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6.30.2009

China Thirsty for Oil


Globe and Mail, June 30, 2009

China's dependence on foreign oil has surpassed that of the United States, as consumers race to the pumps to fill their new cars with gas and the country feverishly stockpiles supplies to take advantage of weak markets.

The country's increasing appetite has driven it to spend billions to acquire foreign oil producers and construct vast storage facilities to safeguard future needs. It also helps explain a rapid rise in oil prices this year, which many attribute to speculators gambling on an economic recovery.

"People trying to explain rising prices look at the West and see high inventory and low demand, so they blame speculators," said Paul Ting, president of Paul Ting Energy Vision LLC in New Jersey. "They are looking in the wrong place - demand is coming from China. And demand has been robust." (Emphasis is ours)

Full article here

6.24.2009

Big eggspectations - Les poules urbaines ont la cot



(Moncton, June 25, 2009) – The Greater Moncton Regional Planning Commission has granted a local group a one-year temporary permit to run an urban experimental farm. The project, sponsored by Post Carbon Greater Moncton, will involve the keeping of up to 4 hens within the city boundaries.

According to Michel Desjardins, spokesperson for Post Carbon Greater Moncton, the pilot project is a step towards more self-sufficiency and food security in the region. “We think food security and self-sufficiency will be a huge issue in the future. This pilot project is one of a broad range of public policy initiatives that need to happen to enhance our food sovereignty” he said.

The group sees the project as a way to mitigate the impact of the energy crisis that is expected to hit the world economy in the future. It is interesting to note that the City of Moncton passed a resolution recently acknowledging the challenge of oil depletion and the need for Moncton to prepare a plan of response and preparation.

According to Michel Desjardins, the pilot project is entirely consistent with the intent of Moncton City Council’s resolution. “Individuals, families and communities need to prepare for a new and more sustained round of oil price hikes. Higher energy prices imply more expensive food. Part of the solution is more local food production, consumption and storage,” he said.

The urban farm will be run by Anne-Marie Laroche and Isabelle Pineault in one of Moncton’s residential neighborhoods. They are delighted by the Commission’s green light and expect to get started immediately.

“We have been waiting for this for several months so we are ready to go,” said Anne-Marie Laroche.

“We are treating this as a research project. We will measure and document the process. We will consult with local stakeholders and look into other communities’ best practices” she said.

The urban farmers and Post Carbon Greater Moncton have promised do deliver a full report to the City of Moncton before December 31, 2010. This report will examine the optimal conditions for small-scale farming in an urban setting and may lay the groundwork for an effective municipal regulatory framework.

Anne-Marie and Isabelle have obtained their neighbors’ support for the project.

There will also be an educational component to the project. Post Carbon Greater Moncton expects to organize tours of the urban farm and hold public sessions on food security and self-sufficiency.

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(Moncton, le 25 juin 2009) – La Commission d’aménagement régional du Grand Moncton a donné son aval hier à un projet de ferme expérimentale en milieu urbain. La Commission délivrera un permis temporaire qui sera en vigueur pendant une période d’un an. Le projet, parrainé par l’organisme Grand Moncton Post Carbone, comprend notamment l’élevage de poules à petite échelle.

Selon le porte-parole de Grand Moncton Post Carbone, Michel Desjardins, le projet pilote constitue un premier pas vers une plus grande autosuffisance et une plus grande sécurité alimentaire dans la région de Moncton. « Nous croyons que l’autosuffisance et la sécurité alimentaire sont un enjeu important de l’avenir. Ce projet pilote constitue une première avancée dans cette direction », a indiqué Michel Desjardins.

Le groupe voit également dans ce projet un antidote à la crise énergétique qui pourrait frapper l’économie mondiale au cours des prochaines années. Fait intéressant à noter : le 15 juin dernier, la ville de Moncton a adopté une résolution reconnaissant le défi lié au plafonnement de la production pétrolière et la nécessité pour Moncton de préparer un plan d'action et d'entreprendre des préparatifs.

Selon le porte-parole de Grand Moncton Post Carbone, le projet pilote s’inscrit parfaitement dans la foulée de cette résolution. « Les individus, les familles et les communautés doivent se préparer à des augmentations plus soutenues des prix de l’énergie. Une augmentation des prix de l’énergie suppose nécessairement une flambée des prix des aliments. Une partie de la solution consiste à produire, consommer et conserver les aliments à une échelle plus locale », a-t-il ajouté.

