Flick Off

My family has been recycling and composting for as long as I can remember. Respect for the earth feels like it was never a new concept for me, but something I’d always had.

I can remember the very first time I heard about Flick Off. I was watching MuchMusic – one of the campaign’s sponsors – and the call to action was clear. The TV was not meant to be left on for background noise and the lights in your home were not meant to be left on when no one was in the room. They wanted us to use less energy. They wanted me to Flick Off. And I did! I made a conscious effort to make sure my family was responsible for helping our earth. I printed stickers and put them on the light switches in my home and I made sure no TV, radio, or computer was left on if it wasn’t in use.

Climate change is a scary thing I don’t believe we know enough about. There have been a number of efforts given by people and organizations across the globe to preserve our climate and help our environment but this one really stuck with me.

The campaign has been in a strange state of “hibernation” – as they’re calling it – for a couple of years now, but the original idea was very compelling to me. I appreciated that Canadians wanted to make a difference and I appreciated how simple the idea was. It was clear the campaign was targeting young Canadians at the time. The attitude behind the name of the campaign, the promotion on a popular music video station – they knew where their audiences were. Did it work? I was 19 years old and I was pretty easily motivated. They made it easy for me to understand what they wanted from me and the benefit to me was that I was helping the environment.

Another thing I liked about this campaign was the concept and the attitude translated into other parts of my life.
Flick off.
Flick off the negativity.
Flick off the current state of the environment, your life, or your career.
Flick off the things that aren’t working for you right now.
Flick off the things you can’t control.

I embraced the attitude of this campaign as a whole. It helped me see how easy it was for me to make a difference – not only with the environment, but also in my life’s path.

-Enjoy the ride.

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Try an eco-friendly ice melter for your driveway

A huge pet peeve of mine is trying to walk up or down an icy, rut-filled driveway. The amount of snow we Winnipeggers have seen this winter is more than the last few years, but this does not mean we should just leave it to sit there.

The weather over the last couple weeks has been very inconsistent. The warm sun melts the snow into slush and water, only to have the chilly wind freeze it into rough, bumpy ice.

I’ve fallen down driveways a number of times this winter – mine included! My driveway is a long and narrow slope that becomes a not-so-fun slide when covered with this much ice.

The solution? Shovel your driveway? Too late for that.At this point, the build-up of ice might be too much for a shovel or ice pick to handle. That’s where enviro-friendly ice melting products come into play. Here are some tips on things you should be looking for in ice melting products:
• all natural
• eco-friendly
• biodegradable
• water-soluable
• salt-free
• non-toxic
• provides instant traction
• less run-off than rock salt

Another benefit to eco-friendly ice melters is they’re usually safe for children and pets!

Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, and Rona carry a variety of eco-friendly ice melter brands.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for warmer temperatures and let’s keep those driveways safe!

-Enjoy the ride.

The JUNOs bring sustainability to Winnipeg

Everything about his year’s JUNO Awards in Winnipeg is exciting – the performances, the special appearances, the JUNO Cup, the launch of the Year of Music in Manitoba – and the promise to improve the sustainable performance of the Awards and celebrations.

The people and organizations the JUNOS partner with – venues, caterers, printers, production companies etc. – all agree to uphold the sustainable practices the JUNOs have established. The JUNOs use renewable electricity for as many of the venues as possible, provide carbon offset credits to offset emissions from air travel, and some of the JUNO branded apparel has been made with organic and fair-trade materials.

In 2011, the JUNO Awards events were the first in Canada to meet the requirements of the CSA standard for sustainable events. – junoawards.ca

They even have a list to show you how you can make a difference at this year’s event. Some ideas:
• Travel to and from JUNO Week events by foot, bicycle or public transit
• Dispose of waste and recyclables in appropriate receptacles
• Get to know the local culture and purchase locally produced goods
• Turn off any lights, TVs, air conditioners or heaters when leaving your hotel room
• Opt into towel and linen reuse programs if your hotel offers the service
• Book your travel via the most direct route to reduce travel related emissions

For the last two years, CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) – the not-for-profit organization that puts together the JUNOs and promotes and celebrates Canadian music and artists – has appointed a JUNO Awards Sustainability Ambassador. Sam Roberts was appointed in 2012, and Bruce Cockburn earned the honour in 2013.

For this year’s awards CARAS tried something new and launched the “What Do You Do” initiative to raise awareness and inspire action and conversation about Canada’s sustainability plans. This video from the campaign features many Canadian artists reflecting on their own commitments to sustainability.

“It’s the little things in life you can do make a big impact.” – Liz Trinnear

“People try to change the whole world, but if you try to change your piece of the world, then we all will together change the world.” – Jully Black

Let the JUNOs know what you do on Twitter – @TheJUNOAwards and use the hashtag #JUNOWDYD.

Enjoy the JUNO Week events and Awards while they’re in town and do your part to have a positive impact on our environment.

– Enjoy the ride.

Try one of Winnipeg’s “green” businesses

I came to Moksha Yoga Winnipeg originally to practice barre yoga thanks to a Groupon I’d purchased. I fell in love with the class, and I fell in love with the studio. The calm, fun, stress-free atmosphere, and the amazing instructors were just the dose of positivity I needed in my life.

“We are a group of independent hot yoga studios committed to ethical, compassionate and environmentally conscious living, and believe that the benefits of yoga are limitless and accessible to all.” – Moksha Yoga

After about 6 months of taking barre class, I became an Energy Exchange team member at Moksha’s Waverley location. I had heard about its green practices and was happy to know more about them. I help to maintain the studio’s cleanliness, prep and setup the studios before each practice, clean bathrooms and do the laundry. Every cleaning product the studio uses is a green alternative to an otherwise chemical-filled product – vinegar for the windows and mirrors, Benefect – a biodegradable cleaning product for the mats and various other items, and a multipurpose green solution cleaner for things like toilets, countertops and showers. Even the laundry soap – Ecos – is eco-friendly.

