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February Update 2024

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,
GALLERY RIDEAU is this newsletter’s feature photo! See picture.
At 27 Rideau St, in Kingston’s Inner Harbour, this newly opened local gallery displays a diverse style of modern art. 
Situated in a Victorian home, it provides a warm atmosphere to view exhibitions. 
With two fireplaces, it boasts a dining area that is used for Paint Night Dinner Parties on Saturday nights as well as several living room spaces for meetings and special events. 
Nathaniel Stroud’s exhibition is currently running until April.  
Open from 10am – 6 pm Monday to Friday and Saturday nights for dinner starting at 8pm.  
Please contact Nathaniel at 343 300 0901 to R.S.V.P. for Dinner Paint Night or to hold a special event at Gallery Rideau.
1. Tannery Hearings Happening Now!
2. Congrats to Debbie O’Grady!
3. Wiliamsville Open House Re Transportation Issues – Tonight, Feb 13 – 4:30 – 6 pm!
4. Crow Update and Video
5. John Counter Blvd. & Mtl St Intersection and Pathway Improvements
6. Another Shared House – Options for Seniors living together
7. EITP Committee meeting Tonight! Feb 13, 6 pm!
8. Growth Projections and Commercial Land Review
9. Local Farmers’ Market Invites Applicants for 2024 Season
10. Conservation Authority’s Economical Tree Program
11. Councillor Jeff McLaren’s Cooperative Housing Project
12. Electoral Reform Receiving Attention Again.
13. Navigating the Tricky Waters of Fish Consumption Advisories in the Upper St. Lawrence River
14. WWF: Canada Urged to Tackle Underwater Noise Polllution this Year
15. There is barely any Ice in the Great Lakes due to Warm Winter Temperatures
16. Environmental Groups Push for Zero-Emissions Policy in Arctic Shipping
17. Increasing Ship Traffic Means a Noisier Arctic
18. Forever Chemicals are Hiding in Your Kitchen. Here’s Where – and What You Can Do
19. Citizens in Paris Have Voted in a Referendum to Triple Parking Costs for SUVs
20. The Ford Government’s Decision on Nuclear Will Set Ontario Back 30 Years

21. Winter Mushroom Foraging
22. Fun Family Day Activities in Kingston

1. Tannery Hearings Happening Now!

Vicki Schmolka has a truly excellent blog highlighting the events of each day. Have a look.

2. Congrats to Debbie O’Grady
Recently Debbie entered the Rideau Heights Community photo contest and placed top out of 10 finalists and 119 entries! If you are not familiar with Debbie’s pictures of the Inner Harbour and other locations about town, have a look at her Facebook page.  Her pictures are amazing.  Wow! Well deserved!

3. Williamsville Open House Re Transportation Issues
Received from the Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation (KCAT), Feb 7, 2024

Williamsville Open House – Today, Feb 13 – 4:30!
The City of Kingston is hosting a drop-in public open house
, to review the draft Williamsville Transportation Study (January 2024) and recommendations

Immediately following the open house, the report will be reviewed by the Environment, Infrastructure & Transportation Policies (EITP) Committee. Interested residents may attend and speak at this meeting as well; Based on feedback from the open house and committee, further changes will be made, with a final decision from City Council planned for the spring.
Date: February 13, 2024
Time: 4:30pm-6:00pm (EITP meeting immediately after)
Location: Memorial Hall, located on the second floor of City Hall, 216 Ontario Street
Ways to ParticipateAttend the Open House and EITP meeting. If you are unable to attend in-person, a link for Zoom registration will be posted on the meeting’s webpage.Make a delegation to the EITP committee. E-mail Iain Sullivan, Committee Clerk, to register to make a delegation (5 minute maximum). or ask a councillor to request your deletation when you arrive at the meeting.Email City Councillor members of EITP with comments. Send comments to Iaian Sulllivan Committee Clerk,

KCAT has prepared a summary of the issues here;
They feel strongly about creating a Williamsville Main Street that improves the safety for all modes of travel. In particular, we recommend that bike lanes be retained and improved along this stretch of Princess Street between Bath/Concession and Division Street, and we are concerned about the way bike lanes have been depicted in the draft study. Without your help they fear the bikes lanes will be removed from Princess St.

