Category Archives: Energy

Is 100% RE in cities possible?

I had the distinct pleasure of co-authoring a chapter with Michael Renner, Senior Researcher at Worldwatch Institute for the latest edition of State of the World (2016).

sow2016

Leading up to the publication launch, our chapter was highlighted on the Worldwatch blog. And I have recently discovered it is now available on Google Books.

A pleasure to be on the receiving end of a very talented editor,  Lisa Mastny, and I am grateful to all of the work she did to help Michael and I converge our perspectives into one very powerful message: 100% RE in cities is not only possible, it’s happening!


Live within limits without limiting life
Follow me and check out my food blog: Meat Eating Vegans!


Energy efficiency from the personal to the international

In December of 2015, I was invited by Vision Vancouver to join a panel moderated by City Councillor Andrea Reimer. I had the pleasure of participating alongside David Isaac of W Dusk Energy Group. Whereas he spoke to the “democratization of the electron,” I focussed on “democratization” of energy efficiency, in other words, what people can do towards making their homes and lives more energy efficient.

There was much social media attention, but I wanted to share the message I set out to convey in my opening statement, in the hopes that it will motivate others to, well, pick up a caulking gun…

Continue reading


Transit is a space not just a race

Last night CBC launched my spirits, then dashed my hopes.

I was quite encouraged when the article titled “Five ways to make better use of your commute” popped into my inbox—something I’ve wanted to write on for some time now.

Seabus 3

Then I read it.
Continue reading


Ask Umbra: Can I rest easy eating organic beef?

“the very best choice, environmentally speaking, is to cut way back on your beef… raising cattle is still highly resource intensive”


Live within limits without limiting life Follow me and check out my food blog: Meat Eating Vegans!

Grist

Send your question to Umbra!

Q.I always buy organically raised beef, when I do buy beef. I read that ground beef you get is a mixture of beef from different animals. How do I know the beef I am getting is, in fact, organically grown? Could it be mixed with other feedlot beef? Also, when it comes to processing the animal, how are the organically raised cows treated? Any better or different than if they were just regular cows?

Suzy P.
Denver, CO

A. Dearest Suzy,

When I got your letter, I imagined you reading it aloud in with a suave accent: “I don’t always eat beef. But when I do, I prefer organic.” And well that you do: There are important differences between the lives — if not the deaths — of organically raised cattle and their conventional, feedlot-bound siblings.

View original post 592 more words


Canada ‘rogue state’ on environment, says ex-Harper appointee


Live within limits without limiting life Follow me and check out my food blog: Meat Eating Vegans!

Global News

WASHINGTON – A former Harper government appointee has used a keynote speech at a Washington, D.C., event to trample the Canadian government’s message on oil pipelines.

Mark Jaccard was one of the first people nominated by the Conservatives to the environmental file, when he was named in 2006 to the now-defunct National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

READ MORE: Strong belief in oil industry’s economic clout drives pipeline approval: poll

The environmental economist now has delivered a lengthy rebuke of Canada’s climate-change performance at an event near the White House, as the Obama administration grapples with whether to approve the Alberta-U.S. pipeline.

He calls Canada a “rogue state” on the environment and urges the U.S. to block Keystone.

MORE: In contract, emails and meetings, Alberta officials ensured ‘independent’ pipeline safety review wouldn’t look at enforcement

Jaccard, an adviser to different governments and a professor at Simon Fraser University…

View original post 268 more words


Open letter to helicopter parents

Dear Helicopter Parents,

I am sympathetic to your worries and can understand your intentions, but I would appreciate it if you could reign in your hovering urges when it comes to my kids.

1185918_10151823969900067_1529485184_n

Kids leading the way along the WillametYou see, I am not one to hover; mine are the children who wave goodbye to me without looking back.

They know I would never send them off into a world they are not prepared for.

They know that things might go differently than they might expect, but they can adjust and move on.

They have been listening to the new skills I have taught them at each step of their development.

But it is what I know that I would like to discuss with you.

I know when it is time to let them choose who attends their birthday parties.

I know when my kids have learned what range of foods they should put in their own lunches.

I know when it is time to let my 11-year-old navigate a controlled crosswalk across a busy street.

