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Fall Newsletter – September 2009

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 8

									Fall Newsletter – September 2009
Contents
Message from the Coordinator ………………………. 2
Feature: Behind the Vinyl Curtain ……………….…... 3
Winnipeg Pesticide Use – Your Opinions Wanted …. 5
Municipal Water Utility Corporation …………………. 5
RCM Events ……………………………………………. 6
Ecoblog Highlights …………………………………….. 7
Donation and Membership Form ……………………………… 8




                   Resource Conservation Manitoba             1
           303 Portage Avenue, 3rd Flr, Winnipeg MB R3B 2B4
             (204) 925-3771 www.resourceconservation.mb.ca
Message from the Coordinator

                            It’s been a busy summer for the environmental
                            community in Manitoba. Here at Resource
                            Conservation Manitoba, it has been a season of
                            renewal. We elected four new members to our
                            Board of Directors, who are already providing fresh
                            energy and ideas for the organization. We are
                            launching new programs, while giving some others a
                            new direction. The Living Green program is also
                            evolving, as the articles in this edition of the Living
                            Green Newsletter will attest.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome to Resource Conservation
Manitoba, new directors, Lise Smith, Jackie Neufeld, Michael Dudley, Becky
Raddatz who were elected to their first terms at the June 10th Annual General
Meeting. These names may be familiar to RCM supporters and members, for
their long time involvement and commitment to the environmental movement
here in Manitoba. They join our President, Colin Crolly, Secretary, Patricia
Fitzpatrick, Treasurer, Michael Smith, and veteran board members, Peter Miller,
Lisa Quinn, Marlene Schellenberg, and John Sinclair.

There has been considerable shuffling around the office this summer. Our
compost program has been re-tuned with a new focus on communities. We
welcome Kate Bergen who is taking over the backyard composting program,
while Sylvie Hébert now coordinates the community composting program. With
all the interest in communities reducing their landfill contributions and
greenhouse gas emissions, we are sure this program will be successful.
Meanwhile a new program to encourage better driving habits and fuel
conservation will be launched this fall. Check out the new website at:
http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/ecodriver/home. Get involved and learn to be
an eco-Driver.

One more program change of note: Beth McKechnie, whom we all know for her
work helping communities develop greener transportation plans is temporarily
taking over our Green Commuting program while Jessie Klassen is on parental
leave. Welcome to baby Jack Klassen as the newest member of the RCM green
team!

                        Resource Conservation Manitoba                             2
                303 Portage Avenue, 3rd Flr, Winnipeg MB R3B 2B4
                  (204) 925-3771 www.resourceconservation.mb.ca
Behind the Vinyl Curtain

The twentieth century was the age of plastics. Tens of thousands of new synthetic
materials promised prosperity and comfort. Polyesters, polyvinyls, high impact
polystyrenes, who could resist these triumphs of modern technology and the
conveniences they offered? Only now are we starting to realize their costs to human
health and the environment. Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain's Chemical Smell
is a recent study of vinyl shower curtains by the eco-watch group Environmental
Defence. It raises new questions about the safety of welcoming toxic chemicals into
our homes.

Five different brands of PVC vinyl shower curtains were studied. Testing conducted at
an independent facility in Marietta, Georgia found dangerous levels of at least 108
chemicals known as "volatile organic compounds'.

                                                         Concentrations of harmful
                                                         chemicals reached levels up
                                                         to 16 times higher than the
                                                         standards recommended by
                                                         the United States Green
                                                         Building Council. Some
                                                         potential health effects of
                                                         these chemicals include:
                                                         eye, nose, and throat
                                                         irritation; headaches, loss of
                                                         coordination, nausea;
                                                         damage to the liver, kidney,
                                                         and central nervous system;
                                                         and cancer. Moreover, PVC
                                                         products often are made
                                                         using hormone disrupting
                                                         chemicals called phthalates
                                                         which make PVCs soft and
 Source: Environmental Defence                           pliant.

The good news is that levels of chemicals off-gassing from the tested shower curtains
tapered off over time. After 28 days, emissions of most of the chemicals were reduced
to negligible levels. The bad news is that shower curtains are not the only source of
PVCs in our homes.
                            Resource Conservation Manitoba                          3
                   303 Portage Avenue, 3rd Flr, Winnipeg MB R3B 2B4
                      (204) 925-3771 www.resourceconservation.mb.ca
Thousands of products, including children's toys, food
containers, and clothing contain PVCs. The combined
emissions from these products may accumulate in your home
poisoning you and your family. Indoor air pollution is rated
among the top cancer causing risks by the Health Canada.       This s ym bol w a rns of P V C
                                                                         content
You can identify many PVC containing products by looking for
the three arrows triangle symbol found on many products. If the symbol contains the
number 3, it is made from PVC.

