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March 5, 2011 / The Green Scene

Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands!

When it comes to the environment, how do we take matters into our hands? You may be thinking, how do we have any control at all? Well, quite a few movements have started since 2005, to turn certain communities into transition towns. Now, you might be asking what is a transition town? It’s a community that is remodeling itself to decrease their use of gas and oils, which will contribute to bettering our climate, and hopefully (fingers crossed) diminishing the effects of global warming. What’s more is that if properly done, the town can become “more resilient, more abundant and more pleasurable than at the present.” Why do you think that is?

In my opinion it’s a town reaching it’s level of self-actualization, and becoming the best it can be, through the motivation of its community. Isn’t that worth a shot? There’s something to be said about an initiative to better one’s lifestyle. Any doubts that Westmount can’t make the cut? Belsize Park, a prestigious area in London, England with beautiful homes and landscaping has qualified as a transition town as of September 2008! If a town in one of the biggest and most popular cities in the world can do it, can’t we?

Belsize Park, London, England

Transition Culture, Transition Culture, Transition Network

 

Tiffany A.

March 2, 2011 / The Green Scene

Washing Away Waste

What will our earth look like in 20 years from now? It’s impossible to know exactly, but what we do now will be reflected in the future.

Whether you’re a sibling, parent, guardian, aunt, uncle or godparent, you can help your younger loved ones learn about the importance of being ecologically friendly and helping the earth remain sustainable.

The Metro Inc’s Green Apple program, which began to encourage schools to start eco-programs, recently presented St George’s High School in Westmount with two $1000 cheques. Their initiatives include:

  • Implementing a zero-waste lunch by having the school invest in traditional dinnerware and cutlery, as well as a dishwasher.
  • Reducing the use of plastic water bottles by upgrading water fountains to be more appealing and user friendly.

Encourage your siblings, cousins, friends, nieces and nephews to start a program and apply for a Green Apple Grant for their school.

Teach children the importance of the up keep of the earth by replacing plastic bags in their lunches with:

  • Credo bags – convenient, reusable drawstring bags. These can also be used for groceries.
  • Re-usies – cotton lined bags with velcro closures that are easy to clean and come in a variety of colors, sizes and vibrant patterns.

What will you do for your younger loved ones?

Here is what the earth could be like if we ignore our ability to teach the next generation to respect the earth and its resources.

– Melissa O.

February 26, 2011 / The Green Scene

Know Your Energy Usage…? Google Does!

You know why we waste so much energy? It’s because we can’t actually see how much we are using until we see our end of month hydro bill! If you were able to see your usage of energy on an ongoing basis, don’t you think you’d be more prudent in your use of energy?

Well, leave it to Google to understand that to make a change you must SEE what needs to be changed. In 2009, Google introduced Google PowerMeter to the world. The software allows homeowners to see their daily electricity use on a personalized iGoogle home page-and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it hits the mobile/app market so that you can track your home’s energy usage from anywhere in the world. This neat software works by using energy information provided by utility smart meters and specialized energy monitoring devices. Although not yet available in Montreal (only Toronto for now), Google PowerMeter would be an ideal initiative for Hydro Quebec and HydroWestmount to take part in if we are to meet the Mayor’s sustainable goals for the future!

Check it out, and keep your eye out for the Google PowerMeter!

 

 

-Lorne S

February 23, 2011 / The Green Scene

Are you keeping up with the Joneses?

Businesses are overhauling their practices to become new eco-friendly companies.

With increasing concern for our carbon emissions and waste; citizens and companies alike are setting in motion green initiatives. However, as consumers we should be expecting more from our local businesses and demanding a movement toward sustainability.

There are some companies who got the hint and are moving towards ‘greener’ practices.

Embrase Consulting, a highly respected boutique that offers solutions for strategy and corporate development has recently taken on ‘greener’ operations. By switching to cloud computing they can modify and edit documents from around the world, which decreases their carbon footprint by travelling less.

