Dawn Green – Writer

Weaving words worldwide


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Help your workplace be kinder to the planet and people in need

The following is a guest post from a friend of mine and former classmate who’s recently delved into the world of blogging and confesses that she absolutely loves it. She is Happy Eco Mama and her tagline – green parenting, positive psychology and connecting our little ones to the natural world – is so aligned with my passions that I didn’t hesitate to say yes when she asked me whether I’d like to post some of her work on here. Check out her site here: www.happyecomama.com

 

green-workspace

Want to help your workplace to be kinder to the planet and to people in need? Noticed that the coffee in the office kitchen isn’t fair trade, and it’s bugging you? Especially if you’re working for a large corporation with many employees, making little tweaks can add up to a big difference over the years. You can also change people’s mindsets, and teach them about issues they might not have thought about, like supply chain ethics or their carbon footprint. Your passion for a better world can really inspire others to think about how their own purchasing decisions can help to change things for the better.

Here’s some suggestions that you could talk about with your workmates, with the Facilities department and so on, to make your office a more eco-friendly, compassionate place to be.

  • Coffee

It’s pretty much a certainty that if you work in an office, there’s free coffee (side note: we ran out for a week when I worked at a call centre once, and there was practically a revolution). Workers on coffee plantations are often subjected to exploitative working conditions, not being paid enough to support themselves, much less their families.

There’s unfortunately quite a few industries that involve such exploitation: from chocolate to pineapple! While you probably aren’t getting free chocolate at work (although, wouldn’t it be nice?), convincing Facilities to make the switch from standard coffee to a fair trade, sustainably-farmed brand will literally change many lives every year.

  • Turning off computers

A lot of people just lock their computer when they finish work for the day. According to Computer Weekly, if a company has 200 PCs and they’re all switched off after the working day finishes, it would save the company 12,000 GBP per year. That doesn’t just make environmental sense, it makes economical sense too!

  • Corporate social responsibility

If your company doesn’t have a CSR policy, then it really should: according to Causemark.com, 75% of consumers say they are likely to switch from one product to another if a company supports a cause they believe in, assuming quality and price are similar. In this day and age, your brand is no longer just about your products/services, it’s about your brand image; this is especially important to millennials, and can also contribute to employee satisfaction because they’ll be proud to work somewhere that shares their values.

So basically that’s the spiel that you should be giving to the CEO when you’re having Friday night drinks after work. (By now, they’ll probably remember you as the lady who saved them a ton of money by suggesting the policy of turning off computers. Or maybe as that annoying lady who keeps going on about coffee. Either way.)

A CSR policy could include matching dollar-to-dollar donations for fundraising, giving grants or sponsorships to local causes, or letting employees have a certain number of paid days volunteering in the community.

  • Use that noticeboard!

Christmas time? Remind people about the true spirit of giving: Oxfam Gifts lets you give gifts such as a goat or a cow (for a rural family in need in the developing world) to friends, and it’s really a much more memorable than the usual trinkets. (A friend of mine still tells people about how I got her a cow for Christmas once.) You can hang up posters for Oxfam Gifts, or for any other causes that are important to you (i.e. not to buy puppies from petstores sourcing from puppy mills), to encourage other people to participate; I’ve had great success with getting people excited about Oxfam Gifts and buying them instead of commercial Christmas presents, and it has a ripple effect when the gift recepient ends up buying Oxfam Gifts for their own friends next Christmas .

If there isn’t a noticeboard, talk with your manager about just putting it up somewhere in the kitchen or near the water cooler. When it’s for such a meaningful purpose, they’re likely to be accommodating.

  • Kiva loans

A surprising number of people haven’t heard of Kiva. As the website itself puts it, Kiva loans change lives; it’s a microfinance organization with a focus on the developing world, but also including people in need in the developed world. These are a great gift to give to someone for their going-away party, to congratulate them on their promotion, to thank them for agreeing to stock fair trade coffee in the kitchen, or really any time when a cow seems like an odd gift to give someone. (Which happens, sometimes.)

  • Recycling

A lot of workplaces don’t have recycling bins. Your workplace should have a recycling bin. ‘Nuff said. If there’s one already and it isn’t getting as much use as it should, print out a handy guide to what actually belongs in the recycling bin and what doesn’t. Also, try not to glare too much at the guy who’s popping his Pepsi can in the trash, as tempting as it might be.

 

This article was first published on the site She Savvy on 8 November 2016.

 


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What’s your adventurous new years goal?

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So we’re well and truly into the new year of 2017 now….nearly a whole week and it’s slowly sinking in that another year has passed and a new one is upon us.

