When the world’s environmental woes get you down, turn to Ecoholic – Canada’s best resource for practical tips and products that help you do your part for the earth. You’ll get the dirt on what not to buy and why, and the dish on great gifts, clothes, home supplies and more. Based on the popular and authoritative "Ecoholic" column that appe …
You know, it’s funny: Canadians are surrounded with so much damn nature we think that automatically nominates us for outdoor MVP of the year. But when hundreds of trees fall in the boreal every minute, does anybody really care? Well, aside from a few folk singers and some placard-bearing enviro-groups, my answer just a few years ago was a reluctant no. Observers declared environmental consciousness dead. Earth Day marches had long been cancelled due to lack of attendance. Indeed, there was but a faint green pulse left in us as we dragged our recyclables out to the curb then hopped into our gas guzzlers with the a/c blasting. Memories of acid rain, dead lakes and the Exxon Valdez had faded to black, along with any recollection of feathered hair and shoulder pads.
Then, sometime in the last year or two, someone somewhere pulled out the defibrillators and called “clear.” Was it the spike in the price of oil, forcing us to reconsider the value of spending 80 bucks a tank just to drive ourselves to the corner store? Was it the increased alarm-ringing of climate change scientists? The drowning polar bears? The breaking levies? The freak storms? The reports that DDT is still swimming in our children’s bloodstreams decades after it was banned or that non-stick chemicals are sticking to bald eagles and floating in breast milk? Maybe, as my local souvlaki guy noted, it was the realization that ever-climbing hydro bills could be tackled only with conservation and sharp questions about why our government isn’t more aggressively subsidizing solar panels and geothermal heat pumps. More realistically, it was all of the above: a perfect storm of factors that made us sit up and say, Holy Toledo, Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
But what’s exciting about this surge, this outpouring of interest in all things green, is that everyone, from the trucker up the street to the CEO of Wal-Mart, is taking notice. And whether you’re expressing your concern for the planet by reaching for organic milk, turning off the taps as you brush, driving a little less or not driving at all, it all adds up to a movement.
Sure, sticking to a five-minute shower rule may seem fruitless in the face of a melting planet and relentless emissions from the coal plant two towns down. But are we to throw our hands in the air and bury our heads in the sand as our federal government has? Every drop of water you conserve, each watt of power you save, every green pepper you purchase from a local organic grower sends a message. To paraphrase hockey dads everywhere, if you want to be on a winning team, you have to think like a winner. And sometimes, when that team is slacking, you’ve gotta step up and take the lead. You don’t have to start a march on Parliament Hill to make a statement (though, hey, if you’re itching to try out a megaphone, go ahead). Start small. Start by leading by example. Get your workplace to turn the lights off at night and the thermostat down. Tell your grocery manager you don’t need California mushrooms vacuum-packed on polysterene when he should be pushing local ones, loose. Tell your brother idling is just burning up gas (not to mention the planet) and tell your minister of Parliament you want real action on greenhouse gas emissions for once.
The tough part is that figuring out what’s green and what’s greenwash, what’s eco-friendly and what’s ozone-deadly can be downright dizzying. This is where knowledge comes in to play. The more you know, the more effective your choices, actions and movements can be. And if GI Joe was right that knowing is half the battle, just buying this book (and reading it cover to cover, of course) should turn you a finely trained eco-warrior, or at least make it easier for you to decide what cleaning products to buy. Don’t worry: you don’t have to give up shaving and chain yourself to a tree to be green. Just do what you can, one step at time–until you’re a full-blown ecoholic.
Adria Vasil, Canada’s straight-shooting green living expert, is back, and this time it’s personal . . . care, that is. Her latest eco bible delivers the lowdown on virtually every product that comes into contact with our bodies. From the pollutants clogging your sinus meds all the way to the outlaw toxins leaching from your sandals, ECOHOLIC B …
This highly anticipated follow-up to the massively successful Ecoholic focuses on the home as the mainstay of sustainable living.
Our resident Ecoholic comes to the rescue again, offering reminders and tips on how to keep your castle (however humble) clean, energy-efficient and healthy. We spend so much time at home — why not make it a sustainabl …
Peel away the layers and one thing most Canadians have in common is a roof over our heads (the pelting snow that whacks us in January kind of necessitates that). Now, whether that shelter takes the form of a tiny apartment on the 20th floor of a drafty old building, a 5,000-square-foot McMansion in the burbs or a remote wooden cabin with bears for neighbours, we all know we can do a little more to green up this country. In fact, we have to. Canadian households are responsible for a whopping 46% of the nation's total climate-cooking emissions (ha, and you thought your a/c cranking could go unnoticed). A large chunk of those greenhouse gases comes from obvious sources like the car you have parked outside, the fuel in your furnace and the electricity you pull from the wall, but a surprising percentage of emissions comes buried in all the things we buy (from flatscreen TVs to imported lettuce). No matter where those greenhouse gases come from, one thing's clear: we're getting more and more bloated with every passing decade.
But here in Ecoholicland, we like our eggs sunny side up. Which means we should take a moment to commend ourselves for the fact that a whopping 90% of us have already made some moves to ease our impact. We're changing our light bulbs, buying low-flow shower heads and turning down the thermostat in record numbers. And all this stuff makes especially good sense when times are tight and our wallets are a little slimmer. Keeping our bank accounts and the planet green are zen-ly one and the same. Just ask your grandparents: saving energy, saving resources—hell, saving rubber bands—saves you money. And if we're smart about where we put our cash and we make sure that what we bring into our kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and basements is truly earth-friendly, we can all help guarantee that our address on the third rock from the sun stays peachy green.
We just have to remember that we can't buy our way out of this mess. Putting organic curtains on the credit card isn't what's going to save the planet from ourselves. Of course, if you have to make a purchase, then, yes, put your money on the most environmentally sound option you can—and make sure that it's really as earth-friendly as it claims to be. That's what Ecoholic Home is all about, really—helping you make those choices. But at the end of the day, you and everyone in your household will be the biggest superheroes if you make "reduce" and "reuse" your two favourite words, and along the way turn your gassy, energy-gulping home into a lean, green, planet-rescuing sanctuary. Hell, I'll even sew you a big lime-coloured cape if you do.