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Environment

Mission and Vision | Committee Members | Stewartship Awards | Links of Interest

January 12, 2023

Dear Member of CARP Nova Scotia,

As Chair of the Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP-NS), I am pleased to provide an update regarding the evolution of our Environment Committee.

The Environment Committee was initially established in 2010 as a made-in-Nova Scotia response to CARP’s national priority on encouraging healthy lifestyles amongst seniors, in part through promotion of walking and hiking in outdoor settings.  This priority interest soon expanded to identifying trails and parks where outdoor activities could be accessed and enjoyed, and in turn to a growing understanding and appreciation of the role of Nova Scotia’s parks, nature reserves and wilderness areas in protecting our natural environment.

More broadly, we are all aware that the environment has emerged as a predominant issue and concern, not only globally as we see and hear almost every day in the media but also provincially and locally based on direct observation and experience within our communities and daily lives. As seniors (or as members approaching senior years), our thoughts therefore increasingly turn to the environmental legacy that our generation will leave to our grandchildren and those that follow.

In recognition of the environmental challenges ahead and following a slowdown of activity during the height of COVID, the Environment Committee has undergone a process of re-building through the addition of new members, who are contributing added perspectives and energies.  A particular priority of the renewal process has been the updating and refinement of the Committee’s mandate, through the adoption of statement of mission and vision which can be viewed immediately below.

This effort is supported by the Board, and members are invited to provide any feedback that you may wish to offer.  James Boyer (environment@carpnovascotia.ca), as committee chair, will be pleased to receive any comments or questions that may be advanced.

By way of introductions, bios of current committee members can be accessed by scrolling further down.

Regards and best wishes for the New Year.

Ron Swan, President/Chairman of the Board
CARP Nova Scotia Chapter

Mission and Vision

Environment Committee – (CARP-Nova Scotia)

Healthy Environment | Healthy People | Healthy Planet

Mission

To advocate for the responsible stewardship of Nova Scotia’s natural environment.

In the broader context of the world facing the twin global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, our mission is to advocate for environmental policy and action, by government (federal, provincial and municipal), the private (corporate and small business) and not-for-profit sectors and individual Nova Scotians, in support of:

  1. protecting the ecological integrity of Nova Scotia’s natural environment; and
  2. utilizing our province’s natural assets in accordance with the principles of sustainability.


Our intended focus and emphasis is on environmental issues and opportunities that are provincial in scope and/or of provincial significance. However local issues also may be considered where exceptional circumstances involve broader implications or precedent-setting circumstances.

Vision

The Environment Committee, and CARP-NS, will have earned a creditable record of environmental advocacy and leadership here in Nova Scotia and have encouraged and inspired parallel efforts on the parts of other CARP chapters.

What we value

  • Science-based information and analysis to inform understanding, advocacy and actions, and to serve as the essential counterbalance to political pressures, private sector self-interest and the increasing public demand for goods and services within our consumer society.
  • Openness and transparency of government in regard to legislation, policies, programs and actions, so as to limit tendencies (or deliberate attempts) to avoid public scrutiny, criticism, opposition or controversy.
  • Public consultation and stakeholder engagement to inform, support, guide and enhance government decision-making for the benefit of Nova Scotians.
  • Principled, coherent and concerted government action to address opportunities, issues and priorities that are in the greater public interest over the long term, as distinct from short-term political gain, special interest group demands or profit-taking through resource exploitation.
  • Complementary efforts of others, including individual Nova Scotians, not-for-profit organizations, the private sector and government, in assuming leadership and commitment respecting positive environmental initiative.
  • Intergenerational perspectives to maintain currency and relevancy of efforts and priorities in a constantly-evolving and fast-changing world, environmentally, economically, socially and culturally.
  • Partnership and collaboration, where the combination of energy and effort across any and all sectors can contribute to the achievement of goals and objectives of mutual benefit.
  • Diversity and inclusivity in to enable all Nova Scotians to benefit from and enjoy a healthy natural environment.
  • Two-eyed seeing as “the gift of multiple perspective treasured by many aboriginal peoples and explains that it refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledges and ways of knowing, and to using both these eyes together, for the benefit of all.” (Cheryl Bartlett, Murdena Marshall and Albert Marshall, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, November 2012.)

Primary Interests and Priorities

National, International & Global Contexts

Recognize and understand the environmental issues and challenges of our time, including:

