Since 1988, the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) has been promoting earth-awareness and educating the public about environmental protection and respect for the natural world that we live in. As Vancouver’s Stanley Park is one of the largest and most well-developed city parks in the world, the SPES is actively engaging in urban park conservation and stewarding ecological concerns.
This year, the non-profit organization has put together a new show named ‘Creatures of the Night Theatrical Walks’ to entice the public and focus their attention on eco matters in conjunction with the annual Stanley Park Ghost Train ride and Haunted Farmland adventure from October 08-31, 2010.
Join ’Ricky The Raccoon’ as he strives to break away from some bad eating habits and become a true nocturnal creature. Ricky will take you on a walking tour which starts from 5 PM and on the hour until 9 PM (Tue to Sat only). Come and be connected with nature! [$3 children, $4 adult & $10 group]
The Stanley Park Ecology Society
VIDEO – SPES Creatures of The Night Theatrical Walks call
Stanley Park Miniature Train, Vancouver BC
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As the City of Vancouver web site points out, only 3% of the fresh water in the world is fresh water and less than 1% is available for human consumption. So water is a very precious resource and we shall conserve it whenever we can. There are 3 reservoirs in the Vancouver area: Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam. These reservoirs collect rain water and snow melts. Especially in the dry summer months, water level at these reservoirs can run quite low and citizens are advised to save water. Some of the water in your home is heated, knowing how to conserve water cuts your energy bill as well. Visit the Water Conservation web page for details.
Sustainable water use
Vancouver Lawn sprinkling regulations
Water Conservation Hot line #: (604) 873-7000
Vancouver’s Capilano Reservoir holds fresh water collected from rain and snow-melt
Capilano Reservoir and Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver
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At the Vancouver Board of Trade on May 20, 2010, Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said that last year we ate more farm fishes than those caught in the ocean, lakes and rivers. And that’s because of climate change. He did not go on to explain why, but the theory is that the warmer oceans and rivers are upsetting marine habitat which in turns depleted the salmon and other fish stocks.
Just recently, research scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) believed that salmons that spent a longer time in the Fraser River’s warm temperature (20-degree in the summer) had a higher chance of dying from parasite infection like sea-lice. Though it may not be related (which still has to be determined), the low salmon return to the Fraser River to spawn have lead the BC government to close the Fraser River for sockeye salmon fishing in the last three years. And it is not just BC. The U.S government also closed commercial salmon fishing along the California and Oregon coast in 2009. Earlier this year, Ecojustice, an environmental legal group threatened legal action against the DFO because the federal agency allowed a fish farm in BC to expand without first doing a proper environmental assessment. Some have blamed the BC fish farm industry for causing sea-lice infestations in wild salmon stocks. The world seems to be increasingly posing tougher questions for corporations and asks them to act responsibly and pay more attention to sustainable development. Clinton’s speech in Vancouver simply reinforces that.
To understand how our desire to develop and have better lives could have environmental consequences, we just have to look at the construction of the Olympic Village. Here, part of Falsecreek Southeast was land-filled and some habitat both on land and in the water were destroyed which caused the DFO to be concerned at first. In response to that and to act responsibly, the City of Vancouver conferred with environmental scientists and consultants. The solution was to built a man-made Habitat Island at Olympic Village to re-introduce marine habitat and flora back into the area. So far that appears to be working. And the Olympic Village is now being recognized as the World’s Greenest Neighborhood. That is all because sustainability has been the guiding principle of the Millennium Water Olympic Village development.
President Clinton’s arrival in Vancouver and his keynote speech on climate change, social inequality, corporate and individual global citizenry couldn’t be more timely to the problems the world is facing today. As the 42nd U.S. president said we all have to do our part, each and everyone of us. In his own words, Bill Clinton said, “We have to do what we can to build up the positive forces of our inter-dependence” and “what we can to reduce the negatives.” Bravo!
Ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton was given a Talking Stick by a First Nations heredity chief after the keynote speech. Standing next to him (photo right) was Carole Taylor, BC politician and former chair of the Vancouver Board of Trade and the evening’s host.
Olympic Village, 181, 1st Avenue West, Vancouver BC, Canada
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According to the city of Vancouver, each year the average household produces 834 kg or 1,839 lbs of garbage. So it is important to recycle or recondition items to reduce waste.
Recycling depot locations in Greater Vancouver areas: Greater Vancouver Garbage, Recycling, and Waste Directory
Recycling info: Recycling Council of BC
Video taken at Vancouver South Transfer Station, 377 W. Kent Ave. North, Vancouver, BC.
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The proposed mega gambling and entertainment site is located at Yaletown and adjacent to the BC Place stadium. The deal is almost as good as go, although there will be a public hearing later for zoning development. Yet there are some design issues that have to be ironed out.
The city government doesn’t like the initial design that Paragon Gaming had put forth.
Paragon, a Vegas company, owns the Edgewater Casino on the BC Place land and the license for the casino will expire in mid-2013. So Paragon is anxious to move forward with the project in time for Edgewater to movie into. And PacCo, the crown corporation that owns the land and arranged a deal with Paragon, promised to try and expedite the zoning process with the city.
The new casino complex will have three times the casino space for Edgewater to expand into or about 100,000 sq ft. However, any delay by the city would mean a lost of cash for Paragon. And here is Vancouver who wants green too but it ain’t about money.
City planning director Brent Toderian indicated this a great chance for Vancouver to build a ‘green urban casino’. Toderian also cited the new Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) that housed the international press for the 2010 Olympics as a fine example of what Vancouver is looking for.
The waterfront structure has work spaces in the centre of the building while corridors and hallways circled around the outer edges of the building with floor to ceiling windows providing an unobtrusive harbour view of the great city of Vancouver.
I think the city probably would like it even more if Paragon can come up with some innovative ideas that have environmental values in them. For example, the VCC has a 6-acre living roof with local plants growing on it to mediate the temperature of the building so it can have a cooler summer and warmer winter and it helps in rainwater reuse as well. This together with some other features like an undersea habitat to sustain coral and other ocean lives earned the VCC a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Canada Platinum rating.
The new casino which is scheduled to be finished by mid-2012 will generate $130 Million a year in gambling revenue for the province. The BC Place is actually provincial land managed by PavCo, a crown corporation, so how much influence Vancouver can have in this matter will help decide how green the casino complex will eventually be.
Right now, after the 2010 Olympic Opening and Closing ceremonies, BC Place has one other show this year and that’s the Vancouver International Auto Show which is currently going on until Sunday April 04. Immediately after that, BC Place will close and renovation work will start in May this year to allow the retractable roof to be built.
BC Place will reopen again by mid-2011 in time for the Grey Cup games.
What surprises me the most is the easy acceptance of this casino/two hotel complex proposal in Vancouver. At least there is no public outcry just yet, unlike it had in the mid-1990s when a similar idea named the Seaport Centre was conceived. Perhaps Vancouver had indeed grown up. After the 2010 Olympics exercise that the city and its citizens had endured in the last few years, we realized what the pay-off of an event like that could mean to the city in terms of worldwide approval. Yes, we are now finally a world-class city that welds a certain power which other cities can only envy.
In the past, most Vancouverites focused on the negatives that such a gaming project can bring. Those adverse effects still exist for the critics, but citizens now seem more interested in the benefits and also expressed a quiet acknowledgement that if the city were to continue to prosper, it needs this kind of initiatives. So let’s get on with it instead of voting against it.
If that turns out to be true, I say that’s a welcoming change.
The giant poster was the largest of its kind in Canada measuring 380 ft tall x 111 ft wide and it featured 2010 Olympic Women’s Freestyle Skier Kristi Richards.
The material was made of Graphic Film manufactured by 3M Canada. Normally such a material cannot be recycled, but 3M has developed a way to do that. However, the job has to be done outside Canada.
