Green Calgary

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Sep
09
2014

Green Calgary 2014 Rain Barrel and Composter Community Sales Complete!

by Lynn MacCallum

A Great Big Thank-You!

Throughout 11 community sales beginning in the cold and snow on April 26 and ending just as the rain came down on August 16,  Green Calgary sold 1698 rain barrels and 590 composters  to Calgarians from all quadrants of our City.  The installation and use of these products translate to the potential capture of almost 900 gallons of water and a  50% reduction household garbage to the landfill for each rain barrel and composter purchased this year. 
 
This annual series of sales is Green Calgary’s main fundraiser each year.   All net funds raised go back to Green Calgary to support the organization’s programs for fostering sustainability action in our homes, schools and businesses.
Thanks to our Sponsors and Partners!
These events are designed  to meet Calgarians closer to home, to discuss their unique needs surrounding the issues of rain water capture and back yard composting and to provide the most suitable products to meet these needs. Green Calgary was  supported in these initiatives in 2014 by funding and sponsorship from City of Calgary Water Resources, City of Calgary Waste and Recycling,  First Calgary Financial and London Drugs.  Without the significant financial assistance from these great sponsors we would not be able to provide these events, so a big “Thanks!” goes out to you all.  We also received support from the following businesses who helped us with location, product and food:  RONA,  IKEA, The Barrelman, and 
Community Natural Foods.
 
Thanks to our Wonderful Volunteers and Staff!
We couldn’t have done this without you! Over 524 hours were donated to us by a marvelous corps of 63 dedicated volunteers, more than ever before!   Over the season all Green Calgary  staff and  many Board members worked steadfastly in the parking lots engaging with Calgarians on the topics of rain water capture, our new RAIN initiative,  and composting.  We all took steps to making Calgary a more green and sustainable home.

Last but not least, Thanks to you all for coming out!

We know that over 2000 people chose to support these events and make the choice to do something “green” for their yard and home.  Way to go Calgary!  As our barrel and composter stickers say “Fill it Up!” “Use it Up!”  We hope to see you again in spring 2015.

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Sep
09
2014

Home School Days: Green Calgary Programs for Home School!

by Lynn MacCallum
Green Calgary is pleased to introduce our first ever Home School Days October 15th – 17th, 2014 for students in preschool to grade six!  Our environmental educator will be leading students in hands-on and curriculum-based activities in the field of environmental sustainability in order to discover more about our impacts on the planet.  Sessions will run for 2.5 hours (9:30 AM – 12:00 PM) and include two hour-long programs divided by age group:  
 
Dates and Programs: 
Location: Green Calgary office, #100-301 14th St NW 
Cost: $27.50/student
Each session has a strict 15 child limit.  Please only one parent per participant please. 
 
Registration is now open! Read more and Register HERE.  For more information, please contact the Green Kids Coordinator at education@greencalgary.org or (403) 230-1443 ext 228. 
 

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Sep
04
2014

Make your office green by bringing the outdoors indoors!

by Lynn MacCallum
As fall descends upon us everything that is green starts to change to varying shades of yellow, red and finally brown. While gorgeous at first it can lead to a rather dreary looking environment once the leaves disappear so why not brighten up your office space by adding a little greenery!
 
It has been mentioned in many instances that having plants in the office can improve more than just the aesthetics of the office but it can also improve air quality and the general mood in the space as well. Because the environment in an office is often different than what one would find at home there are certain plants that are better suited to low light situations, don’t require constant care and so are more suited to living in an office. Spider plants are one such plant; I know this because we have a lot of them here at the Green Calgary office! They are easy to care for, look amazing and if treated right they will produce tiny white flowers that develop into what are called spiderettes; baby spider plants! Once they reach a decent size these spiderettes can be cut away from the mother plant and placed in a pot of their own. 
 
Pothos, dracaena, English ivy, and rubber plants are all lovely desk sized plants that are relatively easy to care for and are known to improve air quality. If you’re looking for something with a little colour try out Christmas cacti and African Violets both of these can produce pretty flowers of varying hues. While umbrella plants and snake plants are two varieties that tend be a little larger they are ideal to brighten up those dark corners in the office.  So bring the outdoors in and treat your office to some mood boosting, air improving greenery!
 

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Sep
04
2014

Green Business Tip – Reduce your paper!

by Lynn MacCallum

Paper is one of those items that most offices end up consuming at an alarming rate. While paper may be a necessity wasting of the paper is not. Here’s a few tried and true ways to reduce the paper consumption at your office. 

Print double sided
Communicate to staff the importance of only printing when absolutely necessary
Use email instead of paper or faxes whenever practical, both for internal memos and for communications with clients and customers
Don’t print email messages. Put the words “Don’t print this email unless you really need to” at the bottom of all emails
Print less: Keep mailing lists current. Don’t print more copies than you need
Reuse what you can. Stock your fax machine with paper already printed on one side; reuse envelopes and boxes if possible; re-use one-sided "draft" paper in your printers
Read trade journals and other publications online instead of in printed form
 

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Sep
04
2014

The Ins and Outs of Composting

by Lynn MacCallum
Green Calgary presents Master Composter Bert Einsiedel in a workshop that will cover the basics of indoor and outdoor composting. We will outline what is needed to create good quality compost in Calgary, as well as the do's and don'ts of composting. You will learn about:
 
What can be added and what should be avoided
The difference between greens and browns
Adequate moisture
Turning frequency
Avoiding smell and pests
Using compost in the yard and garden
The various methods of composting including Bokashi, Vermicomposting, Backyard and more!
 
If you're new to composting, or discouraged by your results and looking to improve, or are already composting and interested in diverting even more organics, then this workshop is for you! The workshop will have plenty of time for questions and discussion and will include a demonstration on how to make your own Bokashi and worm bins – with the option to purchase a Bokashi bin to take home.
Available for purchase at the event:  Green Calgary will be selling composters, wingdiggers, kitchen catchers and liners, Bokashi bins and starter, vermicomposting bins, taking orders for Red Wigglers and more. 
 
BONUS - Green Calgary members receive 10% off all composter and accessory purchases! (except FreeGarden Earth compost bins, which are already subsidized by the City of Calgary)
 
Where: Green Calgary Office, #301, 14 Street NW
When: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
 
This is a FREE event but registration is required due to seating capacity. To register, please visit www.compostingoctober2014.eventbrite.ca.
If you register and can no longer attend PLEASE let us know so we can open your seat to someone else. Thank you in advance for your cooperation!
 

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Sep
04
2014

Waste Free Lunches

by Lynn MacCallum
Most people bring a lunch to work or school everyday and a lot of waste is generated from this daily practice. By consciously packing a waste free lunch you can reduce waste, practice reuse, reassess your habits and enjoy home made foods. Here are a few tips:
 
Avoid granola bars/snack foods wrapped in foil, individual yogurt containers, plastic wrapping sandwiches or other single use plastic bags or wrapping. 
Try reusable food containers, drink containers, utensils and cloth napkins (mason jars are great for bringing soups to reheat)
Purchase foods in bulk or larger quantities to reduce the amount of packaging you bring into your home
Prepare your own baked goods to cut back on plastics 
If take out lunches are one of your indulgences, purchase an eco take out box (such as the Eco-Clamshells sold at Green Calgary) that can be reused daily to eliminate your consumption of Styrofoam take containers. (Styrofoam cannot be recycled in Calgary)
 

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Aug
21
2014

A BIG Thank You to our Rain Barrel Volunteers!

by Lynn MacCallum
The 2014 Rain Barrel and Composter Sale season has come to an end and despite snow, rain, hail, wind and the blazing heat, the Green Calgary Volunteers showed up and helped out (when they could have been sleeping in!). With their help we raised over $150,000, we sold almost 1700 barrels and we sold almost 600 composters! 
 
This dedicated group of folks contributed more than 513 hours, and worked at 11 community sales and a number of corporate sales, and more importantly, they were able to educate and inspire hundreds of their fellow Calgarians to live a little more sustainably, and we think that is the biggest WIN of all!
 
From all of us at Green Calgary, a huge THANK YOU!!!!!!!
 
 
 
 

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Aug
13
2014

Green Workplace Tip: Treat your staff to lunch (& learn)!

by Lynn MacCallum

With September moving in fast there is the inevitable end to summer vacations and the back to work blues. Why not treat your staff to a break from the routine and have our lovely Green Workplace team come in and do a lunch & learn session?

This is not only an opportunity to spice up the lunch hour but it’s also a great way to educate staff on the importance of sustainable office practices. The presentation covers everything from what is currently being done in offices across Alberta to operate more sustainably to offering tips on what your building can do to lower its environmental foot print. There is a large focus on waste reduction as industrial, commercial and institutional buildings contribute 50% of the overall waste in Calgary! I bet you didn’t know that paper often makes up about a third of average office waste! Learn more interesting facts and tips like these; book a lunch & learn today! Email greenworkplace@greencalgary.org for more information!

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Aug
13
2014

Healthy Homes Tip – August 2014 – Fruit Tree Gleaning

by Lynn MacCallum
 
Fruit Tree Gleaning is the act of harvesting edible fruits remaining on trees prior to the end of season. 
 
Gleaning has become a popular initiative because it reduces food waste, improves food security,   provides opportunities to volunteer in your community and the fruits can be preserved as juice, jams, butters or dehydrated for consumption over the winter. Most gleaning projects also donate a portion of the fruits to a local charity to aid in providing food security to those who are in need. Locally, we have The Calgary Urban Harvest Project, that collects information on where the fruit trees are located, maps the locations and organizes volunteers to glean the trees and juice the apples harvested. They are looking for apples, pears, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, saskatoons and blueberries, but are no longer looking for tree registrations this year.
 
Sign up to volunteer with the Calgary Urban Harvest Project
 
If you are interested in learning how to preserve your local harvest, join us for one of our upcoming Canning Workshops on September 13th or September 27th at the Cookbook Co. 
To learn more tips on how to create a healthier home and reduce your environmental footprint, sign up for a FREE Healthy Homes Visit!
 
An in-home visit from our Healthy Homes advisor will provide you with the tools and resources to reduce energy and water consumption, start composting and reduce waste, improve indoor air quality, and eat sustainably in the City of Calgary. For more details and to register click HERE!

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Aug
13
2014

Another Rain Barrel and Composter Season Comes to an End

by Lynn MacCallum
It feels like not long ago that we were launching Rain Harvesting and Composting season in the snow.  It’s been a hectic few months visiting communities all over the city from Crowfoot and Coventry Hills to Shawnessy and South Trail, we have engaged with thousands of Calgarians wanting to learn more about rain harvesting and staring to rain harvest at home!
 
This weekend, we will host our last rain barrel sale of the season! This is the last chance to grow your rain barrel system if you already have one, and it’s never too late to start rain harvesting, especially as this weekend calls for more rain. 
 
Our wonderful sponsor London Drugs is kindly hosting the last sale of the year at their Royal Oak Store (500-8888 Country Hills Blvd N.W), this Saturday August 16th from 9am – 1pm. They will be giving away tickets to Globalfest and offering many in store promotions as well. 
 
Rain Harvesting has so many advantages it’s hard to list all of them. Rain Barrels are easy to maintain, it saves you money on your water bills, it takes the pressure off our water treatment plants, and your plants receive the many benefits of rain water! What’s not to love! Furthermore, our rain barrels are recycled and repurposed food-grade barrels that are made right here in Alberta. They are also very affordable and only a fraction of the cost of what you would pay at a retailer – the rain barrels start at only $60. 
 
So far this year, we have sold over 1,500 rain barrels, over 500 composters, and educated thousands of Calgarians on Rain Harvesting. Thank you to London Drugs, First Calgary Financial and the City of Calgary Water Resources for your support and for making these events possible! 
 
Pre-orders for this weekend are closed, however we will have plenty of barrels available to sell on the day. Hope to see you there! 
 
 
Photo Credit: Brendan Harris Photography / www.brendanharris.net

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Aug
08
2014

Green Event Summer Success!

by Lynn MacCallum

Festivals and events generate a considerable amount of waste. This is not only costly, but also negatively impacts the environment. Event greening is a process by which the overall waste generated is reduced as is energy and water consumption. This can be done by a number of methods; a few of which are: implementing a recycling and composting program, purchasing green energy credits, and utilizing city supplied tap water. Events featuring caterers or food trucks can utilize local, fair trade and/or organic food options, decrease food packaging, and supply reusable or compostable food ware to improve the overall sustainability of the event.

This summer has been a busy one for the Green Events team here at Green Calgary. The team successfully greened seven events and worked with Sled Island Music Festival and Calgary Folk Music Festival, both of which had a diversion rate in the 80% range!

The event with the highest diversion rate was Calgary Economic Development [http://www.calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com/] and Downtown Calgary Association’s [http://www.calgarydowntown.com/index.html] First Flip Pancake Breakfast with an impressive 96% of all waste diverted from the landfill, way to go!! Following close behind was the BOMA [http://www.boma.ca/] Pancake Breakfast at 95% and the Wildwood Community Association [http://mywildwood.ca/]  Pancake Breakfast at 91%. The Wildwood Breakfast was unique in that they used primarily reusable food ware instead of compostable resulting in a reduction rate of 55%. This means that by using reusable they avoided generating a significant amount of waste. This is always our ultimate goal; to reduce waste rather than just recycle it. Of course recycling is a good thing but not even generating waste is an even better thing. This just goes to show that the age old mantra of the three R’s hierarchy: reduce, reuse and recycle really works!

