Archive for ◊ January, 2011 ◊

• Thursday, January 27th, 2011

A profound and inspiring article…I’m sure the federal reserve banking system, which lends us our own money and charges us interest for the privilege, would NOT agree!

Source: Times Online

Heidemarie Schwermer, a middle-aged secondary school teacher just emerging from a difficult marriage, moved with her two children from the village of Lueneburg to the city of Dortmund, in the Ruhr area of Germany…

“I began to realise that I lived with so many things I didn’t need. So I decided that I wouldn’t buy anything without giving something away. That’s how it started. Then I began to really think about what I needed, clothes for example, and noticed that I could easily get by with what I could hang on ten coathangers. Everything else I gave away. I had so much stuff in the house that was superfluous. Getting rid of it was a relief.”

Ideally, Schwermer would like to lead by example and give other people courage to change their attitudes towards money and how they live in and contribute to society. The pressure to buy and to own, she feels, has intensified in recent years. Consumerism is essentially about “an attempt to fill an empty space inside. And that emptiness, and the fear of loss, is manipulated by the media or big companies.” There is a fear, she says, that in not buying or owning an individual will fall out of society. The irony, she claims, is that material goods can never plug a spiritual hole and shopping and hoarding are more likely to isolate people than bring contentment.Does she intend to start a revolution?

“No, I think of myself as planting the seed,” she says. “Perhaps people come away from my lectures or seeing me being interviewed and decide to spend a little less. Others might start meditating. The point is that my living without money is to allow for the possibility of another kind of society. I want people to ask themselves, ‘What do I need? How do I really want to live?’ Every person needs to ask themselves who they really are and where they belong. That means getting to grips with oneself.”

Does she really think that she can convert other people to her life philosophy? “Yes, that’s our future. One day we will all live without money, because we don’t need it and because it is only a burden. We’re the way we are because it’s how the system allows us to be. We can buy everything we want but we need so much less than we realise. If you think that the capitalist system we live in now is the only system, well that’s just ridiculous.

“We are going to run out of oil in ten years. We don’t have infinite resources. That just isn’t sustainable.” Is her own itinerant lifestyle sustainable? She thinks so.

• Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

mutual credit clearing systemsIf cash becomes scarce and the wheels of commerce come to a grinding halt again, the idea of  “mutual credit clearing” will be critical. In the meantime, banning interest charged on money is a worthy goal which would instantly make the economy more sustainable.

Source: Reality Sandwich

We need to learn to play a different game. We need to organize an entirely new structure of money, banking, and finance, one that is interest-free, decentralized, and controlled, not by banks or central governments, but by businesses and individuals that associate and organize themselves into cashless trading networks. This is a way to reclaim “the credit commons” from monopoly control and create healthy community economies.

This approach is no pie-in-the-sky pipe dream, it is proven and well established. Known as mutual credit clearing, it is a process that is used by scores of commercial “barter” companies around the world to provide cashless trading for their business members. In this process, the things you sell pay for the things you buy without using money as an intermediate exchange medium. It’s as simple as that. According to the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), a major trade association for the industry, “IRTA Member companies using the “Modern Trade and Barter” process, made it possible for over 400,000 companies World Wide to utilize their excess business capacities and underperforming assets, to earn an estimated $12 billion dollars in previously lost and wasted revenues.

Perhaps the best example of a credit clearing exchange that has been successful over a long period of time is the WIR Economic Circle Cooperative. Founded in Switzerland as a self-help organization in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression, WIR provided a means for its business members to trade with one another despite the shortage of official money in circulation. Over three quarters of a century, in good time and bad, WIR has continued to thrive. Its more than 60,000 members throughout Switzerland trade about $2 billion worth of goods and services annually.

Yes, it is possible to transcend the dysfunctional money and banking system and to take back our power from bankers and politicians who use it to abuse and exploit us. We do it, not by petitioning politicians who are already bought and paid for by an ever more powerful elite group, but by using the power that is already ours to use the resources we have to support each other’s productivity and to give credit where credit is due.

