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The documentary film, Every Living Thing -­ experiencing a bioblitz, will take you on an amazing journey of what it's like to spend four weeks over two summers exploring all aspects of nature – fish, insects, plants, fungi, reptiles, amphibians and mammals - that live in NB’s own Grand Lake Protected Natural Area.

Celebrate the UN Decade of Biodiversity – host a film screening in your community!

Unlike reality TV, this documentary film features real scientists speaking about real issues affecting real people living in real communities.

Every Living Thing was produced by NB-based company, Flower Power Production, in collaboration with the New Brunswick Museum's BiotaNB program.  BiotaNB is a 20-year biodiversity research project to identify and catalogue as many species in the province of New Brunswick, before human encroachment and climate change intensifies.  The NBEN is partnering with Flower Power Production to promote community film screenings of this film across Canada. 
There are so many government consultations going on that it’s hard to keep track! We’re making it a bit easier by compiling a list of those of interest to environmental groups and their deadlines:

Pre-budget Provincial
New Brunswickers are invited to attend upcoming public meetings focused on priorities for the 2017-18 budget. November 16-December 5

Electoral Reform Provincial
The Commission on Electoral Reform is looking at alternative voting systems, voting age, and other election rules. Deadline: November 30

Navigable Waters Federal
Review of the previous government’s changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Deadline: December 7

Environmental Protection Act Federal
Comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of theCanadian Environmental Protection Act. Deadline: December 1

Charities Federal
Modernization of the rules governing charities and their political activities. Deadline: December 9

Environmental Assessment Federal
Comprehensive review of Canada’s environmental assessment processes. Deadline: December 18

Fisheries Federal
Review of the 2012-13 changes to the Fisheries Act made by the previous government. Comments welcome on restoring habitat protections that were lost and also on incorporating modern safeguards. No deadline mentioned but the committee responsible is submitting its report in “early 2017”.

National Energy Board Federal
A targeted review of the NEB’s structure, role and mandate under the National Energy Board Act. Deadline: January 17

Clean Air Act Operating Approval – Irving Provincial
Renewal of the Approval to Operate for the Irving Pulp and Paper Limited Reversing Falls Complex in Saint John. Deadline: March 7
For immediate release
November 22, 2016
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Fredericton – The New Brunswick Environmental Network celebrated its 25th anniversary over the weekend. During the celebration, special recognition was given to seven groups that have been members of the network for 25 years: Atlantic Salmon Federation, Vertige at Mathieu-Martin High School, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station, Nature NB, Nature Trust of New Brunswick, and Trees International.

There are now 100 citizen-based environmental groups from across New Brunswick in the Network. “It was a double milestone,” said Raissa Marks, Executive Director of the NBEN. “It was perfectly fitting to approve the membership of our 100th group during the 25th anniversary event.”

“Nature NB is excited to have been part of the NBEN for 25 years,” said Vanessa Roy-McDougall, Executive Director of Nature NB. “The NBEN's diligent work over the years has allowed us to connect with other environmental groups and has made our efforts to conserve New Brunswick's natural heritage even stronger."

Lois Corbett, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, added that her group is “...proud to have been part of NBEN for 25 years. The Network's groups and their members, including the Conservation Council, represent citizens from all over the province and by working together, we've become a strong united voice for clean water and air and for a thriving, greener economy.”

Youth environmental groups have always been an important part of the Network, as explained by Mylène Chavarie of Vertige at Mathieu-Martin High School, “Vertige is extremely proud to be part of the NBEN. The resources provided by the Network have been useful to us over the course of the last 25 years. Our committee is honoured to have been part of the NBEN since the beginning.”

Laurie Murison, of the Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station, reflected back on the last 25 years. “We were happy to join a network of New Brunswick environmental groups 25 years ago. At that time, communication among groups was limited to phone calls, mail outs, or meetings. The need to connect with others, and the chance to learn new skills, was beneficial and desirable. The development of a strong network in New Brunswick over the years with increased membership has strengthened our resolve to remain a member.”

The 25th anniversary celebration, held in Fredericton on Saturday November 19, was attended by over 100 people representing 53 environmental groups from around the province.

The Network’s mandate is to improve communication and co-operation among environmental groups and between these groups, government, and other sectors.

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Contact:
Raissa Marks, 506-855-4144, raissa.marks@nben.ca
The NBEN’s Branch Out, Make Waves is a province-wide challenge that encourages youth and community groups to team up and take on tree-planting and shoreline clean-up conservation projects. Together, the groups from around the province planted 1254 trees and cleaned 20 hectares of shoreline!

While the challenge this year ended on October 21, you can still vote! 

