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22 Quotes about Peace, Social Justice, and Sustainable Development

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At the core of the 17 Global Goals, there is a call to action.  One that asks individuals to actively participate in sustainable development across the globe.  Whether you work at the local or global level; in health care, environmental restoration, or finance, it doesn’t matter – everyone has a role to play. Goal #16 ~ Promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies The targets behind this goal are vast and require fundamental change to regulatory systems and dated ideologies.  Success lies in empowering global citizens to take action locally, offering inspiration and ideas to the community at large. Are you looking to get inspired? Here is a small collection of thought provoking quotes by some of the greatest leaders our world has known.  Enjoy! "Peace comes from within. Do not…
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Wetlands Key to Success of Global Goals

Wetlands Key to Success of Global Goals

All Posts, Featured, Sustainable Development Goals
Did you know that once upon a time wetlands were considered wastelands? A lot has changed since then.  Today, they hold high importance globally and are protected under international treaty to ensure wise use for sustainable development. Having just celebrated World Wetlands Day, I thought this would be a great topic to showcase the interconnection of Global Goal 14: Life Below Water & Global Goal 15: Life on Land. “A Wetland is a meeting area where Water and Land become one" ~ Romain About Wetlands As you might know or have guessed, they are plots of land saturated in water.  Land submerged under water is either seasonal or year round.  Wetlands are identified by plants adaptable to saturated soil conditions caused by water at or near the surface. The soil type…
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Duty of Care to Act on Climate Change

Duty of Care to Act on Climate Change

All Posts, Featured, Sustainable Development Goals
Have you ever wondered what you can do to help solve the issues surrounding climate change? The impacts of a warming planet and changing climate have been affecting the state of our environment for decades.  Scientist came forward long ago alongside organizations and individuals standing up for the Earth, urging all citizens to recognize the results of the industrial era, and to change business as usual. While there was much growth and prosperity over the past 200 years, it was far too often at the expense of the Earth and its people. ‘We Are the First Generation that Can End Poverty, the Last that Can End Climate Change.” ~Ban Ki-moon Solutions come from the ground up – the grassroots movements across the globe.  It is up to the individual to…
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Investing in Sustainable Consumption

Investing in Sustainable Consumption

All Posts, Fair Trade, Featured, Sustainable Development Goals, Triple Bottom Line
Do you want to make sustainable solutions part of your daily life?  Good news! When it comes to the way you buy and sell, you can. A big part of the plan to achieve the Global Goals – otherwise known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – lies in changing the way you do business.  Even if you don’t own a business, as a customer, you can be part of the solution. While business is about making a profit, entrepreneurs and shoppers alike are quickly realizing that operations can go beyond dollars and cents.  In following a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework, businesses can empower people, help the environment, and make money while doing it.  By looking at sustainability from a social, environmental, and financial point of view, many opportunities…
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How Sustainable Development Can Be Achieved from Home

How Sustainable Development Can Be Achieved from Home

All Posts, Featured, Sustainable Development Goals
Do you believe that a city can be designed to allow for sustainable development? Last month I made a big move.  I relocated from a little city to a small town about 30 km away.  Though the distance between my old and new home isn’t much, I feel like I am in a whole new world. There are many things that make a city or town great.  Throughout history, people have flocked to certain spaces in search of a better quality of life.  Often people relocate for work or family.  Others relocate to embrace that sense of belonging to a community that better suits their style. City Living or Small Town? As a traveler, I have seen many cities and towns.  I learned along the way that cities are not…
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How to Think and Act Globally for the Greater Good

How to Think and Act Globally for the Greater Good

Featured, Sustainable Development Goals
Do you think and act globally in your local community?  Years ago, I caught on to the practice of fair trade.  Knowing deep down free trade is not fair for many global citizens, I looked for a different way to do business. It was through the fair trade movement that I was able to breathe new life into Simply Sustainable, and connect with communities near and far. Back in 2010 when I was making a major shift, I invested in a small batch of handicrafts from a neighbouring community in Guatemala, where I was living at the time. I packed a duffle bag full of goodies, and set forth for the North where I would exhibit them alongside my handmade jewelry at fairs and festivals during summer months. For me, it…
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Still Wondering Why to Invest in Sustainability?

Still Wondering Why to Invest in Sustainability?

