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| This page last updated 22 April 2013 |
We at gnusystems have been doing bookkeeping, consulting and training in the Sudbury-Manitoulin area since 2000, when we moved from Sudbury to Manitoulin Island (north central Ontario, Canada). While we continue to serve clients on-site in both Sudbury and Manitoulin, much of the consulting work is now done from our home office by remote link to the client's computer. Meanwhile, our time and resources on Manitoulin are increasingly devoted to local networks for sustainable living and accounting for what really counts (see below).
You can reach us toll free at (888) 368-0515. Fax: (705) 368-0529.
|Pam Jackson (e-mail pam -at- gnusystems -dot- ca) has been providing bookkeeping, consulting and training services to a broad range of clients since 2000. Pam is a Sage 50™ Certified Consultant who helps others to use this bookkeeping software more effectively. She works mainly on Manitoulin Island, but is equipped to help clients from there by remote Internet connection with their computers.
Gary Fuhrman, Pam's partner, maintains this website and answers the phone at the Manitoulin office. He's also a writer and researcher into living signs and systems of all kinds: check out the gnoxic page on this site for more about that.
|Harmony Hancock (e-mail harmony -at- gnusystems -dot- ca, cellphone 207 5452) is in charge of our work for Sudbury clients. She has been trained by her mother Pam in all aspects of bookkeeping and is especially expert in handling payroll matters.
Amy Poitevin (e-mail amy -at- gnusystems -dot- ca), newest member of the team, also helps out with Sudbury clients.
XLGL is a third-party software tool we use to quickly and easily transfer data from Sage 50™ into Excel spreadsheets, which greatly simplifies financial reporting. Now you can buy XLGL online, directly from the source, by clicking on this link: Purchase XLGL. You can learn more about XLGL by clicking on the logo to the left.
We at gnusystems have been driving hybrid vehicles since 2000, and installed a solar power system at our Manitoulin home/office in 2010. We are also shifting our emphasis to ‘accounting for what really counts’ – that is, for measurable things that matter to living communities, but are not accounted for in the GDP and often ignored in the corporate media. This includes a series of articles posted on the Resilient Manitoulin blog on ‘the energy economy’ and ‘the information economy’. Occasionally we post information there about local food and other issues connected with the transition to sustainable and resilient systems. Our work on accounting for what really counts is offered as a service to the community – we don't make any money at it. Our interest in it arises from our involvement with local and global movements including:
Gary's gnoxic page investigates the more theoretical (philosophical/scientific/semiotic) side of this, with a special focus on deep reading of ‘sacred texts’ or scriptures. (Or, you might say, on the meanings of life.)
toward the health of the Earth community:
|We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
||The fundamental problem of our society and our species today is to discover a way to flourish that will not be at the expense of some other community or of the biosphere, to replace competition with creative interdependence. At present, we are steadily depleting the planet of resources and biological diversity; the developed world thrives on the poverty of the south. We are in need of an understanding of global relationships that will be not only sustainable but also enriching: it must come to us as a positive challenge, a vision worth fulfilling, not a demand for retrenchment and austerity. This is of course what we do day by day when we refuse to accept the idea that we must reject one part of life to enhance another. Projecting a new vision is artistic; it's a task each of us pursues in composing our lives.
— Mary Catherine Bateson,
Composing a Life (1990, 239)
- Maja's – a good place in Mindemoya to find (and learn about) local organic natural foods.
- Manitoulin Permaculture
- Resilient Manitoulin blog. You can bookmark it, or subscribe to the RSS feed from it, to keep track of upcoming events on the Island (along with other matters of interest).
- Manitoulin Community Food Network has a website with a listing of local food producers.
- There's also a Community Food Security Directory downloadable from The FoodShed in Sudbury – it lists the Farmers' Markets and other food sources on Manitoulin as well as in the Sudbury area.
- Some organic food items aren't grown locally and often can't be found at local stores. To fill this gap, Pam started Manitoulin Organic Outsource, a buying club that enables members to order what they need and get it delivered monthly from the Ontario Natural Food Co-op to Maja's Bounty in Mindemoya. We also have an e-mail group for members, to coordinate ordering and pickup. There is no membership fee. Call Pam or email pam -at- gnusystems (dot) ca for more information.
