Dawn Green – Writer

Weaving words worldwide

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Crumbling ice and firm resolve

I’ll be the first to admit to being a diehard fan of documentaries of all sorts and sizes, and will happily snuggle down with my husband to digest an hour of exploration and discovery. However, given my busy lifestyle, these films tend to gradually fade into the recesses of my mind, not to surface again. That is, before I watched Chasing Ice.


Here’s a snippet of the synopsis of the film from the official website:

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog’s hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

The dramatic images captured of towers of ice as tall as New York’s skyscrapers crumbling into the ocean were poignant and hit me in the heart. What better way to demonstrate the power of nature and the horrifying unprecedented melting of glaciers due to climate change. And while I was glued to the screen for the entire film, it was in the last minutes where it really struck a chord inside me. Balog is certainly not a pessimist and he leaves us with feelings of hope – that we will be able to stem the tide of destruction caused by climate change. And he reflects that when his daughter is grown up, he wants to be able to tell her that he did all he could to make a difference.

This last bit hit me hard, mainly because I am now a privileged parent of a six-month-old baby and my thoughts constantly turn to her future and what shape the planet will be in when she gets there. I do consider myself a bit of a greenie and have embraced healthy low-impact living and have even attended the odd environmental protest back in my day, however, a twinge of guilt arose when Balog asked himself the question – have I done everything I can?

I want to be able to tell her that I have done everything in my capacity and after intense reflection, I feel inspired to live up to my very high expectations of this responsibility.

Where do I go from here and what does it look like?

That I am not exactly sure, but I do know that with passion and commitment, I can continue my quest to make a difference. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so the saying goes, and I know this is a long-term type of project, one which will evolve and dynamically change as time goes on. But if I wear it as a badge and do all I can to allow my daughter to have solid connections with nature, and continue my environmental volunteer work, I know that down the track I will be able to confidently say to my daughter that, I too, feel like I did all I could to make a difference. And the journey will unfold beautifully along the way. So here’s to living green, following your dreams and inspiring passion in loved ones.

~ Dawn

Check out more on the film which had such an impact on me:





The snowball effect of hybrid cars

The following is a guest blog from I Drive Safely:









How Caring for the Environment Has Changed the Way We Drive

Fifteen years ago, making the world a little greener was a concept that was largely dismissed. But slowly, a collective environmental consciousness began to emerge, and it wasn’t so weird anymore. Recycling paper and plastic became normal. Conserving resources climbed up to, and stayed at, the forefront of our minds. One of the biggest changes for the greener that we’ve seen is alternative-fueled cars becoming trendy.

It doesn’t even seem weird now, but back in 1997, when Toyota released the first Prius in Japan, America was in the middle of a “bigger is better” automobile trend. Jacked up SUVs and Humvees tore up the landscape 8 miles-per-gallon at a time.

Since then, hybrid cars have gained popularity, and the green car trend has gained momentum. As of December 2013, more than 7.3 million hybrid electric vehicles have been sold. As a result, people have become more conscientious about not only what they drive, but how they drive. When you consider that this is merely the beginning of a trend that could (and should) continue to grow, the future looks, well, a lot cleaner.

Evolution doesn’t happen quickly. In fact, it can be a very long, slow process. But rest assured, it’s happening. People are getting greener every day. Every Prius owner is reminded of the good they are doing for the environment whenever they get behind the wheel. And every non-alt-fuel car owner is affected, as well. Like it or not, they think about the environment whenever they drive past a Hybrid, or a Prius, or a Leaf. It’s gonna take time, but one day we will look back and see how much we’ve evolved.


These days, there are more than a few options for alternative-fueled cars.


Average MPG: 40-50

These cars operate on a dual-engine system, with an internal combustion and electric engines being utilized when applicable. These are, so far, the most popular of the list, with many major car manufacturers offering high-quality models (Honda’s Hybrid, Toyota’s Prius, Ford’s Fusion, and Nissan’s Leaf are the front-runners).


