Page 1

In This Issue... 2 Sierra Successes from 3 Letter the Chair 4

Impacts of CETA on the Environment

5 TO FLUSH OR NOT TO FLUSH... from the 6 Reporting Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization

8 9

Frack No! TWO HARBOURS: Comparative Timelines

for Answers in 12 Looking Other Worlds


Visit and Support the Occupy Movement Nearest You

14 The Locovore Spirit 16 Letter from the Director 17 FEATURE CREATURE

Letter from the Editor After taking a brief hiatus over the fall, the Sandpiper is back! I am so excited to be joining the team as your new Editor-in-Chief. When I moved from Toronto to Halifax a year ago, I immediately fell in love with the water. Now, whether it is a bike ride through Point Pleasant, breakfast on the roof of the farmer’s market or a road trip to Cape Breton, the water feeds my soul. I think many people feel this way, which is why this issue’s theme is Water: From Local to Global. Spreading awareness about water concerns can help to ensure that this powerful resource is around to provide for us, physically and emotionally, long into the future. In this issue, the articles you will read are informative, thought provoking and, for the most part, very personal. I was inspired by the first-hand accounts from people who turn their passion into action to change the world. We have also made the Sandpiper more interactive, with links to follow if you want to find out more about a topic. Of course, we’ve included some fun stuff too (flip ahead to the local holiday drink recipes to sip while you read). Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped create this issue of the Sandpiper, and to all of the members who support the work of the Sierra Club Atlantic. If you’ve yet to get a holiday gift for someone special in your life, why not consider making a donation in their honour? It’s easy, guiltfree, and doesn’t require a trip to the mall. Thanks again for reading! Stay warm, and have a safe, green, holiday season. Madison Van West Editor-in-Chief

“Th sch e PEI S and ool st ierra B u hel what dents uddie p ing of th we ca this f s has n e a o She ut to ose 1 do t ll abo duca 2 o t the rwood roug stud mitig ut clim ed 12 h e s pro e hig Scho ly 75 nts w ate it ate c high . o h h g e g Sierra Club members and sup- ideas ram a schoo l. It su rade 6 will b With th ange stu e rea e is a . Th nd ex l stu rpris porters gathered on Prince Edd e e d s p d i e t me ents chbun oun r ent ande nts at d p h h d c ward Island for a rejuvenating st in lu u o h art of st g, an siasm their gged w mu annual gathering that focused oth ing t uden d I’m to l thou into ch er h o w ea g t t igh rap s! Eve very p rn an hts an his on water and energy issues, n rou d d sch up, d o teach I am now ool oil and gas in the gulf of a f stu s den gettin the p my fir St. Lawrence, and youth engagets t gr rog st e o q join ues ram ment. Thanks to all who came along to i - Je i n .” ts froms nni celebrate the Earth and to Macphail Woods & fer O

a r r e i S s e s s e cc


Homestead for such a wonderful setting!



• As observers on the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), we pushed for greater protection of imperiled cod stocks and proposed a new protected area for deepsea coral habitat. We will be asking for further consideration of this protected area through the scientific advisory body of NAFO. • The Joint Review Panel assessing the Lower Churchill mega-hydro project released its report and it reflected many of the concerns we raised during the assessment process. This includes changes in the fish community found in the river, impacts on cultural and spiritual values, and increased mercury in seals and fish used for food. The Panel report also stated Nalcor had made an economic case for the project or that the project was needed to reduce provincial emissions. • With the help of Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Urban Sustainability grant, we are engaging municipal leaders in the Avalon Peninsula, NL to commission a feasibility study for a regional public transit system. • Wild Child Nature Immersion has kicked off it’s second year by already visiting over 600 children at 10 schools. These children have learned about some of Nova Scotia’s fascinating native species and how our litter can impact these critters in our environment.

