Long ago when the world was young, the people were often hungry. They survived as best they could by hunting animals and gathering wild fruits. There were no farmers and no-one knew how to grow corn. Without corn there was no flour, and without flour there was no bread to eat.
At that time there lived an old, old woman who understood many things. One day she called together all her family, all her neighbours and told them:
'Something wonderful is coming! For ten nights I have heard it singing from the river. Now it is time for you to listen with me, for we must find out who or what it is.'
So when darkness fell, the whole village went down to the river bank. Soon they heard a voice as sweet as a summer wind quivering over the water:
'Fair and fine, Fine and fair Are the fields Where I grow and ripen.'
The villagers peered and strained to see who it was that sang so hauntingly. But they could see nothing, no-one.
Yet trusting in the Great Spirit, they sang back their own chant of peace and welcome.
The strange singing swelled to fill the darkness, until it seemed that a great army of mysteries was washing towards them through the night. Then the youngest children began to whimper with fear.
'Don't worry,' the old, old woman told them. 'You can go home now. Take your mothers and fathers with you. Leave me here. I am not afraid. I shall meet the singer and find out what I must do.'
So the villagers went away and the old, old woman waited, bent and wrinkled, alone.
Many moments of stillness passed; then suddenly the singer called out,
'Grandmother! Bring me ashore!'
'I am coming my child,' replied the old, old woman.
She climbed into her canoe and paddled it out to the centre of the river.
There she saw an enormous beaver. His back was arched out of the water, and on it sat a graceful girl.
The girl jumped into the canoe, and the old, old woman rowed her ashore.
'Thank you Grandmother,' said she, 'Now you must leave me here and go home yourself. But be sure to come and look for me in the morning.'
The old, old woman did as she was bidden. The next day, as soon as dawn had washed the sky, she hurried back to the river bank.
There was no-one there; but a single stalk of corn, thick with golden seed, was growing on the spot where the mysterious singer had landed.
The old, old woman smiled and nodded to herself. She plucked the corn and carried it carefully home to her wigwam. There she hung it on a pole by her fireplace and waited to see what would happen next.
That night she had a dream. In it, the corn changed back into the shape of the girl she had rescued.
'Grandmother,' she said, 'it is too hot for me by your fire. Take me outside, I beg you! Then plant my seeds in the ground.'
When she woke, the old, old woman remembered her dream at once. Carefully, she unhooked the corn stalk and shook out the grains into a bowl. Then she carried them outside, laid them in the ground and covered them with a soft sprinkling of soil.
The sun shone and the rain fell. Soon green shoots pushed through the blanket of earth.
Then the old, old woman had another dream about the girl.
'Grandmother,' said she, 'know this: I am Corn. I have come to feed you. Nurse me carefully, protect me from the weeds. When I am ripe, grind me into flour. When that is done, bake me into bread. Eat me. Share me generously with your people. I will make you all strong!'
Once again, the old, old woman did as she was bidden. She looked after the corn. Moons waxed and waned, summer blossomed and faded. The corn grew strong. Its seed ripened.
It was the time of leaf-fall. The old, old woman harvested the corn. She divided it up and gave a handful of seeds to every family in the village.
Then she shared with them the wisdom that the Corn Maiden had taught her.
That night, everyone was happy. Now they had delicious bread to eat. Never again would they be hungry!
They went down to the river bank and chanted their thanks to the Corn Maiden.
For the last time they heard her singing across the water, but now her words were tinged with a strange sadness:
'Take care, take care Of the good Earth that feeds me! I am the fruit of the Earth - Oh I suffer! Do not waste me, do not poison me.....'
'Whatever can it mean?' asked the villagers.
Tears ran down the old, old, woman's cheeks, for she could see far into the future.
'Corn is sacred, everything that grows is sacred,' she said. 'But I warn you, there will come a time when the sons of your sons will forget this. Then hunger and sorrow will return to the world.' She shook her head. 'It will not end until - unless - their grandchildren learn once more this lesson - the only lesson that is worth remembering: how to love and respect the Earth.'
