Let's find ways to Flourish!
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...
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...
How to be an eco-friendly fashionista
I love fashion and accessorizing with great jewelry is a part of that - but I try hard to reduce my environmental footprint, so the use of metals and rare gems in jewelry and the plastics, metals and resins used in fashion jewelry just doesn’t fit the bill. But, I have found some great alternatives that you might like to consider when you want to accessorize. In addition to relying on what you already own, or dipping into vintage finds there are cool recycled jewelry on the market that also supports local makers.
Whether it is rings, earrings, body jewelry, necklaces, or bracelets, is often worn to express yourself, complete an outfit, or add some interest to your appearance. Your jewelry may even feel like an extension of yourself – something that you don’t leave the house without! This desire to decorate our bodies has been around for thousands of years. Jewelry, whether it is made from animal bones, shells, precious jewels,...
Photo credit: Until There's a Cure
Little Travellers are small hand-made dolls which have been crafted by women in Africa. These dolls are sold through Woza Moya, an income generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust was founded in South Africa in 1991 and is dedicated to saving lives and making a significant impact on the lives of those who are impacted by the HIV/AIDS crisis. There are many different approaches that are taken by the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust in order to meet their objectives and fulfil their purpose. Woza Moya, which means “come winds of change” is an economic empowerment project that is just one of their initiatives.
Woza Moya provides training and support to local artists and crafters, 95% of which are women who happen to be the breadwinners of their families. Woza Moya markets the goods that are made by the crafters on an online platform as well as in traditional brick and mortar stores. Each...
Is there a way to add calm and happiness to our homes while improving our indoor air quality - you bet! Just add a few houseplants and you are on your way. Not only is keeping houseplants a great stress reliever, but seeing greenery in our environment has proven benefits to our mood and helps us remain calm and focused. And who couldn’t use a little of that!
Houseplants can be any plant that is adapted for growing indoors, but tropical plants that are native to warmer climates are the most common. Warm, stable, indoor environments prove to be the ideal environment for tropical plants to flourish. It can be almost guaranteed that while scrolling through Facebook or Instagram you will come across an image of someone’s beautiful and healthy-looking houseplants. Whether this is a garden centre advertising their products or a friend showing off their green thumb, there is no denying the popularity of these plants.
While houseplants seem to be the latest trend, the practice of...
Why consider Co-Housing?
I have a personal love of Co-Housing because I had very formative experiences in my 20s being part of a group of people who developed a Co-Housing building and community that still exists today, over 25 years later. It was a group of like-minded people who wanted more than the normal route of renting or owning their own space, we wanted that, but we also wanted community and more sustainable options. It was exciting, and a lovely way to live, that I look forward to being a part of again. We had close friends nearby, their children who knew us as surrogate aunts and uncles, and plenty of easy gatherings with our communal spaces and activities.
My husband AJ always said, “You know you are living in Co-Housing when it takes you 90 minutes and 2 beers to get up to your suite after work.” Indeed. And for a social person such as myself, having a sense of community and people who care for daily interactions helped to break down the norms of isolation...
We all need to consume, but can our consumer behaviour actually do more good in the world than just support the businesses that we choose to buy from? Well, enter TOMS, everyone needs shoes and many people need glasses, just purchasing these items from the socially-conscious business, we can be a part of huge social and environmental good.
What is TOMS?
TOMS is a for-profit business that aims to improve lives and promote conscious consumerism. TOMS (short for “Tomorrow’s Shoes”) sells a style of shoe which is inspired by the simple canvas slip-on shoes that are popular in Argentina. Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, was inspired to create his business after visiting Argentina in 2006 and witnessing the struggles that children face when they do not have access to proper footwear. Children without shoes are exposed to an increased risk of injury and health issues. Sharp objects, rocky terrains, infections, and parasites become large concerns when a child must go...
You may have noticed that many vintage clothing styles from a wide variety of decades are coming back into style. For example, high-waisted denim jeans from the 80’s and 90’s are all the rage, vintage concert T-shirts are highly coveted, and vintage formalwear is being used to make a statement at various events such as holiday parties, new years eve, and even weddings! With trends from previous decades coming back into style, many people are purchasing vintage clothing, and with the rise of online vintage clothing shops, finding high-quality vintage pieces has been easier than ever!
This isn’t the first time we have seen old trends come back into style. The same trends can be seen coming in and out of fashion for decades. For example, the drop waist (a waistline on clothing that drops below the hips) first came into fashion in the 1920’s, creating the iconic flapper look. Since then, the drop waist has seen a revival in the 1960’s and...
Beyond the “bottom line”
Social enterprises are organizations that have two main goals: to earn revenue; and to achieve social and environmental wellbeing. Social enterprises can either be non-profit or for-profit. While social enterprises may look like traditional businesses, responding to social issues is a substantial part of their objectives, while reaching financial goals often comes secondary. This sets them apart from traditional businesses. The main purpose of a social enterprise is to make social change, whether that be by working with younger generations, raising funds for people in need, or selling fair trade products.
According to the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, “Social enterprises are community-based businesses that sell goods or services in the marketplace to achieve a social, cultural and/or environmental purpose; they reinvest their profits to maximize their social mission.”
A new approach
Social enterprise is a new business model...
What is food waste?
It is known that grocery stores landfill a significant amount of produce. In fact, grocery stores account for 10% of U.S. food waste. Food waste is the edible portions of food that are thrown away or allowed to go bad. While this definition includes the scraps of food on your plate that you scrape into the garbage, it also includes the mass amounts of food at restaurants and retail locations that are thrown away. Food waste is problematic because instead of feeding the millions of food insecure families around the world, this food is being sent to the landfill.
The environmental costs
There are also environmental consequences associated with landfilling organic material. The anaerobic digestion of organic material in a landfill results in the production of methane, a greenhouse which has a global warming potential that is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide! In addition, when food is wasted, we are also wasting all of the fossil fuels, fertilizer,...