Archive Page 2

Coming Back from the Compound

It was a fairly long journey across the straight to Nanaimo. I was heading to the island to visit my pal’s parents for a historical food party. The parents lived in the boonies of Merville, a delightfully isolated community hidden in the rural hinterlands of little Courtenay. The beauty of the place is in the simplicity. Unlike us city dwellers, my friend’s parents live on a compound they built almost entirely themselves. They home features cutting edge heat preserving windows for those gloomy days next to Mt. Washington. Showers with your partner are encouraged to save water (lovely!) and our hosts had even recently installed a couple low flow toilets (anyone know how these work?).

Not far away stand row after row of vegetables, enough to feed a small Napoleonic army. Potatoes, tomatoes, herbs – you name it. The foods there and it’s just about as local as humanly possible. Next to the vegetable patches is the chicken coup. Need some eggs or looking for some poultry to go with your meal. Want to experience the thrill of harvesting your own eggs. It’s all there – like some sort of countryside Disneyland.

On the ferry ride back I started to think of all the nifty things living on the countryside provides, and just how many of these things are transferable to our homes here in the city.

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Eating REALLY Local

The most local option for eating local is of course growing your own food in your own community. There are a host of reasons why this is a good idea, including freshness,  independence, low cost, and health.

Here is a great article on Achieving Food Independence, why it is a great idea to grow your own food.

Next Cafe Set – Eating Locally, Thinking Globally

Interested in food and its environmental impact on our surroundings? Join us and a variety of local food experts and share your thoughts on how we can find the best local ingredients and support the people who grow them. For more information, click here.

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Give Me the ‘Dirt’ On Composting

So we’ve all heard that as good environmentalists, we should all be composting. But why is it so important and why should we all be doing it?

Consider this: at least one-third of all our garbage is compostable material. This garbage needs to be trucked by huge gas-guzzling trucks to far-away overflowing landfills, in the process releasing massive amounts of CO2 just to get there. Once there, our valuable compostables waste away without ever being reused.

Need more reason? Composting reduces our need for chemical fertilizers since our newly created dirt is a natural fertilizer for our gardens. Chemical fertilizers are responsible for wreaking havoc on our local waterways and ecosystems often wiping out entire populations of aquatic organisms.

Thus, composting is one of the most sustainable practices we can all easily undertake, even if you live in an apartment. In a nutshell, composting is an endless cycle of food and dirt. In fact, all our vegetable and fruit trimmings can be thrown in our compost bin to give us the highest level, nutrient rich, dirt we can get. This dirt can then serve to grow our new batch of fresh fruits and vegetables locally in your backyard, on your balcony or in our local community gardens, thus reducing our dependence on imported produce.

Don’t have a garden? Don’t like gardening? No problem. You can still donate your valuable dirt to Vancouver’s many local community gardens (see http://city.vancouver.bc.ca/parks/parks/comgardn.htm). Believe me, you’ll be making a lot of local gardeners very happy while in the process making your own life that much more sustainable. To get started visit the composting links under the Links section on the upper right-hand side of this page or call the local Compost Hotline at 604-736-2250.

Enviro-Positive House: Fab Eco Hab

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Check out this futuristic-looking home! Only one of the many ideas shared at the last Climate Cafe.

Ever dream of having an Earth-positive home – a home that contributes positively to the biosphere? Dare to dream. MIT designers certainly have. To see and find out more about the product of their dreaming, click here.

First Climate Cafe Pictures Posted

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There are just a few, but click here to view a few more pictures.

Climate Cafe Energy Ideas – The Early Ideas

After the first climate cafe, we came up with a long list of ideas that we can all undertake to reduce our carbon footprint. Here are some everyday steps the group brainstormed:

  • Plastic bag – shamastick bages – Use tupperware, cloth bags and biodegradable corn-based garbage bags as an alternative
  • Free Geek can be contacted to donate used computer parts that will then be fixed up and repaired for further use
  • Buying wine from tetra packs or the total reusing of wine bottles at U- brews
  • Simple reduction of air travel (a single flight emits as much as one year of C02 emissions from a car)
  • Christmas tree – buy them potted and then replant your tree at any park (these Christmas trees can be purchased at Trout Lake Market)
  • Turn off your lights when you leave – mother nature and your wallet will thank you
  • Put on a sweater in order to reduce the heat in the building
  • Buy second hand in general – and if it’s broken don’t throw it out – fix it 

No that’s not all the ideas that were generated. We have a whole bunch more that we’ll add every couple of days … so keep checking back. And if you have a moment make sure you pipe up with your own ideas. What’ll you get – great karma from contributing to the general discussion of how we can all live more sustainably.

What is your commitment?

So, with the first Climate Cafe here and gone, we’re hoping that a new greener inspiration is filling your homes! Share with us what action(s) you have decided to adopt and what impact you think that will have on your life as well as your carbon footprint.

What if you didn’t attend the Cafe? No worries -you can still make a commitment to decrease your carbon footprint at home! Visit some of our links for ideas, search for new ones, or let your creativity run wild and think of new solutions to everyday carbon-emitting habits. Don’t forget to share them with us here, and keep us up-to-date on your new more-sustainable lifestyles.

First Cafe Coming Up

Interested in greening up your home? Come out Tuesday January 15th for the first Climate Cafe night. This time we’ll be pooling our collective knowledge to learn how to give our homes an in depth energy audit. Tell your eco-conscious friends and come out to CupaJoe Coffee Shop on the corner of Alma and 4th. We’ll be arranged in a semi-circle and chattin about the environment – the group will doubtlessly be hard to miss. For directions or to learn more about the event, click here.

Green (and Red) Christmas Gifts

So it’s coming up to holiday time and I’m looking around the stores and am in a stereotypical male dillema. So many people to shop for and I’ve left it to the last few days. I need something for a mom, a sister, and a couple other mini presents for some friends. So here’s the query:

I really do want to buy sustainable green-friendly gifts but don’t have much of an idea what they might be and where abouts I might purchase them in the Lower Mainland. Any ideas or am I doomed to forever give gifts produced from afar by means I know nothing of?