Earth Day & Indigenous Knowledge & Innovations

Thirty-Nine Fun Ways to Celebrate Earth Month

Thank you to our young artist Emily, for making us this beautiful bluejay picture to celebrate Earth Day which is this Friday April 22, 2022. Here are plenty of ways you can get outside and celebrate Earth Week/Month, no matter where you live, and the best part is most of these won’t cost you a dime!

  • Climb a tree (if you are young and able)
  • Go geocaching
  • Kick rocks
  • Make an acorn whistle
  • Learn how to ID trees
  • Clean up your local environment
  • Go on a mushroom walk
  • Pull invasive species
  • Plant native trees
  • Make a nature crown
  • Dry your clothes outside
  • Get your OM on
  • Dust off your bike
  • Support your local farmer
  • Go forest bathing
Earth Week 2022 in Edmonton is Not Looking Like Spring Photo credit Lucy
  • Break out the boats
  • Do some outdoor yoga
  • Go stargazing
  • Make a full moon infusion
  • Go horseback riding
  • Start gardening
  • Make a nature mandala
  • Host a farm to table dinner
  • Harvest the rain
  • Tour your local waterfalls
  • Build a simple rock cairn
  • Plan a scavenger hunt
  • Break out the binoculars
  • Have a back yard movie night
  • Macro or bird or landscape or plant photography
  • Have an eco picnic
  • Build a fairy house
  • Toss a ball
  • Get your compost on
  • Brighten up the scenery
  • Pitch a tent
  • Befriend your local pollinators
  • Check the air filter in your car
  • get rid of your old tires

These ideas were taken from One Tree Planted this month and you can go to their site to get more details on each suggestion.

Tapping into Indigenous Knowledge on Climate Change

Several Youtube videos have been created to share the wealth of Indigenous knowledge of how our Canadian land and climate has changed over time and projections of changes into the future. One YouTube video (first image below) taps into Indigenous knowledge of how climate change is affecting their communities. This interactive map of Canada allows each of us to look at projections for Indigenous communities across Canada (and cities as well) as to how the weather will change over time and what effect that will have on growing food. It is a “Climate Atlas of Canada“. Lucy went to this interactive map and clicked on ‘Edmonton’ and it shows how many days/year in future we can expect to have greater than 30 degrees Celsius. That is just one of many projections one can access. Push buttons to see about precipitation, cold weather, flooding, ability to grow certain crops and more anywhere in Canada. There are three Indigenous Knowledge Youtube videos:

  • Climate Atlas of Canada
  • Wind Power on the Prairies
  • Our Planet in Peril (by Sheila Watt Cloutier, set in norther Quebec)


‘Brilliant Planet’ Creates Algae Farms to Decarbonize the Air

“Brilliant Planet is unlocking the power of algae as an affordable method of permanently and quantifiably sequestering carbon at the gigaton scale. The company’s innovative processes enable vast quantities of microalgae to grow in open-air pond-based systems on coastal desert land. This is achieved without using freshwater, by harnessing a natural process that contributes to the health of oceans and air.”

“The process itself is essentially solar-powered — because the algae are effectively powered by the sun — but also needs to run pumps to move seawater around. There are two perks to its method: Unlike some other competitors the CEO is very careful not to name on the record, the company doesn’t use any freshwater in its process, and, in addition, the process helps de-acidify the ocean water it does use.”

“We have to move very large volumes of seawater around, and that uses energy, but we’ve done a lot of design work around running the system extremely energy-efficiently. So gravity feeds down through most of the system from one pond into the next.”

A PNNL ‘Freeze-thaw Molten Salt Battery’ for Seasonal Storage of Wind and Solar Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has created a molten-salt battery that can freeze solar and wind energy for months, so has been designed to help store immense amounts of energy for when turbines can’t spin or the sun isn’t out. The new freeze-thaw battery locks in energy for months when the active material inside it goes from liquid to solid. Then, when warmed up, it can discharge 90 percent of that stored energy. Most grid storage today relies on expensive lithium-ion batteries, or on lead-acid batteries, which bear the burden of toxic lead. So there is a growing effort to develop new battery technologies such as flow batteries.

