Let's find ways to Flourish!
Ok, I know, most of us don’t really want to think about death and the logistics of what happens when someone dies, however, the reality is that there are numerous environmental issues with the way we handle funerals and burial. And, there are plenty of ways that we can do better! It turns out there is a growing green burial movement to help us out.
Death is a fact of life that is dealt with in many different ways across different cultures and religions. In Western society, funerals often include flowers, expensive caskets, often embalming of the deceased, cremations, cemetery plots, and more. These funeral elements are chosen in order to pay respect to the deceased, but it is also important to consider whether these elements reflect the wishes and values of the deceased.
Not only do caskets, flowers, and other embellishments cost thousands of dollars, but they also have quite a significant negative impact on the environment. Traditional funerals aren’t green, but that...
We all have a vague understanding that consumer culture is linked to environmental degradation and climate change, but how do we get around this, especially when we live in the real world, with birthdays, and Christmas, social pressures to shop and often a lack of easy to access eco-friendly alternatives.
I like to do a little time traveling before purchasing anything.
Well, there are a few basics to consider, I like to do a little time traveling before purchasing anything. Instead of just thinking about price and value, think about where that good came from AND where it will end up when you are finished with it. That can put the "sale" item into a much more realistic light of its true cost.
But, what exactly are the issues associated with consumer goods?
Over-Consumption of Material Goods and Throw-Away Culture
Consumer goods are products that are found on store shelves and bought for consumption by the average consumer. Consumer goods can be anything from food,...
Something we tend to forget about when it comes to green living is our money. The money sitting in our bank accounts or investments may not seem to be a direct cause of greenhouse gas emissions, but the financial institutions we are associated with, as well as our financial investments really can have a large impact on the environment as well as social issues. For better or worse!
While there is no shortage of ways to actively lead an environmentally friendly life - opting for active transportation wherever possible, shopping local, being a part of the sharing economy, composting, zero-waste grocery stores - the list goes on and on. But what about the impact of your money - are your investments contributing to the very issues that have you worried for the future?
Getting Started with Green Investing
So, where do we get started? There are two basic considerations when delving into the issue of green investing. First, we can avoid polluting sectors and industries and second, we can...
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.
Resiliency must be tackled at all levels. In the public realm, it is...
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...
"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...
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...
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...
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...
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...