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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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The Ups and Downs of the Sharing Economy

It’s funny, yes, we want to be independent as teens and young adults. That is what we strive for, and that is what older adults want to retain, right? And there certainly is value in independence, but are we forgetting that there is value in doing things together? We have evolved to form social groups for a reason...because collaboration and connection make our lives better and easier!

When we consider the aspects of independence that relate to owning things - like our space, but more importantly stuff, there are aspects of this trend that are deeply unsustainable. As we are collectively seeking to lower our footprint on the earth by living lighter, sharing material goods can be a great part of the solution!

Just think about all the unused power tools that sit in our garages and all the books we’ve purchased but probably aren’t going to read again. When you think about it, it really doesn’t make sense for every individual household within a community to own...

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Toy Libraries are a Step Towards Sustainable Parenting

People are starting to realize that sharing might be the best solution to society’s overconsumption habit. That’s why we are seeing things like tool lending libraries, car sharing companies, clothing swaps, and carpool apps gaining popularity. You might actually be surprised at all the different items people are sharing nowadays.

For example, did you know that toy libraries are a thing? Just like a regular library with books, toy libraries allow you to check out and borrow toys to bring home. The toys in a toy library are carefully selected, ensuring that there are plenty to choose from for all ages and abilities! Whether you are looking for play mats for a baby or Lego blocks for an older child, toy libraries are likely to have it all.

 And of course, the toys are cleaned and kept in good condition so that they offer each new child a fun and safe play experience.

How toy libraries work

Many toy libraries will charge a small annual or monthly fee that allows you to...

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Recipe for a Litterless Lunch

Every meal is an opportunity to live sustainably. This is a topic we’ve explored before – the food we eat has a significant impact on the environment. Some negative consequences of our food choices include excess carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, synthetic chemical use, animal welfare problems, unfair labour, wasteful packaging, and environmental pollution.

On the other hand, making positive food choices like eating local, choosing organic, and growing your own produce help mitigate these issues and bring you one step closer to sustainable wellbeing.

In short - food is one of our most direct connections to the natural world, and we can really make a difference to our wellbeing and that of the planet with our food choices.

However, being environmentally conscious when it comes to our food choices isn’t just about the food itself, but also about the way we package our meals when we’re on the go.

We can elevate our food choices by looking at the big...

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Preserving the Harvest

As much as many of us hate to admit it, here in the northern hemisphere summertime is coming to an end. In a matter of weeks, the weather will start to cool down, students will be going back to school, and fall will be upon us.

Although it can be sad to see summer go, there is plenty to be excited about as we transition into a new season! For those of us who have been cultivating our gardens, purchasing produce from farmer’s markets, or have family and friends with impressive vegetable and fruit yields from their gardens, the harvest is always something to look forward to.

There’s nothing like enjoying fresh and delicious produce that has been grown locally. Bonus points if you grew it yourself – it’s always a good feeling when your hard work in the garden pays off. 

You might be wondering “what’s so good about local produce?” Well, locally grown produce is good for the planet, the local economy, and your taste buds. If you’re...

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Bartering for the environment

When we think of bartering, it is easy to think of it as an ancient practice replaced by modern currencies. Mesopotamian tribes are thought to have started the first bartering systems in around 6000 BCE to trade food, weapons, and spices. In ancient Rome, services were bartered for salt. Bartering is thousands of years old and precedes the use of money; however, it is still relevant and used today with many online sites available for anyone who has something to trade. But where does bartering fit in a modern society? And what makes it beneficial?

What is bartering?

Bartering is a direct exchange of goods and services, without a money intermediary. It is a great way to participate in a sustainable and circular economy, and encourages the use of second-hand clothing, jewelry, and other items by creating a trading community, as opposed to being centred around a currency. Although it often does, bartering doesn’t have to involve goods. Services such as trade work, cooking and...

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Eat out without the guilt

Food is a vitally important part of every day of our lives, and every meal is an opportunity to choose sustainability. Whether it be buying Fairtrade products, reducing food waste, supporting local producers, or reducing meat consumption, we do our best to eat sustainably.  When we decide to eat out, we want to know if the restaurants we support are doing the same. Enter Green Restaurant Certifications.

These certifications assess factors such as water efficiency, sustainable food, energy, and waste reduction to determine whether or not the establishment meets the requirements to be certified green. Green Restaurant Certifications are a great way to help identify restaurants in the community that are striving to promote sustainability so that we can support their efforts while enjoying a delicious meal. In North America, the Green Restaurant Association and LEAF Certification assess restaurants to determine their level of sustainability and then publish these results on their...

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The push for greener grocery stores

Pursuing a green lifestyle isn’t always easy – it’s true that eco-friendly goods and services aren’t always available, accessible or affordable, never mind convenient. As much as we may try to minimize our impact on the planet, sometimes the systems in place make that difficult.

While we are seeing many businesses going green and making commitments to reduce their environmental impact, there are still some businesses (especially essential services) that seem to be stuck in their environmentally harmful ways.

Take grocery stores, for example. Grocery stores are vital components of the built environment that make neighbourhoods and communities liveable. While it is possible to purchase some of your food from alternative sources such as farmer’s markets, community gardens, community supported agriculture, and your own backyard, chances are that you’ll still need to visit the grocery store every now and again.

So, given the fact that shopping at...

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Is night solar the next form of green energy?

Image sourced from: The Guardian

Solar power is a type of renewable energy that has the ability to help us reduce our carbon emissions and mitigate climate change, as it is a viable alternative to electricity generated from fossil fuels. You are probably quite familiar with solar power since it is one of the most common forms of alternative electricity generation and has many different applications!

For example, solar power has proven to be a life-changing addition to remote communities where electricity is not widely available or affordable.

Solar power’s many other uses range from the creation of backpacks with built in solar lights to green building technologies such as solar panels and solar walls.

How solar energy becomes electricity

Solar energy can be harnessed and converted into useable energy (such as electricity) through the use of photovoltaic panels, more commonly referred to as solar panels. When a solar panel is placed outside in a sunny location, incoming...

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Little Free Libraries Build Community

Are you looking to pick up a couple new books this summer? Before you head to the bookstore and buy something new, keep an eye out for Little Free Libraries in your neighbourhood! Little Free Libraries are collections of books which are housed in public bookcases. You may find these bookcases in public spaces such as parks or outside commercial buildings, or even in your neighbours’ yards.

There’s a chance you may have come across these unique structures in the past. Perhaps you have been unsure about how they work or if the contents of the bookcase are actually free to take. After all, if you are not too familiar with the concept it can feel quite strange to grab a book without signing it out or paying. Rest assured, these public bookcases are filled with books that are completely free to take – no strings attached!

While some public bookcases may be unmarked and unaffiliated with any organization, bookcases which are branded as Little Free Libraries are...

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Generate electricity one step at a time with Piezoelectricity

As the world’s demand for energy continues to increase, we know how important it is to develop and utilize alternative and sustainable methods of energy production. You may already be quite familiar with green energy sources or alternative energies such as hydroelectric power, wind power, biomass energy, or solar power, but did you know that there are many more opportunities for electricity generation?

In fact, something as simple as walking can generate electricity! According to the first law of thermodynamics, the Law of Conservation of Energy, energy can be neither created or destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. Therefore, the mechanical energy that is produced with each of our footsteps can actually be harvested and converted to electricity! Pretty incredible right?

How is this possible?

The energy produced by our footsteps can be converted to electricity through the piezoelectric effect. The piezoelectric effect is the...

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