On Climate Change, Kids Make More Sense Than the Adults

Greta Thunberg makes her plea for action on climate change to a European Union assembly earler this April, 2019

“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you.”

– the final words from an address Greta Thunberg, a then 15-year-old Swedish student and climate activist, delivered at a United Nations Summit on Climate Change this  December, 2018

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted April 23rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

This April 22nd, CBC Radio’s morning program, The Current, played the voices of one young person after another, ages f five or six years old and into their teens, raising concerns about a future over ever more frequent and severe climate-related disasters, and expressing a call for last-chance action to prevent such a nightmare

As I listened to the voices of these young people, I heard kids who sounded no older than six or seven who made infinitely more sense than Ontario Premier Doug Ford when he goes off on one of his Homer Simpson rants about climate change. Continue reading


Awarding-Winning Book on Thorold’s Early History Supports Work of One of Niagara’s Best Heritage Organizations

Author and Historian Sarah King Head Explores the Evolution of Beaverdam’s Unique Cultural Landscape

News from Heritage Thorold LACAC, a volunteer heritage group based in Thorold, Ontario

Posed April 23rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Author and historian Sarah King Head. Proceeds from the sale of her award-winning book about Niagara’s Beaverdams area supports the good work of one of the area’s great heritage groups,  Heritage Thorold LACAC

Into its fourth printing, sales of the book Where Beavers Built Their Dams: The Evolution of a Unique Cultural Heritage Landscape in Thorold, Ontario continue to support the work of Heritage Thorold LACAC.

The history of Beaverdams is a good story; something author and historian Sarah King Head has successfully been able to tell by putting the island community’s extant heritage gems within the context of the island village’s rich, less tangible history.

She notes that what most people don’t always appreciate is how entirely Beaverdams’ “cottage country” illusion today is a creation of the past two centuries. Indeed, creation of the Welland Canals to the east and Lake Gibson to the west, south and north has transformed the landscape. Continue reading

Thanks To Us, We Are Rapidly Running Out of Earth Days!

‘Don’t Worry Though. The Planet Will Be Fine. It will   be here for a Long, Long Time. We’re Going Away’ – from a routine by the late George Carlin called ‘The Planet is Fine’

A Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

We all have those days in our lives where we will never forget where we were and what we were doing at the time.

One of mine was April 22nd, 1970 – the very first Earth Day observed anywhere around the world – and my high school principal in Welland, Ontario allowed me and about four or five of my classmates to hold a demonstration in front of a Union Carbide plant that was infamous for belching clouds of filth from this stacks that could be seen from one end of the Niagara region to another.

As we stood outside the chain-link fence of that plant – me wearing a gas mask I borrowed from my arts teacher, and holding a sign reading; “If You Aren’t Part of the SOLUTION, You are Part of the POLLUTION” – cars raced by with horn honks of support, and workers from the plant, out on their break, threw empty pop cans at the chain-link fence behind us and yelled; “Beat it. Go back to school.”

Our April 22nd, 1970 demonstration on the very first Earth Day, with the author of this post out front wearing a gas mask.

We remained undaunted. Continue reading

Coming Up to this Earth Day, with a Climate Catastrophe Looming …

All Ontario’s Ford Government can do is blow hot air about a four-to-five cents per litre “Carbon Tax” on gasoline.

Is That All Our Future is Worth?

Posted this Earth Day, April 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large –

Could this be ‘Ford Nation’ in the year 2014? Wonder how much this Ford supporter would be willing to pay for gas now?

A few weeks ago, after Niagara At Large posted another in a series of news commentaries on the Ford government’s obsession with spending large sums of our money fighting efforts by Canada’s federal government to put a price on climate-altering carbon pollution – what Ford and his allies like federal Tory leader Andrew Sheer, and newly elected Alberta premier Jason Kenny strategically call a “carbon tax” to make it sound like some poison pill the feds are trying to get us to swallow – one Niagara resident and NAL reader, Linda McKellar, shared the following comment.

We posted this comment on Niagara At Large at the time, but feel it is well worth repeating on Earth Day, along with the dramatic video message from the late great Carl Sagan that it refers to. Here it is.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford seen here, slamming the four-to-five cent “carbon tax” the feds are adding to a litre on gasoline as one way of reducing climate-altering carbon pollution. Here is a question you might want to ask Ford and his Tory MPPs. How about killing the more than 20 cents a litre in provincial taxes on gas while you are at it? Or does that go to pay for the salaries and expenses of Ford and his cabinet?

