City of Barrie Environment Page link

pic: Barrie Windcatcher

Midhurst mega-development learning walks invitation

Posted by – September 10, 2014

Climate Action Now – Barrie has organized three walks, to learn about how the Midhurst mega-development may impact local history, agriculture, and environment.

We will be joined on these walks by guides, who will speak on the significant aboriginal habitation, culture, and tradition within the area, on the value of preserving our prime farmland for future generations, and on the vital ecological interlinkages that sustain a healthy environment.
Dates and locations are:
Aboriginal Habitation, Culture, and Tradition
September 28th, at 3pm, at Anne St. N., and Carson Rd. There are some steep, rutted paths on this walk, so come prepared with decent shoes or boots.
The Value of Preserving Prime Farmland
October 5th, at 3pm, at the Midhurst Community Hall. This is a bus tour, so semi-accessible (it’ll likely be a school bus). Once back at the Community Hall we’ll be meeting with local groups and individuals concerned about the development.
The Environment
October 19th, at 3pm, at Meadow Mouse Trail, which is just north of Snow Valley Rd. on the West side of George Johnson Rd. Come prepared with decent shoes or boots.
Refreshments will be served after all events, and there will be an opportunity to write a postcard expressing a position (one way or another) to the Premier, among others.
Please share this with whomever you think would be interested.
You can find up-to-date information, and RSVP online, at: canow.ca.
Invitation flyer attached. LINK
Sincerely.
Adam Ballah, MES
On behalf of Climate Action Now – Barrie

When feeding wildlife is fowl

Posted by – May 2, 2014

What’s the difference between feeding a chipmunk and feeding a goose? In Barrie, one is illegal, the other is not.

Last year the City passed a bylaw wisely banning the feeding of wildlife, with the notable exception of well-maintained backyard bird feeders, because wildlife feeding causes many problems. It attracts animals that become habituated to humans, and can then be more aggressive. Their feces on our lawns and beaches can be a health risk. And the foods people commonly throw to them –bread, crackers, popcorn – is “junk food” not suited to their nutritional needs.

But in their wisdom, Council restricted the bylaw to mammals; feeding ducks and geese is still permitted, although discouraged in parks. Yet this is one of the more problematic feeding issues. It is one thing to attract squirrels or raccoons to your backyard – you (and your immediate neighbours) will suffer the direct consequences. But feeding waterfowl at Barrie’s waterfront ends up despoiling the area for all of us who share this wonderful natural feature.

As other cities like Mississauga and Oakville have shown, you can include waterfowl among animals prohibited to feed. Doing so is probably easier to enforce, too, because squirrel-feeding usually happens at home while duck-feeding is usually done in public parks and waterways. And even if the by-law isn’t aggressively enforced, visible signage can help reduce the harms.

And the harms will become more apparent. Canada goose populations are at an all-time peak, and continue to rise. These geese thrive under human development, which actually provides more convenient spaces for them to live & eat than nature does. Their increase is most noticeable at the waterfront upon which rest so many of Barrie’s hopes for economic growth and amenity improvement. Do we want to attract more geese, and their poop, to the same place we are drawing people? Will aggressive geese and ducks make visiting the waterfront more fun?

There are even some who feel it’s such a problem that the City should start aggressively reducing the goose population. In more rural areas, hunting them is permitted but I don’t think we want guns around our lakeshore. You can also destroy eggs or nests, or try to scare geese away periodically (usually with guns or aircraft – again, not great for our waterfront), or even have the birds relocated. But none of that works in the long term if we keep attracting them by feeding them junk food.

There may be options for bird relocation the City would not have to pay for, which would be a good way to get a handle on the problem, but when it comes to dealing with nature, prevention beats a cure. We should learn to watch wildlife behaving naturally, which for geese means eating plants and seeds, not running after us to eat a scattering of human food. It’s not like there will be a sudden shortage of these common birds; they are very capable of feeding themselves and don’t need our help.

