Tag Archives: environment

Meditations from the Blockades – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 2/9

Meditations from the Blockades – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 2/9
Meditations from the Blockades – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 2/9

Out on a trail, Uncle Weed shares a few lessons learned bearing witness to the blockade lines including thoughts about non-violence and pacifism, importance of respecting others, and the common desire for trees which the ecologists and workers unwittingly share.

Plus discourse on ways to replace economic gains from industrial logging with value-added finished products and alternative sources of pulp and fiber including hemp. 

Downcast podload: Meditations from the Blockades – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 2/9 – 17:27

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Musings from Clayoquot Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 1/9

Musings from Clayoquot Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 1/9
Musings from Clayoquot Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 1/9

Arriving at a campground between the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet, Uncle Weed sets out to explore the west coast’s unique environment and offer discourse on natural resource-based and tourism-based economies starting with recollections from the noted logging protests in the early 1990s with comments about blockade logistics from early morning pick-up trucks rides to posting bail to jangling guitars. 

Downcast podload: Musings from Clayoquot Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 1/9 – 17:04

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Observations about Ecology and Economy – Rainforest Dispatches, Introduction

Observations about Ecology and Economy – Rainforest Dispatches, Introduction
Observations about Ecology and Economy – Rainforest Dispatches, Introduction

Introducing a series of explorations and soliloquies from the Clayoquot Sound area on the west coast of Vancouver Island during a summertime water outage in the midst of a temperate rainforest. While figuring out what happened, Uncle Weed recollects the tense logging blockades in early 1990s and compares current conditions through lens of deep ecology and sustainable development practices.

Throughout this 9 part series, he wanders the region and examines the tension between fishing, logging and tourism industries then adds ideas on promoting the economy while protecting the environment along with spiels on clearcuts, salmon, camping espresso, user fees and flak jackets. 

Downcast podload: Observations and Soliloquies about Ecology and Economy – Rainforest Dispatches, an introduction – 6:55

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“Rolling to the End of the Line” Transit mixed-media essay on the Buzzer

As part of Translink (the greater Vancouver area transit authority)’s “I Love Transit” week, i was invited by Jhenifer Pabliano to contribute an article about why i love transit. I assembled a mixed-media package to tell my story a few different ways – words, photos, poems, twitters and a podcast (some video coming soon for extra fun).

Here it is for your convenience, here’s: I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson


For I Love Transit Week, I’m happy to share a contribution from Dave Olson, who is a prolific and talented local writer, podcaster, poet, Canucks superfan, and much more. You can find all of his work at uncleweed.net — and here’s some direct links to his blog, notebook, Twitter, and three podcasts: Postcard from Gravelly Beach, Choogle On, and Canucks Outsider.

So without further ado, here is “Rolling to the End of the Line,” an essay about transit by Dave Thorvald Olson.


Dave's 4th grade science fair project on trolley buses. Photo from Dave's <a href=

Dave’s 4th Grade Sciene Fair Exhibit

Brother Bob and I would mimic the airhorns on the way to elementary school – same as we’d do for truckers and fire trucks, pulling the string down, hoping the bus driver would notice and honk. Seemed like a blast to me, tooling along in those big buses, filled with interesting people coming and going. I’d trace routes around Vancouver maps, then memorized provinces, states and countries – imagining myself at the wheel of some kind of bus. My 4th grade science fair exhibit extolled the wonders of Trolley Transit, complete with the proposed ALRT route traced off in felt pen on a GVRD map plus a stack of Buzzers to give away.

Later, transit became my escape. In the early 80s Vancouver was growing up – so much newness everywhere it seemed, except in my neighbourhood. So buddy Brad and I would skip out errr … wait until after … school and hop the 312 or 316. We’d roll down Kingsway, over an hour all told, to tromp down Granville to Odyssey Imports for records or Black Market for t-shirts. Then maybe skateboard over to that crazy new domed stadium place and hang out on the steps, trying to imagine would Vancouver would look like in 20 years. Then warm up in the law courts or the Vancouver Art Gallery before hopping a bus back home to the ‘burbs.


My forays stretched later into night and ventured further afield – wherever there was an all-ages punk show or a sweet girl with busy parents, I’d find a bus route – navigating to shows at the York Theater on Commercial Drive or tracking down some old church or community hall on some route I’d never heard of charted out in a battered paper schedule. I remember missing the last bus to Surrey from downtown and hoofing all the way down Hastings to the PNE to catch another – a long walk in the cold Chuck Taylors before ending up at Whalley Exchange in the wee hours.

Dave's beloved VW bus. Photo from Dave's <a href=

Dave’s beloved VW Microbus

In 1986, Vancouver changed. A lot. The SkyTrain (or Airbus as I preferred) was running for a few years to New West. We’d hop a #319 and whisk downtown on the ALRT in 22 scant minutes for the barrage of international events in shiny teal buildings. Suddenly Vancouver was modern and everyone came to watch. I’d seen most all of Vancouver from Ambleside to Crescent Beach by then, so I got my own bus – a VW camper bus – and set off travelling.


Twenty-two countries later and countless bus, trains, trolley and trams rides later, I returned and moved high up Lynn Valley – “Just ride the 210 ‘til the driver turns off the engine,” are the instructions to visiting friends. Living on the Baden-Powell trail also means I ride transit – a lot. Currently to Kitsilano – that’s two bridges of patience. But now, I am more prepared – I strap on oversized headphones, grab iPhone for live Twitter updates, snacks in pocket, and travel mug with tasty bevvie. Importantly, a Moleskine notebook, inky pens and an audio recorder in my lunch sack allow me use transit as a creative space.

The Crazy Canucks podcast crew, on the back of a bus! (Dave's at far right). Photo from <a href=

The Crazy Canucks podcast crew, on the back of a bus! (Dave

Creation works best aboard the Seabus – the views stunning, you always get a seat, and if you are waiting, its your fault as the Seabus boasts punctuality the Germans would envy – indeed, “Otto and the Beav” rarely stumble whither windstorms or traffic jams (digression: i was hoping for “Sockeye” rather than “Breeze” for the third vessel’s name).

On my commute and weekend excursions, I mix up the routes for exploration and documenting the curious. I look to old-timers who rode routes toting heavy film cameras just to document the ordinary goings-on on 1930s Vancouver for inspiration. What I see goes into notebooks, snapshots, video clips and audio podcasts – sometime in the back seat recording a Canucks Outsider podcast, riding the SkyTrain end to end for a Choogle on podcast or documenting the SeaBus on Car-free day. Maybe writing freeverse and Twitter updates describing the scenes of life from the transit journey then co-mingling the spectacular and mundane of metropolitan Vangroovy into literary dim sum.

I love you, you’re perfect, now change

change my route to think about the neighbourhoods
March 30, 2007 – Dave Olsoni change my route
from time to time
to think about
the neighbourhoods

switched Cambie 15
for Main Number 3
or Fraser if i don’t mind
cutting across Kingsway

skirted schoolgirls Xavier-bound
headphones, sweaters
in rows

downtown exchanges
spake in broken halts
sometime gleaming
often rain
occasionally sleet, hail or ice

Here are two more transit poems from Dave: The Ferry Changes Tack, and Waiting Only Twice a Day

Aboard these cooperative transport pods are keys to a civil society – you mingle with strangers, you guess their stories, you accidentally eavesdrop on conversations, or hope for the character who amuses you to come on board. Tolerance and translucency abound onboard. For me, I roll with a load of billeted foreign exchange student chattering away in Portuguese, Japanese or practicing English. You begin to notice the same people and sometimes recognize your bus buddies at a store or a bar as “ahhh it’s that guy from the 228″. At least I do.

I tell myself I am helping reduce greenhouse gases and getting one more car of the road, but it ain’t always easy keeping it that way. Like any relationship, me and transit have rifts and differences – ask me about my issues another time. Despite my policy conundrums, I ride because efficient transportation is key to a pleasing living experience for more of us. So the escape, exploration, creative space, collective experience and chance encounters still get me running down the block – with a warm beverage, giant headphones and notebook – to hop aboard, flash my two-zone pass, and say “hello” to the driver while heading for the good seat in the back.

Translink’s Name the New SeaBus Contest

You know i love the SeaBus (the crown jewel of the Translink system) and plan to be invited for the inaugural voyage … and with the dozen of so suggestions i submitted already, you don’t have a chance of winning but … i thought I’d fill you in on Translink’s Name the New SeaBus contest anyhow.

TransLink’s New SeaBus, arriving in 2009, needs a name!

Send in your entry for a chance to win 3 Three Zone Transit Passes and a ride on the inaugural sailing of the new SeaBus.

Please provide your suggestion and some basic contact information below to enter the Name the Seabus Contest.

