The Clay pot cooler. I have loved this idea since my early twenties when I was first introduced to the concept of cooling food using a material I love, ceramic. I was excited by the idea of refrigeration without having to use electricity after I had lived for a year without any power or running water. We used to have to buy ice and put it in a Coleman cooler to keep any perishables fresh. It was smelly, messy and needed a constant source of ice which was heavy to carry. The concept of the clay cooler is simple, a porous outer earthenware pot, a smaller inner pot and wet sand filling the gap between the two layers. The evaporation of the water from the outside surface draws heat from inside.


These clay coolers have been used since ancient times. Egyptian frescos from around 2500 B.C. depict people fanning clay water jars which would have increased the air flow to cool the contents of the jars. I always knew there would be a way to mass produce this low tech idea to give people who did not want to or could not pay for electricity a means to store food, medicines, and other perishables.

The best version yet in my mind is by Prajapati Mansukhbhai Raghavjibhai, an entrepreneur who developed the Mitticool, a ‘fridge’ based on the same technology as the clay pot coolers.

“Water from the upper chambers drips down the side, and gets evaporated taking away heat from the inside , leaving the chambers cool. The top upper chamber is used to store water. A small lid made from clay is provided on top. A small faucet tap is also provided at the front lower end of chamber to tap out the water for drinking use. In the lower chamber, two shelves are provided to store the food material. The first shelf can be used for storing vegetables, fruits etc. and the second shelf can be used for storing milk etc.  Cool and affordable, this clay refrigerator is a very good option to keep food, vegetables and even milk naturally fresh for days.”

Mitticool fridge by Prajapati

The Gujarat Earthquake of 2001 inspired his innovation. ”Journalists came and photographed our broken matkas (water storage coolers). They referred to them as the poor man’s fridge. I thought why can’t we make a real fridge with the same cooling principle?” After four years of research he discovered an unusual combination of sawdust and sand added to the clay which made it porous and the interior cooler. The Mitticool also preserves the original taste of fruits and vegetables, is affordable, and does not require any maintenance costs.

Mitticool by Prajapati

Prajapati has also created a low cost ceramic water filter, a non stick clay Tawa (low tech teflon pan) and will likely continue to innovate new ways for low income people to have modern conveniences that help them to stay healthy. Take a moment to meet the man behind the dream in the INKtalk video.


How many of use consider the modern toilet as hazardous to our health, and no it has nothing to do with germs. It has to do with the body position during elimination. It is only a modern convenience to have a toilet that functions like a comfortable chair. Early toilets required us to squat and this completely changes the way we do it. Studies are proving that the natural squat position improves our ability to eliminate our body wastes and may improve health problems such as bloating, straining, hemorrhoids, constipation, colitis, appendicitis and colon cancer. If your doctor told you to eat more fibre, you may want to consider trying squatting.

When we sit, the proper mechanics to let feces move from the rectum to the anus are partially blocked and this makes elimination difficult and often incomplete. Funny thought that straining in the bathroom is not necessary, no? It is sort of like trying to water the grass with a kink in the garden hose. When we squat, the puborectalis muscle can relax entirely and allow the feces to pass easily into the anus and out of the body. The video has a great animation on how this all works.

Squatty Potty® toilet stool: How toilet posture affects your health

I have been doing this for a couple of years and I notice a big difference. Usually I can prop up on a little garbage bin, but whatever works. A mini stool, a Squatty Potty® bought online, a small box. Doesn’t matter as long as you get the legs up. If you are really adventurous, or rich, you can purchase a squatting toilet. They are quickly disappearing around the world in some circles and reappearing in health conscious ones. It is also funny  how that works. I found this lovely example at Long Happiness.



And unless you are extremely agile, I would not recommend squatting directly on top of the modern toilet with your feet on the toilet seat. The chance of an embarrassing accident is high. Safety first!


Future earth logo

What is Future Earth and why is this exciting for Montreal?

Future Earth is the global research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world.

Bringing together existing programmes on global environmental change*, Future Earth will be an international hub to coordinate new, interdisciplinary approaches to research on three themes: Dynamic Planet, Global Development and Transformations towards Sustainability. It will also be a platform for international engagement to ensure that knowledge is generated in partnership with society and users of science. It is open to scientists of all disciplines, natural and social, as well as engineering, the humanities and law. It is the global research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world.