With that in mind, it’s a good time to take stock, think about what’s important in life and perhaps set a couple of achievable and vibrant goals. I hesitate to use the term ‘New Years resolutions’ as it sounds so manufactured, where goals are dreams with deadlines, as my father-in-law once quipped.

For me this year, my goals are focused on staying healthy and strong. I’ve taken up a regular yoga practice and alongside some strength training, I can feel the difference already. I really love the way it’s all about aligning your breath with the moves and staying focused in the present moment. What a way to unwind, slow down our busy minds and just breathe. But don’t just listen to me – there’s lots of others out there touting the benefits of yoga.

I’m also into dedicating time to slowly, slowly meander my way through my backed up writing projects, one by one. The thing is I have about a dozen Word documents on my computer, each with a few lines or pages of a story or idea or interview which saw the light of day and then was dropped when other life priorities got in the way. So now I plan to see one through to completion, no matter how long it takes and then move on to the next. It’s my way of avoiding scattered brain syndrome and will allow me to feel a deep connection with each story, each project and really devote time to get to know it intimately, work with it and allow it to be whatever it is going to be.

Let it unfurl like a flower.

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So here’s to another adventurous year ahead – whether it’s adventures abroad, at home, in the mind, body or soul, embrace the challenge, make it yours and see what magic comes of it.

~Dawn

 


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Never a dull moment

 

credit-wayne-s-grazio

Credit: Wayne S. Grazio, Flickr

The moaning cries of, “Mum, Dad… I’m bored!” are rarely, if ever, uttered by kids in Whistler. Why is that, you ask? Well, it can be broken down to one word, F-U-N. For kids, Whistler is an ultimate playground, bursting with opportunities for nature play and sensory amusement.

One memorable way to spend a day in classic Whistler-style is to get the kids on bikes on the 40-kilometre Whistler Valley trail system that links all the neighbourhoods in town. The best way to experience the trail is to pack a picnic lunch and head off with no set plan, and be pleasantly surprised by what lies around the corner. Alta Lake sparkles in the sun and invites sand castle building contests at Rainbow Park and the ice cream cone at Whistler Creekside to top off the day is completely satisfying.

The Adventure Group (TAG) offers up a fantastic nature experience on their aerial tree course (aptly called The Treetop Adventure) that features a mind boggling 70 different obstacles from balance beams to rope swings. This is a natural team building adventure and a great experience to share with family.

And why not try out the art of ziplining while you’re in Whistler? Ziptrek’s Bear Tour involves zipping down five ziplines, all the while enjoying aerial vistas above Fitzsimmons Creek and laughing with your kids. And if you’re not quite ready for ziplining, there’s the Tree Trek Tour which takes you on a canopy walk over treetop bridges and suspended stairways in amongst the lush old-growth forest.

The Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre is also a must-see for families where interactive displays and guided tours tell the rich stories of the First Nations people of the region.

Even long after you’ve left town, be warned: a phrase that you are guaranteed to hear often and repeatedly from your kids will start off with, “Remember that time in Whistler when we…”

 

~This is an excerpt from an article published in The Province and the Vancouver Sun in August 2016


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The backcountry beckons

Photo creditTucker Sherman

Photo credit: Tucker Sherman, Flickr

I am at a loss for words. This is how I feel, faced with the daunting task of attempting to describe what lies before me, as I peer out from the top of Whistler Mountain into the vast backcountry of Fitzsimmons Valley and beyond. The backcountry has this effect on people. It’s almost mystic in its strength, enticing you to explore, yet keeping its secrets close to its heart.

And so I turn to an expert for help with unravelling its spell. Keith Reid, a professional mountain guide with Extremely Canadian Backcountry Adventures and a twenty-year veteran of the mountains, describes how its aloneness is so appealing.

“The terrain here is big, breathtaking and world-class,” he explains. “On a given day of backcountry skiing, we might traverse half a dozen glaciers and numerous high alpine peaks without crossing the path of another skier.”

Guided tours are recommended in this out-of-bounds play area— and for good reason— whether your passion is ski touring, ice climbing, heli-skiing or splitboarding. Local guiding companies, such as Whistler Alpine Guides and Extremely Canadian, can show you secret stashes of powder and most importantly, safety. The backcountry is also avalanche country and it’s reassuring to have safety experts by your side while you explore.

And what’s the best thing of all? That it’s possible to spend epic days in the backcountry then snuggle up warm and cozy in a chalet in Whistler each night.

“What differentiates the Whistler backcountry is the ability to get on a lift from the Village in the morning, backcountry ski all day, then ski back into the resort at the end of the day,” says Reid. “There is nowhere else in North America where you can access this level of terrain on a daily basis without a helicopter.”

The backcountry changes people, he adds, and maybe this is its secret, revealed.

