february 2021

Bay of Quinte Greens, Newsletter
February 2021

Welcome once again to the Quinte Provincial Greens online newsletter.  The idea here is to provide info that Greens – people who care about the environment and social justice – might appreciate.  We will range from very local things to international issues.  Let me say that we welcome any feedback from our readers.  

Quinte Greens Speaker Series:   Don Wilford

Dear Friends,

Last Wednesday, February 24th  the Bay of Quinte Greens – Federal and Provincial Greens working together – held the third in their speaker series on the subject of The Climate Crisis and what it means for our wellbeing.

Jim Colby was host and our speakers were Jeremy Theal and his wife Joyce Lee, who are both physicians and concerned about the effects of the climate crisis and the kind of world their, now, seven-year-old daughter (who made a brief appearance) will inherit. In 2018, they trained under Nobel Laureate Al Gore, and now give educational presentations – you can see their website at truthonclimate.com.

They opened their presentation with three objectives:

    1    To show the severity and immediacy of the climate crisis
    2    To describe how it and the Covid-19 pandemic intersect
    3    To suggest ways in which we, as individuals, can make a difference

Trust science, they continued – scientists have long predicted both pandemics and climate change. 70% of emerging diseases come from our relentless encroachment into our natural world and the warming effect of greenhouse gases has been predicted for well over 100 years. Covid-19 starkly illustrates what happens when you don’t trust science. Two of the countries that didn’t are the U.S. and Brazil. Two that did are New Zealand and Taiwan. There have been 250 times as many Covid-19 cases (per million population) in the U.S. and Brazil and almost 500 times as many deaths. We have a vaccine for Covid-19. There is no vaccine for the climate crisis.

Don’t trust business – as with cigarette smoking, business has long known the dangers of global warming and actively hidden the truth. Joyce and Jeremy showed AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) questioning Dr. Martin Hoffert – an Exxon scientist – at a House Oversight subcommittee meeting. He admitted the company knew about global warming in 1982 and accurately predicted today’s CO2 levels – see tinyurl.com/5hdtf5c6. In fact, the same people who hid the truth on smoking were employed by Big Oil – you can see the documentary, “Merchants of Doubt” at tinyurl.com/er8u95u5.

Jeremy and Joyce talked about Syria – how the country’s collapse into civil war leading to 5.6 million refugees and 6.2 million displaced people began with a five year drought that led to cascading crises – lack of water led to loss of agriculture due to desertification, which led to migration to cities, which led to civil unrest, which led to civil war, which led to intervention by foreign armies, which led to a refugee crisis, which led to massive migration to Europe and a continuing immigration crisis with permanent refugee camps and squalid conditions. They asked what things will be like in 2050 when there are billions of displaced people rather than millions. You can look at an evocative description of the Syrian crisis in a well-known graphic novel at tinyurl.com/v6bd4w.

Joyce and Jeremy described extreme weather effects: how hotter air contains more water vapour, which means longer and more intense storms and hurricanes; how the earth’s uninhabitable zones will massively expand; how, in 2015, the medical journal, The Lancet, declared that climate change is a medical emergency because of the many impacts on the human mind and body and strengthening vectors for infectious disease; and how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in 2018 that changes will be irreversible if warming exceeds 1.5°C. They also reminded us that Canada is far from immune. In fact heating in our Arctic is more than anywhere in the world and threatens us with two irreversible “tipping points” – the loss of the Arctic ice cap (so that instead of energy being reflected by ice it is absorbed by water) and melting permafrost, which may release massive amounts of fossil methane into the air – methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2. Already our Jetstream, which anchors our weather patterns is being weakened resulting in “weird” weather effects like what happened in Texas last week.

In the face of all of this, what can we do? Jeremy and Joyce have a “Guide to Reducing our Carbon Footprint” which you can download at their website.

    1    Reduce your carbon footprint: drive electric, use carbon offsets, fly less, transition to a plant-based diet, buy less “stuff” and DON’T GIVE UP.
    2    Grow your political footprint (I don’t need to remind you why we all became Greens)
    3    One of the questions asked by a member of the audience was, “what should I say to people who don’t believe in climate change?” Joyce and Jeremy were emphatic – ignore them. They described Erica Chenoweth’s “3.5% rule” – only a small minority are needed to change the world – see tinyurl.com/2c6m6uk2. Focus on them not the deniers, you’re just wasting your time. 