Lori Karpman and Associates Ltd a strategic branding and marketing company recently launched a branding strategy called ‘Cure Aiders’. This unique strategy allows for companies to make social responsibility their main goal, by taking on eco-friendly initiatives.

Why aren’t more business jumping on the sustainability bandwagon and implementing change in their practices?

–Maybe they don’t know how?

If you are interested in re-vamping your business but don’t know where to start, The Natual Step can help. The Natural Step is a non-profit organization that offers strategies for small and large businesses to take steps towards sustainability.

Don’t you think it’s about time we take action?

Westmount businesses need to keep up with the Joneses — that is they need to keep up with the leaders in this sustainability movement and take steps towards ‘greener’ operations.

Melissa I.

February 22, 2011 / The Green Scene

Unlike Kermit the Frog . . . It Is Easy Being Green!

Want to make Westmount the talk of the city, the country … and maybe even the world? As of 2010, Montreal’s Mayor Tremblay has implemented five ways in order to make Montreal sustainable in the next five to ten years. We can do this! We can be NUMBER 1 in the world! Let’s make Montreal a sustainable city, and what better place to start than beautiful WESTMOUNT! Listed below are some of the ways that we can actively participate to reach this goal.

Reduce our Greenhouse gas emissions

  • Reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% since 1990

Improve air quality

  • Attain the Canadian standard for fine particle concentrations in the ambient air (30 µg/m3) by 2020.

Reduce water consumption

  • Reduce potable water by 15% by 2015 compared to 2000.

Improve the quality of runoff water

  • Improve the quality of runoff water that flows into watercourses.

Make Montreal a leader in the green economy

  • By 2020 Montreal is eager to be the North American leader in the environmental and clean-tech industries.

Do you predict that these goals are attainable? Why or Why not? Are we asking for too much in too little time?

Let’s make Westmount a pilot project and prove to the city that it can be done!

Watch this video and together we can help Montreal become a sustainable metropolis!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqjD33qMbcw

 

Montreal

Kelly L.

February 21, 2011 / The Green Scene

What’s the Size of Your Footprint??

Think you’re GREEN? Think just because you recycle cans and bring your reusable bags to the grocery store, you’re doing your part?  Think because you’re carpooling to work and only starting the dishwasher when it’s a full load that it’s enough?? Stop thinking! Take this quiz and KNOW!

Know what is your impact on the environment, CALCULATE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT!

http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

Take this Quiz and find out your household’s effect on Quebec’s environment, then find out ways to reduce it and offset it by following our blogs! Its that simple, now lets get started!!

"I drove to the garden center for a tree to offset my Carbon Footprint...so now I've got to go back for another one..."

Samantha F.

February 17, 2011 / The Green Scene

Be the Talk of Your Block

Neighbors renovating their home? Don’t get green with envy, Go GREEN with environmentally friendly materials and furnishings that will make your house the jewel of the neighborhood.

Going Green is not only about saving money.

Here are some eco-friendly furnishings that can stand toe-to-toe with any found in luxury and high-end boutiques.  All these pieces are made from sustainable wood, bamboo and other environmentally safe materials. Using the wood from trees that have been specifically planted for use in the creation of wood based products, and which have been exposed to minimal or no ecologically unsafe chemicals.

 

Bamboo Magnolia Nesting Tables $869

 

Cardboard Square Hanging Lamp $100

Saba Lounge Sofa $4200

Check out more of these cool furniture pieces at InMod (http://www.inmod.com/ecofriendly.html).  InMod was awarded one of the “Web’s Best” online retailer for eco friendly furniture. Not only can you buy directly online but they ship anywhere in Canada!

Not quite convinced?  In dealing with larger renovations why not try going eco-chic with bamboo flooring, energy star appliances and low or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints. Want to get your neighbors really talking?? How about geothermal heating!

Know any other cool tips and tricks to going eco-chic? How about another green décor store?Let us know!

Samantha F.