Go to the challenge page and scroll down to the challenge submissions. Voting is as simple as clicking the upward arrow (^) on the challenges you want to vote for! Voting ends November 18th.

You can vote HERE!

Thank you for supporting youth and community conservation efforts!
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Do you ever stumble across a blue “protected natural area” sign when you are hiking in the woods? I do. And I always wonder what protected area I’m in. And whether I’m entering it, or leaving it.

So, what on earth is a protected area? Protected areas are preserves for nature and wildlife habitat. People can use them for recreation, like hiking, and, in most protected areas in NB, for fishing and hunting too. Industrial activities like forestry and mining are not allowed.

In New Brunswick, 4.7% of the land is currently protected areas. 4.7% sounds pretty good - until you take into account the fact that Canada has signed the international Convention on Biological Diversity and is committed to protecting 17% by 2020. Hmmm, that’s only 3 years away. And how do we stack up against the other provinces? Well, we are second to last, with only PEI trailing behind us.

To learn some tips from other provinces, three were invited to a workshop last February. Of the three, Alberta is in the lead with an impressive 14.4% of its land protected, Nova Scotia next with 12.16% and Quebec has 9.16%. New Brunswick is similar to Nova Scotia, about the same size and about half of the province is Crown land. Surely with all this Crown land in NB we can do our fair share to preserve nature and wildlife habitat for future generations. If they can do it Nova Scotia, we can too!

At the protected areas workshop, participants from conservation groups, universities, First Nations, government, municipalities and business generated new ideas to get New Brunswick to the international benchmark. Read the report of the workshop to find out more! Tell us what you think!

 
Why do you love protected areas? Pourquoi aimez-vous les aires protégées?
 
Are we preserving enough in N.B.? Préservons-nous assez au N.-B.?


 
Should NB allow ecotourism in protected areas? Est-ce que le N.-B. devrait permettre l'écotourisme dans les aires protégées?
Congratulations to Jim Emberger for winning  the first  Beth McLaughlin Environmental Journalism Award from the Southeast Chapter of Conservation Council of NB. Jim won this award for reporting on the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. Well done!

Read the full article on NBASGA's website, here.

How far is it from your home to the nearest clearcut? And is that clearcut on the list to be sprayed this year? You can check out the online map and zero in on this piece of information if you want. But, let me warn you, you really don’t want to know. For me, the spray planes will be about 2 km away. And the runoff from the sprayed area will go downhill into the brook that runs right by me and hey, guess what else, water from the brook irrigates my vegetable garden. Hmmm…..yum. Not to mention any aerial drift that makes it my way.

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Never mind! The government’s new report on glyphosate didn’t look at New Brunswickers’ health data although they acknowledge that there are outstanding health questions. And, according to our 2014 forest strategy, we don’t seem to be worried about the health of all the other species who used to live in the once-upon-a-time-woods-but-now-a-clearcut.

One of the more amazing things about this whole scenario is that we pay for the spray with our tax dollars. The Auditor-General, in her 2015 report, criticized the government for losing $53.67 million in the last 5 years on its forest operations due to silviculture costs, including spraying. She didn’t have anything good to say about clearcuts and recommended that we do less, not more. She noted that selective and partial cutting methods are recognized as the best management practices and they also protect water, wildlife habitat and preserve biodiversity.

What is the connection between clearcuts and spray? Clearcuts are sprayed with herbicides and then they are planted in softwood trees. In NB, the natural forest includes both hardwood and softwood trees. After a cut, both types of trees will grow back on their own from the seeds and seedlings that are in the area naturally. Herbicides kill hardwoods, but not softwoods. Softwoods make better lumber so the goal of spraying is to kill the hardwoods - dead in their tracks.

And what happens in other places? According to the government’s report, glyphosate use here is different from everywhere else. Worldwide, 90% of glyphosate is used in agriculture. In NB, 61% is used in forestry, 27% industrial (think NB Power and DTI), and 11% is agriculture. The report found that 40% of the forest land cut in NB in 2014 was sprayed with glyphosate. The Canadian average is 11%. And Quebec, which cut almost 3 times more woods than NB, did not spray at all!

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Imagine what might happen if we stopped paying the forest companies to dump this poison on our heads? Would that improve our province’s financial bottomline? Could those millions of dollars be better spent on health and education? I think so!
 

More info

Link to the GeoNB online spraying map (When you get into GeoNB, click the okay button on the bottom right. If you click on the hyperlink, you get a forest company perspective video. Once you are on the map, to see the planned spray areas you will need to zoom in and wait a bit.)

