big day for Guide to the Good!

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thegreenrock.ca ~ Live Sustainably NL has been working up a social enterprise that will enable it to do more of the things we exist to do, that is to provide  information,  inspiration and practical ways to answer challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.

today is the day that the Guide to the Good gets out there!  the Guide to the Good is a keyword-searchable website that makes it easy for people to choose local social and green.  the site has been live since 2016, and we’ve got a complement of companies onboaord but today – October 24 at 2:30 – is the time we’re launching our public marketing campaign!   we hope to show up a LOT in the community over the next year.

for the next while our online efforts will be channeled through http://www.guidetothegood.ca.  stay tuned!

 

Reflections from COP23: Areas of hope

thegreenrock.ca's project coordinator Perla Hernandez at COP23

Perla Hernandez, representative for the Young Liberals of Canada as part of the International Federation of Liberal Youth at the UN Climate Negotiations in Bonn Germany (COP23), November 2017.  

by Perla Hernandez

Last November I attended the United Nations climate negotiations in Bonn Germany (COP23), where some of the topics were on the connection between local and global, and leveraging points for climate action.

Almost two years after the  Paris Agreement was signed, world leaders convened at the Bonn negotiations to work on the guidelines and tools to implement the Agreement. Over 19,000 participants, including government delegates, scientists, academics, business leaders and members of civil society were in attendance.

We are moving forward to tackle climate change, but not fast enough and not at the rate that it is needed on a global scale. Heavy carbon emission cuts are necessary to keep the temperature increase below 2° C,  let alone the 1.5°C target stipulated in the Paris Agreement as a safer line of defense for vulnerable populations (see previous article on why  the 1.5° C mark is important for NL).

The silver lining is that there is much we can do to help ramp-up climate action. Cities, municipalities, businesses and regions can help support national and global efforts to tackle climate change.

Local governments have a role to play

Climate change requires international cooperation, which can be challenging as nations have differing national interests and policy agendas. At COP23, there was an emphasis on the need to increase subnational levels – provincial (or state), regional, municipal, and local government involvement.

I attended a side event with Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretariat to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where she said: “There is no single solution to climate change. All must take action: countries, cities and regions.”

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretariat for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP23

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretariat for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP23 – photo by Perla Hernandez

A bottom-up approach including communities, cities, regions and provinces can help complement national efforts while providing strategies that are appropriate to different geopolitical contexts, and inclusive to the needs of different populations.

Institutions, civil society and businesses can reinforce and ramp up climate commitments. For instance, in the aftermath of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, subnational governments, institutions, civil society and businesses  reassured their commitment to the Paris Agreement and they’re planning to submit their greenhouse gas targets as part of the US targets.  Over 100 US mayors, governors, business leaders, university presidents, and civil society members formed a We Are Still In contingent, and attended COP23.

Climate change offers a unique opportunity for businesses

Businesses have a role to play in the transition to a decarbonized economy and can also benefit from embracing the green economy.  The COP23 Finance Day focused on the climate change impacts and opportunities from a finance perspective.

At the session: Mobilizing Investment to Support Nationally Determined Contributions Implementation and Increased Ambition, one of the underlying messages was that climate change and the decarbonization of the economy should not be seen as a problem, but as an opportunity.

COP23 Finance Day - Event: Mobilizing investment to support NDC implementation and increased ambition. Featuring Maurice Tulloch, Aviva; José Ignacio Sánchez Galán, Iberdrola; Keiko Honda, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency; Brune Poirson, Secretary of State for an Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France; Abyd Karmali, Bank of America
COP23 Finance Day – Mobilizing investment to support NDC implementation and increased ambition. Maurice Tulloch, Aviva; Brune Poirson, Secretary of State for an Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France; Nicolas Stern Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, LSE;  José Ignacio Sánchez Galán, Iberdrola; Abyd Karmali, Bank of America; Keiko Honda, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency;  

Panelists agreed that carbon pricing is an effective tool for emissions reduction and talked about Corporate Social Responsibility, the need for technology transfer to developing countries, as well as the need to increase investment in low carbon technologies and infrastructure.  They also talked about the growing projections of renewable energy and green infrastructure as the business opportunity of the 21st Century compared to the diminishing projections of fossils – calling out for divestment.

thegreenrock-er Perla Hernandez with the International Federation of Liberal Youth delegation talking to Maurice Tulloch, Chief Executive Officer, International Insurance, Aviva

International Federation of Liberal Youth delegation talking to Maurice Tulloch, Chief Executive Officer, Aviva, -Jonas Lembeck (right), Perla Hernandez (middle) and Simon Kran Christensen (left)

In order to achieve the significant cut in greenhouse gas emissions we need to think differently as a society and we need to be fair and equitable to everyone.