• We have raised the profile of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in PEI, NS, and NB through public events, presentations, and media. Executive Committee member Hazel Richardson was part of a televised debate on the impacts of fracking. Our petition to ban fracking in NS now has hundreds of signatures. • We organized a town hall on climate change impacts, featuring some of the top experts in the region: Dr. Omer Chouinard, Director of the Master’s Program in Environmental Studies, Université de Moncton; Sébastien Doiron. MEE, Assistant Director of the Beaubassin Planning Commission; and Marc H. Savoie, veteran film producer whose work includes a 2010 film “Plus grand que la mer” which will be shown during Moncton’s 2011 ‘‘25ième Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie (FICFA) ’’ (

Letter from the Chair There have been many changes regarding the financial position of not-for-profits and charities in Canada. The overall trend is that people and government are giving less - we have seen many organizations shut their doors and reduce the number of programs and services they provide to society. I find it interesting, however, that no one is talking about the economic value that not-for-profits and charities offer. Many provide key services and programs for the most vulnerable - this includes animals and the environment. Recognizing limits to our day, one way to contribute to causes that you are passionate about is to financially support organizations that work on those causes. The Globe and Mail is beginning a discussion on strategic philanthropy, which I believe is a good step to begin to look at ourselves and discover how we can support those organizations that mean so much to our vulnerable, our society and our environment.

The Sierra Club Atlantic Canada Chapter has been working hard over the last two years to diversify our funding as funding from the federal and provincial governments has been steadily declining. We successfully fundraised $27 000 last year, and we are launching another fundraising campaign in November to defend against fracking in all Atlantic provinces. Moving forward, to help tackle this task and others, we have several new members of the Executive Committee: Najat Abdou-McFarland (NB), Emma Hebb (NS), Hazel Richardson (NB), Eileen Richmond (NS), Beth Toombs (PEI), and Dr. Brad Walters (NB). I would like to thank all of them for their volunteer commitment and I am really excited to continue to work to give Earth a Voice. Please keep in touch and thank you for supporting the Sierra Club Atlantic Canada Chapter, Christina MacLeod Chair of the Executive Committee Sierra Club Atlantic Canada Chapter

This issue of The Sandpiper was created by Communications Committee - Newsletter Subcommittee Gretchen Fitzgerald, Madison Van West, Tristan Sbrizzi, Brynn Horley Contributors Christina MacLeod, Janet M. Eaton, Ashley Highfield, Fred Winsor, Robert Christian, Tristan Sbrizzi, Madison Van West, Gretchen Fitzgerald, Heidi Verheul Editorial and Advertising Support; Photo Credit (Occupy Article) Najat Abdou-McFarland, Richard Sparkman; Zeynep Husrevoglu If you would like to contribute to our next issue, or have any comments or responses to content in this newsletter, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at: (902) 444-3113 Erratum: From the Summer 2011 edition of The Sandpiper regarding the Canada-Newfoundland offshore Petroleum Board’s (C-NLOPB) request for federal engagement in assessing oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: Unfortunately, the Board did not request federal engagement in an assessment to include the entire gulf ecosystem, but that the federal Environment Minister initiate a mediator or panel review for the area of the proposed drilling program. Our apologies for wishful editorializing!

Impacts of the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement on the Environment

) A T (CE

by Janet M. Eaton, Sierra Club of Canada

Click here for a primer on the CETA negotiations.

The negotiations for the CanadaEuropean Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are based on the intention to place corporate rights before social and economic justice, democratic governance, and ecological sustainability. Negotiations are progressing quickly with little public awareness of the finer details. Free trade agreements have been shown to foster unlimited growth and override environmental legislation. In the past, these agreements have contributed to the exploitation and depletion of natural resources, ecosystem collapse, loss of ecosystem services, a global food crisis, water scarcity and disturbing climate change. CETA would contribute to these effects by removing the obligation to follow the Canadian environmental standards that already exist, and eliminate the pressure to strengthen those standards in the future. Further, Canada would not be able to discriminate


between locally sourced and internationally sourced goods for fear of lawsuits by other CETA member countries. Not only does this threaten local jobs, the environmental impacts of international transportation are monumental. The beneficiaries of CETA as proposed are large transnational corporations, big banks, mining and energy companies, HMOs and the political elite. In fact, the push for the Canada-EU economic agreement has come from more than 100 of the largest corporations in both Europe and Canada. Canada is already criticized at the international level for our failure to take climate change seriously, and if we sign on to CETA, we will be left with little policy space to craft democratic legislation and regulations to protect the environment. For more information on CETA, see and trade-environment