Stay tuned for possible podcast coverage of me riding the high seas of Burrard Inlet on the new Sockeye, Coho, or Marmot, or Spirit Bear, or Minnow, or Luna, or Manatee, or Beluga … Incidentally, the two current vessels are the Burrard Otter and Burrard Beaver.

And while incredible reliable and not inundated by advertising, sometime there are mishaps on the SeaBus.

Note: So much more Seabus stuff in this archive including report on being a passenger aboard the first crossing of the newly named vessel (Pacific Breeze – ugh)

For the record: happyfrog and 3rd Whale merger press release

Green Web and Mobile Companies Merge to Help Conscious Consumers “Be Green on the Go”
Cross-posted from PRWeb

What happens when a happy frog and a pod of whales get together to change the world? Vancouver, Canada-based, green web companies 3rdWhale.com and happyfrog.ca announced an equity merger with plans to grow globally with the goal of helping eco-minded consumers make informed choices in all aspects of their lifestyle – from organic food to eco-travel.

Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) November 12, 2008 — Vancouver Canada-based, green web companies 3rd Whale and happyfrog.ca announced an equity merger and plans to grow globally under the 3rd Whale name.

The merger combines 3rd Whale’s location-based mobile phone application with happyfrog.ca’s rich “web 2.0” platform providing green consumers with cross-platform tools to find values-aligned businesses. By using the company’s next generation mobile and web tools, participants can easily share their eco-smarts by adding business reviews, blog posts, and mentoring programs to help others reduce their eco-footprint.

3rd Whale is best known for the “Greenest Person in the World” contest which generated media exposure from Venezuela to Germany. 3rd Whale is the brainchild of Boyd Cohen, who holds a Ph. D in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and is an Assistant Professor at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University. The company recently opened an office in Sunnyvale, California and is actively adding members to the executive team and meeting with venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.

Dr. Cohen, CEO, points out, “By combining happyfrog’s expertise in web delivery of green business listings, and related community engagement, with the growing global brand of 3rdwhale.com and our mobile application, we are poised to initiate truly global change.”

In just over a year, happyfrog.ca grew into the definitive directory for finding environmental and wellness focused businesses and organizations in B.C. Happyfrog’s platform also gave a voice to bloggers and the public to share their opinions about favorite businesses from yoga to sushi with the Myhappyfrog social networking platform.

Happyfrog’s “Frog squad” of bloggers and podcasters were visible at eco-trade shows and conferences, including EPIC Sustainable Living Expo at Canada Place, resulting in tremendous exposure for the businesses and organizations showing real environmental leadership.

Founded by independent media veteran Ron Williams, happyfrog was built and launched by Webby-nominated consulting firm, Social Signal (known for Change Everything, BCHydro Green Gifts).

Williams, now President of 3rd Whale, expressed his excitement with the merger saying, “When I first dreamed of creating happyfrog.ca, I knew partnering with values and technology-aligned companies would be the key to scaling to a larger base. Upon meeting the 3rd Whale team, I knew we’d found a great fit to bring our local prototype to a worldwide audience.”

3rd Whale’s mobile application (called Luna) is in public beta for iPhone and on track for general release on Nov. 14th followed by versions for the Google Android and RIM Blackberry platforms. The happyfrog.ca site will be re-imagined and re-branded as 3rdwhale.com and tens of thousands of new entries will be added in conjunction with subsequent rolling launches in new markets worldwide.


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Fresh batch of happyfrog “Pond casts” from the Health Show

You know i dig making my wee little audio documentary interviews and … at the recent Vancouver Health Show at Canada Place, i interviewed four entrepreneurial women for podcasts posted at happyfrog.ca’s Frog blog. Thought i’d share ’em here for posterity:

Know your Local Water
Vancouver has exceptional drinking water but there is many reasons for concern – chlorination, excessive water laws, groundwater protection and finding a filter made for local water. Mary of yourwatermatters.com also invites you to speak your mind by contacting the Ground Water Advisory Board.

Grab a Stylish and Durable Bag
Bringing your own bag is easier, more stylish with Moukisac.com. Marie tells about her durable 6 in 1 bag system which starts as a fanny pack and turns into a shopping bag with a variety of small sacks for bulks, produce and even sprouting.