  • Climate Change: The implications of climate change as an existential environmental crisis, global in scale, and to advocate for and support mitigation, ecosystem restoration, adaptation and risk reduction efforts locally, provincially, nationally, internationally and globally;
  • Biodiversity Loss: The implications of biodiversity loss as an existential environmental crisis, global in scale, and to advocate for and support mitigation efforts locally, provincially, nationally, internationally and globally;
  • Sustainability: The fundamental importance of sustainability in the use of the earth’s natural capital (or natural resources), as population and wealth continue to grow and consumption demands and impacts increase accordingly; and
  • Social Equity: The challenge of achieving social equity in light of the complex inter-play of economic, social, cultural and environmental pressures impacting cross-cutting objectives, policies, priorities and practices.
Provincial Orientation
  • Maintain a provincial focus in regard to the Committee’s efforts and energies.
  • Monitor environmentally-related issues and opportunities and selectively advocate for and support policies, priorities and actions aimed at the protection and responsible use of Nova Scotia’s natural assets, including land, water and air.
  • Support and encourage the timely implementation of EGCCRA (Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act), and related environmental or land use legislation.
  • Advocate for the Government to update FOIPOP (the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act).
  • Promote consideration of the enactment of an environmental bill of rights for Nova Scotia.
  • Promote comprehensive/integrated land use and environmental planning at the provincial and municipal levels in Nova Scotia.
  • Consider engagement in local issues on a selective basis, where there are province-wide policy implications and partnership options warrant and enable participation within the limits of the Committee’s expertise, energy and resources.

The Environmental Advocacy Committee is a committee of CARP Nova Scotia

CARP Nova Scotia, as a provincial chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), subscribes to the mandate of its national counterpart.

‘CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to a new vision of aging for Canada, promoting social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP’s mission is to promote and protect the interests, rights and quality of life for Canadians as we age’.

To date, the national mandate has focused primarily on social and economic values and benefits perceived as being directly relevant to aging Canadians. The Nova Scotia chapter’s environmental advocacy committee, the first amongst all 27  provincial and local chapters across Canada, recognizes that social and economic well-being ultimately are dependent upon the quality of the environment as the foundational natural asset upon which we all depend, and therefore was formed to advocate for policies and actions that support the natural integrity and health of the environment – locally, provincially, nationally, internationally and, ultimately, globally.

The CARP-NS interest in the environment reflects the age and perspective and of its membership, which includes seniors and others 45 years of age and older. At this stage of life, senior generations have born witness and contributed to the evolution of the current state of our environment and, looking forward, bear responsibility for constructive action toward the legacy that will left to our grandchildren and those who will follow.

The Committee operates essentially autonomously, but within the framework of the CARP-NS organization, by:

  • providing updates to the CARP-NS board regarding ongoing activities, and recommending policy direction and/or corresponding action(s) for board approval (when such undertakings are represented as being on behalf of CARP-NS);
  • reaching out to the membership of CARP-NS to provide information and updates regarding ongoing activities of the committee and to invite input in identifying or confirming environmental interests, concerns and priorities; and
  • promoting and/or encouraging parallel complementary undertakings on the parts of other CARP chapters and/or at the national level.

What we do

In practical terms, we take actions as follows:

  • Advocate for the responsible stewardship of Nova Scotia’s environment, within the limits of our mandate, understanding, energy and resources as members of a volunteer organization.
  • Develop and advance policy positions and recommendations relevant to Nova Scotians and the supporting environment in which we live.
  • Coordinate and partner with others – government agencies, corporate and business interests, not-for-profit organizations and individual Nova Scotians – as opportunities or needs are identified to further environmental objectives or to address environmental issues and concerns.
  • Add support to emerging or ongoing environmental priorities, through meeting with and letter-writing to responsible government agencies, inputting to stakeholder engagement and public consultation processes, speaking out through op eds and letters to the editor, participating in social media, and attending special events.
  • Recognize individual effort, contribution and achievement, through the annual presentation of the ‘Environmental Stewardship Award’.

Committee Members

Environment Stewardship Awards

In 2015, the CARP NS Board established an Environmental Stewardship Award.  The criteria to be nominated for this award is the following: 

  • To have made a significant contribution to protecting the environment of Nova Scotia.

The first recipient was Dr. Silver Donald Cameron.  Recently Dr. Cameron’s Green Interviews have been placed in the Canadian Archives for all to access.

For more information regarding these interviews: CLICK HERE

Donald Cameron Award

2015/16 - Silver Donald Cameron

Silver Donald Cameron was one of Canada’s most versatile and experienced professional authors. Silver Donald Cameron was also the Host and Executive Producer of the TheGreenInterview.com, an environmental website devoted to intense, in-depth conversations with the brilliant thinkers and activists who, he believed, are leading the way to a green and sustainable future. His literary work includes plays, films, radio and TV scripts, an extensive body of corporate and governmental writing, hundreds of magazine articles and 20 books, including two novels. He passed away on June 1, 2020, of complications arising from lung cancer.

At the time of his death, Silver Donald Cameron was completing the first year of a three-year appointment as the first Farley Mowat Chair in Environment at Cape Breton University.

2016/17 - Bob Bancroft

Bob is a wildlife biologist and the current president of Nature Nova Scotia. Originally from the Annapolis Valley, Bancroft spent almost three decades with the provincial government in Nova Scotia as a wildlife biologist and fisheries biologist. Bancroft is known for his work on forest conservation, river restoration and wildlife rehabilitation. He has been a regular guest on CBC’s Maritime Noon, answering the public’s questions about wildlife. Bancroft has served in various roles as president and executive members of wildlife organizations, including the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Canadian Association of Small Mouth Anglers, Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. He has co-authored a forestry-wildlife manual and writes for various magazines and journals, including the Atlantic Salmon Journal, Eastern Woods and Waters, and Saltscapes. He spent time as an assessor for Smartwood (FSC), which promotes ecologically sensitive forest practices. Bancroft also worked with the tribal council, the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, developing management plans for First Nations lands.