- Movies that Matter on Manitoulin: Some films just entertain you and pass the time. Other films matter because they open a window on the world, or challenge you to see it differently. Since the fall of 2004, some of us on Manitoulin Island take turns hosting a movie night where we gather in small groups, often beginning with a potluck dinner, to view a film that matters and follow it up with some lively conversation. Most of these now take place on Saturday nights at the “Honora Bay Free Theatre” (aka gnusystems HQ), often showing unusual, hard-to-find or challenging films (not necessarily documentaries). We use a private e-mail group called Manitou Matters (click there to visit its public web page) to announce and organize these and other cultural events on the Island. If you're interested in taking part in this (you don't have to host), e-mail gnox -at- gnusystems (dot) ca.
- For links to other Island resources, try www.manitoulin.ca.
Not exactly Manitoulin, but close enough!
Resources for global thinking and local practice which you can borrow from gnusystems and friends are listed below (books and DVDs).
- Websites for the global picture on ecology, economy, resources:
- Focus on food systems and Fair Trade:
- Dialogue and community-building:
- Transition Culture website
- WISER Earth is the website of the Natural Capital Institute, founded by Paul Hawken, ‘a team of researchers, teachers, students, activists, scholars, writers, social entrepreneurs, artists, and volunteers committed to the restoration of the earth and the healing of human culture. We do two things: we describe pathways of change in books and research reports, and we create tools for connecting the individuals, information, and organizations that create change.’ (See also Hawken's book Blessed Unrest.)
- The Healing Century – a series of talks by Robert Theobald, broadcast on Australian public radio in 1998.
- Focusing Institute (based on Eugene Gendlin's therapeutic and philosophical work)
- Bohm Dialogue – based on a process (developed by physicist/philosopher David Bohm and associates) for liberating ourselves from the need to defend our own assumptions and attack those of others. Recognizing and ‘suspending’ our assumptions transforms them from barriers into signposts on the road to understanding.
- Resilient Communities Network
- Pam and Gary of gnusystems are Bahá'ís – that is, we belong to a religious community focused on encouraging the human race to get its act together.
Every Sunday morning at 10 a.m., at our place near Honora Bay, we get together with anyone else who cares to come – everyone's invited, regardless of religious belief – to share devotional prayers, chants, songs, meditations or readings from a broad range of spiritual traditions, usually beginning with sitting silently for 10 minutes (zazen). We call this the Unity Zone, as it's our way of honoring the One Presence common to all of us as spiritual beings. As Bahá'ís we are called to “consort with all in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship,” and this is what we do instead of a regular worship service (since we have no clergy or church building). Reminders are sent out on the ManitouMatters email list. Reply to those or call us at 368-0515 if you'd like to join us.
Contact us – gnox (at) gnusystems (dot) ca – if you want to hear more about it; or visit these sites:
– Islanders can contact us to borrow these: gnox -at- gnusystems (dot) ca.
These are some of the documentaries on our “Movies that Matter” list (see above). Most have websites you can search for to learn more about them; some links are included here. I've also posted reviews of many on amazon.ca. Our particular favorites are in bold.
- The Global Oneness Project offers a ‘living library of films’ available for free (download or DVD). Most of the films are short features about sustainability, conflict resolution, spirituality, art, economics, indigenous culture, and social justice. They explore how the radically simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in our increasingly complex world, gathering stories from creative and courageous people around the world ‘who base their lives and work on the understanding that we bear great responsibility for each other and our shared world.’ You can subscribe to their e-newsletter.
- For visions of the wild world you can't beat BBC Earth / David Attenborough documentaries, including Planet Earth, Life (2010), The Human Planet (2011) and many others.
- For films with spectacular visuals and music, but no narration or plot, try Godfrey Reggio's groundbreaking series Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi – also Baraka and Samsara (2012), shot by Ron Fricke, cinematographer of the first two Qatsi films.
- Occupy Love (2013) – Coming soon from Velcrow Ripper!
- Payback (2012) – based on Margaret Atwood's Massey Lectures about the moral dimensions of debt (not only financial).
- Surviving Progress (2012)
- Half the Sky (2012) – 6-part documentary on the plight of women around the world and what they are doing to improve their situation.
- Pina (2011) – Wim Wenders' celebration of the life and work of choreographer Pina Bausch.
