Author: AnneD

Tips for Reducing Food Waste this Festive Season

Enviro Page  →  Zero Waste Team  →  Reducing Food Waste

Laura Trotta: “Every time we throw food in the bin we’re not just wasting our money. We’re discarding the vast amounts of resources, energy and water that it took to produce, process, store, refrigerate, transport and cook the food.

Reducing food waste: photo of a vegan dish

Humous with veggies, orange segments and nigella seeds / Credit: Unsplash

Reducing food waste is one of the top five solutions to climate change listed in the New York Times bestseller “Drawdown…” While animal agriculture creates an estimated 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.

As we move through December and into the New Year, let’s remember to reduce food waste and to include vegan and vegetarian dishes in our Winter season feasting.

Suggested Links

Tips for Reducing Food Waste

Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes

Food and Climate Action

Foraging for Wild Mushrooms in Maple Ridge



reducing food waste: photo of mushroom hunters in a Maple Ridge forest

reducing food waste: photo of mushroom hunters in a Maple Ridge forest

Credit: Slow Food Vancouver

In the photos above, we find a group of friends engaging in an ancient (even timeless) human activity …foraging for mushrooms in a forest. They’re members of the Vancouver chapter of the Slow Food movement.

You might ask: What is Slow Food?

Slow Food is a global movement that pushes back against fast food and industrialized food systems. Its mission includes defending local food traditions, promoting artisanal foods and preserving food biodiversity.

The movement calls for tackling the climate crisis through the adoption of environmentally-friendly practices along all stages of the food supply chain, following a seed-to-landfill trajectory.

A brief foray into the shameful state of food waste in Canada today

At the intersection of food, conviviality, agriculture, social justice and everyday climate action … we conclude with a brief foray into the shameful state of food waste in Canada today.

According to Second Harvest: Each year, nearly 60% of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted. That’s 35.5 tonnes of food, or nearly $50 billion, lost annually. Furthermore, organic material in landfills produces methane gas that’s 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide emissions.

Nova Scotia farmer Richard Melvin reluctantly throws away enough cauliflower to feed a province. Despite being “perfectly good to eat,” up to 40 per cent of his 36 hectares of cauliflower gets plowed back into the ground each year. He’s looking for financial help to give surplus crops to food-insecure Canadians.

photo of a farmer in field holding heads of cauliflower in each hand

Credit: Jacqueline Melvin

photo of worker tossing produce into a huge pile of wasted fruits and vegetables

Credit: Ben Nelms/Reuters

In Langley BC, a worker dumps “pre-consumer food waste” which is fed to black soldier fly larvae to produce animal feed, at Enterra Feed Corporation.

(Edible insects are promoted as a solution to future global food shortages. But critics argue that black soldier fly farming is not an ideal solution for global food waste because it entrenches industrial animal agriculture and diverts attention from deeper food systems transformation.)

Simon Fraser University food researcher Tammara Soma says blame the system for food waste on BC farms and not the farmer. The main problems include shoppers who won’t buy imperfect fruits and veggies, a global food system that creates rock-bottom prices for produce, a decline in local food processors, and a lack of incentives to give away surplus food.

Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau would not answer the question when asked if Ottawa would consider funding to help farmers salvage crops that would otherwise go wasted.

Food Waste in Canada

The Facts

December food eco-challenge: graphic on food waste in Canada width=
December food eco-challenge: graphic on food waste in Canada


Join the DECEMBER Food Eco‑Challenge

Enviro Page  →  Zero Waste Team  →  ZW Notebook → December EcoChallenge

It’s a beautiful idea to remind ourselves in December to feel gratitude for our food, and to be aware of food waste and the impact this has on our planet

Come join the Metro Vancouver Unitarian Food Ecochallenge in December by changing your habits and reducing food waste. Check-in to see how we’re lowering food waste during the challenge

*If you missed the start date, you can join any time. Just sign up below, or

eMail to connect with the Zero Waste Team


Seth Klein on A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency

Poster: Seth Klein on climate emergency

UCV Dialogues
Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis

Seth Klein the author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency will be the featured guest speaker in the Sanctuary Thursday, Oct. 28th at 7pm.

This Special Event will be the first in a new UCV-organized series Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis.

This is one of our first events open for limited in-person seating in the Sanctuary. To attend in person, book your spot now.

All the events in this series, including the event on Oct. 28th with Seth Klein, will be livestreamed on Youtube.

About the Speaker

Seth Klein is the Team Lead and Director of Strategy of the Climate Emergency Unit (a 5-year project of the David Suzuki Institute that Seth launched in early 2021). Prior to that, he served for 22 years (1996-2018) as the founding British Columbia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He is the author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency (published in 2020) and writes a regular column for the National Observer.

About the Series

Every day we are reminded that we are in a climate emergency. Unprecedented heat waves, droughts, fires, extreme weather events, floods, refugees – the list goes on. Taken together with the current pandemic, it’s understandable that many of us feel frightened, overwhelmed, powerless. Where can we find the individual and collective strength to clearly face the truth of the emergency, mourn the damage being done to our blue planet, and inspire ourselves and others to action?

