Tag Archives: Canada

Sustainable Community Giving~

So I thought I’d share some holiday tips this week while folks are scrambling – there is a better way, for you and the planet!
 
Day 5 of 5: Sustainable Community Giving~
 
These links below showcase some of my favourite community organizations working to make our lives, government, and built/natural environments as sustainable as possible. They cover not just issues of environmental sustainability, but also economic sustainability, social justice, investigative journalism, community programming, and government/media/corporate oversight.
 
I am proud to have supported many of these organizations, often with just a donation around $20 (#givewhatyoucan)… I encourage you to explore all the organizations listed, and please share your own, too!
 
This is a time of year to give back to the people and projects that we love, so that we can continue on a better path, each day, month, and year to come. Whether you give a little or a lot – or just send your thanks, it matters (and you matter, too 😊)! Know that for many of these organizations, especially the NGO’s and media, they are given far less attention and support than they deserve, and they often rely on donations by the many, to support the focused work that keeps them (and us) moving, forward.
 
So here’s my top 10 (…12…uh…14!) recommendations!
Ecosource (#1inPeelforlife): http://ecosource.ca/
National Observer (#exceptionallydeepreporting): https://www.nationalobserver.com/
Not Far From The Tree (#foodforestfriends): https://notfarfromthetree.org/
IRPP / Policy Options (#criticaldailyknowledge): http://policyoptions.irpp.org/
The Council of Canadians (#toughwalkandtalk): https://canadians.org/
The Story of Stuff Project (#watchallthevids): https://storyofstuff.org/
DeSmog Canada (#newsthatclearstheair): https://www.desmog.ca/
LEAF – Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (#treetalktrektendtrain): https://www.yourleaf.org/
David Suzuki Foundation (#smartcleangreenCanada): https://davidsuzuki.org/
Samara (#leadershipandaccountability): http://www.samaracanada.com/
Leadnow.ca – À l’Action (#theirname): https://www.leadnow.ca/
The Leap (#abetterfuture): https://theleap.org/
Alternatives Journal (#realsustainablenews): http://alternativesjournal.ca/
Evergreen (#greenercities): http://evergreen.ca/
 
Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone! I hope these five days of tips were helpful, in some small way (and helped offset all of the scary, difficult, and shocking news that seems to increasingly fill our world…). Know that there are so many bright spots in the world, and even the internet, today – perhaps more than ever before, but harder to find, share, and hear… We CAN make them shine brighter, and outlast the rather dark times we are in. Sending you all love, hope, and strength for the hill we will continue to climb, together, as long as it takes!
 
And for those in Southern Ontario, too, what an incredible wintry finish to December, perhaps an unprecedented snowfall in my lifetime, for Christmas Eve! I’ll share thoughts on this weather, the rarity of it all, and much bigger climate change talk, as this blog ramps (back) up, in the new year.
 
Now go back offline and have a #HappySustainableHolidays
❄️☃️💚☃️❄️
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Eat Green…Holiday-theme!

So I thought I’d share some holiday tips this week while folks are scrambling – there is a better way, for you and the planet!

Day 4 of 5: Eat green…holiday-theme!

These links below showcase some tasty vegan, vegetarian, and, um, “omnivorian” (meat!) recipes that I encourage you to try out (I have tried a few so far, as there are many!). Don’t worry too much about all the ingredients and amounts (unless they are essential), give it your own spin where possible!

Also, know that there are many awesome substitutions that can actually save you a lot of money – for example, search “flax egg” to discover an wonderful cooking alternative, with all the nutrients still there! Another magical (recent) creation to search is “aquafaba” – it will blow your mind (here are some recipes using it: http://bit.ly/2Dxz8R1).

Now, to the links!

30 veg recipes under 30min each: http://bit.ly/2C2XKTX
Plant-based holiday recipes: http://bit.ly/2phxpw0
Sustainable Table (epic database of recipes, with lots of categories and tons of resources across a huge NGO – just discovered!): http://bit.ly/1PNDl3i
Another swell database from MNN: http://bit.ly/2ziBfET
From the above site, my fav vegan pie!: http://bit.ly/2zi74xP
And of course, quick food waste tips: http://bit.ly/2kHm3wL

…P.S. this final link is here to cover all your bases!

