Braving the Cold While Being Sustainable
Sustainability…we hear that word everywhere these days, but what does it truly mean? Sustainability means using resources in a conscious way that does not negatively impact the future of our dear planet, for generations to come.
During the cold season especially, it is easy to forget about sustainability and, rather, focus on turning up the thermostat to 68 degrees. If this sounds like you, try these simple tips that will help getting you through the winter, while caring for Gaïa:
Turn down the thermostat when not home. – Yes, everyone wants to come back to a toasty home when Frosty the Snowman is pouring outside but, by leaving on the thermostat all day, you generate electricity uselessly and that costs money! Do yourself a favour, turn down the thermostat and use that money to buy yourself something pretty for the holidays; you deserve it!
Bring your own cup. - Our beloved holiday drinks are back, yay! Many coffee shops will now allow you to fill up your own to-go cup at the counter. What’s more? most offer a discount to reward your behavior; it’s a win-win!
Use the stairs. – What will this do for mother earth you ask?…well probably not much but, it will do a heck of a lot for your well-being! People who choose the stairs tend to lose more weight over the course of the year; just ask Kim Fraley. During the holidays, we need all the help we can get to stay healthy, so go on and pull up those knees nutcracker!
Use less and better energy. – Reducing air leaks in your home can contribute greatly to reducing your energy use. Also, if you are currently using oil to keep warm, consider switching to a more renewable source of energy like natural gas, biomass or even solar panels.
By following these simple tricks you’ll feel better about yourself and about respecting the earth. In any case, isn’t giving back what the holidays are all about? Cheers!
Our process involves finding and working with new, alternative, and sustainable materials whenever possible. We’ve been using linings made out of recycled plastic bottles for a while now, and have experimented with cork for a few seasons. For our Fall 13 offering, we were determined to include some recycled rubber elements in our collection. We had been toying with the idea for a while, and after some experimentation, we decided to introduce the bane wallet in rubber this season. Because it’s recycled, there can be variations in the surface of the material, that’s part of the beauty, a reminder of the roads well traveled. The Bane sold out quite quick this season, though leading up to production, we sampled a few bags with rubber detailing. The bag we are giving away this week on our Facebook page is our limited edition Soren in Blue. This bag is particularly special as you can find elements of the recycled rubber throughout. We experimented using it on the bottom feet & the inner hang tag on this edition. It was a little tricky as a material to use for the entire construction of the bag unfortunately, but we loved the process and the overall rough, imperfect finish of it that we felt it was necessary to include somehow.
The contest runs from September 30th- October 7th.
You can enter to win HERE.
Montreal is a fast-paced urban center alive with a steady flow of students and business people alike. Sometimes you’ll see them slipping past one another, hungry and hunting. It’s likely they would never imagine being able to eat crisp vegetables grown within city limits.
“We’re providing an answer to an enormous variety of environmental issues by supplying hyper-local, fresh vegetables to urban residents. By growing without pesticides and distributing directly to customers the same day as harvest, we provide safe, nutritious, and much more flavorful vegetables, while also eliminating the 1500-mile transport chain most grocery store produce travels through,” said Lauren Rathmell, Greenhouse Director and Founding Member.
“We further minimize our environmental impact by recirculating water, capturing rainwater, and using about half the energy of a typical greenhouse. Finally, we help cities by replacing rooftop heat islands with a transpiring plant surface and we help reduce the energy needs of the building below us year-round.”
Lufa Farms will be expanding in the Montreal community by taking on new subscribers and opening more drop-points where people can pick up their baskets. Their second greenhouse will be opening in a few months, which will more than double the amount of vegetables they produce.
Over the next couple years, Lufa Farms plans to have greenhouse sites underway in at least one other major city in North America. In the more distant future, they hope to build multiple greenhouses in cities around the world.
“Finding suitable rooftops isn’t necessarily straightforward, so this is a challenge that lies ahead as we start expanding to new cities,” said Lauren. “We’re an incredibly innovative team overall, so we’ve been able to find solutions to many of the engineering, cultivation, and other challenges we’ve encountered so far. This leaves us poised to tackle expansion and introduce this concept worldwide.”
Their ultimate goal is to make cities self-sufficient in their food production. To provide for the population of Montreal for example, it would take about 25m square feet of rooftop greenhouses, a space equivalent to about 20 shopping centers.
“Our team is motivated to make an impact and push towards expansion, and we have the creativity and drive to make it happen,” said Lauren. “It’s been no easy task to get to where we are today, but we’re all so excited about the potential and ready to give it our all.”
Lufa Farms was founded in 2009 by Mohamed Hage and the founding team of Kurt Lynn, Yahya Badran, and Lauren Rathmell. Hailing from Lebanon, Mohamed drew inspiration from his heritage in naming the company. A lufa is a type of vegetable that grows abundantly in Lebanon and vines over homes and gardens. It produces a gourd-type fruit that can be dried and used as a loofah or sponge. The spirit of benevolence embodied in this plant that cools, shades, and bears fruit without needing much in return seemed to Mohamed an apt choice for the company’s name.
Lufa Farms is now composed of a team of about 30 people, including corporate, distribution, and greenhouse workers. Their head office is located in Montreal, where they also built the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse.
