Being Green – Intentional Communities

Hi Folks:

I was going to talk about intentional communities last week but life got in the way.  Actually, last Friday night Marcia and I were at an open meeting to discuss Victoria’s Official Community Plan.  In a way this fits in as sustainability, green building, water and energy are key issues for any OCP.  Vancouver has recently gone through a similar process, as are other cities around the world.

A topic like ‘intentional communities’ is vast, certainly more than can be contained in one writing (even if that writing was a book), and the idea of an intentional community means many different things to many different people.  However, since I’m writing this I get to define some of the parameters at least, and others are most welcome to continue the discussion in the comments below.  Let’s break this down into its components: intention and community. Continue Reading →

Being Green – Update

Hi Folks:

Friday once again!  It’s also the end of the month, and that means our “Eating Our Way Through Victoria” post and my “Photo of the Month” post as well as our usual Sunday “He Says, She Says…” and Monday’s “Marcia’s Meanderings” posts are coming due as well!  Going to have to limber up those typing fingers.

I was going to write a post this week about “Intentional Communities“, but I’m going to postpone that for a week.  Please bear with me.  In exchange, I’ll offer a couple of reminders of upcoming events this weekend.  If you live in the US or know someone who does, the premiere of Jamie Oliver’s program “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” begins this evening on ABC.  If you’re asking yourself, “What’s green about that?” consider the enormous amounts of water and energy that go into not only the production of ‘fast food’ and prepackaged foods, but also the environmental costs of the packaging, transport, etc.  There’s a link on ‘hidden water use’ in the list below.  Also in the news this week are plans to ‘downsize’ parts of Detroit. Suggestions include the creation of a series of ‘urban farms’, more parks, and interconnected ‘villages’.  Not a simple idea by any means, but it’s an idea Jame will agree with, I’m sure. Greensburg, KS might serve as a role model of sorts, since almost the entire town was wiped out by a tornado a few short years ago and rebuilt as a model green town. Continue Reading →

Being Green – Good News?!?!?!

Hi Folks:  Well, Friday has come around once again and that means it’s ‘green day’ here for us.  Without question the biggest news in the world this week is the aftermath following the earthquake in Haiti.  If you’re interested you can find links to disaster relief sites here.  It’s events like this that bring the words ‘climate change’ into real focus.  It’s wonderful that so many millions of dollars and thousands of hours of effort have been offered in assisting the people of Haiti deal with what’s happened on their island; as Marcia said to me though, where were the funds to help them upgrade their infrastructure BEFORE this happened?

Ah well.  The title of this blog post is ‘Good News’ and all evidence to the contrary, there is good news to be found.  Last week’s post focused on what I see as the somewhat bewildering plethora of green building standards and certifications, but even that is good news in a way.  It wasn’t that many years ago that none of this existed.  One article I came across this week is titled ‘A Very Brief History of Sustainability‘.  These ideas continue to spread beyond building construction as well.  On the Sustainable Sites Initiative website you can find information on “The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009” (.pdf), which includes “all stages of the site development process from site selection to landscape maintenance”.  There’s also a companion guide called “The Case for Sustainable Landscapes” (.pdf)  It brings a different slant to the idea of being ‘green’.  Another site I came across talks about greening up building operations and maintenance.  In the US these guidelines fall under the USGBC LEED for Existing Buildings – Operations and Maintenance Guide.  The article I read is titled, “LEED Cleaning – Why Not?”  Consider for a moment the wide range of chemicals used in traditional cleaning products and their effects on both the people using them and everyone else occupying the building after their use.  I certainly applaud less toxic alternatives!  Continue Reading →