In this issue...Living the Perfect Lifestyle...Volunteer Spotlight...News Ways to Support EL...News from Our Partners...Upcoming Events...Volunteer Opportunities
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Living the Perfect Lifestyle

"Here comes the green police." 

This is a sentiment I've heard a number of times since coming to Environment Lethbridge. It is, of course, meant as a joke, but it's also meant as a deflection, as a means of hiding some sort of unspoken environmentally bad behaviour. Behaviour, it is to be assumed, that I will pounce on so that I can scold and shame.

 I wish, as I assume do others who want to do good things for the planet, that I could claim to be the perfect example of a sustainable lifestyle. The truth is that I'm good at some things and bad at others. I love bubble baths more than almost anything, which counts against me in the water conservation column. Conversely, I almost never water my lawn (it will grow back). 

Regardless of my personal list of personal environmental positives and negatives, I believe the most important thing is to celebrate what we are doing well and to try to improve where we can. And there are people and businesses in Lethbridge who are doing things that are definitely worth celebrating.

As one example, on Monday, I attended an open house for a net-zero house that is being built in the new Garry Station neighbourhood on the West Side. For those who aren't familiar with the lingo, a net-zero building is one that produces as much energy as it consumes. In this case, that will be achieved by extra-thick, well insulated walls and attic, energy efficient appliances and lighting, and solar power.

The open house was being promoted and hosted by the home's owners, who wanted to share what they had accomplished to inform and inspire others. Large and small, I know that other similar positive stories are out there, waiting to be celebrated. Rather than policing everyone's green behaviours, I would much rather hear and share stories like this one, about individuals or businesses taking positive actions that work for them. So, if you have a positive story to share, please let us know, we would be happy to spread some good news!

Finally, in the interest of celebrating people who are doing great things, I would like to thank Mary Shillington, Daniel Fieguth, and Shannon Frank for their service on the Environment Lethbridge Executive Committee. I would also like to welcome Becky Little, Bryce Allred and Larin Guenther who have joined the Executive Committee recently. Thank you to all of you! 


Volunteer Spotlight: Mel Lefebvre

Mel began volunteering with Environment Lethbridge as our Volunteer Photographer in January of this year. We asked her to share her thoughts about sustainability, superheros and time travel. 

How long have you lived in Lethbridge? 

I have lived in Lethbridge for almost two years. We moved here from Montreal for work.

Why did you choose to volunteer with Environment Lethbridge? 

I have a background in environmental advocacy, as well as a Bsc in environmental science from McGill University. I've always maintained a passion for the environment, and I remember being fascinated with birds and dinosaurs as a child. I have worked with the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace and a handful of smaller community groups in Montreal, so getting involved with an environmental group in my new town was simply inevitable. I also have a journalism degree, and a great little camera that wasn't being put to good use, so when I saw the callout for a photographer, I knew that was my chance to contribute to a great organization. 

How would like to see Lethbridge be more sustainable? 

The recycling situation in Lethbridge is quite upsetting for an easterner like me. In Montreal, we have weekly curbside recycling and compost pickup. Moving to Lethbridge has been like a timewarp back to the 80s where so much energy is wasted debating the recycling issue. In the meantime, so much recyclable material is filling up landfill space - something our very own Mayor has said was unsustainable. The issue has been voted on three times, and shut down three times by city council. I just don't get it, especially since smaller communities around Lethbridge have seen the logic and economic and global benefits of curbside recycling programs. Curbside recycling makes a simple conservation measure accessible for everyone, since not everyone has the means to travel to the three recycling centres the city offers (which has been scaled back from seven recycling centres!), and not everyone can afford to pay for private recycling pickup, though that's a great option if you have the means. Recycling shouldn't only be for people who can afford it. I find this issue very frustrating, and embarrassing! 

What's your favourite book? 

I can't possibly pick one book. So here are a few of my favourites: Memoirs of a Geisha (Richard Golden), Year of Wonders (Geraldine Brooks), The Red Hourglass (Gordon Grice), Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver), and so many others. One of my favourite genres is historical fiction with a twist, like political and biblical stories told from the female perspective (like the Red Tent and Zipporah, Wife of Moses). 

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have? 

In the movie/book, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, at one point, the characters get a hold of this laser-gun-thing that, if you zap someone, they immediately understand the perspective of the person firing the gun. I think that would be a handy super power. Also, flying, because that would just be so cool.

If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change? 

