This week, we are happy to have our friends at the Elora Environment Centre share their thoughts on energy conservation. This guest post is from Emily Araujo.
Consumers have many technological solutions available to them in order to reduce their electricity consumption. Technologies such as LEDs, Energy Star appliances and smart thermostats are readily available and promise consumers higher efficiency and ultimately lower consumption rates. One emerging problem with high efficiency technologies is the mental rationalization that I can use it more because it uses less, ultimately wasting more efficiently.
Light bulbs are a common efficiency upgrade for consumers. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent light bulb to a 12 watt LED light bulb can decrease your electricity consumption by ¾. LED bulbs are more efficient but they are not the only component to decrease your electricity bill. Altering habits to take advantage of time-of-use pricing in conjunction with new technologies will save you from the wasting more efficiently trap. Practices such as running your clothes dryer at off-peak times (Monday to Friday 7pm – 7am & all day Saturday and Sunday) can cut your electricity costs almost in half. Alternatively, air drying your clothes outside in the summer and inside in the winter can eliminate your laundry drying costs entirely!
Eliminating consumption waste and increasing efficiency are key factors in keeping bills low. The staff at the Elora Environment Centre are energy conservation leaders in the Centre Wellington community and can assist you in reducing your electricity costs and becoming more energy efficient. We offer a house and small business-specific service that will look at how, when and where you are using electricity. The Take Charge! program gives you real data and realistic options so you can Take Charge of your bills. To find out how you can become energy efficient and start saving money contact the Elora Environment Centre at 519-846-0841 or by email: email@example.com.
Emily Araujo presently works for the Elora Environment Centre coordinating conservation programs in communities across southern Ontario. She has experience working in municipal and provincial governments, as well as in the utility industry. Her educational background is in Environmental Conservation, Geography and Geographic Information Systems. Emily personal interests, besides saving the environment… include running, backcountry canoeing & camping and traveling.
At the beginning of October, Transition Guelph was proud to co-present a wonderful event with The Guelph Outdoor School that brought Jon Young to Guelph to speak on the topic of forming deeper connections with nature, mentorship, and what we can do as a community to promote these topics. We had a wonderful turn out at Centennial High School that brought together different members of our community not only from Guelph but surrounding areas as well.
The event opened with a number of organizations setting up tables and sharing our goals and ideals with like-minded groups and individuals. There was a wide array of groups represented, including Transition Guelph. When I arrived at the event, I was instantly taken by the energy in the room. I had an opportunity to both share information about TG, and meet with other organizations that were there as well. Everyone I spoke with had a positive message to share and left me feeling encouraged and inspired.
When the talk began, we were greeted with a series of opening presentations, welcomes, and songs where everyone was encouraged to participate. From the songs, poems, and presentations, the room again reflected that high energy that I had felt in the gathering when I first arrived. Looking around at the room, everyone was smiling, enjoying participating, and connected with the energy in the room.
Once the songs were done and everyone was buzzing with excitement, Jon Young took the stage to share his story of how he discovered his path to developing the 8 Shields method of mentoring and inspiring others to form a deeper connection with nature. He spoke about his history and journey, and at the same time provided insight into how he views mentorship as tool to educate and inform. He shared different strategies and insights on how to get everyone, young and old, to join in on his approach. Personally, I found his story is both inspiring and encouraging, as I’m sure everyone else in the audience felt as well.
While I had to leave a bit early and missed the end of his talk, Jon Young’s presentation left me feeling positive as I look at my own life as a nature enthusiast and a mother. I felt inspired to use his approach in my own development as well as the development of my young son. I also felt inspired by the strong sense of community and positive energy that was present throughout this event. It is always wonderful to see such a strong, committed group of people come together to share their perspectives and ideals on how we can create a stronger community with engaged members.
Over the last few months, we’ve been collecting feedback from folks who are interested in volunteering with Transition Guelph. For those of you who have filled out our online survey, thanks for sharing your thoughts! If you haven’t filled the survey out yet, it only takes a minute of your time
One of the pieces of feedback that we’ve heard the most is that people don’t know how to get involved with TG. They ask “what are the volunteer opportunities that you currently have?“. Up until recently, I was reluctant to answer that question because our volunteers are our members, board, founders, program coordinators – you name it. Transition Guelph is a completely volunteer run organization, which means that you come to us and tell us what you want to do – not the other way around!
That all being said – we recognize that getting involved with a new organization can be overwhelming, and having a few tasks or to do items rather than diving in head first can be a less daunting task! With that in mind, Jess and I have been working on creating a few volunteer roles within Transition Guelph to help with administrative tasks, communications, and event planning. If you’ve been looking for a way to get involved directly with Transition Guelph, but didn’t know what you wanted to do, now is the time!