Other studies have confirmed that the toxic effects of PVCs are not restricted to what
they bring into your home. Throughout the production cycle of PVCs, they pose
dangerous hazard to humans and the environment. Global PVC production uses 700
million tons of mercury. Cancer causing bi-products including dioxins and vinyl
chlorides pollute groundwater supplies, poisoning workers and their communities.
PVC products are slow to decompose and contaminate landfills for centuries to come.

Fortunately, for shower curtains at least, new options are coming. Ikea has already
switched to non-PVC plastic alternatives, and many retailers are following suit.
Products made from recycled plastics, with the plastic triangle symbol "1", are better
alternatives. A somewhat pricier option is to look for curtains made from organic hemp
or cotton. You can order organic curtains from several online retailers for about eighty
dollars. Expensive, perhaps, but hemp products do not attract mould and are
environmentally safe. Our website rates the advantages and disadvantages of several
materials: http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/shower-curtains.

The Centre for Environmental Health and Justice also provides a guide to avoiding
PVCs in a wide range of products. This guide is oriented for the American market, so
some of their recommendations may not be available in Canada. As well Greenpeace
produces a Green Electronics Guide to help you avoid PVCs. Meanwhile, it is
important to show your support for phasing out these dangerous compounds from
shower curtains and other household products. You can send a message though the
Environmental Defence website to Health Minister Tony Clement and Environment
Minister John Baird. Let them know that you want to them to eliminate this chemical in
everyday products.

You can send a message to government at:
https://secure.environmentaldefence.ca/takeaction/Volatile_Vinyl/
The Environmental Defence report, Volatile Vinyl, is available at:
http://www.toxicnation.ca/files/toxicnation/report/VolatileVinylReport.pdf
                           Resource Conservation Manitoba                                 4
                   303 Portage Avenue, 3rd Flr, Winnipeg MB R3B 2B4
                     (204) 925-3771 www.resourceconservation.mb.ca
Living Green, Living Well on Winnipeg Pesticide Use

                       On August 10, the city of Winnipeg launched a pesticide
                       program to control the beetles that spread Dutch elm disease.
                       Our press release raised concerns about the environmental
                       and health concerns of using Dursban in city neighbourhoods.
                       It generated considerable media interest, including stories on
                       CBC, Global TV, and the Winnipeg Free Press. It available
                       online at: http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/dursban-spray.

We would like to hear what you think. Is pesticide use an environmental issue you are
concerned about? If so, how should Resource Conservation Manitoba be involved in
the issue. Answer our online poll question to let us know:
http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/pesticides-poll

You can also go to our message board to comment about pesticide use in Manitoba or
any other environmental issue you are concerned about. Living Green, Living Well is
your website for sharing information on environmental topics in Manitoba.

