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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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Want to make a difference in the world? Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders are, and you can too!

Most of us want to make a positive impact in the world, but we are not always sure how to do so, and our lives tend to already be pretty full and busy. But there are some organizations that we can rely on. They are already on the ground, and doing the important work; all we need to do is support them in whatever way we can.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical aid and healthcare is a topic that has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind. It is clear just how important access to proper healthcare is. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to access medical aid. This is a truth that Médecins Sans Frontières is trying to change.

Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF, also referred to in English as Doctors Without Borders, is an international humanitarian non-governmental organization that provides medical care and saves lives for those living in conflict zones, natural disasters, and epidemics.

This Nobel Prize-winning emergency humanitarian medical...

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7 Best Calvin and Hobbes Quotes on the Meaning of Life

Do you remember and love Bill Watterson’s iconic Calvin & Hobbes comic strip? I know that my husband A.J. and I have long loved the world of the young boy Calvin and his stuffed Tiger, Hobbes. They manage to show us the world as it is - usually as they careen down a hill in a little red wagon or play a vigorous game of Calvin ball.

The insights they bring, even after multiple re-readings throughout the years have helped me sleep better at night and even feel like I can be a better human being.

In case you are unfamiliar with Calvin & Hobbes, the comic strip centres around a six-year-old boy named Calvin and his imaginary stuffed tiger named Hobbes. Together, this inseparable pair makes many observations about life, the state of the world, philosophy, and everything in between!

Calvin & Hobbes was first published on November 18, 1985 and could be found in over 2,400 different newspapers worldwide. Watterson retired in 1995, but his comics and their life lessons...

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Where the wild horses run - Sable Island, Canada

Have you heard of Sable Island? There is a good chance you haven’t, as Sable Island National Park Reserve is a small Canadian island that is located 300 kilometers southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast. Despite its small size, Sable Island has an interesting history, unique vegetation, and exciting wildlife, including a population of wild horses!

The history of Sable Island

Since the 1500s, there have been numerous attempts to settle on Sable Island by various colonists and adventurers from Portugal, Basque, France, Spain, England, and New England. These attempts at settlement only lasted a few years or less, as the location of the island made settlement quite difficult.

Sable Island is known for the large number of shipwrecks that occurred as a result of the island’s sand bars. It has been estimated that 350 vessels have met their fate at this location as a result of its low visibility, treacherous currents, and the fact that it was located in...

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Start a new family tradition with the Christmas Bird Count!

Around this time of year, many of us take part in traditions that bring us closer together and signal the start of the holiday season. Whether these traditions are unique to your family, workplace, community, or county, they have a way of bringing cheer and making this time of year special. Maybe this holiday season is the right time to add a new tradition to your list! The National Audubon Society hosts a Christmas Bird Count every year which can always use new volunteers!

This is Citizen Science!

It is a great way to spend time outdoors and contribute to citizen science - where everyday citizens can contribute their time and efforts to collecting information about the natural world. What a fun way to enhance your walk or family adventure by gathering information, contributing to research, and advancing science! The Christmas Bird Count is just such a program, and a really fun way to engage with birds during the winter.

The Christmas Bird Count is an early-winter bird census...

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Restoring Musical Instruments

It is quite possible that throughout the course of your life you have accumulated at least one, if not multiple, musical instruments that you no longer have a use for. It might be an instrument that you played when you were younger, one that was passed down to you or one that needs some repair. Perhaps you’ve picked up an instrument as a hobby and lost interest, are a musician who has cycled through instruments over the years, or maybe you know someone else who no longer has a use for the instruments they have acquired.

Whatever the case, deciding what to do with an unused instrument can be difficult. While many may choose to simply throw away their instruments, especially if they are broken, there are other options that not only benefit the environment, but other people as well!

Embodied energy

When deciding on what to do with your old or broken musical instrument, it is important to think about its embodied energy. Embodied energy is the sum of all the energy that is...

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Why Fairtrade Matters

Fairtrade is a certification that you have likely already encountered. But you may not have considered why the designation is important and how it makes a difference. Although you may be aware that buying Fairtrade items is a good thing to do, as it has positive impacts on people as well as the environment, do you know why Fairtrade is important?

How does Fairtrade work?

Fairtrade is a certification, given by the non-profit association Fairtrade International, that ensures better prices, decent working conditions, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers that grow the produce and make the products that we all depend on. When you buy an item that is Fairtrade, it means that the ingredients or the product itself was produced by small-scale farmer organizations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic, and environmental standards.

Fairtrade standards are the requirements that the producers and businesses that buy their goods have to follow. These standards are...

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How workplace culture can promote wellbeing with mandated vacations!

Wouldn’t it be nice to take time off from work and take an actual break? To many, this may seem impossible due to work constraints and peer pressure in the workplace that prevents people from actually taking their vacation days. I know that for many years I did not take my full allocation of vacation days - it seemed that there was just always too much work to do.

Luckily, many businesses are embracing the idea of mandatory vacation days in an effort to keep their employees happy and healthy. Although required by law in most countries around the world, allocated vacation days or paid time off, often go unused by employees. According to Expedia’s Vacation Deprivation Study, 31 million vacation days were unused by Canadians in 2016. In 2018, 768 million vacation days in the United States went unused.

Clearly there is an issue at hand. Employees are feeling that they are unable to take their vacation days, often due to demanding work schedules, looming deadlines, and...

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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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