Living Green

Think Globally, Act Locally

Here you will find a list of some of my personal favorite ideas and businesses related to sustainable living 

This page is designed with Calgarians in mind.
Click here for the Toronto focused version

Scroll down or click the buttons below

Defining Environmental Issues

Environmental issues are complex and diverse.  I believe that we vote daily with our money for the products and services we choose to support or not support.  I also believe that what we talk about and how we talk about it has an influence on the people around us.  By positioning environmental impacts as an important factor in our daily weighing of decisions we can all have a significant impact on our personal ecological footprint, help steer economies and industry toward sustainability, and indirectly influence politics.  This requires some knowledge about the potential environmental impacts of the things we buy, use and do.

Below are some of my favourite resources to help introduce you to what I currently believe are our most pressing environmental issues.  Part of my reasoning in selecting these resources is that they each highlight  large scale issues and also suggest straightforward actions we can take that enhance the quality of our lives while simultaneously better serving nature.

Food and Agriculture

A truly important read

Where does your food come from?

Answering this question and finding better places can be one of the simplest and most profound ways to vote often with your money for sustainability.

What's Eating America? 

By Michael Pollan

Human Populations, Carrying Capacity & Social Justice

Will human populations remain below earth's carrying capacity?

Over-consumption of resources in the developed countries and population growth in developing countries threatens to overstretch the world's natural resources.

Reaching a sustainable population will require the acceleration of the spread of social justice.  In particular this means the empowerment of women, access to quality education, basic health care, and fair employment opportunities.

PowerPoint on Human Ecology

Mr. Kleiman - 12U BiologyI have provided a brief narration to my slideshow in the comments on each slide.
Check out my recorded lesson on YouTube :

TED Talk: Hans Rosling

Population Growth Box by Box

Climate Change

How quickly will we reduce GHG emissions and adjust to irreversible effects?

The rate of change of the current anthropogenic warming threatens the stability of ecosystems, and economies.  Inaction or slow action on this issue may have significant consequences for nature and for our future.

TED-Ed: Earth's giant game of Tetris

Joss Fong

NASA: Global Climate Change

A comprehensive resource introducing the key ideas and evidence for climate change
An excellent documentary series by Sir David Attenborough explaining the environmental, social, and political issues surrounding human interactions with nature.


Civic Engagement

Get involved with local community groups and engage with local government

Check out this amazing list of charitable organizations working for a sustainable future. Consider offering your time or financial support to groups like these.
Get Inspired!
Discover the companies, organizations, and individuals making waves in Alberta
Get Active!
Participating in the political process or with local community associations can go a long way.
Get certified!

Invest in food and farmers that offer a sustainable story.

Buy more local, eat more whole foods, cook more.

Inspiring Examples of Sustainable Agriculture...

Farming that Mimics Nature

Rice Farming - Masanobu Fukuoka

see also

Cattle Farming - Allan Savory 

see also

Fish Farming - Dan Barber (talking about Veta La Palma)

"Niche Stacking" at the Polyface farm in Virginia - Joel Salatin

Urban Examples

Katie's Krops - a 14-year-old girl who started a national movement

check out this article of Katie at age 17 and now the CEO of Katie's Krops

Reclaiming urban spaces for food production - Pam Warhurst

Permaculture Food Forest in New Jersey - James Prigioni

Office Farming in Japan

The Gangster Gardener - Ron Finley

Rooftop Gardening in India

Sustainable Food Options for Calgarians


YYC Growers - Affordable home-delivered local produce 

A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)-style harvest box filled with food produced by local regenerative farmers from in around Calgary and Southern Alberta. 

Find more CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)

Here are some more home delivery grocery options:
The Organic Box  ~  

Find a Farmer's Market in Calgary - Avenue Calgary

Alternative Grocery Stores - Calgary Lifestyle Guide

Fish and Meat

Here are some outstanding meat producers who are stewards of the land and experts at animal care:

Burke Creek Ranch ~ Mitchell Bros. Beef  ~ TK Ranch

Flat Cap Butchers - sustainably sourced butcher shop

Harry's Natural Meats - sustainably sourced butcher shop

truLOCAL - home delivered sustainable, local meat

YYSeafood - sustainably sourced seafood

stay informed about sustainable seafood:

