Green News

Give the gift of a Healthy Future

Posted by Environment Smart on 11/14 at 05:00 PM
NewsGlobal WarmingPermalink

The Christmas season is fast approaching and we’re already starting with our shopping. This year we are going to ease up on the “guess gifts”. Those are the gift where we are guessing at what the person might like. Those are the gifts where we are not sure if they will be appreciated or regifted. So, instead of a fattening box of chocolates or some smelly soaps, we are going to give the gift that will last: a healthier environment.

We are going to give our friends, family, work colleagues and teachers a gift membership to the David Suzuki Foundation.  Not only is this a “unique and forward-thinking” gift, but we avoid the hustle and bustle of the shopping mall. The David Suzuki Foundation offers nature-themes holiday cards that you can order online and then mail or e-mail to your gift recipient.

The David Suzuki Foundation explains how it works:

Click here to choose your favourite holiday card to be sent to someone special. You’ll be guided through the steps of making a donation in honour of that person, writing a personal note to be included in the card, choosing how to send it, then voila! The card will be on its way, and your gift in honour of your loved one will make a huge difference for the environment.

Not only will your loved one receive a snazzy card, they will also receive a year-long membership to the David Suzuki Foundation, along with an information package about the work we do, and our newsletter, Finding Solutions. If you choose to save paper by sending the card by email, your friend or family member will also receive an eye-catching downloadable screensaver.

Your friends will love being a part of the solution, and you’ll be happy knowing that your important gift will go a long way to protecting nature.

Click here to see our terrific holiday cards now! Or view the video to learn more!

About the author: Environment Smart

Trade in your old car in Quebec

Posted by Environment Smart on 11/12 at 01:07 PM
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Quebec was hit with a few days of very nasty air pollution last week. The combination of high humidity, very weak winds and low cloud cover lasted for four days. This resulted in airborne pollutants being unable to disperse. This type of weather condition suggests that the resulting poor air quality was due primarily to locally emitted pollutants. One of the most significant problems in this case is vehicle emissions. Apparently, Quebec still allows cars on the road that are not equipped with anti-pollution systems. There are no mandatory emissions inspections. Something needs to be done here! Is it any wonder that we are seeing an increase in asthma and other allergies.

Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique

The Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA) is asking the people of Quebec to take action. The AQLPA's Faites de l'air! program will exchange cars from 1995 or earlier for either six months' worth of transit passes for use in the Montreal or Quebec metropolitan regions, or for $300. The program encourages Quebecers to make a difference to the environment by getting rid of an older and more polluting vehicle. AQLPA president André Bélisle is asking Quebecers to take action. "We invite all owners whose vehicles were built in 1995 or earlier to respond to the current air quality situation, and to take concrete action to reduce air pollution by registering for AQLPA's Faites de l'air! program," he said. For further information: André Bélisle, (418) 642-1322, (418) 386-6992; To register: Lorraine Lachapelle, 1-888-819-7330, (418) 642-1384,

About the author: Environment Smart

Solar powered Christmas

Posted by TheGreen on 11/07 at 03:19 PM
NewsEnergy SavingPermalink
Every year we have tried to put up Christmas lights, but to over do it. Due to the potentially large quantity of electricity that one could use, we were happy to see LED Christmas lights come out a couple of years ago. This year, we were a little surprised to see solar powered LED christmas lights. They claim a 6 hour sparkle from the solar powered lights even on cloudy days. Not sure about the hours of sparkle, but we are getting some for the simple reason: No more power cords! The only tree in our back yard we could put Christmas lights was about 60 feet from nearest outlet. Canadian Tire has a good selection of C6 and mini-led solar power light sets. They all have 50 lights and come in multi coloured or warm white. Though the warm white we bought last year from CanadianTire were anything but warm in hue. All the sets appear to be $29.99 and available now. From the CanadianTire site, here is how they describe these lights:
  • Solar light set is designed specifically for Canadian winters
  • Stays lit for three nights on one charge
  • Includes solar amorphous panel, wall mount and ground stake
  • Lights stay lit even if one bulb burns out
  • Charges even on a cloudy day
  • No more hassle with extension cords
  • Available in multi-coloured and warm white
  • For outdoor use
The only issue I can see at this point is the number of solar panels lying around. For our one tree we need at least 150 light and preferably 200 lights or even 250. Why can I not get the lights separately from the solar panels, and then buy an appropriate solar panel for the number of lights I want to put up? It would be nice to have solar panels in three or four different sizes that would let me plugin 1,2,3 or 4 strings of light and have them daisy chained. As it is we will need to figure out how to get the lights to work at the top of the tree. Once we get some and test them out, we will post a little review here too. Here is to a bright Holiday season sparkle powered by Ra.

