Category Archives: Charities

Floating gardens prevent climate change damage

The Floating Gardens of Bangladesh MAIN ICON Farming on Water to Prevent the Effects of Climate Change
By Amy Yee, Nov. 18, 2014 of the New York TimesTENDING GARDEN BEST

CHARBHANGURA, Bangladesh — Each year the brown waters of the Gumani river swell during the summer monsoon, creeping over the surrounding fields to flood Charbhangura, a village of 2,500 people in the Pabna district of northwest Bangladesh.

From July to October the waters can rise at least 10 feet. The trunks of trees more than 30 feet away from the dry season riverbed show watermarks waist high. When the fields flood, the village’s farmers have no work.

“There is water all around,” said Hafiza Khatun, 25, a mother of two whose family income used to vanish for six months of the year when her farm laborer husband had nothing to do. “There was no happiness.”

But three years ago, Ms. Khatun was trained by Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, a Bangladeshi nonprofit organization, to tend an unusual source of food and income: a floating farm with a duck coop, fish enclosures and vegetable garden moored by rope to the riverbank. Five to 10 women can share the structure, splitting about 130,000 taka, or about $1,700, a year. Shidhulai supplies seeds, fish and duck feed and other materials that cost about 10,000 taka. This money goes a long way in rural Bangladesh, especially for villagers struggling to survive. Ms. Khatun, who has no education and bore the first of her two children when she was 15, previously earned nothing. DUCK COOPDucks quacked loudly as Ms. Khatun gathered eggs in the coop, ushering some of them outside to the “duck run,” a stretch of water between fish enclosures. She had never raised ducks or fish before the training, Ms. Khatun said, but “nothing has been very difficult.” The duck coop, originally built on a bamboo platform, now rests atop more-buoyant plastic oil drums — recycled and found materials are enthusiastically used alongside locally grown bamboo. Villagers can now build the entire structure for the equivalent of $260, which is covered by Shidhulai, Mr. Rezwan said.

This documentary, uploaded on Feb 26, 2008, shows an adaptation technique used to deal with flood and water-logging in the South Central part of Bangladesh. Copyright CLACC / BCAS Mohamed Ali, Abdul Shakoor Sindhu, Mariam Rashid and MD Abdul Alim

Climate change threatens to worsen the severity and duration of floods in low-lying Bangladesh.  

  IMAGE2   OPEN FURROW

Floating farms — and produce that can flourish in flood conditions — are a way to help Bangladeshis live with rising waters. “There is big demand for solutions for climate change-affected areas,” said Mohammed Rezwan, the founder and executive director of Shidhulai. With the extra income from selling eggs, fish and vegetables, Ms. Khatun started saving money in a bank for the first time, bought a bed to keep her and her family off wet ground in their dirt-floored home, and helps her husband support the family.

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TENDING GARDEN BEST

In northern Bangladesh, agricultural land is regularly flooded as rivers are engorged by the annual Himalayan snow melt and monsoon rains. In one of the world’s most densely populated countries, where 156 million people live in an area the size of Iowa, thousands are left with no way to earn a living. Many migrate to already overcrowded cities, contributing to urban blight.

Mr. Rezwan founded Shidhulai as a 22-year-old architecture graduate in 1998. That year, disastrous flooding in Bangladesh killed 700 people and left 21 million homeless. 
Initially, Mr. Rezwan focused on building schools on boats, and worked to ensure that thousands of children would not fall behind when roads were blocked by floodwaters.

To date, the nonprofit’s fleet, which now numbers 22 schools, five health clinics and 10 libraries, has provided continuity of education and other services for more than 70,000 children in villages isolated by seasonal floods. Four years ago it started to also build floating farms for villagers, and particularly the landless poor, to help them eke out a living during the months of floods.

So far there are 40 floating IMAGE4farms that are worked by about 300 women: Mr. Rezwan has ambitious plans to create 400, to serve 3,000 women and their families in the next few years. He also argues that the floating farm concept could help other riverine developing countries, as has been the case with floating schools. “They have the potential to be replicated around the world,” he said.

IMAGE7Shidhulai’s school boats have been copied in several other countries, including the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nigeria and Zambia. A floating farm measures about 56 feet long and 16 feet wide. The coop can house 100 ducks and is equipped with a small solar panel to power lights inside. It floats on empty oil drums, plastic containers and a bamboo platform.

