Avoid Bisphenol A

In a stunning turn of events, Health Canada is calling bisphenol A a dangerous substance.

What's bisphenol A (BPA)? It's a very useful chemical that unfortunately is bad for us. In fact:

"Independent researchers in dozens of studies have linked trace BPA exposures in animal and test-tube experiments to conditions involving hormone imbalances, including breast and prostate cancer, early puberty and changes in brain structure, particularly for exposures during key points of fetal or early neonatal development." (source)

I call the announcement stunning because it will cause major disruptions in industry to switch away from it. Given that the current Canadian administration is the very pro business Conservatives, I'm frankly shocked that they allowed this to happen. It must have slipped through somehow :) Good on them, though.

What To Do

  • Toss out your hard, clear, plastic water bottles, and stop drinking bottled water from the types of bottles pictured at left. In fact, don't drink bottled water at all - Edmonton has world-class water coming out of the taps.
  • Buy non-leaching water bottles from Earth's General Store or Mountain Equipment Co-op
  • Cut down on canned food:
    "Independent laboratory tests found a toxic food-can lining ingredient [BPA] associated with birth defects of the male and female reproductive systems in over half of 97 cans of name-brand fruit, vegetables, soda, and other commonly eaten canned goods. (source)"

  • When you do open a can, make it an Eden can:
    "Eden Organic Beans are packed in lead free, tin covered, steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous (a natural mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants, such as pine or balsam fir) c-enamel lining, that does not contain bisphenol-A. These cans cost 14% more than the industry standard cans, which do contain bisphenol-A (source)."

  • Learn about the good versus bad plastics
  • Follow the green news. I learned about Bisphenol A five years ago when I read about it in WorldWatch Magazine. The government is always years behind, so be proactive and learn about possible health effects when the scientists do, not when the government finally decides to intervene.

Adopt-A-Block

I try not to let the environmental catastrophe get me down. Throughout history, people have needed to cope with the mental burden of their worlds collapsing. The plague, Genghis Khan, the white man stealing their lands, things like that. So I try to remain optimistic about day-to-day life. It helps that the living has never been better. We're warm when it's cold, we have great food to eat, and so on.

But the decrepit filth that I see all over Edmonton brings me down on a daily basis. This place is shamefully dirty. There's litter everywhere.

Thankfully, the city is doing something. The Adopt-A-Block program supports good citizens who are willing to help clean their neighbourhoods. If you fill out their online form (warning, it didn't work in Firefox for me, only Internet Explorer), they will send you a clean up kit, which includes the following:

  • reusable cloth bag
  • 1 T-shirt with the program slogan for the Block Captain
  • Gloves for the Block Captain - your choice of mens or ladies
  • Gloves - disposable
  • Garbage bags
  • Volunteer log book
  • Safety guidelines
  • Vehicle litter bags
  • 1 litter grabber
  • A gift from Tim Horton's

Thanks Tim Hortons! Now why don't you introduce "Roll up the Rim" scratch cards so that people with reusable mugs aren't encouraged to take empty disposable cups from your stores? Or even better, just stop giving out disposable cups altogether!??

But I digress. Adopt-A-Block is a great program that you should get involved with if you have the time. It just means that you commit to keeping a certain area of your choosing clean for the summer.

Other things you can do to reduce litter:

  1. Call people out: this is especially true for smokers. If you see someone toss a cigarette butt, and you don't feel in physical danger from them, let them know that you don't appreciate it.
  2. Don't produce it: use reusable mugs and bags to cut back on the production of garbage.
  3. Buy less crap. Speaks for itself.

 

A Different Kind of Market Report

If you've somehow stumbled upon this "Market Report" hoping to get an update on your IBM or Bear Stearns stock, please move on - nothing to see here. If, on the other hand, you've come here because you're interested in local food in Edmonton, come on in.

When it comes to "eating green", vegetables have it all over meat (despite the advancements in "in vitro meat"!). Even better, if you can eat in-season, organic, locally-grown produce, you've hit the trifecta.

For those of us without the benefit of a garden in our backyard (or a backyard at all for that matter), the farmers' market is our best source of locally-grown produce, much of which is grown organically. Beyond the environmental benefits, the vegetables are fresher, they taste better, and you can often talk to the folks who grew it.  read more... »

Stop Junk Mail

Don't you hate junk mail? I hate junk mail. Most activities have an impact. Burn coal to keep the lights on in hospitals? Go for it. Burn natural gas to keep us warm in winter? Okay. Rape and pillage the earth to make paper for junk mail? Stupid. Really stupid.

95% of people toss it in the garbage or the blue bin. For the green-minded, though, recycling junk mail isn't enough. We need to stop it from coming in the first place, and here's how:  read more... »