Latest posts in Notes from the Panther Lounge

Join the Blue Dot movement

November 3, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Join the Blue Dot movement

By Amy Juschka

The Blue Dot movement is a comprehensive, multi-year campaign to support the groundswell of Canadians who want meaningful action to protect the people and places they love.

We have a plan to create lasting change for generations. Here's how:

Across the country, Canadians believe in our inherent right to a healthy environment — clean water, fresh air, safe food and a say in decisions that affect our health and wellbeing. One by one, people like you stand up to say this right should be recognized.

This growing movement of Canadians calls upon their local communities to pass municipal declarations respecting people's right to live in a healthy environment.

Community by community, this movement will inspire decision-makers across our provinces and territories to take notice.

With so many communities calling for action from all levels of government, the next step is to have our provincial and federal governments follow suit and pass environmental bills of rights.

Recognition in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — the highest law in our country — is the final step toward protecting the right to clean air, fresh water and safe food for all Canadians. This ensures that we all benefit from a healthy environment, world-class standards and a say in the decisions that affect our health.

To learn more about the Blue Dot movement, visit

Blue Dot is backed by the David Suzuki Foundation, one of the most trusted environmental organizations in Canada. Together we are building a movement of millions of ordinary people taking extraordinary action to protect our right to a healthy environment and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders.

Cleaning up water in First Nations communities: Advice to Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau

October 28, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Cleaning up water in First Nations communities: Advice to Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau

During the Blue Dot Tour, David Suzuki Foundation founders and staff met with the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to discuss the right to clean water.

By Rachel Plotkin, Ontario Science Projects Manager

People living on First Nations reserves are 90 times more likely than other Canadians to lack access to running water. In the lead-up to the election, the David Suzuki Foundation, along with a number of First Nations communities and other organizations, urged each party to commit to end the drinking water crisis in First Nations communities once and for all. Canada's Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau promised on the campaign trail to end boil-water advisories in First Nations communities in five years.

What advice would I give Trudeau to help him fulfill this promise? I can sum it up in one word: relationships.

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Ontario to get a million trees for each year in Confederation

October 23, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Ontario to get a million trees for each year in Confederation

(Credit: Brad Smith via Flickr)

By Faisal Moola, Director General, Ontario and Northern Canada

Studies by the David Suzuki Foundation and others have found that people living in areas with many trees, especially large trees, report feeling healthier than people in areas with fewer trees, and that rates of heart condition, cancer, mental health problems, diabetes and other ailments are lower in treed areas. Trees also provide numerous valuable services such as flood control, temperature regulation, air filtering, carbon dioxide reduction, storm protection and habitat for wildlife.

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Crawlin' upstream: The Homegrown Park Crawl 2015

September 30, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: Crawlin' upstream: The Homegrown Park Crawl 2015

The Homegrown Park Crawl filled Toronto streets and parks with joyous musical parades last weekend (Photo by Easy Camera Art)

Last weekend, thousands of Toronto residents came out to celebrate the green spaces along the former Garrison Creek in the third annual Homegrown Park Crawl. The volunteer-run event is part of the David Suzuki Foundation's Homegrown National Park Project, which aims to bring nature home to the heart of Canada's largest city, one fun, green intervention at a time.

This year's event featured great weather and food from some of the city's top chefs and restaurants, including Pizzeria Libretto, FRANK Restaurant, Banjara Indian Cuisine and The County General. Participants crawled upstream from park to park and through residential streets in the downtown west end, accompanied by four superb local musical acts: MIDNIGHT VESTA, Turbo Street Funk, Maracatu Mar Aberto and The Woodshed Orchestra. The event included making fish and butterfly crafts, seed-paper making with the University of Toronto's BIOzone, writing love letters to Toronto's green spaces with the Love Lettering Project and an interactive dance performance by Julia Aplin Dance.

Thanks to our amazing team of volunteers and community partners, plus these generous folks who provided fabulous food and drink:

Pizzeria Libretto, Banjara Indian Cuisine, Cookie Martinez, Two Bite Saloon, Chocosol, Harvest Kitchen, Jon's Pops, Coffee Pubs, Le Dolci, Tallboys, Wenona Craft Beer Lodge, My Crème Caramel, The County General, Treeline Catering, FRANK restaurant, The Vegan Duchess

This event would not be possible without the generous support of our event partners and sponsors: Gervais Party & Tent Rental, Impact Canopies, Southbrook Vineyards, Steam Whistle Brewery and Universe.

Stay up-to-date on all the Homegrown fun by joining our Homegrown National Park Project Facebook page.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... time to get kids outside!

September 22, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... time to get kids outside!

By Dr. Shimi Kang, psychiatrist and author

Summer, where did you go? It seems I blinked and my alarm-clock-free mornings, warm beach days and carefree weekends were instantly gone. Now, it's the third week of the back-to-school rush and my kids and I miss you more than ever. From climbing trees to slouching over desks — the transition from summer sovereignty to school routines hasn't been easy in my house.

How can we strike a balance between school routines and spending time outdoors?

Even though back-to-school can make your family back-to-busy, it's important to ensure children don't disconnect from one of the most important classrooms — the outdoors. When I was a kid, Mother Nature was one of my favorite educators. I climbed trees, played in the dirt and lifted rocks to discover the "newest" species. I was often free to explore, run and follow my own guidelines. My parents encouraged me to get outside and play and I feel this helped me develop mentally, physically and emotionally. There's nothing like being perched in a tree or running through fields of grass — you almost believe you're a superhero.

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