It takes about seven days to remove the poster and the workers started the job last week, so by today, it should be pretty well done. The material will then be shipped to a recycling plant in New Jersey to be ground up and used as a binding agent in limestone tiles.
The company, Mannington, a flooring manufacturer developed the first known way of recycling post-use adhesive-backed graphic materials.
So the 2010 Olympics had been a catalyst that encouraged a firm like 3M to look for ways to reduce the environmental impact of its commercial waste.
Actually, it doesn’t mean that the plane was using any sort of leading-edge combustible like one made from algae. All planes fly on ‘dirty’ jet fuel. What they mean by ‘Fly Carbon Neutral’ is that they help you find a way to offset the carbon emission for you since you fly with them.
Sometimes the airline company gives you a choice such as planting trees or contribute to a company that engages in reducing carbon footprints.
Whichever way, you paid extra to gain a better conscience. Not a lot mind you. If you fly a private jet, this extra expense is generally less than 1% of your ticket cost. Flying commercial airlines, you pay a higher percentage since the tickets price is lower.
No doubt that the Sustainable Product Index is a Walmart’s long term goal. Short term, the company is taking some immediately actionable initiatives.
Besides, encouraging suppliers to drop PVC packaging, Walmart would also install efficient LED lighting that can eliminate 35 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually. The giant consumer goods seller also plans to educate consumers about compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), and hopes to sell hundreds of millions of them. The result would be saving the equivalent output of several coal-fired power plants which pollute the environment.
Working with BP and SunPower, Walmart is actively putting solar panels on the roofs of its own stores in California and Hawaii to generate power for its own store operation.
So what can we do as a consumer? As individuals, how can we take part in reducing our own carbon footprint?
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says that we can accomplish a great deal by simply making some small changes in our daily habits. The NRDC is an environmental action group in the U.S. aiming at reducing global warming and create a clean energy future.
Beyond finding ways to slow climate change, the NRDC urged Americans to do a number of things.
First of all, the United States is the world’s second largest emitter of global warming pollution, pumping 7 billion tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) each year. But by paying attention to home energy use, transportation, food consumption and waste, Americans can help reduce one billion tons of carbon pollution.
That’s a 15% reduction which can be done at little or no cost. Nor will it severely affect our lifestyle. It isn’t hard to do at all, says NRDC.
Specific recommendations include reducing unwanted catalog subscriptions, decreasing vehicle idling, using a programmable thermostat would help cut down greenhouse gas emission also. Other recommended practices are replace lightbulbs with CFLs, set computers to hibernate mode, turn off unused lights often and eat poultry instead of red meat two days a week.
Such changes will not only reduce carbon emissions, but will save on home energy, transportation and food costs as well.
All is swell, but Americans are a nation of people of extravagance and waste. So how does NRDC actually plan to convince people to cut back?
NRDC seems to believe that the key to accomplish that is for people to realize that they aren’t doing this alone but others are doing it with them as well. Collectively, everyone’s contributions will aggregate and together we would make a difference.
Not quite scientific and it relies on quite a bit of a herd mentality.
Will it work?
NRDC thinks so and they are working with the Garrison Institute’s Climate Mind and Behavior symposium group to shift public behavior on a large scale. They think that the opportunity exists right now to apply their principles and insights in a concerted manner which will get people to adopt them faster.
Participants in the symposium were asked to form social groups to sketch out community projects and network them with building managers. All designed to actualize and accelerate the massive potential for positive climate impacts through individual choices and behavior shifts.
Certainly quite complex but it seems to have what it takes to handle a problem which ties into our very own existence.
The environmental cause requires a critical mass.
We have probably moved pass the early-adaptor stage. However, a little education is still necessary for sustainability to progressively advancing to mainstream practices.
I think the best thing is when it comes down to a very individual level, each and everyone of us can make a contribution for a better world tomorrow.