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We can all be 21st-century scientists

Science Matters | November 20, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: We can all be 21st-century scientists

This winter, you can volunteer for NatureWatch's IceWatch and join others in contributing to the scientific understanding of global warming.

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Science and Policy Director Mara Kerry.

Our ancestors may not have called themselves "citizen scientists" or organized to collect data for scientific inquiry, but they were keen observers of the natural world. Their survival often depended on being able to tease apart nature's complexity — where to find game and when to sow seeds, collect berries and prepare for winter or bad weather.

But our modern, technology-obsessed lives increasingly divorce us from nature, with consequences for our health and well-being. Numerous studies now remind us of what we know intuitively: Spending time in nature makes us feel better — helping with depression, attention deficit disorder, recall and memory, problem-solving and creativity. People who spend more time outside are also physically healthier.

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How to lower your foodprint

Queen of Green | November 17, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to lower your foodprint

Renu’s husband, Tom, and son, Coen, now enjoy homemade bread and canned goodies.

Your "foodprint" — the choices you make about what you eat — can make as big a difference for the environment as how you get around.

This fall, a team of Queen of Green coaches are helping a community of Canadian families go from ordinary to extraordinary when it comes to eating more sustainably. You read how they tackled waste. Prepare to be inspired as they reduce their foodprints during Module 2 (of 4)! (Go ahead, be a copycat.)

Meet Renu, Tom and son, Coen, of B.C.

Renu aims to do:

  • More home cooking
  • Fine-tune composting
  • Grow more food
  • She courageously advocated for healthier choices at her son's daycare and tries hard to provide edibles without packaging when it's her day to contribute.
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IPCC report is clear: We must clean up our act

Science Matters | November 13, 2014 | 1 comment
Photo: IPCC report is clear: We must clean up our act

Germany, the world's fourth-largest economy, now gets a third of its energy from renewable sources, and has reduced carbon emissions 23 per cent from 1990 levels and created 370,000 jobs. (Credit: David via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

It's become a cliché to say that out of crisis comes opportunity. But there's no denying that when faced with crises, we have choices. The opportunity depends on what we decide to do.

What choices will we make when confronted with the fact that 2014 will likely be the hottest year on record? According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, global land and sea temperatures up to September's end tie this year with 1998 as the warmest since record keeping began in 1880. "If 2014 maintains this temperature departure from average for the remainder of the year, it will be the warmest year on record," a NOAA statement says.

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Why I pick up garbage

Queen of Green | November 9, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: Why I pick up garbage

Picking up litter makes neighbourhoods better. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

My two-year-old loves to pick up garbage — cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, paper coffee cups, etc.

And although my first reaction was to get upset — because it's dirty and gross — I can't, because I taught him!

If I say "That's garbage!" he gets a look of determination and responsibility. He picks up said disgusting, used, dirty you-name-it and marches off to a trash can.

This is a good thing, right? If Wyn doesn't pick it up, who will?

My neighbourhood Starbucks and Dairy Queen don't send out garbage pickers, city garbage collectors only deal with bins, paper cup and cigarette manufacturers are nowhere to be found... That leaves you, me and my toddler.

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Singer-songwriter Wanting Qu believes in the right to a healthy environment

Photo: Singer-songwriter Wanting Qu believes in the right to a healthy environment

(Credit: Huang Chen-Chang)

By Winnie Hwo – David Suzuki Foundation Public Engagement Specialist

Wanting Qu came to Canada 14 years ago as a 16-year-old international student from Harbin, China. Today, she is an award-winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter, managed by Nettwerk Music Group co-founder Terry McBride.

Even though she has a larger fan base in Asia than Canada, Wanting chose to make her home in Vancouver. She just completed international and cross-North America tours.. But she is not taking any rest. When she is not creating new music, in both English and Mandarin, she is doubling as Tourism Vancouver's first tourism ambassador to China. In promotional videos, Wanting travels Vancouver and the province, showcasing the region's natural beauty and seafood.

On Sunday, November 9, Wanting will embark on another mission, as a guest performer at the David Suzuki Foundation's Blue Dot Tour at the Orpheum. Wanting will perform her hit song, "You Exist in My Song", which has been viewed more than 27 million times on YouTube.

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The movement for environmental rights is building

Science Matters | November 6, 2014 | 1 comment
Photo: The movement for environmental rights is building

More than 1,000 drinking-water advisories are in effect in Canada at any time, many of them in First Nations communities. (Credit: Toban B via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

The idea of a right to a healthy environment is getting traction at Canada's highest political levels. Federal Opposition MP Linda Duncan recently introduced "An Act to Establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights" in Parliament. If it's passed, our federal government will have a legal duty to protect Canadians' right to live in a healthy environment.

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Do it yourself wisdom

Queen of Green | November 2, 2014 | Leave a comment
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Karina prefers to DIY instead of getting everything she needs from store shelves. (Credit: Two Mann Studios)

Today we outsource stuff we once made at home — food, textiles, soap — leaving it to big companies to make what we need. Our households are mainly for storing stuff (consumption) and leisure.

I was thrilled when I learned to quilt, make bread and soap, and hem curtains. DIY takes the mystery out of it, puts you in control and it feels good. (And gets me closer to my roots, doing things my Grandma did.)

Karina, owner of the Rocky Mountain Soap Company @RockyMtnSoap is a DIY kindred spirit who decorates her stores with items from the landfill!

Why did you start making soap?

I always made concoctions for my face and hair as a kid. To make soap was a natural next step. (I have four brothers so alone time with mashed bananas and an avocado was important.)

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