Saturday, December 10, 2011

Top 4 Tips for Greening Your Holidays


How many of you feel obligated to give physical gifts? How many of you have received gifts that broke soon after and were not recyclable? How many of you have sat and wondered at the giant pile of wrapping paper that was left over on Christmas morning?  Did you know that in Canada, the annual waste from gift-wrap and shopping bags equals about 545,000 tons which is enough paper and bags to cover 45,000 hockey rinks?


The holidays are a time of celebration, family gatherings and we create the space to remember and celebrate the things we are grateful for.  Sometimes these core focuses at holiday time can become thoroughly overwhelmed by expectations on our time and resources.  Holiday parties and gift giving can instigate feelings of guilt and overwhelm as many of us pack our social schedules and feel pressured to gift give and participate. Not only does it put pressure on our time, resources, health and well being it also affects our efforts to green our lives and live sustainably. Thankfully there are ways to be green that do not dampen the spirit of our favorite holiday activities like sharing meals, meeting up with friends and exchanging gifts.

Being green during the holidays doesn’t have to be hard and can actually be a very fun and creative exercise. The following are suggestions to easy strategies:

Tip 1: Reduce
The ol’ gift exchange between family members or within your circle of friends falls under this category and is a wonderful way to reduce the pressure to gift everyone with something and reduces the impact on our environment by consuming less.   Wrapping gifts in reusable cloth bags or colorful green shopping bags that can be used later is a creative way of reducing the amount of gift-wrap that is thrown in the landfill during the holidays. If you travel during the holidays by air or motor vehicle, you can choose to give the gift of carbon offsets and make your trip carbon neutral that reduces your contribution to adding extra carbon dioxide to the environment.

Tip 2: Substitute
Number one on this list is the opportunity to get rid of toxins! They can be present in pretty much everything: that new sweater for Dad, those plastic toys for the kids, the pretty smelling candle for a friend, and the new bottle of perfume for Mom. Even old, fake plastic Christmas trees can contain lead and phthalates contained in the PVC used to make the trees.  Look for gifts that are toxin free: gifts made from natural fibers such as hemp, organic cotton, silk, bamboo; kids toys free of BPA, phthalates, lead and sweat shop free (buy local!); vegetable based, soy or bees wax candles scented with essential oils; and essential oil based perfumes.

Another suggestion is to give the gift of your favorite recipes or food products.  Last year, I bought a dozen mason jars from the thrift store and filled them with ingredients for a chocolate chip cookie recipe and put the recipe with a ribbon on the jar. This kind of idea reuses items, nourishes the receiver, provides an opportunity to create a family activity in the kitchen and have some fun!

Tip 3: Give Services Not Products
Your friends and family will love this tip. Not only does it save you time and energy running around at holiday time, battling the shopping crowds, it gifts them some of your time, energy and skills or a service they could really benefit from. Consider where you might be able to help someone by gifting him or her with your time, energy and skills instead of just reaching for your wallet to buy something.  Providing your loved ones with services instead of products is a great opportunity to support their health and wellbeing.  Other ideas include a gift certificate to a spa (non-toxic of course) for body-nourishing services that will help them relax is a welcome alternative to finding the right gift for that someone that “has everything”.  This could also include haircuts, massages, chiropractic or naturopathic doctor care.  It’s also a great way of including the family: why not challenge your children to think about services they could provide like babysitting, mowing lawns, gardening, running errands and help them to create a creative gift voucher? 

Tip 4: Think Outside the Box
I once had someone boldly state to me that money was only good for buying “things”.  I actually strongly disagree and feel there are many ways that money can be used in a supportive, non-traditional consumerism way. Even though it might seem faux pas to give cash, why not consider setting up an RESP (registered education savings plan) for friends or family members? Another opportunity is to use your money to help grow local economies and contribute to education and wellbeing initiatives provided through local non-profit organizations or charities. Likely there are thousands of organizations to choose from in your area so pick your topic and research organizations you resonate with. The best part is you can usually make a contribution in someone’s name. Several years ago when I was living in Australia, I ‘adopted’ (on paper) two koalas in my father and brother’s names. They were excited to receive a koala for a Christmas present!

If you are more focused on supporting people in developing nations, check out KIVA.org, which provides a user-friendly portal for micro-lending. With as little as $25 you can support someone in a developing nation.  Oxfam Unwrapped is another great program that allows you to support farmers in developing nations by purchasing anything from a family of ducks, a pig, a water well, fruit trees or a pile of manure!

Including “green” in your holidays is not a difficult and only requires a slight shift in mindset. In no way does it impact the quality of time you have or your sense of satisfaction during the holidays. In fact, you might find it contributes to an improved sense of connection with friends and family and a deeper sense of peace and wellbeing for yourself.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Top 4 Tips to Green Your Holidays - Tracy's Global TV BC Interview!




Sunday, November 13, 2011

HR Voice Article: Sustaining A Core Competitive Culture


‘Sustaining’ a Core Competitive Culture

By Tracy Lydiatt

Does caring about sustainability help you retain valued employees? The simple answer is yes; green matters to business.

The Harvard Business Review followed 30 large corporations over several years and found a positive correlation between an employee’s positions on their company’s sustainability initiatives and their work place happiness.

Employees who work for companies that align with their values perform better and the payoff for attracting and retaining the type of talent capable of innovating in a challenging market goes right to the bottom line. Positively affecting the organizational bottom line through talent acquisition and retention is a priority for any human resources professional.

