Conscious Consumerism: The Other Three R’s

Most of us learn the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” bit when we’re young. Well at least when I grew up it was a large focus. I think that is why I do so well with those three R’s, I have been hearing them since the first grade. Thrifting or passing down your clothing and household items is a great way to Reuse and Recycle (check out my Conscious Consumerism article on thrifting). There’s no such thing as a perfect environmentalist and everyone has things we can be doing better! Of course these first three R’s are an excellent start, but it doesn’t cover everything when it comes to how we can help the environment. 

The other “three R’s” are refuse, repair, and rethink/re-purpose. These are often left out of the conversation due to humans ever growing over consumption rate. Reduce makes an excellent starting place for this large issue. Number 1 thing to do is stop buying as many things, try buying more bulk items (see our Refill Station), live more minimally , reduce the amount of stuff you have and lastly, going vegan is one of the best ways I have found to reduce my waste (See the environmental effects of different milk options here).

Refuse is one I find compelling. All those flyers you get in the mail, the free item at superstore that might end up in the trash next week, receipts you will never look at again, the single use plastic that is constantly thrown at us, the one hundredth toothbrush you get from the dentist. All these things can be avoided with a simple “No thank you”. Not only will this reduce the amount of unnecessary, miscellaneous things you have in your life, it will also keep those things out of the landfills. Other things to refuse in your life is products from companies that don’t have the same standards as what you expect they might. Whether it’s unfair wages, unsafe working conditions, lack of environmental responsibility… anything that is important to you should be important to the companies you support. Next time someone offers you something, think before you accept it… do I really need or want this item in my life and is it coming from a place that I support. 

Repair is one I still need to work on. Despite my extreme lack of sewing skills I try my best to repair clothing or items I have worn down; I often ask friends and family to help me do so. Repairing things instead of throwing them away when they get damaged greatly reduces your waste and allows you to keep loving items you aren’t ready to get rid of! I also find this goes outside the realm of repairing. I mean that you don’t always have to replace something if it’s slightly broken. Make use of things that aren’t perfect and try not to replace items that still work. Like buying a new iPhone every time a new one comes out or getting another new pair of sunglasses that are only slightly different than the other 10 pairs you own (I’m guilty of this), we don’t always need new shiny and bright items… a little wear and tear never hurt anyone.

Rethink/re-purpose is one of my favourites and I am continuously trying to find new ways to use my old things! Take the desk my grandpa built my dad almost 40 years ago, my dad and I are refurbishing the entire thing to make it brand new for me to use while studying for University! A re-purposing trend I’ve seen as of late is using old kitchen ware as plant pots! Rethinking your old stuff can be really fun and lets you be creative with the things you already own … plus you can save money! Another way to rethink is simply take a look at your life: what you’re buying, what you’re eating, your waste… collect all of these thoughts and think of new ways you can be better. Becoming more self aware of how you are contributing to the issue and in what ways you can help is a great start to tackling the challenge of becoming less wasteful and more environmentally friendly!

I hope this reminded you of a few more ways you can help be kinder to this planet we call Earth! Sharing the knowledge you have with others will only improve your overall community… so, share your thoughts below or on our Instagram page, we’d love to hear all the ways you are putting the other three r’s to use. 

Written by: Holly Simpson

Conscious Consumerism: Environmental Effects Of Milk(s)

Have you ever considered the resources that it takes to get the type of milk you drink into the carton?

Even if you’ve made the switch from dairy to an alternative, do you know the costs of consuming it? Dairy milk is #1 on the most wanted list for contributing extremely damaging effects to the environment when it comes to milk options.

