Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bad News and Good Options

Some Good News
Jane and I cycled our little hearts out (public transit strike be damned) to take in the Green Living Show this past weekend. We collected fabulous information, which I will share with you below.

Bad News
The news is full of crisis lately. Topping the list of bad news stories is the food crisis. Many claim that the thirst for biofuels is driving up costs. The root causes of this calamitous problem are many, of course. It doesn’t help when rich nations subsidize their farmers and burden poor countries with crippling debt. Added to all this is the price of fossil fuel, which is going through the roof. Agribusiness depends on the latter for pesticides and fertilizers, and transporting food. World oil production has not increased in two years while demand from countries like China and India most certainly has.

In the April 24th issue of the Toronto Star, Jeff Rubin, Chief Economist at CIBC World Markets, is quoted as saying: "Whether we have already seen the peak in world oil production remains to be seen, but it is increasingly clear that the outlook for oil supply signals a period of unprecedented scarcity." Fasten your seatbelts. We’re in for a very bumpy ride.

ACTION - According to AVVAZ, 100 million people face starvation and food riots. To sign AVVAZ’s petition, click here: World Leaders: Stop The Food Crisis.

While you’re at it, ask your federal reps to forgive crippling debt to the poorest countries, which only aggravates the food crisis. Food aid alone is not enough.

Back to Good News – or Good Options from the Green Living Show
As you know, the more local our food the better for our health (fresh food contains more nutrients) and the environment.

Front Door Organics - Jane and I met the lovely ladies who run Front Door Organics, a Toronto business that delivers local and organic food to the front doors of its customers (winter produce comes from our southern neighbours). Prices range from $35-$40 per week. They even deliver dairy products! Jane and I want to get back into this. It will make out quest for local organic much easier.

Ed Begley Jr. – We took in a presentation by the famous eco-warrior/actor who spoke about going green. He was preaching to the converted of course, which was fine because it was a little like attending a sermon. We all know this stuff but it’s nice to be reminded among like-minded individuals. He told us about his white backyard fence that is made from recycled plastic. He wanted to support the recycling industry and to his delight realized he doesn’t need to paint his fence - ever. The other benefit to a fence made from recycled plastic is that it is not pressure treated wood, which contains chromium, copper and arsenic (!) (the latter was recently banned). Among many scary things, this poison leeches into the ground water. Click here for more information. Thanks to Greg Labbe of GreenSaver for letting me know about the toxic fences. If you do get a recycled plastic fence, make sure you know what type of plastic was used. No sense in having some awful plastic chemical leech into your soil.

The Greener Side – In an attempt to keep the garden honest (or as honest as possible), The Greener Side – a Toronto-based company - offers landscaping and gardening services. We’ve invited Chris MacLuckie to check out our yard this Friday. He and his team are more than happy to work within our budget and help green greenies like us make smart choices as we build our little Eden.

Evergreen Brick Works – If you want to garden there’s lots to learn. Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works offers workshops and events, including an upcoming appearance by David Suzuki.

More great services and tips from the Green Living Show in the next blog issue.

In the News

Clinton, McCain pump for a gas tax holiday
Oh, Hilary. I was on the fence, but this does it. My vote is with Obama (if I could vote).

Commons votes to boost biofuel use
Does the Canadian government not get it? It would be better to invest in improved public transit.

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