This week in summary: dairy co-operative making big changes but is it enough, earthquake felt in AB near RMH why, why, why?, pathogens could be transported across the earth via plastic trash, track your town/cities light pollution on a new interactive map.
BBC Climate change: Pledge to cut emissions from dairy farms “This will require “radical changes” over the coming decades, including developing new technologies, the dairy co-operative, Arla Foods, said. It admitted the target was “ambitious”, but said it was achievable. However, the Vegan Society said there was no way to make dairy a climate-friendly product.”
Global News Calgary 4.3 magnitude earthquake shakes central Alberta near Rocky Mountain House “Information posted by Natural Resources Canada states the earthquake happened around 4 a.m. 32 kilometres northwest of Rocky Mountain House, at a depth of 10 kilometres. “It was a shallow event. It was felt by local residents,” said Dr. Honn Kao, a research scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada. “According to our recordings, we do not expect any particular damage.
Canada’s new Food Guide and guidelines were released on January 22nd, 2019 and there were some pretty big shifts in recommendations compared to the 2007 guide. The revisions of the food guide have been underway for quite some time so there was a lot of excitement from industry, health professionals and the public to see the revised version including this #yyc blogger!
One of the main changes is that the new food guide promotes plant based proteins. The food guide now has a “recommended proteins” category instead of Meat and Alternatives. There is also no longer a “milk products” category and milk as well as milk alternatives (like soy) have been included in the protein food group. In the guide the protein foods listed include “lentils, legumes, lean meats, fish, nuts, nut butters, eggs, unsweetened milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu and fortified soy beverages.” It’s also interesting to note this does not include other beverages like almond, rice or coconut beverage. These drinks are quite low in protein in comparison to soy or cow’s milk.
Can Plant Based Eating Make an Eco Impact?
You may have read that plant based eating (vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian) can “save the planet” but is this really true? Is a plant based diet actually more sustainable and does it have less of an environmental impact? In 2010 the Food and Agricultural Organizations (FAO) stated that “sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.” (1) Let’s assess if a plant based diet meets this criteria!
Energy consumption of Vegetarian vs. Non-Vegetarian Diets
In the research study “Sustainability of plant-based diets: back to the future” by J Sabate and S Soret published in The American journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2014, the researchers compared the energy outputs of both plant based and animal protein production. They found that “agricultural inputs required for producing the non-vegetarian diet were 2.9 times more water, 2.5 times more primary energy, 13 times more fertilizer, and 1.4 times more pesticides than for the vegetarian diet.” (2) The research does support that eating a vegetarian (plant-based) diet will reduce our global energy consumption.
Beyond the energy use, meat production also has a much higher environmental impact in relation to freshwater use, amount of land required, and waste products generated. “The evidence suggests wide-scale adoption of a plant-based diet would reduce human impact on the environment and improve some of our most serious environmental problems such as climate change and fresh water scarcity.” (4) The meat that has the most environmental impact includes lamb and beef. The lowest on the list is chicken and turkey.
Non-Vegetarian Lower Impact Options
I get it, you might be thinking, but I just CAN’T give up meat. It’s worth exploring if there is any difference in environmental impact if you choose to eat grass fed beef vs. grain fed beef. There is some good news! Grass fed animals have less environmental impact than grain fed. Grass fed beef is available in Calgary grocery stores or available to order direct from the local farms in the surrounding area. One barrier to consumption is that grass fed beef does come with a larger price tag than grain fed meats but if you budget well and shop sales you can likely make the switch to grass fed beef.
What about the Alberta Beef Industry?
The one barrier or argument that I’ve heard from people as to why they couldn’t switch to more plant-based protein is that Alberta beef is part of our history, our pride and it’s been a way of life for many people in our Province. Which is absolutely a valid point because we do have a huge industry in Alberta where many people make their living from raising livestock. A more realistic approach for some Albertans may be to use a flexitarian approach replacing some meat proteins with plant based options but not fully converting to a vegetarian diet or using more grass fed beef in replace of grain fed beef.
Pulse Industry in Canada
It’s also important to look at Canada’s agricultural industry as a whole. According to the 2011 Census of Agriculture, pulses represented approximately 6% of field crop area in Canada in 2011 and Alberta accounted for close to 19% of this total production. Pulse production in Canada accounted for $1.5 billion in national farm cash receipts.(6) Most of the pulses were exported and in 2011 Canada was a worldwide leader in production of lentils and dry peas. (6)
What are other Calgarians saying about plant based eating:
Q. Are you going to make the switch to more plant based proteins?
” Not at all. I will continue my meal practice as usual. Whole food in moderation is the key for me. I choose to buy my meat protein from environmentally sustainable and humane source. Yes, the price is much higher, but I know I support local farm and sustainable farming. They let their animal roam and their animal are grass-fed, no use of antibiotic when not warranted, and treat animal with respect and care.