 

 

Equity and climate change are inexorably linked. The work to reduce GHG emissions must address economic and social inequities.  Technology can bring solutions that bridge climate and social challenges. At COP23 I attended a press conference by Solar Cookers International a US nonprofit that advocates and provides education on solar cooking. Solar box cookers can provide hot food, safe drinkable water (boiled water) with minimal impact on the environment.  I was impressed by all the  projects  that Solar Cookers have  started worldwide in refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia, Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda and more.

Connecting the dots and getting everyone on board

As part of the International Federation of Liberal Youth delegation, I had the opportunity to meet with  Canada’s Ambassador to Germany, and Special Envoy to the EU. Ambassador Stéphane Dion has held several positions – among them Minister of Environment overseeing Kyoto Protocol’s implementation and previous President of COP11 in Montreal.

International Federation of Liberal Youth meeting with Canada’s Ambassador to Germany, and Special Envoy to the EU, Stephane Dion

Meeting with Canada’s Ambassador to Germany, and Special EU Envoy, Stephane Dion, Jonas Lembeck (right),  Perla Hernandez (middle), and Simon Kran Christensen (left)

Ambassador  Dion provided some insights regarding the need for a paradigm shift in governance to a collaborative holistic model that integrates sustainability across sectors throughout the government structure and percolating to society. “Sustainability should be integrated in every department: finance, global affairs, department of health and so forth” said Mr. Dion.

Ambassador Dion stressed the importance of getting society on board with this sustainability paradigm – both the converted and the non-converted – and to transfer knowledge on climate change’s challenges and opportunities so that this model stops being an abstraction for many and becomes a reality.

Final thoughts

A lot of work remains. We need to make sure that our local efforts match the global level of action that is needed to tackle climate change – emissions reduction, finance, innovation and technology. We need to work together, bring everyone on board, and look at complex problems from all angles – business as usual won’t cut it.

thegreenrock.ca deep into an exciting 2017!

The first half of 2017 has been busy and gratifying – many great things have happened as thegreenrock.ca ~ Live Sustainably NL continues in its mission of promoting ‘habits for your habitat’ – things we can all do where we are to live more sustainably.   it’s a time of ‘twos’ –  thegreenrock.ca has won two awards, has been awarded two grants, and will be launching two waste reduction programs this fall!

  •  thegreenrock.ca receives The Co-operators Group IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Fund!
IMPACT! Fund photo-op

thegreenrock-ers: Perla Hernandez (project coordinator) and Kim Todd (founder and director) accept the IMPACT! Sustainability Fund from Robert Conway of The Co-operators Group

In April thegreenrock.ca  was successful in its proposal to the Co-operators Group IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Fund to pilot ReGeneration~ The Plastic Bag project. reGeneration is an intergenerational awareness and action program that brings seniors and students together to share strengths, and transfer skills towards a common purpose of up-cycling plastic bags into durable goods like tote bags.

thegreenrock-er Perla Hernandez, is an alumni of the Co-operators’ IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Leadership Program which makes her eligible to apply for the IMPACT! Sustainability Fund!   reGeneration will launch this fall in collaboration with youth and seniors from Waterford Valley High School and the Agnes Pratt Nursing Home, as well as the rest of the community as we come together to share strengths and divert plastic bags.

 

  • Guide to the Good wins the IMPACT Social Innovation Challenge Competition!
Kim Todd and Myles Green

Myles Green from NL’s Association of CBDC presenting Kim Todd, thegreenrock.ca’s founder and director with Social Innovation Challenge award

In May 2017 during Innovation Week , Memorial University’s Centre for Social Enterprise in partnership with the United Church hosted the Social Innovation Challenge for entrepreneurs who had a business idea or initiative that would have a positive impact on the community. After a two-day  intensive process Kim Todd, Founder and Director of thegreenrock.ca won the first place for her pitch on the social enterpirse Guide to the Good! Have you checked the guide to the good? Check it out!

  • thegreenrock.ca takes home an  IABC Pinnacle Award for #playoutdoors 

Early in June thegreenrock.ca won a Pinnacle Award from the International Association of Business Communicators for the #playoutdoors recruitment campaign.  The project was in collaboration with the Junior Forest Wardens NL to get families outdoors and active, and in particular to start new Junior Forest Warden Clubs. Together thegreenrock.ca and JFW launched a successful campaign that delivered 10 community outreach events, reached out to 17 community organizations which engaged over 50 families in the St. John’s metro area and led to the start of two new JFW Clubs:  the Wild Wanderers and the Rollin’ Capelin.

