08 December 2009

Anyone going to Toronto or Kingston in December?

I'm looking to see if anyone is heading to Toronto, Peterborough or preferably Kingston way in the next couple of weeks. I need my snow tires brought down from Manitoulin. Thanks! Sophie Edwards 4elements (at) manitoulin.net

01 November 2009

to Sudbury Sunday evening or Monday morning

reposting from a Comment: I travel between sudbury and manitoulin every weekend. Usually leave sudbury Friday night at 5 (can be flexible) and return to Sudbury Sunday evening or Monday morning (need to be at work downtown Sudbury for 8:30). I would be more than happy to pay for gas for anyone who is going back and forth and can give me a ride. I am a non-smoker and will only ride in a smoke free car. email me anytime if you're interested: maryjo.gordon@ontario.ca

16 August 2009

Moving to Resilient Manitoulin

I've changed the name of this blog back to its original name, and from now on it will be used for its original purpose (see the header above). For most of 2009 it was called ‘Manitoulin Uprising’, and was all about enhancing the resilience of our community. But now there's a new blog called ‘Resilient Manitoulin’ (click on the name to go there) which will serve that purpose. I recommend that you check it out and bookmark it; everything that would have been posted here (except ridesharing notes) will from now on be posted at Resilient Manitoulin. The most useful items posted on this blog in recent months will also be moved over there, but i'll leave them here until they are moved.

08 July 2009

Innovative food production and land use

The article below, from the Worldwatch Institute, relates food production methods to climate change in a way that helps to place the efforts of Manitoulin food producers in their global context. (Also, for food consumers, Yes! Magazine has a nice feature on 8 Ways to Join the Local Food Movement.)

Washington, D.C. — Innovations in food production and land use that are ready to be scaled-up today could reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to roughly 25 percent of global fossil fuel emissions and present the best opportunity to remove greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, according to a new report by the Worldwatch Institute and Ecoagriculture Partners. As the price of carbon rises with new caps on emissions and expanding markets for carbon offsets, the contribution of land-based, or ‘terrestrial,’ carbon to climate change mitigation efforts could increase even further.

‘The science and policy communities in Europe and beyond have focused most of their attention to date on improving energy efficiency and scaling up renewables,’ said Ecoagriculture Partners' Sara Scherr, co-author of Mitigating Climate Change Through Food and Land Use with Sajal Sthapit. ‘While these initiatives are integral in the transition to a low-carbon economy, any strategy that seeks to mitigate global climate change without reducing emissions from agriculture, forestry, and other land uses is doomed to fail.’

More than 30 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are linked to agriculture and land use, rivaling the combined emissions of the transportation and industry sectors. The report outlines five major strategies for reducing and sequestering greenhouse gas emissions through farming and land use:

  1. Enriching soil carbon. Soil, the third largest carbon pool on Earth's surface, can be managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by minimizing tillage, cutting use of nitrogen fertilizers, and preventing erosion. Soils can store a vast amount of additional carbon by building up organic matter and by burying carbon in the form of biochar (biomass burned in a low-oxygen environment).
  2. Farming with perennials. Two-thirds of all arable land is used to grow annual grains, but there is large potential to substitute these with perennial trees, shrubs, palms, and grasses that produce food, livestock feed, and fuel. These perennials maintain and develop their roots and branches over many years, storing carbon in the vegetation and soil.
  3. Climate-friendly livestock production. Livestock accounts for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and land use. Innovations such as rotational grazing, manure management, methane capture for biogas production, and improved feeds and feed additives can reduce livestock-related emissions.
  4. Protecting natural habitat. Deforestation, land clearing, and forest and grassland fires are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Incentives are needed to encourage farmers, ranchers, and foresters to maintain natural forest and grassland habitats through product certification, payments for climate services, securing tenure rights, and community fire control.
  5. Restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands. Restoring vegetation on vast areas of degraded land can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making land productive again, protecting critical watersheds, and alleviating rural poverty.

05 July 2009

Authors wanted! (No special skills necessary.)

You don't have to be an experienced blogger or a computer geek to post on this Manitoulin community blog. Just send an email message to gnox -at- xplornet (dot) com saying you'd like to be an author here, and the administrator will send you an ‘invitation’. This will include a link that you can click on, which will take you to a Google page (since Google is the provider of this free blog space).

The next step is to create a Google ID (if you don't already have one), which is also free and easy to do. Click on the link you will see for creating a Google ID. This will open a page where you enter your existing email address, and create a password (for your future security as a user of this service. Make a note of the password so you don't forget it – you will need to ‘sign in’ with it in order to post messages on the blog. That way you never have to enter your email address again, and it remains hidden from the public.)

After confirming your email and password, you will need to enter a code which is presented on the page in a distorted but legible form. (This is another security measure, designed to exclude automatic spamming machines, which can't translate these pictures into letters or numbers.) Then you have to click on the box which says that you accept the terms of use of this service; and finally, click the ‘submit’ button.

If you've done all this successfully, you should be taken to a ‘Dashboard’ page, where you can enter the name that will show on the blog as the author of your posts. Most people simply use the name they ordinarily go by, but you can use whatever you want (i use ‘gnox’). By the way, once you have this password-protected ID, you can use it to post comments on this or any blog hosted by Google, or start a new blog yourself, without having to go through the security filter again.

You can bookmark your Dashboard page and use it when you want to post something on the blog. You can also ‘Sign in’ from the blog site itself, or click on the ‘New Post’ button which appears in the blog window if you are already signed in. This opens a box that you can type your message into (or copy-and-paste it into, if you already have the text on your computer). This entry page is pretty self-explanatory, but there's also a ‘Help’ button if you need it.

I look forward to having a wider range of authors here! Besides, once you're an author, you can more easily use this space as a ride board, which was in fact its original intention back in 2007. But i'll explain that in a later post.

One last technical tip. You might wonder why i give my contact address as gnox -at- xplornet (dot) com rather than the usual format with the ‘@’ symbol and real dot. This is a disguise to elude machines programmed to collect addresses from the Internet by recognizing the normal email address format. If you put your address on the Internet in that normal format, eventually you will get more and more spam sent to that address. The format disguise works pretty well at avoiding spam; hence i don't have to use any of those spam filters which often block a lot of legitimate email along with the spam.

New vegetarian eatery

The trend toward vegetarianism is part of the transition toward a healthier, more sustainable way of living, and Islanders now have a new source for vegetarian treats: The Island Chill, located next to the Rock Island Mini-Golf at the corner where Hwy. 540 in Kagawong turns toward Gore Bay. Starting next week, it will be open Sunday—Friday, 11:30 am to 7:30 pm (closed Saturdays); 282-8215.
The Island Chill offers a casual, friendly atmosphere, with a charming outdoor patio and menu options that are light & satisfying, and bursting with fresh flavours. We never deep-fry and we have cholesterol-free options. Our food is prepared on-site using only the best ingredients! We may be small – but we're big on taste!

01 July 2009

Farmers' Markets in full swing now

The season for local produce was somewhat delayed by the cool spring, but has finally arrived! All of us Islanders who care about food quality (and food security) should be supporting the Farmers' Markets in Gore Bay every Friday morning, Mindemoya Saturday morning, or Little Current Tuesday afternoon. For exact times see the Manitoulin Farmers' Market Association website.

Also check out the brand new website of local producers Chuc and Linda Willson: Our Garden.