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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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#EarthOptimism

If you’ve noticed that mainstream environmental news tends to be increasingly negative and concerning, you’re not alone. And to be fair, there are lots of environmental issues to be concerned about – so it’s natural that these issues, such as forest fires, floods, and increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, are being reported on.

It is true that this type of environmental reporting can be effective. Especially for those who may be unaware of how serious the issue of climate change is. But for the rest of us who are aware of these issues and are taking steps to live more sustainably, being constantly bombarded with negative news can be exhausting, and even depressing.

In fact, it might even be increasing your eco-anxiety. Eco-anxiety is often defined as a chronic fear of environmental doom which stems out of a place of deep caring for the planet and its inhabitants. To learn more about eco-anxiety, check out episode 5 from my Live.Well.Green...

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What does climate resilient housing look like?

Housing is a great place to start when discussing and remediating our environmental impacts, as residential buildings, in combination with commercial buildings, are responsible for 36% of global energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The good news is that thanks to the green building movement, people are becoming more and more aware of the different ways in which we can minimize our environmental impact through design. For example, we can employ green building techniques such as rammed earth construction, passive housing, and passive solar.

However, designing for reduced environmental impact isn’t the only thing we should be considering when it comes to housing. On a global scale, humanity is experiencing the consequences of our environmental actions – climate change. We are seeing unusual and unpredictable temperatures, changing weather patterns, and more severe storms and natural disasters, as there is more energy in the atmosphere...

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Finding our way with humane technology

I’m sure for many of us it is difficult to imagine our lives without technology. More specifically, technological devices that connect us to the internet such as cell phones, laptops, gaming systems, computers, and tablets can often seem like lifelines. If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking “wow, what would I do without the internet?” you’re not alone.

It really does come in handy when you need to find a substitute ingredient when cooking or baking, get directions, want to learn more about a subject or topic you are interested in, and so much more. This very blog post wouldn’t be accessible without technology! So, there is no denying that technology is useful and can improve the quality of one’s life.

However, in many ways the internet is quite unregulated and can end up being harmful. Unfortunately, consumer technology is created in a way that doesn’t actually have the consumer's best interests at heart. This is what the Centre for...

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Preserving the Harvest

As much as many of us hate to admit it, here in the northern hemisphere summertime is coming to an end. In a matter of weeks, the weather will start to cool down, students will be going back to school, and fall will be upon us.

Although it can be sad to see summer go, there is plenty to be excited about as we transition into a new season! For those of us who have been cultivating our gardens, purchasing produce from farmer’s markets, or have family and friends with impressive vegetable and fruit yields from their gardens, the harvest is always something to look forward to.

There’s nothing like enjoying fresh and delicious produce that has been grown locally. Bonus points if you grew it yourself – it’s always a good feeling when your hard work in the garden pays off. 

You might be wondering “what’s so good about local produce?” Well, locally grown produce is good for the planet, the local economy, and your taste buds. If you’re...

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Bartering for the environment

When we think of bartering, it is easy to think of it as an ancient practice replaced by modern currencies. Mesopotamian tribes are thought to have started the first bartering systems in around 6000 BCE to trade food, weapons, and spices. In ancient Rome, services were bartered for salt. Bartering is thousands of years old and precedes the use of money; however, it is still relevant and used today with many online sites available for anyone who has something to trade. But where does bartering fit in a modern society? And what makes it beneficial?

What is bartering?

Bartering is a direct exchange of goods and services, without a money intermediary. It is a great way to participate in a sustainable and circular economy, and encourages the use of second-hand clothing, jewelry, and other items by creating a trading community, as opposed to being centred around a currency. Although it often does, bartering doesn’t have to involve goods. Services such as trade work, cooking and...

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How to become a master composter

Composting is one of the most effective ways to keep household waste out of the landfill and create nutritious soil for your garden. Whether it be food scraps such as peels and stems or yard waste like grass clippings and fallen leaves, almost all organic material waste from your home can end up in your compost.

When organic material decomposes in landfills, methane gas is released due to lack of oxygen present during decomposition.  Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, so limiting the amount released is important. In a compost pile or a vermicompost bin, plenty of oxygen is introduced and materials can break down without the production of methane. If none of this is news to you, or if you are excited to learn more, becoming a Master Composter might be for you!

What is a Master Composter program?

Master Composter programs are programs that are set up to help you have all the tools that you need to be extremely successful in your composting projects...

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How to make your coffee even better

I confess that while I drink my herbal tea all day long, my morning treat is one really good cup of coffee. We all have those treats, and if coffee is one of your go-to choices perhaps it’s an iced cappuccino on a hot day or a morning dose of caffeine, it is worth considering if we can make coffee better.

With nearly 2 billion cups consumed every day across the globe, coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks, and, according to Fairtrade, with 125 million people whose livelihoods depend upon it, coffee is also the most valuable and widely traded agricultural product. As with any industry this size, coffee production has significant environmental and social impacts, and it is important to remember that our beloved caffeinated beverage affects more than our sleep schedules. Your daily cup of coffee presents an opportunity to choose sustainability and start off your day with a positive impact on the world around you.

Navigating the world of sustainable coffee can...

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Eat out without the guilt

Food is a vitally important part of every day of our lives, and every meal is an opportunity to choose sustainability. Whether it be buying Fairtrade products, reducing food waste, supporting local producers, or reducing meat consumption, we do our best to eat sustainably.  When we decide to eat out, we want to know if the restaurants we support are doing the same. Enter Green Restaurant Certifications.

These certifications assess factors such as water efficiency, sustainable food, energy, and waste reduction to determine whether or not the establishment meets the requirements to be certified green. Green Restaurant Certifications are a great way to help identify restaurants in the community that are striving to promote sustainability so that we can support their efforts while enjoying a delicious meal. In North America, the Green Restaurant Association and LEAF Certification assess restaurants to determine their level of sustainability and then publish these results on their...

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Raising Eco Minimalists with Laura Durenberger

This week I chat with Laura Durenberger of the Raising Eco Minimalists podcast and the blog Reduce Reuse Renew. I begin by asking her about the "renew" aspect that she covers on her blog that deals with anxiety and how this ties into her environmental actions.
 
Laura talks about the relationship between reducing the physical and mental clutter and how this can also help play a role in reducing anxiety. As she says, it helps by "reducing things in your life to give space for other things", which strikes me as a very intentional and meaningful approach to minimalism.
 
We talk about what living a minimalist lifestyle means, as it goes beyond just the Insta-worthy home photos, but rather, how it is a philosophy and how it can be lived out when raising young children, or even for those of us who like to help impart these values on the children in our lives.
 
 
How to Reduce Reuse and Renew
It seems odd to Laura and to many of us that these should be separate....
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Can we create a new social contract with Indigenous Peoples?

According to the United Nations, there are over 476 million Indigenous Peoples living in 90 countries around the world. A large portion of the world’s cultural diversity can be attributed to Indigenous Peoples, as they represent a wide variety of cultures, traditions, languages, knowledge systems, and worldviews.

Many Indigenous cultures also have strong ties to their lands, resulting in sustainable and knowledgeable stewardship practices that have the potential to fight climate change and biodiversity loss. For example, the Indigenous Peoples of Australia have been using fire to manage forests for thousands of years.

However, Indigenous Peoples have historically, and continue to face issues such as poverty, discrimination, cultural genocide, marginalization, and other human rights violations. Take the indigenous Peoples of Canada, for example.

The Indigenous Peoples of Canada have been subjected to cultural genocide for over a century. Through the establishment of...

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