To flush or not to… okay, I’ll stop there. You get the point. In today’s age of multiple waste receptacles and deciding which bin your empty bottles go into, most people aren’t aware that we should be more conscious about what goes down the toilet too. With the implementation of Halifax’s new wastewater treatment facility, you may be thinking, “can’t the plant take care of that for me?” Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” The most common items that are being flushed improperly are: tampons, tampon applicators, condoms, baby wipes, pharmaceuticals, and household cleaning chemicals. Most tampons are made of non-biodegradable materials. When flushed, they are likely to clog up your toilet or your municipal wastewater treatment facility. Some, despite their trip to the treatment plant, still make it out to sea only to be washed up on shorelines and beaches. This includes the plastic applicators – affectionately known as “the beach whistle.” A great environmentally friendly alternative to tampons is a little device called the “Diva Cup.” This is a reusable silicon cup that is safe for the environment and can be purchased at local shops or online. What should you do with your leftover prescriptions and medications? The safest way to dispose of these is to return any unused items to your local pharmacy where they will be disposed of properly. Wastewater treatment facilities are not able to treat for pharmaceuticals, and these can end up damaging lakes, rivers and oceans and the wildlife that inhabits them. Baby wipes contain chlorine and other harsh chemicals. Why not make your own with paper towel, aloe, vitamin E oil and witch hazel? These items are better for the environment and better for your baby.


So, next time you’re about to flush, ask yourself if there’s a better way to dispose of that product or an alternative to the product you are using.

Reporting from the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization 33rd Annual General Meeting, Sept. 19-23, 2011 by Fred Winsor, Ph.D. (Northwest Atlantic Fisheries History) Conservation Chair Sierra Club Canada Atlantic St. John’s, Newfoundland

The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) is comprised of the coastal states of Canada, the United States, France (St. Pierre) and Denmark (Greenland), as well as other states, or “contracting” parties, including Russia, the Ukraine, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the European Union, Japan, and South Korea. NAFO was created in 1979 with the disbandment of its predecessor, the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF), and with the declaration of 200-mile Economic Zones in the Northwest Atlantic.

As an Environmental Non-Governmental Organization observer to NAFO, Sierra Club was provided with five minutes to speak publicly to the


attendees at the opening of the meeting, and was encouraged to submit a proposal for consideration by NAFO. We proposed that the corals protection area, which was established in 2007, be expanded to include the high coral concentrations and groundfish spawning grounds situated just north of the existing area (see map on the next page). Efforts had been made in 2007 to include this area

but officials from DFO fought to keep the area open to commercial fisheries activities. This year’s meeting was somewhat of a departure from previous NAFO annual general meetings, as this one attempted to conduct much of its business in open forums with all contracting parties, delegations, and observers present. Previously, the deliberations were conducted behind closed doors, which prevented open discussion of key issues. The most important parts of the NAFO meetings, however, are the informal discussions with individuals from different countries. Countries such as Iceland, Norway, Russia, Denmark and the United States have experienced recoveries in their commercial fisheries and in the overall health of the oceans within their jurisdictions. The common thread running through these recoveries has been the establishment of large no-fishing zones and specific areas where fishing is permitted. In some cases this has yielded dramatic results, while others have experienced slow but steady recovery. Canada has shown slow but steady recovery in a section of ocean known as the haddock box – an area of approximately 4000 sq. nautical miles located south of Halifax.

Percentage of sets containing coral - NAFO 3O protection zone (All fisheries, All gear types, 2004 & 2005) 56ºW






to lobster fishing in the



200 Mile Limit






NAFOtypes Zones Gear (depth > 125m) NAFO 3O coral Longline protection zone

Fished, 0% coral bycatch

Maritimes. They also

0.1-25 % of sets Gillnet Percentage of sets with coral contain corals per 20x20 km cell

have gear restrictions,

Crab pot (depth > 125m & number of sets/cell >3) All trawl types 0 (otter, shrimp, twin & triple) 0 - 25

25.1-50 % of sets contain corals


fishing seasons, and 47ºN

50.1-75 % of sets contain 25 - 50 corals 50 - 75 75.1-100 % of sets contain 75 - 100corals NAFO closure Nov. 2007

NAFO has adopted some of these measures includ-


Proposed closure


ing closed areas to protect corals and sponges.