So what do you think? Should Barrie expand its bylaw to disallow feeding geese and ducks? Should we look into ways to reduce excess birds, by increasing suitable natural spaces away from the parklands maintained for human use, and trying not to attract them to the places we use? Should we be more aggressive in removing geese to other locations? As spring finally lets us return to enjoying a cherished green lakeshore whose amenity value grows with our own population, this is a conversation worth having.

 

An accidentally-truncated version of this was published in the Barrie Examiner as “Should we keep feeding ducks and geese at the waterfront?

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act an important piece of legislation

Posted by – May 2, 2014

Although a spring election is expected in Ontario, it hasn’t been called yet, so the business of the Legislature goes on. One piece of business is Bill 173, also known as the Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act. This bill, introduced by Infrastructure Minster Glen Murray, contains a number of measures specifically addressing the safety of active transportation. Some of these, in turn, are drawn from at least 4 separate private member’s bills that were introduced by members of all parties.

From Parkdale – High Park NDP MPP Cheri Dinovo comes a requirement that vehicles passing a bicycle leave at least a full meter of clearance. When I am cycling, I certainly don’t feel comfortable when a vehicle gets closer than that, so I think this change would be appreciated. It will also give drivers clear guidance as to how much room they should leave when passing.

Another improvement comes from a bill from Muskoka – Parry Sound PC MPP Norm Miller. It creates an explicit allowance to ride bikes on the paved shoulder of a divided roadway, as well as prohibiting vehicles (other than emergency responders or tow trucks) from driving there. This sort of has the effect of turning paved shoulders into de facto bike lanes, although a marked and signed bike lane, where possible, is even better.

There are also measures to require drivers to change lanes to pass a tow truck with lights on, suggested by Simcoe North PC MPP Garfield Dunlop, and increased fines for distracted driving, from Scarborough – Rouge River Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon.

Another change for bikes is to explicitly allow a flashing red light at the rear, something that is cheap and effective but wasn’t anticipated when the old rules were written.

All in all, it seems like the measures in this act are sensible and warranted. Having lost my cousin Sam when his bike was struck by a vehicle in 2008, I heartily approve measures to prevent such tragedies in future. Unfortunately, politics too often get in the way.

In this case, it’s the politics of timing. Although an election is anticipated, the government has introduced a slew of new bills recently, and the Legislature simply won’t have time to study each in committee and go through all three required votes and associated debates. Some of them will certainly die on the order paper if we have a spring election. Even if we don’t, it’s not clear how many could get through the system before the Legislature rises for the summer.

Therefore, if you agree that improving road safety is a laudable goal and that this bill will help, I strongly urge you to contact your Member of Provincial Parliament, and the party leaders, and tell them to prioritize this bill. Urge them to vote for it rather than against, and not to delay it or play politics with it. Any sincere concerns should be addressed, but political gamesmanship is unacceptable. I expect the MPPs whose own measures were rolled into this will support it, but as Ms. Dinovo explained to me, they may not even get the chance if the government doesn’t keep this on the front burner.

So hold their feet to the fire! Given the ongoing low-level carnage associated with our roads, our own lives and those of our children are clearly at stake.

 

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner.

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

The other end of the organic pipe

Posted by – May 2, 2014

As Barrie slowly increases waste diversion, with measures like every-other-week trash collection, residents must keep up. And with spring weather finally approaching, composting resumes.

In fact, I know at least 4 ways to compost. First is the traditional backyard method. Growing up, my grandparents, early adopters of neighbourhood bottle recycling, also had two compost piles: an enclosed one at their Toronto house and an open pile at their farm. From them I learned not all garbage was created equal: some went into different containers and was even a valuable resource.

I follow that tradition at my own Barrie home, where a rotating composter improves the process greatly, providing rich fertilizer for our vegetable gardens. However, backyard composting has limitations. You need yard space for it, not an option for apartment-dwellers, and you must keep it mainly to fruit & vegetable peels, because meat scraps, bones, bread, dairy or oils draw unwanted pests and spoil the composting process. You must also mix or alternate wet, rich kitchen waste (“greens”) with drier carbon (“browns”) like shredded paper, dried grass clippings or raked leaves.

