Calgary, We Should Talk...

Posted on March 24, 2018

This week, the news broke that the Pacific Garbage Patch is now 16 times its original estimated size. It is now three times the size of France, and growing quickly. Estimates are that without decisive global action, ocean plastics will triple within ten years – effectively choking out much of our ocean wildlife and destroying the balance in that very critical ecosystem.

And the most comprehensive study on biodiversity in over a decade, released Friday, March 23, 2018, states that destruction of nature is as dangerous as climate change. The UN backed study found that unsustainable exploitation of the natural world threatens food and water security of billions of people.

This month, the United Nations moved towards recognizing human right to a healthy environment, stating that formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests, and wildlife.

When talking about environmental impacts and climate change, the news is rarely positive. And in our country, environmental regulation simply is not keeping up with what is needed, and expected, from us.

We do not have a National Plastics Strategy, and instead leave this matter to Provinces and Municipalities. While at least 40 countries have regulations in place for single-use plastic, Canada has yet to take action.

And 14 countries have put in place measures that will limit the sale, production and use of fossil fuel powered cars by 2040 or sooner. In Canada, providing incentives to shift buyers to electric vehicles has been left to the Provinces.

I don’t share this to make this yet another doom and gloom environmental blog – but rather to allow us to pause and acknowledge our current state. We can also take this moment to acknowledge that where we are today does not define our future path – and we can’t forge forward if we don’t know where we are starting from.

As you reflect on the changes you want to make, the ideas and concepts you want to understand, and the knowledge you hope to gain, I am excited to let you know that Green Calgary is enhancing our Help Desk.

For the last number of years, Green Calgary has provided a Help Desk to Calgarians. With funding through a grant from the City of Calgary, we answer thousands of questions each year on a wide range of environmental topics – waste diversion, composting, sustainable yards and gardens, water conservation, biodiversity, and more. We can answer many questions very quickly, and we have access to experts when a question stumps us.
Over the coming weeks, you will notice changes to some of our processes. While the phone number, 403.230.1443, will remain the same, you will be able to Chat with Green Calgary from our website, and our Help Desk email can be accessed here.

We will also enhance our online knowledgebase with new FAQ and Guide documents.

We are making these changes to make it easier for you to access the information that you need in order to make the changes that you feel passionately about.

In our Little Green Library, grants from Calgary Co-op and TD Friends of Environment Foundation have doubled the number of titles available to our members. This is a free resource for all Green Calgary members. From skills building, to scientific reference, children’s literature, and inspirational tales – we have titles for all types of readers.

And our Learning Centre received some upgrades, too. Through a grant from the Calgary Foundation, and a donation of technology from Computers for Schools Alberta, we now have a modern knowledge sharing space, complete with 2 workstations for you to use to access public information. This is the space where our experts present to members of the Calgary community, but it also available for you to use. Student groups, community groups, or just a few friends looking for somewhere to sit and talk about environment or climate issues or collaborate on a project – reach out to us to learn more about using this space.

Our calendar has a number of opportunities to engage in wonderful and passionate conversations over the coming months – from sustainability, to gardening, to climate change. And the Green Season kicks off this weekend, sponsored by ATB Financial and the City of Calgary, during which we will explore a variety of environmental topics at 11 events this spring. Check out our website or Facebook for a full list of dates and locations.

We all have a role to play. Every citizen. Every neighbor. Every business. Every community leader. It’s up to you what role you will play, and Green Calgary is here to support you wherever you are on your green journey.

Let’s talk. Chat with us online, send us an email, call us – or better yet, come visit us.

Have an excellent weekend.
Executive Director