Archive for ◊ March, 2011 ◊

• Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Imitating PhotosynthesisThis energy breakthrough would most likely be implemented first in parts of the world where there is no centralized electrical grid. Still, I could see many homes in Quebec choosing to live “off the grid” and install a system like the one described below.

Source: Cryptogon

Scientists today claimed one of the milestones in the drive for sustainable energy — development of the first practical artificial leaf. Speaking here at the 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, they described an advanced solar cell the size of a poker card that mimics the process, called photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

“A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades,” said Daniel Nocera, Ph.D., who led the research team. “We believe we have done it. The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station,” he said. “One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.”

The device bears no resemblance to Mother Nature’s counterparts on oaks, maples and other green plants, which scientists have used as the model for their efforts to develop this new genre of solar cells. About the shape of a poker card but thinner, the device is fashioned from silicon, electronics and catalysts, substances that accelerate chemical reactions that otherwise would not occur, or would run slowly. Placed in a single gallon of water in a bright sunlight, the device could produce enough electricity to supply a house in a developing country with electricity for a day, Nocera said. It does so by splitting water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen.

The hydrogen and oxygen gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which uses those two materials to produce electricity, located either on top of the house or beside it.

• Friday, March 25th, 2011

Sustainable neighborhood developmentThemes:

  • Sustainable development (history, theory, concepts, and approaches) and its implementation in urban areas
  • Approaches to socio-territorial development in Montréal
  • Plans for sustainable neighbourhood development by the City of Montréal and its partners
  • Participatory democracy
  • The city and nature
  • Development, health, and sustainable development
  • Macro vision of the sustainable city

Resource persons:

  • Normand Brunet, associate professor, Institut des sciences de l’environnement, UQAM
  • Saleema Hutchinson, project manager, education and citizenship, Montréal Urban Ecology Centre
  • Sophie Paquin, urban planner, Direction de santé publique de Montréal
  • Marie-Hélène Armand, urban planning officer, Montréal Urban Ecology Centre François Miller, planning consultant, City of Montréal
  • And others to be confirmed…


Alexandra Coelho: 514.282.VERT ext. 256 –
Maximum 22 people: first come, first serve!


$25 (Meal included)


Institut des sciences de l’environnement at UQAM
President-Kennedy Building, 201 President-Kennedy Avenue, room PK-3210
(Metro Place-des-Arts)

Tuesday, 05 April, 09h00 – 17h00

• Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Urban Agriculture

Knocking at Your Door!

When: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Where: André Fortier Room, Verdun Cultural Centre, 5955 rue Bannantyne

(Note: The discussion will be held in French, but most people participating are bilingual and can summarize in English)
Agriculture and an urban life have long been considered irreconcilable enemies. Although farms were once considered integral parts of cities, urban sprawl has been slowly driving agriculture further and further away from where people live. Now, citizens around the world are bringing farming back to the city by growing things in cracks next to skyscrapers and on the roofs of city-centre buildings. Far from the bucolic image of tiny city gardens or miniscule fresh-air oases, these new projects include huge urban growing fields, hydroponic greenhouses and large-scale agricultural production designed to feed locals en masse.

Should we participate in bringing the farm back to the city? Can city dwellers grow enough fruits and vegetables to be self-sufficient? Can we participate in an “animals-back to the city movement” by bringing laying hens back to Montreal? What role will these projects and institutions play in agricultural geopolitics and food supply and demand? Has banning pesticides in the city benefitted organic production to the detriment of rural areas? Which large agricultural development projects will occur in the next few years and what repercussions will they have on rural agriculture? What collaborations, confrontations or compromises will be possible between the city and surrounding rural areas?

We’ll discuss all these questions and more with Eric Duchemin, a PhD in environmental science who is currently associate environment professor and course head of UQAM’s Science and Environment Institute. Co-founder of the summer urban agriculture school, an annual gathering of 80 people, he is also member of the Research Collective in Sustainable Landscaping and Urban Agriculture (CRAPAUD). As scientific editor, he just finished two papers on the theme for Field Actions Science Reports ( and [VertigO] – la revue électronique en sciences de l’environnement (

We’ll also talk about creating permanent agricultural landscapes in gardens and on farms with Harmony, who will present some of the basics of the permaculture movement. He’ll also present his vision of a composting project in which adolescents aged 12 to 16 years can finance summer camps and other activities through processing and selling local green waste instead of chocolate bars. He proposes that local composters be distributed on city property and along bike paths, particularly on that little-used space between Nun’s Island and Verdun.

 Bárbara de Moura Neves from Verdun’s Environment House will be there to talk about their recent projects, particularly those linked to urban agriculture.

 Please join us in the room next to the children’s library.

• Sunday, March 20th, 2011

We hope to see many of you at the Launch party of our Green Neighborhood Plan for Plateau East. Register by April 8th!