Regardless of size, of the biggest investments companies make is in their employees. Often getting them in the door is the easy part; convincing them to stay can require consideration and effort. It also makes a convincing case for developing sustainability as a core culture.

In their February 2010 article, The Business Case for Sustainability, authors Hollander, Orgain and Nunez state that 75 per cent of entrants into today’s workforce evaluate a firm’s environmental and social responsibility records prior to choosing and employer of preference.  Globe Scan (2006) reported that 83 per cent of employees in G7 countries say company’s positive corporate social responsibility (CSR) reputation increases loyalty.

The Vargas Group in 2007 published finding that showed only 24 per cent of employees report feeling “truly loyal” to their employers with plans to stay at least two years.  Inversely, the report showed that 76 per cent of employees are job hunting to varying degrees, ranging from casually surfing the Internet to actively interviewing for new jobs.

What is important to these employees? How long do they typically stay and are there things that are important enough to sway their decision to leave? Important questions to ponder considering that the cost of replacing a valued employee is often 2-3 times the value of that person and comes as a burdened cost to the company.

In her book, One Foot Out the Door, Judith Bardwick summarizes employee priorities at work to be:
  • to keep learning;
  • achieve reasonable security;
  • be successful;
  • to have their work and family flourish and;
  • for their lives as well as work to have meaning.
This list of priorities provides a strong indication that no longer are employees happy to go to work, be committed, productive and have no sense of meaning attached to their individual contributions. Seventy per cent of employees with a favourable perception of their company’s community engagement, plan to stay for the next two years vs. 50 per cent of those with a less favorable perception. This provides an opportunity for businesses and HR professionals to connect with employees, learn what is of importance to them and support the fulfillment of these values.

So what do you do if your company does not have a strong corporate social responsibility program?
The first and important step is to approach the management of the business to share your thoughts and present the business case for emphasizing activities and programs such as:
  • green office team
  • company supported volunteerism
  • lunch and learns with sustainability experts
  • ride share board or forum
  • bicycling incentives etc…
Buy-in from management is an essential and key step for implementing any initiatives with staying power.  If you are fortunate, your management may already be thinking about corporate social responsibility and have any number of the programs suggested above in place.  In this case, it is important to involve employees and effectively disseminate information about company efforts, especially the stories which communicate wins and progress forward.

If you are in the position of starting from scratch or face a challenging future with convincing management of the value and impact sustainability initiatives can have on the bottom line, you are not alone nor without resources.  Thankfully there are some amazing tools available to support you in preparing and presenting the business case for sustainability.

A recommended resource for calculating the business case are two sets of spreadsheets created by Canadian Dr. Bob Willard, designed to be used for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large corporations.  They allow you to use real company numbers and put tangible numbers to aspects such as employee productivity and loyalty that are traditionally harder to quantify. Strategic Sustainability Consulting offers some fantastic resources for both SMEs and large corporations including eight free white papers on varying employee engagement issues related to office and corporate sustainability.

Tracy Lydiatt is an award-winning sustainability advisor and author known as The Green Families Guru. She is an international expert and three-time TEDx speaker on sustainability. Her book, Your Green Family Blueprint, is a must have resource for anyone interested in easy strategies to integrate eco-friendly into their lives without going broke or crazy.  Her mission is to empower people to become more sustainable and delivers her work through corporate and private training, both in person and through her online 7-Day Going Green Challenge. www.thegreenfamiliesguru.com

Friday, September 30, 2011

VLog: My Rubber Boot Dilemma

I live in a rainy city - Vancouver, BC in Canada where the amount of raindrops we receive each year is enough to shift our perceptions in fashion. What do I mean? Here in this lush, green, wet city we, the women of Vancouver, wear rubber boots as a fashion item. I have heard many non-native residents comment about it saying, "only in Vancouver!" Even though I love my city and want to think we're unique, I highly doubt that it's only here as many other cities are pretty wet too.  The great thing is there are many styles, colors and patterns to choose from - everything to warm a fashionistas heart!

 
So in gearing up for my first winter here in 3 years, I have been faced with the "green" dilemma of purchasing rubber boots. I have resisted and resisted because they are a product that most often than not, when they reach the end of their useful life, spring a leak or just go out of fashion they are thrown away. So how many pairs of rubber boots do you think are sitting in a landfill somewhere in rainy North American cities, dying a very slow death and likely contributing to the destruction of nature through needing space in the landfill or leaching man-made materials into the soil and water as they break down? Not a pretty picture.  
 
So what is a girl to do?
 
1. Purchase 2nd hand boots, 100% recycled content boots or new boots from a company that will recycle them for you
Kamik Boots www.kamik.com
Fanshoe by Vanderbilt
Raven Tactical Ware - Outdoor Range
 
2. Find a company that will recycle your old boots:
- Smile Plastics (UK) http://www.smile-plastics.co.uk/
- 'Old Wellies' (can be sent to Dunlop Footware in the UK) Mr R Harrington, Recycling Depot, Dunlop Footwear Ltd, Hazeldene Road, Liverpool, L9 2BA
- You will find organizations in need of recycled rubber on online recycling sites such as Recycle.net or Earth911.
- Contact your local municipality and inquire if they will take rubber products for recycling
 
 
Tracy Lydiatt is an award-winning sustainability advisor, educator and #1 Amazon.com bestselling author passionate about green/sustainability empowerment and change. Connect with her at www.thegreenfamiliesguru.com and hop onto her free ezine or sign up for her 7-Day Going Green Challenge hosted online.
 
