This is guest post from Evan Ferrari, Executive Director of eMERGE Guelph, one of Transition Guelph’s wonderful partner organizations. If you have more questions about the CEI and how you can help, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the best thing you can do on Earth Day?
Support the CEI (Community Energy Initiative) – creating a local economy that puts more people to work by reducing the pollution causing climate change.
On Monday April 25 the city will make a decision on the fate of whether to update the CEI. Rarely do we get a chance to have a profound impact on the future of our city’s economy – and at the same time – improve our environment. Add your voice to update the CEI and accelerate the work to create a post-carbon economy.
The CEI provides all of us with the opportunity to transform our local economy for the better. An economy that will focus on putting our neighbours and families to work by investing in:
- using less energy,
- using energy more wisely
- and producing more clean energy alternatives locally.
It’s about creating more energy security within our city.
By getting this right we can keep more of the half a $ billion dollars a year in energy costs that leaves the city — right here. We can do this by putting more people to work locally. And at the same time we would be creating a healthier place for our children to grow and prosper. Now nine years old, the initiative has some challenges. But an update will focus us toward a cleaner and more prosperous path forward. The Guelph CEI has been a catalyst for municipalities across the country to take charge of their own local economy.
Some of the local benefits that have come from the CEI include:
- Guelph generates 50% more peak electricity locally than similar Ontario communities. We’ve done this through solar photo-voltaic, combined heat and power and by harnessing methane from the former Eastview landfill site. This amounts to 10’s of millions of dollars of local capital investment – at a minimum. And millions of dollars, every year, staying in the city from the electricity that’s been generated. Those generating systems are owned by local businesses, co-ops, institutions, places of worship and individual homeowners. We are 50% above average because of the CEI.
- And then there’s a new project where Reids Heritage Homes wants to work with their competitors to build an entire community of highly efficient Net-Zero homes that will be 3 times more energy efficient than the current building code. They don’t want to build a single ‘demonstration home’ but an entire community. They have been very clear that they want to do this in Guelph because of the CEI.
- Another downtown property -about to be renovated – is considering making their building “District Energy Ready” They’re considering this because of the CEI.
- Then there’s the Canadian Solar plant that employs 500 people. Canadian Solar has 10,000 employees worldwide. Their revenue in 2014: $2.96 Billion US (more than $3 Billion CAD). In 2015 they ranked second worldwide in solar panel shipments. And they chose to make Guelph their worldwide headquarters because of the CEI.
At eMERGE we’re very encouraged that the CEI report is recommending a full public update. It proposes a community driven Initiative that re-engages businesses, institutions and of course all citizens of Guelph to make this a robust a plan. We encourage you to let city council know how you feel about updating the CEI in order to move towards a diversified economy that makes our community healthier and more prosperous.
We are calling this year’s festival a great success! With a more condensed schedule than last year, it seemed to suit the mood. We ran events from Thursday to Sunday covering a good variety of interests.
The Builder’s Symposium reported a good turn out, as did the film screening (with a few technical difficulties). On Saturday, we had a lot of people through the festival to learn new skills at the Minga Skill Building workshops and buy seeds for their garden at Seedy Saturday. Guelph Community Acupuncture also offered free treatments through the afternoon. The raffle raised a good bit of money to help cover costs, and boasted prizes such as gift certificates to New Age, Zehrs and Smitten Apparel, as well as a Wike cargo trailer!
Here are the raffle winners. We will be contacting you by phone if you haven’t heard from us yet.
Rain Barrel: Sherry Dubé
Green light at the end of the tunnel (book) and membership to Yorklands Green Hub: Bern
Gift certificate to Smitten Apparel: Sharon
Gift certificate to Minga Skill Building Hub: Sandy
Gift certificate to New Age health food store: Stan
Gift certificate to Zehrs: Emily, Annie
Wellington Brewery gift basket: Wanita, Janet
Fairy house from Lucien Gagnon: Tiff
Wike Economy cargo trailer: Dave
On Saturday evening we had around 100 people for the 8th annual Earth Hour Potluck, lit by solar-charged-battery-powered Christmas lights (thanks Doug!). We enjoyed good food and a good company while the little ones of the community ran around and laughed together. Finishing off Saturday night, Gary Diggins lead the Big Beat at Silence, which saw around 50 people share a solstice celebration in music and dance.
Sunday morning’s Living Life to the Fullest workshop, at Innovation Guelph was very well attended. Partner yoga was small but fun, and the Narratives workshop in the afternoon was cancelled due to lack of participants.
Overall, we are happy with how the festival went, and are grateful to our volunteers, coordinators, event and workshop leaders, and everyone who came out! Thank you for another great year!
As a note, if you volunteered with the festival this year and would like to receive timebank hours as payment for your efforts, please email email@example.com.
