Posts tagged ‘Ontario’

Clear Gold

Michigan is proposing build a pipeline to drain 322 million litres of water from Lake Huron. Ontario hasn’t agreed to it yet, because the proposal doesn’t contain assurance that the water “will stay in the Great Lakes basin and be used efficiently.” Since moving water from the Great Lakes sounds a lot like the plan for solving Lake Mead’s problems without addressing the issues of wasted water.

The people murmuring about Water Wars are starting to look less and less crazy as time goes on.

Sarnia solved the issue of water conservation. They raised water prices and imposed watering restrictions, and a miraculous thing happened. “The water is so bloody expensive, that’s why people are not using it,” according to Coun. Anne Marie Gillis. They cut their water down to 81,000 cubic metres/day from the 181,000 it’s licensed to sell. So, to celebrate, they are begging people to waste more water, because the loss of revenue is putting them in the red.

Water is more valuable a resource than coal, oil, or gold. Three days without it and you die. Period. And as we start to watch folks around the world try to deal with their water shortages, it’s probably a good idea to look at our relationship to it. The average American uses 4500 litres of water per day (and I can’t imagine the Canadian numbers are much different—but if you know your food consumption in kilograms, you can calculate your water footprint). It’s not so surprising when you realize that it takes 200 litres to make 1kg of plastic, or that it requires 2-4 barrels of water to extract a barrel of oil from the tar sands. And then, of course, there’s food.

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August 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm 1 comment

Deception at the local “Farmer’s Market”

I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend at the farmers market lately. More and more vendors at the farmers market are selling imported produce, and you have to pay attention to the labelling to know if you’re actually buying from a local farm, or if you’re at a quaint supermarket stand. Yesterday’s trip to the market was particularly disheartening.

We were perusing the outdoor vendors, and came across a stand with zucchinis and tomatoes that caused me to go on my usual envious rant about Leamington having an earlier season. But there were strawberries there. I wait all year for the summer berry binge of Ontario strawberry season, so I was pretty surprised, especially since it said product of Ontario on the sign. I asked the guy where in Ontario strawberries season starts in May. Short answer: It doesn’t. They were product of California. Then why was he using a Foodland Ontario sign? He wasn’t trying to lie, he assured me. When people ask he tells them that they’re from California, as he did with me. He was just using the signs provided by the market. Obviously, if that was the case, he could easily have used the back of the sign, or cross out the “Product of Ontario” claim at the bottom (which we suggested to him). But since he was the only one around using Foodland Ontario signs, and he had taken the time to put the strawberries in cardboard pint boxes, it was pretty clear that deliberate deception was exactly the point.

We didn’t ask about the rest of the produce, but let the market office know what he said about the strawberries. They were not interested in having their customers deceived and made him change his sign. But he vends at 4 local markets, they informed us. Taking advantage of people who are trying to locally source their food.

It’s definitely worth chatting with your market vendors before you buy.

UPDATE: Foodland Ontario said, “It is illegal to sell produces [sic] as ‘Product of Ontario’.” Thought so. They also investigate abuses, like food police!

May 24, 2009 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

In Our Backyards. Who’s in?

I just stumbled upon a website called IOBY. The name stands for “in our back yards” as in, it’s our responsibility, not someone elses. The website is a hub, where local (New York) organizations can post requests for volunteers and funding for environmental projects, so that small organizations can have the benefit of microphilanthropy, even if they don’t have the administrative resources to handle it. If I learned anything at the Pillar Nonprofit conference this spring, it’s that London needs something like this. Most of the organizations in the city are completely incapable of using social networking resources (lacking knowledge or resources) to effectively further their missions.
Mark today on your calendars. You’ll remember it as the day that a similar project started it’s wheels turning in London, Ontario. I’m working on it. Who’s in?

May 15, 2009 at 11:30 am 1 comment


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