 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good Reminder - Vlog from Sedona, AZ

I was recently in Sedona, AZ for a leadership/personal retreat and was blown away by how beautiful it was there. As a sustainability advisor, I gain a lot of strength and inspiration from nature and it was an amazing experience to gift  myself a week of being there, out on the land and really connecting back into nature. I feel rejuvenated, replenished and refreshed.

Where do you go for your connection to nature? What do you do?

Remember that no matter where you are, you can always connect into the abundance of nature and look for inspiration to how we can continue to build a sustainable society with strong social capital built within ecological constraints - bring the balance back in your daily life, connect into nature and if you would like guidance, ask for it and connect in with me - I'd be happy to help!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spooky! Are you ready for a Green Halloween?

National Costume Swap Day is Saturday, October 8. 

What is it? 
A costume swap can be as simple as getting together with a few neighbors or as large as a citywide event.

Either way, you'll be making a difference in your community by saving resources (and money, too!).

Costume swaps not only mean less resources are used to make new product, it also means less packaging, less transportation of the product and less waste (from products being trashed as they sadly often are!).

Swaps are also a lot of fun and can be a great way to kick off the Green Halloween® season!

A costume swap is a community building activity and of course, in these challenging times, will save families money. Visit www.CostumeSwapDay.com to find local swaps and that new swaps will be registering every day right up to Halloween.

If you'd like to set up your own Costume Swap visit www.costumeswapday.com/howto.html to learn all the tricks to hosting your own successful swap! 




Sunday, August 21, 2011

VLOG: Frustrated with Lip Gloss

Happy August! I hope you are doing well on your "going green" journey - as always, my intention is to connect with you and provide as much value and support as I can so you can create the most healthy lifestyle possible (read: green) without going broke or crazy in the process.  This month, I have decided to try something new and provide you with a V-Log (short for video log) about a topic and then share some resources and links afterwards.  I'd love to hear what you think so do write and let me know! 

VLOG: Frustrated with Lip Gloss 



There was actually a warning on the back of this product about carmine which is a food additive that is believed to be linked to hyperactivity and asthma. In addition, there were two kinds of parabens in the product which I do my best to avoid.  Parabens are preservatives that keep fungus and bacteria at bay in a wide variety of cosmetics and hygiene products. The Environmental Working Group points out that research on rats has shown both chemical families [phthalates and parabens] to be carcinogens. A 2004 study published in the journal Reproductive Technology linked phthalates with reproductive anomalies, and a study published that same year in the Journal of Applied Toxicology detected parabens in breast cancer tissue (Source Environmental Working Group Article: Beauty and the Beasts, April 2007).

To check up on ingredients or what is in your products visit the following website: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Green Your Summer Libations

Wine pairing is the process of matching food dishes with wine to enhance the dining experience. So if you’ve prepared a wonderfully sustainable meal for your friends and family, what do you serve for libations?



Organic wines and sulfate-free wines are a step in the right direction but often, the biggest eco-challenge with wine is not the wine at all, it's the bottle.  A bottle of wine is heavy and if it comes from far away, the weight will incur a big carbon footprint from transportation.

For many years, box wine was for communion and grandmothers only but these days the box is rising in status. Popular wineries like French Rabbit proudly box their goods. Replacing glass with tetra pack – even though tetra-pack isn’t yet recyclable in some locations – considerably lessens the carbon footprint of your party.

Wine is best grown in warm dry climates but even so, wineries are in production across North America. Judge your local wine by your own pallet and if it doesn’t suit you, investigate local microbreweries or cider alternatives, wheat and apples are better suited to colder climates. Buying locally will not only cut down on transport but also win you Ground Rule 4 or social sustainability (see Tracy's book, Your Green Family Blueprint for further details) points by supporting your regional economy.

If you do choose to go further afield for wine, you can negotiate your impact based on region of origin. A study by National Geographic found that East Coasters are better off buying from Europe and of course West Coasters need look no further than their own Napa Valley. Both East and West can enjoy the same bottle of Chilean wine which is shipped over water, as opposed to land or air, incurring a relatively smaller carbon impact. Check out this article on Treehugger for a more detailed breakdown - http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/ship-or-truck-makes-all-the-difference-in-wine-carbon-footprint.php
 
In addition to reducing the carbon-footprint of the wine you are drinking, look for wines that are organically grown and/or have a strong sustainbility framework that guides their operations. Having trouble seeing if the winery does these things from just the bottle or their website? Great excuse to send them an email or pick up the phone, ask questions and let them know these issues are of importance to you! 
 
Cheers! Prost! Skål! Salud!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

3 Strategies to Avoid Plastic

Green Article:  3 Strategies to Avoid Plastic
Plastic is a man-made compound that nature has no way of processing or 'digesting' naturally. Because of this, it exists far beyond any single human lifespan, creating an ongoing legacy for future generations to manage: it exists in our soil, in our water and its components are released into the air when it's burned or it is consumed by sea life and animals mistaking it for food. 
 
It is a compound that exists in our daily lives in the form of car parts, food packaging, storage containers, health care apparatus, household items etc. and as our systems advance for how to capture plastic in tighter technical loops so we can completely recycle and re-use it, we also must play an active role in its use in our lives. The following are some suggestions on strategies for shifting away from plastic as much as possible at the household level.

