A green map quest (Day 355)…

February 18, 2008


I just discovered this wicked green map of Toronto, which not only unfolds to show you all the parks, ravines and bike paths in the city, but also lists every green-minded hotel, eco-friendly dry cleaner, vegetarian restaurant, community garden, farmer’s market and even all the different recycling organizations in town. It’s an amazing resource, perfect for anyone who wants to explore the city in as green a way as possible.

Turns out, it was created by this company called Green Map — they’ve done other great work, too, like the super-stylish Stockholm Green Map, a Beijing Green Map (perhaps with a list of not-so-smoggy areas?), and my personal favourite, a Compost Map of Manhattan.

You can even poke around and meet the mapmakers in your city, or become one yourself.

So as today’s change, I’m going to try to green my tours — of Toronto, when people visit me, but also of other cities when I visit them. Because while organized eco-tourism is all fine and dandy, sometimes it’s nice to just go off on your own, map in hand, and figure stuff out for yourself.

Can I offset getting lost? (Day 337)…

January 31, 2008

road signs

Today, I move. It’s happening right now, folks, as you read. I’ve got a man who recycles bikes, a writer from Treehugger.com, a random greenie, my Dad and a few other people helping me out — should be interesting. But in just a couple days, I’m leaving my pretty house in the hands of my friend and sister, and heading up to a cottage for about a month to write a book.

The owners have given me directions, which is nice of them, but when directions are more than three sentences long, I’m already lost. If the piece of paper says, “Turn right after the lights,” I’ll think of a million different ways to interpret that: Does that mean right after? Like that little alleyway right after the intersection? Or turn right, comma, after the lights? Or maybe the lights refer to the lights of this crosswalk here, not the traffic lights way up ahead? Or…” well, you get what I mean.

Often, I’ll try to be good and look up the route on MapQuest or Google Maps in advance, but because I don’t have a printer, I end up sketching it on a piece of scrap paper. Then usually I look at it later and see I’ve just drawn the railroad tracks and a parkette instead of the north and south highways — or even just North and South.

Point being: I get lost. But getting lost not only sucks for me (or the poor soul in the passenger seat), but for the environment.

All that driving around in circles means a lot of carbon being emitted, and for no reason. So to make sure I keep my polluting ways to a minimum for this trip, I’m going to make sure I have a good map in front of me and extra-super-detailed directions (and no, I’m not going to buy a new map — I’ll just steal one from my parents).

Photo courtesy of Johnny Blood on Flickr