eMERGE Guelph

Blogs

Posted October 23, 2020

Can we save lives with electric vehicles? Plus the results of the Guelph Attitudes on EVs Survey

eMERGE was delighted to host: Helen Doyle, Laura Minet, Brianna Wilson and Patricia Butt who shared with us their latest research expertise on the health impact of EVs in GTHA and Guelph: Are EVs actually better for our health and the environment?

Dr. Laura Minet, from the University of Toronto, shared her findings from the report, analyzing the health impacts on EVs and cleaner trucks in GTHA and how they can clear the air by reducing pollution. Helen Doyle from the Ontario Public Health Association showed that cleaner vehicles can be a pathway to cleaner air, improved public health, and reduced climate change impacts.  eMERGE Guelph was honoured to be part of the review committee for the report Clearing the Air, written by the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) Environmental Defence Canada and the University of Toronto.

While some major cities, including Guelph, have celebrated a recent reduction in air pollution related to COVID-19, a pandemic is not the solution we need to reduce air pollution. Brianna Wilson and Patricia Butt, from the University of Guelph – CESI (Community Engaged Scholarship Institute), discussed their new study: Guelph Attitudes on EVs.

We know that there are concerns about the environmental and social impacts of EVs. We’ll be hosting a series of events to delve into that issue in the coming months. This event kicks that series off – looking at the tailpipe health impacts.

A recording of the webinar can be found on our YouTube Channel here!

The slide deck for this webinar is now available here.

Overview

Air pollution causes more than 3,000 premature deaths every year in the GTHA – and that affects Guelph, too. One of the biggest sources of this air pollution is vehicle traffic.

This estimate is based on exposure to 3 pollutants – fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and Ozone (O3). Air pollution is linked to lung cancer, respiratory conditions like asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and cardiovascular conditions like angina, heart attack, hypertension and stroke.

Clearing the Air: How Electric Vehicles And Cleaner Trucks Can Reduce Pollution, Improve Health And Save Lives

And what about Guelph? We can learn a lot from this report and look at it with the lens of another new study by the University of Guelph – CESI (Community Engaged Scholarship Institute) with eMERGE: ‘Guelph Attitudes on EVs’.

What does a shift to cleaner vehicles look like?

Five scenarios in the report compare the health benefits of reducing traffic pollution from cars and SUVs, trucks, and transit buses. Each scenario explores a specific mix of cleaner vehicles, and how this shift impacts air pollution, health, and greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

___________________________________

About Our Speakers

Helen Doyle| BSc, CPHI(C), Ontario Public Health Association( OPHA)

Helen Doyle is chair of the Ontario Public Health Association’s (OPHA) Environmental Health Work Group, working with public health partners to promote and advocate for action on environmental health issues including: climate change, air quality, water quality, housing, built and natural environments and children’s environmental health. She is a member of the OPHA Board of Directors. Helen is also on the Board of Directors for the Windfall Ecology Centre, a Green Communities Canada non-profit organization that delivers environmental programs and services in York Region and Toronto. Helen is a certified Public Health Inspector and retired from York Region Public Health in 2018 following a very rewarding and exciting 30 year career in environmental health and public health management.

Laura Minet | Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow at University of Toronto

Laura is a PhD Candidate in Transportation Engineering at the University of Toronto (UofT) and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences at UofT. passionate by the issues related to the environment. She works on a variety of projects ranging from the presence of chemical compounds in food packaging to the impacts of traffic emissions on urban air quality, population exposure and health. She is thrilled to be part of the The Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP) and is excited to share her passion for science and engineering. In her spare time, Laura loves hiking, camping and traveling!

Brianna Wilson | Ph.D. student, University of Guelph

Brianna Wilson is a PhD student in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Guelph. She has worked at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) as a Graduate Student Research Assistant since May 2019. Her research interests include violence against women prevention and community-based research practices. Brianna is passionate about conducting applied research that is useful for community organizations to mobilize and make positive social change.

Patricia | Research Assistant, Community Engaged Scholarship Institute

Patricia is a Research Assistant at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute. She is a graduate student in the Rural Planning and Development program at the University of Guelph.

___________________________________

Resources

___________________________________

Sponsors of this event:

___________________________________

Our Upcoming Event

Register here for our event next week entitled “Salty Softeners, Salty River.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is eMERGE-100RE-logo.jpg
No Comments
Posted October 8, 2020

Environmental Racism: There’s Something in the Water

eMERGE was delighted to host Dr. Ingrid Waldron, who discussed the legacy of environmental racism in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada.

She shared her work in supporting the Pictou Landing First Nation in Nova Scotia that led to her award winning book: ” There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities”. The book was followed by a documentary of the same name by actor Ellen Page. The film went on to be highlighted at TIFF and now can be found on Netflix (see below).

Kween, the Executive Director of the Guelph Black Heritage Society and Bruce Weaver joined Dr. Waldron in discussing Pictou Landing while looking at the issue of racism locally – environmental and otherwise.

Environmental racism is real and must be part of our fight against climate change. Achieving environmental justice must include social justice.

A recording of the webinar can be found on our YouTube Channel here!

The slide deck for this webinar is now available here.

