Saturday, January 24, 2009

Simple steps to stop global warming

Together, we can make a difference! Let's guide our country towards a clean energy future that will create jobs, strengthen our economy, and protect our environment. The following simple steps will help prevent climate change for future generations.

Recycle plastic water bottles, glass containers, paper, and aluminum soda cans. You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of the waste your household generates.
Reduce greenhouse gasses, provide habitat for native wildlife, improve human health by producing oxygen and improving air quality, and reduce home energy needs by planting a tree.
Conserve energy by turning lights and computers off when you leave a room. Electronics are affecting global warming in a truly preventable way.
Reduce the consumption of plastic and paper shopping bags due to their adverse effect on the environment.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Corporation (movie)

The Corporation is today's dominant institution, creating great wealth but also great harm. This 26 award-winning documentary examines the nature, evolution, impacts and future of the modern business corporation and the increasing role it plays in society and our everyday lives.

This website is intended to provide teachers with ideas and resources that allow them to structure lessons relating to TVO's presentation of The Corporation.

It provides curriculum correlations, lesson ideas, and reproducible blackline masters for a variety of secondary school courses. A list of relevant Internet Web sites that represent different points-of-view has also been provided to allow for extensions of content in the film. Key themes that are covered include:


•Corporate social responsibility

•Politics and ideology

•Economic and social interdependence among individuals, corporations and nations

•Impacts of commercial activity on individuals, communities and the environment

•Impacts of globalization

This resource guide for teachers was generously provided by The Ontario Institute of Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

Prepared by:

Megan Boler, Trevor Norris, Laura Pinto and Ian Esquivel.

The Corporation Teacher Resource

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's hot, what's not in 2009: Saving Green


No one likes to see their hard-earned dollars going down the drain. Consider the $$$ you stand to lose by NOT making these planet-saving choices in the year ahead:

Caring consumerism “He who has the most toys wins”
Renew and repair Accumulate and dispose
Barter, trade, donate Individual use, currency-based economy
Do-it-yourself Outsourcing
Lower energy bills Energy waste
Green gifting More stuff we don't want or need
Eating in, local, and low on the food chain Eating out, exotic, and meaty
Free exercise Gym and studio memberships
Vacationing close to home, going outside Jet-setting, nature deficit disorder
Green investing Banking as usual

Be a caring consumer.

  • Set aside one day a week when you make no purchases. (You'll be surprised how unconsciously you reach for your wallet.) Try sticking to this program even after your credit cards are paid up – it takes just a few weeks (three to six months) to establish a habit!
  • Buy used. Used stuff is already here – no new energy, materials, processes, packaging, or transportation needed. January 22 is now Canada's annual Buy Something Used Day, inspired by The Reyouzd Festival in Bruce County, Ontario, which celebrates eco-retailers and the art of reusing. Buying old (aka 'recycled, vintage, pre-owned, antique') is new again, and again, and…
  • Buy bulk. It's cheaper and uses less packaging. Just keep reusing the plastic bag and write the code and product name on the twist tie. If plastic is not your bag, see if the store will weigh other (recycled) containers and subtract that from the total at the till.
  • Spend your money on things you really care about – that energy-saving renovation, healthier organic eats, native plants for your garden – made or grown by people who treat employees fairly and mind their eco-footprints. (It's fun to find substitutes – sleep in an old T-shirt instead of buying new pajamas, for example.)
  • Avoid shopping for fun, impulse buying, or frivolous purchases. (David Bach, who coined “the latte factor”, points out that not spending just $5 day saves $150 per month, which adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in a person's lifetime.)

Renew and repair. Remember those pants that popped a button? That shirt with the stain? Fix 'em up and you've got a whole new wardrobe you probably forgot about. Check out Lindsay's planet-friendly suggestions for getting rid of stains or embroider over the really stubborn ones. (Maybe it's time we got over our obsession with whiter than white?) If you're weary of your possessions, call some friends and organize a clothes swap. Your old is their new. (“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” Oscar Wilde)


Ecology and economy stem from the same root – the Greek oikos, which means 'house, dwelling place, or habitation'. Ecology adds the suffix logia, which means 'study of' and economy ends with nomos, which means 'managing'. Do you think Ottawa is doing a good job of managing where we live?

