Archive for June, 2011

Grow a Row

By Erica

I came across this GREAT idea yesterday in my alumni magazine.. apparently a Trent grad works for this cause (Trent U=one of the best uni’s for producing enviro aware grads).  Plant a Row/Grow a Row is a group who asks folks to grow an extra row in their veggie garden and donate the row of fresh produce to their local food bank.  The organization looks for people willing to start a program in their community, and then helps them out with seeds, other gardening stuff (I don’t really garden.. but I assume there is something other than seeds involved.. soil?? Someday, when my outdoor living space is more than a teeny balcony, I will figure it out!!!).

Not only does this program give people in need healthy and fresh food, but gets more people gardening,  which means less people sitting around watching TV, which means more plants, which means better air, which means healthier people, which means better world. See?? I told you it was great. Check them out at Plant a Row/Grow a Row.


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Is the Internet Environmentally Friendly?

by Liz

I came across this video and was shocked.  I never really thought about my internet usage and the environment.  Of course I have thought about the power my computer uses but I have not thought much further than that.  Below is a very interesting quick video about the internet and the environment.  It talks about carbon emissions, servers, green companies and the exponential growth of the internet.  Definitely worth a watch!


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More on carbon offsetting…

By Erica

According to 2010 data, Canada is not kicking ass at carbon offsetting.  4% of Canadian companies buy carbon offsets, compared with the US at 37% and the EU with a whopping 10x our offsetting, at 41%.   However, a Vancouver based company called Offsetters is working to change this.  Offsetters, a provider of carbon management solutions, is now instigating a program that offers high quality cookstokes in Africa.

Cooking in poorer parts of Africa had traditionally been done with garbage, waste, whatever happens to be on the ground at the moment, which obviously does not make for great air quality (poor air quality is one of the biggest child mortality causes).  Installing enviro friendly cook stoves will have the same impact as if 4000 drivers decided to ditch their cars and hoof it.

Carbon offsetting can often seem a fishy, mysterious thing, where many are unsure of where their money actually goes, so if you are looking for both a transparent and effective use of carbon offsetting, check out the African Cookstove program at

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Recycling Labels

by Liz

Have you ever looked at something and wondered if you could recycle it or not? Then you look on the bottom and see the recycle sign but there is a number.  What does the number mean? What I would do is pretend not to see it and throw it in the recycle bin.  Well those numbers have to do with the type of plastic that the packaging is made with.  It also means that some cannot be recycled in your regular recycling bin that you put at the end of your driveway.  If there is a recycle sign with a number other than one it means that it can’t be recycled as easily as originally thought.  You have to find a specific recycle depot and that is a lot of effort.

While living in the UK I have found this process a little easier.  Most packaging tells you what can be recycled.  For example it will say the plastic tray can be recycled but the plastic film cannot.  Where others say there is recycling but you need to check with the waste company.  Well soon it should be easier everywhere. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition are working on a project where instead of numbers by the recycle logo there will be words explaining the recycling process.  It has already been taken on board by many big companies like Nike and Proctor and Gamble.  I think there is a bit of a wait for it (at least 2012) but it will be a very good thing when put in place!

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Environmentally Friendly Road Trip

By Erica

The title of this post itself is rather hypocritical, as a road trip can never actually be truly environmentally friendly.. unless you are driving a horse and carriage.. or biking.. but, as this road trip was across the 5 provinces and in limited time.. it was sadly in a car.  So here are a few tips to keepin it real with Mother Nature while on a long roadie:

-The obvious ones… bring a travel mug and a re-usable water bottle… not only does this keep your coffee warm, but reduces waste

-Pack your own food in Tupperware… buying food at fast food stops results in lots of plastic..whether it be wrapping, forks, knives, etc… this also will save you money

-roll your windows down instead of using AC!

-When stopped for construction, turn your engine off.. actually when stopped for anything, turn your engine off… it’s a myth that leaving it on saves more gas than turning it on and off.. unless it’s like a 5 second pause

-Here is an interesting one, if you are in the US.. switch from AAA to The Better World Club.. an eco friendly version of CAA.. you can get discounts on eco friendly travel and hybrid car rentals, offers travelers free carbon offsets, and even helps out bikers!.. check them out: The Better World Club

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Eco Friendly Father’s Day

by Liz

This Sunday (June 19, 2011) is Father’s Day.  If you are like me I always struggle to find something my dad would actually like.  This year I was doing my usual Googling for ideas when I came across eco-friendly father’s day presents.  How come I didn’t think to Google that in the first place?  Why didn’t I think of it for Mother’s Day too?  Luckily my mom got a very eco friendly gift, an online gift certificate to get some ebooks for her Kobo.  So now I need to get something for my dad.

Me and my Dad.

This website, Nigel’s Eco Store, has a ton of amazing gift ideas for Father’s Day and really any other occasion you might want to buy a present for.  I am wishing now I wasn’t a struggling teacher so I could buy a couple of things! Anyway there are gift ideas for outdoorsy dads, gadget dads, dads who love beer, workaholic dad, any dad!

Some of my favorites I came across are the EcoButton.  It is a one touch button that will turn your computer into energy saving mode.  So if you are out to lunch or have a long phone call just tap the button and you are saving energy!

Ecobutton - reduces your computer's carbon footprint and saves you money, with one small click

Another good one is the HY Mini Wind Charger.  It is perfect for camping.  It is a wind powered charger that can charge iPods or cameras and is great for long camping trips.

HYmini Personal Wind Turbine - green power in your hand

This year when getting your dad a Father’s Day present there are plenty of green options that I think most dads would really like!

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Barbie Goes Green

by Liz

Barbie has been in the news a lot lately.  Apparently Barbie and Ken have been on and off again for awhile and are officially together again! We can all rest easy now.  The newest development is a little more interesting.  Greenpeace exposed Mattel for severe deforestation in Indonesia’s rain forests.  This has caused many animals, including endangered animals.  So Mattel has given in and reduced their packaging for the iconic doll.  Watch a funny video made by Greenpeace below.

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