Halibut Channel


However, they still hold


to the notion that com-



closed areas.


mercial fish stocks can recover through the use of single species management – something which does not appear to have

44ºN 44ºN Small gorgonians: Acanella arbuscula, Anthothela grandiflora & Radicipes gracilis

Northwest Atlantic. One

Large gorgonians: Acanthogorgia armata, Keratoisis ornata, Paragorgia arborea, Paramuricea spp., Primnoa resedaeformis Antipatharian


worked anywhere in the of the challenges for Sierra Club along with other

Cup corals: Desmophyllum dianthus, Desmosmilia lymani, Flabellum alabastrum & Vaughnella margaritata


Sea pen:

environmental groups will be to continue asking

Pennatulacean Soft corals:

the tough questions and

Anthomastus grandiflorus, Capnella florida & Gersemia rubiformis






move NAFO’s agenda


towards the proven ocean

recovery strategies of no-take zones and specified

It was also interesting to hear examples of other

fishing zones. This has practical applications for

types of sustainable fisheries management. Iceland, for example, does not permit fishing on identified spawning grounds. In the Faroe Islands (Denmark), fishing for cod and other groundfish is governed by the number of days you can go fishing, similar

Canada, which to date has been very slow to establish large marine protected areas in the Gulf of St.

Lawrence and within Canada’s 200-mile limit on the continental shelf.

! o N k ac




rt C obe by R

Public response to the practice of hydraulic fracturing and to the New Brunswick government’s handling of the issue has made headlines in national media. The debate shows no sign of ebbing.

(Click here to read the Globe & Mail article from October 21, 2011) The Sandpiper contacted Hazel Richardson, executive committee member for Sierra Club Canada to comment on the issue and the events of this last summer. Sandpiper (SP): Tell us a little about yourself and your involvement in the Sierra Club. I’m involved with urban sustainability. I joined the Executive and the Water Committee at the AGA earlier this year. SP: What was it about this issue that prompted you to get involved?

It was the way that the government went ahead without waiting for public consultation to conclude, allowing the exploration companies themselves to set most of the safety regulations for their own work. SP: Where in the province is this taking place? This exploration agreement covers nearly 1/3 of the province, mostly in southern New Brunswick on the Fundy Shore area between St. John and Moncton. Fracking is currently taking place in the Elgin area. SP: Over the past few months, what have been the key events surrounding this issue? The protest in Fredericton on August 1st attracted about 1500 people, and there are continuing protests held outside the provincial legislature every Thursday. Calvin Tillman, from the documentary Gasland conducted a speaking tour of the province which was well attended.

There was an incident near the town of Stanley where people surrounded some seismic survey vehicles for two days. (Click here for more on the Stanley blockade.)

Recently the Sussex municipal council was going to hold a vote on whether to allow exploration within its jurisdiction but the company (Seismotion) went ahead without waiting for a decision to be made. (Click here for more on the incident and Mayor Ralph Carr’s response.)


SP: How can a person get involved in the fracking issue?

Contact one of the groups on Facebook to find out what is happening in your area such as Ban Fracking NB or NB is Concerned about Fracking. SP: What would you personally like to see happen, given the events of this past summer? The EPA in the United States will be releasing results of their study of fracking towards the end of 2012. I think waiting until then would be a good idea, when both sides could re-enter the conversation based on the scientific results of the study.

