Welcome to the March 2021 newsletter from the SGI EDA. We wish you all the best as spring and warm weather approaches as we all look forward to socializing more outdoors.
This issue features notes from Elizabeth and the EDA, exciting upcoming events, spring gardening info, and more.
The Green Party of Canada has based their core principles on the Global Greens Charter. These are fundamental truths which bind Greens from around the world together:
- Participatory Democracy
- Social justice
- Respect for Diversity
- Ecological Wisdom
Notes from Elizabeth:
I know Green supporters in SGI are very concerned about climate action. Since last fall when the government introduced its “Net Zero Climate Accountability Act” (Bill C-12) I have been focusing work on the bill. Initially, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, told me that if I sent in early amendments that he would be open to them. The opposite seems to be the case.
One crucial amendment is that the first “milestone year” – a year during which the government must account for any failure to meet their target – is set in the act at 2030. That is exactly the year when it will be too late. We have to move the first year of the promised 5 year increments to 2025. Now Wilkinson is sending out the message that he is not open to that change. Another key amendment I sent to him, as did many others, was that the “advisory committee” mentioned in the act, must be a scientific and expert body. To my horror, he announced the membership of the committee - even before the bill has had a vote at Second Reading. Explicitly rejecting the concept of a scientific expert body, he appointed a multi-stakeholder committee. Advocates for nuclear and coal are included, but no industry representative for Big Oil – and that was treated as a “big win” by some climate groups.
Sorry to repeat this for those of you who already read my rant in Good Sunday Morning on the NDP-Liberal tag team to deliver a “win” by appointing the wrong kind of committee, but without Big Oil. 350.org actually tweeted credit to Laurel Collins for this. So Wilkinson and Collins get to take a bow without reducing an ounce of carbon.
In good news, we see the US administration of President Biden moving rapidly through a series of executive orders – cancelling Keystone, moving against fossil fuel subsidies and calling for a climate leaders summit on April 22 – Earth Day 2021.
And this is where I would love your help. We need to increase public awareness of how poorly Canada compares to the rest of the industrialized world. This graph shows Canada within the G8. We have the worst record - by far. Even after four years of Trump, we lag behind the United States.. We really need to increase pressure on the Trudeau administration to double our current target and do so at the Biden Climate Leaders’ Summit.
We need to demand that fracking be banned, fossil fuel subsidies be eliminated immediately, the TMX pipeline be canceled. And that Canada pull our fair share of the global necessity to hold to 1.5 degrees C global average temperature increase. According to the IPCC, that implies a global reduction of 45% below 2010 levels by 2030. Greens have set our fair share at double the current target – the same one set by Harper of 30% below 2005 by 2030 - so a 60% below 2005 by 2030 target. Mission Possible and all the details for how we reach that target are still at greenparty.ca . Failure is not an option.
So I stay positive and focused and working in a space where fake climate leadership keeps being celebrated by people who should know better. Speaking truth to power is something all of us can do - through letters to the Prime Minister, letters to the editor and in our social media. Please share this graph!
Thanks for your help.
Why are you Green?
Share why you vote Green, and you will be entered into a raffle for a one-on-one meeting with Elizabeth May.
If you are willing to share with others, please send us a short explanation and we will enter you in a draw for a private meeting with Elizabeth May.
In accordance with Covid restrictions, it will be on Zoom where you will be able to socialize with Elizabeth and ask her any questions you may have.
While those of us at SGI are busy getting election-ready, our Saanich North and the Islands BC Greens cousins are busy organizing monthly events. Read on for the latest updates.
Alexandra Morton: Salmon Talk/ People Listen. March 23, 2021 @7pm:
Alexandra Morton has spent more than 40 years working with dolphins, including killer whales, salmon, and other elements of the British Columbia coastal ecosystem. She has written 9 books in her field and is founder and director of the Raincoast Research Society. Her work was instrumental in identifying threats to wild salmon, such as sea lice growth in salmon farms, and in closing fish farms in the Discovery Islands (effective July 2022).
Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and Islands, and Morton will discuss how important wild salmon are, why Alexandra has spent her life trying to rescue them from extinction and the breakthroughs in science that allow salmon to “talk” to us and tell us what needs to change for them to survive.
Register here for this event.
Those who want to delve deeper into salmon survival may want to read Alexandra Morton's recent research on salmon farming.