Mr. Rezwan took his initial concept for the farms from floating gardens that had been used in southern Bangladesh for hundreds of years. 

Those gardens layered water hyacinths — a type of weed — over bamboo structures and topped the resulting artificial island with soil to grow vegetables.

The design had to be modified however, to suit local conditions. The southern model didn’t work in the north, where heavier rains waterlogged the vegetable beds and it was difficult to create drainage. Water hyacinth was also less plentiful in the north.

Related links:

Youtube video, published on Feb 6, 2013, gives background information (in English subtitles) and step by step instructions for creating these gardens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK_qTm2pUsw

Remembrance Day Canada ~ Standing Strong & True!

I’ve decided to add this 2010 Youtube music video, “Standing Strong & True (For Tomorrow)” to a previous blog as it reflects our young men and women in the Canadian Forces facing more recent conflicts on our behalf.  The song lyrics and the performing  Canadian artists are impressive.  “Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow),” is an all-star Canadian country single dedicated to fallen Canadian soldiers and their families.

link for “Standing Strong and True” lyrics ~

http://www.metrolyrics.com/standing-strong-and-true-lyrics-various-artists.html

“In a war, everyone suffers…
never let it happen again.”

Music played an important role in the lives of Canadian soldiers. It also plays an integral part of The War Amps military heritage documentaries.

Accompanied by archival war footage and period photographs, several well-known Canadian musicians have used their talents to create beautiful and touching songs. The songs recall the sadness of families separated during wartime, as well as the courage and heroism of the Canadian troops who volunteered to go off to war.

“War is not heroics nor is it pride
It’s a shame to lose all those precious lives
Life is too short. We could love for so long
                                 Where’s the glory? NEVER AGAIN!”
Please see below for composer’s photo and short bio. 

YouTube video, “Never Again The War Amps

Sun Media photographer Pete Fisher presents a video tribute to our fallen Canadian soldiers ~ uploaded by on Jan 1, 2009.   It warms my heart to see that 351,228 viewers have watched this video. 

I, along with thousands of other Canadian families, suffered the loss of loved ones during WWI.  My father served in WW1 and was gassed in the Battle of Ypres, France.  He died as a direct result years later.  (See footnote with details of this battle).  It’s so very heart warming to witness the obvious heartfelt gratitude and thanks expressed for fallen members of our Canadian Military as people turn out by the thousands to honor our fallen as they make their journey home, along the Highway of Heroes, to their final resting place.

YouTube video, “Highway of Heroes Tribute” ~

Links ~

http://www.waramps.ca/military/resource_kit.html 

Robin Moir is the composer of the song in the video, “Never Again”.  Robin is a writer, producer, director who began her career as a singer/songwriter spending many years performing concerts across Canada and the USA. In 1967 she performed for Queen Elizabeth II on July 1st during Canada’s centennial celebrations on Parliament Hill. In the late 1970s, she was nominated for a Juno Award for Best New Female Vocalist.  We were very fortunate to have Robin sing her memorable song at our Remembrance Day Service at church a number of years ago with my choir.

This is a time of grateful remembering. We are grateful for the privilege of living in this great country of ours complete with its many freedoms. We remember with grateful hearts, those who fought so valiantly so that we might enjoy these freedoms and live at peace. Many paid the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. To them we say “Thank you. We will never forget you.” To the families of those who fought and lost, please know that we will forever keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

I leave you with a very moving video/music uploaded to YouTube by on Oct 26, 2010, “Remembrance Day Canada (‘Soldiers Cry’ by Roland Majeau)”.

Please read the story behind the video on YouTube.

Footnote ~ Information from Wikipaedia ~  (In the First Battle of Ypres (12 October to 11 November 1914), the Allies captured the town from the Germans. The Germans had used tear gas at the Battle of Bolimov on 3 January 1915. Their use of poison gas for the first time the on 22 April 1915 marked the beginning of the Second Battle of Ypres, which continued until 25 May 1915. They captured high ground east of the town. The first gas attack occurred against Canadian, British, and French soldiers; including both metropolitan French soldiers as well as Senegalese and Algerian tirailleurs (light infantry) from French Africa. The gas used was chlorine. Mustard gas, also called Yperite from the name of this city, was also used for the first time near Ypres, in the autumn of 1917.   Ruins of Ypres -1919.  Of the battles, the largest, best-known, and most costly in human suffering was the Third Battle of Ypres (21 July to 6 November 1917, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele), in which the British, Canadians, ANZAC, and French forces recaptured the Passchendaele Ridge east of the city at a terrible cost of lives. After months of fighting, this battle resulted in nearly half a million casualties to all sides, and only a few miles of ground won by Allied forces. During the course of the war the town was all but obliterated by the artillery fire.)

