Earth Day Fair – Suncor Fluvarium TODAY!

Community Threads - connections are coming!

the winter has been long, but there is hope!  the snirt (snow and dirt) piles are reducing with the sun, and community groups who care about sustainability are going to the Suncor Fluvarium for the Earth Day Fair this afternoon from noon to 4:30.  admission is free.

thegreenrock.ca will be there revealing the start of Community Threads, an evolving canvas of logos and threads that shows the connections between local groups that focus on sustainability.   the project is supported by the Wellness Coalition Avalon East and the Fluvarium.

find out what Friends of Pippy Park, the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice, Bike Share, the Public Library, St. John’s Clean and Beautiful and others are up to!

Community Threads – connections are coming!

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.pngthegreenrock.ca is a non-profit that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like and share!

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community threads ~ connections for sustainability

http://spikeworld.co.uk/drawing-with-thread-emil-lukas/#.UzrpIVf8uUk

Threads criss, cross and connect as shown by the work of Emil Lukas. for more of his, http://www.emillukas.com

think planet. live local.

thegreenrock.ca developed the Community Threads project to recognize and highlight community organizations’ efforts that support collaboration, wellness and sustainability.

The project is designed to share the news that smart people and great organizations are working toward sustainable living in this province. There are many!  The Community Sector Council (CSC) is committed to strengthening and promoting the essential role that voluntary and nonprofit, community organizations play in building healthy and prosperous communities.

The CSC site reports  “there more than 5,000 nonprofit, community groups in Newfoundland and Labrador. Around 2,400 are formally registered nonprofits and about 1,100 are registered charities. Some are informal groups. The Avalon Peninsula is home to about 40% of the community groups while the remaining 60% are located in other areas the province.” 

Support from the Wellness Coalition Avalon East kickstarted Community Threads.  The data gathering begins with a questionnaire for community groups .  Groups with a focus on sustainability are invited to complete the form below and be included in the Community Threads project, and counted among the many who are working to make a difference! With permission from the respondent, responses will be published on thegreenrock.ca under Projects.  The project was launched the Suncor Fluvarium’s Earth Day Fair on April 13.

Wellness logo-2 inch_300 ppi#E8FA

 

 

 

 

the Nourish film: Cameron Diaz, Jamie Oliver, Michael Pollan, us & food

Nourish

Nourish

Newfoundland is an island in the North Atlantic at the 47th parallel.  Since glaciers scraped much of the island’s fertile soil off onto the Grand Banks a long time ago, the growing was never that easy, but we managed.

These days most of what we eat is not from here.   Why is that?  And how do the pretty pinky-orange pears and other foods come to be here?

Nourish is a conversation about food and sustainability.  The Nourish film looks at our relationship to food, and how it connects to biodiversity, climate change, public health, and social justice.  It won lots of awards at film festivals.

Cameron Diaz, Jamie Oliver, Michael Pollan and many others whose knowledge is great but celebrity is more limited are featured.  Come see it!

Tuesday March 18, 2014,  7 – 9 pm (doors open 6:40)
District School, Strawberry Marsh Road, St. John’s (across from Arts and Culture Centre). Suggested minimum donation: $5

Brought to us by Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Educators NLEE

47thparalleThe green line shows the island of Newfoundland lining up at the 47th parallel.

clean. not toxic.

 

lemons - good for more than lemonade

lemons – good for more than lemonade

What’s in your cleaning cupboard?  If products you use carry a warning label it’s for a good reason:  it’s harmful.   

It really is scary how we accept using harmful chemicals on every surface and for every purpose.   True story:  I refused to let my kids help with the cleaning because I didn’t want them near the cleaners.

That got me thinking, and I found lots of information about cleaning products, health, and the planet at Women’s Voices for the Earth and The David Suzuki Foundation.   

Also found lots of recipes, and learned that with a few ingredients, a Jones Soda bottle and a (well-rinsed) sprayer, the kids can clean all they like.  

Many cleaning staples are available at supermarkets.  Other basics, and eco-friendly product lines like Nellie’s All Natural, are available on the ground in St. John’s at The Natural Health Shop on Stavanger Drive.   

Cleaning Basics – 

Baking soda: Just plain sodium bicarbonate, it works wonders for scrubbing and deodorizing!

Vinegar: Plain white vinegar. A natural disinfectant. It’s cheap and you can buy it in large quantities.

Washing soda: Sodium carbonate, a.k.a baking soda’s cousin. Often used as a water softener for laundering or a stain remover.

Borax: Sodium borate. Good for laundering and cleaning.

Castile soap: Soap made from olive oil and sodium hydroxide.

Lemon peel:  Juice the lemon for wicked lemonade.

