The David Suzuki Foundation has started a campaign to encourage people to spend 30 minutes outside every day! We are putting our own spin on it and will be posting one idea a day so you can get your fix of fresh air throughout the month of May. Come here often as we provide easy and simple ways for you to get a daily dose of fresh air! And we encourage you to leave comments, post photos and tweet us your experience or ideas every step of the way!
Check it out the David Suzuki Foundation’s Nature Challenge website for more information!
With the beginning of the new year we are introducing a new series in our blog: the green challenge. Every other week we will suggest an action to empower you to protect and restore a healthy planet. They are usually small and simple steps to reduce your carbon footprint and do something good for the environment. Thank you for stepping up and taking on the challenge!
Calgary has turned into winter wonderland again this week. I love all the fresh snow; everything looks to fresh and pure, the air is crisper and the whole world seems to be muffled and quiet. Since December I have enjoyed winter even more. I have adopted a dog who just loves, loves, LOVES the snow! She jumps happily from one heap to the next, buries her nose deep in the powder to search for gophers and eats it like candy.
Salted fish, anyone?
But since I got a dog I also noticed all the salt on the sidewalk. Aside from hurting dog paws it is also not the best choice for the environment. A five-year study by Environment Canada found that road salt poses “a risk to plants, animals and the aquatic environment”. The Globe and Mail reported that “[road salt] is polluting groundwater and causing some streams during winter thaws to have salinity levels just under those found in the ocean.” Researchers from the University of Toronto studied the effects of road salt on nearby freshwater bodies. From the same Globe and Mail article: “Our findings are pretty dramatic, and the effects are felt year-round,” said Nick Eyles, a geology professor at the university and the lead researcher on the project. “We now know that 3,600 tonnes of road salt end up in [Frenchman's Bay, a scenic lagoon on the shores of Lake Ontario] every winter from direct runoff in creeks and effectively poison it for the rest of the year.” One of the effects is that only older fish can survive in the contaminated, salty areas while younger fish move closer towards Lake Ontario and its fresher water.
The good news: there is an easy solution to this. Shovel your sidewalk! Shoveling snow is still the best way to keep your sidewalk free from snow and ice. And it has the added bonus of no cost and virtually carbon-free exercise. If you shovel your sidewalk for just 15 minutes you will burn approximately 102 calories. You could enjoy a nice glass of wine for that or munch away three big carrots with the jackrabbits in your front yard.
Are you using any other earth-friendly methods to keep your sidewalk and driveway free of snow and ice in winter? Let us know in the comments below!
*** Meeting are on the third Wednesday of the month from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pages on Kensington, 1135 Kensington Road NW. ***
The goal of the Sustainability Book Club is to share books and discussions that help us understand the world and our place in it in a different way. This can change the way we experience the world and the way we act in our day-to-day lives, opening new possibilities for environmental sustainability, social justice and peace.
Feel free to join us and drop in – even if you have not read the book. It is the issues and themes that spark the discussion. Everyone is welcome to join in for one session or all of them. It is your opinion on the issues that builds an interesting discussion.
Sponsored by: Pages Bookstore, Sustainable Calgary, The Arusha Centre, EcoLiving Events, Green Calgary, Thrive, and now REAP Calgary and the Sierra Club Chinook Group.
Thursday, September 13, 2012: “The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude” by Andrew Nikiforuk
This is the first book of our season with the author in attendance and a different, public, format. Sept 13, 7pm book release at Central Memorial Library.
Andrew Nikiforuk argues in this provocative new book that we still behave like slaveholders in the way we use energy, and that urgently needs to change. Like slaveholders, we feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion, and now that half of the world”s oil has been burned, our energy slaves are becoming more expensive by the day. What we need, Nikiforuk argues, is a radical new emancipation movement.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012: “Locavore: From Farmers Fields To Rooftop Gardenshow Canadians Are Changing The Way We Eat” by Sarah Elton
Locavore describes how foodies,100-milers, urbanites, farmers, gardeners and chefs across Canada are creating a new local food order that has the potential to fight climate change and feed us all. Combining front-line reporting, shrewd analysis and passionate food writing to delight the gastronome, Locavore shows how the pieces of a post-industrial food system are being assembled into something infinitely better. We follow food culture activists as they work to preserve the genetic material of heritage plants to return once-endangered flavours to our tables.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012: “The End of Growth” by Jeff Rubin
Economist and resource analyst Jeff Rubin is certain that the world’s governments are getting it wrong. Instead of moving us toward economic recovery, measures being taken around the globe right now are digging us into a deeper hole. Both politicians and economists are missing the fact that the real engine of economic growth has always been cheap, abundant fuel and resources. But that era is over. The end of cheap oil, Rubin argues, signals the end of growth–and the end of easy answers to renewing prosperity.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012: “Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth” by Curt Stager
In Deep Future, Curt Stager draws on the planet’ s geological history to provide a view of where we may be headed long-term. On the bright side, we have already put off the next Ice Age. But whether we will barrel ahead on a polluting path to a totally ice-free Arctic, miles of submerged coasts, or an acidified ocean still remains to be decided. And that decision is ours to make. There has been much written about global warming and climate change, but no other book offers the far-reaching perspective that Curt Stager gives us here. Deep Future adds a new dimension to the debate — one that will change how we think about what we’ re doing to our planet.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013: “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations” by Clay Shirky
A revelatory examination of how the wildfire-like spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them, with profound long-term economic and social effects-for good and for ill.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013: “End This Depression Now” by Paul Krugman
How did we get stuck in what now can only be called a depression? And above all, how do we free ourselves? Krugman pursues these questions with his characteristic lucidity and insight—a quick, strong recovery is just one step away, if our leaders can find the “intellectual clarity and political will” to end this depression now.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013: “The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times” by Rob Hopkins
The Transition idea has gone viral across the globe, from Italian villages and Brazilian favelas to universities and London neighborhoods. In contrast to the ever-worsening stream of information about climate change, the economy, and resource depletion, Transition focuses on solutions, on community-scale responses, on meeting new people, and on having fun. The Transition Companion tells inspiring tales of communities working for a future where local economies are valued and nurtured; where lower energy use is seen as a benefit; and where enterprise, creativity, and the building of resilience have become cornerstones of a new economy.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013: “Organize!” by Aziz Choudry
From community-based labor-organizing strategies among immigrant workers to mobilizing psychiatric survivors, from arts and activism for Palestine to organizing in support of indigenous peoples, each essay in this work reflects critically on the tensions, problems, limits, and gains inherent in a range of organizing contexts and practices. The book also places these processes in historical perspective, encouraging us to use history to shed light on contemporary injustices and how they can be overcome.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013: “Food and the City” by Jennifer Cockrall King
Food and the City examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their “food security” into their own hands. Award-winning food journalist Jennifer Cockrall-King sought out leaders in the urban-agriculture movement and visited cities successfully dealing with “food deserts.”
A few weeks ago we gathered your input to see how our group can grow to meet your expectations. Below are the results from the survey. We will take this into consideration as we expand with our new board. As a side note, many of you wanted to use different mediums to gather information from us, so below are the links to our other social media sources. Thank you to all who participated! It really helped give the Sierra Club Chinook Group some direction.