Category Archives: Environment

All the Good that You Can

Do you remember the expression that you should learn something new every day?

It is extremely relevant when it comes to understanding our environment and our health. The two are directly linked to one another. Over the past little while we have come to know that many of the things that we have been doing for decades could and have compromised the well being of our planet and our population.

Learning Everyday     We have learned about Microwave ovens and their negative effects, plastics and the chemicals used in producing them, and  Bisphenol A has been in the news for years. There is still more information to come, but with that knowledge comes power. We cannot turn back the hands of time, and undo what has been done, but we can definitely be aware about what might be impacting our well being. With this knowledge comes a great opportunity, an opportunity to act on what we now know.

As a society it is our responsibility to do something with the knowledge that we gain. What can one person do? The answer is to take action, not political action, even better! We can use our buying power to send a message. Every dollar we spend is a vote. If we as a population increase the demand for sustainable and post consumer recycled goods, we are clearly stating that this is what we want. Canada has a great passion for the environment, which translates into good news for us, because as an ecologically minded population our children and our grandchildren will benefit from our forethought, and the preservation of this great nation on this great Earth.

I am reminded of this by John Wesley when I think about taking of our environment,

“Do all the good you can,Learning Everyday
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

John Wesley

To Ban or Not to Ban, that is the Question…

To Ban or Not to Ban, that is the Question….

Chocolate Bar Fundraising; Been There, Done That, Had to Buy A Bigger Shirt….

I love chocolate, good chocolate, real chocolate….. SOMETIMES, ok, well maybe more than sometimes, but that’s another blog.

chocolateAt home, we don’t generally purchase chocolate by the case, and we definitely don’t love middle-of-the-road chocolate enough to pawn it off to friend or acquaintance just to save a few bucks on a school field trip.

Here at home, like all homes; all we want is what is best for our family. We work hard to ensure our daughter eats well, and that we remain authentic to our core values.

Sure we use chocolate to make Smores when camping, and we indulge occasionally  in an occasional chocolatey fix, but we endeavor to remain true to what is important and that is our health and our future.

I am truly against chocolate bar sales as a standard in fundraising. I have been averse to it ever since I needed to peddle my first box of chocolate bridge mix door to door in 1975. Yuck!

I wasn’t intending for this to be a preachy blog; but as I re-read it, it seems to have taken on that slant. My apologies. When first conceptualized, it was meant to be funny and an exploration in the value of chocolate bar fundraising. I am not really sure there is a value in it. Seriously; besides the easy money, not really any value. I know I am not alone in my aversion to this funding strategy. I myself have become the proud owner and consumer of several cardboard box fulls of mediocre chocolate covered something. Yes I had to purchase them and inevitably consume them. Hence the title needing to buy a bigger shirt 😉

This is what we accomplish with this fundraising practice:

  • Pay inflated prices for some pretty poor quality chocolate
  • We enable colleagues and friends to indulge in the same chocolate, even though most of them are trying to avoid it
  • Sometimes we succeed in guilting people into supporting the cause for which we are raising funds, that by the way makes us really popular
  • We contradict the teachings of healthful eating that we teach our kids which is also part of our school curriculum
  • We indirectly support child labour and exploitation, (and possibly even slavery and smuggling)
  • We show our kids that quick and easy is the way to go, when really we want to tech them that things that are worth having are really worth working for
  • We negatively impact our health, since we all know that too much sugar and a dependency on junk food can lead health issues, cavities and obesity.

Seriously when was the last time your heard someone at the office say, “OH YEAH…. here comes Sally with the overpriced crappy chocolate, boy I can’t wait to pay $5  for some empty calories!” 

Not A Bigger T ShirtIsn’t it time that our fundraising practices actually mesh with our core values? Doesn’t it make sense that our children and youth reinforce what they learn through their activities?

At eCause Canada, we really believe that fundraising should not only be a way to support a cause, but to support the families health and the health of our planet as well as  reinforce the things that we are already teaching our children.

Fundraising needs to be win/win/win. In fact, if everything we did was to benefit health,of people and planet, we’d live in a much better world! And for that, I would most definitely buy the shirt!

To learn more about how your next fundraising program can be profitable, green and healthy, please email info@eCause.ca for information or complete the contact form right here in the blog.

