Category Archives: going green

The Benefits of Freecycling!

I’m not sure how many of you are already familiar with the Freecycle organization, but I thought I’d post this to show that it works!

From their website:

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,949 groups with 8,506,854 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). Membership is free.

It’s a really awesome idea and it works! I’ve been freecycling for years, both getting rid of stuff and finding stuff. A lot of it is in decent condition, and I like to think that it’s a bit less sketchy than the craigslist free ad section.

Today I totally scored and got the following:

That’s 41 mason jars for me to use for canning this year! What an awesome deal! All I had to do was pick them up. I posted an ad yesterday and someone answered it right away. Today I picked the jars up and saved about $42 by doing so.

Saving money, saving the environment… works for me!

Check out the link above to find your local Freecycle group and sign up. It’s definitely worth a gander.

I’m so excited about these jars, I can’t wait to put them to use with all the preserving I’m going to do with my friends this year! I think I should consider keeping a tally of how many jars I fill this time around, it’s starting to get legendary!

Discussion: The “Nostalgia” Trend

Our crop of pickles after a canning session in the summer

Background: Ellie and I have ourselves a little ladies canning group with some other gals in the area. A few times over the summer we got together to make and can some of our own foods, such as pickles, salsa, tomatoes, applesauce, etc.

This blog post is taken from an email discussion we had regarding an article I found on Granny Miller’s blog. I thought it was an interesting subject for discussion and wanted to see what others thought about the trend towards “simpler times” and reviving homesteading methods of yesteryear.

Do you see it as a fad, a trend, or something that is here to stay? Leave a comment or answer this in your own blog post and we’ll get the discussion going!

From Ellie

I got this from Ginger via Google Reader, but I took the time to read it this afternoon and thought it was really interesting.  We started canning largely because our mothers had done it before us and we decided to start on a whim.  Canning and the “survivalist” mentality have apparently been sweeping North America just like knitting did a while back.  The nostalgia for simpler times is becoming a trend.  The lady who wrote this article finds it appalling and draws some distinct lines between the lifestyle of the past and today’s trends.

Check it out and see what you think.

Reply from Ginger

Interesting article, isn’t it?

While I think she does have a point, canning and “prepping” are not just a fad in my eyes. My family has always done the whole emergency-preparedness thing. My brother and I have both learned how to survive on the bare necessities, fend for ourselves and other things along those lines.

In fact, my brother is currently at a college taking survivalist courses so he can become a ranger or work in that field.

Extending this kind of thinking to our food preservation, preparation and housekeeping seems natural to us. Plus, we grew up with the Mennonites out in the country. They didn’t have electricity sometimes! When you wanted popped corn, you had this weird contraption to use over the stove or the fire, no microwave in sight!

Perhaps I am an old soul. I have always seen value in knowing how to do things yourself. While I don’t know how to knit anymore (I did when I was a child), I DO know how to sew and do handy things and repairs around the house. I know how to cook over an open flame (for the most part) and build an “outdoor fridge” as well as garden and grow things to eat.

While I won’t say I wasn’t influenced by the whole nostalgia trend, I will say that it has certainly made it easier to find supplies, information and other interested folks! Without this trend maybe I wouldn’t have met you wonderful and talented ladies :)

Haha, this sounds like it’s turning into a blog post!

I feel for the lady, she and her family take this style of living very seriously, and I understand what it’s like to be passionate about something, then suddenly it goes mainstream and everyone is doing it. It takes the shine off of what you’re doing and becomes annoying–everyone and their sister is suddenly an “expert” on it, while all the while you have been living it without trying to be trendy.

What does everyone else think?

Giveaway: Get A My Bag of Your Own!

Well, it’s that time of year, folks!

The leaves have fallen, the cold weather is setting in and people’s thoughts are turning to the holiday season!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Yule/Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or any other holiday during the winter season there’s a good chance you’re going to be doing some shopping! (38 days left as of this posting!)

Presents for others, presents for yourself! And food to fill all the hungry bellies of your friends and family all need to be carried home in some fashion.

Enter the My Bag! These are great reusable bags that are not only strong and durable, but also totally stylish and Canadian-made (Click here for my review!). They are the perfect way to help you get your holiday shopping and preparations done, and make a great gift, too!

The good people at Grey Gourmet have generously offered to provide a My Bag of the winners’ choice to four (4) lucky readers, and it’s easy to enter!

TO ENTER: Tell me which holiday you celebrate (if any) and what your plans are for the season!

For Extra Entries do one or all of the following:
(but leave a separate comment for each!)

  • Subscribe to my RSS
  • Blog about this giveaway, with a link back to me.
  • Tweet the following (or something similar) and leave the link to your tweet in the comments
    “RT: @gingercorsair Win 1 of 4 My Bag reusable designer tote bags from! Enter now!

This contest is open to Canadian residents until November 30th, 2009. Winners will be chosen from the comments via

The Bottled Water Debate

I wanted to share this article I read in the Star with my readers today, as I think it highlights an important issue facing all Canadians. It’s also part o my series of thoughts on the environment and going green.

