What should Peterborough do in this Climate Emergency?

With the recent news of Kingston and possibly Guelph declaring a climate emergency, I began wondering what actions a city such as them or even Peterborough could do to begin the process of eliminating our climate emissions. Recently I came across the Drawdown proposal. It includes a list of 80 solutions that would reduce global emissions drastically while at the same time creating a better and more equitable future for humanity. All while creating a net global financial savings of nearly 50 trillion USD.

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How Safe are Coyotes?

Since I started collecting sightings of Coyotes in Peterborough, I have received several concerns about coyotes in the city. People have been concerned about going out for walks and taking their pets outdoors. I can say with certainty that coyotes pose a significantly lower risk than pretty much any activity that most people participate in. While on a walk you are more likely to be fatally struck by a car or hit by lightning than to be non-fatally attacked by a coyote. To get the point across and hopefully quell some fears here is a handy little chart that I’ve done up.

As a side note, some of the precautions you can take include making sure food stored outside is secure and avoiding any coyote dens during the springtime when the pups are first born. And NEVER feed the coyotes.

Coyotes of Peterborough

As a follow up to the impromptu citizen science project that took place in November and December, I’ve created a map for everyone’s enjoyment and so you can all see the results! It was a lot of fun taking in everyone’s input and creating something together. This mini project has given me some ideas for fun projects in the future, but for now, enjoy this map and let me know what you think!

Stewards Notes Talks Natural Heritage on Pints and Politics

While you’re in for the weekend relaxing before the holidays begin in earnest, why not check out this weeks episode of Pints and Politics. Bill Templeman, Ben Wolfe, Ian Attridge, and myself all sat down to discuss our city’s important natural heritage and how we might plan for a more ecological future. Check out the podcast from the link below and let us know what you think!

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Despite Lack of Provincial Leadership Dianne Saxe Offers a Vision for Way Forward

Its difficult to envy the position that Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe finds herself in every day. Her role as an independent commissioner of the legislature is to oversee Ontario’s ministries through an environmental lens and to administer the Environmental Bill of Rights. Throughout her tenure as the ECO she has issued dozens of reports critical of government activities and responses to pollution, environmental degradation, and planning. Just last week she released the annual ECO report detailing worrying trends in Ontario regarding wetlands, woodlands, water and wildlife. The report seems to have fallen on deaf ears at the legislature. Even worse, funding for the ECO office was cut nearly immediately following the release of the report.

It was a coincidence that that very day here in Peterborough we were fortunate enough to be joined by Dianne Saxe to discuss the protected areas shortfall that the province is facing in meeting our Aichi target 11 goals to protect 17% of Canada’s landmass for conservation y 2020. Currently Ontario sits at 10.4% protected area which is less than the global average of 14.5%. The response from Doug Ford and the CPC cacus has been that it was an agreement signed federally (by Stephen Harper), so it isn’t his problem.

Peterborough citizens making a difference!

Near the beginning of her presentation, Dianne offered examples of how leadership from cities, towns and other low tier governments is creating real change in the absence of higher leadership on environmental issues. South of the border, the “We Are Still In” coalition is on track to meet their Paris climate targets representing a constituency of over half of American Citizens an an economy of 6.2 trillion USD.

Now that the City of Peterborough has elected a council that may take environmental issues seriously, it may be time to discuss how our city may reach out to others to meet climate, water or protected area targets in the absence of provincial leadership. Perhaps our council and the engaged and eager citizens of our city can step forward as a leader in Ontario to create a vision for the future of not just our city, but the province as a whole. Organizations such as the Kawartha Land Trust, GreenUP, and The Nature Conservancy have all demonstrated the real change that can happen from the ground up when we decide to work together, lets hope that we can find an ally in our new city council.

Dianne Saxe may have a difficult road ahead as the environmental commissioner, and it may be difficult to be the harbinger of bad news but my respect for her comes from her ability to offer real solutions to the large problems that we face. I’ve trusted her advice since she took office and regardless of what happens, she will continue to be an invaluable asset for the people of Ontario.

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Travel the Coyote Parkway

For the past 50+ years the city of Peterborough has been debating the creation of the parkway on top of some of the greenest spaces and most widely used trails in our city. You may be surprised to hear that this space has become another different transportation corridor in our city. Coyotes roughly appear to be traveling from through our city along this corridor. You may recall the map produced earlier this year detailing Peterborough’s natural heritage system in the form of a metro map, this is a prime example of how wildlife moves around our city.