The Green Events team also worked with the Southcentre Mall [www.southcentremall.com] Pancake Breakfast - this was the largest breakfast of the summer - and even with over 5000 visitors they still managed a whopping 92% diversion rate! Both the Alberta Wildlife Association [http://albertawilderness.ca/] Climb for Wilderness and the Rocky Ridge Royal Oak [http://rrroca.org/en/] Pancake Breakfast achieved 89% diversion. Last but certainly not least the Calgary Folk Music Festival achieved an 80% diversion rate which is impressive given that this event spans over three days, attracts close to 50,000 visitors over the three days, and hosts 23 food vendors. This results in a lot of waste being produced but by using a combination of reusable dishes and compostable foodware they managed to reduce and divert a large amount of their waste.

The event greening achievements of this summer would not have been possible without our dedicated volunteers and funding from Alberta EcoTrust [http://albertaecotrust.com/2014/] so thank you to all those who helped make these events a success! The team will continue to green events throughout the year so if you know of any events that need to be greened or volunteers who would like to lend a hand just e-mail greenworkplace@greencalgary.org or call us at 403-230-1443!

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Aug
08
2014

Home Canning: A Beginner’s Workshop

by Lynn MacCallum

Sustainability Series Presents: Home Canning: A Beginner’s Workshop 

Green Calgary’s fall canning classes are back!

This workshop is perfect for anyone who would like to learn how to preserve their own food, who is interested in eating locally year round, and who would like to control where their food is coming from while saving time and money!

Our instructors will guide you through the practical art of home canning. Learn the chemistry and biology of water bath canning so that you can become comfortable with the process and the theory behind it. You will gain the confidence and skills to preserve heirloom family recipes or any new concoctions you wish through our successful interactive format. The workshop will cover canning theory, equipment, recipe selection, sourcing supplies and of course, hands on canning for everyone to take home!

Workshop includes: all ingredients, equipment and lunch!

Register early as space is limited! Two Available Dates:

September 13th (9am-2pm) www.homecanningsept13.eventbrite.ca

September 27th (9am-2pm) www.homecanningsept27.eventbrite.ca

For questions or comments please email jori@greencalgary.org

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Aug
07
2014

Vote for us!

by Lynn MacCallum
Last year Green Calgary won the REAP Be Local award for Best Non-Profit, and we would LOVE to do it again this year, but we need your help! Please take a moment to VOTE FOR GREEN CALGARY HERE! Simply find the Green Calgary logo, and click on the blue “Vote” button below the logo. You can vote EVERY DAY if you want, which would be awesome, and you can also share with friends and family so they can vote as well! 
 
Also, when you vote you receive a $5 coupon from the lovely folks at Community Natural Foods. Sweet! 
 
Vote everyday from now until October 31! 
 

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Aug
07
2014

HSCA & Horticultural Society Harvest Fair on Wednesday October 1st

by Lynn MacCallum
Green Calgary has partnered with two of our favorite groups – Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA) and the Calgary Horticultural Society to bring you an old fashioned harvest fair! This is a fun event where judges pick the tastiest jams, pies and pickles, award the biggest pumpkins and zucchini, and much more! There are many ways to get involved as a volunteer, and it can be as simple as putting up a poster at your office! 
 
Volunteer shifts are below, start and ends times are flexible too, can you do a back to back shift – that’s great too – just let us know! Please email lynn@greencalgary.org if you can help out. 
 
Every Wednesday in September - Sept 3rd, Sept 10th, Sept 17th and Sept 24th 
2:30-5:00 or 5:00-7:30pm - Handing out event mini-flyers at the HSCA Farmers Market
 
Sept 1-30th – Putting up posters, handbills at orgs/businesses in any of the quadrants NW, SW, NE, SE - 6 volunteers are needed per quadrant. We will supply the drop off list of businesses, but feel free to add to the list
 
TUESDAY SEPT 30TH – day before the event!
4pm-7pm (4:30 opening for submissions) set-up, receive entries, help w/ weighing BIGGEST categories - 3 volunteers needed
6:30pm-9pm (8:30 closing) receive entries, help w/ weighing BIGGEST categories, storing entries in safe room/fridge - 3 volunteers needed
 
WEDNESDAY OCT 1ST – day of the event!
10:30AM-2:00PM - set up tables, display entries, receive new entries - 3 volunteers
2:00PM - 5:30PM - assist judges - 4 volunteers
2:30pm-5:00pm or 5:00-7:30pm - Monitor visitors, greeting, exit surveys, take down - 2 volunteers per shift
2:30pm-5:00pm or 5:00-7:30pm - Town Criers (get out into the market and drive in foot traffic)/ Give Back Entries / Take Down - 2 volunteers per shift
3-5pm or 5-7pm - Social Media: someone to live tweet, take photos and post on FB - 1 volunteer per shift
3-5pm or 5-7pm - Photographer - 1 volunteer per shift
 

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Jul
14
2014

Yahoo! London Drugs, RRROCA and Green Calgary Host the Greenest Stampede Breakfast on Earth!

by Amy Inkster

There were fluffy pancakes, sizzling sausages and sticky syrup; all the makings of a good stampede breakfast. But this particular breakfast also included guests bringing their own reusable foodware, compostable foodware for those who forgot, wash stations, and a composting service to make sure it all got turned into nutrient rich compost, and was kept out of our landfills!  Even Mayor Nenshi was there!

Thanks to London Drugs, Green Calgary was able to provide greening event services to a community breakfast. The Rocky Ridge Royal Oak Community Association (RRROCA) proactively approached Green Calgary in the spring because they wanted their annual stampede breakfast to go green. As is the case with many festivals and community events throughout the city, RRROCA’s budget was tighter than your prom dress would be today. As you may already know, Green Calgary is a registered charity and through a sponsorship provided by London Drugs, Green Calgary was able to green this event.

London Drugs’ generosity allowed Green Calgary to work closely with RRROCA to make their event as green as possible. London Drugs is dedicated to promotion and practice of recycling in its store and wanted to take that dedication out to the community.

This was RRROCA’s   first year greening their event, the focus was on waste reduction. Community members and guests were encouraged to bring their own reusable plates, cups and cutlery to the event. Not only does this reduce the resources required to manufacture and transport compostable or recyclable foodware, it also reduces the transportation and processing costs of composting or recycling. In addition to the sponsorship, London Drugs provided wash stations so guests were able to clean up and head home sticky-free. 

Dedicated RRROCA and Green Calgary volunteers supervised all the waste/recycling/composting stations placed throughout the event area. This crucial factor provided assistance to guests in sorting their materials into the appropriate bins. Brave volunteers were even seen reaching into bins to dig out misplaced items!

The dedication, flexibility and initiative taken by RRROCA, the generous support, community commitment and “green leadership” of London Drugs, and the skills and passion of Green Calgary and their volunteers led to a first year diversion rate of 79%!

Congratulations to all! We look forward to the exciting new steps that will undoubtedly be taken next year as RRROCA advances their green event status, and the continued measurement of their success!

 

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Jul
07
2014

July Healthy Homes Tip: Take Advantage of the Summer Sunshine

by lrrminuk@gmail.com

In Calgary we have a short summer season to enjoy so here are a few excuses for getting outside and being Green while enjoying some sunshine!

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Jun
10
2014

Green Workplace Business Tip: Make Your Office Bottled Water Free!

by Lynn MacCallum

Did you know?

•    Bottled water is 240 to 10 000 times more expensive than tap water
•    Bottled water requires 2000 times more energy than tap water
•    It takes 3 litres of water to produce one litre of bottled water
•    The plastic bottles of water travel many miles before it makes it to you, burning millions of barrels of oil in the process. Perrier water travels 9, 476 km to get to Calgary, Alberta, from Vergèze, France!

Make the change today in your business, don’t buy bottled water instead drink your tap water.
Bottled water is considered a food product under the Canadian Food & Drugs Act and Regulations and so is not legally required to meet the Guidelines to Canadian Drinking Water Quality whereas tap water is tested more often and more rigorously then bottled water.

If the taste of tap water is not quite to your liking use a filter jug or better yet add a lemon slice to perk it up. The options are endless and considerably cheaper than bottled water so pick up a reusable water bottle and start saving the environment and your money today!

(Facts courtesy of the Polaris Institute-Inside the Bottle Campaign)

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Jun
10
2014

Don’t miss Green Calgary’s Blue Water Day Celebration on June 14!

by Lynn MacCallum

Join Green Calgary in a celebration of water and environmental sustainability for great live music, locally produced food and family fun activities! Blue Water Day is a celebration of the commitment in Calgary to preserve the worlds most precious resource. Water.

Green Calgary has empowered and supported thousands of Calgarians to become part of the Water-wise movement over the years. This would not have been possible without the support of RBC’s Blue Water Project, a fantastic initiative which supports a wide range of charitable organizations working in water conservation and preservation.  

Join us and meet some of the great organizations who will share what they are doing on the ground to foster a sustainable future in Calgary.

When: June 14th, 11am- 2pm
Where: ContainR, Sunnyside (Corner of 9th Street and 2nd Ave NW)

Thank you to the following groups for their participation and support of this event:
RBC and the Blue Water Project team, Springboard Performance, CAWST, The City of Calgary Water Services, Calgary Can, Yellow Fish Road, Grow Calgary and The Alberta Wilderness Association.

We would also like to say a very special thank you to Skyfire Energy for donating a solar power generator for the event! We appreciate your support!

About RBC`s Blue Water Project
Launched in 2007, the RBC Blue Water Project is a 10-year global charitable commitment of $50 million to help provide access to drinkable, swimmable, fishable water, now and for future generations. To date, RBC has pledged over $38 million in grants to more than 650 charitable organizations worldwide, with an additional $7.8 million pledged to university programs. They also support a range of other water-related initiatives through sponsorships and employee volunteerism.

How You Can Support Water Sustainability in Calgary
Green Calgary has conserved over 9 million liters of water because of our Annual Rain Barrel Sales. This is just one of the many ways we are leading the water-wise movement Calgary. As little as $20 can make a difference! Please make an investment in a sustainably Calgary and support this important work. Click here to donate now.

For more information on Blue Water Day and how you can get involved contact: 

 

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Jun
10
2014

Green Calgary Casino Fundraiser July 2014

by Lynn MacCallum

As you know we are a charitable organization and we rely heavily upon the funds generated through this casino event.  We greatly appreciate your time and support to come out and volunteer.

We have several positions available all of which are on a first come, first serve basis. Previous Casino experience is an asset, but not required. Onsite training will be provided the day of your shift.

All volunteers must meet the following criteria as set forth by the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission-

- Be a minimum of 18 years of age
- Possess photo ID at all times during the casino event
- Competent in handling money
- Able to pass a security clearance check
- Able to maneuver in the casino facility for the duration of their shift
- Able to hear, see, speak or have an attendant with these capabilities.


WHERE: Cash Casino- Blackfoot Gaming Centre, 4040 Blackfoot Trail SE Calgary, Alberta T2G 4E6.
WHEN: Monday July 14th and Tuesday July 15th 2014
TIME: We have a variety of Casino positions and time slots available-
Day shifts run from 10:45am – 6:30pm, Evening Shifts from 6:15pm – 3:30am and late night shifts from 11:00pm – 3:30am. Please contact lynn@greencalgary.org for more details on availability and reserve you spot today.

We also need volunteers to be ON CALL- this means we will need you to be available in case of illness or no-show by the other casino workers. You can specify a time that you can be on call for, or you can be available for the duration of the event..

For more information on the duties of each of positions, please view the following PDF- the corresponding page numbers are listed:

http://www.aglc.ca/pdf/charitable_gaming/gain_manual_final.pdf

Casino Positions- Chain of Command- Page 190
Casino Volunteer Attributes and Conduct- Page 194
Casino Volunteers- Description of Positions and Duties- Page 195- 200

RSVP: If you are interested and available, please respond as soon as possible to Lynn MacCallum via email - lynn@greencalgary.org or feel free to give her a call with any questions or concerns you may have. 403.230.1443 EXT 225

ADDITIONAL INFO: A variety of food, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea will be available to you before, during and after your Casino shift. If transportation is a barrier to you volunteering, we can arrange assistance in getting you to and/ or from the Casino on the day of the event. Please just let us know ahead of time and we will be happy to help you out! Thanks so much!

 

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Jun
10
2014

Healthy Homes Tip of the Month - World Oceans Day and thoughtful actions for protecting our oceans

by Lynn MacCallum

June 8th was World Oceans Day, where concerned citizens from all over the world held events and made simple commitments to protecting our oceans for the future such as eliminating junk mail, obtaining renewable energy credits and spreading the word about the importance of purchasing sustainable seafood.

Since we live in a landlocked province and the ocean is not in plain view, it’s easy to forget how beautiful and amazing the ocean actually is! On top of that the ocean provides us with many environmental services including regulating our climate and aiding in cleaning our fresh water through the hydrological cycle.

Calgarians primary connection to the ocean is the seafood we purchase either from grocery stores, restaurants or farmer’s markets, so here are some simple tips to help you purchase sustainably raised or harvested seafood:

1.    Always ask where it is from and how it was caught or if the seafood was farmed (Choose closed containment farmed instead of ocean open net farmed)
2.    Look for Ocean Wise, Marine Stewardship Council or Sea Choice approved options
3.    Download the Ocean Wise app for up to date information on best choice species.

To learn more about protecting our oceans check out these websites: http://worldoceansday.org/, http://oneocean.cbc.ca/, http://www.oceanwise.ca/

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Jun
10
2014

Volunteers Needed for Depave Paradise Calgary!

by Lynn MacCallum

As you may know, Green Calgary is taking on a new project in 2014: Depave Paradise! The Depaving movement is happening across the country – turning unnecessary and impermeable surfaces (like parking lots) into green spaces and gardens. Depaving is largely a volunteer-driven effort, so we need your help!

This year we are partnering with Parks Foundation and the Dover Community to repurpose neglected tennis courts into a food forest and garden space. This space, the Twin Views Communal Garden, is a project initiated by the Dover Community to provide an innovative, sustainable gardening space for the community and adjacent neighbourhoods.

