Archive for October, 2011

Black and Orange and GREEN Halloween!

by Liz

Halloween is probably my favorite holiday.  I spend months thinking of my costume and getting it together.  Last year I was Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space.  This year I am dressing up for the Night of Neon which raises money for the Christie Fund which helps people with cancer.  If you would like to donate to our team, the link is here!

Roberta Bondar and Dolly Parton (most of the costumes were made by things we already had)

Ok now that I have self promoted let’s get down to the nitty gritty;  Green Halloween! Halloween is awesome so why don’t we make it even more awesome by making it good on the environment too!

The most important is the costume! It is very easy to buy a costume at a store or online.  Granted some of them are funny and creative but there is a problem with almost all of them.  The problem is that they are often used out of plastics that cannot be broken down easily. So what I suggest is you make your own costume.  Old clothes, materials from around the house, natural makeups and I bet you can make an amazing costume that will really impress coworkers or friends or other trick or treaters!

As far as treats go, try to get treats with minimal packaging and natural flavors.  Or go above and beyond and join the Reverse Trick or Treat movement! Global Exchange has created this fantastic idea where as kids are out trick or treating they also bring along fair trade chocolate with an explanation card and give it to the person handing out candy at each house.  You can get these kits here or at your local fair trade store.

Buddy Holly and Lady Gaga (all materials from around the house!)

Other tips for a green Halloween:

  • Use reusable bags to get candy with. My favorite is actually pillow cases because they are more sturdy and can collect the optimal amount of candy and then can just be washed after!
  • Reuse your Halloween decorations year after year.
  • Use candles (beeswax or soya) to set the mood and save some energy.
  • Use wind up flashlights while trick or treating.
  • Head on over to www.greenhalloween.org for more tips and ideas to make a truly green Halloween!
Happy Halloween!!
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Partially Motivated in Thailand

With neither Liz or I living in Canada anymore, we have both gotten to experience how other countries deal with environmental issues.  Liz’s experiences in England have been mostly positive, however, for me in Thailand I am having trouble keeping it real with Mother Nature.  Living in a country that is not characterized by the same economic status as Canada, I am not expecting hybrid buses, or door to door recycling pick up; the country operates within its limits.  However, as an individual living here, it is definitely harder to do your part (unless I want to make the transition from partially motivated to fully motivated).  Things that make it hard:

-Flights are dirt cheap and the travel opportunities are fabulous.  I am flying to Singapore for a weekend soon.. oh the decadence! agh.

-drinking water in BKK is somewhat questionable.. therefor water bottles are bought in abundance.  I do have water filtration at home (which is rare), but anytime I eat out (which is often) its bottled water for me. Plastic bottles also come with a layer of plastic over the top.. just to add to the plastic.  Also, when you buy a bottle from 7 Eleven, they bag it and give you a straw.. that is inside plastic wrap.

-When I do not eat out, I get take-away.  It is cheaper to buy food from street vendors than grocery shops.  But this means plastic bags, styrofoam, etc.  With the language barrier, it is hard to communicate that I do not need the extra plastic bag of chillis, or that I brought a bag from home

In a country where plastic is quite expensive, the extensive unnecessary use and consequential waste of plastic boggles my mind.  However, I try my best to do my partially motivated bit.. like running out of the 7 Eleven before the clerk manages to bag and straw me.. or trying to reuse paper rather than throw it in the garbage.. sleep without the air con on.. and will continue to find other ways to do my wee little bit in a country that doesn’t place tree hugging as high priority.

 

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Friday Fun: Celeb Eco-Hypocrites

by Liz

There is always something fun about criticizing celebrities, or maybe it is just me. I was trying to come up with something fun for Friday when I came across this article. (And this one)  In the past I have written articles about the great green things celebrities have been doing.  I have talked about Woody Harrelson and how he has been an activist long before it became the ‘cool’ thing to do, I’ve talked about Jason Mraz and his avacado farm and many others and their green ways.  Well this article talks about eco-hypocrites.  It tells of some incidences where green celebs have slipped up. We all have slip ups here and there, like maybe forgetting the the cloth grocery bags at home or forgetting to turn off a light but these celebs are on a different scale! I mean when is that last time you flew in a eco friendly hybrid car from Japan to England? Or took a private jet to talk about green initiatives?  So check out the articles below and learn abotu some celeb slip ups!

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/07/seven-celebrities-needing-eco-education.php

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/celebrity/article6931572.ece

I guess what to take away from this is not that all celebrities spouting green living aren’t living up to their values, but to try your best to live in a green way.  Also celebrities talking about green living is also influencing others to try it out so they absolutly are doing good for our environment!

John Travolta in his private jet

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My Friends Are Doing Good Too!

by Liz

My friend from university, Ashley Finlayson, is part of Sustainable Concordia.  Sustainable Concordia is celebrating its 10th year and will be doing a big investigation on how sustainable Concordia is in three sectors; education, building operations and planning and engagement.  So along with her colleague and fellow student, Justin Giovennetti, the will be using the STARS system.

“Using the STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) framework and working closely with both students and administration, the assessment evaluates Concordia’s sustainability progress in three sectors: education, building operations, and planning and engagement. This assures the university is evaluated across the board — from curriculum and research, to energy consumption and greenhouse emissions, to social elements, such as pay equity and gender equity. These sectors are then given a credit rating, which total up to 180.” (Please read full article here by Jennifer Charlebois)

They are also planning on using social media like Twitter and Tumblr to help their findings.  So good luck with your assessment Ashley and Justin!

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