• DIY

    Week 20: Learn to Fix Things

    One way to keep stuff out of the landfill, save money, and learn new skills all at the same time is to learn how to fix items that fall into disrepair. Household items like appliances, clothing, toys, and tools can often be mended to “like new” status with a little time and energy. Today’s economy requires consumers to continually buy new things. It seems that the shelf life of everything from washing machines to shoes is made to fall apart faster and faster each year. Designed or planned obsolescence is actually a thingwhich makes me so sad. This is when product designers purposely design a product with a limited lifespan so…

  • Economy

    Week 19: Hang Your Laundry

    Like many of the approaches to being more environmentally friendly, this week’s topic is easy to do, will save you money, and just requires a bit of planning. Hanging your laundry to dry is an easy way to reduce your electricity bill and takes almost no effort. Another added bonus: it’s easier on your clothes and will help them last longer! Here’s a great article the breaks down the benefits and cost savings.  The biggest challenge in making this lifestyle change is that you need to leave the appropriate amount of time to let your clothes dry. This amount of time will change pretty drastically depending on where you live and what your…

  • Food,  Zero Waste

    Week 18: Compost!

    Oh composting… how I wish I was better at this! I’m still learning this week’s topic, but practice makes perfect so I’ll give you some information on the research that I’ve done and some more information on what I have yet to try. As an aspiring gardener, I know how important soil nutrition is which is why I started my composting journey a few years ago. I purchased one of the fancy rotating compost bins but I was worried that I wouldn’t get the right ratio of greens, browns, and food scraps. I did a lot of research online but got overwhelmed with the scientific process behind composting. This was one of the…

  • DIY,  Reduce Plastic,  Zero Waste

    Week 17: DIY Laundry Detergent

    So, this week I’m going to share a personal practice that has saved my household hundreds of dollars over the last few years – making your own laundry detergent. It takes about 2 minutes a month and is so super easy. Ready? Mix equal parts soap flakes, borax, and washing soda. And that’s it. If you’re feeling fancy you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil but we rarely do. Add about a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half to a full load.  I’ve used this on everything from mechanic uniforms to baby diapers and it’s cleaned everything beautifully. I store the detergent in a pint sized mason jar and…

  • Economy,  Shopping

    Week 16: Regift

    This week’s topic is a quick and easy way to pass along unwanted stuff from your family to someone else who is more likely to enjoy it. Regifting is easy: when it comes time to find a present or gift for someone, consider giving them a gently used item from your own home that your family has finished with. In my house, regifting started because my oldest son hates colouring. When he was really young he got tons of colouring books, crayons, and markers from family and friends. It all sat collecting dust on a shelf for years. An avid colouring fan myself, I couldn’t bring myself to just throw it away.…

  • Economy,  Shopping

    Week 15: Stop Buying “Stuff”

    We live in a culture of stuff. Our economic model requires us to continue consuming stuff at a frightening pace. Many people define themselves by the stuff that they own and most people believe that acquiring stuff will make them happy. It’s so engraved into our culture that it’s actually hard to stop buying stuff. And by stuff I mean the objects that we bring into our lives that we don’t necessarily require but that we believe will make our lives better. Anything from kitchen gadgets to fancy shoes to toys and games. When I think of “stuff”, I often associate it with the extra junk I used to come home with when I…

  • Food

    Week 14: Source Local, Sustainably Grown Food

    What a perfect time to be writing about this topic. Right now, it’s September in Southern Ontario which means harvest season! I’ve been spamming my Instagram feed with pictures of colourful, ripe, local produce that I’ve been getting at the farmer’s market every week. I’ve talked a lot in previous emails about why it’s important to buy local and why it’s important to make your own meals. I’ve also talked about why eating local food can have a huge impact on the environment, on your health, and on your wallet. If you’ve been practicing since week 10, you’ll know that eating locally grown food takes an adjustment but is well worth the effort. Hopefully…

  • Zero Waste

    Week 13: Donate Instead of Throwing Away

    This week I want to share my experiences in making a transition in how I get rid of things I don’t need anymore. Here’s my secret – I love a good purge. It’s so hard to get started, but once you remove unnecessary clutter from your life, it can open new doors. A few years back my family downsized. We move from 2400 square feet to about 1000 square feet so there was a lot of stuff that we needed to get rid of. We also lost storage space by way of a garage and a basement – and the new house has zero closets. It was definitely a transition!…

  • Education

    Week 12: Change Your Perspective

    Now that you are a several weeks into the process, you may be thinking more about environmental issues, small scale positive action, and how collective action might be a big part of the solution. You may be feeling really good about the actions you’ve taken so far. You may be struggling with a few – and that’s okay too. As I said in Week 1, learning is half the battle. This means that just thinking about and exploring these issues is an amazing way to change your perspective. For me, the biggest change has been learning to not buy things. And I’m not talking about important things, I’m talking about…

  • Economy,  Shopping

    Week 11: Shop Local

    So we’ve talked about buying your food locally but most of us spend money on more than just food. Whether it’s clothes for the kids, a new book, or hardware for home renovations, we all spend money on different things each week. How we spend those dollars and cents can have a huge impact on our local communities, as well as on large socio-economic and environmental issues. I’ve always enjoyed the “leaky bucket” analogy to understand why shopping locally is important. As explain by one article: “In the leaky bucket analogy for local economies, money flows into a region to circulate through local businesses like water into a bucket. Water…