The Depaving event is scheduled for Sunday, July 20th from 9am – 2pm and we need volunteers! Volunteering involves ripping up pre-cut pavement and hauling it off site into dumpster bins (to be recycled or repurposed of course). You don’t need any special training, tools or gear – just bring yourself, your muscles and your desire to transform this space for the better! A follow-up planting event will take place in early September. If you are interested in volunteering (and we hope you are) please email jori@greencalgary.org.

Watch this VIDEO of a Depave event in Portland to learn more!

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Jun
10
2014

Home Canning Season is Here!

by Lynn MacCallum

Are you interested in home canning and preserving? We hope so! Green Calgary’s Sustainability Series offers three workshops throughout the year to teach you how to can your own food. Take control of the ingredients in your food and preserve some of the delicious harvest from your own garden or from our local farmers.

The first workshop is coming up on Tuesday, June 24th at 6pm: Canning Lecture & Demonstration. Watch our expert instructor as she walks you through the basics of home canning. The workshop will cover canning theory, equipment, recipe selection, sourcing supplies and a hands-on canning demonstration of two items (a jam and a pickle) with lots of time for Q&A! This workshop is offered early in the season so you can preserve foods as they become available in grocery stores and farmers markets. Tickets available at www.canningdemo2014.eventbrite.ca.

We will also be offering two hands-on workshops in September. Roll up your sleeves and practice home canning yourself! These workshops are held at the Cookbook Co., taught by Green Calgary expert canning volunteers and will cover canning theory, equipment, recipe selection, sourcing supplies and of course, hands-on canning of two items – plus you get to take your items home! Tickets on sale in July. If you are interested in being contacted when tickets go on sale, please email jori@greencalgary.org.

Read the 9 great reasons to consider canning your own food HERE!

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Jun
10
2014

Summer Event Season Without the Trash Hangover!

by Lynn MacCallum

Green Calgary is busy preparing for Calgary`s most social season with our Green Events Program. We work with event organizers, community associations and some of Calgary`s biggest festivals to help them significantly reduce the amount of waste that is produced at their events.
 
Last year, we successfully diverted approximately 80% of event waste from the landfill through recycling, composting, or preventing the waste in the first place.
 
A few of the events we will be Greening this year include the Calgary Folk Music Festival, Sled Island Music Festival, Rocky Ridge Royal Oak Community Association`s Stampede Breakfast, and Calgary Economic Development`s First Flip Stampede Breakfast!

Whether you are organizing a large stampede breakfast, or a smaller backyard BBQ, here are 3 things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your event this summer:

1)         BYOD
Asking guests to bring their own dishes not only helps reduce the amount of waste being thrown away at the end, but it also saves money and cleanup! Picnic plates are perfect to bring from home, and we also recommend setting up a wash stations with non-toxic soap for guests to wash their dishes before they go. Offer certified compostable plates and cutlery to guests that are not able to bring their own dishes.
 
2)         Green Beverages
Having a Green Event means opting for beverage containers that create zero or less waste! Instead of having water bottles, set-up a water station where guests can fill up their own water bottle. Also, encourage everyone to bring their own coffee travel mug from home – paper cups are a strain on the landfill and many of them cannot be recycled or composted.
 
3)         Recycle and compost your leftovers
Set up waste stations for recycling and composting of leftovers and garbage. Organic matter such as sausages, pancakes, and most food leftovers can be composted, which means the food can return to the earth to produce nutrient rich soil, as opposed to filling up the landfills, where it cannot be broken down. Have volunteers stationed at your waste stations to ensure your guests are using the right bins.

Contact us today to learn more about how Green Calgary can help you Green your event this summer!

We would like to say a massive thank you to TD Friends of the Environment, Alberta Eco-Trust, and London Drugs for supporting our Green Events Program!

 

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Jun
09
2014

Highlight on the Calgary Flood, 1 year on

by Lynn MacCallum

Bentall Kennedy, North America`s largest real estate investment advisors and long-term supporters of Green Calgary initiated an Emergency Response Plan that saved them millions in flood damage last June.
Rod Olsen, Director of Property Management and Chair of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee shared their story with us.


Bentall Kennedy (Canada) LP manages four large office buildings along the floodway area in downtown Calgary on 2nd Street and 3rd Ave SW.  In the mid 2000’s, at the urging and suggestion of our insurer, we were asked to prepare Flood Emergency Response Procedures (FERP) for our managed office buildings.  We worked with a consultant to develop a plan, and subsequently customized it to each of the four office buildings.  On June 20, 2013 media reports identified potential flooding along the Bow and Elbow Rivers in Calgary due to heavy rainfall occurring in the foothills area of Alberta.

 
That afternoon our Operations Team dusted off the Flood Emergency Response Procedures for each respective building, contacted our landscaping contractor, and advised them that we were going to require a large tandem dump truck filled with sand, and a loader to fill sand bags that evening.  They arrived late Thursday afternoon; and, along with our Operations team, worked to fill bags that we had in our inventory.  The sandbags were placed around building entry points where water could gain access to the buildings.  These included parkade entrances, air supply vents, and man-doors.  By 2:00 A.M. on Friday June 21 the sand bagging had been completed and all of the filled bags had been placed.  

By mid-day Friday June 21, 3rd Avenue between 2nd Street and 1st Street SW was completely flooded.  

  

The Bow River had not crested its banks in this location; however storm water drainage had backed up and flooded 3rd Avenue.  The Bow River simply could not accommodate the storm water draining off of the streets into the river.  The sandbags held water out of the buildings and we did not experience any major flooding.  


 
Water did enter two of the buildings; however, this was caused by events beyond our control.  One building took in water through an underground vault; and water came into one of the main telecommunications rooms in the building, basically taking out telephone and data communications.  A parkade in one of the buildings took in water as a result of a neighbouring parkade having completely filled thereby spilling over into our building.  We assisted this property owner with pumping out their parkade which, in turn, stopped the seepage into our parkade. 

Once storm waters subsided and power was restored to the downtown core, we removed the sandbags and got back to business as usual.  If there had been no Flood Emergency Response Procedures in place, and water was allowed to enter into our four downtown office buildings, we would have incurred very expensive repairs along with downtime for our tenants.  For example, those flood issues previously identified in the neighbouring parkade resulted in a nine-month closure to their parking structure after the June 2013 floods occurred.

In essence, being prepared with comprehensive Flood Emergency Response Procedures saved our clients and our tenants from potentially very expensive repairs and loss of business due to downtime.

Thank you Rod for sharing this valuable advice!
For more information on what you or your company can do to be as prepared as possible for flooding, see the City of Calgary Flood Preparation Guide.  


 

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Mar
28
2014

How Can My Business Celebrate Earth Hour?

by lrrminuk@gmail.com

Earth Hour is 8:30pm-9:30pm, Saturday, March 29, 2014!!

Earth Hour has become a worldwide sensation, seeing individuals, businesses and tourist sites turning off their lights for an hour to share a message of care and commitment to a better planet.


The Eiffel Tower, celebrating Earth Hour!

If you’re a business, we suggest that you take the lead and inspire your employees to show off their love of the planet as well. Some ways you could do this include:

1. Turn Off … the lights, the music, the computer and, yes, our cell phones, too!
2. Share… make sure that your employees and/or tenants are aware of what your business is doing to commit to the planet on earth day by communicating what your plans are for Earth Hour! Think about asking your employees, tenants and/or coworkers what they think would be the best year-long environmental initiatives to get involved in.
3. Commit… think about what you can do this year to live your commitment to the environment that you make during Earth Hour!

Looking for more ideas on what you can do for Earth Hour or during 2014? Give Green Calgary a shout! We're here to help you meet your personal and professional environmental goals. Contact Lauren by email or at 403-230-1443 for ideas or for help implementing your plan.

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Mar
10
2014

Green Calgary’s Coffee Cup Campaign Update

by Lynn MacCallum

As you may recall, in our October newsletter we included an article about our 2013 Coffee Cup Campaign, which we were able to develop thanks to a grant from Alberta Ecotrust Foundation. We’re excited that we have just completed the final report and are ready to share our findings!

First, let us refresh your memory on where this whole idea came from. While education and public awareness campaigns are important in addressing environmental issues, Green Calgary’s goal with this campaign was to focus on moving Calgarians beyond awareness and into action on the issue of reducing the use of disposable coffee cups, lids, and sleeves.  To do this we used the methodology of Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) to introduce measurable behavior change.

We were very honoured that our campaign received lots of media attention, and with the 11 articles that were written or recorded about it, we were able to reach a wide variety of Calgarians, and even Albertans outside the city!  

As you likely last heard, we were about to begin piloting our strategy at the Second Cup - Kensington location. After 9 weeks of strategy implementation and data collection, the results are in!

When we first communicated with the owners of the Second Cup - Kensington store, they estimated that they used 3,500 disposable cups/week.  At that time, they were also giving out discounts for travel mugs about 20-30 times a day.

If we use this estimate of 3,500 disposable cups used a week, it can be determined that during our strategy implementation (and the weeks following), a total of 11,649 disposable coffee cups were prevented from being used and thus diverted from landfill.  Furthermore, looking at the amount of materials that are required to produce disposable coffee cups (water, energy, paper and plastic), we can quantify the following savings:

  • 11,649.00 cups
  • 0.53 kg of plastic
  • 11,008.31 L of water
  • 4.73 trees
  • 83.73 kg of waste
  • 1.32 MT of CO2


These results are encouraging, and Second Cup - Kensington has committed to continue this initiative! It is our hope that the positive momentum we were able to develop this year will be able to be continued in 2014. If Green Calgary can access funding we intend to continue our CBSM campaign into Phase II – a wider implementation – to expand the project to multiple merchant locations.

Furthermore, were we, admittedly, quite surprised that it was a large national coffee merchant chain – Second Cup – that was the only coffee merchant that chose to work with us. However, based on our work with the Kensington location of Second Cup, the Regional Operations Manager for Southern Alberta and BC is very excited about the work we have done and we have begun communicating about opportunities to work together in 2014!

Lastly, Second Cup – Kensington’s owners report continued success in behavior changes of their employees who now almost always ask customers if they would like a stay cup, instead of always reaching for the disposable paper cup. So next time you’re in line at your local coffee shop test your barista to see if they can be as good as the baristas at Second Cup - Kensington!

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Mar
10
2014

From our Executive Director: Rain, Rain Everywhere…

by Lynn MacCallum

As Spring approaches, one can't help but wonder what snow melt and seasonal rains may bring to our city this year.   The flood of June 2013 touched us all, devastated many families and local businesses, and left us all more aware than ever that severe weather events are becoming more frequent.   In fact, even before the Flood, the data-and-evidence-driven insurance industry focused on Calgary as particularly vulnerable to flooding.   Through claims experience, they were seeing a high rate of flood damage in our city.  What many Calgarians do not realize is that even minor rains can have a harmful impact on our rivers, homes, and businesses.    

Storm water management, as it is called, is a crucial environmental and infrastructure issue.  Like many modern cities, for decades Calgary has been paving over vast swaths of land - freeways, parking lots, patios, driveways, tennis courts, playground areas and more - and now snow melt and rain have no where to run but into storm drains (which can easily be overwhelmed by the volume of water), directly into our rivers (bringing massive amounts of pollution that harms wildlife and water quality), or through the foundations of our homes into our basements.  

In nature, the land, trees, plants, and ponds absorb most run off and storm water, and only rarely does storm water rush directly into the rivers.  In today's Calgary, virtually every rain event leads to water going directly into the Elbow and Bow carrying with pollutants like oil and gas, pesticides and herbicides, dust, and pet feces.  The massive paving over of our city's lands have turned what is a natural resource (rain), into a threat.

Based on many years of careful tracking and statistical analysis, the Insurance Bureau of Canada tells us that extreme weather events are getting more frequent, and that it is crucial that Calgarians take proactive steps to protect their homes, communities, and businesses*.  What is great about our city is that virtually all Calgarians want to be part of the solution; they want to help protect our city from future events like the June 2013 Flood.  Among those of us who were not directly impacted by the flood, there is a huge community desire to help others who were, and to do what we can to prevent similar events in the future.  Rather than wait passively for mega-projects or government action, people want to take positive personal action on the issue of storm water management and flooding.

And helping citizens take action is where local environmental charity Green Calgary comes in.  Green Calgary is providing Calgarians with several easy ways to take action and be part of the solution.

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION APRIL 22: Keynote speak, VP of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Bill Adams, will speak about what the growing number of extreme weather events mean to our city and actions we can take to build resilience and sustainability in our homes, communities, and businesses.  Celebrate our city and planet with other committed Calgarians.  Funds raised through this event support Green Calgary programs throughout the year.

RAIN BARREL EVENTS: For more than a decade, Green Calgary has held its annual Rain Barrel and Composter Events to help Calgarians start rain harvesting and reduce waste.  This year, Green Calgary will be holding more than a dozen community events (more than one in each quadrant of the city!)  where you can learn about rain harvesting and get the rain barrels best suited to your home and your needs.   When neighbourhoods and communities embrace rain harvesting together, their combined efforts have a significant positive impact on the volume of storm water.  Through their Green Yards program, Green Calgary will even come and set up your rain barrel for you, plus provide education on maintenance and winterizing of your rain harvest system.   Rain Barrel events start in April so keep an eye on the Green Calgary website or your ENMAX bill insert for dates and places.

RAIN HOME VISITS PROGRAM: When there is not enough open land to soak up rain water, even homes not subjected to floods can experience water seepage and damage as water infiltrates foundations.   During the RAIN Home Visit Program, a Green Calgary consultant will work with you to review your home, window wells, roofing, yard, and street to identify storm water management issues and flood risks, and help you develop a plan to address these.   Again, there is strength in numbers;  the more Calgarians who take steps in their homes the more impact the program will have.  

