Archive for the Category ◊ Air ◊

• Saturday, April 07th, 2012

These are fascinating ideas that have a chance to work if we can step out of daily reality and look objectively at what our current monetary system is doing to our planet, and ourselves.

We must never forget that money is only a tool – it is neither evil nor good. It is what we choose to do with it.

I propose we start to consider new ways to use money so that it benefits all people (not just a few bankers and their friends who control money creation), and acts to protect what is sacred in our lives – people, clean air, clean water and nutritious food.

Source: Pittsburgh City Paper

Money, or at least the desire for it, is at the root of our biggest problems, from injustice and economic inequality to environmental destruction. The need for money always seems to make us do the wrong thing: Hoard wealth, strip the land.

But it needn’t be so. In his 2011 book Sacred Economics author and speaker Charles Eisenstein proposes fresh, even radical ways to think about how money is created, and even what it’s for.

Money as we know it is created through interest-bearing debt. It’s born when a central bank, like the Federal Reserve, purchases securities, or when your neighborhood bank makes a loan. The issuers of money demand to be paid back, with interest…

…By contrast, Eisenstein argues, the proper purpose of money is simply to connect people who need something with people who have something to give — “to facilitate the flow of gifts.” 

But how? Eisenstein argues for creating money differently. 

Rather than fabricating it from interest, or basing it arbitrarily on, say, piles of gold, “My idea is that we create money out of what’s becoming sacred to humanity today,” he says in a phone interview. “Intact ecosytems, rainforests, the beauty of the planet. The integrity of indigenous cultures. The health of the watershed. The sustainability of the aquifers, and the well-being of all human beings on earth.”

Eisenstein proposes setting up bioregional governments that would issue money based on things like the ability of the atmosphere to absorb air pollution, or the amount of water that can be sustainably drawn from a region’s aquifer.

“Today, there’s really not much of an incentive to conserve water,” he says. “But if aquifer depletion became very expensive, then conservation would have a financial incentive, and you’d be aligning money with what is sacred.”

Eisenstein also proposes that we reform the money system by making interest rates negative. In other words, the longer you held money, the less it would be worth: It would “decay.” And an interest rate of, say, negative-3 percent would encourage people to spend money and to loan it out (even at a low, or a 0 percent, return). That would spur economic activity. And it would help redefine wealth as a flow of resources, rather than an accumulation. (Negative interest differs from inflation, he says, largely because it would affect everyone equally — unlike inflation, which tends to raise prices and wages at different rates.)

• Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Highlights of the plan include funding for:

  • more bike paths
  • green promenades through the most densely populated sectors
  • charging stations for electric cars
  • curb-side pickup of kitchen compost for buildings with less than 8 units (sorry apartment dwellers!)

Source: Montreal Gazette

Mayor Gérald Tremblay on Tuesday unveiled a new sustainable-development plan for Montreal that will focus on improving air quality and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, conserving water and reducing garbage sent to landfills, and making neighbourhoods more livable to stem the exodus of residents off the island.

The five-year plan, which Tremblay said will cost $1 million in the first year, was adopted by the city’s executive committee Tuesday morning.

It includes a goal of cutting polluting greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 per cent in 2020 compared to 1990 levels, a target that is even more ambitious than the provincial government’s, which is 20 per cent by 2020.

View the city’s full plan.

• Thursday, September 30th, 2010

This looks like an authentic, non-corporate version of An Inconvenient Truth which always seemed to me less like a plea to rein in the culture of consumption and more like a big advertisement for carbon taxes.

Force of Nature, a documentary about Canadian scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki, opens Friday at the AMC Forum.

Source: Globe and Mail

“…This documentary about (Suzuki’s) life could be the most persuasive argument yet that saving the environment is the most critical fight for human rights occurring today. Without clean water and air, as Suzuki says, we are not only destroying the environment; we are destroying us. The speech can indeed be compared to Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream when describing the air we breathe and the atoms we share as an irrefutable commonality – a bond with the past, present and our children’s future.

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• 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
• 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.

• Friday, February 06th, 2009

When will the car driving madmen be stopped? All I want to do is heat my home! Shakes head and mutters under breath…

The #1 cause of smog in Montreal is cars and trucks – not wood stoves. And, this measure grandfathers in existing wood stoves while doing nothing to update older, more polluting stoves. If the city were serious, they would offer financial incentives for old wood stove owners to upgrade to less polluting stoves. This policy, by the way, was effectively used in the U.S. to replace older, polluting cars in the 1980′s and 90′s with less polluting ones.