Sue P – local Calgary resident
“I think it is a good idea for health reasons. I haven’t really thought about the environmental impact. I do plan to and I already have. I have a lentil based meal usually once a week. I Google different ways to use lentils and so far the results have been delicious. I like buying and using lentils too because it supports Canadian industry (51% of global lentil production happens in Canada!!)”
Mary R – local Calgary resident
Will you make the change? Leave a comment below let me know!
If you are looking to make a switch to eating more plant based proteins check out a great blog post: “How to Cook Beans 4 of 4 part cooking series.”
Food and Agricultural Organizations: http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-dietary-guidelines/background/sustainable-dietary-guidelines/en/
Sustainability of plant-based diets: back to the future, J Sabate, S Soret – The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2014
Public views of the benefits and barriers to the consumption of a plant-based diet EJ Lea, D Crawford, A Worsley – European journal of clinical nutrition, 2006.
Reducing the environmental impact of dietary choice: perspectives from a behavioural and social change approach A Joyce, S Dixon, J Comfort, J Hallett environmental and public health, 2012
Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: food and agriculture S Friel, AD Dangour, T Garnett, K Lock, Z Chalabi
This week in review: Antibiotics are swimming in our oceans & the concentration is getting higher and higher each year, dying bumblebees in Poland & dwindling biodiversity, the best climate friendly foods,
Weekly Summary: World leaders are trying again, a how to guide to buying sustainable clothing, Chinook salmon are in trouble, Hawaii is leading the world in zero waste policy creation, Alberta is making some big renewable energy moves.
Product description: These bags are 100% regular cotton or certified organic cotton mesh, washable and very durable. You can reuse these bags at the grocery store or farmers’ market to replace plastic single use bags. Reduce your carbon footprint by choosing an option that is sustainable- reusable and recyclable.
Pros: 100% Regular Cotton or Certified Organic Cotton Mesh (Natural),, Washable, mesh design allow cashiers to easily identify contents of bag, convenient drawstring closure.
Product description: These bags are a practical storage solution for bulk purchases such as rice, dried beans, nuts, coffee, pasta and grains. There are smaller size for herbs or loose teas. The larger size for lettuces, potatoes celery etc. and keep them in the refrigerator or dry storage to prolong freshness.
Pros: Reusable option when shopping for bulk items, washable, 3 sizes (small-medium-large), convenient drawstring, Hemp/Organic Cotton blend or 100% Organic Cotton
Weekly summary: 1.5 degrees warmer and chaos on the Earth, Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are changing the way heat moves, CO2 may rise more than expected, carbon tax is explained by a rebuttal to a ludicrous statement
New Scientist Earth in 2050: This is what a world warmed by 1.5°C looks like. From wild weather to huge ecosystem shifts, dramatic effects from global warming are already baked in – but by acting now we can prevent the worst
The Apothecary in Inglewood is unassuming from the outside and is an entire eco-life changer once you step inside! This gem of a store in Inglewood sells a zero waste philosophy and has the products and knowledgeable staff to help you create a sustainable eco-friendly life here in Calgary.
When you step inside the store you can see how much care and attention is taken in product selection to provide the customer with the best zero waste and sustainable products on the market. The Apothecary carries the full line of All Things Jill products which includes Peas in a Pod (mom and baby), Zen Yoga, TREK (outdoor products), a bath and body line (bath foam and lotion), Jack (shave and beard products), Chic Puppy, and un-packaged bar soaps and bath bombs.
Probably the best part about the store (in my opinion) is the refillery. A refillery is really just as the term suggests – a place to refill previously utilized or new containers from bulk inventory. The Apothecary carries a large selection of household and body care products that are available to refill many sizes and types of containers. As the consumer you simply bring in a container and choose a product to purchase. The staff weigh the products & charge by weight/volume.
Step by step directions for using the refillery
Step 1: Bring a container that is clean, can be sealed, doesn’t leak and is not made of a substance that will break down or react with the products being added. Good containers to consider include glass jars, plastic containers and depending on the product, even plastic bags may do the trick. If you do not have a container one can be purchased in store.
Step 2: Talk to the staff about what is available and how to create the product you desire. The staff have a ton of knowledge and you can create an amazing product that is just right for you!
