Archive for ◊ August, 2012 ◊

• Thursday, August 30th, 2012

time bankWhile the old adage, “Time is Money” may hold true in a World where money rules our lives, time is really the only commodity we truly own. Time is far more valuable than money.

When people run out of money, they resourcefully turn to their other assets of value, like time, and look to maximize its usefulness. That’s where the concept of time banks come in.

There are no active time banks in Montreal or Quebec, according to the Time Bank Community Directory, although the NDG Time Bank was started here in 2009.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Even though she’s one of millions of young, unemployed Spaniards, 22-year-old Silvia Martín takes comfort in knowing that her bank is still standing behind her. It’s not a lending institution, but rather a time bank whose nearly 400 members barter their services by the hour.

Ms. Martín, who doesn’t own a car and can’t afford taxis, has relied on other time-bank members to give her lifts around town for her odd jobs and errands, as well as to help with house repairs. In return, she has cared for members’ elderly relatives, organized children’s parties and even hauled boxes for a member moving to a new house.

The time bank not only saves her cash, she says, but also lifts her spirits by making her feel “part of a community that’s taking some positive action during hard times.”

As Europe’s leaders struggle with a five-year-old economic crunch that has saddled Spain with the industrialized world’s highest jobless rate, young Spaniards are increasingly embracing such bottom-up self-help initiatives to cope. The diverse measures—some commonly associated with rural or disaster-zone economies—supplement a public safety net that is fraying under government austerity programs.

Research Credit: Cryptogon

• Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Hallo Folks,

Just to say I am from England and traveling in North America for 3 months. I am in Montreal  between  15th and 18th Sept. and offering folks a free talk on Leamington Transition Town and the Transition town movement.

This is sharing experiences and ideas with other transition towns and hopefully me learning about your transition town and taking this information back to England. Leamington Transition town wants to make connections! If you wish me to talk please e mail me at:


Best Wishes

Chris Philpott

• Saturday, August 25th, 2012

The sub-title for this post is, “Stop Driving and Learn How to Love BMW (Biking, Metro-car culture breaks downing and Walking) in Montreal”

Source: Peak Prosperity

India’s recent series of power blackouts, in which 600 million people lost electricity for several days, reminds us of the torrid pace at which populations in the developing world have moved onto the powergrid. Unfortunately, this great transition has been so rapid that infrastructure has mostly been unable to meet demand. India itself has failed to meets its own power capacity addition targets every year since 1951…

But the story of India’s inadequate infrastructure is only one part of the difficult, global transition away from liquid fossil fuels. Over the past decade, the majority of new energy demand has been met not through global oil, but through growth in electrical power.

Frankly, this should be no surprise. After all, global production of oil started to flatten more than seven years ago, in 2005. And the developing world, which garners headlines for its increased demand for oil, is running mainly on coal-fired electrical power. There is no question that the non-OECD countries are leading the way as liquid-based transport – automobiles and airlines – have entered longterm decline.

Why, therefore, do policy makers in both the developing and developed world continue to invest in automobile infrastructure?

Interestingly, instead of investing in the powergrid, India embarked earlier last decade on a massive highway project, known as the Great Quadrilateral. This created a kind of grand, national circular whose “four and six-lane, 3,625 miles run through 13 states and India’s four largest cities: New Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai (formerly Madras), and Mumbai (formerly Bombay),” according to a 2005 New York Times article. The piece continues, describing the ongoing, 15-year effort (to be completed this year) as “the most ambitious infrastructure project since independence in 1947 and the British building of the subcontinent’s railway network the century before.”

Alas, the irony is rich. India conceived of this highway project as oil prices hit deep lows at the end of the past millennium. Now that the highway network is constructed and oil prices have more than quadrupled, it is massive investment in the powergrid that hundreds of millions of Indians so desperately need instead—not road building.

• Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Seeds of DeceptionMice avoid eating Genetically Modified (GM) foods when they have the chance, as do rats, cows, pigs, geese, elk, squirrels, and others. What do these animals know that we don’t? Farmers, students, and scientists all discovered that animals refuse to eat the same GM foods that we consume everyday…

This is an excerpt from a new book, Seeds of Deception By Jeffrey M. Smith:

The Washington Post reported that laboratory mice, usually happy to munch on tomatoes, turned their noses up at the genetically modified FlavrSavr tomato. Scientist Roger Salquist said of his tomato, “I gotta tell you, you can be Chef Boyardee and mice are still not going to like them.”

The mice were eventually force fed the tomato through gastric tubes and stomach washes. Several developed stomach lesions; seven of forty died within two weeks. The tomato was approved without further tests.

• Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Source: BioEverything

We could have a heaven on Earth, but what have we got? You’ve got to lock all your doors, all the time. Build something and you don’t know if somebody’s going to tear it down. Go to sleep thinking you’ve done everything you can for your loved ones, and you wake up realizing life’s thrown you another curve ball in the form of unexpected problems. Work your fingers to the bone, and what do you get? Boney fingers.

