Archive for the ‘green living’ Category

a matter of survival

Eco blogs and websites around the world are reporting on the climate talks wrapping up today in Cancun, Mexico.

World leaders have gathered for the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16) and the Sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties of the Kyoto Protocol (CMP6).

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Canada is falling short of the measures set out in Kyoto and with the United States refusal to accept the treaty, the progress is slow going.  Even with dialogue between the two nations continuing Canada is one of the worst offending countries when it comes to CO2 emissions.

Many countries would like  the Kyoto Protocol to be extended and built upon. The present agreement expires in 2012, with little over one year until then, the movement needs a solid action plan in place.

Island nations are on the font lines of the Global Warming disaster. They are not the only ones who face catastrophic consequences if climate change is not stopped, they have the unfortunate role of  “the canary in the coal mine.”

A Canadian activist group called Evolve Love have live coverage of the meeting and their reporting indicates a strong activist presence at the talks.  Some  groups represented there are the Youth Climate Action Network, The Indigenous Environmental Network, and the people from 350.org

Will the world leaders have the courage to make this a priority? Switching to renewable energy, creating green jobs, and implementing stringent environmental protection laws is the only way to achieve the goals of these treaties and accords.

The Evolve Love promotional material asks how we can see the climate crisis as a love story?

The answer is, it’s up to each of us.

Are we willing to make the changes we need ?  The wealthiest nations have the power in our hands.

Make a change.


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350 earth


new delhi

I saw the above picture today on facebook and had to add it to this post! Amazing!

3000 students and teachers at the Ryan International School in New Delhi ask world leaders to not ignore the “elephant in the room” — climate change.

The team at 350.org have inspired  people around the world to create art that is visible from space.

This picture is only the latest in a series of large art instillation’s that have been developed around the world to draw attention to the issues of climate change.

This photo was the most recent example of the 350 EARTH event in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It’s the image of a person standing on the roof of their house as waves threaten to submerge it. This is the view from 300 miles above the earth.

As another  UN Climate talk is set to  begin next week in Cancun, the  message to global leaders is  that the time to act on climate change is now. We do not have time to waste!

You can see more pictures here

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World Toilet Day November 19th

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toilet

Today, November 19th is designated as World Toilet Day

2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, which risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, mostly children, a year.

Even in the world’s wealthiest countries people still have toilet problems – from unhygienic public toilets to sewage disposal that destroys our waterways.

This topic is not glamorous, but the fact is this basic necessity  most of us take for granted in the developed world is not available for close to one third of the worlds population! Today in the year 2010 this is a fact.

In many  major cities in North America, even  here in Vancouver the issues of public toilets has been dealt with in some efficient and creative ways.

There are now public toilets on the streets, in small self contained steel boxes, these toilets are automated, washed after each use and open automatically after 12 minutes. They are free, and some are wheelchair accessible.

toilet vancouver

The Big Squat is an event that asks people to squat for one minute to help raise awareness for World Toilet Day.   People need access to proper sanitation and clean water now.

This campaign is about  helping people gain dignity, and helping the planet at the same time.

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10 10 10 global work party

Today, 10 10 10  350.org has helped people around the world to organise a Global Work Party.

Today thousands of events, 7347 at last count,  in a total of 188 countries will take place simultaneously on this auspicious date. Millions of people will be taking real action to help stop climate change.

We are lucky to live in times of so many “cool” dates to celebrate.  We all actually got to party like it was 1999 in 1999!  Sometimes twice, if you thought it was when we rung in the year 2000.  We entered a new century, and celebrated the millennium with great fan fair. We saw the great dates of 01 01 01,  02 02 02, and so on, now as we arrive at 10 10 10, besides sounding cool, this date has become something more.

People want to help make change, today you can be a part of that too. Search 350.org for an event near you.

You can host an event or you can ride your bike and not drive today. You can pick up garbage. You can eat a vegetarian meal. You can join a community garden. You can hang your clothes on a line to dry. You can buy local food. You can plant a tree.

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You can do a million things to help the planet. You don’t have to wait for any special day to do it.

Zero Emissions Race – towards a green future-

Zero Emissions Race

Zero Emissions Race

The ZERO emissions race is on!

Teams from Australia, South Korea, Germany and Switzerland have gathered for an eighty day, transcontinental race.  All the vehicles are powered by clean renewable energies, solar and wind being the most popular.

Each participating team will have the equivalent power produced and fed into the grid of their home country.

Louis Palmer, was the first man to circumnavigate the world with solar power in 2008.  This August, five teams will expand beyond this accomplishment with a race towards sustainability.

