misslynx: (Default)
  1. [livejournal.com profile] optimystik is participating in a CN Tower climb for the World Wildlife Fund on April 15, and needs sponsors. The idea is to climb all the way up the zillion stairs in the CN Tower (1776 steps!) - and he's also trying to set a speed record. Most people take 30-40 minutes or more to do it - he's trying for less than 11 minutes. (Because he's insane like that. But in a good way.)

    Details here. You can sponsor him for any amount you choose, either via the official online sponsorship page if you have a credit card, or by commenting to his LJ post about it if you'd rather do it via cash or PayPal or whatever.

    . . .

    Elsewhere, [livejournal.com profile] jimhines is raffling off (sort of) an autographed advance review copy of his latest novel, Red Hood’s Revenge, to raise money for rape crisis centres. You make a donation either to the US-based Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network or to your local rape crisis centre, and the e-mail him at endrape@jimchines.com to let him know, before April 16.

    Details here.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - ravine)
Yes, I know, I'm way overdue to make a real LJ post. This is not going to be it, however. I've been in a mega work crunch that will probably be continuing all this week, though maybe I'll manage at least some kind of point-form catch-up somewhere in there.

But the main reason for this post is to let those of you in Canada know that the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is coming up. It runs from Sept. 19-27, with individual cleanups of different areas scheduled for various points during that time. You can go to the web site to see what cleanups are happening in your area. "Shoreline" is defined pretty loosely - you don't need to on the ocean or even a large lake to do a cleanup. A lot of the ones in Toronto, for example, are around creeks in ravine parks (since we have rather a lot of those, in addition to the lake and two major rivers). There are over 1500 cleanups happening in various locations across Canada.

The project is coordinated by the Vancouver Aquarium, with an annoying but probably necessary level of corporate sponsorship from TD and sponsored by TD (which is very nice of them, though I wish they could have been a little less aggressive with the branding) (Edited to clarify that it's not the corporate sponsorship I mind, just the way it's being shown), but the individual cleanups are mostly organized by volunteers in the various communities. They provide things like garbage bags and disposable latex gloves, but if you want something like work gloves for handling sharp things you will want to bring your own. I actually organized a cleanup last year for Cedarvale Park (the big ravine near me), but I didn't have time this year.

However, while I couldn't coordinate a cleanup this year, I did at least register to participate in the cleanup of David Balfour Park, the ravine near Yonge & St. Clair, which I had also participated in year before last. I don't visit that ravine as often as Cedarvale, but I do really like it, and I find it particularly helps the cleanup to feel like a form of spiritual service for me, because something about that ravine tend to make me feel Danu's presence strongly there.

Anyway, this is basically just a nudge for those of you that might be so inclined to check out the site and consider joining a cleanup in your area. If you're in Toronto and not particularly drawn toward any other cleanup, the one at David Balfour Park is at 1:00 this Sunday, if anyone wants to join me there.
misslynx: (Default)
I found this letter in today's Toronto Star, on the results of the election (that would be in Canada - I know a lot of you on my flist still have an election coming up), somewhat poignant, and very reflective of my own thoughts on the matter:

http://www.thestar.com/article/519669

Text in case the Star site requires registration - though it's better with the photo they used )

That's part of what made watching this whole election campaign so painful for me. On the one hand, I was really impressed with Dion's grasp of and commitment to environmental issues - he really seemed to have an awareness and clarity of vision that you don't normally see on those issues outside the Green Party, and ideas that would have been considered too radical for a mainstream party to take seriously were suddenly front page news. But even at the time that he was proposing them, it was hard to miss the fact that a lot of average, not-terribly-educated people were just not going to get it. And the fact that he was proposing something genuinely radical and visionary made it all that much easier for Harper to shoot him down.

I remember hearing in Manufacturing Consent, the documentary on Noam Chomsky and his theories on media manipulation, that the very format most of us get our news in makes it difficult to get any genuinely new ideas across. The short soundbites that TV news is mostly made up of work very well for conveying ideas that are already familiar to people, but not at all well to get across anything new or challenging, so TV news ends up inherently supporting the status quo. Even with a lot of print media, people just scan the headlines or the first few paragraphs rather than reading in depth. And online news sources aren't always much better - there are certainly in-depth articles explaining challenging ideas out there, but how many people take the time to read them?

Unfortunately, I have to agree with the letter writer that things are likely to have to get a whole lot worse before we see the political will to make them better happening on any kind of large scale. What Dion wanted to do may have been timely in terms of when these changes really ought to be made in order to head off the worst of the damage our current totally unsustainable way of life is likely to result in, but he was way ahead of his time in terms of people's willingness to accept those changes as necessary.

And that means that the coming few decades aren't likely to be terribly pleasant, for anyone.
misslynx: (In tree)
OK, so who else wants to go to the Strawberries & Asparagus spring festival in Cedarvale Park tomorrow? I'll be going, as will [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik, though I'm not sure what time yet. If there are other people who'd like to go, maybe we can make a group outing of it?

