Birch Bark Coffee Provides Drinkable Water

Coffee production takes a lot of water and produces a wonderful bean filtered drink at the end. In Canada many aboriginal communities are suffering from a lack of potable water let alone good coffee. The plight of these communities enrages Canadians since one of the wealthiest nations in the world can’t even provide drinkable water for its citizens. Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow saw the hardships faced in these communities and decide to do something: make coffee that will fund sustainable healthy potable water.

In March, Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, a member of the Whitefish River First Nation, launched the Birch Bark Coffee Company, an Ottawa-based coffee roastery that produces fair trade, certified-organic coffee.

More than just a coffee company, Birch Bark is a social enterprise: $2.50 from the sale of every pound of coffee will go into a trust to purchase water purifiers for every home in an Indigenous community in Ontario that’s experiencing water issues.

“I really can’t fix the bigger problem of the water plant, but I can definitely bring clean water into a home instantly,” Marsolais-Nahwegahbow said. “And when I’m done Ontario, I’m moving my way across Canada to work on every province.”

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Refugees Who Helped Snowden Welcomed to Canada

safe texting

One of the families who helped American whistleblower Edward Snowden stay safe while he was in Hong Kong have arrived in Canada. Snowden provided proof to the world that the USA spies on everyone including their own citizens. Due to his brave act he was the most wanted man on the planet and his safety was not assured by any state. During those few days in Hong Kong a couple families provided Snowden shelter since they too knew what it was like to be threatened by their own government.

It’s so nice to see that refugees who were struggling took time to help another in a similar situation get a happy next step. You can find out more about the Snowden refugees at For The Refugees.

“They are extremely brave people who have nothing, but when someone in distress needed them, they opened their doors,” said Montreal-based Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, one of the lawyers with the group.

“Instead of letting them live in a terrible situation without a future, we wanted to do something for them, as they wanted to do something for Edward Snowden.”

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Weed is Legal in Canada

lighter and joint

Canadians can get high on their own supply thanks to marijuana legalization in the country, which starts today. The motivation for making marijuana illegal in Canada is arguably based on classism and racism. Indeed, the entire war on drugs has destroyed so many lives and it’s time for us to change our approach to drugs from a criminal issues to a health issue. Canada might be setting the stage for that switch; since a serious benefit is that people who were charged for pot should have the charges repealed this week.

Now go relax by enjoying some pot in a reasonable fashion.

The prime minister has argued that Canada’s nearly century-old laws criminalising use of the drug have been ineffective, given that Canadians are still among the world’s heaviest users.

Government officials told reporters on Tuesday that they are currently considering a fast-track process to allow people who have been convicted of possession to apply for legal pardons. There are currently some 500,000 Canadians with existing criminal records for possession.

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Coast to Coast Artistic Billboards for Resilience in Canada

Resilience (English) from MAWA Programs on Vimeo.

Thanks to the Resilience art project from now until August art is being shown on billboards from coast to coast in Canada. You can locate billboards near you (or on your travels) via their map. It’s a creative way to use billboards to make the world a better place instead of filled with the same old consumer messages. Images by 50 First Nations, Inuit and Métis women artists are being featured not only as an artistic act but also as a political act.

The Resilience billboard exhibition is a response to Call to Action #79 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report: the integration of “Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada’s national heritage and history.” The call supports collaborations among Aboriginal peoples and the arts community to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration. This project is Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art – MAWA’s answer to that call: a creative act of reconciliation, and a public celebration and commemoration of the work of Indigenous women artists, who are still vastly under-represented, not only in positions of power in commerce and politics, but within the art world as well.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Canada Banning the Capture of Dolphins & Whales

Increased coverage in media about the inhumane treatments of marine animals by entertainment facilities are impacting Canadian laws. Thanks to the efforts of documentarians, like in Blackfish, and concerned citizens Canada is making it illegal to capture dolphins and whales. Criminal code penalties are being considered by the senate to really drive home that Canada thinks this practice is wrong.

“The public acceptance of keeping these majestic creatures in captivity has changed and we think the law should also change to reflect that so we’re going to ban the taking of cetaceans,” Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc told reporters in Vancouver. “We think Canadians massively support that principle.”

There has been no live-capture of cetaceans for captivity in Canada since 1992. In recent years, however, wild-caught beluga whales and bottlenose dolphins have been imported from foreign sources.

The Senate bill would prohibit the import of a cetacean, or the sperm, a tissue culture or an embryo of one of these mammals.

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