On Being a BEA Student Intern

Students Rajbalinder Ghatoura and Gavin Lin reflect on their time supporting the Brampton Environmental Alliance as student interns.

Rajbalinder Ghatoura is a fourth year student in Environmental Studies at York University. He is also a Brampton resident who has been involved in several environmental initiatives starting when he was in Grade 7! As a secondary school student, Rajbalinder was one of the founding members of Human Impact Environment, a youth focused environmental not-for-profit organization.

Here is a video that Rajbalinder produced summarizing his time working with the BEA as the Director of Memberships.

Gavin Lin is also a fourth year student at York University in Environmental Studies. Gavin’s focus is urban planning and incorporating sustainable practices as part of city building. Although he is a resident of Mississauga, Gavin chose to join the BEA as a student intern last fall. He continues to support the BEA as a Board member at large. Here is Gavin’s description of his time at the BEA.

My experience working with the Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) as a student placement has been very pleasant. The BEA is a professional organization with an active board of members who are each very passionate about their role while creating positive change in the city of Brampton through different environmentally focused initiatives. I was able to attend their regular meetings and take part in different aspects of the organization such as marketing, website development, and research.

Outside of board meetings I had weekly meetings with my supervisors Stacey and Rajbalinder, they were extremely friendly and were able to help me stay organized during my placement. They also continuously encouraged me to build and improve on my skills throughout the term. The entire placement was a very good opportunity for me and I appreciated the level of professionalism and communication I experienced. 

In my experience with the Brampton Environmental Alliance, I have been able to be a part of a growing community of passionate individuals looking to create a positive change for Brampton and I would encourage any environmentally driven students and individuals to apply and be a part of this initiative.

The BEA currently has opportunities for student interns to fill roles for the spring, summer, and fall of 2022. Anyone interested is welcome to apply by forwarding their resume and cover letter to, info@bramptonea.org.

Provincial Funding Available for Shoreline Cleanup, Naturalization and Restoration Projects

People Against Litter courtesy of OMNI television

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is currently accepting applications for the Great Lakes Local Action Fund to protect and restore Great Lakes’ watersheds including connecting rivers. The Provincial Government has earmarked up to $1.9 million for the second round of funding to support local projects that can demonstrate positive environmental impact on these watersheds. Community based projects must be submitted by March 11, 2022 and address one of the following priorities:

  • Naturalization and restoration
  • Protecting habitat
  • Shoreline cleanup

Applicants must be registered through www.ontario.ca/GetFunding for a “Transfer Payment Ontario” TPO Account. To qualify, the project may be led by one or more of the following:

  • Community-based organizations
  • Environmental non-profits
  • Indigenous communities
  • Small businesses
  • Conservation authorities
  • Municipalities

Eligible expenses can include:

  • Staff salaries
  • Goods including the purchase of plants, trees, shovels, garbage pickers, bags, gloves, boots, etc.
  • Services including web-design, technical design, consultants, etc.
  • Equipment/Capital/Rental
  • Giveaways for volunteers and participants

Travel and hospitality expenses are not eligible for the Great Lakes Local Action Fund.

Click here to access application guidelines and forms. For help contact the Transfer Payment Ontario Customer Service line at (416) 325-6691 or TPONCC@ontario.ca, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.

February is Winter Walk to School Month

Courtesy Ontario Active School Travel

Whether we were born in Canada or came here later in life, it seems many of us don’t like Canadian winters. Did you know there is a scientific reason why winters make us feel so lethargic and unhappy?

It turns out the lack of light affects our brain’s ability to generate serotonin and melatonin, two chemicals that help regulate our sleep cycles, energy, and mood. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Lack of exposure to full-spectrum natural light also reduces the body’s production of vitamin D, a chemical necessary for calcium absorption. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to many diseases including, breast, colon, and prostate cancers, heart disease, depression and weight gain.

Low levels of vitamin D in children are related to rickets which causes soft, poorly formed bones. Children can also experience SAD and the affects can be similar to clinical depression. This includes negative thinking, changes in sleeping or eating, and lower overall energy. Loss of concentration is another symptom, which may affect the child’s school results.