  • thegreenrock.ca receives Wellness Coalition Avalon East Grant for a composting project

Later in June 2017 thegreenrock.ca received the happy news that our application to pilot the In it’s Place  compost project was approved by the Wellness Coalition Avalon East Grant  This pilot will be launched this fall at Macdonald Drive Junior High School with support from Kids Eat Smart Foundation.   ‘In its Place’ is an environmental health awareness pilot project that educates students on the system of food production and waste, and pilots initiatives to fill gaps.

one more good thing…

  • Diploma in Environmental Ethics for thegreenrock.ca founder

Iethics from Aristotle to Certified B Corp with a few stops in betweenn July of 2017, Kim Todd, thegreenrock.ca founder received the Diploma in Applied Ethics from the Department of Humanities, Memorial University.   The final component of the program was a presentation entitled ethics from Aristotle to BCorp, and a few stops in between that had been delivered in April.

 

It all bodes well for the second half of 2017, and beyond!

 

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.pngthegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca         twitter: @thegreenrockca

 

great day – Earth Day 2017 !

thegreenrock-ers Amanda Russell and Perla Hernandez thegreenrock.ca's booth on Earth Day

thegreenrock-ers Amanda Russell and Perla Hernandez at the Earth Day Fair

Saturday afternoon rain didn’t stop crowds of boisterous families from making it to the Earth Day Fair at the Suncor Fluvarium on April 22!  Over 250 people attended the event! Just about all of them stopped at thegreenrock.ca’s booth to learn about ways to take action, take care of the planet, and how to live sustainably.

Each year, 1 billion people in more than 195 countries celebrate  Earth Day worldwide. The key purpose is to get people together, to celebrate mother nature, and think about ways in which they can take action.

In line with this message, thegreenrock.ca was very pleased and excited to share our signature projects for this year:

  • #playoutdoors ~ Less screen time and more time outdoors! In collaboration with the Junior Forest Wardens-NL, #playoutdoors raises awareness about nature deficit disorder and challenges families to get outdoors, make new friends and learn new skills.
  • ReGeneration: The Plastic Bag Project (coming up!) ~ An intergenerational awareness and action program that brings seniors and students together to share strengths, and transfer skills toward a common purpose of recycling single-use plastic bags through crafting durable tote bags. This project is supported by The Co-operators IMPACT! Fund 2017.
  • Guide to the Good ~ A social enterprise that makes it easier for people to choose local for their purchasing and lifestyle choices. Local businesses bring economic, ethical and social benefits to our lives and our communities. Guide to the Good is currently being piloted in the Northeast Avalon, but the goal is for there to be a guide to the good in communities everywhere!

Visitors were asked to participate in the “how do you fit in?” campaign and to think about ways in which they can help protect the environment through their daily actions.

At the end of the day we had some local giveaways from businesses featured on the Guide to the Good. The draw was live-streamed via Facebook

Facebook Live of the guide to the good draw

  • Prize #1 Local Basket!
    Jumping Bean‘s low CO2 emission roasting coffee; hypoallergenic, artisan soaps and body products made locally from St. John’s Soap Works; and local hand-knitted hat by Casey’s Crafts.
  • Prize #2 Firewood and Coffee! 
    Bundles of local sustainable and licensed firewood from Firewood Factory; 2 gift-cards from  Jumping Bean .

Two winners were randomly selected out of 104 individual tickets. Congrats Olivia and Joan!

 

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.pngthegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca         twitter: @thegreenrockca

west coast canola – playing with the grain

this is a happy cross-post with http://www.guidetothegood.ca because this story is cool for both audiences!  if you’re a follower of both firstly thank you!, and secondly please forgive the duplication.

Dr. Vanessa Kavanagh’s twitter handle is @NLGrainDr, and that is just a hint of how she feels about growing grain.  She shares pictures of tiny vials of Newfoundland canola oil like parents share pictures of their infant – with love and joy and hope.  She cares because she sees grain generally and growth specifically as opportunities to create and innovate in ways that will make this place a more sustainable, food secure, and healthier province.

Born to Corner Brook, this Doctor of Philosophy in agriculture is the Research Scientist for the provincial government.  She was beyond thrilled with the opportunity to apply her academic research – she earned her PhD in Plant Science at the University of Alberta – to the first canola field planted in the province, in Pasadena.  The project brought together a community of farmers, researchers, and visionaries, and all are reaping the benefits.

