Sustainability & Wildlife

With being an environmentalist and striving to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I wondered if there were any organizations that exist in Saskatoon which focus on sustainability or the environment. I just completed my fourth year in Renewable Resource Management at the University of Saskatchewan and I am working towards completing a soil science minor and a certificate in sustainability. Being aware of some local organizations that support these values is important to me. Luckily, I was able to meet with two women that run very different, but important charities here in Saskatoon.

Since I started my blog in September of 2013, I have given myself the freedom to present my interests and passions creatively and freely. One of my initial passions was sustainability and caring for the environment. Each year, I researched more, I learned more and challenged the modern way of life, which led to changing my way of life based on what I was learning about sustainability. I have changed multiple ways that I live my life and I keep making changes each month. Slowly but surely, I am working towards living a sustainable life.
JULY12_RFB1
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Allyson from the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. The Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) is a non-profit, registered charity located in Saskatoon. They work on projects all across Saskatchewan. The SES concentrates on sustainable energy and climate solutions, water protection, resource conservation, biodiversity preservation and the reduction of toxic substances. Pretty badass, am I right? The goals that this society is working towards are vitally important and their focus on education is crucial. They even have a helpful page called Stuff I Can Do, which outlines some options of how to live more sustainably at home and at work. Their site is packed with useful information and can help aid you in your own personal research, as they provide many scientific publications for you to read. I was very excited to learn about the SES and I am very interested in the work they do.

I also had time to visit with Jan from the Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation Center here in Saskatoon. Animals take precedence over people here, that’s for sure. They provide treatment services that are needed to rehabilitate small birds and mammals. This includes providing a safe place for the injured or orphaned animals to mend until they are returned to their natural habitat (if possible).
JULY12_RFB2
Both of these organizations are charities, which rely mostly on volunteer work. If you want to support either of these charities, they would greatly appreciate it. One of my favourite quotes is by Anna Lappe: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

– Tiara

Advertisements

Sustainable on the Inside & Out

It is finally July, which means it’s time for Plastic Free July! Do you want to avoid landfill waste, reduce your eco-footprint, protect the ocean and reduce toxin exposure to the environment and yourself? I sure do! There are many tips for reducing the amount of plastic you use, and I hope that this post helps you as well! I purchase most of my lovely sustainable and safe cosmetics and personal care products from Green Tree Beauty! Most of the items I have pictured here are all made sustainably, packaged in safe alternatives and contain natural ingredients that are not toxic, all found at Green Tree Beauty.
naturalbeautyRFB3
The present consumer lifestyle, fast paced and highly consumptive, seems to have finally caught up with us. Plastic, single-use items and packaging has found its way into every store, every home and now every part of the planet. Plastic is created by using non-renewable products, plasticizers, additives and chemicals. Many of the ingredients in plastic leach out into the product the plastic is containing, which leads to a dangerous toxic effect when we apply the product on to our bodies. Some of the toxins that are within plastic are endocrine disruptors, which negatively impact the health of animals and humans. Animals are prone to eating plastic litter, as it resembles their food. Each year, studies have shown that millions of animals die due to their direct or indirect consumption of plastic. Plastic does not only harm ecosystems and animals, it directly impacts humans as well. If we consume anything that was contained in plastic or apply anything on our skin that was contained in plastic, our risks of toxin absorption increase. Recycling plastic is not a solution to this problem, as most plastics cannot be or won’t be effectively recycled in the first place. The best route for success is to reduce the amount of plastic and unnecessary packaging we purchase and use and discontinue purchasing products that involve plastic. As consumers, we have the biggest impact on the earth. We have the power to change the world for the better, and that is an inspiring thought.

A current statistic is that people, more commonly women, put on an average of 515 synthetic chemicals on to their bodies every single day. These chemicals absorb into our skin, especially if there are additional chemicals in the product that increase the absorption rate. Scientific studies show that these synthetic ingredients found in every-day products can be linked to neurotoxicity, reproductive harm in both men and women and chronic diseases. The reason companies are allowed to create such products with devastating ingredients is because the ingredients are rarely tested or regulated before they are allowed to be sold to the public & the consumer drives the demand. Most of the general public is simply not aware or chooses not to care about this information. I hope that after reading this you are both enlightened and inspired to avoid unnecessary packaging and toxins when it comes to cosmetics and personal care items.
naturalbeautyRFB1
First things First, the Packaging

