About totreadlightly

A 25 year old college student trying to green the world one day at a time. Gandhi once said: "be the change you want to see in the world." Therefore this is my modus operandi. Stayed tuned and learn with me, how to best reduce the individual carbon footprint.

Ecological Footprint PART 1

It has been easier to use my digital soapbox to tell you about how necessary it is, to adopt the Tao of environmentalism is, but in reality; it has been much more difficult for me, to heed my own advice, then I have led you to believe in many of my past posts.

Father and Son

Father and Son discussing the finer points of life [Summer 2012]

It was with this realization, that I became hesitant to blog; my nascent environmentalism was struck and incapacitated by a serious blow. This epiphany, happened shortly after I moved back home with my parents in September of 2011.  It was in the process of cajoling my parents into using the, ‘recycle’ bin [my parents term for composting] that my father, brought up a valid point that I couldn’t refute at the time.

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First Power- Making Energy Independent Communities

Donna Morton. Co-Founder of First Power

According to Laurence C. Smith, senior professor of Geography at the University of California and author of The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilizations as it stands right now solar power fulfills less than 1% of the world’s electricity usage, which must change if we are to achieve a de-carbonized economy to mitigate the most pressing impacts of climate change.

As chance would have it, Donna Morton an eco-entrepreneur and a social justice advocate who lives on Vancouver Island has taken up his call for  action by co-founding First Power in 2006/07 with her partner Joe Sweatez; this innovative alternative energy company works to empower indigenous communities primarily across British Columbia to become energy independent, through use of a hybrid business model: “ we are a social venture but we are sort of a twin organization, a Canadian charity and a for-profit venture which gives us a lot more flexibility on putting projects together and on financing.”  It becomes evident very quickly that Ms. Morton is an environmentalist for all the right reasons- she is in it to help people especially those in first nations communities.

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#occupyvancouver day 1

Way to keep it classy Vancouver. I wasn’t sure there after I made my last post, but you sure proved me and the rest of the news media wrong. Apparently Vancouverites can collectively gather without tipping cars over and looting stores. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for some of the other 662 cities around the global, such as Rome and Athens where it seems that black bloc tactics won the day and undermined the message of unity, peace and a collective will to put a decisive end to corporate greed. Wake up radical leftists, you do more to harm the cause than to help it through your extremist actions.

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The Night Before Occupy Vancouver

An air of anticipation hung heavy below the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery this evening. Both CTV and CBC had news crews on site reporting on an event that has yet to occur.  Having just spent eight hours perched atop the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, sandwhiched in between two stoic stone lions, I had plenty of time to think about the implications of the Occupy Wall Street movement and what it means for us across North America. Will the Occupy Vancouver demonstrations helped to fuel the equivalent of a North American ‘Arab Spring’? Will the lawn in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery serve as the site of a Canadian Tahir Square? Time will tell.

Although it seemed that many people had an opinion and a few were even willing to share their perspectives with a lonely security guard. One gentleman no more than thirty spoke optimistically to me about the importance of the demonstration to highlight the need to protect the environment while another was documenting signage to warn demonstrators.  

 Vancouver it seems is a city of contradictions more so than Victoria. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is more transparent here, half a block away from the open air drug deals and the carefree drug trips and booze swilling that I became accustomed to at the art gallery plaza, seems completely different.

 It would seem to me that the people browsing through the couture  boutiques and chain fashion stores on Robson Street are so far removed from what it is like to live hand to mouth.

So tomorrow I can’t help but wonder whose interests will be advocated for, the rich posing as the struggling middle class or the middle class. Listening to the political pundits it would appear that todays middle class are fast becoming an expansion of the underprivileged and undervalued working class.

Still whatever transpires tomorrow I can’t help but think it will remain in the popular conscious of the city and the country for a long time to come and hopefully will lead to a discourse on income and social inequalities.

What do you think?

Green Tip # 6: Green Household Cleaners

  • Avoid toxic cleaning products that contain: benzene, toluene, parabens, ethylebenzene, xylene, sodium hypoclorite, fragrances, formaldehyde, naphthalene. phosphoric acid and triclosan.
  • These chemicals can contribute to: cancer, hormone disruption, skin problems, immune system and organ damage.
  • Baking soda is a deodorizer and surface cleaner.
  • Lemon juice is a degreaser.
  • Vinegar kills bacteria and moulds.

Green Tip # 5- Energy Efficient Electronics and Appliances

An example of how to read/make sense of the Energuide Label


  • The goal of both labelling systems is to promote public awareness and understanding about energy efficiency.
  • BC Hydro offers rebates for purchasing energy efficient appliances.
  • Energy Star appliances are 10-50% more efficient than other competing appliances.
  • Energy Star DVD Players and TVs use 75% less energy when turned off.

Green Tip # 4: Go Organic

Avoid genetically engineering foods (GE) and eat organic and preferably local:

  • More than 70% of all food in Canadian grocery stores is genetically engineered (GE).
  • Many vegetables are grown with organochlorine pesticides (OPs) that can cause cancer, immune system problems and reproductive health problems.
  • GE crops are harmful because they reduce crop biodiversity.
  • Organic foods cannot contain any GE ingredients.
  • Avoid products with any of the following ingredients (as they are most likely GE): corn, soy, canola or cottonseed oil.