October 2021 Volume 4 Issue 3

Page 1

Volume 4 Issue 3 • October 2021

published by ZX Media Corporation


GROWING OPPORTUNITY

Clean Resources

Agriculture, Forestry & Food

Emerging Technologies

Health Innovation

Innovation is ensuring Alberta’s sustainable future. Alberta Innovates brings people and resources together to help accelerate the adoption of new technologies that increase the sustainability and competitiveness of Alberta’s agriculture, forestry and food processing sectors. Our two subsidiaries, InnoTech Alberta and C-FER Technologies, provide applied research services to government and industry clients to advance new technological solutions, from smart ag applications to bioindustrial products.

Learn how albertainnovates.ca

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“The Earth is what we all have in COMMON... we cannot damage it without damaging those with WHOM WE SHARE IT” - Wendell Barry

Subscribe for your free issue of Community Now! at www.communitynowmagazine.com Copyright 2019 ZX Media Corporation, Calgary Alberta Canada Community Now! Magazine Copyright 2018, published by ZX Media Corporation. Volume 4 Issue 3 | October 2021 All rights reserved. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher and writer.

This grassroots magazine is a platform for, about and by the community.

STORY TELLER & COMMUNITY CONNECTOR: Krista Malden CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kenzie Webber

Community \\ 3


Presents their

4th Annual Mental Health Event Take the Day December 15, 2021 9:30am-3pm

Early bird tickets available HERE or contact kmalden@communitynowmagazine.com to become involved Blaise Hunter

Tara Adams

Jade and Kathy Alberts

Fabian Warner & Derek Hill

Blaise the Trail Inc

Peer Guidance

Abridge Consulting

Menzleague

Crystal Phillips

#BuildingAHealthierNext, Thin Air Labs, Branch Out Foundation Cynthia Hamilton Urquhart Speaker, Author, First Responder mental health advocate, retired RCMP officer

Charmaine Hammond & Michael Mankowski BACK HOME AGAIN

Watch our social media for more exciting announcements!!!! Event Sponsors:

Community Now! requests that all participants follow provincial guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, including vaccine passport, answering a self-assessment, providing a current phone number upon entry, wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, and self-isolating in accordance with AHS regulations.


The Environment…. We Need To Do Better for the Environment ... for the People. Companies and people to watch in the Clean Tech and Environmental Industries:

https://energyminute.ca

https://foresightcac.com/

https://cleanresourceinnovation.com/

https://www.summitnanotech.ca

https://styrogo.com/

People - Planet - Profit


Making an impact.. Meet Jason Switzer

J

ason Switzer was born in Calgary, got motivated to work on environmental issues in high school when a number

of Albertans went to the middle east during the first Gulf War to fight the fires and prevent a nuclear winter in North Africa. Jason saw David Suzuki speak and got engaged in environmental advocacy on campus while at McGill studying civil & environmental engineering. “The advocacy work I did got me a letter of recommendation from a professor that got me into MIT for grad school, where my mind was really opened up to the scale of the challenges and the power of business and of economics as an analytical lens. “ Jason Switzer said. 6 // Community Now!


Following university, Jason worked internationally on conflict and natural resources issues, with different UN agencies, international conservation organizations and companies. When Jason came back to Calgary he worked for Shell Canada building out its climate strategy and executing a forest carbon offset project in Indonesia, and later joined Cenovus to undertake a similar role. He went to Pembina Institute in 2011 to lead its corporate consulting team, working with a highly motivated smart group of people on a range of GHG and ESG issues for Canada’s leading companies.

Alberta Clean Tech Industry Alliance

Est in 2011, to position Alberta as a global leader in Cleantech leveraging its strengths in oil and gas. Jason Switzer joined the board in 2013, stepped into the Executive Director role in late 2015. He grew the organization to 4 people, 130 member ventures, corporate partners and cleantech-oriented service providers. They have seen a shift in Alberta with respect to cleantech. In 2015, it was still viewed as ‘contrary’ or competitive with the interests of the province and its industries. Today it is increasingly seen as a mainstream opportunity. “We merged with Foresight, Canada’s largest cleantech accelerator, in March 2021, and I am increasingly focused on mobilizing capital to support the growth of our cleantech ventures here and across Canada, to address the sig-

nificant gap these companies face relative to peers in the US and EU.” Stated Jason Switzer.

