Thursday, July 31, 2008

Future Friendly?

I am sure that I am living in a cave, but I just noticed an advertisement which touted a product as "future friendly". What does future friendly mean? What does it mean for the poor products which don't have the logo? Does it mean that they are "unfriendly to the future?" This is a new one for is right up there with Jennifer's blog about salmon friendly wine.....

Is the title "future friendly" just for products or can it apply to services like "We offer future friendly car service!" or "we offer future friendly banking services". What about a "future friendly credit card?" or "Future friendly weddings?"

Google the words "future friendly" and see what you come up with. 


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Patience is a virtue....."

If patience is a virtue then I am seriously lacking in virtue. I know that not everyone is going to be on side with the concept of green meetings and events. I mean, I understand if I am requesting something totally bizarre and they can't accommodate me. I also understand that education is the key  when you are planning a green event. It is something new and not everyone completely understands the concept. But what about when you have educated, you have been accommodating, you have been nice as pie and they simply refuse to do things differently? What about when there is no other vendor to switch to and you are stuck together like a bad marriage? 

This is when you incorporate deep breathing. Breathe Judy, and out, in and out, in and out. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"100 Metre Diet"

After reading the great book, "The 100 Mile Diet, A Year of Local Eating" I was struck by a realization. As a country kid growing up in Northern Alberta, we lived on a "100 Metre Diet", because that was as close as our rather large garden was to the house! We grew pretty much everything we needed, hills upon hills of potatoes, peas, carrots, beats, cabbage, lettuce...and more. The first meals were made up of salads with fresh lettuce, onions, small radishes, tomatoes and dill and as a child I didn't appreciate it fully. I didn't appreciate the freshness of everything, didn't appreciate standing in the garden, pulling a carrot, rubbing the skin to remove most of the dirt and then eating it. The next meals involved fresh baby potatoes and baby peas with a cream sauce that mom made. This was served with a moose roast that had been slow cooked with mounds of onion in the oven. 

The whole family would then be enlisted to start pulling from the garden en masse. First, it was all the beets to make beet pickles (you can't bottle that wonderful smell of beet pickles simmering on the stove), then it was shelling peas with my aunts and cousins. More peas would go into my mouth than in the bucket and mom would be blanching and bagging as we shelled. Swiss Chard relish, dill pickles, pickled carrots would all come from that garden. When the snow came and the temperature plummeted, opening a glass jar of these items would remind us of what is to come again, in summer.

Pulling the many, many rows of potatoes and then laying them on the lawn , spraying the dirt off and then letting them dry in the sun before dumping them in the cold room in the basement. We had access to the potato bin from an outside window and they were unceremoniously dumped in. As children, it was our job to go downstairs and get a bucket of potatoes for mom to cook. For the first few months (September through January) it wasn't a big deal, but when the eyes would start growing long fingers that I would imagine were real fingers started poking out of the bin, I would beg my sister Jessie to go and get them. 

Do I have a garden now? No...I don't. But I sure appreciate the hard work that my mom and dad did so that we had good food on the table. There was alot of love and pride that went into what they did. I know that it is a long time past, but thanks!


Friday, July 25, 2008

"Smart Cars"......"Dumb drivers"

I think that we all would admit that the "smart" cars are statement cars. They announce to the world that "darnit....we realize that there is an energy crisis!" Imagine my surprise today when exiting a building I see a teeny, tiny, little, cute, adorable smart car sitting there sans driver........with the ENGINE RUNNING!

 I know that it was 30 degrees in town today and I am sure they felt the need to keep their teeny, tiny, little, cute, adorable smart car cool while they were in the chiropractors office, but gosh, golly gee......isn't it an oxy-moron or ironic or one of those words that I can't think of right now to see a smart car IDLING? 