Remembrance Day Canada – Standing Strong & True!

I’ve decided to add this 2010 Youtube music video, “Standing Strong & True (For Tomorrow)” to a previous blog as it reflects our young men and women in the Canadian Forces facing more recent conflicts on our behalf.  The song lyrics and the performing  Canadian artists are impressive.  “Standing Strong and True (For Tomorrow),” is an all-star Canadian country single dedicated to fallen Canadian soldiers and their families.

link for “Standing Strong and True” lyrics ~

http://www.metrolyrics.com/standing-strong-and-true-lyrics-various-artists.html

“In a war, everyone suffers…
never let it happen again.”

Music played an important role in the lives of Canadian soldiers. It also plays an integral part of The War Amps military heritage documentaries.

Accompanied by archival war footage and period photographs, several well-known Canadian musicians have used their talents to create beautiful and touching songs. The songs recall the sadness of families separated during wartime, as well as the courage and heroism of the Canadian troops who volunteered to go off to war.

“War is not heroics nor is it pride
It’s a shame to lose all those precious lives
Life is too short. We could love for so long
                                 Where’s the glory? NEVER AGAIN!”
Please see below for composer’s photo and short bio. 

YouTube video, “Never Again The War Amps

Sun Media photographer Pete Fisher presents a video tribute to our fallen Canadian soldiers ~ uploaded by on Jan 1, 2009.   It warms my heart to see that 351,228 viewers have watched this video. 

I, along with thousands of other Canadian families, suffered the loss of loved ones during WWI.  My father served in WW1 and was gassed in the Battle of Ypres, France.  He died as a direct result years later.  (See footnote with details of this battle).  It’s so very heart warming to witness the obvious heartfelt gratitude and thanks expressed for fallen members of our Canadian Military as people turn out by the thousands to honor our fallen as they make their journey home, along the Highway of Heroes, to their final resting place.

YouTube video, “Highway of Heroes Tribute” ~

Links ~

http://www.waramps.ca/military/resource_kit.html 

Robin Moir is the composer of the song in the video, “Never Again”.  Robin is a writer, producer, director who began her career as a singer/songwriter spending many years performing concerts across Canada and the USA. In 1967 she performed for Queen Elizabeth II on July 1st during Canada’s centennial celebrations on Parliament Hill. In the late 1970s, she was nominated for a Juno Award for Best New Female Vocalist.  We were very fortunate to have Robin sing her memorable song at our Remembrance Day Service at church a number of years ago with my choir.

This is a time of grateful remembering. We are grateful for the privilege of living in this great country of ours complete with its many freedoms. We remember with grateful hearts, those who fought so valiantly so that we might enjoy these freedoms and live at peace. Many paid the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. To them we say “Thank you. We will never forget you.” To the families of those who fought and lost, please know that we will forever keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

I leave you with a very moving video/music uploaded to YouTube by on Oct 26, 2010, “Remembrance Day Canada (‘Soldiers Cry’ by Roland Majeau)”.

Please read the story behind the video on YouTube.

Footnote ~ Information from Wikipaedia ~  (In the First Battle of Ypres (12 October to 11 November 1914), the Allies captured the town from the Germans. The Germans had used tear gas at the Battle of Bolimov on 3 January 1915. Their use of poison gas for the first time the on 22 April 1915 marked the beginning of the Second Battle of Ypres, which continued until 25 May 1915. They captured high ground east of the town. The first gas attack occurred against Canadian, British, and French soldiers; including both metropolitan French soldiers as well as Senegalese and Algerian tirailleurs (light infantry) from French Africa. The gas used was chlorine. Mustard gas, also called Yperite from the name of this city, was also used for the first time near Ypres, in the autumn of 1917.   Ruins of Ypres -1919.  Of the battles, the largest, best-known, and most costly in human suffering was the Third Battle of Ypres (21 July to 6 November 1917, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele), in which the British, Canadians, ANZAC, and French forces recaptured the Passchendaele Ridge east of the city at a terrible cost of lives. After months of fighting, this battle resulted in nearly half a million casualties to all sides, and only a few miles of ground won by Allied forces. During the course of the war the town was all but obliterated by the artillery fire.)

