March 21, 2010

Wide spread Condo Fire in SW Calgary leaves 400 Residents Homeless — Let’s Help!

I was devastated to learn of the huge fire in a Millrise condominium complex in SW Calgary on Thursday afternoon (March 18th). This is just a few neighborhoods away from where I live. The building has been deemed uninhabitable, and approximately 400 residents are now homeless (some reports say 300).

If there is any silver lining in such devastation, it is that most residents were not home at the time and there was no loss of life (including pets!). Small mercies . . .

But I still cannot imagine returning home at the end of my day to see my home billowing in clouds of black smoke. Home  . . . your safe haven from the world . . . now gone.

Homelessness is close to our hearts at GreenApple. I have fortunately never experienced it myself, but realize I have often taken having a home for granted.

I spend my days in other people’s homes. I talk about what says “home” to a buyer — who are people like you and me. And I help home owners transform their house into their vision of home. I live and breathe all the things that home means to people. I cannot imagine what it is like to not have a home.

GreenApple has committed a cash donation, as well as some household goods to the residents who have been affected by this terrible fire. Please join us in doing what we can — bit by bit together — to help these people in our Calgary community in a very tangible way.

Refer to this City of Calgary website for information on which organizations are handling the coordination of the Millrise donation efforts.


Did you know that when you use GreenApple’s Home Staging or Photography services, you are helping to support the homeless right here in Calgary? We give a portion of every project to local organizations that serve these deserving people in a dignified way.

Filed under: In the News — Tags: , — admin @ 7:47 pm
March 15, 2010

Are we setting the Stage for disaster by the way we live in our Homes?

Hubby and I went for a walk last evening around 7:30 pm — as we try to do most days — in our SW Calgary neighbourhood. As we ventured down a walk way that leads to the pathway system, I heard a noise I haven’t heard in many, many months.

I stopped dead in my tracks, as I could hardly believe me ears! I looked at the house on my right to verify with my eyes what my ears have heard. What could this sound be?

Would you believe it was an air conditioning unit . . . running full tilt?

No, sorry, I stand corrected . . . it was two air conditioning units, running full tilt!

This is March, people. March! And what was yesterday’s high? According to Environment Canada, Calgary experienced a daytime high of 8.5 °C at 4:00 pm.

Granted this home has many large windows facing West . . . and it is larger than the average Calgary home, so they must be entitled, right? They can afford it. And when you can afford it, you have license to do whatever you want . . . right??

I’m not the greenest person I know. I wasn’t even an early adopter to having a recycling program in my household (much to my current regret). I have never hugged a tree, and don’t even own a pair of Birkenstocks.

But you don’t have to be a member of the Al Gore fan club to see that our planet is hurting. That brown layer of “air” over

Smog hovers over Calgary

Smog hovers over Calgary

 downtown isn’t something as scientific or innocuous as “an inversion”. It is smog. Smog generated from our vehicles, furnaces, and overall heavy use of electricity in our daily lives (can you say, “coal fired generation plant”?)

Well, here I sit on my computer sucking up some of that very electricity that has some poor soul shovelling a little more coal into the fire (figuratively speaking), so I am hardly one to say.

But certainly that doesn’t mean we should use it willy-nilly . . . does it? I mean, couldn’t you just open the windows for an hour?? It must have been all of 5° at that time of day.

I live in a home that has its summertime challenges to keep cool during those rare few weeks of 30° weather in Calgary. And much to my children’s chagrin on those nights when they have trouble falling asleep, I refuse to get an air conditioner. Just because I have not yet figured out how to live my same life “off the grid”, doesn’t mean a girl has no morals.

Instead, I run around my house early in the morning, opening all the doors and windows to let in all that free, cool air. When the outside temperature is just a few degrees below the inside temperature, I run around again closing all those windows and blinds. To make my life even more complicated, I do the whole routine over again in the evening. Phew!

Yes, it’s cumbersome. And it does take time. I know few modern lives can afford the . . . oh, 5 minute investment each run-around cycle takes.

(Okay, my sarcasm has probably leaked out a little . . . why don’t I just say what I really think?!)

While we may not be able to solve all the world’s problems . . . ever . . . we certainly can do something. Maybe it’s a matter of re-defining “affordabilty”. What can we afford to not keep doing to give our children . . . heck, ourselves . . . a taste of the world we knew as children?

What if it really were as simple as all of us learning to open a window, put on a sweater, turn off that light, decrease the wattage, put up with a smaller TV screen, walk to the mailbox, bus stop or store . . . and use that household item a little longer instead of pitching it to buy a new one . . . just because we can afford it?

Please join me in making those small sacrifices that really do add up! And who knows . . . maybe we’ll be on track to simultaneously solving another increasing North American problem that annoyingly sits just above our belts!

Filed under: Living green — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:06 am
January 18, 2010

Let’s Give to the Relief Efforts in Haiti!

It has been nearly a week since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which occurred on January 12, 2010. Measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, and being just 10 km below the earth’s surface, marks this particular quake as one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in an already impoverished nation.

Today’s news continues with stories of hope. Rescue workers are still finding survivors amidst the rubble. I find that nothing short of amazing to think that people can survive for that length of time — probably injured, and without food or water . . . just waiting for someone to dig them out before they draw their last, weakened breath.

While there is that ray of light in this terrible situation, the bad news is still really bad! Death tolls are estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000. Tens of thousands of more people are without even the simple homes they once knew.

At GreenApple Staging & Images, we have a particular soft spot for the homeless. While we help others to make their homes a place of beauty, or an appealing place to live, we remain conscious of the fact that there are many who do not have a single room to call their own.

Would you join us in donating to the relief efforts for the nation of Haiti? Here is a link to a special website set up by CBC that lists reputable organizations for us to direct our giving through. Let’s pause for a moment, looking around at all we have, and allow ourselves to be moved to do what we can to help those in a state of emergency and peril.

And remember that your donations will have twice the impact since the Canadian government has generously announced that it will match donations through the organizations linked to above! I don’t know about you, but I’m really proud to be Canadian!

In the meantime, let’s also keep these dear people in our hearts and in our prayers.

Filed under: In the News — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:49 am