But ociffer, I’m getting drunked for the environments! (Day 187)…

September 3, 2007

keg costume

Some days call for a drink. Some days call for multiple drinks. True, mass consumption of anything is never very eco-friendly, but there are times when getting drunk is really unavoidable: a new job, for instance, calls for celebration; getting fired calls for, well, an even bigger celebration. And then there are occasions like your 19th birthday, St. Patty’s Day and the ultimate liver-wrecker: weddings with open bars.

But if you’re going to get blitzed, you might as well do it in as green a fashion as possible — drinking a pint of draught beer from a tap rather than out of a bottle is one way, as is buying wine in a two-litre jug rather than two separate one-litre bottles. And if you’re having a party at home, why not order a keg of beer from the local microbrewery instead of lugging home multiple cans held together by those bird-strangling plastic rings or those rattly cases of 24 individual bottles?

As of today, then, I’ll be ordering my local beer and organic cocktails in glasses, not bottles, and the next raging party I host will be offering booze the university student way: out of a keg (possibly with a funnel attached).

Redonkulous beer keg costume courtesy of this site


Time to ban the can (Day 136)…

July 14, 2007

Is anything that comes in a can good for you? I’m talking beverages here, like Coke, Sprite, Mountain Dew, Red Bull and so on. I can’t think of a single canned liquid that has any nutritional value whatsoever, but that’s just one reason why I’m banning them as of today — the other is that, while pop cans can be recycled, it’s always better to reduce, and with my trusty water bottle on me at all times, there’s really no reason to indulge in anything other than Toronto’s finest.

Sometimes I’d get beer in cans, but now that I’m drinking local stuff it’s always in bottles. I like the occasional iced tea, but I can always make my own. And I’m sure I’ll get the occasional craving for a Brio or a Limonata, but otherwise I think this change will be pretty easy, and by the end of the year, my pancreas will surely thank me.


Hopelessly fridgeless (Day 78)…

May 17, 2007

fridge

OK, listen up Little Blog in the Big Woods: I did it. I unplugged my fridge. Not just the freezer, the entire fridge. NO FRIDGE. Do I get green-freak status yet or what? (No offense, I mean, living off-the-grid is cool and all, but when you’re in the city, the grid is like a wealthy, temperamental uncle you somewhat resent yet hopelessly depend on for cold beer)

As you faithful readers know, this blog is all about baby steps. But the thing is, when I turned off my freezer, my fridge started getting warmer too, despite the fact that there are two separate dials. GreenYogini warned of this in her comment, but by then it was too late. I tried to figure out a system of occasionally switching the whole unit on for an hour, then leaving it off for the rest of the day, but it was getting far too complicated. In the end, I knew the only true green choice was to follow Greenpa and No Impact Man, and just unplug the whole darn thing.

I made sure to finish all my vegetables and dairy products first, then gradually started moving stuff to the pantry. Finally, I switched it off for good, leaving nothing other than my stale box of baking soda in there. On the one hand, it’s been interesting learning about all the things that didn’t really need to be refrigerated — at least for very long — in the first place (margarine, jams, potatoes, ketchup, mustard and most other condiments, apples, almond butter, blueberries, etc). But on the other hand, it’s been sad opening my cupboards to find yellow, wilted kale that was only a day old or some carrots that had gone bendy after less than 12 hours.

It also means no yogurt or soy milk, unless I consume it all within a day or keep it on my balcony while the weather is still relatively cool. As well, I now have to drink my water and beer at room temperature — to be honest, this hasn’t really bothered me yet, however I’m definitely not investing in any white wine or bubbly unless I buy it from the LCBO‘s refrigerated section and drink the entire bottle right away (which could very well happen).

This is hardly a change I expect others to make, however if you’re like me — that is, if you live in a city, have some time to spare each day for a walk to the corner store, have only yourself (and your kitty) to feed, and are almost a little too concerned about the environment but still more or less in control of your mental faculties — it’s worth trying the no-fridge lifestyle.

Who knows, maybe it’ll become yet another movement. I might have to start labelling myself a flexitarian, locavorian, organic-only, fair-trade, fridgeless slow-foodie. Are there any restaurants catering to this?


Just a hops, keg and a pump from home (Day 46)…

April 15, 2007

mill streetI was hoping to put off any green changes involving precious, precious alcohol until later in the game, but because Toronto happens to have two great micro-breweries — Steamwhistle and Mill Street — I’m going to limit my beer intake to these local brands, both within cycling distance of my apartment.

Now, when it comes to which is best, it’s hard to say. Steamwhistle boasts of its natural ingredients, which include “2-row malted barley from Saskatchewan, a selection of three imported German hops and yeast from the Swiss company Herlemann.” But it also trucks in Crystal Springs water every week — would using Toronto’s finest really screw up the flavour that much?

Well, OK, it probably would. But they could surely create some sort of large-scale, in-house water filter to do the trick, no?

Then there’s Mill Street, which obviously takes the lead with their Original Organic Lager, a 100% all-natural brew that contains no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.

steam

But it also uses imported organic Hallertau Hops from New Zealand, which is a lot further from Toronto than Germany, where Steamwhistle gets its hops, and a brewer’s malt from Briess Organics, which is organic, kosher and apparently a “certified woman-owned business,” but is based in the U.S. — it would have been nice to see a Canadian-sourced ingredient somewhere in the mix.

I think the only answer here is to drink both beers, in mass quantities, until I’m too sozzled to care about which hops is tops.

Photos stolen while under the influence from Steamwhistle and Mill Street.