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Category Archives: Articles



Working with Media on Environmental Issues

Generating interest and support for environmental issues is challenging but necessary. Effective media  attention can garner public support and influence whether a corporation or government will address a problem. These notes and suggestions are meant to help others put together an action plan that strengthens your relationship with local print, radio and television media – an important step in raising awareness of issues of concern. Continue reading


Protect Your Home From Flooding

This spring has been the worst flooding Canada has seen in decades. Torrential rains have been inundating streets, homes, and forcing mandatory evacuations. Researchers write that floods are Canada’s ‘most common and costly natural hazard.’ In fact, flooding has become Canada’s biggest natural disaster problem in terms of insurance claims, which is now costing billions of dollars per year. So how can we prevent flooding, or at least be prepared when it comes? We’ve put together a list of facts and preventative measures you can take to protect your home from flooding. Continue reading


The People’s Great Lakes Summit

On Wednesday May 17, Linda Heron (Chair & Chief Executive Officer) and Samantha Restoule (Board of Directors) had the pleasure of representing the Ontario Rivers Alliance at the People’s Great Lakes Summit (the Summit), hosted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) in Toronto, ON.

The Summit is part of CELA’s Healthy Great Lakes program. The objective of the Summit was to bring together a broad range of individuals and organizations working to protect and restore our waters and wetlands across the Great Lakes and St-Lawrence River Basin, and to connect, share ideas, strategize about Ontario public policy priorities, and set plans for collective action. Continue reading


Where the river begins

Dr. David Suzuki was amazed there was no jail time over this.

Dr. David Suzuki was amazed there was no jail time over this.

Mileage 111.6 and 88.7 are respectively synonymous with February 14th and March 7th of 2015. These significant numbers represent the locations and dates of the largest train derailments in the history of the province of Ontario. Two CN trains carrying Alberta tar sands crude oil derailed and exploded into huge fire balls one week and 23 miles apart, releasing millions of liters of bitumen crude oil into the environment. The first derailment, occurring in a remote wooded area, and the second at the bridge crossing the Makami River, less than 2 km from the Town of Gogama. Continue reading


The Dark Side of Hydroelectric – Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the most popular energy sources for Canada and globally has been hydroelectric power generation, and the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia are big fans of this particular energy source. One of the main reasons it is so popular is due to the abundance of water in Canada in the form of lakes and rivers that run throughout the provinces.

There was an article by the Montreal Gazette written back in 2011 that took a look at the Romaine River in Quebec and how it was about to turn into one of the biggest construction sites in Canada with the installation of 4 dams, 7 dikes, several large canals, and 279 square kilometers of reservoirs, all at the approximate cost of around $8 billion. What decision makers in Quebec failed to realize or choose to ignore is that harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are generated by reservoirs and they can be extensive and very damaging to the climate. Continue reading


Algonquin Park Brook Trout Populations Threatened

A summary of a presentation delivered to the Muskoka Field Naturalists (MFN) by Bob and Marj Wilton, in Gravenhurst on February 5th, 2015.   Written by John Challis, editor of “Wakerobin”, MFN newsletter.

As Mike Wilton tried to connect the dots to explain why forest management in Algonquin Park is threatening brook trout, one might confess to losing the thread.

There is a kaleidoscope of different sciences connecting cause and effect. But Mike and his wife Marj have been sleuthing through various disciplines for decades, and the evidence is stacking up. The interdisciplinary nature of their research reflects the fact that Algonquin’s ecology is an intertwining web of dependencies. Soil chemistry and rainfall chemistry, prevailing winds, hydrogeology, geology, logging techniques, road construction, invasive species, dendrology and silviculture, even glaciation: they all play a part—positively or negatively—in the breeding success of brook trout in the park. Continue reading


Energy East Pipeline Proposal – ORA meets Petawawa Town Council

On the 13th of April 2015, Dr Alan Hepburn, a member of ORA’s Board of Directors, made a presentation to the Petawawa Town Council to inform them of concerns regarding the Energy East Pipeline proposal.   Dr. Hepburn was very well received and plans to present to other municipalities along the Ottawa Valley pipeline route.

ORA is requesting that municipalities make a formal motion or declaration that they are unwilling hosts to the Energy East Pipeline as it is presently proposed.  You can find more detailed information about our concerns by checking out the presentation below.

A Daily Observer news article is posted here.

Download (PDF, 3.77MB)

 


It’s Nice to See the Light and the Shoes – by Noah Cunningham

A twelve year old from the Ottawa Valley has put his superhero storytelling to work in order to highlight excessive resource extraction.  The children’s chapter book, It’s Nice to See a Light and the Shoes, was endorsed by the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA).  “While this is just a fictional tale, there are many parallels to some of the challenges communities face when a hydroelectric dam takes control of a river they depend on, and where very few benefit at the expense of many,” relates Linda Heron, ORA Chair.  “ORA highly recommends this creative and humorous tale of a community showing up to shine a light on an injustice, and in the process find an unlikely hero in their midst.”

Author and illustrator, Noah Cunningham says, “I wanted to show how a community could be affected when a private corporation, Water Enclosure Society (W.E.S.) takes away the water from the river for power and profit.” Cunningham further reflects on reality around us, “You don’t see it, but it’s happening,” he adds, when discussing excessive resource extraction without much thought to the balance of the ecosystem.  He says he decided to get the entire community to step up in his fictional superhero story, where two detectives and a dog set out to save the planet and their town from corporate villains. If allowed to do their dastardly deeds, W.E.S. would not only own hydro power but the water too, taking it for their own profit.  Cunningham says anyone can be a superhero if they just stand up for what they believe in.

Of ORA’s endorsement, the author and illustrator is excited, “The organization is like the community in my book all put together. They are doing awesome stuff that I wanted the people in my book to do.”

Cunningham, who usually writes superhero stories, says he accumulated the characters through suggestions by his family and the character, Mr. Micman, is actually his own wiener dog.

So what’s next for the superhero writer, well he is already busy writing a sequel where the sun goes missing.

Cunningham’s book can be purchased through contacting him via his website www.noahcunningham.ca  or through General Store Publishing House www.gsph.com .  The illustrated chapter book retails for $9.95 and is targeted to kids ages 9 to 13.


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