Average MPG: 76-115

While these cars do burn gasoline, it’s very minimal. This car is ideal for pretty much anything but long commutes or road trips. The cost isn’t terribly high, and when you factor in the cost of gas that doesn’t get purchased, it’s hard to argue against this one.


Average MPH: 30

Bio-Diesel cars are great, if not a bit quirky. Fueled entirely by modified recyclable vegetable oil, they are one of the cleanest-burning motorized vehicles on the road.

Joe Spirito is a copywriter for I Drive Safely, the nation’s number one provider of online traffic school and driver’s education. For over 10 years, I Drive Safely has provided quality online courses to millions of new drivers, drivers looking to dismiss a traffic ticket and clear their driving record, and drivers looking to save money on auto insurance. Our self-paced online courses give students the freedom to study whenever and wherever they want. To find out more, please visit us at www.idrivesafely.com.

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Fresh tracks

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There’s a sweet little secret that Whistler has burrowed away which is about to be exposed — while the rest of the Village slumbers, outside in the darkness, creeping their way to the chairlifts are diehard fans of virgin snow and culinary delights. Just who are these folks? They’re the ones who wake at the crack of dawn in order to load the Whistler Village Gondola and tackle the Fresh Tracks experience.

Fresh Tracks is quite simply all about being first – first to get up the mountain, first to have breakfast on top and first to slice up the snow before the mountain is open to the public.

They say breakfast is the feast of champions and a smorgasbord of food ample enough to fuel any snow adventure awaits you at the Roundhouse Lodge after you clamber out of the gondola at the top. And once ravenous appetites are sufficiently quelled, ears are pricked for the tell-tale clanging of the bell signalling the runs are open for the day. Then it’s time to behold the pure awesomeness of being the first to cruise down on fresh powder or corduroy snow on another captivating winter day at Whistler.

The brainchild of Wilf Seymour, the Roundhouse Lodge’s executive chef back in 1988-89, the program was created to feed the demand for people to get first tracks on a powder day, explains Jill Young, Whistler Blackcomb communications coordinator. And no one would argue that it continues to be unsurpassed as one of the best ways to embark on an extraordinary day on the slopes. Fresh Tracks runs from December through to April 2 with uploading starting at 7:15 a.m. Tickets are available at any Guest Relations desk and be warned: tickets do sell out so buy yours the day before and arrive early to line up.

Article published in the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers on 28 January, 2014:


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Automotive Innovations: Greener Driving Up Ahead

Once again I have been blessed with another guest post on my blog.
And although the last two writers do not know each other, they both are steering towards writing on green transportation, a topic which hits home to us all. Enjoy this fascinating read.







Byline: Ryan Harrison

Ryan’s been in love with cars since he was 7 years old, when he watched his dad restore a 1970 Buick GSX. He writes about the auto industry for a variety of blogs.

The last thing you want to happen when stopped at a red light is for your engine to shut off. Or is it?

Three years ago, Ford developed an auto stop-start system that shuts its hybrids off when stopped, then automatically restarts, saving both fuel and emissions. New green car technology is playing a huge role in creating a new generation of greener, fuel efficient vehicles with a lower environmental impact. These technologies are being integrated into transportation that offers all the functionality and driving experiences we have come to expect in a vehicle, with the added improved environmental impact.

Even something as simple as low tire pressure can rob your vehicle of miles per gallon, all the while spewing out more harmful emissions. However, Nissan has developed a technology that alerts you to let you know exactly which tire is low, and by how much. While you are filling the tire, the vehicle’s horn chirps when the tire is properly inflated. There have been a number of advances in the designs of hybrids, electrics, powertrains and traditionally-fueled vehicles lately, which is a boon for eco-conscious drivers, but not all of them are practical for everyone:


Take for example, the Armadillo-T electric car. While it doesn’t exactly roll up like an armadillo, it does roll up on itself, which enables it to take up less parking space. By lowering a set of castors in the middle of its chassis, the entire rear of the mini-car is able to flip over the front, which raises the rear wheels off the ground. When curled up and locked, the car’s interior is protected from the elements and from theft. Time.com says this folding process takes only about 15 seconds, reducing the vehicle’s length from 110 inches to just 65 – and, it can be instigated by using your smartphone. With a top speed of 37 mph, it is not freeway-capable, but it has a 60-mile range, perfect for city-only driving.