Grow Your Own Food

Learn to Garden - City of Calgary Resources for Gardeners
Doug - The Easy-Growing Garden - An AMAZING source of biologically active, nutrient-rich soil, mulch, and much more.  Incredible kits too!
Get native plants at:      ALCLA    &    Eagle Lake Nurseries
Find or create a community garden
Check out Calgary's YardSmart Program for great tips and garden design guides

Calgary Horticultural Society - Join the community!  Tons of resources and connections to be found

Calgary Gardening Facebook Group - this is huge, active, helpful, wonderful online community for gardeners of all abilities

WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

for WWOOF Canada visit

Choose Quality over Quantity

Vote with your money.  All products come from nature. 
Choose products made by people who care about the full supply chain and their workers

The diversity of products and services we use is so broad and varied that I cannot make a reasonable list of specific recommendations.  Instead I encourage you to include nature as a key influence in your daily purchasing decisions.  To me, sustainable thinking means choosing to consume less material goods and putting effort into reducing my ecological footprint.  For the products I purchase I am willing to pay a premium for quality, durability, energy efficiency, re-usability, fair working conditions, and products made in ways and from materials with comparatively low environmental impacts to the competition.  I aim to support businesses that are small scale and local, over big business and brand names.  I try to fix things that are broken, and follow the 3-Rs.

PODCAST (How I Build This - NPR) - Yvon Chouinard on Patagonia

This is a wonderful example of how large companies can also be more sustainable

Some important considerations when making a purchase...

Examples of Sustainable Shopping for Calgarians

Online Shopping -  lots of green selection + great filtering options - products for babies and young children

DIY / Used / Shared Resources

Thrift Stores in Calgary
Consignment Stores in Calgary (buy and SELL used clothes)

Calgary Public Library -  a truly astounding public resource

Calgary Tool Library - tools rental starting at $60/year

DIY Training Centre - Courses in all things DIY

U-Wrench - DIY Garage and Body Shop

Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji
are both filled with quality used goods

Save Energy

Find ways to reduce your energy usage at home, at your business, and in your modes of transportation.

This not only reduces your ecological footprint, but could save you money

Canada Greener Homes Grant - Energy Retrofit Rebates

Bullfrog Power - investing in green energy infrastructure

Canadian Guide to Home Efficiency ~ City of Calgary Tips for Personal Climate Action
Consider looking into: Smart Thermostats, LED lighting, weather stripping, spray foam insulation, solar roofing

Check out PACE as a financing option for property improvements in your home or business

Green Calgary
An urban environmental charity helping Calgarians improve sustainability in their homes, work places, schools, and communities.

Consider European brands for major appliances

For example, investing a Miele washer dryer set will get you top energy and water efficiency, 20+ years of functionality, and reduced wear on clothing.

Car share, carpool, walk, bike, public transit

Spread Social Justice

The Demographic Transition Model suggests that population growth slows and steadies as developing countries emerge from poverty.

Demographic Transition Model

The United Nations estimates that the human population will level around 10-12 billion people by the end of the century.  This prediction is based largely on social and economic indicators, but does not factor in environmental changes over that time.  This larger population may exceed the earth's carrying capacity.  To keep populations as low as possible, developing nations must move as quickly as possible through stages 2 and 3 of the demographic transition model to minimize population growth.  

This can be achieved in many ways including:

Support organizations that Empower Woman

Support organizations and initiatives that fight poverty in developing countries

To reasonably address poverty abroad, we must simultaneously work to alleviate cycles of poverty and social and economic inequalities at home.  In the long-term, people may be more likely to act on their concern for environmental issues when they are financially and emotionally more stable. 

Some ways to address local issues of poverty and social justice

Spend Time in Nature

We will only protect and invest in what we value and love.
Love of nature should be a fundamental core value that gets passed on in every generation

Nature is so much more than a life support system for humans.  For conservation and sustainable development to be successful we need to know what we are protecting and why we are protecting it.  There are so many varied reasons to value nature.  While cultures and individuals will construct their own narratives about it, nature is fundamental to us all.  To root these narratives in ourselves and in our children we must spend time in it, learn about it, and feel part of it.

Some Fun and Simple Ways to Connect With Nature

Nature Photography

Any camera works.  This is fun for the whole family.

Canoeing / Kayaking

Insect Collecting

Get curious and learn about nature

Tons of info, advocacy, resources and activities here:

More to come...

This site is a work in progress.  If you like what you see, if you have feedback, or if you have suggestions for new content,
please e-mail me at