“The new PNNL battery is a type of molten-salt battery, a technology that has been around for a few decades. It typically uses a molten salt—a material that is solid at room temperature but liquid at higher temperatures—as the electrolyte that allows charge to flow between the electrodes. The new PNNL design is based on common, low cost, and less reactive materials and charges at a lower temperature than other older versions. PNNL hopes to get the cost as low as $6/kWh which is about 15 times less than the materials cost of today’s lithium-ion batteries.”

“You can start to envision something like a large battery on a 40-foot tractor-trailer parked at a wind farm,” said Vince Sprenkle, a senior strategic advisor at PNNL and co-author of the paper. “The battery is charged in the spring and then the truck is driven down the road to a substation where the battery is available if needed during the summer heat.”

Harnessing Bioluminescent Organisms to Light our Cities

Organisms as diverse as fireflies, fungi and fish have the ability to glow through bioluminescence.

“Founded in 2014, Glowee is developing a liquid raw material – in theory endlessly renewable – made of bioluminescent microorganisms. It is cultivated in saltwater aquariums before being packaged in the aquarium tubes. The manufacturing process, claims Rey, consumes less water than manufacturing LED lights and releases less CO2, while the liquid is also biodegradable. The lights also use less electricity to run than LEDs, according to the company, although the Glowee bulbs produce fewer lumens of light than most LED bulbs. While Glowee’s lights are currently only available in standard tubes for events, the company is planning to produce several types of street furniture, such as outdoor benches with in-built lighting, soon.”

“However, Carl Johnson, professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, believes there are serious challenges still ahead before bioluminescence can get the green light for large-scale deployment. Glowee is doing research to address such problems and has set up negotiations with 40 cities in Europe.”

“”The application of synthetic biology onto bioluminescence is a massive opportunity,” says Wood, who is now developing a bioluminescent plant for the company Light Bio.”

Some fungi carry genes that allow them to produce bioluminescence and could be used to bioengineer plants that glow (Credit: Louise Docker/Getty Images) from BBC Future Magazine

Updates Worldwide on Wind and Solar Energy

According to an article by Bloomberg, solar and wind power complement each other well. Solar photovoltaic generation tends to be weaker in winter and non-existent at night. Wind, on the other hand, performs better at those times. Solar power energy worldwide is estimated to provide 245 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity in 2022, which is a third more than was installed in 2021 and at present is being produced at 7.5% above the estimated expectation. Good news! This is equivalent to about 2/3s of the world’s total installed nuclear capacity. Unfortunately wind energy is not moving according to plan. It is taking time around the world for countries to get permits, so has more road blocks. The Global Wind Energy Council says it may only reach 64% of the 2030 wind power requirements needed to hit net zero.

Photo by Lucy taken in California

Have a wonderful Earth Month and we do hope you get outdoors to enjoy and appreciate our beautiful and delicate planet EARTH.

EV News Abounds

Following on Lucia’s generous and informative blog on her personal experiences in becoming an EV owner and what it was like taking “Evie” the Tesla on her first long-distance road trip, it seems we now see EV news everywhere we turn. What a trendsetter our Lucia 😊.

Building out from this personal account, we share more EV news, taken from a wider lens, and happily it too is very positive news and on many levels – local, national and global.

Local Signs of EV Becoming Mainstream

Momentum to transition increasingly toward electric vehicle fleets is being propelled by many forces now – the economics of fuel costs, more choice in competitively priced EVs, government investments in essential EV infrastructure (charging stations) as part of ‘build back better’ economic recovery plans as much as being integral to government climate action plans, and more recently, motivated by geopolitical goals and sanctions to reduce global reliance on Russian oil and gas in the face of the Russian-Ukraine war.

In Canada, several recent articles offer evidence of EVs on the cusp of becoming mainstream at the local and national levels for many, if not all, the reasons above.

