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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy 40th Earth Day - April 22, 2010

Earth Day is an international celebration that began with the environmental movement of the 1970’s. Although Earth Day began as a day of protest during the 70’s it has now become a day of action. These actions come in many forms; such as planting trees and cleaning up litter. This year Earth Day was celebrating 40 years as an environmental movement.

Last weekend if you were out and about you would have seen people along Robert Angus Drive and in the area of Dickey Brook with clear garbage bags cleaning up the litter along the road and waterway. My hats off to these people and their actions at helping make Amherst a cleaner place to live.

For the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, the Amherst Community Garden Project and its volunteers decided to hold a social event to “get the conversation started” about the importance of good, healthy, nutritious food and the possibilities available for growing your own food.

We had a guest speaker, Jason Blanch who is our local environmentalist and member of the Green Party for this area. He spoke on the importance of food security. The local community garden is an important part of our food security. We know exactly where the food has come from and how it was grown.

Jeanne Sumbu who lives near the community garden produced a powerpoint presentation with some of the photos that were taken last year when the garden was just a field full of weeds that became a beautiful garden area with a lot of hard work and perseverance from all of the members.

There was a display of “green” cleaning products; such as, vinegar and baking soda with some examples of how these products can be used to clean anywhere in your home. This display was produced by the Poverty Action Committee who also present this information at the local food bank. They try to encourage the donation of vinegar and baking soda to the food bank as a cleaning product.

The event itself was held at Maggie’s Place, in Amherst. This centre is also a member of the community garden and last year they donated a shed to the community garden. The food for the Earth Day event was catered by the Cumberland Food Mentors, which is a group that is dedicated to making sure everyone has access to healthy and nutritious food.

The community garden is accessible for people of all ages and abilities. For those that have trouble bending or kneeling, there are raised beds for them to work on. This garden can also be seen as poverty action at the local level. It produces fresh food and provides food security for those that grow their own food and for those that grow food and then share it with the local food bank.

For more information on the community garden please feel free to contact me at the email address below.

Lisa Emery, B.A. is currently living in Amherst. Lisa invites comments to her column. You can contact Lisa at: Follow her on Twitter at:, or view her blog at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day Social Amherst Community Garden Project

Earth Day 2010 Social
Thursday, April 22nd
4:30 – 6:00 PM
Location: Maggie’s Place on Elmwood Drive

The Amherst Community Garden is getting ready for the season! The community garden committee invites you to our first social event of the season and we would like to invite you to plant a garden at our site this year. Stop by and consider the
“Growing Possibilities” for your involvement!

All are welcome and there are still some plots left for planting this Spring if you or your group is interested in joining the fun.
Gardening offers opportunities for community involvement, friendships, and skill building for young and old alike!

There will be food and refreshments served.

Please RSVP by April 20th to:

Lisa Emery

Earth Day April 22, 2010

Earth Day Canada is a national environmental charity to provide Canadians with the practical knowledge and tools they need to help the environment. It was recognized in 2004 as the top environmental education organization in North America. Earth Day Canada regularly partners with many organizations in all parts of Canada to support environmental causes. This year is the 20th anniversary of Earth Day Canada.

This entire weekend celebrates Earth Day. I encourage all teachers, trainers and educators to employ environmental information into their classroom studies on Friday and Monday. There are many websites on the internet regarding Earth Day and activities that can be used in a classroom setting.

The most important environmental actions will happen at the local grassroots level. Some people are involved in the community garden project; others in the protection of natural spaces, such as the Chignecto Game Sanctuary; still others have started their own environmental networks or organizations. The environmental issue you focus on is really up to you.

On April 22 from 4:30 to 6pm the members of the Amherst Community Garden Project are hosting and event at Maggie’s Place. We invite people who are interested in gardening and becoming involved with the community garden to attend. Please RSVP to Lisa Emery at the email address below.

The Joggins Fossil Centre will be open for Earth Day from 9:30 to 4:30 with free admission. Since this is also the UN year of biodiversity they have a new exhibit called “Have you thanked a plant today”. They are also encouraging children to bring in plastic pop bottles to help build a recycled pop bottle greenhouse and plant a pumpkin seed for the pumpkin competition. You can contact the Centre for more details.

Now, the fight for a clean environment continues at every corner of the globe, including Canada. This year you can be a part of this history and a part of Earth Day. You may even discover an energy you didn't even know you had. Feel it rumble through the grass roots under your feet. Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.

Lisa Emery, B.A. is currently living in Amherst. Lisa invites comments to her column. You can contact Lisa at: Follow her on Twitter at:, or view her blog at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

United Nations Year of Biodiversity

The United Nations declared 2010 to be the Year of Biodiversity. It is a celebration of life on earth and of the value of biodiversity in our lives. Each and every one of us is and integral part of nature. Our lives are linked to biodiversity and the variety of animal and plant species, including the places they live.

