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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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Labyrinth Walking as Meditation

Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice that is featured in many religions or spiritualities for the purpose of prayer, contemplation, and finding one’s inner peace through meditation. Walking a labyrinth can be great for meditation, as you are able to incorporate some gentle movement, which can be beneficial for those who have trouble standing or sitting still! What exactly is a labyrinth? A labyrinth is a geometric pattern that serves as a guide for you to walk in a pattern, allowing you to walk longer without going far. Upon first glance, it looks similar to a maze, but the design objective is different. Unlike a maze which serves to confuse users, a labyrinth contains one path that leads to the centre. This path is also the same path used to find your way back out. This single path folds in on itself many times, creating a long winding journey with many gentle twists and turns. One need not worry about hitting a dead end or getting lost, as labyrinths are quite simple to...

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WWOOF

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or more commonly known as WWOOF, is a network of national organizations that help pair volunteers and organic farmers together in order to create a mutually beneficial farming experience that creates a positive impact on the environment, and helps share knowledge about organic farming. A WWOOF arrangement requires no monetary exchanges between the volunteers and the farmers, as the hosts provide food and shelter in exchange for help with daily tasks around the farm. This arrangement facilitates experiential learning about the environment, sustainable agriculture, and culture of the country you are WWOOFing. 

There are a wide variety of countries and hosts available to choose from on the Federation of WWOOF Organizations website. Some countries have their own national WWOOF organizations that you may find a host or list your farm through, while other countries which do not have a national organization are listed under the WWOOF...

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Heritage Tomatoes

Have you ever noticed that the tomatoes you buy from the grocery store are lacking in flavour? While they may look desirable due to their nearly perfect size, shape, and colour, tomatoes that are most commonly found in the produce aisle might not live up to their looks taste-wise. This is due to the fact that farmers and their supply chains tend to value quantity and uniformity over variety and taste when it comes to tomatoes. In order to make a profit by producing a large amount of tomatoes, modern tomato cultivars are selected based on yield, size, shape, and firmness, while taste is often overlooked. These watery tomatoes often result in disappointment and culinary fails.

What is the alternative to these tasteless tomatoes? Heritage tomatoes! A heritage tomato, sometimes called an heirloom tomato, is a cultivar of tomato which is non-hybrid and open-pollinated. Open-pollinated refers to the fact that they retain the characteristics from their parent plant and can be naturally...

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International Mud Day

June 29th is International Mud Day, a day that was created in order to encourage children all around the world to connect with each other and the environment. Playing outside is a great way for children to get fresh air, exercise, explore, and get a little carefree and dirty. While getting muddy can sometimes be discouraged or frowned upon, there are many benefits associated with allowing children to let loose and get covered in mud. Regular exposure to the macrobacteria in soil has the ability to strengthen immune systems by preventing the development of allergies and has also been shown to release serotonin in our brains, creating feelings of calmness and relaxation. Additionally, playing in mud allows children to develop their sensory skills, creativity, and communication skills when playing with other children. Mud is a great medium for sculpting and digging, allowing children to use their imaginations and practice using their fine motor skills. Playing in mud also creates a...

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Forest School

When it comes to education, time spent in the outdoors doesn’t have to be limited to recess and extracurricular activities. Forest school brings education outdoors by allowing children to have hands-on learning experiences in a natural setting. Forest school does not refer to a specific place, but instead refers to an education ethos that puts nature at the centre of learning. Despite its name, a forest school can occur in any type of natural environment whether it is in a school park, meadow, or forested area. While traditional schools and daycares occasionally arrange for class outings in nature, a forest school prioritizes outdoor time and includes it in the curriculum on a regular and frequent basis. Many traditional primary schools or daycares feature open-play time and fun activities such as crafts and games. These same elements are included within forest schools but occur outdoors.

In order for a forest school to be classified as such, there is a list of principles...

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Just Transition

As we transition away from an extractive economic model based on the use of fossil fuels, we must do so in a way that leads to repairing the past and present harms of environmental racism. Communities affected by industrial pollution, climate change and unsafe labour conditions are disproportionately communities of colour, Indigenous, Black and lower income people. A “Just Transition'' means that communities affected by the pollution, unsafe labour conditions, and unfair economic conditions lead the transition through a bottom-up approach, rooted in civil rights and social justice.

In order to adequately address the climate crisis, which is one of the most urgent issues currently facing humanity, there is a need to transition from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy. Our current economic model relies on the extraction of resources such as biomass, fossil fuels, metal, and minerals in order to produce goods and sell them at a profit. This extraction of resources...

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Slow Movement

With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, time can seem like it’s passing you by. You may have noticed that everyday moments seem to be fleeting and your mind is constantly occupied by what’s happening next, whether that means worrying about upcoming deadlines or rushing through activities in order to move on to the next one. Living a fast-paced life can lead to unhappiness, unfulfillment, imbalance, and stress, which can manifest as health issues, everything from tight muscles to trouble sleeping, or even heart conditions. Additionally, this way of living doesn’t allow you to connect meaningfully with the people and activities that play an important role in your life. Picking up fast food and eating on the go doesn’t yield the same benefits as a home-cooked meal shared with friends and family. The slow movement encourages you to take time to slow down and practice mindfulness with everything that you do. This involves paying attention to the present...

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Indigenous Knowledge and Reconciliation

Indigenous peoples have been subjected to cultural genocide for over a century in North America and elsewhere around the world. Through the establishment of policies and laws, Canadian and other governments have attempted to assimilate Indigenous peoples and strip them of their sense of identity and existence. This includes expropriating land from Indigenous peoples, forcing their relocation, banning traditional languages and spiritual practices, disrupting families in order to prevent the passing down of cultural knowledge, among other atrocities that aimed to destroy Indigenous cultures. Despite the many harms that Indigenous peoples have faced in the past and continue to face today, Indigenous cultures have persevered and continue to exist. Reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous North Americans is necessary in order to cease the attack on Indigenous knowledge and ways of being and move forward in mutual respect.

In 2008, Indigenous survivors of residential...

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Local Maker's Markets

Maker’s markets are great places to find local handmade items and quality goods. These markets are common in the summer alongside farmer’s produce as well as in the winter at craft and Christmas markets. A wide variety of goods are sold at maker’s markets such as handcrafted jewelry, bath and self-care products, canned and preserved food, original art, candles, pottery, fashion accessories, décor items, and so much more. Every seller brings something unique to the table, as their products are one of a kind and made with care. There are plenty of reasons to support maker’s markets in your area!

Attending and shopping at local maker’s markets is a great way to support local businesses and participate in community building activities. By purchasing goods from local vendors, you are directly helping an individual or family in your community. This is beneficial for your local economy as it ensures that money is circulating within your community. It...

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Growing Food in the North

Communities in the northern regions of Canada and elsewhere in the subarctic struggle with food insecurity due to the decreased availability and affordability of food. In fact, the rate of food insecurity for Inuit homes in the territory of Nunavut is over eight times higher than the Canadian average. There are many factors that contribute to food insecurity in the north. Barriers to traditional subsistence lifestyles such as hunting restrictions, decreasing wildlife populations, and loss of traditional knowledge contribute to food insecurity, as they decrease the availability of food that would have once sustained these indigenous communities. Without being able to live off of traditional foods, northern communities must rely on imported food.

The accessibility and affordability of imported food is extremely limited, as the majority of produce and packaged food must be imported by train, plane, or ship. The transportation of food can take several weeks, often resulting in food...

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