Urban Sugaring Project Update
We will be bottling maple syrup on Tuesday March 29 from 11 am until 3 pm. Feel free to drop by St. James for a coffee if you would like to see the process. Syrup will be available for pick up the following day, Wednesday March 30 from 6 until 7:00 p.m., and on Sunday April 3 from noon until 1 p.m. from St. James (86 Glasgow Street North).
The last of the sap pick ups will take place next week. You can drop off your sap on Monday March 14 and Wednesday March 16 from 5 until 6 p.m. at the St. James Parking lot (86 Glasgow Street North).
If your tree has stopped running, sap has not come out of the tree for three or four day in a row, please return your kits. Give the equipment a quick rinse but do not use any soap of cleaners on it. Also remember to keep your sap in a cool place out of the sun. It can also be frozen to ensure that it does not go off.
The Treemobile recently got some coverage in Guelph Today (Guelph’s new community newspaper). The original article can be found here: https://www.guelphtoday.com/local-news/not-for-profit-treemobile-a-growing-concern-in-guelph-263139
Not-for-profit Treemobile a growing concern in Guelph
Program delivers fruit trees, shrubs and veggie plants to your home 10
by: Tony Saxon
There’s a lot more low-hanging fruit in Guelph these days thanks to a not-for-profit endeavour aimed at addressing local sustainability, quality food and global climate issues.
The Transition Treemobile has delivered over 300 fruit trees and 2,000 shrubs and vegetable plants locally since it got its start in Guelph five years ago.
Since then it has spread to Toronto and is in the process of starting up in Cambridge.
Last year saw 1,440 trees, shrubs, vines and plants distributed through the program.
You select items from an online catalogue and in early May volunteers deliver them. They will even plant them for you if desired.
Choices range from apple and pear trees to raspberry bushes, asparagus and strawberry plants.
The program is the brainchild of Virginie Gysel, who started the program through Transition Guelph five years ago when she was a student at the U of G. After moving to Toronto two years ago she started it up there.
“I was at a meeting of Transition Guelph and we were talking about food security. I said the only way to have it is to plant it,” Gysel says of how the Treemobile got its start.
She says it’s about local, delicious food that can be shared with others.
“People just really like the apples. Pears are easier, but people just love the apples,” says Gysel of the most popular tree.
She thinks people like the idea of having apples that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.
“Our favourite is if people dig the hole before we get there then we plant the tree,” Gysel says. “But we have a lot of seniors who don’t own a shovel.”
Transition Guelph is a grass roots volunteer organization that promotes local projects aimed at addressing local and global energy and climate change issues.
Several Transition Guelph projects revolve around local food collaboration, learning and skill building using local backyards and gardens.
“Our goal is to create a richer, more vibrant community through the re-localization of the services and resources that we need in order to survive and thrive in a world of long-term energy cost increases, climate change, and growing instability in the world economy,” Transition Guelph’s web site says.
Gysel says Guelph was a great place to start the Treemobile because of its size, large gardens and attitude towards the environment.
“We kept it small as a pilot project the first year but every year since we’ve pretty much doubled the number,” Gysel says. “People just really seem to connect with what we’re doing.”
At the end of the distribution process, she says the Treemobile project has a grant system where surplus trees, shrubs, vines and plants are distributed to charities, churches and schools.
Delivery in Guelph is scheduled for mid-May. For more information on the program and pricing, go to www.transitiontreemobile.org.
John Dennis and Susan Carey of the Urban Sugaring Project traveled to Kitchener to be part of the CBC Kitchener morning radio show with Craig Norris. Originally published here.
New project will see Guelph residents tap backyard maple trees in exchange for syrup
Transition Guelph is holding a pancake breakfast so homeowners can learn more
A new initiative in Guelph is hoping to get local residents to tap their maple trees in return for some syrup.
Transition Guelph is a group interested in teaching people about using local resources, the project’s coordinator John Dennis told host Craig Norris on The Morning Edition Thursday.
“One of the unused resources we saw were all these wonderful maple trees,” he said.
For $10, the group will provide a kit to homeowners with a tap, metal bucket, a plastic food-grade bucket and instructions that will be used to transport the sap back to the group.
Dennis said those taking part will get an email or phone call when the weather is just right in Guelph to tap trees, and then everyone will collect their sap over the same period of about a week, then return the sap to high school student volunteers, who will boil it down into the sugary syrup.
“We’re almost at an ideal time now,” Dennis said.
The group is hoping to get 40 or 50 people involved, and some of those are expected to have more than one tree to tap.
How much maple syrup participants will get will depend on how much sap is collected.
Those interested in taking part can attend a pancake breakfast on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at St. James the Apostle Church to learn more.