Le projet pilote sera mené par Anne-Marie Laroche et Isabelle Pineault, deux résidentes d’un quartier résidentiel de Moncton. Elles se disent enchantées du feu vert de la Commission d’aménagement régional et comptent entreprendre le projet immédiatement.

« Nous attendons ce moment depuis plusieurs mois et nos plans sont prêts, » a souligné Anne-Marie Laroche.

« Nous traitons cette expérience comme un projet de recherche. Nous allons mesurer et documenter le processus. Nous allons aussi consulter plusieurs intervenants et étudier les pratiques exemplaires d’autres communautés » a-t-elle ajouté.

Les fermières urbaines et le Groupe Grand Moncton Post Carbone se sont engagés à livrer un rapport complet à la ville de Moncton avant le 31 décembre 2010. Ce rapport examinera les conditions optimales pour une ferme à petite échelle en milieu urbain et pourrait jeter les bases d’une réglementation municipale efficace.

Les résidentes ont obtenu l’approbation de leurs voisins pour mener cette expérience.

Il y aura aussi un volet éducatif au projet. Grand Moncton Post Carbone organisera des tournées de la ferme urbaine et tiendra des séances publiques sur les enjeux de la sécurité et de l’autosuffisance alimentaires.

Hoarding the coop


Globe & Mail - June 24, 2009
At first glance, the backyard in an upscale 1950s Toronto development seems to be typically Canadian. There's a barbecue, patio furniture, a well-kept lawn – and then there are the chickens.

Two hens peck at the grass, while a third broody one sits in the nest. With people in the yard, the curious chickens move toward the orange fencing of the run, their soft cooing barely audible over the hum of neighbours' air conditioners.

Their owner, a middle-aged woman wearing jeans and a black T-shirt with a stylish haircut and funky glasses – who wouldn't give her name for fear of being discovered by city officials – says she is one of about a half-dozen people in Toronto she knows of who secretly keeps chickens on their properties.

“It covers absolutely every type of person,” she says. “Young, old, every ethnic group.”

Full article here

6.23.2009

Moncton City Council Passes Peak Oil Resolution

On June 15 2009, Moncton City Council passed the following resolution:

WHEREAS, World oil production is nearing or has passed its point of maximum production (known as "Peak Oil") and will enter a prolonged period of irreversible decline leading to ever-increasing prices; and

WHEREAS, The availability of affordable petroleum is critical to the functioning of our transportation system, the production of our food and of petrochemical-based consumer goods, the paving of roads, the lubrication of machinery, and myriad other parts of the economy; and,

WHEREAS, Moncton has already demonstrated leadership in confronting challenges of global climate change, including participating in the Cities for Climate Protection program and establishing an Active Transportation and other policy initiatives, and has a rich diversity of citizens committed to maintaining Moncton's long-term viability; be it

RESOLVED, That Moncton City Council acknowledges the unprecedented challenges of Peak Oil; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That Council supports the undertaking of a city-wide assessment study in order to inventory city activities and their corollary resource requirements, evaluating the impact in each area of a decline in petroleum availability and of higher prices, with the aim of developing a comprehensive plan of action and response to Peak Oil; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That Council hereby requests that the Mayor take steps to establish a Peak Oil Task Force, comprising members of Council, the Planning Commission, City and Commission Staff, and the public, to examine the issue of Peak Oil and to develop a framework for adapting to fossil fuel depletion.

Résolution du Conseil de Moncton sur le Pic Pétrolier

Le 15 juin 2009, le Conseil de ville de Moncton a adopté la résolution suivante:


ATTENDU QUE la production pétrolière mondiale a presque ou déjà atteint son sommet (« pic pétrolier ») et qu'elle va entrer dans une période prolongée de déclin irréversible menant à un accroissement sans fin du prix du pétrole;

ET ATTENDU QUE la disponibilité du pétrole à un prix abordable est essentielle au fonctionnement de notre système de transport, à la production de nos aliments et des biens de consommation à base de produits pétrochimiques, à l'asphaltage des routes, au graissage des machines et à une myriade d'autres secteurs de notre économie;

ET ATTENDU QUE Moncton a déjà fait preuve de leadership en relevant des défis liés aux changements climatiques mondiaux, notamment en participant au programme Cities for Climate Protection (villes pour la protection du climat) et en établissant l'initiative de transport actif et d'autres initiatives stratégiques, et que Moncton compte une grande diversité de citoyens qui se sont engagés à maintenir la viabilité à long terme de cette dernière;

IL EST DONC RÉSOLU que le Conseil municipal de Moncton reconnaisse les défis sans précédent liés au plafonnement de la production pétrolière.