Polycarbonate windshields

Ever since the old buggy days, car windows have traditionally been made out of glass. Laminated glass is strong, transparent and shatter-resistant. However, it is also heavy, making up to 100 pounds of a car’s weight. Because car manufacturers are increasingly weight conscious, you may soon see glass windows – at least some of them – replaced with polycarbonates, cutting that weight by half, according to MotorAuthority.com.

The polycarbonate wouldn’t be used throughout – it is actually too strong, posing a hazard for first responders after an accident if installed as windshields or side windows – but would instead be used in sunroofs and rear windows, reducing weight where appropriate.

Greener green

When thinking about the uses of herbs, you probably wouldn’t expect to find them in your electric car battery. However, the Madder plant, commonly called Rubia, could serve as a natural cathode for electric car batteries. Rubia contains an organic dye called purpurin, which has been used as a fabric dye since ancient times. According to ScienceBlog.com, scientists at the City College of New York and Rice University have discovered that the dye is also an excellent natural cathode for lithium ion batteries. As lithium-ion batteries aren’t very environmentally friendly, finding a renewable resource like purpurin to replace lithium and cobalt cathodes would make car batteries greener.

With the move toward greener automotive technology, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the after-market is greener, as well. While years ago you might have struggled to find a “green” car on a used car website, as vehicles become more reliable and are lasting longer, the opportunity to buy a “gently used”, environmentally friendly car becomes much more widely available. Finding a used car that allows you to drive green, while delivering the highest fuel efficiency may be one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint while saving money.


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Green cars – a brighter and cleaner future







Guest post: By Fia Augusta

Be sure to visit her website:


 The effects of global warming have been felt more and more as the days go by. Radical climate changes, decline of sea levels and other forms of environmental degradation has led to a rampant awareness about pollutants and green house gases that are affecting the planet. Industrialization and technological advancements has contributed greatly to global warming. However, it is the same technological advancements that help us control and gradually reduce environmental pollution through the use of green cars which are popularly known as eco-friendly cars. Vehicles are man’s most used mode of transportation and have become a basic necessity in our lives. These vehicles however, largely contribute to pollution of the environment by emitting large portions of toxic waste. This has prompted the manufacture and distribution of eco-friendly cars which are quickly gaining popularity among the residents in the UK. Green cars are of two types, namely; electric cars and hybrid cars. The hybrid car runs on an engine that combines both electricity and hydrogen-based fuel better known as LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas).

Why You Should Go Green

Below are some facts and benefits of using an electric or hybrid car.

1. Cheaper Mode of Transportation. Green cars will help you cut a lot on fuel costs which seems to be on the increase on a daily basis. By owning either a hybrid or electric car, you will realize the efficiency from the first day of driving. Fewer trips to the gas pump for refills mean more savings both in time and finance. An electric car only needs to be charged for a couple of hours while a hybrid car gives you the option of saving up fuel by using the backed up electric power. Owning an eco-friendly car also means that you get to enjoy tax benefits provided for by the government by getting your car in tax deductions.

2. Play a Part in Saving the Earth. Being a proud owner of an eco-friendly car means that you care for Mother Nature and you play a role in ensuring that it is protected. Switch to a car that has better fuel efficiency gives you more miles on the gallon and greatly reduces carbon footprint. This will help the environment stay greener and you will also influence your family, friends and peers. Going green is the right cause!

3. Contribute to energy security. Most countries in the world depend on the Middle East for oil. The high demand and supply takes a big toil on oil reserves since oil is limited. By going green we play a vital role in the conservation of such reserves and ensuring that oil does not eventually run out. A lot of drivers are going green by purchasing either a hybrid car or an electric one. If you are thinking of driving one, use the dvla number to apply for your license. If you do not have yet then you can check out one of the following eco-friendly vehicles which are top 10 green cars in the UK 2013: BMW 13, Chevrolet Volt, Vauxhall Ampera, Volvo V60, Toyota Prius, Porsche Panamera, Toyota Yaris, Honda Insight, Peugeot 308, and the Renault Clio.
Once you purchase one, make sure to register it through the dvla number and drive it proudly.

