Posts Tagged ‘environmentally friendly’

World Water Day & B.C.’s Water Act

Originally published March 22, 2011

Today around the world people will demonstrate, write blog posts, think and talk about the issues surrounding water.  Lack of water, the polluting of it,  bottling  it, public water ways sold  for profit.  Indeed there is a lot of interest in the water in our own backyards.

As another World Water Day  arrives the time has never been better to consider the state of water,  in our taps  and around the world.  In Canada we are flanked by two Oceans and have the most fresh water, and best drinking water in the world.   We also have a pressing need to protect this natural resource that is our heritage and human right.

The Council of Canadians, a group of citizens that supports social action, urges Canadians to protect the water that belongs to all of us. They have  issued an  action alert a call out to British Coloumbians to take notice of the governments plans to modernise the water act.

Alarming propositions like the introduction of a Water Market that  would deregulate controls over who uses the water and for what. Removing any prioritising of water  for the  people of this province.  This is our natural resource. How it will be managed, and who, if anyone, should profit from the use of it needs to be determined.  There is a world water forum being held in Brussels, and also currently under negotiation is a trade agreement, much like NAFTA,  with the EU that would  givve access to the rivers of B.C. as part of the deal as well.

Who should have access to this water? If it is a human right we can not keep it all for ourselves, but surely we realise the absolute need to protect our own access to this water. The water in British Columbia belongs to the people, animals and plants who live here. It is ours and not for sale to the highest bidder.  Protecting this resources is our responsibility. Any government or individuals who would stand to profit from this process does not act in the best interest of it’s citizens.

Fraser River 2010 Sapperton Landing

Fraser River 2010 Sapperton Landing

TAKE ACTION

*A  provincial Water Act was  introduced in 2012.  Tell the BC government that you do not want the introduction of a water market to allocate water under the new Water Act. Ask the government to support an allocation system that provides hierarchy of use prioritizing ecological and social needs.

1) Though the ability for resident’s to engage has be significantly limited in recent months you are able to engage with the process by posting to the ‘Living Water Smart’ blog: (http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart/) or email ian.graeme@gov.bc.ca.

2)  With the political uncertainty surrounding this process, it is extremely important to raise this issue during the leadership races of all the political parties and to demand that candidates make a commitment to preventing a water market from being introduced in any future legislation. Contact your local MLA today and make sure that all leadership candidates make their position clear.

*From the Council of Canadians Website.

World-o-meters

I just found this site called Worldometers, made by the Real Time Statistics Project.

This site keeps a running total of many fascinating and frightening statistics! Ever-changing World Population, Government Economic, Social media, Environment, Water and Energy Use and types. The project is constantly recalculating data.

Find out how much money is spent on video games in the world today. Or how much energy was used and the source of that energy. Ever wonder how many news papers were circulated today?  It also keeps a running total of Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions this year, in tons.  You can even learn how much Desertification happened this year ( in hectares) and how many days to”end of oil!”

There is even a section with “statistics of the month” like these


The numbers are surprising and sobering.

Originally published December 2010

Humankind has not woven the web of life.

We are but one thread within it.

Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

All things are bound together.

All things connect.

~Chief Seattle, 1855

Solar Bottle Light

 

A good use of plastic bottles, using water, bleach and sunlight  people are turning trash into a useful and necessary product – light!

This website gives more details.

Happy Birthday GREENPEACE

Greenpeace was started 40 years ago this week in a living room in Vancouver, BC.

On their website it proudly boasts 40 years of  Inspiring Action, Making Change, Bearing Witness, Solutions, Victories! And this is what I think of when I hear the name as well.

Activists had a simple message in 1971 and it remains vital today; TAKE ACTION! The founders of Greenpeace were regular Canadians. What began as protests against nuclear weapons testing / transporting/ now covers climate change, toxic pollutants, protection of forests, oceans, agriculture, and even PEACE and disarmament.

I am proud to live in the same province where such ideals could evolve into an international movement called Greenpeace.

 

Old pallets get a second life!

This is a great short video that shows many uses for old pallets. The Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association links to this video, showing old pallets that have been made into many beautiful and useful items; including furniture, decking, and even homes.

 

China bans plastic bags

I just read a post on another blog about China’s voluntary ban on plastic bags.

It has been one year since China made giving bags away for free illiegal.  Stores are forced to sell bags at whatever price the market will allow.

A report published in Science Daily suggests that China has already reduced it’s plastic bag consumption by 50%!!

That is a reduction in the use of one time disposable plastic bags by half, without enforcement!  Still more can be done in the future to reduce the use of plastic bags.

China is leading the way, and showing what is possible.

Banning plastic bags raises awareness about the disastrous environmental impact plastic bags have on the environment.

This is proof that once motivated,  people will make better choices.

image from TreeHugger

image from TreeHugger

CSA : community supported agriculture

earth dance 2009 photo credit: Katia Somerville

earth dance 2009 photo credit: Katia Somerville

Community Supported Agriculture is not a new concept. what began in North America in the 1960′s is now  flourishing 50 years later. It is one of the fastest growing forms of agriculture in North America!  Community members buy shares from a local farm, in some cases tending crops,  and collecting a weekly box of produce.  It is a popular way for people to get back to the earth and be a part of the food chain at a basic level.

CSAs help farmers by guaranteeing a market for their produce and supplying funds upfront which can be used to plant and establish a harvest. Community supported farms encourage local agriculture; in an ever growing population, where food security is questioned,  this alternative is very appealing and gaining momentum.

