To the Ends of the Earth

by Chase Friesen

Backed by the Parkland Institute, David Lavallee’s, To the Ends of the Earth, highlights the world’s reliance on unpredictable, and busting energy systems. Although the use of oil and gas is global, the basis of Lavallee’s film was focused mainly on Canadian production.

Our Dependency vs. New Energy

As noted in Lavallee’s film, Canada has the second biggest oil reserve in the world. Therefore, the flow of our economy is increasingly dependent on the flow of oil. Although there is a long way to come until our dependency on oil is minimalistic, there are things we as individuals can do to help expedite the process. There are also small business and non-for-profit organizations in Canada that support sustainable energy and the communities that face the swings of the fossil fuel economy.

The Arusha Centre

One example of a local organization is the Arusha Centre. The Arusha Centre values the importance of a local economy with a complementary currency system, Calgary Dollars. This monetary system boosts the local economy through the exchange of community members’ goods and skills and with local businesses rather than relying on unpredictable global markets. As a result of the crashing oil market, many individuals working in the industry lost their jobs. According to Johnson, of CBC News, from “December 2014 until April 2016, 3,853 jobs were lost in Alberta in oil and gas extraction and a further 29,196 in lost jobs that support energy and mining extraction” (2016). As a result of this loss of income, many individuals find it hard to apply their skills to other jobs or careers. However, one of our goals at the Arusha Centre, through Calgary Dollars, is to help individuals view their skills and interests as applicable opportunities to benefit themselves and their community. As for alternative energy, the Arusha Centre has created a project called Open Streets. Open Streets is a project based on energy conservation and sustainable energy education. Gerald Wheatley a manager at the Arusha Centre, demonstrated pedal powered live music at the January 25th Calgary premiere of To the Ends of the Earth at Plaza Theatre and talked about the importance of electricity conservation in Calgary.

The Arusha Centre's Open Streets program uses bike generators to educate about electricity in Alberta while powering live performances, speakers, and video projection

Watch the Film:

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Johnson T., (2016, July 6). CBC News. Just how many jobs have been cut in the oil patch? Retrieved from

To the Ends of the Earth, (2016). Retrieved from

Arusha Centre: Communities Taking Action, (2017). Retrieved from

Calgary Dollars, (2016). Retrieved from

Open Streets Calgary, (2016). Retrieved from

To release tension of mid-term school deadlines, University of Calgary Bike Share team hosted a de-stress event to promote a healthy lifestyle for students during exams. Held at "That Empty Space" on campus the Monday after reading week, the students were intrigued and drawn in by OpenStreets pedal powered electricity generating bikes, mini bike obstacle course, and free coffee. Nicole Rebustillo, a cycle enthusiast and member of The Bike Share committee, was excited for the event "this (event) is meant to be fun, to promote physical health and a positive community at the same time".

University of Calgary Bike Share was a successful applicant of the Take Action Grants. TAG is a small grants program of the Arusha Centre that promotes social or environmental ideas to move forward within the community. Awarded 1000 CalgaryDollars and $1000 federal dollars, the Bike Share committee agreed on using the CalgaryDollars to rent the OpenStreet gear to promote their initiative of accessible and affordable bike rentals for all University of Calgary students and staff. The remaining federal dollars are intended to purchase another bike to add to the collection of eight that they already have.

President of the University of Calgary Bike Share, Niko Casuncad, is extremely optimistic for the program. Nikos vision for future events and an idea that was circulating during the event was to build more of a community by hosting "group ride" events in the summertime along Calgary's Cycle Track Network.

The University of Calgary's Bike Share event is a perfect example of how TAG (Take Action Grants) is inspiring and connecting communities to gather together. For more information about U of Calgary's Bike Share Program, check out @UofCBikeShare or email

"Bristol Pound sticks to people, builds community connections and works for people not banks to create fairer, stronger, happier local economy" (Bristol Pound)

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My personal experience of the Bristol Pound- by Lauren Ray (a Bristolian now using Calgary Dollars)

Bristol seems to take great pride in being independent and alternative, so the city welcomed a community currency with much enthusiasm when it was launched back in 2012. The Bristol Pound offered us with a refreshing economic alternative that was sorely needed in the aftermath of the 2008 banking collapse. Today, the Bristol Pound is the largest local currency system in the UK and represents to many of us the value of independent business, local consumerism and the spirit of community.