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Banishing negative thoughts with a dose of nature










I went for a walk in nature today and it made all the difference in the world.

Finding myself wallowing in some negativity, instead of languishing in it for any longer, I made the crucial decision to get outdoors and walk. Simple recipe for relief of bad thoughts – as soon as my feet started moving, my senses were awakened and I found myself in the present moment, breathing in the rich scents of diverse flowers and plants, feeling the wind in my hair and listening to the river move up against the shoreline in rhythmic tones of sound. And before I knew it, my worries had been banished and seemed so trivial (which they were, of course), I was feeling more alive and happy. I attribute this directly to my 40 minutes of nature time.

The remarkable healing powers of nature are, of course, not a new revelation, but given our species’ preference for living in crowded, concrete urban areas, more and more evidence is showing how even urban nature experiences can help heal. And in fact, this was the setting for my walk today – on a quiet path by a river, within sight of homes and people, a pocket of wilderness in an urban setting.

I came across another fascinating article on the topic the other day:

The article challenges us to nurture a new relationship with nature in our urban environments. In his book The Nature Principle, Richard Louv asks, “What if we reconsidered our cities as an engine of biodiversity and human health?”

Nature-rich cities rather than cities with some nature; not just liveable and sustainable but nature-rich and thriving, that’s the way of the future.

“Nature matters to people. Big trees and small trees, glistening water, chirping birds, budding bushes, colourful flowers – these are important ingredients in a good life.” – R. Kaplan

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In Pursuit of a Plastic Revolution – Saving our Oceans and Ourselves from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Given the sheer vastness of the world’s oceans, one could be forgiven for thinking that dropping a mere plastic bag into its depths would have no discernible impact, but in actual fact, nothing could be further from the truth. That one little plastic bag could potentially swirl around in the sea water, float along innocently with the tides and currents, and end up in the Pacific Ocean and contribute to the building of a monster.

For, in the broad expanse of the northern Pacific, there exists the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a slow-moving, clockwise vortex of currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents. And within this immense space resides the largest landfill on the planet: a floating world of millions of pounds of litter.

And it’s been coined the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


Covering an area the size of Texas, this floating landfill doubles in size every 10 years and kills countless birds and sea life that get tangled in the debris or mistake its contents for food.  It’s a very vivid reminder to humans that this is a not a problem that is going to simply disappear.

Plastic is the main culprit behind it all.

The very thing that makes plastic items useful to consumers, their durability and stability, also makes them an enormous problem in marine environments. Plastic does not break down so it stays there in the gyre, permanently.

Of the approximately 100 million tonnes of plastic that are produced each year, about 10 per cent of which ends up in the sea.


And up until a couple of years ago, this was a little known phenomenon, conveniently hidden away in a remote corner of the ocean.

Out of sight, out of mind, right?


As soon as Australian environmentalist and filmmaker Tim Silverwood learned that his big blue backyard was being confronted with unimaginable amounts of plastic, he was drawn to see it for himself.

In July 2011 he did just that. Teaming up with a group of researchers on board a 70-foot ex-racing sail boat, he sailed for three weeks from Hawaii to Vancouver, a 5,000 kilometres journey, and assisted in a study on the Great Pacific Garage Patch and its effects on marine life.

As Silverwood writes in his account of the trip,

“There are many misnomers about the Garbage Patch. There is no floating island of trash nor has there ever been one. The concept of a ‘floating island’ was coined by the media after Captain Charles Moore first discovered the accumulation zone in 1997. The best analogy for the Garbage Patch is a giant plastic soup. Debris not only floats on the surface of the ocean it also descends throughout the entire water column, making it less spectacular to look at and physically impossible to ‘scoop up’ and remove, as so many bemused citizens suggest when they hear of this plastic ‘island’.”

So what does one do upon returning from such a trip?

