Take Your Backpack With You to Enjoy an Outdoorsy Life in British Columbia

british columbia lakeIf you haven’t already heard of this province, which is highly unlikely, British Columbia is the one located on Canada’s west coast. It is part of the Pacific Northwest with the States of Washington and Oregon. In view of its geographical location, the province has become the favorite of many who are into outdoor activities. With its various mountainous terrains, lakes, coasts, rivers and forests, it is now considered as one of the best places to go to for camping, hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, fishing and hunting.

 Some of the World’s Best Camping

For those who enjoy camping, there are several types of camping areas you can choose from such as provincial and national parks, RV and private campgrounds, and recreation sites. Here, you can get a taste of living in the wilderness along with your family and friends. And since you will be far away from the civilized world, it is best that you bring all your essentials with you, including first aid kits. For this reason, it is imperative that you use a pack that could accommodate such items. One great option would be Pack-it-in Pack-it-out’s military duffle bags. This pack is the perfect choice for outdoorsy activities like camping.

canadian kayakerGet in the Water

During summer season, various water sports can also be enjoyed here aside from the usual camping, hiking and mountaineering extravaganza. Regardless if you are looking for motorized or non-motorized water sport, British Columbia is a perfect destination. BC has some of the world’s best water. Among the various water activities that can be enjoyed here are sailboarding and sailing. On its many inland rivers, you can try kayaking and whitewater rafting. If you are a winter person, that is not a problem. Have you tried ice sailing?

If not, head over to Whistler and enjoy the spectacular experience of sailing on ice! There’s also telemark, downhill and cross-country skiing. Of course, if skiing is available, so is snowboarding. See? As long as you are adventurous enough, you will never run out of activities to try our here in British Columbia. It is really the perfect place to be for those who love to do outdoor activities, whether alone or with family and friends.


Gardening: Lawn Mowers

A lawn mower is a machine that uses one or more revolving blades to cut down grass into even height. There are manual and electric lawn mowers. For manuals, you have to use your hands to push the mower forward while electric mowers have internal combustion engine to spin blades.  Lawn mowers use two main styles of blades – a single blade that rotates about a single vertical axis called rotary mowers and those that use multiple blades that rotate about a single horizontal axis called cylinder or reel mowers.

Rotary mowers are usually fueled by gasoline. If you are a die-hard environmentalist, these won’t impress you because they emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and other inorganic compounds. Riding mowers, on the other hand, also use gasoline as fuel and usually used in wide lawns – commonly in golf clubs. They are also quiet expensive. If you have an average-sized garden, you can use the traditional lawn mowers. There are also lawn mowers that run by set of rechargeable batteries. They are said to be environment-friendly as they don’t emit dangerous gases.

The basic things to consider in buying lawn mowers are: the size of your lawn, your garden preferences and your budget. If you have wide lawn, you can try a riding mower. They are efficient and save you more time mowing, plus you won’t get yourself tired because it’s basically like riding a car. If you have small lawn, you can have a reel mower. It is patterned after a scythe and all you have to do is manually push it to hit the grass. It also promotes clean environment because it does not make use of gasoline.  Repairs are manageable, replacement parts are available. Check for dixie chopper parts here.

When it comes to budget, push mowers are less expensive than electric and gasoline-fueled ones. All you need are your pair of gardening boots, gardening gloves, an overall and wa-la! You are ready as a pro gardener!

Your preference will depend on your gardening needs. Some mowers have designated compartments for collected grass clipping so you don’t have to run a rake after cutting the grass. Since you have been promoting clean environment through gardening, a push mower is definitely suitable for your gardening needs.

Water Conservation: Septic Tank Usage

Septic Tanks are important components of the septic system. Septic system is a small-scale sewage treatment system common in areas where there are no available main sewage pipes. A septic tank could be a big concrete or steel tank usually buried in the yard. It often holds 1,000 gallons of water. Generally, wastewater comes into the septic tank from the sewer pipes and flows into the tank at one end and leaves the tank at the other. Inside septic tanks form three layers of how the tank works. The so-called scum layer is where anything that floats and rises stays, whereas anything heavier than water sinks and then form the sludge layer. The clear water layer stays in the middle. The water here contains bacteria and chemicals like nitrogen and phosphorus. The chemicals serve as fertilizers.