Dairy milk is skyscrapers above oat, rice, almond or soy milk in emissions, land use and water use. Dairy milk is so damaging because it takes a lot of water, food, land and other resources to keep dairy cows fed and healthy in order to produce the immense amount of milk we consume in North America. So the first thing you can do to become a more conscious consumers is case studies psychology man health radio commercial viagra top curriculum vitae ghostwriter website for phd help in writing go site http://welcomeicarea.org/buy-essay-papers-cheap/ cheap thyroid s les 11 commandement le viagra essays for sale what should i write my college application essay about https://cirict.org/essays-online-about-issues-of-1990/ essay about save nature bobby seale speech follow site combien coГ»te le viagra en pharmacie sample thesis acknowledgement letter watch follow url https://chanelmovingforward.com/stories/how-to-write-a-good-blog-entry/51/ dogs and prednisone http://www.hemsleyandhemsley.com/viagra-como-age/ thesis acknowledgement where http://www.danhostel.org/papers/reference-case-study-harvard-style/11/ what is anterolisthesis of l5 on s1 abilify cholesterol https://geneseelandlordassoc.org/category/literature-review-service/44/ college application essays worksheet chegg homework help cost of zithromax in the us undergraduate thesis example http://websites.suagm.edu/prinnovationportal/?erectile=subaction-showcomments-propecia-thanks-remember cut out dairy! Even if you need to start off slowly, removing it from your diet one day a week, then two days, then three; however long it takes, in doing this one thing you will be making a difference.

The next step is choosing a milk replacement that will best suit your needs and the environment that we so deeply depend upon. Nowadays, there are dairy alternatives for pretty much everything you can think of.  Acorn Cafe’s own: Vegan Fromagerie’s cheeses will blow your mind and I bet you won’t even miss the dairy cheese! Silk Almond for coffee (coffee creamers) are to die for and you can get them at most supermarkets. Earth’s Own So Fresh oat milk is perfect for lattes and smoothies and they also come in single serve cartons that are perfect for lunches. Not to mention they also have a chocolate variety which is equally delicious.

http://strategyonline.ca/2019/04/03/earths-own-calls-for-plant-based-revolution/

Now with that in mind, we must always consider the effects on our environment if you desire to be a more conscious consumer. Despite being exponentially lower than dairy milk, some of these alternatives can be very damaging as well. Oat milk has by far the lowest resource use out of all of the options I have listed. Despite what we may think not all milk alternatives are a better alternative; it takes upwards of 80 litres of water to produce just a single glass of almond milk! Although almond milk uses less water and land and produces less emissions than dairy, it is not the most environmentally friendly in comparison to soy or oat. This is why Acorn Cafe is switching all of our smoothie recipes to oat instead of almond milk to reduce our own footprint!

Let’s keep the conversation ball rolling! Comment below if you have any tips or tricks on how to be a more conscious consumer. Or better yet, start a conversation on our Instagram or Facebook page… we’d love to hear from you!

  • Article written by Holly Simpson

Top 10 Plastic Free Options

We have been so impressed with the amount of folks coming in looking to make the small changes to live plastic free!

At Generation Green we  continue to look for innovative products that can make these consumer choices affordable and accessible.   We also want to continue to encourage people to reuse and reduce their waste by refilling, purchasing in bulk, practicing mindful consumerism and if visiting our in-store cafe, please bring back any packaging received to have composted.

Here are our top 10 plastic free alternatives  as we head into Plastic Free July!

  1. Reusable Straws – we stock Onyx Containers stainless steel straws, locally made glass  straws from Brook Drabot and silicone straws made in Canada from Colibri. To make it even easier to bring your own straw, we have some lovely, local carrying sleeves from Twinkle & Blink and Colibri wide bag fits 4 of their silicone straws easily!
  2. Produce/Bulk Bags – another fantastic local find from Practical Homestead, that we recently stocked. That plastic, good for nothing roll at the grocery store is definitely a huge focus for many to replace and has us happy dancing over here at GG!
  3. Ditch the saran wrap and try one of these options – Abeego beeswax food wraps or also from Practical Homestead washable, food safe bowl covers, sandwich and cheese wraps.  Of course Colibri has long been stocking us with reusable sandwich and snack bags that you’ll find a hundred and one uses for!
  4. Bulk!! Bring in those bottles & jars and fill them here at Generation Green with shampoo, body wash, lotions, dish soap, laundry soap & more (see our full list here).
  5. Oral Health – Bamboo toothbrushes from BAM Brush and our fabulous find (that took forever!) from Flosspot Gold is vegan corn fibre dental floss.  Also available in refill!
  6. Razors – invest in a solid brass safety razor from Well Kept that will last you forever!!  Did you know that it’s estimated that over 2 billion plastic razors are discarded in the US alone!?!
  7. Shampoo & Conditioner bars from The Unwrapped Life hit the shelves here a month ago and we’re pretty darn impressed with them!  The biggest being that they replace approx 2.5 bottles, so wastefree and economical!
  8. Carry a cup/bottle! This is an easy one! Find one you love and bring it everywhere to have filled.
  9. Cutlery – we have travel cutlery from Joseph Joseph called Go Eat that contains a magnetic fork, spoon and knife that all clip together conveniently in a silicone storage case.
  10. We love that more companies are thinking about packaging, like Glowing Orchid Organics with their new paper tube deodorant that we are now stocking (and love!)

