Politics Blogs - Blog Top Sites Blog Flux Directory Green Assassin Brigade: September 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Things I want to see for Newmarket/Aurora

In light of peak oil, pollution, global warming and those pesky food security issues that are dear to my heart(and belly) there are a great many things I’d like to see happen to make Newmarket Aurora a better and more sustainable place for what I believe will be a harder more austere future.

No more irrational development, yes we should increased density but stop building those damn 4000 sq ft homes, and stop allowing big box developments. Mixed use high density is the best model, each block should have a grocer, a restaurant, a bar, a play ground etc. Grouping all the retail and services around main arteries that no one can walk to is insane.

LEEDs certification for all new homes and major rebuilds, simple additions must be at least R2000 compliant. If people’s houses are so inefficient that they cannot heat them affordability you will get people freezing in the dark or installing in wood stoves that create smog and lead to deforestation, not to mention the number of dumb asses that burn down their houses or gas themselves when they bring the BBQ inside.

New Commercial buildings must utilize their roofs as green roofs, Solar PV or Solar thermal applications, 20 year phase in for all existing commercial buildings.

I’d like to see more open mindedness in the building codes regarding alternative building materials; Straw bail, earth bag, rammed earth etc. The carbon footprint of the building process must also be taken into account, not just the day to day carbon use.

No more drive through businesses with notice that existing ones must be phased out in 10 years. Having both an anti idling law and numerous drive throughs makes absolutely no sense.

I want the city to stop planting foreign ornamental trees everywhere. All trees should be indigenous species with at least half being productive varieties of fruits and nuts, providing both natural foods for wildlife and energetic citizens.

I don’t want the Widening of Davis Drive for public transit lanes.
Peak oil is going to severely reduce the amount of public traffic on the roads within the next 10 years. Widening this road to accommodate transit on the assumption that oil availability or price will never impact car use is blinkered thinking. The age of the car is ending, stop building infrastructure that perpetuates a broken model.

I want people to come forward to found a transition town movement (I’ll certainly join and take part but I won’t kid myself that organization or consensus building skills are my strong point, I’m too much the lazy malcontent)
Transition towns is a great movement devoted to helping towns and communities adapt to peak oil and more self reliance.

I’d like to see the creation of a food not lawns movement. The waste of water, energy, time and fertilizer on grass is a national disgrace. The potential benefit to food security, biodiversity and the survival of pollinators greatly outweighs the benefit of the uniformly boring dead zone we call lawns. While it’s your right to have a lawn I it’s also my right to utilize my soil to grow food.

I also want a lobby for the legalization of small urban livestock, hens, rabbits, dwarf goats as part of a greater Right to Farm legislation.

I want to see tax relief and zoning concession that encourage land owners to lease, donate or even use their honking big lawns to grow food locally. Just drive around the Pony and Stellar Drive industrial area, the lawns on some of these properties could supply 100s of people with produce. The utilization of urban lands to feed people is becoming more prevalent

Stop jerking us around on community gardens. After years of improving the soil in Newmarket’s community garden the region is giving urban farmers the boot, our new location will be a dead field of clay adjacent to the Magna center. In reality Magna should be additional garden plots not replacement plots

I’d like Ontario hydro to allow us the use of the hydro corridor for garden plots. There are many acres of untended and usable land going to waste.

I want a local food cooperative selling locally grown fresh and canned produce as well as bulk purchases of food staples.

I want to see the careers ended for those local politicians who think that the only thing they must offer to get my vote is more public ice rinks. There is more to life and their jobs than facilitating hockey…arrgggg!

I want to see strict enforcement of the no free range cat bylaw. If your dog, child or spouse is running amok in my yard I can call the police, if it’s a cat however you must trap it yourself because police or animal control won’t do anything. Cats and their freakishly zealot owners are apparently above a law that protects indigenous species like song birds from being hunted by a foreign and destructive species. If you’re too lazy to clean your own cat box put the cat down, don’t send it to crap in my garden

Ban golf courses- a place that Ontario exempts from the pesticide spraying laws

I want to see a group of environmentally aware people create a slate of like minded candidates in the next round of municipal elections.

I’d like the Newmarket Farmers market to have its board fired and a neutral party placed in charge. The market has lost good vendors because board members did not like losing market share to a better product, (the best meat pies are sold by a guy at the Aurora market now.) It also looks pretty obvious that many current vendors are breaking the rules and bringing out of region produce from the food terminal.

I’d like to see at least one weekend Go train that goes down 9:00ish a.m. and came back at 5-6 pm so that people can do the Ex, trade shows, theatre, the islands etc.

There are so many things that I want done yet I see no awareness to the need for change. I guess there are several answers but they all boil down to 2 categories

I’m a delusional crank
People are inherently short sighted and stupid

Or maybe there are people out there who will say, "Those are great ideas, I want to get involved" and will contact me to do something.

No, you are right. I must a be delusional Crank!!! bwahahahahaahah

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Conservative Rule one, Never tell the truth

Who failed to see this one coming?

