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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

How to save the planet one flush at a time - Dual Flush Toilets

Ok, so it may not be the complete answer to our environmental issues, but dual flush toilets do go a long way in helping reduce the pressure on fresh water consumption. And, they work so well, you will never turn back. Many years ago, my husband, being the romantic that he is, surprised me with a present - yes, it was a dual flush toilet! He installed it while I was out and surprised me with it when I returned. I was teaching a course on Green Building and Planning and had wanted one for our home, knowing that we could improve on the standard 6L flush toilet that we had.

Reasons to make the change

It may not be the first thought you have when it comes to making eco-friendly choices in the home, but it is an important one. When we consider the growing regions of the world that are water-stressed, and this is expected to increase with climate change, flushing away waste should not be one of our largest uses of freshwater. Also consider that the more water we send to the sewage...

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LifeStraw

Photo credit: LifeStraw

Turning on the tap and being able to access safe and drinkable water is a privilege that some of us may not realize we have. Despite the fact that having access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use has been declared a human right by the United Nations, many people are living without this essential need being met. LifeStraw is a brand that works to make clean water accessible for all through their water filtration and purification devices. LifeStraw water filters are designed by Vestergaard Fransen, a Swiss company that manufactures public health tools in developing countries. The filters were originally developed in 1994 when LifeStraw partnered with the Carter Center to design a mesh filter that would remove Guinea worm larvae from drinking water. Guinea worm disease is a parasitic infection that is transmitted through water and causes the host excruciating pain. At the time of the partnership...

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Home Energy Audits

Have you ever been surprised by the amount of money you spend on your energy bills? Despite changing some of your habits, such as remembering to turn off the lights and unplug appliances, you may find that your energy bills only decrease slightly, if at all! Sometimes energy usage has less to do with your behaviour and more to do with the energy efficiency of your home. If this is the case, it is highly beneficial to conduct a home energy audit.

What are home energy audits?

A home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment, is a way of determining how your home performs in terms of its energy efficiency. Home energy audits are typically conducted by an auditor from a company that specializes in energy audits. The auditor will assess various factors of your home in order to determine the level of energy efficiency as well as identify any opportunities for upgrades you may wish to make. Some of the things an auditor may look at include what kind of insulation you have in...

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Nap Rooms in the Workplace

Have you ever found yourself nodding off at your desk or falling asleep on the job? While this can be embarrassing if caught, some workplaces are actually encouraging their employees to take naps during the day! Napping at work might sound unproductive, but in reality, the negative effects you may be experiencing due to lack of sleep might be causing your performance to decrease.

Some symptoms of not getting enough sleep include lack of concentration, headaches, irritability, and reduced ability to remember and keep track of things. In the long term, sleep deprivation can cause serious health issues such as hypertension, heart attacks, and a weakened immune system. While making sleep a priority and getting a full 7- 8 hours is one way to reduce these negative effects, taking a nap during the day is another option!

Companies with nap rooms/pods

People’s lives are often fast-paced, resulting in seemingly not enough hours in the day. With so many errands to run and tasks to...

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Community Supported Agriculture

If you’ve eaten locally grown produce, you’ll know that it tastes much more flavourful and fresher than anything that has been imported to the grocery store. This is due to the fact that local produce is not picked before it is ripe, it travels short distances, and many local farms forgo the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. How can you go about obtaining local produce? While farmer’s markets and growing your own fruits and vegetables are always an option, you may want to look into local farms that offer Community Supported Agriculture programs!

What is Community Supported Agriculture?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a process that involves farms growing and distributing their healthy and nutritious produce, which is often organic, to members of the community. Community members are able to select a CSA farm of their choice and pay for a “share” at the beginning of the growing season. These funds go towards the equipment, materials, and...

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Carpool Apps

Carpooling is a great way to get around, as long as you can do it in a manner that is safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Carpooling allows you to reduce your environmental footprint while still getting exactly where you need to be in a time-efficient manner! This combination of characteristics can be difficult to find with other methods of transportation.

The trouble with transportation

There are many different ways to get from place to place. Some people may drive private vehicles, take public transportation, ride a bicycle, or walk in order to get where they need to be. While choosing public transportation, walking, or cycling can be a great way to save money and reduce your environmental impact by reducing your carbon emissions, there are bound to be times when it does not suit your needs. You may find that these methods of transportation can be somewhat unreliable when you need to travel to a destination that is out of the way, stick to a rigid timeline, or travel with another...

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Digital Detox

Do you know that feeling of losing time when you are immersed in technology? Or perhaps feeling a little groggy after too much time with screens? Sure, we all can fall into this trap. Many of us are using electronic devices and looking at various screens for large portions of our day. This may have increased due to working remotely, or just a habit that has crept into our modern lives.

Whether you find yourself scrolling through social media throughout the day, binge watching television, or sending off dozens of emails and texts, there is a good chance that you are letting electronics take up time that you could be spending on other things that you value more. While some forms of electronic use can be vital to your day for work or communications, it can be beneficial to take some time away from the digital world and regroup.

This can be done through a digital detox which entails setting boundaries regarding your electronic device usage or physically separating yourself from your...

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Green Buildings

What is so great about Green Buildings?

Green Buildings are rapidly increasing in popularity not only because of the imperative to reduce our ecological footprint and carbon emissions, but also because of the low-cost of maintaining these buildings and the extremely high satisfaction among occupants. Not to mention the often highly appealing aesthetics of these high performance buildings.

“Green” is a term that is applied to buildings which have been built and designed in a way that is resource-efficient and environmentally friendly. Green buildings have a reduced impact on the environment, a positive impact on occupant health, and cost less to maintain. As climate change is considered one of the biggest issues of our time, there is an urgent need to alter the way we are currently living. According to the United Nations Environment Program, commercial and residential buildings are responsible for 36% of global energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions...

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Sidewalks

Sidewalks for social justice and environmental change

While sidewalks may seem like a mundane part of everyday life, they play an important role in our cities and suburbs and daily life. Whether you are walking to work, or to the bus, going to the mailbox, or going for a jog, a sidewalk provides you with a safe way to get where you need to go. Unfortunately, lack of sidewalks or poorly maintained sidewalks disproportionately impacts seniors, low-income and Black and Indigenous communities. The lack of a safe alternative to get around on foot has real consequences not just in our attempts to take action against climate change, but it is also a source of social inequity.

The history of sidewalks

Although sidewalks seem to be a staple part of the built environment, they haven’t been around forever! Before sidewalks were invented in the 19th century, pedestrians had to share the road with animals, carriages, wagons, and cars. As you can imagine, pedestrians were at risk of danger...

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Public Transportation

The secret of great cities

It is a simple secret to most of the world’s greatest, most livable cities. They all have fast, efficient and affordable public transportation systems. Why is public transportation so key to making a city great for living? It means that getting to where you need to go with public transportation is smooth, stress-free and far better than in an individual vehicle. This makes the road less clogged, even as populations grow, it reduces carbon emissions, and traffic accidents and promotes better air quality. It really can be a dream come true, but why are we still not sold on it in many countries?

The great equalizer

Getting around from place to place in an affordable manner is vital to everyone, and when transportation cost or availability is a barrier to low-income families taking preferred employment or getting to school, we have another form of social injustice at play. When a trip that takes just 20 minutes by car takes 2 hours by public transit and...

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