(* DIVERSITAS, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), theInternational Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).)

Future Earth’s globally distributed secretariat will have five hubs in Paris, Tokyo, Stockholm Boulder, Colorado and Montreal. The project created by the United Nations is a 10 year initiative to link and share international research on the environment and sustainable development and to accelerate the impact of that research in order to address the urgency of the current environmental crisis. Karen Seidman has an article about Montreal’s role as a hub in the Gazette published July 7th, 2014.

This  gives Montreal a chance to be on the cutting edges of environmental and sustainable development in many areas including use of electric vehicles, advances in medical care and health, energy use and pilot projects already taking place such a roof-top organic gardening year round and using geo-thermal heating in new residential development. Having so much hydro-electric power is an advantage for research and development but so is having a society already interested in investing a clean and green future. And now Montreal will be able to share this enthusiasm with the rest of the world.



A very interesting interview was published in the magazine Science back in December, 2010. ‘French Nobelist Escapes “Intellectual Terror” to Pursue Radical Ideas in China,’ by Martin Enserink. (Vol. 330 no. 6012 p. 1732 if you would like to find the original article.)

Luc Montagnier photo
It talks about virologist and Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier who moved from France and his work at the Pasteur Institute in Paris to lead a new research institute at Jiaotong University in Shanghai in order to study the electromagnetic waves that emanate from the highly diluted DNA of various pathogens. Yes that is correct, research on electromagnetic signals emanating from DNA. He and his team will study both the theoretical basis and the possible applications of these signals in medicine. Montagnier believes that these new observations will lead to modern treatments for many common chronic diseases including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. These studies are controversial and yet if true could radically change how we view the human body, disease and how, more significantly, we think of homeopathy.

Montagnier’s new method for detecting viral infections is similar to some of the basic laws of homeopathy such as using high dilutions.

“We find that with DNA, we cannot work at the extremely high dilutions used in homeopathy; we cannot go further than a 10−18 dilution, or we lose the signal. But even at 10−18, you can calculate that there is not a single molecule of DNA left. And yet we detect a signal.”

For this statement scientists are accusing Montagnier of being unprofessional and his work as questionable. He knows that one “cannot extrapolate [his research] to the products used in homeopathy” and yet also stated, “I can’t say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules.” The main point detractors of homeopathy argue over is the lack of any chemical presence of the original substance within a homeopathic remedy. A bee is used to make the remedy but once high dilutions are reached the actual molecules of the bee are completely absent. From a chemical or Newtonian physics perspective that means the remedy is just plain water and so can only be a placebo. Montagnier is saying that the high dilutions of a substance in water are something other than just water and it is in the electromagnetic wave that that something is going to be defined.

These detractors have a justifiable scientific perspective on homeopathic remedies, however, we have evolved past the era of Newtonian physics. We now live in a Quantum physics reality. Just try to explain scientifically to your friends how your cell phone works. You could likely come up with a short description for a basic rotary dial telephone easy enough, but can you even start to explain how your Android works, scientifically? Probably not since it uses quantum mechanic technology and most of us just don’t understand how things function at the quantum level because everything gets pretty weird at the atomic level when you are still seeing the world according to the logic of Newtonian physics. And some scientists are refusing to let go this outdated perspective, … which is why the ‘Intellectual Terror’ is happening to Montagnier and other scientists doing similar research.

Rotary Dial Telephone

When the interviewer asked if Montagnier is perhaps he is drifting into pseudoscience he replied, “No, because it’s not pseudoscience. It’s not quackery. These are real phenomena which deserve further study.” Homeopaths have been saying this for years and finally science is catching up with them which is very exciting and timely and for medicine.

There is an excellent article on this topic by Dana Ullman published in the Huffington Post on July 6, 2014.

I was just thinking about this last week. How what we buy and own here in the ‘Western’ or ‘First’ world must affect people living in other countries and how it implies that they might therefore have impoverished lives and suffer so we can have what is an obvious excess of material goods and luxeries. I had not considered the fact that many people are in fact slaves who help produce the products we consume. Made In A Free World did. When we buy certain brands and types of products we are unwittingly allowing people to become modern day working slaves. As the organization states, slavery never ended when it became officially illegal in all countries but it continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, children forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage.

