As you all know, part of what we’re trying to do differently here at oopoomoo is run a business without running the planet into the ground. Despite a lot of doom and gloom on the internet, there are quite a few groups out there doing great work and proving that being sustainable doesn’t mean being poor in any sense of that term. From time to time, we’ll be talking more about that on the blog and hoping to hear your thoughts, too. While there may not be any easy answers, there can be guiding principles that create a framework for all of us to move forward in positive directions.
What are some of the things that we’ve done? It’s been gradual, so far (much as we’d like to capture the powerful sunlight our house is bathed in almost every day, we haven’t put up solar panels yet). But incremental changes start to sum up to a lot. You may have noticed the leaping frog in the blog sidebar — that’s the logo for Bullfrog Power, a company that allows consumers a chance to ‘green’ their energy consumption. The way it works is, for the amount of electricity and/or natural gas that you use, Bullfrog Power will inject into the energy grid an equivalent amount of energy from renewable sources. You pay an additional monthly fee for this, and the amount depends on useage. For us to green oopoomoo HQ (our home) costs around $30 per month. Since we are already pretty conscientious energy users, this doesn’t significantly add to our utility bill. In other words, it’s a pretty cheap way to brag about how oopoomoo aims toward sustainability. No matter which way you slice it, we’re going to have to get creative with our energy sources and useage, so it’s important to support technologies that are taking steps in that direction. If you want to read a thoughtful book that dispels the rumours that renewable resources are too small of scale or too expensive, check out Calgary’s own Chris Turner’s book, The Leap: How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy.
Another step we’ve taken is to try to learn more about how to run a sustainable business and live a sustainable lifestyle by joining other like-minded groups. REAP (Respect for the Earth and All People) is one such non-profit based in Calgary that we’ve recently joined. A collective of businesses that are profitable in the ‘now’ while keeping an eye on a sustainable future, REAP members are locally owned and contribute more to their economies than your average chain store. We have to be honest here…one of the coolest things about REAP is that it connects people to great businesses such as those related to food! Restaurants, farms, grocery stores…you name it! And this week, REAP is hosting its Down to Earth Week with events across Calgary relating to living the good local and sustainable life. Darwin and I will be at Boxwood restaurant tomorrow to sample delicious wine from Birds & Bees Organic Wine Farm and Meadery and hors d’oeuvres prepared by Boxwood chef Andy Love and sourced from Top of the Mountain Beef and Greens, Eggs and Ham. Yum! As we nibble our goodies, we’ll hear the inspiring stories behind these producers and how, by choosing local and sustainable farms, Calgary restaurants like Boxwood and River Cafe are making a difference.
We’ll also be volunteering at the REAP table from 1-4pm on Sunday, March 18 at “Naturally – Mother Nature’s Trade Fair“. The trade fair is free-admission and family-friendly, so come learn more and make sure you stop by and say hi! There’s lots more events, including a screening of the award-winning film, “And This Is My Garden”, so do check out Down to Earth week March 14-19 if you are in the Calgary area, and pass along the opportunity to friends and neighbours who may be interested. Even if you’re not in this area, post a comment about what your community is doing to build resilient, healthy communities!
Speaking of healthy, resilient communities, tomorrow evening (March 14, 6pm) the Town of Cochrane is having an informational meeting on the question of bringing transit to town. This issue has caused quite a stir with some prominent town folk being quite vocal in their refusal of any form of transit. Transit was a key part of Cochrane’s Sustainability Plan that was derived from public survey, so this is an important question to this community. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of misinformation put out by a small but organized group of naysayers. Whether you think transit is right for Cochrane or not, this is a great opportunity to hear the facts. So we encourage Cochranites (and Calgarians who work in Cochrane) to come to this meeting to hear and be heard. This is what democracy is about!
Whew, what an exciting week!