Various Police and Fire Services Purchasing Electric Vehicles

Starting with the local, this CBC piece on the Windsor Police Service’s plans “to purchase fully electric vehicles next year,” reports that as early as April 2023, “its goal is to start replacing older unmarked police vehicles, sometimes used for administrative purposes, with fully electric cars.”  Reasons cited for making the shift – environmental benefits of moving away from fossil fuel use and “an ethical responsibility to lead by example” (says Barry Horrobin, director of planning and resources), and of course the current record-breaking fuel prices have the department looking at adopting EVs “a tad more aggressively”. 

The article also profiles Quebec’s Service de police de la Ville de Repentigny (SPVR) as being “on the leading edge of putting fully electric front-line cruisers on the road.”  Through the SPVR’s pilot project, it has purchased an all-electric emergency response car. “A Ford Mustang Mach-E is being retrofitted for police use with the help of Cyberkar, a company that specializes in technology for emergency vehicles.”

Further signs of EVs going mainstream south of the border are also noted: “The project is spreading, as officials in Quebec noted a police department in New York order 184 Ford Mustang Mach-E’s while looking to the SPVR for expertise learned during its trial.”  (CBC -

And, in news in Driving on other emergency vehicles, we learn that, “Brampton City Council approved the purchase of Ontario’s first electric-powered fire truck,” and “can stand tall alongside other world-class cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, which all feature an electric-powered emergency response vehicle on their fleets.” Brampton has purchased “the Rosenbauer RT, the first EV fire truck on the market that meets firefighting standards” – learn more via the article – and Rosenbauer RT brochure at –

National EV News

This CBC headline points to a promising shift at the national level – “Canada may have hit its EV target turning point,” while still watchful for confirming evidence in the budget.

“Electric car advocates are waiting to see spending details in this week’s federal budget, but for the first time, pro-EV business leaders and economists are expressing new optimism that Canada’s move away from internal combustion vehicles may have reached a turning point.”

“After years of excuses, there are signs that a conjunction of forces is pushing the country into a technological and social revolution that has been compared to going from horse to automobile and will bring affordable electric cars and trucks to roads and parking spaces across Canada.”

“High gasoline prices, a gradual increase in the price of carbon and a request by European powers for the world to use less fossil fuels to break Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s grip on their economies, are pushing us in that direction. A series of technological developments that have made electric vehicles not just as good as internal combustion vehicles but better and cheaper to run have helped make it possible.” (CBC –

We will look to the news on today’s release of the federal budget with heightened interest.

According to already the Canadian government mandates that 100% of light duty vehicles be zero emission by 2035 as they usually remain in service for about 15 years, so that will move Canada towards its goal of net zero by 2050. There is an interim target of “at least” 50% of vehicles sold be zero emission by 2030, only 8 years away.

Federal Government Funds EV and Battery Manufacturing Facilities

The Federal government is contributing $500 million to support the South Korean Battery Manufacturer LG Energy Solutions and automaker Stellantis for a total of $5 billion to build an Electric Vehicle battery factory in Windsor and this should create 2500 jobs. The city of Windsor is providing the land for the project that is the size of 112 NHL hockey rinks. (CBC:

“The federal and Ontario governments are investing up to $259 million each in the General Motors plant in Oshawa plant and its CAMI facility in Ingersoll including for electric-vehicle production. The government’s share announced Monday is part of a $2-billion GM investment to build the company’s first electric-vehicle production line in Oshawa. It will also support the construction of electric commercial vans under the new BrightDrop brand scheduled to roll off the line at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll later this year. The money will also allow a third shift in Oshawa to be added to produce more light-duty Chevy Silverado pickup trucks.” (CBC:

Pocket Book Data: Electric Cars are Cheaper than Gas

Clean Energy Canada makes the budget case for going EV in this March 31st piece headlined, “Electric vehicles save Canadian drivers thousands over car’s lifetime, even at lower gas prices: analysis”

Its press release cites, “New analysis released today by Clean Energy Canada provides a clearer picture for consumers, calculating the total ownership costs of equivalent electric and gas cars, from purchasing, to refuelling, to maintenance. 