Across North America hundreds of local farming initiatives are taking root. The benefits of local, organic, seasonal fresh food can not be praised enough. Our landscape of food has changed dramatically in our lifetime. Positive steps are being made by farmers and consumers alike to create a food culture that is sustainable and accessible.

rooftop farm eagle street website

In New York City, an old warehouse roof top now contains  200 000 ponds of soil and 30 varieties of crops. It  has been transported into an urban oasis!  A working 6000 square foot roof top farm! Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is relatively new at only two years old. There is a farmer’s market each week, free workshops and potluck meals shared together.

Back here in British Columbia UBC Farm has been operating as a CSA for six growing seasons. UBC is unique in that it is the only university in Canada to have an organic farm running on a large school campus. Honey bee hives and fruit orchards also abound. Farm festivals, and social events gather the community together to celebrate the abundance and create a sustainable and innovative food system.

veggies from royal city farmers market fall 09

veggies from royal city farmers market fall 09

However people choose to grow their own food, one thing is certain; we all must be a part of the food revolution. These are just two examples of real, tangible change that is taking place.

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Natural cleaning

Like many of you I have been trying to get back to basics when it comes to keeping my home clean.

One area where I have always tried to maintain a small Eco footprint is in the laundry room.  We all know there are many products on the market today that claim to “whiten and brighten” our clothes while leaving them smelling fresh.

I have never been a fan of the fabric softeners and always felt the “fresh scents” were a little too artificial for my liking, not to mention how unnatural it would be to go around smelling like a “flower meadow” or “spring breeze” all day or even on a time release schedule- how does that work anyway?

Well this spring while I was volunteering at an Eco-fair I found a wonderful laundry soap that is made here in Canada!

It is called Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda!

09 10 09 bday- nellies 018I have to admit the stylish design was what first caught my attention, then the dryer balls! If you use a clothes dryer, like most of us do, you may have been tempted in the past to use dryer sheets. They reduce static and leave your clothes smelling fresh, right? Most people don’t give a second thought to what the chemical smell is? If it is tested on animals and how it is affecting the environment.

This is a great alternative! Nelly’s dryer balls are  reusable rubber balls that you simply add to your dryer to reduce lint and  static. You can even choose to add the convenient all natural fragrance sticks to them, they will make your clothes smell wonderful! The scents are  made of pure soy wax, essential oils and paper board. The balls even have a two year warranty and even reduce the drying time by 25% saving the consumer even more money and energy.

None of these products are tested on animals, and all the ingredients are listed on the packaging.

I bought the full line in a promotional package, and it is all I have used for the past four months! I am still on the same tin! The product is extremely concentrated and highly effective.

I know there is one more natural way to dry your clothes, and if you are lucky enough to live in a house with some space you can line dry your clothes! If that is not an option for you look at this wonderful product as the next best thing!

Keeping it fresh

No matter what your age, it is likely when you were young you carried a lunch box.  It may have been  a standard metal dome lid or a stylish plastic or vinyl one.

lunchboxshop_

It could have had displayed Fraggle Rock, fraggle

Star Wars, vintage-1977

or

Superman lunch-54superman11

or even something else.                            lunchboxshop_hendrix

Whatever you carried, it was not only practical and necessary, but a fashion statement to boot! I clearly remember my plastic dome lid, Care Bears lunch box with matching thermos! It was the highlight of the day to see what Mom had packed into my treasure box, fruit roll up? candy bars? Most likely raisins, regardless, everyone loved their lunch boxes!

As time passed we lost the lunch box in favour of a brown paper bag or a cafeteria bought lunch (you can’t beat the fries and gravy from my high-school cafeteria, YUM!).

These days most students and adults resort to a fast food lunch. If they do choose to bring a lunch, the brown bag is still quite common but what if you want to bring something other then a sandwich? How about  something hot  or messy? The lunch box has become hip again, and not just for kiddies!

You can still find hundreds of boxes with the old flair, many of them now boast a lead free lining, are ecologically produced, and many  are reproductions of the old Snoopy or Wonder Woman ones of days past.

For the environmentally conscious consumer there are many options on the market today. We use all of the following, and not just to pack a lunch but also to use instead of the disposable Styrofoam (why is this still legal?) option to take away some fast food.

Our first purchase ( and still favourite)is the To- Go Ware two tier stainless steel tiffin box. We have the original style, it has been revamped, with what looks likes clips instead of the original closing mechanism. The handle makes it easy to carry and when getting hot food at the food court the server has something to hold on to when serving and handling it.  The new design has a fold down handle which would make it easier to pack. The lid doubles as a plate and the size is sufficient to hold a decent amount of food.

togoNew design To-Go Ware Stainless Steel Container.

Another option in stainless steel is this container from Sanctus Mundo

ssThis simple design is practical and straight forward. It also has a silicon seal to make it water and air tight. We have all the sizes and have found these to be very handy for travel and storage of leftovers.

zebra

Anther option is the Zebra containers. These are light weight and  made in Thailand. The clasp is easy to open and close so kids can use them. The size is the only limitation on this one, but for a snack or left overs this container fits the bill.

For hot items we use these lovely little containers from thermos called FooGo. foogosmpinkfoogosmblueThese containers are leak proof, keep food cold or hot, light, stainless steel inside and out, with a wide mouth opening they are perfect for kids and adults alike.

The lunch box has evolved into many forms and these four are the ones we use in our house and on the go.  Whatever you choose, chances are you will have the fond memories of lunch times past.  When you choose to go with an environmentally sound option of reusable containers you can be sure your choice is the “green one”.

hulk

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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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