From the very beginning local people was encouraged to get involved with the Bristol Pound project, with many entering a competition to design the banknotes. This added to the anticipation of the new currency when the winning entries were revealed showing beautiful illustrations of iconic Bristol landmarks.

For many, the main attraction of the Bristol Pound is that it helps to keep money in Bristol. According to the founders, before the alternative currency was introduced 80% of the money spent in Bristol would typically leave the city, swallowed up by large international businesses and remote shareholders. Instead, by using the Bristol Pound money is retained in the local economy which stimulates growth and boosts local business for the benefit of our community. It also encourages businesses to source stock from suppliers in the Bristol area, helping to create local employment opportunities and reduce carbon emissions for greener trading. Knowing where and how your money is being spent and thus having greater economic transparency was hugely appealing for many people dealing with the fallout of the financial crash, and remains a huge incentive for many of us today.

Keeping businesses local and independent is also really important for many Bristolians. This is particularly evident in Stokes Croft, a fiercely independent and alternative area of Bristol, where for months and months residents protested (alas unsuccessfully) against the multinational corporation Tesco from opening another store. Many of the local consumers and businesses in this part of the city embraced the Bristol Pound, eager to demonstrate the rebellious nature of the area.

Following extensive advertising and local support over 800 businesses now accept the Bristol Pound. On a regular day I can buy my coffee and lunch in any number of cafes, pubs and restaurants around the city, and use Bristol Pounds at the cinema, museums, theatres and even to enter the cathedral. With the support of the Bristol Credit Union, money can be taken out from cashpoints or deposited, as well as used electronically which makes the currency much more convenient.

Unfortunately, one of my main concerns with the Bristol Pound is that its users are not representative of the wider community. Indeed, many of the areas that promote and accept the Bristol Pound are predominantly the affluent middle class areas of Bristol. There remain large parts of Bristol where the Bristol Pound is not accepted or even heard of, meaning those residents have far fewer opportunities to spend the Bristol Pound if at all. Clearly, many in Bristol do not have the privilege that allows them to afford the more expensive locally sourced organic produce.

That said, the currency may be more accessible for some following the decision by Bristol City Council to get on board. As a result of their involvement all of the community leisure centres across Bristol now accept the Bristol Pound and even our local taxes can be paid in the currency. In recent months we are now able to buy bus tickets and can even use Bristol Pounds at the train station. Arguably, one of the biggest endorsements for the currency came when the Mayor of Bristol agreed to take his entire salary in Bristol Pounds.

Evidently, the Bristol Pound is taking Bristol by storm. By using it we are proudly regaining control of our local economy and embracing the sense of community it brings to the city.




Your kids can experience energy first hand in their class by pedal powering electricity. Learn about cycling, the forms of energy, and experience the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy! Here's the description for elementary, junior and senior high school students:

Powering Our World offers students experiential education in generating the electricity we use every day. Electricity is invisible but this activity provides hands-on learning by pedaling a Fender Generator, a stationary bike suitable for kids 8 yrs of age and older. Electricity is generated and supplied to various types of lights, music to provide understanding of energy concepts, technology, production, consumption, conservation, and impacts of electricity systems. Using a wattage meter allows students to experience and observe the electricity consumption of various common appliances. The experience of generating electricity with a stationary bicycle is an entry to discuss energy conservation, renewable and nonrenewable energy production, and the energy consumption of different types of transportation choices.


bubbles osc

Students learn how to answer the questions; What are some different kinds of energy? How is electrical energy unique? What are the sources of electricity? How much physical exertion is needed to provide electricity for a cell phone as compared to hairdryer? What are ways to conserve electricity? How does electricity production affect climate change? How do choices between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources affect consumption and pollution? How do transportation choices affect energy consumption?

