Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to take your first step

October 20, 2014 | Leave a comment
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Maude has made a commitment to reducing the waste she makes. Will you do the same? (Credit: Nadia Doiron)

As you read this, 50 families across the nation are taking steps to reach their "green" goals, impressing and inspiring their Queen of Green Coaches (and me).

They've completed the first, three-week module on waste. It's a huge category, with a wide spectrum of challenges and solutions — from curbing consumption, to implementing the three R's and reducing energy waste.

Want to play along and reinvigorate your commitment to your "green" journey?

First meet Maude of Montreal, who's come up with her own set of goals. She's five. (Her parents explained what the program is all about.)

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How to get the stink out of towels

October 6, 2014 | Leave a comment
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Follow these tips to care for bamboo and organic cotton towels to reduce musty odors. (Credit: Coyuchi)

Ever get out of the shower or bath squeaky clean (thanks to a brown sugar body scrub or apple cider vinegar shine rinse) and the minute the towel hits your skin you think "What's that stench? I just washed this!"

I've tweaked my laundry soap recipe, bought eco-friendlier store-bought options, used vinegar in the rinse cycle, soaked them in oxygen bleach but nothing seems to get the skunky mildew stink out.

So I begged Dihan Chandra of Organic Lifestyle to help me solve my bath towel woes.

Turns out the secret is in the drying, not the washing! AIR CIRCULATION!

Tip #1: Hang towels

Whether they're organic cotton, bamboo or a blend, it's crucial that towels "breathe" immediately after use, to allow air flow through fibers and speed drying time. A towel balled up on the floor encourages bacterial growth, which increases funky smells.

Solution: Hang towels to dry! (In the sun, weather permitting, also helps.)

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What are eco-crayons made of?

September 30, 2014 | 7 comments
Photo: What are eco-crayons made of?

Choose crayons made from beeswax, soy and other plant-based waxes with natural pigments. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Like me, you probably grew up colouring with crayons made from petroleum-derived paraffin wax.

Today you can get crayons made from beeswax, soy and other plant-based waxes. They're biodegradable (and edible — not ideal, but pretty common for kids AND pets).

Who makes eco-crayons?

Eco-kids is a family-run business in Maine that produces art supplies with non-toxic and natural ingredients. Their eco-crayon sea rocks are made with soy wax, beeswax, carnauba wax and natural earth pigments (recommended for kids aged three and up) and their eco-finger paint is gluten-free, made with rice flour and organic fruit, plants and vegetable extracts (recommended for kids over two).

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How to build community

September 22, 2014 | 6 comments
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Judith loves to live green in Edmonton, Alberta! (Credit: Sheri Colautti)

"A basic human need is the experience of community — feeling valued, accepted, cared for and recognized for your true self. Without joyful, exuberant conversation we feel isolated and depressed and pursue the empty paths of shopping and watching television. When you learn to care for those around you, you start to care for all of life."

Cecil Andrews

How did these people get Queen of Green Coach jobs? I said only those who kick butt need apply — whether they make cheese, keep backyard bees or just love trees!

This fall, 14 new coaches join over 40 who came before them to "green" families across Canada. Over the next 12 weeks, they'll help people they know reduce household waste, choose more sustainable foods, minimize toxic exposure and build community.

Running Earth Works Farm with her husband, Brenda, Red Deer Alta. (@EarthWrksFarmAB) is a farmer, facilitator and project manager whose commitment to the next generation of environmental stewards has been deepened by the arrival of her son.

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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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