Surprise #3: Ian Tyson

I saw this Legend perform ‘back in the day’, when I was a bit of an activist as a member of the Friends to the Oldman River Society.  A beautiful artist and friend, Joane Cardinal Schubert, created the image used on the poster advertising a great musical and political event at the edge of Maycroft Crossing back in 1989.  Ian Tyson, along with people like Andy Russell and the Chiefs of the surrounding Nations, gathered along with thousands of Albertans to persuade the Government of Canada that construction of a dam would be of great environmental impact on this river. From The Art Gallery of Calgary’s catalogue for the Calgary Collects Exhibit in the Fall of 2011, this…

Joane Cardinal Schubert and the River

From Wikipedia…

“Russell also sometimes confronted environmental issues in the field, directly on the front lines. In 1977, for example, he was successful in persuading officials in British Columbia to reconsider plans to grant timber harvesting licences in the Akamina-Kishenina region, an area with which Russell was intimately familiar as a result of the decades he spent guiding and outfitting in the area.[23] While wilderness landscapes like the Akamina-Kishenina region were central to Russell’s writing and film making endeavours, he also directed some of his environmental advocacy to the rural working landscape he shared with his neighbours. For example, when Shell Canada in 1970 put forward an application to divert additional water from Drywood Creek, Russell monitored the proceedings to ensure than no more water was taken than necessary, and that the resulting effluent was properly treated.[24] In another instance, to draw attention to problems with the Government of Alberta’s use of sodium fluoroacetate as a predator control compound, he joined two of his ranching colleagues and assisted to gather ten poisoned and rotting coyote carcasses; these were then left on the grounds of the municipal office in Pincher Creek, Alberta, as part of a plan that drew public attention to the issue through prearranged media involvement.[25] Russell also involved himself in larger projects, including in the politically charged opposition to the construction of the Oldman River Dam in southwestern Alberta. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Oldman River and he participated in actions to oppose the dam project, most prominently as a speaker at musician Ian Tyson’s benefit concert held at Maycroft Crossing on June 12, 1989.[26]”

Maycroft 3Further to this, on the University of Lethbridge site

“Active resistance on the Oldman River Dam came from a group of Peigan Natives, the Peigan Lonefighters Society, who in August 1990 began to divert the river using an excavator to render the multi-million dollar dam useless.  The claim was simple, the government of Canada was intruding on sacred Native land, land owned by the Blackfoot Nations. According to Milton Born with a Tooth, “the Oldman River is located in Blackfoot Nation’s territory, something we have always taken as being within our own domain. We all grew up by the river, and that’s how the river has a personal attachment to myself and the people. So that’s what drove us to do what we did on August 3, to let the people know we still had this connection to the river.” Though resistance to the Oldman River Dam has been pacified in the past few years, Peigans still claim that reservior land is their own.

Another part of the controversy has to due with the environmentalists. The environmentalists call themselves, “Friends of the Oldman River Society.”  They formed in the early 1990’s, over the environmental concerns in the construction of the large scale Oldman River Dam. They note that the construction of the Oldman River Dam required an environmental assessment impact, and this was not conducted at all, by Ralph Klein’s government. An environmental assessment impact is a neccessity according to the “Navigable Waters Protection Act”, where it would be determined if its construction would have any notable environmental impacts on this region. The Friends of the Oldman River strongly felt that the construction of the Oldman River Dam, would severely alter and damage local riparian biomes, wildlife habitat, and aquatic life in down stream from the dam. A environmental impact assessment was later conducted by the government, and found the dam to have no significant environmental impact; but the Friends of the Oldman River Society amongst others regard it with much suspect.”

I had studied at the University of Lethbridge, perched on the edge of the Oldman River, and lived in residence there, so for four years, I had a huge relationship with the river.  Everything that Ian Tyson and Andy Russell stand/stood for, I felt deeply about.  And I guess that’s just never changed.  While I am faulted often for being a bit of a ‘bleeding heart’ in my family, I care very much for our environment and see, this many years later, what impact our choices as consumers have upon this wealth of land, water and air that we, as Canadians, often take for granted.

I’ve danced to this song many times over the years and to hear it on the night of the Flood Relief was a surprise.  Thank you, Ian, for your work on behalf of Albertans over all of these years.

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My Thoughts on Tim Hortons…AGAIN

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Recently, the media shared with us that according to the Zagat Survey of Fast Food Favourites, Tim Hortons ranked within the top five.  I have to say that while the public may find their menu popular…and their coffee too, according to this one artist-chick, their stance on stewardship and the environment is in serious need of revision!  I cleaned up some days, between 30 and 50 Tim Horton’s on each walk while exploring whether I might change the landscape, one bag at a time.  In fact, one day I walked over to the Tim Hortons located on the edge of Frank’s Flats and approached the manager with 71 cups collected in a single day and asked if he might offer me a rebate or even turn those cups in for recycling.