Please share your awesome green holiday creations, recipes, and alternatives/substitutions, below! We can all do our part to lower our footprint, expand our culinary knowledge and techniques, and share with others…

…And I’ll leave it at that, please do share – in this land of plenty, with as many as you can, this holiday season. A sharing economy truly pulls everyone up, and provides opportunity where there was once burden.

Spread the love, y’all. ❄️💚❄️

#HappySustainableHolidays

Sustainable Holiday Designs!

So I thought I’d share some holiday tips this week while folks are scrambling – there is a better way, for you and the planet!

Day 3 of 5: Sustainable Holiday Designs!

The links below showcase some tips to minimize waste, and maximize (natural) green in your house, while also potentially sprucing up the outside, to help out some winter critters, too! This first link below gives some ideas on outdoor decoration using fully compostable materials, discovered via Not Far From The Tree (an awesome resource in every season!) on Twitter. Be sure to check out the link at the end of the article itself for more awesome decorating ideas! http://bit.ly/2C1UgAI

Here is another link, this time to “spruce up” (literally, use some spruce clippings!) the inside of your home for the holidays, with little to no waste, and a lot of beauty: http://bit.ly/2BrErj1

Another solid guide for home creations comes from the Nature’s Path (those granola bar folks – so delicious, but I can’t buy it with all that packaging, so I make my own now) blog. The ideas are almost all zero-waste, with a double bonus at the end, a “free guide to sustainable shopping” (connecting to yesterday’s post!) and “17 plant-based recipes” (connecting to tomorrow’s post!): http://bit.ly/2pevBE1

There are so many other designs, ideas, and creations to talk about, but this is more to have a conversation, so please share your green decorating tips, tricks, links, or even pictures of results up and ready in your home, below!

Coming up tomorrow, a big, fat, delicious post on all things FOOD! Making edibles for the holidays that are light on the wallet (mostly) and the planet, while tasting amazing. There will be food waste tips too, of course!

#HappySustainableHolidays

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Shop Sustainable!

So I thought I’d share some holiday tips this week while folks are scrambling – there is a better way, for you and the planet!

Day 2 of 5: Shop Sustainable!

Today’s link is an awesome guide from SE Ontario, the Social Enterprise gift guide, shared with me by a good friend of mine. It highlights gifts that make an effort to be as local, ethical, and sustainable as possible (some more than others) – check it out!

http://seontario.org/feature-products-gift-guide-2017/

Reminders:
-make your own gifts if you can!
-showcase art, local goods, and talent in your community!
-minimize global purchases (and the massive footprint due to shipping) – if you do have to buy something from far away (or online, in general), go with standard shipping, not express, for a big dent in transport emissions!

There are truly hundreds of great gift guides out there that focus on being good to the planet and the community, so please share yours in the comments below!

Here’s one more guide before I wrap things up, it comes from Canada’s Green Living Show: http://www.greenlivingshow.ca/blog-post/green-living-holiday-gift-guide/

…ok so here’s ONE MORE GUIDE! The wonderful Green Action Centre based in Winnipeg, Manitoba has truly covered all the bases in this comprehensive (yet succinct) guide, from material to immaterial, and from purchased, to painted, to cooked! Check it out: http://greenactioncentre.ca/featured/sustainable-gift-ideas/

At the end of this week I will highlight my top 10 (maybe more if I can’t stop) NGO’s to consider supporting this holiday season (the best gift of all, helping people and planet!) – stay tuned!

#HappySustainableHolidays

Earth Day 2016 – hope for the future?

It’s Earth Day friends – time to celebrate, reflect, and move forward on how we can take ever-stronger care of this planet!

That means supporting our neighbours, building sustainable communities, transforming our energy systems, and advocating for strong climate leadership at all levels of government, in how we live/work/play. Some even say to drop the “Earth Day” label entirely, as it does more harm than good… might be worth considering: http://www.thenation.com/article/let-earth-day-be-last

To celebrate, I was planning to share some awesome events you can take part in over the coming days… but when I checked my favourite sites for Mississauga, there wasn’t much happening! The events I did find are sold out (a promising sign), so I was quite surprised… I’d love for those reading this to share any public events in Mississauga they know about, on this topic, in the comments below. If you live somewhere else, please share local opportunities with your friends, too! The more action we take, the better!

To reflect, I encourage you to watch the video from the Paris Agreement Signing event, below, while thinking about what each of us can do in our own lives to tread lightly, respectfully, more aware and informed, on this Earth. Leonardo doesn’t mince words, despite the promise the Paris Agreement holds – we have a LOT of work yet to do. Ask yourself – what changes can I make to help my kids, and their kids, have the same quality of life as me? What do I need to be happy – can I change it, to also be sustainable? For me, it means working to ensure I waste as little as possible in everything I consume, while learning about climate change issues and solutions through research and conversation, and volunteering in my community for projects that deliver healthier air, soil, and water.

Finally, on moving forward… now is a great time to join the conversation on sustainability! Learn about all your local community leaders, whether they are from government, industry, NGO’s, or academia. Learn from them, work with them to foster solutions, advocate for strong policy/regulation, a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy, and inspire greater involvement in the movement to tackle climate change locally and abroad. Another crucial element is to learn about where we came from (sustainability in history, solutions in the past) and where we are, today (do we respect the land we live on, are we learning about indigenous history, decolonization, and reconciliation?). If you need resources on any of these topics, start a conversation!

Some great organizations in Mississauga to work/learn with:
http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/environment
http://www.onemilliontrees.ca/
http://www.creditvalleyca.ca/
http://ecosource.ca/
http://peyalliance.ca/
http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/ (+ the sub-page “green“)
http://www.evergreen.ca/whats-on/national/

Remember, above anything else – you are NEVER alone in the shift towards sustainability! It is a hard, at times stressful battle, but you can always reach out to me, your friends, colleagues, and community leaders, part of the movement of millions working to restore our climate to a more balanced state.

We can do this, we are the majority.

Earth Day is every day…so we don’t need the label to define us, direct us, or hold us back!

Be in the know on the LEAP Manifesto

There has been quite a bit of noise this past week over The LEAP Manifesto, since the media coverage of the Federal NDP Convention, and the subsequent divisions that came from the decision they made. But what’s the conversation really about? Why are some hugely in favour, and others hugely opposed, to this document?

An excellent Q&A was shared with me recently from the creators of this project, and I wanted to share it with you, too – it has been edited for length, below.

To be clear, the Manifesto is a non-partisan project, as much as some would love to claim it as a left-wing pet project – that simply isn’t the case.

So take a look at the Q&A and see if it helps your understanding, it certainly helped me keep an open mind. The goals for a cleaner future, where everyone has access to stable, equitable, environmentally sustainable jobs sounds pretty good to me!

1. So… what just happened? 

On Sunday April 10th 2016, Canada’s New Democratic Party passed a resolution to discuss and debate The Leap Manifesto in riding associations across the country in the lead-up to their 2018 policy convention.

The NDP convention took place in the oil-producing province of Alberta, where at least 75,000 workers have lost their jobs since the oil price crash of 2015. Alberta elected an NDP majority government last May for the first time in the province’s history; that government is trying to diversify the economy, weather a recession, and has introduced an historic climate action plan… but is still vigorously calling for new tar sands pipelines.

Because The Leap Manifesto states: “There is no longer an excuse for building new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future”, the idea of the federal NDP debating and potentially adopting this proposition set off a corporate media frenzy.

2. Is this really all about shutting down the Alberta tar sands tomorrow, killing Alberta jobs and tanking the Canadian economy? That’s what I’ve been reading.  

The document does not call for an immediate end to fossil fuel production in Canada, nor does it call for anyone to be thrown out of work. It’s a vision of an economy based on “caring for the earth and each other” – a call for a transition beyond fossil fuels, in which the people worst-affected by fossil fuel development (including indigenous communities and laid-off oil workers) are first to benefit from the clean jobs of the next economy.

By signing the Paris climate accord, our new federal government has committed to a clean energy transition in Canada.  In line with the global consensus on climate science and echoing longstanding calls from Indigenous land defenders and others, The Leap Manifesto does make a demand of no new fossil fuel infrastructure as the country begins its transition to a renewable energy economy.  

So will investing in renewables instead of pipelines tank the economy? Investments in renewables create 6-8 times more jobs than those in the fossil fuel industry.  Around the world, clean energy is now seeing twice as much investment as fossil fuels — the shift is happening so fast that infrastructure based around fossil fuels built today are at risk of becoming stranded assets.