Strategy #1: Reduce and Reuse
One of the biggest culprits are sandwich bags and cling wrap for disposable plastic in our daily lives.  I do hope someone someday invents a biodegradable, green chemistry based cling wrap but until then do your best to find alternatives to using cling wrap!

Strategy #2: Substitute
One of my biggest pet peeves about plastic in the home is the disposable dinner plates, cups and cutlery used during parties. Bamboo is a great alternative: it is fast growing (sustainable) and will biodegrade in landfill or your compost.   Just remember the reality is there is no 'away'! You throw plastic in the garbage but it ends up in landfill or worse, in the waterways, and slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces but doesn't really go away.

Strategy #3: Just Say No!
We use so much plastic in the food industry and it gets trashed after a single use such as straws, Styrofoam take away containers, plastic cutlery to name a few. These single use items break down in size over time and are slowly clogging the planet's waterways with our plastic trash. Just say no to bottled water, Styrofoam take away, plastic straws and plastic cutlery!
 
Plastic is an integral part of our society so completely avoiding it is a huge challenge. Look for ways in which plastic shows up the most in your family's life and search for alternatives and apply the above strategies to begin to strategically reduce plastic use in your home!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Awards!

Wow! It's been an incredible week for me.....

Last Saturday, I was awarded the "Woman of Worth - Sustainable Living Award" for 2011. This is me with WOW founder and medical miracle, Christine Awram at the event night.

Then, my book - Your Green Family Blueprint won the following awards this past week:

2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Winner: Best E-Book
Finalist: Current Events/Social Change 

San Francisco Book Festival
Runner Up: Best "How-To" book

Green Book Festival
Honorable Mention: Best "How-To" Book

Thank you to the judges - I am so deeply honored to have my work acknowledged and celebrated!

Monday, May 9, 2011

TEDx Juan De Fuca!

Hi Everyone! I've been a bit quiet but it's only because it's been a busy few weeks!

On the last weekend of April, I spoke at TEDx Juan De Fuca in Victoria. Here's a fun preview....official photos and video coming soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Smart Green Families Telesummit Starts Today!

Sign up today if you haven't already - it's not too late. All calls are recorded and send to you if you cannot tune in live! Don't miss these amazing experts!

Conference CallSmart Green Families Telesummit: April 4th -13th, 2011

Where: global, via your telephone
Who: Amazing leaders in sustainable living and the environment, hand picked by Tracy to present their amazing expertise and knowledge for your benefit along your “going green” journey.

Experts include:
Baljit Rayat (Lotus Destiny) – Soul Purpose expert, Akashic Records Teacher and leading edge Artist
Monday, April 4th – (4pm PST/7PM EST)
Approaching the “Do it” Factor – Removing Barriers and Creating Cooperation at Home

Mike Schade (The Center for Health, Environment & Justice) – Ethisphere Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics for 2007 and PVC Campaign Coordinator
Tuesday, April 5th – (4pm PST/7PM EST)
Greening Schools to Protect Children’s Health: Eliminating Toxic PVC Plastic in Our Nation’s Schools

Alicia Voorhies (The Soft Landing) – Retired RN and expert in toxins in the home
Wednesday, April 6th – (4pm PST/7pm EST)
In Pursuit of All Things Less Toxic – Creating a Healthy Family Home

Eric Bowers (Road to Compassion) – Nonviolent Communication Trainer
Thursday, April 7 (4pm PST/7PM EST)
Nonviolent Communication: Sustaining Family Connection

Lindsay Mardson (Little Bambino) – Mom-prenuer and expert in eco-friendly fashion for families
Friday, April 8th – (4pm PST/7pm EST)
Why You Should Buy Organic Clothing for Your Baby

Guy Dauncey (Earth Future) – Author of The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming
Monday, April 11th – (4pm PST/7pm EST)
Climate Change Solutions and Energy Efficiency At Home


Erin Minter (Minter Gardens) – Master gardeners and British Columbia’s go-to experts on gardening
Tuesday, April 12 -  (4pm PST/7pm EST)
‘Growing Up’- From Vertical Gardening to Getting The Kids in the Garden

Jamie Oei & friend (Advanced Geothermal Systems Inc) – Experts in home geothermal energy systems
Wednesday, April 13 -  (4pm PST/7pm EST)
Demystifying Geothermal Energy


How much: It’s F*R*E*E
Register here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hooking a good catch!

Did you know that we are in danger of losing ALL of our fish stocks before the end of the century?  Could you imagine your grandchildren reading a Dr.Seuss book and asking what those funny things were on the page?  Imagine a world without fishing (I can hear all the men gasp!) As a family greening up your act, choosing a good fish is equal to choosing a green fish!  Green in this sense meaning the health of the fish population is safe and not currently being overharvested.

I have been eating a lot of fish as part of my nutritional challenge for March and find myself having conversations with people who are surprised to learn about the ways our eating habits impact the world's fish stocks. 

This is one of the fundamental ways we are continuously hurting the health of the biosphere - the biggest earth system that contains everything - the earth's surface, the atmosphere and all living systems - including YOUR FAMILY, your community and our society.  We are over-fishing some stocks of fish which means we eat them faster than they can re-populate themselves.  THIS DOESN'T MEAN WE CANNOT EAT FISH  - we just have to be wary of how fast we are doing it and taking the pressure off certain species.