Conserving the Natural Environment of the Saanich Peninsula: Two Perspectives. April 20, 2021 @ 7pm.
Bob Peart Coordinator, Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition
Ian Bruce Executive Director, Peninsula Streams Society
The Saanich Peninsula Environmental Coalition is developing a bioregional framework, to be adopted by Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney, that outlines a set of common principles to facilitate ecologically sustainable practices on the Saanich Peninsula.
The Peninsula Streams Society helps coordinate stream restoration and habitat conservation on the Saanich Peninsula. On April 20, at 7 p.m., Peart and Bruce will discuss the threats we face and the work that must be done to mitigate them.
Future BC Greens events can be found here when posted, and we will share this event again in our mid-April newsletter.
The Green Scene
In the February Newsletter, I introduced you to the Global Greens (GG). This month, I would like you to meet one of the young people working on our behalf at the Global level.
Meet Alice Hubbard, a member of the Global Greens. I asked Alice what has led her to be involved with the Green Party (GP). She told me that, as a teenager, it was very disillusioning to be young and see nothing being done about climate change. The GP was the only party offering space for youth and she realized it was very important to her to be a representative voice for the youth of England and Wales (GPEW). This led to her involvement with the Global Young Greens (GYG) and ultimately, to the GG. Those two organizations actually exist independently of each other.
It is obvious from her life story that Alice very much enjoys working with people anywhere. She has volunteered in Guatemala with community projects, worked in Mexico on sustainable rural development, spent time in Mallorca with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a Consular Officer and then spent the three years to 2020 as Secretary to the GYG, where she managed a network of 90+ Young Green youth organizations.
Alice is realistic about the issues facing the GG, which turn out to be similar to the issues in most countries. There is one part-time staff member and a lack of resources. Green Parties worldwide contribute to the GG with membership fees proportional to the size of the party. Europe is a natural cradle for the development of the GG with the diversity of countries represented there. In fact, the GG have expanded worldwide and represent a diverse collection of Greens. Naturally, there are differences from country to country that need to be worked out and this will be a continuous exercise in getting delegates together and resolving issues.
Alice is presently in Belgium and is employed with the European Civic Forum - a pan European network of 110+ civil society organisations working on civic space and democracy. Of course, there is a Green role for her, which is volunteering as a Co-Convenor with the GG on the working group to prepare for the COP26 talks to be held in Glasgow on November 1 to 12 of this year. This task will be drawing on her leadership and team-building skills; qualities she wishes to build into the Greens wherever she works.
When I asked Alice about Canada, she said that the Canadian Greens are a great inspiration to the GPEW, especially with Elizabeth May and now also Annamie Paul as strong women leaders. I am looking forward to the day when we will hear the name Alice Hubbard given the same regard because of her Green leadership as these other remarkable women.
The March Garden
Maybe it is not very warm outside yet, but the plants are all responding to the longer days and slightly milder temperatures. Now is definitely the time to finish up those winter tasks. So if you haven’t finished pruning (like us), time to get out into the orchard and get it done.
Hopefully, you have ordered all your seeds by now. If not, you can still order seeds to plant later, but you will have to go out and buy your seeds at your favourite nursery for the seeds that want to be planted now. If you haven't already planted your storage onion seeds, if you want to grow onions this year, you will have to plant sets. We don’t like using sets because you are limited in the varieties you can choose from and these are second year plants that tend to go to seed rather than putting their energy into the bulb. We generally just plant many seeds in a single 4” pot and then carefully separate the seedlings when we set them out (they are usually about 8-10” tall by the time they go into the garden. This year we are trying something a little different to see if we can get even larger bulbs. We have transplanted all the seedling onions into 6 packs when they were about 3-4” tall. I am hoping that they will grow faster given the extra room and nutrients and we will not have to disturb their roots very much when we plant them out. We will let you know if this seems to help - it was quite time consuming to repot all the onions last month and takes a lot of shelf space under lights in the greenhouse. No worries though, we just move them into full sun (what little we get this time of year) when we need the space under the lights for other crops.