As the government moves forward with the implementation of the Green Energy Act, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) has begun to draft the regulations that will guide the process and set the standard for the protection of natural heritage features. The first step is the Renewable Energy Approval regulation recently posted on the Environmental Registry for public comment. This regulation outlines the approval process for renewable energy projects. Several changes to the regulation are needed to ensure that the development of “green” energy is truly green and does not compromise the protection and restoration of Ontario’s natural heritage. You can now comment on the proposed regulation through the Environmental Registry. The deadline for comments is July 24, 2009.
The government should be applauded for its efforts to expand the use of clean and renewable sources of energy through its Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009. The new legislation aims to mitigate the impacts of climate change by facilitating the development of renewable sources of energy. To do so, it is removing barriers to development in part by streamlining the approval process for proposed projects.
What we need to ensure, however, is that in streamlining approvals, the government puts in place adequate protections for Ontario’s wildlife and natural environment. In responding to climate change we must keep in mind the importance of maintaining biodiversity and protecting natural communities and systems in order to enhance landscape resilience and options for adaptation.
Outlined below is a list of concerns that must be addressed.
The key mechanism proposed for protecting natural heritage features is a 120 metre “setback” from significant features. To be effective, the significant natural heritage features to be protected through the approval process must include provincially, regionally and locally significant features. Given that the streamlined process will now bypass any protection formerly provided for locally and regionally significant features through municipal official plans, the new approval process must ensure that these features are protected. Project proponents must be required to assess and identify significant features (i.e. locally, regionally and provincially significant) within 120 metres of their proposed projects as part of their submission for approval.
The proposed approval process explicitly prohibits projects from being sited within some natural heritage features (e.g., significant wetlands in southern Ontario, provincial parks and conservation reserves), but does not prohibit them within others (e.g. significant wetlands in northern Ontario, significant woodlands, significant valleylands, significant wildlife habitat, significant Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest). The approval process must explicitly prohibit the siting of projects within any locally, regionally or provincially significant natural heritage features.
Despite the 120 metre setback, the proposed approval process would allow projects to be sited within the setback (i.e. closer to the natural heritage feature) if impacts are mitigated. There is no test, standard or threshold for the mitigation requirement, leaving the door wide open for projects to infringe upon the 120 metre setback. If green energy is to be truly green, the setback must offer a clear minimum standard for protection. The approval process must prohibit development within the 120 metre setback unless the project proponent can demonstrate that there will be no harm to the significant natural heritage feature.
In other provincial guidelines, such as the Natural Heritage Reference Manual, the recommendation of a 120 metre buffer is acknowledged to be more than required to protect a natural feature in some cases, and less than required in other cases. Where it is determined (e.g. through public consultation) that the 120 metre buffer is likely to be insufficient, the Director issuing the approval must have the discretion to require the proponent to undertake further studies and to extend the buffer and/or mitigate the harmful impacts.
The impacts of some forms of renewable energy are poorly understood and a subject of considerable controversy. In order to learn more about these impacts and improve our ability to address them, monitoring and assessing impacts will be critical. The approval process should require project proponents to prepare a monitoring plan as part of their submission for approval.
Make your voice heard! Let the Ministry of Environment know that the Renewable Energy Approval regulation must be revised to adequately protect Ontario’s natural heritage.
Please keep in mind that original responses are weighed more heavily than are form letters. We suggest that you use the points above to draft your own letter and either post it online to the link below or send a hard copy to the listed address by July 24, 2009. Be sure to reference the EBR registry number: 010-6516.
If you are pressed for time, a sample letter has also been prepared. Please cut and paste the text below, post it on the EBR or send a hard copy to the address at the bottom of this page.
Please send a copy of your letter to Ontario Nature at 366 Adelaide St., W., Suite 201, Toronto, ON M5V 1R9 or email to email@example.com. You can also fax your letter to (416) 444-9866.
