(thanks atuw.ca for the pic)

Having survived a month of Vice-President, Internal… I’m typing away on a train right now on my way home to Sarnia for Artwalk, an arts festival with an ecology focus this year, celebrated annually downtown. Many events are having a green focus this year, such as Open Doors Toronto, which last weekend featured around 150 historic and green buildings. Green roofs a plenty. Well, really just a few still exist in the City. But the display of their feasibility at a large scale can do much more than a simple report by an Environmental Studies student. The interest in green buildings in Toronto (which Open Doors Waterloo will also feature this September, including a neighbour of mine), has demonstrated itself in various media I picked up today.

The Imprint featured a full spread in the University of Waterloo Sustainability Project’s (UWSP) working groups. Green Roofs Over Waterloo (GROW) formed a couple years ago, when my colleagues and I were working on a green roof project proposal in UW’s Greening the Campus class. At the same time we were research the feasibility and benefits of a potential green roof over ES2, a student named Emma Halsall with several others were looking at green roofs at other locations on campus. Although the ventures didn’t turn out the way all of us we had wanted, all the activity may have contributed to the interest in green buildings on a couple new buildings being constructed on our campus, and now GROW is focusing on suggestions for specific energy retrofits that would save UW energy, pollution and money. Despite a few factual errors, the Imprint spread takes a very good look at what’s happening on campus. Zimride, mentioned in a previous blog, is the next great UWSP group. Take a look at the rest of the working groups in the article and contact UWSP to let them know what you’re most interested in helping with: uwspmail@gmail.com

Hanging out with the Alternatives crew at lunch today, I got to pick up the fresh issue, hot off the press (has that new-mag-smell). This is your place to go for more in-depth environmental education with a focus on solutions. The theme of green buildings continues in this double issue, with Building Heritage containing several articles related to urban and suburban ideas for a different kind of growth (sustainability?) The other section called Measuring Progress lends to another great interest of mine. Many interesting ideas for doing things differently in society – not just “counting the money,” as Raffi would say.

Working at Alternatives last summer, I worked a lot on these issues with submissions/editing. I recall getting the piece by Bill Rees for Measuring Progress – a very different theme than the rest of the articles. Rees - the founder of the “ecological footprint’ idea of assessing our environmental impact – paints a very depressing picture of our environmental situation, though he would use the term, “realism.” Rees lists and described several popular modern tools (like green buildings) and says they won’t be effective in reaching where we need to go. Unfortunately he doesn’t present any ideas that he feels to be solutions.

You can stop by the Alternatives office on the lower floor of ES1 to purchase a copy of the issue. Or go to www.alternativesjournal.ca and order a subscription. I’m particularly interested in reading the article with a debate on incineration – something I wish to know much more about. The letters section of the magazine has been greatly expanded this issue, with several eco-intellectuals, young students, and “we’ve got to change our ways!” folks writing in. Even Frank de Jong, Ontario Green leader – who posted a comment here a couple blogs back – checked out the last Alternatives and commented.

The issue also contains a review of M’Gonigle and Starke’s Planet U, a book which I’ve also reviewed in Imprint and The Understory.

I must starting posting results from my thesis on campus sustainability! That will come soon.

The Understory is the online mag of the Young Greens of Canada which I help edit. Our latest issue is about the future – and I have to get it online… so it will be up right away.