Overview

Environmental devastation is most often felt by marginalized people. In Canada that means Indigenous, Blacks and other people of colour. The pattern has – and continues – to repeat itself.

It is environmental racism. It’s blatant and systemic.

One of the most egregious cases in the country is on the Pictou Landing First Nation in Nova Scotia. Here, a pulp and paper mill dumped toxic effluent directly into Boat Harbour, on the reserve, for over 50 years. It’s been devastating for the community.

“In Canada, your postal code determines your health,” says Dr. Waldron of Dalhousie University in Halifax. “we know that where you live has bearing on your well-being. Indigenous and black communities are the ones that tend to be located near hazardous sites.”

With deep roots in Nova Scotia, Ellen Page found it difficult to sit by and watch things get worse. “You see how these issues are life or death, literally,” she said to Time Magazine. “The lack of response by the government and how much individuals have been silenced in these situations is absolutely just atrocious and appalling.”

The Book: There’s Something in the Water

The Film Trailer: There’s Something in the Water (now available on Netflix)

___________________________________

About Our Speakers

Dr. Ingrid Waldron| Ph.D., Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University

Dr. Ingrid Waldron is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University, the Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project) and the Flagship Co-Lead of the Improving the Health of People of African Descent. Her research, teaching, community leadership and advocacy work are examining and addressing the health and mental health impacts of structural inequalities within the environment, public infrastructure, health and mental health care, and child welfare in Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and refugee communities.

As the Director of the ENRICH Project over the last 8 years, Dr. Waldron has been investigating the socio-economic, political, and health effects of environmental racism in Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities. The ENRICH Project formed the basis to Dr. Waldron’s first book There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities, which received the 2020 Society for Socialist Studies Errol Sharpe Book Prize and the 2019 Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing.

The 2020 Netflix documentary There’s Something in the Water is based on Dr. Waldron’s book and was co-produced by Waldron, actress Ellen Page, Ian Daniel, and Julia Sanderson, and co-directed by Page and Daniel.

Dr. Waldron is currently developing the first national anti-environmental racism coalition that will bring together partners from multiple sectors to address and advocate around environmental racism, climate change, health inequities, and other social inequalities in Canada.

For more information on the work of Dr. Waldron, follow these links:

Kween| Executive Director, Guelph Black Heritage Society
Within the BIPOC (Black, Indegenious and Person of Colour) community in Guelph, Kween advocates for the rights of African and Caribbean people as Executive Director for Guelph Black Heritage Society and works closely on anti-racism training, social justice and policy change. She was the leader of Guelph’s June 6th BLM Protest and uses her platform to educate her community and elected officials. Dedicated to Carnival, helping promote black excellence through Caribana while giving her time back to the high schools during Black History Month.
Kween is a dance teacher, business owner, cannabis educator and activist. She grew up in Guelph attending the University of Guelph. She then migrated to Toronto graduating as Valedictorian from the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. She now owns two businesses: The Heels Academy and The Kween Company, teaches Soca/Dancehall and Afro at the University of Guelph and is the team coordinator and choreographer for The Guelph Nighthawks Flight Crew. She is honoured to hold an artistic residency for 2020/2021 with Guelph Dance to expand her creative ideas for the Black Community through dance.
She works actively with AHLOT on the Cannabis Curation Committee and Lyte Clinic as a Patient Educator and additionally gives back through her cannabis advocacy for the BIPOC community.

Bruce Weaver| Retired Teacher
Bruce Weaver is a retired elementary school teacher. He and his wife have lived in Guelph since 1983.  Bruce has been active in indigenous circles since his discovery of his native heritage about 10 years ago.  He currently facilitates a men’s circle, is a fire keeper for the community and is a member of Seven Generations Forward, as well as working with the Guelph Public Library to develop stronger relations with the local indigenous community. For the last 4 years, Bruce has facilitated the Kairos Blanket Exercise with local school boards, Faith groups and the University of Guelph and Ryerson University.  Bruce is an active member of Nature Guelph and a keen birder.

___________________________________

Resources

The Book: There’s Something in the Water

The Film Trailer: There’s Something in the Water (now available on Netflix)

___________________________________

Sponsors of this event:

___________________________________

Our Upcoming Event

Register here for our event next week entitled “ Clearing the Air.

No Comments
Posted October 1, 2020

Ontario: undermining Guelph’s Climate Goals

Ontario: Undermining Guelph’s Climate Goals

Examining the alternatives

We need a Guelph City Council resolution.

eMERGE Guelph along with nine Guelph organizations were delighted to host Jack Gibbons from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. In this webinar Jack shed a light on how Guelph can once again lead in fighting climate change after long record of city being in the forefront during the coal phase out. Jack drew a road map on how we can exploit new alternative cost effective clean energy sources that will generate economic and social wealth. He also showed us the opportunities to create a more prosperous, healthy and equitable society when transitioning away from fossil fuels to a renewable energy economy that has clear benefits for people and natural ecosystems.

This event was co- sponsored by 9 Guelph environmental groups that want the City of Guelph to show climate leadership once again – this time to phase out the the burning of natural gas and embrace clean energy alternatives to Ontario’s energy plans.

A recording of the webinar can be found on our YouTube Channel here!

