Gifts that Won’t Cost the Earth

Image via Pexels Creative Commons Zero (CC0) https://www.pexels.com/

If, like me, you’ve been too busy with life to focus on seasonal pursuits (or blog posts–sorry about that), here are some earth-friendly (and local!) gift ideas that you can still find before the holidays.

The Maple Leaves of Kichi Makwa, a children’s book by local Algonquin elder, poet and storyteller Albert Dumont, addresses themes of nature, respect and support, and is written in Algonquin, English and French. Find it at Singing Pebble Booksonline, or from the author.

Escape from the Museum! is a mystery-adventure set in the impressive Canadian Museum of Nature, offered in collaboration with Escape Manor, that would make a fun gift for kids or adults alike. Groups can choose from two themes: “Back to the Fossils,” involving time travel to help some lost dinosaurs, and “Framed,” investigating a heist of specimens from the Mammals Gallery.  It’s an opportunity to explore the museum’s collections and spaces while solving challenges before the time runs out. (Escape Manor offers escape adventures at several other locations including Diefenbunker, downtown and at their Hintonburg location.)

These days it’s possible to find plenty of eco-friendly, locally crafted items around town that would make thoughtful gifts. One place to check out is Maker House. They have wall hooks made from fallen branches by Not Mother, a window planter made from reclaimed wood marked “less stuff more life” by Grains of Truth, and a framed vintage Ottawa map print, hand embroidered with a red heart, by Sadie & June, as well as much more. Plus, if you buy from Maker House during December, they’ll donate 2% of the sales to Parkdale Food Centre through the #craftchange program.

For more green gift ideas, see our past posts on Thingless GivingA Gift of ReadingGifts that Give Twice and Greening the Season.

Seasons greetings!

Written by Denise Deby.

Advertisements

Give Away Weekend June 2017

Arrow by MoneyForCoffee on pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/arrow-sign-direction-free-image-964733/

Here’s an opportunity to get rid of things you no longer use but are still in good condition.

Give Away Weekend happens Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11, 2017 in Ottawa.

You can put used household items, furniture, books, toys and other good stuff out at the curb, marked with a sign that says “FREE,” and people can come by and take what they need.

Be sure to take back any unclaimed items and recycle or dispose of them appropriately.

Find out more on the City of Ottawa’s website.

Flooding in Ottawa-Gatineau

Thoughts go out to everyone affected by the flooding.

The City of Ottawa and the City of Gatineau have posted information about the flooding, how to stay safe in flood conditions (around the water, near electricity and with drinking water), and where to obtain assistance.

Other information available:

How to volunteer to help with flooding recovery over the next few weeks: https://ottawa.ca/en/register-volunteer-flooding-efforts

Where to donate to support recovery efforts through the Salvation Army or Canadian Red Cross: http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/older-adults/safety/emergency-preparedness/emergency-notifications-flooding-information#-donations

Where to get help for coping with stress, worry and other mental health needs (links for the Distress Centre, Tel-Aide Outaouais, Walk-In Counselling Clinics and other supports): http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/older-adults/safety/emergency-preparedness/emergency-notifications-flooding-information#responding-stressful-events

The Ottawa Riverkeeper also has information and links on what to do and where to get help.

Stay safe, everyone.

Posted by Denise Deby.

 

 

Putting Yards to Good Use: Capital Greens

Image courtesy Capital Greens Urban Farm https://www.facebook.com/pg/CapitalGreensUrbanFarm/photos/

If you’d like to enjoy fresh, homegrown vegetables, make better use of your yard or garden and contribute to a local, sustainable food system in Ottawa at the same time, here’s an opportunity.

Capital Greens is a local business that transforms space in backyards into pesticide-free vegetable gardens. They do all the gardening work, and in exchange, yard owners receive some of the harvest every week. Capital Greens sells the rest to neighbours and local restaurants.

Capital Greens owner-operator Mathew Levinson started operations last summer in the Westboro/McKellar area, converting sections of lawn in area yards into gardens to grow leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, herbs and more.

Interested? Not sure? Capital Greens will provide a free yard appraisal to make sure the conditions and space will work. There’s more information and a contact form on their website. Some great pictures, too.

Let us know if you check it out!

 

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Mathew Levinson, Capital Greens Urban Farm for the information.

Volunteer Opportunities with Ecology Ottawa’s Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Gabrielle White, Ecology Ottawa volunteer, for the information.

Ecology Ottawa's Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale 2012 FB photo httpsecologyottawa.caannual-eventsgarage-sale
Ecology Ottawa’s Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale 2012 https://ecologyottawa.ca/annual-events/garage-sale/

Every year (for 9 years now!), Ecology Ottawa organizes the Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale during the Glebe Community Association’s Great Glebe Garage Sale. This year it all happens on Saturday, May 28, 2016.

The Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale is a garage sale, fundraiser, vegetarian BBQ, family activity spot and party all rolled into one. There’s baked goods and coffee, a water bottle refilling station, massage therapists and live DJs. Even better, proceeds support the great work of Ecology Ottawa (90%) and the Ottawa Food Bank (10%), and the event helps raise awareness of environmental issues in Ottawa–not to mention keeping reusable items from the landfill.

