Monthly Archives: March 2012



Are any of our readers/followers into artistic design/graphic arts?

If so, read on and good luck if you decide to enter the competition.  Let us know so we can help raise awareness through your efforts.

 The United Nations is now hosting a design competition, calling on so-called European “Artivists” to design ads that support water conservation efforts.

 The competition is part of the DropbyDrop campaign for “The Future We Want” initiative for the Rio+20 conference. DropbyDrop’s aim is to get people motivated to conserve water, the earth’s “most precious resource.” Europeans are now encouraged to find a creative way to raise awareness to a global issue.

The goal of the contest is to design a print advertisement that motivates others to preserve water, for those in need now as well as future generations. Professionals and non-professionals are invited to submit ideas for a newspaper ad that will inspire the European public to change their water habits.

 The winners will have their work displayed on the website. There is a possibility that the work will also be exhibited, and of course placed in European print publications. A jury of graphic designers, photographers and environmental experts will choose who wins.

And, there are prizes, including a 5000 euro cash prize from the Nordic Council of Ministers, a potential internship at Fabrica communication research for participants under 25, and a public voting prize.

 The Future We Want is an interesting campaign aimed at raising awareness of the Rio+20 conference.”This global conference could change the way we think about our world in terms of economic, social and environmental matters,” says Drop by Drop.

“The UN is engaging all citizens to put forward their ideas. Initiatives and competitions like this one from all corners of the globe that will form a part of a global conversation about the Future We Want.”

The Rio+20 conference will focus heavily on the green economy and sustainable development, so the partnership between the conference and this competition make sense. Of course an ad is just a small contribution, but incentives like a competition to bring designers together for a common good shouldn’t be shrugged off.

All entries must use the provided logo, and will be accepted until the end of February. Winners will be announced this June.


For a change of pace, I thought I’d  share some hints I received recently via e-mail. 

Here are some everyday around the kitchen solutions  to save you time and money from your friends at Rainsoft Ottawa.

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.  If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese  in  aluminum foil.  It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful Minty frosting.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummy!

Reheat Pizza Heat up leftover pizza in a non-stick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

Easy Deviled Eggs Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

  Expanding Frosting When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

Reheating refrigerated bread To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

 To wash down all that great food, use filtered water that you trust.

 Anything to make our lives a little easier. Save time, money and make yummy taste wise!


 Once again your friends

at Rainsoft Ottawa have decided

to share another short movie that

will inspire and move you.

Enjoy and share with others!

Incredible photography

Delightful music

 Photos in top right collage: Canada’s Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario, Ottawa Cenotaph, National Gallery of Canada and the Rideau Canal.

 We hope you’ll come back to visit again, and it’s so nice to hear so many positive comments on our blog!!!



At several of its data centers, Google is testing methods for recycling water from cooling systems.

In a couple of the data centers, Google is recycling 100 percent of such water, reports Geek.

The practice means that Google will be able to claim a lower impact on water supplies, an issue that figures to be more and more of a concern.

Joe Kava, Google’s Director of Operations, told Data Center Knowledge that, “Water consumption isn’t a side thought; it’s part of our larger environmental management policy. In the future this will be at the forefront of data center operations.”

Google views its water management as an important aspect of risk reduction, said Erik Teetzel, an Energy Program Manager at the firm.

A 15-megawatt data center can use more than 350,000 gallons of water a day.

By the end of 2010, Google said it is shooting to recycle as much as 80 percent of all water used in its data centers.

In addition to collecting rainwater, other ideas being pursued by Google are to tap into water from a canal and recycling municipal waste water. In both instances, Google said that by avoiding municipal tap water, it is easing demands on local infrastructure.

This Google Web page details its efforts in data center water management.

      Google’s data center water management video

You tube video


 It may be late for New Year’s resolutions, but as Corporate America looks ahead to 2012 annual results, many businesses have vowed to cut back on water consumption.     They’re not just motivated by concern for the environment; nor is it a basic matter of lowering expenses; in many cases, it’s a question of survival.

By most accounts, the golden age of water is over.  Businesses can no longer operate as if there were an infinite supply of clean, usable water. As the global population booms and water demand surges, the supply remains constant, and the cost (and ability) to get it where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, grows increasingly higher (and more complex).

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that water is required to produce electricity, so in many cases, water is not only used as a key ingredient in a product, it’s also used to generate the electricity, which, in turn, is used to make a product.

Small wonder then that manufacturers that spend millions of dollars on water and electricity are rethinking how they use water. And if they’re not thinking about it now, they may be forced to think about it later. Case in point: J.M. Smucker,

parent company of   Folgers coffee

and Dunkin Donuts,   faces intense investor scrutiny for failing to come up with a sustainability plan for its coffee business. A couple key shareholders have requested that the outlining how it will address the risks (including water shortages) to its coffee crop.

