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ECOSHIFT ACTIVITIES AT THE ASPER CAMPUS

Promoting Awareness of Lake Winnipeg Foundation to Red Wriggler Worms

By Rhonda Spivak, October 3, 2010

On Sunday September 26, the Asper campus was full of activity designed to make our community more environmentally conscious as part of Eco-shift, put on by The Jewish Federation’s J-PEG, Next Generation Leadership Division.

The event, chaired by Dov Secter and Sarah Allentuck Secter featured a very large green vendor’s showcase, with green friendly products.

Inside the campus, there were an array of display tables, such as the “Lake Friendly” display which featured products, including dish washing liquids that protect and improve water quality.

As the Lake Friendly spokeswoman explained, “Thousands of products that we use everyday are flushed or rinsed down the drain and eventually end up in our lakes, and rivers, impacting water quality and causing algae blooms.”

All of Lake Friendly products are independently tested and certified under Environment Canada’s Ecologo.

There was also a display table by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, whose mandate is to ensure the health and protection of Lake Winnipeg, the “10th largest lake in the world by surface area.” One of the acknowledged problems with the lake is the accumulation of phosphorus and nitrogen, resulting in algae blooms, which have the potential to kill fish and produce algal toxins.

As Catherine Salki, Secretary and interim Treasurer of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation [LWF] explained the Lake Winnipeg Foundation is dedicated to actively promoting the Lake’s health “through research, public education, advocacy and management.”

Salki said that the event was great for "promoting awareness" but noted that she had "only sold two memberships" to the LWF at it.

She pointed out that the health of Lake Winnipeg was a serious concern, “as is evidenced in the large amount of algae blooms that washed up on Grand Beach for the first time this year.”

As Salki explained, Individuals can  help protect the  lake by “using lawn fertilizers that contain no phosphorous (the second number on the container should be zero), using dishwasher detergents and household cleaning supplies that don’t contain phosphorous, and  insisting governments install proper sewage collection and treatment.”

Salki’s husband noted that he was impressed that the Jewish community was putting on such an event as Eco-Shift, saying he hoped “other communities would follow suit.”

Outside the campus there was a farmer’s market, featuring produce from Fort Whyte farms selling organic cherry tomatoes and the like.  There was also an “e-waste” drop off depot, for people to bring old cell phones, computers, printers, etc., none of which should be disposed of in regular land fills.

Another vendor was promoting composting using  “Red wiggler” worms.  These worms offer great benefits to the organic gardener, producing both a natural fertilizer and an effective pesticide. And apparently they also eat your kitchen scraps.

The value of red wigglers, lies in their excrement, known as worm castings. This brown, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer can be stirred into dirt to enrich the soil.

‘The work of these worms is an element of sustainable living,” said the vendor.

Students Paul Myerson and Maxim Berent were encouraging people to take the Eco Shift challenge and committ to taking steps "to lighten their ecological footprint."

 

 

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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