What does sustainability look like to you?

These photos illustrate local sustainable activities: ways to improve our social relationships while reducing our environmental impact. These are things we want more of!

Project Drawdown identifies over 80 solutions to climate change, and each of these is already being implemented. These photos, submitted by Drawdown Alberta participants, show how we are already making a difference. Together, they provide a picture of what Alberta can look like in a few years.

More locally, what do you think would improve Medicine Hat? Please feel free to submit your own pics.

These prairie sunflower were planted at Police Point as part of a wildflower demonstration plot. Although these flowers don't naturally grow in this park, three Common Redpolls found them. These tiny birds pecked at the seedhead, then hopped down and found the seeds on the snow. (I know the birds are hard to see. One is on the snow in the lower centre, and the second is right above that one.)

This scene reminded me of Nature's Best Hope, by Douglas Tallamy. He describes in detail why native flowers are so much more valuable for insects and birds than domestic plants. This picture shows that wild creatures can find and recognize the native plants.

Tallamy encourages each homeowner to include a few native plants in their landscaping. In this way, migrating birds and other wandering animals can find food. I suggest we set at least 1% our our yard for wildlife. For an average yard, that would be about 50 square feet, the size of a bed. That seems, to me, to be a modest contribution, but is room enough for several perennial plants and maybe a small shrub. Contact me for details!

Here's Stephanie, the proud owner of a new Chevrolet Bolt. Not only does she save money on fuel while reducing her family's carbon footprint, she has more fun driving! With fewer moving parts, the car should require less maintenance.

Recharging stations are now available throughout western Canada. In fact, since this car can plug into a standard household outlet, every home is now a re-fuelling station.

Electric cars use only about one-third of the energy of a similar gas powered car, and large generating plants are much more efficient than gas engines. Bottom line: only a fraction of the fossil fuel footprint!

Spring is just around the corner, and it is time to order seeds for this summer's garden. Although we promote buying local, many interesting varieties of seeds cannot be found in hardware stores. The pictured companies are Canadian, at least.

West Coast Seeds is our current favourite. Their catalogue includes a lot of information on how to grow each plant, as well as a planting calendar specifically for the prairies.

Many people planted their first vegetable garden last year. We hope you all continue! Watch the Transition website for hints on our No Fail Veggies For Beginners, coming soon.

Local landowners Twyla and Paul are pictured installing fence visibility clips, assisted by other Transitioners. These simple pieces of vinyl make the wires much easier to see, preventing bird collisions, and reducing damage by deer and elk.

Small changes like this can go a long way to enabling people and wildlife to co-exist.

Alberta Conservation Association has produced a major publication on Wildlife Friendly Fencing, with numerous inexpensive improvements to the traditional, hundred-year-old design. (See the Resources page for details.)

The prairie provinces have been fertile ground for the formation of co-operatives. Informal barn-raisings of the last century have grown into major chains of retail outlets. In addition to Federated Co-operatives Ltd. with their familiar red and green branding, SERVUS Credit Union, United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) and other customer-owned businesses provide a wide range of products and services.

Federated Co-ops have grown large enough to create their own brands, and even their own oil refinery.

Co-ops constantly walk a fine line between growing to compete with major brands, and keeping their personal and customer-oriented service.

Would you prefer having an algorithm based in cyberspace deciding what you learn, or would you like to have local professional journalists based in your own neighbourhood giving info about what is happening in our city? Where else would you find out about our new police chief or what your utility rates are doing?

The Medicine Hat News is produced by people you can actually speak with, whether you have a compliment, complaint or question. (Just pick up the phone and press 403-527-1101.) Try THAT with your typical newsfeed!

Perhaps the advertisements are even more useful. Community groups, festivals, markets, concerts and other happenings all place ads to keep you informed. Think of it as a local bulletin board, renewed daily.

At less than a dollar a day, it is even cheaper than the internet. And guaranteed family-friendly. By the way, you can order your subscription at that same phone number.

Dorothy and David Ward take turns scraping ice off the trail in Cottonwood community. Most of the snow had been removed by the City crew, but the remaining spots turned to dangerous ice.

When asked why they do this, they replied, "Why not? We have the time and energy, and we would really hate to find someone lying on the ice."

It just takes a little initiative to make a big difference. We can each pitch in when we see something that needs doing.

Live music is a strong element of community life, and JazzFest is an important part of this tradition. The festival brings in fine musicians to entertain and inspire us.

The signature Saturday afternoon dance party happens on the roof of the parkade. This unusual venue provides an excellent backdrop for the musicians, as hundreds of fans dance and mingle.

Wind turbines form an important part of our future energy mix. The ENGO drawdown.org identifies land-based turbines as the second most important way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Each of these towers in the Box Springs district produces about 1% of Medicine Hat's electricity needs. John S. has compiled a list of all proposed and built wind farms, which total 647 turbines, as of mid-October 2020. If and when these are completed, they will power all of southern Alberta, including much of Calgary.

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Last modified January 28, 2022