The Mindful Merchant

Shop – Eat – Live – Mindfully

Pin It For The Planet June 2, 2010

Filed under: Canada,climate change,environment,fitness,health,save money — MindfulMerchant @ 8:49 pm

 

May 31st – June 6th  The World Wildlife Fund of Canada launched Pin it for the Planet Campaign. They are inviting Canadians to do the unthinkable and use creative car-free transportation options the week. The idea is to pin your car key in a visible spot to make a personal act public, show your commitment to the environment and inspire conversation.

 

I find it hard to give up my car. My first instinct is to grab the keys and drive without a thought about the distance…especially when I am in a rush. The crazy thing is that I live in an area where most stores are within easy walking/biking distance too.  I am trying to change that habit, plan ahead and make small changes.

 

Driving the car less may sound like a big inconvenience, but there are benefits to consider. Decreasing your use of the car will save money on gas, insurance premiums, parking, etc., increased health benefits from exercise, and helping the planet.

 

 

Here are some interesting facts from the WWF website.

 

– If every Canadian left their car home just one day a week, we would save about 4.86 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking about 800,000 cars of the road per year.

– Approximately 70-80% of Canadians drive to work regularly.

– According to the Canadian Automobile Association driving a mid-sized vehicle, 18,000km/year averages more than$8400. in fuel, maintenance and other costs. (A mini-van is approximately $11,200.)

 

It is mid-week into the Pin It campaign, but not too late to get involved. You can track your contribution on their website and enter to win cool prizes too.  They are not asking Canadians to stop driving completely…just a little less.

 

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Jack Pine Trail May 28, 2010

Filed under: Canada,community,environment,family,fitness,hiking,Ontario,Ottawa — MindfulMerchant @ 8:44 am

 

P1018198 Ottawa has a wonderful Greenbelt Trail system that connects to the Rideau Trail, the Trans Canada Trail and the Capital pathway.  We are slowly exploring different trails around the city and all are different and beautiful.

 

Prime Minister King appointed a French urban planner named Jacques  Gréber work on a master plan for Canada’s Capital. In 1950 Gréber proposed that the Greenbelt would protect the Capital and the rural land surrounding it from unchecked spreading of urban sprawl. This met with complaints from developers who called him “Jacques Grabber”. Following his plan, the Federal Government began acquiring land in 1956 that today encircles the Capital from Shirley’s Bay (west) all the way to Green’s Creek (east). Now we have 20,350 hectares of beautiful land to enjoy and 200 square kilometres (124 sq mi) of greenbelt in the downtown core alone. Merci Monsieur Gréber.

 

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This past weekend we visited Jack Pine Trail.  It is a popular trail  because friendly chickadees and other birds will eat right out of your hand.  Hanging out with good friends and the gorgeous weather inspired us to enjoy the outdoors with the kids. It is an easy, flat terrain and there are a few loops to choose from depending on ability.  We filled containers with birdseed and off we went.

 

Unfortunately, I did not stop to think that the great feeding stories all took place during the winter months. Maybe it was the time of day, the abundance of bugs and other food, or our large group but the birds were not interested in our birdseed…or us. We did a lot of standing around with our hands outstretched and it was disappointing.  We even tried singing “Ah-a-aah-ah” just like Cinderella calling the little creatures over to the window…to no avail.  Could it have been our singing?

 

 

P1018202 “This is the worst hike EVER!” my daughter informed us when the bird feeding activity tanked. (Made our friends feel special – I’m sure)  Thank goodness, things perked up once we saw other interesting things like ducks, a beaver, fish, minnows and at the bottom of the pond…a large camouflaged snapping turtle. Can you spot him/her in this photo? The turtle discovery brought the fun back to a memorable level.  Whew!

 

If you are looking for a free and fun outing, the Nation’s Capital Greenbelt is definitely worth exploring.  Bring your camera and maybe a picnic – it’s marvellous.

 

 

 

 

 

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