Let's find ways to Flourish!
Image sourced from: Ecovillage at Ithaca
It’s no secret that leading an eco-friendly life can sometimes be challenging. But do you know what makes things ten times easier? Community!
After all, it’s hard not to feel discouraged or like the odd one out when your efforts to lessen your environmental impact are not reciprocated by your neighbours or community members. Being surrounded by like minded people creates a beneficial atmosphere where environmentally friendly lifestyle changes, behaviours, projects, and initiatives are encouraged and supported.
This is why there is a plethora of online Facebook groups, neighbourhood meet ups, community clubs and more which strive to facilitate a sense of community for those who are interested in living green.
These small communities are great, but is it possible to create such environmentally friendly communities on a larger scale?
Yes, it is!
Have you ever heard of Ecovillages?
Ecovillages are entire communities which have...
Do you love to spend time outdoors like I do? Are you new to outdoor recreation but appreciate the great opportunities that you are finding in your city or state or province? During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become reliant on outdoor recreation as a way to interact with our loved ones in a safe manner, get a change of scenery, and stay physically active more than ever before. And this is great! People are discovering or rediscovering their love of the outdoors and getting physically active in nature, which is great for our bodies and for connecting us to nature. And, where there is an outdoor recreational trail, there is also likely a local trail association!
While people are engaging in all kinds of outdoor activities, you may have noticed that some designated walking trails have become substantially busier during the pandemic. It’s no surprise, considering that trails can be used for a number of great recreational activities such as walking or hiking, biking and...
In order to address the issue of climate change, one thing the world needs is for the children of today to be the strong environmental advocates of the future. In fact, why not encourage our children to be environmentalists right now?
After all, climate activists such as Greta Thunberg have proven that young people do care about the environment and are able to contribute to the search for climate change solutions!
Now, how exactly do we raise young environmentalists?
Of course, it is important to educate children about the environmental issues we are currently facing, but doom and gloom isn’t actually the way to go when it comes to encouraging a love and passion for nature!
The key is to foster an emotional connection between children and the environment. Research has shown that compassionate concern for the natural world comes from early contact with nature, empathy for other living creatures, and a sense of fascination and wonder associated with natural elements or...
Are you looking to pick up a couple new books this summer? Before you head to the bookstore and buy something new, keep an eye out for Little Free Libraries in your neighbourhood! Little Free Libraries are collections of books which are housed in public bookcases. You may find these bookcases in public spaces such as parks or outside commercial buildings, or even in your neighbours’ yards.
There’s a chance you may have come across these unique structures in the past. Perhaps you have been unsure about how they work or if the contents of the bookcase are actually free to take. After all, if you are not too familiar with the concept it can feel quite strange to grab a book without signing it out or paying. Rest assured, these public bookcases are filled with books that are completely free to take – no strings attached!
While some public bookcases may be unmarked and unaffiliated with any organization, bookcases which are branded as Little Free Libraries are...
Sure, we all love to see those cute videos of wild bear cubs playing or learning about the intriguing and complex communication of whales. But do you perhaps also have a hard time pinning down exactly WHY having a broad range of diverse species is so important?
You are probably not alone in this at all. We care for these species, and get a sense that they should be protected, but let’s delve into exactly how important this issue actually is - to us, and to the way that our planet’s ecosystems function.
First off, let’s just get the definition of biodiversity or biological diversity down. The universally accepted definition of biodiversity (biological diversity) can be found in the 1992 United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity. In this definition, biodiversity is stated as
“the variability among living organisms from all sources, among other things, terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and ecological complexes of which they are...
Have you ever heard the saying “many hands make light work?” Well, this saying is true in many different contexts. I’m sure we’ve all experienced just how handy it is to have a team of people working together on a shared project or task.
This is why it shouldn’t be surprising that collaboration, teamwork, and having multiple hands on deck is valued in the scientific community. After all, there is a ton of work to be done on all fronts when it comes to scientific, and more specifically, environmental research.
Contributions to environmental research made by all kinds of people, not just scientists, are highly appreciated and encouraged! In fact, events such as BioBlitzes are centred around citizen participation in scientific research and information gathering, similar to the annual Christmas Bird Count.
What is a BioBlitz?
A Bioblitz is an event which involves an intense period of surveying, recording, and collecting information about living species...
Yes – individual actions are very important when it comes to reducing our environmental impact and ensuring the sustainability of our planet and its ecosystems. However, we also need to think big picture in order to make the necessary transition to a greener way of living. Not only is it beneficial for individuals and businesses to go green, but for entire industries as well!
Did you know that emissions from the industrial sector comprise one-third of all global emissions? It is no secret that our economies rely heavily on the industrial sector. A wide variety of industries are responsible for producing the items we rely on in our everyday life. For example, items such as cellphones, homes, city structures, consumer goods, as well as many more, are made up of materials that are produced by the industrial goods sector.
This reliance on and prevalence of the industrial sector is why we need to find greener solutions! If we’re unable to do away with activities that...
As the world’s demand for energy continues to increase, we know how important it is to develop and utilize alternative and sustainable methods of energy production. You may already be quite familiar with green energy sources or alternative energies such as hydroelectric power, wind power, biomass energy, or solar power, but did you know that there are many more opportunities for electricity generation?
In fact, something as simple as walking can generate electricity! According to the first law of thermodynamics, the Law of Conservation of Energy, energy can be neither created or destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. Therefore, the mechanical energy that is produced with each of our footsteps can actually be harvested and converted to electricity! Pretty incredible right?
How is this possible?
The energy produced by our footsteps can be converted to electricity through the piezoelectric effect. The piezoelectric effect is the...
"This course changed my life." That is what I heard repeatedly from students who returned from their 2 week experience on the tundra with my former classmate and now colleague, Dr. Ryan Brook. I was intrigued. I don't care how great a teacher you are, it is pretty rare to have students say that your course changed their lives.
But here were multiple students each year professing this same message to me after their tundra experience. And then, I got the phone call that would change my life, and my husband's life and make it so much richer - all while doing crazy amounts of work for long hours and virtually no pay.
And I loved it.
Dr. Ryan Brook, University of Saskatchewan, Associate Professor
Of course, that phone call was from my former classmate, Ryan Brook. Ryan was now teaching a version of the course that I took when he was the teaching assistant, called Wildlife and Ethnoecology in the Manitoba Coastal Region. What a mouthful that was, but it was a great...
Spring is one of those seasons where we become a bit more aware of the plants and trees around us. And, of course springtime marks the beginning of the growing season for deciduous trees. If you live in a middle-latitude region like I do, you’ll know how good of a feeling it is when trees begin to “wake up” and leaves begin to bud.
It is useful to take a moment to remember the benefits provided by trees. As with all plants that photosynthesize, they provide the one and only route that this planet has to capture the sun’s energy and turn it into chemical energy and biomass. Yeah, kinda important right!
But we may more often consider the benefit of trees as being able to remove Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere and store it, or to stabilize soils from erosion. Or perhaps to provide habitat for countless other species, everything from mosses, to mushrooms, to birds, insects and orangutans!
In the urban environment we also reap plenty of benefits from trees as...