On the other hand, if you have the space, you can do a lot of composting in raised garden beds in a practice known as sheet composting or lasagnagardening (named for alternating layers of mulch) which I have found a wonderful improvement on traditional backyard gardening.

But other options are available, too. One is vermicomposting: red wiggler worms in a container under the sink who eat your diced food scraps and rapidly turn them into finished humus for your plants indoors, outdoors, or on a balcony. You can get worms and other supplies from www.CathysComposters.com in Bradford. Vermicomposting works at home, in an apartment, or as a class project to learn about worms, soil, the nutrient cycle, and waste reduction.

Just recently I discovered another method called bokashi composting. In your special anaerobic (airtight) container, you press down each layer of food scraps and sprinkle on top bokashi (a mixture of friendly microbes, bran and molasses) so instead of rotting, your scraps get pickled. After 1-2 weeks fermenting, you bury the compost under soil in a container or garden. Bokashi eliminates odourous gasses, flies, or animal attraction and can process a much wider variety of scraps, including meat, fat, cheese, bread, fish, even bones! It becomes a rich, organic amendment to revitalize your soil, improve water penetration, and increase plant growth and yields. An expert in nearby Utopia is hosting workshops where you can learn Bokashi hands-on; visit www.HealthyEarth.ca to sign up or access e-books or email Vera at Contact@HealthyEarth.ca.

Last but certainly not least is Barrie’s Green Bin organics program. This most closely resembles the traditional out-of-sight, out-of-mind model of trash collection, accepting the widest variety of organics, including used tissues and paper towels and various used paper or cardboard food containers, as well as any kind of actual food waste. In fact, with the notable exception of diapers and pet waste, the green bin takes just about every kind of “stinky” trash – so luckily, it still goes away every week!

Within our own average family of four we produce almost nothing that ends up in the traditional garbage can, and our consumption patterns aren’t that far outside the norm. So if you’re finding your trash can is stinky or overflowing, you can probably solve it by better learning and practicing Barrie’s various diversion programs, including one or more kinds of composting.

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner under the title “Reduce garbage with innovative compost methods

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

Friends of the Environment

Posted by – October 8, 2013

On Oct. 5, 2013 LG was happy to help out at TD’s Friends of the Environment tree planting at Lover’s Creek in Barrie. Dozens and dozens of energetic volunteers of all ages, from the very young, to the young at heart arrived to find that all the saplings had already been laid out in a rototilled area by City Staff under the leadership of Kevin Rankin.
In less than two hours the enthusiastic volunteers had transformed one of the meadows by Lover’s Creek into a fledgling woodland replete with a diversity of black willows, barberry bushes poplars, red pines, dog woods, and high bush cranberries.

 

before

before
 

after the cleanup

after

 

Tracy Eby, Buff and Shine

Posted by – September 12, 2013

When Tracy Eby returned to Canada from Taiwan, she knew she wanted to start an ecologically friendly business.

The result of her desire is Buff and Shine, the residential cleaning service that was recently nominated for the Barrie Business Green Community Award.

While working as a teacher in Taiwan, teaching English to executives from Acer and students at after-school programs, Eby saw firsthand how the Asian country reduced its environmental impact by encouraging recycling with financial incentives and discouraged disposable goods through the implementation of eco-taxes.

Shocked at how far behind Canada is when compared to the rest of the world on environmental issues, Eby decided to walk the walk, leading by example with her green business and educating clients along the way.

Apart from the emissions of her work vehicle, Buff and Shine is a zero waste business.

Eby uses a bagless vacuum cleaner, composting everything that her vacuum picks up. The recycled, brown paper towels she cleans with are recycled again after being used and her microfiber cleaning cloths are washed and used repeatedly.

