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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

Let's find ways to Flourish!

How to build Climate Resilience

Climate change is already underway despite any efforts we may take to mitigate its impact or cease environmentally-destructive behaviours and activities.

This means that we should not only be reducing our environmental impact, but become resilient to the impacts of climate change as well. Countries, cities, communities, and individuals need to be able to cope with extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and other climate impacts.

According to the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, climate resilience is “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate. Improving climate resilience involves assessing how climate change will create new, or alter current, climate-related risks, and taking steps to better cope with these risks.”

Resiliency really is key to building a safe and sustainable future.

Resilient cities and communities

Resiliency must be tackled at all levels. In the public realm, it is...

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What's the deal with Fossil Fuel Divestment?

Climate change can be largely attributed to the combustion of fossil fuels, which results in the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

In this day and age, it is becoming harder to deny the existence of climate change. For those of us who have been concerned about environmental affairs for some time, witnessing a shift in temperatures and weather patterns has been anxiety-inducing, to say the least.

Just this past year, Canada experienced record-breaking heat levels in the summertime, Madrid experienced unprecedented levels of snow in January, and wildfires ravaged Greece, Turkey, and Italy in August. And these are just a few examples of the extreme weather events that are becoming more and more common around the world.

Clearly, action needs to be taken to mitigate the environmental damage that has already occurred. Fossil fuel divestment is a good place to start.

A fossil fuel budget

Back in 2012, Bill McKibben introduced three numbers that...

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Activism 101

"You must unite behind the science. You must take action. You must do the impossible. Because giving up can never ever be an option." – Greta Thunberg

Raising awareness about environmental issues is essential when it comes to creating change and protecting the environment. Yes, your personal act matters, but you can amplify your impact by making others aware of your actions and desire for social change.

Without the voices and actions of activists, many environmental issues would go unchecked and cause further degradation. We are in the midst of a critical paradigm shift as I see it. There is an increasing awareness of the issues, demand for a different pathway, and adding your voice can make all the difference!

Education as Activism

Researching an environmental issue will provide you with essential information such as why the issue is occurring, where it is most prevalent, what actions contribute to the issue, how it can be prevented/reduced, and what efforts are currently...

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From the Flourishing Community

In honour of the 100th edition of the Flourishing Fridays newsletter, I thought it would be great to profile some of the amazing work that folks in this community are doing. Sharing some inspiration and celebrating our wins, big and small. Together we are learning about how to live more sustainably, how to spread the ideas of green living and to enjoy life more!

What an amazing and inspiring list!

Aditya is helping to educate others about the importance of protecting wilderness.

AJ fixes appliances, builds with reclaimed lumber, raises bees and enjoys time in nature.

AK – promotes thrifted fashion for badass Millennials on her social media accounts.

Angelika got small recycling bins for her condo complex and avoids wasting food.

Anuradha – runs sustainable clothing companies using all traditional textiles and zero waste production that also provides employment for women in India.

Amanda is eating more local food and loves to support local businesses.

Anders helps kids in...

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Cleaning your home shouldn't dirty our waterways

Do you care about protecting and preserving your lakes? If so, this blog post is for you! Did you know that there are many different products that can negatively impact the health of lakes near you? Actually, it's not only the products themselves that can be an issue, but also their packaging as well.

While it’s true that lakes can sometimes be out of sight, out of mind. When you’re not visiting your cabin, camping, ice fishing, or partaking in any other fun lakeside activities, the health of your favourite lake might not be on your mind. But that doesn’t mean that your actions don’t have negative consequences.

The products we use, especially cleaning products such as soaps, detergents, and shampoos, have the ability to enter our sewage systems when they are rinsed down the drain and become wastewater. Now, sewage plants are supposed to treat wastewater and make it safe for reuse when possible. However, it is sometimes possible that wastewater can flow...

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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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How the economy can solve climate change

Is it possible that cold hard cash could be the solution to our environmental problems? More specifically, could it help speed the transition to greener and cleaner energy solutions? While many environmental solutions come about through community involvement, technology, Indigenous knowledge, and above all, teamwork, certain environmental problems just might need a different approach.

The benefits of carbon pricing

So, how can money discourage the use of carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels? By simply putting a price on carbon emissions! Carbon pricing is a promising approach to reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change and environmental destruction. Put simply, this approach passes the cost of emitting on to emitters.

Instead of paying only for the resource and the cost of extraction, which is heavily subsidized, carbon pricing ensures that consumers are paying for the external costs of carbon emissions as well. These external costs include both the direct and...

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What are Riparian Zones and why are they so vital?

Spending time outdoors is great for our mental and physical wellbeing. Whether you are going for a stroll by the river or having a picnic in the park, there’s nothing quite like getting some fresh air and being able to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors!

Of course, it is also very beneficial to be able to understand how our favourite natural environments function ecologically. Being able to understand the role and importance of these ecosystems not only heightens our appreciation, but incentivises us to protect them as well.

There is one type of ecosystem in particular that is worth familiarizing yourself with: riparian zones. These areas are the green ribbons of trees, shrubs, and grasses that grow alongside riverbeds, streams, and wetlands.

It is likely that you have spent time in a riparian zone. Perhaps you’ve walked along a riverside walking trail or simply admired their beauty from afar. But do you know about the many ways in which they positively impact the...

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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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