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How to establish "green" house rules

Queen of Green | April 18, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to establish

Kids are never too young to contribute to "green" house rules. (Credit: Kelly Woods)

Are you the eco-friendliest person in your home? I am.

Family members can be the hardest to "green" — I know and I'm paid to do this!

Comment on this blog with how you successfully "greened" a family member. The entire Queen of Green community (and I) can try it, too.

You'll also be entered to win up to a $100 prize package of sustainable goodies (e.g., a recycled textile area rug, rechargeable batteries, a stainless steel coffee pot or LED nightlight) donated by IKEA Canada (@IKEACanada)! (Draw date: May 21, 2015.)

When the world needs us to recycle less, use hankies, cloth diapers and nontoxic deodorant, and get into nature, how do you get your loved ones to buy in?

Step one: Appreciate that most people are doing their best (and value the same things you do)!

Step two: Host a family meeting to create new house rules.

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Vancouver's oil spill: Damage in the water

Photo: Vancouver's oil spill: Damage in the water

By Theresa Beer, communications specialist

As Vancouver cleans up from the bunker fuel spill in its harbour, fingers are pointing at who was responsible for the slow and confusing response. This spill happened in ideal weather conditions and in the backyard of the coast's best-equipped response location. One can only imagine the impacts — for people, wildlife and habitats — of larger amounts of oil in less ideal weather conditions.

Vancouver's harbour is a relatively rich ecological area with migrating and permanent birdlife. April is an especially important time for many birds. Trained volunteer oiled-wildlife first responders are helping at least 30 oil-covered birds, and more damage is expected. If past spills are any indication, we can expect impacts on marine life and habitats from the toxic leftovers to continue for decades.

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China's disastrous pollution problem is a lesson for all

Science Matters | April 16, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: China's disastrous pollution problem is a lesson for all

(Credit: Mirco Gugnoni via Flickr)

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

Beijing's 21-million residents live in a toxic fog of particulate matter, ozone, sulphur dioxide, mercury, cadmium, lead and other contaminants, mainly caused by factories and coal burning. Schools and workplaces regularly shut down when pollution exceeds hazardous levels. People have exchanged paper and cotton masks for more elaborate, filtered respirators. Cancer has become the leading cause of death in the city and throughout the country.

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Growing movements and shaping communities: The power of volunteerism

Photo: Growing movements and shaping communities: The power of volunteerism

(Credit: Keri Coles Photography)

By Jennifer Rodriguez, Volunteer Engagement Specialist

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a volunteer as "one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest" and "a person who does work without getting paid to do it."

There's far more to it than that, though, as can be seen from an exceptional year of volunteerism at the Foundation.

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How to make a difference

Queen of Green | April 9, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to make a difference

Emily has decided to lead in her community within the province of Nova Scotia. (Credit: Lyndsay Doyle Photography)

Worrying about the planet can feel overwhelming.

Yet the more we repress information — oceans full of whale-killing plastic, consumer products full of toxics, dying bees, extreme drought, etc. — the worse it feels. Ignoring or holding back these feelings leads to despair, burnout, blaming, alienation and a sense of powerlessness.

Some people walk around feeling bad about their contribution to the problem, isolate themselves as a means of protection and then judge everyone else around them, assuming others just don't care.

Sound familiar?

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Oiling the machinery of climate change denial and transit opposition

Science Matters | April 9, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Oiling the machinery of climate change denial and transit opposition

(Credit: Michael via Flickr)

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

Brothers Charles and David Koch run Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the U.S., behind Cargill. They've given close to US$70 million to climate change denial front groups, some of which they helped start, including Americans for Prosperity, founded by David Koch and a major force behind the Tea Party movement.

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How to be a good neighbour

Queen of Green | April 8, 2015 | 1 comment
Photo: How to be a good neighbour

A neighbour can be so much more than the dictionary definition: “person living next door.” (Credit: Leah Villalobos Bartok)

My neighbours are better than your neighbours! It's a cheeky proposition, I know... But my neighbours are pretty amazing.

Here's why:

  • They babysit — even last minute and without pay
  • They help us with truck errands (they have a truck and we don't)
  • They close our garage door when we forget
  • They walk our dog when we're going to be home late
  • They look out for burglars and suspicious activities
  • They invite us over for supper
  • They loan tools
  • They let us (my son and I) play on their porch
  • They let me in when I lock myself out!

Now nobody would do any of these things for us if we weren't pretty fabulous neighbours, too.

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