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to the job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car, and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.” — Ellen Goodman, the Boston Globe, August 1993.

About time for a new “normal,” don't you think? Share your planet-friendly wallet-fattening tips in The Green Room.

Barter, trade, donate. Canadians are swapping and sharing stuff and skills all over the place.

  • Check out the online bartering community at SwapSity or join a freecycling network. (Lindsay found a home for a Crock Pot she didn't use just by circulating an office email; she put out the word for a food dehydrator and snagged one from some family friends.)
  • Find a way to make your stuff work for someone else. (Gail once organized a toy sale and raised $1,200 for her son's elementary school; families donated their cast-offs and others snapped them up for bargain prices.)
  • Lower the cost of home repair projects by organizing a tool pool with friends, neighbours, and colleagues: find out who's willing to share what and put together a sign-up sheet; rent big items from a hardware store as a group (just make sure everyone gets a turn over the rental period).
Two-ingredient cosmetics

Do-it-yourself. You can save wads of dough by making your own green cleaning products and cosmetics. (Check out www.QueenOfGreen for ideas, recipes, and how-to videos.) Making your own laundry soap from a few simple ingredients, for example, costs only $1 a litre; toothpaste can be made from scratch for only $1 for about 125 ml. Check out how many cosmetics can be made using only two ingredients! (PDF, 865 kb)

Lower your energy bill.

  • Big savings: Just opening curtains to let in daytime sunshine then closing them at dusk to trap that heat inside can save you up to $200 a year. Close doors to rooms you don't want heated (like closets and cupboards) and keep doors between rooms you're using open to circulate heated air.
  • Bigger: Plugging leaks and insulating reduces heating and cooling costs by five to 30 per cent. (Insulating kits pay for themselves in about a year.) Learn how by watching Randi renovate.
  • Biggest: Replacing your furnace with a 90 per cent efficient one will cost about $2,000, but in 10 years you'll have saved double that amount.

Give green gifts. There are lots of ways to give presents without buying more stuff. Get creative. One birthday boy we know set out to spend his 50th year reading one book a month, each in a different genre. His friends “gifted” their suggestions and he's doing his best to find used or library copies. Another celebrator invites party guests to bring hand-drawn coupons or certificates (e.g., for free pet-sitting or snow-shovelling, etc.), homemade edible goodies, or good quality stuff they don't want. After an auction “party game”, funds are gifted to the honouree.

Eat in, local, and lower on the food chain. Canadians spent about 11 per cent of their income on food.

  • Dining out gobbles up budgets. Start a food club at work or with friends and neighbours – it's easier (and more fun) when there are lots of hands doing the work. (DSF has a winter weekly soup club that morphs into a salad group in the spring.) Pick dietary restrictions (our specs are vegan and gluten-free) or themes. It's a great way to share recipes and build community.
  • Join an organic food co-op with friends or co-workers. It saves $$$, packaging, and trips to the store.
  • You already know that it's better for the planet to eat less meat. It's cheaper (and healthier!), too. Here's what's in season all winter in Canada: apples, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, chestnuts, garlic, hazelnuts, honey, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, pears, potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash, sunchokes, turnips, walnuts. Check out these handy seasonal availability charts for produce in BC and Ontario.
  • For other foodstuffs, go for frozen or dried options from local companies rather than fresh stuff that's travelled from the other side of the planet.

Exercise. Fit people spend less money on health care, make fewer trips to hospitals and clinics, and keep hazardous substances out of the waste stream. (Employers – healthy workers are more productive – saves $$$!) Running outside requires only the cost of a good pair of shoes. (Running Room has free practice sessions. Check out Lululemon for their free yoga and dance classes – find your city, then sign up for event notifications.) Rent an exercise video from the library or check the Internet for free downloads. Organize an in-home “class” with friends – each week someone picks a different video to try.

