Sonics and Sojourns delivers quality and incredible variety

Ticket headquarters - Sonics and Sojourns

Ticket headquarters for Sonics and Sojourns - Poor Michael's Bookshop, Art and Café

One of the things about small towns is that they often are the most amazing places to find people who choose to live there, enjoy living there, and find unique ways to be entrepreneurs, artists, or community contributors.   They are family people, singles, couples, and sometimes retired.

Onanole is no exception – as a gateway community to the national park, it harbors artists, musicians and songwriters, a talented teaching staff at the local elementary school, the world’s greatest escape artist (Dean Gunnarson), the wonderfully talented Murray Evans (Dust Poets), environmental award-winning golf course superintendent Greg Holden and many others.  These people are all presentors or providing workshops or sessions at this year’s edition of Sonics and Sojourns, a festival of learning and music.

We hope that you will be able to make it out to see some of these talented folks.  Tomorrow night (Tuesday, Sept. 22), Dean Gunnarson puts on an amazing evening of Tricks, Treats and Tales of Adventure ending in a dramatic escape from underwater at the Onanole Community Centre.   Time:  7:00 PM.  Tickets:  $10

We hope to see you at the festival!  Check out Flickr photos on our Flickr Photostream.


Fascinating NASA time lapse video of cryosphere

NASA has recently updated parts of their time lapse satellite tour of the earth’s cryosphere, using state of the art computer animation.  Below is an excerpt from their press release…

“The term cryosphere refers collectively to the portions of the earth where water is in solid form, including snow cover, floating ice, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, seasonally frozen ground and perennially frozen ground (permafrost), according to the NSIDC.

The Tour of the Cryosphere 2009″ combines satellite imagery and state-of-the-art computer animation software to create a fact-filled and visually stunning tour that shows viewers the icy reaches of Antarctica, the glacier-pocked regions along the Andes Mountains, the winter snows of the American West, the drifting expanse of polar sea ice, and the shrinking Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland.”

The Midway Journey

An artistic (video, photography) exposure of the Midway Atoll.

“Midway Atoll is a collection of three small islands in the North Pacific, about halfway between the US and Asia, and one of the remotest places on earth.

It is located near the apex of the Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling soup of millions of tons of plastic pollution.  The islands are covered with plastic garbage, illustrating on several levels, the interconnectedness and interdependence of the systems on our finite planet.” – from Midway Journey, the website.

The video tells a story:

Why 350ppm CO2 is the target figure

350-org-bill-mckibben-nasa-scientist-james-hansen-ppm-parts-per-million-atmospheric-c02-global-campaign-multiligual-middlebury-college-environmental-studies-scholarIn a recent article on Planet Green online (which is one of the best online resources for planet-friendly food, health, fashion, transportation, travel and work solutions) noted author and Bill McKibben noted during Earth Month, top scientist James Hansen and his NASA team have stated that anything above 350 parts per million “is not compatible with the planet ‘on which civilization developed and to which life is adapted.'”

In other words, we need to be under that number, or else. Right now, we’re well above it at 387 parts per million, and that’s a problem.

It’s worth reading this short article about why 350 is the number that will save the planet. I hope that you will read it.  Short and to the point.


See this short video which is informative and a good communication tool about the 350ppm target.

This is the generation that must act

Foreword to The New Climate Deal, A Pocket Guide, by the WWF:

This is the generation that must stop the spread of pollution

that is slowly killing the planet…

Rolling back the tide of a warming planet

is a responsibility that we have to ourselves,

to our children, and all of those who

will inherit creation long after we are gone.”

-Barack Obama, Strasbourg. April 2009


You have likely seen the number 350 pop up when talking about carbon emissions. The number is key to survival of the planet – it represents the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is safe to have if we expect life to continue to thrive.  Here is an excellent link to an article about the science of 350ppm carbon dioxide, and why this is so important.   350-The Number That Will Save The Planet

The New Climate Deal – A Pocket Guide

The New Climate Deal - A Pocket Guide, from WWF

The New Climate Deal - A Pocket Guide, from WWF

Brilliant – a simple, easy to read (I mean easy to read) guide for anyone to clearly understand the Climate and Economic Crisis.  Download this simple to read POCKET GUIDE to the new climate deal that over 190 countries in the world will participate in is the new “bible for planetary health”.

Except that this is one of the most important tools to quickly read and understand that 2009 needs to be remembered as the year the world found an answer to climate change, the year it found the political will to meet the challenge, and found hope and opportunity in doing so.

This pocket guide provides you with:

  • Key data
  • Easy to read graphs
  • The Copenhagen people
  • The science in a nutshell
  • Why it is possible to keep the temperature below 2ºC increase
  • A brief guide to the new deal
  • Taking responsibility for carbon reduction targets for industrialized nations
  • Technology solutions and action programs
  • Power grids, financing, and carbon markets (easy to understand)
  • Saving our forests and why this is so important
  • Going carbon neutral

Opening global drumming session

In 6 days

…Sonics and Sojourns will officially launch its second festival.  Featuring arts, cuisine, workshops, and multiple unique activities, we invite everyone to find a unique experience to take part in, and celebrate with the citizens of Onanole another wonderful fall in the Riding Mountains.  Full details at the Festival website.

