Category Archives: Water

Save BC Coast – One Loonie At a Time

Photo credit: Richard Vignola on Flickr

In typical Emily fashion – I’ve found a(nother) passion! I’ve always been a fan of BC’s beautiful coast line – kayaking in the Broken Island Group and studying the tide-pools around Bamfield. Coastal northern BC, especially Haida Gwaii, is on the top of my to-go list.

In the fall I went to a presentation about the impact of the Alberta Tar Sands on BC. Very insightful presentation – I was totally clueless to the plans of major pipelines being built to connect the Tar Sands to our coastal ports. I also was not aware that Prime Minister Harper has decided to ignore a  37 year old moratorium on oil tanker traffic in BC coastal waters – the only thing stopping MAJOR oil tanker traffic from Asia slurping up Tar Sands oil. Hmmmm….

5 Reasons to Stop Tar Sands Tankers on Our Coast:

1. The certainty of oil spills

Oil spills are a matter of when and how large, not IF. At a rate of two to three tankers a week, industry averages suggest a ‘major’ spill of over 10,000 barrels every 16 years.

2. The impossible clean up

In ideal conditions the oil industry considers a 15% clean-up of spills a success, a target they have never actually achieved.

3. The local ecology

The tanker routes pass approximately 605 salmon spawning rivers, orca feeding grounds and the habitat of over 20 threatened and endangered species.

4. Jobs and communities

An oil spill would devastate the coastal communities and First Nations that rely on tourism and fishing for their livelihoods

5. Global warming

Oil tankers in BC are to facilitate the massive projected expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands, the single largest contributor to the growth of Canada’s global warming causing emissions.

Learn more…

    These decals ARE LEGAL because they stick by friction not 'sticky' stuff.

These decals ARE LEGAL because they stick by friction not 'sticky' stuff.

So what to do? Superman-esk cape flapping in the coastal breeze, the Dogwood Initiative is here! With a WICKED campaign lined up to launch in early February – I’ve got the inside scoop*. They’re distributing No Tanker decals that turn the loon and water on our one dollar coins black with ‘oil’.

The goal: 1,000,000 NoTanker loonies in circulation to get people talking about the threat of the Tar Sands oil in BC, and supporting the moratorium that Harper is ignoring.

Where can I find the NoTanker decals?

Once you’ve got the decals, stick them on every loonie you’ve got! Register your No Tanker loonie sightings, spend them, give them to friends, and then order more decals! OH! Don’t forget to sign the petition.

I’m hosting a Loonie party soon, and I can hook you up with the supplies to do the same – pretty easy, all you need are decals and friends! Who doesn’t love sticker parties?

If you’re a business, and you’re interested in sponsoring the No Tanker Loonies, let me know. It a pretty sweet deal – you’ll be featured on the No Tankers website, put on the interactive map, and caught up in all the media buzz this campaign will create. Did I mention the decals are totally cheap?

* I’m the volunteer coordinator for Vancouver. Contact me if you’d like to host a Loonie Party, or you own a business that would like to sponsor the No Tanker Loonies – emily at urbanwren dot com



Filed under Climate Change, Politics, Water

My Water Footprint

I just went to to measure my water footrprint. At first I did the “quickie” calculator – my results were 2095 cubic meter per year – but I wasn’t satisfied because the only questions it asked were: what country to you live in? Are you male or female? What is your annual income? How much meat do you eat? I was expecting a bit more detail then that, but I am familiar with just how complicated these sorts of calculations can be.

On to the “extended” calculator.  I can’t figure it out – off the top of my head, I don’t know how many kilograms of cereal and dairy products I eat per week. SO, I’m going to do a little bit of research into the “average” values for Canadians, and compare that to what I can estimate I consume in a week. The rest of the questions in this version of the calculator are more straight forward.

Coming back to my response to the film Blue Gold: World Water Wars…. I’ve done a little bit of researching, and a term that keeps coming up is water footprint and water neutral. Sounds familiar, right? Carbon footprint and carbon neutral. Well, the premise is very similar. According to the Institute for Water Education, the water footprint “is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use. The water footprint of a product (good or service) is the volume of fresh water used to produce the product, summed over the various steps of the production chain.

The ‘water footprint’ includes three components: consumptive use of rainwater (green water), consumptive use of water withdrawn from groundwater or surface water (blue water) and pollution of water (grey water).

A water footprint is more than a figure for the total water volume used; it refers specifically to the type of water use and where and when the water was used. “

Water neutral “means that one reduces the water footprint of an activity as much as reasonably possible and offsets the negative externalities of the remaining water footprint.”

Realistically, how much can we reduce our water footprint? How much should water offsets cost, and what would count as an offset? It doesn’t seem like there is clear international consensus on standards, guidelines, and definitions. I’ll keep digging…. maybe this is the Masters topic I’ve been looking for! 🙂

Follow’s advice to reduce your water footprint:

  1. Adopt production techniques that use less water in industry as well as agriculture.
  2. Consume products with a lower water footprint, for instance, eat less meat.
  3. Produce products in areas with high water efficiency.

Check out their product gallery to see how much water your favorite foods consume

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Filed under Water

Water Wars

Just got back from the Vancouver International Film Fest – intense.

My reaction….

Trailer for Blue Gold: World Water Wars

Trailer for For the Love of Water (F.L.O.W.)


The documentary and good links – Blue Gold: World Water Wars. Find your watershed here … more on this soon.



Filed under Water