Toronto’s Urban Forest Canopy is so good to us, but we’re currently losing more trees than are being planted. Trees help reduce the urban heat island effect, they provide shade so we can use less air conditioning, help prevent global warming by sequestering CO2, make Kyoto Protocol targets attainable, look great, provide habitat, prevent erosion, contribute to biodiversity, mitigate urban storm water runoff, and make neighbourhoods beautiful. Recent studies have proven that they even reduce crime. Need I go on? Time to get planting!
We are lucky in Toronto to have organizations that help with our City’s beautification. Trees that would normally run between $350-$600, with planting that could set you back an additional $200, are being heavily subsidized for city residents.
A local non-profit group LEAF is offering backyard tree planting in Toronto for the reduced cost of about $80-$130. This is amazing. LEAF is dedicated to improving Toronto’s urban forest, so if your backyard could also use a little sprucing up (pardon the pun) then you should contact them at:
LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests)
Subsidized trees for your yard
T 416 413 9244
LEAF’s service includes on-site advice on appropriate species and planting location, a 1.2 to 1.8m tall native tree, and the planting service. Native shrubs are also available.
If are interested in planning a tree on your front lawn you can get a free tree from the City of Toronto. Urban Forestry Services plants trees on City owned street allowances fronting residential properties for free.
City of Toronto Urban Forestry Services
Free tree for your front lawn
T 416 338 8733
Thanks to our local tree-hugger Alissa for pointing out these great resources! I recently planted two trees and have to say that they make me happy every day.
Mari Cla Ro, a boutique selling fabulous bags and other recycled fashion, is a great new addition to Roncesvalles. They opened their doors at 457 Roncesvalles just south of Dundas last week. They feature designs that re-use materials such as seatbelts, car seats, and tarps to create innovative bags and accessories. They also carry the designs of other artists who reuse materials in their creations.
If you’re like me you’ve been frustrated lately when you find these large hunks of useless yellow tree on your doorstep. I personally never use paper phonebooks anymore as I find it much easier to search on-line.
The reason I write to you, dear reader, is that there is finally good news on this front. Yes, that’s right, you have a say in whether you want it or not! Hurray!
Just sign up at this website and tell them if you want to cease delivery. http://www.ypg.com/delivery/
The waste of trees, processing, printing and delivery can be reduced. My Grrrr has now turned into Grrrreat!
Late-breaking news: this weekend is the latest Inorganic Market. It’s happening today, Saturday, August 9, from 10:00AM to 4:00PM at Downsview Park (35 Carl Hall Rd.), and again on Sunday August 10 from 12PM to 6PM in Mirvish Village at Markham & Bloor.
Just what is an inorganic market, you ask? It’s a Greater Toronto Area recycling event where you can safely collect and transfer toxic materials related to computers… old mobile phones, laptops, monitors, printers, speakers, and more.
The idea is to “help to raise awareness of the dangers of e-waste and provide simple opportunities for everyone in the GTA to detox their e-waste.”
Learn more about the event and exactly what you can and can’t bring here: www.InorganicMarket.ca.
P.S. Tempting alternative title, courtesy of Monty Python: “Bring out your dead!”
Technorati Tags: recycling
Me: Hey Junction, what’s going on? What’s with all the commotion?
Junction: Well, let’s see. A beautiful organic grocery store has opened on Dundas Street West. It’s called the Sweet Potato. Not only does it have a fantastic selection of foods, it has a couch! Yeah, you heard me, a couch and some snacks at a cafe in case you need a little pick me up before diving into grocery shopping.
Me: I’m impressed. It’s not super cheap. But it’s everything else that a great little neighbourhood grocery store would be. Junction, you’re shaping up to be one hot neighbourhood!
We’ve all heard the rumblings about how some plastics and food do not mix.
I finally stumbled across a great article that summarizes things quite clearly. You can access this article here in PDF format.
The site this information came from is http://www.bisphenolafree.org. Check it out if you’re curious.
I was shocked to learn that plastic food wrap is one of the plastics to avoid in terms of contact with food. Hmm… I guess I’ll go back to wax paper.
It seems that Health Canada is also concerned, as evidenced in this excerpt from the Globe and Mail:
Health Canada is calling bisphenol A a dangerous substance, making it the first regulatory body in the world to reach such a determination and taking the initial step toward measures to control exposures to it.
Although the government won’t announce specific bans or restrictions, the designation as dangerous could pave the way for the hormonally active chemical to be listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which would allow Health Minister Tony Clement to issue specific measures to curb its use.
A great little organic cafe and market called “The Beet” has recently opened up on Dundas Street west of Keele Street. It’s a darling little place with simple design, the huge bright windows of an old bank building, and creative use of many recycled materials.
The Beet sells organic foods to take home or eat in at the adorable little cafe. These include a selection of fresh organic breads, produce, eggs, dairy, bulk and packaged goods for your pantry. They also sell fair trade organic coffees, teas, smoothies and baked goods.
Their mission is to provide delicious, nourishing food of the highest quality, while reducing ecological footprint. As an environmentally friendly and sustainable company, The Beet has found and used eco-friendly materials wherever possible throughout the creation of the space.
I recently stumbled across some great skin care products that are made in Canada. Matter Company is especially appealing as they keep their products simple, by using few and mostly recognizable herbal ingredients. Less is more in this case, since many of the chemicals that we put on our skin end up in our bodies. (I am currently on a quest to reduce the number of chemicals I expose myself to in the world of ‘product’.) The shampoo for instance has ingredients of: alkyl glucoside, vegetable glycerin, tocopherol, deionized water, cleavers horsetail extract, juniper extract, rosemary extract, essential oils of bergamot, cedar wood, Canadian pine and , grapefruit … which all sounds pretty ok to me and they are biodegradable too.
Their philosophy is one of respect for the earth and using natural plant essences to encourage human health.
It’s nice to see these types of products coming out of Toronto rather than San Francisco or the usual suspects. This means less money spent on transport, more money supporting the local economy and less polluting done on my dime.
I’m really enjoying the products I bought. If you are interested they are available though phone order or from retailers such as Whole Foods.
I heard all the hype and was excited about the new light bulb technology that was being promoted throughout the land. These new compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less energy than regular light bulbs! Yahoo, an easy win! Switching to CF bulbs, combined with some diligent turning off un-needed lights and appliances reduces the demand for our dirty electricity. Since much of our electricity is produced by coal burning power plants (that emit greenhouse gases contributing to global warming and cause asthma), anything that can help us conserve power is good news. We are improving our environment through simple steps to reduce demand for electricity.
It was only after changing out nearly all of our light bulbs that I heard these bulbs contain mercury and the toxic metal will leak out if you break the bulb. Which means that these bulbs require special disposal. Nowhere in these big advertisements did they mention that CF bulbs cannot go into the garbage.
The City of Toronto has set up the following methods for disposal:
1. Community Environment Day (April – September)
3. Ikea is taking back and recycling the bulbs they have sold customers. Go Ikea! Rona seems to be the only other company that is working toward a corporate initiative to take back the bulbs.
By the time these long lasting bulbs burn out I’m sure disposal will be made easier, especially as we get closer to 2012 when Ontario will no longer sell any other type of light bulb.
David Suzuki reminds us that coal fired power plants are the largest sources of mercury in our environment today, so by reducing our dependence on them through use of these bulbs we are still ahead.
Now if only we could get offices to turn off the lights when no one is working …