Navaro Franco, with Hand Drum Rhythms is back by popular demand to lead this global drumming session.  Everyone will have drums or other percussion to use as part of this unique opening experience.

Google, Nike Sign Open Letter to US urging swift action on climate change legislation

Sept. 10, 2009, Sustainable Business news ( News)


“Twelve major U.S. companies delivered an open letter to the U.S. Senate this week urging swift action on climate change legislation.

In the letter, Bumble Bee Foods, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), DuPont (NYSE: DD), FPL Group (NYSE: FPL), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), HP (NYSE: HPQ), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), JohnsonDiversey, Levi Strauss & Co., Nike (NYSE: NKE), PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) and Xanterra Parks and Resorts said: ‘A rapidly changing climate is reshaping the American landscape and poses a long-term threat to our nation’s economy and to our children’s future… We…urge the Senate to pass a bill this year that will reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases…and jumpstart a clean energy economy….’

The signatory companies said they have begun changing their business practices to measurably reduce their emissions of carbon pollution. Such efforts, they point out in their letter, have also benefited their bottom lines. ‘In our experience, these changes have not only been good for the climate, they’ve been good for business,’the companies said.

According to the recently released report Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, prepared by 13 federal science agencies, climate change is already having a direct and negative effect on the American people, impacting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health all across the nation. Every region of the country is experiencing significant, adverse impacts from climate change including more severe droughts, floods, heat waves and wildfires–and these impacts will worsen during the course of the century if action is not taken to slow climate change.”

This is important to note.  As climate change progressively makes itself felt in all parts of the planet, including Manitoba, we will be well-served by forward-thinking businesses that take the lead to reduce carbon emissions.  Legislative policy changes that mandate reductions in CO2 emissions are needed; business needs to lead in partnership with government.  Good to see the recent news about bio-diesel use being mandated in Manitoba.

I wonder when agribusiness will finally wake up and realize that they are operating within an old paradigm that is rapidly leaving food producers and healthy people out of a long-term successful and profitable partnership.  Climate change legislation that begins to force reductions in CO2 emissions will have an effect on agribusiness.  If only our agricultural companies were to take the lead in supporting a different framework for producing healthy food within a less carbon-intensive environment, we could all learn from them.  Instead, they will balk and kick and claim that any climate change legislation will negatively affect them. Lead now, and become part of the solution!

Clear Lake Golf Course environmental management approach praised

August 22, 2009  – Great article in the Brandon Sun about the responsible environmental management approach at the Clear Lake Golf Course, in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba.  Canada.  Read the article here.

In a really good tribute to triple bottom line accounting, the Clear Lake Golf Course is demonstrating that environmental leadership, profitability, and social responsibility work together as a sound business management practice.  There are lots of nay-sayers out there who keep saying that “green jobs” or the new green economy or a strong government policy framework that reduces carbon emissions will cost our economy.  I don’t believe it, not for a moment.  As with any shifts in business management or economic frameworks, it involves sound research, a commitment to sound business principles, and a systematic approach based on underlying principles or core values that are about care for our planet.

Clivus Compost toilet at Clear Lake Golf Course

Clivus Compost toilet at Clear Lake Golf Course

The Clear Lake Golf Course, because of a strong commitment from Parks Canada management over 16 years ago, in which Riding Mountain National Park required the bids for the 25-year management of the Clear Lake Golf Course to include an operational plan for environmentally sound management, shifted things.  Instead of “business as usual”, the golf course had to demonstrate major improvements in management of water, chemicals, turf management as well as being fiscally sound and turning a good profit that was in the interests of golfers, the management company of the golf course, and Parks Canada as the lessor.

The management team including Ian and Lydia Sarna and recent Manitoba Eco-Network award winning golf course superintendent Greg Holden have done all of that and much more. So have many of their other team members in the kitchen, the restaurant, the grounds operation, the bio-diesel, and in the pro shop.  Our hats off to this team.

Read this excellent two-page spread by Joanne Villeneuve, in the Brandon Sun that profiles all of the many environmentally responsible tactics that are being used on the Clear Lake Golf Course.  This course is a demonstration to the rest of the world of how golf courses should be operated, in my view.  As a long-time golfer, environmentalist, and business owner, I am proud to have this golf course in my backyard.  Earth Rhythms regularly features Greg Holden in our customized group programs.

It’s time to act on climate change

Here is an excellent video to promote actions in support of political changes that reduce the impacts of climate change, that anyone can use to send a clear action-oriented message.  Use the embed code on YouTube to add to your website.

We are 100 days away from..

……the COP15 international talks with 192 countries attending to develop political agreement about actions on Climate Change.  Follow current information about the United Nations Climate Change Conference Dec. 7 – 18 (Copenhagen).