Clean Resource Innovation Network

Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) was established by a group of Canada’s leading oil and gas producers to mobilize and accelerate innovation in Canadian oil and gas. Initially framed as a pitch to Minister Bains for innovation supercluster funding, CRIN pivoted to focus on building the network and on shifting culture to support innovation within the oil and gas sector, building on the model of Rainforest Alberta. “Building on my relationships with the oil and gas sector from my time in the industry, as well as my relationship with the cleantech ecosystem across Canada, I was invited to join the executive team at CRIN” said Jason Switzer CRIN proposal to SIF was accepted, allowing them to establish CRIN as an operating organization running $80M of later stage innovation challenges through third-party organizations for oil and gas in digitalization (MaRS), environmental performance (ERA) and Low Carbon Products and Fuels (Foresight), along with the Bitumen Beyond Combustion Grand Challenge hosted by Alberta Innovates. “The real value of CRIN in my view will be in creating engagement and the muscles for collaboration between applied scientists, cleantech-oriented entrepreneurs, and our oil and gas companies across the value chain.” stated Jason Switzer.

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LITHIUM EXTRACTION TECHNOLOGY Summit Nanotech has developed two green lithium extraction processes to create lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide to help meet the energy storage needs of the future. Their pilot unit will be transported to Chile in South America in January 2021. https://www.summitnanotech.ca/ Summit Nanotech is a provider of extraction and purification services to lithium mining companies. The team at Summit has invented two innovative new methods to generate battery-grade lithium compounds from brine fluids and they named the methods denaLi C and denaLi H. Their processes were designed to create the greenest lithium products in the world by integrating sustainable technologies. Lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide can be sold at market value to supply the growing demand for electric vehicle battery manufacturers. NANOMATERIALS

Amanda Hall & Madi Lewis

Summit’s proprietary nanomaterials are selective to lithium ions which allows a more environmentally friendly separation process eliminating the need for chemicals and freshwater, reducing GHGs and waste.”

AMANDA HALL P. Geoph. Founder & CEO/CTO of Summit NanoTech Amanda Hall is a professional geophysicist with 11 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, 4 years in the mining industry and 4 years as a laboratory scientist. Amanda graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Biology and with minors in Physics and English. After moving west, she attended University of Calgary to obtain a second Bachelor of Science degree in Geophysics, while raising her three young daughters. Amanda is passionate about growing a humancentric company, employing innovative, resourceful people who feel responsible for rapidly creating the change that is needed in our industrial landscape using wisdom, technology and adaptive solutions.

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“No one can go back, but

EVERYONE

can go forward.” Paulo Coelho Community \\ 9


STYRO-GO What they do Styro-Go has developed the technology to offer recycling of polystyrene (EPS- commonly referred to by the brand name Styrofoam) in a cost-efficient method. Developing this technology on a mobile platform has given Styro-Go the flexibility to offer this much needed service over a far wider geographic area than previously possible in the most cost effective way possible.

How We Do It Styro-Go’s trucks are custom made self-contained recycling units. Each 5 ton truck can process and carry as much as 5 full size (53 foot) transport trailers of material- in just one small 5 ton truck! Our truck shows up, the loose material is put into our machine that crushes and densifies it- a ratio of 90:1. A 53 foot trailer of loose material will reduce in a few hours to half the size of a conventional fridge. The material goes through the machine, we pack the outflow into bricks about 1 cubic foot in size, each weighing about 60 lbs. These bricks (sometimes called “Ingots”) are packed and wrapped on a pallet and offloaded at the warehouse ready to be shipped to a recycler.

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Why they do it Prior to the launch of Styro-Go most people didn’t even know polystyrene was recyclable. This misunderstanding has been actively promoted by many municipalities over the years since the conventional recycling method was cost prohibitive. By recycling polystyrene, we are: • Extending the lifespan of existing landfills (this translates into millions of dollars saved per year) • Offering a much needed service to recycle one of the most common type of plastics used in modern society. • Helping contribute to reducing commercial and residential waste streams by up to 90%. • Reclaiming a valuable commodity- by recycling polystyrene one of the main recycled products are trim, moldings and wood-based products. By using polystyrene to produce these materials fewer trees are cut down to be used for manufacturing.

Rest Of The Story… Styro-Go started in 2016 to be able to offer people an affordable way to recycle polystyrene and other related plastics. Styro-Go grew into a vital part of the recycle food chain to make Canada a greener place. Styro-Go is now a key driver to help in the transition to a zero waste economy. In the past, most plastics including polystyrene have been shipped overseas as raw materials for manufacturing for various products… only to shipped back and sold here in Canada. Styro-Go’s growth and proven technology has finally attracted companies willing to start up true plastics recycling and manufacturing right here in Canada. In the coming future Styro-Go processed materials will be used in manufacturing various parts and components of local plastic and manufacturing industries. Not only will this cutting edge innovation

create new jobs and investment but it will allow Styro-Go to be able to recycle a far wider range of plastics and materials further improving our environmental track record by keeping more plastic waste out of the landfill and reused as new raw material in cutting edge manufacturing.

