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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

Using nature to manage human wastes

So what exactly happens to the human waste that is flushed down our toilets every day? Well, for most of us, it goes to a wastewater treatment plant (unless you live in a city that still dumps human waste directly into the ocean - let’s hope not!)

These Wastewater treatment plants tend to be very large, very smelly buildings (yes, I have toured them with my students). Where garbage is removed, solids are settled out and oil is skimmed off and microbes get to work at breaking down the organics and nutrients until the liquid is clean enough to be sent back into a nearby river or lake or the ocean.

However, there are viable alternatives that actually mimic nature and do the same job - while also creating other benefits.

Water of Life

Water is one of our most valuable natural resources. In fact, a person can live for up to one month without food but only about one week without water. However, freshwater is not always easily accessible. While nearly 70 percent of the world is...

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Remember the ozone hole?

It is no secret that on a global scale, the world is suffering from issues such as climate change and its related processes, poverty, pollution, malnourishment and hunger, and lack of security and wellbeing. While it can be depressing to think about all these current global problems, I think it is really important to remember that we have actually succeeded on a number of similarly pressing issues.

Do you remember hearing about the “hole in the ozone”? Well, it is actually something that gives me a lot of hope! That’s because it was a global problem of pollution that crossed borders and affected human health, agriculture and ecosystems. Yes, sounds familiar right? But guess what we got together and are on track to have that problem solved in the next 30 years! Yes, I said SOLVED!

Doing it together makes it work

With these global, large-scale problems, we need countries around the world to work together on the same goals and targets in concert on these issues. While...

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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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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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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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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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Better seafood choices are within reach

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...

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How to be an eco-traveler

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...

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Don’t wait, begin your Race to Zero

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.

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Why the environment needs art activists

For thousands of years, humans have expressed themselves, their emotions, and their experiences through art, whether it be through cave paintings, intricate sculptures, or hastily drawn sketches in the back of a notebook.

More than just a fun pastime, the creation of art can also be thought of as the creation of culture, as these two cannot exist without one another. Art not only contributes to and shapes culture, but reflects culture as well.

Seeing that culture is often thought of as the defining characteristic that separates humans from other living species, it is only natural that humans are drawn to art, whether that be creating or viewing it.

Since art is such a significant part of the human experience, it can, and often is, used as a tool for conveying important messages. I love to see when art is cleverly used as a tool for environmental activism!

Images vs. words

Sometimes numbers and statistics just aren’t enough to make us truly understand the detrimental impacts...

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