All posts by Winterseeker

Thanks for liking, but let’s talk!

With a campaign like #BellLetsTalk, you might wonder – so what? Why does it matter?

Having a conversation can go a long way – especially when it comes to mental health – you don’t need to look much further than social media to see it working, or not.

Consider Twitter, for example, it’s success is not so much it’s structure, a character limit, attached images and hashtags – these can be found on every blog, comment and posting forum that exists. Instead, it is those features combined with the ability to tag, the “@”, which can be used at a pace impossible in email and far more user-friendly. The world, more connected than ever, is hungry for conversation, and Twitter processes millions of thoughts, every single day. There’s great power and responsibility behind each tweet, use it but don’t abuse it!

Then, consider Facebook – have you noticed in recent years how there are fewer and fewer wall-to-wall messages, fewer comments, even fewer statuses, and ALOT more likes? I have, and it’s troubling. Facebook is a place where conversation can either thrive or die (loneliness by a thousand likes, as I call it) through the “wisdom of the crowd”. Essentially, we can each be creative, expressing our thoughts, debating, and sharing ideas. Or, we can all fall in line, liking, just like the previous person, and racking up counts, with little emotional attachment or impact for the receiver in the long-run. Is there a solution? YES! A simple message, a status (perhaps a question, challenge or hope?), a comment instead of a like, expressing your true feelings, can be powerful, as long as we’re respectful. I see it every day, and you probably do, too. Want more engagement on Facebook? Speak up! A picture is worth a 1000 words, so maybe we can do more than just 1000 likes? It’s good for everyone’s health to talk, but especially about an issue as silent as mental health.

So, do a lot of listening, but don’t be afraid to speak up! Conversations build community…they can save lives, too.

I hope this short “talk” can add to the conversation we need to be having so much more. :]

Can we make the Anthropocene official yet?

New Year – New Age?

More to come. Back online!

Here’s what future cyborgs might find when they look back at what early Anthropocene dwellers (that’s us) left behind.

Source: Can we make the Anthropocene official yet?

Lanktree: Suburban communities need dense cores, too

Finding a balance between the development of a city and a suburb, with greenbelt in-between – lots of parallels to the Greater Toronto Area, and other large city agglomerates around the world!

Within the context of Ontario, places such as Ottawa and the surrounding region have yet to be considered in detail under Places to Grow…maybe that will be the next Growth Plan?

More details on that plan, here: https://www.placestogrow.ca/index.php

What kind of policy shapes growth and development in your community?

Ottawa Citizen

Planning a city, as a forum of democracy, happens at different levels of scale. While it is important to hear and understand the immediate community when creating a new Community Design Plan (CDP), it is also important to consider the place of that community in the larger city and region.

When creating a new CDP for Stittsville Main Street, the local community was consulted and its unique character was studied. Its place in Ottawa and the Province of Ontario was also considered. In the end, the CDP needs to be in conformity with the City’s Official Plan (OP) and Provincial Policy Statement to determine that the public good can be achieved throughout all levels of the planning framework.

The question regarding the Stittsville Main Street CDP is whether this balance has been struck or some more limited interest has prevailed. When we look at the demographics of Stittsville, we see…

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Ottawa’s urban Inuit renaissance

A strong community, connected to their roots – the culture, language, food and history – is one fundamentally connected closer to the planet, and in turn, the environment.

What a beautiful story. We should all strive to support such vibrant communities that are happy, strong and proud, while also stewards of a planet that needs a lot of help right now…

Ottawa Citizen

On her first day of school in the south, Lynda Brown and her mother were called in to see the principal, who told them it wasn’t appropriate to send a child to school in “slippers.”

Lynda looked down at the sealskin kamiks and the parka she was wearing — similar to clothing that had kept her ancestors warm in the Arctic for centuries — then looked at the other children at her Edmonton elementary school. No one needed to tell her she didn’t fit in. So at six years old she decided that being Inuit was nothing to be proud of and starting telling other children she was Chinese “because it was more accepted.”

Now 40, Brown is one of the faces of an urban Inuit movement that is embracing culture and traditions — even adapting some new ones.

She found her lost Inuit heritage, she says, in Ottawa.

“This is where I learned everything. I didn’t speak the…

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Mississauga’s One Million Trees Ready to Dig In for 2015

From the amazing team at the City of Mississauga and the One Million Trees project:

“I wanted to make you aware of an exciting event happening on April 25th at the Iceland Arena, following the One Million Trees celebration. The City’s first Earth Market will launch on this day and is open until 3pm inside the arena. There are information booths, vendors, live music, prizes, a food truck, kids’ activities and workshops. They are asking that people sign up for the workshops in advance at: http://earthmarket.eventbrite.com. General information about the Earth Market can be found at http://www.mississauga.ca/earthmarket.

See you on the 25th!” – I’ll be there!

mississaugalivinggreen

As spring approaches, the One Million Trees team is preparing for another great year!

The City of Mississauga’s One Million Trees program has now planted more than 144,000 trees and shrubs. In 2014:

  • 47,855 trees and shrubs were planted by the City of Mississauga and our partners, Credit Valley Conservation, Evergreen, Credit River Anglers Association, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Association for Canadian Educational Resources
  • 4,916 residents volunteered for planting events delivered by City Forestry staff
  • In 2014, Forestry staff and partners hosted 213 planting events in City parks and woodlands

Miss.forestry_tree_planting_'14_0924__28897

Our planting events begin in April. On Saturday, April 25th we will celebrate Earth Day with a tree planting and tree tour at Iceland Arena.

To learn more about these events, tree planting on your property, planning an event in your neighbourhood or to sign up for an upcoming planting run through the City or our partner…

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Winter tips for avoiding slips!

As winter finally considers maybe starting here in Southern Ontario it is worth reminding ourselves, family and friends of some winter tips to maximize your enjoyment of the season and minimize the cost. Be sure to check out the links for extra tips!

Don’t overdo the salt, in fact you barely need any at all! Try to start by buying salt alternatives – encourage your local government to do the same! Often, like fertilizer on our lawn, we apply far more than is needed. Use a salt alternative, this link provides a wealth of information, including cost and benefits/harms of each: http://water.greenventure.ca/road-salts-alternatives

For your government, share some of these tips as to why they should consider alternatives – great for the longevity of infrastructure, city trees and landscapes as well as our waterways! Be sure to add-in that this must occur with improved policy, such as lower winter speed limits and stronger recommendation (or mandatory, depending) for use of winter ties: http://inhabitat.com/snow-melting-road-salt-wrecks-havoc-on-the-environment-infrastructure/

Don’t drive too fast! Best to take it slow and steady or, if you want a comfortable commute without the stress of whiteout roads, there is often a bus/train alternative waiting for you! More driving tips here: http://www.caasco.com/Auto/Auto-Maintenance/Winter-Driving-Guide-Tips.aspx

Do keep an emergency kit in your car at all times (not just winter) – this should include at minimum: flashlights and batteries, radio, blankets, charging cables, flare, first aid kit, window puncture, heat/cold pack and ideally some non-perishable food and a spare tire.

Do check on your friends, family and neighbours throughout the season, especially when a storm hits. Sticking together brings out the best in us, like when someone needs help shovelling their driveway, a charge for their car or heat/shelter/food if the power runs out. More tips for winter safety can be found here: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/sfttps/tp201212-eng.aspx

Finally, DO keep a stockpile of hot chocolate (and your favourite toppings), it just makes winter awesome. Now back to enjoying the great winter season, time to get outdoors!