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Monthly Archives: February 2008

Last week my neighbour/yoga instructor extraordinaire lent me the local documentary film “Garbage! The Revolution Starts At Home” and I had a chance to watch it tonight. I had been sent a link by a friend a while ago and I wasn’t sure that I was that interested from the trailer, but the film actually goes into a lot of depth about not just garbage, but sewage/water usage, power, household chemicals and other things so I actually highly recommend it.

My neighbour (who lent me the film), however, works for the City of Toronto in Waste Management and has a few corrections to make if you do see the film. I can remember two of them and if there are more I’ll post them tomorrow or the next day:

  • You do NOT have to pull out the plastic spout from milk/juice cartons in order for them to be recycled.
  • Wrapping paper IS recyclable, it’s the shiny plastic stuff that isn’t.

I liked this film because it was down to earth, it explored more than just garbage and dug a little (not too much, but a little) deeper than I had expected, it included all types of garbage and pollution (sewage, coal mining for our power, our indoor pollution thanks to cleaning products, transportation), and it’s always nice to see something local and directly relevant to one’s own life (the filmmaker is from Toronto and the film is based on a family in Toronto).

It might have been useful to the viewer to have an expert sit down with the family at the end of the 3 months and go through how they could actually lessen their consumption in practical ways (nothing too drastic, but they could definitely use some advice), because I kind of felt like after the filming was over they went on consuming just as much as they did before. And all of those nasty chemical cleaners… Yikes.

The website has an action list which is pretty good, but no help to the Green Me Up challenge as I’m already doing them all (except #6 – plant a tree, but I have a tree out front and a tree out back and that’s about all our little yard can take!).

Anyway, if you have a chance go to a viewing, or see it however you can. Maybe I’ll host a viewing, but my little living room won’t take more than a few guests comfortably, so I’ll have to find a venue!

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Since I’ve been either pregnant or nursing (for a few months it was both) for 4 years now, I have a lot of meds that have expired in my medicine cabinet. Allergy drugs that I take every fall, cold medicines, even simple pain relievers. Plus children’s medicines that we buy or the doctor gives us and actually end up only using one dosage (one is actually unopened and expired) because we’re not really into drugging our kids. Plus there’s those fish killers and carcinogens that are still hanging around my house unused and undisposed of because I didn’t know where to get rid of them. Since I don’t want these things entering the water system or leaching into the soil, I don’t just want to flush them or chuck them in the garbage. So today I finally asked my friend who works for the city in waste management.

The answer:

You can bring all medications (both expired and non-expired) to HHW Depots and Environment Days.
So that’s my next change: proper disposal of medications.

A friend recently recommended a local beef provider called Beef Connections. She says the meat is excellent quality and you really can taste the difference. The blurb on the home page states that their beef “has not been implanted with hormonal growth implants or fed  antibiotics for growth promotion and most important have never been fed feed supplements that contain proteins from animal sources.”

Their next delivery is on March 1, so we signed up! I look forward to supporting local farmers, knowing where my food comes from, and eating excellent beef.

Yes, I know that we should be eating a vegetarian diet, but the fact is that we do 4 or 5 times a week.

It’s crazy that the US has made biofuels a part of their energy policy… Here’s a few links to articles on why:

From George Monbiot of the Guardian:

“A recent study by the Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen shows that the official estimates have ignored the contribution of nitrogen fertilisers. They generate a greenhouse gas – nitrous oxide – which is 296 times as powerful as CO2. These emissions alone ensure that ethanol from maize causes between 0.9 and 1.5 times as much warming as petrol, while rapeseed oil (the source of over 80% of the world’s biodiesel) generates 1-1.7 times the impact of diesel(12). This is before you account for the changes in land use.”
http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/11/06/an-agricultural-crime-against-humanity/

From the New York Times:

“Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into account, two studies being published Thursday have concluded.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/science/earth/08wbiofuels.html

From Plenty Magazine:

“A study by Swiss scientists recently found that corn ethanol – which demands significant quantities of water and energy to produce – may actually be worse for the environment than regular fossil fuels. That’s a big problem: The US is looking to massively expand its biofuel sector, and corn ethanol remains at the center of its strategy.”
http://www.plentymag.com/blogs/political/2008/01/europes_biofuel_rethink.php

So think twice before you jump on the biofuel-powered bandwagon…

 

Update on February 11:

An article from George Monbiot in the Guardian:

Apart from used chip fat, there is no such thing as a sustainable biofuel
Even capitalists now admit the oil crisis is real. But their solutions border on lunacy as they avoid the obvious answer”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/feb/12/biofuels.energy

Update on April 15:

Another article from George Monbiot:

“From this morning all sellers of transport fuel in the United Kingdom will be obliged to mix it with ethanol or biodiesel made from crops. The World Bank points out that ‘the grain required to fill the tank of a sports utility vehicle with ethanol … could feed one person for a year’. ” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/15/food.biofuels

Update on April 19:

Another article in the Guardian by Ian Traynor (GOOD NEWS!):

“The European commission is backing away from its insistence on imposing a compulsory 10% quota of biofuels in all petrol and diesel by 2020, a central plank of its programme to lead the world in combating climate change.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/19/biofuels.food

I make my own yogurt (recipe is on the DIY Recipes page). It’s excellent and I hope I never need to go back to store bought for any reason. I started to do it so that I wouldn’t need to consume those plastic containers every time I eat yogourt (and we consume about 2 litres a week so that’s a lot of plastic after a while) and it’s cheaper than store bought, and it turns out it tastes better.

We also eat sour cream. Not a ton, but I figured that since I’m already making my own yogurt, I might as well take the extra step and make my own sour cream. I’m on my last store bought container now!