Transition Guelph is pleased to be the recipient of a 2016 Rotary Club of Guelph-Trillium Community Funding Grant. The grant for $500 will be used to establish Guelph’s first tool library. The library will have tools that anyone can borrow to be a successful gardener and to properly preserve food.
The grant recognizes that there is a clearly identified need for this program and provides seed money for Transition Guelph to undertake this project. We are thankful for the support of the Rotary Club of Guelph-Trillium.
Click here to find out more Guelph Tool library.
Transition Guelph is the recipient of a 2016 Community Wellbeing Grant from the City of Guelph. Transition Guelph was awarded $5000 to support the 2016 Resilience Festival, the Urban Sugaring Project, and the start up of the Guelph Tool Library. Transition Guelph is thankful for the on-going support of the City of Guelph through these grants.
On Saturday May 2nd, I had the most fortunate opportunity to take part in a full day workshop on Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as created by Marshall Rosenberg (1934- 2015). NVC is sometimes referred to as Compassionate Communication or Empathic Communication. NVC is a communication process that helps people to exchange the information necessary to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully. NVC aims to find a way for all present to get what really matters to them without the use of guilt, humiliation, shame, blame, coercion, or threats. It is also useful tool for connecting with others, and living in a way that is conscious, present, and attuned to the genuine, living needs of oneself and others.
I have been following Marshall’s work of NVC over the past few years, taking workshops and practicing in small groups and one- on- one. To date, I have yet to discover a more effective communication process that builds such an awareness and understanding of self and other; not to mention its use in peacefully resolving seemingly unrectifiable differences.
When I was first introduced to NVC, I was taught a simple method for clear, empathic communication, consisting of 4 steps- observation, feelings, needs, requests. At first, speaking in “I” terms and using the 4 step formula as outlined, seemed a bit awkward and contrived, like most times when learning a new skill. However, with time, the practice of speaking with non-violence comes with less awkwardness, when there is a genuine effort to listen and get to know the other person’s needs and feelings. An example of how to practice non-violent communication might sound like this: “When you (observation), I feel (feeling) because I’m needing (need).” A request might sound something like this: “Are you/we able to…?” Or, the request might be what’s referred to in NVC as, a connection request. A connection request goes something like this: “How does this feel for you.., or, “how does what I just said feel for you..?”
Another facet of NVC is that it offers support for how to respond/give feedback when listening to someone else speak, in order to more fully understand what that person is really saying. For example, “What I’m hearing you say is…, or, what it sounds like to me you are feeling/needing is…, is this accurate? Often times, we automatically want to jump in and fix the problem by offering advice. Most times people just want to be heard, and have the opportunity to express to another human being how they are feeling without being given advice. According to author, David B. Wolf, each and every one of us has the answers inside of ourselves. What is helpful for coming to such realizations is effective feedback that comes from empathic listening. (Relationships that Work: The Power of Conscious Living)
What is amazing about all of this is that the formula for communication is just a guideline. While speaking with the facilitators, I discovered that even after years of teaching NVC, facilitators still observed times when it felt awkward to speak in these terms, and how others experienced the same phenomenon. My initial motive for attending this workshop was to take this opportunity to drill this formula into my head so that I could get over my fear of sounding awkward, so words and intention could flow naturally. I really believe in this work! But instead, I received something much more valuable this time around!
Below are 10 valuable lessons I will carry with me from this workshop.
1) The most important part of this work is where my heart is at any given moment!
If we are able to inquire, and provide feedback this is empathy, rather than giving advice from our own experience. And the great part is, I can do this with any kind of words!
2) Level ground benefits both of us.
3) See the humanness in all! All humans share the same needs, whether we see this person as an adversary or friend.
4) It is more important to make an empathic connection than to get my way! Because if I look closer, I see that it is more about being heard in regards to needs and feeling, rather than problem solving right away. This goes for my needs and feelings as well as for the other. When the means, in this case, connection/empathy is made, the end (getting my way) changes and I see that maybe its not actually about the tangible end but maybe there is something deeper, underlying, that’s in the process of being revealed.
5) Process is more important than outcome.
6) Empathy before Education. It is far more effective to listen to another with empathy rather than trying to school them on what you see happening or what they should do about it.
7) Empathy Inquires, Sympathy Assumes
8) Be Transparent
9) When I am most in need of support, I am the least able to ask for it. The practice of NVC is so effective because it provides a clear language for truth speaking. It provides the platform for expression of feelings and communication of needs. The more I practise asking for what I need, the more likely I will be to ask for it when I need it most!
10) “Words are windows or walls, they can either sentence us or set us free.” –Ruth Bebermeyer”
*Your comments and feedback are always welcome here!*
– Jessica Sgrignoli
Certified Yoga Teacher