6TH ANNUAL OTTAWA CHRISTMAS CONCERT and CAROL SING

CONCERT BLOG POSTER

  6th Annual Community Concert & Carol Sing 

 St. Timothy’s Presbyterian Church

2400 Alta Vista Drive

Sunday, Dec. 1, 2:00 p.m.

    ~ Presented by ~   

Garth Hampson
Dominic D’Arcy
NorthWinds Brass Quintet
Scola Basilicae
Linda Major
The fiVe Woodwind Quintet
The Emmanubells
St. Tim’s African Chorus
Natalie Harrison, Dominic D’Arcy’s Rising Star
Ainsley Phillips, Dominic D’Arcy’s Rising Star
St. Tim’s Choir

   Come join us for an afternoon of  

Christmas music and carol singing ~

a wonderful way to ‘sing in’ the Advent season

   Refreshments following  

   Free will donations in aid of
            the Heron Emergency Food Centre

   Come Celebrate with us

   Plenty of parking and Handicap accessible.

Six years ago, as Organist and Music Director of St. Timothy’s Presbyterian Church, I organized our first Christmas Community Concert and Carol Sing in aid of the Heron Emergency Food Centre.
Now I am so pleased to invite you to our ‘6th’ concert this coming Sunday afternoon.

                        Hope to see you there!   

 

ALEXANDRA COUSTEAU ON THE OTTAWA RIVER

COUSTEAU OTTAWA RIVER

ALEX PHOTOAlexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the famed oceanographer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau, was in the Ottawa for a 13-day filmmaking trip to the Ottawa River watershed as part of a project to make three short documentaries on the Ottawa River, in co-operation with the Ottawa Riverkeeper group. Cousteau and    Riverkeeper Meredith Brown took to the water to sample the river near the Hull Marina, testing for oxygen, phosphorus and nitrogen in the water.  The documentary is about the Ottawa River and its tributaries, focusing on issues of waterway management and conservation. 

RIVERKEEPER LOGOIn my previous blog the video, ‘Ottawa River Keeper’ provides historical background and impressive scenery for  today’s video, “Alexandra Cousteau on the Ottawa River”, published on Youtube September 14, 2013.

BLUE LEGACY LOGOAlexandra Cousteau heads the Washington-based Blue Legacy foundation, which is “dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet.”

The three documentaries will be released in the spring of 2014.

 Link ~ … “The goal of our water quality monitoring program is to provide communities with timely, easy-to-understand information on water quality along their reach of the river; MEREDITH BROWNinformation that is surprisingly difficult, if not impossible, to get elsewhere,” says Riverkeeper Meredith Brown. “Not only does this engage communities in protecting the river, they have a right to know what’s in their water.”…

http://www.fondationdegaspebeaubien.org/en/news/alexandra-cousteau-tells-the-story-of-her-10-days-expedition-on-the-ottawa

OTTAWA RIVER KEEPER ~ IMPRESSIVE VIDEO

OTTAWA RIVER

The following video, “Ottawa River Keeper”, was uploaded on Mar. 10, 2008, by Lu Utronki.  This video is designed to bring awareness to the importance of the Ottawa River for sustainability. 

The Ottawa River flows through the provinces of Quebec and Ontario for over 1200 kilometres.  There are almost 2 million people who live throughout the Ottawa River watershed.  To the Algonquin First Nations who lived by its banks and traveled by canoe the river was known as the Kitchi-sippi, meaning “The Great River“.  Visitors such as white water paddlers, fishing enthusiasts and river trippers from around the world looking for a wilderness experience  enjoy the Ottawa River year round.  The Ottawa River is a globally significant river and is part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence watershed, and is the largest freshwater system in the entire world.

Hope to see you back here for our next blog featuring “Ottawa River Keeper Part 2″ and “Alexandra Cousteau on the Ottawa River” – a Youtube video published this year on September 14th.