The slide deck for this webinar is now available here.

Overview

The Government of Ontario is about to make it much harder for Guelph to reach its climate change goals. To replace the aging Pickering Nuclear Station (scheduled to close in 2024), the Province plans to ramp up greenhouse gas pollution from gas-fired power plants over 300% by 2025 and over 400% by 2040. Gas can be comparable to coal in climate impacts. Ontario will be cancelling about 30% of the improvements from the coal phase-out.

Guelph has two aggressive climate goals: 100% renewable energy (in all city facilities and equipment) and net zero carbon for the entire city by 2050 – both thwarted by this one provincial action.

It’s started: The Province recently bought 3 gas plants (for $2.8 billion). Enbridge plans a new pipeline through Hamilton to import fracked gas (a particularly “dirty” type) from the United States.

Fortunately, there is a better way to keep our lights on. We can meet our 2030 Ontario climate target, Guelph’s 2050 targets, and lower our electricity bills by phasing-out gas-fired power plants by 2030 and embracing lower cost, cleaner options.

Here’s how:

● Bring back energy efficiency programs. They are quick-to-deploy and low-cost. Maximize return by paying up to the same price per kWh for energy efficiency measures as we pay for nuclear power (e.g., up to 9.5 cents per kWh).

● Support renewable energy projects, now much cheaper than nuclear power, and retaining dollars in communities.

● Accept Quebec’s offer of low-cost 24/7 power from its massive James Bay waterpower system. Quebec’s reservoirs are like a giant battery to backstop made-in-Ontario renewable power, eliminating the need to use gas-fired power plants. James Bay First Nations support exports to Ontario and would benefit financially.

● Place an interim cap of 2.5 megatonnes per year on Ontario’s gas plants’ greenhouse gas pollution and develop a plan to phase out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030. Use COVID-19 stimulus funding to fast track these approaches across Ontario

Our city council needs to uphold our climate goals and make it clear that Ontario needs to re-focus its energy and climate plan for the sake of every community. . City council can use its influence at the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO – our mayor is the chair) and at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO – our city is a long-standing member).

Like our city’s bold resolution on the coal phase out – Council must send a strong message to Queens Park: burning more fossil fuel in an ‘acknowledged climate emergency’ is a recipe for disaster.

Organizations in support of the City of Guelph taking bold action against more climate change pollution are listed below.

  • Council of Canadians-Guelph Chapter
  • eMERGE Guelph
  • Extinction Rebellion Guelph
  • Guelph Green New Deal
  • Guelph Wellington Social Justice Coalition
  • KAIROS Guelph
  • Ontario Clean Air Alliance
  • Transition Guelph
  • Wellington Water Watchers

___________________________________

About Our Speaker

_______________________________________________________________________

Jack Gibbons| Chair of the Ontario Air Alliance

Jack Gibbons is Chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. Jack has worked on energy and environmental issues in Ontario for more than 40 years. His previous positions include: Economist, Energy Probe; Project Manager, Ontario Energy Board; Senior Economic Advisor, Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy; and Commissioner, Toronto Hydro.

Jack has studied economics at the University of Toronto (B.A.), Queen’s University (M.A.) and the University of British Columbia.

_______________________________________________________________________

Sponsors of this event:

_______________________________________________________________________

Our Upcoming Event

Register here for our event next week entitled “ Environmental Racism.

No Comments
Posted September 24, 2020

Guelph, it is not enough: Canadian and Global Best Practices – Dr. Karen Farbridge

eMERGE Guelph was delighted to host Dr. Karen Farbridge as she provided insight into best practices in community energy planning from Canada and around the world. She showed how municipalities are stepping up and are accelerating the transition to a low-carbon and energy efficient economies.

This event was the second part of two separate webinars that are designed to embrace solutions and mitigate the challenges faced by communities in our fight against climate change. Part 1 featured Rob Kerr as he shared strategies on how other successful Ontario communities are driving climate and energy action last Tuesday, Sep 15 .

A recording of the Webinar can be found on our Youtube Channel here!

The slide deck for this webinar is now available here.

Overview

The shock of the COVID-19 pandemic provides an excellent opportunity to transition to low-carbon, energy efficient communities through the use of stimulus funding and legislation.

Well over 400 communities in Canada, and over 50 in Ontario, have completed Community Energy Plans. Many of them are now demonstrating continuing implementation efforts driven by aggressive GHG (greenhouse gas) and energy efficiency targets coupled with community demands for climate emergency declarations.

About Our Speaker

Dr. Farbridge has over 25 years of experience in change-making in the non-profit, public, and private sectors. She went from grassroots organizing with her early work at the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), to a PhD in Zoology, and then she became the first female Mayor in Guelph, after spending years on City Council.

She has a longstanding passion for building sustainable and resilient communities. She has been a leader in various community innovation projects including smart growth, downtown revitalization, open government, neighbourhood development, community wellbeing, resource and natural heritage protection, community energy and municipal governance. She is a respected speaker who has worked to educate on matters of urban interest and community resiliency to broad and diverse audiences both locally and internationally.

Karen is an urban connector that helps communities and governments across the country fight climate change in practical and achievable ways.

Dr. Karen Farbridge received the eMERGE Climate Change Hero award in 2019.

