Are You Riled Up Yet? - theHumm February 2022

Are You Riled Up Yet? - theHumm February 2022

By Chandler Swain

Rick Smith is well known for his work on the impacts of pollution on human health. The research in his book Death by Rubber Ducky was the impetus to get hormone-disrupting carcinogenic chemicals out of baby bottles and kids’ toys. When parents realized that BPA was in the bottles they used every day to feed their vulnerable newborns, they demanded — and got — a foot-dragging federal government to classify the chemical as a toxin to protect Canadians’ health.

It has been proven again and again: if citizens get together to demand action from governments, change will happen. The folks at Climate Network Lanark (CNL) who are working with Lanark County Council to form an aggressive Climate Action Plan tell me that other counties in Eastern Ontario are reaching out to get some guidance to work with their own councils in the hopes of getting the results we aspire to (demand?) here in Lanark.

It has been very inspiring to hear from citizens from neighbouring counties who are determined to get their councils moving on real climate action.

CNL was contacted by JJ Davies, who recently moved to Renfrew County and was interviewed by theHumm for their Hummail e-newsletter and the article on page 14 of this issue. JJ was inspired to try and get her new home county on the path to serious climate action, and in fact presented to Arnprior Municipal Council in late January. She reached out to CNL, and we are now hearing from others who also want to learn how CNL has achieved what it has so far.

Lynn Ovenden is involved with an organization called EcoEast (EcoEst), which is demanding sustainable action in the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR). UCPR’s council consists of the mayors of the eight municipalities in Prescott-Russell. In the spring of 2021, EcoEast asked residents to help create a climate action plan, which resulted in the UCPR Coalition for Climate Action. They prepared a briefing note and petition with 300 signatures requesting that the county join the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partners for Climate Protection and commit to planning for climate action. A working group of staff and citizens will develop the plan. In their meeting with UCPR Council in November 2021, EcoEast persuaded the Council to join the program. Because of a lack of staff and experience to undertake a climate action plan, they deferred any decision on who might create a climate action plan. Now in 2022, they continue to meet and build public support for climate action in Prescott Russell. We wish them well as they forge on!

We were further inspired to hear from Michèle Andrews from Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford — an organization founded in the fall of 2019 to coordinate local action to address the climate crisis. In November 2019 they petitioned the United Counties of Leeds & Grenville to declare a Climate Emergency and initiate a Climate Action Plan. There was no interest from the county at that time, though after some pressure from the media and local residents the matter came back to them and they committed to having a Climate Action Plan initiated by June of 2020. The pandemic, along with turnover of the County’s CAO, has sidelined that initiative. The group states that they have been keenly following the impressive work of Climate Network Lanark and are hopeful that when the pandemic winds down and the next municipal election has passed, they will be able to bring this back and point to Lanark as an excellent local model for addressing the crisis.

Meanwhile, Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford has a robust website with lots of practical suggestions as to how people can take action. Their plans for 2022 include collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce to bring climate change action to their members, and to bring awareness during the next two elections of the need for all candidates to address the climate crisis, regardless of party affiliation. For more information, people can reach the group at .

You can see that citizens everywhere are realizing that without solidarity, real movement on climate isn’t going to happen. People-power is needed: RIGHT NOW! No one can remain on the sidelines anymore.

We have written about the CNL survey in this column numerous times, and the response has been inspiring! You can still take the survey: find it on the homepage of . We are using the great ideas from the survey, along with tons of citizen action experience, to create change. And while you are there, please sign on to tell the committee developing our Lanark County Community Climate Action Plan that we want to see our Greenhouse Gas emissions cut in half by 2030. This is a critical step to keep from increasing global temperatures over 2°C and falling into climate catastrophe.

Here is another quote from Rick Smith to help sharpen your focus on the fundamental issue of our time: “How many casualties will there be before we finally learn from our mistakes? It’s only through working together that we can protect ourselves and future generations from more unnecessary suffering.”

Realizing that people all over the rural counties in Eastern Ontario are working for Climate Action is very hopeful. Please let us know how you would like to get involved: email .


Chris Cavan —Rooted to the Sky - theHumm February 2022

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

Almonte artist Chris Cavan’s exuberant watercolour paintings are a testament to the essential role that trees play in her creativity and overall wellbeing. Trees have sustained and inspired her since she was a young girl, and dominate her art, her poetry and her writings. On the advice of Almonte “Energizer Bunny” and fellow artist Neil Carleton, Chris compiled an extensive binder of her art, photographs and original writings to accompany her recent art exhibit at the Corrid......


