Want to Create Healthy and Sustainable Communities?
Welcome to the Regina EcoLiving Project
by Marieka Sax
Are you concerned about the health of your family and community? Do you want to protect the environment, conserve resources, and save money? Are you interested in living in a more sustainable way but aren't sure how? Well, a group in Regina is working on helping you find out how!
Regina EcoLiving is a non-profit organization whose objective is to increase environmental sustainability, protect the environment, and promote healthy and viable communities. The brainchild of Denise MacDonald and Malin Hansen, Regina EcoLiving emerged from the tremendous support and interest for public screenings of the films, “Affluenza” and “Escape from Affluenza”, which they helped organize for celebrating “Buy Nothing Day” (November 25) in 2003.
With the generous support of Environment Canada, along with their funding, they launched the Regina EcoLiving Project in spring 2005 with the First Annual EcoFair. This was followed in December 2005 by the fantastic success of “EcoLiving: Your Guide to Sustainable Living”, a resource book that makes it easy for people to protect the environment by making environmentally sustainable choices in their everyday lives. This book is full of simple, money-saving, and community-building ideas for “ecoliving.” (See sidebar.)
Regina EcoLiving sees individual choice and action as a key factor in cultivating viable, healthy, and sustainable communities. Our activities and events educate people about environmental issues, guide them to reduce the environmental impact they have on the environment, and teach skills to promote sustainable living.
There are many things you can do in your everyday life to protect the environment. For example, by modifying how you go about everyday tasks you can reduce your water consumption and help conserve this precious life-giving resource. Nearly 65 percent of all indoor residential water use occurs in the bathroom. You can reduce your water use by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, taking a quick shower instead of a bath (adventurous types can turn on the water only to get wet and rinse off), flushing the toilet only when necessary, and installing a toilet dam and other water-saving devices. Thousands of litres can also be saved each year by detecting and repairing leaks around the house. The particularly water-conscious can make a grey water recycling system: whenever taking a shower or using the sink, keep a bucket under the tap and collect excess water. Water free of food particles can be used to flush the toilet, and if it only contains biodegradable soap, water can be used to water houseplants, a garden, and the lawn.
Check out www.reginaecoliving.ca for more tips and ideas for reducing your environmental impact, including: recipes for healthy cleaning products; reducing your household energy consumption; environmentally friendly food choices; sustainable clothing alternatives; rethink, repair, reduce, reuse, recycle; leaving the car at home, reducing your carbon dioxide emissions while driving, and other ways to meet the One Tonne Challenge; action ideas for youth, the classroom, and the family; becoming an informed and engaged citizen; and making your voice heard.
Our website also has a link to calculate your “ecological footprint.” By answering some simple questions about your everyday habits and choices, you can gain an understanding of how much land and resources are necessary to support your lifestyle.
If you are in Regina, you can participate in Regina EcoLiving's public workshops and events. We discuss topics such as daily consumption choices, urban gardening and composting, green spaces and pesticides, sustainable food systems, recycling, transportation, and energy efficiency. Our events have been extremely well-attended by both the public and members of the business community, the University of Regina, City of Regina managers, and local organizations.
Regina EcoLiving has big plans for 2006–2007. In addition to our regular public workshops and the Second Annual EcoFair in June 2006, we are expanding our public outreach with workshops and presentations for offices and classrooms. We also envision the success of EcoLiving: Your Guide to Sustainable Living as extending to other communities across Canada with a new and expanded edition of the book.
Everyday is Earth Day (April 22) for Regina EcoLiving! We'll be celebrating the Earth with a community potluck at our workshop in April. We are planning a larger celebration with our Second Annual EcoFair with Environment Week during the first week of June. We hope to see you there!
Marieka Sax is the Project Coordinator for Regina EcoLiving. She has started the journey towards “ecoliving” by choosing to live in a central location within walking distance of work and the grocery store, buying organic and local whenever she can, and working towards zero household waste by recycling and composting. See below for contact information.