Pearl Pirie and Kunundrum at the Muses Reading Series

The Muses Reading Series, June 25, 2012Monday, June 25, 2012, 7–9 pm
The Elmdale House Tavern
1084 Wellington Street West, Ottawa  Map »

Poetry by Pearl Pirie
Music by the percussion group Kunundrum

$8 / pay what you can
Benefit for the Peace and Environment News.

Brought to you by The Muses Reading Series.
For more information contact Mike Buckthought at helios –at–

Featured readers and musicians:

Pearl Pirie. Photo by Brian Pirie.Pearl Pirie’s poetry has appeared in more places than she has. She has two collections and edits phafours press which most recently published in air/air out: 21 poets for the Guatemala Stove Project. She is the author of been shed bore (Chaudiere Books, 2010), and her manuscript Thirsts won the 2011 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her poetry appears in numerous publications including Arc, Bywords and Ottawater.

Kunundrum. Photo by Barry Thoms.Kunundrum is a percussion group based in Ottawa.
Not to be missed! Kunundrum will get you dancing to the rhythms and songs of West Africa, Cuba and Haiti.

Photos by Brian Pirie and Barry Thoms.

Commuter Challenge Coming Up

Peace and Environment News — Insider, April–June 2012
by Mike Buckthought

On June 3–9, thousands of people across Canada will join the 2012 Commuter Challenge. The annual event encourages people to get to work using sustainable modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, public transit, car pooling and telecommuting.

To participate in the Challenge, commuters register online at and keep track of the distance they travel using environment-friendly modes of transportation. The website uses the distances you record to calculate your reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.

If your workplace is not mentioned on the website, you can add it to the list. You don’t have to be working to join the Challenge — individuals may also register.

In 2011, over 29,000 Canadians joined the Commuter Challenge during Environment Week.

The program includes an environment-friendly competition between communities across the country, to see which towns and cities have the highest participation rates during the week.

Last year, the winning cities included Calgary (cities with a population over 1,000,000), Winnipeg (population greater than 500,000), Halifax (population over 250,000), and Guelph (population over 100,000).

Ottawa’s motor vehicles produce 1.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. Emissions from the transportation sector have increased, thanks to the presence of large numbers of SUVs. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution increases rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

When we walk or cycle to work instead of using a car, we can help reduce levels of toxic air pollutants and get some exercise along the way. During Environment Week, don’t pollute when you commute — join the Commuter Challenge.

For more information about participating in the Commuter Challenge, visit Help spread the word in your community. Posters and flyers may be downloaded from the website.

Mike Buckthought is a car-free commuter, and he is the founder of the Commuter Challenge.

Published in the Peace and Environment News — Insider, Volume 27, Number 2, April–June 2012, page 4.

Join Bike to Work Month

Peace and Environment News — Insider, April–June 2012
by Mike Buckthought

May is Bike to Work Month in Ottawa, and EnviroCentre is collaborating with workplaces across the region to encourage people to cycle to work. EnviroCentre is offering an updated information kit, workshops, cycling safety information, multimedia tools, and an online pledge system.

Last year, 861 people pledged to cycle to work, covering a total distance of 759,040 km. Participants reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 191 tonnes by biking instead of using motorized modes of transport.

The 2012 edition of Bike to Work Month promises to encourage even more people to cycle to work instead of using cars and SUVs.

This year, EnviroCentre and the City of Ottawa will be introducing the BikeMobile, an interactive display booth on wheels, greeting employees with prize give-aways outside eight workplaces.

“The idea is to bring a simplified version of the celebration stations we’ve done in the past, right to your door. We’ll let the public know where we’re going to be each week on Twitter and through our online events calendar,” says Jessica Wells, EnviroCentre’s Programs Coordinator for Sustainable Transportation. “When you see us parked outside your lobby entrance, take a minute to check it out,” she says.

EnviroCentre has teamed up with City Wide Sports to offer 60-minute cycling workshops at workplaces for a modest fee. Lunch and Learn workshops will provide an introduction to commuter cycling, or a hands-on bicycle maintenance demonstration, and practical information about safe cycling. Cycling safety workshops will teach introductory and intermediate skills, with practice sessions in parking lots and on city roads.

EnviroCentre is collaborating with 65 workplaces representing over 50,000 employees.

“Cycling is a convenient, fun, healthy, and cost-effective way to travel. In Ottawa, the average commute is 7.8 km and one-third of us travel less than 5 km to work,” says Wells. “There is therefore, a huge amount of potential to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, road congestion, and noise and air pollution. Small steps can have a significant impact.”

The online pledge system has been expanded to track statistics such as distance travelled, reductions in emissions, calories burned, and dollars saved. Workplaces can combine their pledge totals to compete against other organizations to see which group has the largest number of green commuters.

To participate in Bike to Work Month or for information, visit When you pledge to bike to work, you’ll be eligible to win prizes, which will be awarded at the Bruce Timmermans Award Ceremony on May 31.

EnviroCentre is a non-profit organization that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario by delivering energy-efficiency programs and services. EnviroCentre has coordinated Bike to Work since 2010.

Published in the Peace and Environment News — Insider, Volume 27, Number 2, April–June 2012, page 4.