Wishing you and yours good health and happiness along with an abundance of time to enjoy them!

Why Is There Microban on Our Kids School Supplies Repost from 2010

School ScissorsI am new to this blogging thing even though I have loved writing for more than 35 years so forgive me in advance for this moderate rant. I was school supply shopping today and I had a VERY difficult time getting scissors that weren’t treated with the anti-bacterial Microban. What? Are the kids in elementary school doing; surgeries instead of arts and crafts? When did the curriculum change. Aren`t the scissors going to be covered with glue and markers like the ones from the past three years? Why would the scissors need to be protected from algae or the “bacteria causing stains, odors and product deterioration”,(quoting from the Microban website.) What is in Microban? Apparently it is proprietary technologies, so we don’t know, the Environmental Protection Agency has classed Triclosan as a probable carcinogen. Isn’t Microban from the same family? Why would I want it on my kids hands?, the answer, I wouldn’t, germs and bacteria are necessary in our lives, they are what make us stronger and healthier, please share this information with friends and those you love, try not to buy into the “FEAR” that is being dished out. Teach your children the importance of good hygiene, and the need for us to live in harmony with all of the earth’s made micro organisms.

Safe in the Summer

Here we are. Summer is around the corner. Winter sweaters have made their way into the back of the closet storage and the shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits are re-inhabiting the dresser drawers as you are starting to think about protection from our glorious sun.

Without a doubt the love for your children and your desire to keep them from harm’s way has you insisting on a few seasonal things; proper sunscreen coverage, proper hydration, a hat for their heads, and sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.

Perfect, all the essential bases are covered! Or are they? In theory this plan of action is ideal, keep the kids protected from the harsh components of the elements and you are good to go. Unfortunately it is not that simple.

Google it, and you’ll find hundreds of articles on the dangers of most conventional sunscreens. Add that to the fact that there are not yet government regulations on most body care products and you have a recipe for false claims and questionable and unsafe ingredients in a HUGE majority of the sunscreens on the market. Many traditional sun blocks actually contain known cancer causing ingredients. This is a big concern when your intention is to PROTECT your children.

What is a loving parent to do? You’ll be glad to know that safe sunscreens do exist! Even some made right here in Canada, some are government certified and some are even eco certified. This is incredible news for those wanting to do the best for the health of their family. There is a great website with a database with invaluable information on thousands of body care products; it is called Skindeep and I highly recommend looking into the safety information on your sunscreens and any of the body care products you might use before slathering them on.

Proper hydration – this one is pretty much a no brainer, we play, we sweat, we need to hydrate. But HOW we hydrate, for reasons of our well being, is just as important as actually hydrating itself.  For health reasons as well as HUGE environmental reasons, make a personal promise to yourself right now – never use a plastic water bottle again! It doesn’t matter whether you recycle or not, they are toxic, toxic to you, toxic to our planet. For starters they are made from petroleum, and the multitude of chemicals in their composition makes its way into the water you drink and once there they are they known to negatively affect and wreak havoc on our endocrine systems. INVEST in the best, invest in yourself,  get a top quality water bottle preferably in an 18/8 stainless steel, (it should cost in the neighborhood of between about $18 and $25 dollars) and it should last you FOREVER. I have been using mine for 6 years! I have saved Thousands of dollars as a result, not to mention I personally have kept more than 12000 plastic bottles out of landfills, (I used to go through about 6 bottles a day).

Protective eye wear that filters out Ultra Violet Rays, (including the more dangerous UVB rays) are essential.  Even in overcast skies they can protect you and your kids from cataracts, as well as short-term eye damage including snow-blindness in the winter months.

Topping it off, a proper sunhat serves two major purposes; 1 – it is meant to shade you or prevent you from being in direct sunlight, and 2 – and this is actually even more important, it is mean to allow you to expel heat, so the traditional baseball cap is not the greatest of ideas, they tend to hold the heat in, which can lead to overheating, so a straw hat (while not the most fashionable choice) is really a better idea.

You love your kids and every year you tackle the same summer safety concerns. This year take a few extra minutes to look at the bigger and more long term picture. The small changes you make today to support the health of your kids and our planet may cost you a few dollars more initially but the payoff or ROI (return on investment is HUGE) in peace of mind and a healthful future for your family.

I’m Thinking Win/Win is a Better Way to Go!