The types of products you can request in their refillery include: herbs, salts (i.e. to make bath salts), carrier oils, essential oils, hair care, body care, deodorant, toothpaste, natural cleaners, laundry products and dry ingredients such as clays.
Step 3: The staff will then fill your container. One thing to note is if the store is busy the staff may need more a little time to prepare your products. Therefore you may have to leave the order with the staff for the a bit of time (likely only 30-60 minutes).
Step 4: Take home your products with a HUGE smile on your face and enjoy. Don’t forget to save your containers for your next refill!
If you are looking for containers to utilize, The Apothecary has containers to purchase new and also gently used. If you have extra containers collected from past purchases you can bring them in to the store to give them a second use by another patron.
Exciting zero waste products at “The Apothecary”
1.Soap Nuts are a berry shell that naturally contains a cleaning agent that works like detergent. The natural cleaning agent found in these berries is called saponin. Saponin works as a surfactant, breaking the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibers of your clothing, lifting stains from the fabric, and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away. Tip: You need to wash in warm/hot water in order to activate the suds. To reduce hot water needed for washing try adding soap nuts to 2 cups of boiling water first and then adding them to the load of laundry.
2. Stasher silicone food bags are food grade silicone bags. Sandwich bags can be very convenient especially when backpacking, hiking, rock climbing, and cycling when backpack space and weight is of concern. The company reports that the bags can be cooked, microwaved, baked, boiled, and frozen. They are top rack dishwasher safe and have an airtight seal to keep foods and odors locked up. You can read more about these handy products on the Stasher website.
3.Elate clean cosmetics are delivered in minimal packaging, include reusable compact containers and are vegan, cruelty free, made in Canada and they use sustainable packaging. The compact powders come in seed paper which means you can plant it directly in your garden to grow new plants. Their ingredients are about 90% organic because their value is to choose fair trade and support the workers who create their products over organic if they are unable to have both. Learn more about Elate here.
4. A huge variety of reusable bags which can be used for produce, lunch bags, bread bags, grocery shopping, adding soap nuts to put into the washing machine, soap bag for bar soaps in the shower and bulk bags for purchasing bulk food items. I purchased the same brand of produce bags they stock in store over 10 years ago and they are holding up very well! They have been through the wash multiple times and are still in great shape. If you are looking for a reusable bag you will highly likely find what you are looking for here.
5. The Apothecary and All Things Jill make products right on site! After being invited to the back of the store to check out their natural products “laboratory” it made me really excited to take one of their classes (see below) to learn how to make my own beauty products. The back of the store is quite magical, it is filled with many raw materials that staff use to create delightful products that are sold right in store.
6. You will find an entire section of dog pampering products that you can use to wash your dogs coat, care for their paws and help to freshen up the scent of their coat as well as your indoor carpet with the Chic Puppy line by All Things Jill.
7. Reusable straws galore! If you cannot find the right color, style or type of straw here you probably will not find it any where in the city. Reusable straws are really making a difference. Read this article posted by the NRDC to learn more about the reasons why.
8. There is row upon row of essential oils! If you have a specific essential oil in mind or are looking for essential oils in roller application packaging they have a lot from which to choose. One tip is that you can reuse the essential oil bottles. Clean the bottles out with rubbing alcohol and bring them back to the store for a refill.
First Tuesday of the month is 10% off refills (except essential oils)
Combine the search for something new to do in Calgary with a desire to take a class to improve your zero waste living skill set. They offers 6 classes that you can enjoy by yourself, with friends or even for a romantic date night. The Apothecary will accommodate group bookings which could be fun for a fun girls night out or family bonding time. The classes listed include: First Steps Aromatherapy, Aromatherapy level 1, Body care, Gone to the Dogs: Canine Aromatherapy, Holiday Gift Making and Facial Care. Sign up is available on their website.
Location & Online Orders
You can find The Apothecary in Inglewood at 921 9th Ave SE Calgary, AB
What is eco friendly furniture? In terms of furniture manufacturing being kind to the environment can take place many different ways.
Things to consider:
Length and mode of transportation of goods – how far do the manufactured goods and raw materials need to travel and what type of transportation is used.
Type of materials used in production – does the company source fair trade, organic, low VOC or sustainable materials?
Energy consumption/ offsets – does the company reduce or offset it’s carbon footprint?
Collaboration/ donation to eco driven research and development – does the company invest in environmental forward research or new developments?
Waste disposal / recycling practices – how does the company handle waste material, do they have successful recycling programs.
