I’d rather be lickin’ than stickin’ (Day 360)…

February 23, 2008

green stamp

I went to buy stamps the other day, and because I’m at the point where I start going postal at the mere prospect of waste, I felt outraged that the stamps came as stickers, not the paper tear-offs you can lick. This of course meant that the set included a non-recyclable wax paper backing.

I went online, trying to find out if there was any way possible of getting the licky kind instead of the sticky kind these days, but it was hopeless.

However, I then saw that Canada Post had this site where you could design your own postage stamp, which gave me an idea.

If I came up with a stamp that had a green message on it, it might at least encourage others to not waste as much. So I created the one you see above — I was going to put ‘reuse’ instead of ‘recycle’ but I figured most people wouldn’t be willing to make that commitment — and will now be able to spread eco-awareness as far as the postal system can carry it.


A pine box and a compostable urn (Day 359)…

February 22, 2008

bios urn

In case you couldn’t tell from that subject heading, today’s post is taking a turn for the morbid (I figured it was appropriate seeing as my challenge is nearing its final resting place). So for all those who are easily depressed, have a major phobia of death or just don’t feel like tackling this issue right now, move right along. Maybe check out CuteOverload or something.

Anyway, the other reason I’m bringing up death is because my lawyer recently suggested that, because I own a house now, I might want to start thinking about my will.

And the older I get (I’m almost… *gulp*… 29), the more I realize that the last thing I want to happen when I kick the bucket is for my loved ones to deal with a whole bunch of financial and logistical crap. Furthermore, ever since turning a green leaf, I’ve also realized that I don’t want to burden the planet on my way out the door, either.

I recalled Crunchy’s post on the subject from way back when (what’s with my Crunchy obsession these days?). She concluded, in the end, that the most environmentally sound option is either burial in an eco-cemetery, where you don’t get any special accoutrements, or cremation in a pine, cardboard or biodegradable box, as long as your teeth don’t have fillings (the mercury gets fired up into the air).

Reading through the comments, which suggested various alternatives, from vulture-picking sky burials to Ecopods to reef balls, and of course there’s always the option of donating your corpse to science (or, um, Body Worlds), I was most moved by DC‘s idea for what to do with the ashes — put them in a compostable urn with seeds so that a tree grows wherever you plant it (that’s the Bios Urn in the photo above. I’m not sure what the ‘recycled head’ symbol means… maybe it’s just a quirky Euro design?).

This means no formaldehyde or embalming fluid, no need to manufacture and/or ship a fancy coffin, no cemetery maintenance, etc. On top of this, I think I may also specify no flowers wrapped in cellophane and no hearse — unless it’s a hybrid. Ooh, maybe it could even be a bicycle funeral! A no-impact ceremony! (OK, sorry, getting carried away here)

Either way, I think I’ll definitely refer people to The Natural Burial Co-Op here in Canada if they’re not sure about anything, and in general ask that, when in doubt, always go for the simplest option available — that way, I can truly rest in peace.

Bios Urn image resurrected from this website

A green hole in the wall (Day 358)…

February 21, 2008

hole in the wall

I know this whole project is nearing its close, and I know I promised big changes, but you’re going to have to put up with a few more baby steps.

Here’s two reasons why:

1) a single big change usually ends up negating a lot of little changes I’ve already made, which seems silly — for example, turning off my electricity would pretty much cancel out my CFL bulbs, PeakSaver initiative, Bullfrog Power, showers in the dark, turning lights off when I leave the room, not using a dishwasher or having cable, air-drying my clothes and so on); and 2) well, this whole challenge was originally about taking a lot of small steps rather than making enormous sacrifices.

So today, I’ve decided to support holey walls. No, not holy walls — holey walls, as in the kind that once had big, heavy picture frames hanging on them and now have crumbly holes where the nails used to be. Normally, I’d go hit up Canadian Tire for some Poly filla, a plaster-like substance you squeeze into the holes before scraping over them. Apparently it’s “cellulose based,” which doesn’t sound so bad, but it still comes in a plastic tube.

Instead, however, I’m going take the slacker route and just cover them up with… more pictures! No one will see them that way and it involves less product, not to mention one less receipt (Canadian Tire insists on printing those endlessly long suckers out).

