Goat Talk About Town

It’s been an interesting long weekend with lots of summer activities going on, but one common theme has been people talking about goats and chickens around town.

In response to the brief story and random question featured in the Castlegar Current, people about town are thinking about chickens and goats in a new light.

This is the vox pop section from the Castlegar Current (via Raymond Koehler), (click on the image to view full-sized)…

current-june-26-08-5

At a birthday party this morning, another two families agreed that allowing chickens and goats would be great, they even commented on previous neighbours that have had chickens in the past, with no problems.

I have to wonder if those on council who voted against further discussion of this matter actually talked to anyone regarding this proposal.

I’m sure this isn’t the end of this story.  🙂

Low Flush Toilets

The City of Rossland is going ahead with a rebate program for the replacement of old toilets with newer, low flush models. This is in addition to the Province’s (BC) recent announcement that all new houses will be fitted with low flush toilets. The final details of the program have not been ironed out, but it raises an interesting question that impacts everyone.

What standards of performance do toilet manufacturers have to meet?

Ootischenia Abattoir

I’ll admit it. I like meat.

I could eat meat 3 meals a day seven days a week. Whether it’s lamb kebabs, sizzling bacon, buffalo sausages, or a juicy steak – its all good to me.

The downside to enjoying meat is the environmental footprint of the choice. And that’s one of the reasons why our family just doesn’t eat that much meat.

The Local Story

In this part of the world, the Kootenays, the ecological footprint of meat is probably higher than a lot of other places as there is no licensed facility to kill and butcher the animals within several hundred kilometres. Even animals that are raised just up the road have to be trucked to a distant facility and back to be sold commercially.

BC Living Water Smart

The Environment Minister for British Columbia, Barry Penner announced a water conservation program driven in part by the changing climate, but also by an acknowledgement that BC uses extreme quantities of water.

Under the plan, according to the Living Water Smart website, “by 2020, water use in British Columbia will be 33 per cent more efficient, and by 2012, government will require all large water users to measure and report their water use.”

Penner said the plan has the steps needed to protect B.C. rivers, lakes and watersheds….

B.C. environment minister announces plan for more effective water use

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143494929_1f213e94dd_m One big shift in this plan is a move towards Ecological Watershed Governance, something that has been rumbling around in environmental and scientific think tanks for a number of years.

But the thought without the requisite details doesn’t cut it among many environmentalists…

"There’s no details and the timeline says many of these things may be enacted by 2012. That’s quite a ways down the road", said Craig Orr, executive director of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society.

"We need more details, we have severe water problems in B.C.", Orr said.

According to the government news release, in some areas, like the Okanagan and Gulf Islands, seasonal water shortages are already challenging community water systems, and the fish and aquatic ecosystems that depend on these systems for survival.

Locally Safeway – Part 2

Last year I ran a post on the locally grown brochure that Safeway Canada had inserted into their weekly flyer right across the country. In their mind Local means Canadian, however, the reality is that food produced in Washington State is closer to us here in the Kootenays than food produced in Manitoba.

This week, I’ve asked a question of Safeway, to see what their delivery protocol is for food such as apples from Creston to the store in Castlegar.

Can you tell me what the process of delivery to a store in Castlegar is for say apples from Creston? Are the apples picked up at the farm by a truck and delivered straight to Castlegar, or does it get shipped to a warehouse first, say in Calgary or Vancouver?

The premise in my mind is that food labelling in store leads you to believe that it is from Creston (just 150km away), but the reality may be that it has travelled many thousand kilometres to get to the store where it is bought.

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A couple of days later I received this answer…

To answer your question, goods are delivered to our warehouses in Calgary and Vancouver and then distributed to the individual stores. Please let me know if there is anything else that I can assist you with.

Although I’m disappointed, it’s about what I expected with a company of this size – the efficiencies of scale are greater than concerns for minimizing vehicle miles travelled. I don’t blame the drivers or the corporation, it’s not their fault we demand a large selection of perfect produce all year round. The cost benefit analysis has been done by their accountant, and maybe there’s a price of gas where the whole mode of delivery switches, but any solution to one problem throws up many more – so it’s likely that things won’t change in a hurry.

Simply put – the consumer lifestyle we currently enjoy is totally unsustainable when you consider how far away everyday products travel from for us to enjoy and discard the packaging in an instant. The challenge is in finding natural, local alternatives to the essentials we purchase, and weaning ourselves off the unsustainables we consume.

Pair go green as world watches

A Rossland couple has made BC news by blogging their green transformation…

In their first three weeks, they’ve managed to banish bottled water from their lives, recycle their electronic waste and even started saving snow in buckets and barrels so they won’t have to turn on the tap to water their garden this summer. "It’s different every day. Some days it might be something really big, like building a solar cooker, or something really small, like changing our light bulbs," Craig said.

Pair go green as world watches – The Province

You can check out their daily progress at their blog – Our Green Year.

Greener Local Governments in BC

90046278_7b2ae3723f_m The British Columbia provincial government is working hard to be recognized as the greenest of all the provinces, with carbon taxes and sustainable transportation initiatives. The latest move is a mixed blessing for municipalities.

In looking for "solutions to climate change", local governments are being invited to seek solutions that "make their communities more environmentally sustainable".

CivicInfo BC – News

Once the legislation comes into force, local governments will be required to include greenhouse gas emission targets, policies and actions in their Official Community Plans and Regional Growth Strategies.

They will also be able to use development permits to promote energy and water conservation and the reduction of greenhouse gases, and encourage alternative transportation options for off-street parking. Developers who are building small housing units (29 square metres or less) will be exempt from paying Development Cost Charges. Local governments will have the ability to waive or reduce these charges for green development including small lot subdivisions and affordable rental housing.

Many of these initiative are already being used in progressive municipalities, with auditing of greenhouse gases and efforts towards water conservation two of the big ones.

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The City of Rossland is in the process of reviewing their development cost charges, and will incorporate exemptions or discounts for smaller units. Rossland already uses building permits as a mechanism for requiring water conservation upgrades such as water meters and low flush toilets.