Sierra Club Blog Posts

This page shows a collection of all of Sierra Club Canada's blog posts, shown in chronological order. To view the full post, click on its title.

Wrapping up week one

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind, really. Between analyzing and responding to the Speech from the Throne and the 2010 Federal Budget, and personal activities in the evening (like open mics and dance lessons), I haven't found the time to keep up on my blogging! Sincere apologies. (But you didn't miss anything too exciting, I promise.)... Read more »

Dishes Pt. 2 : Recycling dish water (Day 3)

So doing dishes last night took quite some time (30-45 minutes), but only about 1.685 L of water or so, so that's not bad considering the amount (and the quality) of dishes I did.

Overall, I used 10.514 L of water yesterday, even with the dishes! --AND the best part is that I got to recycle 1.89 L of that into my toilet tank to offset when I flush. Recycling water? Yes. Totally. It's called soft path. I'm going to be talking about it a lot this month.

 ... Read more »

Doing dishes on a water budget.

Day 2.

So far, so good. In fact, I'm surprised at how little water I've used so far! Yesterday totalled a whopping 10.11 L for the entire day. --That being said, I did eat lunch at a restaurant and dinner at a friend's house, so I guess I 'outsourced' the water used to wash those dishes (though I did avoid bringing home styrofoam, which Ottawa isn't yet recycling).

I also drank a 355mL gingerale that I didn't factor in.

Moving forward, I think I'm going to avoid bottled or canned beverages for the rest of the month, and also avoid eating at restaurants as much as possible.... Read more »

Last night I took my last shower...

-- For the month of March, that is! 
You see, I've decided that, if I'm going to talk about water efficiency and conservation, I should walk the talk and, you know, challenge myself every once and a while. 
The average Canadian uses a whopping 329 Litres of water per day --to use a tangible comparison, this is the equivalent of 658 water bottles (though bottled water is, or course, terrible for the environment). We are, next to Americans, the worst water wasters in the world. Europeans use an average of 150 Litres per capita per day (Lpcd), and we're over double that! 
 ... Read more »

Letters to Ottawa

I recently wrote two letters (which can be found below) to Ottawa City Council over two separate, but related issues in regard to urban sprawl and a proposed road that will adversely affect the future of a local endangered population of Blanding's Turtle.

Sierra Club Canada is a grassroots organization.  We have representation throughout Canada and part of the reason for our existence is to help out local communities.  Our current efforts around the Blanding's Turtle are not unique.  As an example, in Comox Valley, British Columbia we are currently in court to prevent a gas station from being built on a watershed.... Read more »


When a turtle isn't just a turtle

Here in Ottawa, at the national office, we primarily deal with national/federal issues.  Our chapters deal with regional/provincial issues and our local groups obviously deal with local issues.

Nonetheless, sitting around the office one staff meeting day, a  local Ottawa population of Blanding's Turtle made it into the conversation.  This species of turtle is a very distinctive, fairly large turtle with a yellow belly and can live to be 75 years old.  They are also listed as a threatened species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and as an endangered species by the 2007 Ontario Endangered Species Act.

These turtles call a pristine piece of wetland home, which is located just a short drive from Parliament Hill and is one of the few remaining large swaths of green space in Ottawa.... Read more »

Ignorance, Attachment and Aversion

Sierra Club Canada was called extremist last week by a Saskatchewan radio personality in an article published in the Regina Star Phoenix.

Why is a bald father of three who is concerned about what kind of future his daughters will have an "extremist"? Why is wasting a billion dollars of taxpayers' money not a matter of concern to a person with Mr. Gormley's political outlook? These are questions that had my head shaking this week.

For our society to progress and flourish we must eliminate: ignorance, attachment and aversion. Mr. Gormley appears to be clinging tightly to all three. His path of pointing figures and calling names is a symptom.

The well-funded disinformation campaign of the climate change deniers is playing on our ignorance of science, our attachment to our lifestyle and our aversion to change.... Read more »

Shell’s Disguised Ad Campaigns

Anyone out there been looking through the weekend Canwest papers lately? – You may have noticed this great read.

It seems Shell Canada has taken it upon itself to explain climate change. Apparently scraping up and burning every glob of tar in Alberta is part of the solution. And a lot of nice photogenic people work for Shell too!

What I don't understand is why the company is so shy about letting us readers know it is paying Canwest to print full-page ads in its papers across the country.... Read more »

Shell & Canwest bring you an "Information feature"

We've been chatting the past couple days, here in the office, over an interesting full page article...err..."special information feature on climate change" that has appeared in the Ottawa Citizen (and the National Post, Calgary Herald, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, and possibly others) the past couple of weekends. 

Indeed, it is quite unclear what this thing is.  It looks like a regular newspaper article, has nice pictures, is seemingly well-written, and would appear to be written by a legitimate journalist.  Yet, something isn't quite right.

The full title reads "New Energy Future: The Energy Challenge and Environmental Responsibility."  So far so good.  I'm intrigued really - until the next line that is: "A six-week Canwest special information feature on climate change, in partnership with Shell Canada."  ... Read more »

The Blackmail Begins

One of the reasons I still read the newspaper (besides being old) is the chance you might come across something you're not looking for.  You can't google, "What might be important or interesting?"

I was flipping through the Globe and Mail this morning and accidentally discovered a case of corporate blackmail.  It was subtle and I would not have spotted it without the words "environmental rules" in the title (Yes, I could have googled "environmental," but I would have received thousands of meaningless hits).

UTS Energy Corp apparently owns 20% of the proposed Foot Hills tar sands mine and last week it announced it was lowering its estimate of the recoverable bitumen (natural form of tar) reserves.  The company says only 490 million barrels can be economically extracted from the 2 to 4 billion barrels at the site.  Why is this?... Read more »

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