DEPAVE PARADISE: Impermeable surfaces create storm water management problems and are a barrier to "natural hydrological services" - that is nature's ability to soak up and purify water, which then recharges aquifers rather than pollutes our rivers.  The DePave Paradise program works with community groups to remove pavement and cement and replace these with rain gardens, plants, and natural ground cover, thus protecting their facilities and giving Mother Nature a helping hand in managing storm water.   An added benefit is that vegetation and natural areas attract birds, butterflies, bees, and beauty!

RAIN EDUCATION
: In 2013, Green Calgary reached more than 7,000 children and youth with its environmental education programs, including "Water for Life, a hands-on exploration of the water cycle and the precious resource of rain. For adults, Green Calgary educates Calgarians in their homes and communities through its Healthy Home program (which covers water conservation, waste reduction, de-toxifying the home and yard and more), through its Eco-store (which sells rain barrels and composters year round), and through its annual "Sustainability Series" workshops where you can learn about organic veggie gardening, composting, canning, and many other earth friendly and enjoyable skills.  This year, the Sustainability Series includes Mar 22 and September tours of our city's water treatment plants (a fascinating peek behind the scenes of this crucial service area),  and a May 17 workshop during which you will be guided through design of your very own "water wise" garden.

I encourage all concerned community members to get involved in one or more of these great Green Calgary projects to protect our City. There is power in numbers.

Patricia Cameron
Executive Director, Green Calgary
 

*According to the IBC “Losses from natural catastrophes in Canada are rising. Claim payouts from severe weather have doubled every five to ten years since the 1980s.”

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Jan
14
2014

Green Calgary supporters donate over $30,000 in 2013

by Amy Inkster

Green Calgary supporters donate over $30,000 in 2013

There’s no denying 2013 was a challenging year for Calgary and its citizens, but it also highlighted the true spirit of what it means to be Calgarian. It also reminded us about the importance of practicing resilience and sustainability going forward.

In 2013, Green Calgary received over $30,000 in donations  that enabled us to support thousands of Calgarians through their homes, schools, businesses & communities to make steps towards becoming more Green! This funding enabled Green Calgary to achieve some really important milestones.

Last year, Calgary citizens who purchased Rain Barrels through our Annual Rain Barrel Sales collectively conserved over 9 million liters of water. This number is growing every year and we are proud to see Calgary show such leadership in conserving rain water! In 2014, following last year’s floods, we will be heavily focusing our efforts on storm water management to empower Calgarys citizens to do their part to contribute to restoring to the natural hydrological cycle in urban areas.

We also spent a lot of time educating children last year! Green Calgary delivered 241 school programs at 107 schools and community organizations to 7,393 students! Through our ‘Waste in our World’ and ‘Water for life’ school programs, we were able to provide hands on, practical and fun education programs in Calgary’s schools. They were so well received that we will be expanding the program to even more schools in 2014.

And we can’t forget the summer, Calgary’s most social season! Through our Green Events Program, we diverted 86% of the event waste from the landfill! We like to call this ‘Summer without the trash hangover’!

We educated and engaged more than 4,000 Calgarians through hands on community workshops and presentations that helped them start composting, learn about canning, water-wise gardening, and de-toxifying their homes.

Not only have we been able to make significant impact in Calgary, our environmental education and services won awards! Green Calgary was the recipient of the Reap’s Be Local awards for favorite charity, and we also received a national award from Green Communities Canada.

Our donors and supporters continue to inspire and empower us to create change every year. For those who donated to us, volunteered, or supported us in any other way in 2013 – thank you for your passion, your commitment, and for enabling us to achieve such great success in 2013!

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Jan
13
2014

Welcome to Amaranth Foods, our 2014 Meatless Mondays Sponsor!

by lrrminuk@gmail.com Filed in: Food Choices, Local Business, Membership, Shopping

Since 2011, we have been coming to you each Monday with a new vegetarian meal idea in order to help you incorporate going meat-free once a week into your life. We love Meatless Monday for a whole bunch of reasons, but one of our top reasons is that reducing the amount of meat we eat can have a huge positive effect on our environment. In Canada, the amount of land required to feed a non-vegetarian is seven times as much as the amount of land it takes to feed a vegetarian. That’s a pretty staggering amount. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to become a full-time vegetarian to make a real difference. One really powerful (and fun!) way to help the environment with just your fork is to enjoy meatless meals all day on Mondays. Not only does it help the environment, but there are some serious benefits for your health too. Vegetarian Times has a fun and informative piece about why you should go veg here but this is not by any means the only article that can give you some details about why vegetarianism (or going veg one day a week) might be for you.

In 2014, we are so excited to thank and welcome Amaranth Whole Foods Market as our Meatless Mondays sponsor. If you’re not familiar with Amaranth Whole Foods Market, they are an Alberta-based source for deliciously natural foods and health products. They celebrate quality, nutrition and balanced living in everything they do. Amaranth has three locations in Calgary including a brand new 4th Street Market in the Mission area (check out the photo! Gorgeous, no?).

We are very much looking forward to working with Amaranth Whole Foods Market this year to bring you delicious, simple, seasonal vegetarian meals that make flirting with vegetarianism fun and nutritious. Keep posted to our Facebook and Twitter, as well as to Amaranth’s blog for recipes each Monday this year and join us in enjoying these yummy dishes.

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Nov
16
2013

Green Calgary is Looking for a Community Partner to Depave Paradise!

by Amy Inkster


Green Calgary is looking for a great partner for a new project we are taking on – Depave Paradise! Depaving is a movement towards reducing the amount of paved surfaces we have in our cities and replacing them with beautiful gardens and green spaces.

Hard surfaces, such as driveways, parking lots and buildings interrupt the natural water cycle by preventing rain water from soaking into the ground and creating heat sinks, warming up our cities. By removing pavement and replacing it with native plants, trees and shrubs we are increasing the infiltration rate, recharging our groundwater supply, and cooling our neighbourhoods.

Do you know of a paved space that we should depave? We are looking for a committed partner to help us take on this project. The perfect site partner will have: a site that needs depaving, a great group of dedicated volunteers to help take on the work, a demonstrated need for flood mitigation or added green space, and of course, a desire to get their hands dirty! The project will take place over the next year and will be completed by fall 2014.

If you and your group are interested, please copy and complete the questions below and submit them to Jori no later than November 30th, 2013. If you have any questions about this project or would like to chat about your application, please don’t hesitate to call me at (403) 230-1443 ext. 223.

Name:
Organization:
Contact information:

Site address:
Site description:

Please tell us why you would like to host a Depave?

Why do you see a need to depave the proposed site?

What benefits do you see to depaving this site?


Thank you! We will review applications in December and get back to you as soon as we can.

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Oct
03
2013

Energy Concerned Citizens of Calgary, be part of the Rational Middle YYC film festival hosted by Mou

by Amy Inkster

Are you a citizen, community, or small business conserving energy in Calgary? Does your family or business contribute to energy production in our fair city? Mount Royal University invites you to be part of the Rational Middle Film Festival! Your energy story could be featured in a 90-second short film produced by Mount Royal marketing students. Students will interview you about your conservation efforts or your contribution to energy production. Filming will take place early to mid-October at the Mount Royal Campus or at your location. We want to share what you do and how you do it!

These films will be produced for the Rational Middle YYC Film Festival and shared with all Calgarians on 4th, 5th, and 6th of November 2013 (details on exact locations and event times will be provided soon). The Rational Middle is a film series created to better understand energy and how we can lessen the impacts of energy use and production. This is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and help Calgarians take action towards a more sustainable future.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Anja-Lina Wamser at awamser@mtroyal.ca or call (403) 440 8453 (Please leave a message if need be!)

 

For more on The Rational Middle visit:

http://rationalmiddle.com/movie/a-day-in-the-life-of-energy-with-the-corder-family/

 

or http://rationalmiddle.com/movie/the-energy-life-of-sustainable-beer/.

 

You can also like the Rational Middle on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/rationalmiddle (Your story may be shared on the site!)

 
 

 

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Sep
23
2013

Go Green and Save Green with a Furnace Tune-Up!

by Amy Inkster Filed in: Air Quality, Energy

Fall is nearly here, and as the seasons change, it’s time to look toward preparing your furnace for the upcoming Calgary winter. A thorough furnace tune-up and inspection will make sure your heating system is ready to keep your home comfortable as temperatures drop. It will also help you save money by keeping your furnace clean and in top condition, which improves overall efficiency, cuts energy waste, improves quality of indoor air and reduces the need for more expensive repairs in the future.


Most furnace tune-up tasks should be done by a professional technician from your local trusted HVAC provider, but there are a few things you can do on your own.
This will save time for the technician and allow him or her to concentrate on technical and safety issues. 

You can:

•        Change the system’s filters: clean filters promote airflow and help keep your indoor air clear of particles and contaminants. Start the season with fresh filters, then check them every month and change them if they get dirty.

•        Clean registers and vents: Sweep away accumulated dust, lint, cobwebs or other debris at supply and return registers.


•        Check and clean blower: Clean away dust and dirt from the blower.


During a furnace tune-up, your HVAC technician will check your furnace and heating system thoroughly, including the ductwork and internal components of the furnace itself. He/she will look for small malfunctions and parts that should be replaced. He/she will also:


•        Lubricate motors, fans and moving parts
•        Clean the combustion chamber
•        Clean, adjust and test burners and ignition system
•        Test the thermocouple
•        Adjust the thermostat
•        Tighten loose components, belts and electrical connections
•        Check electrical issues such as voltage and amperage
•        Check and adjust safety controls
•        Check heat exchanger for cracks
•        Check fuel lines or electrical power supply
•        Inspect and test flue and vents to make sure carbon monoxide safely vented away

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about furnace tune-ups, furnace installations or improving your indoor air quality and other HVAC topics download our free download our free Home Comfort Resource Guide.


Arpi’s Industries Ltd. is proud sponsor of Green Calgary. We are backed by 50 years of experience as a leading provider of expert heating, cooling and home comfort services to customers in Calgary and the surrounding areas and were recently awarded Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies. Contact Arpi's today for more information on furnace tune-ups or to schedule a free estimate for a new energy efficient heating system at 403-236-2444 or
www.arpis.com.


 

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Jun
18
2013

No Lunchroom Food Fights Please, those Food Scraps can be Composted!

by Amy Inkster

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) has already surpassed its waste reduction goal of 50% by the end of 2012 and is going lower!  In support of reaching this goal, the CBE has been offering an organics collection program to schools.  Approximately 31 % of the CBE’s solid waste composition consists of organics; therefore, collection significantly decreases the CBE’s overall environmental footprint.


What makes this program exciting is the broad list of materials that are acceptable for collection. Traditional composting processes are limited to a specific group of organics.  Along with the traditional collection of fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds and tea bags, the expanded program can also accept prepared food, meat, dairy, eggs, grains, nuts, flour, paper plates, paper towels, and napkins. 

                    
Once the organics are collected, they are transported to a commercial composting facility.  The finished compost can then be used to fertilize farmer’s fields and even school grounds.
If you’re a teacher, parent or student interested in finding out more about starting this program in your school, contact the CBE’s Waste and Recycling Coordinator, Deborah, at DEWehnes@cbe.ab.ca or 403-214-1224.  

Green Calgary can also provide support and guidance if you are interested in implementing such a program in a different school board.  Contact Heather at education@greencalgary.org for more information.    
 

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Jun
18
2013

Volunteer Opportunities For June 2013

by Amy Inkster

Green Calgary at the Community Natural Foods Stampede Breakfast – Saturday July 13th

Green Calgary Member and Sponsor Community Natural Foods hosting their annual pancake breakfast. THIS is the breakfast to be at if you're looking for a healthier option to the usual Stampede breakfast fare.

1 volunteer is needed to assist Green Calgary at a table where we will be providing information on programs and upcoming rain barrel and composter sales. Healthy Homes and/or Rain Barrel experience preferred but not required as you will be working with a Healthy Homes team member for this event.

Location: CNF's Chinook Station Market 202-61st Avenue SW, Calgary. Please contact lynn@greencalgary.org to RSVP or for further info.


Volunteer Woodworkers

We are developing some new education programs and need to build some equipment for the fun hands-on activities!  If you are handy at woodworking, or simply know how to use a saw, we could use your help!

Email heather@greencalgary.org if you can lend a hand.  There may be other projects coming up, so also let us know if you are interested in other ‘behind-the-scenes’ education program development!


Greening the RRROCA Stampede Breakfast with Green Calgary Saturday July 6th

Join Green Calgary as we help our friends at the RRROCA to green their annual Stampede Breakfast. We’re hoping to divert a lot of waste from landfill through recycling and composting by improving their waste management and diversion efforts. Other duties include having a great time and enjoying some yummy pancakes and sausages! Details and number of volunteers required is shown below:

•    Who: 4-6 of our wonderful volunteers!
•    Where: Northwest Family Church (10307 Eamon Road NW)
•    When: from 7:30 until 11:15
•    What to bring: Please bring your own plate, cutlery and travel mug!
•    What to wear: You will be provided with a T-shirt to wear for the morning!

Please contact laurenm@greencalgary.org to RSVP or for more details. Thanks to our sponsor London Drugs. Check them out at greendeal.ca


Green Calgary at the Gaia Wellness Breakfast – Tuesday July 9th

Looking for a gluten free Stampede Breakfast option? Green Calgary Members Gaia Health Care are planning to host a healthy cooking class at the Calgary Co-op (1130 - 11 Avenue SW) on Tuesday July 9th for community members and have asked Green Calgary to be a part of the event! They are going to be cooking up gluten-free quinoa pancakes and other nutritious and delicious goodies for those who are looking for a healthier option to the usual Stampede breakfast fare.

