Monthly Archives: November 2014

  • GreenPages Directory, Certifications and the Role of Standards

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Energy , Environment & Climate , on by GreenPages Directory

    One way that you as a conscious consumer can have an impact on an industry is to use your purchasing power to encourage businesses to act responsibly. The GreenPages Directory can help you find the type of company you want to do business with by filtering results according to benchmarks that are most important to you. One basic method for this is to conduct a search that filters according to which certifications and labels a product or business has attained.

    The purpose of any certification or labeling program is to ensure that companies adhere to specific criteria that reach the level of quality standards set by a regulatory body for the given industry. These programs are either officially mandated or they are voluntary, and for our purposes, mandatory regulations can be thought of as legally binding rules set by the government that can include everything from the way a product is manufactured to whether or not it functions as it claims to do. In order for a government label to be mandated, however, it has to be passed by a governmental regulatory agency, folded into a law, and then enforced through inspection. Violation of these standards, for instance a meat-packing firm ... Read More

  • Green Life: Dropping a Brick in Your Toilet Has Never Felt So Good

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    Filed in Environment & Climate on by Sierra Club

    Most of us are repeat offenders when it comes to excessive toilet flushing. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans use more water each day by flushing the toilet than any other activity, even showering!

    Even if you are a responsible flusher, each flush is inherently wasteful. In drought-plagued California, approximately 203 million gallons of drinking water (yes, drinking water) are wasted by toilets per day. Precious drinking water is squandered while 400 homes in East Porterville, California have gone dry.

    OK, so not all of us can afford a low-flow or dual-flush toilet, let alone get our landlords to acknowledge the emails we sent about installing one, but does that mean we are doomed to a humongous water-footprint?

    No, thanks to the founders of Project Drop-A-Brick. As the name suggests, all you have to do is Drop-A-Brick in your toilet tank and you will feel 50-gallons-less-guilty each week following.

    Read the entire story in Sierra Magazine, originally published on the Sierra Club website (


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  • They Tore Down the Wall, We Can Stop the Pipelines

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    Filed in Energy on by Sierra Club

    Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. When I still lived in Berlin, my favourite November 9th activity was to go to the bridge where the Wall was first breached in 1989 – the Boesebruecke. I’d sit on the cold damp concrete of the bridge, pop the cork on a mini-bottle sekt (similar to champagne) and just wonder what it was like to be there that night.

    In recent years, I have become more curious about how East Germans brought down the Wall and how I can apply those lessons to my own efforts to stop the tar sands. But even after telling the ‘Fall of the Wall’ story for five years as a Berlin tour guide, I still do not fully comprehend how and why it happened. I know the steps that led to the downfall of the Wall though.

    With TransCanada applying two weeks ago to build the biggest tar sands pipeline in Canada (Energy East), I started to wonder if stopping the pipelines is our fall of the Wall.

    Stopping the pipelines from Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Line 9 projects, to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain project to Energy East will not by itself shut down the tar ... Read More

  • Climate Change Impacting Birds – Interview on Banff Centre Radio

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity on by Nature Canada

    Climate change seriously threatens bird species across Canada and the United States according to a new groundbreaking report released by Nature Canada’s partner organization, the Audubon Society. The report concludes that half of all birds studied could see their populations drop dramatically on account of climate change.

    Paul Jorgenson, Nature Canada’s Senior Communications Manager speaks with Banff Centre Radio about the concerning phenomena.

    “There are a few different things that are happening. One is that species are seeing their habitat range just outright decline. It’s contracting by X square kilometres and now, it’s going to be less than that,” says Jorgenson. “But another thing that is happening, which most people have not done a lot of research on but is just as bad, is that we are seeing habitats shift as well.”

    “Even if you had a species whose habitat didn’t decrease too much, it shifted to a new place. That is still a big problem for that species [because] if the new habitat range is right in the middle of a big urban area or the great northern boreal forest and that species doesn’t live well in the boreal forest, then that species can still potentially be wiped out.

    Learn more about how climate ... Read More