This isn’t a new concern. Ford Motor Co. for example, cut water use by 62 percent between 2000 and 2010; now the company hopes by another 30 percent over the next three years. Ford may have had remarkable success, but it’s not an easy goal for every company to achieve.

Honda Motor Co.  tried to cut water usage last year but it didn’t get very far. Instead, the company consumed    17 percent more water in the 2011 fiscal year than it had in the prior year, due to hotter. (Because of the higher temperatures, the company had to use more water to keep its manufacturing facilities air-conditioned.)

While corporate water usage is under increasing scrutiny by the public — in France, there is even talk about requiring the environmental impact of manufacturing specific products — many businesses are still reluctant to dramatically change how they make their goods, in part because it’s difficult to know just where to begin to make these changes, and how to go about making them. Admittedly, it’s an enormous undertaking – but the best place to begin is, generally, by gathering information about your company’s water use, creating metrics to measure water use, and then find ways to begin reducing the use.  Even seemingly small incremental changes can have a dramatic effect over the long term.

IBM,     for example, treats and converts millions of gallons of water in our Burlington, Vermont, semiconductor plant. As one might expect, making semiconductors is an expensive and power-intensive process. Still, between 2000 and 2009 we cut water usage by 29 percent, saving $3.6 million per year, by redesigning the plant to take advantage of naturally occurring weather and water flow patterns. Now, instead of using electricity to cool water, we rely on outside air during the winter months; and we capture energy from the water as it naturally flows into the facility, thereby reducing our power consumption. At the same time, we nearly doubled water productivity — one thousand gallons of water made 80 percent more chips in 2009 than it did in 2000.

Large corporations that are serious about water conservation need to rethink entire processes. Using data collected from a massive network of sensors, companies can analyze a facility’s physical conditions (such as the outdoor temperatures as well as the interior temperatures of different parts of a plant) and determine how best to optimize various processes to take advantage of local conditions.

The technology has proven remarkably effective. Sun World, a Bakersfield, Calif.-based fruit grower, used data analytics to get a better idea of how it could lower its expenses while increasing productivity. The company redesigned some crops so that they were more easily picked, thereby cutting labor costs by 10 percent. The fruit grower also redesigned its irrigation system and lowered fuel use by 20 percent and water consumption by nearly 9 percent.

Although this isn’t an overnight fix, for many companies the long-term benefits data analytics are indisputable. Businesses can lower costs, reduce their environmental impact; and potentially avoid public relations headaches. And, of course, the alternative could be far more dire: Power and water costs that surge past the point of profitability or sustainability.

Michael Sullivan is global program director of IBM Smarter Water.


At the heart of the hearings to decide the future of the Great Bear Sea and Rainforest is whether, and under what conditions, we should permit super tankers and a bitumen pipeline in one of the last intact temperate coastal rainforests on Earth.

 WWWF – CANADA BLOG – January 11, 2012 Posted by Gerald Butts

Please see link I’ve included at the end of this article regarding another threat to our humpback whales

The hearings to decide the future of the Great Bear Sea and Rainforest got off to quite a start this week. Big oil, foreign intrigue, a grassroots uprising, dueling polls, angry Ministers; this one has all the makings of a blockbuster. No wonder the media interest has been so strong.

But all this fervor has obscured the heart of the matter, which is whether and under what conditions we should permit super tankers and a bitumen pipeline in one of the last intact temperate coastal rainforests on Earth.

I suspect most Canadians would be surprised that the proposed route of the Enbridge pipeline bisects this ecological treasure.   Pipeline proponents would rather frame this issue around developing an Asian market for oil sands bitumen – and the allegedly nefarious U.S.-based interests who would prevent U.S. from doing so – than have a science-based debate about the very real risks associated with getting it there via this route.

Kermode or Spirit bear in the Great Bear Rainforest. © Natalie Bowes / WWF-Canada

It is the peculiar Canadian paradox that we are blessed with such natural beauty and abundance that we often fail to value it appropriately.

Even by our standards, however, the Great Bear is a special place.  It is the only habitat in the world for the Spirit Bear, which is rarer than the Giant Panda. Humpbacks, orcas and many other species of cetaceans take advantage of this uniquely quiet cold ocean to prosper. Eagles are as plentiful as sparrows are in Canada’s urban parks.

All five species of Pacific salmon are present, providing the basis for a prosperous fishery. When spawned out or dragged into the forest by grizzlies and bald eagles, these fish deliver the nitrogen needed to grow trees to a size they have no business reaching at this latitude. This in turn allows for healthy and sustainable forestry.

Mercifully, the communities that have been sustained by this wondrous ecosystem for millennia do not share our paradoxical undervaluing of nature. B.C.’s Coastal First Nations know well that Great Bear’s value as a functioning ecosystem dwarfs the tantalizing but fleeting promise of short-term cash from oil revenues.

