Category Archives: Environment

What I learned from six months of GMO research: None of it matters

Wow, this article streams about 20 of my gravest passions – grave in the sense of their depressing content – but mostly it’s an intriguing look at society’s relationship with technology. Thank you for this, Nathanael Johnson.


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Houzz on Steps to Go Green

Call it a resolution, call it a 10-step program, call it whatever you want, but everything on here is not only doable (easily), but more elegant and interesting. These are not options, they are the normal:


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The kitchen’s a mess

My Messy Kitchen

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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”


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


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On the IPCC Report: What BC should expect

IPCC Report: What BC can expect – I will up date this once they post the video link.

Meanwhile, read the Headlines or the full IPCC Report on Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.


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Win a signed copy of my new favourite coffee table book!

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations goes to Paul Le Tourneau who was randomly selected as the winner of a signed copy of Banned on the Hill!

Banned on the Hill

While reading and absorbing James’ essays, I was reminded of the term infotainment, which Jon Stewart used to describe the likes of Fox News. Infotainment also aptly describe The Daily Show but with a different sentiment. Instead of being a news show designed to entertain for the sake of ratings, The Daily Show is a comedy show that also happens to inform—Banned on the Hill does the same. James sees art as a way to deliver the truth yet leave room for personal interpretation and opportunity to decide for one’s self:

“The wonderful opportunity we, as visual artists, have is to help people understand complex issues by presenting information in ways that people can better absorb it.”

In her essay What is Harper afraid of?, James includes the above image to help people “remember and really feel the scale of the tankers navigating the skinny channels in B.C.” By juxtaposing information from a graph against a familiar scene, James makes the numbers real. The reader now imagines a tanker standing on end in the middle of NYC and the data come alive.

To the skeptics, please note that she’s not exaggerating. This size comparison is a point of pride for the American Petroleum Institute and it is in fact plainly graphed on page 5 of its promotional material. Continue reading


Global FOODprint – Very Punny!

A few months ago I wrote a post about Canada’s appalling rate of wasting food, as part of my All right already, stop asking! series about quirky little habits I’ve picked up over the years that just might save the world. While the primary focus of the article is on the appalling amount of food entering Canada’s waste stream, food waste has other very significant social implications.

There is the obvious one that most of us were raised on: Eat your dinner! Don’t you know their are children starving in [Africa]! [Insert any country on any continent here – yes, even Canada]

But setting the “niggling” little issue of starving populations aside (PLEASE tell me those air quotes convey my sarcasm!), waste is not only an end-of-life issue, but also a life-cycle issue throughout the food production and distribution system, or as the UNEP explains it:

“The global food system has profound implications for the environment, and producing more food than is consumed only exacerbates the pressures”

Drawing on Ecological Footprinting, the enlightening and innovative technique to estimate our Earth’s resource limitations, the UNEP recently launched a new campaign to target our global FoodPrint. See what they did there? Very punny. Punny but also fitting since the concept is really just a particular case of ecological footprinting.

Wasted food contributes to land degradation, water and energy waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and depleted marine stocks without ever nourishing the owners of those hungry bellies in [Africa] who your mother told you about.

To participate in the campaign, check out the UNEP’s great planning strategies, food storage tips, and even dietary tricks that reduce not only your waste, but also your waist (To obvious? Overused?), and even save you money.

Food for thought: Has it ever occurred to you to ask restaurants for smaller portions?


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Queen of Green on Softening the Hard to Recycle

The David Suzuki Foundation is home to the Queen of Green who writes tips for greening your lifestyle. She’s dedicated her latest post to the hard to recycle:

My favourite of her tips are those that return the waste to the retail stores where you buy them. In Germany, the life-cycle of packaging is the responsibility of the manufacturers, not the consumers and municipalities, as it is here.

Canadian retailers, like Rona and London Drugs, that are inviting consumers to return packaging waste are doing so voluntarily and thereby setting a standard for other retailers. Hopefully this full cycle responsibility will result in better public policy that rewards industry leaders.


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17. Christmas Tags

Happy New Year!

By now you are all turkeyed out, you’ve seen enough of your families, and if you see one more twinkly light you’re gonna scream – yes? I love packing away Christmas. I potentially love packing away Christmas more than setting it up. I’m not a scrooge, I LOVE Christmas, but there is something so satisfying about seeing empty mantles, having space in the fridge, and more than anything else, listening to anything other than Christmas music!
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