The manager explained that, as yet, Alberta does not have the capability of washing the lining product from the cups and so the cups, primarily made of paper, can not be recycled.  There are no incentives offered for returning the cups either and so a large number of people out for their evening/morning/Sunday strolls just pitch their cups and plastic lids into the pond or along its edge.  Like many other Albertans, they surely believe that over time these products will break down in the weather and such, but nah…unfortunately, they just become smaller and smaller pieces of those things that they are.

I revisited this location to see how it has been doing…from a view of the big picture, it continues to be a pristine and beautiful place…hmmm…but, look up close and you will see a different sort of picture.

When I contacted Tim Hortons about their stewardship efforts, I was directed to their link on their website.  It explains goals of diminishing waste and environmental impact by 5%...again and again…if you look into it, over the last several years.  However, there is no acknowledgment of having reached any of those targets.  Tim Hortons sponsors various clean-up efforts in the city, but rarely do you hear of larger efforts to change the type of products they use or to design a new and cost efficient technology to deal with the recyle of their cups.

Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

March 15, 2012 3:30 p.m. Weather 15 degrees and very windy!  Reports are that wind gusts on the highway from Okotoks all the way south were as much as 100 kms. an hour.  Findings: Max and I headed up to the fence and cleared another two sections, as well as picking up a huge variety of plastics and containers on the way.  I was buoyed by the prospect of enjoying a meal at the Dragon Pearl with my children afterwards…celebrating my son’s 22nd birthday!

Windblown...Parking Lot Photo taken by a hockey Mom.

The City of Calgary has come through for me!  Under some stones, at the base of my bins was a note from Calgary Parks!  I was elated that the city or some representative of the city, made the decision to help me Change the Landscape: One Bag At a Time.  Thank you for responding to my request, left only Monday.

I was discouraged this morning, with the response from Tim Hortons.  I know!  I know!  This looks like they have taken huge corporate measures to address some of the environmental messes their product is creating!  And, yes, once that product walks out that front door, cupped in the customers’ satisfied hands, it is up to those customers to take responsibility for what they do with the packaging.  But…this park space is absolutely FULL of Tim Hortons cups and plastic lids!  

Thank you for your recent communication regarding your concern about the litter caused by Tim Hortons packaging within your community.  At Tim Hortons, we always appreciate hearing from our loyal guests.

As published in our 2010 Sustainability and Responsibility Report, we have committed to packaging reduction goals as well as waste diversion goals in our restaurants; however, we acknowledge that there remains a lot of work to be done.  We have a team of packaging experts and environmental professionals at Tim Hortons working to ensure that our business is environmentally sustainable.  

When our environmental and packaging groups meet, we share comments and ideas that we have received from our stakeholders. 

In addition to the information that you can find in our 2010 Sustainability and Responsibility Report, some more specific programs we have run to help reduce the amount of litter caused by our packaging include:

• Anti-litter messages on all of our packaging items, including a “Do Not Litter” message on all of our take-out cups and on our drive thru exit signs at the majority of our restaurants.
• Sponsorship of annual Community Clean-up events by our Restaurant Owners – last year we sponsored over 135 of these events across Canada and this number continues to grow each year.
• Recycling and composting – currently over 650 of our restaurants have either recycling or composting programs for our hot drink paper cups, and this number is continuing to grow
• Reusable mug – we offer a 10 cent discount on all hot drink purchases made by guests who bring their own reusable mug
• Other sponsorship activities – We sponsor many other educational and awareness programs about litter such as our Earn a Bike Program.  This program encourages youth to volunteer to clean up their neighborhoods through community service in order to earn a bicycle. 

For more information on our packaging reduction and waste diversion initiatives, please visit http://sustainabilityreport.timhortons.com/planet_env_steward.html.  Our full 2010 Sustainability and Responsibility Report can be found at http://sustainabilityreport.timhortons.com/index.html

Thank you again for contacting us and we hope to have the opportunity to serve you again soon.
  
Sincerely,

The TDL Group Corp.

Caroline,
Guest Services Representative

I will become familiar with the sustainability plans and reports that Caroline has pointed out to me.  And for today, I simply want to express my gratitude for the support from the City of Calgary Parks.  I’m publishing a wee clip here that reflects how my morning began…up north at the irrigation canal.  The sky was a perfect blue.  The geese were calling with a wild energy, more and more, splitting off in twos.  My heart was bursting with gratitude and love for my home.  Here it was though, a completely different part of the city and I discovered….yes!  You guessed it!  Scads of litter dangling from the bushes and rustling in the dry grass.  I guess you notice what you know and since taking on this project, I notice.