Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to host a repair café

September 15, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to host a repair café

A repair café is one way neighbours can help neighbours keep things out of the landfill! (Credit: Wai Chu Cheng)

Recently I stumbled on the repair café model. I asked Wai Chu of Toronto's Repair Café how people like you and me can fix household items instead of tossing them and buying new:

Why do we need repair cafés?

Household items have become cheaper to replace than to repair. And the list of companies that refurbish items or recycle broken appliances is short.

What is a repair café?

It's part of a growing international network that began in the Netherlands — now in 200 Dutch cities and towns, as well as 13 countries in Europe, North and South America and Australia.

Repair cafés enlist volunteer fixers to help fix broken household items and teach basic repair skills. They help shift us from a throw-away to fix-it society! (I know many of you have been hungry for this type of solution.)

Most of the fixers are hobbyists who enjoy helping others and want to keep items out of the landfill. Fixers can repair computers, toasters, lamps, chairs, clothes, jewellery, books and more!

Is there a repair café in my city?

Meet Repair Café Toronto @RepairCafeTO, Calgary @RepairCafeYYC, Peterborough and Nanaimo!

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My Canada, my blue dot

September 8, 2014 | 3 comments
Photo: My Canada, my blue dot

Will you stand up for the people and places you love?

I live on a blue dot.

Actually you, me, the guy who sneezed on you on the bus and the barista who knows your order — we all live on the same blue dot.

Since we're practically roommates, I don't feel awkward asking you to stand with me and tens of thousands of other Canadians asking our governments at all levels to recognize our right to breathe fresh air, drink clean water and eat healthy food.

How exactly are we going to do this? We have a plan. It begins with The Blue Dot Tour!

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How to buy fewer toys? Trade!

September 3, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to buy fewer toys? Trade!

I didn't buy this wooden frog. We loaned it for a few weeks instead! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

"There is more joy to be found in owning less than can ever be discovered in pursuing more." Joshua Becker

Are you overwhelmed by piles of wood blocks, plastic balls and musical instruments in your home?

Do your child's possessions weigh on you and make it difficult to clean your home?

Set yourself free!

Swap toys with other families you know.

Step 1: Choose five toys to loan

Hold on to your child's absolute favourites, of course, in case they get wrecked (eaten or thrown out a window) or lost all together. Pick toys to loan that are:

  • Age-appropriate (no choking hazards)
  • An interesting variety (wood, musical, plush, etc.)
  • Possibly themed (e.g., crafty, trains, dolls, dress-up, books, etc.)
  • Easily washed
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How to talk to your neighbours

August 25, 2014 | 2 comments
Photo: How to talk to your neighbours

Get to know your neighbours! (Credit: Jode Roberts)

How neighbourly are you?

Before you approach neighbours about the leaves they don't rake, their scented dryer sheets, second-hand smoke wafting into your bedroom window or the car abandoned in their yard, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you coming from a place of judgment?
  2. Are you prepared for the outcome? Are you prepared to change? (They might say something you don't want to hear.)
  3. Is the issue important enough to risk the relationship and potentially create conflict?

And if you have 14 minutes and 47 seconds, this video by Leo Busgaglia reveals a thoughtful analysis of human relationships, including a neighbourly incident that you no doubt can relate to. Leo once asked, "What are we doing stuffing facts into people and forgetting that they are human beings?" He also taught a university class titled "Love" where there were no grades!

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How to bioblitz

August 18, 2014 | Leave a comment
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The 2013 Whistler BioBlitz crew! (Credit: James Holkko)

A bioblitz marries two of my favourite things: identifying birds by song AND a healthy dose of competition.

It's a 24-hour, round-the-clock race to count as many plant and animal species as possible for a particular area. And it's not only a way for folks wielding biology degrees to geek out — it's also family-friendly.

A bioblitz is perfect for you if you:

  • Like free events
  • Want your kids to touch a snake (and you don't have to)
  • Want to have fun
  • Are curious about biodiversity in your community
  • Want to meet other nature nuts
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