Mini Bio: Lillian Brummet – Co-author/author of the books Trash Talk, Purple Snowflake Marketing, and Towards Understanding; Host of the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show and of the Brummet's Conscious Blog: www.brummet.ca
Back in the '80's it just seemed natural and proper to recycle newspapers and glass (the first two items collected here), I mean we all learn in public school about resources and why management is so necessary – so this really isn't a big leap. As the recycling industry grew I became kind of excited about all the things we didn't have to send to the landfill. Nature has always been a haven to me, I go there when I am feeling low. And as such, I feel a special connection to nature and animals. As a gardener I've learned how the health of the soil is so important and from there, I guess, the environmentalist in me just bloomed! :)
- How do you feel about the oil spill in the Gulf? Do you feel it could have been prevented? How?
I found it extremely frightening, and still do – we just don't know yet what the full effect of this will be. And there are oil spills going on all the time, all over the world – although not that big... they still add up to a huge amount. Oil spills, industry spills, plumes of pollution in the air... they all concern me a great deal. However, rather than focusing on what others are doing, I choose to focus on my own “back yard” - so to speak. Meaning, what can I do in my own life to make a difference. Finger pointing and waiting for regulations and politicians is not the answer – the answer is you and I making conscious choices... every day.
- What organizations do you belong to whose main goal is cleaning up the environment?
I am a member of Seeds of Diversity (www.seeds.ca) which preserves the genetic diversity for agriculture and nature's flora and fauna, on an international basis and works with government food banks, nurseries, seed suppliers and gardeners. I also support the Canadian Wildlife Federation (www.cwf-fcf.org) – we donate proceeds from our book sales to this organization in an effort to help their many programs and wildlife conservation efforts. We've been members of numerous eco-organizations in the past, and continue to support other organizations, but these are the two environmental causes that we focus on now.
- What various forms of alternative energy do you feel are most relevant in the long term? Why?
Wind and Solar and Wave technologies seem to have the greatest ability at the moment – but Geothermal seems to be the most universal. To have wind power, you must have long enough periods of windy conditions... Same with solar. Wave, well that is a proximity thing – if you are close to water, you are good to go. But geothermal... our homes are on land, therefore we have access to geothermal. If I could afford to invest in one single technology it would probably be geothermal. However since most of us cannot afford the huge investment – we'll have to focus on some of the other cheaper alternatives. Solar panels are very budget friendly now – solar hot water tanks are an exceptional investment that pays for itself in just a few years. I love the idea of affordable green construction such as straw bale combined with post and beam construction – this gives you an R-50 rating!
- What are your opinions on Global Warming?
Well, it is real. As a gardener and coming from a gardening family, I can tell you that we've not seen such strange seasons, nor had to contend with so many issues as we have as of the last 8 years or so. Two years in a row we had such voracious winds that we had to replace some fence posts that snapped during the winds. I am not a scientist and do not have access to their data – but I can tell you that you and I, the individuals out there, we have the power to make a huge difference.
- What advice would you offer to someone who wants to begin working to save the environment?
It really doesn't take much. Just recycling alone reduces your contributions to the landfill by 30% minimum, and reduces a great deal of society's contributions to global warming. Composting reduces your landfill contributions by another 30%. Keeping organics out of the landfill is one of the most important things we can do, since the gasses released from this are much more damaging to the environment than Carbon Dioxide. So start there and then look at what you are bringing to the home and office in the first place – meaning, as a consumer we have to support the more environmental products in order to influence change on the planet. There are lots and lots of things we can do (which we cover in our Trash Talk, It's Easy To Be Green series), but these are the three easiest places to start.
- What would your opinions be on alternative energy vehicles such as electrics, fuel celled power, bio diesel, and ethanol?
Wow, that is a loaded question and could hardly be addressed here in full – we actually have a huge section of the 2nd book in the Trash Talk – It's Easy Being Green series that addresses this question better, but I'll do my best here. Any alternative energy technology is a move in the right direction, and each new technology will have its own set of issues and limitations to address. Electric vehicles have greatly improved, however their batteries are terrible for the environment and must be replaced regularly. Bio-fuels, including bio-diesel, are a fantastic alternative that is something we can use today. The technology has realized the potential for impacting food crop production and has been testing bio-fuel production on bio-wastes from animal and human sewage to wheat straw and wood shavings. There is even a new technology out that can convert carbon dioxide into a low level fuel for vehicles. It is exciting to watch all the innovations happening, that is for sure!