With this great spring weather we’ve been having here in the frozen north, it was time to get the bikes back out and try to get back to leaving the car at home for short trips.

Yesterday was sunny, warm and all the streets were clear for a quick six-minute trip to one kids’ preschool. It was so nice to be back out on the bike with a baby who actually likes riding in the back (unlike last summer with the non-stop screaming.)

I was happy to see that the city of Montreal estimates that leaving your bike at home one day a week instead of commuting to work will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by 232kg per year.  You can read more here.


Earth Hour is tonight from 8 to 9 p.m. wherever you live.

Think you’ll be bored in an hour without electricity? Here are some suggestions to keep you busy:

  1. Read
  2. Play board games
  3. Knit
  4. Talk to your significant other. Who know what that could lead to…
  5. Play with your kids
  6. Sing
  7. Play an instrument
  8. Draw
  9. Sleep
  10. Go for a walk
  11. Montreal Canadiens’ fans: listen to the game on a battery-powered radio
  12. Eat chocolates and peanut-butter sandwiches


As I was breastfeeding my toddler for what felt like the umpteenth time yesterday, I started to try to think about the postive aspects of nursing forever and ever amen. This is what I am going to try to focus on instead of trying to figure out why this baby just does not want to be weaned. (Her favourite thing seems to be chanting “na na na na” while trying to jump onto my chest from the floor.)

Here are five reasons breastfeeding is good for the planet:

1. It produces no garbage.

2. It doesn’t have to be shipped from a factory, burning fossil fuels and creating greenhouse gases.

3. It doesn’t require the production of bottles, bottle liners, nipples, or formula containers.

4. Breast milk is a renewable resource.

5. It requires no energy (except for what the mother’s body uses to make all that milk, but hey all those calories burned by breastfeeding help that pregnancy weight come off!)

I feel like I’ve been nursing a baby forever — well, for a good part of the last eight years anyway. Since my first baby was born, I’ve noticed that more and more women breastfeed, and they do it publicly without having to drape themselves in sheets and blankets to hide what they’re doing. Although my hairdresser still tries to get me to go into a different room to nurse the baby if she wants a snack while I’m getting a haircut. It seems some of the older customers aren’t so into breastfeeding in public.

This week, a Montreal neighborhood began handing out stickers to local businesses that welcome breastfeeding mothers. I hope that means an end to places that expect women to nurse their babies in the bathroom. How gross is that?

You can read more about the new stickers — like the image you see above — in a story from La Presse here.


Last year, we began to try to buy toilet paper and paper towels that were made only from recycled paper. (I know, I know, we shouldn’t use paper towels. I’m working on it!!)

According to Greenpeace Canada, if each household in Canada replaced 1 roll of virgin toilet paper with just one roll of recycled toilet paper, it would save 47,962 trees.

It isn’t always easy, with the limited amount of information that companies put on their packaging, to figure out which brand of paper products is greener.  Some were obvious — like the individually-wrapped plastic-covered mega-rolls we used to buy at Costco. We stopped buying those, opting for the ones that said they were made from recycled paper. But it wasn’t clear which was the greenest. Some said they were made with recycled paper, others said post-consumer fibres, some had packages made of recycled material, others said they were biodegradable. Some just had green colours on their packages.

Thanks to Greenpeace Canada, now I know which ones to put in my shopping cart. Their campaign to preserve Canada’s boreal forest includes a guide to greener toilet paper products sold in Canada, and which ones to avoid. You can see it here.

And the last time we were at Costco, we found the Cascades brand recycled-paper toilet paper, so that’s what we’re stocking up on now. Here’s a story from the Globe and Mail about how Cascades is tooting its green horn after years of hiding the fact that it used recycled paper in its products.

These rolls of paper are all green

Normally quiet Cascades Inc. wants to shout out to its customers that its recycled paper products are truly good for the environment

When an Ottawa consulting firm conducted a study of the environmental claims of 1,018 consumer products sold in North American big-box stores, there was just one item that presented truly accurate information: a package of paper towels from Quebec paper company Cascades Inc.
  Those paper towels really are made from 100-per-cent recycled material, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing Inc. found, and they are biodegradable and compostable.
Every other product surveyed – all 1,017 of them – made one or more unsupportable marketing claims.
  Cascades, a quiet player in Canada’s huge paper industry, is about to boost its profile to try to take advantage of its long-time, and pristine, environmental record.
  For years, most of Cascades’ consumer products – paper towels, toilet paper, and napkins – hid behind private-label brands. But with a new environmental sensibility pervasive in the marketplace, the company wants to flaunt its green credentials by expanding sales of products sold under its own name. 
You can read the rest here.


People around the world are making plans to shut off their electricity for an hour on March 29 (that’s two weeks from tonight) in a global statement against global warming. More than 32,000 Canadians – including our family – have already pledged to turn off their lights between 8 and 9 p.m., local time.

Last year, more than 2 million people in Sydney, Australia, switched off. This year, the movement has gone global and Montreal is one of the cities that is taking part.

You can learn more about Earth Hour here. That blue dots on that globe above represent people who’ve pledged to join in Earth Hour. You can see an updated globe here.

Spread the word.


This would be one of the many squirrels that has discovered the buffet at our backyard compost bin. Hard to see the bins, buried under the 26cm of snow that fell here on Saturday night.


But what hungry squirrel would let 26cm of snow keep them from a tasty snack? Not this one, who dug a path down through the snow into the bin yesterday. That’s the very tip of his tail, sticking out of the snow while he dumpster dives.


Victory! He found something to eat.


 Don’t you hate that feeling when you open up your mailbox, pull out a handful of mail, all excited, only to discover that it’s almost all junk mail?

 We get so much of it, either delivered by our letter carrier, or dropped off twice a week in plastic bag full of ads or hand-delivered by local advertisers. It nearly all goes straight into our recycling bin, making me wonder how many trees were cut down to go into our recycling bin. According to the Clean Calgary Association, that would be more than 31 million trees.

My husband likes to take the unsolicited mail that comes to our house — things like credit card applications — and return them to the sender in their own self-addressed pre-paid envelope, with a note asking them to stop sending junk mail.

Last week we said enough was enough and got ourselves one of the little no-junk mail stickers you can see above. Ever since we stuck ours on our mailbox, we’ve been seeing them everywhere. On one Montreal street last week, it seemed like nearly every door in the row of duplexes had a sticker on the door.

You can get the stickers for free at Eco-quartier offices in Montreal. To find your nearest Eco-quartier, go here. You can also make your own sign. (We had one before, but it faded pretty quickly in this neverending winter we’ve been having.) Canada Post says it will respect the signs and no longer deliver unaddressed mail to your address.

You can read about a new Canadian campaign to ban junk mail here.