Research credit: Carolyn Baker

• Monday, January 24th, 2011

Green Skiing - No IdlingFor many Scandinavians and Europeans, skiing isn’t just a sport, it’s how they get to work.

Source: Montreal Gazette

…at Le Massif in the Charlevoix region, where a $230-million expansion is under way, green transportation is a major theme. The project, which should be completed by 2013, will offer dedicated rail service from Quebec City, gondola service from the train station to the base chalet and various types of green transportation on site (including dog sled and electric vehicles). A new hotel will be heated and cooled using geothermal and solar energy.

Mont Sutton, in the Eastern Townships, now composts organic waste from its four restaurants, buys local food when possible, provides shuttle service for its employees and guests from the village to the mountain, and encourages carpooling on its website and through occasional lift-ticket discounts. Along with five other Quebec ski hills, Mont Sutton is running an awareness program to get clients and bus drivers to stop idling their engines in ski-hill parking lots (and elsewhere).

So if you must downhill ski or board, and apparently many of us must, it’s important to support these changes and to encourage more. Here are some other tips on skiing green to keep those mountains white:

- Take a bus or a train to the ski hill whenever possible. Check the ski-area websites to see if they are served by bus or rail. Also check out,which offers bus transportation from Montreal and lift ticket deals to several ski destinations, including Killington, Le Massif, Mont Tremblant, Mont Ste. Anne, Smugglers’ Notch, Stoneham, Stowe, Sugarbush, Whiteface and Sejour.

- Carpool whenever possible. Check ski station websites to see if they offer a carpool coordination service. You can also coordinate with other skiers and find group travel deals at

- Take your own food and drinks. Even if some resorts do offer recyclable dishes and packaging, you will waste less energy, reduce waste and save money by taking your own food in your own containers.

- Don’t idle your engine at the hill or elsewhere. It’s bad for your engine, wastes gas and pollutes big time. The vehicle will warm up faster as you drive.

- Buy or rent used equipment at places like Play it Again Sports and La poubelle du ski.

- Sustainable Slopes
- Keep Winter Cool

• Friday, January 21st, 2011

Green AlleysDo you wish you had more green space in your neighborhood? Are you motivated and willing to improve the quality of life in your alley? Join us!

The Éco-quartier NDG is launching our first forum on green alleys in NDG. Greening projects can only come to life thanks to the will and participation of alley-way users and owners, while encouraging a vibrant community. Learn how to engage in this exciting movement and share your vision for your alley! Bring your neighbours!!

Wednesday, 26 January, 7:00PM to 9:00PM @Coop la Maison verte,, 5785, Sherbrooke Street West

• Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Washable, cloth diapers in MontrealFor those 1st time parents, or to veteran parents looking to take care of babies in a more sustainable way, buying and using cotton, cloth diapers is probably the #1 way to reduce your weekly land fill (garbage) bag.

Disposable diapers take an estimated 500 years to decompose. Additionally, it takes up huge amounts of resources including wood pulp and plastic during their manufacturing.

As a parent who used old-fashioned disposable diapers, I can attest to the enormous waste that occurs from using these things. It takes more work, but If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would choose cloth diapers.

Source: Sandra’s Schlog

Bummis has been the go to place for Montreal Moms who wanted to learn how to use cotton diapers and their made-in-Montreal diaper covers. Bummis has moved this month to a nice new home – with more walk in traffic possible.

In their store they have always cheerfully given demonstrations of how to diaper and care for diapers. Starter kits, beginning at $175, are really popular, and would include 2 doz. organic cotton prefold diapers, 6 covers, Biosoft liners, fleece liners, Dimpleskins Naturals Bum Bum Balm and a wet bag. They manufacture diaper covers and swim diapers (and have 2nds too).

You can expect to find products made of recycled plastic, locally made skincare products and an array of baby carriers from the Ergo Baby to Sakura bloom, as well as the Arms Reach co-sleeper bed and Bummis breastfeeding pillows, Bravado bras and pads, Lilla P origami tops and Medela breastfeeding products.

