Let's find ways to Flourish!
Innovation and creativity are two very important elements when it comes to the creation of healthy, sustainable, and overall enjoyable cities. When presented with challenges, we need to be able to see opportunities and create positive change in order to make the most of the spaces we occupy.
As technology improves and cities evolve, many cities are left with unoccupied buildings, vacant plots of land, as well as aging and abandoned infrastructure. For example, many railway lines become abandoned over time, leaving unused tracks running through cities and taking up space. In the United States, and elsewhere around the globe, tens of thousands of kilometers of railroad were abandoned between the years 1965 and 2005.
Railway lines are abandoned for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons is due to lack of use and poor profits due to competing methods of transportation. Whereas trains used to be the dominant method of transportation in Canada and the United States,...
It is no secret that the food we consume helps to determine our environmental impact. On some level, we know this is the case. However, it can be easy to overlook and misunderstand the exact environmental impacts of our food. This is because we are so removed from the production, processing, and transportation processes that bring our food from farm or sea to our dinner tables.
The truth is, that many of us are quite unaware of the impacts our food has on the environment throughout multiple stages in what can be a complex food supply chain. This lack of knowledge may lead us to make incorrect judgments about the sustainability of our food choices.
For example, many people choose to eat fish and other seafood as an environmentally friendly alternative to meat such as chicken, beef, and pork.
Is seafood sustainable?
It is true that seafood has a smaller carbon footprint than other meat. This is because wild-caught fish feed in the wild, and don’t require land or fresh water, and...
Pursuing a green lifestyle isn’t always easy – it’s true that eco-friendly goods and services aren’t always available, accessible or affordable, never mind convenient. As much as we may try to minimize our impact on the planet, sometimes the systems in place make that difficult.
While we are seeing many businesses going green and making commitments to reduce their environmental impact, there are still some businesses (especially essential services) that seem to be stuck in their environmentally harmful ways.
Take grocery stores, for example. Grocery stores are vital components of the built environment that make neighbourhoods and communities liveable. While it is possible to purchase some of your food from alternative sources such as farmer’s markets, community gardens, community supported agriculture, and your own backyard, chances are that you’ll still need to visit the grocery store every now and again.
So, given the fact that shopping at...
Weddings are often one of the most significant days of our lives and can be a beautiful celebration of your relationship and public commitment that you make to one another. And yet, amidst the joy and beauty of this celebration, the truth is that typical weddings can have a large negative impact on the earth.
Think about it – all the food, decorations, wedding favours, clothing purchases, and of course gifts. Many of these items end up being purchased solely for the wedding day, and unfortunately, weddings can generate plenty of wasteful behaviours and over-consumption. When really, all that we want is to celebrate two people and their love for one another. So, why all the waste?
According to the Green Bride Guide, the average wedding in the United States produces 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of carbon dioxide. Producing that amount of waste in one day just isn’t sustainable, especially considering how many couples get married each year.
And yet, there are plenty of...
Spending time on a shoreline is a privilege and an escape that so many of us enjoy. Whether that is with day trips to the beach, or camping near waterways or having a cottage or even home on a shore, we know that being at the water’s edge is calming and peaceful. For me it somehow washes away my stress in an instant.
In fact, it is thought that watching the movement of water is so ingrained in our evolution, that it is innately calming to most of us, and being in nature has known benefits to both our physical and mental wellbeing.
However, as much as we like to be near the water or to live on waterfront properties and take advantage of the benefits that come along with these locations, it is crucial to remember that lakes aren’t just for human enjoyment. They are ecosystems that provide a habitat to many important species that contribute to the overall health of the lake.
Development alongside lakes, which consists of building waterfront homes, cottages, and campsites,...
Cities are beginning to adjust their infrastructure in an effort to become more inclusive when it comes to active transportation methods. Active transportation is any kind of human-powered form of travel. This includes walking, cycling, running, skateboarding, rollerblading and more.
One method of active transportation in particular is quite popular and has the potential to really transform the way we use our roads and build our cities. As you might have guessed…this method of transportation is cycling!
Ever since the COVID-19 lockdowns, there has been a dramatic increase in bicycle sales around the world. It’s no secret that people have been exploring new hobbies over the course of the pandemic, and this so-called bike boom might result in significant and long-lasting changes when it comes to the way we get around in our cities.
For example, many cities around the world have taken measures to create more space for bikes on the road. In Paris, hundreds of kilometers of...
Lots of us like to travel, and indeed there are many economies that rely on tourism and travel, but the COVID-19 pandemic largely shut that down and while we saw reductions in air pollution levels from the dramatic decline in air travel as well as far fewer vehicles on the road, we know that travel will remain an important part of our world. So, let’s talk about the intersection between travelling and sustainability, otherwise known as eco-travel.
The problem with tourism
When we think of tourism and common tourist destinations, we might associate this with harmful environmental actions and practices. For example, carbon-heavy flights, overpopulated tourist destinations where humans leave their imprint, the unnecessary purchasing of cheaply made souvenirs, and more.
While tourism is a major industry that makes a significant economic contribution to many countries, there are many social and environmental issues associated with tourism. These problems include the potential...
When discussing the various ways in which we can mitigate climate change and help heal the planet, reforestation is a popular suggestion.
Reforestation is the natural regrowth or intentional planting of trees in existing forests and woodlands which have been depleted. Reforestation is often used as a way to remediate the negative effects of deforestation or clear-cut logging.
For example, tropical forests in Latin America face extreme deforestation due to logging, agriculture, and livestock grazing. Replanting native tree species within these areas helps to conserve habitat for wildlife species and also helps stabilize the climate by increasing the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere by trees.
Trees have the potential to significantly impact the health of our planet (read all about why we need to celebrate trees here), so we shouldn’t shy away from climate solutions which utilize these magnificent plants! Yes – reforestation is one answer, but did you know that there are...
Now, more than ever, we must make a worldwide effort to reduce and even eliminate our use of carbon. Climate change is no longer a problem of the future…it’s happening now, and it has devastating impacts that are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
Look at Canada, for example. Canada experienced record-breaking heat levels in the summer of 2021. Within two days, the Canadian temperature record increased from 45°C (113°F) (recorded in 1937) to 47.9 °C (118°F). Not only was this the hottest temperature that Canada had experienced, but it was also the highest temperature ever recorded on the planet north of 50N latitude. Crazy right?
Rising temperatures have serious human health and environmental consequences. Just last year, air temperatures reached 38°C (100°F) in Siberia, causing the acceleration of permafrost thawing in the region. Permafrost contains a large amount of greenhouse gases which are released into the atmosphere as it thaws....
Reducing the prevalence of cars in cities is an important part of creating more sustainable cities. We know that automobiles emit harmful pollutants such as carbon dioxide and reduce walkability, so we need to ask ourselves, “what can we do to minimize their usage?”
While there are many methods of reducing automobile usage, such as the promotion of active transportation through the creation of urban walking trails, bike lanes, and the utilization of Transit Oriented Design, the reality is that vehicles will continue to be used for quite some time.
For one, they are practical when travelling long distances and can accommodate large groups of people (ie. busses). In addition, electric vehicles are gaining popularity which means that the overall environmental impact of automobiles will be reduced!
Prioritizing road safety
Photo sourced from: Streets for the People
This is why it is necessary to make our roadways as safe as possible. As long as vehicles are around, they...