The Eligibility Criteria of the competing vehicle in the Zero Race are:

  • competitors must be propelled by an electric motor
  • drive at least 250 km distance at an average speed at or above 80 km/h
  • be able to reach a maximum distance of 500 km per day, with a recharge stop of 4 hours during Lunch time
  • carry at least two passengers

You can follow the race on their blog or website

world race

Protecting Biodiversity

In addition to the amazing oppertunity to showcase  alternative energy powered propultion, the race is  set to raise awareness for the United nations International Year of Biodiversity. Each car bears the logo of an endangered species, and  contends the alternative power is a tangible solution to protect the environment.
endangered by climate change

They will be stopping in Vancouver in a few weeks!

Ethical Consumerism?

Your garbage for one year

Your garbage for one year

DSCN0986 I am volunteering again this year at EPIC the sustainable living expo that runs every year at the Vancouver Convention Centre. I have written about it each year I have been there (this is year four of the event and my involvement).

What is EPIC ? – the acronym stands for Ethical Progressive Intelligent Consumer. This is a trade fare after all, we are all still buying things, we need to eat and sleep,  and buy coffee , chocolate, clothing and transport ourselves around.

EPIC is a showcase for all consumables that are fairly traded, ethically produced, local and sustainable; for companies that plan events and sell solar panels, for fashion designers and chefs. There are speakers and representatives from all over Canada and the U.S. who believe, like I do; that our choices matter and we can talk with our dollars.

The fact is that we are all consumers of this earth, and we don’t just take, in return we create mountains of garbage like the one above.

Can we sustain this way of life? No, we need to enter a new paradigm where each purchase is considered in it’s entirety. Where was the product made / grown? What will happen to that packaging it comes in? Do I really need another (fill in the blank) ?

The fact is that we will not stop consuming, we have needs, but what they are and how much is enough is another question.

If you are looking for a way to spend a rainy afternoon, check out EPIC; you may just find out that you too are EPIC and you can make choices that help the earth.

Everything grows and grows

Babies do, animals do, everything grows…. 02-17-09-002That’s how it goes, under the sun

That’s how it goes, under the rain…  Everything grows, everyone knows

that’s how it goes…

So goes the famous song by children’s entertainer Raffi.  If you are a parent of young children there is no doubt you know Raffi, his songs are the theme of childhood for many generations. Baby Beluga, the More We Get Together, One Light One Sun.

Raffi actually played a significant role in my life, one I never expected and I will always be grateful for.

It was the year 2000.  I was a new mother to my first born son. I was offered a job, part time weekends, not bad money, easy work being a product demonstrator in a grocery store.
The product was a Tide roller ball, not knowing very much about Tide I decided I would do a quick search on the Internet and see what I could find out about Tide and what they were doing for the environment.

At first everything looked good, I found the Tide website, the detergent was phosphate free, all looked good. Then I thought maybe I should search anti-Tide to get the other side of the story. That was when I first started to learn about Proctor and Gamble, the parent company of Tide and thousands of other everyday products.

P&G remains one of the biggest companies in the world. They also are one of the biggest exploiters of animals. They regularly practise vivisection (testing products on animals). At the time, I had never even heard the word ‘vivisection’. I was  vegetarian but didn’t really think much about what huge corporations were doing everyday under the nose of the public.

The more I read, the more convinced I was that I would not promote the Tide ball or any product made by P&G.

I found this logo no_animal_testing-100x100which is the industry standard that tells a product is made without animal testing.

I learned that many products, things I would never have thought of,  were still being tested on animals. I decided right then to never buy any product that was tested on animals, had animal by-products in them or where made of animals. I became vegan. I still hold dear the vegan ideals and strive to be conscious of any animal products in my  life.  I joined earthsave and the fur bearers (now fur bearer defenders)

What does this have to do with Raffi? Well at the time I had decided to not take the job, a friend of mine who had offered it to me was perplexed as to why I would turn down such easy money.  It was at the exact same time the children’s entertainer Raffi had publicly withdrawn from a performance he was to be a part of in the Vancouver Children’s Festival. He decided it had become to commercial ( if I recall the festival had decided to have a number of cars on the lot as well as corporate sponsorships galore). Raffi stood up to the big corporations and said he would not be a part of it.

I decided I too would follow my heart and not be blind sided by money or any other tokens, I would listen to my own heart and no one could buy that. I felt like Raffi showed me the way. That if we only have our values then we are richer then many.

I have learned a lot about myself as a mother, a consumer an activist and person since then. I will always remember how Raffi made a difference in my life. His songs are a wonderful ode to childhood, the earth and the love and light that is a part of all of us.

(originally published February 17th 2009)

Earth Hour 2010

Bottled Water Free Day!

By now most people know that bottled water is bad! Bad for the environment, bad for your health if you factor in that the plastic leaches toxins into the water you are drinking. and bad for your pocketbook, as it costs hundreds of times more then tap water, which is what most bottled water is.

In Canada this March 11th will be the first

Bottled Water Free Day!


Watch this short video and visit the website. Learn the facts and tell your friends. Small changes made by everyone will equal big changes felt by everyone.

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.
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delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at DailyLearners.com