Septic tanks produce gases due to breaking down of organic substances in the wastewater. These gases do not smell good, so sinks do need P-traps in the form of loops. These P-traps block the gases from flowing back into the house.

With such a role of septic tanks to septic systems, it is very important that tanks are checked well. Emptying of the tanks actually depends on the volume of the tank in connection with the input of solids. The amount of indigestible solids, the temperature, system characteristics, and the standardized requirement imposed by authority are factors that need to be considered in maintaining and emptying tanks. Consultation with health authorities is often needed. Generally, old tanks used by large families need more frequent pumping than those used by only a few people.

Properly maintained septic tanks bring less environmental problems. Improper installation could cause certain problems. Making sure that septic tanks are functioning properly is helpful, short-term, but becomes less helpful as the density of population increases. Some places generate funds to sustain the maintenance of quality of water services. In this way, water pollution is curbed.

People ought to be educated on how to use the septic tanks properly, thus helping prevent the neighborhood from pollution that may threaten the quality of water. In some areas, the homeowner’s association is very cooperative in maintaining cleanliness within the village.  Residents are encouraged to replace worn out tanks, for options check: septic tanks for sale.

Safe Water Issues

The latest statistics show that about 1 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean and safe water. Waterborne diseases (Cholera, etc.) are mostly eradicated in developed countries but in undeveloped nations, millions of people are killed each year by waterborne illnesses, and about six thousand of these deaths are of children.

Global warming has worsened the situation. Imbalances in the eco-system are mostly due to human abuse or lack of environmental care and concern. Droughts have become more common occurrences, and the periods have lengthened each time. Water supplies and sources have started drying up in affected regions.

Heavy and prolonged rains also cause problems; sewages often overflow. In developing countries that do not have efficient sewage systems or where such system is absent, overflows create a big problem: water pollution.

Indeed, water access and water sanitation are two pressing problems in many countries worldwide, but if people and local officials start putting more efforts into sanitizing endeavors, water access problems will drastically diminish. Take for instance the issue about human and animal waste management, when disposed of irresponsibly, waterways and wildlife habitat become polluted.

Residential and commercial wastes (various garbage items) ought to be segregated and disposed of properly, else, these pollutants will definitely end up in places they’re not supposed to be in. Look around communities in poor or developing countries, garbage is everywhere, even in the rivers and seas.

Children always fall victim to problems which the previous generation passes on to them. Local communities ought to think about the kids around them, especially those who are with them in their own houses. If older citizens take initiative within the homes, within their living and working quarters, the impact and effect will definitely spread and inflict positive changes around the community and ultimately, around the country.

Citizens of developed countries experience lesser problems. Many organizations and even businesses focus on providing safe water. A lot of companies have been set-up to provide clean drinking (and working water) for human consumption or use. If you are in a current residential zone and no safe and clean water is of near access, you may even call in deliveries. Stocking-up on clean water is doable, you can even keep on-hand water cool. Check water cooler delivery for options.

Coping with Climate Change in British Columbia

Fifteen or more years ago there were groups of scientists asserting that global warming is nothing more than a natural phenomenon; today the members of the scientific community admit this is worldwide concern that people must actively address. There is incontrovertible evidence that the world is now a warmer place with glaciers and other snow covers declining throughout the planet. For its part, British Columbia has not been exempt from the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and higher levels of methane, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Impacts of Climate Change in the Region