I appreciate when a business or organization has a set of principles they live and do business by. Moksha has outlined these 7 pillars as its philosophies to live by as a community.

• Be Healthy – “We work to support lifelong health for the body and mind”
• Be Accessible
• Live Green – “We live to protect and serve the natural world.”
• Sangha Support
• Reach Out
• Live to Learn
• Be Peace

Some aren’t for everyone – but to live healthy and to live green are two important themes I make an effort to bring more of into my life and it’s nice to know that a place I choose to spend my time at has similar beliefs. Living green and protecting and serving the natural world sounds a lot like treat others as you’d like to be treated to me. Treat the world around you with the respect it deserves, and that respect will come back to you.

It’s my hope that as we grow, the world around us will continue to grow with us and more Manitoba businesses and organizations will make the effort to live green.

Links to Moksha Yoga’s Green pages:

Green Tips Videos
Go Green Top 20 Tips

Namaste.

-Enjoy the ride.

Animals recycle too!

I’m a big fan of people who live within their means.

If you’re a penny pincher, if you’re living on a budget, if you’re working three jobs to keep up with expenses – it’s a skill and a talent to stay ahead of the game and stay in the black.

I appreciate when people do what they can to make use of things they have in their homes and in their space. A couple of my biggest pet peeves are buying a ton of something because it was on sale, and keeping things for years for no real reason – they’re just there. Times change, people evolve. Get rid of the clutter!

All this talk about people living within their means, and I found this post about animals who recycle and only do what’s necessary to survive. Adorable post as well as a helpful reminder that it is possible to live a simplistic, happy life.

Check out the post on Mother Nature Network

Try spring-cleaning

Last year was the first year I was excited to host my very own…garage sale!

I’m a fan of clean-living and between the garage, the basement, and especially my own room there wasn’t enough of that going on. I knew we had stuff – some call it junk, some call it used, some call it reusable. Anything that was destroyed went to the dump. Everything else, I donated.

I knew the garage was full. I knew we’d have to make piles, start organizing into groups and by material – it was a lot of work. I knew the basement had bins with old elementary and high school projects, stuffed animals, and board games. It was time for the memories to be passed along to someone new. I cleaned up, made a list of the items I had, and did my research. I didn’t care where everything went– but I did care that it was all passed along to someone who could really use or enjoy each piece.

Did I feel good after donating things I had no use for? Heck yes I did. Does this make it self-serving? Not in a negative way. It’s a little one man’s trash is another’s treasure – but in this case the trash has meaning and while is of no use to me, could really benefit others.

Aside from that the relief of finally clearing your mind and your space of clutter is extremely satisfying. Packing the huge bags full of clothes and totes so full I couldn’t put the lids on into the back of my truck was so gratifying. The work put in was hard and took a long time to sort but in the end, the clothes didn’t fit, the games weren’t being played, and the building materials were from a pipe dream my Dad had years ago about renovating the kitchen and bathroom. They were all meant for someone else.

If this is also your first spring-clean ever, or really big clean in the last while, you’ll be surprised at the number of things you can donate/repurpose – I guarantee it! I’m looking so forward to the warm weather and the joy that the melting of this snow will bring and I cannot wait for spring-cleaning: round 2. To de-clutter is to de-stress, and I could definitely use less stress in my life!

Items I donated (listed) went to the following recycling and drop off locations:

Habitat for Humanity Restore
60 Archibald Street
– lumber, plant pots, carpet, tiles, tools

Winnipeg Humane Society
– newspaper, blankets

Manitoba Mutts Dog Rescue
– newspaper, blankets

Miller Environmental
– old paint cans, laser printer, aerosols, batteries, lightbulbs

Canadian TireCity of Winnipeg Oil Recycling Page
– used oil containers and filters, drip pans,

Siloam Mission
– winter parkas, winter boots, winter gloves, mitts, and toques

Goodwill Store
– clothing, books, puzzles, toys

Visit each individual site for details on what materials each organization can accept.

-Enjoy the ride.

Try green building materials

Recycled tires = rubber mats.

Last year, as a part of my magazine project we had to design a booth for the magazine trade fair. As our magazine was focused on sustainable living in Manitoba, my group and I knew we had to be super creative and come up with a really neat way to incorporate recycled products into our booth.

I know a few people in the tire industry and I’d heard about recycling programs in Alberta that take the old, overused tires and turn them into crumbs for playgrounds (to replace sand or rocks), and mulch for gardens (to replace compostable leaves and mowed grass).

I did some research into what else could be created with recycled tires and found mats for truck beds, barn floor covers, rubberized asphalt, gym mats, splash pads and a bunch of other innovative ideas.

I envisioned a booth made entirely of recycled tires. I had to do some more research as I hadn’t yet stumbled upon anything Manitoba-made.

That’s when I made the call to Reliable Tire RecyclingManitoba’s premier tire recycler and largest collector and processor of scrap tires in Manitoba.

I went for a tour of their showroom and was shown all their neat products. My dream became a reality and I couldn’t have been happier with the display. We had the mats, we fixated them to some sturdy repurposed plywood to make sure they’d stand up on their own, and voila – we had a booth.

We pinned our posters to it, displayed our green thumb promises, and promoted the heck out of the fact that we created an entire display booth out of recycled materials!

Each of Reliable Tire Recycling’s products are made using scrap tires found, donated, and also collected from local businesses in Manitoba. You have the option to drop tires off directly at their office, or drop them off at a local tire shop where RTR will pick them up for free!

For more information on greening up your life with recycled tires, check out this video!

-Enjoy the ride.

(Photo of our booth in an earlier post)