For many children and teenagers, an effective antidote to SAD and low vitamin D levels is to get outside and absorb the natural light. Even 30 minutes of winter light exposure per day on the face can generate sufficient levels of vitamin D, serotonin, and melatonin.

The World Health Organization recommends children and adolescents aged 6 through 17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily to maintain healthy bones and muscles. But, according to the Region of Peel, fewer than half of Peel’s kids are getting the minimum amount of daily activity. And 27% are overweight or obese.

Walking or riding to school and back, at least some of the days of the week, may be the simplest and easiest solution to these related problems. It builds physical activity into the child’s daily routine which supports better mental health outcomes, higher concentration abilities and better academic performance.

February is Winter Walk Month and there is no time like the present to put your child on the “Road to Health”! Encourage them to walk or ride. Walk with them if you have the time or join with a group of parents to form a walking school bus or bike train. Who knows, you may find that winters become enjoyable for both you and your family!

Visit Ontario Active School Travel, or Walk + Roll Peel for more information about walking and riding programs in Peel.

What’s walking and riding to school have to do with the environment? Well, 20-25% of Peel’s morning and afternoon vehicle traffic is from children being driven to school. Increasing the amount of walking or riding will decrease vehicular traffic which is the single biggest producer of carbon emissions in Brampton.

City Accepting Grow Green Awards Nominations

The City of Brampton has created a new award program to recognize individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions in the city that have demonstrated environmental leadership and have significantly contributed to the “Grow Green” vision of conserving, enhancing, and balancing our natural and built environments to create a healthy, sustainable, and resilient Brampton. Nominations will be accepted until February 28th, 2022 and the awards will be handed out during an Earth Day Environmental Festival to be held at Norton Place Park on Saturday April 23rd.

The Climate Change Award will be given to an individual and a business/organization that has significantly contributed to advancing climate change mitigation, adaptation, awareness/knowledge, and or actions.

The Stewardship Award will be given to an individual and a business/organization that has significantly contributed to the advancement of environmental sustainability iniitiatives related to the conservation and/or stewardship of trees, natural heritage systems, water, and/or the reduction of waste.

The Environmental Youth Award will be given to an individual or youth group that has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the advancement of environmental protection, climate change actions, and/or sustainability.

The Environmental Legacy Award will be given to an individual who has provided outstanding personal service and ongoing contributions to advance the “Grow Green” vision of conserving, enhancing, and balancing our natural and built environments to crate a healthy, resilient and sustainable city.

Centre for Community Energy Transformation Board Member Application Deadline February 25th.

CCET logo

The City’s new Centre for Energy Transformation CCET is looking for members of the public to apply for volunteer transitional board positions.

The primary purpose of the transitional board will be to set up the CCET as a not-for-profit organization, hire an Executive Director and set the operational priorities for the first year.

Nine Board positions will be selected to work with five members of City staff to set up the CCET organization. The CCET will then act as a catalyst to help residents and businesses reduce energy consumption and move to lower carbon energy sources.

If you have experience in finance, governance or setting up a new organization, consider applying. The deadline to apply is February 25, 2022. Find full details and submit a board member application at www.brampton.ca/CCET.

BEA Meeting Wednesday February 23, 2022

Member meeting starts at 6:30pm
Regular public meeting starts at 7:00pm

The next meeting of the Brampton Environmental Alliance will be held virtually on Wednesday February 23rdInformal networking at 6:15pm. The member meeting starts at 6:30pm sharp! The regular public meeting follows immediately after starting at 7:00pm Click the Register button for your free ticket.

Member Meeting to vote on BEA business items 6:30-7:00pm

Approve the BEA year end date
Approve the BEA by-law document
Approve BEA Treasurers Report

General Public Meeting

Spotlight Presentation

Bill Godfrey and friends

P.A.L. is single-handedly advancing the city’s litter-free Brampton goals more than anyone in history.”
Bill Godfrey

Discussion BEA member projects (please complete this short survey)
Discuss BEA 2022 Workplan

Brampton Council Approves Centre for Community Energy Transformation

CCET logo courtesy City of Brampton

This past Wednesday Brampton Council unanimously approved seed funding for the Centre for Community Energy Transformation, or CCET. This is a very important milestone on the city’s path to a low-carbon future.