Vacation at home, go outside. You don't have to go to a theme park to have a memorable family holiday, or fly off to some exotic locale for a romantic rendezvous with your partner. When was the last time you visited your local museum or planetarium? Or took a stroll down memory lane with some photo albums? Or played a board game? Go outside – it's free! Contact with the outdoors reduces stress, promotes physical and emotional well-being, and reminds us all that the home world is worth protecting. Check out these no-cost fun winter family-friendly ideas sent in by Nature Challenge Community members Sylvie de Sousa and Katharine Byers.

Doing Business in a New Climate Want to make your workplace more efficient and eco-friendly?

Check out Doing Business in a New Climate, the David Suzuki Foundation's guide to measuring, reducing, and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. It'll help you save money, enhance your reputation in the marketplace, and boost employee health, morale, and your bottom line. And it's free!

Invest green. You're saving and socking it away. Make sure the institution you're banking on is making investments that protect nature. The Rainforest Action Network's Climate Friendly Banking campaign calculates the carbon footprint of some of Canada's major financial institutions. If you don't like how they're using your money, the website makes it easy for you to ask your bank for change.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Simple Ways to Save Money (and the Planet) at Work

from E - The Environmental Magazine

It can be hard to get back into the swing of things at work after the cheer of the holiday season. But we have some tips that might help get your creative juices flowing again during the dark, cold weeks of winter. You can become a new office hero by suggesting ways for your employer to save money while helping out the planet.

In today's tough economy, every penny saved can help keep folks employed. Plus, it can't hurt your reputation in the boardroom if you are the one to show your boss how he or she can trim expenses.

Businesses use a tremendous amount of water, energy, paper and other products, and reducing waste saves money, as well as valuable resources. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

1. Turn the Heat Down

Office spaces and other places of work require enormous amounts of energy to maintain an even temperature, whether it's the heating or cooling season doing the work. While this can be a tricky subject among coworkers, who may have different body types, metabolisms, expectations and preferences for temperature, by talking things through you may be able to encourage your building manager to set a more eco-friendly temperature. He or she may not know that the air around your desk feels like a summer night in Alabama, even if it's snowing outside. Or perhaps your team can agree to try out lowering the thermostat by just a few degrees, and avoid wearing short sleeves for a while. The savings can be substantial, especially if you suggest that temperature is lowered at night, or other times when few folks will be present.

2. Suggest Energy-Efficient Lighting

You've probably heard that you can save money by switching to fluorescent lighting. But maybe no one at your office got the green memo. Also, are there times when you can raise blinds and turn down the lights? Does everyone remember to shut off unneeded lights when they leave at night?

3. Turn Off Those Computers!

If your office is like many others, people leave their computers on all the time, even when they aren't using them! However, you can tell your boss that every worker who shuts his or her machine down before heading out each night saves an average of $90 worth of electricity a year. That adds up! The Department of Energy recommends shutting off your monitor if you aren't going to use it for more than 20 minutes, and the whole system if you're not going to use it for more than two hours. The agency says time spent off extends your machine’s life—tell that to the IT guys!

4. Just Say “No” to Water Bottles

A lot of companies provide employees and clients with bottled water. That's a nice thought, but carting around all those plastic bottles isn't doing the environment any favors. Suggest a cheaper filter system instead. You'll even have a talking point to impress those clients when they need a little refreshment.

5. Encourage Car Pooling and Biking

Ask around and see if some of your coworkers might be interested in doing some car pooling. Not only can everyone save on gas, but you'll also reduce emissions and build camaraderie among your team. Point out to your bosses that the company can save on maintenance and security of parking lots, and in a number of areas may qualify for valuable incentives from city governments. Does your company have a bulletin board, either virtual or the kind with actual thumbtacks? Ask your boss if you can post a sign-up sheet for those who might be interested in participating. Similarly, does your work place have bike racks? Those who bike to work also tend to be healthier, and more fit employees are sick less often and require less health care. Aren't you smart for thinking of that?

