Happy New Year everyone! With the holidays behind us, we’re getting all geared up for a fruitful 2009. Back to school supplies are in full stock, and we’ve got a bunch of specials just for you so read on...
Online Boutique: What’s new?
Thanks to everyone who has visited our new online store and made their first purchases. Check in frequently for new products, specials and announcements, and don’t forget that all purchases made before January 15 will be entered in a draw to win the entire order free!
Share the news: Spread the word to your friends and families who live outside of Montreal so they too can have access to these great ecological products! If you are browsing around and find something you think they‘d love, just click the “SHARE” button found below each product. This social networking tool allows browsers to share product information through their Facebook, Myspace, etc.
Invest online: The contributions of members have been key to our development since before La Maison Verte ever opened its doors. If you’ve always wanted to invest in the Co-op we are now selling Preferred Class “A” Shares to help us complete the purchase of our NDG building, and start making it truly green! Visit our Investment page for all the details…
Finally, users may now pay securely online with their VISA cards via the Caisse Populaire Desjardins.
Thanks this month to: Anne Fournier, Julie-Andrée Marcoux (translation); Valérie Michaud (revision)
Please phone or visit the Co-op to sign up for these events. For more information visit our website.
by: Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew
In the near future, humanity will be challenged by the converging trends of energy depletion and climate change. It will be necessary for us to transition into a culture that consumes drastically less, and to shift away from the paradigm of perpetual material growth. As part of this transition, the means for securing food, water, energy and waste management, must be re-localized into people’s home communities. As currently more than 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, it will be critical to make our cities more sustainable.
We were inspired to write the book Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide, (South End Press, 2008) as a collection of skills, tools and technologies usable by urban residents wanting to have more local access and control over life's essential resources. We wanted to create a book with practical, how-to descriptions and wonderfully vibrant illustrations, describing how to build sustainable infrastructure using affordable, simple designs that utilize salvaged and recycled materials. In addition, the book promotes radical sustainability, a philosophy that emphasizes the interconnection between ecological and social justice struggles.
Here are some of the book's highlights, useful for aspiring sustainable city dwellers:
Make a duckweed pond: Raise duckweed, a tiny, floating protein rich water plant in a kiddie pool. Using only sunlight and nutrients, duckweed can double its mass every other day. The duckweed can then be harvested and used as a food for humans, chickens and fish, or be used as a “green manure” for building soil fertility.
Raise edible and medicinal mushrooms on logs: Many urban spaces don't receive adequate sunlight for growing food. Mushrooms only require indirect light and moisture, making them suitable to grow in marginally sunny spaces like alleys and shady back yards.
Build a floating trash island: Inspired by a natural phenomena, floating trash islands create habitat for plants and microorganisms to assist in purifying contaminated storm water runoff – a major urban problem. They are made buoyant by floating debris, such as bottles and polystyrene, stuffed into a giant life-ring. Water plants are zip-tied onto the islands surface, and develop an extensive submerged root network that hosts water cleansing critters.
Cook with an old satellite dish: When the parabolic curve of a satellite dish is lined with a mosaic of mirror shards and aimed at the sun, it can focus the sun’s rays onto a pot of water and bring it to a boil in minutes!
Construct a small scale biogas digester: Using a five gallon bucket, organic matter like plants, chicken manure and dead leaves can be turned into methane gas. The gas then can then be stored and used for cooking and heating. Why pay money for natural gas when you can make it in your back yard?
Clean up contaminated soil with compost tea: Using worm castings from a vermicompost box, compost tea, a liquid culture rich in microbial life, can be used to help clean up toxic soils. The multitude of hungry microorganisms in the tea can help speed up the degradation of certain pollutants in city soils.
All these systems, plus many others, are described in much further detail in Toolbox for Sustainable City Living. Copies will be available at La Maison Verte at the book launch January 20, 2009. For more information visit: www.radicalsustainability.org
About the authors: Scott and Stacy are co-founders of Austin, Texas’ Rhizome Collective, a non-profit urban sustainability project (www.rhizomecollective.org). Toolbox for Sustainable City Living is a collection and document of their past eight years of research and experimentation at Rhizome. In addition, they are the organizers and teachers of R.U.S.T. – The Radical Urban Sustainability Training.
Eco Logic is a place for members to write or suggest articles about environment or community-related subjects of all kinds. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
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