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Looking back on the Blue Dot Tour and ahead to the New Year

Science Matters | December 18, 2014 | Leave a comment

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation's Senior Editor Ian Hanington

I recently travelled across Canada with David Suzuki Foundation staff, from St. John's to Victoria and up to Yellowknife, joined by friends and allies along the way. Besides our Blue Dot Tour evening events featuring some of Canada's best-known musicians, writers, artists and thinkers, we also took part in many community events and discussed environmental stewardship and treaty rights with Indigenous people.

We visited places that lack access to clean water in a country that boasts having an abundance of the cleanest water in the world. We met people trying to protect their communities, wildlife and habitat from fossil fuel development and pipeline projects. We joined more than 1,000 people in Toronto for a celebration of local food, music and nature during the Homegrown Park Crawl. We took part in nature-themed scavenger hunts with schoolchildren.

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Six Christmas tree options

Queen of Green | December 18, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: Six Christmas tree options

A real tree might just afford the same health benefits as forest bathing!(Credit: Theresa Hannah)

Real, fake, potted, planted — I've tried out many a holiday tree.

Three years ago, I accidentally killed a potted cedar. Last year, my houseplant, a Norfolk Island pine, did the trick. (It's still alive.) This year, I have a real table-top tree (toddler-sized) destined for the chipper.

Bringing a tree into your home seems kind of weird. But it has occurred to me why people prefer a real one:

  1. They're eco-friendlier than fake trees.
  2. That smell. It's a form of forest bathing — breathing in natural substances, called phytoncides, or wood essential oils, can help fight cancer!
  3. Contact with nature reduces stress and blood-sugar levels and makes people happy.
  4. You own an indestructible vacuum.
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Lisa's letter to Santa

Notes from the Panther Lounge | December 17, 2014
Photo: Lisa's letter to Santa

By Lisa Gue, Researcher and Analyst

Dear Santa,

I know I'm not perfect, but I've tried to be good this year.

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Site C approval is the wrong decision for B.C.

Photo: Site C approval is the wrong decision for B.C.

(Credit: Andrea Morison)

By Faisal Moola, Director General, Ontario and Northern Canada,

At a news conference on Tuesday, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced that the government has approved the controversial Site C dam project on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia. The decision ends months of speculation following a joint provincial-federal environmental review of the mega-project, which found it is unclear if power from Site C is even needed now. The review also raised doubts about whether the price tag for Site C, currently estimated at more than $8 billion, truly reflects the project's full costs.

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How to regift

Queen of Green | December 16, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to regift

This year I will regift and spend time making preserved lemons for family and friends. (Credit: Joshua Becker)

I regift. And I don't feel bad about it — and neither should you.

It takes a lot of thought and consideration to regift, even more than buying new.

Why I regift

  • We already own one. (And it's impossible or a hassle to return or exchange.)
  • I know someone who would appreciate it more than me.
  • I want to own less instead of organizing more.
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EcoMUSICology: The rhythms of life

Photo: EcoMUSICology: The rhythms of life

(Credit: ECUAD EcoMUSICology 2014 students)

It's hard to hear nature when you're living in a large urban environment. That's what students at Emily Carr University of Art + Design found when creating soundscape music videos in urban green spaces for their EcoMUSICology class assignments.

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How to write a letter to your mayor

Queen of Green | December 15, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to write a letter to your mayor

Your city is waiting to hear from you! (Credit: Kerri Taschuk)

I've never written a letter to my mayor. But I tell other people to!

In 2010, I told the Smith family to write a letter to their mayor about their toilet. It swallowed My Little Pony, only to meet Mr. Sledgehammer, requiring a new, low-flow version. At the time, the City of St. Albert didn't have a toilet rebate program. I like to believe that the entire city received a toilet rebate program in 2012, thanks to Melanie's letter!

Whatever "green" initiative ignites your passion — scent-free policies, green bin waste, etc. — why not write a letter to your mayor? But a good one!

I quizzed Cynthia, a Queen of Green Coach and past city councillor, for her tips:

Who should it be directed to?

Generally "Mayor and Council". It will likely receive a reply written by them or the appropriate staff person. A CC to the city manager can help give staff a heads-up.

It's also worthwhile to find out if there's a committee that deals with the issue, e.g., an environment committee. You may even want to ask to make a presentation to them.

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