We envy people who can grow long, straight, perfect carrots. Ours usually end up being crooked, short and/or forked due to our clay soil despite the fact that we have enriched our soil for many years with compost and it seems quite friable. We were about to give up growing carrots, but just couldn’t imagine a garden without them, so we decided to try growing them in large, deep pots using our homemade potting soil. We got a late start last year yet had some success. With an earlier start this year we are hoping for a much better crop. We will just keep adding another pot of carrots each month for an extended harvest and will bring them into the greenhouse to try to keep them growing late into the fall. This is also the perfect solution for those of you who do not have much garden space and want to grow carrots because there is nothing like a sweet carrot right out of the ground. And while you are contemplating growing carrots in a large pot, why not grow ginger and turmeric in large pots as well? They are beautiful plants and easy to grow. Just pick up a small tuber of one or the other or both at Sun Trio on East Saanich and plant them in a large pot which you will want to place in a warm spot on your deck. You might need to bring them into the house on cold nights. We would suggest starting them later if you do not have a greenhouse for them and are able to put them on bottom heat at this time of year. Last year we got 10X what we planted for both ginger and turmeric.
We are also embarrassed to say that we have never had much success growing peas from seed planted into the garden early in the year – even in our raised beds that are covered with cloches all winter long. We have solved this problem by starting peas in six-packs and then transplanting them to the garden in March. Even with the cold soil, they grow just fine as long as they are already started. A master gardener, Jeff Hamilton, starts his peas in a rain gutter and then just slides the whole contents into a trench in the garden once the peas are 4-6 inches tall. Brilliant.
So aside from all the cole crops, onions, beets, peas, lettuce and celery, which could already have been planted or can be planted now, what will we be planting in March? We have already started our tomatoes and peppers that we will be planting in the greenhouse, but won’t start the seeds for outdoors until mid-March along with long-English cucumbers, cantaloupe, eggplant and basil which are destined for the greenhouse. The rest of March we are still planting more cole crops, beets and lettuce. We start almost all of our seeds indoors and move them outside as transplants. This gets them off to a faster start so when the soil is warm enough they are already small plants rather than taking a week or two to germinate. And by adding a cloche to the garden bed you can get them out sooner because the soil warms up a week or two earlier than uncovered beds.
Looking ahead to April, we will be planting more peas (you can never have too many) more cole crops, lettuce, green onions and carrots for a succession of harvests, as well as field cucumbers, corn, pumpkin and both summer and winter squash. By now the bulk of the garden has been sown and only awaits transplanting. Many of these transplants will be ready to go into the garden as some of the early crops have matured and have already been harvested. Another reason to start your plants in trays –you always have something to go into an empty space in the garden bed.
As we mentioned last year, we are trying to reduce the amount of tilling we do. Not only does this preserve the soil structure, it keeps excessive oxygen out of the soil because the oxygen quickly burns up the organic matter you add each year and it kills many earthworms and drives others deep underground. We are still learning how to garden with less soil disturbance, and we welcome the challenge and the learning opportunities. After all, the garden provides us all with a whole set of new learning opportunities each year which is part of the enjoyment and reward of gardening.
Nancy & Gary Searing
First Green Deputy Elected in Venezuela - Global Green News
Alejandro Aguilera became the first representative of the Ecological Movement of Venezuela to win a seat in the National Assembly in Venezuela.
Venezuela’s parliamentary election that took place on December 6, 2020, may have been another controversial win for incumbent president Nicolás Maduro, who has been in power since 2013. However difficult the political climate of the country, for the supporters of the Ecological Movement of Venezuela (Movimiento Ecológico de Venezuela), the most recent election results give reason for hope.
A Green Book Club Invitation
An invitation to join Elizabeth May and James Marshall for our first Saanich Gulf Islands book club event.
Sunday, March 28th. at 7pm. on Zoom.
James Marshall, the author of WHAT DOES GREEN MEAN? THE HISTORY, PEOPLE, AND IDEAS OF THE GREEN PARTY IN CANADA AND ABROAD will be joining us to discuss his book. It will be an interesting session as Elizabeth has been involved with the Global Greens and has personal knowledge of many of the events mentioned in the book.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions, and we suggest you read the book ahead of time. It is available as an ebook for $12.99, and $22.99 for a paperback.
A copy of the book will be given to one of the first fifty registrants. Maximum registration is 100 so be sure to register soon.
Register in advance for this Zoom meeting!
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
SGI Good Sunday Morning
Do you realize that Elizabeth May publishes a newsletter every Sunday with her incisive thoughts and opinions on the week’s events. The Good Sunday Morning has over 4000 subscribers and you can sign up here!
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