“…the world has reached a turning point, and is now adding more power capacity from renewables every year than from coal, natural gas, and oil combined.” – Bloomberg News, Solar and Wind Just Did the Unthinkable. Jan 14 2016

Researchers at Stanford University have mapped out how Canada can get to a 100% clean energy economy by 2050, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.  A cross-country Canadian research project has also mapped out how Canada can shift its entire electrical grid to clean energy by 2035.

3. Is The Leap Manifesto the only group in Canada that opposes new pipelines?  

The opposition to new pipelines in Canada has been led by the Indigenous communities whose land those proposed pipelines would cross over without their consent, and whose ability to live off the land would be most impacted by oil spills. Public sentiment against pipelines is also particularly strong in both British Columbia and Quebec.

Opposition to new pipelines is not an extreme position in Canada. And energy insiders are now making the case that with the low price of oil, the economics of new tar sands pipelines don’t make sense any more. Beyond all that, the climate science on new pipelines is clear: Canada can’t build them and meet the carbon emissions commitments we made in Paris in December.

4. Was The Leap Manifesto written by those latte-swilling downtown Toronto socialists Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis?

The Leap Manifesto came out of a meeting (yes, held in Toronto) that brought together dozens of social-movement activists from six provinces: Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, B.C. and Alberta. It is a consensus statement – literally written by committee – that reflects a common vision from across a spectrum of different causes. It launched with the support of respected Canadians that support a range of political parties, and organizations as diverse as Oxfam, Black Lives Matter-Toronto, No One Is Illegal-Coast Salish Territories, Idle No More, CUPE, CUPW and the Council of Canadians  What makes The Leap Manifesto different than other environmental statements is the unprecedented coalition behind it.  You can see all the initiating signatories and organizations here.

5. So is The Leap Manifesto an NDP thing now?  What if I don’t support the NDP?

The Leap Manifesto is a non-partisan project and always will be.  As we wrote in this statement, the Greens and other parties endorsed the document months before the NDP passed this resolution, and the Liberals have made strides in advancing some of the document’s key demands since they took office.  The Leap Manifesto is and will always be a non-partisan project, with supporters from every political party, and some who support none.

6. I heard The Leap Manifesto calls for an end to all animal agriculture.  I don’t remember reading that in the document — did you add it after I signed?

No! This is from a vegan spoof site that started up after the Leap launched, and has now been unhelpfully referenced in the Alberta legislature.  On agriculture, The Leap Manifesto states:

Moving to a far more localized and ecologically-based agricultural system would reduce reliance on fossil fuels, capture carbon in the soil, and absorb sudden shocks in the global supply – as well as produce healthier and more affordable food for everyone. 

… a position which, if implemented as policy, would strengthen our local agricultural  production and food security.  Please help us get the word out about this.

7. What happens now?

This is the beginning of a larger conversation about the speed of Canada’s transition to a renewable economy, and how it intersects with Indigenous rights, retraining for workers, and community priorities.

While the debate that exploded this week is in some ways worrisome – dredging up old frames of jobs vs the environment, and pitting workers against climate action – we welcome the opening of this conversation in the public sphere. We hope to see The Leap Manifesto inspire more debate – but most importantly, actions at all levels of government, in the business world and at a community level, to make the shift to a clean energy Canada based on caring for the earth and one other.

Please share your thoughts – what do you like, and what could be improved?

Five Articles Worth Sharing:

Why the ruckus over the Leap Manifesto?
Linda McQuaig, Toronto Star

Let’s get real about the Leap Manifesto: it’s not a job killer.
Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight

Sorry, pundits of Canada. The Leap will bring us together.
Avi Lewis, Globe & Mail

Dear Leap Manifesto critics: there will be no jobs on a dead planet.
Gary Engler, National Observer

Clean disruption? Stanford group plans for 100% green-energy future.
CBC.ca

Youth aren’t apathetic.

The proof is in the numbers…

http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/smith-youth-arent-apathetic-and-statscan-has-the-proof

Youth are trying hard to engage in the political process, right across Canada.

Now, the political process must engage with us.

Some more numbers: http://ipolitics.ca/2016/02/22/2015-federal-election-turnout-millennials-surged-boomers-stayed-the-course/

Stay engaged, find your local community. Nurture it, and it will nurture you.

Resources:
http://www.samaracanada.com
http://www.leadnow.ca
http://canadians.org/
https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto

Photo source: www.votesavvy.ca