Archive for ◊ June, 2009 ◊

• Sunday, June 28th, 2009

This is what Brian O’Leary Ph.D., a former Princeton professor in astrophysics and NASA astronaut, fervently believes is possible for us and our planet. After hearing his 45 minute Free Energy lecture (right-click to download 38 MB file) on Saturday at the “After the Darkness, Dawns a New Light Conference”, I believe him, too.

For those unfamiliar with the term “Free  Energy”, it is energy derived from a source that violates one of the core principles of modern science, specifically thermodynamics: that energy cannot be created, it  can merely flow from one place to another or change from one form into another.

The most well-known case of Free energy is “cold fusion”. In 1989, two scientists from Utah claimed to have discovered cold fusion which is when two hydrogen atoms combine to form a helium atom. The resulting “fusion” of the atoms releases far more energy than the energy required to create the fusion.

Their claims were forcefully rebuked, but Dr. O’Leary claims that M.I.T. and other institutions fudged data to discredit the discovery. Recently, 60 Minutes examined cold fusion 20 years later and showed that the original cold fusion experiment did produce “free energy”.

The concept of Free Energy is a radical one – far more radical than windmills or solar panels. If you can imagine free energy, you can then imagine a completely different world where scarcity no longer exists and we can all live sustainably. Imagine…

For further reading, I highly recommend his book, “The Energy Solution Revolution” which is a very easy read that tackles all sides of the Free Energy concept: energy politics, control over society, science, spirituality, alternative energy, environmentalists, climate change, academics, flying pigs, the oil cartel, conspiracy theories and much more.

As you can hear in this lecture, Dr. O’Leary is extremely articulate and well-spoken. His book is equally a pleasure to read, particularly if you like to imagine a better tomorrow.

• Thursday, June 18th, 2009

If Montreal is to become a sustainable city, there’s some serious work to do. How do we get there?

On Friday, June 19th at Collège Notre-Dame auditorium (3791 Queen Mary), from 6 to 8:30 p.m, Richard Bergeron will tackle these questions. Bergeron is the city’s anti-car, pro-environment political party leader (and urban planner).

He’ll also be joined by two other locals, Dimitri Roussopoulos, publisher and founder of the Urban Ecology Centre and author of several books, including the forthcoming The Rise of Cities, and Dr. Pierre Gauthier, professor in geography and urbanism at Concordia University and author and editor of the recently published Montreal at the Crossroads: Superhighways, the Turcot and the Environment.

$20 at the Door, but includes refreshments.

3791 Queen Mary, near Cote-des-Neiges Metro.

Source: Hour

• Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

MONTREAL, June 16 – Residents of the Montreal area who own a 1995 model year or older vehicle can now have it recycled in an environmentally responsible manner and get six months of public transit passes, a credit towards the purchase of a bicycle, an electric bicycle or an electric scooter, and a discount on the Communauto car-sharing service.

Clear The Air!, a partner of the national Retire Your Ride car recycling program, is back. The program will run in the Montreal area until March 31, 2011, thanks to support from the City of Montreal and the main public transit systems in the metropolitan area: Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), Société de transport de Montreal (STM), Société de transport de Laval (STL), Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) and Association des Conseils intermunicipaux de transport (ACIT).

The Communauto car-sharing service and bicycle and electric scooter retailers are also participating in the program. Car-owners can register for the program by visiting or dialling 1 888 819-7330.

Category: Air, Transportation  | 3 Comments
• Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Much attention has been paid in recent years to what seems to be a growing environmental conscience in the United States. Going green used to be considered expensive and a luxury for those who could afford the trend. Now it appears that we are learning that not only is adopting more environmentally conscious attitudes good for our economic situation, but also our….health? Yes, if we dig a bit deeper we can see that dirty industries and backwards policy is actually harming the health of the earth for our children and the health of her inhabitants today.

How Does Environmental Policy Affect Public Health?

There are two levels of health consequences associated with dirty industry, both direct and indirect. The direct consequences are examples like increased asthma rates in areas with high smog indices. Chlorofluorocarbon release into the atmosphere has shown to decrease the filter of direct sunlight on the planet, resulting in more concentrated ultraviolet light reaching the surface of the earth. Perhaps it is no surprise then that in countries with depleted atmospheric gas, skin cancer rates are among the highest in the world.

The indirect health consequences are harder to see immediately, but closer examination reveals that these are, in fact, perhaps the most hazardous. Bi-products of dirty and backwards industries, such as coal and oil processing, include cancer causing substances like asbestos and benzene. A U.K. study conducted in 2002 indicated that coal and oil industry workers are at a much higher risk of developing mesothelioma (associated with asbestos exposure) and leukemia (traced to benzene and heavy-metal exposure). Dr. David Sugarbaker among many other doctors who specialize in this area understand that these are substances that can be directly traced to antiquated pre-regulation equipment in industries whose environmental hazards are even more inherent.

Can we really afford to continue on the path we were on before? Investment in clean industry means not a healthier planet for our children and grandchildren, but also a healthier place for us to live today.

• Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

An excellent article for anyone who wants to have a sustainable job and career but can’t imagine how to leave the corporate world:

Via: Culture Change

What do we mean by saving the world? We mean humanity continuing in some fashion without taking tens of millions of species down with us. Today our culture is solely responsible for the greatest mass extinction since the death of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. I say, “our culture,” because humanity has lived in harmony with the earth for three or four million years. The problem is not humanity. The problem it is our culture, our growth, and how we make a living.

