Greening the County panel discussion promises sustainable solutions for home and garden

GREEN COUNTY-Elizabeth May will be speaking at the upcoming Greening the County event at the Regent Theatre on November 13.

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

 

On Sunday, November 13, members of the Environmental Advisory Committee are hosting Greening Our County, an informational discussion detailing ways in which we can all take steps to reduce our carbon footprint by implementing practical, environmentally sustainable strategies both inside and outside. Elizabeth May, renowned environmentalist and MP will headline an expert panel providing practical and affordable methods to make any home, yard, or apartment more environmentally sustainable.

The three-hour program will feature a range of topics for indoor and outdoor improvements as well as a question-and-answer period with the panel. Participants are free to attend any-or all-of the programming. Panelists include Lorraine Johnson, native plant expert, Sheila Kuja, naturalist, Jennifer Gagne, arborist, Cedric Pepelea of Sustainable Kingston, and Matt Bulley, home heating and cooling expert.

Some topics to be touched on include pollinator habitat gardens and practical tips for saving on home heating costs and reducing water use, with information on Net Zero certification and energy-saving retrofits. The latter could be especially beneficial for anyone considering a home renovation or new build.

Councillor Kate MacNaughton. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Speaking to the Gazette about Greening the County was Kate MacNaughton, Councillor for Ward 1 Picton and member of the Environmental Advisory Committee.

“We wanted to do events, but to do that we had to be ale to afford events. Luckily, an opportunity arose when we had an anonymous donor offer a little bit of money,” she explained.

MacNaughton noted the event is intended as a way to highlight practical steps individuals and businesses can take in order to limit their carbon footprint, and hopefully, make some a positive impact on climate change.

“We wanted to have an event around something practical. In this case, what we can do on our properties if we’re lucky enough to have a beautiful garden, how can we turn it from lawn into something that can help protect biodiversity by helping to create habitat where we can, how we can accept more carbon onto our property by planting trees, and small things we can do at home,” said MacNaughton. “All these small acts can make a difference.”

Being in an area that ebbs and flows from hot to cold, MacNaughton expressed the group’s desire to showcase practical ways home heating and cooling can be made more sustainable.

“We wanted to talk about one of the biggest things for our decarbonization plans which is home heating and cooling- one of the ways we, as individuals, can make a larger drop in the decarbonization bucket by, for example, using something like a cold climate heat pump,” said MacNaughton. “That would have enormous carbon savings for your own individual footprint. These are the things we can do here at home on our own properties.”

Speaking to the need for individuals to act with agency to mitigate the effects of climate change, MacNaughton noted the practical strategies outlined by a panel of experts would be framed within the context of a the “big picture” by headliner Elizabeth May.

“The big thing is to understand why we need to make these bigger efforts in our businesses and personally, as well as on a governmental, and international level,” she explained.

When asked how Elizabeth May became headliner of the event, MacNaughton noted she and an EAC member, Angus Ross, worked together during early, roundtable discussions about climate change.

Ross, MacNaughton added, is also one of the organizers of the event.

Participants will also gain valuable information on how to access grants, rebates and incentive programs to support investments in sustainability.

“Climate change is going to be very expensive. It’s going to cost the international community and all the taxpayers in all the countries in every corner of the earth trillions of dollars,” MacNaughton is careful to note.

The sustainable tips segway from indoors to outdoors with a panel on local biodiversity, natural cover and how to ditch grass in favour of a more diverse lawn cover, with tips on converting lawns into gardens and habitats for birds and beneficial insects.

Native plant expert and author Lorraine Johnson will share a vision of how micro-rewilding can help fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to reconcile with nature.

With concern about climate change on the minds of many, Greening the County will offer practical resources for thinking globally and acting hyper-locally both inside and outside. Organizers are hopeful that the audience will come away inspired and empowered to create sustainable and affordable action at home.

At a time when we might all do well to declare our own, personal climate emergencies, Greening the County promises to provide guidance on how to make that goal possible.

Doors open at noon for the event, which runs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Regent Theatre in Picton. Tickets are on sale at www.theregenttheatre.org and at the Regent’s box office for $12.50 ($5 for students and low-income attendees). Accessible event pricing has been structured to cover minimal costs and ensure everyone interested has the opportunity to attend.