Marcia Wallace, Manager Ministry of the Environment Environmental Programs Division Program Planning and Implementation Branch 55 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 7 Toronto Ontario M4V 2Y7
Marcia Wallace, Manager Ministry of the Environment Environmental Programs Division Program Planning and Implementation Branch 55 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 7 Toronto Ontario M4V 2Y7
Dear Ms. Wallace,
RE: Proposed Ministry of Environment Regulation to Implement the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. EBR Registry No.: 010-6516
I would like to congratulate the government on its efforts to promote the development and use of renewable energy in Ontario. The Green Energy and Green Economy Act is a promising step towards mitigating the impacts of climate change.
At the same time, however, I am writing to express my concern about certain aspects of the proposed Renewable Energy Approval regulation. Revisions to the proposed approval process are necessary to ensure that “green” energy is truly green. The streamlining of the approval process must not compromise the protection of Ontario’s natural heritage, and therefore I urge you to make the following revisions to the regulation:
Require project proponents to assess and identify locally, regionally and provincially significant natural heritage features within 120 metres of proposed projects as a condition of approval.
Prohibit the siting of projects within any locally, regionally or provincially significant natural heritage features.
Prohibit development within the proposed 120 metre setback unless the project proponent can demonstrate that there will be no harm to the significant natural heritage feature.
Empower Director(s) issuing approvals to extend the 120 metre setback where necessary to prevent harm to a significant natural heritage feature.
Require project proponents to prepare, as a condition of approval, a plan to monitor and assess project impacts on the natural environment.
I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the proposed regulation. I trust that it will be revised along the lines suggested above so that it offers adequate protection for Ontario’s wildlife and natural environment. Only then can Ontario hope to position itself as a world leader in the development and use of “green” energy.
On April 27, the Ontario government released its long overdue Caribou Conservation Plan. The plan incorporates important scientific principles, but it fails to stop the extinction clock for woodland caribou.
The plan doesn't say how and when Ontario will protect woodland caribou habitat. In fact, it would allow logging and road building to occur in the remaining intact Boreal forest habitat.
Received from "Western Canada Wilderness Committee Victoria":
BC Liberal government proposes to revive deeply unpopular “Anti-Forest Protection Zones” previously killed by huge public outcry - Please SPEAK UP AGAIN!
This is serious. The BC Liberal government is looking to revive their old proposal to halt new forest protections on our public lands, including obstructing the protection of old-growth forests. They are calling these anti-forest protection zones "Commercial Forest Reserves". It is VITAL that we kill this plan before it gets going.
Many of you will remember our successful campaign a few years ago against the BC Liberal government's so-called "Working Forest Initiative", where tens of thousands of BC citizens spoke out and rallied against the vast proposal to pseudo-privatize our public forest lands, forcing the government to back away from legally implementing the initiative. This new proposal is essentially an attempt to revive the old Working Forest more sneakily by starting off small, and then expanding gradually over all of our biologically richest forest lands. It's a tumour that must be destroyed before it spreads.
Instead of helping forestry dependent communities by assisting in the retooling of sawmills away from the last, increasingly marginal stands of old-growth forests on the south coast and to handle the more abundant and accessible second-growth stands (which are generally exported as raw logs now), the BC Liberal government has instead chosen to obstruct new forest conservation measures as a false way to "save" the forest industry.
See the PRESS RELEASE below for more details.
*** IMPORTANT: Please WRITE and PHONE the elected decision-makers - be sure to include your home mailing address.
Let the politicians know if you believe they must:
- Toss out plans for a Commercial Forest Reserve that obstructs future protected areas on our public forest lands, or else face a major fight.
- Enact concrete timelines to quickly end old-growth logging on Vancouver Island and the Southwest Mainland where old-growth forests are now scarce. - Ensure the sustainable logging of second-growth forests, which now constitute most of the landbase on the south coast. - Ban raw log exports. - Assist in the development and retooling of sawmills for second-growth logs and value-added wood processing facilities.