MONTREAL – Montreal’s city government is considering a law to ban wood stoves in a bid to fight smog.

The law, which is being touted as one of the strictest in Canada, would prevent people from installing wood stoves in new or existing residential homes.

Stoves that burn wood pellets will still be allowed as will wood stoves in such businesses as restaurants.

Alan DeSousa, the city’s executive committee member responsible for sustainable development, says smog has been a particular problem in Montreal this winter.

Environment Canada has issued 25 smog alerts for Montreal so far this winter.

Montreal has about 50,000 wood stoves on its territory and DeSousa says banning them will contribute to preventing premature deaths caused by bad air quality.

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• Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Where there is a problem, there is an opportunity…Montreal finished at the bottom of the list behind Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Quebec City, Ottawa and Halifax.

Via: Huff Strategy

Corporate Knights Magazine unveiled the third-annual Corporate Knights Most Sustainable Cities in Canada

The top cities in the 2009 list. The comprehensive ranking identifies Canadian cities whose practices leave the smallest environmental footprint possible and create a healthy, thriving population. Corporate Knights Sustainable Cities Ranking are as follows:

Large city category: Edmonton, AB
Medium city category: Halifax, NS
Small city category: Yellowknife, NT

Montreal’s (5.96) ambitious GHG reduction target is complemented by the city’s innovative “Bixi” bike share program and a plan to double its network of bike paths by 2014. Montreal’s 2009 budget allocated a record $322 million to accessible, energy-efficient public transit. Host to over 32 public arts events last year, the largest community garden network in the country, and the fewest fast food stores per capita of all cities, Montreal’s top score was in the Social Well-being category.

Opportunity to improve: Montreal struggled in the Ecological Integrity category with high rates of water use and poor air quality. High unemployment rates aided to a poor showing in Economic Security.

• Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

The act of idling – leaving the car engine running when there is no point in doing so – is terrible wasteful and polluting. Unfortunately the dear inhabitants of “La Belle Provence” don’t give a damn.

Despite by-laws established in Westmount, NDG and the city of Montreal, the residents and the police don’t care to turn off their engines…

Via: The Monitor

In early 2006, the City of Montreal adopted the Strategic plan for sustainable development by-law, which included an action to ”eliminate unnecessary vehicle idling” through, among other things, a public awareness campaign. The borough of CDN-NDG subsequently adopted the by-law to support the city’s initiative. Since that by-law was passed, borough residents might recall a notice in the July 2008 NDG-CDN Eco-Quartier newsletter, reminding them that a ”green patroller” employed by the City of Montreal would be out telling people about the harmful effects of car-idling. The newsletter warned its readers not to ”get caught by our patroller with your engine idling”. More recently, you might remember having seen television ads on local TV channels, in which a passer-by steps into a parked car where the driver sits oblivious to the idling of his engine. The passer-by turns off the engine and pats the astonished driver on the leg before climbing out, as the tag line “were you waiting for someone to do it for you?” scrolls across the screen.


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• Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

God forbid if people want to use a sustainable, local fuel — you know wood — to heat their homes. In Hampstead’s view, it is better to ban wood than to ban driving a car which produces far more air pollution and air contaminants than wood. I wonder if there will be backlash against this when TSHTF economically.

Source: Montreal Gazette

Montreal Island’s top elected official responsible for air quality refused to say yesterday whether he plans to emulate tiny Hampstead’s plan to cut winter smog caused by wood smoke.

A new Hampstead bylaw that bans installation of wood stoves or wood-pellet-burning furnaces “is currently under study” by Montreal, said Alan DeSousa, executive committee member for sustainable development.

“We should be making our views known shortly,” he added.

Hampstead’s bylaw also orders that all stoves or furnaces fed by wood and already installed be permanently extinguished within seven years, by Nov. 3, 2015.

The ban covers wood stoves, furnaces fed by pellets, fireplace inserts or similar devices.

Unanimously approved two weeks ago, the bylaw provides two important exceptions:

  • The use of indoor masonry fireplaces not equipped with inserts will remain perfectly legal.
  • The ban explicitly does not apply to barbeques.

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg said council acted to fight air pollution and discourage fireplace use generally – and without knowing how many residents use wood to heat.

In 2007, the Montreal public health department pegged the number of Montreal Island households with fireplaces or wood stoves at 85,241.

Category: Air | Tags: , ,  | 2 Comments