We rely on their diversity of life to provide us with the food, fuel, medicine and other essentials that we cannot live without. Yet the rich diversity of our world is being lost at an accelerated pace due to human activities. There is no corner of the earth that man hasn't touched in some way and sadly, that man hasn't attempted to exploit.

The definition of biodiversity is the term that is given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns they form. This biodiversity forms the web of life for all species including those we depend on for our survival.

Biodiversity also includes genetic differences within each species - for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock. Another aspect of biodiversity is the variety of ecosystems such as: deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes, rivers, and agricultural landscapes. In each ecosystem, living creatures, including humans, form a community, which interact with one another and with the air, water, and soil around them.

It is very important that we conserve and protect the things that we rely on to survive. This would include our fresh water supply, clean air, productive farmland and the biodiversity of our forestland. All of these things are related. We can not protect our water supply without protecting our forests and wetlands. We can not protect biodiversity without protecting the animals of our forests and having productive farmland. Everything is equal and everything is related.

The loss of biodiversity threatens our food supplies, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and sources of wood, medicines and energy. While the loss of individual species catches our attention, it is the degradation and loss of forests, wetlands, coral reefs, and other ecosystems that is the gravest threat to biodiversity. Forests are home for much of the known tree, plant and animal biodiversity, but about 45 per cent of the Earth's original forests are gone, mostly cleared during the last century.

Unsustainable use of our ecosystems and the over-exploitation of our forests continue to be a major threat. Many species of trees, plants and animals from the forestland are used by humans to fulfill basic needs. These species are in a state of decline because they are being used at unsustainable levels or are being harvested in such a way that threatens the ecosystems on which they depend.
The website for the year of biodiversity can be found at: .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gardening For Earth Day - April 22, 2010

This year is the 40th anniversary of celebrating Earth Day. If you haven’t done anything to celebrate Earth Day in the past, this year might be a good year to start. You can start with something small like planting a container garden or at least preparing the container for gardening. Or you can go for something bigger like preparing a spot in your backyard for a vegetable garden. Planting a small garden is good for you and for the earth. If you do not have a backyard (apartments) then perhaps taking part in the local community garden might benefit you.

A community garden is an inexpensive way for people to work together to grow their own food. Community gardens are usually located in neighbourhoods where people can drop by and participate. The community garden in Amherst is located just off Veno Avenue across the street from Dickey Park. This land was donated by a community member.

A community Garden allows for the exchange of ideas, the sharing of gardening tips and provides varying levels of expertise. Growing your own food is a great method to build food security in our communities, promote active living and encouraging people to work outdoors. Again, planting a garden plot is both good for you and for the earth.

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22nd. This day is a shout out for everyone to learn and appreciate more about what we have locally. Earth Day is all about simple actions that everyone can take part in to lessen their impact on the environment.

Earth Day celebrations are usually carried out using a plant theme. Something related to nature or that would benefit our earth is the most successful way of celebrating Earth Day. The typical Earth Day celebration usually involves tree planting; however, planting or preparing for a garden is a fantastic way to celebrate your growing eco-activism.

The Amherst Community Garden will be open to anyone who expresses an interest. Half an acre of land has been divided into simple gardening plots which include raised bed gardening (for seniors or people with physical restrictions) and a conventional row garden. If you are interested in having a plot in the community garden you can contact me at the email address below or contact the Poverty Action Committee 667-3319. A donation to the Poverty Action Committee is the only suggested cost for a plot in the garden.

One other item of note: This week is National Wildlife Week from April 4th to April 10th. Perhaps a hike in the bird sanctuary or any other area that you can get into to see wildlife would be a great family adventure.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Earth Hour to Earth Day

Last Saturday was Earth Hour. This is an annual conservation of energy event that takes place globally. Each year many cities and individuals turn off their lights, and any appliances that are not being used, to take a stand against climate change. However, Earth Hour is just a prelude to Earth Day which is also held annually on April 22nd.

Last Saturday, millions of people in some of the world's largest cities united and switched off their lights for one hour for Earth Hour - sending a powerful national and global message to take global action on global warming. Events like Earth Hour will send a strong signal that people all around the world are deeply concerned and expect their leaders to take action before it’s too late.

Climate change is a global challenge that requires global solutions and it’s clear that the people of this planet, that chose to participate in Earth Hour, are ready to get involved and help government find the answers.

The one thing that makes Earth Hour a unique event is that it brings together governments, business and individuals, who all play a part in switching off the lights. Working together, individual households alongside of the world’s most iconic landmarks can make an impact in the fight against climate change.

Canada was a driving force last year in the global Earth Hour movement with more than half the adult Canadian population turning out their lights. This year, we had more cities and towns signed up than any other country.

Each of us can and must play a part in reducing and solving global warming. If each of us does at least the little things that are within our power, it will add up to millions of small things and make a real difference.

Lisa Emery, B.A. is currently living in Amherst. Lisa invites comments to her column. You can contact Lisa at: Follow her on Twitter at:, or view her blog at