2 volunteers are needed to assist Green Calgary at a table where we will be providing information on programs and upcoming rain barrel and composter sales. Healthy Homes and/or Rain Barrel experience preferred but not required. Exact time and exact location details TBD. Please contact lynn@greencalgary.org to RSVP or for further info.


Green Calgary Booth at the Hull Family Services Breakfast

Date:  Tuesday, July 9, 2013 from 8:00am to 12:00 noon
Location:  Hull Campus 2266 Woodpark Ave. SW   (Click here for Campus map)

Join Green Calgary in helping Hull Family Services celebrate the 25th year of organizing the “best Breakfast in town!” . There will be great centre stage entertainment, along with hot air balloon rides, Aboriginal dancing and presentations, stagecoach and hayrides, a petting zoo, pipe band, face painting, arts & crafts, games, Canadian Military as well as Police, Fire and EMS, and so much more.

We are looking for 2 volunteers to work alongside Heather in providing some hands on educational activities for the children of Hull and their community. Please email heather@greencalgary.org to RSVP or for more details. Education training preferred but not essential.


Creekfest 2013

The Friends of Fish Creek are holding Creekfest 2013 on Sunday, July 21st  from 12pm to 4pm.  This festival is about celebrating water and about teaching the public how we can all play a role in reducing our impact on watersheds, specifically Fish Creek.  By engaging the community in responsible park and watershed use, we can help to ensure this urban park remains healthy and vibrant for generations to come.

Green Calgary is looking for a volunteer to set-up and man an educational booth at Creekfest.  The booth would include a children's activity where kids could design and build a rain water harvesting system for a model house, complete with eavestroughs, downspouts and rain barrels.  The booth would also involve providing information to visitors about our rain barrel sales, education programs and upcoming Green Calgary events.  If you are interested in this event, email heather@greencalgary.org by July 2nd.


Healthy Homes Orientation:

Wednesday July 24th from 6-8pm

Location: Green Calgary Office, #100, 301 14th Street NW, Calgary

Learn about the Healthy Homes program (click HERE for details), what’s required to participate with in-home assessments, and be able to communicate to the public the benefits of the program. This orientation will also include a Green Calgary overview. Please RSVP to lynn@greencalgary.org if you would like to attend.


Environmental Education Orientation

When: Tuesday August 20th 10am to 12 noon

Location: Green Calgary Offices #100, 301 14 Street NW

Interested in volunteering with Green Calgary’s Environmental Education programs? Learn more about Green Calgary’s Environmental Educational offerings (click HERE for details) and get a chance to try out the hands-on activities involved in the Water for Life, Waste in our World and Vermicomposting programs. This orientation will also include a Green Calgary overview for new volunteers and a refresher for those who have worked with us before. This orientation will only be held during daytime hours.

Please RSVP to lynn@greencalgary.org at your earliest convenience if you’re interested in attending.

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May
23
2013

CELEBRATING STAMPEDE WITHOUT THE TRASH HANGOVER

by Amy Inkster

London Drugs and Green Calgary partner up to divert Stampede breakfast waste

Going into its second century, the Calgary Stampede is more than a ten day event; it’s a social phenomena with cultural, economic, and environmental impacts. Across Calgary there are hundreds of pancake breakfasts – the largest feeding more than 65,000 revelers - and hundreds more Stampede parties. As a result, these ten fun-filled days in July result in a massive annual trash hangover in this city.

Now an innovative community collaboration is helping one community association host their annual flapjack festivities without the waste. London Drugs is sponsoring Green Calgary to divert waste from the Rocky Ridge Royal Oak Community Association’s (RRROCA) Stampede breakfast and inspire other community groups to celebrate Stampede with sustainability in mind.   

In its own operations, London Drugs is committed to minimizing their impact on the environment. From packaging take-back to Styrofoam recycling, they have a long history of investing in sustainability.  In fact, one Alberta store realized a 93% recycling rate this year.  
“Our commitment extends beyond our stores, to the communities we serve and into the homes of our customers. Sponsoring waste reduction at the RRROCA Stampede Breakfast is a natural extension of our in-store waste reduction and recycling programs,” says Clint Mahlman, Senior Vice President and COO of London Drugs.   
Last year, over 2000 people from the community and around the City attended the RRROCA Stampede Breakfast. “There was so much garbage that bins were overflowing. It had to be hauled away over two weeks,” explains RRROCA’s event organizer and community volunteer Pam Nichol. “We are so excited and grateful to receive the sponsorship from London Drugs and the help from Green Calgary to reduce the amount of waste sent to City landfills this year.”


Re-usable plates, water stations, composting, recycling and more – Green Calgary and Green Events consultant, Lauren Minuk, will be working with RRROCA to divert as much waste as possible at this year’s breakfast being held on July 6, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the North West Family Church (10307 Eamon Road NW).
Green Calgary will be conducting a waste audit of the RRROCA Stampede Breakfast in hopes of creating a model for future events.  
“From our experience “greening” both large and small scale community events, we know what measures can make an  impact,” says Minuk. “There are fairly simple ways the whole city can work together to reduce the trash hangover during Stampede.”  


Other communities and event organizers are invited to contact Green Calgary for more information about what they can do to ‘green’ their Stampede events.Green Calgary's Green Events Guide is a free resource for community groups and event planners.

For more information about London Drugs’ waste reduction and recycling programs visit www.greendeal.ca. Customers are encouraged to bring back virtually anything they buy in London Drugs stores for responsible recycling including;

•    Electrical and Electronic goods (TVs, VCRs, computers, monitors, printers etc)
•    Small Appliances
•    Styrofoam, plastic and cardboard packaging from our products
•    Cell phones, PDA and rechargeable batteries
•    Alkaline Batteries
•    Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL’s) and fluorescent light tubes up to 4-foot lengths
•    Disposable cameras
•    Ink jet cartridges
•    Laser cartridges
•    Metal film canisters
•    Plastic bags
•    Pop bottles and cans (BC only)
•    Insurance plastic folders
•    Laser cartridges
•    Brita water filters
•    Candy bar and cosmetic packaging
•    Soda stream containers
•    Toys


 

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May
17
2013

Volunteer Call Out May 2013

by Amy Inkster

Cell Phone Collection at Community Clean Ups

Green Calgary is working with 6 different Community Associations from May to September at their annual Clean Up events, and we need some volunteers to help us collect cell phones, their batteries and chargers for recycling, as well as providing program resource materials to attendees at the events. Not only is this a great opportunity to connect with fellow Calgarians, but the collection of cell phones is also a form of fundraising for Green Calgary.

Dates and Communities
•    June 1st Marlborough 6021 Madigan Drive NE Community Hall Parking lot – 1 volunteer needed
•    June 22nd Sandstone MacEwan 355 Sandarac Drive NW – 1 volunteer needed
•    Sept 22nd Chinook Park/Kelvin Grove/Eagle Ridge 910-75 AVE SW, NW parking lot Henry Wisewood High School – 1 volunteer needed


NOTE: One volunteer per site must have their own car to transport materials to and from the clean up. Please indicate you have your own vehicle when confirming participation.

Ideally we would like to have Healthy Homes trained volunteers at this event, but if you are an enthusiastic and outgoing person that’s great too! Please email lynn@greencalgary.org for further details or confirm attendance.

Mayor’s Environmental Expo June 4, 5 & 6th

The Mayor’s Environmental Expo is an annual event held by the City of Calgary for students ranging from Kindergarten to Grade 9.  The event is on June 4, 5, and 6th at City Hall (800 Macleod Trail SE). Green Calgary will be hosting a booth where students can drop by and try out an activity related to water conservation.  Students will be challenged to collect rain water by connecting 'eavestrough' pipes to a model house.  The goal is to divert water poured over the house into collection containers that represent rain barrels.  Volunteers will be helping to facilitate the activity by explaining the challenge, asking questions to guide progress and relating the activity to the student’s household water use.
 
We will also be providing our Water for Life and Waste in our World education programs and could use assistance during these programs to set-up, pass out materials and facilitate the activities.  These programs take place June 5 and 6 at 11:10am-12:00pm and 12:20pm-1:10pm.
Email heather@greencalgary.org if you’re able to help out on June 4, 5, or 6th.  We have shifts for all day (8:30am-4:00pm), half- day (8:30am-12:00pm, 12:00pm-4:00pm), and extra coverage during the education programs on June 5 and 6 (10:30am-1:30pm).

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May
17
2013

Pre-order… The Secret to Rain Barrel Bliss!

by Amy Inkster

Many a weary rain water enthusiast has been thwarted in their efforts to acquire the coveted white and blue Green Calgary barrels! Dutifully they keep their Enmax insert on their fridge...waiting for the big day, the day when they will arise early to attend a rain barrel sale. Saving money, water, energy and the beloved Bow River is their objective as they drive to parking lots of First Calgary Financial branches. Their eyes widen as they make their approach. They feel a mixture of overwhelm and delight as they realize that hundreds of Calgarians share their desire to capture rainwater! “Woo hoo!” they say as they join their newfound tribe of water saving citizens. As they enter the lineups their courage wanes… will there be enough rain barrels? Will I get what I need?  How long will this take? While a team of diligent Green Calgary volunteers and staff buzz about educating, processing and helping deliver rain barrels to vehicles, they wonder… is there an easier way? THE ANSWER IS YES! The secret, dear readers, is pre-ordering your rain barrel online! No lineups, no wondering, no waiting! So make haste, dear readers, to the pre order website and watch as your rain barrel questions turn to bliss!

Should you have questions, call us 403 230 1443 and we’ll be only too delighted to help you choose a rain barrel.

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Apr
16
2013

Revolution Film Scholarship Contest

by lrrminuk@gmail.com

Are you thirteen years of age or older and interested in a chance to win $2500 to put towards your education? If the answer is YES, then do we ever have good news for you!


Revolution, the newest film by Rob Stewart (the filmmaker behind Sharkwater), is offering a scholarship contest where entrants thirteen and over can either write a 500 word essay or provide a link to a video essay to be one of ten to win a $2500 scholarship!


Find the details here or check out the poster below for more info:

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Mar
14
2013

Funding Available for Youth Environmental Projects

by Amy Inkster

 

 

 

Are you transforming your community through an environmental initiative? Are you reducing your ecological footprint to protect the planet? 

Your project could receive funding of up to $1000.  The Jack Leslie Youth Environmental Grant is now accepting applications.

Every year as part of The Mayor’s Environment Expo, two projects receive up to $1,000 to support implementation and sustainment.  In 2012, student and teacher representatives from Wilma Hansen School and Henry Wise Wood Senior High School were each presented with a grant at the Eco-Leaders Conference at Ralph Klein Park.  Wilma Hansen implemented multiple initiatives including creating an indoor garden in their school library while Henry Wise Wood reduced the use of plastic water bottles by installing water dispensers and selling customized water bottles.  

“It’s inspiring to see how dedicated these students are to making Calgary a more sustainable and better city for everyone,” said Deputy Mayor, Shane Keating. “Each of us, whatever our age, has an important role to play in protecting the environment.”

The Grant was initiated in 2004 by The City of Calgary in partnership with the Mayor’s Youth Council (part of Youth Central) and the Parks Foundation to recognize former Mayor of Calgary, Jack Leslie.  It recognizes the positive impact Jack made to the city and the environment and encourages youth in Calgary to continue with his efforts.

For more information or to download an application, click here.

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Jan
16
2013

High School Student Seeks Sponsorship for Sustainable Gym Wear

by Amy Inkster


Last month, Elise Pullar, a William Aberhart High School student, approached us looking for a sponsor to help make gym class a little bit greener. In her article she explains why organic, fair trade uniforms are so much more than a t-shirt.

 

Clothing is a way of self-expression for some, and simply a cover up for others. For all of us it’s a basic human need. With garments being sold in every shopping center around the world, have you ever stopped to think: How was this clothing made and what is it made of?

 

When we consider environmental challenges; pollution, toxins and habitat loss come to mind, but we don’t often associate these problems with what we wear. The truth is that the manufacture of clothing greatly contributes to water waste, pesticide use and energy consumption. Let’s take a cotton shirt for instance. The cotton started in a field and was constantly sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Field workers had to breathe in these chemicals every day. While the cotton was transported to a factory to be processed, the pesticides stayed in the soil and were carried elsewhere by rain, wind and animals. Although pesticides are used to kill insects on plants, they end up poisoning fish and wildlife in the surrounding area. Fertilizer and pesticide products do not easily degrade. They leach into ground and surface water freely. In the long term, pesticides bioaccumulate in the food chain and negatively impact human health. In regular textile production, bleach, dyes and chemicals have an equally negative impact on ecosystems, health and biodiversity.

 

Once the fabric has been made, it is often shipped a developing country to be assembled and sewn. To lower the manufacturing costs, workers are often underpaid and made to work in unacceptable conditions. Sometimes even young children are hired and taken advantage of. Furthermore the fabric travels a long distance which causes air pollution and CO2 emissions.

 

When I learned about all this, I wanted to change my consumer habits but I also wanted other people to be aware of the ethical implications when purchasing clothing. This is why I am trying to implement eco-friendly, ethically produced T-shirts into my high school. The director of athletics at my school was very excited when I proposed this innovative idea of changing all the gym strip shirts to a more sustainable option.

 

Me to We Style is where we are hoping to purchase our apparel from. This Toronto based social enterprise is committed to selling high quality, Canadian made clothing that is organically certified and sweatshop free. In addition, 50% of the profits will go to Free the Children (an international charity involving the largest network of children helping children through education) in support of their development projects in impoverished locations around the world.

