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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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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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Greta and the Paradigm Shift

By European Parliament - This file has been extracted from another file: Greta Thunberg urges MEPs to show climate leadership (49618310531).jpg, CC BY 2.0
 
I believe we are in a time of a paradigm shift, and it essential that we do shift our old ways, perspectives, and thought patterns to new ones. We need to move away from old thoughts like we need to choose between jobs and the environment - guess what, there are ways to build an economy on green jobs!
 
We need to get rid of outdated belief systems that said that we can put off acknowledging Indigenous rights, to leave that for another time, another administration, or to when it is more convenient.
 
 
We need to shed the belief that youth just don't care or have real contributions to creating solutions  - for their future, for our future. And similarly, we need to get rid of the paradigm that says, "what I do isn’t part of...
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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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Akashinga - Nature Protected by Women

African wildlife is at risk and in need of protection. Over the span of seven years, elephant populations in Africa have decreased by 30% across the continent, mainly due to poaching. Similarly, rhinos are targeted for their valuable horns. Who is protecting African wildlife and how?

Akashinga is Africa’s first armed, all-women anti-poaching unit which is changing the way the issue of poaching is addressed throughout the continent. Instead of combatting poachers with violence, Akashinga uses a community buy-in approach that focuses on educating communities about the economic benefits of preserving Africa’s wildlife.

Akashinga operates in Zimbabwe and relies on strong and powerful women to protect the environment and as a result, empower themselves and their communities.

How it all began

Akashinga was founded in 2017 by the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF). This foundation was created in 2009 by Damien Mander, an Iraq war veteran who served as a Naval...

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Creating Age-Friendly Communities

Aging is a life-long process that we should embrace and enjoy, not shy away from. However, this can be difficult to do when we live in cities which are designed in a way that tends to exclude the elderly population from being active, social, and properly included in society.

Because this is such a widespread issue, the term “age-friendly” has been developed in order to describe cities and communities that are inclusive of all ages. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an age friendly city includes policies, services, and structures related to the physical and social environment that support and enable elderly populations to age actively.

“The WHO defines active aging as being able to: live in security, enjoy good health, and continue to participate fully in society.”

This is achieved by making sure that public settings and services are accessible for varying levels of ability. It is no secret that urban areas are often designed with young and...

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A better way to do business: DIFF eyewear

When it comes to combining practicality with personal expression, glasses are one of those accessories that do both, but what about social impact? Can they accomplish all three? DIFF eyewear is trying to.

In the case of prescription glasses, not only are they necessary for your vision, but they are a fun way to spice up your look and express your personal style, and sunglasses are a fun way to add a little extra something to your outfit while staying safe in the sun.

Now, wouldn’t it be great to purchase your glasses from a company whose social mission is great as well? DIFF Eyewear is an eyewear brand with a high social accountability track record, that I thought you should know about. It is impressive what they are doing, and you know that I love to highlight social enterprises!

DIFF Eyewear

DIFF Eyewear was founded in 2014 and from the onset, had some ambitious social impact goals. All three co-founders, Zach Gordan, Chad Jernigan, and Chad Dime had already been working in...

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Creatives for a Sustainable Future

The title image of this article is from @climateillustrated Illustration by @emmamckhann, telling the story of 12 year old Yola, a youth member of the African Climate Alliance @africanclimatealliance.

Have you heard the saying you can’t spell earth without “art”? Artists and creatives have always helped to shape society by helping us to critically examine who we are and what we value. With environmental issues it is no different, creatives in the visual arts, performing arts, as well as writers, musicians and playwrights give us a new depth of understanding the various faces of topics like climate change, deforestation, ocean pollution, consumerism, loss of biodiversity and so on.

Art moves us

To me, there has always been something moving about the way creatives can bring light to an issue. They often do it in ways that go beyond words, right to my emotional connection to the issue. Or they bring someone’s personal story to me in a way that helps me see the...

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Greening Homes and Investing in People with BUILD

There are some organizations that are particularly close to my heart because they creatively tackle issues of Sustainable Wellbeing on multiple fronts. BUILD Inc. is one of these examples. They work towards long-term poverty reduction through skill development and employment while also working on green housing initiatives. It is beautiful and brilliant!

BUILD Inc. is a social enterprise non-profit contractor and training program that is based in Manitoba. BUILD, which is an acronym for Building Urban Industries for Local Development, aims to improve the sustainability of Manitoba public housing units through water and insulation retrofits.

Some of the services provided by BUILD include:

  • Water saving retrofits
  • Drain water heat recovery (which consists of using the heat from your shower water to heat your hot water tank)
  • General plumbing work
  • Maintenance (including simple repairs such as patching up holes and repainting, as well as deep refreshes of units)
  • Cabinetry
  • Insulation
  • ...
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Restoring Musical Instruments

It is quite possible that throughout the course of your life you have accumulated at least one, if not multiple, musical instruments that you no longer have a use for. It might be an instrument that you played when you were younger, one that was passed down to you or one that needs some repair. Perhaps you’ve picked up an instrument as a hobby and lost interest, are a musician who has cycled through instruments over the years, or maybe you know someone else who no longer has a use for the instruments they have acquired.

Whatever the case, deciding what to do with an unused instrument can be difficult. While many may choose to simply throw away their instruments, especially if they are broken, there are other options that not only benefit the environment, but other people as well!

Embodied energy

When deciding on what to do with your old or broken musical instrument, it is important to think about its embodied energy. Embodied energy is the sum of all the energy that is...

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