Can we make Leaside green with envy?

Revelo Bikes is a green business located in Leaside. Photo Henry Chong.
Revelo Bikes is a green business located in Leaside. Photo Henry Chong.

I had put it off as long as I could, but on April 10th I reluctantly paid a visit to the gas station on Millwood Road. The $1.47 per litre confirmed the federal carbon tax was no April fool’s joke. Coincidentally, earlier in the week the “Canada’s Changing Climate Report” was released, replete with dire warnings and grim consequences. Global emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity will largely determine how much warming Canada and the world will experience in the future, an outcome that is effectively irreversible. Alarmingly, Canada’s average temperature has risen at a rate that is double the global average and the effects of warming are evident in many parts of the country and projected to intensify in the future.

Admittedly, I have been more than slow off the mark when it comes to issues related to our environment and have flippantly remarked that I’m waiting for the engineers to solve this problem. It’s not because I’m a climate change denier, I embrace the scientific method. I’m ashamed to say it – it’s because I have been lazy. Long overdue, the time has come to change my attitude and behaviour.

Beyond the obvious three Rs that my kids focus on in their eco-clubs, I wanted to learn more about the ideas that animate the “green economy” and the “circular economy.” Introduced in 1989, the green economy’s conceptual foundation recognizes that the separation of economic development and environmental policies is artificial and the two can be mutually-reinforcing. The UN describes an ideal scenario where growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment in a way that generates profit while at the same time significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities through reduced carbon emissions and pollution, improved resource and waste management, the reuse of raw materials and the transition towards sustainable consumption and production. The circular economy was coined in 1990 and refers to an economic model whose principal aim is to keep the value of products, materials and resources in the economy for as long as possible to minimize the consumption of resources (think Extoggery on Brentcliffe).

Supporting green business 
initiatives in Leaside

Among the numerous and sometimes opportunistic green terminology I came across during the course of this inquiry, three terms that I gravitated toward because of their relevance to Leaside were: green business, “greenpreneurship” and the green neighbourhood. A green business is one whose operating footprint makes a positive contribution toward achieving the overarching goal of a green economy by integrating the principles of sustainability and environmentalism into its business decisions, processes, supply chains, stakeholder relationships and the products/services they have on offer. Although there are many organizations proclaiming to certify a business green, what I found was that there appears to be some latitude toward just how green a company can be. Some are “born green” because they are new, while others are taking the necessary steps toward greening their business due to industry or product lifecycle.

I now conclude that I should be supporting green businesses over traditional ones wherever possible. I need to be making a conscious effort to learn more about the businesses I frequent, and in some cases make necessary changes. Here in Leaside there are plenty of green success stories. Over on Commercial Rd., I would be remiss not to draw your attention to Summerhill, a world-leading energy efficiency and product stewardship services company that is making a real difference. A mere five-minute walk away down on Industrial St. are the greenpreneurs at Revelo, whose mission is to create clean and efficient portable transportation solutions for smart commuting. In fact, I was so inspired when I met design engineer Henry Chong that I bought my very first bike, ever! Not to be outdone, a well-informed colleague identified no fewer than 36 green businesses on Bayview alone (the full list is available at www.leasidelife.com). I was also reminded of the “LocalLea,” a green-leaning community currency concept originally conceived by local marketing visionary Michael Zivot. The idea may have been slightly ahead of its time, but I think the right time has arrived and we have the makings of what could become a very successful green economy right at our doorstep.

Families flourish in green neighbourhoods

True to Leaside’s historical roots as a bonafide Garden City (see Debora Kuchme’s article, Feb. 2019), would it not make sense for all of us to work toward the goal of Leaside becoming one of Canada’s greenest neighbourhoods? Green neighbourhoods are more likely to be close to commercial streets, employment lands, and amenities. They are economically successful and provide a healthier environment where families can flourish. Today, being green is no longer an economic hardship; it is a catalyst for innovation, new market opportunity, and wealth creation. Imagine innovative and profitable green businesses, led by greenpreneurs, providing green jobs, powered and encouraged by a talented and green community – for the benefit of all. Hey Leaside, we can do it. Are you ready?

Would you like to help develop the plan for a greener future in Leaside? Do you have green ideas that you want implemented? What kind of support do you need to bring those ideas to life? Let us know at leasidelife@gmail.com.

 

Green Businesses on Bayview

Recycle…. Upcycle….Reuse….Repair – 8
Bayview Manor Appliance – repair, trade-ins
Flying Wheels – Bicycle repair
F5 Shop – Computer repair
Mac Fab – upholstery and repair
Millwood Shoe Repair – repair, skate exchange, clothing alterations
Norman’s – clothing alterations
Pagnello’s Antiques – resale, repair clocks, furniture, jewelry etc.
Sport Swap – bicycle repair, exchange

Food….Organic….Ethical….Sustainable – 13
Alex Farm Products- Organic cheese and other organic foods
Cob’s Bread – Donates all end or day products to charity
Cumbrae’s – Ethically raised meat, organic food products
De Le Mer – Organic, naturally raised, sustainably caught fish
Drink – Organic, raw juices
Epi Breads – Artisan breads (some with organic flours)
Hollywood Gelato – Organic coffee
Olive Oil Emporium – NON GMO verified olive oil
Passion Fruits – Organic food products. Uses recycled water for plants
Refuel – Organic raw juices
Rowe Farms – Ethically raised meat, organic food products,
Starbucks – Fair-trade coffee
ValuMart – President’s choice organic foods

Beauty….Fashion….Health….Wellness – 11
Bloom Beauty – Natural, chemical free beauty products
Bayview Natural Foods – Natural remedies, aromatherapy products, natural beauty and home products and organic foods
Big Stretch Yoga – Yoga classes
Breath Pilates Studio – Pilates instruction
Cornflower Blue – Organic cotton clothing, vegan footwear
La Muse – Organic skin care products, natural fragrances
Perri & Palmacci Hair – Organic hair dyes
Peaches and Green – Natural remedies, aromatherapy products, natural beauty and home products and organic foods
Romeo & Juliet – Organic hair dyes

Other Eco Products and Services – 6
Bayview Paint and Décor – Benjamin Moore Eco paints
Bestway Cleaners – Organic dry cleaning
Davenport Garden Centre – Organic herbs, native plants, neonicotinoid-free plants
Paws and Claws – Organic pet food and dog treats
Smokin Cigar – Organic tobacco
West Coast Kids – Organic baby clothes and bedding

Do you know more businesses in Leaside that are Green? Send their names to: leasidelife@gmail.com.

About Glenn Asano 15 Articles
Leasider Glenn Asano is a partner and principal consultant for the strategy and business development practice at Centred Performance. He is also an Instructor with the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.