All Posts, Featured, Sustainable Development Goals
Have you ever noticed that people who promote sustainability are optimistic?   Perhaps it's because we know that the true benefits of sustainability go beyond going green, they also make economic sense. Speak to a skeptic, they might tell you it costs too much. Either way you look at it, environmental initiatives across the globe may cost you today, but tomorrow’s payoff is well worth the investment. We’ve reached Sustainable Development (SDGs) Goal 9 in a series of blogs that I’ve been writing to break down the targets, and share my insight. Steps to Sustainable Development Going through each topic has been a great exercise for me, and I hope it’s been beneficial for you as well. Together we are taking a closer look at what it really takes to make…
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Why a Restorative Economy Is Worth Investing In

Why a Restorative Economy Is Worth Investing In

All Posts, Sustainable Development Goals
Have you ever read work by an author that moves you?  It was a chapter in a book edited by Darian Rodriguez Heyman that first opened my eyes and mind to Paul Hawken. "Welcome to the Movement" His words jumped off the page, and I breezed through the chapter.  I needed to learn more, so I looked him up online and found that he is a seasoned writer with a variety of books covering the sweet spot where ecology meets economy. It’s been over ten years that I have felt a calling to bridge the gap between the environmental and economic world.  Hawken has been doing it for much longer.  What an inspiration.  Through his books, I found a teacher.  He introduced the term restorative economy to me for the…
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Energy: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Energy: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

All Posts, Sustainable Development Goals
Is it fair to say that the root of sustainable development is sustainable energy? Much like the industrial revolution was heavily brought forth by burning coal, the restorative revolution can be fueled by clean and renewable energy. An electric car is only as good as the energy used to charge it.  If we are charging an electric car with fossil fuel generated power, how much further ahead are we? This is one of the many questions that come to mind when I think about how our energy system can shift from reliance on fossil fuels. Alternative Technology Goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals is Affordable and Clean Energy, and while there are only 5 targets that directly relate to this goal – achieving them will make a world of…
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Why World Water Day Becomes Twice as Important Each Year

Why World Water Day Becomes Twice as Important Each Year

All Posts, Sustainable Development Goals
Do you practice water conservation at home?  Once you become mindful of water use, you begin to notice how easy it is to save clean water from being wasted.  Here we are – a third of the way through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) set out by the UN – Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. Water is a basic human right, accessible, clean water, is a birth right that has been taken from the reach of far too many citizens and living creatures on this planet.  As water becomes more polluted across the globe, the injustices associated with it become crystal clear.  A portion of the population has taken this resource for granted; a growing population is deprived of it. While I did learn about water conservation growing up from…
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Why it’s Vital to Celebrate Women Every Day

Why it’s Vital to Celebrate Women Every Day

All Posts, Sustainable Development Goals
Do you celebrate International Women's Day on March 8th every year? Perhaps it is Global Goal 5: Gender Equality that offers one of the biggest opportunities for this to happen.  The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets are interconnected, and there is a lot of potential for cross pollination. If we want to move forward together, we can’t leave half of the population behind.  If we neglect to embrace and empower females across the globe, we are at risk of doing just that.  March 8th brings the issue of equality to the forefront, and gives the globe a chance to celebrate the progress to date. Gender equality isn’t a two sided issue though.  It is very profound, and we need to look at a situation as a whole rather than…
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We Can Learn a Lesson Anywhere & Find a Classroom Everywhere

We Can Learn a Lesson Anywhere & Find a Classroom Everywhere

All Posts, Sustainable Development Goals
Do you believe you can learn a lesson beyond a classroom limited by four walls?   I see education as a two way street with many stops along the journey.  What I put into it, I get out of it.  Over the years I have found different ways to learn, many of them outside the four walls of an academic institution. That being said, I am extremely grateful for the two decades I spent in school at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary level.  Those twenty years were a blessing, and I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity. Of course the reality is that despite the fact that we can learn anywhere, there is still a large part of our global population that does not have the means or the…
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Is Health and Well-Being the Heartbeat of the SDG’s?

Is Health and Well-Being the Heartbeat of the SDG’s?

All Posts, Sustainable Development Goals
Have you ever considered the importance of your own health and well-being when it comes to achieving sustainable development? If you’re wondering where the question comes from, take a look at Global Goal 3 on the UN website.  Once you’re on the page, you will notice that there is an area that reads “Click to See Targets”.  That will take you to a list of 13 specified targets that have been identified as required to meet the overall goal. In total, the SDGs layout 169 targets to cover the 17 Goals.  We’re not talking identical numbers here, but it’s not really a stretch to compare the collective SDGs to the human body which is made up of organs and systems that keep us alive and well. Awareness of Interconnection The above comparison…
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Working Towards Global Goal 2: Zero Hunger

Working Towards Global Goal 2: Zero Hunger

All Posts, Sustainable Development Goals
Do you think it's possible to feed our world's population with the global resources we have? Global Goal 2: Zero Hunger.  That’s a big one, but not impossible.  The problem has been identified: “…extreme hunger and malnutrition remains a huge barrier to development in many countries.”  Perhaps we can even edit that to state that it is a huge barrier for development in every community since people all over the world are negatively affected by hunger. Seeking Solutions A child that does not eat properly faces health problems; much like an adult that consumes more processed food than vegetables is not in a healthy state. I could go on for a long while about the problems – because let’s face it – there are plenty.  Instead I prefer to focus on…
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Looking to Build Bridges and Narrow Gaps in Your Community?