The Vancouver Unitarians are hosting a series of talks by prominent Canadians from faith, spiritual and secular backgrounds to support us in answering that question. They will educate, nourish, and inspire us, drawing on diverse faith and spiritual traditions including those of Indigenous peoples. They will delve into how these traditions and practices, and the values they represent, help them contend with the climate emergency and the actions they are taking. And, in this way, they will help us engage more effectively with the crisis and create our way forward to a sustainable future – for ourselves and our families, our communities, our nation, and for the health of our loved ones and our planet.

About the Format

The speaker series will be live-streamed from the campus of the Vancouver Unitarians before a small audience. The speakers will appear in person or virtually. Two Vancouver Unitarians will moderate the series – introducing the speakers, leading discussions after each talk, and providing continuity over the course of the full program. The series will include occasional panel discussions of key themes and learnings from what we heard.

Unitarian Church. It is recognized as a remarkable mid-twentieth century architectural legacy – a well-received spiritual gathering place and a civic gathering place for events in the arts, public affairs, and discourse on the issues of the day.

Photo of the Sanctuary at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver on Oak Street in Vancouver

UCV Enviro Team Joins the West Coast Climate Action Network

Enviro Page  →  Enviro Team joins …

Poster for Public Launch of the West Coast Climate Action Network

Join us at the Public Launch of the West Coast Climate Action Network Tuesday October 5th, at 7pm

Everyone Welcome

Register on eventbrite
Our Launch will be Live-streamed on YouTube
You can also watch our launch on Facebook
For more info click here

text image: A request. We would really value your help in promoting our launch. You can help us by doing the following

You can cut and paste this text

Guest Speakers, Musicians and Poets

Many thanks,

We need each other.

Come join us at our launch on Tuesday!

Guy Dauncey, Co-Chair

West Coast Climate Action Network

I am honoured to live on the traditional territory of the Stz’uminus and Snuneymuxw First Nations

Ladysmith, BC


Logo for West Coast Climate Action Network

Dialogue in Bee Time — May 20th is World Bee Day

Photo: Bumble bee queen (Bombus sylvarum) on blueweed (Echium vulgare)
Photo Credit: Ivar Leidus CC by SA 4.0

Dialogue in Bee Time

We revisit a talk given by Dr. Mark Winston on his book tentatively titled, Dialogue in Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive

Dialogue in Bee Time, photo of Mark Winston

Earth Day
April 22, 2012

Dr. Mark Winston
Guest Speaker

Dr. Winston is recognized as the world’s leading expert on bees and pollination.

single quote

Bees are in trouble today. And bees have something to teach us. It’s about the resilience of nature, human hubris, and the limits to our human ability to manage climate change

According to Dr. Winston, there are over 20,000 species of wild bees, many hundred species of wild bees in Canada, and 57 species of wild bees in Vancouver. Wild bees nest in the ground, in twigs and in abandoned mouse dens. Honey bees (domesticated bees) were introduced to British Columbia in about 1857.

Dr. Winston says, honey bees are telling us we can only push things so far. Wild bees are telling us that diversity is good. Providing space for that diversity is to our human advantage. Bees are not the same as people. But like us bees are social and live in communities that interact with the nature around us. …

Asian Heritage Month Resource List

A list of resources for Asian Heritage Month suggested by the UCV BIPOC Caucus

UCV Friday Night Films during Asian Heritage Month

Friday Night Films 7-8pm, May 2021

Training workshop

hollaback! Bystander Intervention (free, one hour)

Books and Writers

Recommended by Meena:

Recommended by Cynthia:

  • The Diary of Dukesang Wong: A voice from Gold Mountain, the only known first person account by a Chinese worker on the construction of the CPR. Edited by David McIlwraith, diary translated by granddaughter Wanda Joy Hoe. 2020
  • Bird Tracks in the Air, 2021.By Profs Jan Walls and Yvonne Walls, renowned scholars of Chinese language and literature. The book is composed of the translated poems of revered poet and political reformer Wang Anshi, whose was committed to compassion and social justice ( a comparative study with Unitarian 7 principles). Virtual book launch with both authors

Recommended by Megumi:

Recommended by Glenn:

  • A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry. This is my favourite novel about India and one of my favourite novels by living writers
  • The God of Small Things and My Seditious Heart, Arundhati Roy. The second book is Roy’s recently published collection of nonfiction
  • Imaginary Homelands, Salman Rushdie. Though it is not exclusively about South Asia, I really enjoyed this collection of essays and journals
  • Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje. This is a memoir about O’s family’s life in Sri Lanka. I found it to contain his most charming writing


  • Keeping Love Close, The New York Times — Beautiful article and photographs of Asian love in a time of hate. Asian and Asian-American photographers show what love looks like

Video suggestions


Asian Canadian community organizations fighting for social justice and equality

Cultural and Historical societies

Arts and Culture resources

Asian Heritage Month: image of Vietnamese blue dragon

Vietnamese Blue Dragon by Goran tek-en
CC By SA 4.0

Demand the BC government implement a new approach to forest management

Above: Caycuse watershed, before and after clearcut by the Teal-Jones Group

Credits: All photos in this story by TJ Watt

In May, 2019, Andrea Inness from the Ancient Forest Alliance spoke at First Sunday Forums, hosted by the Enviro Team. Andrea talked about the critical need for legislation to protect BC’s remaining old-growth forests.

