Blog_COP21_SolarPanels_Pic_27Nov2015I was driving along highway 401 on the recent mid-term weekend. At Ingleside, Ontario we passed a large solar panel farm on the south side of the road. It’s an impressive facility that is situated on previously underused land, close to the Ontario Hydro power grid. It opened last spring and covers 100 acres. Forty-three thousand solar panels cover the land and provide enough electricity to power 1,800 homes (16.8 gigawats/hour). The private company is now looking for other similar opportunities in Ontario.

I was impressed by this facility. A quick look online also revealed that much larger solar parks are becoming quite prevalent across the world, especially in sunnier climates.

The largest are in California’s deserts. Whereas the solar farm I saw near the 401 had 43,000 panels on 100 acres of land, the largest solar farms in California are mammoth – with 1.7 million solar panels over 13 square kilometers. Impressively, a single such facility powers close to 150-thousand homes. Other parks use large mirrors that generate heat – another innovation that channels abundant natural energy available from the sun.

Solar parks of this size are also now emerging in India, Pakistan, China, along with smaller but significant projects across Europe.

So on the eve of the global UN environment conference in Paris – COP 21 – I think we should all investigate the growing application of renewable energy – solar, wind and other natural initiatives such as wave power. They are now becoming significant elements of countries’ national energy infrastructures and priorities. Let’s hope that innovation will continue to present new alternatives and help us to meaningfully diminish our dependence on fossil fuels. – Chris Shannon, Headmaster

Après Paris  

Blog_ApreParis_PhotoIn the week following the terrorist attacks in Paris, it was important to learn that every single attacker was born in Europe. Not one was from Syria, Iraq, or elsewhere in Middle East. The implications are quite significant. It says a great deal about the frustration of marginalized youth in Europe. Notably, not one of the terrorists involved was an observant Muslim, so the seeds of radicalism are less about being part of a marginal religious sect as they are about failed integration of immigrant communities into life in western cities.

It turns out that the Paris attackers all hailed from a few struggling neighbourhoods – mostly from a place on the outskirts of Brussels called Molenbeek. The leader and the four others from Molenbeek had common elements: all European, they experienced issues at school, drug abuse, and petty criminal activity.

Globe & Mail journalist Doug Saunders wrote a powerful piece in last weekend’s edition that shifts the dialogue away from ISIS and religious Jihadists to immigrants & failed integration (see: ).

Canada, the USA, and European nations really need immigrants to secure our economic futures (Canada admits about 300,000 people a year). So, a key question is how can Canada and other nations do a better job of building better and more welcoming communities, especially for those dominated by newcomers?

Experts tell us there are good examples of how best to welcome immigrants, educate immigrant children for success, create positive social dynamics, and provide meaningful economic opportunities for creative and motivated newcomers.

Mr. Saunders has been part of a major study for the World Bank on a shift on development thinking related to migration. The researchers kept arriving at one major conclusion: immigration works best when “cities and countries prepare the ground in advance by making small investments and institutional changes that give new immigrants precious footholds, rather than waiting for failures to occur and trying to correct them with big, expensive interventions.”

I hope that in coming days Canadians will welcome newcomers in ways that will truly allow them to build strong and lasting footholds. – Chris Shannon, Headmaster

MS Pride: Une expérience mémorable «chez Doris»

2015_16_MS_Pride_Chez_Doris_030Samedi 21 novembre, une dizaine d’élèves du MS Pride sont allés faire du service communautaire dans un centre d’accueil pour femmes à Montréal : Chez Doris. Cet organisme offre des conseils, de la nourriture et du réconfort aux personnes qui en ont le plus besoin.

Cette idée a pris racine lors d’une conférence Round Square pendant laquelle des élèves de GNS, une école à Victoria en Colombie-Britannique, nous ont parlé d’un projet qui est très populaire chez eux. Trois fois par an, ils organisent une collecte de fonds, achètent de la nourriture, vont dans un centre d’accueil, font la cuisine, servent les plats et discutent avec les personnes présentes. Nous nous sommes dit que nous pourrions faire quelque chose de similaire à Montréal.

Nous avions fait connaissance avec la responsable des bénévoles de Chez Doris : Thea Walker. Nous avions l’organisme, il nous fallait mettre au point la logistique de l’évènement;

– Organiser une vente de bonbons pour ramasser des fonds;
– Visite de Thea à LCC pendant un repas afin de présenter le centre et « les clientes »
– Trouver une commandite pour le dessert!

Le jour J, de 10h00 à 15h00, les élèves ont travaillé sans relâche, ne ménageant pas leur peine et leurs sourires pour les femmes du centre. En tout, 70 repas ont été servis dans la bonne humeur. Nous tenons à remercier l’entreprise Cool et Simple pour avoir gracieusement fourni l’accompagnement du plat principal et aussi des excellentes tartes au chocolat et praliné qui ont été la touche finale de cette expérience culinaire.

De plus, les élèves ont aussi improvisé un petit concert, participé au bingo, créant ainsi une atmosphère festive dans cet établissement.

Nous sommes donc prêts pour notre deuxième édition! Avec cette fois-ci un spectacle musical pendant le repas.