“I’ve got cloths that I’ve been using continuously for two years now and they’re still in excellent shape,” she says.

While the bottles her cleaning products come in can be recycled, Eby refills them and keeps using them too. Refilling and reusing, rather than buying anew, helps limit her business’ and her clients’ ecological footprint. It also saves money for everyone involved.

Years ago, consumers had to pay high prices to buy environmentally friendly products.

Most people’s budgets only allowed for the unsafe chemical cleaners, so choosing to go green just wasn’t an option.

Those days are long gone. The products Eby uses are not only cheaper to buy, but they can be refilled for about $1. Some even last twice as long as the cleaning products found on grocery store shelves.

In her business, Eby uses professional cleaning products such as the Attitude and Dura Plus lines. She researches all the products she uses, making certain they are certified as ecologically friendly and carcinogen-free before she’ll even think of employing them.

“I’m not going to put something in the home of a family that’s going to hurt them. Breathing in second-hand cleaning fluid fumes is the same as breathing in second-hand smoke,” she says.

Eby samples everything in her own home, making sure the products get the job done right the first time. She has tested and discarded environmentally friendly products that smelled great but just didn’t work. All of the cleaning products that end up being used by Buff and Shine get the job done and are safe. Families with children and pets need not worry about them getting sick from touching or licking cleaned surfaces. Vacationers can safely clean their cottages and boats with them, because the products are safe for septic systems and won’t pollute lakes or streams.

While you won’t find the cleaners Buff and Shine uses in the aisles of your local grocery store, they are all available locally at Simcoe Hygiene Services.

You can purchase the exact same products Eby uses without having to worry about being a business, or needing some kind of card or membership. Thanks to Eby’s lobbying efforts, Simcoe Hygiene Services also refills empty cleaning bottles.

Through Buff and Shine, Tracy Eby reminds us that while we currently live in a world of disposable goods filled with toxic chemicals, we shouldn’t treat ourselves as disposable beings to be filled with toxic chemicals.

Using and reusing ecologically friendly products gets carcinogens out of our homes and reduces our impact on the environment, helping us live long healthy lives on a less polluted planet.

Aaron Reynolds is a freelance writer born and raised in Barrie. He is currently filling in for Donna Douglas, who returns in September.

Community Partners

Posted by – September 12, 2013

It’s a partnership in Barrie that’s making a huge difference for all of us.

And it’s all about trees.

Living Green Barrie, the City of Barrie, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, businesses and ordinary volunteers like you and I: these are the community partners that make up the Urban Canopy Coalition.

And what a contribution they are making!

Gwen Petreman heads up this coalition and is quick to point out the tremendous benefits of the cost-free efforts of the partnership.

Trees and gardens make a tremendous difference in the health of our community.

The roots of a mature tree can absorb up to 57 000 gallons of water during a flash flood.. Their roots absorb chemicals and fruit trees stimulate activities for bees resulting in increased pollination.

Trees purify the air; they help to reduce the negative effects of climate change. They positively affect our respiratory and cardiovascular health.

Trees are a simple solution to the environmental ups and downs of drought and flooding caused by our uncertain climate these days. And planting native trees and plants make any project practically maintenance-free.

Planted in their natural environment, trees and plants need no maintenance.

Armed with all these reasons, volunteers have been planting trees and plants all over Barrie, protecting watercourses, stimulating water table retention and increasing the environmental health of our city.

For instance, the Urban Canopy folks planted over 1,000 native plants along the creeks at Queen’s Park this spring. They also planted oaks, spruce, pines and tamaracks along the Huronia Buffer located between McConkey and Bristow streets in April. Earlier that month they planted weeping willows and shrubs to aid in soil retention at Sunnidale Park.

Volunteers who help in these projects tend to be different groups for each planting. They connect with Gwen through Living Green’s facebook page at www.livinggreen.info. You can register as a volunteer on the website.

