Monday, April 21, 2008

Random Bullets of Eco Smugness

Mr E Man and I spent a couple of hours at a sustainable living expo yesterday. It was my first time at a non-scientific tradeshow, and Mr E Man's first tradeshow ever (unless you count the time he tagged along on a work trip and helped my colleague and me to assemble our booth after we'd all been on a brewery tour, complete with men in kilts).

The expo was great, definitely worth the $9 entry fee. We spent the first hour seeking out specific vendors, then I browsed through all kinds of organic bamboo clothing and spa product stalls, while Mr E Man visited the construction and vehicle sections. (Gender stereotypes are alive and well! Although I did have a good look at the Prius).

Free samples we ate and drank
  • Organic soup

  • Organic beer

  • Organic juice (various)

  • Organic fair trade coffee, complete with organic cane sugar

  • Tetrapak wine (French and Aussie)
Free samples we took home
  • Recycled pens

  • Recycled paper

  • Hand-cranked battery-free flashlights

  • Lush mini bath bombs

  • Sustainable seafood guides
Things I bought
  • Laundry detergent sachets made of organic soapnuts (EXPENSIVE, but smell quite nice and seemed to work OK last night)
Things we will definitely implement
  • Tetrapak wines (great for camping! I usually try to drink local wines, but there are times when there's no acceptable substitute for an Aussie Shiraz or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Apparently you can ship 26 1L tetrapaks from Australia for the same carbon footprint as one 75 cL bottle of wine, if you consider shipment from the container manufacturer to the vineyard as well as from the vineyard to market)

  • Organic beer (it's local(ish) and yummy)

  • Using the seafood guide when ordering sushi

  • An electric moped for me (but should I get one of the max 32 kph models that don't require a license / registration / insurance, or wait until I (theoretically) pass my Canadian driving test and get something with a bit more oomph?)
Things we need to think about a bit more
  • Solar powered water heating (when we can afford it. Mr E Man is also interested in geothermal, but the reps were super busy and we didn't get to talk to them. I'd be concerned about the cost and the potential for earthquake damage)

  • A hybrid as our next car (the current one is running well and there's no real reason to switch just yet. Plus it might be a good idea to wait a few years and see where the market goes, re: hybrid / full electric / hydrogen)

  • Voting for the Green Party (for me. If all goes to plan I'll be eligible to vote in the next election. All will depend on how close the race between the main parties is in our riding. In principle I'm happy to give the Greens my vote as it helps to raise their profile and public funding eligibility, but not if it means splitting the left wing vote and letting the Tories in again)
Random Bullets of Other Crap
  • I managed to pull off a rhyme on Friday that even Cuttlefish couldn't work into a limerick. I'm so proud

  • Musings on charitable donations by researchers on my other blog. I'm much better at generating controversy over there than I am here, where everyone keeps agreeing with me. Not that I'm going to complain too much about that!

  • Saba rolled over in an ecstasy of belly rubbing and purring and fell off the sofa TWICE this weekend. Do I need to be worried? Her coordination seems fine otherwise


  1. Oooo....I want one! (okay...all of it, but I'm specifically referring to the electric moped)

  2. I wouldn't be too worried about Saba's apparent lack of coordination. I've known lots of cats that do that sort of thing on a regular basis, and they're neurologically just fine. My ginger tabby tom, Dylan, has been known to end a post-nap stretch by falling off of the back of the sofa; more concerning would be the number of times that he's gone sliding full-tilt headfirst into a wall. Somehow, he has managed to reach the ripe old age of almost 18 years with no problems other than a slightly hyperactive thyroid gland and some plaque buildup on his teeth. He's just a spectacular klutz. And I don't wax my hardwood floors nearly as often as I used to.

    Some cats are sleek, elegant, self-possessed, and dignified. Other cats are as graceful as a furry cinderblock. Saba may have some of the latter traits. Enjoy the hilarity that they will inevitably bring!

    ~Becca from Denver

  3. UR, they are just soooo cool! I'm seeing lots more of them on the streets but there's apparently still a waiting list. I really need to decide whether I'm going to go for my driving license and get a proper one, or just wuss out (I hate driving) and get one of the "electric bicycle" class.

    Becca, hello and welcome! I'm glad it's not just my cat. And I love the phrase "as graceful as a furry cinderblock"!

  4. I understand soapnuts are a bit controversial for various reasons. When they come from Asia (which is the case for the stuff sold in Europe) they need to be shipped so far you have to wonder if it's worth it; the other issue is that it is relatively hard to monitor how sustainable the harvest is and whether it is competing with the local demand. And finally, according to consumers associations tests, they're great... for washing stuff that is not really dirty. As for many things, the number of factors to take into account makes informed decision almost impossible to reach.

    Sounds like it was a great expo though!

  5. Hmmm, interesting! They seemed to do the trick on Mr E Man's gluey sawdusty work clothes, but it can be hard to tell if they're clean or not through all their dried-on permanent grossness. He doesn't like the smell of the soapnuts though, and they are pretty expensive.

    Laundry is tough - the biodegradable detergents need warm water, and the cold water detergents aren't biodegradable!

  6. waving just so you know I'm still here. By the it possible to read your other blog without signing up and all?? (I know, I know, I'm behind as it is...but I will catch up in the winter!)

  7. *Waves at Wayfarer!*

    It's possible to read Nature Network blogs without signing in, but you do need to create a profile if you want to leave comments. Some people (e.g. Mad Hatter) have done this anonymously without any hassles that I've heard of!


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