Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Study on reusable plastic containers

Exposing drinking bottles made from polycarbonate plastic to boiling water significantly speeds up the release of the chemical bisphenol A compared with room temperature water — and the amount of leaching is similar whether containers are well-used or brand new, researchers say. Read more at

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why we need to act?

"Global warming ranks far down the concerns of the world's biggest companies, despite world leaders' hopes that they will pioneer solutions to the impending climate crisis, a startling survey will reveal this week.

Nearly nine in 10 of them do not rate it as a priority, says the study, which canvassed more than 500 big businesses in Britain, the US, Germany, Japan, India and China. Nearly twice as many see climate change as imposing costs on their business as those who believe it presents an opportunity to make money. And the report's publishers believe that big business will concentrate even less on climate change as the world economy deteriorates."

To read more see

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Count - I'm Irresistable

A great little video from LiveEarth UK about individual voices. Anyone want to make something similar here before the next election?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Illusions of Absurd

The real and perceptible dangers of climate change is offset by the illusion of the most absurb and impossible market human civilization has ever seen. - Goumilra Ghosh -National Forum of Forest Peoples & Forest Workers

Pedro Moura Costa made $ 83 millions selling carbon credits through Eco Securities.

These two statements send shivers down my spine at the Prairie Sustainable Campuses Conference's Climate Change and Social Justice Panel. I've always felt suspicious about Carbon Credit dollars. Everyone seemed to be jumping on this bandwagon as a way to mitigate guilt for air travel and SUV's, but no one seemed to know where the money was actually going. Too many companies said something like "Credits can be used to finance carbon reduction schemes between trading partners and around the world." One presenter showed factories in India belching smoke that was recieving carbon credits from the UK to improve production.

One of the issues with solutions to climate change that take place in someones else's backyard is the loss of control and information and the potential for poorly reearched scams that are worse than the problem they solve.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

From Rhetoric to Action

Reporting live from the Prairie Sustainable Campus Conference attended and organized by students from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

What are prairie universities doing?

University of Alberta

Michael Rawson Clark wants “to transform the University of Alberta into a participatory member of a sustainable society through the creation of bio-economics, clean technology, clean energy, and sustainable economics.” He reported that the U of A has improved steam, water and electrical use significantly but that has been offset by a 37% increase in the density of buildings because of increasing enrollments. Projects he was involved in included replanting lawns with prairie grasses, green roofs, green investing and purchasing FSC recycled printing paper as part of the sustainable purchasing initiative. Below is an image of Michael taken by Jennifer Bonnycastle during his report.

University of Saskatchewan

Students at the University of Saskatchewan reported on several initiatives including

Footprint Design –students in engineering promote sustainability through workshops, concerts and projects such as Chris McKay's wind turbine that will provide enough electricity to power a house and the car that runs on used vegetable oil from restaurants.

Ecobash is an annual music festival supported by local musicians that raises funds for projects such as the wind turbine and the Prairie Sustainable Campus Conference.

The Students Union provides worm composting, curbside recycling, the green career fair, and a sustainability policy that provides a model for the university administration.

LEED building policy – All new UofS construction must meet LEED standards. The new Law building is an example.

University of Regina

Billy Patterson who describes himself as a part time student, full time activist reported on the Enviroment Action Network, Transdisciplinary Enviromental Studies degree, Public Interest Research Group (professor/student research), and Green Investing.

University of Winnipeg

The highlight of the University of Winnipeg’s initiatives is the Sustainable University Now Sustainable Earth Together (SUNSET) project which received funding to hire a staff person to involve more students in sustainability research and link course materials with community resources.

The University has a campus sustainability policy adopted by the Board of Regents. Some of the projects students have been involved in include:

Bike to the Future – bike-riding advocacy
Campus Recycling
Student Experience in local organizations.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The RiverGreen Ecovillage in Saskatoon

RiverGreen aims to meet the exacting LEED-Platinum standard of the Canadian Green Building Council, ensuring outstanding environmental performance. Features like solar water heating, high-efficiency district heating, natural cooling, and rainwater harvesting will dramatically reduce resident's ecological footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. or

Monday, January 14, 2008

Prairie Sustainable Campus Conference

The University of Saskatchewan will be hosting the Prairie Sustainable Campus Conference Jan. 18-21, 2008.


The Prairies Sustainable Campuses Conference will bring together campus community members from across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta to build a regional network as part of the national movement to institutionalize social and environmental sustainability on campus. The Conference will act as a forum to:
  1. empower campus community members to build new and more effective sustainability initiatives

  2. share organizing experiences: successes, challenges and new directions

  3. learn about specific Prairies sustainability initiatives and challenges

  4. plan for future collaboration between campuses within the region


Friday January 18th in ARTS 143

  • 4:00 Registration Begins

  • 7:00 Welcome

  • 7:15 Keynote Panel Discussion - Climate Change and Social Justice

  • 9:30 Evening Socializing

Saturday January 19th in Arts 241

  • 9:00 Outdoor Activities (so bring warm clothes unless you prefer to be inside)

  • 11:00 Intro to SYC and the Conference

  • 12:00 Lunch

  • 1:00 Anti-Oppression Training

  • 2:00 Personal Sustainability Training

  • 3:00 Open Space / Personal Sustainability Time

  • 4:00 Success Stories from Prairie Campuses Interactive Discussion

  • 7:30 Keynote Panel Discussion - Tar Sands Activism

  • 9:30 Evening Socializing

Sunday, January 20th in ARTS 143

  • 9:00 Strategic Organizing Training

  • 10:00 Regional Campaign Proposal Presentations (Campus Climate Challenge, Student Unions for Sustainability, PaperCut, United Students Against Sweatshops, and more)

  • 10:45 Campaign Breakout Group Planning

  • 11:45 Campaign Reportbacks and Regional Strategizing

  • 12:45 Conference Wrap
For more information,

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saskatchewan Food Sources

Check out Home for Dinner, a blog by Amy Jo Ehman for a list of Saskatchewan food producers

Amy Jo Ehman is part of the Saskatchewan Food Challenge that asks us to take a pledge to eat Saskatchewan foods for two weeks. She and her husband ate only local foods for one year. Check out the rest of her blog for some great recipes and other articles about eating locally.

For anyone reading this blog who is not from Saskatchewan, this image is of Saskatoon Berries, one of the best things about late summer.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Democrats hit The White House hard last year! Why not now?

Back on Thursday, Oct 25, 2007 the Democrats hit The White House hard on global warming testimony .. Why are the same candidates in the primaries not shouting louder?

They accused President George W. Bush's administration of trying to hide the threat from global warming by censoring testimony of the top US health official on the issue.

California Senator Barbara Boxer wrote to Bush to complain that prepared comments by Dr Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been "heavily edited" by the administration.

"I am deeply concerned that important scientific and health information was removed from the CDC Director's testimony at the last minute," Boxer wrote.

She later told reporters: "this administration wants to downplay the threat global warming poses."

Boxer's office released a copy of the testimony which it said had been leaked by angry CDC officials, showing large swathes of Gerberding's remarks crossed out.

One passage that was not eventually delivered at a hearing of the Senate committee on environment and public works on October 23, went into possible impacts on health of global warming.

"Scientific evidence supports the view that the earth's climate is changing," Gerberding was to have said according to the testimony.

"A broad array of organizations, (federal, state, local, multilateral, faith based, private and non-governmental) is working to address climate change.

"Despite this extensive activity, the public health effects of climate change remain largely unaddressed. CDC considers climate change a serious public health concern."

On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino denied that Gerberding's testimony had been censored when it was submitted to a review process in the Executive Office of the President.

"This administration's policy on climate change is an open book," she said.

"Scientists across the administration were taking a look at it, and there was a decision that she would focus where she is an expert, which is on CDC."

Beauty of the Prairies as a slideshow

The Canadian Electric Car

Buy Canadian!
The Canadian Electric Car

Now watch Rick Mercer report on it not being available to Canadians.

Write your favourite MP about this one.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Start Eating Locally

One thing you can do now to reduce your personal carbon imprint, eat locally grown food. So here's what you do.
  1. Next time you are in the grocery store, check where the produce, packaging and dry goods you are purchasing comes from.

  2. Calculate how much gas planes, trucks and boats use to bring those groceries to your door?

  3. Seek out the independents that might carry local food.

  4. Check out farmer's markets and other sources.

  5. Share what you find out with this blog. In the upcoming editions, I'll write about what I learn.

  6. Read for more uplifting reasons.

The image below is of flax and canola against an incredible prairie sky, so buying locally also helps the farming economy and fills the fields with beautiful colours.

Alberta needs to take its head out of the tar sands

More cars and trucks on Alberta's roads in the last nine years are offsetting the fact the vehicles are spewing fewer emissions per trip compared to 10 years ago, says a new study.
A study released Tuesday by the Clean Air Strategic Alliance measured exhaust emissions from 60,000 cars and light trucks in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and Canmore in the fall of 2006.
Read the article

Alberta's government says it will oppose any federal efforts to bring in a carbon tax after an advisory panel commissioned by Ottawa released its report Monday.
The panel was struck to study ways Canada can make a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Read the article

Monday, January 7, 2008

What me worry?

This cartoon is from Nearing Zero, a great site for science cartoons

Thursday, January 3, 2008

How It All Ends

This video has created a lot of discussion about the risk management of dealing/not dealing with global warming.

Solution # 1

Solution # 2

Solution # 3

Solution # 4

To see the entire series, go to