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CPL is "Greening" your Magazining!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Every now and then, despite working at a library, I’ll yield to temptation and purchase some magazines. I’ll read only parts of them, before they inevitably languish in a dusty stack – not being used, read or appreciated. I could recycle or donate them, but I refrain, for fear that when I really need to re-read or refer to a certain article, it won’t be available.

The truth is that most of the content in magazines, I will never use. Some articles are of no interest to me whatsoever, and a huge portion of magazines consists of advertisements. Even if I were searching for an article that I knew I had, I probably wouldn’t remember which magazine contained it.

A more efficient, inexpensive and environmental alternative to buying magazines is to use our e-library. A Calgary Public Library card is your subscription to hundreds of different magazines! Here’s how to find popular ones:

From our website, select e-library and then “Research Databases from EBSCO” (have your library card handy!).

At the top of the EBSCO search screen, there is a blue “Publications” tab. Use its drop-down menu to select MasterFILE Premier. Here, you’ll find an alphabetized list of the magazines to which you have access, and a bibliographic record for each, indicating how many past volumes are available.

Some stops of note:

  • Consumer Reports
  • Vanity Fair
  • Maclean’s
  • Vegetarian Times
  • Art in America
  • Smithsonian

Take the time to explore this database - its scope is enormous!

Then, start sorting your old magazines! Keep the ones you absolutely love, and donate the rest to a children’s school, an artist, or your local thrift store.

Still not convinced about getting rid of your old magazines? Does it help if I tell you that the Central library keeps its magazines and has them bound into books? Don’t fret – they’re always here if you need them!

Green Before it was Cool

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

At 93 and 86, my grandparents are the oldest environmentalists I know. But if you ask them why they do what they do, you’ll find that practicality is their greatest motivator.

Grammie grows fresh produce, because she loves to bake with rhubarb. It’s cheaper than purchasing from the grocery store, and she enjoys working in the garden.

Grampie walks short distances, rather than driving. He isn’t concerned about emissions; he walks because he enjoys the exercise, and chatting with his neighbours.

Most months of the year, laundry is hung out to dry. Sure, it saves energy, but Grammie loves the smell of clean sheets, after they’ve dried in the breeze.

Everything is saved. Plastic containers are always reused (to the chagrin of my mother, who reaches for what she thinks is margarine, and gets potato salad instead!) and the wax paper from cereal boxes is set aside so that it can be used when Grammie bakes.

Of course my grandparents appreciate the beauty of the natural world. However, their environmentalism springs principally from their frugality. They’ve lived through depression and hardship, changes and uncertainty. They are green because it both makes sense and saves cents.

Why not browse our catalogue for “eco” and check out the variety of publications that are coming out almost daily - everything from green homes to green weddings!

Read our Eco-Action blog for book reviews, and information about environmental community events.

And of course: use your library! Every year we save water, paper and energy by ensuring that materials are used by many, rather than one.

Going green is practical. Going green is a statement about morality. Going green is planning for the future. Going green is trendy. Going green saves money. Going green allows you to meet good looking hippie types!

Visit the library (the original recycler!) and find your own reason to go green…although my grandparents already beat you to it!


So Fresh and so Clean!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I have vivid memories of summers spent on the absolutely unique treasure known as Prince Edward Island. One memory stands out in particular: I was taken to an organic farm, where I was able to tour fields of potatoes and other vegetables, and see how a single horse could contribute so much to a small farming operation. My host was an older gentleman who, when we were finished the tour, reached down to the ground, pulled out a single carrot, and after wiping the dirt on the front of his pant leg, handed it to me. I took the small, crooked carrot and found that it was delicious! It was one of the best pieces of produce I’ve ever had.

Some time ago, I completed (OK, “tried to complete”) a master cleanse which called for lemons, and so I purchased organic Meyer lemons from Community Natural Foods. Again, I was stunned at how much better organic tastes than non-organic. These lemons were so sweet that you could almost eat them as candy. Unbelievable!

I love the taste of organic food, and I don’t mind paying extra to ensure that the food I eat tastes great and is free of pesticides and preservatives. However, organic food is about much more than taste and price.

