Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to talk to your farmer

March 13, 2015 | 3 comments
Photo: How to talk to your farmer

If you eat meat, do it mindfully. (Credit: Brenda Barritt)

I don't eat meat. But I know people who do.

And my carnivorous friends and family have questions, concerns and mixed feelings about the animals they consume.

I quizzed Brenda of Earth Works Farm (@earthwrksfarmAB) from Alix, Alberta (also a great Queen of Green coach):

How can consumers know if an animal is raised with compassion and care?

Get to know your farmer. If you can't visit the farm or meet in-person, call. (Many farmers have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.)

Ask your local grocer what's behind any "sustainable" or "ethical" meat claims.

What should I ask my farmer?

  • What do you feed your animals, where does it come from and does it change with the seasons?
  • Can I visit your farm? (Note: Some decline farm visits to reduce stress on animals or for another good reason.)
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you wish you could do better or hope to improve?
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Five ways to recycle less

March 10, 2015 | 3 comments
Photo: Five ways to recycle less

Recycling feels good. But some of us may be getting too much of this good thing...

Because "recycle" is the last "R" in "reduce, reuse and recycle." And, with some exceptions — cell phones, batteries, light bulbs, plastic bags, medications, for example — we've become too good at it.

If your blue bin is full to the brim each week, maybe you need another solution.

Learn how to recycle less! Here's why:

Perform this quick experiment at home:

  • Step one: Inventory the blue bin. (It's full of plastic, right?)
  • Step two: Search your home for goods made with 100 per cent post-consumer plastic. (I found a few Green Toys made from recycled plastic milk jugs — #2 or HDPE, recycled plastic planks (lumber) as our walkway and an Organic Girl tub of greens. That's it.)

I can't confirm where all the plastic you're diligently recycling goes (and I'm not into conspiracies). What's clear is that other "R's" deserve our attention — reduce, reuse, refuse, reclaim, renew, revitalize, refurbish, rethink and redesign, to name a few.

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How to make a "waste-less" air travel kit

March 5, 2015 | 3 comments
Photo: How to make a

I share how to make your own "waste-less" travel kit. (Credit: Barry Brady)

I moved from Edmonton to Vancouver 10 years ago. That's how long I've been eagerly collecting and redeeming Aeroplan Miles to fly home to mom.

But did you know there are at least two other ways to use Aeroplan Miles?

  1. Offset your flights (or watch for the prompt when you're booking)
  2. Donate miles to the David Suzuki Foundation to support our work!

I realize moving away from my mom (we talk every day), all the rest of my family, friends and my horse only to fly back a couple of times a year, wasn't the "greenest" lifestyle choice. (But maybe I wouldn't have become Queen of Green unless I moved within blocks of the David Suzuki Foundation and into the neighbourhood where Greenpeace was founded...)

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How to find guilt-free chocolate, coffee and more

March 3, 2015 | 5 comments
Photo: How to find guilt-free chocolate, coffee and more

Look for the green frog seal the next time you purchase coffee, tea, chocolate, paper and so much more. (Credit: Laura Milne)

Nutella lovers, avert your eyes, or prepare for bad news...

Palm oil (second ingredient) and cocoa both made this list of forest-unfriendly foods (and coffee, too). And, if you hadn't noticed, palm oil is in everything — at least in most pre-packed and processed foods and soap, which is one reason I make my own.

But wait! What if there was a superhero that could save us from a life without chocolate and coffee? (And let's not forget bananas. I don't know how people raised toddlers before bananas were readily available in North America.)

Well, I have seen it and it is green. Tree frog green!


The Rainforest Alliance (@Rnfrstalliance) certifies food and beverages so you can:

  1. Feel less guilty about your non-local diet choices
  2. Make a positive impact on faraway places, people and cultures we may not know much about AND some of the most biodiverse places on Earth
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How to become a Queen of Green Coach

February 20, 2015 | 3 comments
Photo: How to become a Queen of Green Coach

Wanted: Queen of Green Coaches. Last fall, 75 per cent of families strongly agreeded that having a coach helped inspire change in their home. (Credit: Nada Jamal)

I'm recruiting!

Join my sixth round of Queen of Green Coaches by completing this survey by March 6, 2015. Then recruit five families from your networks to "green." We'll meet online, every three weeks (March 17 to June 21, 2015), to chat about waste, food, toxics, community action — and much more.

What's it all about?

I've considered other names for the Queen of Green Coaches program:

  • It's About Relationships, Stupid
  • How Not to Feel Alone
  • There's No Going Back
  • The Power of Community
  • How to Combat Apathy
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