6. Save on Printing

As anyone who has ever owned an inkjet or laser printer knows, replacement cartridges are mighty pricey, and soon eclipse the original cost of the device. You can save your company a pile of cash if you help encourage people to print black and white as much as possible, to use draft settings, and to only print when needed. For draft copies recommend that people print on both sides (it's easy!), and definitely suggest that your company recycle if they don't already!

7. Provide Reusable Mugs and Dishes

Put out ceramic mugs and plates instead of paper or Styrofoam and people will use them. Tell people to clean up after themselves, and they'll also develop a greater sense of pride in their surroundings, instead of just tossing things away after a single use.

8. Green the Chow Hall

If your company has a cafeteria, suggest that it also provide reusable utensils, and minimize packaging. Suggest that food buyers look for local and seasonal ingredients, as well as plenty of meatless options, which are greener and generally cheaper.

9. Invest in Some Plants

If you had success with the proceeding steps, we salute you! If you're feeling a little ambitious, you might try suggesting that your company provide a few house plants, which help clean the air, leading to more comfortable, and productive, employees. Plants also can improve the mood of employees and guests. At the least, ask that your boss consider reversing a ban on plants, if you work in one of the unfortunate places with such a strict policy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Economy Agenda

By David Korten

Our economic system has failed on every dimension: environmental, social, and financial. The fact that the Wall Street financial collapse has preceded the terminal collapse of our social and environmental systems is a blessing, because it demonstrates that the economic system has failed even on its own terms.

Financial collapse is only about money and can be fixed over a few years with relative ease. Social collapse is about the loss of relationships of trust and caring that are the essential fabric of functioning community. These relationships can take generations, even centuries, to restore on a national or global scale. Environmental collapse is about Earth’s life support system. This can take millions of years to restore—if ever.

Spending trillions of dollars in an effort to restore Wall Street to its original condition is a reckless waste of time and resources. The more intelligent course is to declare our independence from the predatory institutions of Wall Street and put in place a new policy framework favoring Main Street businesses and workers engaged in the socially and environmentally responsible production of goods and services that improve the lives of all.

The following publications outline the argument and a bold policy agenda to put the needed framework in place.

  • David Korten, “Beyond the Bailout: Agenda for a New Economy,” YES!, Winter 2009 outlines an essential five-part policy framework to facilitate the work of responsible businesses, investors, civic organizations, and local governments engaged in growing a 21st century economy from the bottom up. PDF.

See also the new YES! magazine web page featuring a number of YES! articles on the New Economy. YES! magazine is planning to devote its Summer 2009 issue to the New Economy theme.

I cochair with John Cavanagh, executive director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., a New Economy Working Group formed at the end of 2008 to further develop and advance New Economy policies. IPS, which works in partnership with progressive members of Congress and many national groups involved in economic education and policy advocacy, serves as the secretariat of the Working Group. YES! Magazine, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and the Great Turning Initiative are initial partners in the New Economy Working Group

See also "Main Street before Wall Street," "Why do you call money history's most successful con game?," and "Contrasting Prosperity Story Narratives."

YES KortenBailouts

Korten Tikkun Meltdown

Friday, January 16, 2009

State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World

Worldwatch has gathered the best thinking from 47 experts to answer the following question: How do we keep climate change at manageable levels and how do we adapt to what is coming our way, no matter how successful we are in reducing future greenhouse gas emissions?

All of the chapters in State of the World 2009 (minus endnotes) are available on our website via free PDF downloads. To purchase the entire volume (with endnotes) in hard copy, click here. For more information on the project, click here.

Free State of the World 2009 Downloads:

The Complete Guide to Climate Change

The Complete Guide to Climate Change
Publish at Scribd

For anyone trying to separate the fact from the fiction, "The Complete Guide to Climate Change" is an indispensable resource. Taking you through the A to Z of the key scientific, geographical and socio-political issues involved in the study of the environment and the implications of mankind's effect upon it, topics covered include: environmental science - the carbon cycle and the 'Greenhouse Gases'; the impacts of climate change on life, land and sea; mitigation strategies from carbon capture to carbon taxes; and, the Kyoto Protocol and UNFCC Renewable fuel sources, from wind to solar power. Including guides to the latest scientific and governmental thinking on climate change, this book will tell you all you need to know about perhaps the biggest issue facing mankind today.