Next month’s event – we’re lucky to have Dr. Gerald Evans, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Kingston Health Sciences who will speak on the subject of, “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Of Zoonoses, Zombies, Zeitgeist and Zoom”, on 24th March at 7pm – mark your calendars.

Election Readiness for the Bay of Quinte: Lori Borthwick

We are expecting the next provincial election to be called on or before June 2, 2022. With this in mind we are searching for an amazing candidate to face off against Todd Smith CON, Emilie Leneveu LIB, and as of yet unannounced NDP candidate. 

In addition to our search for a candidate, we have analyzed the polling results from the last Federal and Provincial elections and are busy assessing where our support lies, and planning on where canvassing efforts and signage will be needed and placed.  It is more important than ever to have a Green voice at the debates to ensure that environmental concerns and social justice issues are front and centre and to give the people of the Bay of Quinte a chance for truly progressive representation.

If you are interested in volunteering as we help build a Green wave across the Bay of Quinte and all of Ontario please reach out to us!   Please visit the Green Party of Ontario website, and click here for more information on the nomination process and the required application.

Bumper Stickers

Our new Bay of Quinte Bumperstickers have arrived! A big thank you to KKP Printing of Belleville ON for the amazing work and to Ric Jones for managing the project. We cannot wait to set up a day and time to distribute these to our fellow Bay of Quinte Green’s. Look for our upcoming email for details on when they will be available to pick up.

Green Entrepreneurs:  Chop Value

“Small Steps Sparks!” Being Green at Home: Jim Colby

Feedback:  Michael Smith responded to the mention of clotheslines saying that he and his wife use theirs all year round!  I contacted Mike and he pointed out that even in freezing weather the sun will dry the clothes by a process he described as sublimation.  I thought sublimation was a psychological process!  Mike explains it is also a hydrological one first.  Impressed I have approached Myra (my wife) with the idea of not even drying our clothes but just wearing them wet and drying them thus!  She hasn’t given me a response as yet.

Understanding Economics from the Guelph Greens Newsletter
Doughnut Economics: Is GDP the reason for the world’s problems?
By: Vanessa Chris Cameroj

Chances are, even if you don’t have the slightest interest in economics, you’ve probably heard of the term “Gross Domestic Product” (or GDP for short). It’s essentially the tool we use to compare an economy’s output—and see how our country’s overall income measures up compared to the year before. It’s the primary indicator used to determine the health of an economy—domestic and global—and its continual growth is the goal of developed countries across the world.
It’s so embedded into our collective thinking that you’d be forgiven for believing it’s the most effective measure of progress available. The thing is, it isn’t. In fact, for the last 70 years, GDP has caused us to focus on the wrong things—which has resulted in some pretty dire social and environmental problems.

This is precisely what the Doughnut Economics Book Club discussed in our first two meetings, as we made our way through the Prologue and Chapter 1 of Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist by Kate Raworth. While these two chapters touched on a LOT of topics, their underlying theme was rather straightforward: If we hope to move into the Doughnut, we need to “Change The Goal”.

As Raworth outlines in her book, GDP is laden with flaws. On the one hand, it only acknowledges the market value for goods and services—and completely ignores the bigger picture (like, say, the role of the household in a well-functioning society). Second, it’s obsessed with this notion of eternal growth (if you look at the GDP curve, it only goes up)—and encourages us to do some crazy stuff in our quest to attain it.

Bottom line? This fixation on GDP isn’t working out very well for us—which is why we need to shift our focus. Enter, the Doughnut.

Raworth refers to the Doughnut as a 21st century compass—something that will allow us to divert our attention away from the goal of never-ending growth and toward a new goal of “dynamic balance” that will ultimately lead to “human prosperity in a flourishing web of life”.
To make the shift, however, we’ll have to pay attention to five key factors: population, distribution, aspiration, technology and governance. Specifically, we’ll have to:

    •    Stabilize the world’s population, by ensuring everyone’s social needs are met (particularly, by making sure women have the power and resources to manage the size of their families);

    •    Take steps to ensure the equitable distribution of humanity’s use of resources;
    •    Collectively change our lifestyle aspirations to fit within the earth’s planetary boundaries;

    •    Leverage technology in ways that allow us to effectively meet people’s housing, transport, water, sanitation, food and energy needs while staying within the ecological confines of the planet; and

    •    Design governance frameworks that are equipped to address the 21st-century challenges we face on a local, national, regional and global level.

Book Review, by Jim Colby
Nobody Ever Wins A War, The World War I Diaries of Ella Mae Bongard
, Ella Mae Bongard, R.N

The editor of his Mom’s diaries, Eric Scott, writes:

When she began these World War 1 diaries, [Ella Mae Bongard] was a very dedicated 26 year-old nurse, with a sharp eye on the world around her, and an inclination to record her observations in a lively writing style.  In her . . . diaries she merges the discipline of nursing training at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, with the challenge of caring for hundreds of wounded soldiers at Etretat on the Normand coast of France . . . (p i)

He then quotes his mother’s entry for December 2, 1917:

Had a big unexpected convoy Tuesday a.m. about 460 patients.  They were right from the battle of Cambrai & such wounds as I’ve never seen . . . I really enjoy being busy but oh how my back and feet ache at night . . . We do dressings all day for the wounds are so large . . . One little boy of 19 has had to have his leg amputated ./ . . and another his right hand . . . Twelve new German prisoners, also from the battle of Cambrai were admitted . . . I was sent in to help out.  They are in pretty bad condition too . . . Who said this was Thanksgiving?!!” (p. i)

I stumbled on this book in Books and Company in Picton not long after learning that I had a great uncle who was lost in battle in France sometime around 1918.  My father, his nephew, never spoke of this man since he never knew him.  So many losses.  This young woman’s spontaneous testimony affirms the disastrous nature of war and the sweet decency of those who care for others.  Yet to this day the largest segment of industrialized states’ budgets are their military budgets.  I am grateful to hear the echo of this woman’s kindness:

March 15, 1918

  Convoy at noon, mostly “gassed”cases, in fact I think they all were—more Maws Inhalers and eye irrigations but that’s what I came for so I shouldn’t mind. (p 33)

This testimonial is not all dark but it is real.  The voice behind the words is also lyrical and witty.

March 17, 1918

  Sick again—darn it!  Wakened up @ 2 a.m. feeling like my last hour had come..  Tried to get up and fainted knocking my head so hard on the side of the bed that Pipe wakened up.  Talk about seasick—oo! la la!  Pipe didn’t get much sleep poor child as I managed to faint twice more before morning. (p.33)

The editor has included photographs of his mother along with historical shots of the areas mentioned.  I was so glad to hear this voice.  I got four copies to give away—two for my daughters.  I urge any one repelled by industrialized aggression to find this book, read it and pass it on.

Once Again, The Importance of Donating and Volunteering

Don Wilford: Being together, this year, will be difficult for all and impossible for many. Thomas Homer-Dixon – Canada’s renowned political and climate scientist talks about Covid-19 in his new book, “Commanding Hope”. “I was thinking about the pandemic as a really vivid example of how things can change extraordinarily quickly”. He tells the story of how the crude climate models of 20 years ago got it basically right – predictions of climate heating, fires, droughts, and floods. And what more sophisticated models tell us about the next 20 years – how impacts will accelerate and affect more and more people. He dedicates his book to children, “It’s the best I can do to explain what I think you need to hold on to in your future.”

The Green Party is the only party that is unequivocally committed to a green future for our children and a new way of doing politics. You can listen to our leader, Mike Schreiner, describe our 5-point, post-Covid, “Green and Caring Recovery Plan” here – tinyurl.com/yye5e2co.

Ontario’s next election is in June 2022 – just 20 months away. If you agree that Green voices are essential in our next Provincial assembly, please consider donating to us – the Bay of Quinte Greens – we need money to put up signs, organize, and mount a competitive Bay of Quinte campaign – go to tinyurl.com/y25geka.

Canada’s tax system provides generous reimbursements – total donations up to $423 receive a 75% tax refund, up to $1,410 a 50% refund, and up to $1,625 a 33.33% refund.
Please think of us at Thanksgiving, talk about what it means to you and your family, and consider donating to the Bay of Quinte Greens.  


Editor’s comment:  You made it to the bottom of the newsletter again!  Well done.  We would love to hear from you.  We need donations, members and volunteers.  Remember what Tarfon said:  “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. … You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”  We can help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s