More information is available at Lufa Farm’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RooftopFarming?fref=ts
You may access their official webpage here: https://lufa.com/
You may call them at (514) 669-3559 or email them at email@example.com
We moved our offices last December from Chabanel street (otherwise known as the fashion district in Montreal) to an area not too far from there that feels really different. The streets in our new neighborhood are bordered with grass so it’s easy to step out and get some fresh air, eat your lunch seating on a rock or take a moment to relax outside. After 8 years spent on paved streets, I must say this new address makes me appreciate these simple pleasures. Given the incredible summer weather we’ve been experiencing the past couple of days, I decided to step out and take some pictures of our Dean backpack around the block this afternoon. The Dean has been one of our favorites recently: it’s so simple and practical, and yet we love the sharp lines. It’s also great on a bike, so when we were experimenting with the recycled rubber from bicycle tires, it made sense to try the material on this style. What you see in the pictures is a development sample of the style for our Fall 13 collection, one of these prototypes we use to test our ideas. We changed it a little bit after that, maybe we’ll use this sample for one of our giveaways.
Adam Purple, is often coined as the godfather of the urban gardening movement, and is well known in New York for his “Garden of Eden”on the Lower East side of Manhattan. His project began in the 70′s when two buildings behind his apartment were bulldozed by the city. Looking out his window, he noticed children often playing in the filth, and leftover debris. It soon occurred to him that he could rebuild the space into a sustainable, communal garden. Within a year he transformed the abandoned lot into a green garden that soon stretched to 15,000 square feet. “By the end of the second year, he had transformed both of the lots into flowers,trees, and food crops.” It soon became a communal project within the city. More people came to help him who called themselves the “Purple Guard”. They soon had a fully sustainable garden, where they grew nuts, fruits & vegetables.
” The garden of Eden was a work of art, a place to grow and share food, and a place to learn. Though that place is gone, Adam’s ideas are not. We can still learn from the Garden of Eden. We can look down at our own two hands, as Adam Purple did, and start using them to change the world.” Amy Brost
In 1986 the garden was demolished. To learn more about the history of Adam & the Garden of Eden watch the short film “Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden.” Here:
Sustainable Concordia (SC), founded in 2002 by Geneva Guerin and Melissa Garcia Lamarca is an organization that assesses and enhances sustainability practices at Concordia University. This not-for-profit organization now has a core operation group of 4-5 people, 3-5 project coordinators, 10 people comprising a board of directors, and an estimated 50 volunteers per year. In the year of its founding, SC conducted an assessment of sustainability at Concordia, which identified areas that could use improvement. Since then, they have organized various projects such as: reducing waste through an on-site composting program, setting up a secure bike parking facility at the downtown campus, supporting urban agriculture programs, and helping make departmental offices more sustainable. SC also spreads general awareness about sustainability issues through workshops and public outreach.
How can people be more eco-conscious, in general?
“Taking the ecofootprint test at www.myfootprint.org and trying to get your score lower,” said SC member Faisal Shennib. “Your individual actions are just one part of the equation. Possibly more important is how you contribute to collective actions -holding the government accountable for environmental protection, participating in city consultations and asking them for sustainable changes, and organizing your office/workplace or home to be more sustainable.”
Last year, SC held their first “What’s Your Eco-Footprint?” challenge. They set up laptops in the atrium of the downtown library and helped walk people through an online program that calculated how many planets would be needed if everyone on the planet lived like them. Then they asked people to commit to one or a few changes they could make to reduce their impact most effectively.
Receipts found in trash – Waste Audit
This past March, SC had their annual Waste Audit, where they sorted through samples of trash from around the university to get a breakdown of how much of what they are sending to landfills. See more photos here
The SC has also been collaborating with the CSU and Tapthirst to encourage the university to remove bottled water from vending machines. Upgrading the water fountains to have bottle fillers was another recent project.
“SC’s work is special for a few reasons. It is a point of constructive communication and collaboration on sustainability between the university’s administration and the community. It is a place where innovative projects can be started and eventually grow into larger, university-supported projects, like the compost and greenhouse projects,” said Faisal. “SC provides a lot of resources to upstarting projects -office space, computers, workshops, and probably most importantly, a knowledge of how to turn a project from an idea into a real project at the university. It’s an important asset to the community because of the subject-matter -sustainability is inherently important work, even if we are only playing a small role in a global movement.”
Want to be involved? Here’s how you can :
People can get involved by presenting themselves at SC’s offices located at 2090 Mackay, 2nd and 3rd floors. One may also register to hear about volunteering opportunities here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/
Other than volunteering, one may work in an internship position: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/internships/
There are also job opportunities, which may be accessed here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/coordinator-positions/
SC also has a board of directors where students, staff, faculty, ex-coordinators, etc can volunteer to guide the organization in the right direction. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Access SC’s official website here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca
Contact SC at (514) 848-2424 ext. 5829 or via email at email@example.com.
SC is having their annual general meeting Tuesday, April 30th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at their offices. You’ll have the chance to meet members, learn about SC’s projects, and eat some healthy sustainable food. More details will be announced on their facebook page.