 

My high school hopes to make a preliminary order of 500 t-shirts for the Phys. Ed students this fall. These shirts are about $4 more expensive than our current shirts. The problem is that my director needs the price to be kept the same in order to convince the students to make the switch. To cover these costs we are hoping for a donation or sponsorship from a sustainable company. In exchange for this $2000 sponsorship we are willing to put the company logo on all 500 of the T-shirt sleeves! These T-shirts will not only save 165lbs. of pesticides from entering our ecosystems but the logo will be exposed to students everyday. Plus, Me to We Style plants a tree for every t-shirt purchased. That’s 500 trees!

 

   Me to We Style would also like to offer the sponsoring company 15% off their own wholesale order if placed within 90 days of confirming sponsorship, as well as four VIP tickets to Free the Children’s next We Day in Alberta, an event inspiring positive change with previous guest speakers including Martin Sheen, Liz Murray and Larry King.

 

If you are interested in supporting my school in the effort to change high school students’ views about what they wear and the environmental and ethical impacts behind clothing, please contact Amy Inkster at amy@greencalgary.org and she will forward the message onto me.

 

Let’s promote environmental awareness in this generation together!

 

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Nov
22
2012

Title: Showcase your school at the 2013 Mayor’s Environment Expo

by lrrminuk@gmail.com


 

SHOWCASE SCHOOL VIDEO HERE> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNrjFfpe31k


Teachers and students, we are inviting you to showcase your school at the 2013
 Mayor's Environment Expo.  Get involved in creating a generation of Calgarians that appreciate the beauty of our complex eco-system.

 

Showcase Schools take on fun, exciting projects that reduce their school’s ecological footprint.  At the Expo, they celebrate their classrooms' environmental stewardship and share what they have learned with other students. 


“I think it’s important to look after the environment because this is our home.  It is our responsibility to look after it,” says grades eight Blessed Cardinal Newman student, Megan Keeler.  “The Mayor’s Environment Expo helps us spread awareness about how to protect the environment and inspire other schools to join in on the action.”

 

The Mayor’s Environment Expo is a fun educational interactive event for youth, aimed at creating environmental stewards for Calgary.  The 2013 Expo takes place June 4-6, 2013 at the Municipal Building. 

 

All Showcase Schools qualify for a $250 grant from Encana to help with their projects.  Free transportation to and from the Expo is provided by Calgary Transit, when possible. 

 

Register your school today and become part of the legacy that helps expands actions in support of a healthier and more sustainable community.

Application deadline is December 14, 2011. 

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Mar
27
2012

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

by Jessica Filed in: DIY, Food Choices, Products & Services, Random Fun Stuff

For those of us who celebrate Easter, we know there can be a hefty environmental impact associated with this spring holiday. The average American spends $116 on Easter candy, gifts, food and decorations - Eggs making up the bulk of these cost. Eggs signify rebirth, and since the 1700's when the Germans brought over the Easter Bunny to North American culture, they have played a starring role in Easter tradition.  I remember when I was growing up, my Grandmother would dye white eggs by boiling them with the skins of yellow onions. The eggs take on a beautiful rich golden brown shade and would then be delivered (still warm from the pot) with a sweet story of how the Easter bunny hopped through her living room and laid fresh warm eggs for my siblings and I. As I have grown older, I look back fondly on these memories and have made them a tradition I too would love to pass along to my children. 

Last year while off on maternity leave (with my then almost one year old) we spent a lovely spring day naturally dying eggs. We, of course, used my grandmothers technique of yellow skinned onions, but expanded our colour pallet to include shades of blues and purples, deep pinks and light reds, and varying hues of soft greens. The eggs are so much more beautiful and complex than their chemically dyed counterparts - each one completely different than the next.


Note: There are various ways to dye eggs without wasting the super-food contained inside the shell. Hard boiling them before hand or during the dying process gives you a lineup of easy (and beautiful) snacks for the coming weeks. I also found this really great tutorial on how to blow the fresh egg out of the shell before dying it (and then check out this great quiche recipe for ideas on what to do with all those egg yolks once they are out! This quiche freezes well and makes a wonderful any time meal in months to come!)

Below are a few natural colour ideas that worked for me, as well as some from (our favourite magazine) Mother Earth News:

RED
2 cups beets, grated
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 cups water

Substitute: 
Strong Red Zinger tea
Chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
Red onion skins, use a lot (boil with eggs)
Pomegranate juice

YELLOW
3 large handfuls of yellow/brown onionskins
1 tbsp white vinegar
3 cups water

Substitute: 
Strong Chamomile Tea
Lemon or orange peel (boil with eggs)
Carrot tops (boil with eggs)
Celery seed (boil with eggs)
Ground cumin (boil with eggs)
Ground turmeric (boil with eggs)

BROWN
Strong coffee
Black walnut shells (boil with eggs)
Dill seeds (boil with eggs)

BLUE
1 pound frozen blueberries, crushed
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 cups water

Substitute: 
Red cabbage leaves (boiled with eggs)

GREEN
Spinach leaves (boil with eggs)
Bright green apple peels (boil with eggs)

OTHER COLORS
Mix combinations of the primary dyes (in separate cups) to make secondary colors: red and yellow for orange, yellow and blue for green, and blue and red for violet. The proportion of one color to the other determines the shade.

And lastly, a good youtube video with some neat ideas on how to get some different and unique looks to your eggs! 

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Mar
08
2012

Is there $175 a month in your compost bin?

by Lauren Mangion Filed in: Composting, Food Choices, Shopping

The current state of our food system and the disconnect between food and consumers is a major component of the Healthy Homes program's educational mandate. Understandably, many people struggle with the cost of organic and local food compared to the largely subsidized, government supported (both financially and through policies that favor large-scale agribusiness) industrialized system. There are many reasons that sustainable food costs more- the most logical being that it is worth more; to our health, to the environment, to our local economy and to our resilience as a city. However, sometimes the bottom line outsmarts logic and even the things that we value most highly.

So, here’s a great consideration for those that have a hard time justifying the higher cost of organic and local food… how much food do you throw out on a monthly basis? A recent article from Grist found that Americans toss $175 on average per month into their compost or garbage bins. But it’s not just our neighbors to the south with the large tab on food waste. Alive Magazine ‘s article “Waste Not , Want Not” breaks down Canada’s $27 billion in food that goes to landfills or composting systems. Canadian households are responsible for the majority of this large sum, with 51% of food purchased going to the curb.

Cracking down on food waste may just be the catalyst that many of us need to make some room in our food budget for high quality, whole foods that are grown locally without chemicals. But how do you put it into practice?

#1- Rethink.  Ask yourself when admiring a 5 for 1 sale on heads of lettuce how many of those heads you can reasonably consume before they start to spoil?

#2- Be proactive. If you see foods in your fridge losing freshness and appeal, find ways to preserve them before they go past the point of no return. Herbs can be dried and useful in meals to come, vegetables and meat can go into soups and stews and frozen, berries boiled with some sugar for a yummy sauce that can also be frozen.

#3- Invest in better food storage techniques. Certain foods- mushrooms, for instance, do not tolerate plastic for long- find out what type of environment your favorite fruits and veggies prefer to help prolong their freshness.

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Feb
15
2012

Community Natural Foods Highlights Local Growers!

by Jessica Filed in: Community Building, Food Choices, Local Business, Products & Services, Shopping

Community Natural Foods is currently working on a series of documentary style videos highlighting some of their amazing local growers and suppliers. The first of this series shines the spotlight on Highwood Crossing - a farm beautifully located between Okotoks and High River with the Highwood River running alongside the land. Today, Highwood Crossing grows 100% certified organic crops on 320 acres of land. The crops include; wheat, rye, flax, canola, oats, barley, peas, hay and sweet clover. From there, they take the crops they’ve grown and produce and package certified organic food products. The food products include stone ground flours as well as whole grains and cereals, cold pressed flax and canola oil, granola, flaxseed muffin and pancake mix. All 12 of these wonderful products are available at Community Natural Foods locations in Calgary. 

This video is a beautiful incite into what makes Highwood Crossing a wonderful and unique local business (AND it was made by former Healthy Homes team member, the talented Catriona Laird!)

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Dec
21
2011

Tips for Simplifying the Holidays!

by Jessica Filed in: Random Fun Stuff

The Centre for a New American Dream has published an article filled with GREAT ideas and tips for simplifying the holidays as submitted by their readers!

A few of our favourites...

“At home, we made a gratitude tree out of recycled cardboard and are decorating it day by day with colorful paper ornaments listing things we are thankful for."
—Molly MacGregor

"Last year we had an entirely home-made Christmas..... We made a puppet theater, a train table, and a fairy tree house all out of leftover wood from our basement. We repurposed pretty bags and boxes and put together kits for sewing and knitting from tools we had around the house. And we collected used trains for the train table from cousins who had outgrown them. It was so much fun that we’re doing it again this year!"
—Jen Higgins

"Money has always been a huge stressor on me for the holidays; we are not very affluent. However that has never dampened the holidays for us. One good present is all the kids expect and is easy enough. The emphasis for us has always been family. Simple traditions, making danish butter cookies, Christmas eve dinner of a smorgasbord, playing with cousins, Christmas caroling (horribly) through the neighborhood, and just being together, that is where the memories come from and what will be remembered."
—Annetta Olsen Bunce

"Our Christmas tradition when my kids were young was for them to go shopping with me and pick out something they would like then donate it to charity. They took this very seriously since that gift could have been the only thing that child might receive. It really is better to give than to receive.”
—Kathy S. Collins

"I'm giving the gift of Nature this year by sending self made cards with two small packets of native flower seeds inside."
—Therese Davis

"I'm making a family cookbook that showcases our favorite meals along with great pix. Plus doing a book swap for the kids gifting each other."
—Lauren LaVail

"One of the best gifts our family ever received: My brother, who lives 1,000 miles away from us and whom we only see once a year (if we're lucky) committed to send regular postcards to my (then) five year-old daughter for one year. She loves getting mail and he travels quite a bit throughout the Southwest, and postcards are quick and cheap to send. He has kept it up now for two years at the rate of about one postcard a month. My daughter loves it so much that she keeps a scrapbook of just her uncle's postcards."
—Wesley Satterwhite

You can view the complete list HERE


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Dec
20
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #12

by Jessica Filed in: Products & Services

Need a last minute gift that will make anyone happy? Give the gift of pampering!


There is nothing better than a relaxing afternoon at the spa.  Wait, no there is something better; not having to pay for it.  That's right!  Whether guys are buying for their girls, girls for their guys, or anyone buying for their friends, everyone can use a bit of pampering.  A gift certificate for a Swizzlesticks' massages or organic facial.  Prema Sai has a range of holistic services that include, massages, energy work, detox services and consultations.  You can also search for natural healers or yoga studios.

 
Now it isn't necessary to buy gift certificates to go someplace to be pampered.   There are options like Rocky Mountain Soap Company that carry 100% natural bath and body products.  Think about relaxing bath salts, creamy body butters and scented candles for the perfect bathing atmosphere. Or, check out our DIY post on how to make your own body care products or put together a gift basket of some of your favourite items and pass them along. Hint: also a great opportunity to make thisis a romantic evening with massage oils too.

 
View a list of all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)
 

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Dec
19
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #11

by Jessica Filed in: Food Choices, Random Fun Stuff, Shopping

We all have those favourite places - the little shops, restaurants or boutiques that we frequent and absolutely LOVE, so why not share these little treasure with the ones we love the most?

Consider a gift certificate to a place you really want someone else to try our. A few of our favourite ideas are:

Community Natural Foods and Sunnyside Natural Market - two amazing local grocery stores selling incredible organic and local food

Riva's Ecostore, Reworks Upcycle Shop and Edamame Kids - Great retail stores carrying a TON of wonderful environmentally focused products

The Coup, Boxwood Cafe, The District, or Dairy Lane (just to name a FEW) are AMAZING restaurants doing great things here in Calgary. Check them out and pass them along!

View a list of all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)

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Dec
16
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #10

by Kate Zago Filed in: Products & Services, Shopping

Share the Christmas Spirit with those in Need

There are so many great charities and causes out there and if you're giving a donation in the name of a friend or family member for christmas its sometimes hard to decide which one they would choose.  Because we know this is a difficult decision, we'd like to highlight a few options - some that are just great local charities and other channels that will give the recipient a little more control over where the money goes.

Canada Helps
provides charity gift cards where the recipient is able to choose a charity of their choice.  With over 83,000 charities to choose from they are bound to find a cause that they believe in. 

Kiva is a great organization that facilitates microfinancing of small businesses in developing countries.  Basically, you lend out $X to the business or person of your choice, and unlike a donation, the money over time is payed back.  After repayment you can either cash out or find another business to lend to.  This gift keeps on giving, both for the businesses you are helping, and for your friend who will be engaged in the process everytime the loan is returned.

CAWST, the Centre for Affordable Water & Sanitation Technology, is a Calgary based non-profit organization that provides training and consulting to organizations that work directly with populations in developing countries who lack access to water and sanitation.

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Dec
15
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #9

by Kate Zago

If (like us!) you're way too aware of the effects that items such as chocolate, chocolate and manufactured goods can have on the countries where they're made, consider fair trade gifts.  In some cases, items may be a bit more expensive, but you'll be paying a truer cost of the product and ensuring that workers and producers recieve a fair wage.  Isn't that part of the Christmas spirit - being generous and caring?  Let's extend this spirit past our family, friends and borders.

Where to find fair trade items:

Ten Thousand Villages has a ton of beautiful items from pottery to christmas ornaments to furniture.  Their stores here in Calgary are literally chalked full of beautiful stuff!  Everything sold there is fair trade.

220 Crowchild Trail NW
8318 Fairmont Drive SE

Fair Planet is a Calgary business that unique, high quality toys, accessories and home decor items.  Shop online or show a Fair Trade Party.

Fair Trade Canada has a Fair Trade Finder on their website that can help you find places in Canada that sell fair trade items.

Bridgehead provides online shopping specializing in coffee, tea and gift baskets.