Link to government report on glyphosate and responses from environmental organizations

Link to November 2015 Statement from groups calling for a new Crown Lands and Forests Act

Link to Stop Spraying NB

Link to Conservation Council of NB
Happy day! Finally it looks like Canada and New Brunswick are taking climate change seriously. Really seriously. And they are ready to listen! Members of Parliament are holding town hall meetings to hear from their constituents about climate change. The provincial government has launched a Select Committee on Climate Change which will be hearing from expert witnesses and holding meetings around the province to hear from ordinary people. And the federal-provincial working groups have an online portal to garner opinions from one and all.

So, what’s the hold up? Why aren’t environmentalists falling all over themselves on this? Why hasn’t someone launched a big public campaign? It’s almost like it is too big! It seems like even long-time environmental activists feel like they don’t know enough. After all, climate change is not most people’s expertise. That being said, everyone knows its potential impacts on the area that they do work on – water, forests, air, endangered species, health.

Climate change is the backdrop issue lurking in every environmentalist’s mind. Whatever issue is your passion climate change plays a role. If you work to improve the environment by direct action such as restoring a river or protecting precious habitat, that good work could fall from the climate wrecking ball. If advocating for protecting human health from chemical exposure or changing forestry practices is your thing, climate change scenarios make the doom and gloom situations much gloomier. Plus, if you start to think about your grandchildren, it is hard to maintain any sense of optimism whatsoever.

Right now we are all invited to raise our voices. Let’s raise them together and show that dealing with climate change is as important as it gets!

  For more information…

The federal Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development released her spring report this week.  In it, she addresses:
Read the full report here.

On March 1st 2016, the NBEN, in partnership with the NB Food Security Action Network and Farm to Cafeteria, hosted a provincial conference to explore the links in between food security, education and sustainability.

Food security is a new theme for the Sustainability Education Alliance of New Brunswick (SEA-NB), but was extremely well received. Over 80 participants representing schools, school districts, postsecondary institutions, NGOs, local food banks, and provincial government departments attended the event.

Over the course of the day, the participants got the chance to hear about some of the exciting educational initiatives around food security that are happening in the province, played and learned outside with the “Great Minds Think Outside” team, and left with heads full of ideas on ways to expand education around food security in NB following great discussions and a fantastic keynote address from Michael Carr.

Thanks to our partners and to everyone else that contributed to the planning and organizing of the event.


You can read the report here! 

Blog Archives


This blog is for news and opinion pieces by staff.
The views expressed in these articles are the author’s personal opinion and not those of the NBEN or its member or associate groups.

Action Alerts

ACTION ALERT: Reinstate funding to the Canadian Environmental Network

Friday, 03 February 2017
by Raissa Marks
The Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks need your help!

Historically, the Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks including the NBEN received annual core funding from the Government of Canada. This was used to facilitate networking on environmental issues across the country, coordinate national and provincial issue-based caucuses, coordinate ENGO participation in federal public consultation processes, and maintain open lines of communication between ENGOs and the federal government.

In 2011, as part of the across-the-board cuts to civil society organizations by the previous federal government, all federal funding to the RCEN and its provincial affiliate networks was cut. This left the national network and most of the affiliates with functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work.

There is hope that the current government will provide for renewed funding in its upcoming budget. This funding is crucial for the survival of the national network and many of the provincial affiliate networks. A proposal has been submitted. It now needs strong and immediate support from environmental groups and individuals across the country.

This is where you come in!

Please take a few minutes to write to Prime Minister Trudeau and your MP telling them why you value the RCEN, your provincial affiliate network, or environmental networking at the national level in general. Feel free to use the template letter provided below. You can personalize it based on your experience or simply copy and paste.

Trudeau’s email is justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca and you can find your MP’s email here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members

Let’s show our federal politicians that a strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada!

Draft Template Letter:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I am writing to ask that annual core funding to the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) be reinstated.

Historically, the RCEN provided a crucial link between environmental groups across the country, both large and small. This link was vital in helping communities address environmental issues right across the country and ensuring a robust approach to the development of environmental policy in Canada.

Since funding was cut in 2011, the RCEN and most of its provincial affiliate networks have been functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work. This is not acceptable. A strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada. I urge you to reinstate core funding for this crucial work immediately.

Sincerely,

Still Time to Submit Comments - Snowmobile Trail Development up Mount Carleton

Monday, 21 November 2016
by Roberta Clowater, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - New Brunswick Chapter
You can still send in your comments until end of day Nov 21 (Monday) on the environmental assessment report about the proposed snowmobile trail at Mount Carleton Provincial Park. If you're not sure what to say, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - NB Chapter has summarized some of our key messages here: http://cpawsnb.org/images/upload/key_messages_EIA.pdf

Please send comments or questions to: lynn.white@gnb.ca or mail to: Lynn White, Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1.
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