And in every case, the electric car comes out cheaper than the gas alternative.”

“The report, The True Cost, considers a number of Canada’s most popular car models and assumes each vehicle is owned for eight years, driven 20,000 kilometres annually, and (in the case of gas cars) fuelled with $1.35-per-litre-gasoline (the 2021 average).”

“For four out of our six comparisons, the total cost savings of going electric are in the order of $15,000 to over $19,000.” Projected savings would be even higher if current record-breaking prices at the gas pump become the norm.

More reasons confirming for Lucia that she made the right decision to become an early EV adopter!

To access the full True Cost report:

About Clean Energy Canada, from its website:

  • “Clean Energy Canada is a climate and clean energy program within the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University.”
  • “We work to accelerate Canada’s clean energy transition by sharing the story of the global shift to renewable energy, clean technology, and sustainable industries. We conduct original research, convene influential dialogues, inform policy leadership, and drive public engagement.”
  • “We believe Canada is well-positioned to be a global clean energy leader today and into the future, but time is of the essence.”

Global Clean Energy Trends

Momentum for clean energy uptake is growing globally, too, as reported by the climate and energy think tank, Ember.

Wind and solar generated 10% of global electricity for the first time in 2021, reports Ember’s third annual Global Electricity Review, with ‘fifty countries get(ting) more than a tenth of their power from wind and solar sources.”

“Demand for electricity grew at a record pace…The research shows the growth in the need for electricity last year was the equivalent of adding a new India to the world’s grid.

“Solar and wind and other clean sources generated 38% of the world’s electricity in 2021. For the first time wind turbines and solar panels generated 10% of the total.”

“The share coming from wind and sun has doubled since 2015, when the Paris climate agreement was signed.”

“The fastest switching to wind and solar took place in the Netherlands, Australia, and Vietnam. All three have moved a tenth of their electricity demand from fossil fuels to green sources in the last two years.”

“The Netherlands is a great example of a more northern latitude country proving that it’s not just where the Sun shines, it’s also about having the right policy environment that makes the big difference in whether solar takes off,” said Hannah Broadbent from Ember.

“Vietnam also saw spectacular growth, particularly in solar which rose by over 300% in just one year.”

Ember is an independent, not-for-profit think tank. Its analysis is based on a dataset it makes available as an open source resource for others to use in an effort to help speed the switch to clean energy, and comprising “annual power generation and import data for 209 countries covering the period 2000 to 2020. For 2021, we have added data for 75 countries which together represent 93% of global power demand.”

“This summary report—and the data behind it—is an open resource. Reliable and transparent tracking of the global electricity sector is critical to ensure effective action at the time and scale needed to keep global heating to 1.5 degrees. Alongside this analysis, we offer the comprehensive data set freely available to download or explore via our data explorer.”

“You can download the data or use our Data Explorer.”

Clean Energy Canada:

Earth Day 2022

The countdown is on.  Mark your calendars for April 22nd – Earth Day 2022 is coming soon.

“The Earth Day 2022 Theme is Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do?”

Readers may wish to consider action ideas offered in the Earth Day Organization’s Action Tool Kit  –

As the Earth Day official website notes, “More than 1 billion people in 192 countries now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Today, we invite you to be a part of Earth Day and to help further climate action across the globe.”

The Canopy Project

As you may have noticed, Lucia and Catherine are partial toward “all things trees” 😊 and so we are drawn especially to supporting the theme of Invest in Our Planet, via donating to tree-planting conservation and restoration initiatives such as The Canopy Project, which has been underway since 2010. To learn more about it:

Inviting the Artist in You…

We invite guest artists to consider creating an Earth Day piece (painting? photo? video? guest blog? other?) which we would feature happily and gratefully in our upcoming Earth Day blog.