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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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Sustainable New Year's Resolutions

Like so many people, I do love a fresh start, feeling that I can and will do better, and evolve who I am, becoming the best version of myself. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, I see that way too many of these resolutions revolve around losing weight or eating right, but what I see as truly transformative is living in alignment with our values.

That means living better for the planet - and for our own bodies, in fact, those two acts generally overlap. So, if this sounds like the year that you want to have, where your actions every day are working towards to future that you want, one that is sustainable for the planet AND for yourself, here are my tips on how to get there.

Guess what? It is actually pretty simple.

Yeah, so that sounds great, right? But how exactly do I live that out daily? Have you ever seen ads that talked about this concept...without trying to sell you something? Well, the reality, of course, is that we all consume material goods, food, and resources. But can we do...

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10 Last minute Eco-friendly Gifts

We have all been there. Christmas can be a busy time of year and I am always happy to have some last-minute gifts that I can give without having to go out to a store! So, here are some of my go-to last-minute gift ideas that are also great for the planet.

No need to get yourself overly stressed trying to find gifts and then feeling bad that you are doing something that goes against your values when you just get something for the sake of having a gift. Here are some easy solutions that have so many benefits. They are great for the planet because they are low-impact, they support small businesses, and they show others that we can do gifts sustainably.

1. Give an Eco-friendly Hobby

Ok, I have to admit, I am kind of in love with the idea of the meditative and tactile experience of spinning eco-friendly fibres. Spindle and Company is the brainchild of Kelly Mason, who lives in small-town rural Australia. Out of her own love of spinning and the slow and meditative qualities it brings,...

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The Wisdom of Wolves - Book Review

Jim and Jamie Dutcher take us into one of the most intimate living-alongside experiments with wolves ever undertaken. Through their constructed wolf pack of orphaned and captive wolves who are released into a large study area, we have the opportunity to see the interactions of wolves much more closely than in the wild.

While I whole-heartedly believe that wild animals must remain in the wild, this scenario seemed like a humane and justifiable program to allow a more wild existence for previously captive animals and also allow for the long-term close observation.

A Deeply Intimate Glimpse

The result is the most tender and intimate look at a group of animals, where we get daily accounts of their interactions, movement, and behaviour. The result is an understanding of these wild animals and how clearly they express emotions, forge relationships with one another and face the ups and downs of pack life, aging and social interactions.

From their work, the Dutchers have helped to identify...

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This is What Smart Growth Looks Like

It’s no secret that North American cities have some serious urban planning issues which jeopardize the environmental sustainability and overall livability of urban areas. For example, urban sprawl, the rapid expansion of development on the peripheries of cities, is extremely common. This is an issue, as this new development is usually characterized by low density residential housing and single-use zoning, therefore increasing reliance on private automobiles for transportation. With suburban sprawl, we often see inner cities deteriorate as social inequality increases.

So, how do we remedy these issues? With land use and development practices that work to reduce urban sprawl and promote healthy, liveable, and enjoyable cities. Smart Growth is a term which is used to describe this type of sustainable development. As urban populations continue to increase, we need to plan our communities in a way that is environmentally, socially, and economically conscious. In other words, in a...

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The Ups and Downs of the Sharing Economy

It’s funny, yes, we want to be independent as teens and young adults. That is what we strive for, and that is what older adults want to retain, right? And there certainly is value in independence, but are we forgetting that there is value in doing things together? We have evolved to form social groups for a reason...because collaboration and connection make our lives better and easier!

When we consider the aspects of independence that relate to owning things - like our space, but more importantly stuff, there are aspects of this trend that are deeply unsustainable. As we are collectively seeking to lower our footprint on the earth by living lighter, sharing material goods can be a great part of the solution!

Just think about all the unused power tools that sit in our garages and all the books we’ve purchased but probably aren’t going to read again. When you think about it, it really doesn’t make sense for every individual household within a community to own...

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Toy Libraries are a Step Towards Sustainable Parenting

People are starting to realize that sharing might be the best solution to society’s overconsumption habit. That’s why we are seeing things like tool lending libraries, car sharing companies, clothing swaps, and carpool apps gaining popularity. You might actually be surprised at all the different items people are sharing nowadays.

For example, did you know that toy libraries are a thing? Just like a regular library with books, toy libraries allow you to check out and borrow toys to bring home. The toys in a toy library are carefully selected, ensuring that there are plenty to choose from for all ages and abilities! Whether you are looking for play mats for a baby or Lego blocks for an older child, toy libraries are likely to have it all.

 And of course, the toys are cleaned and kept in good condition so that they offer each new child a fun and safe play experience.

How toy libraries work

Many toy libraries will charge a small annual or monthly fee that allows you to...

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Finding Reciprocity - Braiding Sweetgrass Book Review

Braiding Sweetgrass is lyrical and full of fascinating botanical information. But most importantly, it calls us back to find reciprocity in our relationship with the earth.

Many people had recommended this book to me before I actually got around to it, but I am so glad that I did. It is a gorgeous account of the natural world and our place in it. It is in deep contrast with so many other environmental books that speak only of the grim and dire circumstances that we are in, which certainly we are, but it paints a picture of the natural relationship of reciprocity between humans and the natural world.

Robin Wall Kimmerer describes herself as "a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation." Her book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants is time well spent.

This is no fast read, in fact, I highly recommend taking your sweet time with it. I began the read in July listening as I picked...

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Cleaning your home shouldn't dirty our waterways

Do you care about protecting and preserving your lakes? If so, this blog post is for you! Did you know that there are many different products that can negatively impact the health of lakes near you? Actually, it's not only the products themselves that can be an issue, but also their packaging as well.

While it’s true that lakes can sometimes be out of sight, out of mind. When you’re not visiting your cabin, camping, ice fishing, or partaking in any other fun lakeside activities, the health of your favourite lake might not be on your mind. But that doesn’t mean that your actions don’t have negative consequences.

The products we use, especially cleaning products such as soaps, detergents, and shampoos, have the ability to enter our sewage systems when they are rinsed down the drain and become wastewater. Now, sewage plants are supposed to treat wastewater and make it safe for reuse when possible. However, it is sometimes possible that wastewater can flow...

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Using nature to manage human wastes

So what exactly happens to the human waste that is flushed down our toilets every day? Well, for most of us, it goes to a wastewater treatment plant (unless you live in a city that still dumps human waste directly into the ocean - let’s hope not!)

These Wastewater treatment plants tend to be very large, very smelly buildings (yes, I have toured them with my students). Where garbage is removed, solids are settled out and oil is skimmed off and microbes get to work at breaking down the organics and nutrients until the liquid is clean enough to be sent back into a nearby river or lake or the ocean.

However, there are viable alternatives that actually mimic nature and do the same job - while also creating other benefits.

Water of Life

Water is one of our most valuable natural resources. In fact, a person can live for up to one month without food but only about one week without water. However, freshwater is not always easily accessible. While nearly 70 percent of the world is...

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How to protect biodiversity in our oceans

What comes to mind when you think of environmental and wildlife protection? Do you think about conservation efforts such as rewilding and shoreline restoration? What about amazing organizations that save the big cats in Africa or create all-women anti-poaching units?

These efforts are so important when it comes to preserving all life on earth, whether it be our beloved wildlife or old-growth forests. However, environmental preservation means expanding our efforts to marine life and habitats as well!

Seafood certification initiatives are certainly a part of protecting our waters, as they help eco-conscious consumers determine which seafood products have been caught or raised in a sustainable manner. But what more can be done to conserve life under water?

The answer is marine protected areas! Marine protected areas are areas of seas, oceans, estuaries, or inland waters such as the Great Lakes that have been set aside for long-term conservation aims.

Marine Protected Area...

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