Several sites in the Plateau East are working to promote active transportation (walking, cycling and others) and increase the quality of life in the Plateau East.

The Green Neighborhood Plan proposes hundreds of courses of action in order to guide the district and the actors in the progressive development of the Plateau Area Green East.

Discover the upcoming changes for the neighborhood. See how our neighborhood will change!

> Project News: Read the Green Neighborhood Newsletter Plateau East. March 2011

The Green, Active, and Healthy Neighbourhoods project in the Plateau-Est, or Green Plateau-Est, aims to redesign streets and public spaces in order to prioritize walking, cycling, and other modes of active transportation. The project, launched in June 2010, involves a series of participatory activities for citizens during which design solutions for the following priority sites will be proposed and discussed.

> Mont-Royal Avenue East
> Key destinations for neighbourhood youth
> The Masson district
> The STM and Ford district

The project is made up of three phases (Understanding, Exploring, and Deciding). The Green Neighbourhood Plan for the Plateau-Est will be launched in Phase three. The launch is scheduled for mid-april 2011; the exact date will be revealed soon.

• Friday, March 18th, 2011
Post Peak oil coursesThere are some of the best courses available to deal with a collapsing world as we know know it. With the Middle east in turmoil, Japan hanging by a thread and food inflation hitting worldwide, these courses are a good investment of your time. 

Our flagship program that will prepare you in finances, transportation, food, health, skills, shelter and more. Take the course with people around the world who are preparing just like you. The material is pre-recorded and you participate in the private forums, which are moderated by an UnCrash Course Instructor.

Having food in the house that you grew plus the knowledge that you can grow more brings some certainty to uncertain times. Learn the quickest way to start a sustainable garden that will feed your family with the lowest cost and the least amount of work.

A well managed flock not only supplies the family with meat and eggs but helps with the work of the homestead: for increasing soil fertility, tilling the garden, controlling problem insects, and reducing dependence on purchased inputs.

As the cheap, abundant oil on which we built our economy disappears, most of the jobs we now hold will no longer exist. Learn the pathways for getting from our current salaries and skills through the transition that is just beginning to supporting ourselves in sustainable, resilient local communities of the future.

Humanity is now facing monumental challenges, some of which is has encountered before and many of which are unprecedented. In this course you will learn emotional tools for navigating the psychological repercussions of transition and individual crisis of meaning in a post-industrial world.

To learn more about these courses and to register click here.

• Monday, March 14th, 2011

March 16th at Smith house from 5h30 to 7h30 pm.

Agriculture on the mountain was important until the beginning of the 19th century. The Smith house in the park was in the center of a farm property when it was built in 1858. Today, a new interest from Montrealers for urban agriculture had lead to original projects around the city. Come to this special forum to learn about it.

1- Take a piece of nature home with you! 5:30- 6 :45PM
Interested in gardening? Never had the space? McGill Nursing Students are pleased to present a workshop to teach you the benefits of urban gardening and how to build your own urban garden on a rooftop, balcony or inside your home.

2-Exploring urban agriculture in new ways. 6:45- 7:30 pm
Ecological and sustainable urban agriculture production (P.A.U.S.E.). An initiative of multi-fieds students from university of Montreal to put in places an agriculture project on the mountain campus regarding: honey and mushroom production, container production, composting, research and education about urban gardening.


• Wednesday, March 09th, 2011

UFO’s and ET’s are topics that will leave most folks shaking their heads and discounting any information that follows. But as far as I’m concerned, any technology that gets us off the addiction to “fossil” fuels and into a world of almost free and limitless energy is a good thing.

Further, it seems to be just a matter of time before world governments admit the real presence of alien civilizations and their history of contact with them. The question then becomes, how do we maintain global independence and sustainability while not becoming dependent on alien “free energy” technology.

For skeptics who discount that such energy technology could be kept under wraps, consider that many types of alternative, free energy technologies such as “cold fusion” have been vigorously discredited in the past despite them being proven as valid (see this 60 Minutes story from 2009).

The reason these technologies have been suppressed is that the permanent war economy is fueled by Oil and Natural Gas, and to make a peaceful transition to another abundant source of energy would upset the status quo that likes to control society by maintaining a state of scarcity consciousness.

Source: AOL News

Former Canadian Minister of National Defense Paul Hellyer is very outspoken on the reality of UFOs and has criticized the U.S. government for reportedly covering up UFO information.

And yes, he is extremely outspoken about UFOs and alien visitors to Earth…

“We lived too long in a sense of isolation, thinking that Earth was the center of the cosmos, that we were the only species and, therefore, probably the most advanced. And when we come to the realization that we’re not any of those things, then I think we should be aware of it, learn to live with it and certainly try to take advantage of anything that we can learn from visitors from anywhere.

