YREA autumn 2020 news & views
GOOD NEWS! Organic sector is growing
Under a Canadian Organic Growers (COG) initiative, 12 farmers is eastern Ontario are transitioning to organic. Quebec leads the way, but if governments invested more in this sector they would ultimately have reduced human & environmental health costs to bear. In the post Covid-19 reality (distribution issues, local food security) the Pickering airport lands should instead be designated as organic farmland in perpetuity, leased to the next generation of young farmers who really get the importance of sustainable farming. Instead of another Mirabel 2 disaster, we need a rapid rail system between Windsor and Quebec City. Win, win.
Some permanent good that may come from Covid
+ Remote working, digital literacy & activism.
+ Less pollution less commuting, staycations.
+ Need to preserve & protect greenspace.
+ Cooking, gardening, growing our own food.
+ Outdoor learning & appreciaton of nature.
+ Real action on a green & just recovery.
+ More support of local farmers & businesses.
Support Product of Canada & local business
Have you ever considered the carbon footprint of that bottle of Chilean or Australian wine? No reason to buy foreign wine when Ontario has award winning options. You can choose Sustainable Winemaking Ontario or biodynamic/organic while considering the environment. Wineries such as Tawse are also distilling and plan to release an organic vodka soon. Ontario craft distilleries are worth getting to know.

BC’s Kicking Horse Coffee has been bought out by Italy’s Lavazza. Instead, how about supporting an independent local roaster like My Indie Coffee in Newmarket, offering organic fair trade coffee from around the world. They produce an amazing French roast under their very popular North of Nine blend. Explore their offerings. Free shipping anywhere in Canada.

Buying 'Product of Canada' & supporting local food & businesses will sometimes take more vigilance than just reading the label. Did you know that Liberté dairy is now owned by General Mills and does not use Canadian milk? Added to that, their black plastic containers are NOT recyclable. On the other hand, Natrel Agropur/Sealtest uses 100% Canadian milk sourced through a cooperative. Look for the cow logo to ensure you buy hormone free Canadian dairy.

Bob's Mill settled a lawsuit over its glyphosate contamination of organic & non-organic oats. Although there is action to phase out pre-harvest pesticide spraying of cereal crops (Kellogg's commits to only reducing, not eliminating, widely used herbicide found in kids' cereals) the best choice is to buy Canadian from a great range of Nature's Path organic cereals.
In government news
GUARANTEED BASIC INCOME (GBI) which the federal government is presently considering needs to be implemented. If tax haven loopholes are closed for the wealthy & they begin to pay their fair share, GBI would cost little. GBI coupled with degrowth on some level could herald in a reset to our consumer/production culture. Degrowth advocates for societies that prioritize social & ecological well-being instead of corporate profits, over-production & excess consumption. We could replace or at the very least modify, our present gross domestic product (GDP) driven society. So called ‘increased standard of living’ based on economic development & consumerism has in fact decimated the quality of the environment – climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity & actually contributed to greater poverty & poorer health by widening the gap between the rich & poor. Learn more about degrowth & how some of its concepts could benefit a green & just recovery & create a more equitable society. On a personal level, we can all do our part to degrowth by curbing consumption - buy only essentials, buy used & consider the consequences of every purchase we make. Download our SHOP booklet for other sustainable consumer ideas.
ONTARIO'S BILL 197 is being challenged in the courts by a number of environmental groups & First Nations. Supposedly under the guise of a Covid-19 recovery, Bill 197 guts the province's Environmental Assessment Act, Environmental Bill of Rights & Planning Act. Bill 197 follows an insidious pattern of deregulation that tramples the rights of all Ontarians to a healthy environment. Under this bill we can expect rampant, thoughtless sprawl into valuable farmland & environmentally sensitive areas, no ecologcial oversight, further demise of species at risk & biodiversity, our boreal forest opened to fires, mining & logging. According to Matawa First Nations Management, which represents nine First Nations, the changes to the Environmental Assessment Act, coupled with new regulations that remove protections within forestry activities are signs the province is ignoring Indigenous communities. This is not recovery it is destruction
National Forest Week
Due to Covid-19 there will not be a York Region Forest Festival this year and YREA will miss this annual public engagement. However, there is no reason why we can't get out, enjoy & be thankful for one of the many forests in the GTA.
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