Did you know? Less than 2% of polystyrene products are recycled even though they are among the most easily recycled plastics. Regular polystyrene used to ship products typically weighs about 0.5 lbs per cubic foot. After Styro-Go processes it we increase the density to over 60 lbs per cubic foot. Polystyrene is still the safest packaging for food, medical and other products with the highest antimicrobial rating compared to other packaging.

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https://energyminute.ca/ Too often, stories about energy, technology and the environment are over-simplified. That’s why we created ENERGYminute. We are truly a grassroots organization. We asked our friends and family for start-up money with a simple goal: make learning fun and accessible. Our purpose is to present stories and data in ways that connect with people, not divide them. We know that climate change is a global challenge. ENERGYminute seeks to enable everyone to understand the complexity behind how energy, environment, and technology are intertwined.

Q & A with Alexandria Shrake, Co-Founder ENERGYminute Education Foundation Why did you start EnergyMinute ? Passion. We started ENERGYminute because we saw an opportunity to build a community of people who view energy, technology, and environment as a holistic trio. We see thoughtfulness in how articles and media are built as a window to engage with people on subjects that matter most to them. Over time we have learned that a touch of self-deprecating humor coupled with deep technical understanding of these subjects creates space for people to engage with us. We are thrilled that we have built a dedicated audience to our newsletter 12 // Community Now!

and are invited to speak at sundries events from coast to coast on all things energy. Why do we need to discuss Energy? Unlike your Google search history, the energy consumed in the developed world is largely hidden and conveniently streamlined. Consumers of electricity don't see coal plants, natural gas plants, wind turbines to generators or what the grid is actually running off. Consumers of oil don't see the jet fuel in their airplane or the journey the oil molecule had to take to get to the pump. Emission reduction means changing behaviors and systems. Before there is political will for systemic change, individual will and micro-actions need to be palatable. The first step is understanding the system and the role we play to build a future that we want. What myths can we break about energy? The greatest myth about energy is that it is a simple topic. Too often headlines craft click-baitesque titles that take incredibly complex concepts and turn them into soundbytes. Two big ideas make energy complicated. • Energy is an amorphous term. Energy loosely describes oil (largely used for transportation) and electricity( what we use for almost everything else in our daily lives.) This distinction is rarely made. • The scale. There is no other consumable in the world that is gobbled up at the rate of oil. Humans consume nearly 100,000,000


barrels of oil a day. (One barrel has 169 litres) That's 800 litres of oil per person, per a year. What is your definition of clean energy? In short, it's relative. The word clean energy is about meeting people where they are and recognizing success stories where we can. Moving away from coal to natural gas is by all definitions a lower emitting choice. People who see natural gas as a bridge fuel often view its use as clean energy until alternatives can provide the same utility at an affordable rate. However, critics might offer the alternative view that only specific renewables can be bestowed with the title clean energy. To make matters more complex, hydroelectric and nuclear come with their own trade-offs and schools of thought in relation to the word "clean energy." These differences in opinion are largely developed-nation centric and do not account for the millions of people who use biomass for fuel and are not tied into the grid. In developing countries where biomass, like cow dung, is burned in home for cooking - a grid tie-in or small scale solar with battery storage would support cleaner air and potentially lower emissions depending on the composition of the grid. The challenge is affordability, government stability, and financial mechanisms to enable developing nations to make grid scale choices that are cleaner than the existing options.


Bitcoin and Oil & Gas Are Fighting the Same Battle By Koleya Karringten

A

s someone who chose to build my technology businesses and raised my family in Alberta, it’s almost impossible to feel detached from our oil and gas industry – or not impacted by its vocal critics. As one of the biggest economic drivers in Canada, our petroleum countries have helped make us one of the best places to live in the world, but this key sector has been under attack for years. From Greta Thunberg and David Suzuki to many of our own political leaders, there is no shortage of critics, all petroleum consumers themselves, willing to point fingers at the energy industry. Despite the fact that oil and its derivatives are essential to most of the products we use every day, including the smartphone you might be reading this on, there’s a widespread belief that it would be better if oil & gas disappeared – regardless of the cost to our civilization. It’s interesting to me to see the parallels between detractors of oil and gas and Bitcoin, 14 // Community Now!

