Shake Up the Establishment’s Climate Crash Course – A Recap | Unpublished

Warning message

  • Last import of users from Drupal Production environment ran more than 7 days ago. Import users by accessing /admin/config/live-importer/drupal-run
  • Last import of nodes from Drupal Production environment ran more than 7 days ago. Import nodes by accessing /admin/config/live-importer/drupal-run

Unpublished Opinions

Ottawa Peace and Environment Resource Center's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

The Ottawa Peace and Environment Resource Centre (PERC) is an incorporated, registered charity. It is primarily a volunteer-run, grassroots organization with a Board of Directors to govern its operations. The PERC was founded in January, 1983, by a group of concerned Ottawa residents who wanted to take action on peace issues of the time. The first newspaper - then called the Ottawa Peace Resource Calendar - was published in November 1985, and the Peace & Environment News (PEN) produced today continues that tradition.

We focus on peace, social justice and environmental issues, with an emphasis on local activities.

Our main activities include:

  • Working with Ottawa area non-profits and place-based community groups through partnerships, web hosting, promotion, and cooperation towards a more peaceful, sustainable and socially just world.
  • Operating a resource centre with books, periodicals, and multimedia resources on environmental, peace, and social justice issues.
  • Facilitating “PERCshops” on various topics, often in partnership with other groups.
  • Acting as a network hub for people and organizations who want to find information and take action locally on issues that matter to them.
  • Distributing the PEN, an accessible alternative local quarterly publication that addresses topics of peace, environment and social justice.

Our publication, the Peace and Environment News (PEN) is distributed through the local library and community centre networks, as well as to various local businesses and gathering places by our team of volunteers. It is available for FREE in these locations. Members receive the PEN mailed directly to their homes and inboxes in exchange for their generous support. To subscribe to the PEN - or give a gift subscription, simply make a tax-deductible donation.


The PERC gratefully acknowledges the support of these many private and business donors, our partners, as well as the contributions of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ottawa Community Foundation.

Like it

Shake Up the Establishment’s Climate Crash Course – A Recap

December 6, 2021

By Stefan Klietsch, PERC Intern

On the evening of October 7th, I had the privilege of attending the organization Shake Up the Establishment‘s “Movers & Shakers Climate Crash Course.” The presentation subjects of the evening included “Pipelines & Pipeline Resistance”, “Intro to Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services”, and “Nature-Based Solutions.” The conference sought to educate and mobilize more citizens towards personal activism and vigilance on the cause of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In the presentation on Pipelines & Pipeline Resistance, SUTE Political Researcher Rachel Howlett offered a brief history on fossil fuel pipelines in Canada, with the very first one built in 1853. She elaborated information that 1.3 billion barrels of oil is transported through Canadian pipelines each year, and that 1084 barrels spilled on average per year from 2011 to 2014. Three pipelines are now being built in Canada: Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement, the Coastal Gas Link, and the Trans Mountain Expansion.

According to Oil Change International, Indigenous resistance has delayed emissions from oil pipelines to the equivalent of one quarter of annual American and Canadian emissions. Activist Pamela Palmater was cited for the revelation that pipeline debates represent a collective struggle for survival, not just the survival of Indigenous peoples. And supporting resistance efforts even thousands of kilometers from oneself from coast-to-coast is essential.

According to Ms. Howlett, the next steps for people like you to help the planet are to educate the people in your life who support pipelines. People like you need to advance Indigenous rights, communicate that there is a climate emergency, and communicate that the oil and gas section is the largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions. People like you need to advocate, contact government representatives via phone, email, and social media, and sign pledges in support of resistance efforts.

In the presentation on Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services, science researcher and writer Jordan Kilgour introduced the idea of Natural Capital as represented by non-renewable and renewable resources that provide benefits or services to people. Natural Capital includes any living of non-living environmental resources, and is a concept used by scientists and economists to value the environment.

Under the umbrella of Natural Capital is also the concept of Ecosystem Services, where human well-being depends on ecosystems and is an element of natural capital that we cannot live without. Indigenous perspectives are historically missing from conversations about Ecosystem Services, despite their past history as ecosystem stewards and defenders. Types of Ecosystem Services include Provisioning services such as food and watersheds, Regulating services such as carbon sequestration and natural filtration, Supporting services, and Cultural services like recreational and sacred spaces.

All of these Ecosystem Services ought to be incorporated into city planning for community benefit. However, stocks of natural capital are still not adequately or equally represented and valued in the market, especially for BIPOC communities who traditionally lack access to Ecosystem Services. Indigenous communities are often denied access to and sovereignty over lands and Natural Capital and lower income communities have less access to greenspace, with boil-water advisories on reserves being an obvious example.

Ms. Kilgour concluded her presentation with recommendations for relevant Netflix documentaries to watch, those being There’s Something in The Water and Kiss the Ground.

In the presentation on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), coastal engineering researcher Acacia Markov identified the inextricable link between knowledge and life, as represented by natural solutions to mitigating climate change. Key to these natural climate solutions is conserving or restoring ecosystems so to improve their carbon capture capacity.

According to Markov, there are several different kinds of Nature-Based Solutions: Agriculture, Wetlands, Forests, and Grasslands. Forests provide carbon capture mostly in above-ground biomass or in roots, soil, and leaf litter. Agriculture stores carbon in living or decaying organisms and in soil, and serves to reduce tilling and control soil erosion. Grasslands are similar in importance to forests and comprise upwards of 30% of global territorial carbon capture surface. Wetlands and their soils retain carbon underwater, sometimes in even greater concentrations than above-water forests.

Natural Climate Solutions in Canada have the potential to reduce national carbon emissions by the equivalent of 78 Megatons of carbon dioxide annually by 2030. Agriculture contributes to 37.8% of this reduction, wetlands account 20% through avoided peatland disturbance, and forests account for 15% of the reduction.

Natural Climate Solutions apply the three methods of Protect, Manage, and Restore. The second of these methods is considered the most effective while the last method is considered to be least effective. Of special consideration are Indigenous territories, which contrary to western notions of land management involve attempting to live harmoniously with environments prone to carbon capture.

Ultimately, as Markov argues, a multitude of concurrent solutions will key key to resolving climate change, including but not limited to NBS. Conservation-based MBS ought to be prioritized over restoration or re-creation, and Indigenous leadership ought to be prioritized in advancing these solutions in the future.