A month from today, Oct. 5, volunteers will begin work on the environmentally protected land at Loon Avenue in the south-end. They’ll plant native saplings. Gwen pointed out that at the Huronia project, Barrie Chiropractic sponsored the final planting of 1,000 trees. Its staff actually assisted in the planting, too.

She’s looking for any level of corporate sponsorship from area businesses, and of course is always signing up volunteers.

A retired teacher, Gwen has turned her hand to writing children’s books, usually tied into an environmental theme. She has self-published some of her books and sought excellent illustrators to make her words come alive. Her stories blend environmental realities to child empowerment for change.

Gwen, in keeping with her commitment to Living Green, is donating 10% of every book sale to the organization this fall.

She believes that children will be true game-changers in environmental efforts like the Urban Canopy Coalition. She’s always happy during a planting to see youngsters among the volunteers.

If contributing to the urban canopies in our community interests you, visitwww.livinggreen.info or contact Gwen at gwen@livinggreen.info.

Oct. 5 is the next volunteer planting.

Thanks, Gwen! Thanks, city forester Kevin Rankin. Thanks, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority! And thanks, Aaron Reynolds, for excellent writing in my absence during August!

Climate Change and Insurance – Part One – personal lines

Posted by – September 11, 2013

With the debate on anthropogenic ( caused by humans) climate change long since settled, it is time to move on to other questions, specifically why we are not doing more about it. Climate change denial has been relegated to a few oil industry apologists and reactionary journalists, but for the most part the critical problem remains ignored, and we have yet to see the media coverage or the mass movement to renewable energy that we need.

The question is a simple one but the answers are complex, but part of the answer being that ordinary people do not believe that climate change is something that effects them right now. The truth however, is quite different. Not only is climate change a matter that each individual must claim some responsibility for, but it effects us now, in ways that most people will never even think about.

In this two part series, I will be reviewing the profound effect that our changing weather is having on your insurance, and the consequences that are to follow.

The three weeks around the end of June and the beginning of July was a terrible time for flooding in Canada. The flood in Alberta lasted days and flooded a large part of Calgary, as well as many smaller towns, and on July 8,2013, a sudden storm hit Toronto, unleashing a massive rainfall and flash floods that no one was prepared for. The total bill for these flood events? $270,000,000 for Intact Insurance alone.(1) Just to put this in perspective, the average Canadian home insurance premium is $840 per year, according to InsureEye.com.(2) If we divide the property damages by the average home insurance premium, it would take the premiums of 321,429 homes just to pay for these two weather related events, before taking into account the other expenses such as commissions and administrative costs that also come out of these premiums.

We can never state with scientific certainty that one specific event was caused by climate change, however we can with absolute certainty say that changing weather patterns are tied to climate change, and that this change has been dramatic. As Insurance Bureau of Canada president Don Forgeron warned a business conference is St. John’s, “ our weather patterns have changed… the trend is unequivocal. The number of severe weather events is doubling every 5-10 years”. (3)

These changes are happening all over the globe, and in many different forms. We have seen several “storms of the centuries” hit the east coast, a dramatic increase in tornado activity across the Midwest, and many more sudden and severe storms in Ontario.

Insurance, as we all know, is a business, and like any other business, when the costs go up, the increase is passed on to the consumer. The thing that most of us are not aware of however, is that climate change is the number one driver of price increases in home insurance. Even in 2005 insurance expert Evan Mills stated that in regards to insurance premiums and losses, “Impacts of climate change are already manifesting and projected to become enormous over time (4). In 2006 The Association of British Insurers revealed that weather and climate change were already driving a 2-4% annual increase in insurable losses,) and Allianz, the largest insurance company in Europe, stated that climate change could be driving up insurance losses by 37% annually in less than a decade, meaning losses in excess of one trillion dollars per year. (5)

