Archive for May, 2007

Low Impact Week

I recently found out about a great initiative – Low Impact Week. It begings this Thursday, June 1 and runs through June 7. Here are some great tips from Crunchy Chicken to get you started. For those of you who want to make changes in your life that reduce your environmental impact Low Impact Week is a great starting point. You can do ANYTHING for one week, right? If it works make it a month and soon it is habit.

I have a few specific items I’ve been having trouble adopting and I’m going to use this week to really focus on them and create the habit. So beginning today I’m going to focus on:

  • Unplug appliances when not in use that still draw energy when off (like my cell phone charger, computers, microwave, etc.)
  • Talk with my neighbours about installing a rain barrel between our townhouse units and seek community approval if our neighbours are supportive.

May 30, 2007 at 4:33 pm 1 comment



On July 21, 2007, I will participate in the Camp Moomba Yogathon to raise funds for children impacted by HIV/AIDS.  I am collecting pledges prior to the event and on July 21 I will perform 108 minutes of yoga.

Click here to support this great cause.

About Camp Moomba
Camp Moomba is a specialized summer camp program, established in 1997, for children impacted by HIV/AIDS. Recognizing that isolation and discrimination are among the greatest challenges facing these children, we strive to give them a brief respite from their illness in a camp community based on equality, friendship, and support. For children whose lives are filled with instability and suffering from grief, loss, and illness, it is a place where the stigma of HIV/AIDS does not exist. 112 children, ranging from ages 6-17, attended Camp Moomba last year. Each year our wait list grows; as our donations grow so does the number of lives we can change. Currently, we are the only camp in Canada for kids impacted by HIV.

Most children living with HIV/AIDS not only have to cope with the suffering and losses associated with the disease but also difficult socio-economic factors that may have helped bring the disease into their lives. Camp Moomba’s greatest impact comes from providing the children with respite from the difficulties in their lives, giving them the chance just to be kids.

“Moomba” is an Australian aboriginal word meaning “join together and have fun” and forms the Camp Moomba philosophy “Friends Together Having Fun.”

Although HIV affects children from all walks of life, the majority of children at Camp Moomba cannot afford the cost of camp. For this reason, all costs, including transportation, are covered by the Western Canadian Pediatric AIDS Society and by the support and efforts of its many generous donors and volunteers.

May 24, 2007 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment

Eating Close to Home

100_milebookcan.jpgWith the farmer’s market season almost upon us it seems like a fitting time to discuss eating local. Here is a very unsettling statistic – a typical ingredient in a modern meal has travelled 1,500 miles or more from farm to plate. Do you know where your food comes from? Is it local?  

Living on the 100 Mile Diet
On the first day of Spring in 2005, two very inspirational Vancouverites chose to reinvent how they ate through a seemingly simple experiment. For one year, they would buy or gather their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia. I followed their blog and just finished reading their newly release book. There idea is so simple, radical, wonderful and inspirational all at once.  

“Eating locally isn’t just a fad like the various diets advertised on late-night TV–it may be one of the most important ways we save ourselves and the planet.” – Dr. David Suzuki, chair, The David Suzuki Foundation 

So could my family and I live on the 100 Mile Diet? We can live without Gala apples from New Zealand but can we live without bananas, coffee and olive oil? What about wheat, orange juice and my favourite Danish cream cheese? I think I could do it; however, we are going to take the approach of eating as close to home as possible – with a few exceptions/indulgences.  I purchase most of my groceries through SPUD where they calculate your total food miles with every order. Our milk comes from Avalon Dairy just a few miles away. Through the Spring and Summer I’m going to stock up on local produce and begin canning and preserving for Winter.

May 16, 2007 at 5:22 pm Leave a comment

My New Water Bottle

I just got this new water bottle as an early Mother’s Day present and I couldn’t be any happier. I’ve been reading about the possible effects of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chief ingredient in polycarbonate, the rigid, translucent hard plastic used in water bottles and many baby bottles. We are going to start phasing out all of our Nalgene bottles and other plastic food storage containers. This is most definitely controversial, but when it comes to plastic, I’m starting to question our prolific use of it. Especially for food and kitchen use. Plastic containers haven’t been around long enough to perform long-term studies and there are so many alternatives.

