Posts from February, 2008

Express yourself with a sign SignWhen you go to the effort to promote any cause visibly on your own property it demonstrates a passion for what you believe that can’t be conveyed by other means. The simple act of creating a permanent reminder, visible to your friends, neighbors, and passersby can potentially have a bigger impact than anything you do to reduce your personal contribution to climate change. When people know what their friends and neighbors think, they start to rethink things themselves. Eventually that will lead to the political will for serious action on climate change.

What should you put on your sign? It would be great to point people to a website such as for more information, but it’s certainly not necessary. You can display any message you like that expresses your concern and inspires action. I created a simple wooden sign for display in my garden as follows: Sign 1 Sign 2 Sign 3
1. Cut a piece of wood to a nice size. If you have a router, add a nice profile to the edges. Print your text on the sign with a black felt pen. Then stain the wood with the stain of your choice (or none at all). 2. After a few minutes, wipe off the excess stain with a rag and allow the sign to dry for an hour or so. Then brush on a thick coat of outdoor polyurethane and allow the sign to dry overnight. 3. Nail a sign post to the back and insert your sign in the location of your choice.

Here are a few additional words of advice:

1. If you’re promoting a website, be vague and intriguing. A viewer is more likely to visit a website out of curiosity after seeing a sign that says “ – Will you?” than out of a sense of moral obligation after seeing a sign that says “ – Help stop global warming!”.

2. Be visible but not obtrusive. You want something your neighbors and visitors will notice, and be intrigued by, but that they won’t be annoyed by if they have to see it every day.

3. If your sign will be placed outside, make sure it will stand up to the elements. Some possibilities are:

  • concrete stepping stone with letters embedded
  • painted wooden sign
  • painted garden stone
  • wooden plaque with text burned into it

4. Your creation will be all the more intriguing and influential if it is unique. Express your creativity.

Originally posted at

The 100 mile diet

100 mile dietJust in case anyone out there is living in a cave and hasn’t heard of “The 100 Mile Diet” yet or “Plenty” as it’s been titled in the US, it is the true story of one couple’s quest to eat only locally produced foods (as defined by a 100 mile radius) for an entire year, from the first day of spring in 2005 to the last day of winter in 2006. To put that challenge in perspective, it’s been said that most ingredients in a typical North American meal travel at least 1,500 miles to reach the table.

I have considered food-miles before from the perspective of reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from food transportation, but after reading the book I was pleasantly surprised to learn of many other benefits experienced by the authors, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon. I attended a talk on food sustainability at UBC where they were guest speakers and I found it truely inspiring, to the point where I’m not only trying to buying more locally produced foods, but I’m growing some myself.

Some of the things you can look forward to when you eat locally produced foods are:

  1. Better tasting food
  2. More social interaction
  3. Getting in touch with the seasons
  4. Discovering new flavours
  5. Reducing energy consumption and ghg emissions
  6. Supporting small farms
  7. Giving back to the local economy
  8. Feeling more healthy

For the complete list and other information, visit