Lastly, REFUSE – have your say to what you purchase and how you purchase it.  It’s an ongoing effort but changes are happening! Be one of the change makers!

Waste Free Living – Bulk Additions/Changes

We have been answering so many questions lately about our refill products, that we felt we should probably fill you all in on some changes and additions.

First off we want to give a huge shout out to all of you that have been using the refill system in an effort to reduce waste.  We have been amazed at the amount of interest and use at this location, so much so that we want to keep adding to it!  Please be sure to let us know your requests and if there is enough interest then we would look at bringing that in.

The biggest change that many have noticed is the brand switch of our main household line.  We had been stocking and offering bulk products for the past 5 years from Sapadilla Soap Co. and have now been replacing it with a line from The Unscented Company.  The reason for the change had nothing to do with the product itself, it’s a fabulous line!  Unfortunately though Sapadilla has been sold to a US Corporation called Gorilla Glue and this is just not inline with our mission and commitment to stock Canadian.

The Unscented Company is from Montreal, it is entirely plant-based, biodegradable and yes, unscented.  However, we know many loved the scents that the previous line offered so we are encouraging customers to try their hand at scenting using essential oils that we stock in store.  We have considered offering a custom scenting add-on if there was enough interest.

In addition to the The Unscented Company we have a hair/body line available for refill from local manufacturer, Pure Anada, our always in demand Dry Patch lotion from Di Erbe and from Mama Pacha we offer refills for their popular Calendula infused diaper cream & wipe away bum spray as well as their face cream and beard oil.  Our newest addition is an unscented castille liquid soap that is locally made in Steinbach by Naturally Powerful.

The last of the Eco-life cleaning products are available for purchase & refill until they are finished.  There are also some of the bulk concentrate available for retail purchase on a clearance price.  This line is no longer being manufactured it seems after the farmer that created it passed away.  It’s a wonderful line that we have carried from day one and are sad to see it fall away.

Lastly, we have heard from many of you that are interested in making your own products that you are wanting us to bring in raw ingredients.  We are slowly doing this!  We currently have organic dried Calendula, lavender and rose petals. We plan to add a couple of carrier oils next, citric acid and some popular clays.  Again if there is something you are hoping to find here and there is enough demand we will do our best to add it to the line up!

Of course we should also mention our small bulk food section, this is the list of what we currently offer for organic bulk food:

  • Adagio Acres Naked Oats *MB
  • Tamarak Farms Quinoa *MB
  • Wildman Rice *MB
  • Pistachios
  • Spanish Almonds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Non GMO Popping Corn
  • Garbonzo Beans
  • Medjool Dates
  • Aluminum Free Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Flour
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Lightly Dusted Ginger
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Lentils
  • Cane Sugar
  • Trail Mix
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Xylitol

One last reminder, you are more than welcome to bring in your own container to fill, we will weigh it before you fill and deduct that off the product price.  Please only bring CLEAN and dry containers to be filled.

Thank for doing your part to reuse and reduce as well as support local!

 

Conscious Consumerism – Fashion

If you’re looking to be a more eco-friendly consumer when it comes to your clothing, you’ve come to the right place! Fast fashion is mass produced inexpensive clothing retailers create in response to the latest trends, which leads to the over consumption of clothing by customers, ultimately creating more waste on Earth. There are more than a few problems with fast fashion. First off, have you ever thought about why you can buy that H&M top for $5? Well, huge producers like H&M, Forever 21, Zara, etc outsource their factories in developing countries, paying their workers unbelievably low wages, in poor working conditions in order to sell their clothing so cheap. Second, producing such inexpensive clothing based off trends that come and go creates a problem for our environment. Often these clothing items don’t last long due to poor quality and when the trend dies off, that cheetah print top you bought last month will most likely end up in the trash or stuffed in the back of your closet.

The fashion industry is one of many huge polluters destroying our planet, thrifting your clothing is just one more way to live a greener life. If you care to learn more about the damaging effects of the fashion industry I highly suggest the documentary “The True Cost”, which discusses the ethical and environmental dangers of fast fashion.