And they know from history what we know from traditional science: that this meticulously interconnected ecosystem is very vulnerable to disruption. A toxic event, even in Enbridge’s own estimation, cannot be ruled out. The 1,170-kilometre pipeline would divide the rainforest, crossing countless salmon rivers. At Kitimat, toxic diluted bitumen would be loaded onto supersized tankers.

Each year, more than 200 would travel through narrow fjords out into some of the world’s most treacherous seas.

© Andrew S. Wright / WWF-Canada

This isn’t the first time the Great Bear has been threatened. Just 25 years ago, it was slated to be clear-cut. After 15 years of conflict, a group of unlikely allies found a solution. First Nations, forestry companies, NGOs, the Harper and Campbell governments and both Canadian and U.S.-based philanthropists came together to create a world-leading model of ecosystem management and economic development. By combining conservation with better logging practices, and using a public-private funding model to finance new economic development, we found a way to protect the environment and the economy of the Great Bear.

The current question of whether foreign interests can participate in the NEB hearings is curious in this context. Should we prohibit oil sands companies, the majority of which are foreign-owned and operated? It also hypocritical, given that the industry and government has spent untold millions to lobby foreign governments, air PR campaigns in foreign markets and solicit foreign direct investment in the oil sands. The message we are sending the world is that you are free to come to Canada to exploit nature, but not to protect it.

In the interests of full disclosure, less than two per cent of our revenue came from U.S. foundations that have been targeted by smear campaigns recently. We are proud to add that support to the larger contributions we receive from almost 150,000 like-minded Canadians. We are also proud to provide a platform for Canadians who care deeply about conserving nature around the world, from the Amazon to tiger habitats of Russia and south Asia. Most important, we are transparent about our sources and uses of revenue (see, which cannot be said for those leading this spurious campaign.

Ultimately, this debate is a red herring designed to distract. The Great Bear is globally significant. If this development were proposed for the Amazon or the Great Barrier Reef, people around the world would engage. These are irreplaceable sites and input from global citizens who care about nature should be welcome. This expectation ought to be second nature in an open-society such as ours.

A version of this opinion piece ran in The Globe and Mail on January 11, 2012.


Link to “Proposed Enbridge pipeline threatens humpback whales: DFO” below


Today much of the world faces a global safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene crisis. In contrast to easy access to taps and toilets across the United States, one out of every eight people worldwide lacks safe drinking water and two out of every five people lack adequate sanitation.

World Water Day is held every March 22. Recognized by the United Nations and the global community, World Water Day reminds us that much of the world still faces a global water, sanitation and hygiene crisis, and that it is our urgent obligation to act.

A coalition of diverse US-based groups is calling for increased commitments by the US government and private citizens to reduce poverty, disease and hunger by helping to improve sustainable access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation for many millions around the world.

Why Invest in Water and Sanitation?

Water, sanitation & hygiene programs are important in their own right, but they also yield results across multiple sectors, making this investment one of the smartest in tight economic times. Communities with safe drinking water and adequate sanitation see tangible progress in children’s health, school attendance, and local economic development. In addition, many key water, sanitation and hygiene solutions are cost-effective: every $1 invested in water, sanitation and hygiene improvements returns on average $8 in increased economic productivity and averted healthcare costs.

Investments in water, sanitation and hygiene are working, but there is a long way to go. Significant progress has been made globally towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water. The world is on track to meet the MDG targets for water, and in sub-Saharan Africa access to safe drinking water has improved 22% since 1990.

However, many of the most vulnerable countries remain underserved. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, is home to 40% of those without safe drinking water, with at least 15 countries in the region not on track to meet the MDG target. Even more startling, nearly 40% of the world’s population lives without access to adequate sanitation and only a handful of developing countries are on track to meet the MDG target.

What Should Be Done?

US support for water, sanitation and hygiene has produced demonstrable results in thousands of communities around the world.

Solutions include digging wells and boreholes, harvesting rainwater, protecting springs, water filtering and purification, educating families about easy hygiene methods like hand washing and building safe and affordable latrines. Sustainability is key: programs must be implemented in a fashion that is sustainable on a local level, in technical, financial, social, and environmental terms. Integrating simple and cost-effective water, sanitation and hygiene solutions into child survival, health, and nutrition programs can dramatically decrease both child mortality and long-term developmental problems caused by the most common child killers • diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.

We encourage decision-makers to target US funding to the countries and communities most in need. Helping to provide access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation in those communities will also ensure progress toward related goals: improved health, economic productivity, environmental sustainability, and better educational outcomes.

Why now?