This $400 hour long session provides all the equipment and staffing. Call 403 270 3200 to book now!


OSC pedal signs lobby









2016 has been the best year ever for the promotion of cycling. “Generally speaking we do see biking as an increased mode of transportation to Stampede Park,” said Stampede spokeswoman Jennifer Booth. “It’s a great green way to travel to the park.”

Bill Gray, President and Chair of the Board of the Calgary Stampede, shows how easy it is to ride to the Stampede Bike Valet.
Richard Stone, Stampede Innovation, demonstrates how to pedal power the charging station and bubblemaker at one of the three Stampede Bike Valet locations.

Bicycles were officially welcomed into the Stampede Parade in 2014 and the 2016 Bicycle Rodeo featured kids bicycle barrel racing, bike clowns, and BMX stunt riding along with a pedal powered sound system from Open Streets. Highlights included a bike trailer leaving a trail of bubbles, a full size penny farthing rider going no-hands, bike made out of wood from shipping pallets, and hundreds of parade spectators singing along to the (adjusted) lyrics "Save a Horse, Ride a Bicycle"

Kim Nelson of Bike Calgary shares bike trailer bubbles with the parade crowd.
Bike Rodeo clown Laura gets wacky as stunt rides perform
Bicycle barrel racing with a pennyfarthing!
Pedal powered MC Gerald Wheatley announces the kids bicycle barrel racing
Mike Jones of Open Streets show off his Landry Woodworks pallet wood bike with daughters Sarika and Naili.


With both in-kind and financial support from Mountain Equipment Coop and First Calgary Financial, Open Streets is excited to be at over 50 events in 2016 including the City of Calgary Canada Day on July 1, the Kensington Slide the City July 31, and the Tour of Alberta cycle race in September. @MEC_Calgary and @FirstCalgary are helping make it happen!

tour of AB rider
Combining world-class cyclists with bike education at the Tour of Alberta is a match made in heaven!
To beat the summer heat, Slide the City and Telus have teamed up with Open streets for pedal powered bubblemakers and soundsystems July 31
projection far
Pedal powered projection of first-person video is an educational thrill and at many events along with bike skills and blender drinks!













The wrap up and last session of We Are Cities Day was held on October 26th at Community Wise Building.

Arusha has completed the role as Alberta Convener for We Are Cities including hosting five Alberta roundtables with 100 participants that contributed dozens of ideas to the process. Here are the top three:
1) Creating more multi-purpose hubs in Calgary's inner city
2) Empowering the City of Calgary to have more revenue generation options
3) Investing in diversifying Calgary's economy.

Check out the We Are Cities Roundtable Recap

Calgary-Rountable 2


NEW! Cycling in the City: Presented in partnership between Green Calgary, and Open Streets Calgary, this 55 min. session shows you what to expect as a casual rider or commuter on Calgary's cycle infrastructure. Learn the skills, rules and how to prepare for occasional or year-round riding to work, $275. Book yours for students, coworkers, or the community on the Green Calgary website here.

Earth Hour 2016
Earth Hour 2016

What a great event! Thank you to the attendees, community organizations, businesses, and City departments that worked together to grow this great City event.

2016 Earth Hour Calgary-23

The second annual event at St. Patrick Island confluence plaza was bigger in every way than last year’s incredible event in Olympic Plaza: More attendees, larger space, more activities, more partners, and more volunteers!

2016 Earth Hour Calgary-14 2016 Earth Hour Calgary-24

Check out our 2016 video Facebook Photo Album for Earth Hour 2016: #earthhouryyc photo album


Many thanks to our event partners:

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

St. Patrick’s Island

Arusha Centre Open Streets

Green Calgary

Good Earth City Hall


Many thanks to the organizations and individuals that made came to together to make this event a success:


Blue Dot

City Parks

City Waste & Recycling

Sisters of Another Mother

Calgary CAN

Jing Wo Cultural Association

Bridgeland-Riverside Cultural Association

Youth Central

Landry Woodworks