Archive for environment

Why our rivers and lakes are not as safe as we think they are

By Erica


424787_377628258987813_1990258022_n While doing my daily Facebook cruise I came across a picture stating that Canadian rivers and lakes are no longer protected thanks to Stephen Harper (see pic on right).    In hopes that it was one of those weird Facebook trends that go around (i.e. if you like this photo of this sad puppy, some organization that does not exist will donate a dollar to nothing), I did some research.  While I am unsure if the exact numbers are right, the premise behind the picture is sadly true.  While this can have a number of implications (developers have more freedom to do what they want.. technically the lakes and rivers could apparently be pumped), word on the street is Harper did this  as a sneaky, low publicized move to let pipelines run through what, ever body of water they choose.  Which means many of our lovely lakes and rivers are now prone to the risk of oil spill.  Another controversial item relating to this, is the rivers and lakes that are still protected seem to hold some bias (for example, lakes in Muskoka where many wealthy people have cottages are safe, but all rivers in Nova Scotia do not, according to Macleans Magazine).  What can be done about this? Not sure, but Harper tried to do this quietly, so perhaps getting the issue some publicity and raising some awareness would be the first step.





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Supporting Fair Trade Coffee through Micro Finance

By Erica

I have previously written posts on both fair trade and micro finance, and the pros and cons that go hand-in-hand with both.  Fair trade is often a topic riddled with controversy surrounding what is actually fair trade and is it actually supporting who it needs to support.  Often farmers who are actually fair trade may struggle with start up costs or wind up paying hefty fees to support a fair trade or organic status.  This often winds up in a familiar scenario of the big guys once again winning out due to their more substantial finances.  However, a new consumer finance model called Grow Ahead is looking to solve this problem and support small scale coffee farmers through consumer lending.  Farmers need money to plant/grow their crop, but if they don’t have left over money from last year, and they have not yet turned any profit this year, they struggle to make that initial investment into this years crop.  This is where Grow Ahead comes in.  In a nut shell, they ask you, the consumer, to loan money to the farmer.  So just say you loan $25 dollars to a farmer through Grow Ahead.. your loan, along with the loans of others, lets this farmer plant his crop.. once the crop has been harvested, and the farmer has sold his crop, you get your loan back.. pretty cool!!  Click here to check out their site!

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Baby, it is HOT outside!

by Liz,

I don’t know where you live but where I am it is HOT!! It was 32 degrees before 8am! That means I was sweating even before I left to go to work! Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter! As you can see below I have a ladylike “glow” or let’s be honest, I am sweaty!

With heat comes air conditioning.  I don’t have a/c but I am sitting in front of a fan.  With the high temperatures comes high energy consumption.  There are a lot of things we can do to keep cool AND save energy!

Some tips:

  • Keep your shades and curtains closed to keep the cool in and the hot sun out!
  • Don’t use appliances you don’t need! For example if you have to cook something, cook it in a toaster oven and not the big oven.  And unplug everything you aren’t using!
  • Keep your air conditioning at 78 when you are there and 85 when you aren’t, or even better turn it off when you go to work!
  • Turn off the lights! They produce more heat you do not want!

Here is a great comparison of fans versus air conditioning from :

A stand up fan uses 75 watts, and a window unit will use 100 watts.  Running continuously for twelve hours a day they will use 2.1 KWh of electricity. A 1,000 watt air-conditioner, running all day for 75% of the time will use 18 KWh. A central air-conditioning unit can use up to 3,500 watts, and will use about 63 KWh.

Using the two fan system can save between 16 and 60KWh of electricity each day.”

So do what you can to keep cool and save energy! Happy Summer everyone!

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Generation Waking Up

by Liz

Generation Waking Up is igniting a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, sustainable world.  I’m not doing enough, you probably aren’t doing enough.  Let’s be part of history in a good way.  Please watch the video below:

What will our legacy be?

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Earth Hour 2012

By Liz

Happy weekend everyone!  Just a reminder that this Saturday March 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm is Earth Hour.  This is one hour of the year where the World Wildlife Foundation asks the world to turn off the lights as a message for action against climate change.

What can you do in this hour you ask? Have a romantic candlelight dinner.  Play board games by a fire.  Get some instruments out and have a sing-a-long.  The possibilities are endless and can be quite fun!  Even the Lorax is involved and will be turning his mustache green for the hour! (The Lorax is a great film introducing environmental issues to kids, I recommend it highly even for the adults!)

Want more ideas of what you can do?  Or how else you can get involved?  Go to the Earth Hour website or their youtube channel.

Last year 5,200 cities and 135 countries participated, will you?



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I’m a Belieber!

by Liz

Today is Justin Bieber’s 18th birthday!! Why is this so exciting? Well instead of presents he is asking friends and fans to donate to Charity Water.  He recently tweeted “i want to use my bday to help others. if u want please donate $18 to @charitywater on my 18th bday! #GiveBack –”.  This is actually his second year asking fans to do this.  Such a young kid and already giving back! Way to go Justin Beiber! Canadian too!

Now why should you donate?  Watch this video:

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National Sweater Day Flash Mob!

by Liz

We have been absentee bloggers as of late.  I am going to try and put an end to it because I am back in Canada and should have more time to write!

National Sweater Day began last year.  (Read last year’s post here) The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) has created a National Sweater Day on February 9, 2012.  What does that mean? Well it means turn your thermostat down 3 degrees and put on a sweater! But why do this? According to the WWF Canadians biggest ecological footprint is due to transportation, electricity and heating.  If we turn down our thermostats by 3 dregrees in the winter we could save 2.2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per year which is like taking 350,000 cars off the road! (  That is a huge deal.

This year is catching on a bit more than last.  This year Vancouver Improv Anywhere is organizing a flash mob! So if you live in Vancouver get practicing and join in on this exciting event!  All the details are on their Facebook event page here. (You can also follow our blog here on Facebook!) The event gives you dance instructions as well as practice times and the actual event.  I know if I were in Vancouver I would be all over it.  They also invite anyone to use the same dance and music and create your own flash mob somewhere else in Canada.  I wish I had the time!

So if you aren’t able to be part of the flash mob then at least turn your thermostat down 3 degrees and wear a sweater! Preferably an ugly one for fun!

Me in my ugly Christmas sweater in 2010, I had an even uglier one this year from the Kathy Lee Gifford collection circa 1993!

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