Holly in one of her thrift find outfits

To counter the effects of over producing clothing, thrifting is an amazing alternative way to shop. There are already so many stunning pieces out there just waiting to be found! Thrifting is about finding pieces you love, that you might not normally think to get at a big department store.

Since starting to thrift I’ve grown into my own style, discovered pieces I love to wear, that make me feel confident. Not to mention the excitement you feel when you find a pair of jeans that hug your curves just right, and you only paid $2.00 for. In addition to the great pricing, your style will become completely distinctive. Finding cool and unique pieces ensures you’ll never have an awkward ‘who wore it better’ situation at work or school.

Also, you can find high quality clothing items that will last you much longer, and survive the come and go of trendy fashion. We have some great local fashion designers right here in Winnipeg that design and manufacture statement pieces that will take you through all seasons and last forever!  Check out a couple of our personal faves; Prana Vida StyleLennard Taylor & Sarah Sue Design Plus your supporting local! Win Win! But if you really want to stick with the trends you can still find them at the thrift store, often for a way better price.

Plato’s Closet is one second hand shop that selects the clothing they sell, and they choose pieces that are more trendy and appeal to the fashionistas out there. Plato’s is a great place to start if you’re just getting into the swing of things. Value Village and Salvation Army are also really good chain thrift stores and I highly suggest giving them a shot as well! And last, but definitely not least, there are many vintage shops in Winnipeg that offer a wide variety of vintage clothes.  

All in all, thrifting is great for the environment, your wallet, and your style. What could be better! Check out the tips below on how to begin your thrifting journey, and good-luck!

Thrifting tips:

  1. Don’t expect to find everything you want the first time you go. Thrifting is a process, and it takes time and patience.
  2. Look in ALL the sections, some of my absolute favourite jackets, jeans, t-shirts, and sweaters are from the men’s section.
  3. Keep your eye out for colours and patterns that you love and go from there. Having a place to start can make the huge selection a little less intimidating.
  4. Don’t forget to look at accessories! Purses and jewelry can be very expensive to buy new and the thrift stores have a large selection for a quarter of the price.
  5. Try EVERYTHING on! You never know until you try it! If you find something your not 100% sure about, give it a shot and you might surprise yourself.

Written by: Holly Simpson

The Good Planet Project

There are a lot of good people in the world, although sometimes it may be hard to believe when we are bombarded with negativity, greed, and consumerism on all sides. I remember reading once that all that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to meet some of the people who are fighting the good fight. Dylan Leeder, the founder of the Good Planet Project and his travelling companion Brittney stopped in at Generation Green. It was one of many stops during their road trip across Canada.

When I first met them, they seemed like very humble and kind people. They had had trouble finding parking for their van, just like anyone else would in Downtown Winnipeg. When they arrived, we made sure to serve them some coffee from Acorn Cafe, and we just…talked.

In one short hour, I felt more inspired than I had all summer to make a change in my lifestyle, to travel, to be open minded…

And I want to share this feeling with you. This is the feeling that can spark a movement, make changes, empower people.

So let’s start at the beginning. What is the Good Planet project?

The first thing you’ll see on their website is that the Good Planet Project is a documentary exploration of the people, lifestyles, and efforts that are dedicated towards the repair and conservation of our planet. Dylan has been driving across Canada in a self-made van, decked out with solar panels, trying to find the ways in which people are facing environmental issues in their own cities. Through photography, Dylan is also showing people the natural beauty of our country and inspiring us to protect it in order to keep it that way.

They told us about their travels and their goals. When we asked how they had found us, a small business in the heart of Winnipeg, they told us that after a quick Instagram search of ‘sustainability Winnipeg,’ we were the first thing to pop up. Although I’m happy that my workplace is apparently the hub of sustainable and healthy living in Winnipeg according to Instagram, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that there weren’t more results.

As we were talking, the conversation steered toward the difficulties of trying to change a system while still being a part of it.

Allow me to this explain further.

Dylan has had his own struggles with this. For over eight years, he worked in the advertising industry. The work took its toll on him. He felt a lot of guilt about the work that he did, the unnecessary products he encouraged people to buy, and how much of those products have ended up in a landfill. He goes into more detail on his website, so be sure to check that out.