The Case Against Bottled Water

The article talks about people’s perceptions of tap water versus bottled water, and how it’s strange that Canada has one of the best water supplies in the world, yet our citizens are choosing to drink foreign bottled water instead.

It also mentions the downsides to drinking bottled water, such as the toxins leached from the plastic, the amount of oil it takes to produce the plastic bottles, and the fact that bottled water is not tested for safety and potability nearly as often as municipal water is.

“…according to Health Canada, there is no evidence to support the belief that bottled water is any safer than tap water. Indeed, if anything, our tap water may well be safer and healthier than bottled varieties.
The municipal water supply is more stringently tested than bottled water supplies. In Canada, the CBC reports that local water supplies are inspected every day while bottled-water plants are inspected just once every three years. In addition, according to MSN news, water-bottling plants are required to test for coliform bacteria just once a week whereas most municipal water systems test for the bacteria several times a day.”

My personal opinion is that we are drinking too much bottled water. I have recently switched from drinking bottled water to carrying my own bottle around with me. I have a stainless steel water bottle or two now, which are not only fashionable, but they also keep my water cold and icky-taste-free all day. The environment is also important to me, so by not drinking bottled water I am reducing a heck of a lot of stress on the global environment (transport costs, bottling costs, “stealing” another area’s drinking water).

“According to the Pacific Institute, the energy required to produce plastic water bottles for the American market alone in 2006 was equivalent to more than 17 million barrels of oil and created 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Producing bottles consumes a huge amount of water too, with the Pacific Institute estimating it takes three litres of water to produce one litre of bottled water.”

However I still drink bottled water for the convenience factor, like when I’m out and about and there are no other options.

How do you feel about drinking bottled water? Do the risks and costs of it bother you, or do you still feel that municipal water is less clean or flavourful (-less)?

Earth Hour 2008

I’m participating in Earth Hour 2008. Are you?

Hi Ginger, and thanks

Hey guys, I found a nice little email in my inbox this morning!
Chris Winter, the big cheese over at We Conserve sent me a thank-you note for posting about the site here recently.

Apparently a good number of you checked the site out, I think that’s great because we need to support causes like this to help the planet.

Here’s a copy of the email:

Nice little post on your blog – and 32 people took the time to jump over to We Conserve.

Thanks, and do say hi if you make it out to one of the three events this week.


Chris Winter
Executive Director
The Conservation Council of Ontario

Thanks again to everyone who hopped on over there, I’m happy to know that my blog helped spread the word!

Keep your eyes peeled for blurbs about some of my other favourite causes…

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I don’t get paid to plug any of this stuff, I just do it because I want to! (however if someone wanted to pay me I would be ok with that too!)

Going Green: Part 1

Going green seems to be one of the hot topics these days. Working in media I have access to many newspapers, journals and magazines that are all beginning to feature this topic. I think it’s a step in the right direction, but I really don’t think people and countries are doing enough. I’m not involved enough in the world or political news to keep up with all the conversations about the Kyoto Accord and things of that nature, but it seems to me that our leading countries are being jerks about the whole thing, and trying to pass the buck.

I guess it is up to us smaller folk to do what we can to preserve our Earth for future generations. We should also try and reverse some of the devastating effects our pollution has caused.

I thought that a good topic for an article would be the ways that I attempt to “go green” in my daily life, and maybe feature some interesting articles or resources about reducing our impact on the environment, etc. I consider myself lucky to have gone to a (somewhat) environmentally-conscious grade school when I was younger. Even though it was a smallish town, they still managed to teach us lasting lessons about being environmentally conscious citizens, and how we could do our part. I remember how exciting it was to plant trees and sort our paper for recycling. Before composting became a big thing, we were doing it in the classroom.

I think it is very important to teach children about the environment from a young age. Just look at how I turned out! I’m neither a Greenpeace activist nor a super-wasteful consumer. I learned the “Four R’s”. Most people know the three, but do you know the fourth?


Recycle – This one’s pretty obvious. If it can be recycled, then do it! Don’t put it in the trash!

Reuse – Reuse those old margarine and yogurt containers, wash out your ziploc bags if they’re still decent. Many people can go completely without tupperware/rubbermaid containers, simply by reusing food containers again and again.

Reduce – Don’t cut your lawn so often, reduce the number of times you do it. Install water-saving showerheads and low-flow toilets in your home to reduce the use of our resources. Turn the thermostat down just one degree and save!

Refuse – With the help of some big companies such as Loblaws, it is becoming easier to do this. Refuse to take the plastic shopping bags they offer, and bring your own cloth ones instead. Refuse to buy over-packaged products and try purchasing bulk foods instead. If we stop accepting and over-consuming unnecessary plastics and the like, we can greatly reduce our impact on the environment and landfills.

This article seems to be taking me quite some time to write, so I’ve decided to split up the idea into a series of smaller articles. I’m planning to include some links to interesting environment-related websites and articles and also my opinion and thoughts on each of them.

Stay tuned!