- Fuel (2011) – Josh Tickell's fascinating and entertaining examination of biodiesel (as an alternative to oil-based fuels) combines personal and global history with a lucid explanation of the role it could play in a sustainable energy future.
- Forks over Knives (2011) makes a good case for a vegetarian diet.
- Waste Land (2010) – inspiring film about art, community and their mutual transformation.
- Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) – Werner Herzog's guided tour of the Chauvet Cave in France, which contains the oldest known paintings.
- Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) – Fine art and its marketing meet the street art of elusive grafitti artist Banksy.
- Queen of the Sun (2010) – similar to Vanishing of the Bees (2009, listed below)
- (Astro)Turf Wars (2010) documents ‘how corporate America is faking a grassroots revolution’ – and specifically, how the Tea Party was designed and organized by PR professionals in the employ of billionaires. A disturbing revelation of how democratic institutions can be manipulated to serve the interests of the rich.
- The Age of Stupid (2009): It's the year 2055, and runaway climate change has wiped out most of human civilization. A lone survivor, speaking from his Global Archive of artifacts from our time, poses the question: Why didn't we save ourselves from climate change while we had a chance, before the warming trend became irreversible? This question frames the documentary footage, which includes information from various sources and media, but mainly samples the lives of several contemporaries of ours: a young Nigerian woman, an Iraqi family, a French alpine guide, an airline entrepreneur in India, a UK couple trying to reduce their ecological footprint, and a Shell scientist who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. This last fellow is the one who labels our time ‘the Age of Stupid.’ The film as a whole leaves the framing question open – and thus holds up a mirror in which we can see ourselves, if we're not too busy blaming other people. A very provocative film.
- Home (2009) – shot by noted aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a visually spectacular and morally compelling vision of our planet and ourselves.
- Dirt! the movie (2009) – a fascinating, entertaining and inspiring film about the living skin of our planet, the source of all our food, and how some of us are beginning to renew healthy relations with it.
- Man on Wire (2009) – about “the greatest artistic stunt” ever pulled off … but the man who did it in 1974 says it wasn't a stunt at all.
- The Cove (2009) documents the addiction to dolphin hunting in the Japanese town of Taiji, along with the extraordinary efforts it took to document a part of the Japanese whaling industry that authorities do not want the Japanese public (or the rest of the world) to know about. It also tells the story of one man's mission to save dolphins from human ignorance.
- The End of the Line (2009), based on Charles Clover's book, documents how corporate greed has brought global fisheries to the brink of collapse, what consequences are likely, and what we can do about it.
- Vanishing of the Bees (2009) documents the quest to find the cause of the ‘colony collapse disorder’ which devastated beehives around the world starting in 2007 – and shows it to be a warning from nature that the monoculture-based industrial food production system is unsustainable and unhealthy for us all.
- Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) – Michael Moore explores the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and what they can do about it) in his inimitable fashion. The DVD has some great extras on it, especially one on food alternatives.
- Petropolis (2009) – 45 minutes of aerial perspectives on the Alberta tar sands, the world's biggest and most destructive energy-mining project. No commentary at all until near the end (the images speak for themselves). Also 25 minutes of interviews with 7 people, leading off with a man who lives downstream from the tar sands. A Greenpeace production.
- Crude (2009) – award-winning documentary about the landmark case in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, pitting an Ecuadorian lawyer and 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron in a long-running class action suit, aiming to win compensation for the systematic contamination of one of the planet's most biodiverse regions.
- The Yes Men (2003) and The Yes Men Fix the World (2009) document some often hilarious (and sometimes successful) efforts to to raise consciousness about outrageous corporate behavior by impersonating corporate representatives at conferences and such.
- Food, Inc. (2008) – everything that corporate agribusiness doesn't want you to know about the North American food industry – including the local/organic alternatives to factory-farmed food.
- Fierce Light (2008)
– Canadian filmmaker Velcrow Ripper shows where a broad range of activists, all working non-violently for a more just, sane and healthy world, find their inspiration. Whatever you choose to call it — ‘spirituality’, or the ‘fierce light’ within — it's the way it moves and connects you with others that counts.
- Beyond Our Differences (2008) explores the positive role of faith in the world today and the fundamental unity of the world's religions.