I think that a lot of us can relate to this feeling. So much of the work that we do to support ourselves and our families involves doing things that may go against our values. Maybe that means sitting at a desk all day when you really wish you could be working outside. Maybe it means working in building or planning, and knowing that you have to tear down nature to build up a house or business or road. Maybe you work with food and drink, and see how much of it goes to waste every single day.

Within capitalism, we find so many contradictions. Not to get too technical here, but the exploitation that comes with capitalism – the exploitation of the worker, the environment, the children, the poor – is not sustainable, and eventually it will fall apart. Our planet does not contain unlimited resources, and sooner  or later we are going to run out. It’s just a question of what we’re going to use up first.

But in order to do something about this, it’s pretty much impossible to both reject capitalism and fight it effectively. The most difficult issue to get around is money. It’s pretty much impossible to live in this society without money. You have to buy things to support yourself and when you do this, you are supporting the industry. Short of moving to the middle of nowhere and growing all your own food, providing all your own power and being completely self-sufficient, you can’t completely reject the unsustainable system we are all living in.

Take Dylan’s project for example. One of the things we discussed is the contradiction between driving across Canada to find ways to save the environment and live sustainably, while driving across Canada in a gas-guzzling van.

But what I learned from Dylan and Brittney is that you have to make the best of what you’re given. The optimism and inspiration that they have brought with them through this country have done a lot to counteract the emissions from their van. There is a lot to be said about just doing what you can. For example, they have outfitted their van with solar panels, as I mentioned, and they are very conscious of their potential impacts on the environment.

Being conscious, and wanting to do the best you can are integral to living sustainably, or in developing any skill. Once you are self-aware and have a desire to improve, it’s hard not to change.

I look forward to following the rest of Dylan and Brittney’ journey as they return home to Calgary and begin to debrief everything they have learned on their travels. Stay tuned to The Good Planet Project to learn more, and hopefully get inspired to be one of the good people!

Series written by Chantal Delaquis

 

No Dairy?! – Ethics

Veganism for health or for the environment is easy to get on board with. They are full of facts, statistics, and science. But ethics? That’s a trickier one. There isn’t a bunch of numbers and research I can throw at ya to convince you that consuming dairy isn’t ethical. The ethical motivation has got to come from your gut.

It’s nice for some to imagine that your milk comes from a cow who is free to roam, who loves her caretaker, and can’t wait to go in every morning to get pulled by the udders. The unfortunate truth is that basically none of the milk you can purchase at a store is harvested like this. And even if it was… why do we consume a cow’s milk, and not mi

For starters, when I was going vegan I was hit with this argument a lot: “but females cows constantly produce milk anyway, naturally.”

Stop that right there…. what?!

How does any mammal come about producing milk?

Through pregnancy. Cows are not some marvel of evolution that are exempt from this. So let’s be clear – cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy.

But what about the endless supply of milk in North America then?! The answer is as f’d up as you think it is. Cows are “forcibly impregnated” …every 9 months. Then specific measures are taken to stop the baby cow from drinking their mother’s milk (Which is “meant” for humans?)… *ahem* the veal industry.

Andy the cow was taken from his mother at birth. He would’ve be killed at 4 months old for veal if he wasn’t rescued by a sanctuary

All this, is aside from the fact that cows and all farm animals are kept in totally horrifying conditions. Lots of animal agricultural factories keep animals in a space not big enough for them to move. They are stuck like this their whole (very shortened) lives. Livestock cows are usually killed around 2-5 years old, because they’ve been worked so hard by the industry and their potential is worn out. Non-livestock cows on sanctuary grounds can live over 15 years old. I won’t go much further into this, and it’s pretty easy to google videos of inside factory farms, and see for yourself these horrifying practices. Or check out the movie “Earthlings” or “Dominion” if you wanna go really deep into it.

So even if you commit to exclusively getting your milk from a local, “happy”, “free-range” farm, these questionable practices still take place. Take the time to ask yourself if that’s something you are comfortable with contributing to (with your money.)

Dylan the cow, saved from the veal (dairy) industry, now over 15 years old. Living free at a sanctuary

Another small thought – have you ever thought about that fact that humans drink the breast milk of a cow, into their adulthood? Human breast milk is meant for a growing baby, and after the time of milk production in a person’s life, that baby is no longer in need of breast milk. Even if they were, why do humans consume the milk of a cow and not a pig, a giraffe, or a dog?

