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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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Flourishing Things: Electric Vehicles

As climate issues become more prevalent, people are beginning to make lifestyle changes that reduce their impact on the environment. Transportation is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions. Therefore, there is a large incentive for people to rethink their methods of transportation. Opting to walk, bike, or take public transportation can be a great way to decrease your personal emissions, however, it can be impractical for those who require a personal vehicle. Luckily, electric vehicles are becoming more common and accessible to the public.

How are electric vehicles environmentally friendly? The main benefit of electric vehicles is that they do not use fossil fuels. Fossil fuels release harmful pollutants such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, effectively contributing to global warming. Although the amount of energy required to produce electric vehicles and their batteries is more than traditional vehicles, electric vehicles do not produce tailpipe emissions. This...

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Why Earth Day needs a re-branding

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, and in this strange time of the global pandemic due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19, we are seeing decreasing pollution all around the globe as our travel has dramatically decreased, along with decreased economic activity due to the pandemic. I thought it might be a time to re-think Earth Day. It’s not that environmental issues have gone away; they are actually more relevant than ever. It is just that the conversation about environmental issues has expanded, as have many of the problems since those first Earth Day teach-ins in 1970.

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a strong environmentalist and have spent my entire adult life in environmental education and working towards sustainability. So of course, I love that we have at least ONE day a year when we are guaranteed some attention to promoting these issues. But it is only one day. And really, I think that we all know that a one-day feel-good event is not going to...

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Flourishing Things: Wildlife Corridors

Urbanization and agriculture, both driven by the presence of humans, are two of the largest threats to biodiversity and wildlife. As human presence increases, natural habitats decrease in size. By altering the natural landscape with buildings, roads, and agricultural lands, the habitats of native species are altered or destroyed, and species are displaced. The green spaces that are left within cities are often small and disconnected. This is called habitat fragmentation. Fragmented habitats make it difficult for species to migrate and eventually results in species loss. Wildlife corridors, stretches of habitat that provide protected routes, help to increase connectivity between green spaces. These strategic areas of protected habitat are critical to help preserve biodiversity.

Banff National Park makes use of multiple wildlife corridors in the valley bottoms of the Rocky Mountains. These areas are critical for movement among wildlife species as well as human activity such as roads,...

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Flourishing Things: Urban Ecology

Wildlife isn’t only restricted to rural areas or areas that we categorize as “nature.” The urban environment is full of animals of all shapes and sizes. Considering the fact that human environments and dwellings have displaced the natural environment and continue to do so through urban sprawl, it is not surprising that we live in a shared environment. Taking a closer look at your surroundings will reveal the wide variety of wildlife in your backyard including birds, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, deer, and many more depending on your geographic region.

Lyanda Linn Haupt’s book called “The Urban Bestiary” focuses on the convergence between human environments and wildlife habitats. Haupt describes the flora and fauna that she observes within her Seattle backyard and how they contribute to the functioning of the ecosystem. This book highlights a “new” concept of nature which doesn’t belong to remote areas but is visible in our...

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Flourishing Things: Plogging

            Plogging is the combination of the words ‘jogging’ and the phrase ‘plocka upp’ which is Swedish for pick up. Plogging describes the act of jogging and picking up trash and was invented in 2016 by Erik Ahlström in Sweden. He created the website Plogga in order to raise awareness about this new activity and recruit environmentally concerned individuals in order to collect litter while engaging in physical activity. Plogging quickly spread to other countries such as India, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

            Plogging is a great way to get active and improve your environment. Jogging on its own has multiple health benefits but picking up trash while you jog is a great way to incorporate additional movements such as bending down or squatting into your fitness routine. Additionally, plogging helps remove harmful litter and...

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Flourishing Things: Green Maps

            Green Map is a non-profit organization that provides a platform for people to create and share environment-themed maps. These maps identify and locate areas in a city which contribute positively to the environment, whether they are local parks, conservation sites, environmentally friendly businesses, electric charging stations, or recycling depots. Green Maps exist and can be created all over the world. Since its 2009 launch, there are now 120 Green Maps and over 10,000 sites which are listed for you to explore and share. Green Maps are a great resource for those who wish to connect with their community and share or discover hidden gems within their city!

             As a Green Map user, you can refine your search by choosing between three categories: Sustainable Living, Nature, and Culture and Society. This feature helps you find sites or amenities that suit your needs!...

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Flourishing Things: Environmental Legislation

             It is easy to enjoy being outdoors when the air is fresh, the water is clear, and the environment is clean. A healthy environment results in the provision of ecosystem services which are vital to human survival. These services include air filtration, pollination, and soil fertility. Environmental legislation protects the environment from harmful toxins and pollutants that threaten biological life. Environmental legislation encompasses rights and regulations regarding pollution control, waste management, endangered species preservation, and other issues that involve the natural environment.

             Citizen awareness of environmental issues increased in the 1960s. The demands for more effective ways of combating these environmental issues resulted in the creation of preliminary protection statutes and environmental rights. The 1972 United Nations Stockholm conference on the human environment led to...

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Flourishing Things: Co-operative Housing

Contrary to popular belief, renting an apartment or buying a house aren’t the only available housing options. Non-profit cooperative housing is often overlooked as a viable living arrangement. Members of housing co-ops have a share in the ownership of the building which leads to a wide range of benefits. For starters, co-operative housing members have more control over their own space. This is due to the fact that members, instead of a management company or landlord, make the decisions about how the co-op is governed and maintained. Casting votes at monthly meetings allows for the voices and concerns of all members to be heard. 

Another benefit of living in a housing co-op is the affordability. Monthly housing fees are decided by members in order to cover the costs of maintaining the building. Unlike landlord-owned apartments, there is no incentive to increase rent to make a profit. This keeps housing affordable and sustainable for all residents. In cities where housing...

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Flourishing Things: Global Climate March

Climate groups and activists around the globe are working together to coordinate Global Climate Marches. This international climate movement, which began in August 2018, as Greta Thunberg’s single person strike, has caught momentum and is inspiring cities across the globe to voice their concerns about climate change. Global climate strikes, which have taken place during the 2019 European Parliament election and the United Nations Climate Summit, demand action from politicians in order to prevent climate change to facilitate the transition to renewable energy. Lessons from the past have taught us that public pressure is essential in evoking change.

The September 2019 strike during the Global Week for Future attracted millions of protesters and is thought to be the world’s largest climate strike to that point. 4,500 individual strikes occurred with crowds made up of schoolchildren, teens, adults, and elders in over 150 different countries. The magnitude of these global...

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Flourishing Things: Slow Fashion

Slow fashion is a sustainable approach to the fashion industry. Considering the environmental and social consequences of fast fashion, the slow fashion movement, which seeks to reduce the environmental harm associated with clothing, is necessary. Slow fashion aims for sustainability by considering the materials, resources, and workers involved in the production of clothing. Opposed to fast fashion, slow fashion encourages creating quality garments that are made to last.

The slow fashion movement echoes historical methods of clothing production. Before the industrial revolution, clothing was made by hand using local materials and workers. Clothing wasn’t about keeping up with fast paced trends or owning dozens of different outfits. An emphasis was placed on quality and longevity. The slow fashion movement shares these values and encourages people to buy less and buy sustainably.

Brands that participate in slow fashion tend to use sustainable materials (whether they are organic,...

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