More on Bisphenol A:

  • BPA has been shown to mimic naturally occurring estrogen, a hormone that is part of the endocrine system, the body’s finely tuned messaging service.
  • Environment Canada and Health Canada last year selected it as one of 200 substances that a preliminary review deemed possibly dangerous and in need of thorough safety assessments.
  • Plastic water and baby bottles, food and beverage can linings and dental sealants are the most commonly encountered uses of this chemical.
  • According to the Our Stolen Future website, leaching of bisphenol-A increases with the plastic’s age and when subject to heat.

May 12, 2007 at 4:00 pm 2 comments

Plastic Free

My mom told me about EnviroWoman, a local woman who going completely plastic-free in 2007. Plastic free…just think about it!

Going plastic free means nothing that contains even a plastic wrapper can make the cut. Most packaged food is out, as are most toiletries, toilet paper and other essentials. It really makes you realize how much unnecessary plastic packaging is out there. She is using up what she has and seeking plastic free alternatives – which seem to be out there and are often local.

One of the things I am focusing on right now is my challenge to avoid using non-biodegradable plastic bags. I bring my cloth bags with me everywhere I go…and using them. I am buying cereals, pasta, rice, snacks, etc from the bulk bin with my recently purchased cloth produce bags. Now I’m going to follow her lead and when the time comes to replenish and replace I’m going to seek out plastic-free products like deodorant from Lush and bed sheets from BED or Dream Designs.

Very inspiring! What steps are you taking towards a plastic free lifestyle?

May 8, 2007 at 6:16 pm 1 comment

Laundry Day

Laundry DayIt inevitably happens our clothes keep getting dirty and we have to go through the process of cleaning them. The question is with today’s mega-sized washers, dryers that almost bake your clothes and detergents with their own ecological footprints how can we lessen the eco demands of this unavoidable task? 

Less in More
Doing less laundry results in less energy, resource and water use which is always good for Mother Nature. As an added bonus you spend less time doing laundry and have more time for other things – a true win win situation.  

  • If it’s not dirty, don’t wash it. Seems straight forward but worth repeating. Yes, you can wear things more than once without washing them.
  • Use the correct amount of water and soap for the amount of items being washed.
  • Turn down the temperature. Washing on cold saves energy and amazingly enough still gets you clothes nice and clean!

Have you ever noticed that a box of your common laundry detergents don’t have a list of ingredients on them? It seems that thanks to government trade-secret laws, manufacturers of cleaners aren’t required to disclose ingredients on product labels, making it difficult for consumers to choose an environmentally preferable and healthier alternative. 

Seventh Generation, Ecover and Bi-O-Kleen make both powder and liquid laundry detergents without problematic chemicals. They also disclose ingredients.

  • Opt for “fragrance free.”
  • Buy in bulk to reduce packaging.
  • Use the smallest amount necessary to clean your clothes. Here in Vancouver this is even more important as we have soft water and detergents are typically formulated for use in medium to hard water. We only need to use about half the manufacturers recommended amount of detergent, possibly less.

Hanging Out
Line drying a single load of clothes saves approximately 2.6 kWh of electricity and prevents 3.35 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. We have started hanging most of our clothes to dry. By hanging our clothes to dry we are accomplishing several things:

  • Our clothes last longer – less shrinking, fading and elastic breakdown.
  • Reduces energy consumption – the dryer is one of the worst.
  • Cuts down on ironing – I hate ironing so this alone is enough motivation for me!

But I Need My Jeans Now!
If you simply have to use your dryer there are some tips you can follow to make the experience more energy efficient.  

  • Use the high spin option on your washer to get as much moisture out before you start drying.
  • Clean your lint filter with every load and check your dryer exhaust frequently to make sure it’s clean and that the flapper on the outside hood opens and closes freely.
  • Use the permanent press option. I have to admit I always wondered what this function was and never really used it. Well it blows cool air at the end of the drying process to cut down on hot air usage. Perfect!
  • Check to see if your machine has a moisture sensor that will automatically shut off when the machine when the clothes are dry. If it does – use it!
  • Dry loads back to back to maximize the residual heat that is still in the machine.

Here’s to following the less is more approach to laundry, shopping wisely for your sudz and reducing our dryer use!

May 3, 2007 at 4:41 pm Leave a comment


I am passionate about reducing my impact on the environment and am learning to live simply and live green. I am learning the age old arts of home food preservation and cooking from scratch. This is yet another eco-blog and a place for me to really channel my passions for writing, photography and sustainable living.
May 2007
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