January 2016 Update

Happy 2016, Community Sustainability Network!  

CSN members and friends gathered at Charlene Morton and Daniel Vokey's home to ring in the new year during the CSN's 3rd annual Open House.  

The CSN turns 4 this month, having formally launched in January 2012. This past year the Network gained 40 new members (13 businesses / organizations, and 27 community members), and continues to grow and be enthusiastic about everything sustainability-related in Bridgewater and area!  Thanks to everyone who supported the Network and participated in our events this past year.


A hearty welcome to those who joined in the past month:
You can find out more about these groups and individuals, including what sustainability products, services, interests and ideas they have, by viewing their profiles on the Network website.

Remember, Network membership is 100% FREE and open to families & individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and community groups, and institutions & government departments.  As a general rule of thumb, members are welcome to join from Bridgewater AND area – that means anywhere in Lunenburg County.

Upcoming Events
Know of any relevant events to add to this FREE calendar? This is your chance to inform people about all the great things going on around here!  Posting an event is easy: go to the Events section of the website, click on "submit an event", and fill in the form. One of our moderators will review the information and post the event if it meets our general criteria.  If you have any questions about what kinds of events you can post, please contact us.

District of Lunenburg Becomes First "Blue Community" in Atlantic Canada

On December 8, 2015, Municipality of the District of Lunenburg Council unanimously passed a resolution committing the District to "Blue Community" status by adopting a water commons framework by:
  1. Recognizing water as a human right
  2. Promoting publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services; and
  3. Banning the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events
This makes the District the first municipality in Atlantic Canada to become a recognized Blue Community, governing by principles that allow for reasonable use, equal distribution and responsible treatment in order to preserve water for nature and future generations. Local CSN members worked hard to convince the District's Council to adopt these resolutions.

The Town of Bridgewater has adopted the first two resolutions, and so is part of the way toward full Blue Community status.  The Blue Communities campaign is spearheaded by the Council of Canadians. 

2016 Growing Green Festival Planning Team Seeking Members

This summer will be the 8th anniversary of the Growing Green Festival. Would you like to be part of the energetic volunteer team that makes it happen? Or would your business or organization like to play a significant role in this year's event (beyond a booth)?

From its beginning as a small 4 hour fair at Shipyards Landing, the Festival has grown to a 4 day event involving multiple venues. This includes a popular sustainability fair, a sustainability tour featuring leading edge sustainability initiatives around Lunenburg County, lively music events, open air films, a local food and beverage tasting event, and much more.

Many hands make light work, and the Festival's volunteer organizing committee is seeking new members! Volunteer time required to join the committee or one of its teams can be as little as 5-10 hours per month between now and September. Learn more at the Planning Team's next meeting on January 27, from 4-6PM at Bridgewater Town Hall, or contact the festival organizers at growinggreenfest@gmail.com / 902-541-4390. Note: volunteer opportunities on the event days themselves will be announced closer to the time of the event. For more information, visit the event website: www.growinggreenfest.com.

Climate Change: The Largest Science Communication Failure in History?

In his book, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes argues that the jury is back in session and the verdict is clear: doom and gloom doesn't work.

Read a recent CBC article on his findings, in which he states that "the trouble with mainstream conventional climate communication is that it rubs up against the psychology of our brain." He goes on to explain that while the science of climate change is extremely compelling and increasingly alarming, simply communicating those scientific facts has proven ineffective at getting people and organizations to change their behaviour.

What we need is a "more positive picture of a green future" to give people something to relate to and get excited about. In addition to Per's book, we found an excellent and easy to digest report by Futerra that provides excellent advice on positive climate change communications. Tellingly, it's titled "Sizzle: the New Climate Message"!

Look for positive and motivational climate and sustainable energy messaging as part of the upcoming Bridgewater Community Energy Initiative later this year.

Environmental Rights for All Canadians?

This article was contributed by one of our CSN members. Text adapted in part from ecojustice.ca

On December 9, 2015, Canada’s largest city, Toronto, became the 100th Canadian municipality to pass a declaration supporting its residents’ right to a healthy environment. One by one, communities across Canada have organized and inspired their local governments to recognize one simple truth: Environmental rights are human rights.

Also this past December, Linda Duncan, MP for Edmonton-Strathcona, tabled Bill C-202, which could lead to Canada’s first federal environmental bill of rights. The bill has passed first reading, but still has a long way to go to become law through Parliament. A federal environmental bill of rights could catalyze dramatic, and much-needed, improvements to Canada’s patchwork of environmental laws. It would provide a stronger set of tools for people who want to address environmental concerns and mark the beginning of a long-overdue paradigm shift in which the links between a healthy environment and human dignity are enshrined in law.

The Blue Dot campaign, stewarded by the David Suzuki Foundation, seeks just that: to have communities across Canada recognize the right to a healthy environment as an inalienable right. According to the Blue Dot website, four municipalities in Nova Scotia, including the City of Halifax, the Towns of Yarmouth and Antigonish, and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, have already passed declarations supporting our right to a healthy environment.

Perhaps in 2016, with the global climate change summit just behind us and new leadership in Ottawa, we will see more attention paid to the value of our common environment and the role it plays in bringing quality of life to all Canadians.

Best wishes!
Leon de Vreede, CSN administrator

Community Sustainability Network - Bridgewater & Area

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