  • As early as 2002, data from the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection already showed that British Columbia was experiencing climate change. Today studies point out that coastal areas in BC have warmed at around 0.5ºC or 0.6ºC per century, which is about the rate that global warming is taking place. BC’s interior has warmed at 1.1ºC per century which is 100% more than the global average, and Northwestern BC has warmed at 1.7ºC per century – a rate which is about 3 times the known global average. As a whole, the region is now experiencing warmer seasons.
  • Lakes and rivers in BC have also been observed to be frost-free at earlier dates. These changes have affected the flora and the forests of BC. For example, the mountain pine beetle has moved into and become prolific in areas that are now warmer and more habitable. Whereas in the past the population of this species was naturally controlled by the weather, climate change has allowed its numbers to increase – so much so that in the late 1990’s BC lost around 13 to16 million acres of lodgepole pine forest.
  • The increase in BC river and lake temperatures creates a habitat encouraging the growth of invasive fish species such as walleye and yellow perch. This means that native cold water species such as sockeyes, already stressed by the increase in temperature, may be further threatened by competition for food from rapidly growing invasive populations.
  • These higher temperatures are also impacting flora by creating an environment more suited to invasive species such as Russian thistle and Knapweed. Furthermore, the coniferous forests of BC are also affected by the shortening of the cold winter season. These forests are the foundation of an industry that generates a $20 billion trade surplus and provides direct as well as indirect employment for 800,000 to 1,000,000 Canadians.

Actions to Take

Over the past century, B.C. has lost approximately half of its snow pack. Continued glacier reduction is predicted to affect the province’s hydrology, as well as its biodiversity and its tourism industry. Aware of this, BC has come up with programs to propel businesses and citizens towards greener options.

The region’s directions are contained in its Climate Action Plan – a document containing different strategies and initiatives to reach a 33% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2020. An admirable key feature of this document is that it outlines the engagement of different sectors in the entire effort to reduce greenhouse gases. The youth, the business sector, the churches, and schools are all a visible part of the document’s design. This prompts onlookers to watch BC’s environmental efforts with hope and appreciation.

BC Policies and Green Enterprises

Because most livelihoods in British Columbia are based on the province’s abundant natural resources, climate change has immediate and far-reaching impacts on the economy of the area. This is illustrated by the destruction of more than 13 million acres of pine forest due to mountain pine beetle infestation – a phenomenon resulting from uncontrolled population increase of the species after global warming expanded its habitat. Conscious of the dependence of BC communities on sustaining the environment, the provincial government has created policies that will encourage green enterprises.

Provincial Policies to Mitigate Climate Change

The province of British Columbia has laid out policies and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It has published a resource guide on Climate Change Adaptation for Local Government. Along with this, the local government has exhibited admirable political will by imposing a carbon tax, a tax based on the greenhouses gases emitted. The carbon tax serves to encourage people to choose lifestyle with a lower carbon footprint, and there resources to help communities make eco-friendly choices. With the carbon tax, the environmental significance of daily activities is monetized; the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, buying local produce, and reducing the use of vehicles by as little as 10 miles per week all become important ways to save on tax. The added benefit of all these tax reduction choices is that homes and establishments end up lowering their expenses.

To support its policies on reduction of greenhouses gases, the provincial government provided grants for homes who wanted to shift from wood-burning stoves to cleaner models. The province is also working with Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska in the Pacific Coast Collaborative to discuss standards, institute best practices, and address concerns such as ocean debris, clean energy, and transportation fuels. There is a comprehensive action plan for the attainment of targets, and the plan wisely includes the participation of all stakeholders in the province.

Concrete Responses from the Community and Business

With the help of business energy assessment visits, many establishments have saved substantial amounts on bills through seemingly unimportant actions like replacing old water tanks and halogen lamps wit energy efficient alternatives. One small coffee shop estimated annual energy savings to come up to about $600 per year. Another café allowed its clients to leave their mugs so they could use those when they came in for coffee – such a move not only brought down the establishment’s consumption of disposable coffee cups, it also created a stronger bond with clients. One board shop estimated they were saving more than $100 per month by replacing their halogen lamps with LED bulbs. A log building company says it saves more than $20,000 per year due to the energy efficient bulbs and the new boilers they installed. Apart from what the establishments saved on actual utility bills, they also received healthy rebates which sometimes amounted to more than half of what the amount they saved.

The over-all benefits of such responses have meant more than dollars on a spreadsheet. The efforts expended by small and medium business enterprises have brought a positive awareness to the rest of the community, making families more open to altering their lifestyles. The impact of this synergy will certainly make a dent in mitigating climate change not just for the entire province but for the country and the continent as well.