“We introduce them to an environment which, for many, is a ski of a lifetime. Seldom does a day go by that we don’t see that twinkle in our guests’ eyes that says they have been to a magic place and accomplished something very special.”

Find out more at www.whistler.com/activities/backcountry/

By Dawn Green

~This article was published in The Vancouver Sun and The Province on 3 May 2016:

www.theprovince.com/travel/Advertisement+backcountry+beckons+Whistler/11754790/story.html


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Ocean pollution – the monster that never sleeps

This guest post comes courtesy of Andrew Dilevics of Divein.com and reminds us of the worldwide problem of ocean pollution and how changes to our everyday lifestyle can indeed make an impact:

The ocean is one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. It provides over 70% of the oxygen we breathe and covers 72% of the world’s surface. Without the ocean we would not be here today, it’s that simple.

However, everyday our oceans are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans, which is causing untold devastation. Not only is pollution affecting marine life and habitats, it is also affecting man.

There are a number of ways in which we can help lower the amount of pollution entering our oceans and bring them back from the brink of disaster. Reducing your carbon footprint is a good start; you can do this by reducing the amount of energy you use in your household. Turn off the lights when you are not in the room and leave your car at home and ride a bike to work.

Avoid buying plastics; plastics are one of the biggest factors in the pollution of our oceans and once you have finished with your plastic products, their end destination is usually the ocean. Use reusable bags when going to the supermarket and reusable water bottles. If you have to buy plastic products then make sure you recycle them.

Help to take care of the beach. If you enjoy swimming, surfing or just relaxing on the sand, make sure that you clean up after yourself. If you see others littering try to encourage them to protect our oceans and its wildlife.

If you would like to learn more about the oceans and how pollution can affect mankind, then take a look at the fascinating infographic below, created by the team at divein.com

 

How ocean pollution affects humans How ocean pollution affects humans – Graphic by the team at DIVE.in


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Why ecological literacy is important for kids

I am delighted to feature another fabulous guest post from Ella Andrews – this one tells us how essential it is for our children to understand build a relationship with nature.

Why ecological literacy is important for kids3

Mother Nature is very important for our future. A major part of our future are our kids. We must teach them ecological literacy so as to make them learn how important it is to take care of the environment. Being introduced to nature from when they are little children will help develop in them a deep love and solicitude for their surrounding environment.

While young, kids explore and discover a lot of new things. We can help them expand their knowledge by showing them outdoor activities. The best way is if we have a garden on our property or take them to any of the nearest parks. Once we find a suitable place to play with our kids, we must do some preparations first. Playing outside may be dangerous so we have to do some efficient garden clearance first. Kids will be happy to see how plants smell and how the bees are alighting on them so take them on a trip in a garden that has lots of different flowers.

Once our kids see the beauty of nature, it is almost certain that they will turn into an adult who appreciates the small things and will take care of the natural world. Ecological literacy is important for our kids because if we lose nature, we will be lost too. Each living creature on the planet can’t survive without water and food and this is something that our kids must learn from childhood. Teaching them to take care and respect nature is maybe one of the most important lessons we have to teach them.

Planting some flowers will be very interesting to them, with this you can show them how to take care of something. After some time they will see the growth of their flowers and you will be surprised how satisfied they will be.

Another interesting thing for your kids will be for them to meet a gardener. A gardening professional will help you with not only the lawn care but also may help you with ecological education for your children.

Meeting with nature face-to-face, kids can see the different elements of our surrounding environment working together. Even doing some patio cleaning will show them how to take care of the world around them.

A good ecological literacy is something that is a must for every person in the world. As youngsters, we start understanding the importance of taking care of nature, and we can call ourselves decent people who know what is important for our health in the future. Many schools have classes that show the kids how to take care of nature. All the books and videos won’t educate kids on ecological literacy as much as looking at their parents doing some gardening outdoors and spending time playing in nature.

 


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Seven ways the Internet is changing our brain

During one of my many random internet searches where, after awhile, I forget what even prompted the search in the first place (sound familiar?), I came across this intriguing infographic.

It really sums up  our collective addiction to the Net and tells us how that addiction is actually changing our brains, and in some not so good ways.

Who reading this can relate to the first one, FOMO or Fear of Missing Out? Wow, that one strikes close to home and used to be a big issue for me, particularly with social media channels. Thankfully I have now managed to wean myself off of that unhelpful mindset and even take days off from checking social media, with positive results. I feel much more free and yet still enjoy my limited time on there, so luckily I have struck a good balance.

Good food for thought and perhaps a prompt to us all to enjoy the Net in moderation (just like with wine and chocolate). Sometimes it is good to simply turn off the screen, take a deep breath and head outdoors and notice the little things that matter in life.

~Dawn
Your Brain on the Internet
Source: OnlineCourseReport.com