the world’s most successful cryptocurrency and a longstanding passion and business of mine. When I was first introduced to Bitcoin about 5 years ago, I was so impressed by its potential to transform our financial system and help empower people over their own economic destinies that I moved much of my savings, including college funds for my small children, into BTC. At the time, people told me that I was a terrible mother, and taking a risk on their future that was sure to fail. I had a conviction, however, that I was truly taking steps to give them a better life, and believed with all my heart that was the right move. Now, with the price of Bitcoin over $40K, no one could ever say that it was a bad financial move – instead, after Elon Musk’s notorious tweet about banning BTC as payment for Teslas, I get critiqued for its carbon footprint. Bitcoin’s detractors say that the mechanism behind its security and effectiveness as a digital currency – proof-of-work – is wasteful


and has too high a cost to the environment. Proof-of-work does require networks of powerful computers to race to solve difficult algorithms, which takes a significant amount of energy. However, there is a good argument to be made that the environmental criticisms BTC is receiving are in many cases unwarranted. Just like oil and gas detractors choose to ignore the massive carbon footprint of the many industries that use its products, Bitcoin is targeted are uniquely wasteful when so many human activities use a tremendous amount of energy.

For example, each year, Christmas lights in the USA use enough energy to power a small country for a year – yet this goes completely under the radar of environmental activists. Something as simple as wasted outdoor lighting, such as unneeded or overly strong lights, uses an astonishing 40 terrawatt hours (TWh) a year. We waste energy all the time – but choose targets to point fingers at carefully. Bitcoin’s power consumption is estimated at 70-110 TWh a year, compared to the conventional financial services industry’s

(continued on next page)

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“At its core, bitcoin is a smart currency, designed by very forward-thinking engineers. It eliminates the need for banks, gets rid of credit card fees, currency exchange fees, money transfer fees, and reduces the need for lawyers in transitions… all good things.” – Peter Diamandis, Entrepreneur & innovator

(continued from page 15...)

approximately 650 TWh. However, Bitcoin is replacing many of the expensive, outdated and inaccessible functions of financial services, and allowing people to store their own wealth and make peer-to-peer transactions without the need for massive banking infrastructure. This perspective makes BTC’s global footprint more understandable, and as it gains more adoption, I believe this will overall reduce the costs and energy required for our economic systems. We currently live in a world where giant companies with vast amounts of staff and physical office spaces are needed to move money and process transactions – proof-ofwork’s energy use is small in comparison. And just like the unrecognized efforts that the oil and gas industry has made to reduce emissions and become more sustainable, few critics credit the fact that a substantial amount of the energy used to power BTC mining – by some estimates anywhere from 40-74% 16 // Community Now!

– already comes from renewable sources, far more than the 25% renewable share of all electricity generated. Mining algorithms are also becoming more efficient, using less energy, as technological advancement, as in oil and gas, makes the industry more sustainable. These are just some of the ways that oil and gas and crypto mining are fighting the same battle. So, here’s how Bitcoin and Canada’s energy industry can join forces and help each other. Energy producers should look at Bitcoin mining as a way to fund their operations and growth, through using creative sources of stranded and waste gas. This is an idea that has been around for years, and I think its time has finally come. The price of BTC is high enough to justify the expenses associated with buying miners and infrastructure, and by using mobile data centers, producers can move their mining to areas where gas would otherwise go to waste. Partnerships with miners, who all require inexpensive energy input, are another great opportunity.


In the US, crypto miners and energy producers are increasingly making deals to partner on sites with excess or difficult to market gas, and by using flare gas or other sources, it makes both industries more sustainable. These new partnerships also help shift the balance of power in Bitcoin mining away from Asia and Russia, which use a much higher amount of coal-generated electricity. Mark Le Dain, VP of Strategy at oil and gas software company Validere Technologies, believes that these arrangements have big advantages for both sides. “It helps cut emissions at (an oil) producer level, but also globally by reducing mining in parts of the world where coal is likely the power source,” he said in a recent Reuters article. Innovation is finding opportunities in challenges, and for smaller energy producers, any new source of revenue can help companies survive in a challenging market. I believe Bitcoin and oil & gas, facing the same criticisms, now need each other – and both will benefit greatly from strategically aligning in Canada.


