It’s a green-light day.

I am literally going to shine the light on my own bad behaviour around our household.

Right now, our mud room light is on, door is open, kitchen light on, dining room light on and living room light on. Ok, so I would normally use the excuse of something like ‘well we are living in a place with minimal natural light…it makes me feel warmer, safer, more comfortable etc’.

Another thing I am very aware of is that each day when I feel the cold, and yes I feel it much more in Vancouver given that Spring time here is like our Aussie winters, I notice that the heat dial I have turned up mysteriously ends up turned right down, well off actually whenever I next walk past! This is not to mention the labyrinth of wires and cables hidden behind our television and other gadgets with flashing lights and all on…ok so I am not the tech head in this family but given I still live here I am responsible too for the amount of plug-ins that are running constantly.

Almost 30% of all our greenhouse emissions come from our houses. Just under 5 million people spend more than 10% of their incomes on energy and therefore classed as “fuel poor”.

I am trying very hard to introduce these new changes into my life to reduce my carbon footprint, make ethical choices as a consumer and being more respectful of the beautiful environment that surrounds me. Next step, being energy-efficient – well that’s one of my biggest weaknesses! This is going to be one of my biggest challenges yet…

I am going to take simple steps and try to be as conscious as possible to do this everyday:-

Replace lightbulbs with low energy lightbulbs.

Turn all lights not being used off.

Unplug as many appliances as possible overnight; TV, DVD, computer, toaster, kettle and coffee maker.

Also, today on June 4th I have just discovered that Canada’s major environmental organisations, together with leading charities, unions, bloggers, and others will darken their websites and join thousands of Canadians like you to Speak Out in defence of nature and democracy.

Right now, Canada’s parliament is pushing through a bill to weaken many of the country’s most important environmental protection measures and silence the voices of all Canadians who seek to defend nature.

My goal today may not have a lot to do with this new bill, but it is awareness that counts right? It’s ideas, it’s thinking, it’s doing, its positive changes right?
6. Sixth green action – START REDUCING MY HOUSEHOLD’S ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND INCREASE EFFICIENCY.

An EPIC weekend…

Smarter, stylish living…do we all aspire to this?

Western Canada thinks we do, with the largest sustainable lifestyle showcase taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre. It’s where “Style meets Sustainability”. Now in its 6th year, it is a celebration and immersion of all things ‘green’, for a stylishly sustainable lifestyle. The theme this year was “All Things Food, local. Organic, Healthy”.

So I had to attend given I want to learn as much as possible about sustainability, especially the foods that I consume and those choices I make can make a positive impact on our environment. The timing couldn’t have been better given my new goals to live more ‘green’ as I put it.

It was hard not to walk away with a few hot topics firmly planted in my mind which were:-

  • Buy/Eat local – Coop companies and community gardens supplying Vancouver
  • Grow your own – Whole Foods providing advice on how to grow organically
  • Travel smart – energy-efficient cars, bikes, car-sharing companies.
  • Support Fair Trade products – Fair Trade Vancouver, seeking to increase awareness, availability and sales of Fair Trade products to Metro Vancouver.

Kid’s were also considered as our planet’s future depend on them. There were activities set-up to play with eco-friendly toys and a large garden patch for them learn how to grow food by planting herbs in a raised garden bed as well as taking home some seeds to do at home.

There was even a Eco-Fashion marketplace to check out some of the ‘waste-couture’ as I’ve heard it termed. There were designers selling scarves and accessories made with the thrums or scraps left over in the weaving process, handbags using a multitude of sourced recycled products for example, aeroplane seat belts used in handbags, which I must say was unique and smart …to a specific taste of course! There were some divine linens and baby wear made from bamboo textiles which are extremely eco-friendly and anti-bacterial too I found out!

The local food movement has been gathering momentum over a number of years now globally. For many of the exhibitors at EPIC the hot topic on their lips was reducing the number of kilometres/miles from farm to plate. Farmers who market locally are often relatively small in scale and therefore can make real improvements to their production practices which in turn impact the environment positively. The World Watch Institute reports that the average food item eaten in North America has traveled 2,500-4000 km from farm to table. The ‘eat local’ goal would be to achieve a 160 kilometre /100 mile radius boundary which is large enough to reach beyond a big city but small enough to feel truly local. It’s a big subject which I need to read up more on, however some reading material I am going to take a look at soon are;

> The 100-mile diet by Alisa Smith & J.B MacKinnon                                                              > State of the World – Innovations that nourish the Planet by the World Watch Institute

I spoke with Matthew Stuart, General Manager and Buyer for NOWBC a Cooperative online farmers market which makes it simple to eat local organic food. He sources some of best organic produce around from notable farms just to name a few like:- Glen Valley Organic Farm, Forstbauer Natural Food Farm and Klippers Organic Acres. They carry a variety of organic produce, meats, dairy, flours, grains and much more.

It was well worth going and its given me loads to think about, however for now I will take another small step towards living more green. Do you know what the most exciting thing was for me? Seeing my son’s expression of anticipation and delight as he was given a pea seed to plant and watch grow at home.

5. Fifth green action – START GROWING SOME OF MY OWN HERBS, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.

The adventure begins…

31 March, 2012

Tonight is Earth Hour, and I missed it…I will come back to this.

However tonight of all nights I have decided to start a blog. My blog is named ‘greenskis’ for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, my surname is Zielinski, which means ‘green’ in polish. The ‘ski’ part that is in my name though will also represent what I will call or term “green sky thinking’; inspired thoughts about attracting more green and positivity into my life.

Furthermore, I have just moved to Vancouver, Canada with my family; husband and 2 year old (from Sydney, Australia) and I am feeling really inspired and excited. From this day on, I have decided to document my experiences in a new city/country and to be more proactive about living more, ‘Green’. I will focus on some small steps I take each week to bring more green into my life.

So what does living green mean to me? Right now, my definition is minimizing:-

the amount of wastage I use that is harming our environment,

the amount of pesticides and other contaminants found in goods that me and my family consume

the amount of mass produced products and buying from smaller suppliers

the amount of energy I am using in the household as well emissions I let off into the atmosphere outside the house (not personal emissions…)

I am sure this will evolve for me as I go through this journey, but right now I think I have my hands full.

So Earth Hour was an initiative that Australia my home country began in 2007. It started with Sydney siders which is where I grew up.  In 2008 the plan was to take Earth Hour to the rest of Australia, but then the City of Toronto, Canada signed up, and it wasn’t long before 35 countries and almost 400 cities and towns were part of the event.  It said something so compelling to the world: that climate changes facing our planet are so significant that change needs to be global. Now hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments unite to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour.  If you want to read more on this event, please see http://www.earthhour.org.

I am a little upset I forgot it this year so I am going to make it up now by typing in the dark and then switching off everything very soon for the night. I need to spend a little time on my thoughts because I am in the moment and don’t want to lose this inspiration.

There is a beauty in Vancouver that I am becoming in awe of, the snow-capped mountains everywhere I turn is almost mesmerizing that I am walking and watching without really thinking about where I am heading. The city also has a harbour like Sydney, so there is an essence of home about the place.

People here are really friendly, in a courteous and gentle way. There is as one local I have met recently through friends who is a born and bred Vancouverite and as she puts it “There is a lacksadaisical sense” about the place…a laid back style that puts you at ease immediately.

Perhaps this is why Vancouver has been voted best city in the world to live in for many years now, I have yet to learn much more.

For now, I really feel as if the magnificent mountains ahead of me and the cold crisp air I breathe has energized me somewhat, reinvigorated my thought processes about how we as a society live today with our current environment.

I really want the way we live to have a profound impact on the planet for the better, sustainability is a hot topic and we need to promote sustainable living and development in our society. I a hungry to learn more. Although I am naive with little in-depth knowledge about what we need to actively do to make big change, I know it has to start with me first, and the young generations of today who want the future for their children to be clean and bright as it can be.

One of my passions is food, so the obvious place to start is at a level of comfort with the knowledge I possess about buying foods that are grown or produced in a way that is not harmful to the environment and importantly not harmful to our bodies.

I have just come across a website called ‘The Daily Green’ and I discovered it after searching on Google for the ‘Dirty Dozen’. I must add you need to include ‘Foods’ to this search otherwise the result is well errrh, entirely different say no more! I was visiting one of my local fresh produce markets in Vancouver and a stall of micro-greens caught my eye. There was a plentiful amount of kale, and rocket/arugula and I mentioned I try where possible to purchase organic produce; especially the leafy greens that are heavily sprayed, but little did I know there were other vegetables that I had never considered to be high on pesticides like for example, celery which this team mentioned is high on the ‘dirty dozen’ list. My curiosity lead me to read up on this list when I returned home immediately to see what else was on the essential what to buy organic where budget allows list.

So here it is:-

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes and raisins
  8. Capsicums
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale
  13. and special one to note:- Milk
  1. First Green action – BUY MORE ORGANIC GREENS and other foods from local farmers.

I have written my new shopping list out for the week and will be heading to hunt out these goodies for me and my family tomorrow.

For now, that’s enough for me to sleep on. Good night.