Looking to Build Bridges and Narrow Gaps in Your Community?

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Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop presented by a group in Dunnville.  The day was facilitated by Terie Dreussi Smith, one of the co-authors of the book Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities. Light bulbs went off throughout her presentation and dots were connecting between what I read in Joseph Chilton Pearce’s Biology of Transcendence and what is being taught through the AhaProcess. The synchronicity is enhanced even further in how it relates so closely to something that I wrote over the holidays.  While getting ready for a family dinner, I had an overwhelming urge to write.  It went on for 6 pages.  The ideas kept flowing and I just kept scribbling.  Below is a little glimpse of what's been on my mind. When we are…
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Sustainability Sweet Spot

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Ever tried to fit a square peg into a round hole?  How about a round peg into a square hole?  I have, and the results are revealing. You see, I always believed myself to be a round peg.  And after researching the term a little bit deeper, it's all so clear. The origins of the idiom are attributed to the 19th-century British philosopher and cleric Sydney Smith who uses the word “misfit” to define the peg.  Of course that makes sense – mis-fit. Another part of the example I found quite interesting – “trying to combine two things that do not belong or fit together”.  That one triggered an interesting memory. The Big Question It was fourth year of university, and as I was standing in front of the students in my…
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My vision was blurry, but my purpose is clear

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At the end of 2014 I posted How’s your Vision? I think it’s safe for me to admit that mine was a bit blurry. I wrote that post on December 31st, 2014. I was going full force ahead, wind at my back, embracing a new way for a Simply Sustainable life. That was of course until I went to Cuba in January and had to explain what exactly I did for a living. It wasn’t hard due to a language barrier, my Spanish skills are quite good. It was due to the fact that I really didn’t know where I was going or exactly how I would get there. I knew that I wanted to share and connect; to teach and learn, but I didn't fully know how I would do…
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Romancing the Revolution

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It’s easier to assume a status quo style of life if you’ve never been exposed to the alternative, faced with the opportunity to go in a different direction. For me, doing things differently has pretty much been second nature.  It’s a blessing and a curse to take the road less traveled – near every single time.  Yet, when I’m at the crossroads, the paved way doesn’t quite convince me. My leap of faith therefore leads me off the beaten track, with each new adventure an experience to be had.  Over the years this has taught me lessons, brought me joy, anxiety, fear, love, hate, relief, amongst other sentiments.  Although, above all, it kept me believing – in me. Once I hit my twenties, life was starting to bloom.  A lot…
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How’s your Vision?

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The more people I talk with, the more apparent it becomes.  There is a shift in the workforce around my region where artists and entrepreneurs are choosing an autonomous career path.  With good reason – becoming a sole proprietor has many benefits and is an amazing learning experience.  However, for as many good reasons as there are to go independent, there are definitely a few things that need to be considered before handing in a letter of resignation or investing another year into your existing business. Before making a list of pros and cons, you should clearly understand what it is you're doing and why.  In past blogs I talked about finding purpose in what you do, and now I am suggesting you ask yourself why are you doing it? …
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Purchase with Purpose

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There is a fine line between conservation and hoarding.  Seeing value in so many things can lead to not throwing items away.  To be completely honest – despite being a Virgo – I am not very tidy.  My older Sister (by only 22 months) has been a role model to me ever since I can remember.  She has been there for me in one way or another for decades and I am so grateful for our commitment to each other.  Luckily one of her expertise and hobbies is Clutter Crackdown and I was her guinea pig. It took a long time for what she was saying to sink in, however over the years her voice (echoed by my mother’s) finally makes sense.  I am finding liberation and enjoyment in getting…
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Shifting to a Simply Sustainable Lifestyle

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Have you ever noticed how good it feels to be outside, connected with Nature? While living in Venezuela, I recognized that the closer to the Earth I am, the better I feel. It was 2009 and under fortunate circumstances, I traveled through much of this beautiful country. rich in natural beauty and gorgeous landscapes. In the State of Merida, something lead me to the mountain town of Tabay.  An encounter with a local business man brought me even further into the mountains to a small neighbourhood called El Guamal.   Farm Life The first month my travel partner and I rented the main house on a farm. The following month, we sublet the much smaller house on the same property that was previously abandoned.  A couple from Argentina restored the space,…
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How do you take your Coffee?