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Myth: It is hard to access renewable & clean energy “This is certainly a myth - we generally think of fossil fuels as accessible because we have so much infrastructure built around it. Petroleum is thousands of feet underground, and we’ve spent a lot of time and energy understanding how to get to it. Renewable and clean energy is exactly the same (and often more straightforward). Solar, wind and geothermal energy for example are present all over the planet - we just need to build the right infrastructure to make it more accessible.” Sean Gorman, M.Sc. Data and Sustainability Lead Summit Nanotech

People-Planet-Profit “The best way to grow a sustainable business is by relentlessly putting people before profit. Invest in your employees, invest in meaningful human relationships with customers and clients. Lead with kindness and friendship. Never lead with sales.” - Dominic Vogel

“Peer Guidance – Purpose Before Profit believes in this manta because money should not get in the way of sharing knowledge and information. We are here to help others succeed.” - Jade Alberts Community \\ 19


MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” — Dan Millman

“I found that with depression,

one

of the most important things you can realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it, you’re not gonna be the last to go through it,” — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson 20 // Community Now!


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NO SUCH THING AS A BULLY We all use both bully actions and victim responses from time to time. One set of skills strengthens, solves and prevents both. The No Such Thing as a Bully System gives you the tools you need for success in any role - CEO, Administrator, Principal, Teacher, Parent, Human Being. Get inspired, Get smarter, Get better relationships. Join the movement. Register at http://nosuchthingasabully.com/nstaab-live-online 403-447-4404 • Kelly@nosuchthingasabully.com

Abridge Consulting Abridge Consulting was founded based on a simple, but not easy, goal - to get more people, more help, sooner. Abridge Consulting believes we can all learn how to be a bridge between people struggling with their mental health and getting them the support, they need and deserve. Abridge Consulting clients are organizations and teams who are ready to invest in their people, culture and bottom line. #workplacementalhealth #abridgethegap #taraisabridge Tara Adams, Abridge Consulting 403-671-9911 • tara@abridgeconsulting.ca abridgeconsulting.ca

Our passion is helping you to feel better, improve your relationships, and thrive. Our approach will assist you to explore your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to create balance in your life Our team at Your Counselling may be right for YOU!

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Contact Us! 403-668-7561• info@yourcounselling.ca 602 11 AVE SW #320, Calgary AB, T2R 1J8

The Cabin Door Heather Wyard-Scott heather@thecabindoor.ca thecabindoor.ca (587) 217-8499 Certified Life Coach & Energy Healer.


OUR VISION?

A world free from neurological disorders. hello@branchoutfoundation.com www.branchoutfoundation.com

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Telling It Like It is www.PeerGuidance.ca Featuring Simran Dhillon and Adarsh Badesha Founders – Fentagone We all hear horror stories about Fentanyl. Please share how and why you started Faetagone? There have been 17, 602 apparent opioid toxicity deaths between January 2016 and June 2020 - 1 preventable life loss is too many, nearly 18,000 is unacceptable. Additionally, 2021 is projected to be the deadliest year ever - with this crisis exponentially growing annually. These losses not only take these lives… They take away families and destroy livelihoods across the nation. Addiction is not only something I have witnessed regionally - it’s something that I care deeply about as I have witnessed the pain inflicted by losing someone to addiction, a loved one who passed, but also the grief catalyzed by witnessing your family members fall victim to substance abuse, mourning and confused on how to support them and keep them protected. You feel helpless - imagine witnessing your parents, your children, or even your friends, suffering and not having access to the resources to help them and being turned away by all channels established to support those in need. As a person who has witnessed addiction and the detriment it can cost families - we look for greater support from the government and from larger institutions instead what we have witnessed is a large deficit for support within these vulnerable demographics - where not enough is being done to prioritize equitable access to life-saving health information to those suffering at the hands of addiction. 24 // Community Now!

This crisis deeply affected me and my family and the lack of intervention by greater bodies inspired myself and my 2 co-founders to have taken it upon ourselves to catalyze innovation, through grassroots level initiatives and the creation of our novel fentanyl detection system, FentaGone, within the harm reduction sector to spark dialogue and to change the narrative on harm reduction and addiction within our own community. Although we have seen an exponential increase in overdoses within the past few years what we have seen is a lack of investment in supporting those with addiction, with safe consumption sites being shut down across the nation, harm reduction services being stripped of funding, and thousands of those suffering continue to suffer without the support of our institutions. This needs to change. We hope to utilize our platform with FentaGone to additionally advocate for greater support and intervention in regards to our harm reduction approach nationally. What research are you doing, and what steps are needed to turn this into an actionable plan? With our innovation, we hope to provide individuals with a tool that could empower them to make a life-saving decision and to prevent overdose in their most isolated and vulnerable moments. We hope to spearhead research and innovation within the harm reduction sector and put Canada at the forefront of leading this change internationally. Since starting this idea over a year ago - we validated the need for this innovation by


