Michael Carolan

Victoria’s Bicycle Powered Compost Pickup Service

If you’re worried about the environmental footprint of the garbage you produce, Victoria may be the city for you. It’s home to what’s surely Canada’s most environmentally friendly waste disposal service. Local company Pedal to Petal picks up residential and commercial food waste by bicycle and composts it for use in gardens. Today they tell us all about their service and how it works. We also talk to  sociologist and author Dr. Michael Carolan about his new book, The Real Cost of Cheap Food.

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Pedal to Petal's Trevor Van Hermet hauls a load of kitchen scraps for composting.

Pedal to Petal
Pedal to Petal is Victoria’s Bicycle Powered Compost Pickup Company. They are a carbon-negative social enterprise that’s found a unique way of transforming kitchen waste to treasure, and livelihood. They describe themselves as “a permaculture-based collective of bicycle loving food security activists who are taking direct action to reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste and to feed the soil and the city’s hungry”.  They do this through a bike-powered kitchen scrap pick up service, building edible landscapes, and composting. Trevor Van Hemert of Pedal to Petal talks to Terra Informa about innovations in compost set-up and how to run a business that thinks outside the box.

Real Cost of Cheap Food
Michael Carolan is a sociologist who’s got some interesting things to say about how our food is made. Food certainly looks cheap at the supermarket, and the average north American pays far less for food relative to incomes than people did only a generation ago. But Michael Carolan argues that this cheapness is a product of bad agriculture policies that are pushing the costs onto the environment, onto other countries, and onto future generations. Michael Carolyn is based at Colorado State University, and just published a new book called The Real Cost of Cheap Food. He joins us today to talk about his work.

News Headlines
On Saturday, hundreds of people marched through Prince Rupert, BC to voice their opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. The rally was so large that it filled the streets, with people spilling over onto the sidewalks. Enbridge wants to build the pipeline to carry crude oil from refineries near Edmonton to the BC coast where it would be loaded into super tankers. Protesters were concerned with the risk of oils spills, either from the pipeline itself or the super tankers. The rally comes in the lead up to federal review panel hearings which will be getting underway in Prince Rupert next week. Protests also took place last Thursday to greet the review panel as it visited Fort St. James, 500 km to the east.

More on this story: Vancouver Sun, CBC News, CTV News, Opinion 250 News

This past Friday, Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent and Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Water Diana McQueen announced a new monitoring program for Alberta’s oil sands. Proclaimed as scientifically rigorous, comprehensive, and transparent, it’s designed to provide an improved understanding of the long-term cumulative effects of oil sands development. Data collected under the new program will be made publicly available. Its work will also be scientifically peer reviewed every five years.  However, it has already drawn criticism. At least for the time being, the program will be reporting to government rather than to an independent body, as had been recommended

More on this story: CBC News, Vancouver Sun (1), Vancouver Sun (2), Vancouver Observer

In Nunavut, a new study reports that melting sea ice is allowing killer whales to move further north and in greater numbers. As top predators, the killer whales can take a heavy toll on seals, narwhals and even belugas and bowhead whales. Researchers interviewed more than 100 Inuit hunters and elders from communities along Hudson Bay and Baffin Island to collect information about the species’ movements and behavior. The increased presence of killer whales could result in significant changes to the structure of the ecosystem. It has also raised concerns among Inuit who fear they will now have to compete with the whales for limited food.

More on this story: Nunatsiaq Online, Toronto Star, CTV News