All Purpose Cleaner:  Lemon peels + vinegar + time.   Cover lemon peels with vinegar and let stay for at least two weeks.  Stir every now and then.  The longer you leave it the stronger the formula will be. Once ready, strain and decant. A few drops of essential oils cut the vinegar scent (e.g. peppermint oil, lemongrass oil). Typical sprayers fit on Jones Soda bottles.

Eartheasy.com carries a very comprehensive list recipes for just about every cleaning situation – and a list of ‘over the counter’ products.

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if you like this, please like and share – it’s encouraging!

thegreenrock.ca ~ think planet.  live local.  is a registered non-profit that provides information and inspiration to answer challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like thegreenrock.ca on facebook!

Warm Up the Winter – heat sustainably!

Cold winter weather leads to the familiar home heating dilemma of how to keep the house cozy in freezing temperatures – and how to do it in a way that won’t break the bank, the planet, or in a way that won’t keep you shivering the night away either!  Here are a few tips and ideas for alternative sources of heat and ways to reduce the environmental footprint of the heating system you have.

Tim Murphy and a Masonry Heater, photo courtesy of Home & Cabin magazine

Tim Murphy and a Masonry Heater, courtesy of Home & Cabin magazine

If you’re in the market for a new way to heat your home, this one with light your fire:  Masonry Heater: Masonry Heaters are similar to wood stoves in that heat is generated by burning wood. A masonry heater can provide even heat all day from just a single fire. Masonry materials take a while to heat up, but once they are warm, they will radiate heat for much longer than a metal stove.   It consists of a small firebox surrounded by a masonry mass made from some type of masonry (brick, tile, stone, stucco etc.). The channels of masonry absorb the heat and radiate it out. The fire burns hotly and quickly, which reduces unburned emissions. Masonry heaters are a sustainable choice for the home, as they use wood, a renewable resource, and they burn it efficiently. As an added bonus, you can incorporate a pizza or bread oven into your masonry heater and enjoy some wood-fired foods!   Stone Masonry and Heater Builders is a local enterprise specialzing in same.  They are the ones who built the system at the Bonavista Social Club in Upper Amherst Cove.  Mason Tim Murphy has one in his home and his family was warm and cozy through #NLDark!

Space Heaters: If you have a central home heating system that is not adjustable from room to room, a couple of space heaters may be a good investment. This way you can simply heat one room at a time, instead of the whole house.

DIY Space Heater: Well, say you don’t want to invest in a space heater, or in a power outage… Here is a very alternative and economical solution. Instead, (if you don’t have these three items already) invest in tea lights, a couple of ceramic flowerpots and a loaf pan, and try this DIY Space Heater!

Insulation: If your home isn’t well insulated, it certainly won’t be too warm. Adding insulation and other energy-saving efforts might be a worthy investment!  Check out NL Power

Seal up the drafts: “Find the draft” is a fun game that can be played using a candle or a stick of incense, and following where the flame flickers or smoke drifts to on a blustery day. Check all the windows, doors and any other place a draft might be messing with your warmth. Once found, seal up your drafts with caulking, foam sealant or weather stripping. You can also insulate your windows with plastic, using a handy dandy window insulator kit which can be purchased at your local hardware store (e.g. Canadian Tire).

Home Heating System Maintenance: Home heating systems need to be cleaned out and maintained (usually on a yearly basis). It’s a good idea to have your system looked into to make sure there aren’t any kinks messing with its efficiency.

Blankets: If you’re trying to stay warm on the cheap, try hanging some heavy blankets in doorways and over windows, this will help keep the heat in. This is especially good for the kitchen to trap the heat from the oven.

Rugs: Putting down a few rugs on those cold winter floors can help to insulate and keep your feet nice and cozy!

Check out Take Charge NL a Newfoundland Power program designed to help save energy – and money!.

And lastly, try wearing more sweaters! Sweaters are both warm and fashionable, and you can wrap yourself in a blanket for good measure. Sometimes it’s nice to try this “old-fashioned” method, it’s certainly sustainable, and National Sweater Day is coming up February 6!

needs must ~ notes of hope from #NLDark

‘Needs must’ is an old phrase is not heard so often any more, but it fits perfectly with the #NLDark situation, and sustainability.

Puzzle completed by the glow of the snow

Puzzle completed by the glow of the snow

On those days early in 2014 there was not enough electricity being generated in Newfoundland to meet the demand.  Everyone was affected.  The house was heated by the fireplace and my family was entertained by a Yellow Submarine puzzle, completed by snowglow.

The environmentalists, the green people, the Al Gores and David Suzukis and so many more have been talking about conservation for decades.  #NLDark proved that we can conserve when ‘needs must’.  

