Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to recycle shoes

July 28, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to recycle shoes

Runners, sneakers or tennis shoes — no matter what you call them — don't send them to the landfill. (Credit: Stacy Geisberger)

Shoes of all kinds are typically destined for the landfill. But there are at least five ways you can recycle them!

If your shoes still have life in them

Running Free has already diverted over 100,000 pairs of used shoes from Ontario landfills. Their Re-Use Shoe Program collects used footwear from six locations in the Greater Toronto Area and sends them to Haiti, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Cuba, Bolivia and throughout Canada. Those sent to Haiti, for example, become a part of a micro credit loan program that reduces dependence and promotes economic development in the region. (All that from your old shoes!)

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How to attract snakes to your backyard

July 21, 2014 | 3 comments
Photo: How to attract snakes to your backyard

Make a garter snake friend, today! (Credit: Jode Roberts)

Is your garden overrun with slugs and mice? Enlist the help of snakes!

Many species of garter snakes and others, like the sharp-tailed snake (found on B.C.'s Gulf Islands), are a slug's worst nightmare.

In Canada, we have about 25 different species of snakes. But don't worry, most are shy.

Snake-friendly gardening tips

Tip 1: Avoid pesticides

Slug bait is harmful to snakes, other wildlife, children and pets!

Tip 2: Imitate nature

Avoid monocultures of plants that are planted in straight lines.


Tip 3: Use stones

Move objects like stones and slate carefully. They may be providing cover for your snake friends.

Tip 4: Plant a hedge

Hedges provides travel corridors and hiding places for snakes and other wildlife, too.

Tip 5: Build a hibernaculum

Protect or build hibernaculum (den). Snakes love rocky hillsides or knolls that receive sun for most of the day, protected from cold winds and on well-drained sites.

Tip 6: Give me shelter!

Provide hiding places from hawks, crows, racoons and mink. Shelter can include rocks, brush piles and, patches of shrubs. Did a tree fall? Leave fallen logs and bark when possible.

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How to find fair trade sports balls

July 18, 2014 | 40 comments
Photo: How to find fair trade sports balls

Soccer balls are great for kids, but they shouldn't be made by kids.

Tweak your sport ball purchasing habits. Choose certified fair trade soccer balls, volleyballs (indoor and beach) and basketballs, too! Or, before you buy, win a fair trade soccer ball by answering the skill testing question below in the blog comments.

Fair Trade = no child labour

Child labour means workers under the age of 15, as defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Like the fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate you enjoy, manufacturers of sport balls must meet certain social, economic (e.g., fair wages) and environmental standards.

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How to adopt wildlife

July 9, 2014 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to adopt wildlife

How will you choose to help wildlife for $50 or less? (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

We have a polar bear. It came in the mail.

My son received the plush critter from family in Toronto via WWF Canada's symbolic species adoption program. Aunt Sheila gets our lighter footprint and nature lovin' ways! (Don't worry, no living creatures were harmed to make the plush toy. And no harmful dyes were used or no PVC or other materials with chlororganics were used.)

Interested in adoption programs to aid in wildlife and nature conservation? Here are some ideas:

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How to stop killing bees

June 30, 2014 | 2 comments
Photo: How to stop killing bees

It's pulled at your heart strings for years — the bees are dying. But why?

The unknown can be terrifying — for nature lovers and whoever eats food.

I bring you super good news! (Bad news to follow.)

We know why bees are dying

An international group of independent scientists (not those paid by industry) released results of a comprehensive, four-year literature review (a fancy way of saying ** analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies**) on neonics.

Their good news: "there is clear evidence of harm sufficient to trigger regulatory action." The assessment highlights serious risks to bees and other beneficial species — butterflies (you bought milkweed for monarchs, right?), earthworms and birds.

Mystery solved. Phew! I was starting to think we'd end up eating only porridge, rice and oranges with a side of rhubarb.

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