SOPHISTICATED GROUNDWATER MONITORING VIA SATELLITE

WATERCANADALOGOThe following excerpts are taken from Water Canada’s March/April 2013 article, “UNDERGROUND NETWORK – From sensors below the surface to satellites  somewhere in orbit, groundwater monitoring is becoming more  sophisticated”, by Erin Pehlivan.

HELEN APIO CHARITY.ORGHelen Apio is filled with joy as she collects clean water in her Northern Uganda village.  When she didn’t have water, she would walk to the nearest well—2.4 kilometres away—and wait in line with hundreds of other women, clutching two empty five-gallon water cans, anticipating stock.

BC GROUNDWATERCharity: water has helped women like Apio by introducing a unique water technology that detects groundwater in developing countries. Founded in 2006, charity: water’s first project was to install six wells in a Ugandan refugee camp.  They bought a GPS for $100, took it to Uganda, visited each project location and plotted six points on Google Maps, making the information and images public on their website.  Six years later, the charity has funded over 6,994 water projects in 20 countries serving over 2.5 million people with clean drinking waterCHARITY PUMP SENSORSThey have recently been allocated US$5 million for a pilot project via Google’s Global Impact Award to develop remote sensor technology specifically for groundwater.

So far, the charity has mapped each of its water projects to see how they function in real-time.  The remote sensor technology will help keep them posted on whether water is flowing at any of their projects, at any given time, anywhere in the world.

The efficient design of remote sensor technology means that individual community members don’t need to visit every project physically to ensure constant water flow.  These sensors manage time, budgets and resources with ease, allowing more time to be spent analyzing the actual water sample itself in the lab.

Below the surface: While real-time technology is growing more common throughout the water industry, groundwater applications are scarce.

RICHARDRichard Kolacz, president of Global Spatial Technology Solutions Inc. (GSTS), observes smart sensor capabilities that connect to groundwater sensors in Canada, allowing people to collect information from the sensors remotely.

GSTS LOGO2One Ontario conservation authority is already using one of GSTS’s water sensor prototypes on site.  Initially, conservation authorities collected information manually.  Now they’re able to collect it remotely.  “We’ve developed an interface – a means of connecting to a groundwater sensor— to collect information in a format that the conservation authority likes,” says Kolacz.  “Rather than waiting six months or more to collect data, they could have it back instantly.”

GROUNDWATER SENSORSThe data coming from groundwater sensors to conservation authorities allows them to monitor water quality and quantity, and helps them understand the health and use of the water.

What’s so important about monitoring water data?  The data could help First Nations communities in northern Ontario, according to Kolacz.  “We would have the ability to monitor key data points on potentially clean or waste water treatment plants, and provide opportunities to monitor the health and status of those facilities remotely,” he says.

Much like charity: water, the difficulty with GSTS’s prototype comes from having to train staff to manage facilities. The data still has to be analyzed, and the quality of that analysis depends upon a certain level of knowledge.

Please note:  I found the following YouTube video, published on Mar 27, 2013, that is directly related to the above information.  Mr. Kolacz speaks about GSTS’s most recent application regarding goundwater monitoring.  His presentation dealing with this topic runs from 3:20 to 7:30 on the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tEIb4z3YFe0#at=237

CHARITY SENSORS2Meanwhile, charity: water’s goal is to develop and install 4,000 low-cost remote sensors in existing and new water projects globally, all of which will transmit real-time data to the charity, its partners, and eventually to donors via status updates.  Canada can learn from this model. According to the 2010 Review and Assessment of Canadian Groundwater Resources, Management, Current Research Mechanisms and Priorities by theCCME LOGO Canadian Council of Ministers of the  Environment, practitioners in the field need access to organized groundwater data.  With projects like the ones charity: water and GSTS are piloting, that access can skyrocket.

SATELITEGroundwater is a valuable resource, but it is poorly understood and expensive to investigate. Incentives to effectively manage the resource are low. But respondents of the aforementioned review demand significant effort from the provincial government databases to provide up-to-date groundwater information accessible online. And once we embrace the new insights of cloud-based collaboration and networked sensor arrays, science-based policy will develop and advance, leading to more responsible water resource management and investments – especially when it comes to the murky and mysterious water that flows beneath us. Erin Pehlivan is a Toronto-based writer.

Related links ~

http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/geography-boundary/remote-sensing/geospatial/1196

for Charity:water ~ http://washfunders.org/Blog/(offset)/30