At the same time we are putting pressure on the oceans through our societal actions - the results are worse water quality (killing fish), toxic algal blooms, dead zones, plastic infested patch of ocean (Pacific Garbage Gyre),  invasive exotic species, beach closures and coastal floods are increasing.  These floods are linked to the continual destruction of wetlands, reefs, mangroves and the plants and animals that filter out pollutants and protect our shorelines.

I love eating fish - I'm from British Columbia - home of the pacific salmon. I couldn't imagine life without ever having tasted one of these beautiful fish.  My dad used to take us fishing when we were kids and I have many fond memories of doing that with him.

What actions can you and your family take?  Be conscious about what kinds of fish you are eating and how they are caught. Different types of fishing methods cause greater damage to the oceans than others. REMEMBER - you CAN make a difference by VOTING WITH YOUR WALLET.

Here are some resources for you:

 The End of the Line Trailer - A recent documentary about over-fishing




Here are some great books for recipes, guidance and a really cool poster.














To your green family success!
Tracy

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Protein Power - Is the Grass Greener?

My nutrition challenge for the month of March requires a lot of protein and since I stated in my earlier post that I know being vegetarian does not work for my body, I am now faced with finding good protein sources from two perspectives: health and environment.

My choice for beef is to purchase meat from local farmers who raise their cattle on grass, antibiotic and hormone free.  Grass fed vs. corn finished (fed) beef is significantly lower in fat.

From the Frontline website of the Public Broadcasting System in the United States:
Before the second World War, all American beef was "grass-finished," meaning that cattle ate pasture grass for the duration of their lives. Today, the vast majority of cattle spend anywhere from 60-120 days in feedlots being fattened with grain before being slaughtered. Unless the consumer deliberately chooses grass-finished or "free-range" meat, the beef bought at the grocery store will be of the corn-finished variety.
Meat from a grass-fed steer has about one-half to one-third as much fat as a comparable cut from a grain-fed animal. Lower in calories, grass-fed beef is also higher in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to help reduce the risk of cancer, lower the likelihood of high blood pressure, and make people less susceptible to depression.
 Beyond the health benefits of not ingesting extra fat, hormones and antibiotics the question of the environmental impacts of grass fed vs. corn fed (finished) beef is an interesting debate. In his book, Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan states:


"If the 16 million acres now being used to grow corn to feed cattle in the United States became well-managed pasture, that would remove fourteen billion pounds carbon from the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road."

He argues the industrial vs. organic methods of raising beef in his book and clearly shows the huge global impact of industrial farming methods which include fossil fuels, artificial fertilizer, pesticides, heavy machinery, feedlots, antibiotics, and processing plants. (p.149).  

Grass farming beef (as well as chicken, turkey, eggs, rabbits and pigs - not to mention tons of different veggies) is an earth friendly method which is powered by solar power (to grow the grass) and uses synergies of other animals (and their byproducts) to "feed" other parts of the farm and create additional products. 

For example, free range chickens in the pastures  after the cows will eat grubs and larvae which cuts down on the bugs and parasites that live in cows (and often require medicine to control), their poop adds nitrogen to the soil and they produce eggs, which can be sold.  This type of maintenance of the pasture allows for a diversity of grasses, deep roots which control salinity and creates healthy, rich, fertile soil. 
(photo courtesy of dishragdiaries.com)

This is one of my favorite videos about the demise of small farms - The Meatrix

Many people argue that organic beef, grass fed protein, organic - free range eggs cost more and they are right...they do cost a little more but the benefits are clear for both your health as well as improving conditions on farms instead of degrading them.  There are strategies to help stretch your dollar though:

1. Find Community Supported Agriculture and buy in - direct from the farm to your table
2. Approach a local farm and create a buying group of friends, family or co-workers - bulk is always cheaper!

Here are some directories to help you find a local farm near you to power up on your earth friendly protein!

USA: Local Harvest http://www.localharvest.org/
Canada: Eat Wild http://www.eatwild.com/products/canadaresources.htm 
UK: Farm Shopper http://www.farmshopper.net/ 
Australia: Organic Food Directory http://www.organicfooddirectory.com.au/

To your green family success! 


Monday, February 28, 2011

My March Nutrition Challenge

For the month of March, I'm joining my training mates at my Crossfit Gym on a month long nutrition challenge. Because of this I thought I'd focus my posts in March on - you guessed it: FOOD!

I firmly believe that each of our bodies have different nutritional needs because we are each unique.  I know my body well and know that I cannot be a vegetarian. It just doesn't work for me. I was vegetarian for several years so it's a well earned conclusion.  Since I'm a sustainability advisor, I understand well that meat has a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions, water use and land uses. I also know that our consumption of seafood also impacts these areas too (as well as contributing to the overall decline of certain seafood species).

To put it simply, all of the food we eat in developed nations impacts water use, land use, and has issues associated with its growth, transport and disposal which include toxins, pesticides, agricultural practices that diminish soil quailty, top soil erosion, mono-cropping, genetically modified foods, and finally the social side: corporations vs. farmers.  There is no escaping the impacts - they are a reality.

The key is to inform and empower yourself to make better choices that reduce the impacts. Voting with your wallet is one of the most powerful things you can do!!! Informing and empowering is what I hope to help you with this month!

I haven't watched this yet but it's on the top of my list for this weekend and suggest it's a good place for all of us to start.
To your health and your green family success!
Tracy xo





Wake up, Freak Out


Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

I like this video - it's a good reminder it's not just about polar bears!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Sustainable Living Book for Families with a “how to” twist Reaches #1 on Amazon.com

Tracy Lydiatt, The Green Families Guru is excited to announce the recent success of her official book launch for her book, Your Green Family Blueprint on Amazon.com.