For a full timeline (and future updates!) on theirWilliamsville work, follow along at their website –
For questions and comments, email at

4. Crow Update and Video
The following contains interesting and useful information from Chris Hargreaves of the Kingston Field Naturalists sent over the last couple of weeks. 
Received Feb 1, 2024
Information about bird feeders from the Government of Canada website and local citizens:

“The use of bird feeders is unlikely to spread highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, and the risk of an outbreak in wild bird species that frequent feeders is considered low.”However, they also list some precautions.
It’s also a good idea to sterilize feeders on a regular basis to prevent the spread of other pathogens such as mycoplasma conjunctivitis.
Mark Read recommended an articleat:
Sue Meech has provided some guidelines for precautions to take if handling geese:

  • Wear gloves. Avoid contact with body fluids.
  • Double bag
  • Wash hands carefully
  • Landfill disposal ok

Sue also forwarded an update that Public Works provided:

Geese in Lake Ontario Park
•          We received notification from Sandy Pines Wildlife Center and Councillor Osanic on the evening of Wen Jan 31, 2024, that there was a number of Dead and/or dying geese at Lake Ontario Park.
•          PW started receiving notification from residents of dead geese at Lake Ontario Park and by the bridge in elevator bay.   The first one came in yesterday afternoon.
•          PW staff along with Environment Staff met on site at Lake Ontario Park this morning.   There appeared to be approximately 20 dead geese washed up along the water way at Lake Ontario Park.  There are a number of other geese that are currently showing signs of distress.   Sandy Pines has sent people to pick up geese found in distress to be Euthanized at the Sandy Pines facility.
•          Brodie Richmond made contact with the MNR.   The MNR had been advised early this week of a few dead geese.   The MNR contacted the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC), who came and picked up the two carcases for testing.   It is expected the results of the testing will not be available for 2 weeks.
•          The CWHC did indicate that based on what they saw it would be consistent with Avian influenza, however this will not be confirmed until test results come back. 
•          PW is working with the personal safety information from CWHC and the City’s safety coordinator to develop a Job safety analysis, for PW staff handling the dead birds for disposal.
•          City staff are attending all other waterfront parks to determine if this outbreak is confined to Lake Ontario Park and Elevator Bay, or if it is more widespread.
•          It is expected that the number of geese infected will rise, and there will be many more death in a short period of time.  City staff will continue to check this area multiple times per day over the next week and clean up any additional dead geese found.
•          Brodie Richmond is currently working with Communications on this issue
•          PW will be removing the current dead birds this afternoon. 

I also received a depressing report from Daphne Christie:
I was birding at Elevator Bay this afternoon and counted 60+ dead geese and saw two immature bald eagles feeding on one of the geese.
Several more dead geese in the Invista Lagoon along with Gadwalls and American Coots. 

Many thanks to Christine, Daphne, Janet, Kathy, Kit, Lesley, Lisa, Mark, Mary, Shirley, and Sue for their emails, and my thanks and compliments to the City’s Public Works Department for their speedy response to the situation. 
Chris Hargreaves (he/him)
Chair: Kingston Field Naturalists’ Conservation Committee

And this from Chris Feb 5

The City’s Public Works Department has removed approximately 60 birds from public property at Lake Ontario Park and Elevator Bay areas.  They do not and cannot remove birds from private property.   The Public Works Department is also contacting Invista/Dupont to encourage them to clean up birds on their property.

The Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee has received about 30 geese in distress from private individuals.
Avian influenza cannot be treated, so the geese have been euthanized to reduce their suffering.

 The City issued a statement on Friday February 2nd which included requests that community members report any sightings of distressed or deceased birds to the Ontario Regional Centre of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-866-673-4781 or online at Birds in distress can also be reported to Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre at (613) 354-0264.

  • Please do not handle sick, injured, or dead wild birds. If handling wild birds or other wildlife is unavoidable, wear gloves or use a doubled plastic bag and avoid contact with blood, body fluids and feces. You should then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or use hand sanitizer.
  • Protect your pets by keeping your cats indoors and dogs on a leash when out for a walk. 