- The World According to Monsanto (2008) documents the investigation of French journalist Marie-Monique Robin into Monsanto – one of the most controversial corporations in industrial history, and the world leader in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – its history, activities and advertising claims. It is highly informative not only about Monsanto but also about how investigative journalists use the Internet.
- Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2008) – based on the book about the resistance to corporate control of the world's water supplies.
- Addicted to Plastic (2008) brings home another face of our oil dependence in a powerful, personal, informative and sometimes entertaining way. The impact of plastic on the oceans is especially startling. Also presents some promising solutions to the problem.
- Chris Martenson's Crash Course (2008) on DVD – not a film, more like a Powerpoint presentation with voice and graphics, divided into 22 lessons totalling about 3 hours. Explains why the globalized, debt-based financial system is unsustainable, and offers some ideas on how to prepare for its continuing decline or possible collapse.
- Two animated autobiographical films which cross the usual boundary between the documentary and ‘art’ genres:
- In Waltz with Bashir (2008), an Israeli ex-soldier who is bothered by a recurring nightmare, and by his inability to remember anything about his time in Lebanon with the Israeli army in the early Eighties, embarks on a journey of discovery (or recovery of his lost memories). The result raises questions about what happens to the human sense of responsibility in wartime and afterwards.
- Persepolis (2007) is based on the ‘graphic novel’ by Marjane Satrapi which tells her story from childhood in pre-revolutionary Iran through her school days in Europe, return to Iran and exile again. A personal (and feminist) perspective on Iranian politics, and the culture clash between European and Iranian views – and the animation is a work of art in its own right.
- King Corn (2007) – a revealing (and entertaining) look at the corporate/industrial food system and how it undermines our health, ecosystems and economy.
- Rumi Returning (2007) documents the life, works and influence of the 13th-century Sufi master whose universal appeal has made him ‘the bestselling poet in the U.S.’ through English versions of his poems.
- Everything's Cool — 2007 documentary about ‘a handful of global warming messengers speaking out in a time of disinformation’.
- Manufactured Landscapes (2006)
- The 11th Hour (2007) – assembles testimony from some leading innovators on dealing with emerging threats to the planetary life support system.
- Garbage Warrior (2007) – the title is a bit misleading: this very lively film is about ‘radical Earthship eco-architect Michael Reynolds, and his fight to build off-the-grid self-sufficient communities’.
- An Inconvenient Truth (2006) – the famous documentary featuring Al Gore on climate change.
- One (2005) (no connection to the Global Oneness Project) – first-time filmmaker goes in quest of the meaning of life, posing a set of questions to some famous spiritual leaders and some not-so-famous. [Heather and Paul at Loonsong have it on DVD.]
- Born into Brothels (2004) chronicles the work of photographer Zana Briski, who met the children of prostitutes in Calcutta and knew she had to do something to help them. Taking her cue from their interest in her camera, she gave them all cameras and taught them the basics of photography. The results are amazing and incredibly moving. This film won the Oscar for best documentary of 2004, and the DVD we have is loaded with extras following up what happened to the kids later.
- Scared Sacred (2004) demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit in the face of disaster, in places like Bhopal, Cambodia and Palestine.
- Touch the Sound (2004) – Thomas Riedelsheimer film about the amazing percussionist Evelyn Glennie and her unique feel for the vibrations of the universe.
- The Future of Food (2004) – about the threat to North American farmers and consumers from corporate control of agribusiness and GM technology, and resistance to it.
- The Corporation (2003) – Special Edition with over 8 hours of extras – essential viewing about the economic and political facts of life in our time.
- The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003) – Judy Irving's already-classic documentary about Mark Bittner and how he got to know San Francisco's flock of wild parrots personally. This special DVD edition has several follow-up features.
- Amandla! a Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (2002) – tells the story of black South African freedom music and its central role in the struggle against apartheid.
- Rivers and Tides (2001) – Thomas Riedelsheimer's film about the work of Andy Goldsworthy, whose art works with materials provided by nature (rocks, leaves, ice etc.); also a bonus disk of material featuring Goldsworthy and Riedelsheimer.
- Birdsong and Coffee – how fair trade in coffee benefits communities and ecosystems.
- Manufacturing Consent – classic 1992 documentary exploring Noam Chomsky's analysis of how the corporate media work to marginalize the public and discourage participation in a democratic society.