Latest posts in Queen of Green

Three planet-saving myths debunked

April 21, 2014 | Leave a comment
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There is more than one way to save a planet.

It's Earth Month. Time to blow your mind and debunk a few myths about planet saving!

Myth #1: You need to be an expert


Fact: Anyone can take the lead or be an inspiration. Was it Dr. Nedd who joked, "Feel helpless, complain a lot, you can only make a difference if you have a master's in (fill in the blank)"?

There is no M.Sc. or PhD. in planet saving. (I suggest you simply turn off the TV.)

People don't need to do exactly the same thing to make a difference. The change we need in the world is not linear. Make it your own, make it better!

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Finding the courage to change

April 21, 2014 | Leave a comment
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Are you courageous? Will you help someone else take a "green" step this Earth Month? (Credit: Debbie Wong Photography)

A painter, a Norwex consultant, a mommy blogger, a scientist and an Orthodox rabbi walk into a bar...

No joke!

They're five of my 22, passionate, "volunteers for good" — Queen of Green coaches. Over eight weeks they'll dedicate 30 hours to help families/friends/neighbours go greener and join a community of 29 coaches who have come before them.

It takes courage to make change and guide other towards change. My fellow green experts share their knowledge and experience and don't shrink from responsibility. They inspire me!

Meet my Queen of Green coaches

Alina, Victoria B.C. is a mother of two girls, backyard chicken enthusiast and an ecologist that works as a Research Manager in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.

Amy, Calgary Alta. is an expectant mom who loves to cook and bake — "If I can make it myself, I will!" She studies natural science at the University of Calgary and is passionate about growing food.

Caroline, Trout Lake N.W.T. lives in a community of 46 households that's isolated for nine months of the year! She set up composting at a recent community feast and invited community families and elders to drop organics in her composter until they make their own.

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How to reduce your formaldehyde exposure

April 18, 2014 | 139 comments
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The Queen of Green was featured on Dr.Oz, Friday April 18, 2014!

What's colourless, preserves frogs, coats pillow cases and impregnates 'no-iron' shirts?

Answer: formaldehyde.

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The ABC's of planet saving

April 16, 2014 | 1 comment
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Being outside reduces stress, anger and depression, and increases creativity, curiosity and problem-solving ability. (Credit: Brendon Purdy Photography)

Happy Earth Month from my family to yours:

A is for animal sign. Look for claw marks on trees or scat (poop). Moose scat looks like chocolate almonds, elk scat resembles chocolate kisses and deer scat looks like chocolate-covered raisins!

B is for batteries. Children play longer with no-battery toys than ones that do everything for them. Wooden blocks and puzzles boost critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

C is for coyote. Urban coyotes can become more aggressive as they get more comfortable around people, so haze coyotes you encounter: stand tall, wave your arms and yell!

D is for diapers. "Elimination communication" toilet trains using a combination of signals, timing and body language. Fewer diapers saves money and stops landfill clogging.

E is for essential oils. Instead of DEET — a suspected neurotoxin and respiratory toxin — battle skeeters with herbal repellents containing citronella, eucalyptus or peppermint essential oils.

F is for fundraising. Turn stuff into cash for your kid's hockey team or school! Recycle e-waste and keep old and obsolete electronics out of landfills by sending them to ThinkRecycle.

G is for garden. Raised garden beds provide good drainage and act as slug barriers. Construct them on top of lawns with rot- and insect-resistant natural cedar.

H is for honey. Choose organic honey from hives that don't use non-organic honey, sugar or antibiotics. Look for the EcoCert, USDA organic, or Certified Organic Association of B.C. logos.

I is for injured wildlife. Never capture a sick or injured wild animal. Call a wildlife rehabilitation facility so staff can provide humane care.

J is for jojoba oil. Make baby massage oil. Add one tablespoon each of jojoba, sweet almond and olive oils to a bottle and shake to blend. Apply with warm hands.

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How to create a butterfly garden

April 8, 2014 | Leave a comment
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Did you know butterflies are active from about 10 AM to 3 PM? (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

All gardens are not created equal. Just ask any butterfly.

Creation and restoration of butterfly habitat offsets those destroyed by development, roadside mowing or wetland drainage. (Gardening pesticide-free helps, too.)

Whether you have a small plot in the big city or a few acres, transform your yard into a butterfly garden!

What you'll need to attract butterflies

Choose native flowers and shrubs. Butterflies need nectar plants for food and host plants to lay their eggs. Check out this index of larval food plants (listed alphabetically)!

  • Tiger swallowtails choose nectar plants like lilacs or bee balm; nearby willow, alder, or apple trees can host larva
  • Painted ladies choose nectar plants like aster, cosmos or zinnia; host plants include thistle, mallow or hollyhock
  • Monarchs choose nectar plants like, black-eyed Susan, Canada goldenrod, wild bergamot and common yarrow; host plants include the milkweed family. (There are four most common species of milkweed in Canada — swamp (aka rose) , poke, butterfly (aka orange), showy and common. Choose the species that is native to your area.)
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