Most people’s initial reaction to this is to simply shrug it off with a “what else is new, insurance is going up”, but that type of reaction fails to grasp the scope of the problem. First of all, if your home insurance rates go up 20%, you are probably not going to sell your house, but you’re going to make sacrifices somewhere. If you have ever bought a house, think back to sitting in the lawyer’s office on closing. Before the deal is completed however, you must provide proof of insurance. To truly understand the effects that this can have on individuals, we’ll follow the breadcrumbs for a moment, to see where they lead. To do this, there are two critical things to remember, First of all, insurance companies are starting to minimize their exposure in many disaster prone areas. Allstate, for example, has cut the number of policies they hold in Florida from 1.2 million to less than 400,000 after recent hurricanes erased all the profit that the company had made in 75 years in that area. (4, Mills) We are starting to see these types of reactions in many different areas. Insurance companies refusing more policies, raising deductibles on certain types of coverage such as sewer back up, raising base premiums, and pulling out of certain areas. Second, the insurance industry is the foundation upon which our economic system is built ( this point will be described in more detail in part II of this article ).

When regular insurance companies raise rates and limit policies in certain areas, people pay more for insurance and are more often pushed to high risk insurance companies at a much higher price. When people are buying a home, what truly matters is the total cost of ownership, inclusive of taxes and insurance. This does more than just push the cost of owning a home higher, but also pushes many people out of the housing market all together. More and more people cannot afford the price of insurance in addition to their mortgage payments, and this problem is going to become a bigger over time.

It will not be long before all these factors start to come together to cause some very predictable and devastating economic results. Let’s look at a hypothetical example along the gulf coast of the US. Say a major city in the area, St Petersburg FL, or Mobile Alabama, gets hit by a bad tropical storm this year, causing 10’s of millions of dollars in insurable losses, and then next year, gets hit by a Hurricane. Insurance companies begin to cut their losses and pull out, leaving high risk insurance companies to pick up the slack. Suddenly insurance rates are $200 per month for most people, instead of $75, some people get behind on their mortgages, desperate to pay their insurance bills, while others cancel their insurance, leaving them one storm away from losing everything. As more people move out, fewer people move in, and housing prices are starting to drop while some of the big employers pick up and move to safer ground. After all, they are subject to higher insurance rates as well, plus the interruptions to their business. This is a recipe for complete financial collapse, and mass exodus ensues, leaving a shell of a city with little hope for improvement. As these people look for other places, many will no longer be able to buy a home, and a large influx of people can lead to higher unemployment rates at the new location, maybe temporarily, maybe not.

Does this sound a little far-fetched? Between the writing of the first draft of this article and the version you are reading now, a few things have changed. First of all, one the biggest insurance companies in Canada announced sweeping changes to their home insurance coverage. They have increased deductibles, greatly expanded the areas in which they will not provide sewer back up coverage, and reduced potential discounts for their customers. In Alberta, it is rumoured that property policy owners should expect 30%-60% increases in their property insurance rates this year alone.

Climate change is not just an environmental issue, but also an economic issue, as well as a social justice issue in that its effect on the poor and middle class will be far greater than on the rich, at least initially. Insurance is just one way that climate change is effecting each one of us, right now.

 

1) The Toronto Star, Saturday July 27th,2013 “Alberta cost property insurer Intact Insurance 270 million.

2) www.insureeye.com

3) Maclean’s magazine, June 25th, 2013, www2.macleans.ca/2013/06/25/Uninsurable-homes-in-Canada’s-Future-climate-change-expert-predicts.html

4) Dr. Evan Mills, 2005, “responding to climate change, an Insurance Industry perspective”, evanmills.lbl.gov/pubs/pdf/climate-action-insurance.pdf

5) On Environmental Science and Technology Online News, April 19,2008, www.pubs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-w/2006/apr/business/pt.insurance.html

 

Written by Greg Groen, R.I.B.O.

Free fruit for everyone! Come and get it!

