Archive for May, 2011

Fair Trade Follow-Up: Not as good as we thought?

By Erica

Earlier this May, the Financial Post posted an article suggesting that fair trade coffee was actually causing more poverty, rather than hindering it.  Writer Lawrence Solomon stated that, in order to be certified “fair trade”, farmers have to pay a high fee, that most can not afford (despite the fact that since they also can’t afford fertilizers and pesticides, they actually do qualify as fair trade and organic).  Those who are able to afford the fee than take business from the poorest farmers, making them even more poverty stricken.  Solution? Get rid of the certification fee. What a ridiculous notion.. fair trade was created in part to help these farmers earn money, so why make them pay money?? Counter-productive anyone?

To learn more, take a gander at Solomon’s article 

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Reasons why Donald Trump sucks…

  • He said Al Gore should lose his Nobel Prize for his work bringing attention to global warming because this winter was “cold”
  • He thinks America would be stupid to clean up their manufacturing, and that other big countries will “laugh at us”.  Apparently he does not realize that most other first world countries are way ahead of America when it comes to sustainability.
  • Donald Trump wants to build a golf course in St. Andrews, Scotland.  There are some people whose properties border the golf course, which Donald considers to be an eye sore, and tried to force the Scottish government to displace these folks, and publicly made fun of them for not wanting to leave the homes they had lived in their entire lives
  • On the golf course topic.. when asked what he would do with the fact that the golf course would have a negative impact on local flora and fauna, Trump replied that he was “an environmentalist in the true sense of the word “ (to which the crowd laughed so long and hard that the chairman had to call for order), and that the  course was good because it would preserve the dunes as “they wouldn’t blow away in a storm”.  When asked if local families could hike in the area, he responded that only if they wanted to get smashed by golf balls.

And this guy wants to run for president… what an idiot.

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Earth Day Pledge Update

by Liz

My Earth Day Pledge was to talk to schools about their recycling programs as well as bars and their recycling.  So far my pledge has been going well!

With regards to bars and their recycling programs almost all have them! I have gotten some weird looks when asking about it though.  Many bartenders were wondering just how drunk this crazy girl is asking for beer and about recycling.  I did get answers though, and even saw one of these bars this morning with about 10 green bins on the curb ready for recycling!  There were two bars that did not have recycling and I talk to one of the managers for one and they are already looking into and the other am waiting for a reply.  Not a bad start though!

Now the schools and lack of recycling.  I though the best place to start was the City Council who governs education.  I wrote an email describing my problem and to my surprise I received both an email AND call!   Basically the gentleman who called/emailed me told me that there are recycling programs put in place and it is up to the individual schools to put these programs in place.  So now I guess I have the bigger task of asking each individual school.. so wish me luck!

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Green Book Review: How Green Are My Wellies? By Anna Shepard

by Liz

I have just finished reading How Green Are My Wellies? Small Steps and Giant Leaps to Green Living with Style by Anna Shepard.  When I saw the title of this book I knew it was totally up this blog’s alley!

This book was really great.  I would give it 5 stars! It was a very interesting read.  It was very UK centered but had some great green ideas and tips that could help anyone out.  Anna Shepard writes in a style that keeps you interested on what can sometimes be a dull subject.  She also writes with no environmentalist judgement.  We all know that environmentalists can get on their high horse and try to make people feel bad for not being as green as they are.  In this book she gives easy tips and ideas on how to live a greener life while realizing that some people aren’t ready to go completely granola.

Anna separates the book into the 12 months of the year.  In each chapter it offers small steps to going green for each month and gives ideas that are especially useful for that time of year.  She also gives some “Light Greenies” and “Dark Greenies” ideas at the end of the chapter.  They are ideas for those who are a little less committed and for those who want to be more committed to a green lifestyle.  She also gives some great recipes using food that is available that season, and local!  There are also great links in each chapter to give you more information on each subject.  I recommend this book to everyone, especially those willing to take small steps to a greener lifestyle.

Anna Shepard writes blogs and articles for newspapers and magazines around the world.  To check out more about her and some of her other work click here.  You can also buy her book from Amazon here.

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Friday Fun: Stella McCartney

by Liz

Besides being the daughter of the very famous Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney is also a popular designer who is very earth friendly!  Just looking at her website you get to see all the fabulous clothes she designs as well as her large commitment to the environment.

With her clothes, Stella does not use leather or fur or even any glue that might have had any animal byproducts in it.  She uses organic and recycled fabrics and low impact dyes.  She has also donated her time and clothes to various different charities including environmental ones.  Most recently she is involved in Meat Free Monday which is a campaign raising awareness of meat consumption and the effect on the environment.

Multicolour Anemone Print Pap Dress

Only £980..

In her offices they use ecotricity which puts money into more renewable energy sources like wind power.  On her website it explains, “Stella McCartney Ltd is a certified carbon neutral company that offsets over 3000 tonnes of CO2 annually to initiatives such as the Uchindle-Mapanda reforestation project in Tanzania, the La Pradera landfill management project in Columbia and Guatemala’s Candelaria hydropower project, amongst others.”  The offices also advocate recycling as well as carbon neutral taxis.  If only more companies would follow in Stella McCartney’s carbon neutral footprints!

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Recycling Rant

by Liz

I have had one of the worst teaching days since I started teaching.  Supply teaching is hard! Besides the rampant rude behaviour was the student’s lack of respect for the environment.  In more than one class I have had in the past couple of weeks students have taken every piece of paper given to them to scribble on or more commonly make paper airplanes or balls to throw across the room.  Some students will even rip up their notebooks to throw paper around the room.  Today when I expressed my frustration with their wastefulness and how bad it was for the environment they laughed in my face.  We happened to be in music class so they made up a song to make fun of me and my environmental worries.

The worst thing is that when I asked them to pick up all the paper they threw they had to throw it into the garbage bin as there is no paper recycling in the classrooms.  So my plea is to all the mothers and educators out there.  Please teach children about the issues of the Earth and least of all how to recycle properly and respect what is given to them!

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Farmers Market: Do It

There are many great things about summer…many….. after a particularly crap winter, the warm weather is as welcome as the cold beer that partners it.  But, other than warm sun and cold drinks, another great thing is the farmers market!  Other than the fact that I consistently get suckered into buying things I do not need because old farmer men look cute.  This week I bought dehydrated apples only because the man selling them was about 85, and nobody was going to his table.  It broke my heart.  But besides that, farm markets offer a great opportunity to participate in some tree hugging and help out mother nature.  It is enviro friendly mainly because you are buying local.  Not only does this support local farmers, who are likely working hard for not the most amazing profit.. but buying locally also means you are buying products that didn’t cause huge emissions by being transported from California.  So next weekend, support cute old farmers from across the country and hit up the local farmers market! (and bring a re-usable bag!!)

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