Here is where it starts to get new. We need to embrace a new world view or honestly remember the original one. Chief Seattle in his 1854 speech and Daniel Quinn in his book Ishmael taught that the world is a sacred place and humanity has a place in it. Another way of saying this is that humanity belongs to the earth, our ecosystem, and Gaia.

This is the opposite of the world view that our ancestors created 2,000 years ago that humanity is flawed, we are sinners, and the earth is a proving ground to see whether we are worthy to go to a better place when we die. This belief gave us a “dominion” which we have to relinquish if we, or at least, most of the other species are going to survive.

Permaculture is also based on three central ethics:

  1. “Care of the earth” means that our number one priority is taking care of the earth, making sure we don’t damage its natural systems.
  2. “Care of the people” means meeting people’s needs so that people’s lives can be sustained and have a good quality of life as well but without damaging the earth.
  3. “Accepting limits to population and consumption” is realizing that as a human species we cannot continue to increase and also sustain the planet. Sometimes you will hear this ethic phrased as “share the surplus, invest all of your means in the first two ethics.” This means limiting your consumption so that you can invest your resources in caring for the earth and caring for the people.

These ethics translate to making a living in a way that does not participate in destruction of the earth. This means more than not starting a toxic chemical or genetic engineering lab. This may mean that we will have to shift back to giving support to get support instead of making things to get things. A healthy self reliant local community focusing on each other and on giving support will provide greater cradle-to-grave security than our “all about me” culture.

Finding a benevolent way of making a living that allows you to do what you love and to not participate in the destruction of the world is a journey of a lifetime.

Category: Permaculture  | One Comment
• Sunday, June 07th, 2009

I just can’t beleive that wood stoves on the island are responsible for significant air pollution in the winter.

One look at Decarie “expressway” during a snow storm, and you know that cars are far more damaging to air quality than 15,000 homes burning clean, EPA-approved wood stoves that burn efficiently and cleanly. The only question is: do people have clean buring woodstoves or are they just creating bonfires in their back yard?

Via: Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL – The number of days of poor air quality on Montreal Island shot up to 68 last year from 44 days during 2007, the city’s air-quality watchdogs said Saturday.

The Réseau de surveillance de la qualité de l’air, or RSQA, placed the blame for that deteriorating air-quality performance squarely on fine-particulate air pollution – largely caused by the use of residential wood heat.

“The contribution of wood heat to fine-particulate emissions continues to grow and amounted in 2006 to about 61 per cent of the total estimated emissions,” the body’s freshly released eight-page annual report for 2008 states.

“That’s much more than the portion attributable to transportation – 14 per cent – and even industrial sources, at 22 per cent,” the report added, citing a national pollution inventory produced by Environment Canada.

Sulphur-dioxide levels measured in the air over Montreal Island, meanwhile, dropped an average of 24 per cent last year compared with 2007 levels.

Atmospheric concentrations of benzene dropped 27 per cent, the RSQA also reported.

For both those pollutants, “those are the lowest levels in 40 years,” declared Alan DeSousa, mayor of the St. Laurent borough.

Those results were largely due to a crackdown on industrial and petrochemical operators on the eastern part of the island, DeSousa added.

He is also the member of the city’s executive committee responsible for sustainable development and the environment.

“The 2008 results are an encouraging sign,” DeSousa declared.

“In the last 25 years we’ve reduced industrial pollutants by 50 per cent,” he added.

But, he said, “fine-particulate emissions is where we have the most work to do.”

On April 28, Montreal city council unanimously passed a bylaw that outlaws the installation of new wood-burning appliances such as stoves and fireplaces.

While Montrealers won’t be able to install a wood-burning stove in their homes, wood pellet, natural gas and electric stoves are still allowed.

And no measures have been taken to deal with the 50,500 households across the city of Montreal equipped with wood stoves or fireplaces when the bylaw was passed.

If all those Montrealers use them for nine hours at the same time, DeSousa said, the air pollution produced would equal that of 1.5 million cars driving 18,000 kilometres.

• Tuesday, June 02nd, 2009

A new Greenpeace report shows that Canada’s major supermarket chains are failing to provide Canadians with seafood that is sustainably caught and farmed.

The report, Out of Stock, Out of Excuses: Ranking retailers on seafood sustainability shows that some retailers have made progress on providing sustainable seafood while others are ignoring the problem. More must be doneto protect the world’s oceans and fish stocks.

The report ranks the major chains on seven criteria, including: the quality of their seafood policies, the level of information they provide on how and where the seafood they sell is caught or farmed, and the number of Redlist species they sell. Greenpeace released the report in Montreal at a news conference today.

“Our analysis shows that major supermarket chains are still part of the problem of destroying our oceans and destroying seafood,” said Beth Hunter, Greenpeace oceans campaign coordinator. “Some chains have taken steps in the right direction, but all need to take bigger strides to ensure there will be fish in the future. Supermarkets are selling out our oceans and selling themselves out of stock.”

Greenpeace’s report gives the chains the following grades (out of 10): Loblaw 2.4; Sobeys 1.1; Walmart 1.0; Overwaitea 0.9; Federated Co-Operatives 0.9; Costco 0.7; Safeway 0.3; and Metro 0.1…

“Metro and several other supermarkets seem to find it acceptable to sell seafood that is overexploited, illegally fished or destructively farmed,” said Sarah King, Greenpeace oceans campaigner. They are making no effort to protect the oceans. There is an urgent need for all supermarkets to heed the message of our campaign: Don’t buy, don’t sell Redlist fish.”

Source: CNW Group