Friday, January 29, 2010

Help Haiti: A Guelph Ontario Benefit for Earthquake Relief

photo credit: IFRC via Flickr

Following the recent earthquake in Haiti, members of the Guelph, Ontario community have pulled together to organize a benefit event featuring a wide selection of our amazing and world-class local-area talent. With overwhelming support from the local community, event organizers (Rev. Paul Clarkson, Dr. Ajay Heble, Sam Turton) have set a goal of raising $20,000 from this event, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Red Cross.

PLEASE RESERVE A TICKET NOW - or get one for a friend!

For a letter-size printable poster file, contact

Help Haiti: A Guelph Benefit for Earthquake Relief

Sunday, February 7, 7:00 pm
The River Run Centre
35 Woolwich St., Guelph, ON
Tickets $30 (reserved) 519-763-3000
Additional donations will be accepted at the event
River Run Centre facilities donated by the City of Guelph
All proceeds to Canadian Red Cross - All services donated

Kevin Breit & Ted Warren • Scott Merritt • Jane Bunnett • Dionne Brand • University of Guelph Choirs

The Guelph Music Revue: Andrew Craig, Nick Craine, Craig Norris, Shane Philips, Tannis Slimmon, Sue Smith, Sam Turton (with Jeff Bird, Adam Bowman, Vish Khanna, Jane Lewis, Ambre McLean, Harri Palm, Stu Peterson, Jesse Turton - and more to come!)


Kevin Breit, one of Canada's most in-demand guitarists (Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, k. d. Lang, Bill Frisell) will join us from Elora to perform with Guelph’s Ted Warren, one of Canada's most accomplished drummers.

Scott Merritt is an MCA recording artist and an award-winning singer-songwriter and producer with an always growing and fiercely dedicated following.

Jane Bunnett is an internationally acclaimed Canadian jazz icon with Juno awards, Grammy nominations, and an appointment to the Order of Canada.

Dionne Brand is a renowned poet, novelist, essayist, and film-maker born in Trinidad and living in Toronto.

The University of Guelph Choirs, directed by Dr. Marta McCarthy are a powerful amalgamation of both the University Chamber Choir and the University Women's Choir.

The Guelph Music Revue is a stellar gathering of Guelph’s award-winning musicians, band leaders, and singer-songwriters.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The End is Nigh: How the Religious Language of Global Warming is Failing

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York

Okay, okay, we've heard them all by now. Because we're trying to address the threat of climate change, we're blind Al Gore followers. Cultists. 'Alarmists'. And perhaps the most loaded: we're followers of the religion of global warming. To all that, I say . . . fair enough.

The Global Warming 'Religion'

Not that any one of those allegations is actually accurate. But you can draw parallels, note the references' point of origin--and admit that we've have invited some of the comparisons. For instance, in a great post, Sami notes the similarities between devout environmentalism and traditional religious practice--not flying or operating vehicles, adhering to a certain diet, embracing a distinct value system, etc. And it may upset a few greens to say so, but some of the strongest parallels to religiosity have been invited by the green movement's methodology itself.

The BBC says in a recent piece that the green movement has long used religious language to spread its message. They note that the theologian, environmentalist, and UN climate change adviser Martin Palmer sees the green movement's use of religious imagery as a serious detriment. He says:

"In the 70s and 80s, environmentalists thought that if they presented people with the scientific facts, they would realise how desperate the crisis was and change. "That optimism started to fade in the 90s. They realised that no one is converted by a pie chart, so they started trying to motivate us through fear. "Now they are playing with some of the most powerful emotional triggers in Western culture. They've adopted the language and imagery of a millenarian cult." the full story at

World Social Forum - Day 3: "Earth Can't Sustain Capitalism"

by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil

The principle theme of today's meetings on the third day of the World Social Forum was a focus on quality of life, the growing reach of Western capitalism, and the preservation of self-determination in developing nations. Not unlike the imperialism of previous centuries, which conquered people of life and land, the influences of modern consumerism are robbing cultures of their traditional values and the world of a sustainable future, argued several speakers at today's meetings. Meanwhile in the lush Brazilian countryside, thousands of participants from across the world descended upon the Forum's campground to create a 'model society' to demonstrate what a sustainable world might look like.

The 'Good Life' Is Unsustainable

Ivar Pavan, a Brazilian parliamentary leader, was the keynote speaker today at a panel discussion entitled "Living Well." He pointed out that for more and more people in the world, the goals which would constitute a 'good life' are unsustainable, like buying cars, electronics, or consumer goods. The growing trend of consumerism particularly among previously contented peoples, he believes, is moving the notions of 'living well' out of the realm which Earth can support.

Likewise, South African activist Mercia Andrews noted that while much of the world is looking to material luxuries to improve their quality of life, there are many with far more modest desires. She spoke of her experience with people living in poverty and found that most still strive for decent farmland, schools for their children, medical assistance--or, in a word, dignity.

They were so low, just wanted equality and respect. However, capitalism can not meet these demands. To achieve a good life that we become aware and understand the simple things in life which we have had in the rural more at

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bill Gates Releases Annual Letter

Gates Discusses How Innovation Can Make the Difference between a Bleak Future and a Bright One

SEATTLE, January 25, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today released his second annual letter -- a personal appraisal of the foundation's efforts to date and how innovation impacts priorities of the foundation.

Gates is optimistic that, despite the tough economy, a combination of scientific innovations and strong partners working on behalf of the world's poorest people will continue to improve the human condition.

