Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to talk to your neighbours

August 25, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to talk to your neighbours

Get to know your neighbours! (Credit: Jode Roberts)

How neighbourly are you?

Before you approach neighbours about the leaves they don't rake, their scented dryer sheets, second-hand smoke wafting into your bedroom window or the car abandoned in their yard, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you coming from a place of judgment?
  2. Are you prepared for the outcome? Are you prepared to change? (They might say something you don't want to hear.)
  3. Is the issue important enough to risk the relationship and potentially create conflict?

And if you have 14 minutes and 47 seconds, this video by Leo Busgaglia reveals a thoughtful analysis of human relationships, including a neighbourly incident that you no doubt can relate to. Leo once asked, "What are we doing stuffing facts into people and forgetting that they are human beings?" He also taught a university class titled "Love" where there were no grades!

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How to bioblitz

August 18, 2014 | Leave a comment
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The 2013 Whistler BioBlitz crew! (Credit: James Holkko)

A bioblitz marries two of my favourite things: identifying birds by song AND a healthy dose of competition.

It's a 24-hour, round-the-clock race to count as many plant and animal species as possible for a particular area. And it's not only a way for folks wielding biology degrees to geek out — it's also family-friendly.

A bioblitz is perfect for you if you:

  • Like free events
  • Want your kids to touch a snake (and you don't have to)
  • Want to have fun
  • Are curious about biodiversity in your community
  • Want to meet other nature nuts
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How to shop thrift and consignment stores

August 10, 2014 | 3 comments
Photo: How to shop thrift and consignment stores

I'm wearing a men's shirt, turned into a ladies blouse, the belt is courtesy of my last clothing swap and a Betsey Johnson skirt (a consignment find).(Credit: Brendon Purdy)

Thrift and consignment store shopping is a treasure hunt. I score amazing finds — even when I'm not looking — like a Betsey Johnson skirt, Calvin Klein coat and a cashmere sweater, each for under 20 bucks!

Try these 12 tips on for size to "green" your wardrobe:

Alterations are your friends! Always try on items. Don't guess size or fit. Then hem, repair, resole, etc.

Avoid trends. Why look like everyone else or get sucked into a seasonal vortex of buying things you don't need?

Choose sweatshop-free. It's not a third-party certified claim...yet. Made in Canada is one way to ethically source.

Host a clothing swap. Any time works but people usually go through closets in spring and fall.

Kids don't care. Little ones don't know the difference between old and new. And the younger they are, the faster they go through things. One month in $50 shoes is not sustainable! Find a kids' consignment store and put the savings into an education fund! (Or host a kids' clothing swap with neighbourhood parents.)

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How to go green in Calgary

August 2, 2014 | 2 comments
Photo: How to go green in Calgary

Here's a Calgarian hard at work in a community garden. (Credit: Jacqueline Pollard)

Some really "green" people live in Calgary, Alberta. I met them! And then I put them to work.

Here are tips and resources from Calgary Queen of Green Coaches Trina, Amy, Evelyn and Meghan (many apply to all Canadians):


Wash your recycling. This is an "everywhere plastics exist" problem — not just Calgary`s. Buyers shun dirty recyclables! Dirty containers get pulled from the sorting process and chucked.

Follow the rules. Learn what's accepted and memorize the info (or print this PDF guide). Don't bin items you wish or hope were recyclable. And don't bag anything (except shredded paper).

Best Buy and Future Shop recycle electronics and batteries. Staples recycles batteries and printer cartridges, pens, pencils, markers and highlighters.

Many charities won't accept mattresses. Try giving yours away on Kijiji or Craig's List. Mattress Removal and Mattress Recycling can help, for a fee.

Kidseat Recyclers accepts child car seats!

Terracycle offers national programs to collect previously non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle waste, free shipping and a charitable donation for each piece collected.

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How to recycle shoes

July 28, 2014 | 4 comments
Photo: How to recycle shoes

Runners, sneakers or tennis shoes — no matter what you call them — don't send them to the landfill. (Credit: Stacy Geisberger)

Shoes of all kinds are typically destined for the landfill. But there are at least five ways you can recycle them!

If your shoes still have life in them

Running Free has already diverted over 100,000 pairs of used shoes from Ontario landfills. Their Re-Use Shoe Program collects used footwear from six locations in the Greater Toronto Area and sends them to Haiti, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Cuba, Bolivia and throughout Canada. Those sent to Haiti, for example, become a part of a micro credit loan program that reduces dependence and promotes economic development in the region. (All that from your old shoes!)

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