Vertical Greenhouse

This isn’t exactly theatre related, but it’s a super cool concept that I hope will be implemented in the future:


A city in Sweden called Linköping is planning to build a 17-storey, vertical greenhouse. This enables the city to be more self-sufficient- growing food while working around the problem of urban sprawl (going up).

From the article:

“The greenhouse is a conical glass building that uses an internal “transportation helix” to carry potted vegetables around on conveyors. As plants travel around the helix, they rotate for maximum sun exposure. Hassle says the building will use less energy than a traditional greenhouse, take advantage of “spillage heat” energy companies cannot sell, digest waste to produce biogas and plant fertilizers, and decrease carbon dioxide emissions while eliminating the environmental costs of long-distance transportation. And growing plants in a controlled environment will decrease the amount of water, energy, and pesticides needed. ”

The building is supposed to open in 2013. Maybe I can finally go on my long-awaited Europe trip next year and stop by Linköping; I’d love to see this!

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What To Recycle, Where to Recyle, and Why

WHY: I honestly feel a little weird talking about “why” to recycle, when it just seems so obvious that it’s an important and smart thing to do. However, I will attempt to do just that without erupting into passionate babble about how everybody needs to recycle all the time (although, really, it should be that way).
Why recycle? The Earth needs it. Humans are creating waaaayyy too much waste for the environment to handle, and we are rapidly running out of space and resources.
Now, really, the most important thing one can do, especially in a theatre context, is try to REDUCE the amount of waste being created. In his great little manifesto of sorts, ‘How to Go Green,’ (http://ecotheater.wordpress.com/how-to-go-green/) theatre practicioner Mike Lawler talks about small and big ways a theatre company can become more environementally conscious. His first point is to “keep the word REDUCE in mind.”
He later states:

    “Part of the problem may be our fear of limiting the artistic process. No artistic director in the world wants to tell his or her creative teams to limit themselves in order that they may reduce the waste generated by their productions. But, is there a time that artists must step forward and play a role in change, rather than merely using what they may to comment on it? Reducing the use of non-recyclable materials alone would go a long way in reducing a theater’s waste. Conceiving of a way to reuse and store (safely–perhaps off site) scenery would be another” (Lawler).

Try to create a show using all reclaimed materials, or reuse elements in multiple shows (flats can be repainted, etc). Think about ways to light a show without using 100 lights. It saves money, time, resources, and your conscience!


The City of Edmonton has a great recycling program that, in the near future, hopes to divert 90% of waste from landfills. Amazing!

The Edmonton Waste Management Centre is the largest of its’ kind in America. It has a Materials Recovery Facility for recycling, a Composting Facility, an Electronic Waste Facility, a Landfill Gas Recovery System, a Waste Drop-Off Station, and much more. They also give tours of their facilities. More information can be found on the City of Edmonton website: http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/garbage_recycling/edmonton-waste-management-centre.aspx

    The City of Edmonton website has a very big section on Garbage and Recycling, including info on how to compost, recycle grass and leaves from your yard, where to find Eco Stations, a recycling info page, and information on garbage collection. The following paragraph will go into detail about some of these services; the URL for all of this is http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/garbage-recycling.aspx.

Another fun feature on the City of Edmonton website is the Reuse & Recycling Directory. Type in whatever you need to get rid of, and it’ll tell you where you can drop it off. It will list recycling stations as well as shelters and community associations that you can donate items to. You can access the search engine at the bottom of this page: http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/garbage_recycling/eco-stations.aspx

ECO STATIONS: There are three Eco Stations in Edmonton: one in Ambleside, one in Coronation, and one in Strathcona. These buildings are a place where one can bring in household hazardous waste (which includes paint, motor oil, batteries, herbicide, lightbulbs, cleaners, etc), electrical appliances (toasters, old computer monitors, power tools, etc), old sofas and other furniture, and just normal recyclables (paper, cans, old clothes, etc)! You can also take home some free paint and bags of compost mixture. If you have old, broken props, leftover building supplies, or even a drill that won’t work anymore, take it to an Eco Station!

REUSE CENTRE: I’ll be singing this place’s praises more later when I talk about props; this place is the BEST! It’s at 10004 103A Avenue- easy to get to as it’s downtown and very close to Churchill station and many bus stops. It’s open Tuesdays through Saturdays and accepts donations of many kinds. The best part though is that for five dollars, you can grab a box and fill it with whatever you want. You can get craft supplies, old books, CDs, VHSes, and tapes, as well as photo albumbs, trophies, puzzles and games, fabric, containers, cards, paper, and so much more. Their list of accepted donations is huge!
Visit the website at: http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/garbage_recycling/reuse-centre.aspx
(And if you love it enough, you can volunteer there and get dibs on awesome stuff!)

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Wood and the Forest Stewardship Council

This post focuses on WOOD!