HERE’S something funny to think about;

ParticipACTION

Coca Cola (yes the makers of the beverage that can not only dissolve your car engine, but that can possibly be attributed to the increase of obesity, diabetes, and the overall un wellness of the human race) sponsors PARTICPACTION in Canada. (That’s the organization that encourages physical fitness through activity in Canada)

Ummmmm here’s a question; do they hand out coke bottles or plastic water bottles after the end of the physical activities? Coca Cola is also well known to own many of the bottled water brands, (which most likely are filled with tap water.)

And does it really matter since contributing to the demise of the planet and the environment will inevitably lead to the demise of the human race anyway.

I’m thinking we CAN be active and support the health of people and planet at the same time!

Win/Win/Win – tap water, no sugar, physical activity! Using a TOP quality stainless steel bottles like a Klean Kanteens , now that’s a winning combination. eCause Canada is thrilled to support schools, teams, corporations and  charities with winning healthy fundraising opportunities!

Call from anywhere in Canada 1-877-638-1678

Beautiful Brown Bin

Recycling paper and plastic is pretty much the norm now. Almost everyone has blue box that weekly makes its way to the end of the driveway. Did you know though,  that the organic material finding its way from kitchen counters to landfills accounts for almost 50% of all waste collected and contributes up to 3% of Canada’s green house gas emissions? By organic material, I mean the stuff that nature gave us in the first place; the carrot and potato peelings, the melon shells and the wilted lettuce from the fridge as well as other table scraps including even meats and breads. These are all examples of household waste that can be converted to organic fertilizer.

Composting is a simple and beneficial way to support multiple levels of our eco system.  It improves air quality, helps to grow more nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, and reduces potential ground water contamination.  The Borough of Cote St Luc has taken the lead on composting in the greater Montreal area and Big Hanna from Sweden, the largest commercial composter in Canada, belongs to McGill University and is located on its downtown campus. McGill’s Gorilla Composting organization has been working for years becoming a Canadian leader in composting.

In Montreal $215 million dollars over five years is being been slated to build 4 organic waste treatment plants in the Montreal region to process residential organic waste that will be collected weekly.  The goal is to convert what’s collected into compost and biofuel. This will make it easy for city dwellers to give back to Mother Nature as communes and Kibbutzim in Israel have been doing for years.

Today my brown bin was delivered here in Dollard Des Ormeaux. It looks quite similar to the one pictured here on the left. This now means that besides all of the fruit and veggie peelings, egg shells and coffee grounds that we already put into our own composter, we’ll now have a place to scrape dinner leftovers that might include salad dressing, olive oil , or even cheese or meat. This is good news for us all, the less “rotting” food that ends up in our landfills, the better our overall air quality and ground water. The better the air quality, the less respiratory issues. Really health of people and planet are interdependent.

If your municipality does not yet have the facility to collect organic waste from you, why not start composting at home? Here’s some information that can get you started.

Composting is a natural and biological breakdown of organic material by micro-organisms, fungi and bacteria, and for the biological breakdown to occur the proper environment needs to be created. Where do we begin in our humble homes? – First, getting or building a composter, and having smaller receptacle like a stainless steel bucket with lid for your kitchen scraps is the beginning. (Most boroughs offer composters for purchase at a discounted price.) Both “green” and brown” materials need to be alternately fed to your composter. The GREENS are your nitrogen rich materials like fruit and vegetable scraps and peelings, coffee grounds and tea bags, and crushed egg shells and the BROWNS are the carbon rich materials such as dry leaves, bread, pasta and rice as well as well shredded paper and paper towels.  Simply put, the “greens” is usually the wet stuff from your kitchen and the browns are usually dry. Small changes to your household waste management habits and personal composting is a painless and invaluable contribution you can make towards improving the health of the environment, and yourselves.

Remember not all organic waste from your home can can be used in your home composter, the meats and grease type waste needs to be disposed of rather than composted and the way you layer its contents and care for them is important, and there are some great websites with step by step instructions like the one from London, Ontario http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Recycling_and_Composting/Compost_at_home.htm, and the Compost Montreal also has graphical downloadable document that demonstrates what is ok and not ok to compost found here: http://www.compostmontreal.com/compostables.