About the author: TheGreen

Timberland’s humerous new ad campaign

Posted by Environment Smart on 11/06 at 02:26 PM
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The Timberland Company has just launched its new advertising campaign for its Earthkeepers(TM) collection of environmentally-conscious footwear and apparel. The ads feature "heroes who take on the challenges of the great outdoors -- some humorous, some dramatic -- one step at a time". 

According to a press release from the Wall Street Journal's market watch, "The advertising campaign is but one element of Timberland's Earthkeepers initiative, which seeks to communicate the company's environmental values and inspire consumers to make their own environmental behavior change. In addition to advertising and product offerings, the Earthkeepers initiative also includes an innovative network of online social networking tools."

As an "outdoor brand", Timberland promotes their environmental consciousness, but they choose to market with flare rather than a preachy approach. Carol Yang, Timberland's vice president of global marketing explains that consumers are "weary of being "told" how to make green choices - so we decided to lighten up and take a tongue-in-cheek approach to communicating the Earthkeepers story."

Timberland's latest 30 second "Friends" spot takes a humerous look at how wearing the eco-conscious Earthkeepers(TM) boots can spare you nature's wrath. There is more than just the video clip of the ad to view when you visit the web site. Take a look at what went into the making of the ad spot and play the "unexpected obstacles" game. Nice graphics.

I personally own some Timberland shoes and clothing, but have never visited their site before. I hadn't realized that Timberland is not just an eco-friendly clothing brand – it is a whole movement of "earthkeeping". Visit the Timberland earthkeepers at The video clip below helps to illustrates what the movement is about.

About the author: Environment Smart

Recycled Disco Ball

Posted by Environment Smart on 11/04 at 02:24 PM
Tips and How-to'sFor KidsPermalink

Recycled Disco Ball
: Make a cool disco ball using an old ball and CDs.


You will need:

  • Several old CDs: the amount needed will depend on the size of the ball. Use software or music CDs and not recordable CDs as these will fleck.
  • An old ball: we used a battered old soccer ball.
  • Tacky glue or hot glue gun: we preferred the tacky glue as the pieces can still be shifted while the glue is wet.
  • Wire for hanging: not too thick.
  • Stong scissors or shears



  1. Make sure that your ball does not leak air. It is advisable to coat the ball with a layer or two of urethane to help prevent future leaking.
  2. Cut the CDs into irregular pieces. We cut 1cm to 2cm pieces for the soccer ball. Use smaller pieces for a smaller ball. Discard any splintered pieces. Wear safety glasses. Please note that it may be difficult to control the shape and size of the CD pieces you cut. Some CDs splinter very easily. Pieces that have a bit of a break in them can, however, still be used.
  3. Wrap wire around the ball in two directions. Bring lose wire ends together and form into a loop. The CD pieces will be glued on top of the wire, so make sure that the wire is not too thick, otherwise the CD pieces will not glue evenly.
  4. Glue the CD pieces all around the ball to completely cover it. This project require patience and fine motor skills. It is best suited to older children, teenagers and adults. 
  5. Hang your disco ball from the protruding wire loop.

Note: This project can also be done with a styrofoam ball if you cannot find an old ball to recycle. 


About the author: Environment Smart

WRAP: Waste & Resource Action Programme

Posted by Environment Smart on 10/30 at 02:45 PM
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In a previous Outofgreen posting I mentioned an impressive food waste management project involving the National Federation of Women's Institutes in the U.K. They had teamed up with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap), the Government's packaging waste agency. I was intrigued by the Women's Institute's initiative and wanted to learn more about WRAP. I visited the WRAP website and found out the following:

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more, making better use of resources and helping to tackle climate change.