One film that highlights some of the issues related to organic food is called Fresh. Fresh illustrates how farmers who operate outside of the industrial complex are able to produce healthy, robust animals, without the use of antibiotics, hormones, and the like. It shows how shared gardens can be a nexus for community revival and food security, while at the same time, offering a sensible response to energy shortage. It reveals that traditional, responsible methods of small scale animal husbandry can actually be more productive than the industrial model of factory-farms.

What resounded in me most strongly after watching this film is the following line: “There is no such thing as cheap food”. Some farmer, wage laborer, animal, river, or internal organ will surely “pay” for the low prices we currently enjoy.

Join us on September 26th, in the John Dutton theatre, to watch Fresh. This is an award winning, inspiring, and approachable film. You’ll leave wanting to be a gardener, a hog farmer, an activist, or at the very least: someone bound for the farmer’s market.

For more information:


The Life You Can Save, by Peter Singer

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Renowned philosopher, Peter Singer, is at it again. The Life You Can Save is a short but powerful book about world poverty, and the ways in which citizens of rich nations can combat its scourge.

If you were wearing $100 dollar shoes, and saw a child drowning in a nearby lake, surely you would ruin your shoes, in order to swoop in and save the child. Yet, why is it that you won’t donate $100 to an international charity, when that donation could help hundreds of needy individuals? Frankly, we do not feel the same compulsion to help those who are far away, as we do towards those who are close. It is precisely this way of thinking that Singer seeks to enlighten readers about, and ultimately, remedy.

Singer is an ethicist. He is concerned with what is right, what is good, what we are required to do for others, what we ought to do for others, and what duties apply to us.

If you’re interested in poverty, justice, ethics, and the timely and interesting nexus created by all three, check out The Life You Can Save today!

Vegetarian Times

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

In October of this year, I will celebrate my tenth year as a vegetarian. Though it’s hard to believe that nearly a decade has passed since I stopped eating meat, I can still remember my family’s reaction: the warnings about osteoporosis and protein deficiency (not to be taken lightly, of course!), the jokes about hippies and tree huggers. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “…so, no meat at all? Not even fish?”

Life without meat can be challenging. Restaurants typically cater to carnivores, and for holidays and special occasions, meat has pride of place on the dinner table. I find that the biggest challenge is to stave off boredom by reinventing new dishes using familiar ingredients. Luckily, I’ve discovered the wealth of information that is available in Vegetarian Times magazine.

What I enjoy most about this magazine is that the recipes are so accessible. All of the ingredients are ones that you might actually have on hand, on any given night. Nothing exotic or difficult to pronounce! In each edition, there are a number of recipes that require only 5 ingredients, and recipes that are “kid friendly”, too.

The best thing about Vegetarian Times? It’s available for free on our e-library, all the way back to 1996! If you’ve got a library card, you’re already a subscriber!

  1. From our homepage, select e-library.
  2. Under “Easy Find”, select Research databases from EBSCO. Be ready to enter your library card number and PIN.
  3. Select the “Publications” tab at the top of the page. When a drop-down menu appears, select MasterFILE Premiere.
  4. Type “Vegetarian Times” in the search bar and you’re off to the races! Search within the magazine for your own terms, or simply browse.

Enjoy, and Bon Appétit!

Where will you be on August 23?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Ah, biking…

There is nothing else quite like the thigh burning drudgery of an uphill climb, followed by the mellow coast of a gentle decline. Humanity has yet to invent a vehicle that can rival the elegance, fuel efficiency and simplicity of the humble bicycle.

Bike for pleasure, for transportation, or to explore your neighbourhood from a different vantage point. Bike because it’s good for the planet and your waistline. Bike because the wind through your hair is one of life’s simple pleasures, and because ogling spandex-clad race enthusiasts is fun, too!

If you’re free on August 23, and love to cycle, you must check out this event:

Ride the Road Tour and Bike Festival

I'll be there, wind in my hair!

Also, look for the Calgary Public Library tent. We'll be there to tell you about our green initiatives, and answer any questions you may have!

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