I feel like I could write about this topic endlessly. Cows are also totally sentient mammals. Have you seen those adorable videos of cows who live inside a house with their people? We know they’re adorable, and no one has a natural inclination to kill them. Cows feel, cry, and have a desire to live.

Everyone’s veganism journey and experience is different. Veganism is a wonderful lifestyle for a passionate environmentalist, or a major health enthusiast. But you could not give even give a crap about the environment or health, and still totally understand why this is a rad way to eat and live. Veganism at its core, I truly believe, is about ethics.

Article series written by Savannah

Sustainable Living

If you’ve been following along with this series, then you’ve read about the difference between compostable and biodegradable, and have learned to rethink the way we recycle. But what if we could reduce our waste altogether?

It’s all well and good to know how to dispose of our waste properly and divert it from landfills by recycling or composting. But a more long term solution would be to minimize our waste entirely. Reducing our waste is the most sustainable way to take care of our planet, as the abundance of waste, whether it is food waste, plastic, clothes, or just ‘stuff’ in general is really the problem.

To live sustainably, what needs to change is our lifestyle; the way we go through our day.

But that isn’t easy. In fact, it’s probably one of the most difficult things for people to do. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it! 

I recently interviewed an incredible woman, whom I will refer to as A. Patterson, who is dedicated to living as sustainably as she can. She educated me about Zero-Waste Living, and she gave me some information that I’m very excited to share with you.

I started with the basics and asked her what zero-waste living meant to her.

“To me, zero-waste living is about reducing as much waste from going to landfill as possible. A core belief of the lifestyle is that it’s a journey and not a destination.”

The less trash we send to landfills, the better. It’s not about being a perfectionist and having absolutely no waste, or getting overwhelmed by just how much waste we produce. It’s about transitioning to being more aware of what we’re throwing out, and finding solutions along the way.

We are all intelligent human beings who are capable of adapting to our changing environment. We live in a society that likes things to be done fast and efficiently (in terms of both time and money), with only the short-term gains in mind. We’ve become comfortable, and less accountable for our actions. It’s easy for us to fall into this mindset when our waste disappears after we throw it away. We can get caught in the trap of thinking that our actions have no consequences. In reality, a plastic bag we have used for maybe a few minutes to carry our groceries home has harmed or even killed a creature in the ocean, thousands of miles away.           

Patterson says that one of the biggest things she has learned in her transition to zero-waste is just “how many of the things we think just disappear when we throw them away actually make their way into our environment and oceans. As well that small actions can have huge consequences both positive and negative. A simple balloon, straw or plastic bag that is used for a matter of minutes can have consequences to wildlife on the other side of the world. As well that what we think is recycled in our local municipal system is actually fairly limited. It has definitely made me research more sustainable ways of dealing with items I no longer need.”  

I believe we’ve gotten to a point where we have a hard time distinguishing between what we want and what we need. We actually don’t need boxes of kleenex. It’s possible to clean your kitchen without using paper towels. You don’t need to buy a coffee in a disposable cup on your way to work. These are all things that we want to do; things that are easy and comfortable.

I’ll state it again because I think it’s such an important thing to remember: changing your habits to live sustainably is not easy. It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to want to buy that coffee and throw away the cup afterward without a second thought. You’re going to want to buy more things than you need. It might be a confusing transition.

I think that a lot of people expect green living to be easier than they thought, and give up when it gets challenging. I find myself falling into old habits more than I’d like – it happens to everyone. But once you build a new routine for yourself, it becomes as natural as breathing – and the air will be cleaner too.

To be conscious of it is the first step, and doing something about it is next.

I’ll end with some of Patterson’s tips and tricks to living more sustainably and producing less waste:

