Tuesday, November 18, 2008

let's talk recycling

When I asked what we should be talking about next, the number 1 response I received was "recycling"...or lack there of.

So to start the dialogue within Team Green Brit I created a little survey to give us a sense of what is working, or not, and in what areas.

When you have a few minutes please check out the recycling survey and share your feedback.

Results will be tallied and reported out on at the end of the month.

"The case for recycling is strong. The bottom line is clear. Recycling requires a trivial amount of our time. Recycling saves money and reduces pollution. Recycling creates more jobs than landfilling or incineration. And a largely ignored but very important consideration, recycling reduces our need to dump our garbage in someone else's backyard."
- David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Monday, November 10, 2008

final tally and a new debate

Hey Britsters,

Here is the Final tally:
Yes, keep the water – 17
No, get rid of it – 16

Of the 49 people on my email list so far (still working on collecting emails for potential Team Green Brit members so this list is not conclusive!), 33 voted and 2 abstained for a total of 35 participants. 71% is not a bad voter turn out! ;)

Most people who voted also had ideas and concerns to share which shows this is not a simple choice for many. And 63% of those who voted (whether the vote was yay or nay) are actually in favour of a filtration system of some sort instead of the bottled water.

I'm compiling info on some alternatives and if any of you know of good companies or filtration systems to look into I could use your help gathering this data! Send me a quicky email with your suggestions please!

I've heard from many that this was all done in the past, and it was a good struggle to get the bottled water here for us to enjoy...but perhaps with today's technologies we may have some better options than the last time this was debated. Given the feedback I received I'd say it's worth a look anyway.
Let's hear it for our brothers and sisters that fought for our current thirst quenching option and build on their success by ensuring what we have meets the needs of the majority today!

It was great to have so many of you participating, sharing articles and comic strips and more…a good start to the Team Green Brit intiative which is all about seeing what we can do together to decrease our collective footprint on mama earth.

Cheers to Pat for starting this debate, and now she can take the feedback report I'm working on to the Board for review when its done. I will also send it to the email list and post a summary on the blog. I'm sure you'll all be waiting on pins and needles for the exciting conclusion - hehehe.

Now…when I asked 'what should we debate next?' I received a lot of ideas from you keeners. But I have to say that the #1 hottest topic is recycling - and the lack thereof around the complex.

So. As a community complex what are we doing right? What are we doing wrong?
Let's here your thoughts and suggestions please…

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

water power

At Worldchanging.com they are running a series of cartoons called Earthly Ideas, and since we're talking about water these days I thought you all might appreciate this one on the power of water and wave energy.

FYI - the tally for the bottled water debate will continue until October 31. since last week only one more vote has spoken up bringing our total so far to:
yes - 6 : no - 7

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

a water vote

We're casting votes on bottled water here at Britannia, and for anyone who hasn't been a part of the email dialogue (I'm still working on collecting emails of all of you interested in the Team Green Brit intitiative)...here's the recap:

Pat's email that started the water vote:
Thanks a bunch for taking on this initiative. I think it's great, and even better, it gives me a forum for starting a discussion about bottled water. I know that the staff years ago agitated to get bottled water (the water cooler in the front office workroom) which, I believe, the Brit Board pays for. My concerns are several: (1) that the water that comes from private systems is less regulated than civic water supplies and often has more contaminants in it (i.e., less safe); (2) that the water probably comes from some rural aquifer that is draining the water away from farmers trying to grow food (this is not a confirmed fact, but seems highly likely); and (3&4) that the water comes in plastic bottles that may be leaching all kinds of chemicals into the water (a safety issue) and at the same time, are using up increasingly scarce oil resources to manufacture the bottles (a "mama earth" issue); and finally, (5) that there are better ways to spend the money! When you think about the alternative, tap water, which we already pay for, is highly regulated and tested for safety, tastes pretty darn good, and comes out of an enormous reservoir that isn't putting a whole group of rural farmers out of business: what could be bad?
And if people Really, Really want COLD water, let's keep a jug of it in the fridge! That's my rant! Cheers, Pat D :-)

Jim's reply email:
Hi Patricia,
Thanks for the email and your concerns regarding the bottled water.
Last week we filled the pool with darn good city water but it looked all green like full of algae. It took five days of filtration and lots of chemical to make it safe for swimmers.
In my opinion the tap water is not clean. We see it everytime when we fill the pool. It is filled with same water we drink out of the tap. In huge quantity it looks and is green. In small quantity it is looks clean and it is not.

Then at a meeting I was tasked with getting out the vote on the matter, so
here was what I sent out:
Pat raised a bunch of great points (Concerns 1-5 are all legit). I'm certain there have been some companies which have taken water by depleting ground water sources in rural areas, and some companies have even been proven guilty of simply bottling tap water. The amount of resources and energy required to make the bottles (even if they are made from recycled content) and transport them is another factor to consider.

Jim's concern about the quality of the city water can be a valid one. We do have boil advisories now and again, but overall our water is tested and proven safe for consumption.

At a meeting this morning we started a poll on whether we need to continue to purchase the bottled water for the copier room for staff...and

now it's your turn! Please reply to this email with a simple YES or NO and I will tally the results to pass on for consideration.

For any of you who would like to look into the matter further before deciding, here's a few to start you off:
- Council of Canadians has a national campaign on water with lots of info and resources such as a Bottled Water fact sheet http://canadians.org/water/index.html, and the Polaris Institute also has a citizen campaign at http://www.insidethebottle.org/
- Q & A on bottled water at Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/facts-faits/faqs_bottle_water-eau_embouteillee-eng.php
- Canadian Bootled Water Association which represents the companies makign the profit off bottled water http://www.cbwa.ca/
- CBC Marketplace on Bottled Water http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/food/bottledwater/index.html
- Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottled_water

thanks in advance for your votes! if you haven't cast a vote yet, either post a comment here, or email me at kathy.whittam@vancouver.ca

current vote standings on whether we keep the water or not:
yes - 5 : no - 7

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Welcome Team Green Brit!

Hey Britsters!

to go along with our staff bulletin board in the photocopier room I thought a blog where we can post comments, articles, links etc would be a nice added bonus to inspire Team Green Brit.

Team Green Brit is anyone and everyone who works at Britannia - Info Centre staff, Programmers, Child Care, Pool, Rink, Fitness Centre, Library, Schools, Engineers, program instructors, management and Board members - that would like to help make this place the greenest community hub in the city!

stay tuned for more...