A Tolerable Planet

Having recently bought a house in the woods beyond city limits, my wife and I hope to be off the grid and as sustainable as possible in the future. But I can’t help but think of Henry David Thoreau’s quote: “What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” With climate change and the state of politics in the world, sometimes it’s hard not to have a pessimistic or even (gulp) apocalyptic attitude. But I don’t think it’s about pessimism or even optimism—it’s about realism. We should look realistically at our daily activities and see how we can reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible.

Every April we present our annual green issue in honour of Earth Day, and this year we’re focusing on low impact living. Whether it’s solar panels or a strawbale home, we profile four individuals who are reducing their impact on the environment. One way of lowering your ecological footprint can be as simple as composting, and writer Lindsay Campbell talks to the owners of Eco Depot about how they are in the process of becoming Northwestern Ontario’s first permitted compost facility. Also, writer Karl Oczkowski checks in with three Thunder Bay families/businesses who opted for Ontario’s microFIT program five years ago. Plus, Julia Prinselaar writes about green infrastructure initiatives and installations in the city. Last but certainly not least, have you ever wondered how eco-conscious you are? We’ll test your knowledge with a quiz we’ve put together.

Continuing with our green theme, we take a tour of Thunder Bay Hydro’s renewable energy pilot project “Power House,” writer Michelle Kolobutin shares some natural organic health and beauty products made in the city, and sommelier Jeannie Dubois recommends some organic beer, wines, and spirits.

Also in the issue, Kirsti Salmi chats with Casey Laforet of Elliott Brood about the band’s upcoming show in the city, Justin Allec crosses conducting the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra off his bucket list, and Rebekah Skochinski gets a peek at The Crew on May, the new addition to the city’s vibrant culinary scene.

I know environmental problems facing our planet and city can seem overwhelming or irreversible, but change has to start somewhere. And for that you have to look no further than people and organizations in our community. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at our April issue.

-Adrian Lysenko