Culture & Celebrity

By on July 16th, 2008

On June 4th, Billabong hosted their 2nd Design for Humanity charity event. The first event was an opportunity for Billabong to give back to a non-profit close to the heart of their industry.

This year Design for Humanity will donate to the Surfrider Foundation. Retailers, celebrities, artists, and the general public had the opportunity to make a difference in this event. This one night of celebrating is animated by a bikini fashion show, a live band and art exposition.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and 80 chapters worldwide.

The core activities and campaigns that the Surfrider Foundation uses to protect our oceans, waves and beaches fall into the categories of Clean Water, Beach Access, Beach Preservation and Protecting Special Places.

By on July 11th, 2008

I am very happy to see that the Ottawa Bluesfest is concerned about the environment. When walking on the site to go to the Three Days Grace concert there were green t-shirts all over the place making sure that garbage was picked up and that recycling bags were changed regularly to ensure people would recycle.

I use Biodiesel in my tour buses and trucks, and I’m so excited to be playing a festival that’s gone green! said Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Bonnie Raitt, who headlined on the Bluesfest Main Stage in 2006.

What you see below is a PlascoEnergy green garbage can. The company and the City of Ottawa built a facility that will process up to 85

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tonnes per day of unsorted municipal solid waste and generate electricity to power the entire process and approximately 3600 Ottawa households. These cans were everywhere on the Bluesfest site.

In response to the positive feedback from the public for greening efforts over the past few years, Bluesfest organizers have decided to continue working with sponsors—specifically Molson Canada and Rothsay Biodiesel—to maintain specific initiatives for 2008.

I especially liked the plastic bottles and aluminum cans receptacle known as the ClearStream CycleMax that you see below. Field studies have proven that the ClearStream is extremely successful in the recovery of recyclable materials and greatly reduces the amount of litter sent to landfill sites. The transparency of the bag shows the public what they accomplish so they can appreciate the direct result of their participation in local recycling efforts.

By on June 20th, 2008

One of the many problems with trying to get people to live greener is the widely held view that it involves uncomfortable sacrifice.  For instance, at one end of the spectrum is the so-called “No Impact Man,” ( who made a well-publicized experiment of living in New York City for one year and attempting to have no net impact on the environment.  As you can imagine, this was quite the challenge and called for siginificant deprivation.  No fridge, no A/C (in the NY summer!), no TV, no electric lights.  And, in the most disgusting bit of denial, no toilet paper!  Of course, in the process of giving up all these creature comforts, No Impact Man found amazing new ways to bond with his family and has ended up remaining very low impact, preferring the mostly-off-the-grid lifestyle.  But that’s a topic for another day.  Most people would consider his lifestyle VERY uncomfortable.

But club-goers in London now have a new way to enjoy themselves AND draw very little power from the grid.  How do they do it?  Just by dancing.

According to London’s Evening Standard newspaper, come July 10, a rich real estate entrepreneur named Andrew Charalambous will be opening London’s first eco-dance club.

When London’s energetic dance youth arrive at the new club, they will be charged ten pounds entrance fee — unless they can prove they walked, rode a bike, or took public transportation.  In that case, entrance is free.  Drinks are served in cups made of eco-friendly polycarbonate cups.  And, gray water will flush the toilets.

But the most interesting thing about this club is its dance floor.  It is raised a few inches, supported by an array of short columns made of piezo-electric crystals, which generate electricity when compressed.  So, when the hordes of half-drunk young Londoners pogo madly to the beat of the latest endlessly repeated Euro-house dance loop, they will be generating up to 60% of the club’s electricity.

Charalambous and his new organization Club4Climate (dedicated to helping halt climate change) plan to open clubs in New York, Cape Town, and Rio.  Their motto: “All you have to do is dance to save the world.”

If only that were true.  But, this new club is — forgive the pun — a step in the right direction.

By on June 3rd, 2008

A high school teacher I know showed “The Story of Stuff” to a group of students the other day. It’s nothing they probably didn’t already know (except maybe some scary statistics that are worse than most people realize), but the way it is presented really makes you want to stop shopping for anything that is not a necessity. My favorite part was about how women were once valued for how thrifty they were…

By on May 17th, 2008

I went to the Canadian Tulip Festival yesterday and I was really frustrated when I saw this sign saying no bicycles. I told myself what kind of festival doesn”t accept that people travel on their bikes? The good thing is that I walked to the festival but still. So we go in and after about a minute of walking I saw some bike rakes beside the lower entrance. Not only I was relieved to see that but I was very happy to see that a lot of people were using them. Read more about the Canadian Tulip Festival after the jump.

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By on May 12th, 2008

A group of radiation-poisoned Torontonians stricken and dying on the sidewalk. Rescue teams with Geiger counters, stretchers and gas masks. This was the scene at several locations in downtown Toronto today where Greenpeace activists staged the aftermath of an accident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

The “street theatre” is part of Greenpeace’s campaign, which highlights the evacuation radius of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. If a similar accident occurred at Pickering – the world’s closest nuclear station to a major population centre – roughly 2.5 million people would be displaced from Yonge Street to Clarington.

The campaign is aimed at putting pressure on the McGuinty government to shut down the four Pickering “B” reactors when they reach the end of their operational life in 2014 instead of spending billions to rebuild them. The McGuinty government will decide whether it

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extend the life of the Pickering station in early 2009.

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By on April 29th, 2008

LONDON (Reuters) – Millions of the world”s poorest children are among the most vulnerable and unwitting victims of climate change caused by the rich developed world, a United Nations report said on Tuesday, calling for urgent action.

The UNICEF report “Our Climate, Our Children, Our Responsibility” measured action on targets set in the Millennium Development Goals to halve child poverty by 2015. It found failure on counts from health to survival, education and sex equality.

“It is clear that a failure to address climate change is a failure to protect children,” said UNICEF UK director David Bull. “Those who have contributed least to climate change — the world”s poorest children — are suffering the most.”

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By on April 28th, 2008


When it comes to a massive global crisis, it’s hard to place the blame on just one source. The global food shortage crisis is no different, though some are pointing their fingers at developed nations like the US.

Most people agree that the following are the major causes for the crisis:

Drought – Australia, home of the largest rice mill in the Southern Hemisphere and formerly the 2nd largest wheat exporter in the world, is currently in their 6th year of drought. This has reduced the country’s rice crop by 98%.

Biofuels – only developed nations would think that using corn for fuel is a good idea. According to the IMF, corn ethanol production in the US accounted for at least half the rise in world corn demand in each of the past three years.

Pricey oil – farmers need oil to produce fertilizer, run tractors, and transport goods to the consumer.

– the rising middle class in those two countries are increasing demand for food.

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