The Simply Living Simply Challenge
We encourage you to check out our monthly challenges. Try one, try them all! Make a small change, or change your life - it's up to you. The more we do, the better it will be for our lives and our Earth. Come by often, and see what our monthly theme is all about.
September is “Get Smart” month. We are encouraging our staff, students and community members to get more educated about the facts of Climate Change and Sustainability. We want to read, watch, talk, listen and get ready to “ACT” to mitigate the ill effects of Climate Change.
There are so many delicious local foods available from a wide variety of sources. Check out the information about local food sources, canning and preserving, and why it's good for the planet to eat local.
Part of a healthy lifestyle is being active every day. With so many household jobs being done with mechanized machines, our bodies often miss out on the benefits of natural movement required for tasks like washing dishes, vacuuming, sweeping, beating batter, and hanging out clothes. As well, many of our daily actions (whether for work or leisure) require the use of non-renewable energy. Energy needs to be conserved to protect our environment from drastic changes, to save the depleting resources for our future generations. The rate at which the energy is being produced and consumed can damage our world in many ways. We can reduce those impacts by consuming less energy. It is important for us to realize how energy is useful to us and how we can avoid wasting it. For this month, get moving more with daily chores, local outings and seasonal tasks, while saving energy at the same time!
Do I need this? Do I have a place to put it? Will it add value to my life? Am I buying it for the right reasons? What areas of my live are stressful? What can I do to reduce this stress? How are my daily actions and activity affecting the planet? How can I reduce my carbon footprint? These are all great questions to ask on your quest for less.
January is the month to take stock - New Year's Resolutions, suddenly realizing what you have, and what you don't need. Take some time this month to consider spreading the 'love' - not by throwing out, but by recycling, re-purposing, or giving the things you don't need any more to those who do.
Have you ever thought along the lines of artist and philanthropist John Ruskin, 'Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness"?
When people say 'how are you?' do you use the traditional response 'I'm fine' or have you taken up the more commonly used - 'I'm busy'?
Maybe you look forward to living with less stuff, stress and obligation so you can have more time, money and energy to pursue what means most to you? Play around with those ideas this February to live a simpler and 'smaller' month.
As much as we love to hate plastic, it has become a reality of life today. It has positively revolutionized medical care and made daily life easier in countless ways. But there is no denying that there is a spectrum of safety regarding types of plastics, and that there are environmental costs to its production. Plastic never disintegrates and unless it is re-used or recycled much of it ends up both contaminating our landfills and creating havoc for our planet. Learning about plastic as well as buying, using and disposing of it wisely, is the eco-challenge for March. Part of this challenge can also be reflected in what we choose to eat. Choosing natural foods rather than processed items will also help in our quest for a natural, non-plastic lifestyle.
Our present way of living is based on non-renewable sources of energy, which are finite. What can we use as long term, sustainable energy sources? What kinds of impacts do our energy sources have on the environment and our own health? The challenge for this month is to reflect on our present energy usage and make steps towards a healthier future.
One of the most powerful and affordable ways to make a personal difference for the environment is to plant trees. And it’s a fun and educational activity to do with kids, too! Trees are essential to life. They create the air we breathe and filter air pollution. They build soil and help soak up stormwater. They offer energy-saving shade that reduces global warming and creates habitat for thousands of different species. Trees also help to reduce ozone levels in urban areas. Most importantly, trees capture carbon, helping to remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the air, which cools the earth. Every year we cut down thousands of square kilometres of forest worldwide for paper, agriculture, building materials and fuel . This month, honour the stately tree by reducing, reusing and recycling more and using sustainable and recycled materials .
As spring takes hold and we turn our attentions to our growing gardens, we can see the beauty of mother nature’s systems right in our own growing spaces…and beyond: both resilient and fragile at the same time. This month we are going to look at the ways human intervention can both hinder and help Mother Nature, and explore options for tipping the balance toward the ‘helping’ side. Pesticides, Polllinators, and Permaculture are the focus of this month’s challenge, and the goal is to find ways of making our gardens more friendly toward pollinators and gardeners and - of course - Mama Nature!