December 3, 2020 News, Sustainability Tips

You have heard it before; this holiday season is going to be different. With a lot more time being spent at home, less visiting with our loved ones and, in general, everything being dialed back, now is an opportunity to simplify some of our regular practices and slow things down.

Using the five senses, we want to suggest some things that you can do this holiday to have a gentler impact on the earth, to increase the positive effect you have in your pocket of the world, and to feel good during the holiday season.


…to these podcasts

What on Earth with Laura Lynch
CBC’s Laura Lynch discusses all topics climate and addresses subjects you may be concerned about, may want to learn more about, or that you’ve possibly never hear before. The podcast just launched this July with episodes coming out weekly.  If you want to know more about climate change in Canada, but don’t know where to begin, or are overwhelmed with the amount of resources out there, this is a great place to start.

How to Save a Planet by Gimlet Media  
How to Save a Planet’s two co-hosts focus on climate and the politics surrounding climate issues, particularly in the Unites States. The podcast contains interesting, catching, and educational content about sustainability issues that we all can connect to.


…a documentary

A Life on our Planet with David Attenborough 
A Life on our Planet is David Attenborough’s witness statement, as he reflects on a lifetime of experience observing, celebrating, and sharing the wonders of the creatures that call earth their home.  Attenborough speaks to the first-hand changes that he has seen, as the earth’s climate has warmed. This film is appropriate to watch with older children.

…the natural world in your neighbourhood  
It’s important and advised for our mental and physical well-being to try to get outside every single day. Getting outside and connecting with plants, wilderness, and animals all have powerfully positive effects on our health and well-being and can increase our connectedness to and care for the natural world.

UBC’s Walking Map shows you walking routes and beautiful destinations that you can explore throughout UBC campus.



There’s nothing quite like getting cozy on the sofa with a big blanket and our comfiest sweater. Why not take advantage of getting to pile on the layers and the coziness by turning down the temperature?

You can save 10% on your energy costs, just by turning the temperature down by 1 degree!

Find more ways to save energy while staying at home here.

…good about shopping locally  

Okay no, it’s not one of the five senses, but it sure does feel good to support our local businesses and economy! Local businesses need our support more than ever right now. So, if you’re going out shopping this year, try to do so at small, independent businesses. And if you’re concerned about going in-person, many independent businesses are now offering online shopping options!

December 2 – 8 is buy local week in British Columbia! Learn more about supporting your community by supporting local businesses here.


…meals made within the earth’s capacity (it’s not as hard as you think)

The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health is the first scientific review of its kind that outlines what constitutes a healthy diet from a sustainable food system, and which actions can support and accelerate the transformation of our food system.

“Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth” (EAT-Lancet Commission 2019)

We should all be aiming for meals that are over 50% vegetables. If your plate doesn’t typically look like that, why not try making a shift? Remember – when it comes to a sustainable diet, it’s mostly about moderation, not complete elimination!


…Your food waste bin before it gets emptied…. JUST KIDDING

Don’t forget to put all your food waste into your green bin. You can keep your green bin from getting too smelly, by placing your food scraps in the freezer until you dispose of them.

A reminder that there are so many ways to give food scraps a second life before throwing them in the green bin! So much nutrition, invested time, resources, money, as well as deliciousness is thrown away when we toss out use-able food. If you haven’t already, try out these great ways to make use of items you have and to stretch your dollar.

  1. Make a ‘use what we have’ meal with all the items in your fridge and pantry that need using up. A simple pasta is often a great solution to bring a bunch of seemingly mis-matched items together.
  2. Save all your scraps (carrot tops, onion skins, potato peelings), and of course any leftover turkey or ham bones for a delicious soup stock.
  3. If you don’t know what to do with leftovers or food that may not last much longer – putting it in the freezer can give you more time to think about it.

Learn more about reducing food waste and saving money here.

Meditate on the Five Senses

Mindfulness meditation, a form of meditation that pays attention to the present moment, is known for its many psychological benefits, including decreased stress and anxiety. Mindfulness can be practiced throughout everyday life, and if you are looking to find a moment of calmness, a great place to start is outdoors

  1. Firstly, take a seat or stand in a quiet (or perhaps not so quiet) place
    [Take a deep breath]
  2. Observe and identify four things that you can see
    [Take a deep breath]
  3. Observe and identify three things that you can hear
    [Take a deep breath]
  4. Observe and identify two things that you can smell
    [Take a deep breath]
  5. Observe and identify one thing that you can taste
    [Take the biggest breath you’ve taken all day]

This meditation can be done alone and in silence or can be done with others and is a lot of fun to practice with children!

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