Alternatives Journal

This multidisciplinary Canadian journal provides articles, research and book reviews on environmental ideas and action.

Articles from Vol. 30, No. 5, November-December

Climate Change Is a Daily Reality for Inuit
REPORTS on climate change in the popular press may seem abstract to many of us. Yes, the polar ice cap is shrinking and average temperatures continue to rise. But for Inuit, climate change is a day-to-day reality. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Climate...
Code Blocks: Rigid Building Codes Hinder Innovations in the Natural Building Movement
BUILDING CODES provide safeguards and ensure uniformity in the construction industry. They also severely curtail the use of natural building materials, especially in cities. Many natural building contractors consider building codes to be their largest...
Dud the Spud (with Apologies to Stompin' Tom)
I AM EMBARRASSINGLY clued out with respect to the en vogue diets sweeping the Western world. I thought the Subway diet meant you missed a meal because you were commuting. South Beach was a vacation destination and The Zone, as far as I knew, was a...
Five Ways to Encourage Green Building
GREEN COMMUNITIES are not futuristic, utopian concepts. Every day, planning, design and construction professionals seek permissions for innovative designs. Many are successful, but regulatory barriers and costly processing delays discourage many others....
Green at Home
GREEN buildings are in vogue--also maybe in Vogue, though I haven't looked. Green buildings are suddenly the stuff of Architectural Digest and Better Homes and Gardens. This is a wonderful trend with great potential, but building green sometimes seems...
Greening Together: The Ecovillage Movement Grows from Grassroots to Mainstream
FAST-FORWARD one hundred years: what would you want your community to look like? This is the long-term vision behind the ecovillage movement, often brushed aside as the product of an idealistic dream. Granted, not all ecovillages are exemplary successes,...
Green Superbuildings: Innovative New Designs and Technologies Are Taking Ecological Building Onward and Upward
The trend started in 1992. The German corporation Commerzbank announced a competition to design a radically innovative skyscraper. It was to be the first and tallest ecological building ever built. The Commerzbank sponsors had very specific criteria...
Greenville: Applying Green Principles to Buildings and Urban Planning Is a Sound Long-Term Investment of Public Dollars
TO SOME, A GREEN HOME means a home that is free of toxins. To others it means a home made of natural materials. To yet others, it could mean just the opposite: a home built using the newest materials and technologies to maximize energy efficiency,...
Gypsy Moth Secrets Revealed
DEVASTATION OF FORESTS caused by gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) has been a growing concern over the past three decades. These insects undergo seemingly unpredictable population booms and can defoliate whole forests. But a new mathematical model, developed...
LEEDing the Way: The "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" Rating System Will Inevitably Foster Greener Buildings and More Sustainable Communities
OUR BUILDINGS are changing, but scarcely anyone's noticing. Don't worry; you will soon. When you notice your neighbours talking about grass roofs and ground-source heating, and berating the carpenter if he or she doesn't use a low-VOC glue, you'll...
Living Laboratory to Show Us the Future
PARTNERS in a new state-of-the-art research facility hope to get people thinking about the future. University of British Columbia (the owner of the facility) and its partners at Simon Fraser University, the BC Institute of Technology and the Emily...
The Fungus among Us: Tiny but Ubiquitous, Mycorrhizal Fungi Form Vital Connections Underground
THE MI'KMAQ have a story about a forest, supported by the roots that are intertwined as if holding hands. I first heard this image described by a story teller who used it as a metaphor for cultural exchange through stories. Sharing stories forms connections...
The Genius of Wangari Maathai: Recent Winner of Nobel Peace Prize Shows How Equality, Democracy and the Environment Are All Branches of the Same Tree
SEVERAL prominent Norwegians have questioned the Nobel Committee's choice of Wangari Maathai for the Nobel Peace Prize. Why honour environmental activism in an era when war, terrorism and nuclear proliferation are even more urgent problems, they wonder....
Turning Brownfields Green: Expertise Is Growing and Municipalities Are Tapping into a Wealth of Redevelopment Opportunites
CANADA'S CITIES put on a good show, but behind the scenes, parts of our urban environment are far from enviable. The country has an estimated 30,000 brownfields--contaminated urban sites resulting from a century of industrialization, ranging in scale...