Tuesday, August 30, 2011

IKEA Foundation gives landmark donation of $62 million for world's biggest refugee complex

GENEVA, August 30, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The UN High Commissioner for Refugees today announced a landmark $62 million donation from the IKEA Foundation geared towards expanding emergency relief for the thousands of people at the world's largest refugee complex in Dadaab, Kenya. It is the largest private donation that the UN refugee agency has received in its 60 year history, and the first time that a private body has chosen to directly support a major refugee complex. The donation, which will be staggered over three years, is expected to help up to 120,000 people - almost a quarter of the existing population of Dadaab.

"This humanitarian gesture by the IKEA Foundation comes at a critical time," said António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the head of UNHCR. "The crisis in the Horn of Africa continues to deepen with thousands of people fleeing Somalia every week. We are extremely grateful. Help like this can't come a moment too soon."

Dadaab, which lies in a remote region of northeast Kenya, was first opened in the early 1990s. This year it has seen a dramatic surge in new arrivals as a result of the conflict and drought in Somalia. Originally designed for 90,000 people it now hosts a population of approximately 440,000 people, 150,000 of whom have arrived in the last months alone. This is putting enormous strain on those living and working there. Many of the new arrivals are suffering malnutrition, and are in critical condition. The IKEA Foundation donation will immediately help UNHCR expand its life-saving help for people already arrived at the camp.

"This initiative is a bold but natural extension of IKEA Foundation's longstanding commitment to making a better everyday life for children and families in need throughout the developing world," said Per Heggenes, Chief Executive Officer of the IKEA Foundation. "Supporting UNHCR, both immediately and over the long term, is one of the most effective ways to immediately make a difference in the lives of thousands of refugee children and their families."

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, relies on donations to help millions of refugees and other displaced people around the world. Most of these donations are from governments. At $62 million, the IKEA Foundation donation represents a new level for support to refugees from a private body.

About the IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation aims to improve the opportunities for children and youth by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change, and enable them to take charge of their own future. We work with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child's life. Currently funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Patients the big winners of McGuinty government's policy to expand Nurse Practitioners' role and scope

TORONTO, August 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Regulations coming into effect on October 1st will allow nurse practitioners (NP) to deliver more timely care to Ontario patients.

"We are thrilled that nurse practitioners will be able to prescribe more medications and other treatments that Ontarians need," says Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), adding this will provide the public with faster access to quality health care. The move also complements the provincial government's April announcement that NPs are able to admit and discharge hospital patients.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional education and legislative authority, who since 1998 can diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries and order diagnostic tests for their patients such as x-rays and ultrasounds. The new regulations expand the authority of NPs to carry out additional care acts and treatment procedures such as setting or casting bone fractures and open prescribing of medications.

"NPs are central to tackling the challenges facing our health-care system such as improving access to care and reducing wait times. These changes send a clear signal that there is more NPs can do to better help patients and make our health system more responsive and cost effective," says David McNeil, president of RNAO.

"These expanded powers give us the authority to deliver the care we are educated for," says Michelle Acorn, president of the Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO). "NPs have the knowledge, judgment and skills to competently and safely care for Ontarians. This is another step towards the full utilization of NPs and will only strengthen interprofessional collaboration."

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

The Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO) represents the professional interests of all nurse practitioners in Ontario. NPAO is an expert group of the RNAO. NPAO's mission is to achieve full integration of nurse practitioners to ensure accessible, high quality health care for Ontarians. www.npao.org

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Caribou Recovery Strategy - A Major Step Forward

Photo Credit: The Pew Charitable Trusts via Flickr

OTTAWA, August 26, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The draft recovery strategy released today is a major step forward for the conservation of boreal caribou and has potential to benefit much of Canada's boreal forest and the wildlife that depends on it; however, the plan needs to be strengthened and a genuine commitment made by all Canadians to ensure the future of the boreal caribou, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

"The designation of 2.5 million square kilometers of Canada, nearly one quarter of our country, as critical habitat will mean large scale landscape management and meaningful consideration of cumulative effects will be required before development can take place," says CWF Director of Conservation David Browne. "This is the most complex recovery strategy ever undertaken by Environment Canada and we commend the hard work of the many people who helped create it."

CWF believes that for this strategy to achieve its objective of maintaining local populations across Canada the requirements for habitat restoration in highly disturbed areas will need to be strengthened, timelines for action plans more clearly defined and the required level of undisturbed habitat be increased for some areas. Achieving the recovery strategy's critical habitat targets will also require novel approaches to land use, both in terms of minimizing disturbance and more importantly deciding where development should and should not occur. We expect to see a strong commitment by the federal government to protect critical habitat, develop action plans and put incentives in place for habitat restoration.

To keep this iconic Canadian species will require cooperation and commitment from Federal, Provincial, Territorial, First Nation governments, industry and non-government organizations. For its part, CWF has invested $250,000 in the development of a landscape planning model to identify opportunities for conservation in the highly disturbed western boreal forest region of Canada. CWF has also established a 3 year partnership with University of Alberta to support the use of satellite collars in a research project aimed at determining industry best practices that will benefit boreal caribou. CWF will be encouraging its 300,000 supporters to submit comments on the strategy and indicate their support for boreal caribou conservation.