Trusted political and scientific sources whom Hellyer has talked to have suggested that the United States has developed new forms of energy at top-secret “black operation” installations, using reportedly extraterrestrial technology.

“Paul Hellyer’s story is an important contribution to the literature of modern Western civilization. His experience in government, his interest in exopolitics and the issues of sustainability of civilization are significant areas of current discourse,” wrote Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Related article: Mass. company making diesel with sun, water, CO2

• Sunday, March 06th, 2011

The Economics of EnoughSource: The New York Times

Climate change and the larger issue of environmental sustainability are another challenge, Ms. Coyle argues, in which the balance between our actions today and our responsibilities to the future is out of whack. One does not have to look far to find evidence of depleting fishing stocks, accelerated extinctions of species, water shortages and atmospheric changes to realize that we are using up natural resources at a rapid rate.

What will this depletion, which is fed by current consumption, mean for future generations? Ms. Coyle writes that we “do want more in order to be happier — but how much more is feasible without destroying the natural and social environment, and how much more is fair to the people who will come after us?”

Borrowing from the future this way shows our inability, or refusal, to assume responsibility for the impact of today’s choices on tomorrow’s prospects, Ms. Coyle says.

Three elements — measurement, values and institutions — are needed to bring about a better balance between the present and future, she writes.

In the area of measurement, she says we must adopt broader, longer-term measures of economic well-being than G.D.P. Such metrics would account for health, education, the environment, employment, purchasing power and other conditions. They might also measure the stocks of the world’s resources — from fish in the ocean to human capital — in addition to the annual flows of national income calculated in G.D.P.

• Wednesday, March 02nd, 2011


Three of Montreal’s business schools join forces to organize a Sustainability Weekend

On Friday, March 11th and Saturday March 12th, three of Montreal’s business schools, John Molson School of Business (Concordia University), Desautels Faculty of Management (McGill University) and HEC Montreal (Université de Montreal) will play host to a sustainability conference. Concordia University’s (John Molson School of Business) downtown campus will host “Business Beyond Tomorrow”, on March 11th, a conference for business leaders, professors, and students to come together and share ideas on how the corporate world can develop and implement initiatives for greener business and general practices. The next day, March 12th, HEC Montreal will host, their annual MBA case competition. The competitive event is expected to bring together 12 business schools from US & Canada.

With the rise of marketing buzz-words like ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘footprint  reduction’, this conference goes beyond the jargon by focusing on the  practices companies and individuals should adopt to create a lasting and  successful difference socially, ecologically and economically.

The conference includes several keynote speakers and panellists from

internationally recognized companies such as:
§  Claude Ouimet        - Senior VP & GM, InterfaceFLOR
§  John Fullerton          - President, Capital Institute
§  Vandana Shiva        - Sydney Peace Prize Winner 2010
§  Bob Willard             - Author, The Business Case of Sustainability
In addition, experts in Social Enterprise, Renewable Energy,
Green Marketing, Sustainable Consulting, Green Buildings,
Food & Sustainability, Sustainable Finance and Innovation and
Entrepreneurship, will participate in interactive panel discussions.
The day will also be packed with excellent networking opportunities
and delicious organic food!

The complete Business Beyond Tomorrow weekend is open to the public and includes access to the conference and case competition. Early ticket purchasing is advised as there is a limit of 400 tickets only. . Each ticket is priced at $15 for students and $40 for professionals before March 4th 2011. After this date, ticket prices increase to $25 and $50, respectively.

Registration for attendants begins at 9 a.m., with talks scheduled to run throughout the day until 6 p.m. The day’s activities include breakfast, lunch, snacks and a networking cocktail. In addition to providing information on successful sustainable initiatives, this conference will be entirely sustainable itself.

For more details, please visit

MARCH 11th 2011: Business Beyond Tomorrow Conference

BMO Amphitheatre, MB Building, Concordia University, 1450 Guy St., Montreal

Open to the public, $15 for students; $40 for Companies before March 4th2011.

MARCH 12th 2011: HEC Sustainability Challenge Case Competition

HEC Montreal, Côte-Sainte-Catherine Building, 3000 Côte-Sainte-Catherine Road, Montréal


John Molson Sustainable Business Group, JMSB, Concordia University
1450 Guy St., MB Building, Suite 4.437, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8

Fax: 514.848.7436 ATTN: JSG


S.T.O.P & Net Impact, McGill University

845 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T5 ,

Net impact and CSR Club, AEMBA -MBA Student Association, HEC Montreal

Côte-Sainte-Catherine Building, 3000 Côte-Sainte-Catherine Road, Montréal, Quebec, Canada H3T 2A7


Srikanth Sekar,

President, John Molson Sustainable Business Group


Phone: 514-991-3698