Ecology Ottawa is looking for volunteers to make the GGGG sale happen:

Everything is coordinated by more than 100 passionate volunteers, without whom this event would not be possible. This year we are looking for volunteers of all ages for various jobs, including:

– People with access to a vehicle (or a bike with trailer) to pick-up donations ahead of the sale, and to distribute leftover items to worthy organizations after the event (May 23-31).

– Folks to sort donations in the days leading up to the event (May 23-27).

– Lots of help at the actual event, including some brave souls to help set everything up at the crack of dawn, salespeople, folks to run the BBQ, people to paint kids’ faces, and plenty of other help to make the event run smoothly (Saturday, May 28).

– Help in the days following the event, to sort the leftover items, distribute them to worthy local organizations, return items borrowed from our supporters, and tidy the venue (May 29-31).

… and many more volunteer roles.”

Find out more, or sign up to volunteer, donate or bake goods for the sale, at http://ecologyottawa.ca/garage-sale/, or contact garagesale@ecologyottawa.ca.

 

Where to Donate Clothes and Furniture

Written by Denise Deby.

Clothes - D. Deby

If you’re clearing out stuff you don’t need, and think someone else could use it, consider these options:

Agencies in Ottawa are co-ordinating to collect clothes and household items in good shape for refugees and residents in need. Councillor Rick Chiarelli has posted a handy map here of drop-off locations and links for Ottawa Neighbourhood Services, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul and other organizations.

Helping With Furniture collects used furniture and household goods from certain parts of the city for delivery to refugee families. See details here.

Matthew House operates a Furniture Bank for people in need.

Organizations such as the Ottawa Mission and Cornerstone that provide shelter and services to people sometimes accept clothing and personal items, but check first to see what they need.

Dress for Success and Suits His Style provide professional work clothing to women and men who are economically disadvantaged.

Clothing and other donations to the Youville Centre go to young mothers and their children.

The Snowsuit Fund makes winter jackets, mitts and other outerwear available to kids who need them.

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore accepts furniture and e-waste.

St. Mark School is hosting an Electronic Waste Collection Depot this weekend. Find them on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 from 12-4 p.m. at 1040 Dozois Road in Manotick. (They’re also collecting gently used clothing.)

Alternatively, take your e-waste to EnviroCentre or another official centre or event near you.

You can consult the City of Ottawa’s Take It Back program to find out where to recycle or discard used clothes, household goods, electronics, hazardous materials and other things, or use their “Waste Explorer” to search for where to take a specific item.

There are lots of donation boxes around the city, but if you use them make sure they belong to a legitimate charity.

Remember to recycle only things in good condition that someone else will want—don’t use these services as a way to get rid of junk.

Recycling used items is good, but it’s also good to donate cash (or volunteer) for causes you care about, and/or groups helping people stay out of poverty and conflict in the first place.

Gifts That Give Twice

Written by Denise Deby.

Spruce needles by AKuptsova on Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/spruce-needles-tree-macro-branch-847388/
Spruce needles by AKuptsova on Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/spruce-needles-tree-macro-branch-847388/

In this busy season, we often worry about doing enough—seeing everyone we want to see, making enough food for holiday meals, finding just the right gifts for family and friends.

Of course, the most important gift this time of year—or anytime—is time.

Sometimes, though, you do want to give a little something to people. If you’re still looking for those last few gifts, why not consider thingless giving, or other ways of giving sustainably?

Or how about a sustainable gift that gives twice? A few examples:

Gifts that donate: Through USC Canada’s Gifts That Grow, you can send your loved one a card while supporting a farmer or school gardens. UNICEF Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and many other organizations have similar arrangements for contributing to sustainability on behalf of someone else.

Gifts that reuse: Recycled gifts, chosen with care, can be a great option. Right now, when you purchase used clothes, toys, Christmas decorations or other items from Ottawa Neighbourhood Services, you’re contributing to their work to make needed goods available to low-income, refugee and other people in Ottawa. Ten Thousand Villages has good fair trade items, like ornaments made from recycled paper, or jewellery made from reclaimed materials. Ottawa has lots of other places to find art and crafts made from upcycled materials.

Gifts that support local: When you buy local, sustainable products, you’re substituting earth-friendly for mass-produced “stuff,” while supporting local businesses. How about terra20’s suggestions of Winter Hand Balm from Purple Urchin, vegan soap from saaboon or recycled glassware from Out of Ruins or Artech Studios? Check out Planet Botanix, Rainbow Foods, the Natural Food Pantry, Whole Foods, Green Tree Eco-Fashion, Twiss and Weber and other shops for eco-friendly local goods.

Buying someone a CSA share—i.e., a weekly delivery of local produce from an area farm—is also an investment in the sustainability of our food system.

Gifts that support sustainable causes: Ottawa has quite a few social enterprises that support social and environmental good. For example, when you buy jewellery, toys or other items through Operation Come Home’s Repurpose store, you’re buying upcycled as well as supporting artists who are youth at-risk or homeless. When you buy Beau’s beer, which is sustainably made from organic ingredients, you’re also contributing to the causes they support with their profits. A purchase of greeting cards of Ottawa scenes from Causeway supports employment programs for people who are disadvantaged. (I picked some up at the Westboro Pharmasave.)

Keep an eye out for companies that donate to environmental causes. For example, when you purchase art at Studio Sixty-Six during December, 10% of the proceeds will go to the Ottawa Riverkeeper.

Have a wonderful holiday season!