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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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Flourishing Things: Carshare

Car sharing companies have increased in popularity in the past few years as people are looking for alternative methods of transportation that don’t break the bank. Public transportation may not always be the best way to get around, as it may be unsuited to carrying heavy items or travel to out of the way destinations. On the other hand, buying and owning a car has drawbacks for the environment and is very costly with insurance, maintenance and gas. Car sharing lets you have the best of both worlds. Car sharing is a form of car rental which is cheaper and more convenient than traditional methods, and carshare members have dramatically lower fossil fuel emissions as they only drive when necessary. If you need a car for a couple of hours to pick up a relative from the airport, transport materials, or for infrequent trips, car sharing is a great option!

    How does it work? Many car sharing organizations operate in similar ways. Users are able to purchase a monthly...

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Fourishing Things: Earth Day is April 22nd

Earth Day is celebrated annually around the world in order to raise awareness for environmental issues and show support for environmental change. Earth Day originated in 1970 when an American Senator, Gaylord Nelson, proposed a nation-wide environmental teach-in on April 22. The teach-in was organized with the help of Denis Hayes, a young environmental activist. This event was renamed Earth Day and inspired thousands of Americans to take to the streets in order to protest against the environmental destruction caused by industrialization. This national event became global in 1990 when the Earth Day campaign was celebrated in 141 different countries around the world.

In the face of climate change, it is important to take climate action whenever and wherever possible. Countries around the globe must work together to produce the creativity, technology and cooperation needed to tackle the climate crisis. As a result, climate action was the theme of 2020's Earth Day. Earthday.org hosts...

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Flourishing Things: Family Summer Camp

Summer camp is one of the best ways for kids to spend their summers. Canoeing, playing soccer, swimming, spending time outdoors with friends, and roasting marshmallows around a campfire are activities that are often associated with summer camps and are enjoyed by people of all ages. Summer camps aren’t just for kids! Many places offer a traditional summer camp experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Lodging, food, and activities are provided at family summer camps, allowing families to spend some quality time together without any distractions. Additionally, family summer camps are convenient because they let you get the camping experience without the hassle of setting up accommodations and recreational activities yourself.

While some family summer camps offer family activities all day and evening, others offer kids-only programs during the day so that parents can relax or take part in activities on their own. Additionally, some camps allow you to create your own...

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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: 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: 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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