I caught up with NDP MP Nathan Cullen recently when he spoke at the University of Ottawa in support of his campaign to replace Jack Layton as the new Leader of the Opposition. Cullen has served as the environment critic for the NDP so I asked him some questions about the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, an issue we have discussed at length on Earthgauge. If constructed, the pipeline would transport tar sands crude from northern Alberta through Cullen’s riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley in northern B.C. to the port of Kitimat. He has some strong opinions about the pipeline as well as some provocative ideas about how opposition parties can team up to defeat the governing Conservatives in the next general election. His proposal, which would be unprecedented in Canadian political history, has been generating a lot of controversy so I wanted to find out how it would work and why he feels so strongly about it.
Earthgauge radio podcast February 23, 2012: rethinking money and wealth // plus an interview with NDP leadership candidate Nathan Cullen
I’ve often said that on Earthgauge radio we discuss topics that do not, at first glance, seem to be related to environmental issues. Well this is the case today. On Earthgauge radio this week, we’re talking money and politics. Click the audio player above to stream the podcast or right click here to download. I have two interviews for you on today’s podcast:
- Gwendolyn Hallsmith, author of Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies
- Nathan Cullen, NDP leadership candidate
No, this is not our take on the growing interference of big money in the political system. Instead, we first take a look at the meaning of wealth in our society and how the concept of wealth been co-opted. Most of us now tend to associate wealth with money but, as Gwendolyn Hallsmith explains, being wealthy means so much more than this. We likely all know individuals who may be financially wealthy yet are unhappy, spiritually or emotionally poor. Likewise, how many people with limited financial means are thriving, active members of their communities, leading fulfilling lives they enjoy and making contributions to improve the lives of others. Are these people not wealthy?
Hallsmith argues that rethinking wealth is of critical importance in this age of environmental and economic uncertainty as we urgently need to think about how we can build the economic and environmental resilience of local communities. She is a Director in the Department of Planning and Community Development for the City of Montpelier, VT and is the co-author of a recent book called ‘Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies’.
What does this have to do with the environment? Well, a lot actually. As she tells me in our interview “if you’re interested in the environment, you ought to be interested in the monetary system.” We all know that building strong, sustainable local economies will be critical to increasing both economic and environmental sustainability in the future. Creating Wealth demonstrates how a healthy society can be attained through developing new systems of exchange. This can be done by adopting alternative local currencies to be used as complements to national currencies or by implementing creative initiatives such as time banks, and systems of barter and exchange. Hallsmith believes that these measures can empower cities and towns to build vibrant, healthy, sustainable local economies and in our interview she explains why she is so passionate about the potential transformative power of alternative currencies and why there is such a desperate need to improve our monetary system.
Now for the politics. I also have an interview today with federal NDP leadership candidate Nathan Cullen who spoke at the University of Ottawa last week. He was the environment critic for the NDP so I caught up with him and asked him some questions about the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline which, if constructed, would transport tar sands crude from northern Alberta through Cullen’s riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley in northern B.C. He has some strong opinions about the pipeline as well as some provocative ideas about how opposition parties can team up to defeat the governing Conservatives in the next general election. His proposal has been generating a lot of controversy so I wanted to find out how it would work and why he feels defeating the government is such an imperative.
I also have some Canadian eco-news on the show and we have our usual segment with Kathy of Ecology Ottawa who updates us on local environmental events and campaigns. I have listed some of the upcoming events below or you can click here to see a complete list with full details.
Contact us at . Please get in touch if you have story ideas, a comment on something you’ve heard or want to get involved or contribute to the show. You can also download our podcasts on iTunes. Just type “earthgauge” into the search bar and you’ll find us.
Upcoming local environmental events (courtesy of Ecology Ottawa)
- Sunday, February 26, 2012 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm the Kanata Environmental Network (KEN) will host a Sunday afternoon walk in the South March Highlands near Kizzel Pond with Martha Weber. RSVP at [email protected]
- Monday, February 27, 2012 there will be a City Council Meeting of the: Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. City Hall in the Colonel By Room
- Tuesday, February 28, 2012 there will be a City Council Meeting of Planning Committee from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm at City Hall, Champlain Room.
Organizer: Caitlin Salter MacDonald, 613-580-2424, ext. 28136, [email protected]
- Tuesday February 28th there will be a meeting of the Transition Ottawa Peak Oil Discussion Group from 7 to 9 pm at the Montgomery Legion, 330 Kent Street. Come to this informational monthly discussion group meeting to discuss ideas and actions on how to survive the consequences of the inevitable decline in oil production and economic collapse. You can get the contact information to RSVP for this meeting form the ecologyottawa.ca website. Or email the moderator at
- Just Food Ottawa is hosting a “Storage of Vegetables and Fruits Workshop” on the 28th from 7 to 9. at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre at 88 Main St. Space is limited, so contact Emily at or call 613-699-6850 x12 to reserve your spot.
- Wednesday, February 29, 2012 City Council Meeting: Transit Commission from 9:30 to 11:30 am at City Hall, Andrew S. Haydon Hall
- Wednesday, February 29th Just Food and FarmStart, will be offering an “Exploring Your New Farm Dream Workshop”for people who are thinking about starting a commercial farm business. The course helps aspiring farmers learn what it would take to start and manage their own farm dream For more information and to register, please go to: www.farmstart.ca/explorer/ the workshop will take place from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at yet to be announced location.
- Wednesday Feb 29th and Wednesday march 7th Just voices, Ottawa’s only environmental and social-justice themed choir. Will hold their Weekly Environmental Choir Rehearsal from 7 to 9 at the Bronson Centre.
- Did you know It can take up to a year (or more) to get a Community Garden started? Now is the time to start planning for next year so come to the How to Start a Community Garden Workshop. On Thursday, March 1st, 2012 from 6 to 8pm at the carlington health centre located at 900 merivale road. You can reserve your spot by contacting Emily at
- Seedy Saturday is being held on Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Ron Kolbus community centre located at 102 greenview avenue. Seedy Saturday is the foremost opportunity to buy, trade, ask about and learn about seeds adapted to the Ottawa area. For more information visit www.seeds.ca and click on “Events” to find out more.
- Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 City Council Meeting: Transportation Committee from 9:30 am to 11:30 am City Hall, Champlain Room
- Wednesday March 7th there will be a presentation as part of the Urban Parks are for People Dundonald Park Project from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at Montgomery Legion, 330 Kent Street. Gil Penalosa, an internationally sought-out speaker and advisor, will deliver one of his trademark lively presentations on making urban spaces healthier. The goal of this project is to educate and empower communities with the tools to transform parks and public spaces into vibrant and active destinations that promote social interaction, mental health and well being for all. .There will also be a series of focus groups and stakeholder meetings from March 7th to March 10th