What happened to Earth Day 2013 in Ottawa?

What happened to Earth Day 2013 in Ottawa?
Posted on April 22, 2013 | James Mihaychuk | Written on April 22, 2013
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Letter type:
Op-Ed

Publisher

Publisher:
Ottawa Citizen

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

This letter was my response to the combination of an absence of coverage in the Ottawa Citizen regarding Earth Day 2013, as well as the non-participation by Environment Canada. This weakness was in contrast to government and corporate communications for Earth Day that originated in the United States. As Canadians, we traditionally take a lot of pride in the quality of our living environment, so I was troubled by the strange inaction evident in 2013.

What happened to Earth Day 2013?

To the Editor, Ottawa Citizen,

Taking a quick look online on Earth Day, I was pleased with the big picture, but bitterly disappointed with what I found closer to home.

The bright lights included a symbolic show of support from Google, who gave up their own logo on their landing page to display an interactive doodle with an Earth Day theme. On a more substantial level, the US Environmental Protection Agency offered its own Earth Day website in both English and Spanish, featuring interactive maps, volunteer opportunities, Twitter chats, and lesson plans for teachers.

Here in Ottawa, things did not look so good. The Citizen had no coverage of Earth Day in its digital edition. Environment Canada’s online participation was also non-existent.

The best I could find from either the Citzen or Minister of the Environment Peter Kent was a weekend story on the opening of a “portal for public access to sensitive environmental data from the oilsands.” How is taxpayer funded public data on the health of our environment sensitive? The data should have been gathered and shared long ago.

This Earth Day I joined volunteers from Ecology Ottawa to gather public support for funding the Ottawa River Action Plan, i.e. to keep raw sewage out of our river. Other good ways to participate might include a clean up of a park or stream, or sharing information on the Emerald Ash Borer infestation with your neighbours.

Whatever your thoughts on resource extraction or climate change, I encourage all Ottawans to get involved close to home on Earth Day. Stand up for our health and our environment. Earth Day is a time when all of us should be loud, proud, and united as Canadians!

James Mihaychuk
Ottawa, ON

About The Author

mihaychuk's picture

 I am interested in sustainability, civic engagement and democratic renewal. You might meet me at the soccer pitch, at the Farmers Market, or walking or biking on local trails.
I'm a high-tech veteran and have... More

Comments

Great letter James. Sadly, as a city or a country, Ottawa has never done much for Earth Day. A few years ago I organized a green house tour for an environmental non-profit on Earth Day, and was pleasantly pleased at the media turnout. Guess they got tired of the standard tree-planting photo-op...

:(