Dried Fruit for Washing Clothes

Soap Nuts are a fruit for washing clothes – the waste water is non-polluting, the soap packets are compostable and the smell is like lemongrass. The fruits are grown, dried and prepared in India and fairly traded to green consumers in Vancouver. Learn more about Sapindus (aka soap nuts) at Wikipedia

Healthy Food and Packaging to Change the World
At the Vancouver Health Show, Dave talks to Alex a mother and entrepreneur who, with her partner Colin, produce dried whole foods packaged in cellulose, glass and with no glues. They discuss carbon footprint, local sourcing and creative distribution. Visit madewithlove.ca.

Green-minded Bloggers Celebrate Earth Day with EPIC Coverage

Stylin eco at EpicKicking off Earth Day 2008, a group of eco-minded social media makers produced over 50 pieces of social media at the EPIC Sustainable Living Expo in Vancouver, BC April 18-20. The multi-media coverage including audio podcasts, video clips, blog articles, and a vast collection of photos. In all, the crowd-sourced campaign featured over 70 eco-conscious businesses and sustainability-minded organizations, plus numerous noteworthy presenters and even a “green” episode of CBC’s the Dragon’s Den.

The media dispatches were published using many “web 2.0” technologies including posting on the happyfrog.ca “Frog blog” and at the new EPIC Expo blog, as well as the writer’s personal blogs and various eco-community sites. The rich-media content was distributed via multiple channels including photos at the happyfrog Flickr pool, “Pondcasts” in iTunes, Frogwalking videos on Blip.tv and You Tube, and even micro-blogging on Twitter.

A comprehensive guide to the happyfrog.ca coverage of EPIC is included in “Get Social with EPIC 08 Coverage” or subscribe to the EPIC Expo 2008 RSS Feed.

Frog squadders at EPIC
Frog Squadders at EPIC

Brought together by BC green web community site, happyfrog.ca, the social media makers comprised a diverse assortment of personalities, interests, and demographics which resulted in a variety of topics and points of view.

Rewarded with a bamboo/organic cotton t-shirt and an “honorarium”, the “Frog Squad” showed their commitment to spreading practical ecological information to effectuate positive change with this multi-day blog marathon. The citizen journalists explored every facet of the show from sampling organic beer, vodka and coffee, to checking out presenters like Mike Holmes, Adria Vasil and Simon Jackson.

Frog blogger with Adria Vasil
Frog bloggers Miss604 and hummingbird post with Adria Vasil at EP

Working from a “blogger’s lounge” (a coffee table, a few chairs, and a borrowed Salt Spring coffee airpot) next to the happyfrog booth in the concourse, the volunteer team of experts provided almost real-time coverage by publishing continually throughout the day. The stream of content allowed interested people from out of town to experience the expo – as well as building excitement during the run of the 3-day event.

Mike Holmes at EPIC
Mike Holmes at EPIC photo by John Bollwitt

The resultant grassroots footage is dubbed “social media” since it is meant to be shared. Site visitors are encouraged to add favorite posts to their social networks and shared bookmark services, send to a friend or post a comment on the blog. Further, with Creative Commons licensing, the interviewees may re-use the content on their blogs to help magnify their message.
Stephan for Simple Shoes

  • Simon Jackson, fervent protector of the Spirit Bear, garnered a report from the floor by Raul (AKA hummingbird 604), background info by Jonathon Narvey (jnarvey), plus a podcast of his stirring presentation.
  • Super-contractor Mike Holmes’ candid presentation was live blogged by Rebecca Bollwitt (AKA Miss 604) and Raul interviewed with Adira Vasil, author of Ecoholic.
  • More audio “Pondcasts” (produced by johnbollwitt of Radio Zoom) included happyfrog Community Manager Dave O’s (daveo) conversations with the Reddot Campaign against junk mail, local news source The Tyee, a tech-activist offering solar power web hosting, Simple hemp shoes, and stylish and efficient Vespas.
  • Videos interviews with LevelGround Trading, Industrial Artifacts, Hank&Cheef, and many more vignettes from the floor with hosts Christy and Cliff.
  • Reports from the journey by two Salt Spring coffee roasters who biked their way to EPIC to tell about the company’s carbon cool initiatives and green tax on disposable cups.
  • Handmade body care crafter Naked was featured in a podcast interview and a post by eco-enthusiast Alexa Booth (xabooth).
  • Vancouver designer coverage with a Devil May Wear podcast, blog post about Dahlia Drive, and an eco t-shirt comparison including RioRain, HTNaturals and Me to We.
  • Sustainable travel tips with a podcast and blog post about Parks Canada and a post on Adventure Travel by Colleen Coplick (colleenc) who also points about the problem with plastics and the benefits of the EPIC Sigg bottles.
  • Greg Andrews (GregEh) also noticed the Sigg bottles along with Frogfile sustainable office products – ditto by Karen Fung (countablyinfinite) who also reported on the fancy solar lounge table and the design panel hosted by Shared Vision.