Cooks, bakers and salad-makers know canola oil as the Canadian cousin of rapeseed oil, lesser known is that canola is of the Brassicaceae plant family where cabbage and turnip reside.  “We knows all about cabbage and turnip,” says my mother, and if you can project the return on the pilot year, it’s no great leap to reap canola.

me in canola fieldThe first fields were seeded on Hammond Farms in May of 2016, and it was the beginning of a glorious growing season.  A few weeks later, canola plants, pollinated by the local bee population (40 hives of some of the healthiest bees in the world), yielded acres of yellow canola fields.  The height shown in the photo is just when they were getting going!  (It would have been lovely to see how Gerry Squires would have interpreted those fields – but the visual wasn’t the point in this case, it was just a good step on the journey).  Harvested produce has three forms – livestock feed, edible oil, or bio-fuel.

The livestock feed is more important to food security than might first appear:  when counting the on-island food resources we count the chickens and pigs and cows, but if their feed comes from away, which it often does, then that resource is not food secure.   The livestock food source goes hand-in-glove with the edible oil, as the livestock food pellets are the little black seeds minus oil. Canola plants share properties of all crops in that their taste is influenced by the characteristics of the soil and the weather.  So opportunities for artisan cold-pressed canola oil adds another level of local to the wave of foodie excellence that’s making sustainable not only sensible, but fashionable and healthy.

And it’s going well!  Vanessa says, “We have indeed had some great success with the canola pressing and it is almost complete!  The oil is a clear golden honey colour with a really nice flavour.”

Bio-fuel means that the harvested oil can be poured into the engine of the diesel tractor.  At the pilot scale this is not an economically wise use, it does clearly illustrate the possibilities.

Another inspiring feature of the project is that there is zero waste.  Vanessa says, “The other material outcome after processing the plant is straw, and most of that was cut up and used as bedding for cows.  The straw that wasn’t bedding is disked into the soil to add organic matter.  Nothing is wasted.”

For the canola project in 2017 Vanessa et al have 20-40 acres secured in Cormack, and she says, “Our farmers there are really looking forward to their fields of gold!   I can’t at all say that we’ve perfected the system after only one season, but we know a tremendous amount more than before and I think this year is going to be better than last.”

Dr. Vanessa Kavanagh is part of the grain research team that is looking at new ways to scale sustainable. The canola project is one of several components of the research-based cereal grain and oilseeds program, which is leading innovation in the feed and food industries.

 

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thegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

Facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca
twitter: @thegreenrockca

#playoutdoors – less screen time, more outdoor time

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spending time in nature has positive physical and mental health benefits for both adults and children

in the fall of 2016, thegreenrock.ca in collaboration with the  Junior Forest Wardens NL launched a  #playoutdoors awareness campaign to get people outdoors and start new Junior Forest Warden NL Clubs.  Junior Forest Wardens, a family-based outdoor adventure group, has been active in NL since the 1940s.  numerous families have reaped the benefits of outdoor together time over the years, but numbers have been declining since the 1980s.

nature deficit disorder: kids are spending less time outdoors

kids these days are spending more time on screens than outdoors and that’s causing problems to their health. there’s extensive research about Nature Deficit Disorder. conversely, spending time in nature for adults, and especially for children brings the mental and physical health benefits. children experience positive social, psychological, and spiritual impacts on their personal and cognitive development.

 

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JFW helps families and friends find time to hang out in the woods

as a side effect of modern, busy and sedentary lifestyles in recent years our exposure to nature has diminished. within a generation, Canada has transitioned from a rural to an urban nation, with 80% of Canadians now living in cities. as a result of this transition, it is estimated that Canadians today spend on average 90% of their time indoors, which has lead to a variety of chronic health issues as a result of sedentary lifestyles

aside from the mental and physical health benefits, getting kids in nature can also have positive impacts on our environment and our communities. a study by the University of British Columbia, suggests that providing positive childhood experiences in nature, can help to develop care and awareness of the environment as adults.

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children who play outside are more likely to protect nature as adults

#playoutdoors campaign

the Junior Forest Wardens NL is dedicated to bringing families with school-aged children together to enjoy and learn about the natural environment. together thegreenrock.ca and JFW launched a successful campaign that delivered 10 community outreach events, reached out to 17 community organizations which engaged over 50 families in the St. John’s metro area and led to the start of two new JFW Clubs:  the Wild Wanderers and the Rollin’ Capelin.

up next
after all the success of the #playoutdoors thegreenrock.ca is working with JFW and other community partners to look into ways to expand the project this year. stay tuned!

update! #playoutdoors won a 2017 Pinnacle Award by the International Association of Business Communicators Newfoundland and Labrador! read all about it here

 

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thegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

Facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca
twitter: @thegreenrockca