______________________________________________

Our Upcoming Event

Register here for our event next week entitled “ Ontario: undermining Guelph’s Climate Goals.

No Comments
Posted September 21, 2020

It is not enough: How successful communities fight Climate Change- Rob Kerr

eMERGE Guelph was delighted to host Rob Kerr as he shared strategies on how other successful Ontario communities are driving climate and energy action. He showed us how to reach ambitious climate targets by establishing the necessary building blocks.

This event was part of two separate webinars that are designed to embrace solutions and mitigate the challenges faced by communities in our fight against climate change. Part 2 will feature Dr. Karen Farbridge sharing best practices across Canada and around the world on Wednesday, Sep 23 .

Register here for Dr. Karen Farbridge event next week.

_____________________________________________

A recording of the Webinar can be found on our Youtube Channel here!

The slide deck for this webinar is now available here.

Overview

The shock of the COVID-19 pandemic provides an excellent opportunity to transition to low-carbon, energy efficient communities through the use of stimulus funding and legislation.

Well over 400 communities in Canada, and over 50 in Ontario, have completed Community Energy Plans. Many of them are now demonstrating continuing implementation efforts driven by aggressive GHG (greenhouse gas) and energy efficiency targets coupled with community demands for climate emergency declarations.

______________________________________________

About Rob Kerr

Rob’s 40-year career focuses on transitioning society to a low carbon economy while reducing the impacts of climate change. He does this through policy development and implementation of projects and programs in the municipal and community space.

To get there, he wears many hats including: Senior Associate with QUEST, Canada’s leading organization in advocating for Smart Energy Communities, Managing Director of Garforth International Canada Inc. and his independent consultancy – Robert J. Kerr + Associates.

His work experience has been a balance between the private and public sector, having worked with the Honeywell, Hydro Quebec, Toronto Hydro Energy Services Inc., and Energy Advantage. Rob has held senior positions at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability providing policy and program support to cities around the world committed to mitigation and adaptation activities related to climate change. There, he developed expertise in managing inter-governmental relationships – from his advocacy work at the global level (starting with the UN Climate Conference in Kyoto, Japan in 1997) – to ongoing advisory relationships with the Canadian federal and provincial governments as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He has also worked with the cities of Mississauga and of course Guelph.

No Comments
Posted July 13, 2020
eMERGE has partnered with other local organizations (see list below) asking Guelph City Council to demand positive climate action from the province. Ontario is planning significant increases in gas plant pollution that will make it very hard for Guelph to make its climate goals.

Join us in emailing city council on phasing out fossil fuel burning. (Click: Send email to City Council below)
Ontario is making it really hard for Guelph to reach climate goals

Dear members of Guelph City Council,

The provincial government is about to make it much harder for Guelph to reach its climate change goals. In fact, Ontario wants to ramp up greenhouse gas pollution from gas-fired power plants by more than 300% by 2025 and by more than 400% by 2040.

Our city has two aggressive climate goals: 100% renewable energy (in all city facilities and equipment) and net zero carbon for the entire city by 2050. This one provincial move will set us back – again – in our fight against climate change.

To fuel this massive increase in climate pollution, the province recently bought 3 gas plants (for $2.8 billion). What’s more, Enbridge hopes to build a new pipeline through Hamilton to import fracked gas (a type of gas that can be as dirty as coal) from the U.S.

Ontario is set to throw away close to a third of the pollution reductions we achieved by phasing out dirty coal. It will kill this success by ramping up gas-fired generation to replace the aging Pickering Nuclear Station (scheduled to close in 2024).

Fortunately, there is a better way to keep our lights on. We can meet our 2030 (provincial) climate target and lower our electricity bills by phasing-out our gas-fired power plants by 2030 and embracing lower cost and cleaner options.

Here is how we can do it:Bring back energy efficiency programs that are quick-to-deploy and low-cost. We can maximize efficiency efforts by paying up to the same price per kWh for energy efficiency measures as we are currently paying for power from nuclear plants (e.g., up to 9.5 cents per kWh).Return Ontario to leadership in developing increasingly low-cost renewable energy resources. It makes no sense to ignore our lower cost options for keeping our lights on while investing in high-cost nuclear rebuilds. We should support renewable energy projects that have costs that are below what we are paying for nuclear power and work with communities to make the most of these economic opportunities.Accept Quebec’s offer of low-cost 24/7 power from its massive waterpower system. Quebec has offered power at less than one-half the cost of re-building our aging Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Stations and Ontario can only benefit by making a long-term deal with its green energy-rich neighbour.  Quebec’s system of reservoirs can also be used like a giant battery to backstop made-in-Ontario renewable power, eliminating the need to use gas-fired power plants. First Nations of James Bay affected by these hydro systems are supportive of exports to Ontario and will benefit financially from this approach.Put in place an interim cap of 2.5 megatonnes per year on our gas plant’s greenhouse gas pollution and develop a plan to phase out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030 to ensure Ontario meets its climate targets.Use covid stimulus funding to fast track these approaches across Ontario    
Our city council needs to uphold our aggressive climate goals and make it clear that Ontario needs to re-focus its energy and climate plan. While some might say this is a provincial issue, Guelph has more power than we think on this one. City council can use its influence at the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO – our mayor is the chair) and at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO – our city is a long-standing member) to change this backward move.