  • Carrying a reusable water bottle/coffee cup
  • Carrying a reusable shopping bag
  • Carrying a small kit of reusable cutlery, food storage and a cloth napkin 
  • Buying produce in cloth bags instead of plastic
  • Buying pantry items at a bulk food store or in recyclable/compostable packaging
  • Using your own containers when buying bulk
  • Buying personal care items (shampoo, soap, deodorant, etc) without packaging or in packaging that can be reused/recycled/composted or refilling them at Generation Green 😉
  • Donating unused items to places like Goodwill and ArtsJunction
  • Composting and recycling as much as possible!
  • Take special recycling items like old electronics to proper disposal locations;  BellMTS will take old phones for recycling and places like staples and hardware stores offer more types of recycling for thing like electronics, printer cartridges, batteries, light bulbs, etc.
  • Another big challenge is snacks and ordering in food (Skip the Dishes is always so tempting after a long day of work) and while it’s something I’m still working on my solution is to keep pantry staples for quick meals and easy snacks (bought with minimal packaging or at bulk stores) at home and with me to reduce the temptation. If I do order take-out I make sure to bring my own reusable containers
  • Some great resources are the “Journey to Zero-waste” Facebook groups. There’s a global one and ones broken down by region. Winnipeg has one too!

Stay tuned for articles about special recycling items, travelling sustainably and more!

Article written by Chantal Delaquis

 

 

No Dairy?! – Environment

Oh boy, this is a long one! But stay with me! Animal agriculture has all types of negative effects on the environment that are somewhat “hidden” from the public! I’ve tried to summarize here all the major points! If you don’t have time to read through this article, feel free to skip to the header that most interests you. There is a paragraph on water usage + pollution, air pollution, and land usage + destruction!

All of these effects contribute to the reasons that Acorn Cafe will not serve dairy (or any animal products!) As an eco-friendly store, we can’t reconcile being kind to the environment while eating animal products. These two things just don’t go together!

Water

Water Usage

Fresh water is a precious resource. We literally could not live without it. Did you know only 1% of all water on earth is water that humans can actually use? That 1% is fresh water, the other 99% of water on earth is salt water. Fresh water is not something that should be taken for granted! Unfortunately, 55% of all the water that is used in America is used on animal agriculture (and dairy production!) If everyone had a plant based diet we could use so! much! less! water on a regular basis.

One pound of wheat only takes about 25 gallons of water to produce. To produce the same amount of beef it takes 2500 gallons! For reference, the amount of water used in one hamburger is equivalent to the amount of water that would be used if someone ran their shower 24/7 for 3 whole months! It isn’t just hamburgers that use too much water – there are similar statistics for all types of animal agriculture (dairy included.) 477 gallons of water for 1 pound of eggs, 900 gallons of water for 1 pound of cheese, and 1000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of dairy milk. (Sources)

Water Pollution

Not only does animal agriculture use soo much water, but it’s also the top cause of water pollution in America. What does animal agriculture pollute the water with? Animal excrement. That’s right… so. much. animal sh*t.

There are an overabundance of animals bred in North America at every minute, and the amount of waste they all produce is absurd. Unfortunately, this waste must go somewhere, and usually the industries decide that it will go in our water.

Animals raised for food produce excrement significantly faster than the human species. Animals in agriculture produce about 130 times more feces than the human population. About 86000 pounds of animal waste are produced per second which equals to 5 to 7 million pounds a minute. This is a huge amount of waste that doesn’t really have anywhere to go. (Source, source)

When this sweet, loveable breed is overbred – they create an unsustainable amount of waste!!

The water polluted by animal waste is also the cause of all and any E. Coli, salmonella, and listeria outbreaks. Despite popular belief that E. Coli can be sourced from plants, E. Coli only comes only from literal sh*t. Plants don’t produce any, so ultimately any plant with E. Coli has received it from animal agriculture/animal excrement.

This generally happens from lake or river runoff, or from spraying plants with unfiltered water. Sometimes filtered water even does it, considering the MASS amount of waste it tries to sort through, filtration can’t always successfully cleanse this water. (Source)

Air Pollution

Animal agriculture is also a major source of air pollution. Animal agriculture releases more green house gas emissions than other any industry. That means even more than the transportation industry, despite popular belief.

Air pollution has the potential to sicken the earth and all its human and non-human inhabitants. The meat, dairy, and egg industries all emit two highly poisonous pollutants  –  nitrous oxide, and methane. In addition to this, animal agriculture clears and burns rain forests. This process produces 165 pounds of carbon dioxide per hamburger that is produced on that land. (Source) This ends up being 51% of all worldwide CO2/greenhouse gas emissions.

More than that, methane is another air pollutant that can be 86 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. Cows happen to produce 150, 000, 000, 000 gallons of methane per day! (P.s. that’s 150 billion gallons.)