Silverwood continues, even more passionately than before, on his campaign to educate people on the effects of plastic pollution, as he believes the only genuine way to make a difference is to completely stop plastic from entering the oceans in the first place.

The campaign he co-founded is called Take 3– it’s a clean beach initiative and it takes the issue to a grassroots level, convincing people to pick up at least three pieces of rubbish off the beach each time they pass by.

“The thing I love about ‘Take 3’ is that it puts the ownership and responsibility back on the people,” said Silverwood. “The beauty of Take 3 is that you can do it anywhere, anytime and it won’t cost you time or money. Our goal is to change the image of trash on the ground from inert and ‘someone else’s problem’ to a threat to wildlife and something that you can pick up even though you didn’t put it there.”

He is also petitioning the Australian government to set up a nation-wide beverage container deposit system, in light of the observed reduction of littering of beverage bottles in countries where such a system is in place.

And as for plastic bags, he is fighting for a ban on them too.

For more information, check out Bag It, the movie.

(Published November 15, 2012 in Greenster, environmental online magazine)


~ Dawn Green

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Satisfy your wanderlust in Whistler


Wander: the innate desire to travel or roam.

This word, combined with ‘lust’ to create Wanderlust, has transmuted into a muse for its founders, who tend to think of wandering in both an internal and external sense. “Obviously externally is going to new places, experiencing new cultures, taking in adventure and exploration and all that,” explains festival co-founder Sean Hoess, “but then internally with yoga and meditation it is bringing you into yourself, helping you find your centre and learn things about yourself spiritually and emotionally.”

This is the essence of Wanderlust, and for the second year running, over the span of four days this summer (Aug. 1 to 4), Whistler and Wanderlust will go hand in hand with creating a community around mindful living.

Quipped a “summer camp for adults” by Hoess, it’s truly a festival like no other. Its recipe for success is deceivingly simple – take a sprinkle of soul-soothing yoga, stir in rousing lectures alongside divine food and wine, and top it all off with euphoric dance sessions to the beats of leading musical acts and DJs.

And Whistler has emerged as a fabulous backdrop for the festival, remarks Hoess, his gauge for success stemming from a sense of instant acceptance and belonging.

“It’s an attitude – people seem to feel that yoga, outdoor activities and music all fit Whistler and we’re looking for places that think that way.”

Hoess divulges his top three choices for an unforgettable Wanderlust experience. Join a thousand people on yoga mats lining the Olympic Plaza for a part-yoga class, part-inspirational talk, part-dance party. It’s free and open to everybody; partake in a prana hike. The wildly popular meditation hikes entail trekking to a designated place deemed perfect for meditation, then being soothed by tranquil music, courtesy of a stand-up bass player; Farm to Table dinner – sit on top of Whistler Mountain at the Roundhouse Lodge and sample a feast of local foods and wines, a colourful collaboration by regional farmers and chefs.

Read the rest of the article, published in the Vancouver Sun and The Province on July 23, 2013.



Green initiatives in cities across the USA

The following is a guest post from freelance writer Cliff Barre, who, along with his wife Tiffany, travel the world as environmentally responsible tourists, documenting amazing green initiatives along the way.

Check out their blog Peace, Love & Travel with Cliff and Tiff: http://responsible-tourists.blogspot.com.au/

Green roof with solar panels on Gap corporate headquarters building

Green initiatives in cities across the USA

Those of us concerned with conservation and green initiatives often cringe when we see new developments springing up. In the past, new developments nearly always meant a glut of natural resources would be wasted to create some shopping mall, conference center or other amenity that may or may not be successful for more than a couple decades before crumbling into yet another monument to human excess and waste. Today, partially due to eco-friendly incentive programs available, many developers are beginning to make more eco-friendly choices when proposing and building new developments.

Take Chicago, for example. That’s a city gaining lots of green credibility, including some fine instances of creative reuse. The Museum of Science and Industry, the city’s main Veterans Affairs Medical Center and several other major buildings are using natural gas-based cogeneration plants. In such plants, the gas is burned for power as you might expect. You won’t find many exhaust vents for the byproduct steam though. It’s piped back through those buildings to heat their interiors instead. That’s no small thing during those Chi-town winters! If that doesn’t give you the warm feeling of sustainability done right, consider that each cogeneration plant is twice as efficient as conventional power generation systems.

Destiny USA, a large shopping mall in Syracuse, NY, has implemented a number of green initiatives. One of the most notable is the establishment of this development on a previously developed site. By reclaiming previously developed land, the developers of Destiny USA avoided encroaching on prime farmland, undeveloped natural habitats and other valuable natural resources. Additionally, the development of Destiny USA has, by careful attention to eco-friendly options, actually improved the quality of the land on which it is built. The most eco-friendly developments in our country incorporate plans for sustainability beyond initial development. Again, Destiny USA scores highly. Planners who chose the site location ensured that it would fall along regularly traveled public transportation routes. While most visitors can take public transportation to Destiny USA, who is LEED Gold Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, those who choose other options are encouraged to find eco-friendly transportation. The location boasts 200 convenient bike racks as well as showers and changing rooms for employees who choose to bike to work. Those with electric cars can take advantage of prime parking equipped with charging stations.

When a plan for using empty roof space in San Francisco to generate power for the city was first proposed, critics scoffed that Fog City would never get enough sunlight to make the green initiative a success. However, photovoltaic cells that produce electricity don’t need full, direct sunlight. In 2004, 60,000 square feet of photovoltaic cells were installed atop San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. The success of this project has led to installations on a number of other buildings including libraries and municipal buildings.  Like Destiny USA, the Moscone Convention Center has become LEED Gold Certified.  For San Francisco, going green has become a mere matter of letting the sun continue to shine.

As noted earlier, these are only a few of the many green initiatives being incorporated nationwide. While no single initiative is enough to reverse the ongoing concerns of global warming and carbon emissions, each initiative gets us as a human race closer to the ultimate goal of true sustainability for life on this planet.


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There’s no such thing as a perfect pollinator garden


They are the unsung heroes of our world, quietly going about their business of pollinating plants, barely noticed by many, yet at the same time critical to our planet’s survival. We call them the pollinators – the bees, beetles, butterflies, wasps, moths, bats and hummingbirds – organisms that carry a plant’s pollen grains from one part of the plant (the anther) to another (the pistil) to assist in its reproduction process. Yet despite their significant role in agriculture and nature, worldwide evidence show pollinator numbers are plunging.

This is all the more reason to take on board the project to create your very own backyard pollinator garden – one that will provide essential habitat for these indispensable insects and birds. And fortunately for those of us who may not be as green-thumbed as others, this is a fairly simple task which can be done in any backyard, regardless of size.

To start off, consider designing a garden which phases through a continuing cycle of blooming plants from spring to autumn. This will ensure that the garden can supply nectar and pollen for a variety of pollinators with a variety of foraging habits and flower preferences.

When it’s time to decide on which flowers to grow, choose native plants which are better adapted to their region and better able to provide for pollinator’s needs than non-native plants. And remember that flowers sporting bright colours, especially yellow, blue, red, and violet are especially alluring to pollinators.

There are other vital aspects to a pollinator garden besides the flowers. Some pollinating insects like to nest in the ground so it is a good idea to preserve open patches of undisturbed ground for these critters. Dead wood is often home for wasps, bees, ants and beetles, so another way to encourage the nesting of pollinators is to retain dead tree branches and logs.

Water is essential to all life, so add water to the mix by hanging a small container of water out in the open or keep a bird bath nearby and you might be surprised to see butterflies gathering and sipping the fluid.

Your garden should aim to be pesticide-free – pesticides can be deadly to pollinators, who alight on the sprayed plants and ingest tainted nectar or pollen.

The key element to pollinating success is adjusting our society’s insatiable need for perfectly manicured yards, sums up Squamish resident Meg Fellowes.

“We need to re-examine what we find aesthetically pleasing – meadows are alive with butterflies and bees, lawns are sterile wastelands.” 

~ An excerpt from my article written for the Whistler Question, April 2013