Lanark Animal Welfare Society

Written by Denise Deby.

Lanark Animal Welfare Society photo
Lanark Animal Welfare Society photo

Erin Patchell at the Lanark Animal Welfare Society (LAWS) asked if Green Living Ottawa could help spread the word about its entry in the Aviva Community Fund Challenge.

LAWS, an independent, no-kill animal shelter in Smiths Falls, is a semi-finalist for funding through the challenge; this round of voting goes until December 11, 2013. Aviva funds would enable LAWS to repair and upgrade its facilities and expand its education and other programs. You can support their bid here:

For more information about LAWS, check them out at

Earth Month April 2013 at terra20

Written by Denise Deby.

terra20 books photo by Denise Deby

Living green, for many of us, means trying to do the best we can as consumers, by reducing, reusing, recycling, and choosing environmentally-friendly goods and services over harmful ones, when options and information exist.

Bringing a wide range of sustainable products to the Ottawa market is the approach of eco-store terra20, which opened last year. Billed as North America’s largest eco-store, Ottawa-based terra20 sells an array of items, from household goods and cleaning products to office supplies, clothing and more. In one visit, you could pick up non-toxic shampoo, bamboo and organic cotton bed sheets, a backpack made of recycled soda bottles with a solar cell phone recharger, a copy of Adria Vasil’s Ecoholic, and fair-trade chocolate.

Terra20 posts the ingredients of the products it sells, and adds its own labels to let customers know what eco-principles it considers those products to be consistent with—for example, “organic,” “made in Canada” or “waste-reducing.” Few products do everything, but terra20’s overall message is upbeat: its name comes from the idea that “the year 20-something will be the year we achieve sustainability.”

Sustainability may be more of an ongoing process, but one interesting thing about terra20 is that—like smaller stores in Ottawa that sell environmentally-friendly products, but on a bigger scale—it’s working to build a community where people think about and share ideas about green living.

Terra20 is continuing to do that this month in a big way, through social media and in-store promotions. Its Earth Month celebration focuses on a new theme each week. Last week’s was cloth and alternative diapering.

This week’s topic is litterless lunches, and on Saturday, April 13 from noon-4 p.m. at the store, there’ll be presentations on products as well as a litterless lunch food prep demonstration (with samples) by the amazing Judi Varga-Toth of Credible Edibles.

The third week is about reducing waste, and includes an Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 20 from noon-4 p.m. Several companies will present products that use recycled materials or help you reuse your own, including EcoJot, which makes stationery from recycled paper, and local business naCoille which produces hand-crafted cutting boards and furniture from reclaimed wood. The afternoon will be hosted by the always-impressive Ian Capstick of MediaStyle.

Week 4 will be all about terra20’s ecobar, where customers can purchase household cleaning solutions in refillable bottles. Further details on all the Earth Month events are at

Terra20 is located at 2685 Iris St. in the mall beside Ikea, on bus routes 96, 101 and 172 (or bike along Iris), and offers online browsing and shopping as well.

Café Scientifique: Chickens in urban Ottawa?

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.

Want to know more about the pros and cons of raising chickens in the city, or have an opinion about it? Or interested in a thought-provoking evening out? The Canadian Agriculture Museum is holding a Café Scientifique on Raising Chickens in the City: Human Right or Health Risk? It’s at the Fox and Feather Pub, 283 Elgin St. on Tuesday, November 29 2011 at 6 p.m.

Current municipal by-laws don’t permit chicken-raising in urban Ottawa, but some people think changing the by-laws could be a sustainable way to support local food. Others have concerns about adverse effects like health risks or noise. The Canadian Agriculture Museum says the Café will “explore all perspectives” as well as being an opportunity for “drinks, discussion and debate.”

Living Car-free with a Big Dog: The Pet Taxi

poodle1.jpgWe have a standard poodle, and black poodles need to get their hair cut every 6 weeks or so during Ottawa summers (poodle is pictured above pre-haircut). Since we are now car-free (more about that in a week when we celebrate our 6 month anniversary), we had to figure out how we could get the poodle places he needed to go, such as the vet and the groomer’s.

Enter the pet taxi, a service specifically aimed at getting pets and their owners from one place to another. The one pet taxi I know of in Ottawa is Pets Go Taxi (no website), which as far as I can tell is a one man, one van operation. Unlike people taxis, the pet taxi usually needs to be reserved a few days in advance as it books up fast. In my experience Pets Go Taxi has shown up promptly at the time booked and got me and my poodle where we needed to go efficiently and economically (it costs about the same as a people taxi). Plus the driver loves animals, what more could you ask for?

Pets Go Taxi, Ottawa, 613-235-7387

Biodegradable Bags for Composting Dog Wastes

biobag.jpgI posted earlier on the possibilities for composting meat, cooked foods and pet wastes in your own backyard. However, things can get a little messy if you want to dispose of your dog’s wastes in a bardmatic digester composter (or green cone) as I suggested in that post. Enter the biodegradable and compostable poop and scoop bag. These bags can be dumped straight in the bardmatic where they will compost along with the poop. The bags must be marked specifically as “compostable” to be used in this way. Many products just marked as “biodegradable” are not suitable for composting because they break down into components that are not good for composters (such as smaller pieces of plastic).

Those compostable bags specifically aimed at the doggy market (such as the BioBag Dog ones pictured above) are also more convenient to use than plastic bags for scooping poop because they are smaller and thinner and therefore much more compact to carry (at least when they are empty).

These bags are available at many locations in Ottawa including The Wheat Berry health food store and Wag pet shop and café.

Wag, 1071 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON, 613-730-4647

The Wheat Berry, 206 Main Street, Ottawa, ON K1S 1C6, 613- 235-7580