My Green City Life

Snow Removal
January 28, 2008, 11:44 am
Filed under: on the town, Uncategorized

So it snowed a few inches last week. I got excited like a little kid when all the big snow plowing tractor guys came rumbling by. I ran to the window when I heard the snow removal/farm equipment tractors coming down the street. I swear, I’m like a little boy, all excited about the big machines!

But then I started thinking about all the resources it takes to clear just a few inches of snow from this city. Fossil fuels, of course, but even just the cost in dollars is astounding. Montreal has a $128-million budget for snow removal this winter. The record snow fall in December took a very sizable chunk out of that money.

So what happens when fuel costs get too high? Does the city stop clearing snow on side streets? Does it only clear one lane on a two-lane street? Will the increased fuel costs have caused more people to ditch their cars, warranting a smaller snow removal operation anyway? Will there come a day when the city doesn’t even remove the snow anymore? Is there a better alternative?

If you like, you can learn more about Montreal’s snow removal procedures here.

Image: snow removal. Originally uploaded by ben soo


January 10, 2008, 6:43 pm
Filed under: in the kitchen

Recently I was inspired by a post by Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly about nomads, yurts, and simple living. Sara and her small family spent many months this year touring around the US in a camper running on veggie oil. The girl knows about living in close quarters, a lifestyle that necessitates keeping around only the essentials. In her post, Sara discusses applying the nomadic “essentials only” mindset to the kitchen: one bowl, plate, cup, fork, spoon, knife per person. Put the rest away, she says. You can get them out for company.

So I did it today. Instead of putting the extras in a different cupboard, I just rearranged things so that I now only have to open one door to get to my “essentials.” (Space is limited in my kitchen.) We each get a bowl, a plate, a mug for hot drinks, a glass for cold drinks, a wine glass, a fork, a spoon, and a knife. Everything else is hidden behind the other door, which I shouldn’t have to open unless we have company.

We’ll see how it goes. I anticipate dishwashing being less of a headache. Maybe this will inspire us to downsize the rest of our kitchen. We do cook a lot, but how many pots, pans, and wooden spoons does one kitchen really need anyway? A question for another day.

Kickin’ the Eco-Friendly Bucket
January 9, 2008, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Crunchy Chicken has a post about something I’ve never really considered in an eco-friendly way: funerals and burial. I’ve always though cremation was the way to go. Looks like it’s probably less environmentally harmful than traditional burial in a cemetery. Check out the comments; there are some additional links and ideas there too.