Commentaires des étudiants:

This experience was definitely one of the more humbling experiences I’ve had. It was not sad, but rather warm, as all of the women were extremely kind and loving. Toutes les femmes ont été extrêmement gentilles et généreuses. En fait, je pense que Chez Doris est une des communautés les plus exemplaires que j’ai vue. – Andrew Vandenbussche ’19

J’ai beaucoup aimé mon expérience à Chez Doris! I had fun during the activities and we all enjoyed ourselves very much. – Andrew Fata ’19

La journée à Chez Doris était pleine d’activités amusantes. On a cuisiné pour les femmes, parlé avec elles et aussi joué au bingo. Chez Doris was a great experience and I’m looking forward to going back soon. We cooked, met a lot of different people, played BINGO and got to help out our community which was a lot of fun. – Ella Waxman ’19

Taking part in community service at Chez Doris was a very memorable and heartwarming experience. Je vous encourage tous à participer à la prochaine sortie “Chez Doris” pour rendre service et recevoir des beaux sourires. – Jane Robeck ’19


Après Paris

Flag-Pins-France-CanadaWe were all saddened by the horrendous events in Paris last weekend – 129 killed and several hundred people seriously injured in coordinated terrorist attacks across the “city of light.” French President Hollande has now declared France at war with ISIS and US President Obama has called these events “an attack on the civilized world.”

This violence by ISIS has been linked to the recent bombing of a Russian aircraft over Egypt and horrendous suicide bombings in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. In each case, the victims were innocent and unsuspecting civilians, who by virtue of travelling, shopping in public, sitting in a café, or attending a rock concert, they represented the very idea of openness that ISIS detests.

These activities and freedoms are what we often take for granted – the hallmarks of our free and civil society. To the ISIS terrorists, this way of life is the enemy – no distinction is made between civilians or combatants. All so-called “unbelievers” who don’t support a radical interpretation of Islam, are enemies and conflict and mayhem in the West is what they want.

In this week’s high school assembly I spoke to LCC students about the origins and motivation of ISIS, also known as the Islamic State. I noted that even Al Qaeda disowned the group in 2014 because of its sheer brutality, driven literally by a medieval interpretation of the Koran. This includes stoning, crucifixion, mass beheadings, and very limited rights for women.

ISIS controls some oil fields in both Syria and Iraq. It is estimated that by selling it on the black market, it earns about $3 million/day to fund its operations.

The group has effectively used the Internet and social media as a way to lure disaffected youth to join their twisted cause. It is estimated that up to 10,000 young people have gone to Iraq and Syria from the West to join the Jihadi movement – and the largest proportion of those people who have been radicalized from the west have come from France.

France has been targeted for being a former colonial nation in the Muslim world. Many second and third generation Muslim youth have found full integration into French society to be challenging – a perfect breeding ground for the unemployed and frustrated to be “radicalized” by ISIS.

France was first targeted in last January’s attacks on free expression at Charlie Hebdo France has also been fighting Muslim extremism for several years in Mali in West Africa, while sending more bombers to ISIS targets in the Middle East than any other nation. At home, France is a very secular society, with a very clear division in political life between religion and politics – the complete opposite of ISIS which is driven by a radical religious foundation – a twisted interpretation of a faith that is actually dedicated to peace.

ISIS believes in an unavoidable apocalypse – that the end is coming in a kind of modern crusade that will also destroy most Muslims who do not share their skewed medieval worldview.

They believe in waging war, not in creating treaties. So analysts tell us to expect more attacks and disturbances from ISIS. However, I recall similar claims years ago at the start of the 1st Gulf War against Saddam Hussein – and also following the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Sometimes these radicals find most satisfaction in the psychological aftermath of terrorist acts – the upset, unease and nervousness they unleash in the mind.

Since 9/11, collaboration amongst Western allies has actually tilted the War Against Terrorism in our favour. Like journalist Gwynne Dyer, who spoke to LCC students last year, I believe this trend will continue. Yet, we need to be prudent and remember what we value and what we are proud of in our open democracies. Let’s celebrate our core values, but not be drawn into an unwinnable war. That’s exactly what ISIS wants. – Chris Shannon, Headmaster

Des élèves du MS assistent au Model UN organisé par McGill

MS_ModelUN_McGill_2105Vendredi 13 novembre, de 13h00 à 15h00, des élèves du Middle School sont allés assister au Model UN organisé par des étudiants de McGill à l’hôtel Bonaventure. Ce fut une expérience enrichissante et une bonne introduction pour cette activité. Nous avons participé aux assemblées générales du « Disarmament and International Security » et à la «  World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction ». Nous étions en compagnie de Madame Lamantia qui s’occupe du Model UN pour les années 9 à 12. Notre prochain objectif est la participation au Model UN de LCC!

Pour bien finir cette expérience, nous avons pris un chocolat chaud afin de partager nos impressions.

Voici le commentaire d’Ella Waxman ’19: « La conférence du Model UN était une expérience excellente. J’ai appris plus sur les règlements du Model UN et j’ai vu comment une conférence fonctionne. »