Tuesday, 26 August 2014

EcoSask News, August 26, 2014


Watermark, Sept. 14
Watermark, with photography by Edward Burtynsky, explores our relationship with water. It will be shown at the Broadway Theatre at 3 pm, Sept. 14.

Landscape Architecture in Canada, Sept. 17 (Regina) 
Ron Williams will be in Regina on Sept. 17 to launch his book, Landscape Architecture in Canada: "Ron Williams approaches landscape architecture as a social art that creates places for people to use and as an environmental art through which practitioners act as stewards of the natural world."

World Rivers Day, Sept. 27
The Saskatchewan Eco Network is hosting an event to celebrate World Rivers Day on September 27. The event will be held in Friendship Park, Saskatoon.

If you or your organization would like to get involved with a display, interactive activity, workshop, or anything else, contact SEN at info@econet.sk.ca or (306) 652-1275.

Photos, Stars & Urban Planning 
September brings with it the start of a fresh round of activities.

If you are a nature photographer, take a look at the photography clinics planned by the Saskatoon Camera Club. Or you may want to take an instructional photography tour of PA National Park with Branimir Gjetvaj (Sept. 19-21).

If your head is always in the stars, you can participate in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Saskatoon Centre.

The Northeast Swale Watchers meet regularly in order to monitor developments in and around the Northeast Swale.

Saskatoon’s Environmental Report 
The City of Saskatoon’s Environmental Leadership report is available online.

PANP Bison Initiative 
Federal funding will support the development of a trail network and facilities for visitors to the West Side of Prince Albert National Park where a bison herd has made its home.

Interesting Articles 
Understanding and addressing opposition to wind energy

Tips for minimizing electronic waste and reducing water usage

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. Additional upcoming events can be found on our Calendar

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

EcoSask News, August 19, 2014

Permasask Potluck, Aug. 21
Permasask is hosting a barbecue at the Garden Patch on August 21, followed by a tour of their research plots. RSVP to info@permasask.ca to let them know how many burgers to order.

Curbside Swaps, Sept. 
College Park, City Park, Meadowgreen, and Buena Vista Community Associations are hosting Curbside Swaps in September, giving residents the chance to give away - rather than throw away - unwanted items.

Meewasin Annual Report 
Meewasin’s annual report for 2013-2014 is now available online.

Leaders in Sustainability 
Broadway Theatre plans to install 40 solar panels to offset 50% of its energy usage.

the Good Life – the Green Life is a documentary film featuring nine BC residents who are thinking about and taking action on climate change by developing community retrofitting solutions, teaching kids about green food, and taking public transit. The film can be rented or can be watched online.

Outdoor gear companies are tackling global problems with:

Solar power (SunBell’s solar-powered lamp can be used in at least 10 different ways);

Reusable cups (clip your cup to your belt or your bike with Klean Kanteen); and

Biodegradable packaging (Justin’s is developing renewable squeeze tubes).

Cotopaxi’s Questivals sound like fun but also helpful: “In the most recent Questival (April 2014), over 5,000 people participated in flash mobs that picked up trash, they volunteered in a soup kitchen, or they hiked up a mountain in teams. The top three winners won service trips to destinations across the globe, and everyone got a picture with Paxi Smith, the llama.” 

Surrey, the fastest growing municipality in Metro Vancouver, is creating healthier living environments for people and wildlife by identifying high-value green spaces, preserving them, and connecting them in corridors.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. Additional upcoming events can be found on our Calendar

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Changing the World with Words

Social activism takes many different forms. Some choose political lobbying and demonstrations. Others choose what can at first seem a more passive approach. We use words to influence others.

Listed below are a few books that provide useful advice for writers who hope that their words can make a difference in our world.

Writing to Change the World, Mary Pipher 
In Writing to Change the World, Mary Pipher says, “I want to be part of the rescue team for our tired, overcrowded planet. The rescuers will be those people who help other people to think clearly, and to be honest and open-minded.” She goes on to say, “Good writing enlarges readers’ knowledge of the world, or empowers readers to act for the common good, or even inspires other good writing.”

In addition to talking about the writing process, Pipher looks at how we find our personal voice and reviews different publishing formats (from letters and speeches to songs and music). Pipher speaks from personal experience having written and advocated on issues ranging from immigration to the environment. It’s a positive, helpful book with useful tips for everyone who writes or wants to write. Here are a few examples:

“I discovered that one path into original thinking was to ask myself, Okay, that is your first idea. What are your second and third ideas?”

“Writing for the unconvinced, we want to be respectful and enticing. We need to invite them into our world and establish commonality.”

“Whereas writers of propaganda encourage readers to accept certain answers, writers who want to transform their readers encourage the asking of questions. Propaganda invites passive agreement; change writing invites original thought, openheartedness, and engagement.”

Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter, Nancy Baron
Scientists and academics are adept at talking to their peers, but they often fail to connect with a general audience and find it difficult to explain their ideas to journalists.

Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter by Nancy Baron is a helpful book for academics who want to help shape public policy. It provides practical advice with explanations and specific directions to help scientists connect with journalists and policymakers and reach the broadest public.

Baron says, “If you decide you want to inform those outside your research arena and help guide public discourse, you will need to learn a new set of skills. These include knowing exactly what you want to say, understanding your audience, and using common language to get your main points across clearly . . . . The more scientists can help journalists by cutting to the chase and answering the nagging question ‘why should we care?’ the more likely the story will make it past the editors.”

Escape from the Ivory Tower covers radio and television interviews as well as the print media and political lobbying. It closes with 10 steps to success: Resolve to speak up for your science; Set a goal and use it to guide your commitments; Think solutions, not just problems; Embrace criticism; Remember the four Ps: preparation, practice, persuasion, and passion; Be relentless; Cultivate connections; Expand your definition of success; Seize unexpected opportunities; and Set your own compass.