The concept for the CCET started in 2018 as part of the Brampton 2040 Vision exercise, one of the most comprehensive public engagement process the City has ever undertaken. The Vision maps how the City will grow over the next 18 years, living the cultural mosaic of our diverse population.

The importance of Brampton as a green, environmentally sustainable city, featured prominently in the public feedback sessions. In response, the vision document called for the creation of an independent organization that would help steward Brampton’s green journey. The CCET is now that organization.

Using 2016 as the baseline year, the City set targets to cut carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, 50% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. Improving building energy efficiency is an important part of achieving Brampton’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan.

Courtesy City of Brampton

Residences are the second largest source of climate changing emissions. The average Brampton home consumes more than twice as much energy compared to an A-rated home in Germany. Brampton has a large number of older homes that are less efficient. And most homes burn natural gas for heat and hot water.

A major purpose of the CCET, therefore, will be to help residents reduce energy consumption and convert to lower carbon energy sources. The CCET will work with banks, municipalities and other governments to make it easy for homeowners to finance building retrofits. It will also work with industry and post secondary institutions to recruit and train the auditors, technicians, contractors and installers necessary to create low-risk retrofit solutions at scale that will pay for themselves over time through reduced heating and air conditioning costs.

Depending on the age of the house, retrofits could be as simple as sealing doors and windows or adding insulation to attics, walls, and basements. Or, it could involve replacing natural gas furnaces with high efficiency electric heat pumps, installing solar hot water systems or tapping into a “district energy node”. Regardless, the changes promise exciting times for both residents and business as the Centre for Community Energy Transformation develops over the coming year.

Peel Region wants your feedback on garbage user fees

Peel Region Waste Bins

Do you regularly use your green bin for compost and kitchen waste? How about garbage vs. recycling. Are you diligent about separating and rinsing out plastic and metal containers before you toss them? Would it change your habits if you had to pay based on the amount of garbage you dispose of?

Currently everyone in Peel Region pays the same regardless of garbage bin size. Sure, if you have more garbage than your bin will hold, you have to buy tags to have additional bags collected. But, if you stay within your bin size, you pay the same as all your neighbours, whether your bin is small, medium or large. That may be about to change.

The folks at the Region of Peel are thinking about changing the rules for garbage collection and they want to hear from you. They are considering charging user fees that vary depending on the bin size you use. One option is to rely solely on a user fee system. Another option is to rely on the tax-base to cover some of the costs of garbage collection while the remainder would be recouped as user fees. Or they could just leave the system as is.

What would your preference be? Here are somethings for you to consider.

Blue-box contamination is a growing problem in Peel Region. Eighty to ninety percent of households do a good job of properly separating garbage from recyclables. But the high contamination rate in the remaining 10-20%, raises Peel’s overall contamination average to 30%. It matters, because contamination of blue box recycling materials costs the Region over $3.6 million in added collection and processing costs each year.1

Another problem is that about half of what Peel residents put out to the street as garbage is actually material that could go into the Blue or Green bins. Fifteen percent of the garbage collected could have been recycled. And over forty percent is actually kitchen scraps or food waste.2 Not only is this expensive for the home owner but it is also bad for the environment.

When food is buried in landfill it rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. 3 About 6-8% of the world’s human caused greenhouse gases come from food waste.4

Cutting down on waste is a great way to help the environment. Properly separating and sorting waste is another. Being better at both will help the Region save money and reduce what we pay in taxes. Let the folks at Peel Region know what you think about waste collection and user fees by attending an open house or completing the on-line survey.

1 https://pub-peelregion.escribemeetings.com/FileStream.ashx?DocumentId=4482
2 https://peelregion.ca/officialplan/review/pdf/waste-management-discussion-paper.pdf
3 http://www.cec.org/flwy/food-waste-climate-change/#:~:text=When%20food%20ends%20up%20in,more%20potent%20than%20carbon%20dioxide.&text=When%20food%20gets%20wasted%2C%20we,earth%20%E2%80%93%20and%20polluting%20our%20environment.
4 https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/fight-climate-change-by-preventing-food-waste