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Recently a retailer asked me a very important question: what brand of Fair Trade Coffee do you recommend? As an avid coffee drinker and inspired to walk the talk, I brew an assortment of Fair Trade, Direct Trade & Beyond Fair Trade coffees. Off the top of my head I rhymed off a few that she could check out – however the question still sits on my mind. Where we spend our money has such a big impact on shaping the world – I wanted to ensure that I was directing her to the best bag of coffee based on her ethical values. What is the ideal coffee for a retailer looking to offer positive products? It was a great question and ever since she asked (about a month ago),…
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Satisfy your Soul

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September is an exciting month. With my birthday at the beginning, followed by an annual trip to Ottawa for Folkfest shortly after, I’ve got a lot to celebrate. Truthfully – I feel as though I grow into myself a little bit more each year. Looking at books about birthdays, reading into my astrological sign over the years & learning about my Mayan sign while traveling have all led me to conclude that I am a lot like they describe. Sure, there are some generalizations that can apply to many – but at the core – I can really relate to what is written. It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I went off course, turned into someone else to please others, but luckily – I found my…
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Waste not, want not

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Everybody wants to get ahead. Well, what it we got ahead of ourselves? Why not slow it down? Take a decade just to catch up with the information and developments. We are revolutionizing products every second. The new & improved are coming out faster than we can keep up with. As a result, having the latest trends is indebting us to jobs we do not love and a lifestyle we cannot sustain. Technology is wonderful, in so many ways. The example of me being able to share my blog online rather than mail it out randomly to the world is simply incredible and efficient. The amount of lives that have been saved with new development of old practices is astonishing. Transportation, education, agriculture, entertainment, and many other parts of our…
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Are we building to last?

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I am so grateful that I was inspired to use the name Simply Sustainable for my grassroots movement. Its origin being from a “consulting firm” I created while studying Environmental Management as a student at Niagara College in 2006. When I decided to transition into artistry a couple of years later, the name stuck. It reminds me of two key components, a two item checklist: Am I keeping it Simple? Am I making it Sustainable? [caption id="attachment_104" align="aligncenter" width="453"] Tulum, Mexico[/caption] Define simple? I have come to know and satisfy this term by building a grassroots movement using basic ingredients: time, patience, hard work, devotion, love, creativity, positive energy, traditional techniques, etc.   It has not been easy, but I have done my best to keep it simple. Sustainability? This term…
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What Makes a City Sustainable?

What Makes a City Sustainable?

All Posts, Fair Trade, Triple Bottom Line
Do you live in a city that practices sustainable development? For me, the desire to live in a truly sustainable city inspired me to become a student again. Luckily this time around technology offers a unique opportunity to learn from great teachers located around the world for free. The online course taught by Prof Jeffrey Sachs offered through coursera.org was eye opening. Sustainable Development based on the key principles of Social Inclusion, Environmental Sustainability, & Economic Development is a great objective for the road ahead.  The course concluded last week leaving students with an abundance of knowledge and tools to help us work together at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations. Conscious Consumption Being an entrepreneur teaches me many things that I never would have learned in…
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Is Passion Sustainable?

Is Passion Sustainable?

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Over the past five years I have dedicated my energy to growing and developing a different kind of business.  One that is driven by passion.  I did not fit well into the corporate culture of the companies I once worked for.  Creating my own culture through a personal grassroots movement has been my greatest success. [caption id="attachment_76" align="aligncenter" width="266"] Simply Sustainable at Mariposa Folk Festival[/caption] Growing pains will always be part of the growth process – however solid ground in the overall mission helps immensely.  Defining my mission statement from the very beginning was a bit tricky - but setting out the foundation for what I wanted to achieve helped me walk towards it .  When I first started making jewelry – I was enjoying the art behind it.  I…
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I’m so ready…for a change!

I’m so ready…for a change!

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Have you ever experienced something that changed your life one month to the next? It was the summer of 2003 when I had the opportunity to see two of my favorite bands play live.  Pearl Jam live in Montreal, followed by Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals live in Ottawa.  A pivotal time in my life – that was one Canada Day Weekend I would never forget. A month later we experienced a black out in much of Ontario & the East Coast.  Although my home town of Niagara Falls was not affected, I was living in Ottawa and we were without power for over 30 hours.  It was an eye opener for so many people who take constant running electricity for granted. We were forced to slow down, go…
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The Limitless Nature of Fair Trade

The Limitless Nature of Fair Trade

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to run a good and ethical business? Growing up I knew the importance of being good to others & being ethical, however when it came to business I really only had one comprehension.  Business is about making money.  It is about high returns for the shareholders. Throughout university, much of my understanding remained the same until one day when I was assigned a term project on the topic of Environmental Auditing.  It became clear to me that business goes far beyond dollars and cents, and even further beyond shareholders and boardrooms. Sustainable Shift One thing led to another and I shifted from thinking of the Shareholders to better understanding and working with the Stakeholders.  For those of you new to this, here’s a…
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