Only one thing?!?!?! Oh my gosh. My altruistic answer, that has noting to do with spending my time reading instead of looking at silly pictures of cats and sloths on the Internet, would be to change the patriarchal system that reinforced the perception that women were subordinate to men.  I'm not sure when that began, I'd broadly guess it was many thousands of years ago, but it would be great to live in a world where it was just accepted, without ever having to pause for thought, that, yes, these amazing humans who can grow life inside of their bodies ARE equal to men! (By equal, that doesn't mean 'the same,' btw, if we get in to that debate). The world would be a much different place. Lethbridge would probably have curbside recycling, or, heck, maybe not even the need for it because life might be more sustainable in general! Who knows. It's a nice idea. 

What would you do if you won the lottery? 

I'd probably buy a large tract of land and build a communal-style housing system so that I could live with friends and family again. In the end, I'd save so much money on plane tickets!

Where is your favourite place in Lethbridge? 

I do love the coffee shops Lethbridge has to offer, but what takes my breath away is any point in town where I can see the mountains. When I go to the Crossing branch library and turn into the parking lot, the Rockies jump out at you and it's just mesmerizing. The coulees are also pretty cool!

Describe your perfect day. 

Right now, my perfect day would be something simple, and it would begin with lots of sleep and waking up feeling well-rested (props to my toddler who has finally been sleeping through the night!). I would then grab a cup of coffee and drink it while going for a nice, long, sunny walk. What would make the day perfect would be no time constraints, so, I can wander and meander to my heart's content. Somewhere in the day it would be fun to find some random live music, possibly enjoyed with a picnic, then a quick kayak trip followed by a tasty meal, then wrap it all up with a book in bed. 

New Ways to Support EL

We are pleased to announce that businesses and individuals can now become members of Environment Lethbridge. Previously, memberships were only available to community partner organizations. The new membership categories, which will cost $100 for businesses and $25 for individuals will allow us to work closely with the entire community. For more information about the different membership categories and for membership forms, please visit our webpage

News from our Partners

Do you love your community? Do you like to win prizes? The City of Lethbridge is hosting a Clean Community Challenge. Form a team and take action to make Lethbridge a cleaner, more beautiful place to live! For more information and to register your team, click here.

Upcoming Events

March 8 - Stories of Land and Life: environment and memory from northern Alberta farmers. Dr. Jodie Asselin, 3 pm University of Lethbridge. Click here for more information.

March 9 - Southern Alberta Bumble Bees: Why So Many Species? Lethbridge Naturalists Society. 7pm at the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. Click here for more information.

March 10 - Holding the Reins. 9:00-2:30, Fort Macleod Community Hall. Hosted by Oldman Watershed Council, this day long workshop will focus on innovative land use ideas and promoting stewardship in the Oldman Basin. Click here for more information or to register. 

March 16. Southern Alberta Group for the Environment monthly meeting. 7 pm at the Lethbridge Public Library. Click here for more information.

March 16-19 - Home and Garden Show. Exhibition Park. Visit the largest home and garden show in Southern Alberta. $7 per person. Click here for more information.

March 18 - Spring Nature Fest. 1:00-5:00 pm. Helen Schuler Nature Centre. Celebrate the change of seasons with a family fun festival. Click here for more information. 

March 22 - World Water Day Lunch and Learn. 12 noon at the Environment Lethbridge/OWC Office. Join us for an informative film to celebrate World Water Day. More information to come on our website.

March 29. Annual General Meeting. Lethbridge Senior Citizen's Organization. 1:15 pm. Click here for more information. 

April 5 - Lethbridge Green Drinks. 4:00 pm Owl Acoustic Lounge 411-3 Ave S. Informal gathering to discuss environmental issues, projects and solutions. First Tuesday of each month.

Volunteer Opportunities

Environment Lethbridge is looking for Sustainability Mentors for a new project starting in April. As a mentor, you will be responsible for finding and providing information on sustainability topics and will support others to take sustainable actions. If you have expertise that you'd like to share, please email 
March 2016

Also in this issue:

Volunteer Spotlight

New Ways to Support EL

News from our Partners

Upcoming Events

Volunteer Opportunities

Sustainability Tips
Recycling saves energy! Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for 2 hours.

Did you know?
Environment Lethbridge will be featured in the March/April issue of Lethbridge Living. Pick up a free copy around town starting next week.

Do you have news, events or opportunities that you would like to share through our newsletter? Email your content to before the 25th of each month.

Support Environment Lethbridge

By becoming a Community Partner, you will become part of a network of businesses, organizations and institutions working to enhance sustainability in Lethbridge. Please consider joining today to help create a green Lethbridge.
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