TWO HARBOURS: Comparative Timelines

In Halifax, the quality of the harbour directly affects our tourism industry, the prosperity of the Halifax Regional Municipality, and our reputation as “Canada’s Ocean Playground”. The harbour serves as a source of inspiration, a place for recreation and as the shipping and fishing gateway to the Atlantic. The image on the following page documents the evolution of the harbours of two industrialized North American cities: Boston and Halifax. The image depicts the paths each city has taken towards restoring the health of these harbours, both of which have a longstanding importance to their respective communities. Contrasting Paths Soon after their founding, both Halifax and Boston recognized the need to check the flow of pollution into their harbours. Boston prohibited the dumping of garbage into the harbour 20 years after the city was established in 1614, and Halifax prohibited the dumping of ‘slops’ into the streets within 50 years of its official designation in 1749. These protective legislations, while well-meaning, provided only meager protection for the harbours. By 1878, 100 million gallons of waste were dumped into Boston harbour daily. Similarly in Halifax, by 1924, 13 sewers were discharging raw sewage directly into the harbour. It was not until the 1940s60s that both cities saw the need for sewage treatment, which lead to a series of proposals and recommendations for treatment plants that would continue into the 1990s.

by Tristan Sbrizzi, Sierra Club of Canada, Atlantic Chapter

In 1972, strengthened US federal pollution regulations were enacted in the form of the Clean Water Act, which required secondary treatment of sewage outfalls. Boston’s failure to meet these new regulations led to an important turning point for Boston Harbour. In 1985, a Quincy City lawyer, jogging along the waterfront, stepped in raw-sewage. The city of Quincy took the Metropolitan District Commission to court for failing to meet the regulations of the Clean Water Act, and the city won. The following year, the same lawyer founded ‘Save the Harbour, Save the Bay’, an advocacy group that united concerned citizens, scientists, and prominent community members in the interest of restoring Boston Harbour. During the same period of time in Halifax, studies of the Harbour reported a ‘significant’ daily discharge of sewage and high fecal coliform levels.


By 1997, the steps taken toward restoring Boston Harbour had led to the return of native fish and porpoises to the surrounding waters. Unlike the ‘No swimming’ signs that line the Halifax waterfront, Boston Harbour is open to swimmers most summer days. (continued on page 10...)

Halifax Harbour: The Path from Here (...continued from page 9) Bostonians began to heal their harbour through the efforts of coordinated activism, community engagement, and the support of the Clean Water Act. Activist groups such as ‘Save the Harbour, Save the Bay’ and The Boston Harbour Association have made the harbour a priority for citizens by educating the public, working with local government, and encouraging recreation along the harbour waterfront.

Halifax Harbour is a mixed use waterway that must recognize all relevant stakeholders in its management. Harbour Solutions, a group created by the HRM and working from 1997-2010, has begun to lay the foundation for a restored waterfront by setting an agenda for issues affecting water quality. Their final summary report can be viewed here, but it is clear that we have a long way to go before the Halifax Harbour is a true reflection of the beauty and history of the Maritimes.

Looking for Answers in Other Worlds by Madison Van West

Margaret Atwood’s new assemblage of essays, titled In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, is in turns an autobiography, a literary history and a short story collection. While In Other Worlds requires knowledge of Atwood’s previous works to truly shine (especially The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood), there are some messages worth considering as we face environmental challenges in our every day lives.  

The initials “SF” in the title refer to “speculative fiction”; similar to “science fiction” except for the requisite fact that speculative fiction takes place in a world that could one day exist. There are two important ideas to be taken from Atwood’s exploration of this genre and what it means for our understanding of the world.


First, she argues that we need new myths. The movement of the planets, the Gods of the Greeks and the shamanistic beliefs of earlier societies no longer influence how we strive to live a good life. Science has unseated these earlier paradigms. However, science is unpopular as a belief system in itself because we as humans want to see ourselves as the centre of it all, and anyone with even a cursory knowledge of ecosystems will tell you that we are not. Enter speculative fiction - as a genre, it often reveals aspects of our current society worthy of criticism or praise. Through it we can learn about the devastating consequences of genetic manipulation and the destruction of ecosystems on the one hand, and the power of community and reconnecting with the earth on the other.   The second message has to do with the ideas of utopia/dystopia, and the connection between the two. Atwood explains that every idyllic society has a dark side. For us, the dark side of the pursuit of happiness in our society is the devastation wreaked upon our environment. It is important to remember that a perfect world is not attainable without sacrifice, but we cannot afford to let that sacrifice be the health of the Earth.   This collection is a fascinating read for fans of Atwood’s work and lovers of sci-fi/speculative fiction in general. Further, Atwood has printed a limited number of copies of this book on “second harvest” paper, which uses the straw waste from grain production. This alternative to traditional paper produces half the environmental impact of traditional printing. To find out more, visit

