Green News

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, www.aqlpa.com

About the author: Environment Smart

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 http://www.earthkeeper.com. The video clip below helps to illustrates what the movement is about.

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

Green personal care

Posted by Environment Smart on 10/22 at 12:20 PM
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In a recent posting, we discussed concerns about the use of Tricolosan in personal care products and other household items. There are, however, many questionable chemicals used in personal care products. In one of the Green Guide videos the host suggests using the Green Guide Smart Shoppers card when shopping for personal care products. This card lists the "dirty dozen chemicals in cosmetics". You can download the Green Guide Smart Shoppers card and take it with you the next time you are out buying your soaps and creams.

About the author: Environment Smart

Video about plastic water bottles

Posted by Environment Smart on 10/22 at 11:50 AM
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If you prefer watching a video rather than reading your information, then here is a good video about the plastics we use everyday. It discusses the various plastics we use around the house and explains which plastics are safe and which are not.

The National Geographic Green Guide provides short video clips on all sorts of environmental issues. We have been enjoying many of the green home makeover videos from the Green Guide.

 

About the author: Environment Smart

Nature of Things season premier tonight with David Suzuki

Posted by TheGreen on 10/16 at 10:05 PM
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Award winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster is hosting the Nature of Things season premiere tonight. Most of us know the Natures of Things and actually most of us grew up with the show. David Suzuki has won three Gemini Awards and an ACTRA Award as Best Host. Most importantly in relation to this website, OutofGreen.ca, is the fact that David Suzuki is a forceful environmentalist who is not afraid to say what is on his mind. David Suzuki was recently quoted as say that those scientists that don't believe in climate change are "shills" for big corporations. Furthermore he feels Canada should be consider international outlaws for opting out of the Kyoto agreement. In February of this year, David Suzuki spoke at McGill University and suggested that students find a way to get our leaders jailed who ignore science as it is a criminal act.

So, you may love him or you may hate him, but the simple fact is clear, David Suzuki is trying to help our planet and we can learn a lot from him.

About the author: TheGreen

Canadian scientists urge: vote for the environment

Posted by Environment Smart on 10/08 at 11:36 AM
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More than 120 of Canada's top global warming scientists joined to call for "strategic voting" in next week's federal election. An open letter was sent to major newspapers across the country on Tuesday, in which the Conservative governments' record on climate change was heavily criticized. 

The letter is signed by Canada's top climate experts, many of whom contributed to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that earned a Nobel prize. It outlines the urgent need for the federal government to take action and pleads with voters to take the environment seriously.

"While it's clear the public accepts that global warming is a threat, it seems people have simply no idea how serious this issue is," the scientists write. 

The scientists believe that "the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere has already reached levels that will cause significant effects to the Earth's ecosystems". 

"Global warming is a problem that must be dealt with now, before it's too late," says the letter. "Any further delay will only increase the risks of damage and costs of action."

The letter criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to focus on emission intensity, not emissions reductions.

"Reducing emission intensity means that you continue to pollute, but do so more efficiently," it says.

"The overall net effect of the federal regulation would be to allow a tripling or more of greenhouse-gas emissions from the oilsands sector by 2017, and possible continued increases after that. Frankly, no matter how you try to spin it, that is not a reduction."

The scientists support the implementation of a carbon-tax like that proposed by the Liberals, and/or a cap-and-trade system such as the one offered by the New Democrats.

"The carbon tax provides price certainty, is easier to implement, more transparent, easy to make revenue-neutral and less open to abuse," the letter says.

Andrew Weaver, a major contributor to the 2007 IPCC report, helped co-ordinate the letter's distribution. He said that it was meant to highlight the risks posed by the Harper governments policies.

"I think extraordinary times take extraordinary measures," said Weaver in an interview. "Scientists don't agree on a lot, but there is a real great sense of urgency within our community and we have witnessed Canada move from a position of international leadership to a position of international obstructionism over the past few years and we're worried."

The letter has been posted online, in English and French, at: site.climateletter.org.

About the author: Environment Smart

You Have a Choice: Stop Harper!

Posted by Environment Smart on 10/08 at 10:51 AM
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The call continues to ring out for Canadians to vote strategically for the environment. The latest action comes form AVAAZ to make the

Stop Harper Pledge:

"I pledge to vote smart to help prevent a Harper majority government from devastating our climate. If the election in my riding is close and could elect a Conservative, I will come together with other Canadians across party lines, vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate, and encourage my friends and family to do the same."

Several artist have united in this cause to record the musical message "You Have a Choice". Give it a listen and then make your pledge to vote smart.

Ricken Patel and the Avaaz Canada Team recommend the following websites to help you with strategic voting:

For an outstanding guide to how to vote strategically where you live, visit this great website:
http://www.voteforenvironment.ca
For a great analysis of the Parties' environmental records:
http://elections.desmogblog.com
And here is another good strategic voting environmental website:
http://www.voteforclimate.ca
If you want to double-check that who you should vote smart for, this is a highly impartial guide from Greg Morrow, who does not support strategic voting:
http://democraticspace.com/blog/strategic-voting-guide

About the author: Environment Smart