About the Canadian Wildlife Federation:

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national non-profit charitable organization dedicated to ensuring an appreciation of our natural world and a lasting legacy of healthy wildlife and habitat. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, developing and delivering educational programs, sponsoring research, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending policy changes and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information, visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One Woman Working To Bring Safe Water to Millions With A Simple Barrel (Video)

Image via video screengrab

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

We've seen a variety of designs for carrying water over the years -- from the Hippo Roller to the Water Cycle. But this design by Cynthia Koenig, called the Wello WaterWheel, may be one of the most simple. Essentially a barrel with a handle to push it, it can transport 25 gallons, relieving women and girls from the burden of carrying water which, according to Koenig, is equivalent to "getting off an airplane in La Guardia, putting your checked baggage on your head and walking to the Brooklyn Bridge" every single day.

Koenig states in an interview with ABC News,

"The WaterWheel is a 25-gallon drum that moves five times the amount of water possible than traditional methods, which is five gallons on the head. So not only is it alleviating women and girls from this tremendous physical burden of water collection, but it's also reducing the time burden; women and girls spend about 25 percent of their time each day collecting water. So by using the water wheel it frees up their time to spend their time on more productive activities like work or school."

Koenig states that she sees the barrel as a platform for future designs -- from adding filtration and drip irrigation kits, to adding a cell phone charger that uses the rotation of the wheel to generate electricity for a full battery. That would be an amazing addition considering most developing worlds are leapfrogging land lines and going straight to cell phones as a way to do everything from make calls to make payments for goods.

Visit TreeHugger to see what's new. 30+ fresh, green stories every day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guelph woman collecting supplies to help Goderich’s children go back to school

Victoria Street United Church damaged by Sunday's tornado in Goderichphoto credit: Bun T Pein Photography via Flickr

from the Guelph Mercury

GUELPH — Of all the work and needs of residents of tornado-swept Goderich, buying back to school supplies for the children of that city is probably way down on the priority list.

So Pat Bilton has made it her top priority, and she’s hoping for some help from others in Guelph who were moved by the destruction in that city over the weekend.

Environment Canada says the tornado was an F3, with winds of 280 km per hour and a path of destruction a half-kilometre wide. One man died and 37 people were injured.

The downtown took the brunt of the destruction with the roofs of old churches torn off, sides of buildings peeled back, trees thrown about like toothpicks and broken glass everywhere.

“I’ve never lived there but I frequently go there,” said Bilton, a member of Norfolk Street United Church. “I was there last Thursday and had a lovely day with my grandson. And then Sunday, boom.

“I know there are organizations to help with food and emergency supplies, but the kids will be back at school in a week and a half. I’m thinking school, and school supplies, will help those children get back to normal.”

Bilton hopes individuals will buy a backpack and load it with supplies, but anything and everything will help, she says.

She’s made a list of suggested items: backpacks, lunch bags, pencils, pens and pencil cases, erasers, pencil crayons, pencil sharpeners, markers, scissors, glue sticks, math sets, rulers, highlighters, duotang folders, binders, note and blank paper, dictionaries.

Folks can drop off items at Norfolk Street United Church Thursday and Friday of this week from 9 a.m. to noon, or Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bilton intends to deliver the backpacks to St. Vincent de Paul in Goderich next Thursday.

“You ask yourself ‘what can one person do?’ but one person can do a lot,” she said. “John Galt built Goderich like he did Guelph, so in a way it’s our sister city.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Animals Responding Three Times Faster To Climate Change Than Expected

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

A new study in the journal Science sheds some light on the critical question of how well will animal species adapt to climate change. The paper shows that animals are responding up to three times faster than expected to climate changes, either moving to higher altitudes or to different latitudes.

Study lead author Chris Thomas, from the University of York, told Reuters that on average wildlife has move to higher elevations at a rate of 40' per decade, twice what was previously estimated. As for moving to different latitudes, Thomas says the average latitude shift is three times earlier estimates, though not all species respond equally. Some don't move at all, while other move towards the poles, and perhaps surprisingly some actually move towards the equator in an effort to reach suitable habitat.

The paper also found that species moved most in places where the climate had warmed the most.

Whether this rate of movement is enough to stop expected rates of species extinction due to climate change, or whether rapid evolution will be able to save a significant number of species, is unknown. Estimates of how many species could become extinct due to climate changes is anywhere from 25-50%.

Remember that climate change is just one factor in the current extremely high rates of extinction -- about 1,000 times the historic rate. Habitat loss due to expanding human population and excessive resource consumption (poaching comes under than heading...) is linked with the majority of current species extinction.

... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Saturday, August 13, 2011


A YouTube video contributor wrote this:

”On the Morning of May 18th 2011 my wife noticed a deer in our yard that appeared to be frantically looking for something in the rocks that form a wall on property line in Brush Prairie WA...We went out to the area the deer was concentrating on and could hear a baby fawn crying in the rocks.”