Many thanks to the Public Works Department for their swift and thorough response, and to Sandy Pines for their ongoing work

To know the Crow You Tube – in case you missed it
Received from the Land Conservancy for KFL&A, Jan 29
Half hour talk by Kevin McGowan from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

5. John Counter Blvd. & Mtl St Intersection and Pathway Improvements
Received from the City of Kingston, Feb 9, 2024

Share your input – tell us where you’d like to see rest areas near the intersection. Add your pin to the map by Mon, Feb 26.

As part of the City’s ongoing efforts to make it easier to get around Kingston through active modes of transportation and improved pedestrian safety, we are reconstructing the intersection of John Counter Boulevard and Montreal Street and connecting the new Waaban Crossing multi-use pathway from Ascot Lane west to the K&P trailhead at Elliott Avenue at John Counter Boulevard. In addition, new cycle tracks and sidewalks are proposed on Montreal Street close to the intersection.
This project will help fill a gap in the City’s current cycling network and is a project identified in our Active Transportation Master Plan and Five-Year Active Transportation Implementation Plan.
6. Another Shared House – Options for Seniors’ living together
Received from Anthony Giffoird, Feb 13, 2024
“For four years, we at 118 Ford St. have been the only (to me knowledge) declared ‘shared home’ in Kingston. Everyone we’ve talked to agrees that it’s a great idea, with far more pluses than minuses, but nothing has been done. Until just recently. A good friend who I met while teaching a class (How We Got the Bible) at the Senior’s Center, has joined three others in a shared home. The owner is a great guy, getting along in age, who saw the ‘writing-on-the-wall’. He realized that eventually he would have to sell his large family home and rent from one of the many commercial senior facilities that are so limiting and dehumanizing. Instead of leaving his home, he invited others in, opening many possibilities for the future instead of limiting them. It was so easy and made such obvious good sense. He’s just beaming.

Judy and I were invited to join them for dinner last Friday. A wonderful time. Sharing, prodding, laughing and exploring. Such a different house, but the same challenges and opportunities to grow and live. It is so great for me, personally, to now be able to have them as another example, when people ask me about the concept of shared living. No longer are we alone.

In this time of continuing and increasing crisis, it is good to have as many models for living as we can. It’s a shame and tragedy that more of us don’t consider shared living. There is simply no risk in trying it. As a culture, we are so stupid and limited in our vision of what brings real life. When remaining alone and isolated is our goal, at any age, we are truly warped. But now there are two examples in town. Hopefully we can, in tandem, raise the profile of shared living a bit in order to bring more people into the more healthy, happy and economical lifestyle that can enhance us as individuals and as a society. Maybe, even the politicians will see that supporting this model is far more beneficial and economical than the ‘big deal’ and costly models that our tax dollars are now limited to. Lessing the need for assisted housing and living, how much does even one Shared Home save tax payers?

If your kids are gone, why not chose to change your model of living that will give you more security, freedom and opportunities at a much-reduced cost? What’s the risk of looking into it? There’s a great book on the subject, Dare To Share, by yours truly. It’s on Amazon. Or just give me a call or email. Your life could be much more interesting and worthwhile. This might be an easy path for you. But you might not be able to take all of your stuff. Or, if you’re in a large house, like my new friends, just invite others to your place. You make the decision to share. Or not. It’s your life, to grow or to just worry about the future, alone.
Anthony, even more glad we decided as we did, four years ago.
Anthony Gifford
118 Ford Street Kingston, ON K7K4Z6
Judy’s phone number 613 985 1029
House phone number 613 344 2322

7. City Environment, Infrastructure & Tranpostation Policy Committee tonight
Received from Vick Schmolka – Feb 13, 2024
Agenda: Bike lanes on Princess Street, Pollinator Gardens, Patios, Biogas Facility
The City’s Environment, Infrastructure, and Transportation Policies Committee is meeting tonight, Feb 13, at 6pm. You can participate at City Hall, offer comments via Zoom, or watch on the City’s YouTube channel.

There are four items on the agenda: 
The Williamsville Corridor Study, Pollinator Gardens, Neighbourhood Cycling Network, and Green Streets

Williamsville Corridor Study:

Pollinator Gardens:

Street Patio Program:

Update on the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for the Kingston Regional Biosolids & Biogas Facility:

More Info?