View a list of all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)


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Dec
14
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #8

by Jessica Filed in: Products & Services, Random Fun Stuff

Christmas Gift Idea #8 - Skill building for fun.

It is very easy to be focused on those skills that we perceive get us further ahead in our careers and networks. Whether it is courses, certificate or seminars, we will pay the money and take the time to keep us moving up the corporate ladder. But what about those skills that we would like to learn because it makes us happy or challenges our mind and bodies?  Give someone the gift of learning something new or continuing with a favourite hobby.

Here are a few ideas we came up with:

For those who love to cook (or maybe a special gift for those that don’t) consider a cooking class.  Some of the staff recently did a group baking night with M for Macaroon and walked away with some absolutely fabulous Parisian macaroons.  Also check out The Cookbook Co. Cooks.  They offer a wide variety of classes that cover everyone from the beginner to the advanced. 

There are TON of great resources for arts classes- everything from pottery, knitting, photography, dance classes - even soap making!

If you are looking for something to get your hands dirty, there are lots of courses for the do-it-yourselfer. SAIT offers a variety of classes for those interested in household projects - everything from woodworking, blacksmithing and home improvement.

Have a traveler in your life who would love a little brushing up on their French or Spanish? Mount Royal University offers a variety of language courses at various learner levels.

There really is no shortage of ways to get those synapses snapping in a fun and engaging way, and you will be completely surprised at the variety of classes out there once you start to look! There are even a ton of great programs for children, and courses parents and children can take together.

Other great websites to check out:

Chinook Learning Services

Alberta College of Art & Design

Souther Alberta Institute of Technology


View a list of all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)

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Dec
13
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #7

by Kate Zago

Why not enter the world of DIY (Do it yourself), flex those creative muscles, and make a few presents for family & friends.  This can be one of the most thoughtful forms of gift giving because it shows the recipient that they’re worth the time and effort - and feels pretty darn rewarding.

There are tons out there, but here are a few DIY ideas to get you started:

A creative use for your old silverware:
http://chicantiquechicago.blogspot.com/2011/06/diy-organize.html


Family tree for your grandparents:
http://pinterest.com/pin/96897829452320002/
 


Super cute picture clothesline from our very own, very crafty Jessica Duchin:
http://www.paperbluejay.com/2011/03/finns-photographs.html
 

An easy one for your gardening friends:
http://pinterest.com/pin/251990541619870282/


View a list of all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)


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Dec
12
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #6

by Lynn MacCallum

Gizmos and gadgets can keep people entertained for a bit of time until the boredom sets in.  So if the novelty of things can wear out quickly, why not try giving a different kind of entertainment.  While we might be quick to spend money on "stuff", some might find it difficult to spend as frivolously on shows.

An alternate idea to giving things is gift certificates for various shows, plays or musicals.  Calgary has lots of great entertainment and has something for everyone.  Some ideas are:

Calgary Philiharmonic Orchestra

Theater Calgary

Vertigo Theater

Deane House Mysteries

Stage West

Jubilations

Calgary Opera

 

And if none of these will tickle the fancy of the person on your list, you could fall back on a gift certificate from Tickemaster or even for the movie theater.  After all, lets face it, a concert or a night at the movies is not an inexpensive affair.

View a list of all our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily).

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Dec
09
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #5

by Jessica Filed in: Products & Services, Shopping

Warning: Shameless self-promotion :)

Green Calgary's store is smaller than it used to be, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality! We have a lot of incredible items that would make wonderful and thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list!

Rain Barrels and composters are hot ticket items this year! In addition to having huge environmental benefits by helping us consume less water and diverting waste from the landfill, they are totally unique! We also sell two options for indoor composting- perfect for those condo dwellers are folks with limited yard space. Pop by and check them out today! We will happily tell you everything you need to know to get started and help you pick the perfect set up for that special someone. (we also have gift certificate for all of these items if fitting it under the tree is a concern for you).

We have a variety of beautiful gift baskets filled with amazing things- everything from natural cleaning products to recycled content office supplies- our baskets can be customized to incorporate any of the items we have in stock and come already packaged and wrapped ready to give.

Lastly, if you are in the market for a few stocking stuffers (or doorprizes for that upcoming work party), we have a few things that will be sure to impress everyone on your list- check out our Eco clamshells - a great alternative to Styrofoam takeout containers, or, have a peek at our brand new 'no junk mail stickers'! All affordable and uniquely green!

*If you are wanting a composter, it's best to give us a quick call before you come down- they have been selling like hotcakes, so we will confirm inventory before you get here. 403.230.1443 EX 221

View all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)

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Dec
08
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #4

by Jessica Filed in: Community Building

A collective gift to charity.

Each year at Christmas, my extended family - aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins- get together to celebrate the holidays. As we all get older, our families grow bigger and the struggle of finding gifts and special things for our loved ones becomes more and more of a challenge. A few years back, we came up with the idea to stop exchanging gifts with each other and rather to donate money to a charity. The idea is quite simple- each person is given an envelope that they fill with a cash donation. Any amount is fine and contributions vary depending on what each person feels comfortable with. Everyone then also picks a charity that is important to them. We pool all the funds and put all the charity suggestions into a hat- we draw one charity name and all the money is donated to that selected organization. (We also then give the ever valuable tax receipt to the person who picked the winning charity). Its a really nice way to give back to and support the community  and everyone leaves feeling really good about contributing to help others- So much nicer than another set of oven mits.  

If you need help finding a charity or are looking for something local that aligns with your beliefs and values, Canadahelps.org has a lot of great organizations listed.
(Alternatively, Canadahelps also sells giftcards - you purchase a card in any denomination and the recipient gets to pick a charity to donate to.)

View all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)

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Dec
07
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #3

by Jessica Filed in: Products & Services, Shopping

Buy something beautiful, handmade and truly unique from Etsy.com or one of the many art markets that pop up in Calgary over the holiday season. 

Local Art Markets

Market CollectiveDecember 10, 11 & 17, 18 (this is one of our favourites!)
 
Calgary Dollars Market - Monday, December 12 at the Bow Cliff Seniors Centre
 
Elbow Drive Community Hall Christmas Market – December 10 & 11
 
The Not So Mini Print Exhibition & Exchange – November 30 – December 22 at Artist Proof Gallery
 

Check here for a further list of markets - http://www.calgarycraftsales.com

More about Etsy.com

Etsy is an artist community and website where anyone can sign up to sell their handmade or vintage goods. Look for the buy local function and you'll be able to support a local artist.  Not only will your purchase enable artists to continue to do what they love, you will be helping to support Etsy’s grand mission - to empower people to change the way the global economy works and to help create a world in which very-very small businesses have much-much more sway in shaping the economy, local living economies are thriving everywhere, and people value authorship and provenance as much as price and convenience. Etsy aspires to bring heart to commerce and make the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.

View a list of all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec
06
2011

The High Price of Materialism

by Jessica Filed in: Products & Services, Shopping

An interesting video from The Centre for the New American Dream on the real cost our societies infatuation with materialism has on our selves, our communities, and the world at large.

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Dec
06
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #2

by Jessica Filed in: Food Choices, Products & Services

How wonderful would it be to open a gift filled with 16 weeks of the freshest fruit and veggies you have ever experienced? A share (or half share) in a CSA would make an incredible gift for anyone on your list!
Green Calgary is a huge advocate of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) - A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farming operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. You purchase a share in the farm, and receive food produced on the farm as return on your investment. A typical CSA will cost around $500.00 for a full share or $250.00 for a half share (a half share is easily enough food for two adults). In return, you will receive fresh produce, herbs and greens for the entire growing season- typically around 16 weeks. The food you get from these suppliers is incredible! Fresher, tastier, in season, direct, and you get a TON of food for your contribution plus you are directly helping to support small, local, organic producers in our community!

There are currently 7 CSA’s serving Calgary. Pick up locations and food provided vary, so do a bit of research and find one that is a good fit.
 
Blue Mountain Bio-Dynamic Farm
Eagle Creek Farms
Leaf and Lear Urban Farm (TEL: 403.703.3217)
Noble Gardens
Oxyoke Farms
Thompson Small Farm
Eat Food for Life (Meat Only)

Alternatively, check out SPUD - an organic grocery delivery service with some amazing and wonderful things in store. Arrange a one-time delivery of a few local and seasonal items just in time for holiday entertaining or Christmas dinner, a weekly delivery a few favourite staples, or send a gift card and let that special someone pick their own delivery of goodies. Whatever you are looking for, SPUD has ideas to fill everyone's tummy and price points.

Or if you are looking for something a little fancier, Janice Beaton Fine Cheese  has a variety of great holiday ideas- our favourite is the 'Cheese of the Month' selection - pick anywhere from 3 to 12 month increments and each month your recipient will have 3 different cheeses delivered to their front door - Perfect for the foodie or cheese lover on your list! On the same note, Kensington Wine Market offers a 'Wine of the Month' gift club - available at several different price points and for as many months as you want to give. Or check out  Zyn - they offer a 'Case of the Month' club- pick from a case of reds or mixed wines, or a selection 12 exotic beers.

View a list of all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)
 
 

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Dec
05
2011

Christmas Gift Idea #1

by Lynn MacCallum Filed in: Products & Services, Shopping

What is better than enjoying a musical event amongst fans and enthusiasts on a summer’s day?  Simple - getting to go for free.  Calgary Folk Music Festival and Sled Island both have Christmas sales for next year’s events.  If these are not your style, look up your other favourite local festivals or maybe even look at what concerts are coming to Calgary.  Now for those creative thinkers out there who have a particular show they want to see, buy that special someone a ticket and now you have your music buddy (although I recommend making it is a show they’ll enjoy as well).

Also for the record, this was actually written by Gina Staley...I guess I should get my own log in :-P

View a list of all of our Green Giving ideas HERE (updated daily)

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Dec
05
2011

Green Calgary’s 12 Days of Green Gift Giving

by Jessica Filed in: Food Choices, Products & Services, Random Fun Stuff, Shopping

Want to have a low impact Christmas but not ready to completely give up the gifts (many of us here aren’t!)?  We'd like to share twelve great gift ideas with you that may work to satisfy your Christmas gifting without the side of guilt.

Gifts are a great way to make someone feel special and show them you care, especially if they are chosen thoughtfully.  We’ve all received gifts that don’t make their way out of the packaging, which can be a huge waste of resources.  Let’s be thoughtful this Christmas, take the time and ensure that what we spend our hard earned money or valuable time on will find a grateful home.  Perhaps this year we can work towards creating a ‘Slow Christmas’, implementing the principles of the slow food movement by taking the time to create, bake, build, share or seek out that perfect gift.

12 Days of Green Gift Giving Ideas!
(Click the link for each day to take you to detailed posts filled with tons of information)

DAY 1: Festival Passes or Concert Tickets

Day 2: Gifts that keep on Giving - CSA's, Organic Food Delivery and 'Gift of the Month' Ideas

Day 3: Buy something beautiful, handmade and truly unique

Day 4: A Collective Gift to Charity

Day 5: Get your Green Gifts from Green Calgary

Day 6: Shows, Plays and Musicals Oh My!

Day 7: DIY gifts are a thoughtful alternative, and a lot more fun!

Day 8: Skill building for fun

Day 9: Spread the Wealth

Day 10: Share with those in need

Day 11: Our favourite places

Day 12: The gift of pampering

Happy Holidays from Green Calgary!

This post was written by Kate Zago, Gina Staley and Jessica Duchin

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Nov
30
2011

Sustainable Gift Giving - Part 3: Homemade Cleaning Products

by Jessica Filed in: Air Quality, Products & Services, Random Fun Stuff

Here at Green Calgary we LOVE advocating for and sharing resources on making your own natural household cleaning products. Aside from the overwhelming health and environmental impacts, massive cost savings, and noticeable improved indoor air quality, there is something to be said about the gratifying feeling of accomplishment when you make something with your own two hands!

We wanted to share some of our favourite recipes with all of you, but also wanted to let you know, Green Calgary has a downloadable Green Cleaning Guide with simple ideas on how to clean just about everything under the sun. Also, our Green Products sections sells an amazing book called The Clean Home Handbook written and published by our very own Lauren Mangion (Lauren works on our Healthy Homes program and also has a small business called Conscious Home). Her book is a wealth of knowledge and is available for purchase for only $10.00. In the mean time, here are a few recipes to get you started. Each of these is made from very basic ingredients (most of which you likely have kicking around your house) - white vinegar, Castile soap, lemon juice, baking soda, and water (with the option to use pure essential oils for a natural added scent).

Ingredients and containers for storing your products in can be found at:
Community Natural Foods
Soap and More
And most other natural foods grocery stores.

The BEST (germ killing) All Purpose Cleaner
Add two tablespoons of Castile soap to an empty spray bottle
Fill bottle 3/4 the way full with warm water
Fill remaining 1/4 of the bottle with vinegar
Optional: 20 or so drops of a pure organic essential oil of your choice
Give the bottle a good shake, and shake well before each use.
Note: it is important to follow the order of these directions, or the vinegar will cause the Castile soap to curdle- the solution is still usable if this happens, but just doesn’t look quite as nice with chunks floating in it.
 
Super Duper Tub Scrub
In a medium sized bowl, add 1 cup of baking soda
Gradually mix in 1/2 a cup of Castile Soap (I love to use the lavender scented Castile soap. Lavender has natural antibacterial properties, and smells heavenly! Alternatively, you can use plain soap and add essential oils of your choice- citrus, lime, orange or bergamot are personal favorites- 5 – 20 drops should do the trick!)
The end result will be a thick paste that will store nicely in a container with an airtight lid for up to one year. Use in your bathtub, on tile, in the kitchen sink, or any surface that needs (and can handle) a little bit of abrasion.
 
