April 27, 2014

How Green Is Your City? ~ Linda Lewis


I can only evaluate Halifax, Nova Scotia, but I’d love to hear how other readers of elephant rate their cities—so please leave comments!

Here’s my amateur (from the French amator, or lover) review of my city, Halifax:


1. The recycling and green composting system is state of the art.

2. More than 53 percent of Haligonians have a garden or participate in community gardens, two of which have just sprung up this spring!

3. Last year the Halifax Regional Municipality planted more than 1,500 trees as part of its new Urban Forest Plan.

4. Halifax has installed 15 solar collectors on fire stations and community centers.

5. 47 percent of Haligonians take public transit. On the peninsula, bus service is good and getting better as the demand increases.


1. Still too many commuters are single drivers. Only 3 percent have hybrid or electric cars and only 20 percent are completely car-less.

2. Perhaps because our winters are forever (on April 24 and early 25 we had snow and freezing rain) only two to three percent bike, but bike lanes are slowly increasing. Also, Bike Again offers free bicycles! One simply signs a contract saying the bike will be returned if one stops using it.

3. Computers in the university labs all over Halifax are left on 24/7! Why?

4. Grocery stores are still a plastic minefield even if you bring your own bags. Strawberries, yogurt, and hummus—everything seems to be contained or wrapped in plastic! The only way around this is to shop at the Farmers’ Markets.

As an old school marm, I’d give Halifax a C.

But the point is that we can do better. We need more innovative and green thinking, the kind of thinking that thought up the tool library that’s just opened in the North End of Halifax. Citizens everywhere—awake, get inspired, and see what you can do!


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Tim Green/Flickr


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Michelle Apr 28, 2014 1:22pm

I don't have any statistics on Longmont, CO but one thing I wish they would initiate is curbside composting. I live in a town home and collect my compost and bring it to a friend with a garden. I know other cities have started to collect compostable material and wish Longmont would do the same. With curbside recycling and our make-shift composting, our household only produces on average two 13 gallon bags of trash per month (most of which is non-recyclable plastic bags, lids, and other packaging–if it didn't start to smell, we could probably manage to throw away only one bag of trash per month).

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Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis met the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and, following Rinpoche’s invitation, immediately moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a part of his young and vital sangha.

The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.