Council members: will you demand positive climate action from the province on phasing out fossil fuel burning  – not failure?


Sincerely,

Evan Ferrari, eMERGE Guelph Sustainability
Lin Grist, Guelph Wellington Coalition for Social Justice 
Donna Jennison, Green New Deal Guelph
Jeff Overton, Extinction Rebellion Guelph
Arlene Slocombe, Wellington Water Watchers
Elizabeth Snell, KAIROS Guelph
Ruth Szaefer, Firdays for the Future Guelph
Steve Tedesco, Transition Guelph


https://www.guelphtoday.com/letters-to-the-editor/letter-province-about-to-make-it-harder-for-guelph-to-meet-its-climate-goals-2559240?fbclid=IwAR2J-SiQ7x2PIFQ7TAf8t60CXuZRp8946wXTZvJBZlR9ygpPeropqhNEYGQ

Write your own email to Guelph City Council. The following is a list of City Councillors email addresses:
No Comments
Posted June 5, 2020

________________________
This event is part of a new virtual series designed to embrace solutions and mitigate the challenges in our fight against climate change.
________________________

And the winner is Leanne Caron Piper. Congrats!!

The ‘eMERGE EV Street Fight’ resolved: “My EV is better than yours” amongst four local politicians. Ballots cast by the public showed that an overwhelming 68.4 % voted that Councillor Leanne Caron Piper has the best EV. Congratulations Leanne, you trash talked them all with your pink boxing gloves, black eye and stitches!

As promised, this virtual Street Fight was … all fight…all EVs…ONLY FUN without trash politics. Luckily, moderator and retired superior court justice, Cas Herold didn’t have to use the penalty box last night as all politicians were respectful and well behaved. No punishment necessary, No abuser(s) caught.

_____________________________________________

Special thanks to retired judge: Cas Herold for moderating this fight and making it a big success! We also thank our street fighters: Mike Schreiner, James Gordon, Phil Allt and Leanne Caron Piper for being our EV Champions. 

eMERGE Street Fight Channel here

_____________________________________________

recording of the Webinar can be found on our Youtube Channel here!

The joint slide deck from eMERGE and Environmental Defence is now available here.

Overview

Imagine a virtual Street Fight with politicians ‘trash talking’ to prove: ‘My EV is better than yours!’

We know politicians are up for a good fight. They tend to have different views of the world and tastes in EVs. Now four of them sharpened their ‘trash talking’ skills to one up each other.

They fought to brag that:

“My EV is better than yours!”

All of these politicians got rid of gas cars and moved to electric. That one decision dropped their greenhouse gas emissions by 4 tonnes per year. Pretty impressive eh? And, yes, they also walk, bike and take advantage of public transit as well.

About the Moderator

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

Cas Herold | Moderator

Retired Justice of the Superior Court of Ontario, Cas Herold, will moderate the virtual Street Fight. While he has an impressive academic and legal background, even in retirement, he served in a public capacity as a member of the Ontario Review Board. eMERGE is honoured to have him as our moderator for the evening.

_______________________________________________________________________

About our Street Fighters

They’ve decided to start early with intimidation tactics. Some are pretty scary while others maybe not so much. But we wouldn’t want to influence your decision too much. Instead we’ll give them a bit of a ‘poke in the eye with a sharp stick’ to help create the ambiance for the evening.

Apologies in advance to the grammar cops.

_______________________________________________________________________

Mike Schreiner | MPP for Guelph, Leader of the Green Party Of Ontario

… and Street Fighter

Mike calls this: “Hold my beer while I scare the others”look .

Really?

We bet his mom would tell him to wipe that smirk off his face. We’re pretty sure he’d comply in a hurry!

In fact, Mike’s been known in political circles as being a ‘nice guy’.

A nice guy? In politics?

Recently, super top secret reliable sources informed the eMERGE Intelligence Team (ya that’s a thing) that he’s actually in the running for the Lady Byng Trophy at Queens Park.

Wouldn’t a hockey team’s enforcer have a better chance winning a Street Fight than a nice guy Lady Byng Trophy winner wannabe!

Could this be a deceptively devious diversionary tactic from a street savvy kid that grew up “in the hood”of a prairie family farm?

We have to wonder what the odds makers do with Mike.

_______________________________________________________________________

James Gordon | Guelph City Councillor, Ward 2

… and Street Fighter

Councillor Gordon’s childhood is steeped in the underbelly of downtown Rockwood’s back alleys. Those creepy streets made him into the ruffian he is today.

Leaving all that behind, he paddled his canoe down the Eramosa River to the megalopolis of Guelph. There he found his true calling: the mean streets of politics.

He claims to have street cred. The last politician that gave him a hard time can be seen in the back seat of his EV – lacking a heart beat. That yellow haired guy in his car looks surprisingly like a leader from south of the boarder!

In case you didn’t notice, Gordon’s bloodcurdling, sartorial opulence is topped off with a frightening fedora (it better be a Guelph Biltmore!). His always fashionable bib is strategically placed on his chest to catch the big chunks that miss his mouth. All of this is grounded with a pair of recently sharpened pointy toed spit kickin cowboy boots.