"Although innovation is unpredictable," says Gates, "there is a lot that governments, private companies, and foundations can do to accelerate it. Rich governments need to spend more on research and development, for instance, and we need better measurement systems in health and education to determine what works."

Throughout his letter, Gates highlights innovations that are saving or improving lives and expanding opportunity. In the developing world, vaccines are thwarting preventable disease in children, new tools are aiding in the fight against malaria and HIV, and improved seeds and farming techniques are increasing agricultural productivity. In the United States, innovations are helping educators improve teaching and learning so that high school students graduate ready for success and are prepared to earn postsecondary degrees.

Gates defines the foundation's role as investing in innovations that would otherwise go unfunded -- including some that may ultimately fail. He discusses the foundation's support of a range of innovations -- from low to high risk, some with timeframes as long as 15 years -- aimed at combating disease, hunger, and poverty in the developing world and improving education in the United States.

Since its inception in 1994, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $21 billion in grants. As of September 30, 2009 the foundation's endowment was valued at $34.17 billion.

To download Bill Gates' annual letter, visit: High-resolution images and video footage of Bill and Melinda Gates meeting with grantees globally are available at:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people -- especially those with the fewest resources -- have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Learn more at or join the conversation at Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

US Faith-Based Group Sends Solar Powered Audio Bibles to Haiti

Photo via Renew Outreach

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York

In the stream of goods that are pouring in to aid the relief effort in Haiti, one will certainly stand out--a solar powered audio Bible. Instead of food, water, or medical supplies, US faith-based group Faith Comes By Hearing has opted to send 600 audible bibles, which are currently en route to the Port-au-Prince.

Each of the units can broadcast the scriptures in Haitian Creole to an audience of up to 300 people.

Reuters reports:
Called the "Proclaimer," the audio Bible delivers "digital quality" and is designed for "poor and illiterate people," the Faith Comes By Hearing group said. It added 600 of the devices were already on their way to Haiti.

The Albuquerque-based organization said it was responding to the Haitian crisis by "providing faith, hope and love through God's Word in audio."

The group's website explains further, noting that they've already sent the "600 Proclaimers on their way through our ministry partner, Convoy of Hope. These portable, solar-powered Audio Bibles will be given to local pastors so people can hear God's Word in their own language--Haitian Creole."

Many churches have collapsed in Port-Au-Prince, and many that have not are still considered unstable, so sermons are being held outside.

Faith by Hearing says it is in the process of raising money to send 3,000 more solar-powered audio bibles to Haiti. ... Read the full story on TreeHugger

Faith Leaders Hold No-Fly Climate Summit

Image credit: Faith Climate Connect

by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA

From Copenhagen's gargantuan carbon footprint to Al Gore's emissions there's no shortage of people complaining about the carbon emitted by those who want to cut carbon. But many are trying to keep this in check. A group of religious leaders just an interfaith no-fly summit, exactly one month after Copenhagen, to discuss the practical role that faith, and in particular sacred texts, can play following the disappointment of COP15.

Organized by the Bible Society, the summit was held exclusively within a new interfaith social network known called Faith. Climate. Connect. Taking inspiration from poll results that show as many as 47% of religious adherents want their leaders to set an environmental example and fly less, the summit was held entirely online... read more at

Monday, January 18, 2010

Climate Change a Crisis of Conscience for All Canadians

TORONTO, January 17, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Mardi Tindal, the Moderator of Canada's largest Protestant denomination, The United Church of Canada, today issued an open letter to Canadians calling on them to consider climate change a crisis of conscience.

In the letter Tindal urges Canadians "to choose hope and action over despair and paralysis" in addressing what she calls "one of the most urgent moral challenges in human history."

"I believe this is a unique time in humanity's fretful reign on Earth, a rare moment that will have historic significance," writes Tindal in the letter that was written after she returned from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this past December.

She returned to Canada bitterly disappointed with the outcome of the negotiations.

"Our moment of opportunity came and then went, and here we are now, the fate of civilization and of millions of the planet's life forms hanging by the frayed thread of inaction," she writes in the letter titled "Where Is the Hope after Copenhagen?"

Tindal believes this is a transformative moment in the planet's history and that "the world will be shaped by how we and our communities respond in the months to come."

The complete text of Tindal's letter is posted on The United Church of Canada's website (

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Iguana Showers and Frozen Sea Turtle Rescue in Frigid Florida

A cold stunned endangered green turtle is kept warm at SeaWorld Orlando. Photo by Jason Collier courtesy of PRNewsFoto/SeaWorld

by Roberta Cruger, Los Angeles

The severe weather hitting the South has sent a cold snap to the Sunshine State, leaving iguanas paralyzed and falling out of trees. The prolonged freezing temps, down into the 20s, are causing these non-native reptiles to shut down, bringing their blood flow to a standstill which can kill them.

Meanwhile farmers have scrambled to save strawberry fields and heat orange groves as... Read the full story on TreeHugger

"If living conditions don't stop improving in this country, we're going to run out of humble beginnings for our great men." - Russell P. Askue

Friday, January 1, 2010

Al Gore’s inconvenient goof

Investigate magazine's breaking news forum

God has a sense of humour. That much as emerged as Copenhagen shivers during the global warming conference, and Al Gore gets caught making it up, yet again, but this time on the biggest stage of his not so illustrious career.

Gore told the Copenhagen summit that Arctic sea ice will be gone in five to seven years, only to be dumped on when reporters bothered to fact-check.

UPDATE: Hold the front page! Climate Depot backing Gore on this one - seems the climatologist who denied saying it did indeed say it. Read more here...