2017/18 - Dr. David Patriquin

David Patriquin was a member of the Biology Department at Dalhousie University 1973-2008 where his research focussed on nutrient cycling in seagrass beds, salt marshes and organic farms. As he approached and went into his retirement, he set out explore and learn all he could about his “bioregion” which he arbitrarily defined as the lands and waters within 50 km driving distance of his home on peninsular Halifax; he also volunteered in several trail and natural history groups. His documentation provided the ecological arguments for protection of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area, the Williams Lake Backlands (now Shaw Wilderness Park) and two properties acquired by NS Nature Trust. David continues with these activities and also serves as a webmaster and writer for several groups. “Halifax is one of the most gifted cities in the world when it comes to our natural surroundings”, he says, “but we have to work to ensure those will be around for future generations and the wildlife they support”.

2018/19 - Joan Baxter

Joan Baxter is a journalist, award-winning author, and development consultant.   She has raised two children and worked in seven countries in Africa.  In recent years, she has written, reported and spoken widely on issues such as foreign direct investment, extractive industries, land rights, food sovereignty and sustainable farming.

Joan grew up in Nova Scotia graduating from University of King’s College with First Class Honors in Journalism.  After working for the CBC in Halifax on the daily radio programs, Information Morning and Mainstreet, she headed to West Africa.  Joan was the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia – Gambia Association which promoted health education. 

Her non-fiction work, A Serious Pair of Shoes – an African journal, won the Evelyn Richardson award for best non-fiction work published in Atlantic Canada.

2019/20 - Jamie Simpson

Jamie Simpson is a man of many talents.  A forester, writer, sailor, rock climber and lawyer.  Jamie has received many awards for his conservation work including the Elizabeth May Award for Environmental Service, the Honour in the Woods Award from the Nova Scotia Environmental Network, and the Environmental Law Prize from Dalhousie University. 

Jamie has represented many legal cases in environmental law.  Jamie is the author of two regionally best-selling booksJourneys through Eastern Old-Growth Forests and Restoring the Acadian Forest.

Links: www.juniperlaw.ca

2020/21 - Walter Regan

Walter knows the local water ways and trails like the back of his hand and has appointed himself the voice for his community in speaking out for their protection.   Walter is well known for helping to navigate all the various layers of provincial and municipal government.    He is a passionate spokesperson for all living creatures and The Sandy Lake-Sackville River-Regional Park Coalition.  He is also a champion of the Sackville River-Lewis Lake Wilderness Park promised for protection by the Nova Scotia government in 2013. 

Walter is also a member of the Sackville Community Development Association and serves as a director with community groups overseeing First and Second lakes and the Cobequid Cultural Centre Society.  He also represents the SRA on the Halifax Regional Trails Association and on the municipality’s active transportation committee. Regan is also chairman of HRM’s Regional Watersheds Advisory Board.

Links: www.sackvillerivers.ns.ca/

2021/22 - Nina Newington

Nina Newington’s first novel, Where Bones Dance, won the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Georges Bugnet Award for Novel in 2008. Guernica Press is publishing her second novel, Cardinal Divide, in September 2020. She is currently finishing a memoir about living illegally in the US for twenty years.

A former Kennedy scholar with an MA in English Literature from Cambridge, she makes her living designing gardens and building things. She is an active member of Extinction Rebellion in Annapolis County. English by birth, she and her American wife immigrated to Canada in 2006. They raise sheep on unceded Mi’kmaw territory near the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.

  • Literary journals: Potomac Review2004, The American Voice 1995, 1993, Sinister Wisdom 1990, Common Lives/ Lesbian Lives 1990, 1988,Midland Review 1989, Visions 1988, Peregrine 1988,Ikon 1987, 1984, Conditions 1985
Stella Bowles Award

2022/23 - Stella Bowles

Stella Marguerite Bowles, is a Canadian environmentalist, writer, and the youngest recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia.  Canada also recognized Stella with a Meritorious Service Medal.   As an advocate for youth activism, Stella co-wrote a book for children titled My River: Cleaning up the LaHave River with Anne Laurel Carter.  Stella gave a TEDx talk about her project on the LaHave titled Oh poop! It’s worse than I thought.[10]

At age 11, Stella wanted to swim in the LaHave River, but her mother said the water was contaminated by illegal straight pipes that flush unprocessed sewage directly into the river. Her mentor, Dr. David Maxwell, helped her start testing bacteria levels in water samples from the river. Stella drew national attention when she reported the bacterial pollution levels that she measured. Stella’s project influenced the allocation of $15.7 million from federal, provincial, and municipal governments to remove the straight pipes by 2023. She attends school at Dalhousie University.