Roundup: COVID count steady, local teen suing feds over climate crisis, adapting Remembrance Day plans, living comfortably off the grid

Jennifer Corson and Keith Robertson's off-grid home. Photo: James Ingram

With no new cases reported in the latest update, Nova Scotia continues to have six people known to be sick with COVID-19. Over the course of the pandemic, the province has had 105,189 negative test results, 1,097 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 65 deaths.

The federal government says there are 21,988 known active cases nationwide, including 8,856 in Quebec, 6,047 in Ontario, 3,138 in Alberta, and 103 in New Brunswick. The disease has killed some 9,778 people in Canada.

Ira Reinhart-Smith at a recent protest in Halifax. Photo: Maren Mealey

Earth’s day in court
Sixteen-year-old Ira Reinhart-Smith of Caledonia, Queens Co., is one of 15 youth from across Canada suing the federal government.

Last year, the plaintiffs filed their claim, arguing that the government is obstructing their rights to life, liberty, security, and equality by not doing enough to protect the country from the ongoing climate crisis.

“We are youth spread throughout Canada who have been affected by climate change in our own ways,” he says. “We know that the government is harming us through their inaction and their actions causing climate change.”

The government filed a statement of defence in February acknowledging that climate change is real but arguing that the plaintiffs lack public interest and that their claims are “not justiciable.” After recent hearings in Vancouver, the plaintiffs are awaiting a ruling (which may be up to five months away) on whether the suit can proceed. Kevin Mcbain reports for LighthouseNow.

Adapting Remembrance Day plans
As Nov. 11 approaches, organizers of Remembrance Day ceremonies around the province are adapting their plans for pandemic safety. In Port Hawkesbury, for example, the ceremony typically attracts 1,500–2,000 people. Changes there likely indicate how ceremonies will unfold elsewhere too.

“The Remembrance Day ceremony will be held inside [the Legion],” say organizers. “Attendance will be restricted to just the colour party and [the Legion] executive. All… who participate will follow provincial recommendations with respect to physical distancing and the wearing of masks.” The local radio station will broadcast the ceremony live. Learn more in this story from The Reporter.

Rock of ages
Long before the first European settlers arrived in Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaq thrived here. It’s hard for most people to imagine what life was like then, but the Mi’kmaq petroglyphs at Kejimkujik National Park offer fascinating glimpses. Columnist Zack Metcalfe recently visited.

“There were many dozens overlapping, centuries on centuries and pictures on pictures, so chaotic and subtle that the eyes need time to adjust,” he says. “Here was an encyclopedia of thoughts and ambitions and dreams and lessons, sharing space and competing for depth. It was magnificent.”

Photo: Zack Metcalfe

Some of the most eye catching may capture Mi’kmaq impressions of first contact with the Europeans. “Some petroglyphs show European ships with exquisite detail, seen on the coast and re-created here for everyone’s benefit the following winter,” Metcalfe says.

In this new Halifax Magazine column, he explores the site and talks with guide Rose Meuse about the importance of this rare treasure.

Going off the grid
There’s a misconception that going off the grid means living in a log cabin the wilds, splitting wood, lugging water, and relying on candles and wood stoves. But when Jennifer Corson and Keith Robertson built their off-grid home on the South Shore, they didn’t compromise on comfort.

Jennifer Corson (left) and Keith Robertson. Photo: James Ingram

The 1,500-square-foot home, with a spectacular view of Lunenburg’s Second Peninsula, is modern yet environmentally friendly, relying on solar power, super-efficient insulation, and lots of recycled and repurposed building materials.

“We wanted to show how someone could build an off-grid and efficient home that has all the modern conveniences one would expect,” says Robertson. That means the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house has TV, Internet, fridge, freezer, washing machine and dishwasher, all running off solar power. Zahra Sethna has more in this feature from the free East Coast Living archives.

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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