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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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Can GivingTuesday Elevate Humanity?

The holiday season is all too often overtaken by the messages and tradition of consumerism. But what if we could break away from this consumptive habit and get back to what is meaningful? Could we use this as an opportunity to do important work? Could we focus our attention on elevating humanity rather than just buying more stuff?

As the holiday seasons approach and our minds shift into gift-giving mode, it is easy to become hyper-aware of all the sales being offered on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. After all, great deals can be tough to ignore! Despite the fact that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other deals are advertised throughout the holidays, it is important to remember that this time of year isn’t about physical items. Instead, it is a time of giving, volunteering, and spreading kindness to others! In order to encourage people to do good and be generous, GivingTuesday was created!

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that occurs every...

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Ten Ways to Give Eco-friendly Gifts

As holidays, celebrations, and birthdays approach, many of us start to think about what gifts to give our friends and family. Picking out a gift for a loved one is a great way to show them how much they mean to you. That being said, I’m sure you’re well aware that gift-giving can also lead to the purchasing of unnecessary items, create waste, and overall have a negative impact on the environment.

Luckily, there are many ways to give gifts in an environmentally responsible manner! Although you may initially think that green gift giving significantly narrows down your options, there are plenty of ways to give green, and live out your values. Gift giving is also a beautiful way to connect others to new and unique Eco-friendly items and suppliers that they may not have known about. Besides that, it feels AMAZING when the gifts that we receive also help others in need, or help to save an endangered species, or plant trees, or support small Eco-friendly businesses! Wins all...

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Saving the Big Cats in Africa

The continent of Africa has a reputation for its exciting wildlife. Animals such as rhinos, giraffes, zebras, elephants, and big cats, arguably the most majestic of them all, call this continent home. There are three species of big cats in Africa: the African Lion (Panthera leo), African Leopard (Panthera pardus), and the African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus).

Unfortunately, the existence of these feline species is being challenged by a variety of threats – most of which are caused by humans. The African Lion, Leopard, and Cheetah all have an IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) status of “vulnerable,” meaning that their populations are rapidly declining, leading to expectations of entering “endangered” status.

Threats to big cat populations

The population declines of the African big cat species can be largely attributed to the fact that their habitats are being threatened. Growing human populations in Africa mean that there are more...

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Green Salon Certification

What if there were a way to pamper ourselves with a haircut or other salon services without feeling guilty about the impacts on the environment? Well, now we can - and the salon owners and professionals also benefit from going green!

It is no secret that salons, whether they cater to hair, nails, or other personal care services, have a significant impact on the environment. With the wide variety of products, chemicals, packaging, and disposables that are used in the salon industry, it is easy to see how they contribute to environmental issues such as water use, pollution and waste production.

If you take a moment to think about it, it becomes obvious that there are significant environmental issues that are accompanied by these types of businesses. That being said, sometimes you may feel that it is necessary to visit a salon in order to receive a professional service. After all, the DIY haircut is not for everyone!

Luckily, there is a way that you as a customer can feel less guilty...

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Buying Green Without the Greenwashing

Whether we like it or not, consumerism is a part of our lives that can’t entirely be avoided. Of course, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of stuff you purchase (reduce, reuse, recycle for example), there will be times where you have to buy things new. So, we want to be responsible consumers, but how do we know that what we are buying is truly green?

Whether you are purchasing a personal care product, groceries, or paper for your printer, there is a way to ensure that the items you choose are produced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Such items can be identified by their green product certifications! Green certification logos are displayed on product labels, allowing consumers to recognize which products adhere to their values.

Greenwashing

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you are trying to decipher all the different labels, certifications, and claims that catch your eye when shopping. As eco-friendly products increase in popularity, so...

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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 dying. And, there are 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 usually include flowers, expensive coffins, 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 coffins, 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 doesn’t mean that...

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Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities

As we get older, we must make important decisions regarding our living situations. While some people may opt to move into a seniors home or a facility that has been designed specifically for older populations, many people choose to stay in their homes as long as possible, otherwise known as aging in place. Naturally occurring retirement communities (also known as NORCs) can be thought of as a combination of aging in place and facilities that are designed for seniors.

Naturally occurring retirement communities are defined as communities with a large population of older adults that came about organically. Naturally occurring retirement communities often develop in three main ways. Aging in place may result in a naturally occurring retirement community if many people moved into the community when they were younger and decide to stay as they age.

They may also occur through processes of emigration and immigration. Regarding emigration, naturally occurring retirement communities may...

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Climate Cuisine

When you’re picking up food at the grocery store or farmer’s market, what influences your decisions about what food to buy? Some considerations you may be taking into account include the price, availability, taste, as well as environmental impact of the food item in question. As our climate continues to change, it is important to consider how our food choices impact the environment.

Environmental Impacts

Although something as small as choosing what to eat for dinner doesn’t seem like it would have a large impact, food is responsible for 26% of greenhouse gas emissions. There are four key elements that contribute to food emissions:

  1. Land use: significant amounts of land are required in order to grow crops and keep livestock. Agricultural land often displaces forests and grasslands, therefore resulting in loss of habitats and increased emissions.
  2. Crop production: the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery emissions, and methane emissions from livestock...
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Jane's Walks

Who is Jane, and why are we interested in her walks? Well, the Jane we are talking about here is Jane Jacobs, the Canadian - American author and urban activist whose thinking and writing helped to reshape our ideas about the urban ideals and what cities can be. These walks help to bring us closer to our cities in understanding their history, significance and beauty.

No matter how much you think you know about your city, there’s always something new and interesting to learn or discover! Cities are highly nuanced, each one drastically different than the next in terms of culture, history, residents, and little quirks that make them unique. Around each street corner there is something you never knew existed or a story you have never heard.

Take some time to learn more about the city in which you live, observe the ongoing activity, and reflect on your interactions with your city by attending a Jane’s Walk.

What are Jane's Walks?

Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized...

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Co-op Business Model

Do you have a Co-op near you? Perhaps it is a grocery store or gas station or maybe a clothing retailer. Have you ever thought about the name Co-op and how it means that this business is different from others in its sector? It does things differently because it bases decisions on not just the economics, but also on what serves its membership, community and workers best. Perhaps that Co-op business model is worth a closer look!

A co-op, otherwise known as a co-operative, is defined by the International Co-operative Alliance as an

“autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.”

Co-operatives are businesses which are community-focused instead of profit-focused. Although there is still a need to make a profit in order to stay afloat, decisions that are made within co-operatives seek to balance the need for profit with the...

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