Green Ways to Keep Away the Blues

The third Monday in January is said to be the most depressing day of the year. So what causes this? I’ve explored a couple options and solutions below! If you’re feeling a little extra down this coming week, try out some these green ways to keep away the blues!

Lack of Sunlight

This definitely gets me! Leaving for work in the dark and coming home from work in the dark is enough to make anyone feel blue. Try going for a walk at your lunch hour! Get some excessive, fresh air and a blast of vitamin D. It’s also a good idea to take some Vitamin D tablets in the winter, as a lack of this vitamin can have you feeling depressed.

Lack of Exercise/Fresh Air

It’s easy to get into a habit of coming home from work and snuggling up in a warm blanket in front of the TV. Not a bad way to spend the odd evening, but too much can have you feeling bored and blue. In addition to going out at your lunch hour, make sure you’re getting outside on the weekends instead of staying cooped up. A walk outside will do you much better than a dark basement gym! Check here for some fun and inexpensive outdoor winter activities!

Food isn’t Fresh and Satisfying

Nothing grows in the winter around here, right? Well greenhouses have in season veggies all year round so that you can swap that canned food for fresh. There is something about fresh food that can lift spirits, and it can be hard to by for a good price in the middle of winter. Check out what veggies are in season and hit up your local farmers market! Browsing isles of fresh produce will take away the winter blues in an instance!

Not Keeping up with your New Years Resolutions

Three weeks from New Years, and maybe you haven’t been keeping up with your goals as well as you’d hoped. Goals don’t need to be set in stone, and you still have time to re-evaluate and re-focus. Was your goal too broad or too specific? Try readjusting it to fit you better. You can also see if a friend is willing to work at a goal alongside you. Did you try and Green Resolutions? Let me know how you’re doing!

Too Much Snow

Visit some local green places, like a botanical garden or farmers market. A plant for your house will also do the trick, and will bring some fresh oxygen to your rooms in the stale winter.

 

Get outside, get some exercise and eat healthy… No one has ever said that before. But it can really help you get through the winter blues and back to the green spring. Try out some of these ways to bring some green to your winter. I hope it helps!

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Respecting Nature

It’s nearing the end of Environment Week here in Canada and I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to spend most of it working outdoors. Unfortunately in Alberta, this week was just one rolling thunderstorm after another, but I did get to see some neat cloud formations!

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While working outside this week, I thought a lot about my respect for nature and the environment and where it stems from. I realized that the more I learn about the world around me, the more I learn to respect and cherish it. Learning about the plants and land around me is the basis of my job. As a reclamation consultant, I need to know all the puzzle pieces in the world around me so that I can make sure they are put back properly.

Getting to know nature has helped me fall in love with it more and more every day. I want to share some of that so that you too can come to love and respect nature more as well!

Let’s start with some trees! They’re big and beautiful and there are fewer species to learn about than other aspects of nature.

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Trembling Aspen is a deciduous tree meaning it has soft fluffy seeds and loses its leaves every fall. It gets it name from the way its leaves “tremble” in the wind.

 

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Lodgepole pine is a coniferous tree with hard seeds located in cones. Its long soft needles are flat and grow in pairs of two.

 

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Cottonwood is another deciduous tree that is most commonly found along river banks where it can get plenty of moisture. The cotton fluff can usually be seen floating through the air in the spring.

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White spruce is a pretty common coniferous tree in this area. Its short sharp needs have an almost white tinge to them. In comparison to the pine needles, white spruce needles are square and roll between your fingers.

 

So next time you’re at the park, take a closer look at the trees around you and try and learn what species it is. Hopefully you’ll also come to feel a closer connection to the world around you!

 

 

Cleaning up our Environment, One Shoreline at a Time

This Earth Day I set up a Shoreline Cleanup through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and it was a spectacular success! If you’ve never heard of the event before, I highly recommend checking it out. Events are available all over Canada and you can either join a public cleanup or coordinate your own event.

The event was a success in that we cleaned up bags of garbage from the shoreline of the Bow River, but also as a personal success. There are times I don’t feel like I do enough “on the ground” environmental work, which is actually funny since I work on the ground in the environmental industry. But literally picking up garbage from shoreline makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside and really gives me the sense that I’m contributing to the health of our Earth.

In total, we removed 3 large bags of garbage! The most common items were cigarette butts, food wrappers and little bits of plastic. When you look at the common garbage that winds up in our rivers, its plain to see that humanity has a dependence on plastics and convenience items.