Another option might be some sort of homemade plaster, but I’m a little nervous about filling my walls with flour and water.

Photo punched out from over here

R.I.P. Duke’s

February 20, 2008

Insane. I was wondering why I’ve been hearing helicopters all this morning — turns out there’s been a massive six-alarm fire in Toronto, just down the street from me. Worst of all is that Duke’s Cycle (weirdly, they had recently removed the “on Queen” from their URL), which is where I bought Quentin, burned right to the ground. The smoke in these photos really puts any sort of momentary car exhaust to shame…

Lending a pushing hand (Day 357)…

February 20, 2008

a pushing hand

OK, confession time: You see that little tagline up there, underneath the Green as a Thistle banner? That bit where it says I’m gonna try to be green without being smug about it?

Well, I have to say, the past few days I’ve been sitting here listening to the sound of car tires spinning (I’m back in the city, by the way, after some technical difficulties); and while a more earnest environmentalist might hear such a noise and think, “Oh no! All that pollution going up in the air for nothing! I better run out and give that poor driver a push!” (Earnest people speak with a lot of exclamation points, by the way), I’ve been quite content to sit inside, minding my own car-free business, shaking my head back and forth and tsk tsk tsk-ing that if only people would stop driving cars, we wouldn’t have this problem.

But this isn’t right. I’ve been stuck in that situation and I know how frustrating it is — not to mention the embarrassment that’s suffered as everyone walks by on the sidewalk, staring pitifully as you attempt to gas, brake, gas, brake, gas, brake, rocking back and forth to no avail as the exhaust pipe spews toxic fumes all around. It sucks. Period.

So now, instead of judging, I’m going to put my coat on, go out there and help push these poor folks out. If it’s a Hummer, I’m not gonna lie — there may be some purposeful hestitation. But most people on my street drive Volvos and Volkswagens, so it should be just fine.

Photo pushed all the way from rachsnedic on Flickr

The skinny on bathing suits (Day 356)…

February 19, 2008


Let’s face it — trying on bikinis and bathing suits is depressing. In my case, I don’t think it’s depressing because I’m ugly or have too much junk in the trunk (sadly, I barely even have a trunk at all), it’s more due to the fact that standing in a cramped closet under fluorescent lighting in the middle of the afternoon after eating a carb-heavy lunch and listening to idiotic tweens in the store giggling about spandex thongs just isn’t very fun.

But recently, as I was browsing through the archives of Ideal Bite, I found this cute little tip: frequent nude beaches and skinny dip.

This effectively gets around the entire issue: you don’t have to wear anything, try anything on, blow the bank account on ill-fitting spandex or waste water cleaning it afterwards.

Now, while I’m more than happy to sleep in the nude, swimming naked is a bit more tricky. I can’t exactly go to any beach I want and just strip down to the buff, and if certain people are around — like coworkers, fathers, and, well, just about every dude I know except for maybe two or three ridiculously close friends — it’s not going to happen.

However, the next time I have the opportunity to go swimming, be it on vacation or at a cottage or while camping or just here in Toronto during the summer, I’m going to make a point of hitting the nude beaches and bonding with Mother Nature in my birthday suit.

I realize this is kind of cheating because I probably won’t have the opportunity to do this in the next 10 days (omg! 10 days left! w00t!), but how’s this: I, Vanessa Farquharson, hereby solemnly swear that regardless of my year-long green challenge coming to an end, I officially pledge to swim naked the next time I am anywhere near a body of water and my boss and/or father aren’t around. That work?

Photo towel-snapped from Warner Strauss on Flickr

Freezing? Get yer T-shirt here to prove it!

February 18, 2008

freezing t-shirt

OK, not to keep dwelling on how great Miss Crunchy is, but when I was reading one of her update posts on the Freeze Yer Buns Challenge and saw the rather, erm, pointed photograph accompanying it, I was inspired to make some T-shirts (and hoodies, and undies) for all those who’ve been keeping their thermostats down and are proud of it!

It’s through CafePress, so I apologize if the prices are steep, but hey — they’ve at least got an organic cotton shirt and some new darker colours for those of us who don’t look so hot in white. So check it out! (Oh, and P.S. I mistakenly thought it was called the Freeze Yer Buns Off Challenge — sorry about that. But hey, you get the idea).