SPAN - Sustainable Practices Action Network

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Can You Use <50 Litres of Water in a Day?


Can you use less than or an equal amount of water as the average person in a developing country?

March: Find your water use “baseline”!

  1. During a typical day in March keep track of the amount of time (e.g., use a stopwatch, count or estimate) water is running for:
    - brushing your teeth
    - showering
    - washing your hands
    - washing your dishes by hand
  2. Find and write down the capacity of your toilet, dishwasher and clothes washer (if you don’t know, don’t worry)
  3. Go to the following online water use calculator* and fill in the blanks: (1 US gallon = 3.785 litres)
  4. Send an e-mail to to share your results and observations.

* We’re using
Tampa’s as the best English on-line calculator we’ve found so far. Know of a better Canadian one?

April 20: Can you use less than 50 litres?

The average person in a developing country uses 50 litres/day, some use as little as 10 litres/day. How low can you go??

  1. Fill your bottle with water and apply a stick-on label. The bottle is your portable supply for the day.
  2. Use the water from your bottle for all your water needs, except toilet flushing of course.
  3. Mark a label on your bottle each time you refill it.
  4. Determine your water use.**
  5. Send an e-mail to to share your results and observations.

**If you choose to use your:

- Shower, add 9.5 or 15 litres/minute***

- Dishwasher, add 22 or 40 litres per use

- Clothes washer, add 90 or 170 litres per load

***first number is for efficient fixtures, second number is average

As for your toilet… count the number of times you flush and multiply by 6, 13 or more if it’s a really old one! Some toilets include a marking indicating volume per flush.

Find a list of links and resources, and challenge updates at Follow the “get involved” and “water challenge” links.

SPAN AGM - Mar 27, 6-8 PM, MEC

You are invited to SPAN's very first Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, March 27th from 6-8 PM at Mountain Equipment Co-op (830-10th Ave SW). No, we are not holding the meeting in a tent or by the climbing wall. They have meeting rooms behind the customer service desk. Munchies and beverages will be served.

We hope the official business will take 10 minutes or so, and then we can discuss plans for the coming months and year, and build the sustainability community.

It is important to have members attend the AGM to ensure a quorum. If you're not a member and would like to vote you can become a member on the 27th. At the AGM we will be electing the Board of Directors. Several of us will run again, but we are looking for a couple more keeners. Let me know if you are interested in joining the SPAN Board of Directors before or at the meeting.

Agenda for AGM:
  • Adopt bylaws
  • Approve financial statement
  • Election of directors
  • Present achievements for 2006
  • Present work in progress
  • Present plan/vision from March Board session
  • Ask for feedback on direction
  • Discuss April action challenges
Thank you for your continued interest and participation in SPAN. See you on the 27th.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Is water the new oil?

SPAN is collaborating with Young Environmental Professionals (YEP) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to bring you a stimulating discussion on why Albertans should care about water issues in developing countries and how you can take action!

Speaker: Shauna Curry, P.Eng. Director, International Services
Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST)

Time/Date: 5:30PM Monday February 26th

Venue: Ceili’s on 7th Irish Pub and Restaurant – 803- 8th Ave SW

This event is free for members of SPAN, EWB or YEP – Non Members $5 at the door

Next Meeting, Tuesday Jan. 30

Just a reminder about our regularly scheduled monthly SPAN meeting.
Tuesday, Jan. 30
6:00 - 7:30 PM
Old Y Building
Arusha Centre office
223 - 12 Avenue SW
On the agenda:
  • Update on local living economy project
  • Info on Engineers Without Borders--SPAN--Young Environmental Professionals speaker/social event, Feb 26
  • Reminder about Marda Loop Justice Film Festival periodic screenings
  • Update on Young Managers' Training project
  • Update on Change the World for Ten Bucks book sales
  • Regular meeting time and location for 2007
  • Discussion about making next meeting a working session or Annual General Meeting
  • Action/learning/networking opportunities
  • Action challenge -- Buy Nothing New Compact -- discussion and decision
We hope to see you on Tuesday

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

YEP/SPAN Christmas Party

You're Invited!!!

Join us for some festive cheer! This year's YEP/SPAN Christmas Party will be held:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 13
  • Getting under way at 5:30 p.m.
  • Ceili's 2 (803- 8th Ave SW, not the one in the Penny Lane building).

There will be lots of special features at the party, including entertainment, snacks, and prizes. The author of a cool new book (Change The World For Ten Bucks) will say a few words and we will have books for sale. And let's not forget the main reason for a party -- the company of your friends and colleagues. Tickets are $5 for members and $10 for non-members.

Hope you can join us. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thanks for supporting the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival

Thanks to everyone that attended and especially to those that volunteered on the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival.

The event was a tremendous success. The Marda Loop Justice Film Festival could not have had a better first year as an important addition to the Calgary arts and social justice scenes.

As a result of the tireless efforts of SPAN volunteers, there was an incredible amount of publicity in the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Swerve Magazine, Universo Magazine, CBC Radio and CityTV during the week leading up to the event.

There were approximately 100 - 250 people attending every single one of the nine film screenings throughout the festival weekend. The audience was very diverse - Retirees, middle-aged churchgoers, soccer moms, young social activists, teenage kids and toddlers. The post-film discussions were very engaging, at times controversial and always very respectful. The first comment made after the first movie of the festival (Control Room) was by a young male in his late teens/early 20s who said "Like my parents, I have always been pro Bush and in support of the war in Iraq but this movie gave me a perspective I hadn't considered before." The organizers were pleased.

16 non-governmental organizations participated in the NGO Village and were all very pleased with the number of enthusiastic people they spoke to. The NGOs included CAWST, Light Up The World, Engineers Without Borders, Arusha Centre, Amnesty International, World Vision, Development and Peace, Ayudomos Foundation, and the United Nations Association of Calgary. The groups offered beautiful handicrafts from Guatemala and ethical Christmas gifts, as well as opportunities to sign petitions on various worthwhile causes. SPAN members sold copies of a new book entitled Change the World for Ten Bucks.

Some excellent speakers were invited to introduce the films and lead discussions after each film. Speakers included Carmen Duran, one of the subjects and filmmakers of the movie Maquiopolis who flew in from Mexico; Gary McPherson, an inspiring advocate for disability sports and rights who took time out of a busy Provincial leadership race to be present; Dave Taylor, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the riding of Calgary-Currie; Kyle Brown, formerly with the BBC and now an independent journalist; and Vicki Nzekwu of the Foundation for AIDS Control and Eradication (FACE).

With so many thought-provoking films, inspiring speakers, NGOs and others who are taking positive action, a really engaging environment was created at the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival. In fact, many movie-goers did not want to go home at the end of the night because they were too engrossed in interesting conversations.

Watch for the Second Annual Marda Loop Justice Film Festival to be even bigger and better.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Marda Loop Justice Film Festival

SPAN is collaborating on an exciting new event...

You are cordially invited to the inaugural Marda Loop Justice Film Festival taking place:

November 17 - 19, 2006

First Christian Reformed Church Auditorium
3818 - 14A St. SW, Calgary, Alberta

The three-day festival includes 9 quality films about social justice and human rights with the power to inspire, disturb and motivate people into action. Everyone is welcome. This is a non-denominational event and best of all it's FREE to attend.

See the website ( for the screening schedule.
Informal conversations are encouraged after each film and an NGO Village will provide opportunities to...
  • interact with and learn more about local and international grassroots / humanitarian organizations:
  • get involved in meaningful initiatives that lead to positive change; and
  • buy various artisan crafts from around the world.
SPAN wil lhave a booth in the NGO Village.

Feel free to distribute this notice widely. See you at the movies!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Next SPAN Meeting

The next SPAN meeting will follow the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) Annual General Meeting on Tues. Sept. 26. The CAWST AGM goes from 5:30-8:30. The SPAN meeting will largely be social in nature.

We will meet afterwards (8:30) at Chutney Restaurant and Bar in the:

Sunlife Plaza (112 - 4th Ave. SW) on the main floor to the east.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

SPAN Meeting Notes -- Tues., Aug 29, 2006

We had a good meeting Tuesday night (Aug 29)

Project Updates
- Young Managers Training: moving ahead slowly, Jason to prepare a strategy note and convene meeting first week of October

- Sustainable Transport: Natalie will convene group shortly

- Viral SD Marketing:
Several attendees agreed to try out an SD commitment (carrying a backpack for garbage, hosting a video showing, ...). Mark will convene group in September.

- Marda Loop Justice Film Fest (Nov 17-19): SPAN is working on 3 areas in support of this nine-film event: marketing, panel discussions and linking to local NGOs/opportunities to take action. We had a lively brainstorm on these subjects that generated several potential activities. Leor will be convening group shortly.

- Building A Local Living Economy: Darren has contacted several local businesses to take part in this. A member of the organization in Bellingham, WA has moved to Calgary and is keen to develop this further. Darren will be convening this group again shortly.

Upcoming Events in Calgary (use google for more information)

1. Clean Calgary - Master Composter training (weds beginning in mid Sept)

2. CAWST AGM with guest speakers Sept 26 location Sunlife Plaza (3rd ave and 1 st sw)

3. Movies that matter @ Engineered Air Theater Sept 11 - North Korea

4. James Woolsey @ ISEEE/U of C Sept 14

5. Guluwalk in support of ending child soldier recruitment in N Uganda - Sept 21

6. Arusha Happy hour sept 29

7. Hernando De Soto at U of C, Oct 3

8. David Swann MLA hosts talk on Bragg Creek forestry plans - Sept 14

9. Alberta Ballet Attitude - free performance/volunteer opportunities Oct 12. Contact

10. AB Green Party conference - Sept 30/Oct 1

11. Take Back the night March - Sept 16

12. Sustainable Calgary BBQ Sept 30 afternoon, location TBD - to celebrate Citizens' Agenda

Next Meeting
Will likely be on Tues Sept 26th but we will see to accomodate those attending the CAWST AGM.