WRAP has 3 primary targets:

  • Sending less to landfill: WRAP's goal is to stop 8 million tonnes of waste materials from the household, industrial and commercial waste streams going to landfill.
  • Reducing carbon emissions: WRAP would like its programmes to help save 5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.
  • Increasing economic impact: WRAP would like to help create a £1.1 billion positive economic impact for business, local authorities and consumers through £850 million of cost savings and £280 million of increased turnover in recycling and related industries.

WRAP's approach is to help individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more, making better use of resources and helping to tackle climate change. There are 4 specific focus areas:

  • Waste prevention: The avoidance of waste and its minimisation, targeting consumers and businesses alike.
  • Collecting and sorting: Increasing the collection of materials for recycling and reprocessing, encouraging participation across all audiences and improving collection and sorting mechanisms.
  • Recycling and reprocessing: Securing greater investment and efficiency in recycling and reprocessing industries and manufacturing products using greater levels of recycled content.
  • market development: Promoting markets for materials and products with increased recycled content, or which result in less waste, namely those made from materials which can be recycled, reused or composted.

WRAP has an extensive business plan and impact review that can be found on their website. The website also includes various research reports and studies conducted by WRAP.

WRAP seems to be yet another dedicated pro-active U.K. environmental group that we can learn much from.

About the author: Environment Smart

Watching your waste

Posted by Environment Smart on 10/30 at 01:32 PM

I recently read a news story out of the U.K. about a group of women who were trying to shed the pounds from their waste, not their waist. They were apparently involved in an innovative scheme to help women cut their food waste and shopping bills in half. The idea was to use "simple, old-fashioned home economics". 

The National Federation of Women's Institutes teamed up with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap), the Government's packaging waste agency, to create 10 "Love Food" groups. These groups teach women how to "waste less, be more efficient cooks and to cut shopping bills – with the aim of reducing the 6.7 million tons of food the UK wastes every year".

"We throw away a third of the food we buy in the UK, so to cut back that waste by 50 per cent is outstanding," said Julia Falcon, a campaign manager for Wrap. "We can see that groups who decide to share their experiences with each other, and tackle this problem together, work extremely well."

In this case, the women organised groups in 10 UK towns. With a grass-roots approach, they held monthly meetings where they discussed food storage, shopping, meal planning and preservation. It sounds much like a home-economics course, but the results were impressive. According to the article, "their households reduced waste from an average 4.7kg (10.4lbs) a week to 2.2kg (4.9lbs) a week".

The projects really highlights the environmental impact of food waste. According to Wrap's estimations, the UK's food waste generates "18 tons of carbon dioxide a year – the same as a fifth of the cars on the road. Much of the food thrown out ends up in landfill, where it emits methane, a damaging greenhouse gas".

I was intrigued by the results of the Women's Institute's initiative and wanted to learn more about WRAP's lovefoodhatewaste campaign. I found that the website is loaded with excellent tips on reducing your grocery bill, keeping your food fresh longer, time saving, recipes, food storage, measuring portions, and much more. It is well worth a bookmark!



About the author: Environment Smart

Commit to sustainability: shop SMART

Posted by Environment Smart on 10/30 at 12:45 PM
Tips and How-to'sGeneralPermalink

Supporting sustainable standards when we shop is a SMART way to go. There is an increasing number of companies that are providing a green alternative by manufacturing their products according to sustainable standards. These standards start with the raw materials used and end with the disposal or re-use of the product. Make sure to look for verification of the product's sustainable standard when you are shopping. A manufacturer may make a claim that their product is "eco-friendly" or "green", but are these claims backed by an independent or nonprofit organization that has investigated the claim. There are a number of labels from these organizations that you should look for. By choosing products that have been certified to meet sustainable standards, you can make a difference in reducing climate change, reduce air and water pollution , save natural resources and rain forests. Shop SMART.



About the author: Environment Smart