And even nitrous oxide happens to be 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. 65% of its human related emissions are due to livestock. (Source)

Land

Usage + Destruction

There doesn’t need to be an over abundance of cows, but since there are they require an unsustainable amount of space!

Animal agriculture requires a huge amount of land. 2 to 5 acres are needed per indivual cow that is raised for beef. That’s 20x more land than what is needed to grow crops for a vegan diet.

On top of the land that is needed for livestock – tons of vegetation land is used to exclusively grow crops to feed to live stock. So 80% of all agricultural land is used to raise animals for food. There could be so much more food produced to feed so many more people if all of of the agricultural land was used for grain and plant production for human consumption.

Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land. 290 million acres in America have been cleared to grow animal feed. Most of the topsoil that is lost in America every year is due to dairy and beef production.  To feed a person who consumes animal products, about 3.25 acres of land are needed per year. Meanwhile, a vegan would only require 1/6 of a single acre per year.

To try and keep up with this unsustainable amount of land needed to meet the high and excessive demand of meat and dairy products, tons of land and rain forest destruction takes place. In rain forest countries, about 220 square feet of rain forest is cleared to produce 1 pound of beef. The amount of rain forest destroyed for animal agriculture everyday is larger than New York City. This displaces and destroys 2600 pounds of other living matter (not to mention habitats,) and endless species. Unlike coniferous forest, tropical rainforest can never be replaced once it’s cleared. It is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction. (Source, source)


*Please note – information and facts here are not Generation Green or Acorn Cafe’s. All information has been outsourced. Please reference the links in this article to further investigate! You are your own health advocate so make informed choices!!

Article written by Savannah

Compostable vs. Biodegradable

My last article touched on recycling and how our focus needs to be on reducing & reusing and now will dig a little into composting and biodegradable products.

It seems like common sense that something biodegradable must be good for the environment. Break down the word and you have bio and degradable; will degrade naturally. But like most modern “Green” marketing schemes, the details and science behind the products are easily overlooked.

What most people don’t realize is that Biodegradable plastic will NOT decompose in a landfill. Anything biodegradable requires oxygen to break down in order to decompose properly. Companies also do not specify a time requirement for how long it takes the biodegradable plastic to decompose other than ‘a reasonable amount’, which translates to: less than 1000 years.

photo credit: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com

Say you bought a Blue Majik smoothie at Acorn cafe. You walk the streets getting stares because of the bright blue drink in your cup, but it’s so delicious, you don’t care. When you’re done, you throw it in the trash with confidence because you know that it is biodegradable plastic.

Now, imagine a landfill.

Mountains and mountains of plastic garbage bags full of discarded, lost or unwanted possessions, all wasting away. That ugly mess will be there for thousands and thousands of years.

Needless to say, a biodegradable cup squished between heavy plastic garbage bags will have little to no oxygen. In the end, it’s basically as bad as throwing regular plastic into the trash. (So if you’re not already composting, please feel free to bring it back to our location & toss in our compost collector).

Biodegradable material will degrade when composted properly in the bins we provide at the cafe, but when thrown in a landfill, there is hardly any benefit to using them at all.

Compost is a little bit different. Compostable products will break down into carbon dioxide, water and other small pieces within about 90 days. It is a completely organic process, and will not leave behind a toxic residue.

But throwing a compostable cup into the trash is not any better than a biodegradable one. Suffocated by tons and tons of plastic, compostable foods like banana peels or compostable cups, will not decompose into the rich, fertilizing soil that is the result of professional or backyard composting.

Bottom line, anything thrown into the trash – anything – is polluting the environment.

photo credit: http://greenactioncentre.ca/reduce-your-waste/introducing-compost-winnipeg/

This is why composting is so important. We create organic waste that can be transformed into nourishing, completely non-toxic soil that can be used to grow even more organic products! Composting cuts down on the greenhouse gases that are emitted constantly by landfills, allow the volume of waste to be reduced by a HUGE amount.

Even if you don’t have a compost at home, pay attention to what you’re throwing out.

You may be astonished at how much of it could actually just be composted instead!

Our friends over at Compost Winnipeg have a list of items that can/cannot be composted that you can check out here: https://www.compostwinnipeg.ca/faqs

If you’re interested in learning more about composting in your own home or perhaps signing up on the neighbourhood compost pick up, click here: https://www.compostwinnipeg.ca/sign-up

Series written by Chantal Delaquis