Look out Lady Byng Trophy wannabe. These boots are made for kicking!

(next time someone should tell him to wash his car for a photo shoot)

____________________________________________________________________

Phil Allt | Guelph City Councillor, Ward 3

… and Street Fighter

With some guys it’s all about the tools. Or is it the big-boy-toys?

Allt shows up for the photo shoot with an EV that cuts four tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year compared to a gas car. He’s doing the right thing. Right? Then he adorns himself with a loud, gas guzzling, two stroke, polluting chainsaw.

What was he thinking?

He could have stopped with just the ax, but noooo. His opponents are gonna have a field day with this one. Even Nice guy Mike is gonna ‘smirk’ all over him for that move.

However, Gordon’s spit kickin boots would be toast in seconds with that disgusting polluting ICE (internal combustion engine) chainsaw.

We’ll have to watch out for any other toys this lumberjack wannabe brings to the Street Fight.

We’ve all seen the network journalist reporting from home without wearing pants. Along that line, Allt didn’t get the official City of Guelph memo entitled: During a pandemic always check for pants before leaving the house.

_______________________________________________________________________

Leanne Caron Piper | Guelph City Councillor, Ward 5

… and Street Fighter

We think the boys should be worried. Really worried.

There aren’t many politicians that can kick above their heads.

Think it’s easy? Go ahead, try it, we dare you!

She did Karate for some time along with gymnastics and still does the splits. However, super top secret reliable sources informed the eMERGE Intelligence Team (ya them again) that the splits are usually easier for her if Tequila is involved.

Can you say “kick ass political Street Fighter with pink boxing gloves”. That has a catchy ring to it doesn’t it?

Her last street fight left her with a black eye and stitches. Take a close look. If you think that’s nasty, you should see what happened to the 6 guys that disagreed with her.

_______________________________________________________________________

Acronyms that will help you:– ICE: internal combustion engine- EV: electric vehicle

_______________________________________________________________________

Our Sponsor for this event:

_______________________________________________________________________

No Comments
Posted May 28, 2020

________________________

This webinar is part of a new virtual series designed to embrace solutions and mitigate the challenges in our fight against climate change.

________________________

Overview

While Covid-19 has likely caused a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, we know the structural issues that caused emissions to rise in 2018 continue to exists. Going back to business as usual will not be an option as emissions would continue to get worse.

What happened and how can we prevent this trend from continuing?

Sarah Buchanan from Environmental Defence discussed the impacts that structural systems have on increasing our GHG emissions in Ontario. For more details Read her blog here.

‘Why are Ontario’s GHGs going up instead of down?’ was held on May 27, 2020. A recording of the Webinar can be found on our Youtube Channel here

The joint slide deck from eMERGE and Environment Defence is now available here.

Speakers: 

  • Sarah Buchanan, Clean Economy Program Manager at Environment Defence
  • Evan Ferrari, Executive Directer at eMERGE Guelph

Special thanks to out our sponsors and friends of eMERGE for their outstanding support.


About the presenter

Sarah Buchanan | Program Manager, Clean Economy @sbuchananTO

Sarah began her environmental activism at age six, when she proudly began wearing a t-shirt with the word RECYCLE spelled out in silver sequins. Sarah has worked for the last 15 years in advocacy, media, and politics in both Ontario and British Columbia. She was inspired to join Environmental Defense’s team through a desire to drive swift action on climate change, and now works with people, businesses, and government to advocate for climate solutions in Ontario. Read Sarah’s blogs here.here.


1- Minute Feedback

To provide better webinars we’d appreciate your input into a 1 minute (we promise, only 1 minute) of your time. Whether you joined the webinar or not, your input into this survey will be helpful: click here to complete it.


Here is what’s coming up:

  • 7:00 PM Thursday June 4, 2020 – Street Fight – an event that includes a judge (a real one) and a street fight (another real one). Mark your calendars and stay tuned. Register here!
  • Stay tuned for highlights of a ground braking southern Ontario Air Pollution Report on June 23, 2020. Stay tuned for more information!

No Comments
Posted May 11, 2020

Our first in a series of  EV Webinars was designed for women and by women. The setting was informative, casual and fun without getting too far down in the weeds.

Over 30 engaged participants and 6 empowering female speakers joined us on May 7, 2020 for: Women’s EV Night

For those that were unable to make it you can find a recording of the Webinar on our Youtube Channel here

Here are some resources that can help us all consider buying an EV:

The slide deck from eMERGE and Plug ‘N Drive are now available here

Sincere thanks to our captivating speakers: 

  • Cara Clairman Chief Executive Officer, Plug’n Drive
  • Dav Cvitkovic, Chief Operating Officer, Plug’n Drive
  • Shirley Hunt, eMERGE EV Ambassaror
  • Lisa Mactaggart, eMERGE EV Ambassador

And special thanks also go out to Indu Arora, eMERGE Board Member and moderator for the evening. We have provided an overview below.


Overview

It appears to be a man’s world when it comes to buying EVs (electric vehicles). In fact, up to 70% are purchased by men, despite typical car ownership falling along typical gender lines: 50% women and 50% men.