Ms. Lydiatt says, “On the morning of the first day of the book launch, I’m very excited to announce that my book Your Green Family Blueprint, went to #1 position in the category of Sustainable Living books on Amazon.com” 


Participating in the launch were important partners that helped rocket the book to the #1 position in the Sustainable Living books category.   Book launch partners included businesses, organizations and individuals from Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, the USA and Canada. All partners were selected because they contribute through different but complimentary facets, working towards the creation of a sustainable society and added value to families and individuals interested in greening their families.

Many of the eco-friendly, green books available currently focus on the ‘what’ to do to green your family.  They are an important part of the equation although many families are time-poor and become easily overwhelmed by so much information on going green.  Often, they tend to give up because they do not have the time to read, digest, synthesize and apply the information to their family in an easy, practical way.  Ms. Lydiatt’s book adds a new twist to the going green movement by taking the ‘what’ to do and empowering families on ‘how’ to make it work for them with easy, breezy practicality.

Your Green Family Blueprint is published by Vervante Inc. and distributed through Amazon.com
Retail Price: $21.99 USD
ISBN-10: 1450742033
ISBN-13: 978-1450742030


For more information about Your Green Family Blueprint, please visit: http://www.thegreenfamiliesguru.com/book/

To your green family success!


Monday, February 21, 2011

LAST DAY of book launch event - don't miss out on $1400 in extra goodies!

Today is the last day of the launch event for the #1 Amazon Bestseller, Your Green Family Blueprint

When you purchase the book using the link below and register your purchase by the end of day Feb 21st– you will have access to over $1400 in gifts and prizes contributed by Tracy’s book launch partners!

http://www.thegreenfamiliesguru.com/book-launch-regular/

To help alleviate ‘eco-guilt’ and provide useful strategies to guide families to easily and practically incorporate eco-friendly aspects into their lives, Tracy Lydiatt, The Green Families Guru, has created an easy to understand and fun to use guide on how to green your family.

Don’t miss out on all of the extra goodies - buy now!

Big News! Your Green Family Blueprint is a #1 Amazon bestseller in Sustainable Living Books!

I'm very excited to share the news that my book, Your Green Family Blueprint reached #1 in Sustainable Living Books category on the first day of the book launch! Thank you to everyone for your support!

If you haven't picked up your copy yet - get it by the end of the day today and collect an extra $1400 in goodies! http://www.thegreenfamiliesguru.com/book-launch-regular/

To your green family success!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't Miss Out on This!


Easily combat eco-guilt and cut through mountains of information on going green

Today, sustainability is becoming more and more mainstream but does the general public really understand what it means? Recently even Oprah and HARPO studios committed to ‘Meatless Mondays’, a global campaign to reduce the environmental footprint of eating meat.   

While climate change is just one aspect of the sustainability picture, the challenge for many families is to see the whole sustainability picture and the role they play within it. 

Many families feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available about ‘going green’ and are deeply concerned about creating a healthy, prosperous lifestyle for their children but can often become lost in the details: is it eco-friendly, non-toxic, does it contribute to climate change, how much money will it cost, what are the trade offs etc.  It is difficult to know where to start, how to get started and to truly integrate eco-friendly choices into their lives without going broke or a bit crazy in the process! 

To help alleviate ‘eco-guilt’ and provide useful strategies to guide families to easily and practically incorporate eco-friendly aspects into their lives, Tracy Lydiatt, The Green Families Guru, has created an easy to understand and fun to use guide on how to green your family and is excited to announce the launch of her new book in a massive global-cyber event: 

 “Your Green Family Blueprint” Book Launch
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ms. Lydiatt, The Green Families Guru, who is an expert in sustainability for families says, “Families tend to fall into several common traps when it comes to greening their lifestyle.  They are time-poor and become easily overwhelmed by so much information on going green.  Often, they tend to give up because they do not have the time to read, digest, synthesize and apply the information to their family in an easy, practical way.  Additionally, families tend to compare themselves with other families and become paralyzed from ‘eco-guilt’.  We want to avoid the ‘all-or-nothing’ energy because we really need positive energy and momentum to create a sustainable society.  It doesn’t need to be this way so one of my key messages is drop the comparison: every family is unique so do what works for you!”

On February 2, I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the book when my sustainability class examined transportation, toxins, food, and lifestyle through the lens of a green family with Tracy. I’ve seen a lot of people tackle “green” in myriad ways; making an environmental impact within the family is so powerfully simple and I hope that people reading this take a minute to examine their family’s environmental blueprint. Tracy is a powerful public speaker with unrelenting passion. Her book launch is timely.”  John Horn – The Daily Gumboot (http://www.thedailygumboot.ca)

The launch event ends on Sunday, February 20, 2011.  
Published by Vervante Inc. and distributed through Amazon.com
Retail Price: $21.99 USD
ISBN-10: 1450742033
ISBN-13: 978-1450742030

About Tracy Lydiatt
Tracy Lydiatt is an international expert and TEDx speaker on sustainability. In 2005, Tracy had a profound moment while working in the Arctic as a geologist that changed her career trajectory forever.  Because of this, she is among the first graduates of the award-winning Masters of Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability program at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden.  She has lived and/or worked in Canada, USA, Mexico, Argentina, Sweden, Singapore and Australia, giving her insider knowledge into what sustainability looks like for different people. She is a green families guru, sustainability advisor, author and educator passionate about empowering families while on their journey to “go green”.

