by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). Home Grown focuses on protecting and preserving farmland and domestic food production. The campaignaims to increase awareness on the issue and enhance consumer knowledge about the negative impacts of urban development on Ontario’s agri-food system.  Read more

May 2021 Calendar - Free Webinars Coming Up

From Grandmother’s Voice

Thursdays  6 - 7 pm from April 29-June 17, 2021 Planting our seeds 
Led by local urban Indigenous leaders Jody Harbour and Sherry Saevil, this free eight-week virtual program offers authentic insight into Indigenous peoples perspectives and experiences both locally and globally. Join us. report. 
To register: 

Tuesday May 25th       10:00 am Bill 273 on Guaranteed Basic Income

Julie Dzerowicz, MP Davenport, will discuss her Bill 273 on Guaranteed Basic Income. Check your emails from Lorraine for the zoom link. 

Wednesday, May 26     1 pm Exposing Oil & Gas Lobbying 
Has our democracy been distorted by regular, systematic political lobbying - often secretive, behind-the-scenes?  Especially oil and gas lobbying, as we face the Climate Crisis.  Who really holds power in this country?  Who influences government policy through persuasion, connections, and sometimes money?  Our guests are Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch and Kevin Taft, author of Oil’s Deep State.  A deep state exists when government and other public institutions are “captured” by private interests. To register:


Thursday, May  27       7 pm         Your Protected Places Webinar
During the Your Protected Places webinar, we will consider emerging opportunities and unveil a collective StoryMap showcasing special places across the province that people would like to permanently set aside from development for future generations. Ontario Nature, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Wilderness Committee, the Carolinian Canada Coalition, CPAWS-Ottawa Valley and Environmental Defence have invited people from across the province to contribute candidates for the Your Protected Places StoryMap.    To register: here

Tuesday, June 1   7 pm    What can Green Development Standards do?
Speakers will talk about Green Development Standards as a tool for advancing the sustainability of new construction and achieving our climate change goals: 
  • Gabriella Kalapos, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnerships (CAP), 
  • Michael Dean, Senior Climate Change & Energy Planner, Town of Halton Hills
  • Evan Wiseman, Climate Policy Manager, the Atmospheric Fund (TAF)
Register at

Wednesday, June 2   12:30 pm OR   7:00 pm      Green DriveOakville
Green Drive Oakville, a project of the Halton Environment Network and the Small Change Fund, is exploring a new community business, employing local Oakville residents to install Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers and green driveways in homes across Oakville. What do Oakville residents think about EV chargers, electric cars, & removing old asphalt and concrete driveways and replacing them with permeable surfaces?  Have your say and answer the survey. To sign up, please register below: 
12:30 pm -1pm webinar: register here
7:00 pm - 7:30pm webinar: register here

Petitions - Let your voice be heard!

Save Ontario’s food and farms from disappearing forever
Ontario is losing 175 acres of farmland every day to urban development.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, an MZO has been used 6 times to rezone farmland for urban use. This is added pressure Ontario farms simply don’t need. Our farms. Our food. Our health. Our environment. Our wildlife. Our future. They’re all connected.  Please help us save our food and farms before it's too late.


Inspiration as you dig this weekend! 

Satish Kumar: the link between soil, soul and society

We are losing connection with the soil. Satish Kumar wants us to understand the connection between soil, soul and society and drop ego in favour of eco. 

We are all part of this healthy web of life maintained by soil. When humans lose contact with soil, they are no longer humans.
Slow down and take care of your soul. Without spiritual fulfilment there is no happiness. Spiritual poverty is the greatest poverty, greater than any physical poverty.

Trees, animals, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers, worms, butterflies, honeybees – all have intrinsic value. They have the right to be as they are. We talk about human rights, and that's fine. But nature also has rights. The trees have a right to exist. We have no right to cut them down without proper purpose. When we recognise the rights of nature, then we have understood the meaning of the word soil.

 Happy May Long Weekend!

From Lorraine, Carole, Louise and Michelle
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