Make sure the wood that you use is FSC certified. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an organization dedicated to promoting responsible foresting techniques around the world. On its’ website, FSC states that their certification “provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value.” More detailed information can be found on their website: http://www.fsccanada.org/
Here is also a bit of history about FSC and what they do: http://www.raisingspaces.com/2008/03/fsc-certified-wood-%E2%80%93-what%E2%80%99s-behind-the-label/

Rona sells FSC-certified lumber, as do other more specialty places:

PJ White Hardwoods sells hardwood at 17303 – 116th Ave. If you need any for a project, all of their products are certified.

McKillican is located at 16420 – 118 Avenue and is FSC certified. It also has a wood source policy which avoids using wood from forest areas where civil or traditional rights are violated, or from naturally occurring forests that have been converted to plantations.

Lancashire Distribution, located at 16411 – 117th Avenue, sells plywood, lumber, mdf, and other building supplies. Some of their suppliers are FSC-certified.

Millar Western Forest Products, at 16640 – 111 Avenue, is very committed to sustainability in their products. Here is some information on their lumber: http://www.millarwestern.com/lumber-products/

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Sound & Carbon Calculators

Sound is a tough thing to think about sustainably, and to be honest, I’ve had a bit of trouble finding as much info on sound compared to the other departments. However, Julie’s Bicycle (http://www.juliesbicycle.com/), a company devoted to sustainability in the entertainment industry, has a Sustainable Purchasing Guide on their website. Here are a few good things to think about regarding the use of sound (and any) equipment:

– Do you really need to buy it in the first place?
– Can existing products or equipment be used instead?
– Can you rent or share instead of purchasing?

– How long will it last?
– Will it be quickly outdated?
– How will it be disposed?
– Can it be rented rather than bought?
– Where is it made and how is it transported?
– Is it produced in fair working conditions?
– Does its embodied environmental impact compete favourably with environmental benefits during its’ operational life?
– For equipment taken on tour, can it be lighter, easier to transport, or easier to hire locally?

Julie’s Bicycle also provides some links to carbon calculators:
http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/ – according to this calculator, I’m living as if I had 1.98 Earths at my disposal. Yikes! I need a more efficient household!
http://carboncalculator.direct.gov.uk/index.html – according to this calculator, I’m using 1.9 tonnes of carbon in my apartment per year (the downfall of shitty old buildings)
http://www.imeasure.org.uk/ – this is a more long-term calculator that takes meter readings and so on into account.

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I started thinking about my 577 project long ago, in the fall of 2010. I tossed around many ideas about what to do- a performance piece, an installation, exploring this or that technology. This past summer, I worked at the Globe Theatre in Regina as the Art Teacher at the Summer Drama Camps. I had a ton of fun working with kids, coming up with different projects for them to do, and doing the projects with them. I also found myself to be constantly brainstorming over how to create the least amount of waste. I have been like this for a long time- my parents always kept a compost/recycling/finish your plate/I’m not buying you this craft because you haven’t finished that craft mentality. When I was in high school, I started a bottle recycling program with my best friend. We just couldn’t believe that was the year 2007 and our fairly large high school had about 2 bottle recycling bins! Now that I live on my own, I’m as careful as I can be about reducing waste in my apartment and around me.
So, naturally, entering the Technical Theatre program and seeing the MASS amounts of waste that are created every day in a theatre bothered me. It still bothers me. I dread striking shows not just because of the grunt work involved, but also because of everything that gets thrown away- some of which could be salvaged, rebuilt in a smarter way, or at least properly disposed of.
It may have been working at the Globe and having control over what was used, recycled, and disposed of, or it may have been the sets that were thrown in the dumpster show after show, or it may have been because my parents have taught me “waste not, want not.” It’s probably a combination of this and many other things that have spurred my decision to research Sustainable Theatre for my 577.

The following pages are divided into “chapters” of sorts, according to department- in each chapter, I’ll talk briefly about why it is important to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and ways to be proactive about it. This is mostly Edmonton-centric, and the idea is for a production, big or small, to know what sort of resources they have at hand in this city.

    My hope is to enlighten people on what they can do and how to do it, and even if they already know about many of the resources I found, maybe this essay (and the website I’ll post the info on) will at least be a way to consolidate the information.

Something interesting about researching sustainable theatre is that these ideas can be used over many disciplines of art- visual, dance, film, even music. These ideas can also be translated into the home as well (think paint, lumber, etc).


I hope that the information I found can be useful; it has definitely been an educational and inspiring experience for me, and I’m excited to go out into the “real theatre world” with the knowledge that I have about creating a greener theatre.

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This is my ‘web zine/resource guide/etc etc” portion of my Drama 577 Independent Study, focusing on Sustainable Theatre and how/when/why/what/where to do it in Edmonton.

I’m hoping to organize this based on department, as well as create a section about cool things that are happening around the world. This blog is sort of the ‘fun’ version of my essay.

Thanks for stopping by!

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