Category Archives: profiles

Audiocast #4: Living Lightly with David Chernushenko

David as photographed by a passer-by on the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City during the making of his latest film “Bike City, Great City.”

“SUSTAINABILITY IS SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC” says David Chernushenko—seasoned campaigner for community improvement and current Councillor for Ottawa’s Capital Ward—in this hour-long interview with Slow Ottawa host Graham Larkin.  Here David reveals exactly how he got his start in advocacy for living lightly; he explains why he eschews partisan labels; he expresses his hope for a generation more attuned to light living; and he shares many stories about recent local initiatives. Continue reading

Audiocast #3: Coming Home to Centretown

Elspeth McKay in the re:Purpose store at 150 Gloucester St, Ottawa.

I recently visited the Gloucester St. office of Elspeth McKay, director of Operation Come Home to talk about her work with street-involved youth in Ottawa. We spoke extensively about Elspeth’s knack for developing enterprises that train and employ youth. We also discussed the origins of many OCH programs including Reunite; the Resources (Drop-in) Centre; the Rogers Achievement Centre high school program; BottleWorksFarmWorksHousing WorksEntrepreneurship Works; and the re: Purpose store. Continue reading

Audiocast #2: Walking with Dan Rubinstein

Dan Rubinstein walking to my house on the morning of 13 November 2013.

Dan Rubinstein walking to my house on the morning of the audiocast.

The intrepid Dan Rubinstein came to my living room recording studio on 13 November 2013 to tell me about his Born to Walk project, including a forthcoming book on “the transformative power of walking.”  Dan shared many enlightening stories about his extensive travels with serious walkers and experts on walking.

To hear the complete interview use the player below on supported platforms, or click HERE to download.

[UPDATE 24 Nov 2013: Professor Phil Ford has commented extensively on this audiocast in a blog post describing walking as a ‘technology of experience.’ Join the conversation here.]

[UPDATE 17 March 2015: The book is now out. Buy it, and kindly spread the word.]

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Making it in the Glebe

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“I LOVE MAKING THINGS” says Kathrin von Dehn, a friend who opened her basement workshop—along with many cupboards and drawers—for the first Slow Ottawa profile on sustainable living. The first thing she shows me as we descend the stairs is a recent acquisition in the form of an old wooden chair missing a front leg and all but one of its stretchers. “Isn’t it great?” she enthuses, and I see what she means as I admire its elegant proportions, its warm materials, its signs of use, its brokenness, poise and resilience. Kathrin explains how one of her neighbours recently “just threw it out.” When I ask her about her plans for the chair she says “I dunno, maybe find a stick that will work as a leg.”

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Most of the things in Kathrin’s home are time-worn, and many have been scavenged from familiar places. The proud owner of a dilapidated minivan used mainly for trips out of town, Kathrin likes to navigate her neighbourhood on foot, usually with her two dogs and a kid or two, and always on the lookout for found materials whose lives she can extend through her art. In the well-organized workshop that takes up most of her basement she gathers all kinds of oddments that she can transmute into jewelry, handbags, stationary, wall art, storage boxes…whatever she feels like making today. Continue reading