The Northern Climate Exchange up at Yukon College and the city of Whitehorse, along with other organizations, are creating a new Whitehorse Green Guide.
It is so green it will not even be printed on paper, instead it will be internet based.
At the moment it is just at the information gathering stage. This is being done through an online survey of businesses and organizations.
The intent of the survey is to use the information submitted to create a web-based search tool that will help Yukoners shop for green products and services available in Whitehorse.
Now the definition of green is debatable.
This guide will focus on goods and services that are energy efficient, get greenhouse gas emissions down, reduce the use of toxins, and contribute towards waste reduction.
The purpose of the guide is to highlight these goods and products and identify where they can be purchased in Whitehorse.
Some companies already offer green items and might not even know it.
If a store is selling EnergyStar certified appliances, those are considered environmentally better than regular appliances because they use less energy.
There is a whole certification system done at the manufacturing level to determine which fridge or clothes-washer gets the EnergyStart stamp of approval.
The concept of the Whitehorse Green Guide would be to list, among other things, those stores that offer EnergyStar certified appliances.
Another example would be a business that offers certified organic food.
The production of organic foods uses little to no man-made pesticides or herbicides, and thus results in fewer toxins.
This is just one of many attributes in the green guide that qualifies products as a green option
Any business selling certified organic vegetables, for example, would thus be included in the green guide.
There are similar types of certifications on a wide variety of not only goods but also services.
Some businesses are licensed by the Yukon government to safely dispose of hazardous waste from other businesses.
An example of this would be a company that has to dispose of contaminated antifreeze.
Currently they have to talk to the Yukon Department of Environment and see which companies have the correct permits and approvals to pick up and transport down south the contaminated liquid.
With the green guide it would be just a quick matter of surfing the Internet.
The Whitehorse Green Guide is collaboration between the Northern Climate ExChange, Yukon College, City of Whitehorse, Energy Solutions Centre, Yukon Environment’s Climate Change Secretariat, and the Yukon Federal Council.
Do not worry if you have not heard of some of these organizations.
The important thing is that they have anticipated the need for a Green Guide to Whitehorse.
To gather the information for the online green guide search-tool, the organizers at the Northern Climate ExChange are asking businesses and organizations who believe they offer green goods and services to fill out an online survey.
Information collected from the survey will be used to develop the green guide.
If you are a business or organization who offers green products or services in Whitehorse, please visit the NCE website at www.taiga.net/nce to find a link to the survey.
If there are any questions contact the Northern Climate ExChange at Yukon College at 668-8862.
The survey link for this first edition of the Whitehorse Green Guide will be closed March 15, 2010.
The green guide itself will be available in April 2010.
Lewis Rifkind is a Whitehorse based part-time environmentalist.