For more information about YOUR GREEN FAMILY BLUEPRINT, please visit http://www.thegreenfamiliesguru.com/book-launch-regular/ or contact:

Tracy Lydiatt – B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Ph: +1 (778) 931- 0483

Monday, February 14, 2011

Featured on Vancouver's Daily Gumboot!

Shout out to Vancouver's Daily Gumboot - sending you some Valentine's Day Love!



What is The Daily Gumboot?


The Daily Gumboot is a collaborative online experience designed for people who want to learn more about building community. Or who really, really like pirates. This blog is about fresh perspectives on people, community, nature, pirates, gumboots, and gumboot-clad pirate communities in nature. We’ve got cool ideas from everywhere. And we use them to build community.

This is what they had to say about me:

My Three Favourite Things About Tracy Are…

1. Her Book Launch! This is a timely GTKYC, folks. Tracy’s book – Your Green Family Blueprint - hits the bookshelves this week. On February 2, I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the book when my sustainability class eaxmined transportation, toxins, food, and lifestyle through the lens of a green family. I’ve seen a lot of people tackle “green” in myriad ways; making an environmental impact within the family is so powerfully simple and I hope that people reading this take a minute to examine their family’s environmental blueprint.

2. Powerful Public Speaker. Tracy started her presentation with the way every good presentation starts: with a story about a cariboo in the arctic. The engaging narrative set the stage for a dynamic presentation that Tracy masterfully facilitated, weaving humour, ideas, facts, data, and a passionate sense of urgency into the talk.

3. Unrelenting Passion. Tracy really, really, really, really cares about what she does. From greening families to gluten-free pancakes you can feel her energy. And it makes the people she talks to care about Environmentally Friendly Families, too. She is an uncontainable force of intelligent positivity that I feel lucky to have connected with. And you will too when you see her speak and/or read her words.

As told by John Horn…

Friday, February 11, 2011

Easy Ways to Green Your Traditional Valentine's Day


When we think of Valentine’s Day, a romantic dinner with flowers, wine, a beautifully cooked meal and chocolates comes to mind as the typical Valentine’s Day date.  Our actions are made with good intentions although many of us do not know the full implications of how our Valentine’s Day choices impact the environment and societies– including us!

No one wants to think about the potential pesticides sprayed on their food, the green house gas emissions from transporting flowers, or the child or slave labor used to harvest cocoa beans for chocolate.  When viewing these impacts, Valentine’s Day is actually quite depressing!

Don’t despair!  There are many choices available that don’t have such a huge impact on the environment and humans. It’s easy to impress your loved ones even more this year and show them the extra care you took in putting a new ‘eco-friendly twist’ on your Valentine’s Day celebrations by passing your efforts and gifts through a sustainability ‘lens’.  Your mission is to look for choices that:
1.     Reduce the use of petroleum and its by-products
2.     Are non-toxic
3.     Support the health of natural systems
4.     Support fair wages and international labor standards

Here are some suggestions for you:

Romantic Dinner – whether it’s a night out or a home cooked meal, one of the best ways to incorporate sustainability into your meal planning is to find a restaurant that offers organic options or uses locally grown produce in their meals.  Check out www.localharvest.org/restaurants to search for one near you.  If you’d rather stay at home and exercise your culinary skills, focus on organic and/or locally grown foods. The benefit is you reduce your carbon footprint, are in support of local agriculture and agriculture initiatives that protect the planet and your long-term health.  If you choose to splash out on seafood, look for fish varieties that are certified by sustainable seafood initiatives like Marine Stewardship Council.   Finally, when choosing a bottle of wine, the perfect pairing for any meal is choosing a wine that is made as locally as possible to reduce the use of petroleum in its transport from the vineyard to your table.

Candle Lit Romance – Candles are perfect for setting the mood – at the dinner table, to lead up to a surprise or to relax in the bath! While the US Food and Drug Administration deem paraffin wax non-toxic, it is made from hydrocarbons (a byproduct of petroleum), a substance we need to shift away from.  As well, some candles contain chemical based fragrances and wicks with lead wires – both a big no-no from a toxicity point of view.  Your best alternatives are to look for candles made from 100% beeswax or vegetable based-wax, use cotton wicks and natural aromatherapy oils for fragrance.

Chocolates – Hmmm – many of us cannot get enough of this dark, sweet, white and dipped stuff, especially on holidays!  The sad reality of the chocolate industry is that it has a reputation as dark as the sweet treat. Slave and child labor, unfair wages to farmers and pesticides used in the growth of cocoa beans for chocolate are issues that continue to plague the chocolate industry. Recently Purdy’s Chocolates committed to sustainable cocoa farming initiatives and companies such as Divine Chocolate USA, which is 45% owned by the farmers, are great options for your chocolate gifts from a sustainability perspective.

Flowers – The classic and much loved way to express your sentiments on so many occasions are to send flowers. Although beautiful, the ugly truth is hidden from view: almost 90% of the roses sold for Valentine's Day have a huge carbon-footprint and are pesticide intense in their cultivation.  According to Justmeans.com, “In Colombia, flower-plantation workers are exposed to 127 types of pesticides and flower farms have polluted and depleted Bogota's streams and groundwater. 20% of these pesticides are illegal in Europe and America.”  If you give flowers to your loved one this year, choose an organic bouquet if possible from one of these retailers: www.organicbouquet.com, www.californiaorganicflowers.com, or flowers sold at Whole Foods, Trader Joes or on www.flowerbud.com that are “Veriflora Certified Flowers”.

