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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

Is sustainable wellbeing the answer to eco-overwhelm?

So many of us feel a deep desire to create change in the world, but it is often just such an enormous task that we can feel paralyzed with overwhelm. We can feel like we don't have the energy in our day to add something else and yet know that the world needs to shift to be more sustainable, to make real systemic change to deal with the climate crisis, species loss, and the plastic pollution crisis.
 
When we feel this way it means that we don't know where to begin, and when we do take action it might not feel right or like something that we can keep up for the long run. That's where Sustainable Wellbeing comes in. This is exactly the place where we need to focus on the benefits of finding actions that align with living well for the planet, for society and for our personal wellness.
 
That is the concept of Sustainable Wellbeing.
 
So, how do we get there?
 
Let’s first start with sustainability. The concept of sustainability can be vague.
 
When we...
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The secret to getting the most out of your time in nature

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the body and soul.” – John Muir

Humans have been connected to nature since the dawn of time, but as our lifestyles continue to change and evolve, people are spending less time outdoors.

This means a feeling of a lost or broken connection between us and the natural world. We sometimes think of nature as being quite separate from us, and just - out there - in the woods or what we see while on vacation. but the reality is that nature is all around us all the time, and we interact directly with it, we are just not aware of these interactions.

Really, do you think about the sun's energy in that spaghetti sauce? Or did you consider the role of the bees in pollinating your apple? Probably not.

The same thing is often true of our time spent outdoors. We are often more aware of the need for sunscreen or insect repellent than we are of the intricate web of...

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Stop Chasing and Start Cultivating Happiness

Sometimes it seems like western culture is obsessed with happiness. Perhaps you know people who are almost like adrenaline junkies chasing their happiness. But I think a big part of the problem here is that we have a poor understanding of what happiness is and that leads us to pursue what is inherently fleeting.

So, if you really want those good feelings on a long-term basis, regardless of what life brings us, that is possible, but we need to revise the way that we define happiness.

It can be hard to know where to begin when we try to define happiness. With so many different definitions out there, and the highly personal aspects of the concept of being happy, defining the word happiness presents a unique challenge.

It is also important to understand the meaning of a few other terms within the context of happiness and greater overall wellness to better understand what we mean when we say we are happy, and what we are really seeking in our quest for overall wellbeing.

Happiness

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How Ecofeminism shows us the path to a sustainable future

"You cannot step twice into the same river." - Heraclitus

We too are the embodiment of change, our experiences change us inwardly and outwardly, and, as it turns out, the same is true of the environmental movement. Where we once talked about sustainability being related to ecological, economic and social, we have an evolving understanding of sustainability.

Where we once may have been silent on the relationship between social justice and sustainability, we now voice that they are integrally linked. And these connections can be expansive and help us to understand on a new level the roots of the problems and, hopefully, gain insight into the solutions.

The concept of Ecofeminism is not new, however, we can continue to be informed by looking at the issues from a feminist perspective.

Ecofeminism is described as the development of new consciousness for all of life and was first introduced by Francoise d’Eaubonne, a French feminist, in 1974.

Ecofeminism highlights that the...

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Passing Along Wisdom and Cultural Heritage

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

Wisdom and cultural heritage are inherited and passed down from generation to generation. The knowledge and cultural heritage that is passed down creates a sense of belonging and strengthens cultural ties between generations.

Oral traditions, skills, belongings, languages, social practices, and natural environments are all part of cultural heritage and wisdom. They are often learned from previous generations and are considered an integral part of our identity.

The elements that are shared between generations represent the memories and knowledge of the past, as well as their importance in the present moment and in the future. Much of our knowledge of how to live sustainably originates in the principles and wisdom passed down from our ancestors.

Traditions and nuggets of wisdom are passed down not by accident, but because they are deemed...

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Collaborate with Nature through Land Art

Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature” – Cicero

The environmental art movement emerged in the 1960s and 1970s alongside increasing citizen awareness of environmental issues as well as the human impact on the environment.

During these times, many artists were looking for ways to showcase the human connection to the natural world. There are a variety of reasons why artists choose to engage in land art such as the desire to draw attention to environmental issues, work in harmony with nature, or challenge the traditional concept of art production.

What is land art?

Although art has depicted natural scenes for centuries, land art is unique in the way that the art piece is nature itself.

Unlike traditional art pieces which utilize paints, varnishes, metals, plastics, and other man-made materials that have the potential to harm the environment and human health, land art does not have a negative environmental impact.

Land art uses materials that are...

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What Nature Does for our Bodies and Minds

We seek out nature for many reasons – for recreation, quiet and solitude, exercise, nature views, and plenty more. But did you know that nature has measurable positive effects on our physiological and psychological wellbeing?

You may have noticed that spending time in the outdoors leaves you feeling refreshed with an improved mood. You might even find yourself seeking out nature during times when you are stressed, upset, or feeling under the weather.

The biophilia hypothesis is the idea that humans have an innate tendency to seek connections and associate with nature. The term biophilia literally translates to “love of life.” American biologist Edward O. Wilson proposed in his work Biophilia (1984) that the tendency for humans seek out life and lifelike processes is biologically ingrained.

Throughout the course of our evolution, the natural environment has been conducive to our survival and enhanced our physical, emotional, and intellectual fitness. We depended...

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How to build Climate Resilience

Climate change is already underway despite any efforts we may take to mitigate its impact or cease environmentally-destructive behaviours and activities.

This means that we should not only be reducing our environmental impact, but become resilient to the impacts of climate change as well. Countries, cities, communities, and individuals need to be able to cope with extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and other climate impacts.

According to the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, climate resilience is “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate. Improving climate resilience involves assessing how climate change will create new, or alter current, climate-related risks, and taking steps to better cope with these risks.”

Resiliency really is key to building a safe and sustainable future.

Resilient cities and communities

Resiliency must be tackled at all levels. In the public realm, it is...

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The Gardening Life with Lori and Keith Michaelson

Want to be transported to a gorgeous fall day for a tour of a regular city yard where Lori and Keith Michaelson grow dozens of varieties of vegetables, beans, berries, and even fruit in a city that gets only 120 frost-free days each year? It is an urban farm that not only produces food to be enjoyed all year round but is a connecting point for the community's kids and neighbours.
 
It might surprise you, to find the variety of foods that can be produced from a garden in this climate and some of the edibles may also be new to you - Hosta sprouts anyone?
 
 
 
So, I rode my bike over to Lori and Keith's house for a tour of the garden - yes, that is my beautiful salvaged bike there in the photo below! We started out in the backyard (or back 40) as Keith likes to say. After all, he does have a background in agriculture, so this might seem like a natural trajectory, but, I think that he would agree that most of what he and Lori do with their gardening has come...
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How to use Forest Bathing to Manage Eco-anxiety

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

Forest bathing is a mental and physical wellbeing exercise that emerged in Japan in the 1980s. The Japanese name, shinrin-yoku, can be directly translated into the English words “forest” and “bath.”

This exercise, as its name suggests, involves immersing yourself in nature and connecting to your surroundings through sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Unlike many organized outdoor activities that involve physical exercises such as hiking, sports, swimming, or jogging, forest bathing only requires your presence in nature.

Although forest bathing may seem intuitive, our growing disconnect from nature means that we are not taking the time to be present in nature as often as we should.

And...

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