Earth Day 2016

Even before the sun was up my feed was filling with Earth Day posts – Top 5 ways to green your office. Top 5 ways to re-use plastic bottles. Top 5 ways to do just about anything green.

One of the biggest opportunities to reduce carbon emissions is what’s on your plate and how it gets from barn to breakfast. The growth of the local food movement appeals to folks who don’t want their food dollars travelling more than they do. The smaller size of those operations and the tendency toward organic and alternative farming models has also changed their environmental footprint. But the impact is much bigger.

Generating food

I met Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture in a renewable energy feasibility analysis course. The more Rob and his wife Michelle travelled the globe and expanded their knowledge of sustainable energy, the more they realized energy was only a small part of a much bigger picture. How we approach the soil, water, and process of generating food has a huge impact on our environment and our health. With food prices climbing and awareness of food security growing more folks are tapping into what Verge have learned.  They are a great source of info and inspiration. Check out this article from the Calgary Herald.


A  reoccurring theme in the food discussion showed up more than once in today’s “Top 5 …” lists. They suggest that I “go vegan” or at very least cut back on meat consumption to save the planet. 

I love a good BBQ steak – but I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve questioned how it gets to my table. I had the opportunity to hear Temple Grandin address a room of poultry farmers a few years back. It was inspiring. Flat out she made it clear – she was not a fan of PETA, she was in the protein industry, yet the industry had to make some big improvements in animal welfare. Then she went into very detailed discussions of animal management. Things I had never considered. I didn’t look at hot wings the same way for a while after that.

A Townie and a Pig

When my sister in law retired she explored the whole philosophical debate first hand – and somewhat by accident. When she left teaching she also left the city and retired to a rural coastal community. Eager to embrace country life, when she learned her neighbors were getting a piglet she thought – why not? Her short story about the experience, “The Townie and the Pig”, inspired the award winning documentary “Lynn and Harriet”.

It was a real demonstration that the practicalities of philosophical debate are never as easy as you think.
So on this earth day – can we make a difference? Definitely. Will it always be in our comfort zone – probably not. But then isn’t stretching part of reaching new goals?

Some excerpts from the documentary are available below on Vimeo:

Video Preview

From the 2004 St. John’s Women’s International Film Festival guide:

“Audiences everywhere are howling with delight at the unpredictable turn of this highly original film. Newfoundlander Lynn Murphy befriends a pig–the Harriet of the title. Friendship wasn’t exactly what Lynn had in mind; pork roast and ham was more like it. What to do, therefore, when the time comes to fulfill Harriet’s fate? Move over Babe–Harriet’s pink warm snout leaves a lasting impression long after the dinner table’s been set.”

Director: Linda Fitzpatrick, Second Glance Productions
Director of Photography: Chris Murphy, Water Street West Entertainment
Story: Based on “The Townie and the Pig”, a short story by Lynn Murphy