Adam Newlands

A long-time lover of life, and never a fighter of Fortune, Adam enjoys the great outdoors, the sweet indoors, the crowd and solitude. He is a regular bread-baker, fond bread-breaker, and spends time at school and work, and more leisurely hours playing board games, cooking, snowboarding, cycling and travelling.

Novo Mercator

Sharing new views on how communities can live, work and create together.


New Money

Do you work because you like your job, or do you work to make money to convert into things you like? Either way, money is handy, no point in denying it. Food, shelter, clothing and fun usually come with a price tag and a national currency is the only way to pay, legally anyhow.


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Americana 2011

Partial pointsEarlier this week, “Gearing Up to Go Green” took me to Montreal for a conference showcasing environmental technology and services. While some exhibitors showcased rather conventional “technology,” such as a plastic bin for things you don’t want any more, others had some innovative newfangled doodads that ranged from nifty to brilliant.

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Gearing up to Go Green

Dawson Hamilton

It’s eight A.M. and I’m in one of Dawson Hamilton’s offices, a midnight-blue VW Golf he’s named Jacqueline, and we’re driving from Ottawa to Montreal to attend Americana 2011, an international environmental technology trade show and conference. Hamilton, an energetic and friendly mid-twenties graduate of Dalhousie University's School of Business, is clearly excited about his current project.

In a world where many are concerned about the food that goes to their waists, Hamilton is concerning himself with our food that goes to waste:

“Compostec is about gaining support and momentum for better solutions for food waste than trucking it to a landfill in plastic bags,” he says. “I’m interested in solutions and strategies for food waste that are more economically and environmentally sustainable than simply throwing everything out, and I believe others are too.”

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Pedal Power from the People?

In my life, power is all close by. I don’t mean the politicians and judges who work down the street, but the serious amounts of electrons backed up, rearing to go, in all of the electronic technology of modern life ready to do our bidding. If it’s dark, I have lights. If my clothes are dirty, I have a power washing machine. If I have discreet foods requiring unification, I have an obnoxiously loud blender.

Given the trouble and grand expense we go to for easy energy, I wondered about other ways of generating the energy needed to enjoy the convenience of a washing machine or blender, without the dollar and environmental price tag. Given the benefits of exercise and sustainable living, I am interested in unconventional ways to harness power. They range from the minor, such as plugging your exercise machine into a socket at home to take some money off of your monthly bill, to the more serious, like the bike-powered clothes washer I found with a quick web search.


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Column: A lack of egg-reement 

Part of the new economy will be, I hope, the resurgence of kitchen gardens and, consequently, the demise of the wasteful and banal green grass lawn. Interested in what other people are doing with their yard space, I read The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen, a couple living in Los Angeles who are quite committed to living a low-impact and healthy life. Kelly and Erik opt for homemade and wholesome food instead of food packaged and processed, conserve water and energy through technology and conscientious consumption, and grow as much of their own food as possible. They even keep four chickens in the backyard for fresh, organic eggs from hens that fill their crops on a variety of feed in a coop with a spacious run.

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Markets in Havana

Over the winter break, I had occasion to travel to Havana, Cuba for a friend’s wedding. I stayed in a hotel room with a kitchen, so my companions and I planned to save some money and eat better by making most meals for ourselves. This entailed, we thought, going to the grocery store or the market and exchanging money for foodstuffs. In principle this was true, but we discovered it was certainly a different and, at times, more challenging experience than we anticipated.

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It's Cool to be a Public Square

Though Ottawa is fortunate to have the public parks and pathways that it does, open spaces in our city are otherwise few and far between. Blank spaces downtown are often parking lots a big condo or office building goes in, occupying the entire lot. In this way, we give our cities a more closed-off feeling as the pedestrian loses light and sky.

There may be a temptation to see empty space as wasted space or “undeveloped” land, but this depends on the nature of the emptiness. It is a waste if you have a plot of fenced off garbage, no contest. But I think we would see a good return in Ottawa if some empty space could remain for events and performances, and general use by our citizens.

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Review: "The End of Poverty?"

Do we deserve everything we get? Let’s leave your love life out of it and look at global market trends from a historical perspective. Global statistics show over the past two hundred years show certain countries, largely those of Western Europe and North America, have grown steadily in wealth and quality of life, while other countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South America, have not.

In his 2008 documentary “The End of Poverty?” writer and director Philippe Diaz asks his contributors why we still have widespread, crippling poverty in a world wealthier than it has ever been. By relating the history of colonialism, capitalism and slavery and interviewing individuals engaged in answering this question, Diaz offers a sober answer: Interested parties have made it so over the past four hundred years and we of the wealthier nations remain complicit in the continued oppression. Not an answer we like to hear.

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New Merchants for New Markets

How much do we control the market and how much do we let the market control us?

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