What are most of your cosmetics and lotions packaged in? A popular answer is always plastic. Hard plastics, soft plastics, there are actually thousands of different plastics and each plastic has its own composition and characteristics. Plastics are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic as they serve to concentrate and transfer even more toxic chemicals, which end up in the marine food web and ultimately in the human diet (Engler 2012). Various household products including pesticides, cleaning agents, personal care products and plastic, are all listed as toxins in the home (Gilbert 2012). In fact, modern living has introduced more than 17,000 chemicals in the home (Gilbert 2012). Some of these items are acutely toxic and will have an immediate negative impact to your health, however constant contact with plastic results in chronic exposure, leading to chronic effects. Chronic exposures can occur through repeated use of a product. The reason plastic is toxic is because many of the chemicals that make up plastic are endocrine disruptors.

The endocrine system is the body’s communication system, using hormones to communicate instructions to the organs or muscles. Hormones are incredibly important as they regulate and influence almost all functions of life. Endocrine disruptors mimic estrogen, cause decreased fertility, cause changes in brain function and behavior and can impair immune systems. They can cause thyroid dysfunction, endometriosis and cancer. They negatively impact hormone levels, sexual characteristics, reproduction and development in humans and animals. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can interact with the endocrine system at very low levels of exposure (Gilbert 2012). The permanent changes that toxins from plastics are able to do to the body result in adverse health effects and persist continually, as these dioxins bioaccumulate. This means that the dioxins & toxins are able to accumulate in our bodies and be passed down onto the next generation. Over time, the amount of these toxins continually increases if exposure is continued.

The only way to reduce our exposure to these toxins is to choose less-toxic products. Every single day, we are unavoidably exposed to a wide range of synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals – why expose ourselves to even more by using plastic-packaged cosmetics or products full of toxic ingredients? Most sustainable companies are aware of how devastating plastic is to both the environment and to animal and human health, so they have safer packaging options. These options usually include stainless steel, glass and paper products. These products are ideal because they can usually be reused, can be more efficiently recycled and ultimately if they are not recycled, they will not leach nearly as many or any toxins at all into the environment. There are also ways to skip packaging altogether. Replace your regular shampoo and conditioner with bar options and store them in a tin. Replace your hand wash, body wash and face wash with specifically formulated bars of soap as well. Most of these options (should) be package free or nearly package free!
naturalbeautyRFB2
Within the Packaging

Ah yes, what you usually buy the item for in the first place, the actual product itself. The lotion, the cream, the eyeshadow, the foundation, the list of options goes on and on. The claims that the product promises to deliver may be enticing, but what are those ingredients actually doing to your skin? If you repeatedly expose your skin to synthetic chemicals, the toxins accumulate in your body and can lead to dermatitis, eczema, irritated skin, allergies, chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalances and/or infertility. I have switched to a mindset of “If I cannot eat it, it should not go on my skin.” My eyes were opened to how many toxins are in personal care products when I got the app Think Dirty. I highly recommend this app, it allows you to scan your products and it breaks down every single ingredient for you in an easy to read format. They rate your product from dirty to clean. My favourite part is that they also have an “our picks” section that they recommend similar products to which you have scanned and that are very safe to use.

We are faced with a very complex problem, however the message is clear. As consumers, we need to stop buying our products if they are packaged in plastic or in other single-use alternatives. As consumers, if we start to demand more sustainable and long-lived products, companies and industries will be forced to start providing what the consumer wants so that the companies remain successful. Also, investing in products with reusable packaging will help to save the consumer money in the long run as these (glass or steel) containers can be washed and reused without any toxic substances leaching out of them. These containers make great storage options for a multitude of things, even your own DIY cosmetics and personal care products that can be made from ingredients found in your kitchen! It is crucial that as a consumer we remain conscious about purchasing plastic items and our purchasing habits can result in a decrease in the amount of plastic and single-use packaging altogether.
naturalbeautyRFB4

– Tiara


REFERENCES

Engler, Richard. 2012. The complex interaction between marine debris and toxic chemicals in the ocean. United States: Environmental Science and Technology.

Gilbert, Steven. 2012. A small dose of toxicology: the health effects of common chemicals. United States: Healthy World Press.