The needs are great, and solutions exist today. Today’s investments in global water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives are working. Around the world, successful models for replication exist. While working towards long-term change in infrastructure, capacity building and health systems, the US government and other donors should prioritize funding and implementation for programs that can deliver packages of cost-effective, sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene interventions available today.

About the Coalition for World Water Day

A diverse coalition of safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, health and environmental organizations has come together for World Water Day 2012. Its goal is to raise awareness and call for stronger commitments and more robust action to ensure universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The 2012 coalition includes Action Against Hunger, Africare, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, Church World Service, Conservation International, Earth Day Network, Emory University, FHI 360, Foundation Center Global Soap Project, Global Water Challenge, Helen Keller Institute, Improve International, Innovations for Poverty Action, Lions Club International, Living Water International, Millennium Water Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, PATH, Plan, Procter & Gamble, PSI, Save the Children, Tetra Tech, The Earth Institute at Columbia University, The Nature Conservancy, WASH Advocates, WASRAG, WaterAid, Water and Sanitation Program, Water For People,, and World Vision.




For those facing water shortages, there is much to be thankful for when it comes to the inventive spirit. Thanks to young Australian inventor Edward Linacre, there may one day be no such thing as a water shortage for Australian farmers.

He recently won the £10,000 international James Dyson Award for a “low-tech” device – the Airdrop – that can draw water from the air, besting the work of 500 other inventors.

Linacre, a graduate of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, says he wanted to solve the drought problem afflicting farmers in parts of Australia suffering from drought conditions. His solution, Airdrop, can harvest 11.5 milliliters of water for every cubic meter of air in the driest deserts such as the Negev in Israel, which has an average relative air humidity of 64 percent. A small-scale prototype Linacre installed at his parents’ house created about a liter of water a day. Linacre will use his prize money for further testing on increasing the yield.

As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, instead of using complex, energy-intensive methods such as desalination, Airdrop’s source of water is abundant – the air – and so it can be used anywhere in the world.

Linacre’s Airdrop delivers water to the roots of crops in dry areas by pushing air through a network of underground pipes, cooling it down to the point where water condenses. The water can then be pumped to the roots of plants using drip irrigation methods.

This video interview,

posted by gizmag, helps explain the invention and the sound reasoning behind it. Linacre say he was inspired by the Namib beetle, which survives in landscapes that get just half an inch of rain per year by consuming the dew it collects on the hydrophilic skin of its back. Similarly, the desert rhubarb can harvest 16 times the amount of water than other plants in its region by using deep water channeling cavities in its leaves.

James Dyson, whose charity sponsors the award, said that the device is a low-tech solution that could be installed and maintained by the farmers themselves; it powers itself using solar panels. Dyson offered this insight into the clever invention:

“Biomimicry is a powerful weapon in an engineer’s armory. We chose Edward’s project because it was a very good and original solution to what has become a real problem.”

In addition to Linacre’s cash prize, a further £10,000 has been awarded to Swinburne University. Linacre said without the university’s help he would never have got his idea off the ground.

The James Dyson Award is run by the James Dyson Foundation and each year students of product design, industrial design or design engineering from around the world are invited to enter.

Image: James Dyson Awards

Source: EcoLocalizer (


The western gray whale is on the edge of extinction. There are probably fewer than 130 remaining with less than 26 breeding females. Every year, they come to feed off the coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia, but now a new oil platform threatens the survival of this critically endangered whale.

On the Eastern coast of Russia, the Sea of Ocutzk is a unique and critical environment home to as few as 130 western gray whales with only 26 breeding females remaining.


Their crucial habitat is under immense threat!. These whales teeter on the verge of extinction.  Expanding oil and gas operations in the Sea of Ocutzk threaten the safety and inevitable extinction of these great whales.

With as few as 130 whales, the western gray whale teeters on the edge of extinction. Their critical feeding ground off the Coast of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East is now under threat.

 WWF floated an 11 metre western gray whale down the River Thames this week, to highlight the plight faced by one of the world’s most endangered whales.

“Whale Movie” – the last 130 —- WWF Saving the Western Grey Whale.
Here is a rather cobbled together movie of the making , delivery to the docks and sailing up the Thames. Whale created by Ray Brooks with Ned Pamphilon and Kieren Wimbush , through for WWF . January 2012.


 WWF is stepping in to try and help. You can help them too.

 Sign up to help:


Rainsoft Ottawa sends         

“Happy Springtime” 

to all our friends we’ve

met through our blog.

May your spring season be

happy, healthy & prosperous.


  I hope you enjoy the Ottawa springtime collage I created for you.


How does the kiddie’s springtime rhyme go?…

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris’, I wonder where ‘dem birdies is!  The birds is on the wing!
Don’t be absurd!
Da wings is on the bird!!!


The collage below contains photos taken in Ottawa’s Byward Market area.

Hope to have you visit with us again tomorrow!!!