We know that more women tend to be early ‘environmental adopters’ than men. That doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to EVs .

In this webinar, 100% of our experts are women.

Over 8,000 new vehicles are sold in Guelph every year, but very few are electric. Every EV that’s purchased (instead of a gas or diesel vehicle) reduces greenhouse gas emissions by over 4 tonnes per year. That’s massive.

This webinar is designed to help ‘normalize’ the idea of new and used EV ownership for women. 

We’re bringing together two of the country’s leading experts on EVs: Cara Clairman, Chief Executive Officer and Dav Cvitkovic Chief Operating Officer from Plug’nDrive. They led the discussion by two Guelph EV owners; Shirley Hunt and Lisa MacTaggart who shared their local EV experiences.

The aim of this webinar is to make women feel more comfortable in taking EV ownership seriously. Consider it an EV icebreaker that will prepare you for some of our upcoming webinars including an EV 101 session with our friends at Plug’n Drive scheduled on May 13, 2020. Please note Registration is required for attending the EV 101 session.

Our Panelists:

Cara Clairman, President and CEO, Plug ‘N Drive

CARA CLAIRMAN is President and CEO of Plug’n Drive, a non-profit that is accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) to maximize their environmental and economic benefits.

Cara has taken Plug’n Drive from an idea to a thriving non-profit, recognized as a leader in the EV space. In 2018 Plug’n Drive’s Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre was selected as Canada’s 2019 Top Project by the Clean 50 Community.

Cara has more than 20 years of experience working in the environmental and sustainability fields, including 12 years working at Ontario Power Generation, initially as OPG’s environmental lawyer and later in the role Vice President of Sustainable Development. Prior to joining OPG, Cara spent five years practicing environmental law with the Torys law firm.

She holds a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, as well as an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from Queen’s University.

Cara is the 2017 recipient of the Women in Renewable Energy’s ‘Woman of the Year’ award. She is currently driving the 100% electric Tesla Model 3.

Cara joined by her colleague, Dav Cvitkovic, Chief Operating Officer, Plug’n Drive.

_____________________________________

Shirley Hunt, Co-founder, Executive Director, Up and Running

As a social worker with a community development background, Shirley has always enjoyed bringing people together to brainstorm and launch new ideas. At Up and Running,she brings one of her favourite outdoor pastimes – trail running – to women who are looking to improve their mental health. Before that Shirley worked in a school-based program bringing children into nature through photography at Focus on Nature (FON), as its first Executive Director.

Shirley reluctantly became an eMERGE EV Ambassador, concerned that she might not know enough about EVs. In fact she sheepishly admitted that she didn’t know the difference between a kW and kWh. Given that she is a “recovering” gas car driver, we asked if she knows the difference between horsepower and pound feet of torque. We bet you don’t know either . By the end of our June 2019 EV Show she said “I had no idea that I was an EV expert”. For our photo shoot, she planned to wear a jean jacket to be ‘bad-ass’. We reminded her that bad-assery is a state of mind. While fashion can help, this is all about attitude. It would appear that she had the attitude all along and probably didn’t need the jean jacket as a crutch after all.

_____________________________________

Lisa Mactaggart, OALA, CSLA, BLA

Lisa Mactaggart is a Landscape Architect and has operated her Guelph based practice, Arium Design Group, since 2005. Arium Design Group is a vehicle to explore high performance landscapes and innovative public realms. Landscape architecture combines her varied interests in plants, ecology, design, building, art and working with people. She is also the senior landscape architect at the Office of Responsive Environments based in Toronto.

Lisa brought her used EV (yes they exist) in March 2018. There are three licensed drivers in her household sharing the EV, as well as a second gas vehicle . Their EV is always the first to leave the garage (you’ll have to ask her how well that family dynamic works). Her partner, Leo, is a car guy who now rarely drives his gas car – opting for the EV if he gets to it first. Lisa works from home or takes public transit to Toronto. They plan to replace their remaining gas car in the near future.

Our host for the evening: Indu Arora

Indu is trying to stay ahead of her daughter who is egging her on to make the switch to an EV. As a result, she’s looking forward to moderating a great discussion enabling her to learn more while dispelling the myths. She’s interested in going electric for all the right environmental reasons, but has concerns over cost and availability. Like many, she’s just learned that there are also affordable used EVs on the market right now.

Her commitment to community has enveloped her life since a very young age. The U of G grad and lifelong Guelphite has been honoured for that commitment as a YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction and a Guelph Mercury Tribune 2018 Top 20 Under 40 recipient.

Indu has spent her career working in the educational publishing field. She a freelance Permissions Editor, working on elementary, secondary and university/college textbooks. She is also a member of the eMERGE Board of Directors.

__________________

Our sponsors:

________________________________________________________________

Why is eMERGE pushing EVs?

There are many ways to fight climate change.

But when it comes to transportation planning our approach at eMERGE is quite clear. Society has to take an approach that prioritizes 1) walking and then 2) cycling followed by 3) electrified public transit and finally 4) electrified personal transportation (cars).

ICE vehicles have no place in this century. The quicker we can take them off the road the better. Implementing transportation plans takes time and needs to be done properly. While the planning is ongoing, we need to accelerate the switch to EVs.