Posted by – August 29, 2013

Kids picking fruit

Children picking fruit

You look sadly at the apple tree in your yard. All summer you’ve watched fruit blossom, grow, and ripen. This week it’s ready, but you haven’t time to pick it all and it’s more than you could possibly eat, anyway. Yet you hate to think of it going to waste, falling just to rot and attract pests. You’re even thinking of cutting the nuisance down.
But wait! Like magic, a crew of local volunteers arrives, deploys ladders, and fills bags & baskets with ripe apples! They leave enough for you, they take some for themselves, and deliver the rest to a local food bank. Like them, you’ve become a vital link in community food security, providing healthy local organic fruit to hungry people. Instead of cutting the tree down, you’ll prune it to boost next year’s bounty. Your tree lives on to filter air and water, provide shade and shelter, and support bees and other vital species in our urban ecology.
Sound too good to be true? It’s happening now! FruitShare Barrie, partnering Living Green, Transition Barrie, the Resilience Collaborative and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, is in the thick of our pilot season and we’re overwhelmed by just how much fruit is out there and how eager the community is to make these connections. We need YOU to make the magic happen; more helpers lighten the load and redirect more fruit from waste to good use.
If you love hands-on, we need pickers and supervisors (“ShareBosses”) to grab that fruit. Beyond picking, we need administration, IT, and web design. Harvesting local fruit is fun for all ages: teenagers get community hour credits, seniors stay socially engaged, families learn first-hand where food comes from. And everybody gets a taste and a take-home basket!
Of course, if you have a fruit tree to be picked, let us know. This is just our pilot year so we won’t get to every tree, and can’t get outside Barrie, but please let us know what you have so we can build our database and plan for next year’s full season.
We also need equipment; your donations help because we’ve already exceeded this year’s budget of zero. Bushel baskets, ladders, scales, tarps, and picking sticks will be happily accepted; valuable equipment or cash donations get charitable receipts. We’re confident that citizens, businesses, and service clubs will all be eager to support this worthy effort to enhance community well-being and improve food access.
Food insecurity is a serious problem in our community; 52% of residents don’t get at least 5 servings of fruit or vegetables each day, and the number of people accessing food banks is increasing every year. With fresh produce so important to a basic healthy diet yet so costly, the ability to harvest and deliver it for free is a win-win-win for everyone.
FruitShare Barrie is run by community volunteers, so the best way to reach us is by emailing FruitShare.Barrie@gmail.com. No email? Try reaching us by phone at 705-436-1093.

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as “Barrie residents sharing the fruits of their labour
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

Living Green’s Urban Canopy Climate Change and Fruit Share

Posted by – July 31, 2013

A 100-page UN report points out that Climate Change  is a global emergency that seriously threatens life, as we know it, for every human being on Earth. We are now facing a triple whammy-we have to pay to  reduce greenhouse emissions, we have to pay to upgrade our infrastructure to mitigate the devastating effects, and we have to pay to clean up and rebuild  after climate-related disasters like the flooding in Calgary, in the summer of 2013.

 

Living Green is spearheading an Urban Canopy Coalition whereby we involve other GNO’s, experts in the field, residents, businesses, and all levels of government to help increase the urban canopy here in Barrie.
Living Green is now a key partner with Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and the City of Barrie in THE CREEKS PROJECT: Restoring the environmental health of the Lovers and Barrie Creeks Subwatersheds and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change.

 

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, Media

Mission Statement: The UCC urges everyone to plant as many trees as possible, as quickly as possible, in as many areas as possible to reap the numerous benefits of trees including reducing the devastating effects of climate change and drastically reducing our health care costs.

Our aim is to make Barrie known as the city with the biggest urban canopy.