New location: 4302 boul. St-Laurent
Hours: Mon-Wed 10-6, Thurs & Fri 10-8, Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5

• Monday, January 17th, 2011

Learn how to sprout at this workshop given by the NDG Food depot. Sprouting is a surprisingly easy way to grow your own fresh veggies in the dead of winter. They are only sprouts (baby veggies), but they contain many of the vital nutrients and energies our bodies need for healthy functions.

Source: Montreal Permaculture Guild

**Monday the 24st of January at 5pm* @ the NDG Food depot,  2121 avenue d’Oxford, Montreal.

Come to learn how to make sprouting in jar or in soil, and keep greens in your plate during the winter! A soup will be prepared and served following the workshop.

• Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

The Philadelphia Story set on the Main LineLooking at the affluent West Island demographics, it is strikingly similar to Philadelphia’s western suburbs in the “main line”. Those suburbs west of Philadelphia were called the “main line” because of the excellent commuter rail service that was created in the 1950′s. There is no practical reason why the West island couldn’t have such a service. Of course, the reason why there isn’t and why the freeways are jammed every day, is political.

Source: The Suburban wants to improve commuter rail service to the West Island and Vaudreuil-Soulanges

Like Laval and the South Shore, we need regular, reliable service with trains every half hour running from 6:00 AM to midnight. For this, commuter trains must have a dedicated commuter line and stop sharing the rails with freight traffic.

Montreal is opposed, but the decision is not in the bag. They put a priority on funding the airport shuttle, a prestige project of $600 millions that won’t serve a single commuter and will compete with the STM new 747 airport express bus.

As for the government, they believe the West Island have no political alternatives and take the West Island vote for granted no matter how hard our local MNA’s try. We have to show stronger political resolve and demand to be heard.

Category: Transportation | Tags:  | Leave a Comment
• Monday, January 10th, 2011

The first Zeitgeist film (2007) was excellent. I am looking forward to seeing this new one, particularly now that the filmmaker has picked up the torch of sustainability.


Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, by director Peter Joseph, is a feature length documentary work which will present a case for a needed transition out of the current socioeconomic monetary paradigm which governs the entire world society. This subject matter will transcend the issues of cultural relativism and traditional ideology and move to relate the core, empirical “life ground” attributes of human and social survival, extrapolating those immutable natural laws into a new sustainable social paradigm called a “Resource-Based Economy.”

Time: January 17, 2011 @ 7:00pm
Location: Rialto Theatre, 5723 ave. du Parc, Montreal

• Friday, January 07th, 2011

This is a cautionary tale from Iceland for anyone in the Eastern townships considering opening up their land to natural gas “fracking”. Although I am sure many Quebecers have similar tales to tell about Hydro power.


How much unspoiled nature should we preserve and what do we sacrifice for clean, renewable energy? Dreamland gradually turns into a disturbing picture of corporate power taking over small communities.

Dreamland is a film about a nation standing at cross-roads. Leading up to the country’s greatest economic crisis, the government started the largest mega project in the history of Iceland, to build the biggest dam in Europe to provide Alcoa cheap electricity for an aluminum smelter in the rugged east fjords of Iceland. Today Iceland is left holding a huge dept and an uncertain future.

In Dreamland a nation with abundance of choices gradually becomes caught up in a plan to turn its wilderness and beautiful nature into a massive system of hydro-electric and geothermal power plants with dams and reservoirs. Clean energy brings in polluting industry and international corporations. It’s the dark side of green energy.

Category: Peak Oil, Water | Tags:  | One Comment
• Wednesday, January 05th, 2011

If the major issues surrounding sustainable urban development are an everyday concern for you, don’t miss the Ecocity World Summit 2011, in Montréal, August 22-26 @ the Palais des Congres.

This major international conference will address a number of themes at the heart of ecocities: climate change, ecomobility, governance, the economy, built environment, etc.

Ecocity World Conference

The Ecocity World Summit is the opportunity to present research projects and achievements which will help governments, researchers and industry professionals meet the challenges which they face in the quest for a healthier and more sustainable world.

This is a reminder that the deadline to SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSALS is January 31, 2011.

Please click the links below for details on the conference themes.