securing an initial $10,000 worth of funding by winning the world’s challenge challenge at the University of Alberta in 2020. This then kickstarted our journey as entrepreneurs as we received a lot of support from our community. Furthermore, we partnered with 2 renowned research labs at the University of Alberta including the Lemieux Lab and the Taylor Lab to conduct research trials on our syringe. We further created an initial prototype and partnered with mechanical engineers at ACAMP to optimize syringe mechanics. Additionally, we recently won the 2021 Telus Innovation Challenge where we received $120,000 worth of funding and the ongoing mentorship and support from influential leaders in the innovation space that has allowed us to partner with Alberta Innovates and Telus - we have also been working to establish partnerships throughout the nation with harm reduction services including safe consumption sites, needle distribution services, and advocacy groups. What support are you receiving from all levels of Government? Right now is a very contentious time in regards to garnering support in regards to harm reduction. Safe consumption sites are being shut down across the province and much funding for these supports have been frozen or stripped. As an organization, we hope to not only innovate life-saving solutions to this catastrophic epidemic but we aim to advocate and inspire strides for change where the voices and needs of our most vulnerable are being heard at all levels, especially in regards to how we can better support those suffering at the hands of this crisis directly and their families. We are grateful for the partnerships that we have been able to facilitate thus far and look forward to continuing this journey and catalyzing a better future for us all together.

What is next for Fentagone? We are currently working to finish our research trials in order to complete the lab testing phase of our product and prove the efficacy of our syringes in use. We will then work towards Health Canada approval so we can get this product into the hands of users as soon as possible. Additionally, we are continuing to conduct community consultations to ensure we are addressing the needs of those most affected by the opioid crisis and gauging a greater understanding of street-level harm reduction concerns. We are hoping to catalyze a broad, international change in regards to how we as a society work to address the opioid crisis. Through the production of our syringe, we hope to put Canada at the leading edge of this change on a global scale. If you had one piece of advice for a startup, small business or entrepreneur, what would it be? Find something you really care about and continue that passion in whatever you do as a startup, small business, or as an entrepreneur. I say this because there will always be people who do not see the need for your idea, who won’t believe in you, your product, or your cause - that has definitely been the case while we have been working on FentaGone, where we, unfortunately, have been met with harsh opposition in relation to the need for our life-saving product when the perspective is that people are putting their own lives at risk. This personally was really difficult for me to read and to see as I come from a place where I know and love people who have suffered at the hands of addiction. What keeps me inspired and motivated to work on this product is the immense passion I have to seek a difference and change the lives of others for the better.

Community \\ 25


The Wasp in the Window Al Del Degan

One day in late summer I was sitting and looking out the window enjoying the sunshine and light breeze. We have those hinged windows with the crank on the inside that open outward to the side. The window wasn’t open too far, but far enough to intercept a wasp in mid-flight, no doubt giving it a pretty sudden and confusing predicament.

Oftentimes we are too stubborn to see the path laid out before us, and we keep banging our heads into the virtual glass until we are frustrated and tired.

For whatever reason, the wasp wanted to continue heading in a westward direction, but that would force it further into the corner where the window meets the screen. It tried and tried to keep flying with all of it’s might, bouncing off the glass repeatedly until tiring and falling down onto the window sill. I am glad there was a screen in the way because that wasp was pissed! It tried over and over to sting the window sill in a complete rage (continued on page 28)

26 // Community Now!


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(continued from page 26...) until exhausted. After a moment of rest, it would fly up again into the glass and continue bashing itself, falling down, stinging repeatedly and then resting. Obviously a wasp doesn’t have the brain capacity to reason, because if it did, it might think about maybe trying something different, like heading east instead. Or perhaps while sitting on the window sill resting it could have determined that if it just jumped down a bit it could fly under the window and carry on heading wherever it wanted to. Eventually, while resting on the window sill, a large enough gust of wind came along and pushed the wasp far enough so that it fell off the sill and under the window. Clearly confused, it carried on with the original journey, probably to bother someone trying to enjoy a fruity drink on a deck farther down our row of houses. This made me think about human beings and how we can really get stuck in our ways. Oftentimes we are too stubborn to see the path laid out before us, and we keep banging our heads into the virtual glass until we are frustrated and tired. That gust of wind might take the form of a health issue, being laid off at work, or heading down towards the end of a relationship. Regardless, if we stay hard and fast on a path that we are not supposed to be on, something will come by and kick us in the pants. “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” - Joseph Campbell Hopefully because we are beings with the ability to reason, grow, and change, we can

28 // Community Now!

