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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

Green Burials

Ok, I know, most of us don’t really want to think about death and the logistics of what happens when someone dies, however, the reality is that there are numerous environmental issues with the way we handle funerals and burial. And, there are plenty of ways that we can do better! It turns out there is a growing green burial movement to help us out.

Death is a fact of life that is dealt with in many different ways across different cultures and religions. In Western society, funerals often include flowers, expensive caskets, often embalming of the deceased, cremations, cemetery plots, and more. These funeral elements are chosen in order to pay respect to the deceased, but it is also important to consider whether these elements reflect the wishes and values of the deceased.

Not only do caskets, flowers, and other embellishments cost thousands of dollars, but they also have quite a significant negative impact on the environment. Traditional funerals aren’t green, but that...

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Wellbeing and Ourselves

We live in a fast paced, often tumultuous society in which we are confronted with new problems and stressors on a near daily basis. Whether it be challenges we face at work, conflicts with family or friends, or much larger scale issues like the climate crisis, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel helpless.

It can be difficult to comprehend the effects these challenges have on us and our feelings. They can cause us to feel stressed, anxious and unfulfilled in our relationships with ourselves, our loved ones and our surroundings. It is understandable that we are often left thinking “What I am missing? There must be something more.”

Wellbeing

The wellbeing model integrates multiple aspects of our lives, promoting a more holistic approach to leading a fulfilling life. As opposed to being a state of mind or a response to stimuli, wellbeing is a much broader concept of what it means to flourish, and what is necessary to allow us to do so.

Wellbeing has value in itself...

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Hygge - more than cocoa by candlelight

Right now you have everything you need to be in bliss.” – Anthony de Mello

At one point or another, we have all experienced a feeling of contentment and gratitude for the small comforts in our lives. This warm and fuzzy feeling can be described by the Danish word “Hygge.”

After much publicity around the word, hygge has been recently adopted into the English language. It is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Although there is no direct English translation, the concept and feeling of hygge is a useful lesson that we can learn to foster.

Being able to assign a word to this feeling can help us appreciate, take notice of, and make an effort to incorporate more hygge into our lives!

The word hygge has been a part of Danish culture since the 19th century when it first appeared in writing. Hygge can be used as an adjective, a noun, and a...

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What you need to know about consumer goods

We all have a vague understanding that consumer culture is linked to environmental degradation and climate change, but how do we get around this, especially when we live in the real world, with birthdays, and Christmas, social pressures to shop and often a lack of easy to access eco-friendly alternatives. 

I like to do a little time traveling before purchasing anything. 

Well, there are a few basics to consider, I like to do a little time traveling before purchasing anything. Instead of just thinking about price and value, think about where that good came from AND where it will end up when you are finished with it. That can put the "sale" item into a much more realistic light of its true cost.

But, what exactly are the issues associated with consumer goods?

Over-Consumption of Material Goods and Throw-Away Culture

Consumer goods are products that are found on store shelves and bought for consumption by the average consumer. Consumer goods can be anything from food,...

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Environmental Justice goes beyond Climate Justice

Environmental justice is a social movement that acknowledges the disproportionate burden of environmental damage, loss of land, poor living and working conditions and risk placed on people of colour, the global south, low-income countries, Indigenous peoples around the world, and marginalized groups.

The modern environmental justice movement emerged in the United States in the early 1980s, and calls for the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens across all communities, regardless of socioeconomic status and seeks to address environmental discrimination.

Environmental justice will be achieved when everyone can enjoy equal degrees of protection from environmental and health hazards as well as access to meaningful involvement in the environmental decision-making process. Environmental issues must be discussed within the context of racism.

Environmental discrimination and racism affect predominantly Black and Indigenous communities across North America. The U.S....

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Want to be 10 Percent Happier?

I see a lot of people - especially professional women, mid-career with plenty to manage at home and at work, just really struggling. And I have been there too - heck, every other week! When I was wrestling with the stress of life back at work after my second go with cancer my counselor asked me if I meditated. I said, "No, I have tried, but I either hyperventilate or can't really clear my mind."

She suggested I try one of the Apps for meditation and I did. I use Headspace every day now, and it has fundamentally changed my life. No, it is not all better all at once, it is not a panacea, but I am more at ease - more content. And what could be better than that? Like Dan Harris' book about his journey to meditation, I am definitely "10% Happier".

Incorporating practices into your life that encourage the development of your mind-body connection can result in significant mental and physical health benefits.

Tuning into your body and emotions can be achieved through practices such as...

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A Fashion Dilemma

You might find yourself looking in your closet and pondering the fact that you have nothing to wear. No matter the occasion, a shopping spree might sound like a fun day. While buying new clothes may be fun, that fun comes with a price.
 
Fast fashion is an emerging concept that is exactly what it sounds like: it is an industry that replicates catwalk trends and high-end fashion designs and mass produces at a low cost. Fashion and celebrity culture have been reinforced through social media and the demand for trendier clothes has skyrocketed.
 
The perks of online shopping and retail stores all around the world have made us look like runway models. The competitive fashion industry infused with globalization has brought us cheaper clothes sometimes cheaper than a fancy latté.
 
 
According to Greenpeace, the sales of clothing have almost doubled in the last decade, but the average lifespan of clothing has reduced dramatically. The rise in clothing and...
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The importance of small wins in the action pyramid

Don't get me wrong, I love well-integrated initiatives that create lasting change, but what I see ALL THE TIME are people struggling with knowing what action to take - and that leads to inaction, or too many projects started and nothing finished. Without finishing and realizing the end goal, we deprive ourselves and the world of the benefits of these initiatives.

A time and a place

So, there is a time and a place for well-defined, small concise projects that realize their modest little goals - and get the win! These small wins are actually vital in realizing larger goals. They provide us with momentum, and a sense of accomplishment, individually and collectively. And they can be really useful as demonstration projects that set us up for success when it comes to larger projects.

I like to think of these small wins as being the base of the Action Pyramid. They are at the bottom because there are lots of them, they are easy to achieve, accessible, and they save money and even time and...

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Rethinking E-waste

Sure, we want to do what is right when it comes to recycling and disposal of our electronics, but for many people, electronics recycling can be a bit of a grey area. It’s hard to know exactly what to do with your e-waste or outdated electronics. That's why so many people find they have a drawer or box full of old electronics that they haven't quite figured out what to do with.

So, here is my quick guide to help you find the best way to manage your e-waste responsibly.

E-waste 101

First, let's just cover off what we mean when we are talking about e-waste. E-waste, or Electronic waste, is electronic equipment that is no longer wanted or no longer works. When electronic devices have reached the end of their useful life, for us, they become electronic waste. But, that doesn't mean they are no longer useful!

Keep these devices out of the landfill!

Sending your electronic waste to the landfill can cause serious environmental harm. Most electronic devices contain toxic heavy...

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Beyond less bad using Cradle to Cradle

So many of the so-called sustainable living ideas and suggestions really only scratch the surface. They are superficial ideas that only slightly stall the inevitable linear model of resource extraction - material goods - waste. Even the feel-good efforts of making fleece jackets out of recycled pop bottles only slightly delays that plastic's inevitable fate of becoming waste and ending up in the landfill.

That's where solutions that create systems-level change come in as important real fixes for the systems that aren't working. Cradle to Cradle is one of these concepts that bring our human-made systems into alignment with natural systems by mimicking the natural world.

The origins of Cradle to Cradle

The ‘Cradle to Cradle’ concept was coined by Michael Braungart and William McDonough and is discussed in detail in their book ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things’ published in 2002.

In short, the Cradle to Cradle concept is a reinvigorated way of...

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