Natureland Organic

See all EPIC coverage at: happyfrog.ca EPIC Expo 2008 coverage.


If you are interested to learn more about how and why we took on this campaign, please contact Dave Olson, Community Manager, dave (at) happyfrog (dot) ca

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Social Media Round-up from the Vancouver Green Living Show

A squad of environmentally conscious bloggers, podcasters, and video-makers joined the other sustainability-minded visitors at the inaugural Vancouver Green Living show.

The resulting collection provides deep coverage of a variety of interesting businesses, unique products, and people effectuating positive change by creating and marketing sustainable alternatives to polluting products.

The crew of grassroots media makers expressed a variety of point of views and focused on their particular interests while finding surprising products under the BC Place dome from February 29th ~ March 2nd.

Here’s a brief recap from the frogsquad’s work:

Lisa Tilson discovered some natural toys, questioned the role of big corporations at a green show, and made her podcasting debut discussing city bikes and hemp clothing.

GregEh brought his bachelor perspective while writing about eco snow melter plus bikes of all kinds, hemp milk, and yerba matte, and pitched in heap of great shots for the photo pool.

Raincity Bikes @ Green Living Show 2008

Rebecca “Miss 604” and Keira-Anne covered the show in their savvy manner sampling products from soybean candles to organic beer. The prolific bloggers also visited the Vancouver Aquarium booth and K-A offered this sage advice for visitors:

Chocolate Hemp Milk

“One final piece of very important advice I leave you with:

Though you will be tempted to try samples of all the foods and beverages you see, once your tummy is full of no less than organic chocolate, organic beer, coconut oil, hemp butter, organic wine and hemp milk, that same tummy will be very, very angry with you.”

Bamboo Shirts

Joe Solomon offered discourse on green cleaning services and addressed the social issues of traditionally low-wage jobs. hint: Check out Joe’s Netsquared blog for info on finding web geeks to help your social change project.

Alexa Booth shot a heap of great Green Living Show photos and contributed to the happyfrog Flickr pool. The smart shopper likely found a few businesses to review to add to her happyfrog-leading total, and even tested the In-Bed Organics mattresses (see also: Organic Latex Mattresses Seek Insomniacs.


happyfrog’s own ChristyS and her personal cameraman created the first batch of FrogWalking videos with interviews with green entrepreneurs. Christy talks to a recycled clothing designer, a green wedding planner,artsy eco t-shirts.

Finally, I’m (happyfrog Community Manger Dave O) rolling out a new podcast series. The first batch of the “happyfrog Pondcast” podcasts features Rain City Bikes, Dancing Bear Hemp Clothing, Me to We T-shirts, and the Emily Carr communications design art exhibit. The shows are rolling out so subscribe to the happyfrog Pondcast feed to catch the conversations as they post.

Dave at EPiC

Next up for the frogsquad? The EPIC – The Sustainability Expo at Canada Place on April 18-20. This is EPIC’s second year and the last one was a busy hive of eco-edutainment so be sure to join the throng.

Have something to say to the world? Join the band of social media makers for a fun weekend of creating documentary evidence of ecological efforts. Contact happyfrog to express interest and check the green event calendar to find ways to share knowledge.

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Hemp for Victory with Author Kenyon Gibson – Choogle On! #52

Hemp for Victory with Author Kenyon Gibson – Choogle on #52
Hemp for Victory with Author Kenyon Gibson – Choogle on #52

In Camden Town London, Uncle Weed visits Hemp for Victory author Kenyon Gibson to discuss his motivations and influences for writing the book, using hemp for fuel, fiber and food, unique modern hemp products, the political pressures surrounding re-mainstreaming cannabis hemp, activism tips for emerging hempsters, his research for UK Parliament on hemp as a replacement crop for opium in Afghanistan, plus conversation on contemporary hemp production in the United Kingdom and around the globe. 

Plant a seed for Hemp for Victory – Choogle on #52 (.mp3, 38MB, 47:05)

Continue reading Hemp for Victory with Author Kenyon Gibson – Choogle On! #52