All posts in "Miscellaneous"

#1004 Vertical gardens of the Musée du quai Branly

By Cathryn Wellner / May 4, 2014

Vertical gardens are appearing around the globe. The one at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris is extraordinary. Except for its windows, every inch of its facade is covered with a riot of plants, clinging as if by magic to the straight expanse. Patrick Blanc is the creative botanist who built it. He has […]


#854 Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective changing the future

By Cathryn Wellner / November 17, 2013

When women are empowered, communities change. The Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective is proof of that. Their more than 100,000 members are among the most marginalized women of India. They are Dalit, landless widows and indigenous women. Individually they lack power. Collectively they advocate for sustainable agriculture, social justice, local governance, and rights for workers and […]


#818 Guardians of vacant property

By Cathryn Wellner / October 12, 2013

They are in every city—vacant properties where weeds grow through cracks, boards cover doors and windows, repairs are neglected, maintenance is non-existent, and looting and squatting prevail. The whole neighbourhood slides downhill because of them. That is where Dot Dot Dot comes in. They are a UK social enterprise whose mission is “to use vacant […]


#803 The generous lottery winner of Terrace, B.C.

By Cathryn Wellner / September 27, 2013

Bob Erb of Terrrace, British Columbia, almost missed out on a $25 million lottery win. On November 2, 2012 he was returning from his father’s funeral in Calgary when he stopped for gas in New Hazelton. He asked for a Lotto Max ticket. Dean Paranich, manager of the gas station, mistakenly handed him a ticket […]


#642 Dogs know how to comfort

By Cathryn Wellner / April 19, 2013

It didn’t matter if the tears were real or faked. It didn’t matter if the weeping person was a stranger or the owner. When dogs saw someone who appeared to be in distress, they sniffed, nuzzled and licked, offering canine comfort. This was the finding of a study carried out by Deborah Custance and Jennifer […]


#594 Shelby’s happy chickens lay gold for the family

By Cathryn Wellner / March 2, 2013

When multiple sclerosis landed pharmacist Nancy Grebenc in a nursing home, the family’s finances hit the skids. With bills mounting, nine-year-old Shelby hatched a plan to ease the strain. She would sell farm eggs. With a $1,000 loan from her grandmother, she purchased a flock of hens and set her plan in motion. She already […]


#591 Students take lead to end hunger in Canada

By Cathryn Wellner / February 27, 2013

Most of us think about hunger in the abstract. Rahul Raj, a 17-year-old student at Wilfred Laurier University, took action. His grandmother had taught him well. During the family’s trips to India, Raj watched his grandmother give money to beggars, without question or judgment. By the time the slight young man started university, he had […]


#553 AHO gives youth a chance

By Cathryn Wellner / January 20, 2013

When I came across Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity, I thought back to an 18-year-old boy I met at NOOPA in Williams Lake, British Columbia. The local Boys and Girls Club had renamed itself No Ordinary People Allowed, a much more palatable title for the youth they served. I had dropped by because of a […]


#508 Help-Portrait Vancouver makes people smile

By Cathryn Wellner / December 6, 2012

Just in time for the holidays, Help-Portrait Vancouver lined up photographers, hair and make-up professionals, photo editing experts, and all the other volunteers and equipment needed to make people look their best for the cameras. They converged on the Union Gospel Mission in the city’s Downtown Eastside to take portraits of people whose lives don’t […]


#434 A hands-on revolution

By Cathryn Wellner / September 23, 2012

I’ve built fences, made croissants from scratch, sewn quilts, written poems, played the fiddle and been midwife to sheep. What I loved about all of those is that at the end of the creative process, I held something tangible in my hands. The good folks on the SparkTruck know how phenomenal it is for kids […]

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