Thursday, July 24, 2008

What's In A Name - Eco Labels and Logos

What's in a name (that is a famous quote of some sort isn't it)? With the enormous influx of new Eco-labels on our foods, cleaners, wood products, paper products, etc, there is a lot to a name. And sometimes nothing to a name at all.
I was becoming very confused by so many of the labels and logos I was seeing appear on many of the products I buy, and it is important to me to try and make a good choice as far as nutrition and enviro friendliness. Thankfully there are no labels on the sprinkled covered donuts!
So I started to do some research. I was greatly surprised to learn that many of the labels we see on the shelves of the store mean nothing, they are not verified by any legislation, there are no clear guidelines, and manufactures can use them willy-nilly.
Now that is not with all Eco-labels or course, there are reliable processes for Certified Organic, Fair Trade, and many others. I am certainly not saying that it is total anarchy. But it is interesting to learn that many of the labels, and claims on products today have a slight odor of greenwashing.
For instance;
Environmentally friendly often seen on cleaners means nothing really, no government body regulates that statement. It is a general claim, it implies no harm to the environment but there is no standard for the definition. So it could mean anything from it won't explode to it is beneficial to the repairing of the ozone? Who knows.
Eco-Safe, again means nothing. Often on cleaners and personal care products. No way to determine if it is any safer than anything else.
Cruelty free, usually on personal care products. No one regulates or verifies. Parts of the product could be as gentle as the summer breeze on the little bunny's behind, other parts of it may blind the poor bugger. Who is to say.
There are Eco-labels popping up on everything. Even my wine! I noticed the other afternoon, I mean evening, that wine is now sporting the ever popular Eco-label. There is organic grown wine, bird friendly grown wine meaning that the orchards are maintained a way that are friendly to birds. But why on earth would my wine have a salmon-safe label?
Apparently, this is to certify wine that is grown on hillsides is done in a sustainable manner so as to not disturb the streams down below, and therefore maintaining the sustainability of the salmon systems within.
Are we going to start labeling everything? Is there going to have to be a whole new body of regulatory beings that certify and audit our labeling system as a society. Will the Eco-Label mania spread from food, cleaners and paper to everything. Will we labeling everything to state it's connection to the earth.
I was thinking for my kids I could label them Certified Humane Raised and Handled. But wouldn't you know that label has a certification process...I guess we will just have to go with Dolphin Safe.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

I move through this ever evolving field of sustainability and Eco-efficiency to bring our clients the type of business consulting they are searching for from us; and while the work is incredibly rewarding, there are also some incredibly huge downers.
I am secretly thrilled that being cheap and not wanting to buy everything is now considered green and innovative. I am also a little prideful when I tally up how many times I walked this week instead of driving, and I carry my reusable cloth bags with a slight air of confidence that I am not one of those harming the earth.
I am the Queen of Green when it's stuff I don't mind doing, or things I don't do in the first place. I don't know if I actually deserve green credits for not driving a Hummer or running my household air conditioner if I don't actually own those things? But I'll take them.
But as I am basking in my sense of Eco-friendliness, suddenly I will come across something I don't want to, my hair dryer uses more energy in one coiffure styling session than it takes to light a house for a whole day. Or that more than 300,000 trees are harvested each year just to produce Christmas cards. I love Christmas cards, they are so pretty.
I don't want to have to forego my fabulous hairdos, and I want to send glittery, over sized Christmas cards to everyone I should have actually made effort to call over the year. Darn it!
It is not easy being green. One is not always aware of the sacrifices one must make in this life.
But I shall persevere on my Eco journey. Maybe I can let my golden locks (from hair dye containing hormone disturbers which I am not ready to talk about yet) dry naturally a few times a week. Maybe I will get organized and make the effort to call some of the members of my Christmas list and talk in person...well, a quick email at any rate.
Besides, I just read that disposal diapers are going into the Canadian landfills at a rate of 4 million a day...Ha, my kids haven't been in diapers for over nine years, I'm good.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Visit your Farmer's Market while on "staycation"

With the rising fuel prices, myself and many other Canadians are enjoying a "staycation" this year. We are exploring our own communities and checking in with some favourite local summer pastimes. One of those often over-looked outings is going to the local farmer's market. Vendors up at dawn, some putting the finishing touches on fresh baking in the wee hours of the morning, doing it just for us....just so that we have the opportunity to access fresh local vegetables, organic meat and canning just like we remember as children. Quilters taking enormous pride in their creations, jewelry makers marketing their designs.

The local farmer's market fulfills another need. It us give us the opportunity to socialize within our own community. We get a chance to reconnect with our neighbours and for us to recognize the tremendous talent that lies around us.

As I sit here listening to the pot of homemade borscht bubbling on the stove from the baby beets I purchased this morning, I realize just how fortunate I am.....


Friday, July 18, 2008

Green Beans and Canopies?

Hello everyone and welcome to our new blog. Thanks to Tracy for being smarter than the machine and figuring it out for us. 

Someday I will explain what green beans and canopies mean.....but for now I will just say welcome to everyone and we hope that this space will become a place for honest conversation about the world that we live in and the footprints that we leave everyday. 

We believe that by one person or organization making one change with a commitment to making more, the world that we live in can become a better place.