8. Growth Projections and Commercial Land Review
Received from the City of Kingston, early Feb 9, 2024 
The growth analysis work currently being undertaken by the City of Kingston. As part of the Commercial Land Review, the City’s consultant team will be undertaking a consumer commercial survey to better understand the shopping patterns of Kingston residents and visitors. This survey will help inform our analysis and guide our recommendations for commercial land use policy in Kingston.
The survey is open until March 15 at 4 p.m

Providing contact information is not required, however, participants who do will have a chance to win a $50 Downtown Kingston Gift Card. 
Please provide your feedback in the survey. We also encourage you to send the link to your contacts to increase the number of participants.
Thank you in advance for your assistance! 
Chris Wicke (he/him/his)
Senior Plannr, Planning Services,
City of Kingston–Commercial-Land-Review&utm_campaign=website&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ehq
As part of the preparation for the upcoming review of the City of Kingston’s Official Plan three key background studies have been initiated. These studies are listed below and linked for more information about each one:
1. Population, housing and employment forecast Staff report:
2. Employment Land Review staff report:
3. Commercial Land Review Staff Report

The City has engaged a team of specialist consultants, led by Watson & Associates Economists, to undertake these studies. They are anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2024.The analysis, conclusions and recommendations resulting from the studies will form the basis for the residential, industrial and commercial land use policies in the upcoming review of the City’s Official Plan as well as updated regulations in the new Kingston Zoning By-Law.

9. Local Farmers’ Market Invites Applications for 2024 SeasonReceived from the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market, Feb 12, 2024  
The Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market is seeking new vendors to bring new products and flavours to this thriving local food hub! 
Are you located within roughly 100km of Kingston city limits?
Do you…

  • …produce crafts with items grown on your farm?
  • …specialize in berries or common Asian vegetables?
  • …raise animals for organic meat?
  • …catch fish in Lake Ontario?
  • …make sauces, cheeses, or prepared foods using local ingredients?
  • …make preserves with ingredients from your farm? 

All of the above items are currently sought after at market. In fact, any local farms and kitchens offering items not available at this market are encouraged to learn more at

“Our customers are keen to replace more imported ingredients with local ones.” says Emma Barken, MCFM On-Site Manager. “Bringing new foods to this market is a great opportunity for small and medium-sized farms and kitchens to reach a community dedicated to including more local products on their weekly shopping list.”

Founded in 2012, the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market has grown into a bustling year-round market with over 2000 weekly summer visitors from across the region and around the world. Thanks to recent improvements completed by the City of Kingston to the market’s indoor winter location, the winter season also continues to pick up momentum.

10. Conservation Authority’s Very Economical Tree Program – less than $.50 per tree.
Received from the CRCA Feb 10, 2024
CRCA offers a tree planting program to landowners on a cost-sharing basis.  They deliver this program in partnership with Forests Ontario. The program includes project planning, tree planting, tending and assessment.

11. Councillor Jeff McLaren’s Cooperative Housing Project

Limestone City Co-operative Housing (LCCH) is seeking to provide homes for approximately 300 families at 900 Division Street. We came to be as a reaction against the excessive commodification of housing, with the goal of developing more than just a building – we hope to create a thriving community working together for a common cause. Our plans include integrating vertical farming and other agricultural opportunities, ensuring our members, and those in the community, have access to freshly grown produce. As a not-for-profit housing co-operative, units will be available at-cost. By offering attainable housing, access to nature, and community space, we hope to fight not only the housing crisis, but other adversities affecting our community, like social isolation, loneliness, and even climate change. At LCCH, we believe our members deserve more than just a house built for profit, they deserve a home built for community. Please visit to learn more.  
12. Electoral Reform Receiving Attention Again

Received from CBC.CA Feb 12, 2024
Electoral reform didn’t happen. What it means for your vote
Motion 86 called on the federal government to establish a citizens’ assembly on electoral reform. It failed to pass in the House of Commons, but more than 100 MPs voted in favour — revealing some cross-party support. Here’s what that means for your vote.  The following video explains the issue.
NOTE: Our MP, Mark Gerretsen, supports electoral reform.

