Celebrating Our Beautiful Earth

Today is Earth Day. Let us give our heartfelt gratitude to this beautiful planet in which we live.

Our Gift of EarthTake the time to go for a walk and look around. Notice the sparkling blue sky, the colors of the season, the diversity of the landscape, the flowers and plants coming alive.

Listen closely to hear the insects, birds and animals speaking to us.

Breathe deeply and inhale the scents that come from the earth; enjoy the feel of the air in your lungs.

While you drink and eat your meals, remember where the food came from and how our earth sustains us.

When you stop and think about it, we truly live in paradise. All our needs are taken care of.

Give thanks to our amazing world. It is a gift to cherish.

With a heart full of gratitude, quietly vow to give back to Mother Earth, as she so graciously gives to us.

 

10 Ways to Have a Greener Business

Small businesses and large corporations alike are being encouraged to help the environment and save energy. Whether you are an employee or a business owner, we can all make a difference with even small acts.

Here are some ideas to help you along the way.

  1. Remember your 3 R’s.  Recycle, Reduce and Re-use.
  2. Let clients know you are serious about being “green” by offering incentives. For example, for every purchase, you donate X amount to environmental causes.  You gain clients and you also give back.
  3. Reuse your paper by printing on both sides or create note pads out of single side printed paper.
  4. Refuse flyers and un-solicited mail at your place of business. Instead of subscribing to magazine for your waiting area, consider other sources for these materials such as garage sales or sharing with another office nearby.
  5. Buy used office equipment, furniture and even computers. Sources such as Kijiji, eBay, craigslist and more have excellent quality if you snoop around.
  6. Recover or refurbish (or refinish) furniture if in need of a new look.
  7. Advertise and promote online (or in person) more and advertising in paper-related media less. When you tell your customers, you are “green” you are making a passionate statement.
  8. Scan or save documents and file electronically.  Use monitors or projectors to share rather than printing.
  9. Insist on eco-friendly cleaning supplies for your business.
  10. Replace disposables in your work place:
    • Dixie Cups for glasses
    • Styrofoam coffee cups for Ceramic
    • Paper coffee filters for permanent coffee filter
    • Plastic utensils for stainless steel
    • Single use batteries for rechargeable batteries, etc.

When we all do our small part, it makes a big difference while saving money in the long run.

Make it a Green Christmas

Each year there are millions of Christmas greeting cards sent. These cards use many tons of cardboard and paper and only some of them will be recycled. Let’s choose an alternative way to send out Christmas greetings.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • choose recycled paper Christmas cards
  • use recovered-fibre envelopes and labels for the cards
  • try environmentally friendly packaging
  • pick a printing company which uses soy ink printing and emission free mills powered by wind power
  • plant a tree as a way to help rebuild the forests
  • send an electronic Christmas card instead

While the electronic Christmas card may not be as exciting as getting an envelope in the mail, it really is helping our planet. It has been our preferred choice and will be again this year.

Enjoy your Green Christmas!

Paperless Marketing

As the business world evolves and our client’s needs evolve, it’s important that our marketing strategies grow and change to meet those needs.

Internet marketing, websites, blogs, social media and other ways of online promotion today have created a whole new business marketing world. More and more people are turning to the Internet to shop in the convenience of their own home or office, making comparison shopping very easy.

This challenges the (older) corporate mindset to think outside the brochure and flyer door hanger box – but what they may not realize is that Internet and “paperless” marketing could help save our planet.

Is paperless marketing “less” effective?  Not in today’s day and age.  So much printed materials provided in the mail or on door hangers are discarded (or hopefully recycled) the day of delivery – without a glance at the marketing material inside.  Environmentally friendly consumers are starting to resent all the paper and refuse to do business with companies who use these old school methods of marketing. Alternatively, online marketing statistics show that viewers tend to stay on each website for at least one minute if the product or topic is of value to them.

So, although the competition can be more challenging online, with the right tools in your box, you can come out on top. And if your business is marketing online, our planet thanks you too!

Feed a Need in Calgary

My husband and I decided it was time to clean out the house and get rid of a bunch of “stuff” that has been piling up over the year – an old couch, my grandmother’s table and chairs, 2 desks, lots of old dishes, bedding, etc.

The last thing we want to do is send these items to the dump. Most of them are still in reasonable shape. They just need a bit of cleaning up.

We called around and many charities only take items that are “like new” so that wouldn’t work. Then we stumbled on Feed a Need in Calgary. Their web site www.feedaneed.ca says, “Many families in our city can’t afford the simple necessities of life; beds, sofas, tables.  For them, furniture of any kind is little more than a dream.”

Perfect!

We called them up and they were more than happy to come out with there truck and pick up all our “stuff”. Because this is an organization run by volunteers and donations, we were happy to write them a cheque to help cover their costs as well.

Feed a Need gathers donated household items from people in their community and redistributing them to others. This is an excellent example of people helping people within a community and making a difference in the lives of others.

It is a great way to avoid taking “stuff” to the dump and help others at the same time!

Eat Local

I never really liked green beans. They always tasted waxy to me. Then I bought a bag of “just picked” green beans at a Farmer’s Market. What a difference fresh makes! Or perhaps it was the fact that they weren’t sprayed with all kinds of chemicals. Whatever the reason, I was sold on the “buy local” and “buy organic” when it comes to food for my family.

Now we have even more reasons to shop and eat local. The average food item travels 1,500 miles to get on our dinner plates. That means they have to be sprayed with preservatives to keep them fresh longer, they contain more packaging and the shipping itself adds more emissions into our air.

Look for a Farmer’s Marketing in your area and give them a try. Not only will your taste buds be in for a treat, you will be doing your part for the environment. And while shopping at our local grocery stores, take a moment to look where the food is coming from. If you have a choice between a local grown tomato or one shipped from across the country, do your part and choose the one closer to home.

Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo May 23, 2007

Going Non-toxic

I’m determined to have a chemical free yard and garden – yet I would like it to look healthy and vibrant as well. I’m always keeping an eye open for ways to accomplish this goal.

So far, here is what we’ve done at our home:

We’ve been using Nutri-lawns ecology friendly lawn care for years. They use organic based fertilizers and no synthetic pesticides. Our lawn is sprinkled with a variety of products such as seaweed/kelp and corn extracts. It works great.

One area that I’ve always struggled with is what to do with weeds and when grass grows in flowers bed. Mulch made from natural materials (leaves, straw or bark) helps control unwanted plants. So does pulling them out, if they are small and not well established. For larger weeds or those with deep roots, I’ve poured boiling water over them. That works quite well although you have to keep at it to ensure the weed doesn’t grow back.

Does anyone else have any ideas? I would love to hear what other environmentally green-thumbs do for beautiful gardens and lawns.

Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo June 6, 2007
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