Get your sighting featured on the map by using the tag #PtboCoyote on twitter or typing a comment below.

On November 13th @SarahDeeth from CHEX news posed the question on twitter if people had been noticing greater numbers of coyotes within the city limits. People were eager to share the approximate locations of their sightings across the city. I realized that this would be an interesting dataset, and quickly went to work assembling everybody’s sightings into a single map. The results were surprising! You can see the live map below!

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Incredibly the Coyotes seem to be using the parkway corridor to travel around the city. Sightings from the north end all the way to medical drive indicate active populations roaming the area. Neighborhoods in Monaghan Ward seem to have active populations surrounding the golf course. I can also personally corroborate an active population within and around Harper Park. It is equally interesting where there are an absence of coyote sightings. Almost no sightings have taken place in the areas on the East Bank sandwiched between the Canal and the Otonabee River. My guess is that it is a relatively highly populated area that lacks easy escape routes, so coyotes avoid the east bank.

A Quiet Enclosure for the Monoprice Select Mini

After moving the MPSM to the bedroom adjacent to ours, it became impossible to print while sleeping, it just made too much noise. I decided it was high time I came up with an enclosure for the machine. Luckily I had all of the tools and hardware I needed. I just needed to get my hands on a piece of plywood from Home Hardware. I grabbed a nice 4×8 sheet of project panel which was more than enough for this cabinet. I wanted to make sure that there was plenty of space below to store any extra pieces of hardware or tools and that there was plenty of lighting to ensure that I could see what was happening in the cabinet.

I started by producing a rough wooden box with the plywood. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to the table saw at the time, so I was stuck using the circular saw. It was nothing that a quick pass with the belt sander couldn’t handle (Thanks Peterborough Tool Library!). The door was quickly cut with a jigsaw and attached using some cheap hinges from the hardware store.  I also cut two holes in the back to place some fans for controlled ventilation.

The electronics all came together smoothly, and I even had most of the parts I needed lying around. I used a small 12v 5a power supply for the LEDs and the fans. It was all wired together using a small piece of breadboard and controlled by some red push buttons I had lying around. All of the electronics fit in a small space in the base of the cabinet.

I wanted it to be very bright inside the cabinet, so I painted the inside with some high gloss white paint. I stained the outside of the cabinet with some oil. I even had some helpers come by for this part of the project! After it had all dried, I placed the electronics back in place and reattached the hardware. I used a small piece of 1/8 inch glass attached with some hardware corner brackets printed on the 3D printer. The extra space in the bottom also houses a raspberry pi that I run octoprint on.

P_20181028_170443

With the printer in place it is time for a test print. Next up I would like to run my webcam into the enclosure to be able to monitor my prints remotely. I’ll keep you updated with some slick videos produced in the cube!

Sleek Z Axis Support – Essential Monoprice Mini Mods (V2)

There are several Z axis support downloads that exist for the Monoprice Select Mini printer. After I noticed some wobble on my printer, I wanted to see if a Z axis stabilizer could fix things up for me. Unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of most of the designs that were available on Thingiverse.  Several of the attachments for the end of the gantry were bulky and diddn’t actually align with the Z axis rods. The attachments to the side panel were bulky and didn’t necessarily fit with the other modifications that I had completed on the printer. So I set about to design a mod that fixed all these problems.

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Setting Adaptive Layer Height With Cura for the Monoprice Select Mini

Recently I started printing 3d topographies as an educational tool. They are relatively flat for the majority of the print, but when it comes to the surface, having thicker layer heights left much to be desired. Due to the large volume being printed, setting a smaller layer heights sent printing times through the roof. I needed a better solution. Enter adaptive layer heights.

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Jackson Creek Pollution – Final Update

Today I took a stroll up to the Lilly Lake Subdivision to discover what had come of last week’s events. I knew that on Friday there had been activity on site, but I didn’t feel like popping my head into an active construction site, one that my actions may have precipitated. It seems that the construction company has fixed the giant hole in their sediment fencing by adding several more layers. Sections of the fence now are 4 layers thick. In addition, a wall of boulders was constructed at the outlet of a giant erosion scar. It will be interesting to see if even they can hold the water back. (more…)