Both at: Legislative Buildings, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
ALSO very importantly, your own BC Liberal or NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) (ie. your provincial political representative for your area) who you can find at: http://www.leg.bc.ca/Mla/3-1-1.htm
Proposed Commercial Forest Reserves will prevent new forest conservation measures on public lands, are another step towards pseudo-privatization of public lands for timber companies
The Wilderness Committee is preparing for an increasingly fierce battle against the BC Liberal government’s forest policies due to their plans to revive one of their most anti-environmental ideas – the designation of public lands that are off-limits to future forest conservation measures. Premier Campbell announced on Wednesday to the Truck Loggers Association Convention that he has instructed Forest Minister Pat Bell to start developing plans for a Commercial Forest Reserve where “forestry is the priority” and “harvested land will not be set aside for other uses” (Press Release, Ministry of Forests and Range, January 14, 2009)
“For a fleeting moment, I thought Campbell was talking about keeping out suburban sprawl from destroying private forest lands where he deleted the Tree Farm Licenses on our coast,” states Ken Wu, campaign director for the Wilderness Committee’s Victoria office. “Then I realized to my horror he was talking about public lands - about preventing future forest protections on Crown lands, such as for drinking watersheds, scenic viewscapes, deer and elk wintering ranges, endangered species protections, new parks, and old-growth management areas. This revived push to keep out ‘other uses’ on public lands to benefit private logging companies is fundamentally about eliminating the public’s right to choose what to do with their own public lands, specifically when it entails choosing options that keep trees standing for conservation. It’s a form of pseudo-privatization for the exclusive benefit of the major timber companies that hold logging tenures on our public lands”.
Forest Minister Pat Bell has stated that the Commercial Forest Reserve would be different from their previous Working Forest proposal in that it wouldn’t include all of BC’s Crown lands, but instead would at first be limited to areas that are “ particularly productive ” and “ start small and grow ” (Prince George Citizen, January 14, 2009)
“At this point it looks like a sneaky, foot-in-the door, scaled-down version of their previous Working Forest proposal - at least to begin with. They remember how unpopular their previous proposal was, so they know they need to start small at first. But it’s like a tumour – once it’s in place, it’ll grow and spread. They even admit this. We’re calling on all conservationists and recreationists, hunters and anglers, tourism operators and First Nations, to kill this tumour before it takes over and destroys our public forest lands, ” states Wu.
In particular, the Wilderness Committee is concerned about the proposed Commercial Forest Reserves obstructing the protection of old-growth forests, as well as areas with the highest biodiversity, most of the salmon and trout, and the largest trees which usually coincide with the most productive growing sites in the valley bottoms. The Wilderness Committee is calling on the BC Liberal government to enact concrete timelines to quickly phase-out old-growth logging from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, ensure sustainable second-growth logging, ban raw log exports, and assist in retooling and developing mills and value-added wood processing facilities for second-growth forests which now constitute most of the south coast and interior.
Satellite photos show that about 75% of Vancouver Island’s productive old-growth forests have already been logged, including 90% of the valley bottoms and 99% of the coastal old-growth Douglas firs. Only 6% of Vancouver Island’s original productive old-growth forests are protected in parks.See maps, stats, and photos at www.viforest.org and www.wcwcvictoria.org
The movement to protect Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland’s old-growth forests and to ban raw log exports is the largest movement in the province. Almost 3000 people showed up at the last Wilderness Committee rally in October (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRmXjq7ZSCI ) and last week over 30,000 signatures had been gathered on the petition (see www.viforest.org and www.wcwcvictoria.org )
“How backwards, anti-environmental and reckless can the BC Liberal government get with their forest policies? Right now we have the largest, active grassroots movement in the province. The Commercial Forest Reserve runs precisely counter to our goals. With this proposal Campbell and Bell are saying ‘lets go to war with conservationists’. If they are serious about pursuing this, they are committing themselves to the fiercest conflict only four months before a BC election,” states Wu.
I think of the word,
"Mother," many things
come into my mind.
sweet mother, of course,
who to me, will always be
think, too, of myself,
for I am the mother
of three, the step-mother
Reminder: Please attend
TONIGHT's Town Board
Meeting to speak
out against the
plan during the
Tuesday 5/14/13 at 7:30
PMNorth Hempstead Town
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