Typically these ‘alternative’ choices do not cost more than traditional ones and the added benefit is to know your choices are contributing to maintaining your health and the health of the environment. I couldn’t think of a better gift to receive on Valentine’s Day!
  
To your green family success!
Tracy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Latest Green Pet Peeve

One of my biggest pet peeves is to find really great, healthy, organic, non-toxic products that come in non-recyclable wrapping!  I would hope that these companies would take a broader systems view instead of making an awesome product and then put it in packaging that cannot be recycled!  ARGH!

Lately, my biggest beef has been with toothpaste.


One of my favorite toothpaste brands comes in a metal toothpaste tube but I have no idea how/if it can be recycled!? So I went on a recon trip to the local health food store and took a closer look at the tooth paste tubes.  I would say less than 40% of the tubes I found were recyclable...actually, that's being generous!  Why? We need a mind-shift in packaging!

Now that I'm back in Canada, I cannot get my favorite one from Australia which came in a recyclable container: 

I will be on the prowl for natural toothpaste that comes in a recyclable container as soon as mine runs out! Any suggestions are welcome!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Official "Global-Cyber" Book Launch: FEB 16th!

We are gearing up for the official global-cyber book launch of “Your Green Family Blueprint” on FEB 16th, 2011!!!

What does “global-cyber launch” mean? It’s certainly not your traditional book launch!

I am excited to have joyfully partnered with over 20 individuals, organisations and businesses for the book launch.  They are doing incredible work in their areas in Ireland, The Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada – work she believes is of high value to families interested in sustainable living.

On the day of the launch, they will all work together to share the news about the launch – literally across the globe. That means people just like you will learn about my book, have a collection of amazing “go-to” resources all on one page and upon purchasing the book, have access to gifts and prizes totaling over $1,400!

On the day of the launch – a new page will open on this website, displaying the partners, the prizes and gifts they have contributed to the launch (all value for you!) as well as the many amazing promotional partners.  Mark it on your calendar to make sure to come back on the 16th!

Sign up to the right for the book free preview and receive a reminder of the event all for free! Or check http://www.thegreenfamiliesguru.com on Feb 16th!

See you soon!  To your green family success!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sustainable Seafood warms my heart!

I was on Commercial Drive in Vancouver doing some shopping the other day and was on the look out for a seafood store. One of the cool things about "The Drive" is instead of having one store with everything, there are shops which specialise in one thing: the butcher, bakery, green grocer for fruits and veggies, the deli for yummy sandwich and pizza meats, the seafood store etc etc.

So I stumbled onto a shop that sold seafood and walked in hoping that at minimum, they would have wild salmon so I could buy some for dinner. To my amazement and excitement, the ENTIRE store sold seafood that is in compliance with The Vancouver Aquarium's "Ocean Wise" seafood guidelines!




YES!!!!!!!

I walked out with a beautiful, fresh sockeye salmon fillet and was so excited to have found a store that matches my ethos for seafood. No more searching. No more awkward questions. No more disappointment.

I will be back! Thanks so much guys!

T-Minus 16 days until my book launches!!!

I'm getting really excited to launch my book in print!

Your Green Family Blueprint 
Global Launch  
FEB 16th, 2011!!!

We have been working hard to gather together some amazing partners to be part of this launch! Book launch partners are in Ireland, The Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, United States of America and Canada! 

On the 16th of Feb until the 20th of Feb, when you purchase my book, you'll also receive added gifts from my amazing partners to help you in many facets of your "green" journey!  Mark it on your calendar as the perfect "late" Valentines Day present to warm the little green hearts of your family!

To your green family success!
Tracy xo

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nominated for Twitter's Shorty Awards in Green Category!

Hi everyone,

I have been nominated for Twitter's Shorty Awards in the Green category (thank you to Ecofabulous for the initial nomination - please vote for them too because they are fabulous!).

If my tweets resonate with you, please vote for me before the end of January!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Keep Your Green New Year's Resolution - Jump Start Greening Your Family Once and For All!

Join us for a Webinar on February 3: Jump Start Greening Your Family Once and For All!

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/646247040



Isn’t it time that you learned how to green your family without going broke or crazy? Do you want to stop procrastinating and be joyfully and gently supported while you create a healthy family and a green family plan that works for you?

Join me for my F.R.E.E teleseminar on Thursday, Feb 3rd at 4pm Pacific/7pm Eastern, “Jump Start Greening Your Family Once and For All!” so that you can learn how to begin to easily cut through the mountains of information about “going green” and have instant results.

This is a must-have formula for anyone who is truly ready to create a high-quality future for their family and maximize their time!

You’ll also learn about my exciting, life-changing Your Green Family Blueprint “Leader of the Pack” Program designed for the “self-starter” who’s a high achiever and wants to be ahead of the game with how they have greened up their family.  Imagine instantly breaking through the time/knowledge barrier with a sustainability expert on your side!

Be sure to tune in live as I am giving away over $150 in tuition right on the call!

If you are really ready to permanently shift from overwhelm, fear and confusion about “going green”, be sure to register today to reserve your seat for this exclusive event filled with many gems of wisdom for you to apply right away!

I don’t want you to miss out on this opportunity as there are limited bridge lines available, so be sure to register today so that you can instantly reserve your spot on this high-content, high-value call.

To your green family success!
Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru