Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Physician supply increasing twice as quickly as Canadian population

Physician payments also on the rise; fewer doctors migrating

OTTAWA, December 15, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Between 2009 and 2010, growth in the supply of physicians was more than double that of the Canadian population, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). While the physician population increased by 2.3%, a somewhat lower increase than the previous year, the Canadian population as a whole grew only 1.1%. In 2010, there were approximately 69,700 active physicians working in Canada—the greatest number of active physicians there has ever been in this country.

The 2010 edition of CIHI's annual report Supply, Distribution and Migration of Canadian Physicians shows that over the past five years, the growth in the number of physicians in Canada has consistently outpaced population growth. In 1980, there were 151 active physicians per 100,000 Canadians; in 2006, there were 190; and in 2010, there were 203. Over the past five years, the number of physicians and the physician-to-population ratio increased in all provinces and territories except Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

"Although continued investments across Canada to train and retain more doctors means we now have more physicians than ever, it's important to remember that numbers alone do not tell the whole story," says Michael Hunt, CIHI's Director of Pharmaceuticals and Health Workforce Information Services. "The demand for physician services depends on a number of factors, including the health care needs of Canadians, the way care is organized, the number of hours doctors are working and the scope of practice of other health professionals."

CIHI's report also shows a significant increase in the number of medical graduates, both from Canadian universities and abroad. In 2010, Canadian faculties of medicine awarded a record number of medical degrees (2,448), an increase of 30% over 2005 and 55% over 2000. With continued growth in the number of training seats, it is expected that this upward trend in the supply of physicians will continue in the coming years. The number of international medical graduates practising in Canada also grew significantly. In the past five years, the number of international medical graduates increased by 18.0% (versus 9.5% for the number of Canadian-trained physicians), adding more than 2,500 physicians to the Canadian supply.

Physician payments up; total clinical payments near $19 billion

As the number of doctors increases, so do total clinical payments to physicians in Canada. Clinical payments reached close to $19 billion in 2009-2010. The average pay per physician is also increasing: between 2005 and 2010, average payments to doctors increased by 21.5%, or about 4% a year on average. In 2010, the average gross fee-for-service income for a family physician was $239,000, while for a specialist it was $341,000. (Only physicians who earned at least $60,000 in fee-for-service payments are included in this calculation. Fee-for service payments represent about 75% of total payments to physicians in Canada. Gross income covers doctors' salaries and overhead such as office expenses, staff salaries and other practice costs.)

"Expenditures for physicians' services continue to represent the fastest-growing category of health spending," says Geoff Ballinger, CIHI's Manager of Health Human Resources. "Although part of this growth is related to the large number of new physicians Canada has trained and gained over the past decade, part is also due to increases in physicians' average earnings."

Physician migration on the decline

Fewer physicians are migrating within and outside of Canada. For example, there was 20% overall less movement of doctors over provincial and territorial borders in 2010 than in 2006.

As for the national border, physician migration out of Canada decreased by 16% between 2006 and 2010. In total, 202 physicians returned to Canada in 2010, and 173 left for another country.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wine Country Ontario reminds consumers it's time for Icewine

NIAGARA, Ontario, December 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Every year, for the month of January, Wine Country Ontario celebrates one of Canada's most cherished products, Ontario Icewine. Niagara's annual Icewine Festival, unique in the wine world, is a time when consumers have the best opportunities to discover and enjoy the delicious and luscious sensations of Icewine while taking part in unforgettable Icewine-inspired experiences.

While Icewine can and should be enjoyed any time of the year, January is a special time when the Niagara region turns into a wintry wonderland, a magical place like no other. Wine enthusiasts, cocktail fans, foodies and music lovers alike can choose from a collection of Icewine related events reflecting the authentic and local flavours of Ontario.

Events will be hosted throughout the Niagara region and at the outdoor street festivals in the towns of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Jordan Village where visitors can warm up to cozy open fires, admire sparkling ice sculptures and enjoy live entertainment. Activities include an annual Icewine Gala, casual and formal culinary experiences, food and cocktail competitions, an outdoor concert and action-packed winemaker challenges. Guests can also purchase a Discovery Pass, where visitors can choose from over 30 incredible wine and culinary experiences along the Wine Route. And while Icewine is the focus of this annual celebration, visitors also have the opportunity to taste festive sparkling wines and sensational VQA red and white wines.

"There is no doubt that the Icewine Festival is one of Wine Country Ontario's signature celebrations. A visit to Niagara during this magical time is something that is not only unique to Ontario but is quintessentially Canadian" - Ed Madronich, proprietor of Flat Rock Cellars and Chair of the Wine Council of Ontario "for Wine Country Ontario"

View the Icewine Festival video

For information on Icewine facts visit the Wine Country Ontario media centre for the Story on Icewine .

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Canadians stumped to identify challenges or opportunities to the Internet in Canada

OTTAWA, November 10, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - According to a report from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), forty per cent of Canadians cannot identify a challenge to the success of the Internet in Canada.

The report, entitled Challenges and Opportunities for the Internet in Canada, asked 1,210 Canadians what they perceive are the challenges facing the development of the Internet in Canada, and opportunities presented by the Internet. It also showed that almost 50 per cent of Canadians could not identify an opportunity for the success of the Internet in Canada.

"These are very significant results," said CIRA President and CEO Byron Holland. "It confirms that Canadians have not had many opportunities to discuss how the Internet is developed and deployed. It also outlines the importance to provide them with more opportunities to do so."

Holland went on to say, "The Internet has become the most important driver of social and economic progress for Canada and around the world, yet very few Canadians have had the opportunity to participate in its development."

For the second year in a row, CIRA will be hosting a national dialogue on the development of the Internet with the Canadian Internet Forum (CIF). The 2011 CIF was the first opportunity of its kind for Canadians to have a say on how they would like to see the Internet develop. The final report on the 2011 CIF can be found on CIRA's website at www.cira.ca/.

To identify the topics for discussion in the 2012 CIF, CIRA worked with Nanos Research to deliver a national survey. The results of this survey will dictate the themes to be explored in the upcoming 2012 Canadian Internet Forum. Hot topics among Canadians included digital literacy, security and safety, access/cost, digital economy, policy and governance, and technology and regulation.

"The initial consultation showed us that Canadians are truly interested in getting involved in issues related to the future of the Internet in Canada," said Holland. "We want to keep the momentum going with the 2012 Canadian Internet Forum, and ensure Canadians have a voice in Internet governance in Canada and abroad."

"The Internet is not a static entity. It is continuously developing. The fact that its development affects almost every Canadian behoves us to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to have their voice heard."

The 2012 Canadian Internet Forum will have a heavy focus on online participation, including a discussion forum, and culminate with a national event in February 2012.

For more information on the 2012 Canadian Internet Forum, please visit cif.cira.ca.

About CIRA

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is the organization that manages Canada's .CA domain name registry, develops and implements policies that support Canada's Internet community and represents the .CA registry internationally.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Egg Farmers of Ontario Wins National Agricultural Awards

"Who Made Your Eggs Today?" Campaign Multiple Winner at Canadian Agri-Marketing Association (CAMA)

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, November 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) won three 'Best of CAMA' awards and two 'Certificates of Merit' for its "Who Made Your Eggs Today?" campaign at the 'Best of CAMA' Awards Banquet held at the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, Alberta last week. The annual 'Best of CAMA' awards program celebrates excellence in Agri-Marketing in Canada.

"The response to our 'Who Made Your Eggs Today?' campaign has been tremendous," said Egg Farmers of Ontario Chair Carolynne Griffith. "We are honoured to be recognized for a campaign that we are so proud of."

EFO won for its radio ad series, billboards and transit ads while receiving the 'Certificate of Merit' for video and integrated marketing campaign.

At the centre of the multimedia campaign is the web site www.eggfarmersofontario.ca to help Ontario consumers get to know their local egg farmers. The campaign was inspired by consumer research showing that Ontario consumers are curious about the egg farmers who produce one of Ontario's favourite foods.

This is the second time in 2011 that EFO's 'Who Made Your Eggs Today?' campaign has won prestigious awards. In February, EFO won two Golden ARC Awards from the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC), a national agricultural public relations organization in the United States. Established in 1990, the Golden ARC Awards Contest recognizes the best and brightest in agricultural public relations. EFO is believed to be the first Canadian organization to enter and win a Golden ARC Award.

"I would like to thank our staff and agency partners for their hard work, passion and insight," said EFO General Manager Harry Pelissero. "And of course none of this would have been possible without the egg farm families who so graciously agreed to be our spokespeople. Their stories are what make this campaign a success."

Egg Farmers of Ontario is an association that represents approximately 400 egg farmers and pullet growers in Ontario. It is an independent, self governing organization funded entirely by egg and pullet farmers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

30-Blade Eco Whisper Wind Turbine is "Virtually Silent"

photo credit: YouTube/Video screen capture

from TreeHugger.com
by Brian Merchant
Wind Technology

Want wind power, but think that those tri-bladed behemoths are just too loud? Well then, Australia Renewable Energy Solutions has just the thing for you: The Eco Whisper wind turbine. This sharp-looking little contraption may only have a 20 kW generating capacity, but the company claims that the turbine is "virtually silent". It's also, allegedly, more efficient. Here's an intro to how it works:

The blades are 20 ft in diameter, and the entire thing stands 70 ft tall.

AOL Energy has more:

The company said the turbine is "virtually silent," thanks to its unique design, in which the 30 blades are angled outward from the hub, and surrounded at their ends by a ring. This ring, the company says, "prevents air 'spilling' off the tip of the blades," the source of much of the noise that traditional turbines produce. The company also lists greater efficiency and lower start-up speeds as advantages compared to competitors.

Sounds cool, and I'm all for experimenting with new turbine designs. But if the aim is to try to pacify wind power naysayers who complain about noise with a quiet turbine, this pitch will likely fall on deaf ears (pun!).

That's because the much-hyped "Wind Turbine Syndrome" -- allegedly caused by the sounds and 'sub-audible vibrations' emitted by the turbines -- has already been proven to be a steaming load of bunk. And many of the people who complain about wind turbines being too noisy seem to be, primarily, grumps with too much time on their hands -- especially considering that when they're compensated by wind power companies for having the turbines nearby their homes, their complaints magically disappear. These folks aren't really bothered by the noise level of the turbines -- they have issues with the changing world they represent, and often, an axe to grind. A genuinely silent turbine probably won't quell their objections.

That said, the 'silent' turbine may be a strong selling point for businesses and homeowners already interested in small scale wind power -- silent, efficient clean energy generation is appealing indeed.

Read the full story at TreeHugger.com

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Get involved with the Rural Voices Network (RVN)

GUELPH, Ontario, November 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Rural Voices Network (RVN) is launching a series of Public Forums to examine what enables rural citizens to participate in the common life of their community, and to identify barriers to rural civic engagement.

"There is a huge value in building a bridge of communication between the rural citizen and organizational and municipal leaders of every community across Ontario," says Manon Germain, RVN Project Manager.


The RVN invites you to participate in a "Let Your Voice Be Heard" Public Forum to have conversations about community participation, barriers to participation, and to voice your opinions, life experiences and ideas. Your community "voice" will be the key influences for a public survey to be distributed to over 10,000 rural citizens in Ontario.


Public forums will be held in 7 communities across Ontario to understand why and how people participate in the rural life of their communities. All community members are welcome to participate in the forums.

Guelph Ontario (PILOT) - November 10, 2011
Dryden, ON - November 18, 2011
Rosslyn, ON - November 19, 2011
Fergus, ON - November 27, 2011
Perth, ON - November 29, 2011
Ridgetown, ON - December 2, 2011
Innisfil, ON (FWIO AGM) - January 4, 2012


The Rural Voices Network is for rural citizens -- whether you're a small business owner, long-standing resident or a newcomer, a member of a local charity, or someone who wants to get more involved in your community. Together, this makes up a collaboration of different networks that comprise the Rural Voices Network (RVN). We all share something in common. We all want healthy communities that encourage public participation.


The Rural Voices Network is driven by the mandate to give rural citizens a space to have their voices heard, and to collaborate with non-profit organizations and leaders in all levels of governance. For more information on the RVN project or to register for upcoming Public Forums visit: http://www.ruralvoicesnetwork.ca

Operated by the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario / Sponsored by the Ontario Trillium Foundation

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dairy Farmers of Canada is a big winner at the International Milk Promotions Awards

MONTREAL, October 26, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is pleased to announce it has received several awards at the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit held in Parma, Italy from October 17th to the 19th. DFC's marketing and nutrition teams won several awards for various projects at this year's 2011 Dairy Innovation Awards.

This year's awards have attracted more than 100 entries from 25 countries in 14 categories, ranging from products, to packaging, marketing and environmental sustainability.

"The campaigns developed from producer investment in dairy category growth and image was recognized on the international stage, particularly in the area of nutrition and nutrient density of dairy foods," says Ian MacDonald, national director, marketing & nutrition at DFC. "We accept these awards from the International Dairy Foundation with honour and pride."

DFC won in the Best Health Education or Nutri-Marketing Initiative category for its Power4Bones nutrition program. Power4Bones is a free, cross-curricular program for elementary students, which is based on multiple learning styles and helps teachers meet curriculum expectations in a variety of subjects, such as Health and Physical Education and Language, including Media Literacy.

"We've come to expect excellent work from Dairy Farmers of Canada over the years, and Power4Bones is a great example of clear education in the essential, natural bone-building benefits of dairy, catching students at just the right age with clear, interesting and excitingly presented materials," says chair of the judging panel, FoodBev Media Group editorial director, Bill Bruce. "Its success is also down to making the kit work just as well for teachers too - always a challenge, and in this case, brilliantly achieved."

Also in the nutrition category, DFC was named a finalist in the Best Health Education or Nutria-Marketing Initiative category with its Get Enough campaign. The Get Enough campaign encourages consumers to get the recommended servings of Milk and Alternatives according to Canada's Food Guide.

DFC was a finalist in the Best Print Marketing, Store Promotion or POS category with the Get a Load of Milk (GALOM) campaign for its participation at the MuchMusicVideo Awards last June. GALOM encourages teenagers to drink milk and engages them in many activities through the web, social media, contests and music to get the milk message out to teens in a 'cool' way.

Finally, DFC has been highly commended by the judging panel for its 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix promotion in the Best Print Marketing, Store Promotion or POS category. The Canadian Cheese Grand Prix competition is held every two years and rewards Canadian cheese makers from across the country for excellence in innovation and quality of their products. Winners enjoy the right to use Grand Prix promotional tools, including displaying the Grand Prix logo on their products and benefit from the attention generated by the competition.

The Fédération des Producteurs de lait du Québec (FPLQ) also won big at this year's IDF Dairy Innovation Awards with three different dairy products. The FPLQ won as a finalist in the Best Consumer TV/Cinema Advertisement or Social Networking Marketing category for its Milk campaign and were highly commended in the same category for their Cheese campaign. The FPLQ was also a finalist in the Best Print Marketing, Store Promotion or POS category with its Cream campaign, and a finalist in the Best Generic Dairy Marketing category with Cream too.

About Dairy Farmers of Canada

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) promotes the wholesome goodness of dairy products as part of a healthy, balanced diet and encourages good nutrition for all Canadians. DFC is completely funded by dairy producers.

About the International Dairy Federation

Founded in 1903, the International Dairy Federation (IDF) represents the dairy sector worldwide by providing the best global source of scientific expertise and knowledge in support of the development and promotion of quality milk and dairy products to deliver consumers with nutrition, health and well-being. IDF is represented in 57 countries and membership is growing: IDF accounts for approximately 85% of the world's milk production at present. IDF aims to identify, elaborate and disseminate best practice at international level in order to guide the dairy sector and to harmonize members' work on a variety of issues along the dairy production chain including animal health and welfare, protection of the environment, nutrition, food safety and hygiene and food standards.

OPP says now is the time to get ready for winter driving

AURORA, Ontario, October 26, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Every year, the first snow fall comes before many Ontarians are ready for it and according to the OPP, it is wise to keep one step ahead of it by getting ready for winter driving conditions on Ontario roads and highways.

"Ontario winters make for some of the most dangerous driving conditions in Canada. Over and above getting your vehicle ready, it's important for Ontarians to adopt a new mindset that defensive, responsible driving during the winter months is more crucial than any other time of year in reducing fatalities and serious injuries". - Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander, Highway Safety Division.

Preparing yourself and your vehicle for the harsh winter weather ahead can go a long way in reducing collisions - something the OPP sees far too many of every winter.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready:

...Install four winter-rated tires before the first snowfall.

...Have an ice scraper or snow brush in your vehicle to keep your windows, signals and lights clear.

...Top up your windshield washer reservoir and keep an extra one handy.

...Keep your fuel tank at least ½ full so you don't run out of gas should you become stranded and to prevent condensation from forming in your gas tank.

...Keep a fully stocked emergency kit in your vehicle.
* Have your vehicle serviced to avoid preventable breakdowns.

Adjusting your driving habits:

...Drivers must SLOW DOWN! - Speed too fast for road conditions is the #1 cause of winter collisions.

...Drive according to the road and weather conditions.

...Leave extra spaces between vehicles - Stopping distances are at least doubled on snowy roads and even longer in icy conditions.

...Know where you are - If you require help in an emergency it will delay the arrival of emergency responders if you don't know your location when asked.

...Monitor road and weather conditions - Plan your trip and check local weather conditions before heading out.

...Check the Ministry of Transportation website prior to heading out on any trip during the winter - Please do not call 9-1-1 or the OPP for road reports); instead log onto: www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/conditions

"Most of the collisions we see during winter are preventable, yet far too many people blame these collisions on poor driving conditions. If all motorists got into the habit of adjusting their driving to the conditions at hand, there would be far fewer collisions on our roads and highways". - Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, Provincial Commander, Traffic Safety and Operational Support.


Winter Driving - Be Prepared, Be Safe!

Transport Canada - Winter Driving Tips

Transportation Health & Safety Association of Ontario

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lift-Off For Rural 4G Broadband! Proton Rocket Carrying New 4G Broadband Satellite Successfully Launched

"The Proton rocket containing ViaSat-1 on the launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Oct 18 2011. Courtesy ILS International Launch Services, Inc. (CNW Group/Xplornet Communications Inc.)"

MARKHAM, Ontario, October 20, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Xplornet Communications Inc. is delighted to announce the successful launch of ViaSat-1, North America's first 4G broadband satellite. The satellite was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and will be stationed in geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of 35,786 km.

A game-changer in terms of ubiquitous broadband access in Canada, ViaSat-1 will allow for previously unavailable speed and bandwidth economics, and will provide rural and remote Canadians a broadband connection that is truly fast and affordable. Together with the planned launch of a second, similar 4G satellite in 2012 and with its national fixed-wireless 4G network, Xplornet will effectively end Canada's urban/rural digital-divide, once and for all.

"We recognized that satellite broadband needed to be faster and more affordable. With this new 4G satellite service, Xplornet will offer satellite broadband service that is both" said John Maduri, Xplornet's Chief Executive Officer.

ViaSat-1 will support customer download speeds of up to 25 Mbps, with more capacity than all current North American broadband satellites combined. Xplornet Communications Inc., Canada's leading provider of rural broadband, has purchased 100% of the Canadian Ka-band capacity on the satellite, entirely for rural broadband use. Xplornet expects the satellite service to be available to Canadians late this year.

"Video: Lift-Off For Rural 4G Broadband: Proton Rocket Carrying New 4G Broadband Satellite Successfully Launched".

"This is an historic launch. The technology is revolutionary. Our investment of hundreds of millions in rural broadband infrastructure is unprecedented. And Canada is now joining a group of other regions, like the UK, the US, and Europe, that have endorsed 4G satellite broadband as the solution for ensuring 100% access to affordable broadband." said Maduri.

"Most important though, is the impact this satellite is going to have on people. I am proud to say that Xplornet has done what no other Canadian company could do, and what some people said that private industry would never do: make fast, affordable broadband available everywhere in Canada. By 2012, every Canadian will be able to experience the transformative benefits of broadband." concluded Maduri.

Headquartered in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Xplornet Communications Inc. (formerly Barrett Xplore Inc.) is Canada's leading rural broadband provider, with customers and dealers in every province and territory. Xplornet aims to eliminate the urban/rural digital divide by ensuring that every Canadian, regardless of where they live, has access to broadband, thereby enabling them to compete effectively in the global economy and gain access to essential government and educational services.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Margaret Atwood's New Book is Made of Straw Paper

Photo: canopy

from TreeHugger.com
by Bonnie Alter, London

The book, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, is the story of her relationship with science fiction and brings together three unpublished lectures on this theme.

It will be printed on "Second Harvest" paper. This is paper made from the leftover straw "after the grain harvest and all other uses, such as animal bedding and maintaining soil integrity, are accounted for." It is made without any harm to forests (or food) and contains only straw leftover after the grain harvest and recycled paper fibre. The straw would otherwise be burnt, causing significant air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The paper used in the book will be made of 36 per cent straw and 64 per cent recycled wood pulp.

Published by a Vancouver-based, Canadian company, Canopy, an environmental non-profit and forest advocacy group, they want to diversify how North American paper is made in order to reduce the stress on endangered forests. They say that "there is enough leftover straw in North America to keep up to 800 million trees standing every year and Canopy has already identified customer demand to keep four pulp mills running full time. Shifting paper production from our endangered forests to our fields would yield a new resource sector with benefits to farming communities, our economy, and forest ecosystems around the world."

Margaret Atwood is a fervent environmentalist. Years ago she invented the Long Pen. It saves authors from flying around the world for book signings by using a pen that is an internet-connected pantograph. The reader gets words with the author, a personalized note, and for a small fee, donated to charity, a copy of the video. It hasn't ended up changing the world, but was a good try.

She was keen to publish her book on Second Harvest paper because of its environmental qualities. She said:

"I joined Canopy in this trial to show that we can meet our paper needs using low-footprint straw instead of relying on endangered forests. Second Harvest Paper is the kind of practical innovation that could make paper from endangered forests ancient history. These pages were produced without any harmful impact on forests and their fragile ecosystems. Human beings need oxygen, and forests produce it; printed books require paper, but paper need not be made from virgin forests. This is an elegant solution to a pressing problem."

It's the first book to be printed on straw paper in North America but it ain't cheap. Each book in the limited run of 300, signed by the author, will cost $100. It sounds like a lot but part of that is a fundraiser to support Canopy's ongoing efforts to make their work a commercial reality within the next 2-3 years In a little straw (!) poll, 67% said they wouldn't pay that much for her book. Although one fan wrote "I would pay $100.00 for a signed first edition by Margaret Atwood if it was printed on a blackboard!"

For those unwilling to shell out that much, the main run of Atwood's book will be printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper as part of an environmental initiative developed with Canopy ten years ago.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation shells outs $30,000 grant for endangered turtles

Funding will provide critical support to Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre

TORONTO, October 12, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Responding to a dire need for resources to treat injured and endangered turtles in Ontario, where seven out of eight turtle species are now at risk, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) has donated $30,000 to Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre. As Ontario's only dedicated turtle veterinary hospital, the centre has a growing number of turtles to support with increasingly limited resources.

"TD Friends of the Environment Foundation has supported our work to save turtles for many years now, through both grants and volunteers, said Dr. Sue Carstairs, Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre's medical director. "This $30,000 donation is a huge boost at a time when Ontario turtles need support if they are to survive and thrive."

In this record breaking year alone, the centre admitted more than 500 turtles and saved more than 1,000 turtle eggs. Female turtles are routinely run over by vehicles as they cross busy roads to reach their nesting sites. As a result, monthly costs for the centre have risen to $10,000 per month, which pays for antibiotics, veterinary supplies and equipment, x-rays and maintenance of the space. TD FEF's $30,000 grant will help the centre with its expenses through to the end of the year and allow staff and volunteers to focus on long-term strategic planning.

"It's amazing to consider that the turtles hatching today may live anywhere from 15 to 100 years. Helping Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre is part of TD FEF's long-term vision of supporting communities with their environmental, conservation, and preservation causes. I hope that the Foundation's support will encourage conservation-minded citizens to support Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre's important work," said Mary Desjardins, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation's executive director.

Individuals or organizations interested in supporting Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre can donate money online through Canadahelps.org (# 857524409RR0001), by cheque or by throwing their own fundraiser (www.kawarthaturtle.org).

About Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre:

The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre is a non-profit, registered charity that operates a hospital for injured wild turtles. Once healed these turtles are released back into their natural habitat. KTTC also provides an outreach program to promote healthy turtle populations and stewardship. The Centre opened in 2002 and is located in Peterborough, Ontario. Visit www.kawarthaturtle.org for more information.

Since 1990, TD FEF has provided more than $55 million in funding to more than 20,000 grassroots environment and wildlife projects across Canada. In 2010, TD FEF provided more than $3.5 million in support of 970 projects. Thousands of donors give to TD FEF on a monthly basis and TD Bank Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually. TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF, which guarantees 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to funding environment and wildlife projects in the community where the donation was made. For more information on how to donate and get involved in your community, visit www.tdfef.com.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

From barnyard to black tie The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has it all

- Now in its 89th year, the world's largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show returns, November 4th - 13th -

TORONTO, October 13, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Dust off your cowboy boots and get ready to experience the magic of the fair as The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair gallops into town this November. Introducing country to the city, the spectacular sights and sounds of thousands of horses and livestock animals, combined with the thrill of international competition - from equestrian to agriculture innovation - will no doubt wow fairgoers.

Running from Friday, November 4th to Sunday, November 13th, 2011, at Exhibition Place in Toronto, The Royal is the world's largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. Originally started in 1922 by a group of farmers as a way to meet and catch-up on business after the busy fall harvest, The Royal has now expanded to showcase Canada's best in agricultural products and innovations. The Royal's reputation for offering best-in-class competitions was clear from the outset: the prestigious Horse Show drew in the spirited equine community with exciting and engaging shows. Today's Horse Show has expanded its reach to include a more diverse audience base who may never have had the opportunity to watch live horse competitions before.

The 2011 Royal has its best line-up of events ever, featuring celebrity appearances, highly recognized chefs, cowboys, cattle and cocktails.

Committed to local fare, The Royal will host The Annual Celebrity Chef Competition on Friday, November 4th featuring the star of Food Network Canada's Pitchin'In, Chef Lynn Crawford. As culinary curator, Crawford will create a magical dessert alongside The Thirsty Traveler's Kevin Brauch and local chefs Nick Liu (Niagara Street Café) and Howard Dubrovsky (L.A.B.), with a focus on Ontario-grown products.

Trading in blades for belt buckles Toronto Maple Leaf hockey heroes Darcy Tucker, Curtis Joseph, Darryl Sittler and Mark Napier will be in the saddle for a match of Horse Hockey on Saturday, November 5th. Played just like polo, these all-stars will put their sporting skills to the test as they trot alongside world-famous professional polo players Dave Offen and Cliff Sifton.

Proving again that The Royal will reign superior, equestrian legends and Olympic gold medalists Mark Todd and Eric Lamaze will take the reins at this year's Royal Horse Show. The Royal also welcomes special appearances by Ian Millar and internationally acclaimed Charro horseman Jerry Diaz who brings this 17th century Mexican discipline to the ring.

"The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is not only the city's most unique event - but also the most diverse. The Royal offers experiences that encompass every aspect of our daily life," said Bob Jadavji, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. "From agriculture to entertainment, and everything in between, The Royal has something for everyone."

"Only at The Royal, can you see fairgoers in tuxedos and gowns milling through cattle barns," added Jadavji.

On Sunday, November 6th fairgoers can catch an authentic rodeo, complete with bull riding, bronc riding and barrel racing at The Ontario Toyota Dealers Royal Rodeo. The Royal boasts a nightlife scene that can't be rivalled. From sipping champagne at the posh Tanbark Club to dancing on tables alongside cowboys at the Hitching Ring Café & Bar, The Royal proves that the magic of the fair keeps going, well after the animals hit the hay. Continue to mix and mingle with locals at The Outrageous Bull Pen Saloon, The Royal Brew House, the Bit & Bridle and the Royal Harvest Grill - a high-end restaurant committed to creating a fine-dining atmosphere. Meanwhile, The café Taste Ontario Wine Pavilion provides tutored wine tasting events for new wine drinkers and aficionados alike.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair's star attractions

Royal Horse Show

The most prestigious and important indoor equestrian event in North America, The Royal Horse Show always captivates its crowds. This year's show will amaze audiences like never before with the presence of world-famous riders including Eric Lamaze and Mark Todd, competing in Olympic disciplines such as Show Jumping and The Royal's own Indoor Eventing. Set in the impressive Ricoh Coliseum, these horse and rider performances will showcase the best in equestrian sport; combining the thrill of competition with family entertainment in a package not found anywhere else.

Agri-Food Innovation

The Agri-Food Innovation Pavilion is dedicated to educating visitors on the importance of the agriculture and food sectors and how they impact our everyday lives. The pavilion encompasses five components: healthy living, renewable energy, environmental stewardship, agriculturally based bio-products, as well as safe and locally produced food.

Journey to Your Good Health

The Journey to Your Good Health Pavilion boasts an abundant bounty of locally grown food, as well as the latest trends in functional foods. Freshly prepared samples from the Canada Food Guide are served, while registered dietitians are also on-site to answer any questions you may have about the food we eat and how it affects - and benefits - our bodies.

The President's Choice® SuperDogs Show

Drawing huge crowds for every single one of its shows, The President's Choice® SuperDogs Show remains one of The Royal's biggest attractions. From dancing Dalmatians to Frisbee-playing bulldogs, these canines are not to be missed. Several shows take place daily.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Scary Chipotle Short Film on Plight of Farmers

Image: Screenshot

from TreeHugger.com
by Chris Tackett, Little Rock, Arkansas

Mini Spoiler Alert: This new short film/ad/music video from Chipotle, which is based around a group of young boys exploring an abandoned farm house, highlights the ongoing plight of American farmers. But instead of the spookiness of the dark rooms and dusty belongings of the previous inhabitants, what ends up being the scariest thing of all is how close this story hits to home for many Americans. Watch the video and learn more about the project below.

Here's how Chipotle explained the video:

"Abandoned" features a cover of the Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings classic "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys" sung by Karen O, lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and tells the story of three boys who are exploring and vandalizing an abandoned farmhouse. One of the boys eventually comes to the frightening realization that the abandoned home may represent the plight of his own family farm.

This is the second short film to focus on small farms from Chipotle in recent weeks. I wrote about the previous video here, which was a much happier and 100% more animated look at the shift towards factory farms and how we can and should shift back to supporting small farms.

You can view the films and find more information about what Chipotle is doing to help farmers here. Oddly part of the main ask of this campaign is to dictate what people wear for Halloween and sell discounted burritos.

I'm not sure encouraging people to buy Chipotle burritos dressed as farm animals or farmers is the best way to help fix our food system, but I suppose it's much better than having people wrap themselves in aluminum foil - "I'm a burrito, duh!" as Chipotle has done in previous years for Halloween. In any case, like I mentioned in my post on the other short film, while far from perfect, we do like that Chipotle is doing something to bring attention to the needs of small farms. Other corporate food chains would be well-served to follow the lead of Chipotle and support local ingredients and farmers.

Check out TreeHugger for 30+ fresh, green stories every day!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Xplornet Supports Campaign For Rural Spectrum

Open Letter Asks Industry Minister to Allow Rural Providers to Bid for Rural Broadband Spectrum at Auction

WOODSTOCK, New Brunswick, October 4, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Xplornet Communications Inc., Canada's leading provider of rural broadband services, has co-signed an open letter that calls on the Minister of Industry, Christian Paradis, to change the way spectrum is auctioned.

Rural Internet Service Providers are deeply concerned about the lack of spectrum for rural areas to build out broadband services and to expand the capacity of existing broadband services for rural Canadians. Broadband providers outside of cities use wireless signals to deliver broadband to rural and remote locations. As consumers demand more and more capacity for Internet applications, the need for the capacity that only licensed spectrum delivers is critical and growing.

However, because rural spectrum is sold together with spectrum for Canada's major cities in large geographic blocks, rural ISPs are unable to bid for and buy broadband spectrum. This precious resource ends up largely used in urban areas, even though it is desperately needed in rural.

This should be a deep concern to all Canadians. Demand for broadband capacity is growing exponentially. Without spectrum, rural Canadians could face severe restrictions on service, and a growing divide between the ability of rural and urban Canadians to access internet service. This would severely impede Canada's ability to implement a national digital strategy for all its citizens.

"Our request of the Industry Minister is remarkably simple and easy to affect - just sell urban and rural areas separately. That will allow cellular providers to buy the urban markets they want, will allow rural ISPs to bid for areas of low population density, and will bring more competition to the marketplace," said John Maduri, CEO of Xplornet Communications, "There simply is no downside to this approach - it will bring more bidders to the auction, may increase revenue for the government and will ensure that rural Canadians are not left out of Canada's digital future."

The open letter appears today in the Hill Times and will run for several weeks. It was endorsed by twelve rural ISPs and can be found here.

About Xplornet Communications Inc.

Headquartered in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Xplornet Communications Inc. (formerly Barrett Xplore Inc.) is Canada's leading rural broadband provider, with customers and dealers in every province and territory. Xplornet aims to bridge the urban/rural digital divide by ensuring that every Canadian, regardless of where they live, has access to broadband, thereby enabling them to compete effectively in the global economy and gain access to essential government and educational services.

Telestroke the next best thing to being there, study finds

photo credit: Ottawa Heart Institute

Innovative technology improves care and reduces costs

OTTAWA, October 4, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The use of long-distance video and data hookups to link remote community hospitals with stroke neurologists in large centres provides the same level of care as having everyone in the same room, according to a new study presented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

The study found that rural patients examined with the aid of a technology called Telestroke received an important stroke drug, tPA, at the same rate as patients treated in specialized urban centres, says Dr. Thomas Jeerakathil, a neurologist at the University of Alberta Hospital. The drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) is used to break up blood clots. It can help reverse stroke damage if administered within 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Besides providing better care to remote communities, early projections show that Telestroke resulted in more than $1 million in health-care savings over four years, Dr. Jeerakathil says.

"Telestroke is a way to bring the expert out to the rural centre to provide treatment that wouldn't otherwise be available," Dr. Jeerakathil says. "And there is no delay in treatment despite the time required to set up video conferencing equipment and examine CT scans and blood work."

In the study, an initiative of the Alberta Provincial Stroke Strategy, University of Alberta Hospital neurologists observed the use of Telestroke in 10 primary stroke centres throughout remote parts of Northern Alberta over a four-year period.

During this time, tPA was administered to more than 500 people and, of those, 119 patients were treated with the help of Telestroke. Without access to the technology, these patients would have gone without treatment or been transferred to a bigger hospital and faced delays, says Dr. Jeerakathil.

Effective Telestroke treatment in remote areas contributed to a 50-per-cent decrease in emergency room transfers from rural areas to the University Hospital in Edmonton, says Dr. Jeerakathil. Some remote hospitals reported a decrease in transfers as high as 92 per cent.

"Cost savings are occurring while outcomes are improving and stroke mortality is decreasing in the province," says Dr. Jeerakathil.

Telestroke allows small hospitals to be designated as primary stroke centres with many of the services of a major stroke unit. These primary stroke centres have a small sectioned off area with staff specially trained in stroke care, 24-hour access to a CT scan and the ability to give tPA.

"Telestroke is severely under-utilized in Canada," says Dr. Antoine Hakim, CEO and Scientific Director of the Canadian Stroke Network. "An audit of stroke care in Canada showed that fewer than 1 per cent of stroke patients received a Telestroke consultation. This study undeniably proves that Telestroke saves both lives and money."

"Providing stroke patients fast and seamless access to stroke services regardless of where one lives in Canada will save lives and reduce disability," says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Michael Hill. "Telestroke is another way that technology allows for an easy, cost-effective way to bridge geographic barriers to smoothly link stroke specialists with communities where on- site stroke care does not exist."

There are about 50,000 new strokes in Canada each year and 315,000 Canadians living with the after-effects of a stroke.

The Canadian Stroke Network (canadianstrokenetwork.ca) is a national research network headquartered at the University of Ottawa. It includes scientists, clinicians and health-policy experts committed to reducing the impact of stroke.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation ( heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America


The United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS)

"promotes the well-being of rural America through research and analysis to better understand the economic, demographic, environmental, and social forces affecting rural regions and communities."

Part of this work includes the creation of this remarkable atlas, which provides a
"spatial interpretation of county-level, economic and social conditions along four dimensions: people, jobs, agriculture, and county classifications."

The atlas allows users to view county-level maps for over 60 socioeconomic indicators via the interactive map here.

It is quite easy to use, and there's also a pop-up box for each county that provides easy access to additional demographic information.

Visitors can also download the data sets for each indicator from the "Download the Data" tab. [KMG]

>From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The business case for investing in Canada's remote communities

photo credit: Tovver via Flickr
ST. JOHN'S, September 19, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Elyse Allan, President and Chief Executive Officer, GE Canada, and Chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released this morning a report entitled :The Business Case for Investing in Canada's Remote Communities at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Annual General Meeting in St-john's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

As Canada seeks to strengthen its position as a competitive nation in an increasingly global economy, GE Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, undertook the initiative to place a business lens on the economic opportunities, challenges, best practices and business investment intentions in remote communities. During the first half of 2011, GE Canada sought the perspectives of businesspeople through roundtables in communities across Canada and an on online survey. At the same time, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce consulted with several of its members and other stakeholders.

"Canadians have to start looking at our remote communities differently", stated Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "Our collective economic wellbeing and our international competitiveness could well depend upon the public policies adopted today that leverage the economic possibilities of many of these communities and their potential to contribute to our nation's wealth".

"Canada's remote communities can pack a powerful economic punch. There is great optimism. Business investment combined with progressive public policy will unleash significant opportunities for remote communities and for Canada as a nation." said Elyse Allan.


If all Canadians are to fully benefit from the potential of our remote communities, the federal government must take the lead in developing a long-term strategy that paves the way for remote communities to reap the rewards of economic development. While this long-term work is underway, the Canadian Chamber proposes more immediate measures the federal government—working alone, with the provinces/territories and/or with business—can take to create the policy environment needed to encourage private sector investment in remote communities.

This policy environment needs to include the following:

...skills and training programs flexible enough to accommodate the economic realities of individual communities and the alternate training models that may be required to deliver effective results in partnership with business whenever possible;

...effective transition support for those leaving remote communities to pursue studies in urban centres;

...tools to allow Canadian businesses and stakeholders in remote communities to familiarize themselves with each others' business practices, governments, agencies, laws and regulations;

...a reduction in business' regulatory burden by adopting a standardized "one project-one assessment approach" that harmonizes federal and provincial/territorial statutes and regulations;

...looking to the possibilities associated with extending broadband telecommunications to remote regions—and business models for delivering the services associated with them—as a model for engaging the private sector in other types of infrastructure construction and services delivery. This includes the government acting as a lead user and creator of demand;

...assisting stakeholders to pool their resources to address infrastructure gaps through using online tools, pilot projects and considering commercial applications for public infrastructure projects; and

...addressing the "investment vs. subsidy dilemma" for investing in remote communities. There is the perception that public dollars used to improve infrastructure in remote communities are subsidies.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at www.chamber.ca

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A new smart phone application developed by U of G researchers makes its debut at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock

photo credit: redrhinolondon via Flickr

GUELPH, Ontario September 13, 2011 - University of Guelph News Release - Farmers can use the app – Aphid Advisor – to decide whether or not to use insecticide to control aphids on soybeans, based on numbers of aphids and their natural enemies.

The app was developed by Prof. Rebecca Hallett, School of Environmental Sciences (SES); Tracey Baute, a field crop entomologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA); and Christie Bahlai, a U of G grad student in environmental biology. It’s based on research conducted in SES and the Department of Plant Agriculture.

As night-time temperatures cooled in late August, the number of soybean aphids (Aphis glycines) in eastern Ontario rapidly increased and was also expected to rise in central and southern Ontario. Without enough lady beetle predators, soybean aphids can overwhelm plants, causing premature flower drop, stunted stems and fewer seeds. Prolonged exposure to high pest densities can seriously lower crop yields.

Said Hallett,

“The soybean aphid is an alien invasive insect that can take an economic toll on soybean farming, but most soybean agro-ecosystems in Ontario have a rich abundance of natural enemies that can reduce aphid population growth.

“Aphid Advisor helps raise awareness of the powerful role that beneficial insects, such as predatory beetles and parasitic wasps, can have in controlling soybean aphid populations. The app may help to reduce or even eliminate insecticide applications for soybean aphid control.”

In the field, farmers can use the app’s high-quality photographs to help identify natural aphid enemies.

Information and demonstrations of the Aphid Advisor will be available at COFS. Canada’s largest agricultural trade show will open Tuesday.

Now undergoing final testing, Aphid Advisor is currently available only for the BlackBerry.

Hallett plans to adapt the app for other devices.

“It's very exciting to see a piece of research through from the lab and field into the hands of end users in this way,” she said. “In the next phase of development, we hope to include site-specific temperature forecasts, which will give a more accurate picture of how aphid populations might change and would also allow the app to be used in areas outside of southern Ontario.”

The research was funded by the Agri-Food and Rural Link. The app was programmed by Agnition, a local company in mobile farming applications. The pilot version of the app is now available for BlackBerry devices (OS 5 or higher) and can be downloaded free at www.aphidapp.com.

COFS brings together industry partners that are enthusiastic about opportunities to work with the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) faculty and students. At COFS, the OAC will offer an introduction to recent initiatives. Teachers and prospective students interested in agriculture and food issues are invited to visit the OAC exhibit.

Known as the nation’s premier outdoor agricultural trade show, COFs, which runs through Sept. 15 at Canada’s Outdoor Park, features 715 exhibitors showcasing the latest agricultural products and services. More information about COFS is available online.

Watch the COFS 2011 video...

LEED Gold Certification Awarded: Walkerton Clean Water Centre

Walkerton Clean Water Centre (WCWC) excels in LEED building assessment.

WALKERTON, Ontario, September 13, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - WCWC staff and board of directors are celebrating a recent Certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold designation, a goal they have been striving for since the facility opened in June 2010. LEED is an international third-party building assessment system administered in Canada by the Canada Green Building Council.

"The new Walkerton Clean Water Centre is one of the most environmentally conscious buildings in Bruce County. We have lower energy and water costs, and better lighting and air quality than a regular building. Our purpose is to serve the Ontario water sector from our exceptional new headquarters in Walkerton." - Dr. Laurence F. (Larry) Moore, Chief Executive Officer, WCWC.

The new facility has surpassed the amount of points required for the Certified LEED Gold designation by meeting or exceeding each credit's technical requirements. During construction recyclable and reusable materials were separated from waste at the site, diverting 73 per cent of waste from the landfill. An approximate 9,950 square metres as designated open green space protects the land from future development. Bike racks, prime carpooling and hybrid vehicle parking spots have been included in the project.

The interior of the building meets all water-related LEED credits and is predicted to use 78 per cent less indoor water than a conventional building. The water conservation credits were met by making use of in-ground cisterns to collect water for re-use in the irrigation system. Energy-saving devices include a ground source heat pump and a solar hot water heater. Occupancy sensors activate lighting only in occupied areas or in insufficient daylight. WCWC uses exclusively EcoLogo certified products as part of the new housekeeping program. Indoor air quality is a top priority of WCWC, achieving all air quality credits available under LEED for such initiatives as using only low-VOC (volatile organic compound) sealants, adhesives and paint.

"The new building has great air quality, which has improved my productivity, general health and well-being." - Linda Cranston, Technology Demonstration & Research Administrative Assistant.


The Walkerton Clean Water Centre (WCWC) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, in existence for the sole purpose of safeguarding and protecting Ontario's drinking water by providing operator training, practical research, technology demonstration and support for the development of new technologies and services. Hands-on training on operation and maintenance of water treatment, monitoring and distribution equipment is available to owners, operators, researchers and students of Ontario's drinking water systems, including those serving small, remote and First Nations systems. Since its inception in 2004, the WCWC has trained more than 30,000 participants.

The modern new facility increases WCWC's training capacity with two more training rooms and a larger area for hands-on training and technology demonstration. The facility opened in June 2010, achieving Certified LEED Gold designation by the Canada Green Building Council in August 2011.

For more information visit www.wcwc.ca

Saturday, September 10, 2011

8 Ways to Save Energy While Working from Home

Photo credit: dierken via Flickr CC

from TreeHugger.com
by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California

Think lists of how to save energy is so 2007? Well, with more and more people working from home, we think it's time to dust off a few trusty tricks for curbing electricity consumption without curbing productivity. Working from home has been shown to have its environmental benefits, from reducing road congestion to cutting down on office building energy consumption -- but there's a lot you can do to make it even more green and reduce your energy bill. Here are eight easy places to start.

1. Open The Curtains

There's no need for wasting energy on desk lamps or overhead lights if you're getting enough natural light. Choose the brightest room in the apartment or house in which to work, and keep the curtains open to let the light pour in. It can brighten both the room and possibly your productivity since natural light is known to boost one's mood.

2. Unplug

Productivity is highest when you're not distracted, and that goes for blinking lights, ringing phones, and blaring television sets. When working from home, unplug everything you're not using right then for work, including printers, gadget chargers, extra computers or monitors and so on. You'll cut down on vampire energy wasted on wall warts, energy sapped by electronics on standby, or electricity sucked up by electronics you aren't really focused on.

3. Work From Cafes

Another way to save money on electricity and avoid getting cabin fever is to go work from a cafe or other location. Spending $5 on coffee and a bagel can get you a good two, maybe even three hours of plugging in from a pleasant location where you can take a mental break by people watching for five minutes every so often. You might not save a lot of money in the long run, but you'll get food, drinks and atmosphere instead of just an electricity bill.

4. Work Smarter Hours, Not Longer Hours

Perhaps the most direct way to save electricity while working from home is to cut down on the number of hours you're on the computer. By honing your work day and cutting down on time spent wasted on social media sites or surfing the web because you're procrastinating, you can potentially free yourself from the computer earlier in the day. If you're able to get your work completed in six hours instead of eight, you can hop off the computer and head outside, saving the amount of energy you would have gobbled up in that last hour or two.

5. Plug Into Smart Devices

Okay, say you don't want to unplug everything you're not using, and you're not likely to cut back your working hours. The next best solution is to use a device to manage the flow of electricity to electronics, and cut the supply when not needed. TrickleStar, for example, has products that regulate energy going to particular devices so that you can use your computer but cut standby power going to your printer. You can use this for your work equipment as well as devices elsewhere in your home. You can also try out a power monitor to find out which devices are costing you the most and figure out usage patterns that can help you save.

6. Use Energy Efficient Equipment

Are you using monitors that suck up electricity like nobody's business? Or maybe you're using a browser on your laptop that's known to suck up the electricity? You might want to make a trade-in on your gear or software. If you're looking for new equipment with lower energy consumption, check out buy-back companies that sell used and refurbished equipment. It's both cheaper and greener.

7. Set Up Your Computer for Energy Savings

Your computer has a ton of built-in settings for saving energy. By checking your settings and making a few tweaks you can save just a bit more on your electricity bill. If you set things up right, you might even be able to unplug your laptop forever!

8. Minimize Your Gadgets

Without sacrificing ergonomics, you can minimize how many electronics you're using, from extra monitors to wireless keyboards. Think about what you absolutely need for your set-up, and give away or store those electronic devices you don't really need to have plugged in. Gadget minimalists can save a ton of electricity without trying hard.

Bonus Tip: Sign Up for Renewable Energy

Okay so this won't necessarily save you any electricity, but it will help cut your carbon footprint. Sign up for renewable energy from your utility to ensure that energy entering your home is from renewable sources as much as possible. This way what electricity you do use has the lowest environmental impact.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Canada Foundation for Innovation Invests in U of G Research, Innovation

GUELPH, Ontario September 01, 2011 - University of Guelph News Release

Researchers at the University of Guelph who are striving to find solutions for some of today’s pressing global issues — biodiversity conservation, clean water, physical and mental health ailments — have received nearly $700,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

The investment, announced today by Gary Goodyear, minister of state (science and technology), and CFI president and CEO Gilles Patry, will support scientists using DNA barcoding technology to better understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and human impacts on the arctic, tropical and temperate environments.

It will also assist psychology professors examining how the Internet influences teens who engage in self-injury, engineers developing new wastewater treatments, and food scientists creating products to improve human health.

“University of Guelph researchers are setting the bar when it comes to innovations and discoveries that will help fill knowledge gaps, which are adversely affecting human and environmental health,” said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research).

“Not only will these projects result in significant advancements in the fields of ecology, food science, engineering and psychology, but they will also link research outcomes to practical applications, improving everyday life for Canadians.”

The funding comes from CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF), intended to allow Canadian universities to attract and retain leading faculty and researchers. LOF recipients apply for matching funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Integrative biology professors Sarah Adamowicz, Mehrdad Hajibabaei and Alex Smith received $375,000 to purchase state-of-the art equipment to support their collaborative research program in biodiversity science.

Using genetic tools, the trio is surveying biodiversity and conducting ecological and evolutionary research in the Canadian Arctic, in Algonquin Provincial Park, Wood Buffalo National Park and other Canadian parks, and in the Area de Conservacion in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

The goal is to quantify the extent, structure, interactions and future of biodiversity in all of the regions, and compare patterns across groups and locations. The new knowledge gained will enhance technology development and help protect the arctic, forest and tropical ecosystems.

“Our research is a combination of classical and next-generation biodiversity science,” Smith said. “We are all honoured to receive this support from CFI and the Canadian and Ontario governments.”

Hajibabaei added:
“The infrastructure provided for in this grant is a critical part of maintaining research readiness for the influx of students, collaborators and projects that we are growing and sponsoring at U of G. It will be key to maintaining our position at the forefront of the field of biodiversity science.”

All three professors are connected to the Guelph-based Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), which is the scientific hub for the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project. It involves 200 researchers from 26 countries creating a barcode reference library for all life and developing new technologies to access and applying DNA barcoding.

Psychology professor Stephen Lewis will use his nearly $65,000 grant to support his research into non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) among teenagers. He’s looking at the nature and impact of NSSI material online and is creating a research program to help youth who engage in this activity and those with other mental health issues.

Prof. Sheng Chang received more than $124,000 to build a process lab in the School of Engineering. He’s working to develop advanced membrane bioreactor technologies for biological wastewater treatment, water reclamation and energy recovery.

Food science professor Lisa Duizer will use her $124,000 grant for equipment in her sensory evaluation laboratory. Here she studies flavours and tastes of food products to better understanding the effects of ingredient manipulation and substitution on sensory quality. This includes creating and testing new health products.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lab Grown Meat Just 6 Months Away, Scientists Say

Fresh--from the lab? Photo: Fabrice de Nola via Flickr/CC BY-SA

from TreeHugger.com
by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York

It's long been an electrifying possibility: Red meat without the environmental drawbacks. Meat without animal cruelty. Meat without industrial scale cattle ranches, without the vast drain on resources required to raise millions of cows. Meat without the forestland razed for grazing room, without the methane emissions.

In an attempt to bring about such a world, researchers have been diligently pursuing laboratory-grown meat for years. Supermarkets are in line to sell it. And evidently, a breakthrough is near: some scientists speculate that we might see the first lab-grown sausage arrive in just six months. Six months after that -- a hamburger.

So sayeth some of the field's leading researchers, including Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The New Scientist reports that

"Post has experimented mainly with pig cells and has recently developed a way to grow muscle under lab conditions - by feeding pig stem cells with horse fetal serum. He has produced muscle-like strips, each 2.5 centimetres long and 0.7 centimetres wide."

Mmmmmm. Horse fetal serum probably tastes just like barbeque sauce.

The lab-grown meat feels and behaves a lot like regular meat -- in part because Post actually manually exercises the synthetic tissue. With Velcro. Seriously. Here's the New Scientist again:
"Post makes sure his tissue strips receive daily exercise to give them the same constitution as real muscle. He anchors them onto Velcro before stretching the cells away from the surface."

If there's any way to make a scene involving pig stem cells and horse fetal serum sound less appetizing, it's probably tossing in the image of somebody yanking and pulling at the stuff with Velcro. Regardless, Post is growing closer to being satisfied with the results. The lab meat's appearance is still an issue (it looks anemic and whitish) but if he's on to aesthetic concerns, then this stuff is probably more than ready for McDonald's.

And there are real-world reasons to be rooting for the rise of lab meat -- it requires much less water to make lab meat than real meat (cows and pigs consume prodigious amounts of feed, which must be grown as crops), and 99% less land. It's much more efficient to just grow the meat you'll eat, and not raise entire animals for the slaughter. By some counts, it could reduce harmful emissions by a stunning 96%. Sure, there will be an endless well of health questions to be answered, and anyone distrustful of GMOs will surely be skeptical of lab burgers. But if we could feasibly replace industrial scale cattle farming with industrial scale laboratory meat manufacturing, it would almost certainly be a net gain to both society and the global environment.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ahimsa Milk Launches Slaughter-Free Milk Delivery in London England

from TreeHugger.com
by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY

An update on the progress of the UK's Ahimsa Milk and their efforts to produce milk while ensuring that no cows or bulls are harmed in the process, for the natural life of the animal: Now Londoners can begin having Ahimsa's slaughter-free milk home delivered.

The Independent reports that 50 families have signed up so far. The £2.25/L ($14.02/G) price tag is divided up as £1 for production of the milk, £0.65 towards a pension fund for the cows (to pay for their upkeep and vet bills once they reach old age), and £0.60 for administration and overhead costs. Delivery is an additional 15p.

While that price is well over double what most people are currently paying for milk, what really sets Ahimsa Milk apart is how well the animals are cared for.

All are retired after their last calf (usually around 13 years) and then cared for for the rest of their natural lives; all cows are bred to have only five calves in their lives, every two years; male calves are reared to work the land on the farm, rather than being sold off and eventually killed.

The price may be higher for slaughter-free milk, but if this was the norm the price very well come down and/or everyone's expectation would adjust accordingly. Plus, if it costs double to produce milk while not just treating cows and bulls solely as machines that humans can do whatever they like with, and ensuring that they live out their natural lives in healthy conditions, then that seems like a very fair trade off to me.

Obviously if you're a vegan and believe that no animals should be involved in agriculture (which I'm not sure is an ecologically tenable position, as Sami has pointed out), then even these steps are likely to be unpersuasive.

And if your only concern is the price tag, not concerning yourself with externalized costs either to the animals involved or the environment more broadly, then vegetarian or omnivore alike a doubling in price is probably too much to bear.

But, in case it's unclear from my tone, from this vegetarian's perspective Ahimsa Milk is very much on the right track here.

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