Windy Day Adventures

I have a bit of wanderlust in the sense that I love going on adventures, and exploring places. Today was one of those days, with no destination planned I just kept driving. I ended up at Pike Lake Provincial Park! Here are a few pictures of my day.
PL4
PL2
PL5
PL6
PL7
/ Shirt: Pink Rose / Jeans: Just Black / Shoes: Vishal Footwear /
PL3

Hope you’re having a great day!
– Tiara

The Miracle of Essential Oils

The Miracle of Essential Oils

The Oils: Essential Oils can be used to heal the body and mind. The most important thing is to purchase the purest Essential Oils, cheaper oils will usually be diluted or have synthetic manufactured perfume mixed in. This makes them less effective and also dangerous if treated like a pure oil. Also try to make sure the glass container is dark to protect the oil from light. Pure essential oils should not be applied directly unless diluted. You should remember that Essential oils are very potent, when used in large quantities they can be toxic. Less is more! Like any other product, you should ensure that you are not allergic to each oil by testing a small area on your skin prior to using it regularly.

Dilution: my favourite way to dilute essential oils is to mix them with coconut oil, grape seed oil, almond oil or jojoba oil. (water will NOT work).

Perfume: Of course, essential oils would be a natural, pure and nontoxic perfume that you can specifically make to suit your exact needs. You play with mixing different scents that you like or which have the health benefits that you require. One way to create your own perfume is here! You can make a solid perfume and you can replace the essential oil I used with one or multiple essential oils that you desire.

Cleaning: Essential Oils have antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties. They can be used to clean the air, clean countertops, freshen up laundry, clean the bathroom and much more. Essential oils will disinfect and leave any surface smelling good! The best oils to use for cleaning are orange, peppermint and tea tree essential oils. Stay tuned as I will be making cleaning solutions and blogging about them soon!

The Oils I Own:
(I recommend using the oils externally: Aromatically – diffused or inhaled. Topically –  applied onto skin within a carrier oil. Usually 1 drop of essential oil in 2-3 tsp of carrier oil).

Peppermint Oil: is used for awakening the body, increasing focus, curing a headache and upset stomach.

Lavender Oil: is used to calm and relax the body, relieves panic and anxiety attacks, can be used to help induce a great sleep. Perfect for insomnia, stress or anxiety.

Sweet Orange: is used to treat stress, slow digestion, colds, dull skin, and can be used as a household cleaner. Also can be used as a safe insect repellent!

Rosemary: is used to for indigestion, stress relief, respiratory problems, promotes healthy hair growth, and boosts brain activity.

Tea Tree Oil: is used to fight infections, is effective against bacteria, reduces acne, lessens the appearance of scars, helps fight dandruff, can be used as a cleaner and can be used to deter ants.

Eucalyptus Oil: is used to decongest and can treat a cold, has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, can soothe insect bites, has a cooling and refreshing effect, can help stimulate the brain and can relieve stress and pain.

I love essential oils and they can be used to create your own lotions, leave in hair conditioners, perfumes and as well as providing healing. I am not saying that essential oils will cure you or will act like a medication would, but they are a natural solution to aid you with your overall health that is definitely worth trying.essoils2

xoxo,
– Tiara

DIY Stick Decorating

T: DIY Stick Decorating

Today I had so much fun decorating a photo frame and candle holders with sticks. To me, this added a laid back, cozy look to these originally simple pieces – great for the cabin!
Here is what you need for this project:


  •  Sticks (choose ones that have fallen off the tree)
  • Glass Candle Holder (or)
  • Wooden Photo Frame
  • Garden Clippers
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Extra Hot Glue Gun Sticks

DIYsticks2

Make sure you do this project over an area that is easy to clean, as it is quite messy. (For best results you will want to really scratch up the glass and photo frame with sandpaper so the glue can adhere to it better. If you don’t do this, the sticks will fall off very easily after the glue is dry. Do this in a well ventilated area).

First, I measured the length I needed the sticks to be for the individual projects and cut a huge pile using my clippers. Once I had them cut, I started hot gluing the sticks, then placing them onto the glass, making sure they lined up with the bottom. (For the frame: I put glue on the frame first then added the sticks). I continued until all the areas were covered and went over and added extra sticks in the sparse areas.

For the candle holder, ensure that no sticks extend too far over the rim, as you don’t want to create a fire hazard!

DIYsticks

The end result is both beautiful and unique, as no two projects will ever be the same.

DIYsticks4
DIYsticks5

– Tiara