13. Navigating the Tricky Waters of Fish Consumption Advisories in the Upper St. Lawrence River
Received from Blue Fish, Jan 30, 2024
by K. Lowitt, A. Francis, L. Gunther, B.N. Madison, L. McGaughey, A. Echendu, M. Kaur, K.A. Roussel, Z. St Pierre, and A. Weppler.
Fishing in the St Lawrence River is a practice undertaken by thousands of anglers each year and deeply tied to the lifeways of Indigenous peoples. Fish consumption advisories (FCAs) are public guidance intended to help all fishers make informed decisions about the safe consumption of their catch. However, what happens if there are multiple advisories in place in a watershed?Such is the case in the Upper St Lawrence River, which spans the traditional territory of multiple Indigenous Nations as well as the jurisdictions of Ontario, Quebec and New York State.
Our research examined the similarities and differences in FCA programs across jurisdictions in the Upper St Lawrence River.
We find an overall lack of coordination in fish monitoring and differences in consumption advice for a waterway in which fish, contaminants, and fishers all move across political borders. For example, for yellow perch caught from the St. Lawrence River in Ontario where mercury is the dominant contaminant of concern, the general population is advised to consume up to eight to 32 meals per month (depending on the size of the fish) and children/women of childbearing age (i.e., sensitive population) are advised to consume up to four to 16 meals. However, across the river in New York State, the general population is advised to eat only up to four meals per month of yellow perch and children/women of childbearing age are advised “Do Not Eat” due to concern of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Differing guidance can be confusing for fishers and make it difficult for individuals and communities to make decisions that affect their health.Importantly, not everyone bears the impacts of contaminated fish evenly. Women of childbearing age, children, anglers who rely on recreationally caught fish for food security, and Indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by the health and cultural risks of contaminated fish. FCAs also generally do not consider the risks or benefits of different eating practices. Indigenous communities, for example, have traditionally eaten a greater range of parts of the fish (e.g., skin, organs) in addition to the flesh, and these parts can have different contaminant loads.
Moving forward, we recommend four key steps for improving FCAs:
(1) developing a shared and transparent approach to monitoring fish and contaminants,
(2) integrating cultural food practices,
(3) conducting more outreach with angler populations
, and
(4) upholding the self-determination of Indigenous communities in the development and communication of FCAs.
Link below to read the paper —

14. WWF: Canada urged to tackle underwater noise pollution this year, Offshore Energy, January 30, 2024.  World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, one of Canada’s largest conservation organizations, is urging the federal government to deliver a strong plan in 2024 to protect marine species from underwater noise pollution.

15. There is barely any ice in the Great Lakes due to warm winter temperatures, ABC News, February 8, 2024. Record warm winter weather is having severe ramifications on the ice cover that typically engulfs the Great Lakes at this time of year. Just 5.9% of the Great Lakes are currently covered with ice compared to an average of about 40% for this time of year.

16. Environmental groups push for zero-emissions policy in arctic shipping, Safety4Sea, February 7, 2024. In a recent open letter to the Arctic Council, Bellona and the Alliance requested that a concrete zero-emissions policy be established for Arctic shipping, and that all Arctic nations implement the IMO resolution that urges the use of distillate or cleaner alternative fuels in or near the Arctic on a voluntary basis.

17. Increasing ship traffic means a noisier arctic ocean, WWF, February 8, 2024. The Arctic’s soundscape is unique because of its cold surface water temperatures and relatively shallow basin, both of which help sound to travel extremely long distances near the surface, where marine mammals come up to breathe. Because of this, just a few ships can greatly increase noise levels throughout the Arctic Circle.

18. Forever Chemicals are Hiding in your Kitchen.  Here’s where – and What You Can Do
Received from Joel Mathis, Jan 26, 2024
Nonstick pans. Pizza boxes. Even food itself. It’s impossible to avoid PFAS and BPA entirely, but experts have tips on how to limit your exposure.
Linda Birnbaum used to have a set of nonstick pans. Not anymore. She got rid of them.Why? Because Birnbaum—former director of the U.S. government’s National Institute of Environmental Health Science—became increasingly uncomfortable with an essential fact about that oh-so-easy-to-clean cookware: It’s very often made with PFAS, per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, used to treat an array of products to make them resistant to heat, oil, stains, grease and water.  
That’s pretty useful. But PFAS also belong to the set of human-made compounds known as “forever chemicals” that can linger endlessly in the environment and human body, sometimes with toxic effects. They can be found everywhere—on the receipts from your drugstore, on your stain-resistant couch, in firefighting foams, in the water supply and, yes, in your kitchen.
That’s why Birnbaum’s pans went out the door. 
“This huge class of chemicals is everywhere, in everything and in all of us,” she says. “I don’t use them anymore because I don’t want to be exposed to this stuff.”(“Forever chemicals” are more common in tap water than we thought.)
PFAS and another forever chemical, BPA, have increasingly been the focus of concern among researchers and consumers in recent years. What are they? What are the effects? And can you protect your kitchen against them?
What are PFAS?
PFAS are a “huge family of chemicals,” says Tasha Stoiber, senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group. How huge? Nobody seems to know—estimates range as high as 15,000 different compounds or more. Each contains a fluorine-carbon bond “that gives them unique properties of being stain-resistant, grease-resistant, water-resistant,” Stoiber says. 
What’s more: “Almost everyone has it in their bodies,” Stoiber adds.
(Microplastics are also in our bodies. How much do their harm us?)