Municipal Utility Corporation in Winnipeg

The City of Winnipeg
voted this summer on a
plan to explore a private
partner to manage and
possibly finance a
Municipal corporation
which would oversee
water and waste. The
proposal ignited a
firestorm of protest from
citizen and environmental
groups concerned that it
would be the first step in
the privatization of city
services. Although a subsequent amendment in the proposal clarified that the actual
infrastructure for Winnipeg’s Water and Waste departments would not be sold off,
questions remained about public accountability and corporate management.
                         Resource Conservation Manitoba                         5
                 303 Portage Avenue, 3rd Flr, Winnipeg MB R3B 2B4
                   (204) 925-3771 www.resourceconservation.mb.ca
Living Green Coordinator, Josh
Brandon, represented Resource          Upcoming RCM Events:
Conservation Manitoba at the
July 15 meeting of Winnipeg            Plastic Bag Day: September 12
Council’s Executive Policy             Head to the legislature and bring your plastic grocery bags and
                                       change them in for reusable bags.
Committee. Our central concern         More info:
with the proposal was that the         http://www.keepbanderabeautiful.org/plasticbagday.html
financial sustainability of the plan
                                       Ciclovia: September 13
to create a Municipal Utility          Ciclovia, meaning "bike way", promotes non-motorized
Corporation depended on the            transportation. The north side of Broadway to will be closed to
sale of water and waste services       motor-vehicle traffic from Osborne to Main Street. Look for the
outside of the city.                   RCM table.
                                       Food Security at Speak up Winnipeg: September 21
As we pointed out earlier in our    Help plan how Winnipeg can develop policies and initiatives
Provincial Land Use Policy          that foster a just and sustainable food system. Presenter:
document, any development plan Wayne Roberts of Toronto Food Policy Council. For more info
                                    contact: paul@mbfoodcharter.ca or phone: 943-0822
needs to pass what we call a
“peak oil test” to be viable in the Sustaining the Water Commons: September 21
twenty-first century. Briefly put,  Keynote speaker. Maude Barlow, with Jenny Gerbasi and Lynn
                                    Fernandez. Eckhardt-Grammate Hall, (3rd Floor, University of
cheap oil is running out, and our Winnipeg 515 Portage Avenue) FREE.
environment cannot withstand the
                                    Waste Reduction Week: October 18-24
continued development of
                                    Events across the province to celebrate waste reduction.
synthetic oil substitutes like tar  http://www.resourceconservation.mb.ca/wrw
sands or most agro-fuels. Long-
term development plans need to Walk to School Month: October
                                    Every year October is International Walk to School month.
recognize this fundamental          More info: http://www.resourceconservation.mb.ca/
constraint. To the extent that
exurban growth increases            Compost Workshops: Throughout September and October,
                                    events around Winnipeg, various locations. Info:
commuting times into the city, it   http://www.resourceconservation.mb.ca/cap/
fails the peak oil test.
Unfortunately, Winnipeg’s Utility   www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/events
model not only relies on
expanded growth in the suburbs, it actually fosters it, by extending subsidized water
and waste services beyond the Perimeter.

To read more about our Provincial Land Use Plan brief and the Peak Oil Test, see:

http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/plups also see:
http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/blog/privatizing-water
                           Resource Conservation Manitoba                                      6
                   303 Portage Avenue, 3rd Flr, Winnipeg MB R3B 2B4
                     (204) 925-3771 www.resourceconservation.mb.ca
Ecoblog

The Living Green Ecoblog continued to provide timely opinion about important
environmental issues this summer. Some highlights from the blog are included below.
For more information about any of these stories see:
http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/ecoblog. We always welcome comments on any of
the ecoblog entries to keep the conservation going.
Decaying Cycling Infrastructure
The Winnipeg Free Press published a letter from a citizen concerned about the state
                         of the city’s cycling infrastructure. Antoinette Morton
                         recalled that when her family moved here, “Sadly there
                         were no bike trails. That was in 1991 and I am sad to say
                         that things have not improved.” Ms Morton is not alone in
                         her concern.
                           Mayor Sam Katz could rightly contradict her with statistics
                           of the number of kilometres of bike trails built during his
                           tenure. The City should be congratulated for such efforts.
                           Before he does so, he might remember that quality is also
                           important. Living Green, Living Well published a photo
                           illustrating the quality of some of our routes. As is often
                           said, a picture is worth a thousand words
Garbage Strike: Waste Not, Want Not
                                   It appears that Toronto's sticky summer garbage
                                   strike is shortly coming to an end. For five weeks,
                                   residents of Canada's largest city have done without
                                   waste collection services with their daily refuse
                                   piling up in their front lawns and stoops. Across
                                   Canada, citizens have renewed gratitude at the
                                   miracle of weekly pick up. But what other lessons
can cities learn from the Toronto strike of 2009? More:
http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/blog/garbage-strike-waste-not-want-not




                         Resource Conservation Manitoba                           7
                 303 Portage Avenue, 3rd Flr, Winnipeg MB R3B 2B4
                   (204) 925-3771 www.resourceconservation.mb.ca
Green Buildings: New Leader in LEED Certification In Winnipeg

                           An office building in Winnipeg has set a new standard for
                           environmental sustainability: LEED Platinum. The new
                           Winnipeg offices of architecture firm Carter-Smith, have
                           been awarded the Green Building Council's highest
                           distinction for Leadership in Energy and Environmental
                           Design (LEED). More:
http://www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/blog/green-buildings-new-leader-in-leed-
certification-in-winnipeg


Living Green, Living Well is a project of Resource Conservation Manitoba. If you
support the work we do, please join us! You may also consider making a donation.


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                                                                                MB R3B 2B4

                              Resource Conservation Manitoba                                  8
                      303 Portage Avenue, 3rd Flr, Winnipeg MB R3B 2B4
                        (204) 925-3771 www.resourceconservation.mb.ca

								
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