Winning the Story Wars, Jonah Sachs 
In Winning the Story Wars, Jonah Sachs says, “today’s media landscape of unprecedented competition between messages has made us all marketers. Anyone who wants influence now – whether it’s to push forward a social cause, to sell products, or simply to change the way people think – has no choice but to step into our global media marketplace.”

Sachs believes that the most effective way to get our message across and influence other people is by telling stories: “We tend to listen to a well-told story because its characters serve as role models. Their fates strongly imply what will befall us if we follow a similar path.”

He goes on to say that “The winners of the story wars all have a single, compelling message that turns out to be the key lesson of every communication . . . . these storytellers clearly define their heroes, villains, and the conflict between them to show how their epic plays out in the lives of characters we can relate to. And these epics invite their audiences to be a key character in that conflict, helping to bring a broken world to a better place.” 

Using plenty of examples from the marketing world, Sachs demonstrates how to assemble an effective story that will change the future.

Additional Resources
If you want your writing to change the world, you need to make sure that your ideas will stick in people’s minds. This topic is well covered by Chip Heath and Dan Heath in Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

Their second book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, is also very useful and the key arguments are summarized here.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

EcoSask News, August 12, 2014

Franklin's Gull

Composting/Soil Quality Workshops, Aug 11, 13, 14
Larry Mullen, Head Composter, Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council, will be hosting a composting and soil quality workshop from 6:30-7:30 pm, August 11, 13, and 14 at CHEP’s Railside Community Garden at 222 Avenue K South. The garden employs drip irrigation and various composting methods.

Solar Power Chat, Aug. 20 (Regina)
Ken Compton, local wind and solar installer, will answer questions about solar voltaic energy systems for home, business, and co-housing ventures at 7 pm, August 20, at Nature’s Best, Regina (co-hosted by Nature’s Best and Prairie Spruce Commons).

Nature Sask Fall Meet, Sept. 19 & 20
Nature Regina and the Lumsden Valley Community Association will be hosting Nature Saskatchewan’s Fall Meet on September 19 and 20, 2014. The meeting will feature Friday evening at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and Saturday field trips to Nature Conservancy of Canada sites in the Qu’Appelle Valley.

Sustainable Gourmet, Sept. 27
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society is holding their 9th annual fundraising dinner on September 27 at the Saskatoon Club. The Sustainable Gourmet dinner features local food prepared by local chefs.

David Suzuki, Oct. 26/27
David Suzuki will be in Saskatoon (October 26) and Regina (October 27) as part of the Blue Dot tour. Check out the Blue Dot website for more information.

Field Trips
Young Naturalists
August 15, 1 pm – Grasslands Hike at Northeast Swale (space is limited; register in advance)

Golden Eagles
Aug. 21, 7:30 am – Warblers & Veggies (organic vegetables for sale)
Aug. 28, 7:30 am – Nature Conservancy Land

Other Nature Society Field Trips
Aug. 23, 10:30 am – Forestry Farm Park Birding
Sept. 6 – Fall Bird Count

Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details (e.g. some trips require rubber boots, others will be cancelled if the weather is bad).

Green Guerilla Sustainability
Brie Bennett is offering a closer look at environmental sustainability in Regina on her Green Guerrilla website. Brie is the Waste Minimization Specialist for the City of Regina and a graduate of the School of Environment and Sustainability.

Alt Art Depot
Looking for art supplies? Why not check out the Alt Art Depot, an alternative art supply and materials shop that supports upcycled art with recycled materials.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. Additional upcoming events can be found on our Calendar

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

EcoSask News, August 5, 2014

Boreal Bluet ?

Yard & Home Walking Tour, Aug. 17 
The Better Good is hosting a walking tour at 1 pm, August 17. The tour will include backyard chickens, intensive gardening, beekeeping, and more.

Waste Reduction Workshops, Sept. 
The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council will be holding workshops in Prince Albert (September 23) and Weyburn (September 25).

Building Sask Green Conference, Nov. 13 & 14
Building Sask Green is holding their annual conference in Saskatoon on November 13 and 14. There will be tours of four facilities using cutting-edge technology as well as LEED v4 and PassivHaus workshops. They will also be presenting awards to acknowledge excellence in Innovation in Sustainable Design, Green Architecture, and Leadership in Sustainability.

Nominate Your Favorite Tree 
Do you have a favorite tree - of exceptional size, unusual form, important botanical value, rarity, or historical importance? SOS Elms Coalition is accepting nominations for their updated Tree Tour Guide. The deadline for nominations is August 15.

ant on flower

Show Insects Some Love
It’s summer, and I've been dealing with an ant infestation in the kitchen, so this article really hit home. Who do you think clears up more food waste in New York? Is it rats or ants? Well, the prize goes to the ants who are the world’s best unpaid garbage collectors.

Insects perform a lot of other important tasks as well. And yet, we do our best to eradicate them. Maybe it’s time to stop.

Parking Penalties
Drive a diesel vehicle in Madrid and you’ll pay more to park than if you drive a less-polluting car. Could Saskatoon introduce a similar system to encourage more sustainable transport?

Wind Power
Two US states are generating 25% of their electricity using wind power. Sask Wind encourages SaskPower to adopt a more positive, proactive approach to wind energy.

cold wet bee

Deadly Cocktails
It’s not just the neonicotinoids. It’s the combination. Bees are subject to an unsupervised cocktail of chemicals in the environment, putting many other species at risk as well.

Take Action 
People are less likely to litter if the area is clean or if they see someone else picking up litter. Set a good example, and other people will do the same.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. Additional upcoming events can be found on our Calendar

We've been updating our list of local environmental organizations. Do let us know if we've missed anyone.

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).