Wednesday Night #1624 – EcoMaris

Written by  //  April 17, 2013  //  Catherine Gillbert, Wednesday Nights  //  1 Comment

All the tension and excitement of the Liberal Leadership race-to-the-finish is over;  it is finally confirmed that Justin Trudeau won and true to form, the Harper machine attack ads have started. We  also have had our allotted portion of NDP rhetoric including exposure to the newly-minted warm and fuzzy public persona of Thomas Mulcair. Brace yourselves for the end of Parliament’s recess on Monday.

ecomaris logo-en
So we thought to change the subject completely for part of the evening and invite Johanne Whitmore to introduce to you a wonderful project: the ÉcoMaris, environmental sail training ship and the St-Lawrence Sailing program developed by ÉcoMaris that offers participants a concrete way to learn about the environment by teaching them to sail aboard the beautiful Roter Sand Some of you have already received the Annual report and invitation to the launch of the ÉcoMaris Foundation on May 8th at the Marché Bonsecours. Anyone who has not, but would like to, please let us know and we will be pleased to forward them. We should add that we had hoped to host a Wednesday Night aboard the ship this spring, but unfortunately schedules didn’t mesh before she sails to Rimouski to her summer quarters, so we will have to postpone until fall.

In the wake (well, what else did you expect?) of the off-shore safe haven story, we note that suddenly there has been a flurry of discussion of Bitcoin with reactions to the phenomenon varying from Slate’s Fool’s Gold Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme—the Internet’s favorite currency will collapse to The Economist’s less accusatoryVirtual currencies — Mining digital gold , while CBC Bitcoin: Bubble or Bank? ties this development to the banking crisis in Cyprus. However, Emerging Markets says Forget Bitcoins, trash [waste management is the more elegant term] is the next big investment. At least that’s according to some strategists who believe this unusual asset class is set to grow

On the other hand, there is a much more savory alternative investment that may be of interest – although it appears to involve some back-breaking work. Who knew that a small community in the Macedonian plain of Greece is thriving thanks to the harvesting of saffron, second only to the Iranian species in terms of quality? A kilo is worth some $2,600, but requires the harvesting by hand of some 150,000 crocus flowers during a two-week period.

Not sure how any of this fits into Ron Meisels’ charts and cycles and we will have to wait at least three weeks for his return from Turkey.

Have you been paying attention to the Royal Bank’s PR woes over the hiring of temporary foreign workers? The practice is hardly new, Temporary Foreign Workers: 18 Of 50 Largest Canadian Employers Using Them, but it appears that the aim of the TFW Act has become more than slightly distorted. When the CBC broke the Royal Bank story, howls went up on social media and caught Mr. Harper’s attention – he has promised to look into the situation. And the RBC has now apologized quite abjectly. Our friend and former Wednesday Nighter, Sean Silcoff gives an even-handed analysis on The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Sean Silcoff: RBC Outsourcing Controversy and notes that RBC’s shares are slightly up.

North Korea remains troublesome, although on Saturday the Globe & Mail sounded an exceptionally hopeful note U.S., China agree to rid North Korea of nuclear weaponsReuters is somewhat more sanguine, pointing out that “Beijing made no specific commitment in public to pressure its long-time ally to change its ways”. Perhaps the key phrase is ‘in public’. Let us hope so. Meanwhile, among China’s domestic problems is the increasing toll of rampant pollution as detailed in Choking on China — The Superpower That Is Poisoning the World “Recent headlines have been shocking: 16,000 decaying pig carcasses in Shanghai’s Whampoa River, dire air quality reports in Beijing, and hundreds of thousands of people dying prematurely because of environmental degradation.” Not to mention H7N9

As important events generally happen on Wednesdays, Margaret Thatcher’s ceremonial/state funeral will naturally be held this Wednesday amidst considerable controversy, not only regarding her legacy on which it seems everyone has a view, but even about the nature of the funeral. A propos her legacy, Tony Burman points out in a quite acerbic piece for The Star that as PM she is better loved in death than in life and was far more popular abroad than at home. That should set the proverbial cat among the conversing pigeons.

We are sad that our OWN Catherine Gillbert will not be with us this evening for a topic that combines two of her passions, however, she is off on another trek, this time to hike the 800-kilometre El Camino de Santiago. She is being recognized as Montrealer of the week on April 15th, so be sure to check for the feature Once again, Catherine will be raising funds for Our Harbour and hopes to blog on their website.

While we hope that Catherine will not require such drastic intervention, there does seem to be a segue to our feel-good story of the week, the delightful account of the collaborative effort of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and engineering students at Northwestern University to solve a ‘penguin podiatry problem’.

One Comment on "Wednesday Night #1624 – EcoMaris"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson May 10, 2013 at 2:32 am ·

    «Roter Sand»
    À la découverte du fleuve Saint-Laurent
    Lever l’ancre et naviguer paisiblement sur le fleuve, le vent dans les voiles. Pour la première année, le voilier-école Roter Sand proposera au public, dès jeudi, des expéditions de navigation sur le fleuve Saint-Laurent.
    Sur le pont, des cordes sont enroulées, la voile est pliée et le mat trône au centre du voilier. Dans la cale, une grande table est installée au centre de la pièce principale. De chaque côté, longeant la coque, six lits superposés où dormiront les apprentis matelots.
    Le projet, destiné aux jeunes de 15 à 25 ans, est né de la passion pour la navigation du fondateur et directeur général d’ÉcoMaris, un organisme dédié à la sensibilisation à l’environnement via des projets en nautisme. «On protège ce que l’on aime et on aime ce que l’on connaît, explique le fondateur Simon Paquin. Le constat est que les gens connaissent peu le fleuve, parce qu’ils ont peu de moyens pour le faire et un des meilleurs moyens de le découvrir, c’est de le naviguer».

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