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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

Why does gardening make us happy?

Have you noticed that spending time in nature is a great way to enhance your physical and mental wellbeing? Well, you are not alone! There is a reason that gardening and walking outdoors and spending time in nature is such a lasting activity that people keep coming back to - and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are you growing a garden, perhaps for the first time? It turns out there are benefits to us beyond the joy of watching plants grow and reaping the harvest of our efforts. For starters gardening gives us enjoyable light physical activity and, the psychological benefits of gardening include reduced stress, increased happiness, and overall mood enhancement. To learn more about the benefits of gardening, click here!

Similarly, forest bathing - spending time immersing yourself in nature and connecting to the natural world, provides individuals with significant psychological and physiological improvements such as reduced anxiety, stress relief, decreased blood pressure and...

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The value of green infrastructure

Cities can be great places to live, especially if you are looking to reduce your environmental impact, as higher-density cities use less land per person, encourage methods of active transportation such as walking or biking, and offer pro-environmental businesses and services like carshare and cupshare.

Despite these benefits, cities are often missing a crucial element: nature! One of the biggest differences between rural life and city living is that nature is less accessible and less visible in urban areas. However, this doesn’t have to be the case!

As we have become more aware about the important role that nature plays in the human experience, it has become more common to include green infrastructure in our cities!

Green infrastructure can be defined as the natural vegetative systems such as green spaces and trees in towns and cities that provide us with environmental, societal, and economic benefits.

Different types of green infrastructure and their benefits

Green spaces in...

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Is precycling the answer?

While you are likely quite familiar with the phrase “reduce, reuse recycle,” have you ever heard of the term “precycling”? If not, precycling is the practice of reducing the amount of waste you produce by avoiding certain items, actions, and activities that result in the creation of waste in the first place. Brilliant right?

Precycling is essentially the step you take before resorting to recycling, reusing, or landfilling an item, as it occurs at the point of purchase. By avoiding purchasing single use or disposable items, you don’t have to worry about finding the most environmentally friendly way to deal with your waste! Additionally, precycling is a great way to get into the habit of buying earth-conscious items!

In order to apply the concept of precycling to your life, it is helpful to first assess the areas in your life where you tend to produce the most waste. Then, you will be able to brainstorm different ways to precycle, therefore reducing your...

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Have you tried JOMO?

These days, it might feel like your entire world is online. When you’re not using your laptop or phone for work, you may often find yourself browsing the internet or scrolling through your social media news feeds. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, dating apps, your favourite news website, or all of the above, there is a good chance you spend a decent-sized chunk of your day online.

Not only can this end up being a major waste of time, but you are actually consuming and internalizing this content whether you realize it or not! Have you ever noticed that you experience an influx of negative emotions after consuming certain types of online content? Perhaps you feel like your life isn’t as exciting as your favourite social media influencers’, your extracurricular activities aren’t interesting or “on trend,” or your achievements aren’t actually that impressive. Unfortunately, the list can go on and on.

Social media...

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Tool Lending Libraries

When you hear the word “library” what do you think of? A building or room full of books, films, and magazines that you can rent or borrow? You’re not wrong…but that isn’t the only kind of library out there! Home and garden tool lending libraries are another increasingly common type of lending library. While formal tool lending libraries have been around since the 1970s, informal ones have been around for much longer. If you’ve ever borrowed a tool from a neighbour or lent one of yours out to a family member or friend, you’re already quite familiar with the concept of a tool lending library!

The only difference is that formal tool lending libraries are on a larger scale, likely contain a wider variety of tools, and are often run by a local government agency or non-profit organization.

How do tool lending libraries work?

Tool lending libraries generally offer annual memberships that may cost anywhere from 25 to 100 dollars, depending on the...

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Passive Housing for Low Carbon Living

Buildings are an important piece of the sustainability puzzle, as residential and commercial buildings have significant environmental impact. For example, the United Nations Environment Program states that commercial and residential buildings are responsible for 36% of global energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually. This means that we need to change not only the way we are currently living, but the structures in which we are living, working, and visiting as well.

While there are ways to make previously built buildings more sustainable through retrofits and energy efficient upgrades, it is also important to consider alternative ways of building in the first place, as new design techniques set precedents for a more sustainable future.

Passive House (also called Passivhaus in German) is a high-performance building standard that puts an emphasis on energy performance. Passive Houses consume up to 90% less heating and cooling energy than conventional...

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Why are children more vulnerable to environmental contaminants?

Why are children more vulnerable to environmental contaminants? It turns out that children are not just small adults, they have a number of behavioural and physical factors that actually put them at greater risk than adults to environmental contaminants.
 
This includes the fact that kids are still growing and developing. Their nervous systems, brains and reproductive systems continue to grow and develop into early adulthood and are more susceptible to damage from man-made chemicals.
 
They also have behaviours such as the foods and non-foods that they eat that put them at greater risk and other factors. Find out more in this episode!
 
  • “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”
  • Maria Montessori
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The one thing to green your decisions: The Precautionary Principle

What is the Precautionary Principle?

Life can be unpredictable and sometimes the decisions we make end up causing unintended consequences. This is especially the case when it comes to the natural environment and the implementation of new science, technologies, and activities. The unintended consequences of these activities can result in severe environmental harm.

That’s why it is important to take an anticipatory approach in order to mitigate and avoid environmental harm. With the multitude of environmental issues such as climate change, plastic pollution, and biodiversity loss that we are currently facing, it is in our best interest to start taking this approach!

The Precautionary Principle is based on the idea that it is “better to be safe than sorry.” Opposed to a reactive approach which is concerned with resolving negative effects after they have already occurred; (think plastics polluting the ocean) the Precautionary Principle is preventative.

The...

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Climate Change Stories Rewritten

The Climate Illustrated project grabbed my attention on Instagram because they are doing something different than the other activists out there. First of all, they are using the platform to share stories. Stories from real people allowing us to glimpse into the richness and diversity of the human experience, and how that experience is being threatened by climate change.

 

 

The stories that they share are of real people and their concerns over environmental issues - how they overlap with climate justice, daily survival, and their deep connection to the natural world. It is an amazing way to glimpse snapshots of life around the world.

But more than that, the images that they are using to tell these stories are stunning and powerful at the same time. It goes far beyond the usual depiction of climate change issues with melting glaciers and threatened polar bears. Through illustrations, they depict scenes that could be snapshots of a life or a portrait of resistance.

This...

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Business done better: Triple Bottom Line Reporting

Traditionally, businesses have determined their success by measuring their bottom line, otherwise known as, “show me the money”! Sure, I get it, profits are easily measured, but we know that there is a lot more to a business than just the financials. What about the people, community, the environment and the company’s impact in all of these areas?

Why do we need more than one bottom line?

In the past decade we have started to see sustainability mentioned as a goal or purpose of many businesses, non-profits, and governments. As more and more people become aware of the environmental and social issues we are currently facing, demand for sustainable businesses is increasing. Conscious consumers want to give their business to companies that are mitigating their harmful effects and making positive contributions. And, it turns out that more and more people want to work for those types of companies too!

However, claiming to be sustainable means nothing if there is no way to...

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