 

Areas for Immediate Restoration

·   Huronia Buffer, off Bristow Court, McConkey Place, Barrie
Planting Date: April 28, 2013
·  Park Reservoir area, Sunnidale & Cundles, Barrie,
Planting Date: May 11, 2013

 .  Lover’s Creek

  Planting Date: Oct. 5

 

What are the Benefits of Trees?

o  Trees are the cheapest, safest, and most effective tools for mitigating the devastating effects of climate change such as famine producing droughts and deadly floods –climate change fixers for the planet


 o  Scientists have found a fifth of the world’s carbon emissions are soaked up by extra forest growth. Trees in the tropics are getting bigger, which means they are soaking up an extra 5 billion  tonnes of CO2 a year-toxic storage tanks for the planet

 o  trees provide habitat for hundreds of species. With our urban sprawl we have   banished living creatures for their native environment so it behooves us to plant as many trees as possible to help restore some of the wildlife habitat we have taken over- animal homes of the planet  

  o  trees will help prevent good soil from being blown away and  turning large tracts of land into deserts; this will  help support healthy soil on local farms in the Barrie area – the  sieves of the planet

        o  the shade of trees keep spawning grounds for fish and other aquatic life  cool so  the eggs do not dry out from the intense heat of the sun

      o  green spaces canopied with trees and shrubs  will help  keep temperatures   down for the benefit of all living creature-the  shade parasols of the planet

o  trees protect and restore important wetlands and forests to prevent flooding and erosion , mature roots of trees  hold a staggering  57 000 gallons of water during flash flooding-the water tanks of the planet

o  the billions of hairs on leaves trap , dust, dirt and 85% of nasty pollutants  like sulphur dioxide, sulphates,  and nitrogen oxide. The cost of cardiovascular disease per year in Ontario is over 5.5 billion! In  Ontario  in 2004,  over $ 12 billion was spent  on health costs related to respiratory diseases!

It has been shown for every additional 343 trees planted asthma rates go down by 25 % in young children.  (Trees Ontario)-the medicine cabinet of the planet

o A single acre of trees will compensate for approximately 12 000 km of cars use –the street  sweepers,  filtration systems,  and health care of the planet 

 

o trees and shrubs will reduce the flow of contaminated sediments  and improve water quality –the  water filtration system of the planet

o   trees help increase the biodiversity of  the area –the  seed packages of the planet

o  Tree roots absorb water from the soil, making the soil drier and able to store more rainwater-the rain barrels of the planet

o   some trees take nitrogen from the air and make it  available to plants and the leaves and wood decompose to make soil–the  organic fertilizers of the planet

o  Children who play outdoors surrounded by trees exhibit less severe symptoms of ADHD- the health potion of the planet

o  Many studies have shown if you go for a walk in the woods you will reduce your stress levels and increase your energy level- the natural energy drink  of the planet

Over a 50-year lifespan, one tree provides the equivalent of $160,000 of environmental services by creating oxygen, cleaning water & air, and preventing soil erosion! (Expanding tree canopy benefits us all“)- money for your wallet

 

Fruit tress have the added benefit of providing food for people and animals.

Our  bee numbers are down by 35 % !  They are down for a numbers are down due bee mites,and  parasites.  And the pesticides , neonicotinoids used  on corn, soy and canola  and sold by Bayer is highly lethal to bees.

A dramatic loss of flower habitats have also  contributed to the decline of bee populations.  So it goes without saying,  that if you  grow fruit trees the shower of blossoms;  especially white ones,  will attract bees  to come to your trees . As they fly from tree to tree to gather nectar,  they will pollinate your fruit trees.  Just remember most fruit trees need cross-pollination, as they are not self-fruitful.

 So fruit trees, by providing a variety of nectar for bees, help to make them healthier and stronger.  We need thriving colonies of bees to pollinate our local crops. Pollination is needed for about three-quarters of global food crops. That  equates to every third mouthful of food that you eat!

Every year farmers lose  billion of dollars due to a decline in pollinators.

  So when you plant a tree, consider planting fruit trees and join Fruit Share here in Barrie.

Email: FruitShare.Barrie@gmail.com

 Phone: 705-721-6867

Urban Canopy Coalition

The easiest way to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change is to PLANT A TREE

Ontario Trillium Federation

Ontario Trillium Federation