Performing Arts in Pandemic Times - theHumm February 2022

By Kris Riendeau

I’ve spent much of the past two years writing about the impact of the pandemic on performers and the performing arts. As a publisher and editor of theHumm, I do not make my living as a performer, but I sure am performing arts-adjacent. Through our Hummail e-newsletter and in the pages of our print publication, we have interviewed dozens of musicians and actors over the past months, commiserating about the challenges of restrictions and imagining brighter days ahead.

And altho......


Calling Birdhouse Builders - theHumm February 2022

By Glenda Jones & Barbara Carroll

The highly successful online birdhouse auction returns this year from April 18-29. Proceeds will go to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust to enable them to continue improving High Lonesome Nature Reserve with new fencing, parking area, signs and trail markers, and protection for Monarch butterflies. The fundraising goal is $7,500, and to make it happen we need birdhouse builders and buyers!

The buyers will get their chance later. In February and March, we need donations from birdhouse builders. Last year we had 52 bir......


Taking Care of the Browns
A Canadian Play at Studio Theatre Perth
- theHumm February 2022

Need a laugh, a little positive lift to your spirits? Don’t miss Studio Theatre Perth’s upcoming production of Taking Care of the Browns by Canadian playwright Peter Paylor. It’s a hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy about family, community and dead house guests, and a reminder that some old-fashioned things are well worth keeping. The play is scheduled to open on February 10, assuming pandemic restrictions are lifted.

“I chose this play because it struck me as the most real con......


Songs for Our Time
Folkus Brings Shows to the Almonte Old Town Hall and Your Livingroom!
- theHumm February 2022

By Sandy Irvin

We’re counting this year as our 20th season. And so far, none of it has gone as planned. But we’re still sure that we love live music, and that we want to keep supporting Canadian artists. And we’re still sure that you love music too.

With the continued uncertainty over numbers and live concerts, Folkus has added online streaming as an option for those who want to enjoy our concerts from the comfort of their own couch. At a bargain price of $20 per show per household, it’s......


February Fun forFamily Day! - theHumm February 2022

By Sarah Kerr

As I write this little article, we have had the kids at school for two-and-a-half days this year and it’s nearly February. Having kids online in lockdown during the darkest month of year, while trying to get work done, was the farthest thing from “fun”… there was stress, tears and soo much coffee! I was gearing up for Blue Monday (the most depressing day of the year) with trepidation as everyone’s anxiety was already so high, and yet I felt a sliver of excitement about the back-to-school announcement......


Help NLHS Restore the Pioneer Log Cabin - theHumm February 2022

Located on the grounds of the North Lanark Regional Museum, the Pioneer Log Cabin has been a popular tourist destination for many years. Not only does the cabin have local historical importance — architecturally it is an excellent example of a rough-hewn log cottage-style settler’s home. The construction is typical of log homes found across the Ottawa Valley in the early half of the 19th century.

The North Lanark Historical Society (NLHS) is seeking financial assistance from the community for it......


Spellbound at Sivarulrasa Gallery - theHumm February 2022

From February 16 to March 25, Sivarulrasa Gallery is delighted to present Barbara Gamble: Spellbound, Forty Years of Artmaking, an important survey exhibition featuring works by Ottawa-based artist Barbara Gamble. The exhibition can be seen in-person during regular Gallery hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 11am to 5pm, and Sundays from 11am to 4pm.

Presented in both Gallery I and II, the exhibition surveys Barbara Gamble’s work over the past four decades, providing fresh insights into t......


From Climate Anxiety to Political Action - theHumm February 2022

By Kris Riendeau

JJ Davis is an Arnprior resident who recently started a petition to demonstrate community support for a presentation she gave to Arnprior Town Council regarding the lack of a municipal climate action plan. She presented on January 24 after drumming up significant support for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which she feels should be top of mind for any municipality. Here’s how JJ started turning her climate anxiety into political action.

theHumm: I understand you’re relat......


Perth’s Frost & FireWinter Festival - theHumm February 2022

Perth Tourism is pleased to present the Frost & Fire Winter Festival, taking place over Family Day weekend on Saturday, February 19 and Sunday, February 20.