While any new task or change takes a while to become habit, this one is simple and makes sense, and definitely reduces the amount of true waste that needs to be carted off to the landfills. You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, in this case all our trash once converted to quality compost is a treasure for us all.

Earth Day is Four Letter Word

Originally posted in  GirlGuidesCanBlog on April 20, 2012

It always seems so complicated –  you know, solving the big stuff like climate change, environmental issues, poverty, disease, war, the rapid decline of our resources. YIKES!

Usually, when there is a big problem, the following things happen; people talk, then debate, there are studies, governments get involved, money and resources get wasted, there is red tape, complacency, inaction, apathy, anger, alienation, all these things happen every day and always. And the solutions usually involve, some kind of political and/or financial agenda WOW that’s complicated!

This Sunday, April 22, people the world over will be hanging up posters, arming themselves with garbage bags and little trees, and taking positive action on Earth Day to make a difference. Children have been working on their projects for days or weeks for this important event.  It’s a beautiful thing but this tree hugger thinks it’s not the answer.

The answer is not in these actions. The solution to all the world’s woes is in our hearts, the answer is a four letter word.

LOVE

LOVE needs to come first and last and everywhere in the middle. Love fixes everything from scraped knees to broken hearts, to poverty and oppression. It is ONLY about love, about loving ourselves and every other living being on this planet in the realization that we are all one. Our actions in North America in the way we live, eat, shop and exist directly impacts others around the world.

People can debate all they want, but there is no question that the health and well being of the human race is directly interconnected to the health of this planet. While our planet would survive without us, the opposite could never occur.

So here is what I propose in honour of this Earth Day, and every day thereafter – whenever presented with some kind of decision, stop, breathe, connect to yourself (and the rest of the universe) and ask yourself what would love do? Whether you are grocery shopping or driving your car, or interacting with your family, colleagues or peers, ask that question, what would love do?

And now, right now, I ask you to take one moment to share with everyone reading this blog, one short sentence with an example of how putting love first can help to change the world.

I’ll start:

Example 1 – It’s morning household chaos, finishing homework, eating breakfast, packing lunches, preparing for after school programs, and it’s now 8:30am and the bell rings at 8:47 am, school is about a kilometre away. Daughter still has teeth and hair to brush but she’s almost ready to go, what would love do? I know: hey Ayla (that’s my daughter), “finish up teeth and hair and let’s walk this morning!” Hmm, no car, no emissions, appreciating the birds chirping, quality time with daughter, and hey healthy for people and planet, I am pretty sure that’s what love would do!

See simple, love is simple, love for our health and our well being almost always benefits our planet, but wait I have a second example that works the opposite way.

Example 2 – I’m at the store getting groceries and supplies for the week (this is where we can have the HUGEST impact on our health and environment). I need dishwashing soap for the counter and the dishwasher – do I grab the least expensive one on the shelf or the bottle with the fluorescent orange liquid that says made with natural fragrance? Nah! I stop and ask myself, what would love do? And you know what, love would read the labels to make sure that the products were 100% phosphate- and other-nasty-chemical-free and locally made (there are amazing brands made in Canada). Love wouldn’t mind paying a little more because keeping our local economy healthy and our water systems free of phosphates is healthy for us and our families and of course our environment.

Really this love thing is pretty amazing! Really amazing, it helps us now, and it helps us in the future, and it helps us the world over, OK, now it’s your turn: what do you do, or what can you do to change the world by choosing love? We’d LOVE to know!

Happy Earth Day!

The World is Thirsty Because We Are Hungry!

Girl Guides of Canada are taking action for a better world! So glad to have been their guest blogger on World Water Day! Girl Greatness starts here!

GirlGuidesCANBlog

“The World is Thirsty Because We Are Hungry!”

That’s a mouthful! Or maybe it isn’t. What does it mean? What does it have to do with today? Well, March 22 is World Water Day. Water is the most precious resource we have on Earth, it is essential to our survival, and we are essential to its well-being and its very existence.

I’ll save you hours of Google research and break down this year’s World Water Day campaign issues and goals into a few simple and bite-sized pieces. (Yes I am using food related puns here to keep you on your toes.) I’ll then empower you with knowledge and tips which you can easily feed into your life moving forward.  You can even help to change the world. You know like icing on a cake! How’s that for a four-course meal?

First take a moment to read the menu below that…

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We Can Save Our Planet!