greening the election

i’ve been asked to help circulate a couple of media releases regarding an all candidates debate on the environment:




April 21, 2011 – Peterborough, ON

Earth Day and Week is an ideal time to ask federal candidates about their positions on the environment and our future.

“The environment is a key economic and ecological asset in the Kawarthas. Our many members across the region are interested in candidates’ positions,” says Terry Rees of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations.

Trent University Professor Stephen Hill says there are several key environmental issues affecting us locally. These include the Trent-Severn Waterway’s future, nature and climate change, sustainable agriculture, energy, and greening the tax system. “We also need to plan for the long-term, such as through Sustainable Peterborough and new Trent and Fleming programs,” he says.

Dr. Hill and another Trent instructor, Ian Attridge, are posing their own questions (see:  And next week local candidates will get a chance to answer them at an all-candidates debate on the environment. The event will be held at the Peterborough Public Library on Tuesday April 26, at noon. The public is invited to attend and participate.

So ask some of your own questions – and help make every day Earth Day.


For more information and a copy of environmental questions and background, and later a compilation of responses, please contact:

Ian Attridge                        (705) 743-9996              


Environment All-Candidates Debate

Organizations hosting an All-Candidates Debate on the Environment. Held at Peterborough Public Library, Tuesday April 26, at noon. Questions include: Trent-Severn Waterway, climate change, protecting nature, agriculture, greening the budget, sustainability, and more. All are invited to participate. See:

For more information, please contact:

Ian Attridge    (705) 743-9996




The environment is a key asset in the Kawarthas that generates wealth, health, and opportunity. More broadly, sustainability is an established approach that seeks to integrate environmental, economic, social and cultural factors in a way that today’s needs do not compromise the needs of future generations. Both the environment and sustainability are non-partisan issues, of interest to everyone.

Questions on the environment and sustainability have been developed by two Trent University professors in the Environmental and Resources Science/Studies Department, Stephen Hill and Ian Attridge. Along with local organizations, we are seeking responses from Peterborough Riding candidates in the 2011 federal election.

While other topics might be discussed, the questions focus on six leading environmental issues facing our future in this region: the Trent-Severn Waterway, climate change, protecting nature, agriculture and food, greening the budget, and sustainability planning. Each question is introduced with a brief background paragraph.

Candidates are asked to provide brief responses to the questions. It is our intention to compile and circulate responses from candidates. Brief responses will also be posted on the Peterborough Field Naturalists’ website, at

1. Trent-Severn Waterway

The Trent-Severn Waterway is a key natural and economic asset and a significant federal presence in our region. It is also a National Historic Site that stretches across many counties in central Ontario. Over a thousand people and organizations made submissions to the Panel on the Future of the Trent-Severn Waterway in 2007. The Panel’s report, It’s All About the Water, was released in 2008 with later initial responses from the federal government.

What will you and your party do to support the TSW and follow up on the Panel’s recommendations (lakes and water control, environmental protection, cooperative planning, reinvestment, renewable energy, and heritage conservation and promotion)?

2. Climate Change

Climate change affects people in the Kawarthas in many ways: increased natural disasters (floods here in 2002 and 2004), more variable weather and drier conditions for farmers, cottage lake levels, increased insurance premiums, expansion of West Nile Virus and other invasive species, climbing food prices and resulting social unrest abroad, among others. Climate change is a key factor affecting our waterways, livelihoods and future prosperity.

What will you and your party do to address, mitigate and adapt to climate change in this region and work with other interests and governments to develop solutions on a wider scale?

3. Protecting Nature

Natural ecosystems, lakes, water and wildlife provide innumerable benefits for people in the Kawarthas. Protected areas, sustainable use and stewardship ensure that these benefits continue long into the future. Among others, the federal government can influence good practices through national parks and historic sites, species at risk, land acquisition funds, pollution control, and strategic funding and taxation.

What will you and your party do to protect nature and ecological health, and their benefits, here in the Kawarthas and at the national level?

4. Agriculture and Food

Agriculture is a key part of Canada’s economy and the family farm remains a central part of our local livelihoods, landscapes and communities. Both Fleming College and Trent University have recently established sustainable agriculture programs here to support family-based production, young entrepreneurs, and the benefits of sustainable practices. Food prices are rising internationally and trade issues such as the mad cow crisis raise concerns about local food security. In contrast, food awareness, certification programs, and connecting consumers to local producers are increasingly promoted as means to support healthy lifestyles and viable local businesses.

What will you and your party do to foster agriculture and food connections that support the family farm, healthy consumers and food security here in the Kawarthas and at the national level?

5. Greening the Budget

The market, government budgets and the tax system can do much to direct actions that help or harm the environment. Academics, non-government groups and the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, among others, have proposed ways to restructure our tax system to foster responsible environmental practices by individuals and corporations.

What will you and your party do to review and revise the federal funding and tax systems to encourage better environmental practices?

6. Planning for Sustainability

Sustainable development has been an internationally accepted concept since 1987. Federal law requires government-wide and departmental sustainable development strategies, and the City and County of Peterborough and City of Kawartha Lakes are currently developing sustainability plans for the region. These will seek to integrate economic, environmental, social and cultural values to ensure a quality of life that does not compromise that for future generations.

What will you and your party do to foster integrated, long-term sustainability and planning at the regional and federal levels?

Thank you for participating!