Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

March 27, 2012 3:39 p.m. Weather: 5 degrees  The sun came out after a day of intermittent snow.  It felt warm outside…a real sense of springtime at Frank’s Flats.  In fact, there was Frank…soaking in the good feelings also, surrounded by a stand of evergreen trees.  He told me he’s likely heading for the coast, in search of work. He also got into telling me stories.  One was about a time when he watched a pick-up truck pull over onto the shoulder of 22X, throwing up a terrific amount of dust.  A guy rushed out of the truck and spent, what seemed to be, hours, scouring the ditches and the slope on the far side of the pond.  The next day, the same guy appeared again with an entire contingent of his friends and again, gave the once-over to the area.  Frank surmised that something very valuable must have been lost out of the back of that pick-up truck, so the day after that, he road his bike over there and spent a good bit of time looking for himself.  He said that he believed there was some sort of treasure over there, yet to be found.  I smiled…and just kept on picking.  I told him, before leaving, that I had named the place Frank’s Flats.  And he said, “Well, I appreciate that.”  I told him that not many people have a beautiful park named after them…just kings and princes.  He smiled…and we said our good-byes.

What God Leaves Behind: March 27, 2011 Frank’s Flats

The litter today included many granola bar packages and many plastic bottle tops and straws.  I topped off the bag of countless little bits of plastic and packaging with a part of a large cardboard box I found on the east side.  I’m thinking that health food bars and granola bar packaging should really reflect a more sustainable approach.

What people leave behind.

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  Our full 2010 Sustainability and Responsibility Report can be found at

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

The TDL Group Corp.

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.


Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

March 12, 2012: One Bag At a Time

March 12, 2012 7:00 p.m.  Weather 5 degrees and thick cloud to the west.  A wind…and a chill in the air.  Max absolutely stinks at the moment!  I think they opened up some drains on the Flat’s today.  He is in desperate need of a grooming.  YUCK!  It was nippy to be picking litter up as the sun was going down.  But, looking west, the sky made up for that pretty quick.  It was a glorious evening and I was glad for the decision to head out.  When I went to the bin, in order to deposit my bag, I was a wee bit disappointed that I didn’t find a stash of large bags to use, after leaving my note yesterday.  This just means that I will continue to provide my own. During family dinner last night, my daughter said that in the spring, the City and volunteers are sent out to clean up this mess.  Hmmm…really?  I guess that would make me a volunteer.

I received a note from bob at

Hi Kathleen,
Bob Keelaghan of AMGC here.
I’d say picking up trash is something we can get behind. Good on ya! So, yeah, you have our permission. But…
and then he went on to explain the conditions etc. for incorporating bits of their amazing music into my 20-60 second films.  He was so awesome to get back to me…and their music is so remarkable!  I hope that my readers will give them a listen!

Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

March 10, 2012 3:30 p.m. Weather: 14 degrees and a wind.  It didn’t take us long to pick up a bag of plastics on the flats…a wave to Frank who was sitting above, his bike parked against a tree.  I guess he was sipping his beer. The rest of the hour was spent enjoying the warm sunshine…watching Max play.  A Mom and her hockey-playing son, snapped our parking lot shot.  She grumbled about the mess that was all over the community.

Today marks the end of our second week.