Gordon Landon the Conservative candidate for Markham-Unionville has been dumped by the party just days after admitting twice that Markham would get no stimulus money as long as it was a Liberal seat.

Landon stepped down yesterday after being asked(told/forced/threatened)by the party for the capital crime of being honest. It's not even a case that the Conservatives can claim Landon is simply mistaken since the numbers prove the vast majority of funded projects are in Conservative ridings.

Landon's comments "it's hard for me to bow to a lot of structure and having everything approved by Ottawa," and "I didn't follow Conservative policy in terms of getting permission to go on that TV show and I made a comment on that show that was an embarrassment to some members of the Conservative party."

Did no one tell this guy he had to check his scruples and free will at the door?

What really pisses me off is the idea that candidates need party permission to talk to the voters proving that its pure fantasy to believe they work for the people.Recommend this Post

Monday, September 28, 2009

Stimulus is bearing fruit

Liberals tell us that only 12% of the stimulus money is flowing

Meanwhile Harper claims 90% of stimulus is flowing and bearing fruit.

That seems like one hell of a big difference, so just what does a promise of funding really mean to the Conservaties?

"The cheque is in the mail" or maybe those vague promises of loan repayment by dead beat family members. It might even mean "we jotted it down on cocktail napkin somewhere around here"

Personally I'm sure it means, "We'll keep claiming you'll get that money but never actually deliver in the hopes we get a majority in time to cancel the projects"

The only thing we can know for sure thanks to the Gordon Landon's admission last week that only Tory ridings will get any cash;
the fruit is rotten to the core just like the bastards tending the garden

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Climate Refugees, and so it Begins

The 1,700 residents of the Carteret Islands (part of Papua New Guinea) have gained the unwelcome distinction of being the first reported climate refugees created by rising sea levels.

So officially this crisis is not in the future anymore, it's here, it's now. It does not matter if Man, the Sun or a Burning Bush caused the problem we have to deal with it.

So WTF are we going to do about it?

Deniers have said it's either not happening or it's not our fault and not our problem. The few that admit it's happening but "natural' say we simply must adapt to the changes.

So tell me little wingnuts, are refugees also not our problem?

Should they just adapt to floating all day and drinking salt water?

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A renewal in canning and stealth doomers

A recent Globe article high lighted the return of the canner, those intrepid folks who actually care enough about their food to do their own processing and preserving.

"The new breed of canner is driven by politics as much as practicality. A desire to eat locally and regain control over what goes into our food is fuelling a resurgence in farmers' markets and backyard kitchen gardens. Many see canning as a necessary step toward having year-round access to produce from their own region"

I admit that a portion of these people are simply foodies who wish to make their own distinct high quality food. Some of these folks are also recent converts to the local food movements like the 100 mile diet a useful and noble endeavour. Still others may be concerned about the health effects of eating genetically modified fruit and vegetables grown in China, sprayed with pesticides, adulterated with preservatives and sealed in a nice BPA lined can. Yummy!

What this article does not mention is that many of this new wave of canning enthusiasts are people preparing for the worst to happen. Peak oilers and their peak food brethren, those who fear a depression and unemployment and people who understand that a severe flu season could impair just in time food delivery systems all have sound reasons for taking food security into their own hands.

Now I understand this piece is from the food and wine section and I should not expect in depth journalism but would it be too much to ask that they at least throw the issue of food security a bone? Of course it's also quite possible that some of the people researched for the story simply lied about why they have started canning, these are people I call stealth doomers.

I know a number of these stealth doomers and if asked why? in a public environment will probably say "oh it's just a hobby", " I like to cook", "it tastes better". In reality they worry about the stigma that prepared or cautious people receive in our "live for the moment" society. The stories change drastically when you get them alone or in a small group of like minded people and you soon find out who has bags of rice under the bed, a solar oven or Berkeley water filter in the basement or even a gun in the attic, yet often their families and friends don't know about their preparations.

I remember a post from one lady saying she was afraid of having a guest stay over in her 2 bedroom apartment because if they oppened the guest closet they would find it filled with survival supplies. I'm not sure if it was fear of being mocked or fear of being robbed during an emergency.

Stealth doomers or not it's great news that people are canning again even if they are just making chutney. Just a year or two ago Bernardin Canada had proposed killing the Mason Jar line because canning was dying off and it was losing money for the company. Had this new wave of enthusiasts not arisen the jars would have been discontinued for sure and eventually the lids and seals may have ceased production.

Besides, chutney, salsa, relishes etc. are all good small batch preserves on which to hone your skills and when peak oil does begin to limit our variety of foods people will find that tasty condiments go a long way in limiting food monotony.

In our house gardening, gleaning, freezing, canning and seed saving have all been part of this years food security effort and I tell everybody exactly why I'm doing it. Doomers should open up more and encourage others to do the same, that way there will be less people at your door begging for chutney should/when the hard times come.Recommend this Post