Pdf_16x16 449 Pages

Strategy paper for climate summit

Climate Strategy
Publish at Scribd or explore others: climatechange

If you want to pick up a copy of the strategy document it is now possible to get it by going to this link:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pay It Forward

SEE WEBSITE :: Pay It Forward Foundation

The Pay It Forward Foundation (PIFF) was established in September 2000 by author Catherine Ryan Hyde and others to educate and inspire students to realize that they can change the world, and give them opportunities to do so.

Pay It Forward begins with doing a favor for another person, without any expectation of being paid back, and follows by requesting that the recipient of that favor do the same for someone else—ideally for three other people.

The unconditional favors can be large or small. It doesn't have to be a big thing. It can just seem that way, depending on for whom it is done, and what is chosen to be done.

Ask your students to think of an idea that can change your school, your community, or the world, and put it into action. Suggestions for designing your students’ own Pay It Forward Project, along with examples of projects that have received mini-grant support are available on the foundation’s web site. PIFF’s mini-grant program provides supportive education materials and funding for up to $500 to those who qualify.

As your students create their own ideas for how to pay it forward within their school or community, this presents an opportunity to incorporate relevant social issues and current affairs into classroom discussions.

Learn more about designing a project. :: Apply for a mini-grant. :: See recent grant recipients and examples.

Strengthening Our Students’ Humanity

DOWNLOAD LESSON PLAN :: Positive Psychology

According to Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania considered the father of positive psychology, unlike traditional psychology that focuses on deficits, disease, and dysfunction, positive psychology highlights human strengths and potential, and celebrates what is best in life. By building strengths, instead of dwelling on weaknesses, teachers can immediately affect students’ lives. Enrollment in this discipline has sky-rocketed at the university level over the past few years—it is the most popular class at Harvard University—and its influence has trickled down to the secondary level.

Positive Psychology: A 7-Day Unit for High School Psychology is a comprehensive curriculum that introduces the concepts of positive psychology. Critical thinking exercises, transparencies, and activities are thoughtful and spot on so that teachers and students will want to do them. These include daily mood forms, measuring optimism, and imagining the future with a hope scale.

Amy Fineburg, who established the psychology program at Spain Park High School in Alabama, is also the past chair and member-at-large of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS), the high school teacher affiliate program of the American Psychological Association (APA). She is a veteran presenter and the author of several publications, including Thinking About Psychology, a high school psychology textbook written entirely by high school psychology teachers. Through networking and attending conferences, she acknowledges she becomes a better teacher. And, Amy admits to “stealing” activities from others, giving her students an experience they wouldn’t have had if she had stayed home.

Find more resources from TOPSS here.

Ms. Fineburg graciously granted permission to post her curriculum on our site.

Link source

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Power of Less


“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

A FREE download is available now: Leo Babauta has written a companion to The Power of Less — a free ebook called “THRIVING ON LESS: Simplifying in a Tough Economy“.

Thriving on Less: Simplifying in a Tough Economy (pdf format)

Feel free to share it on your blog, via email, on forums, in social media, or however you like! (Click on the “Tell-a-friend” button below to easily share with friends.)

Also, please help spread the word by adding this page to your Delicious bookmarks or on StumbleUpon!

From the introduction:

The recent economic recession has a lot of people worried, about their jobs, their businesses, their homes and their bills. When your income is dropping or in jeopardy and you still have a mountain of bills to pay, things can get pretty scary.

However, tough economic times do not have to be a time of struggles! If you look for the opportunity in the middle of difficulty, as Mr. Einstein suggested, then tough economic times become an opportunity to transform your life.

Table of Contents

1. A Simple Lifestyle
2. Focus on the Essentials
3. Thriving on Less, Not Struggling
4. Focusing on Enough, Not More
5. Make Small Financial Changes First
6. Look at Large Expenses for the Long Term
7. Changing Your Spending Habits
8. A Guide to Getting Out of Debt
9. Tools for a Frugal Life
10. Resources

Be sure to also check out: