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WED 2013

5 Jun

Today mark’s our 3rd year anniversary of the No Waste Wednesdays Blog!  Happy 3rd birthday to us…   Fittingly it is also World Environment Day 2013 and we are excited to share the hype around this year’s theme –  Think Eat Save.

WED2013

World Environment Day is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day activities take place all year round and climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere.

Days like WED fit in well with No Waste Wednesdays because they are about coming together to participate – if we start small and start together we can get somewhere.

 “Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference.”- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

So if you have an event planned be sure to register your activity with WED and use #WED2013 to track them.  If you don’t, check out the activities in your area to attend.  For some inspiration today we wanted to share a few items from a post by Food Tank – 21 inspiring initiatives to reduce food waste around the world…

WED burgerThe U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted annually. Some countries are, unfortunately, greater culprits than others; according to the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN), the total amount of food wasted in the U.S. exceeds that of the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, France, and Germany combined. In addition, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that global food production accounts for 70 percent of fresh water use and 80 percent of deforestation. Food production is also the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and creates at least 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Dickinson College Campus Farm (Pennsylvania, United States) – This student-run farm composts daily deliveries of salad bar scraps from the cafeteria. In 2005, Dickinson expanded the compost program into a campus-wide initiative with student farm workers, partnering with facilities management to ensure that campus food waste is composted.

12. Love Food, Hate Waste (United Kingdom) – This program teaches consumers about food waste and provides them with helpful portioning and planning tips, as well as an array of recipes to make sure food doesn’t go to waste.

WED chicken

13. The Postharvest Education Foundation (Oregon, United States) – This organization offers training materials, e-learning programs, and mentoring opportunities that help farmers around the world prevent food loss. Their postharvest management guide is available in 10 languages, featuring topics such as how to choose the best time for harvest and the advantages of different transportation methods.

16. Society of Saint Andrew (United States) – This national network connects volunteers with farms to glean produce that has been left unpicked after a harvest. The Society distributes the gleaned produce to food banks and other organizations serving marginalized communities. In 2012, the Society gleaned 10.4 million kilograms (23.7 million pounds) of produce across the United States.

These initiatives cover a wide range of sectors – private businesses, universities,and  nonprofit organizations – and illustrate the extent to which collaboration is the key to change.

WED apple

To read the full list see here..
Do you know of other initiatives to reduce food waste in your area?  Tell us about it – leave a comment.

May 30 x 30 Challenge – Spend 30 minutes outdoors for 30 days.

1 May

May 1st – it’s always nice when we get a month with 5 Wednesdays in it!  Our theme in May is on packaging – Check back to our posts in 2012 for info on food packaging, tea drinking habits, & plastic wrap alternatives AND 2011 for info on plastic consumption & creative ideas to waste less.

30x30.davidsuzuki.org

30×30.davidsuzuki.org

Today we wanted to point you towards a fantastic campaign from the David Suzuki Foundation called the 30 x 30 Challenge.  The David Suzuki Foundation is challenging Canadians to commit to spending 30 minutes in nature each day for 30 days, starting on May 1, 2013.

Ready to take the challenge?

Start by joining the challenge here. Then get out into nature for at least 30 minutes for 30 days in May. This year, you can sign up as an individual or challenge your entire workplace to join!.
There are lots of ways to green your daily routine. Along the way, we’ll be sending you fun daily challenges, tips and inspiration to help you out.
To add to the fun, you can submit photos from your time in nature for a chance to win weekly prizes.

One of the best ways to inspire yourself to build a more environmentally responsible lifestyle is to spend time in spaces that would be degraded if they were filled with trash.  Walk in parks, ride your bikes, garden in your yard and think about how important it is that these green spaces stay clean and protected!  Plus, as the 30 x 30 challenge is saying – you’ll feel better if you spend time outdoors!

Check out David Suzuki’s video message here.

Feed Yourself From Your Front Yard

29 Aug

Do you remember earlier this month when we posted about Drummonville’s illegal front yard garden?  Well we are happy to share KGI’s news in telling you that the Drummondville Municipality announced that front yard gardens are cleared and front yards all around town are free to be planted!!

“… the Drummondville front yard garden case which attracted over 30,000 petition signatures, significant international media attention and what seemed to be an endless parade of supportive emails (I stopped counting after the first 200).  Earlier this week, the Drummondville Municipal Council announced that henceforth front yard kitchen gardens will be allowed and have even invited gardeners, Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp, to help shape the city’s new guidelines for urban food gardens. You can see the news story translated here and Josée and Michel’s blog post here. I am convinced that this victory will prove to be a landmark case that will influence urban agriculture in a positive way, not just in Canada but around the world. So let me join Josée and Michel in thanking you for all your support and good wishes.” (From Roger Doiron)

This is great news and a definite step in the right direction in terms of influencing policies that empower people towards sustainable living and growing their own food!
Do you have any examples of sustainable living policies for the good or bad in your region??

Nature and Me

27 Jun

Noise- noise, busy-ness, skyscrapers, talking that never ends. I could go on an on about all of the things that consume us, consume our society on a daily basis and prevent us from knowing nature, from seeing nature, and experiencing nature. Knowing nature in its purest forms, noises and all. We need the restorative benefits of nature. It is very difficult to do, but to find a time to spend just you and nature in all its simplicity is restoring in all sorts. Image

Last year for an assignment for one of my second year college classes our professor asked us to go spend one hour in nature alone. Skeptical of this assignment, I ventured out into the outskirts of little old Hepburn, Saskatchewan. I couldn’t fathom how I would first of all spend an entire hour in silence, alone outside. What would I do? Would the silence make me feel claustrophobic? and second of all where could I possibly find a place where I wouldn’t be seen by anyone else for an entire hour, no humans or no cars. I drove my car down many gravel roads until I found a clearing a while outside of Hepburn. I sat on the hood of my car and I just sat and listened to what at first sounded like nothing at all- silence as I would have called it. But the longer I sat the more I realized I wasn’t encompassed by silence, but instead a whole new world of noises we in the city, in our noisy lives fail to hear. I heard bugs, grass swaying in the wind, trees rustling, and a clear mind. How refreshing it is when your mind isn’t drown out by the noises of everything that consumes our days.

ImageImageI tell you this story because I think it is something we all need to do- and not just once but often. I left that hour feeling refreshed, reenergized, more emotionally grounded, and more centred as I continued on with all that I had to do that day and week.

Some of my own ways for getting the most out of solo time in nature include…
1. Leave all technology at home or shut off in your vehicle if you drive somewhere.
2. Bring a journal, a canvas, markers, pencils, paints

There are many psychological benefits to spending alone time in nature we never think of.

This is my challenge to you this week. Drive, walk, bike to somewhere remote. Whether that be outside of the city or town you live in or just a quiet place down by the river or park. Spend an hour without technology, without communication with anyone else. Just sit, and as you do I promise you’ll discover an entirely new world of noise that distresses, relaxes and restores you.

Staycations

21 Jun

River Saskatoon, SK

Often when it comes to vacations, whether that be summer or winter we can’t wait to “get out of here”. We look forward to being able to leave our cities or towns for a relaxing time away. However, we can have a break and relax without ‘vacating’ . We can stay right where we are and have a  local vacation, or a staycation!
First step: GET OUTSIDE! Don’t go outside to do things around the yard you’ve been meaning to get accomplished. I mean literally go outside, enjoy the nature of your own city or town. Many times we think we must travel to experience the wonders of the world, or to experience all nature has to offer. Well guess what? Nature is all around us. Find local ways to indulge in nature.

Staycations mean you are able to save money, and be eco- friendly!

“Air travel emits as much as 700 million tonnes of carbon each year, and that rate of emission is growing at a rate of 5 per cent each year. Cruise ships generate as much as three times that of a plane trip. Staycations avoid these pollutants while opening our eyes to new neighbourhoods, restaurants and museums in our own town or city.”

As well, think of how much gas you’ll save when you could walk or bike to your destination!

Plan a week of local exploration.  If you are in and around Saskatoon – here are some helpful links to get you started:

Tips for a fun Staycation anywhere:

  1. Remember- you’re on vacation! Turn off your cell phone put away your work laptop and turn on your Out of Office auto-reply. Tell everyone at work that you are unavailable, just as if you were leaving town.
  2. Be a Tourist! Visit your town’s tourist office for maps, guides and tons of ideas to make your staycations entertaining and enlightening.
  3. Find out what festivals are happening in your home town or city this summer and check them out! Try a new restaurant, go see a play, drive outside of the city one night and lay on a blanket to star gaze.