IL EST EN OUTRE RÉSOLU que le Conseil appuie la mise en œuvre d'une étude d'évaluation de toute la municipalité afin d'inventorier les activités de Moncton et leurs exigences en matière de ressources accessoires et d'évaluer l'incidence du déclin de la disponibilité du pétrole et de la hausse des prix sur chaque secteur dans le but d'élaborer un plan d'action détaillé par rapport au plafonnement de la production pétrolière.

IL EST EN OUTRE RÉSOLU que le Conseil soutienne la formation d'un groupe de travail sur le plafonnement de la production pétrolière qui sera composé de membres du personnel de la Ville de Moncton et de la Commission du district d'aménagement et de membres du public, afin d'examiner la question du plafonnement de la production pétrolière et d'élaborer un cadre de travail visant l'adaptation à l'épuisement des combustibles fossiles.

6.19.2009

Urban Farming, a Bit Closer to the Sun


NY Times June 19, 2009

THIS summer, Tony Tomelden hopes to be making bloody marys at the Pug in Washington, D.C., with tomatoes and chilies grown above the bar, thanks to the city’s incentives for green roofs.

Mr. Tomelden, the Pug’s principal owner, says he’s planting a garden to take advantage of tax subsidies the city offers in his neighborhood if he covers his roof with plants.

“If I can do something in my corner for the environment, that seemed a reasonable thing to do,” he said. “Plus I can save money on the tomatoes.”

Full article here

6.15.2009

Masse critique - Critical Mass

Reversing globalization



Soaring oil costs will localize economies, expand transit jobs - and green earth

The Hamilton Spectator
(Jun 15, 2009)

If Jeff Rubin had a sprawling house in the suburbs, he'd sell it and move downtown.

The author of Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller thinks the day is not far off when soaring oil prices will mean subdivisions in suburbia will be plowed under for farm fields and the average Canadian won't be able to afford to drive a car.

Globalization will be reversed, he says, with economies becoming much smaller and more local. No more cheap televisions from Korea, no more California strawberries.

Full article here

6.02.2009

Moncton too slow with bike paths

Published in Times & Transcript - June 2, 2009

The City of Moncton has to date failed to vigorously pursue the aim of creating a bicycle friendly city, even though cycling improves fitness, it is environmentally positive and saves riders considerable amounts of money.

Moncton took three years just to adopt a policy after a December 2002 report suggested creating shared or dedicated bike lanes on 17 streets. And in the three years since the 2006 bike lane policy was adopted by council, only six have been created, primarily on streets that were already wide and painting on bike lanes was easy. Two more are scheduled for this year, for a total of eight; less than half the recommended number in 2002.

And what has been done is clearly inadequate and ineffective: once the road narrows or a busy intersection is reached, the bike lanes simply end, leaving cyclists to their own devices in the most dangerous spots. This is tokenism. It is not make cycling more safe or convenient.

Full article here

6.01.2009

Randonnée masse critique - 29 mai 2009







Photos par Brian Branch

Metro falls behind schedule on bike lanes


Published in Times and Transcript on June 1, 2009

The City of Moncton is expanding its network of bike lanes as part of its active transportation master plan, but cyclists, environmentalists and planners agree it remains a work in progress.


Cyclists ride on the riverfront trail in Moncton yesterday.

A December 2002 document outlined Moncton's strategy encouraging people to leave their cars at home and use human-powered means of transportation. To reduce traffic congestion and pollution, it slated shared or dedicated bike lanes for 17 city streets.

"When you look at it, how many things have been implemented?," asks Shawn Harquail, chair of the Greater Moncton Green Alliance. "A lot still needs to be done."

Full article here