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.
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:
- They're eco-friendlier than fake trees.
- That smell. It's a form of forest bathing — breathing in natural substances, called phytoncides, or wood essential oils, can help fight cancer!
- Contact with nature reduces stress and blood-sugar levels and makes people happy.
- You own an indestructible vacuum.
I know I'm not perfect, but I've tried to be good this year.Continue reading »
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.Continue reading »
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.
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.Continue reading »
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.Continue reading »