Returning after a brief pandemic-caused hiatus, the two-day event will provide visitors with an array of activities geared towards all ages. Traverse throughout Perth and take part in the scavenger hunt for a chance to win some great prizes. Encounter entertainers and partake in a horse and carriage ride along the downtow......


Back Forty Artisan Cheese — the Reopening! - theHumm February 2022

For many individuals and small businesses, the past two years have been quite a challenge. Cancellations, restrictions, mask mandates and ongoing closures have affected all of us in one way or another. But with Yin comes the Yang, and many of us have taken the downtime during the pandemic to re-evaluate our priorities, goals and aspirations.

For Jenna and Jeff Fenwick, owners of Back Forty Artisan Cheese, this resulted in a decision to temporarily close their retail cheese ......


Material World Exhibit - theHumm February 2022

There’s a new history exhibit coming to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum! Material World on the Mississippi will have hands-free interactive videos of mill workers talking about many aspects of working in a textile mill. Topics include operating the machines, the comradery, and the health and wellbeing challenges of the industry.

The textile industry in the Mississippi Valley has also negatively impacted the environment and its people. These issues exist in a compl......


Starting Veggie Seedlings Indoors - theHumm February 2022

By David Hinks

I JUST NEED TO PLANT SOMETHING!! After months of winter, gardeners are understandably crazy eager to plant some seeds. But slow down, hombre! This is a case where timing is critical! We’ve all despaired over sprawling three-foot tomato plants that we can’t plant in the garden for another three weeks. We’ve salivated over the seed catalogues and ordered the perfect varieties with all the flavour and disease resistance that we’ve dreamt of — so now let’s give them the patient care they deserve.



Are You Riled Up Yet? - theHumm February 2022

By Chandler Swain

Rick Smith is well known for his work on the impacts of pollution on human health. The research in his book Death by Rubber Ducky was the impetus to get hormone-disrupting carcinogenic chemicals out of baby bottles and kids’ toys. When parents realized that BPA was in the bottles they used every day to feed their vulnerable newborns, they demanded — and got — a foot-dragging federal government to classify the chemical as a toxin to protect Canadians’ health.

It has been proven again and again: if citizens get together to demand action from governments, change will happen. The folks at......


“Growing Hope” Gardening Workshops - theHumm February 2022

On February 22 at 7pm, Zoom in to hear Master Gardener Allan Goddard speak about Horticulture Therapy. Allan will discuss the therapeutic effects that horticulture can have for our wellbeing, particularly mental health benefits.

Then on March 22 at 7pm, Scott Sigurdson from Indian Creek Orchard Gardens will give a talk on Permaculture. Scott will continue to enlighten us about permaculture and organic strategies for the home gardener, including four crucial aspects of organic agriculture: fertility, pest, disease and vegetation management.

These timely and useful talks are part of......


What’s the Risk? - theHumm February 2022

By Glenda Jones

It’s a cold day, but I need to saddle up old Nellie. Yup, she’s a high horse, and I’m on her! Giddy-up old girl, we’re headin’ for the trail.

Every morning I gird myself for a risky day. I might trip on the dog in the semi-dark. The hot coffee might spill or the toast burn, or heaven forbid I might slip and fall when I go for the newspaper. But today, I’ve already dodged the bullet four times. This portends well.

Having success so far, I think I can risk heading to the grocery store. Risk? Oh, you bet! Simply driving on March Road is a challenge. Then there’s the roundabout, then ......


MERA’s Speaker Series - theHumm February 2022

Brighten up your winter on Thursday evenings by tuning in for an exciting series of talks presented by MERA. Cozy up at home, as the Speakers Series will be held over Zoom.

There are four talks schedules in February, each running from 7–8:30pm. Join as many as you like — organizers have tried to plan something for everyone. Interested viewers need to subscribe to the series to receive the invitation to watch the talk, by emailing Helen at .

On February 3, Jennifer Raby ...more

On Hope and Optimism - theHumm February 2022

By  John Pigeau

Back in January, my boss — theHumm’s delightful and talented editor/publisher, Kris Riendeau — asked me if I would like to contribute a few sentences about what I was hopeful for in 2022. I would be happy to, I wrote her. But then I sat down to write something, and I was overcome by a foggy sort of sadness. I sat in front of my laptop for quite some time, thinking quietly.

Eventually, I was able to write something: A swift end to this dreadful pandemic was, and is, my greatest hope. 

I sat back and sighed. Yep. That was about it. And truthfully, it was hard to think......