Our power grid is a closed system.   The planet is a closed system.  We can change what we’re doing so that it – the power and the planet – keeps going along.  We saw that in action through #NLDark.  Yes yes yes there were challenges, but this is not about that.  This is about the hope that came out of it.  Co-operation, support, and conservation.  (There was also a very hearty showing of innovation and consideration, but that can be a different post.)

I  know where I was when the rotating power outages started – heading up Torbay Road to pick up a pizza for a Christmas holidays sleepover party.  No power on one side of Torbay Road, full blast on the other.  Eerie.   I didn’t know what was going on. 

Then Good Thing #1:  People co-operated.  At the Torbay Road Newfoundland Drive intersection (six lanes heading toward Torbay), the collective ‘we’ figured out the 24-lane-stop-intersection fast, and got it going with grace.  If someone went astray (not waiting for their right turn), the collective we picked it up and resumed the accepted pattern.  Nice eye contacts between drivers in parallel lanes.  Ten points for us!

Then Good Thing #2:  People supported.  Just a little further up the road Peter’s Pizza pick-up was like a kitchen party.  The guy behind the counter seemed new, but was very friendly and upfront:  there is a backlog.  When he came out with a pizza he’d kind of announce it.  One man was reading out the twitter feed to the rest.  Another came in to pick-up a pizza ordered pre-outage.  We welcomed him.  He went to pay and was walking away from the counter when the Peter’s Pizza guy called him back and asked quietly (but we could all hear)…. “Did you mean to leave a $20 tip?”.  “Yes.” said the late-comer.  We all looked up!  “It’s going to be awhile.”  said Peter’s Pizza guy.  “Maybe I’ll get mine first,”  said the new-comer.  All laughed (and he did not get his pizza first.).  Gold stars!

Then Good Thing #3:  People conserved.   Arrived home to a powered-house, but little was on in the way of electricity.  Our kids – the same kids who are unable to turn off a screen or a light – were on it.  Turn off the Christmas Lights, don’t run the dishwasher, conserve conserve conserve was all over facebook.  And it went on from there.  People conserved.  Hallelujah!

What we waste is the difference between what we need and what we use.  #NLDark showed that we have what it takes to do better when needs must.   And that can be cozy.

the cat wasn't worried

the cat wasn’t worried

#BellLetsTalk – sustainability and mental health

out the door unfettered

out the door unfettered

today’s #BellLetsTalk mental health conversation is so great.  it opens up possibilities for all of us. 

the Sustainabilty Office at Simon Fraser University cites a 2011 study from the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation that shows the relationship between mental health and sustainabilty.  the report supports the link between ‘flourishing mental health’ and social, cultural, economic and environmental goals.  

that’s an overwhelming lot to take in.  so to take one point from the report:  The New Economics Foundation (2005) has suggested that increased material consumption is not bringing more wellbeing to developed countries, but instead is making us less mentally healthy. 

thegreenrock.ca take-away point:  less stuff is better.  i love it!  it was one of the personal motivators for thegreenrock.ca because, for instance, the little tiny frustrations that come from not being able to find something mount to gargantuan proportions when you’re trying to get out the door and you can’t find the thing you need.  much better to get out the door unfettered, unfrustrated

thank you #BellLetsTalk

Green Resolutions

It’s the new year, a time to contemplate life and make some resolutions for the months ahead. This year, why not make a change that will have a positive effect on the environment as well? There are many many possibilities for green resolutions, big and small, any new sustainable habit is a step on a path towards leading a more sustainable lifestyle. Even if you’re already doing lots, there’s likely still room for another green resolution.

Here are some ideas:

Keep grocery bags in the car, pocket or purse

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Turn off electronics – and give yourself time to switch off too.

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Eat more local/wild meats/sustainable seafood

Start sprouting

Buy local when you can!

Use a big mason jar, or a reusable water bottle

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Use your own re-usable coffee mug

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Put on a sweater (turn the heat down a degree or two)

Buy recycled toilet paper

Grow veggies/herbs 

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Avoid pesticide use in garden/lawnAvoid HHW use/properly dispose of HHW
Drive less, walk/bike more

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Buy more organic

Use eco-cleaning products

Start/join a bulk buying club

Be mindful of packaging when making purchases

Start recycling/recycle more

Conserve water

Turn off the lights when you leave a room

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Unplug appliances

Donate items to charity (divert from the landfill)

Buy used clothing

Plant a tree

There are so many options for a green resolution this New Year. You can choose one, or many, something big or small. Taking it one step at a time can help to build towards a goal of a more sustainable lifestyle.