waste reduction


This is the house at #### - ## Avenue. Sometime in June, it will be demolished by a backhoe to make way for a home that needs 95% less energy, and produces all of it from the sun: the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH). I'm going to deconstruct the house as much as possible before its demise in order to minimize the environmental impact of it reaching the end of its useful life.  read more... »


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.


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... »

Reuse is the second "R"

I've never understood people who buy new books. Even before I became concerned about the earth's death spiral, I just didn't understand why someone would pay $20 for a book that they could borrow for free from the library.  read more... »