Today it’s the impoverished 7-year-old boy in Ghana whose mother can’t afford school fees. In her desperation, she allows a stranger to take him far away in order to attend school, only to learn that her son was sold into slavery on a fishing boat. It’s the girl in a remote village in India who swings a pickaxe taller than she is to mine the mineral that makes our cosmetics sparkle. It’s the poor Cambodian man who tries to provide for his family by taking a job on a fishing boat, but is violently forced to work for 20 hours per day with no pay, and doesn’t return for 7 years. ~ Made in a free world     

Slavery is when someone is deceived or coerced into a situation they didn’t agree to for someone else’s profit. People are forced to work under threat for little or no pay and are prevented from leaving by choice. There are more than 29 million people living as modern day slaves today. Most people are aware of the forced labour in the sex industry but the majority are actually exploited to do manual labour for the private sector that sells products such as cosmetics, clothing, food and electronics.

This video gives a great intro into the initiative and you can take the survey to find out your own slavery footprint based on where you live and the way you live.

Slavery Footprint Story from Made In A Free World

Made in a Free World also has some ideas for businesses. The FRDM (Forced labor Risk Determination & Mitigation – TM) is a revolutionary assessment software tool that identifies the risk of forced labor in supply chains and provides solutions and strategies to find alternatives. The idea is to have access to information on risky suppliers and areas of operation to insure a company avoids materials or labour that is directly linked to slavery and to finding alternative resources and work forces. This means better vendor agreements, policy improvements, industry best practices, and access to a network of ethical suppliers. It means business no longer needs to turn a blind eye to what is going on at any stage of production for business. It is smart of Made in a Free World to understand that the responsibility is not just with the consumers actions and awareness but that the corporate world has to take some initiative as well.

In a Free world business app

Just a short recap in case you missed it or you weren’t born yet. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris, expresses the rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. 66 years later and we still haven’t figured out how to make it work.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

My first idea for a suitable use of 3D printers was the plate smashing room yet this initiative by the The Plastic Bank also gets my thumbs up. Although I have to say, a plastic wrench might not fit the bill as a sustainable item with great longevity seeing as wrenches are typically made of metal. But how about a long-lasting toothbrush handle for which you buy disposable bristle heads, or recyclable chopsticks for use in fast food restaurants?


The reason this is a good idea? The Plastic Bank based in Vancouver created the wrench entirely from recycled ocean plastic. The plastic filament was created from recycled ocean plastic gathered from the southern Alaskan coastline. This is so smart they won the Innovation Award from the Recycling Council of British Columbia. The Plastic Bank’s mission is to make plastic waste into a currency that can be used around the world.


This photo suggests that there is a indeed a period of time when a plastic currency will be available to those willing to collect it. The question remains, what are the 3D printers going to create and how to develop a market based on those products developed? In no time, if their initiative works, the demand for social plastic will move the whole operation to larger manufacturers which although not so helpful to ‘the world’s poor,’ would be helpful to reduce the overall amount of new plastics being produced globally. Again, it is to reduce, reuse and, if it is necessary, to recycle that will save the world’s sensitive environment. Perhaps the Bank can team up with a young entrepreneur from Holland who developed the  Ocean Cleanup Array. Boyan Slat suggests the Array could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the ocean’s garbage patches. It works by using a system of booms that would force plastic into platforms where it would be separated from plankton and stored for recycling. That is a lot of chopsticks by my estimate.

A great interview on the effects of childhood neglect, abuse and violence in later life. Dr. Máté points out the myopic view most health professions still have when accepting new theories on how our early childhood experiences are directly tied to all adult problems of mental illness, addictions, social dysfunctions and other  chronic health problems such as cancer leaving children with these experiences to suffer needlessly in their later years. And why does this happen, likely they too, are denying their authentic selves. His call is to find a means to help people that understands their fundamental lack and needs they have and how to complete them so they can become a whole person again. This is an approach to medicine that is compassionate and humane.

Gábor Máté MD: Attachment = Wholeness and Health or Disease, ADD, Addiction, Violence

Gábor Máté MD: Attachment = Wholeness and Health or Disease, ADD, Addiction, Violence.
Link to Video here.

Gabor Maté is a Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction and is also widely recognized for his perspective on Attention Deficit Disorder and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health. He has authored four books exploring topics including attention deficit disorder, stress, developmental psychology and addiction.


There are no bad people, only badly loved people. ~ Arnaud Desjardins


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 306 other followers