So if you’re ever struggling like me and not feeling like you do enough for our planet, just step back and think of all that you do in fact do. Every time you “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”, you are keeping garbage out of our landfills and out of our natural areas. Every time you pick up a piece of garbage from the sidewalk or opt for low waste packaging, you are making a real difference in our world. Together, lets just focus on taking these small steps toward eco-friendly living and over time, you will see a difference!

Happy Earth Month!

On April 22, 2016, we celebrate Earth Day and it’s 25th anniversary! This April, let’s celebrate Earth Month and pledge to live more environmental friendly.

EarthDay.ca has a wonderful event planned this year with their #ROOTING4TREES campaign. You can visit their website and pledge money to plant trees, either in spirit or by physically signing up to plant a tree in one of our major cities.

Planting trees is an excellent way to combat climate change as trees literally suck carbon dioxide out of the air and exhale oxygen. Forests are the lungs of our planet and I’m so excited for this event to shine some light on their importance.

If you can muster the money, or want to get your hands dirty, let’s celebrate our beautiful country this Earth Day and grow our wonderful forests ❤

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Get Ready for Earth Hour!

Earth Hour is fast approaching! The event, put on by the World Wildlife Fund, aims to promote awareness of climate change by coordinating a “black out”.

This years event is this Saturday, March 19th from 8:30 to 9:30 pm at your local time.

All you have to do to participate is turn off your lights! The coordination of so many people turning their lights off at night, has a very beautiful effect ❤

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So what can you do to keep entertained while the lights are out? Here’s a few ideas!

  1. Grab your candles! Read a book or play a board game, all by candlelight! It’s actually quite peaceful and relaxing. Bump your relaxation up a bit with a nice cup of tea!
  2. The event aims at turning off lights, but go a step further and turn off your computer, tv, and cell phone. Disconnect from the grid in every way to make an extra impact!
  3. Spend quality time with your kids or pets! Grab some toys, get those candles burning, and reconnect with your loved ones.
  4. Get outside for a walk! Street lights are still on for safety and security, so grab your family or pets and go for a nice long walk in the park.
  5. Have an early bedtime! With the recent time change, I know I’m feeling a little behind on sleep. So get a good nights sleep and an early rise on Sunday.
  6. Do some crafts! Painting, knitting, writing … We all spend a lot of time watching tv and browsing the internet, so light some candles and spend some time working on your crafts!
  7. Star gaze! Grab a blanket and take a walk to the park for some star gazing. Hopefully there is less light pollution in the cities, so you’ll be able to see them better.

Have some favourite “no-power” activities? I’d love to hear them! Enjoy your Earth Hour!!

Stop Invasive Species – Start Local Gardening!

Invasive species, or weeds, are plants that are not native to a certain region and can serious ecological damage. Unfortunately, a lot of these plants are introduced as ornamental flowers due to them being pretty. It’s easy for these species to move from the garden to our natural regions and interfere with native plants.

The first step: Identification! A lot of weeds are actually sold in greenhouses, so it’s up to you to make sure you aren’t helping them spread!

Here are a few common invasive species in Alberta to keep an eye out for!

Each area usually has a list of invasive plants to watch out for, so check with your city and help stop their spread!

The best thing you can do when planning your garden is to incorporate native species! Plants native to your area aren’t going to harm other species and usually have a special resilience to the climate. Here are some great garden plants native to Alberta (bonus: they’re also really pretty!):

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Weeds from Alberta Invasive Plant Identification Guide
Native Plant Photos from Sunnyside Greenhouse

Get Outdoors This Winter!

It is gorgeous outside right now; I love chinooks! Now is the time to stop hibernating; turn off the tv, turn off the computer, and get outside to enjoy nature!

Not sure what to do outside in winter? Here’s some good local places where you can get in touch with nature; without having to own or rent expensive equipment:

1) Inner City Parks

Going for a hike in the city is easy to add into your busy day, costs nothing, and is a great way to shut off your electronics and get outside. Inner-city trails usually have plenty of traffic, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with too much snow. Fido loves it too!

2) Go to the Zoo

Lots of major cities have a zoo or other similar outdoor venue. The zoo is a great place to reconnect with nature and disconnect from the busy city. Minor cost here, but your money is going toward the animals and conservation efforts. And you can see animals!

3) Botanical Gardens

Okay, maybe it starts getting really cold, but you’re still looking to get in touch nature. Grab a book and go hang out at a botanical garden. Some bright green can be the perfect cure for winter blues!

4) Find a Hill and Grab a Toboggan 

Grabs some friends or family and spend some time on the hill; no expensive skis required! Top it off with some hot chocolate after!

 

I’m sure there are plenty more ways to have some Eco-friendly, electronic-less fun this winter, without staying cooped up in your house. Have some more inexpensive ways to get outdoors? Share them below!