Waste Reduction Fair 2017!

thegreenrock.ca ~ habits for your habitat had a kickin’ great time at the Waste Reduction Week Fair, put off by as part of #WasteReductionWeek with the City of St. John’s and Clean St. John’s at the Memorial University Botanical Gardens on Saturday Oct 21st. (read story on the event in the Telegram here )

thegreenrock-ers volunteering at the Waste Reduction Fair!

thegreenrock-ers volunteering at the Waste Reduction Fair!

thegreenrock.ca was in good company – old and new friends included  Home Again Furniture BankSt. John’s Tool Library,  the Product Care Association, Boomerang Bags, Recycle in Newfoundland, the City of St. John’s Waste Division and others were part of the event!

thegreenrock.ca is about promoting sustainability, Waste Reduction is a key component.  leading up to Waste Reduction Week, thegreenrock.ca launched In its Place a composting and reycling project being piloted at Macdonald Drive Junior High breakfast program in collaboration with Kids Eat Smart Foundation, Clean St.  John’s, Island Compost, and the City of St.  John’s, with a financial contribution from the Wellness Coalition Avalon East. later this fall thegreenrock.ca will be launching InterGeneration~ the plastic bag project, a waste awareness and up-cycling project supported by the IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Fund and in collaboration with Agnes Pratt Home and Waterford Valley High that gets youth and seniors together to up-cycle plastic bags and share skills.

thegreenrock.ca launched last year the Guide to the Good website which promotes local businesses and organizations in the Northeast Avalon. all these projects bring different ideas on how people can live differently and more environmentally conscious way.

visitors to thegreenrock.ca booth got in on the action, and wrote ways in which their everyday actions can have an impact on the environment and to post them on the How Do you fit? board (see photo below to the left).  they were rewarded with a seedling from the Department of Forestry and Agrifoods, and a chance to win a local and green gift

Perla Hernandez talking about thegreenrock.ca's projects
Perla Hernandez talking about thegreenrock.ca’s projects

basket including:
– free month trial of Island Compost by Phill Coates (see Guide to the Good profile)
– skincare samples from Esskin by Esther Squires (see Guide to the Good profile)
– delicious natural soap from Suds~Natural Cooked Soap by Leah Grannon Bryant
– free coupons for delicious Soul Azteka and free coupons from Fixed Coffee!

and we got a winner!! congrats Julia thank you for participating!

 

And we are all winners when we take care of the planet.

(ps – thegreenrock was thrilled to have such an excellent group of volunteers helping out at the booth ~ thank you Leah Grannon Bryant, Amanda Russell, Kate Finn and Mary Anna Duggan you guys rocked!)

 

kathysgreenrock (2).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

think planet. live local ~ how do you fit in?

the challenges of the great big world can get a little smaller when we all work together to take action!  for Earth Day 2016 thegreenrock.ca, with support from Memorial University’s Office of Public Engagement and the Department of Forestry and Agrifoods, asked human beings how their actions fit in with their larger planetary system at the Suncor Fluvarium Earth Day Fair in St. John’s.

good news: people are taking action!  so many things – from recycling to composting to saying no to plastic bags, buying less and riding more, and generally keeping the planet in mind.  every little bit makes a difference, but to put all these great actions in the great big context, we asked Dr. Sean McGrath, Head of the Department of Philosophy at Memorial University and core member of the For A New Earth group, to offer his perspective.

there is hope!  we are all part of the solution by taking action together!

 

 

 

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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spring! into waste reduction

one year’s worth of waste – http://www.zerowastehome.com/

one weeks worth of waste. how much of this could go somewhere other than the landfill?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March is here (in like a lamb out like a lion maybe?) and as it always does it brings ideas of spring and spring cleaning.  we need to make space for fresh new energy. the best to do that long term is to think about what we bring in.

habits we practice at the household level have a huge impact on reducing waste.   believe it or not, it’s possible to leave very little on the curb – check out Bea of www.zerowaste.com and Lauren of trash is for tossers for leading edge examples.  these two mavericks have waste reduction down to a science and an art.   as well as being very dedicated, they live in centres where facilities exist that make their choices practical.   great ideas!  and although all the facilities don’t exist (ie, we can’t bring jars to the brewery to get filled with beer), there are many things we can do to reduce waste.

this is a mash-up of suggestions of living the waste-free lifestyle from Bea and Lauren, with a bit of local practical knowledge thrown in.

  • what’s in the trash? – have a look at what’s in the bin.  if you’re the greater St. John’s metro area, figure out what can be recycled (cans, cartons, bottles, etc, check the city of St John’s recycling program), what can be composted like organic waste – check out the Botanical Gardens,, what really shouldn’t be going to the trash at all (hazardous waste), check out Eastern Waste Management , what can be rehabilitated or donated (check out Habitat for Humanity ReStore – link updated and other donation-seeking organizations). For all of it, all over the province check out rethink waste. like their website says, “RethinkWasteNL.ca provides Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with easy access to everything we need to know about managing our waste – all on one website.”
  • when buying, buy package-free and/or bulk – sometimes the packaging is recyclable, but even if it still takes work to recycle it.  less is more! You can visit the Bulk Barn to buy in bulk or you can go to the Food for Thought store  as well, and shop the markets.  the St. John’s Farmers’ Market doesn’t run in winter, but the Winter Market and Some Good Market do!
  • the best way to avoid food waste is to prepare the right volume of food for your family, and eat it.  (easier said that done.)  cooking and baking at home (having minimized packaging at the purchase phase) leads to less waste!

 

all of these ideas can add up to a  huge difference to what hits the curb.  and when the demand is there to create more infrastructure to reduce even further.

 

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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Viki’s Cakes By Design – #g2kgtg

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Viki’s Cakes By Design Poinsetta Log

yum. this good to know gift that gives #g2kgtg celebrates the season in a joy-mongering style!

Viki’s Cakes By Design are local and lovely for the eyes and the palate. and they melt into the 5H Giving philosophy – they are homemade and they are from here!

cake decor fits in everywhere – the middle of the Christmas table, as hostess gifts, teacher gifts, presents for the ones who have everything.  oooo the flavours – strawberry puree, vanilla bean, salted caramel, rocky road..

Viki makes ’em all special the way you want from her kitchen in the old east end of St. John’s. gluten-free and peanut-free are options. deliciously consumable, smile nurturing, and fun. she decorates to suit the taste (she’s even done a wedding cake for a Habs fan!)

it’s a three generation affair when need be!  at busy times Viki’s mom – who taught her to decorate – and son get involved. it makes the mix all the better.  two weeks notice needed!  call 764-2363, or inbox her.

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good to know gifts that give (#g2kgtg) is a special project of thegreenrock.ca that looks at local gifts that people will like, use, and won’t leave an unnecessarily big footprint on the planet or humankind.  please like and share!

thegreenrock.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!                   facebook thegreenrock.ca, google+ thegreenrock.ca

 

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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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!

#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.