The Enviro Team followed up with a letter writing campaign to save our ancient trees, urging the BC Forests Minister to work with First Nations to implement a science-based Old-Growth Protection Act.

March 2021, we bring an update from the frontlines of BC’s old‑growth forests.

Photo: Caycuse watershed before and after clearcut

Above: Before and after the clearcut in the Caycuse watershed

Three environmental NGOs give the Province’s “new” approach to old‑growth management a failing grade.

In the mean time, activists protecting ancient cedars at Fairy Creek, near Port Renfrew, prepare for civil disobedience.

What You Can Do to Help

Hold the BC government to its promise to implement the recommendations set out in A New Future for Ancient Forests

Call Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy. Demand they halt logging in at-risk ancient forests across the Province

250-387-1715      BC Premier John Horgan

250-387-6240      BC Forests Minister Katrine Conroy

1-800-663-7867    Toll-free Government of British Columbia


Above: Massive tree stump after a clearcut in the Caycuse watershed

Eulogy for Ancient Trees

single quote

It was truly an incredible and unique grove. I was stunned by the sheer number of monumental red cedars, one after another, on this gentle mountain slope — TJ Watt

In April 2020, photographer TJ Watt documented an ancient grove in the Caycuse watershed. He returned later that year to photograph the same area after it was clearcut.

The Caycuse watershed — located southwest of Cowichan Lake in the traditional territory of the Ditidaht First Nation — hosts some of the grandest forests on southern Vancouver Island.

“It was truly an incredible and unique grove. I was stunned by the sheer number of monumental red cedars, one after another, on this gentle mountain slope,” Watt said.

“Giant cedars like these have immense ecological value, particularly as wildlife habitat, and important tourism and First Nations cultural value,” he said.

“Yet the BC government continues to allow irreplaceable, centuries-old trees to be high-graded for short-term gain.”


Above: Roads are being built into the old growth forest adjacent to the clearcut near Haddon Creek in the Caycuse watershed

Dateline: July 17, 2019

The BC Government appoints a panel of two independent foresters, Garry Merkel and Al Gorley, to conduct an Old Growth Strategic Review on the ecological, economic and cultural importance of old-growth trees and forests.

Dateline: April 2020

After extensive public engagement, Merkel and Gorley submit their report to the Province.

The report titled A New Future for Ancient Forests makes 14 recommendations to be phased in over three years.

Dateline: Hazelton BC, September 11, 2020

The BC government announces a “new approach” to ancient forests based on recommendations from the old-growth review panel.

Initial actions include:

  • engaging the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations, and
  • deferring old forest harvesting in nine areas throughout the province totaling 352,739 hectares as a first step

Dateline: Victoria BC, on unceded Lekwungen territories, March 11, 2020

Three environmental NGOs issue a Report Card on the progress of the new forest strategy. The BC government gets a failing grade.

According to the Report Card: To date, the government has only deferred about 3,800 hectares from harvesting — less than 1% of the most at-risk old-growth.

Dateline: March 21, 2021, Update on Fairy Creek blockade near Port Renfrew BC

Teal-Jones Group is seeking a court injunction to end the seven-month blockade by activists in the Fairy Creek watershed on traditional Pacheedaht territory. Fairy Creek is one of the last intact old-growth valleys on southern Vancouver Island. According to the Ancient Forest Alliance, massive ancient yellow cedars trees appear to be within a proposed cutblock. A two-day injunction hearing is scheduled to start March 25.

Activists at the Fairy Creek blockade are preparing for civil disobedience.

Above: Recent old-growth logging by Teal-Jones adjacent to the Fairy Creek Valley

Sandpiper SOS

Shorebirds and Port Expansion. Don’t miss this video on the Western Sandpiper.
Learn to love river slime.

Western Sandpiper | Photo Credit: Alan D. Wilson CC BY-SA 3.0

The Vancouver Port Authority plans to build a second container ship terminal in the Fraser River estuary, right on top of a major stopover for birds migrating along the Pacific flyway from Central and South America to their breeding grounds in the western Arctic.

The loss of the mud flats in the Fraser River estuary could lead to the extinction of the Western Sandpiper and other migratory birds that depend on nutrient rich biofilm — also known as river slime — an essential food source on their journey north.

(For more info see: Slime, Shorebirds, and a Scientific Mystery by Daniel Wood)

Don’t miss this video. Learn to love river slime!