Friday, April 27, 2012

Pitch In Britannia - pt 2

Yesterday, the Latin American Youth came out and did their part for our Green Team by donning pretty green gloves and helping to clean up the side streets around our complex.

Many thanks to our Pitch In Britannia volunteers Maria, Leilany, Kadeesha, Jorge, Ricardo, Alexis, Manuel, Brenda!

In less than an hour we were able to clean up litter from 10 blocks nearby, and once everything was compiled we had 3 full bags of garbage, and a bag of things to recycle as well.

With all hands in we were able to make a small difference for our community and be a part of the Pitch In Canada week as well.

Who's up for another clean up event in May so we can be a part of Keep Vancouver Spectacular month?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let's talk about bins

Over the Earth Day weekend I enlisted my family to participate in the Green City Race, organized by Evergreen (an uber cool environmental group that brings amazing green projects to cities and schools across Canada). I wrote about our amazing family adventure in my Tales of a Green City Racer on our family blog, but I first want to thank Sandy and Kia (Info Centre staff extraordinaire) who both took a quick turn trying to help us answer clues on our racing journey.

As our cell phones are not the smart kind we needed 'phone-a-friend' back ups with internet access that we could call upon. In true Green Team spirit they both patiently tried to look up what we needed to move on when we called - and our family really appreciated them sharing a moment to help keep us going! :)

Not only was my Green Team brain actively imagining all the wonderful places that could be mapped out around Britannia for a similar community-scale green race event (one day my friends), I also found myself thinking about our recycling challenges!

One way we could earn bonus points during the race was to take pictures of at least one teammate posing with an item from their recommended list - and one was 'posing with various garbage/recycling containers'. So, I actually had a reason to take pictures of garbage and recycling bins that day (as opposed to all the times I do it just for fun)!

If  I could wave a magic wand to transform the Britannia complex into a landscape of holistic waste management that everyone could love, the number one thing I would wish to appear with a blink of an eye is containers everywhere they are needed.

Alas, I have no fairy magic. I pretend I do every day with my daughter, but haven't yet figured out how to make my fairy magic abilities into 'reality'.

There is magic in the sharing of ideas though, so here is where I ask all of you green keeners to recommend what kind of bins and things we might want to consider as possibilities for our site.

I'll start the discussion off by sharing random photos of some of my favourite bins, and you can all share your comments below with what you like, or don't and why. While it's all hypothetical is the perfect time to air out all the pros and cons of each bin model, and perhaps have fun with the debate around them.

Today I'll start with bins we need for the public spaces on our site. Don't worry, I will get to the bins we need for staff areas and other spaces (and compost bins too) in another post or three that I know you all can't wait for! ;P

People that use the various facilities on site have nowhere to recycle most things. We have vending machines on site, but not a lot of places for people to recycle those drink containers unless they ask the staff.

We have places for people to sit and read, but nowhere for them to recycle their newspapers unless they are in the library.

It should be easy for the users of our facilities to dispose of things responsibly and by increasing the number of bins, odds are they actually will. So an option I would love to see in public areas is something similar to:this RIO*CAN model on the left; a simple 3 bin option found in Creekside Community Centre;

or one of these totally awesome Big Belly Solar Trash Compactors with side attachment for recyclables.

Please don't be shy about sharing photos of your own favourite bins! What do you think of a something like this one that Robert shared with me?

Our community complex is also full of people during the year when we host our amazing events like the upcoming Stone Soup Festival. So what do you think of a Zero Waste Station like this one for Britannia events?

Many people say "why not just call the City and order some bins?" - but actually placing bins on site is only one part of the solution. I have realized this topic is one of many opinions, so we might as well get the dialogue going around these things together in various ways (like here on this blog where comment threads can provide space to unravel ideas), and once we've contemplated what kind of bins we need and why, we can start to consider what will be needed to deal with any of these potential new bins on site.

While working our way towards something truly magical - the perfect place to dispose of every thing in a convenient way. I aim to work with all the varying relationships and community partnerships on site, because it is due to all of them together that make this place so amazing. By showing respect and consideration, we can ensure this change will be a stable, happy and long lasting one. 

So what do your dream recycle bins look like? C'mon...I can't be the only one that dreams about this stuff can I?
Even if you don't dream about it, your thoughts are still welcome here - so share away green keeners!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Just for fun I had to share this video I found of the Adventures of Eco-Man.

I thought it would be cool to have the ability to sense when power is being wasted, recycling is being thrown in the trash and other eco-detector skills. How fun it would be to show up in my cape with happy-go-lucky reminders to not be so wasteful good citizen!

Then I thought about how exhausting it would be to fly around nagging everyone all the time (even if playfully and full of kindness) and decided I need to come up with a better strategy for motivating my fellow green keeners at Britannia. It could be entertaining just once...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pitch-In Britannia

As part of Pitch-In Canada Week the Green Team is organizing a neighourhood clean up on
Thursday April 26th from 3:30-4:30pm.

We'll be meeting outside the Info Centre at 3:30, divide into teams and then each team will branch out into different directions for a good clean up of our community!

All you need to do is come prepared to roll up your sleeves and help declutter the streets with us. Equipment and snacks will be provided.

Spread the word and hope to see you there!

Please contact Kathy if you would like more information:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How many acts of green does it take?

This cheeky image (found on My Zero Waste)reminds me that I want to be the grandparent who says "the earth got pretty messed up for a while, but once people understood what was going on - we worked really hard to change our ways...and thankfully things have improved for your generation!"

For genuine change to happen we can't just be earth lovers on Earth Day. We need to think and act green EVERY day! Fortunately, since it was established in 1970, Earth Day has been instrumental in getting people to care for and raise awareness about all that needs to be done for the environment.

After 40 years of consciousness raising, today mama earth still needs our help. Many of the worst case scenarios that were predicted by the early environmental movement of the 70's have become the nightmare for a new generation to deal with.

The good news is there are an increasing number of changes (big and little!) moving us back towards environmental sustainability.

With Earth Day fast approaching, here are a few things to share with my keen-to-be-green community.

A Billion Acts of Green
The Earth Day Network has begun a Billion Acts of Green campaign asking folks to make a pledge for Earth Day.
You should visit the site just because it's cool...however if you just want to make a pledge here's the quick and easy way:

I added my own option which was to bring my own container and cutlery with me (and chopsticks) so I will never have to use disposable take out stuff again! An act I have thought of many times (and sometimes follow through on) that I am now pledging to make a daily habit. What will your act of green be this year? Share your pledge in the comments section below if you want to help me inspire others!

Earth Day Parade
Everyone loves a parade and on April 22nd the Commercial Drive neighbourhood will be alive with people celebrating in the Earth Day Parade! Organized by the Wilderness Committee, Youth for Climate Justice Now and Transformation Projects, this will be a fun-filled day for the whole family. The parade will begin at 11:00am at the Broadway Skytrain station, and head up the Drive to Grandview Park for a festival full of inspiration and music until 3pm.

Green City Race
The great organizers at Evergreen are challenging Vancouverites to an Amazing Race - Green style! On April 21st teams will be scurrying around town from 11am-2pm looking for clues, exploring green destinations and completing fun challenges to win prizes and bragging rights in this inaugural race. Who's ready to race with me?

Now you have a few options to consider, and you can visit Earth Day Canada site for more events all over the place, helpful resources and even more ideas to Take It Up another notch in your own way! When we all act - it makes a difference! :)