Visit and Support the Occupy Movement Nearest You by Janet M. Eaton, Sierra Club of Canada

It is now apparent that a dysfunctional global market, free trade, and the corporate-dominated system caused the financial collapse of 2008. While the majority of the population continues to bear the financial burden of the collapse, the “1%” have escaped unscathed, garnering unfettered power and massive wealth. It is also obvious that the “1%” have no aspirations to reform the system, and instead wish to continue with Business As Usual policies.

In stark contrast, the Occupiers around the world are not only calling out the source of their oppression on the many cardboard signs they hold high for the world to see, they are also modelling a new form of decisionmaking. Through small scale, participatory consensus-style democracy that stresses non-violence and leaderless groups, they meet in General Assemblies to discuss ideas and make proposals.

Eviction - Halifax, 11/11/11

I joined in with the [NS] Occupiers several times over the last month before they were forcefully removed on November 11. I chatted with facilitators, attended a couple of General Assemblies and offered workshops on the evolution of worldviews. I discussed the development of dominant paradigms throughout history, with reference to an emerging worldview that is beginning to shape political and economic choices in the present and for the future. The Occupiers represent this new paradigm. Rallys and Camps in Toronto

“For Rent” in Montreal

Take the time to educate yourself about the issues of the Occupy Movement. While many of the camps have been disassembled , the issues persist. Listen, participate, engage in dialogue, spread the word, and become an agent of global change. As champion of the anti-globalization movement Arundhati Roy says,


“Silence is indefensible!”

“Temperature Check” in NYC

The Locovore Spirit

This winter, spike your eggnog and your local economy. by Margaret Hoegg

Winter is a beautiful season in Atlantic Canada, a season of both solitude and festivity - a time to hibernate in the comforts of home, held captive by snowy squalls; embrace brilliant, sunny days in the crystallized wilderness; celebrate, feast and spend long winter nights with family and friends. Whether you prefer to curl up by the woodstove with a good book or watch a hockey game with friends, a festive drink can lend warmth and cheer to the cold season. Why not spread that cheer locally and support local small businesses and producers? Atlantic Canada is becoming better known for its wines and micro-brewed beer, but a few producers are getting creative with spirits and other alcoholic beverages. You can now readily find clear spirits, whisky, fruit brandies and more produced close to home and made with local ingredients. Most of your favourite winter drinks can be modified with a locovore twist! The recipes on the next page should keep you warm through to the spring thaw.

Local Spirit


Nova Scotia • Ironworks Distillery, Lunenburg - clear spirits, rum, apple brandy, fruit liqueurs • Jost Winery, Malagash - clear spirits • Glenora Distillery, Glenora, Cape Breton - whisky, rum New Brunswick • Winegarden, Baie Verte - schnapps, grappa, brandy and eau-de-vie Prince Edward Island • Honeydew Apiaries - mead • Myriad View Distillery, Rollo Bay - clear spirits, rum • Prince Edward Distillery, Souris - fruit infused vodka


½ cup Just Us fair-trade instant coffee granules 2 ½ cups Just Us fair-trade cane sugar 4 cups Water 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 pint Smuggler’s Cove Rum (Glenora Distillery) Add first four ingredients to a saucepan; bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Cool and add rum. Store in refrigerator. Delicious on ice, or mixed with milk, vodka, or ginger beer!

Snow Ball

2 oz brandy 1 oz simple syrup 1 egg Propeller ginger beer Pour brandy, simple syrup, and egg into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigourously to mix. Strain into an ice filled glass. Top with Propeller ginger beer.