I know when my 11-year-old can ride with his 8-year-old sister to your house for a play up the notorious hills of North Vancouver.

I know when they are ready to be at home alone for 15 minutes, a half an hour, and eventually for an evening.

Isaac star jump

So, please don’t

Pout if your kid was not invited this year,  he or she may make the cut next year, who knows, kids are fickle.

Feed my children more than they thought to pack.

Insist on picking him up because you wouldn’t let your child cross a busy street alone.

Offer to drive them home.

Wonder what kind of parent I am to leave her children alone.

Because, I’m the kind of parent who expects that her kids

Never need to be reminded to be polite.

Never expect other houses to be just like home.

Never need me to hold their hands while they are out.

Never question why we choose to leave the car at home whenever possible.

Always know that I am just a phone call away should they need me.

They are confident, flexible, individually minded, and proud they can do so much on their own.

They make mistakes, they get hurt, and they struggle with their feelings.

They fly their own helicopters.

Sincerely,

A woman trying to teach her children independence and courage


Live within limits without limiting life

Follow me and check out my food blog: Meat Eating Vegans!


18. Bus part-ay!

(Not to be confused with a “Party Bus”!)

Have a kid’s birthday coming up?

Already worrying about how to entertain them for the hours that feel like days?

Take public transit!

My daughter wanted to go skating at an outdoor rink for her sleepover birthday festivities, but the conundrum is always how to get the kids there. Even if we did own two cars, we wouldn’t have enough seats.

No problem. We walked to the end of our street and filed onto the 232.

Kneeling on the bus

Some of the kids had never been on a bus!

To kids, the bus is liberating and daring. No seatbelts. Sometimes you have to stand. You can sit by yourself or curl up next to mom.

They chatted and giggled and sat on their knees to look out. They wondered when the bus would come, how to pay the fare, and how to get off. They wanted to pull the string for our stop and they figured out how to open the back door.

Our bus trip became part of the festivities.

Taking the bus in Vancouver is convenient because it is well-connected, and it is getting easier all of the time. This year, Translink is moving toward a refillable fare card. The “Compass Card” will be a much more convenient means of paying for and validating fares, and the system automatically determines the fare rate based on where you “tap in” and “tap out.” No more guessing which fare applies and what time of day and for how many zones!

In the meanwhile, I keep passes on hand so we can hop on the bus anytime to explore our city! (Without having to hunt for change!)

HOT TIP!  Get a transfer when you board the bus. Most transit systems validate fares for 90 minutes. You might be able to get there and back on a single ticket!


Live within limits without limiting life

Like this post? Follow me!


This is not a baby sweater

In a post dedicated to an aunt’s love for her niece, my words fell short when trying to describe the mathematics of knitting, and other handwork. Well, no need for words. These miracles of “Making Mathematics with Needlework: Ten Papers and Ten Projects,” illustrate just how dorky mathematicians can really be!

susan-marie is a total math dork, what’s worse? She knits! Check out her work in an article she wrote for American Scientist:

 

 

That is one continuous surface people. Think about that.


Live within limits without limiting life

Follow me and check out my new blog! Meat Eating Vegans


On funding public transportation

It is my privilege to write for Carbon Talks, a Simon Fraser University initiative that engages public, private, corporate, governmental, institutional, not-for-profit, any individual/group wanting to move sustainable development forward.

I have written a blog comparing Toronto and Vancouver, and the universal struggles of developing and implementing regional transit that is so efficient and convenient people won’t want to bother driving to work!

The Big Move: the cost-benefits of regionalizing transit

in preparation for Carbon Talks’ upcoming public dialogue:

A mayor’s vision of how to fund regional public transportation

Friday March 1st, 12:30-1:30 PST

Carbon Talks with Mayor Richard Walton, Chair of TransLink’s Mayor’s Council
SFU Harbour Centre Room 1700, 515 West Hastings St or by webcast

Live within limits without limiting life

Follow me and check out my new blog! Meat Eating Vegans


Hands on household gadgets

Another gem from Houzz:

People-powered AND pretty!


Live within limits without limiting life

Follow me and check out my new blog! Meat Eating Vegans


%d bloggers like this: