Eat Local

I never really liked green beans. They always tasted waxy to me. Then I bought a bag of “just picked” green beans at a Farmer’s Market. What a difference fresh makes! Or perhaps it was the fact that they weren’t sprayed with all kinds of chemicals. Whatever the reason, I was sold on the “buy local” and “buy organic” when it comes to food for my family.

Now we have even more reasons to shop and eat local. The average food item travels 1,500 miles to get on our dinner plates. That means they have to be sprayed with preservatives to keep them fresh longer, they contain more packaging and the shipping itself adds more emissions into our air.

Look for a Farmer’s Marketing in your area and give them a try. Not only will your taste buds be in for a treat, you will be doing your part for the environment. And while shopping at our local grocery stores, take a moment to look where the food is coming from. If you have a choice between a local grown tomato or one shipped from across the country, do your part and choose the one closer to home.

Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo May 23, 2007

Offset Emissions

Winter is here and many families will be leaving the city for warmer weather and a much needed break. One way to reduce emissions while vacationing is to offset.

A “carbon offset” is a way of reducing (offsetting) emissions by purchasing credits from another organization’s project that results in less carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. You can buy carbon offsets for just about anything to minimize your impact on the climate.

Here’s what David Suzuki’s web site recommends:

  1. Reduce your emissions as much as possible yourself by turning down the thermostat and driving less
  2. Choose which remaining emissions you wish to offset (e.g. flight)
  3. Calculate your emissions by using an online carbon calculator
  4. Purchase the necessary offsets
  5. Review annually to find ways to reduce your emissions even more

Find more information on carbon offset visit David Suzuki’s web site at www.davidsuzuki.com and search for “offset”.

Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo July 18, 2007

Reduce Idling

I was walking my dog the other day and passed someone sitting in a car. They were obviously waiting for someone because the car was still running. I didn’t think much about it until I came back from my walk 20 minutes later and the same person was in the car waiting… and the car was still running.

The next day I drove my son to the bank and turned off my car to wait while he did his banking. I was surprised to see how many other cars pulled up and left their cars running as they ran into the bank.

I can understand cars idling when the temperature is -40C otherwise they may not start again. But to do so when it’s nice outside just doesn’t make sense to me. Not when you realize the amount of exhaust if everyone is doing it.

Let’s do our part and turn off our cars when not driving. In that small way we will be doing our part for the environment and enjoying the clean air.

Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo July 25, 2007

It’s all in the bag

While grocery shopping this past week, I was pleased to have the clerk ask me if I wanted paper or plastic bags. It certainly makes sense to use paper and then recycle the bag afterwards.

I was particularly pleased to see a message on the side of the bag stating, “This paper grocery bag is 100% recyclable, biodegradable and is composed of sawmill by-products that once were discarded, or burned.” They also plan on providing helpful environmental hints on their paper bags in the future.

What to do with all those left over plastic bags? Safeway bags can be recycled at their store. You can also use them to line kitchen or bathroom garbage pails or for picking up after pets.

An even better idea is to purchase (or make) reusable cloth bags to eliminate paper or plastic all together.

Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo May 2, 2007

Drive Less

I asked a youth this week what he would do to reduce carbon emissions and his reply was, “Eliminate cars.” While that may be unpractical for most people right now, I like his way of thinking. We can certainly do our part by driving less.

When going out for groceries don’t just shop and go home. Plan to complete all your other errands at the same time (banking, post office, dry cleaning, etc.) to eliminate going out multiple times. Whenever possible, car pool or take public transit to reduce the number of cars on the road. Better yet, bike or walk and get in better shape while you are at it!

Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo April 18, 2007
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