Sparkly Clean Window & Glass Cleaner
In a spray bottle, add one cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Fill the rest of the bottle with water and give a good shake.
Use reusable clothes or old newspaper for a streak-free (and paper towel free) wipe down!
 
If you are interested, below is a little more information about the ingredients used in these recipes and why they are so great-
 
White Vinegar: normal, everyday vinegar is the superhero of natural cleaning! It’s deodorizing, very inexpensive, an effective grease-cutting agent, and a natural disinfectant. (Did you know many antibacterial products contain a chemical called Triclosan – a pesticide that is a known hormone disrupter and endocrine blocker, and carcinogen in humans? It’s so potent and prevalent that it is often found in nursing mother’s breast milk. Yikes!)
You can use a spray bottle filled with white vinegar to clean and sanitize pretty much any surface in your home- I use it on absolutely everything- from glass windows, to granite counter tops, to bathroom floors and the toilet bowl. Add a quick splash to the bottom of the dishwasher before you turn it on to help as a rinse aid, boil it in the kettle every couple of months for an amazing descaler, spray it directly onto weeds in the yard and watch them disappear, and 1 cup added to the fabric softener compartment of the washing machine effectively softens all your linens- naturally, cheaply and without artificial fragrance!
 
Castile Soap: this soap is made from vegetable oils and has a TON of uses! From natural cleaning to personal care products- a little goes a long way with this versatile friend. Check out Mountain Sky Natural Castile Soap (made in BC!) or  Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap- widely available at most natural foods stores. 
 
Lemon Juice: a great grease cutter that can add a natural scent to your cleaning mix!
 
Pure Organic Essential Oils: many people dislike the scent of vinegar, or really miss the smell of a ‘clean home’- pure essential oils offer a safer scent additive for natural cleaning products. Though I do want to add that after a dedicated month of using vinegar, I promise you wont even notice the smell any more (and it dissipates very quickly). Artificial fragrances (found in conventional cleaners, air fresheners, room sprays and many personal care products) can cause reactions like headache, dizziness, rashes, migraines, asthma, and in severe cases, anaphylactic attacks and irreversible repertory damage. We as North Americans spend upwards of 90% of our time indoors. Air quality indoors can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Fragrances are the most common indoor air pollutant, second only to tobacco smoke.
Note: Essential oils can have natural medicinal properties and may still trigger reactions in some.  Use with caution if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or there are people in your home with allergies or sensitivities.
 
Enjoy! xo
 
 

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Nov
25
2011

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

by Jessica Filed in: Shopping

Today marks the 20th anniversary of “Buy Nothing Day”,. A movement founded to bring awareness to hyper consumerism and the environmental, social and political impact our comsumptive habits have. The first step in a lasting lifestyle commitment to consume less and produce less waste.

Consider the upcoming holiday season- Could you enjoy a “Buy Nothing Christmas”?  If that’s too extreme, what about a "Buy Less Christmas" with a focus on local, fair trade, or home-made gifts? Take this time to reflect and make the choices that will be most meaningful to you and the world around us. 

 

In support of Buy Nothing Day, Green Calgary is closed today. We will reopen tomorrow, Saturday November 26th, from 11am - 3pm. 

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Nov
23
2011

Sustainable Gift Giving - Part 2: Homemade Deodorant, Lip Balm & Bath Salts

by Jessica Filed in: Products & Services, Random Fun Stuff, Shopping

Part two of our Sustainable Gift Giving workshop focused on making your own gifts. We made a few different body care items, but also talked about ideas around gifts that aren't necessarily a physical thing. Think about gifts of time, effort or skill sharing. Sharing these very personal and thoughtful ideas with the ones you love the most is incredible for both the giver AND receiver, and really, isn't that what the holidays are all about? 

  • GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME by creating your own gift card for a service- Think things like babysitting, carwashing, petsitting, chores, making dinner, organizing a special outing.
  • GIVE A HANDMADE GIFT like a memoir of cherished memories with that person, a book of family recipes, a collage of pictures and mementos, a mix cd of all your favourite songs, or a calendar filled with the birthdays and anniversaries of friends and family.  
  • OFFER TO TEACH A SKILL YOU POSSESS like knitting, photography, computer skills, financial planning, a foreign language, music lessons, canning tomatoes, cooking a favorite recipe. 

 Below are a few recipes we shared for natural deodorant, handmade lip balm, and naturally scented bath salts.

Marcie’s Homemade Deodorant

2 Tablespoons shea butter
3 Tablespoons baking soda (works as a deodorizer)
2 Tablespoons corn starch (works as a mild antiperspirant)
2 Tablespoons cocoa butter
2 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 vitamin E oil gel caps (puncture and squeeze out the oil)
Essential Oil

Directions:

Melt all the ingredients (except the essential oils) into a pot and give it a good stir. This should only take a minute or two, then add the oils you have chosen and stir again. Do not let the mixture reach boiling point. Pour mixture into a glass jar, and place in the fridge to set. This recipe will fill a 1/4 pint sized jar. Scoop a little bit out of the jar, roll it into a pea-sized ball, and rub it in. This jar will last you at least 3 or 4 months.

If you have really sensitive skin you can also add a few drops of calendula extract to your mixture, baking soda can be irritating for some individuals and the calendula will help the onset of any rashes or skin irritations.

*You can use any essential oil you like, and the amount will vary too on how strong you want it to smell. I like scents such as ylang ylang or orange, or lavender and vanilla. Because of the cocoa butter already provides a bit a scent, I had to add more essential oil then I thought to get the scent I was looking for.

Ingredients- ready to go!

 

Marcie’s Homemade Lip Balm

1 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp cocoa butter
1 tsp beeswax or soy wax
4 tsp shea butter
2 vitamin E capsules

*This recipe is unscented. So you can add anything you’d like to it. I suggest essential oils, extracts such as vanilla or mint or crushed berries like cranberries or raspberries.
If you are making them with crushed berries be sure to strain them first so no seeds get into your lip glass.

Directions
Melt all ingredients together in a pot. Once mixture is well blended, remove from heat and pour into a small jar. Allow to set in fridge until hardened.  

Pretty Little Packages

Candy Cane Bath Salts

(This recipe comes courtesy of www.makeyourcosmetics.com )

Yield: 20 ounces / Prep Time: 15 min. / Shelf Life: Indefinite

Ingredients:
2 cups Epsom salts

1/2 cup Sea salt

4-5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
(or any other essential oil of your choosing)
2-3 drops red or green food coloring (optional)

Directions:

1. Place 1 cup of the Epsom salts and 1/4 cup of sea salts in a mixing bowl or re-sealable plastic bag. Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil and mix until ingredients are fully distributed.

2. Place the remaining salts in a separate bowl or bag. Add the food coloring and mix until the color is evenly distributed and you like the color. Add a few more drops for more color but be careful not to overdo it. Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil and stir well to combine. 

3. In a large jar or clear bottle, layer the white salts and the colored salts to create a striped effect, like a candy cane.

4. For gift giving, top off the jar with a big red bow and a few real candy canes. Merry Christmas!

Jars of bath salts ready to give!
 
Where to Shop for ingredients and containers
 
Soap and More 
Community Natural Foods 
  
‘It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. The Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... He thought  ...means a little bit more.’
How the Grinch Store Christmas by Dr. Seuss

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Nov
17
2011

Sustainable Gift Giving - Part 1: Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas

by Jessica Filed in: Products & Services, Random Fun Stuff, Shopping, Waste & Recycling

With the holidays quickly sneaking up on us, we held our monthly Healthy Homes Sustainability Series on Sustianable Gift Giving. A workshop focused on gifts that are simple, cost effective and unique, it was an evening filled with and great ideas, lots of smilesand a ton of information presented  so we thought it would be great to share it with all of you on the blog. Todays entry is all about alternative gift wrapping ideas- we know that traditional gift wrap is offten non-recyclable, (and expensive) and all the gift tags, ribbon and decorations associated with wrapping presents can create a serious amount of waste going to the landfill, so we put together a few ideas that will mimize the impace on the environment while still looking beautiful. If you think about the packaging on your gift as part of the the gift itself, it will often dramatically change how and what you use to wrap your gifts.

Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas

  • Gift bags – Make your own fabric giftbags or reuse old gift bags or good quality paper bags from retail stores. Baskets work well for this too.
  • Clothe wrapping ‘paper’ made form natural fibres like burlap or cotton - easily reused for many presents to come
  • Japanese furoshiki wraps - any scrap fabric, repurposed scarves (a gift in iteself!), clothe napkins or tea towels will all work wonderfully for this.
  • Brown craft paper - made of recycled content, unbleached and easily reusable and recyclable materis. You could also use paper grocery bags cut and turned inside out
  • Newspaper (think of how beautiful day-old Chineses newsprint from China town would look!),
  • Old maps, phonebook pages or sheet music etc… all make for great alternatives to glittery non-recyclable and often expensive gift wrap.
  • Mason jars are inexpensive and are great for gift giving- they make a beautiful container for baking or gift of food (my favourite is soup!) or toss in some fabric or paper scraps and ‘wrap’ small presents, gift cards or money
  • Skip the wrapping all together and opt for a scavenger hunt with sentimental clues!
Dressing up your simple package
  • Use stamps (why not try a simple potato stamp?) to imprint bags, plain fiber wraps or paper. Simple graphic patterns in a festive colour can go a long way for prettying up even the plainest of packages
  • Save remnants of yarn, ribbons from gifts you have received (or crave cupcakes?), or use natural fiber jute or hemp twine (these can both be composted!) as ties for your pretty little packages.
    (Store and save remnants on clothespins for easy storage and tangle-free organization)
  • Rethink produce packaging- use mesh bags from onions, avocados or garlic as a pretty decoration on a simple box.
  • Use repurposed Christmas ornaments as a pretty addition to your package, or find a beautiful ornament to give as part of your gift and add it to the outside of the package. (Ten thousand villages always has an amazing collection of unique, fair-trade ornaments for sale)
  • In gift bags, rather than using a whole bunch of tissue paper, try old newsprint and a sheet or two of coloured tissue- you will be surprised at the impact a small block of colour can have!
Gift tags
  • Write or paint the recipients name directly on the package. Large block writing can become a great decoration to an otherwise simple package
  • Use small scraps of fabric that would otherwise be useless as a gift tag.
  • Use scrap paper to cut a block letter of the first initial of the recipient's name. Again, this adds a pretty decorative element as well as a personalized touch.
  • Clothes pins look cute, but can also serve as a gift tag- write the recipients name directly on them, or use a small scrap of paper to attach to it
  • Use old maps or sheet music and cut simple shapes to use as tags- think squares, hearts or circles.
When shipping packages in the mail-
  • As an alternative to packing peanuts and bubble wrap, why not use air popped popcorn, shredded newspaper, cedar boughs, or raw peanuts with the shell still on
  • Instead of wrapping each present inside a parcel, why not wrap the parcel it self? Imagine the excitement of picking up a beautifully wrapped package from Canada post with a note saying not to open until Christmas! (I like to think the postal workers get a smile from it too!)
Many of the ideas and inspirations presented here came from The Center for the New America Dream’s ‘Simplify the Holidays’ brochure- this document is packed FULL with alternative ideas for the holidays and easy tips on everything from budgeting and stress management to entertaining and starting new traditions. It’s an amazing document that encompassing pretty much all aspects of greening and simplifying the holiday season.
You can download it (free of charge) here: http://www.newdream.org/member/publications/simplify-holidays
 
Packages wrapped with potato stamped burlap and Jute, and craft paper with yarm remnants and bakers twine
 
Examples of Furoshiki wraps- a traditional Japanese clothe tie.
 
Old maps and sheet music as wrapping paper. Tied with hemp and reused bakers twine
 
Reused produce packaging- this was the material my garlic and avocados came in.
 
An example of a simple way to store and organize remnants of ribbon or yarn using clothes pins
 
Some samples of gift tags- handcut monogram letters, burlap with a simple potato stamp, and clothes pins
 
Alternatives to packing peanuts and bubble wrap: cedar boughs, air popped popcorn and shredded newspaper.

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Nov
09
2011

Kensington Street Art

by Jessica Filed in: Community Building, Random Fun Stuff

The other day, James and I were wandering around Kensington, and came across some pretty cute street art. Simple but inspiring sayings with an underlying 'community building' tone- just little tid bits of information to make you stop, think and hopefully act!

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Nov
09
2011

The Story of Broke

by Jessica Filed in: Banking & Investments

A really interesting video on the state of the economy from 'The Story of Stuff' creator, Annie Leonard.

Annie will be in Edmonton on Thursday November 17th at 7:00pm for a speaking engagement at the University of Alberta. Sure to be a wonderful evening! For more information, Click HERE.

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Nov
02
2011

Benefits of Clay Paint & Plasters

by Jessica Filed in: Air Quality, Energy

Ashley Lubyk (of 'Ask Ashley' fame) and his wonderful partner, Heather, have a business called Dirt Craft. They offers hands-on natural building workshops, including earth ovens, rocket stoves, small structures and earth plasters.

I stumbled upon this video of Ashley talking about the overwhelming benefits of using clay based paints and plasters in your home and thought I would share it with all of you! Dirt Craft also has a workshop coming up on December 3rd and 4th, 2011 about making and applying your own clay plasters and paints. It's sure to be an amazing time packed with tons of information and many great conversations. Visit their website for more for more information or to register.

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Oct
25
2011

Welcome to our Blog!!

by Jessica Filed in: Random Fun Stuff

Green Calgary is very excited to launch our new blog! Check here regularly for fun articles about cool things happening in our city and in other cities around the world! We will do our best to update this space regularly and fill it with content that everyone will enjoy. In the mean time, feel free to send us your idea's,  thoughts and feedback- email us, send us a facebook message or a tweet!

(While you're at it, check out this cool article on repurposing your old incandescent light bulbs into bud vases! found via Pinterest)

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