open our minds more to see situations that are not right for us. We need to be less resistant to change, and try new things. “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” - Joseph Campbell I try my best to live my life based on a couple simple principles. If I am consistently not happy, I open myself to change. If I am heading down a path where all I find is resistance, I recognize that I am not on the correct path and need to do something different. I know that, based on the history of my life and decisions that I have made, when I am on the right path things come easy. People support me and offer to help, even when I am not asking. The other thing that I do is be available to give back. Those who know me see someone who is always willing to help out, within reason, and point others in the right direction. I make connections and give guidance to people who need it, expecting nothing in return. That doesn’t mean I will dedicate 1,000 hours of software development for someone without charging them, that just isn't realistic. What it means is if someone could use some advice, needs an ear to listen, or could benefit from a connection or introduction that I can make for them, I am happy to help. This wisdom comes from going through life with my eyes and ears open. I listen way more than I speak. I recognize when the road ahead is difficult and I need to change. I have put a lot of time and effort into improving myself and helping others. This is what prompted me to share my story with you. I hope that reading this article will help some people realize that they are getting frustrated flying repeatedly into the glass, and all they need to do is stop and try another direction.


Calgary deserves leadership that reflects the strength of the community. We are facing unprecedented challenges, and I know that I am the leader Calgary needs to resurrect, recover, rebuild, and lead to a prosperous future for all. I will be by your side supporting big and small businesses, youth, arts, education, innovation, sports, non-profits, and economic development. As Mayor, I am committed to safety of Calgarians, represent Calgarians best interest and a smarter city hall. Calgary, I am your relentless advocate today and always. Grace Yan

Thank you CALGARY!

Community \\ 29


Superpower Project

Is It Clean or Dirty?

Examining Our Personal Environment Blaise Hunter | Human Rights Consultant | Heroine

“Is this clean or dirty?” This simple question is constantly heard in my house throughout the day. Whether it’s the dishes in the dishwasher or the laundry baskets scattered around the house, those five little words have become a standard in everyone’s home. We know exactly how to figure out if something is clean or needs washing. If this question is so straightforward, why don’t we apply it to other areas of our lives? 30 // Community Now!


The Superpower Project is about highlighting various challenges or “kryptonites” facing people and helping us neutralize their effect on us. I believe a serious kryptonite we face is the inability to determine if something is hurting us or healing us in our own personal atmosphere. As humanity progresses, we are more and more aware about our planet, being environmentally friendly, and the importance of taking care of our bodies. Every year our world takes great strides to be green, but I still see a lag in our internal environment. Every thought, word, and action should be confronted with the same question as our dishes and clothes—is it clean or dirty?

correlation with my body and my own toxic thoughts. We are taught to do cleanses and elimination diets but rarely are we encouraged to do the same with our thoughts and words. I would go dairy-free and take supplements all the while believing lies that I am not good enough, and I need to change something about me to be accepted. I have mentioned this before in my novel Heroine, but I think we all need reminding from time to time. My mom introduced me to the book The Tale of Two Wolves by Christopher Bell, and it has forever impacted me. “There are two wolves. One wolf is a wolf of love, peace, joy, harmony, and healing. The other wolf is of evil, hatred, misery, discord, and destruction. The fact is that these two wolves are not in a physical sense but are living inside of all of us. The one that we constantly feed is the one that wins.” So, which one of your wolves wins? Do you allow the toxic thoughts to poison your words and actions, or do you realize they are dirty and send them through the wash? Which wolf wins? The answer is the same. “It’s the one you feed the most.”

When people go

out of their way

to hurt me, that is

their dirty laundry,

It really doesn’t matter how well we recycle, live green, or have a healthy body if we don’t have a green mindset. Our outer world is a by-product of our inner environment. We need to start putting a higher importance of integrating this vital question with our internal dialogue. Our mental health depends on it. Our physical health requires it. Our environment craves it, and humankind demands it. Can you envision what our daily lives would look like if we could all just ask and answer that question honestly? I battle a rare auto-immune disease called Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (EGPA), formerly called Churg-Strauss syndrome. There’s a miscommunication in my body where cells don’t know what is clean or dirty. My body always thinks there are invaders so I’m continually under attack. As I walk out this healing journey, I can’t help but see the

not mine.

