happy waste reduction week!

Given the City of Winnipeg’s recent garbage collection woes, I’m surprised they aren’t doing more to promote this event. Okay…. I’m not really surprised. The whole switch to this new system has been a bit of a fiasco from the start. Our neighbourhood was one of the first to receive the new bins and there was all kinds of fuss. Having lived in Brandon, where they’ve had these bins for years, I was not fazed. I was annoyed, however, that they rolled them out in March after a winter of piling snow onto the only spot the bin would fit in the back lane. We either had to put the bin in our parking spot or shovel a heap of snow over the fence. If the City had waited six more weeks I think people would have been a lot less upset. But I digress…

One of our New Year’s resolutions this year was to waste less food. I had worked on a major school project in November on fossil fuel use in the food system and was appalled to learn that almost half of food produced is thrown out. Much of that happens during processing, transportation and in the supermarket but lots happens in the home, too. Just think about what is in your fridge right now. How much of it is growing mould? How much of it smells so bad you don’t want to lift the lid off the container? I can proudly say that there is nothing in our fridge that has gone bad, which is true. But I’d also have to say that there is basically nothing in our fridge right now, period.

The 2010 report Food Waste In Canada says that “more than 50% of the $27B in food waste originated from food thrown away in Canadian homes” and that most of that waste could have been avoided. Very roughly, that works out to about $400 per person, per year. Aside from the environmental and social benefits, who wouldn’t want an extra $400 in their bank account? Or in the sock between the mattresses…

We have put a lot of thought and effort into using up food before it goes bad since making our resolution but more importantly, we’ve put more effort into planning what we’re going to eat. An article on the CBC website show 7 ways you can reduce food waste and the David Suzuki Foundation also has a handy tip sheet on ways to store food.

sentenced to debt

My Inner Judge: Please state your infraction.

Me: I bought new boots.

IJ: I see.

Me: Which would be okay except I need new underwear. I need new socks. I need a new winter coat. And I need new winter boots.

IJ: The boots you bought were winter boots?

Me: They were fashion boots. But they’re really nice!

IJ: They were on sale?

Me: No. But they look so good on me!

IJ: They were inexpensive?

Me: No. Kinda the opposite. They’re hand made. But they’re very good quality and a classic style…

IJ: Can they be returned?

Me: No. The store doesn’t take returns and I’ve already worn them.

IJ: Could you afford them?

Me: Um…. well, technically. But now I can’t afford any of the things I actually need.

IJ: In that case I have no option but to sentence you to six more months of saggy panties, holey socks, cold feet, and a tatty coat. Court adjourned.

And in related news… Canadians are spending $3,720 a year on impulse purchases. Top three impulse purchases for women? Clothing, dining out and yep, shoes.

culture days recap

It was a gorgeous weekend. As winter approaches, I increasingly feel the need to soak up as much warm weather as nature provides so I spent two days almost entirely in the yard… taking in the garden, hanging laundry, basking in the sun. We did make it to the WAG for Nuit Blanche on Saturday night, however, and it was amazing!

Started the evening at 8 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring Guy Madden, Sarah Anne Johnson, Paul Butler and Michael Dudeck. We hadn’t been to the exhibition yet and it was interesting to hear the artists speak about their installations before actually viewing it. Michael Dudeck pretty much stole my heart. I had heard him on the radio in the morning and thought he seemed lovely and charming. That was even more true in person. The last question to the artists was about why Winnipeg was such a great place for art. The low cost of living, the supportive community and the long cold winters that forced you to work because there was nothing else to do were a few of the answers. And then Michael ended the discussion by saying (I’m paraphrasing and really wish I could remember his exact quote) that people in Winnipeg were less concerned about owning yachts and more concerned with living poetically. *swoon* I’m sure our illustrious mayor would disagree with this, and in all honestly I don’t think it’s true; I think we’re plenty concerned about material goods. But it is a beautiful thing to strive for and something I will keep in mind next time I’m worrying about my lack of money.

We then headed up to the galleries. Totally blown away by some of the art, totally underwhelmed by some. What truly impressed me was the sheer numbers of people who turned up for this event. And the diversity. Young and old; hipsters and the not-so-hip; the thrift store crowd and the high heels, dripping in jewels crowd; girls who brought their girlfriends, boys who brought their boyfriends, families who brought their kids; and black, white and everything in between. What impressed the love of my life was how old some of the art is. How has it survived, in such good shape, for 500 or 1000 years?!? Will people in 2512 be looking at art from this exhibition and marveling at it?

When we left after about 3 hours the line-up to get in was a block long. Maybe Winnipegers are concerned about living poetically after all!