Any suggestions for things to do during your staycation in your city or town?  Let us know!

30 x 30 Challenge!

13 Jun

Have you heard of the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30x 30 challenge?  Hopefully you found out about it before June 1st when it started but if you haven’t we wanted to make sure you still had the chance to participate in this great campaign!

Do you want to be happier, smarter and healthier? We do. That is why we at the David Suzuki Foundation are challenging you to join us in spending at least 30 minutes a day in nature for the next 30 days.

(Credit: Jode Roberts)

What’s in it for you? Well, we have awesome prizes for people that sign up, get out into nature each day, and share their stories and photos.

Besides, nature is the best medicine. A growing body of evidence has shown us that getting out into nature can reduce stress and boost your immunity. And experts say that exercising in natural settings is exercise squared — increasing your energy level and fitness.

While taking time to get out into nature in our busy daily lives is definitely a challenge, it may be simpler than you think.

Green space is as close as your neighbourhood park or backyard garden. Trails, ravines, and community gardens are often not too far from your daily routine. And the birds and the bees (and other critters) are always nearby; you just have to take time to listen.

So even if you are just tuning in today – dive in anyway – you will still reap the benefits! And here are a few more reasons just in case you’re coming up with excuses 🙂

Why should I spend time in nature?
Where can I find nearby nature?
What activities could I do each day?

Are you taking the 30 x 30 challenge?  Or have outdoor plans of your own?  Leave us a comment and tell us about them!

 

 

Get in the Garden!

7 Jun

As we make our way into June we’ll once again explore some broader topics related to nature… In previous years we’ve written about composting, World Environment Day, soil conservation, forests and community gardens.  Feel free to check back in our June archives if you missed out.

This month’s focus on nature will kick off with a few motivating tips to get you gardening plus an inspiring write up from care 2 make a difference on some of the side-benefits of gardening…

Why get in the garden?

  1. To save money!  Grow your own food so that you don’t have to shop for it.
  2. You can’t get more local than food grown in your own neighborhood, backyard or balcony.
  3. Growing your own fruits and vegetables means that you know exactly what does and does not go into your food and exactly where it comes from.
  4. You will end up eating more healthy fruits and vegetables in quantity and in variety!
  5. You can teach children where their food actually comes from and that it doesn’t come form the supermarket but from the soil, the earth that we all depend on.

“Aside from improving our environment and having your own source of flowers, fruit and vegetables, we often overlook the other benefits that gardening provides us.

To start with, gardening really is exercise. The physical benefits of gardening are often discounted because people don’t think of it as “real” exercise. But, gardening offers the same benefits as other forms of exercise do. Did you know that you can burn as many calories in 45 minutes of gardening as you can in 30 minutes of aerobics? And depending on the task that you are doing, you are using many different muscle groups, and increasing your flexibility and strength.

Working in the garden reduces stress. Connecting with nature, digging in the dirt, even weeding is one of the best stress reducers I have found. When I first started gardening, I dreaded the thought of weeding by hand. I thought it was an unnecessary and unpleasant part of gardening. As the years have gone by, I have found that weeding is the one thing that lets me totally unwind and makes me forget about everything else. I am so intent on getting those weeds out of my garden that I become intensely focused on it.

This brings me to another gardening benefit, it allows me to unplug and forces me to slow down the pace of my life. We are all so plugged in and connected that working in the garden is the one way that I can get away from the constant barrage of information being connected brings with it.

One of the most surprising things that gardening has done for me is to teach me how to have more patience. Think about it. You can’t rush nature. If you sow seeds, or plant seedlings, you can’t make them grow faster than they are able to grow just because you are limited on time or by pressuring them to grow faster. They grow at the pace they are supposed to grow at, no faster or slower.

Gardening also releases our creativity, often without us even realizing it. Planning the garden for the year or the season, choosing flower colors and plant palettes, and arranging the fresh flowers from your garden all require you to use your creative side.”

Read more at care2.com

Why do you garden?  Leave us a comment!