Tag Archives: tips

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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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.

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My nephew’s film debut!

Youth Team – How to do Research from
North Van Museum and Archives


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Passion over pragmatics

Sometimes I re-watch this when I can’t quite remember the direction I was going:

Swiggtalk chats with Betsy Agar about following your passions, advice on choosing to do what you love, and the many career options available to teen girls. More at http://www.swiggtalk.com


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Produce, publish, and promote: Tell your story

Atavist facilitates the process from beginning to end, in any digital format:

Likened to Etsy by the NY Times, Atavist is a platform for media craftsmen. It’s a platform that integrates all media formats and adapts to emerging devices, and not just for “serious” writers, this app may very well do for writing what the printing press did for reading and the Internet did for knowing.

I can here the click-click-clicking of your thoughts already!

Check out four other “revolutionary apps for digital storytellers” vetted by the Tyee.


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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!


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I thought these were obvious

but maybe I’ve been doing them for too long. I trust Houzz though, they be smart! So enjoy these clever tips:


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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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Hands on household gadgets

Another gem from Houzz:

People-powered AND pretty!


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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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