Archive for March, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

what’s in your cupboard?

Questioning the health and environmental impact of genetically engineered (GE) foods is something that has been on the radar for many people since  Greenpeace launched  it’s first campaign about it two decades ago.  The shift towards organic farming and more natural foods on the shelves in major cities and small towns across North America is undeniable.

That is why I was shocked to read in the back pages of Spring 2010 Health Action magazine that Canada has the dubious distinction of one  of the largest producers of GE crops in the developed world.


Up to 70% of the food on Canadian grocery store shelves may contain genetically modified foods, with the most common crops being corn, soy, canola, and cotton. These four ingredients are used as cooking oils and therefore hidden from many people who think they are buying otherwise natural or healthy foods.

The good news is the popularity of organic foods has increased 20% per year, every year for at least the past five years.  According to Canadian Organic Growers, and the Organic trade Association, more then 1.3 million acres of land in Canada is currently growing organic crops. with another 118,500 acres in transition to certification. 41% of the organic foods sold today are in conventional grocery stores and amounts to $2 billion a year industry, with sings that this number will only increase in the future.

veggies from royal city farmers market fall 09

veggies from royal city farmers market fall 09

According to a recent poll in the Globe and Mail newspaper, the number one  reason  Canadian choose organic food is “family health” with the environment being the second most important reason.

Whatever the reason, more people are choosing organic foods in the grocery store, supporting farmers markets, growing in their own backyards and community gardens,  and paying more for what was once upon a time just a potato.  Now with it’s “organic” certification, it has become more, it is a statement and a way of life, for  the life of the planet.

Maybe one day the organic distinction will disappear and we will all believe there is really only one way to grow sustainable crops. What starts out as novelty will eventually lead to commonality, we are moving in the right direction.

Every day  we choose the future we want to create.

GE image from the Greenpeace website

As you are


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”






What better message to give or receive?







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

War over Water

Will the next world war be fought over water?The concept seems preposterous to me. I think living  Canada, a nation with the most fresh water in the world it is difficult to relate to water shortages.tap water drink itMarch 11th was water bottle free day . Most of the people  know about the dangers of plastic water bottles and the exuberantly high cost  of bottled water, is still lost on some people. In the lower mainland of British Columbia, where I live, the water is abundant and is considered by many to be the finest drinking water in the world!

When I talk about water with my family back east, in Ontario specifically, they do not hear me.  They are all still reeling from a news story from years ago.

Mention the word “Walkerton” to any Ontario resident and images of water contamination and death come to mind. No less then seven people died and hundreds were sickened by water that was contaminated with E coli.

Since that spring in the year 2000, measures have been taken to ensure that a tragedy of this magnitude never happens again. It was determined that human error and carelessness lead to the contamination.

This terrible event also lead to another great travesty. People think that bottled water is safer than tap water! The truth is that many of the bottled water companies bottle tap water! Sure some of the water has been filtered, but many people now filter their tap water at home, like us, we use Wa2. Our water is safe enough to drink from the tap as it is.
We use a filter because the tap water in our city has chlorine and this filter helps reduce the taste.

From their website; The WA-2! System greatly reduces the environmental strain that results from the traditional bottled water delivery process.     The WA-2! system:

  • Successfully decreases our dependence on polycarbonate. Polycarbonate, the main ingredient in your five gallon water jugs, is not biodegradable.
  • Dramatically reduces the number of bottle caps produced. Bottle caps are not reusable, nor are they biodegradable.
  • Significantly reduces air pollutants, roadway congestion, and fuel consumption created by bottled water deliveries.

WA-2! supports the environment by using fuel efficient vehicles and encouraging paperless billing.

drink it

Many municipalities around B.C are taking the issue to the masses by banning bottled water! No more bottles of water at city hall meetings, no more bottled water in schools and community centres, forcing people to question the safety of bottled water and bringing back the water fountain.

Water is a basic necessity for life. When I was growing up the term “acid rain” was thrown around like a Frisbee, today we know that we need to protect our national resource and education is the starting point.

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.

Need Food To Live

Need FOod To Live

I was looking through my photos for some other picture, and I came across this old photo I took last year.  Need food to live. With the asterisk on either side. This sign is poignant.

I posted a link on this website for The World Food Programme after the disaster in Haiti. The world food programme, in conjunction with The United Nations, is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger world wide, so states the website.

People die every hour of every day from hunger. The problem however is not “their” problem on another continent, it is right here in every small town and big city across the world.

Food security and local, organic and sustainable food choices are hot topics today. Our Landscape of food in the developed nation is skewed by the over abundance of food choices. Books, magazines, and  ultra sheik “Iron Chefs” revolutionised the food scene years ago.  You can’t open a paper or turn on the T.V. today without being assaulted with the colourful images and tantalising descriptions of food. Fast food, slow food, food culture, food revolution, obesity, anorexia, the list goes on.

People are building communities around food, co-operatives, farmers markets, community gardens, food banks and community kitchens abound. The scarcity of food has not touched everyone personally.  We are however only one  disaster or two away from being faced with real hunger. We rely too much on the system to take care of us. We need to take care of ourselves and others.

Helping to feed hungry people is one way to show them they matter, that someone cares about them, our brothers and sisters.

30 years ago a group of pop stars got together to sing and raise awareness about people dying of hunger in Africa.

Today the problems in Africa still remain. Now people realise it is also in our own school grounds, church basements and out reach centres. What we choose to do to help people is a personal decision, with a consequence that reaches far beyond ourselves.

Whether it is volunteering at the local food bank, cooking at a soup kitchen, donating canned goods or money, growing your own food and sharing with your neighbours, there are endless ways to help build a more secure food system in our own backyards.

People need food to live.

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