Officially, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the human health effects of PFAS exposure are “uncertain” and require more research. But the agency also acknowledges that existing animal studies indicate the chemicals “may affect reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system and injure the liver.”
“You’d be hard pressed to find somebody to say that this does not have a health impact,” says Keith Vorst, director of the Polymer and Food Protection Consortium at Iowa State University, which researches such issues for private-sector companies. “There’s enough medical history now to say these compounds do cause some pretty serious health concerns.”
How are PFAS different from BPA?
Bisphenol-A comes from an entirely different class of chemicals, used to make hard polycarbonate plastics. The chemical is also found in protective linings of food cans—including soda cans—as well as dental sealants, plastic toys, and other products.

(This is what you need to know about the world’s plastic pollution crisis.)
Like PFAS, the CDC says the health effects of BPA are “unknown,” though it adds that the chemical “has been shown to affect the reproductive systems of laboratory animals.”
“It’s basically an environmental estrogen,” says EWG’s Stoiber. “It can disrupt hormones in your body and lead to problems, things like increased risk of breast cancer, problems with fertility, things like that.”

Where can these chemicals be found in the kitchen?
Everywhere. The nonstick pans tend to draw the most attention, but a variety of food containers can contain some form of PFAS or BPA. “Plastic is a major problem in kitchens today,” Birnbaum says. Although consumers seem to have caught on to BPA use in water bottles, baby bottles, and other containers, PFAS are more insidious: They can often be found in containers like pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags. “We know that people who eat more fast food tend to have higher levels of PFAS than people who eat more freshly prepared food,” Birnbaum says.
(How fast food increases your exposure to PFAS.)
But PFAS are so pervasive in the environment that they’re often found in food and water, regardless of packaging. “Food can also be contaminated with PFAS via the soil, water, and air where it’s grown,” reports the Natural Resources Defense Council. That includes produce, but also fish and shellfish.

How can you protect yourself?
“The answer is: As an individual, it’s not easy,” says Birnbaum.
Start with the pans. “You get away from that by going to non-coated pans, non-antistick pans,” says Vorst—meaning cookware made of glass, carbon steel, and cast iron. But that’s not easy—they’re harder to clean “and they’re more expensive too,” he says. 
There might be more work on the food preparation side, as well. “As much as you can, we recommend cooking at home with whole ingredients,” Stoiber said. If you must use nonstick pans, be careful not to overheat the food. “It may be if you burn your food—cook at high temperatures—that’s when you might get more exposure of chemicals from the pan or the fumes,” she says.

(Simple ways to make your laundry routine more eco-friendly.)
As for leftovers, it’s probably best to keep plastic containers out of the microwave. “If you store in plastic, that’s not terrible,” Birnbaum says, “but certainly don’t heat in plastic.”
Labeling won’t always help you. The experts describe a phenomenon known as “regrettable substitution” in which one harmful substance in a product can be swapped out for another one that is also harmful but less known. A label that touts a product as “BPA-free” might instead contain bisphenol-s, a related chemical that has also raised concerns. Similarly, cookware containing a “PFOA-free” label might still use another form of PFAS. When in doubt, you can check expert websites like those run by the Green Science Policy Institute for help in making shopping decisions.
What next?
These tips can help, but they probably won’t produce a completely uncontaminated kitchen as the world is simply too saturated with forever chemicals. “It is impossible to shop your way out of it,” Stoiber says. 
But studies show that small changes—eating less microwave popcorn or takeout food—can lower the measurable amounts of PFAS in a person’s blood. “A lot of these behaviors do make a difference,” Stoiber adds.
Given the concerns, why do PFAS and BPA remain in use? Simple: They’re useful. “They are so good at what they do,” Vorst said. Nobody wants hamburger grease leaking through the wrapper onto a car seat, for example, and nobody has come up with a better way to keep that grease contained. “I don’t think we have found an alternative chemistry that is as cost-effective and has the performance of these materials.”
For now, the choices are largely left to individual consumers.