Cranberry Cocktail

1 oz Ironworks Distillery Cranberry Liqueur Propeller Ginger Beer A few local cranberries Ice

Harvest Cocktail

1.5 oz fruit infused gin or vodka .5 oz apple brandy (Ironworks distillery) 1 oz local apple cider .5 oz lemon juice 2 dashes chocolate Bitters Propeller ginger beer cinnamon stick for garnish lemon peel for garnish

Rum and Eggnog


1.5 oz Smuggler’s Cove Rum (Glenora Distillery) homemade eggnog with local eggs & Margaret Hoegg is a dairy products Just Us fair-trade cinnamon writer and editor living in the Annap-

olis Valley, Nova Scotia, where it is a pleasure to be a locovore! You can follow her on Twitter @the_moggest.

Dear Sierra Club members, Much to the dismay of my friends, I love to see the weather turn cool and the snow coating our streets, parks and houses. Here in Halifax, snow never seems to stay long – you need to race to get your skis out if you want to take advantage of the snow. If you wait ‘til morning, chances are it’s turned to slush. Where I grew up in northern Newfoundland, winter was a more permanent condition: the mounds of snow were part of the landscape for months: you learned to navigate the drifts, you understood its flavours & textures – from fluffy to sticky to crunchy. Building snow forts, trudging uphill and sliding down superfast, jumping off the roof after a really big storm, even the constant smell of soggy mittens encrusted with chunks of melted snow… everyone should have such memories of winter. The only time I really started to hate winter (and understand why so many people do) was when I got my first car. I confess that I was commuting to work every day. In winter, this became an unwanted adventure: partly because my car was a bit of a beater, but also because of the feeling every winter driver dreads: when your treads slip and you have lost control. When I cycled every day – across the dreaded, windy MacDonald Bridge in Halifax, no less – I never had this sense of big power gone wrong. As this edition of the newsletter is released, UN climate talks will have wrapped up in Durban, South Africa. The point of the talks is to prevent a similar loss of control: ensuring we prevent global climate chaos. Canada goes into these meetings as the only country to have reneged on its commitment to meet Kyoto targets. On the plus side, developing nations have huge potential to grow their economies without increasing their greenhouse gas emissions. The BP spill of two summers ago and the impacts of fracking on human health and water have shown that there need to be limits to our addiction to fossil fuels – that the petroleum industry needs to get out of the drivers seat. People are beginning to impose those limits from the grassroots. It has been truly inspiring to see people of all political stripes take action on fracking in the last few months. The decision by US President Obama to re-think the Keystone XL pipeline (which Prime Minister Harper declared a “no-brainer”) is another case of shifting down from fossil fuels. Few people know that because of energy efficiency and the economic downturn, demand for oil in the US is actually in decline. And China is at a point in its history where it can decide to show leadership on climate change.


Based on past performance, Canada’s Environment Minister will play an obstructive role in climate negotiations. In spite of our federal position, I hope other countries will pull us kicking and screaming into a new global agreement to combat climate change and see us past Kyoto, which ends in 2012. Those powerful winter memories make me believe we can avert climate chaos. We can help developing countries grow in a way that is clean and efficient. And we can stop the dreaded feeling that we have lost control. We can take the wheel - or better yet, the handlebars – back. And while we are at it, maybe we can save winter too. Now where the heck did I put my skis…. Hoping for snow & more, Gretchen Fitzgerald Director of the Atlantic Chapter, Sierra Club of Canada

I am a nocturnal cousin of the shark. My eggs are commonly referred to as mermaid’s purses, and it can take almost 2 years for my baby to hatch from an egg.

I am very slow growing, reaching maturity between 7 and 13 years of age, and I can live for up to 30 years. Sometimes folks mistake me for a stingray. I am an endangered species that is often caught as bycatch.

Profile for Sierra Club Canada Atlantic Chapter

The Sandpiper - Winter 2011  

Read up on the latest issues of Clean Water, CETA, OccupyNS, Local Spirits and more, all going on around the Canadian Atlantic

The Sandpiper - Winter 2011  

Read up on the latest issues of Clean Water, CETA, OccupyNS, Local Spirits and more, all going on around the Canadian Atlantic