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Building Sustainability

Since 2003, Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC) has been promoting sustainable and environmentally supportive building practices through its work with both professionals and government agencies. This nonprofit organization was founded to harmonize the efforts of all those working toward sustainability within the building industry.

SBC's annual Green Building Festival is an opportunity for members of all sectors of the industry to showcase their successes and share ideas. Attendees of the 2006 Festival were able to walk through the Sustainable Condo, a full-size suite incorporating innovative and eco-savvy features that reduce energy and water costs by up to $400 each year. Through consultation with policy-makers and design charrettes with architects, developers, and building owners, SBC is implementing a sustainable vision for the entire building industry. For more information, visit sbcanada.org, greenbuildingfest.com, and sustainablecondo.com.

How to Eat Fish and Still Be an Environmentalist

After 10 years of lacto-ovo vegetarianism, I cracked I finally gave in to the dark desires that had been plaguing me for close to a decade and ate fish.

As I expanded my menu, I realized that I knew very little about sustainable eating beyond vegetarian foods. After undertaking some investigation, I now know how to eat fish with my conscience intact.

Start by finding out if the fish you buy is wild or farmed. More than a third of Canadian seafood comes from aquaculture operations that have an enormous impact on the environment around them. Farmed fish are routinely fed antibiotics that make their way into nearby waters. Living so close to shore, farmed fish are exposed to higher levels of PCBs and other industrial toxins than their wild cousins.

But wild fish aren't without their issues. Look for line-caught fish as an alternative to fish caught by bottom trawling, a practice that strips the sea bed of life and destroys coral reefs. Save yourself from making an environmental faux pas by consulting the handy guide to sustainable seafood at endangeredfishalliance.org and leave endangered swordfish, sturgeon caviar, orange roughy, and Chilean sea bass in the ocean!

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk, from the Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto, recommends eating smaller fish that have accumulated less mercury in their short lives. She suggests species such as sardines, mackerel, and herring, and advises choosing skipjack and light tuna over albacore.

Want to be a fish-eating environmentalist? It need not be a contradiction.

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