For the consumer – are you willing to put the time in to look for furniture that can be reused? Can you look at consignment shops for your next used furniture treasure?
Canadian Made Companies – reducing transportation
EQ3 – manufactured in Winnepeg, MB, store in Calgary
Stylus – manufactured in Burnaby BC, available at Brako furniture Calgary 5711 Blackfoot Trail SE . Furniture manufacturing of sofas and dining chairs. Frames are made from wood sourced through suppliers who are certified for environmentally sound practices. Recycling programs are in place for paper, cardboard, plastic and foam waste. Natural light skylights reduce our energy needs for lighting. Selective packaging allows us to save packaging materials. Foam supply is from a zero waste supply chain. Scraps are recycled into carpet underlay, foam is Chlorofluorocarbon free.
Springwall Sleep Products Inc. – is headquartered just outside of Moncton, New Brunswick, and is extremely proud of being a unique family owned business. Springwall is the only 100% Canadian owned and operated National mattress manufacturer in existence today. Today his vision of providing a quality product to consumers is being led by his sons, Boyd and Greg Kay. There are three manufacturing facilities in Canada (Moncton, Mississauga and Calgary).
Envio friendly Materials
Goldgrass Home– natural and organic mattresses, no synthetic ingredients or additives so there is no off-gassing process. Locally owned and operated, founded in 2007 by Riva and Andrew Mackie. Their mission has been to find the world’s finest natural and artisanal home furnishings and decor, and make them available to uncompromisingly stylish Calgarians who understand the true importance of the sleep experience.
Stylus – see above
Energy Consumption/ Recycling Efforts
Crate and Barrel– West Coast operations is operating at a LEED certified space in California. They have also achieved LEED certification at their store at the Streets at Southpoint in Durham, North Carolina—one of the first retail stores in the United States to receive this designation. Almost all Crate and Barrel stores have now converted to low energy lighting systems, reducing energy consumption by 30 to 40 percent. Stores built after 2010 use 20-watt lighting, and those built after 2014 use 14-watt lighting, supplemented by skylights in stockrooms. At warehouse locations, they are in the process of converting 1,000-watt lighting fixtures to more energy-efficient 400-watt fixtures. And warehouses now have sensor aisle lights that illuminate only when in use. They have istalled HVAC Energy Management systems in many store locations which reduce energy consumption by 10 percent. Recycling program at stores, warehouses and corporate offices (recycle corrugated cardboard and plastic).
“Request recyclable material from your shippers. Reject bubble wrapping, Styrofoam, and plastic bags, and propose alternatives such as paper or cloth.” ― Bea Johnson
Consignment Furniture Calgary
Calgary Furniture Exchange – Two floors of used couches, chairs, end tables, lamps and more in a range of styles, the walls also features colourful artwork. You can also get some new furniture here, as Calgary Furniture Exchange carries new pieces. To consign your own furniture, send or bring in a photo of the pieces to be considered for pre-approval. Stop by to see it all in person or check out the latest additions in the store’s online catalogue. 6745 Fairmount Dr. S.E., 403-251-4493
The Consignment Gallery – selection of used furniture that includes couches, sculptures, lamps, desks and art. The store also has an online gallery if you want to see what it currently has in stock without leaving home. 533 58 Ave. S.E., 403-253-7880
Instead of turning to the big companies who do not have any environmentally conscious practices, consider your next online purchase to be a company that has built their business on the values of sustainable living.
ABC Carpet and home – Sourcing goods that are created with sustainability and fair labor standards in mind. Offers a wide variety of modern and elegant pieces that are responsibly sourced from across Europe and Asia, as well as women’s fair-trade cooperatives in India.
Bambeco Home – committed to the highest respect for the planet and its people, Bambeco strives to inspire sustainable living through their three core values: forest preservation and restoration, clean water and water conservation, and fair wages and a safe workplace. They’ve saved over 300 million gallons of water, planted over 20,000 trees, and kept over 236 metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere through their commitment to carbon-free shipping.
West Elm – focused on modern design, affordability and community with recently launched fair-trade and eco-friendly collections. By designing over 90% of products in-house, the design team has steadily increased their selection of organic, handcrafted, sustainable sourced and Fair Trade Certified™ products.
Visseo – by using natural and recycled materials and manufacturing their products in the United States, they strive to continually reduce their carbon footprint while maintaining exceptional quality. Viesso values their commitment to a healthier home by ensuring none of their products contain fire retardant or harsh chemicals and use only organically grown materials.