There will be live music, solar-power-cooled ice cream, a green business marketplace, electronics recycling, yummy food, children's activities, fair trade chocolate, Zen meditation and other cool stuff. It runs from 11 to 5 though my best guess is I'd be going up in the early afternoon, maybe around 1 or 2.
misslynx: (Default)
As most of you probably know, Health Canada proposed a little while ago to declare the endocrine disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (leached by polycarbonate plastic) a toxic substance, and ban it from baby bottles and infant formula cans. This is good. However, it's used in a lot more places than just that, including in a lot of food and water containers, like those clear plastic Nalgene water bottles and the plastic, and currently they don't seem to be in a hurry to ban it from those places.

According to ToxicNation.ca, Wednesday, June 18 is the last day fthat t he public has to make an impact on the federal government’s decision on how to regulate the toxic chemical. On this day the 60-day comment period on BPA closes and the government will begin reviewing the comments submitted by the Canadian public, stakeholders, and industry.

Send them a message now!
misslynx: (Default)
For those interested, I just set up an LJ syndication feed for news items from the Toronto Farmers' Markets Network web site:

[livejournal.com profile] to_farmers_mkts

Add it to your friends list if you'd like to get occasional updates on new markets, seasonal eating, special events, etc.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] buylocaltoronto
misslynx: (In tree)
Remember my rant a while back on polycarbonate water bottles that leach Bisphenol A (and follow-up here)?

Well, check out this story in today's Toronto Star: The Hudson's Bay Group (owning The Bay & Zellers), Canadian Tire, and the company that owns several of the major sporting goods stores have all pulled all polycarbonate water bottles, baby bottles, etc. off the shelves. Mountain Equipment Co-op had already done that last year, and Lululemon says that while they won't pull existing product, they won't re-order them, either.

Health Canada has been debating for some while a flat-out ban on Bisphenol A, and I guess it's looking likely that it will go through. Large, relatively conservative retailers don't usually go yanking huge volumes of product off their shelves unless they're fairly convinced it'll hurt less now than when they have to do it later...

The evidence against it certainly does seem to be mounting up... The article mentions that a recent report from the U.S. National Toxicology Program found that it caused precancerous prostate tumours, urinary system problems and early puberty in rats even at low doses.

In case anyone missed the original post and hasn't read about this elsewhere, the water bottles in question are the colourful clear plastic ones, notably by Nalgene though I think there are other manufacturers who make them as well. And the same type of plastic is also used in a lot of baby bottles, which has got to be even worse health-wise considering how vulnerable a child's developing endocrine system is.

Better alternatives: Sigg or Kleen Kanteen water bottles -- both available from more places than just that site; that's just where we got ours. I <3 my Sigg.

Can't recall offhand which brands of baby bottles are Bisphenol-A-free, but there's a list available here (PDF download).

We won!

Dec. 15th, 2007 03:53 pm
misslynx: (In tree)
For those who signed the Avaaz climate change petition, you will be pleased to find out it really did get results: at the last minute, Harper reversed his stance and dropped his opposition to the 2020 emissions targets!

OK, so it probably wasn't all due to that one petition, but still -- it means the people spoke up loud enough to drown out the interests of the oil industry, and that's very cool to see.

More info: http://www.avaaz.org/en/another_canadian_climate_crime/1.php
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
From Avaaz.org:
Right now, a major UN summit in Bali has just a few days left to hammer out an agreement on stopping catastrophic climate change. But instead of helping out, Canada is actually sabotaging the talks! On Saturday, experts gave us the global "fossil" award for being the worst country in the world on climate change.

There's still a few days left to save Canada's reputation -- and the climate -- but we need a massive democratic roar to remind our Prime Minister what Canada is all about, and stop him from blocking the world at Bali. Click below to sign the petition, which will be advertised with the number of signatures in an ad campaign across Canada this week. The goal is to get 25,000 people to sign in the next 3 days -- before the ads run. After you sign, please pass this URL on to everyone you know:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/another_canadian_climate_crime/98.php

Prime Minister Harper's short-sighted, undemocratic and big oil-driven policy on climate change is damaging the world and destroying our image as a good country. We're supposed to be the nice guys, who try to do the right thing in the world.

The vast majority of Canadians are hopping mad on this issue -- we can win this. We just need to show Harper how serious we are that he change course. Sign up now and forward this message to everyone you know -- we've got just 3 days to hit 25,000 signatures!

Thanks for you help!

PS -- Here are links to some more info on this:

David Suzuki calls the government's spin on climate change "humiliating" and "ludicrous"

The former editor-in-chief of CBC news discusses the damage done by Canada's climate policy to our international reputation
I signed -- your turn now. And no, you don't have to live in Canada to sign it.