Why is this all happening to us – the economy tanking, the crops dying in the fields, extreme weather events? Could it have something to do with the fact that humanity, and we as a country, have gotten a little lazy about helping our neighbors? Or gotten a little greedy about the world’s resources? You have to at least admit we each ourselves haven’t always been completely loving. So why would we be surprised when other people and even nature smacks US around?

The fact is the Earth as a whole is profoundly disturbed, and we’re going to have to make peace if we hope to survive. We have to quit making money doing destructive things, such as war over resources rather than self-defense. We need to quit trying to beat nature into submission by e.g. mowing lawns, and nurture ALL plants to grow to soak up the carbon dioxide. We have to quit making and selling poison processed “food” to each other, and quit telling poisonous half-truths to each other to justify the destructive things we are doing.

So you have to say to yourself: What is really important? That reminds me of another thing my mother used to say – “Share and share alike.”

For the most part our community gardening experiences have been a joy. We worked hard to build things, sweated working together, slept well knowing we did our best, and enjoyed that legal high you get when you do something out of love. But we have much more to do. For myself, neighbors are welcome to any food I grow, as long as somebody eats it. Unfortunately, some harvesters don’t know when to harvest, and so have picked cantaloupe, peaches, and pumpkins before they were ready. And children have been having food fights with tomatoes. It feels overwhelming sometimes to me that we as a society have become so disconnected with our own world that we don’t get it, for instance, that tomato plants growing in the dirt (fed by manures, composts, rotting dead plants and animals) are what goes into making pizza, spaghetti, tomato sauce, catsup, chili, etc.

Our roots are in the Earth. Every one of us. We need to eat. And we won’t eat if we don’t work together to grow food, which is not a given in this time of great change.

I recommend a book called City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing, by Lorraine Johnson. The hunger drama being played out here in Hazelwood, in which people of all income levels suffer for lack of healthy food (not knowing about nutrition and food growing), is being played out all over North America, and all over the world for that matter. This book chronicles radical efforts – from guerrilla gardeners planting places they don’t own to edible weed activists opening peoples’ eyes about unrecognized healthy food growing all around us – to regenerate our tattered web of life.

Rather than reacting to higher food prices in fear by being ever more cutthroat in dealing with our neighbors and environment, the only successful way to make healthy food accessible for all is for all the different kinds of people to try to be good neighbors to all the other living things – plants and animals and microbes – which are the source of our food.

The attitude of taking from other people and nature without giving has got to stop – or else.

• Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Sweet mother! Change is happening! This farmer saw the light, “I call it going back to the future because I see a future here.”

Source: Grist

You may remember chicken farmer Carole Morison from the documentary Food, Inc. … Well, we thought we’d share this video of Morison from FixFood, a new advocacy site by Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner.

The footage shows Morison in an open-plan chicken house where she and her husband now own the birds themselves (as opposed to working as contract growers for poultry giant Perdue). And the change in Morison’s appearance is almost as striking as the change in the farm. In the documentary she looks frazzled and frustrated as she feeds the birds antibiotics and stoops to remove several chicken carcasses a day from the barn. Here she is clear-eyed and proud — ready to share her new farm with the world.

• Saturday, August 04th, 2012

Joel Salatin, one of the most visible and influential leaders in the organic food and sustainable farming movement makes a simple argument for how each of us can make a difference in the way food is produced and the way the land is farmed to unsustainable levels.

It starts with one of us cooking at home with raw ingredeents. That is ecological participation.

Source: Peak Prosperity

It is a busy time for the local food movement. We need to be busy because there is a tremendous amount of pushback from the industry and the entrenched food system that is not happy losing market share to people like us and losing people to their dependency on Velveeta cheese and Coca-Cola.

And so that is why voting with your food dollar whether it is to find your farmer, grow your own garden, or go down to farmer’s market or to the roadside stand or whatever, any of these things.

The thing is, we need to just kick the supermarket addiction. Treat it like a bad habit and get in our kitchens. The number one thing you can do is get in your kitchen and cook from scratch. Because that takes the dollar away from all the food processors and all that distribution-food-processing network that is all devoted to taking the life out of food and making sure food will not perish or will not rot, extending the shelf life.

The longer the shelf life is on food, the less nutritious it is. So re-develop your larder. Enjoy culinary, domestic arts, and begin — one bite at a time — extricating yourself from the agenda of people that if you knew what they actually believe, it would curl your hair.

And the fact that we have given over to the government the safety of our food — I mean, we are talking about people who think it is much safer to feed your kids Twinkies, Cocoa Puffs, and Mountain Dew than raw milk, compost-grown tomatoes, and pastured poultry.

This is just unprecedented in the history of the world, and we are a culture of guinea pigs. Nobody has you by the throat. To make the changes that we described today do not take an act of Congress. They do not take a change in the legislature. They do not take a change in the tax law. What they take are individuals to make committed, participatory, convictional decisions and change the landscape of our culture.