Over 8,000 new cars are sold in Guelph every year. Getting these car buyers to make the change to an EV gives us results now. Each purchase means that we cut four tonnes of climate change pollution per year. This approach buys us some time to keep pushing the envelope on transportation planning at the same time.

Here is what’s coming up:

USED EVs and EV 101 – with Plug’n Drive scheduled at 3:00 pm on Wednesday May 13, 2020

Who knew that there are used EVs on the market today?Well now you do too.

eMERGE is delighted to partner with our good friends Plug ‘N Drive to present the Used EV Webinar presented by Cara Clairman, President and CEO, Plug’n Drive.

This will help you understand:
– The financial and environmental benefits of Electric Vehicles (EVs),
– Key considerations when purchasing an EV,
– Understanding EV charging public and private,
– Lessons learned through case study examination.
– How Plug’n Drive’s Used EV and Scrappage Program works

By attending this webinar , you will also be eligible for the Used EV Incentive and Scrappage Program for up to of $2,000 in used EV rebates.

No Comments
Posted April 21, 2020

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday April 22, we want to talk toilets.

And we’re going to give you an activity that the kids can be part of too.

Does your toilet have a leak that you aren’t aware of?

Whenever we waste water we also waste the energy that was needed to pump the fresh water from wells, treat it for consumption and then pump the sewage and treat it again. In the end we use a lot of energy to do this and we consume a finite resource – water.

Your Mission, Should you decide to accept… Does your toilet have a leak?

Water Facts

  • In Guelph, 11% of toilets leak water. This is the most common water leak in homes and can be particularly costly. They can waste between 144 and 700L per day. In comparison, the Guelph average residential water use is 167 L/person/day.
  • The good news is most toilet leaks can be easily fixed.
  • Leaks result from hard water deposits building up on flappers over time.
  • Toilet leaks usually aren’t obvious to us. In some cases we can see the toilet continuing to re-fill long after it was flushed, or the bowl has visible water ripples in it or in advanced cases we can hear the sound of the water.

Toilet leaks occur when the water from the toilet tank continues to flow into the toilet bowl after the flush cycle has finished. As part of eMERGE Home Tune-up Program, we test all toilets in a home by using blue dye tablets. This test is called a ”Toilet Leak Detection Test”

It’s easy for you to do this at home.

  • Place one dye tablet, or alternatively 2-3 droplets of food coloring (preferable a dark blue color) into the toilet tank.
  • Wait for at least 20 minutes. Don’t flush the toilet during this time.
  • Check the water in the toilet bowl, leaks are evaluated based on:
  • If the bowl water turned colored, there is a leak. You can also see traces of the color as it appears in the toilet bowl coming from the sides. 
  • Light dye color means that you have minor leak that can be fixed by cleaning the flapper valve and the flapper seat with some vinegar so they fit snugly.

Toilet Recommendations

Note: Most toilets have flapper valves similar to the one pictured below. Newer toilets – especially dual flush models – frequently have very different mechanisms.


  1. Leaky toilets can be remedied by 1. cleaning the flapper valve in minor leaks 2. replacing the flapper valve (or other mechanisms) completely or replacing the toilet completely with major leaks.
  2. For minor leaks
    1. Add one cup of vinegar to the toilet reservoir. Let sit for 20 minutes then wipe any deposit build up from base of flapper and where the flapper meets the toilet. Re-test toilet for leak using the food coloring.
    2. If the water is still colored then: shut[1] the water off (see footnote below) to the toilet tank. The tap is usually located below the tank. Once shut: flush the toilet to remove all of the water from the tank. Then take a cloth soaked in vinegar and clean the bottom of the flapper valve (the part that comes in contact with the tank). Then, with the same soaked cloth, clean the portion of the tank (or mechanism) that comes in contact with the flapper valve.
    3. Turn the water back on and let the tank fill again. Redo the test. If the water is still colored, then the flapper is likely worn (degraded) and you need to replace it.
  3. For major a leak, a faulty toilet flapper should be replaced. Make sure you take the flapper with you to the store to ensure you have the correct part for replacement.
  4. If you still have a leak after checking these items and replacing the flapper then you may have to contact your plumber or replace your toilet. If you need to replace your entire toilet, look for a WaterSense labeled model with tank size less than 4.8 L and save BIG!

[1] Note that in some cases corroded shut off taps can fail if they haven’t been used in a long time. If it doesn’t close easily don’t do this.

The water lost through small leaks can add up. A small toilet leak of 0.1 liters per minute would lose 144 litres per day, an extra $160 per year on the water bill.
Note that the City of Guelph, like many other municipalities, does not have cost forgiveness policies for water lost through leakage, so it is in homeowners’ interest to monitor and manage leakage to avoid potentially significant costs.Now we have explained the toilet leak test mission, it is up to you to be part of this challenge and accept it. The mission is simple do the” toilet leak test”.  Results will show either your toilet is a leak free or You have a leaky toilet. If you have a leaky toilet then join the ” Wall of Shame”. But remember to fix that toilet quickly.We’d love to hear how well you did and how you fixed any leaks. Send us your results here info@emergeguelph.ca

No Comments