BTW, the song that came on while I was posting this is nicely appropriate... It's about being patriotic by means of being an activist and trying to keep your country from being stupid. :-)

And hey, I just noticed that in the e-mail invite text it says they're shooting for 25,000 signatures, but on the site it says they're now at 76,498 and shooting for 100,000. And the number is up by a few hundred since when I first hit the site about ten minutes ago. That's nice to see!
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
Interesting video on the logic behind the global warming debates. Does not live up to the headline that's been put on it, but well worth watching nonetheless.

misslynx: (little help)
Just received in an e-mail newsletter:

The Canadian government is breaking its own environmental laws, and could get away with it if we don't act within 24 hours. Last June, Parliament passed a law confirming our legal obligation to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, and gave a heel-dragging Harper government 60 days to show how they would do it. Harper's plan is out, and meets Kyoto's targets 13 years too late – it clearly breaks the law.

Canadians are irate over this, but somehow everyone failed to notice the official public consultation period on the law, which ends TOMORROW. The comments that Environment Canada receives in this period will be admissible in court, when the Harper government is brought before a judge on this. If there are no comments, the government will claim in court that the public supports its bogus plan. This argument has worked before, and we must not let it happen again. Please click below to send a quick message to Environment Minister Baird, and tell everyone you know to act right away:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/canadian_climate_crime/c.php/
misslynx: (In tree)
Sent to me by a friend:
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is an annual event aimed at increasing awareness of the ecological importance/ sensitivities of shorelines across the country as well as physically removing debris that can kill wildlife. More info: http://www.vanaqua.org/cleanup/

Whether you can make it out to the event below or not, I encourage you to search out the events map on the website above and join a group in your area OR simply tidy up a bit of shoreline (ocean, lake, river, creek, whatever) in your area. This is the second larges clean up of almost 90 participating countries in the world. Last year, the cleanup removed 84,708 kg of shoreline litter from 966 sites across Canada. Items removed have included BBQ's (14 in 06), Celine Dion CDs, an entire living room set, a gun barrel, an evidence bag with items in it, and a toilet seat nailed to a lawn chair.
I checked out the site and this thing is huge - there are dozens of cleanups going on in Toronto alone, and many more across the country. Most of them are this weekend. Some required advance registration and are now closed but many are open to drop-in participants.

The one I am going to is this Sunday at noon at David Balfour Park, the ravine park at Yonge & St. Clair. Anyone local who would like to join me is most welcome to. [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen would like to, but Aidan's still a bit too little to accompany us on something like this. Not sure yet if [livejournal.com profile] optimystik will as he's at work right now.

If that particular one doesn't work for you, or if there's another lake/river/stream cleanup going on in an area closer to your heart, or if you're elsewhere in Canada, please do check out the site and find something in your area. I think this is an amazing event and would really like to encourage people to get involved.
misslynx: (Cat vomit)
A Canadian environmental group called Environmental Defence is pushing for a nationwide ban on Bisphenol-A, through their Toxic Nation campaign.

You can sign their petition here -- please do!

There's a fair bit of info on the Toxic Nation site, including the rather disturbing Pollution - It's In You section, and tips on how to avoid toxins in the home, art supplies, school supplies(!) and more. (Those last three links are all downloadable PDFs, just so you know.)

For those who missed my original posts on this, they're here and here. I'd particularly recommend the Environmental Working Group's Bisphenol-A Report.
misslynx: (iBook)
It's not just in water bottles... :-(

http://www.ewg.org/reports/bisphenola/

Canned food, baby bottles & liners, breast milk storage bags, dental sealants, the list goes on...

On the bright side, the Canadian government is apparently considering restricting or banning it. If that goes through, we will be the first country to do so on the federal level, though at least one municipality in the US has (San Francisco, unsurprisingly).

Of course, the plastics industry is campaigning equally hard to convince people that it's safe, and putting up their own misinformation sites. I love how that one insists that it's simply "a comprehensive resource for environmental, health and safety information about bisphenol A", as though it was some kind of neutral and objective outside voice, but when you follow the links for the privacy policy and terms and conditions, you find that it's run by the American Chemistry Council, which "represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry, including significant business groups such as the Plastics Division and the Chlorine Chemistry Division".
misslynx: (Angry cat)
If any of you use those spiffy Nalgene water bottles, like the one [livejournal.com profile] taikakettu has been toting around since January, you need to check out this site now:

Detox Nalgene

Apparently the bottles are made from polycarbonate plastic, which leaches Bisphenol A, a known endocrine disruptor which can cause all kinds of adverse effects ranging from PCOS to cancer to miscarriages and birth defects.

Yes. Including the water bottle my pregnant wife has been using this past five months.

On that basis, I tend to think the makers of these bottles need to die, preferably slowly and painfully, but the Detox Nalgene campaign is urging you to e-mail them instead.

More details for those interested )

I'll send these poison-peddling fuckwits an e-mail, all right. But I think it's going to be a little bit more heated than my average polite protest e-mail.

ETA: forgot to add: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] deepseanews for the heads-up on this. I very much recommend checking out his To-Do List For Reducing Plastic.

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