Latest posts in Queen of Green

Six Christmas tree options

December 18, 2014 | Leave a comment
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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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How to regift

December 16, 2014 | Leave a comment
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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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How to write a letter to your mayor

December 15, 2014 | Leave a comment
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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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How to go green in Edmonton

December 10, 2014 | Leave a comment
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Edmonton's best kept secrets to help citizens to go "green" await you! (Credit: Cris Gray)

You and I know that "green" people live in Calgary AND Edmonton (my hometown)!

Here are Edmonton tips and resources from my dedicated Queen of Green Coaches Melanie and Judith @juicygreenmom(many apply to all Canadians):


Download a cheat sheet for your fridge of what goes where — recycling, garbage or Eco station.

Find an Eco-station to drop off leftover paint, light bulbs, oven cleaner, car batteries, power tools, old sofas, clothing, textiles — and more.

Reuse Centre will take office, school and crafts supplies (like googly eyes and pipe cleaners), paper and plastic products — and more. Items must be clean and in good condition.

Recycling Council of Alberta accepts holiday lights, sports gear and polystyrene, even paint.

Terracycle offers national programs to collect previously non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle waste, free shipping and a charitable donation for each piece collected. For example, the Edmonton Valley Zoo takes Tassimo or T-Disks.

Compost give-a-way is held by the City of St. Albert each spring and fall.

Become a Master Composter Recycler. Receive 40 hours of training in waste. In return, you commit 35 hours of teaching fellow Edmontonians! (Next session: spring, 2015; apply now.)

Donate household items, clothes, shoes, linens and more to the Bissell Centre.

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How to watch ice (and other stuff in nature)

November 25, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to watch ice (and other stuff in nature)

Contribute to global warming understanding. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Watching ice is not like watching paint dry. And the world needs more ice watchers.

Whatever your high school science grade, volunteer to be a citizen scientist!

Contribute to global warming in a good way — by adding to scientific understanding about it.

Thanks to observant citizens that submit their records to IceWatch, scientists learned that the freeze-thaw cycles of northern water bodies are changing.

Note the freeze and thaw dates of lakes and rivers in your community to help monitor the effects of climate change on the Canada you love. And recruit that neighbour, uncle or your Grandma who has scribbled with pencil on the calendar for years each time the water they watch freezes and breaks up.

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