Category Archives: interactions

The Movie Industry

Vancouver is also known as Hollywood North.  A lot of movies are filmed here. I know this is true because I work downtown, and my office overlooks a particularly colourful alley that is often occupied by film crews.

I love movies.  Heck, we’re making a movie.  But the thing about the movie industry is that it’s a bit wasteful.  The lights and gear use lots of energy; the trucks and mobile dressing rooms use tons of gas; the temporary sets are filled with disposable props and wardrobes; and there is a constant supply of paper plates and food and take out cups. Continue reading


Filed under interactions, reusable containers

Glenbrook Zero Waste Cul-De-Sac

Do you remember the Strathcona zero waste group?  Well it seems that they’re not the only ones up for a challenge.  Yesterday, Grant and I were invited to the  Glenbrook North Zero Waste meeting in New Westminster where another group of citizens are getting set to tackle their own zero waste project.

This is the second zero waste pilot sponsored by Metro Vancouver, but what’s really cool about Glenbrook North’s group is that all the 14 participant families live on a single street.  Talk about community!  The other thing that is great is that there is a diversity of family sizes and there are loads of kids which will make for an interesting project.

They’ve spent the last 5 weeks creating a baseline for their garbage (something I really wish we did before our project), and they’re just about to start a 12 week (or maybe a lifelong) zero waste challenge.  Because everyone is literally next door to each other, they’ve really been able to work together, meeting in each others living rooms, and setting up a communal green cone conveniently at the end of the cul-de-sac.

I can’t even explain the great sense of community we got from the meeting.  The teamwork (and perhaps friendly competition) that comes from doing a street-scale challenge is amazing.  Grant and I talked a little about our own year long project, showed our trailer, and shared tips on what worked for us, but mostly, we just got rejuvenated about zero waste.

It’s so exciting to talk to other people who are excited!

I’ll definitely be following the Glenbrook Zero Waste blog and wish them luck in their project.  To finish this post in the spirit of zero waste, here’s a hilarious commercial I snagged from the Glenbrook website.


Filed under interactions, media

Artist Documentary Update

Last summer I posted a clip of artist Chris Jordan doing a TED talk, and since that time Grant and I had held a lofty goal of snagging an interview with him for our documentary.

Well, last week our wish came true, and we got to visit Chris at his studio in Seattle!  Continue reading

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Filed under interactions

Spot That Trash

I got a great, but highly disturbing, email today.  It was from my friend M who was out for a stroll on the seawall in West Vancouver.

The seawall, for those of you who aren’t Vancouverites, is a long paved recreational pathway running along the waterfront  in West Vancouver (there’s also one that winds for kilometers  around the entire downtown core and out to Jericho beach)

Anyway, the seawall is generally packed with people cycling, jogging, or simply walking along, breathing the fresh salty air while enjoying, say,  a latte in a disposable cup.  What?  . . . . You don’t think nature goes with disposable cups?

M said that is was pretty interesting to hear people’s reactions while she was taking this picture. “Most people laughed and made some sort of ‘haha that’s a funny picture’ type comments.”

I’m pretty sure that’s not the reason she took it.

I mean, it’s only funny because it’s ridiculous.  And it’s only ridiculous because we all know it’s not really acceptable.  Don’t we?

So, what do you think?  Is it an appalling symbol of consumerism and waste? Or is it no big deal?  Just a  sign of the times? Maybe people should get credit for trying not to litter and putting their cup as close as possible to the nearest garbage can?  Maybe not.

Thanks for the photo M.


Filed under food waste, interactions

Garbage Bag Tree

To get you in the jolly old “garbage awareness” mood this Christmas, I’m sharing this video of Metro Vancouver’s garbage bag Christmas tree.  It’s made from the same amount of garbage bags that the average person generates each year.

The looks on people’s faces as they walk by it are priceless.

I hope this video reminds us all to cut down of excessive packaging and over all “stuff” this holiday season.  Click here for some ideas on how to do it.

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Filed under interactions, recycling

“We are trashing the planet, we are trashing each other, and we’re not even having fun”

So says Annie Leonard.  By now I’m sure you have all seen the Story of Stuff.  Needless to say, it was one of many great educational resources that we tapped into a couple years ago, and it was one of the motivators for the Clean Bin Project.

Well, if you need any more motivation, I recently came across this film of Annie speaking live at the Bioneers Conference.

She manages to be both critical and positive at the same time, raising serious issues like over-consumption, and drawing laughs when  describing how she can’t look at an everyday products without seeing its consumer lifecycle of flash through her mind.  Once you start thinking about garbage, it seems that there’s no turning it off. . .

To watch parts 2 and 3 of this talk, click here and here.

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Filed under consumerism, interactions, video

You are Brilliant and the Earth is Hiring

Personal fact: in my professional life, I work in the field of industrial ecology.  Personal disclosure: before I got this job I had never heard of Paul Hawken.

But Paul Hawken is a guy who gets it.  He understands what waste, and consumerism, and the environment, and the greater meanings of being ‘socially responsible’ and ‘economically viable’ is all about.  Back in the 1990’s, he wrote the book (literally) on the Ecology of Commerce ( it was voted as the #1 college text on business and the environment).

Anyway, he’s the kind of guy who gets asked to speak at university commencement ceremonies, and he’s the kind of guy who says things like:

“This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don’t poison the water, soil, or air, don’t let the earth get overcrowded, and don’t touch the thermostat have been broken.”


“Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.”

Amen to that.  I highly encourage you to read his whole commencement address to the University of Portland here. (and thanks to Tracy for the link)


Filed under interactions