Kathleen Noble sent along this heartening video of mankind to the rescue.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Solar Grill Stores Latent Heat for 25-Hour Cook Time at 450F

Image credit: Derek Ham/ Barbeque Lovers

from TreeHugger.com
by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA

We've seen a DIY solar cooker built from old CDs, and we've seen plenty of commercially available solar ovens too. We've even seen one solar-powered grill. But we haven't seen many solar cooking options that can store heat for longer cooking times or hotter temperatures.

Until now.

Derek Ham writes over at Barbeque Lovers about a solar-powered grill project he has been working on that uses latent heat storage to both extend cooking times, create hotter temperatures, and reduce the problem of intermittent sun. Based on technology developed by MIT professor David Wilson, the concept is expected to generate cooking temperatures of 450F, and offer up to 25 hours of cooking time.

If successful, this grill could both alleviate the well-known environmental impact of traditional charcoal grilling, and also offer a cleaner, greener and more socially sustainable cooking option in the developing world:

This study is very timely because although the students are creating a new grill for American backyards, the business plan is designed to allow the grills to be deployed in developing countries as an alternative source for cooking. Wilson originally came up for the idea during his time spent in Nigeria. While there he noticed a large set of problems linked to practice of cooking with firewood.

Of course this design is unlikely to excite the purists who are addicted to the taste of hickory. But then with the American design expected to feature a hybrid solar/propane heating system, and with wood chips for propane grilling commonly available, there should be ways to get a little smoke in your food without the need to burn up the planet.

The students are currently conducting an online survey to gauge the grilling habits of potential customers.

... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Old Guys Rule! A Tribute To Our Beloved Church Elders

Old Guys Rule

If you liked the "Dad Life" you will love this adorable and funny tribute to church elders. As Christians, we affirm our older generation as people we admire, look up to, and want to emulate. Take time to get to know the elders in your community...you could learn a thing or two!

Astonish Me - a short film for the World Wildlife Fund

A magical tale of adventure and discovery showcasing some of the extraordinary species recently found around the world. 'Astonish Me' has been created by acclaimed writer Stephen Poliakoff and director Charles Sturridge to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

For more on 'Astonish Me' and the new species featured in the film visit:


Monday, August 8, 2011

Jazz Vespers – Sunday, September 11 at 7 p.m.

GUELPH, Ontario August 8, 2011 - Norfolk Street United Church is pleased to host Jazz Vespers on Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 7pm.

This Sunday evening program features a Jazz Trio, John Zadro on piano, Andy Klaehn on saxophone and woodwinds and Gary Tomlin on percussion.

Vespers are early evening prayers which include jazz, the lighting of candles, prayers, scripture readings and a short reflection.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Canadian family donates $2 million to support Red Cross relief efforts in Africa

TORONTO, August 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Kroum and Eva Pindoff, the founders of Music World Limited, announced today they will make a personal donation of $2 million to the Canadian Red Cross Horn of Africa Drought fund.

"After seeing stark images of this tremendous tragedy and misery, our family has decided to do what we can to alleviate the suffering," said Kroum Pindoff.

The family decided to make the generous donation as news of the droughts in Africa becomes dire with nearly 11 million people --many of them children- at risk of starvation.

Long-time supporters of the work of the Canadian Red Cross, the Pindoffs hope their generous donation will inspire others to support aid efforts in the Horn of Africa. "I only hope that every Canadian will step up to give whatever they can afford to support the starving children and families in the Horn of Africa," said Eva Pindoff.

"The Canadian Red Cross is extremely grateful for this significant gift and the leadership demonstrated by Kroum and Eva Pindoff," says Conrad Sauvé, secretary general and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "Humanitarian assistance is urgently needed as millions of people continue to suffer from lack of water, food and shelter and basic health care. The situation continues to worsen."

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has a strong presence in the Horn of Africa and is actively scaling up operations to meet the urgent needs of affected communities. To date, Red Cross efforts include deploying 14 mobile health clinics which have given urgently needed medical assistance to almost 18,000 people, providing clean water to almost half a million people and distributing over 300 tons of seeds to farmers who have lost crops.

The Canadian Red Cross has already donated $1 million to support relief efforts in Kenya and Somalia helping to provide immediate life saving assistance and help people recover their livelihoods. "Although these funds will make a tremendous difference in the lives of affected communities, much more is still needed to ensure a sustainable recovery," said Sauvé.

All individual donations of up to $100,000 made between July 6 and Sept 16, 2011 will be matched by the Government of Canada. Those funds will go into a relief fund that is separate from the Canadian Red Cross and will be administered by the Government of Canada. Funds from the matching program will support on-going humanitarian assistance in drought-affected parts of East Africa.

Canadians who wish to support Red Cross Red Crescent efforts in East Africa can make a donation to the Canadian Red Cross Horn of Africa Drought fund. Donations can be made at your local Red Cross office, at www.redcross.ca or by calling 1-800-418-1111 and should be earmarked "Horn of Africa Drought".