19. Citizens in Paris Voted in a Referendum to Triple Parking Costs for SUVs
Received from CBC What on Earth, Feb 6, 2024 via the Guardian
Citizens in Paris have voted in a referendum to triple parking costs for SUVs to 18 euros/hour ($26/hour), citing the air pollution and climate impact of drivers in oversized vehicles.

20. The Ford Government’s Decision on Nuclear Will Set Ontario Back 30 Years
Received from TVO, Feb 6, 2024 – Taylor C.  Noakes
OPINION: Our politicians keep subsidizing old technologies and industries — and putting opportunity and ideology ahead of basic economics. Given there aren’t any VCR or Zeppelin factories left to spend taxpayer money on, the Ford government has decided to spend it instead on another outdated technology. As the world moves away from nuclear power toward safer, cheaper renewable alternatives, Doug Ford is shifting Ontario into reverse, setting the province back 30 years or more, both environmentally and economically.
That the planned rebuilding of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is being marketed to Ontario voters as a step forward on either climate change or the province’s bottom line is as clear an indication as ever that the government doesn’t much respect our intelligence.
Nuclear power is the most expensive energy money can buy: one kilowatt-hour of new nuclear costs five to 13 times more than a kilowatt-hour of new solar or wind. And every dollar spent on nuclear is one that’s not being used to buy less expensive, fully renewable energy systems that could help decarbonize the province right now.
Energy Minister Todd Smith’s announcement last Tuesday was full of fuzzy math and fuzzy thinking.
To begin with, calling this a refurbishment project is misleading. Pickering isn’t just the oldest nuclear-power plant in Canada — it’s one of the oldest in the entire world. While refurbishment implies a superficial improvement or aesthetic enhancement, Pickering is going to require something much more involved. A similar project at the Darlington plant was described in Power Magazine as involving the “removal, replacement, and repair of core components.”
This isn’t a new coat of paint. It’s a reconstruction whose cost is likely to be in the tens of billions of dollars.
Smith also used the term “intermittent” when describing renewables. It’s a common misconception that nuclear-power plants can run all the time, whereas solar and wind plants offer only “intermittent” power because of cloudy days or a lack of wind. This ignores the fact that nuclear reactors frequently have to be shut down for such things as routine maintenance, safety inspections, and refuelling and that solar- and wind-power systems store energy in batteries for whenever they’re not running at full capacity. During Alberta’s recent cold snap, it was in fact solar and wind systems that prevented the grid from collapsing.
Also, to account for cloud cover or a lack of wind in one area, wind and solar systems are spread out across multiple locations in a given geography. In a province as large as Ontario, the likelihood of sustained provincewide cloud cover or of a uniform lack of wind is slim. Unlike nuclear power, which is severely constrained in terms of where generating stations can be built — both due to their need to be located close to sources of water and to public resistance to having nuclear plants in their backyards — solar and wind systems actually operate best in a highly decentralized fashion. Whereas solar and wind can be built essentially wherever there’s a chance of its being sunny or windy, in Ontario, nuclear power is effectively limited to being built only where plants already exist.
If Smith is genuinely concerned about intermittency, putting all his eggs in the nuclear basket hardly seems like the common-sense choice.
“Nuclear advocates claim nuclear is still needed because wind and solar are intermittent and need natural gas for backup. However, nuclear itself never matches power demand so it needs backup,” wrote Mark Z. Jacobson, director of Stanford University’s Atmosphere/Energy Program, in recent testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Today batteries are beating natural gas for wind and solar backup needs. Dozens of independent scientific groups have further found that it is possible to match intermittent power demand with clean, renewable supply and storage, without nuclear or fossil fuels, at low cost.”
When asked by a reporter why the province wasn’t spending its money on renewables, Smith said simply that spending it on nuclear was the “plan that made sense.”
He then added that, according to studies, replacing Pickering’s 2,000 megawatt nuclear capacity would require 18,000 megawatts of wind power, plus another 2,000 megawatts of battery storage.