Lately, I’ve fallen back into an old pattern and fed the wrong wolf. It stems from rejection as a kid. A belief system I need to prove myself worthy so I can be loveable. Here I am approaching 40 and it is true, old habits die

(continued on next page) Community \\ 31


(continued from page 31...)

hard. It’s funny how when you are denied approval from someone, you tend to work that much harder to attain their validation. I am openly a disruptor and I live to challenge the status quo, which is a giant invitation for conflict and pushback. I am ok with that, but it tests my commitment to recognize what is clean or dirty. When people go out of their way to hurt me, that is their dirty laundry, not mine. I don’t need to be their “bus boy” so to speak. We need to stop picking up the dirty stuff and ingesting the toxins. We need to be more conscious of the state of our own energy field.

I encourage all of us to apply that question to a variety of things in our lives so we can cleanse our personal environment and truly live an unpolluted life. When you get a judgmental thought about yourself or someone else what are your going to do with it? It is time we take up the mantle of being environmentally friendly inside and out. It’s not toxic to have a bad thought, it’s what we do with it. Do we feed it or filter it out? I’m so over taking on other people’s junk. Their disparaging opinions of me are just a reflection of their own contaminated ecosystem. They aren’t attacking me; they are at war with themselves. I need to remind my body it is clean and safe and it’s time to stand down. I have boundaries and filtration systems in place to ensure those pollutants don’t enter my atmosphere anymore. People’s-stained opinions of me don’t define me, they only define them. Same goes for all of us. Whatever thought or decision you encounter in the day, pose the question—is it clean or dirty? The pollution solution is all about detection. When we can identify what is hurting us, we can take steps to eliminate it and begin the reverse osmosis process. For every plastic bottle I put in the blue bin and for everything I compost, I want to match it with the same consideration and care for my thoughts. I want to be the change for my own environment and for my child’s. I want to lead the charge on expanding the very meaning of being environmentally friendly. I want to disrupt the miscommunication in my body and trigger healing. We are the remedy. We control our thoughts. A clean personal environment is the ultimate superpower. I am starving this disease by being eco-friendly. Let’s go green together. To learn more about the Heroine Movement visit www.blaisehunter.com

32 // Community Now!


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BACK HOME AGAIN

Screenwriter / Director Michael Mankowski, Producer John Schnieder and Executive Producer Charmaine Hammond together with project partners, are excited to announce that Back Home Again movie had its world premier on October 2nd & 3rd, 2021 at the 35th Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF) – an OSCAR® qualifying festival. Back Home Again, an animated short film with an all-star voice cast, aims to build mental health awareness across Canada and around the world. This film was inspired by Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo’s community resiliency after the 2016 Horse River Wildfire - one of the largest wildfire evacuations in Canadian history. Back Home Again won a Jury Award for the Best Animation Short (Alberta). “This was an honour to have several screenings at the festival and to win this award,” says Mankowski. Following the four live theatre screenings, Back Home Again is now available for virtual screening in Alberta until October 31, 2021. For the EIFF screening schedule and tickets visit: https://watch.eventive.org/ edmontonfilmfest/play/611e7d2ead043f00617417c9/60f5f041561df800a3d0dd16 Back Home Again movie is a contender for the Audience Choice award, the movies can be voted on through EIFF at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DN3WRY5

Alberta Writer and Director Michael Mankowski created Back Home Again to show the world how a community could come together and rebuild. “The number one goal of this short film is to start conversations about mental health, resilience, hope and community and having our world premier in Edmonton was very fitting.” “I am humbled by the overwhelming support and all-star talent this project has been honoured with,” says Mankowski. “I would especially like to pay tribute to the late Ed Asner and Norm Macdonald for bringing to life the character voices of Edward Lionbridge and Grandpaws in the film.” Actress Kim Basinger, who voices Mother Bear in the movie states “Back Home Again reminds me that, even as we speak, fires continue to burn thousands and thousands of acres all over the world. As I, and many dear people close to me as well, lost their homes in the Woolsey fire, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of the millions of animals that also lost their homes and their lives in these fires. With homes and habitats destroyed and so much physical demise and mental disorientation involved, it is a devastating experience, but this film is one of hope, dedication, determination, and love; a film of belief that we can restore, rebuild and recover.” Charmaine and Michael are looking forward to being a part of the Community Now Mental Health Conference in December.


We are a community instilling hope and connection in the lives of young people, exiting street life.

Change is Possible.

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Don’t look at where people are, look at who they are.

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You control your life so make what you want out of it.

Even if it seems rough or impossible… DON’T GIVE UP!

If life was easy, how would we grow?

Trust in yourself.

Life is too short to waste it on fake illusions of happiness.

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36 // Community Now!

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MAKING L I V E S BETTER BY BUILDING BETTER LEADERS StevenArmstrong.ca

To learn more about how to be the best leader possible visit: stevenarmstrong.ca/bbb-magazine


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