Archive for the ‘general info’ Category

Are you registered to Vote?

Are you registered to vote?Check by clicking the above image

or The Elections Canada website HERE

 

Food or Fuel ?

Is there a food crisis looming?

If you read the news online you can find numerous stories warning that the yes a real food crisis does exist and may in fact be worse then has been predicted.

Climate change leading to extreme weather events like flooding and droughts, and massive soil erosion have left farmers the world over scrambling to produce a stable food supply.

A few months back the USDA fully deregulated genetically engineered (GE) corn that is grown in the United States. This is considered to be an industrial crop and not for human consumption but grown to become Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol.

It is estimated that ONE THIRD of the corn grown in America today is not for FOOD but for FUEL

As world food prices continue to rise, even where yields are at record highs,  the worlds  poorest nations continue to suffer the most. A change in the worlds climate  has created a market of uncertainty and food insecurity.

Growing  food for fuel is controversial. Growing genetically engineered crops for fuel could be considered immoral and, at the least, is a dangerous guessing game when it comes to maintaining a diverse organic seed supply. The fear is that corn grown as biofuel will contaminate food crops with irreversible consequences. Can we really afford to take these kind of risks with our food supply?

There are alternatives like recycled biodiesel, and in fact most major cities,including Vancouver has a bioDiesel co-op!

Made from recycled vegetable oils collected from restaurants, this is true recycling.

There are no modifications needed for a diesel engine to run on this fuel.

So why is there even a need to grow new crops for oil?

These are the questions that we should be asking.

The decisions we make each day when it comes to the food we eat, and the fuel we deem necessary may become an even hotter topic to debate as the prices at the grocery store continue to rise.

350.org

world aids day – December 1st

aids-ribbon

Today marks the annual campaign to raise awareness about AIDS, and HIV the virus that causes AIDS.

AIDS kills millions of people around the world.  People are still contracting AIDS everyday, thanks to new treatments they are now living longer.  Mothers are able to take drugs in order to prevent passing the virus to their unborn children.

Poverty and lack of information still contribute to the rise of infected people.  In poor nations, in Africa particularly AIDS  has left a generation of children orphaned.

This is a medical issue. This is a political issue. This is an environmental issue. This is an issue of human rights around the world. Increased accesses to treatment, and prevention do not go far enough to stifle the spread of this deadly disease.

Today is a day to remember people who have died from AIDS.  December 1st is the day  to recognise how far we have come in dealing with the stigmas attached to this disease, and to join with the international community to work together to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Black Friday – Buy nothing day

bnd2010-blackThis Friday, November 26th, the day after American Thanksgiving, is commonly refereed to as Black Friday. In the United States it is the biggest shopping day of the year!  It is also known as BUY NOTHING DAY,  internationally its on November 27th.

The reason for this day is simple, to make people question their consumption.

We live in a time of such abundance never before witnessed in modern history. Our ever increasing appetite for the newest gadget, most convenient meal, and more of everything, has contributed to an ever larger toll on planet earth.

As we approach another holiday season, let us hope that we can share it with people we love. Spend time doing things that bring us joy and marvel at the miracles that are around us everyday.  We live in an enchanting time, if we just take a break from trying to achieve something, get somewhere, or  buy something else,  we can just relax and let it be.

Taken at the Royal City Farmers Market Summer 2010

Taken at the Royal City Farmers Market Summer 2010

World Animal Day October 4th

Celebrated annually since 1931, World Animal Day  began  as a gathering of ecologists in Florence Italy to raise awareness about endangered species.  It is now a diverse celebration the world over.

This year events have been confirmed to take place in 68 countries. This is a day to celebrate animals,  from beloved domestic pets , to caring about the well-being of farmed animals and species at risk.

PNE 2010

Why do we need a day for the animals? The biggest reason is because we have forgotten they are our brothers and sisters on this planet. Whether we keep pets, volunteer at the local animals shelter, or choose not to participate in the animals as food paradigm, the spectrum of people who love animals is varied.

MOJO

A communion exists between people and animals, we  have all experienced it at one time or another.  Each day we can choose a path that honours  the earth, and therefore all the creatures on it.

Every decision we make has a ripple effect, you can choose to have a meat free meal,  support sustainable farming practices, volunteer with animals, stop driving, grow your own food, learn about local history and traditional food, native plants and animals.

Become the change you want to see and you will be amazed at the love that you will find.

The website‘s Mission Statement

WORLD ANIMAL DAY

  • To celebrate animal life in all its forms
  • To celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom
  • To acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives
  • To acknowledge and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives
From the WWF website;

As you are

2005_1120image0013

One day not too long ago I was walking past the local elementary school and noticed something in the tree. It was a wooden sign nailed on the tree that read “AS YOU ARE”

I looked at the other tree’s around me and noticed something, more signs, they all included messages. Who were they intended for? Who put them there? It turns out that these questions don’t really matter. The only thing that matters was that I saw them, other people saw them and will see them.

These messages are for everyone.

They read; “AS YOU ARE”

“ADORED”

“BELIEVED IN”

“VALUED”

“RESPECTED”

“AS YOU ARE”

What better message to give or receive?

Peace&Love

2005_1120image0014

2005_1120image0015

2005_1120image0016

2005_1120image0017

2005_1120image0018

(Originally posted January 13 2009, some things are worth repeating)

“All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

lennon love

Love is the answer, and you know that for sure; Love is a flower, you’ve got to let it grow.
John Lennon


Copenhagen- Will it make any difference?

tree2

Today, hundreds of world leaders, media outlets, scientists and environmentalists descend on Copenhagen, Denmark, for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

It is not clear is what will be accomplished in Copenhagen over the next few weeks. In the news and media recently there have been raging debates over leaked emails by scientists,  speculation from climate deniers,  fear mongering in articles in the Wall Street Journal, and a proliferation of confusion experienced by most common observers.

Is climate change man made? Do humans have an effect on the environment or not? Is the rate of deforestation and Green House Gas emissions (GHG)  in the environment a problem? And if so, who should be responsible to fix this problem? How will this impact the global economic system?

Summits, protocols and declarations have been forged in the past, all of them leading to the conference in Copenhagen. Previous accords have been The Bali Action Plan, The Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy, The Framework Convention -Earth Summit Rio (1992) and The Kyoto Protocol(1997).

The Earth Summit resulted in the following documents:

The Stockholm declaration -(1972):

6. A point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental consequences. Through ignorance or indifference we can do massive and irreversible harm to the earthly environment on which our life and well being depend…..To defend and improve the human environment for present and future generations has become an imperative goal for mankind-a goal to be pursued together with, and in harmony with,  the established and fundamental goals of peace and of worldwide economic and social development.

7. To achieve this environmental goal will demand the acceptance of responsibility by citizens and communities and by enterprises and institutions at every level, all sharing equitably in common efforts. Individuals in all walks of life as well as organisations in many fields, by their values and the sum of their actions, will shape
the world environment of the future.

One thing is clear, the industrial revolution has had an impact on the environment.  Industry is responsible for pollution ( chemical, biological and nuclear), soil erosion, deforestation, desertification, food dependence from further reaching sources,  all the while creating a culture of mass consumerism with no end in sight.

Does this mean a New World Order?   The economy is global, there is a need for the nations of the world, especially the developed nations, to take responsibility for our history and  lead in forging new paths to sustainability.  Our success in the world markets through exploitation and disregard for consequences must end here.

There is a lot at stake in Denmark this month. There is an expectation and a need for the “leaders” of  this century to ratify an agreement that holds the appropriate people responsible (corporations, governments) while imploring citizens of the world to take action in their everyday lives.

Developing nations deserve an equal share of the economic cake, and need to sustain meaningful participation in global economics. All citizens deserve a chance for a prosperous, healthy future, and that is the only result that is acceptable.

Bio Bags are they really green?

bio bags

Reducing our impact on the environment is on most peoples radar these days and  biodegradable garbage bags may seem like a good choice when it comes to the waste we create daily. That was what I thought too until two years ago.  I was volunteering at an Eco-fair downtown when I began talking with a manufacturer of this exact product that I got the real scope on Bio bags and their lifespan in the land fill.

Like many environmentally aware people, I pride myself on being up on the latest ways to be good to the planet.  After making a commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle, we are still faced with the green garbage bag at the end of the week that needs to be collected and transported to the landfill.

With many of the grocery chains now charging for plastic bags or eliminating them all together I needed to look for another source of garbage bags, I hated the idea of buying a product, namely plastic garbage bags, to throw away.  I  justified it to myself by the fact that I would go “green” and pick  biodegradable garbage bags for my kitchen and home.

The  outlandish price tag, usually two to three times that of the common  brands, was just the price one has to pay to be responsible.  How wrong I was!  The gentleman I met was promoting biodegradable compost bags that were specifically designed for backyard composters for vegetable matter. The bags do compost quite well when under the proper conditions.

It was these “proper conditions” that I was not aware of  until he explained it to me.  When I asked why he did not sell Bio “garbage” bags as well,  I learned that the bags that are destined for the dump will not degrade even if the bag is made of this super new green technology.

In a landfill, the bags would not be exposed to the two key elements needed for the process to work; oxygen and sunlight! The garbage bags that we put out each week to be swept away by a couple of strapping guys in a stinky truck will not be set out to rot and return to the earth in any matter that is close to natural. The garbage will be compacted and covered with a layer of dirt within hours of reaching it’s final destination, to stay there for hundreds or thousands of years!

It’s just one example of the green machine taking advantage of the everyday consumer. So if these bags are not going to breakdown any faster then the ones made of petroleum products, should we just throw our hand up in surrender and return to our old ways and buy the cheap bags once more?

There is another option, garbage bags made of recycled plastic.  This reused product may sit around for a long time too, but it reuses what would have ended up as garbage. Next time you are out grocery shopping look in the cleaning isle and you’ll find these recycled plastic bags are becoming more common.

Why all plastic bags are not made of recycled materials is a question for another day, and for the politicians perhaps? Until the laws change and environmental protection is a higher priority for the government we must  be proactive in our resolve to make the best choices we can with the information we have.

Each choice you make in favour of recycled products, reducing your consumption of disposable items and thinking about the final destination of your purchases will add up to a greener planet and that is what we all want and need.

URBNgreen
URBNgreen is committed to education and environmental stewardship. Our objective is share information about what people are doing locally and around the world to create a sustainable future.
Archives
delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at DailyLearners.com