A Comment from Niagara, Ontario resident Linda McKellar on reports from a global team of scientists that we may only have 11 or 12 years left to avert a world-wide climate catastrophe –

So what does Ford do?

Open for business.

I don’t mind paying more for gas or a carbon tax if it enables me to breathe.
Somehow people think we’re immune from extinction. We’re not. Neither are the animals and pollinators we need to keep us alive in the chain of life.

It’s like (former U.S. senator and vice-president, and climate change fighting advocate) Al Gore’s frog analogy.

Put a frog in hot water and it jumps out…if it can. Put it in water and heat it gradually and it adapts up to a point and won’t jump out until the damage is done and it’s too late.

More people need to read Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” to realize how insignificant and stupid humans are and how lucky we are to have a liveable place called earth.

Maybe eons from now, some species will look back at our fossils and say, wow, were those extinct creatures ever stupid!

A Footnote from Niagara At Large –

Please click on the following screen, for a message from the late great scientist and environmentalist Carl Sagan –

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


To Ford Government – Ontario’s Conservation Authorities Are Worth a Sober Second Thought

Umbrella Group for NPCA and 35 other CAs  across Province Responds to “Deep Cuts” in Ford Budget to Core Services           like Flood Management 

A Message from Conservation Ontario

Posted April 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

One of the more frequent pieces of news I heard on CBC Radio coming into this rain-soaked Easter weekend was broadcast with the heading; “Ontario’s Conservation Authorities on flood alert.”

Flooding waters from near-record rainfalls in the spring of 2017 covered swampedf Lakeside Park and the outer Port Dalhousie Harbour area in St. Catharines, Ontario, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage and cleanup costs. File photo by Doug Draper

This news came just days after reports circulated across the province that the budget Ontario’s Ford government tabled this past April 11th included up to 50 per cent cuts in transfer payments to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and 35 other Conservation Authorities in Ontario for delivering core services that include, at or near the top of the list, flood management.

One finds it hard to imagine what logic – economic or otherwise – Premier Doug Ford, his cabinet and his caucus of MPPs that includes Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, used to make this cut. Continue reading

Ford Government Giving Developers Free Pass to Exterminate Wildlife in Ontario

“This move is regressive and dangerous. The world is in a biodiversity crisis, and the Ontario government has proposed to gut one of the most comprehensive endangered species laws in the world.” – from a statement by three of Canada’s leading environmental organizations

Ontario Nature file photo

A Statement from Ontario Nature , Environmental Defence of Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation

Posted April 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Nature file photo

Toronto, Ontario – The Ontario government’s shocking and irresponsible proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act will effectively remove all safety nets for species at risk in this province. The proposal will give industry a free pass to exterminate species in Ontario.

This move is regressive and dangerous. The world is in a biodiversity crisis, and the Ontario government has proposed to gut one of the most comprehensive endangered species laws in the world. The province is bending to pressure from industry and sprawl developers when they should be working to restore and protect vulnerable habitats. Continue reading

Niagara River Corridor One Step Closer to Receiving New Recognition as “Wetland of International Importance”

“Many of us are aware of how wonderful the Niagara River ecosystem is, but to be honored on a global scale would be an incredible boost both ecologically and economically. These are world-renowned wetlands in our own backyard.”              – Professor Kim Diana Connolly, director of the Environmental Advocacy Clinic at the University at Buffalo School of Law

Provincially significant wetlands under the canopy of the Thundering Waters Forest, in the Niagara River watershed in Niagara Falls, Ontario. file photo

News from the Niagara River Ramsar Binational Steering Committee

Posted April 18th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

(Niagara At Large will be posting more information on this important development for our Niagara River corridor in the days ahead, including comments from key players on both sides of the Ontario/New York State border. Stay Tuned.)

Now here is news released this April 18 by Canadian Chair Jocelyn Baker, U.S. Chair Jajean Rose-Burney and the rest of the Niagara River Ramsar Binational Steering Committee

Niagara Falls New York  – The Niagara River is one step closer to being recognized under an international Convention as a Wetland of International Importance.

The listing of a site under the Ramsar Convention is a source of pride for the site’s community and a major draw for ecotourism.

“This is an exciting advancement for the region. The Ramsar honor will put the Niagara River on par with other Ramsar sites like the Everglades and the Galapagos Islands” said Greg Stevens, Executive Director of the Niagara River Greenway Commission.

The Niagara River Ramsar Binational Steering Committee, made up of local environmental experts and advocates, has been working on this nomination for six years. Continue reading