I’d like to ask the minister which he thinks weighs more: 100 pounds of feathers or 100 pounds of bowling balls. Based on his statement, I suspect he might go with something other than “they weigh the same.”
But 2,000 megawatts of power is the same amount of power irrespective of where it comes from. If Ontario needs to replace a 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant, it doesn’t need to build 10 times as much equivalent wind or solar power.
“He seems overly confident of his rather poor case,” says Paul Dorfman, associate fellow with the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex and chair of the Nuclear Consulting Group.
“His discussion just doesn’t ‘make sense,’ as he puts it. He doesn’t put any numbers on the refit, doesn’t give any real info on the problems of refitting an aging plant. And these ‘studies,’ which he says means [replacing nuclear with renewables] would require 10 times more wind, seem deeply problematic.”
“Energy needs to be taken in the round,” Dorfman adds. “The future is renewables in all its forms — evolving storage, demand-side management, energy efficiency, inter-connectors, centralized and distributed grid up-grades. An 11-year refit seems like a huge waste of time and funding.”
The economic angle is also worth addressing. Smith claims that nuclear power provide “the best bang for the buck” and would “provide certainty for ratepayers and the province.”
Let’s consider a one-to-one comparison: If rebuilding the Pickering plant will get us 2,000 megawatts of nuclear power for $13 billion (roughly what the same generating capacity cost to rebuild at Darlington), what might the same cost in solar or wind power?
The answer: about $4.4 billion. That’s the estimated cost of the new CD Solar Project, a solar plant that includes a 2,000-megawatt generating capacity and 1,000 megawatts of battery storage.
For the cost of rebuilding the Pickering plant, Ontario could build solar plants generating three times as much electricity. Or it could replace the Pickering plant’s 2,000-megawatt generating capacity with a fully renewable plant for one-third the cost of rebuilding the nuclear plant.
No matter which way you cut it, taxpayer money would be better spent on fully renewable energy. And with an estimated 24-month construction period, it would lessen the overall economic burden as well. If there’s a near-term need for reliable, renewable, and inexpensive energy to replace an aging nuclear reactor, spending tens of billions over a decade is hardly the best way to achieve that goal.
Last, but certainly not least, there is the safety and security issue. Some Canadians like to boast that the Nuclear Response Team of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station has won the U.S. National SWAT Championships four times in recent years. It is indeed quite the accomplishment considering how many police forces they compete against. But it’s worth considering as well that, if a solar farm or wind turbine were targeted, they’d break, and the lights would go out. The bombing of a nuclear plant would be a much bigger problem.
Ontario had two serious nuclear incidents at the Chalk River Lab in the 1950s. At least one could be described as a partial meltdown. Pickering’s operator, the provincially owned Ontario Power Generation, attests that necessary safeguards are in place. “Our stations operate inside the strictest of standards and regulatory requirements to ensure our communities are always safe,” it states. “OPG is responsible for developing and maintaining Emergency Plans that would be used in the very unlikely event of a nuclear emergency. We ensure responses to any given number of emergency scenarios are tested on a regular basis.”
Groups such as the Canadian Environmental Law Association, however, have expressed serious concerns. “While it is hoped that a severe nuclear accident will never again happen in Ontario, the reality is that unexpected and extremely damaging severe accidents can occur,” CELA wrote in a press release in response to the Ford government decision. “For that reason, high population areas and operating commercial nuclear plants are incompatible.”
Past disasters from atomic power’s infancy are not brought up to impugn the present-day reputations of Canada’s nuclear workforce: like oil workers or coal miners, the nuclear workforce isn’t the problem. Rather, it’s the politicians who keep subsidizing old technologies and industries — putting opportunity and ideology ahead of basic economics — who are holding us back.

21. Winter Mushroom Foraging

22. Fun Family Day Activities in Kingston

So that’s it for February.
Sunny days ahead.
Mary Farrar, President,
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour