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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

Flourishing Things: Nature Art

Humans have been creating art for thousands of years as it is a way to express the human experience in ways that words alone cannot. The importance of art is the impression that it leaves on the audience, moving us, changing us and enriching our lives. However, it doesn’t have to leave an impact on the environment. Paints, varnishes, metals, plastics, and toxic materials are often utilized in the creation of art pieces and sculptures. These materials have the ability to harm the environment as well as human health. Luckily, it is possible to create art using materials that are found in the natural environment. The use of natural materials can mean that the art is not necessarily meant to be permanent. The passage of time allows for the art to be washed away in a rainstorm, unravel on its own, and be swept away by the wind. The ephemeral nature of this art carries its own beauty. Instead of leaving behind environmental damage, the materials are simply returned to nature, but...

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Flourishing Things: International Day of Happiness

The United Nations International Day of Happiness is celebrated across the globe on March 20th. Happiness was recognized by the United Nations as a fundamental human goal in 2011. While economic growth is commonly associated with the success of countries and their citizens, the newly acknowledged importance of happiness and mental wellbeing is beginning to shift perspectives. The first UN conference on happiness took place in 2012, and the following year marks the first global celebration of the United Nations International Day of Happiness. 

There is a theme assigned to every International Day of Happiness. The theme for the 2013 International Day of Happiness was “Happy Heroes.” This theme encouraged participants to celebrate the people within their communities that brought them joy and happiness. Showing appreciation for those who brighten up our lives is a great way to ensure the spread of happiness and wellbeing continues. The 2014 theme of “Reclaiming...

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Flourishing Things: PARK(ing) Stalls

Modern cities have a tendency to revolve around automobiles instead of people. Parking lots and street parking litter urban areas, effectively minimizing the available space for pedestrians and outdoor social gatherings. In 2005, this design flaw was challenged by Rebar, a design collective who paid a street parking metre for two hours and used the space to set up an unexpected art installation. The installation used artificial turf, trees, and benches to create a miniature park. This miniature park created a welcoming environment for pedestrians to stop by and relax. The short-lived event sparked massive interest, resulting in the creation of PARK(ing) Day which occurs annually every third Friday of September. PARK(ing) Day encourages people to make their own parking lot installations in an effort to repurpose urban spaces. While this event initially emerged in San Francisco, California, it is now practiced globally. 

While many of the parking lot installations emulate the...

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Flourishing Things: DIY

DIY, or “do it yourself”, refers to repairing, creating, modifying or replicating without the aid of a professional. DIY encompasses a large variety of activities such as sewing, gardening, refurbishing, repairing, craft making and more. Although people have been employing the concept of DIY for years, DIY culture has seen a significant increase in the past few years as creative online communities have surfaced through websites such as Pinterest and YouTube. These communities promote the sharing of completed DIY projects which inspire members to get creative themselves.

Some popular DIY projects include stripping and refinishing wood furniture, crocheting or knitting blankets and clothing, constructing vertical gardens and planters, creating home décor items, canning and preserving food and making soap and candles. This list is by no means exhaustive as there’s a DIY project out there for everyone!

DIY projects are a great way to spend less money. In-store...

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Flourishing Things: Vinyl Records

Record players, in many different forms, have been bringing music into homes for over a century. It wasn’t until the invention of CDs and digital files that vinyl records became seemingly obsolete. Although once considered a relic of the past, vinyl records have made a resurgence in the 21st century. The market for vintage records has significantly increased and modern artists and bands are now releasing vinyl versions of their albums due to popular demand. 

Listening to vinyl records lets you slow down and engage with the music. There is something satisfying about sliding the record out of its sleeve, placing it on the turntable, and lowering the needle onto its grooves. Physically interacting with music is sometimes overlooked, as society has transitioned over to digital files which allow us to play music with just a click of a button. Unlike digital files, you can’t throw a vinyl record on shuffle and let the music fade into the background. You’re...

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Finding Sustainable Wellbeing

Sustainable Wellbeing may not be a term that you have heard before, but it sure sounds great doesn’t it? "Sustainable" – can be sustained, unlike this pace at work that doesn't feel at all sustainable. And "Wellbeing", “the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy”(1). Now, what if we expand that definition of Sustainability to also include the meaning that relates to Environmental Sustainability. Where we mean that human actions cause little to no damage to the environment (2) or may even be restorative to environmental systems?

Now the idea becomes pretty mind-blowing.

Can we actually find personal wellness, looking after our mental and physical health AND at the same time, do what is right for the planet?

This is the concept of Sustainable Wellbeing. It is living at the intersection of environmental sustainability and personal wellness. It is seeking balance for ourselves, while working towards solutions that build resilience in human and...

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Flourishing Things: Retro Chic Vintage

Uncategorized

Fashion and style are cyclical in nature which means that trends are constantly in rotation. Modern trends are influenced by the trends of previous decades, resulting in the ability to upcycle second-hand pieces, buy vintage, and make use of items you may already own. This retro-chic/vintage look can be applied to clothing, furniture, and everything in between! 

Incorporating retro/vintage pieces into your wardrobe or household is a great way to stay on trend while investing in high quality materials and craftsmanship. Considering today’s fast paced trends and use of mass production, high quality items can be difficult to come by when buying new. In addition, purchasing second hand has a positive environmental impact by extending the lifespan of items that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. This is a great alternative to buying new items which can use an abundance of natural resources, chemicals, and synthetic materials in their production. 

Don’t...

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Flourishing Things: Cup Share

            Cup sharing initiatives have been gaining popularity in order to reduce the amount of single-use cup and lid waste. If you don’t have time to drink your coffee in the coffee shop, cup sharing allows you to take a reusable cup to-go! Some cup sharing programs allow you to sign up for an account or buy a monthly membership to receive a personal code, while others simply require you to pay a deposit fee at participating coffee shops. You are then free to enjoy your coffee on the go! Depending on which program you’re using, you will receive your deposit fee back or present your member code to account for the cup’s return.

           These cups are sanitized by the participating coffee shops and reused for other customers. Not only is cup sharing good for the environment, but it is also convenient. Do you own a reusable mug but often find yourself forgetting it at home? With...

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Flourishing Things: Walking as Transportation

When was the last time you walked to your destination? As cities continue to sprawl outwards and urban designs tend to centre around cars, walking as a means of transportation can seem like a daunting task. However, walking is more efficient than you might think. Reassessing walking distances can result in the realization that walking to work, school, or commercial locations is, in fact, doable. Use the walking feature on google maps to determine how long your walk would take (while keeping in mind that google maps assumes a pace of 5 km/h!). Depending on your circumstances, walking can be a faster method of transportation than bussing or driving. For example, in cities like Venice, Italy, a ten-minute walk can translate to a twenty-minute car ride due to the pedestrian-friendly design. 

Walking is a great way to add some physical activity into your routine. Various studies have shown that physical activity contributes to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, some cancers...

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Flourishing Things: Shoreline Clean-up Days

Due to accumulating plastic and waste, protecting our waterways is more important than ever. Litter has a tendency to accumulate in the environment, contaminating soil, water, and wildlife habitats. These human-made problems require human-made solutions. It is inspiring to see cities taking initiative by partaking in river clean ups. Volunteers gather together to remove litter from riverbanks and surrounding environments. Calgary, in western Canada is an example of a city that is committed to improving the quality of its riverbanks. The Pathway and River Clean-up is an annual event hosted in the springtime. Volunteers are encouraged to register to join a designated leader and area in order to maximize the efficiency of the clean up. This event occurred for the first time in 1967 when Sandra Crawford, a twelve-year-old girl, noticed a mattress lying on the edge of the Elbow River. After failed attempts at removing the misplaced mattress, she contacted the local newspaper, the Calgary...

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