Check out our volunteer opportunities here, and share with friends! If you have any questions about the roles and responsibilities, you can always reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, if you feel you have another gift to give to Transition Guelph, we’d love to hear from you!
Next week, there is an amazing event happening in Guelph that I am so excited for and I wanted to share with everyone. Transition Guelph is happy to announce that The Guelph Outdoor School is bringing Jon Young to Guelph to give a talk on mentorship, forming deeper connections with nature, and how we can become a more resilience community.
If you’ve never heard of Jon before, you’re in for quite a treat. Jon is the founder of the 8 Shields Institute, an organization that focuses on the mentorship model to create healthy and vibrant natural leaders and nature-based communities around the world. The methodology really helps building a nature connection on both an individual and community level, which is something that we are all about at Transition Guelph! As per their website, ““The 8 Shields Model is a proprietary road-map applied to educational strategies, personal development, community building, organizational processes and more…”
This talk will be a wonderful opportunity to hear about how we can better connect with our children, and with the world around us. If you are a:
- parent looking to find new ways to engage your children
- teacher looking for new methods of encouraging students
- friend looking to find better ways to communicate with others
- person looking to discover better ways of connecting with nature
then this talk is for you! Tickets are available now at a sliding scale fee. You can learn more about this amazing event and buy tickets online at www.eventbrite.ca/e/an-evening-with-jon-young-on-mentoring-deep-nature-connection-resilence-tickets-12995667391. There will also be a number of community partners tabling at the event, so come out and learn more about organizations (like Transition Guelph!) that are embracing Jon Young’s ideals and methods in our community.
We’ll see you there!
March 2015 may seem like a long way off, but we are already thinking about it at Transition Guelph. With March brings another amazing week of events in our annual Resilience Festival, and we are already getting things in gear! Our first planning meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, September 17th and we have a few venues on hold for the main day events! We also have many of the volunteer coordinator roles filled and many others who are ready to lend a hand.
Why do we love the Resilience Festival so much? Well, it’s really an annual celebration of Transition Guelph. It’s a place where all our working groups, projects, and volunteers can come together to share stories, honour what has been accomplished over the year, and reflect on the events that have strengthened local community resiliency in our town. We can also think about the new friends that we have made!
This year we have a LOT to celebrate! With new governance restructuring, some great local food initiatives, and continued success with established projects, the volunteers of Transition Guelph are engaging more and more people around the city and bringing more people into the TG family.
What would you like to celebrate this year at the Resilience Festival? We are putting out an official call for submissions for events! Do you have a workshop that you’d love to run? Would you like to present an important topic as a speaker? Past festivals have seen shared storytelling evenings, presentations on building strategies, community gathers to talk about our inner transition, and more. We will be looking for events to host throughout the week as well as on our main day event.
Please fill out the form below to send us your ideas!
For those who might not have heard of the Transition Healthcare working group, I thought you might be interested in learning a bit more about what this wonderful group is all about. Often, healthcare is associated with going to your doctor, treating illness, or even dealing with an injury. The Transition Healthcare Resilience group takes a bit of a different approach, however, looking at preventative healthcare and the impact of the current healthcare system on environmental and social problems that we face today.
Exploring Healthcare Through Food
Food is a hot topic in both environmental and wellness discussions around the world. Increasingly around the world, we see food that is full of toxic chemicals through pesticides, herbicides, and fertizilers. We also see genetic modification of our food crops that hasn’t been well tested to understand the long term effects on the human system. We are surrounded by processed “fast foods” that are ideal for busy people on the go, but horrible for our bodies.
Transition Healthcare explores the world of food looking at organic, non-gmo, whole options that are healthy for our bodies and good for our wellbeing.
Alternatives to Medication and Drugs
In today’s healthcare systems, we often turn to medication as a solution to problems and maybe don’t stop to think of it’s effects on our planet or the possibility of exploring less harmful options to keeping our bodies healthy. Transition Healthcare seeks to look at herbal, homeopathic, and other alternative healthcare as possible solutions for treating ailments and also promoting preventative healthcare as a viable option. Also, how do healthy lifestyles including diet and nutrition play into those solutions? The group seeks to promote awareness among complementary or alternative healthcare providers as a contribution to healing the environment as we help people to heal.
If you are interested in learning more, you can read about the Transition Healthcare Resilience group on our website here, or get in touch with us at email@example.com. Are you passionate about alternative healthcare? The group has some big things planned for the future and would love to have you on board!
Canoeing has always been a personal passion of mine. I spent most of my summers as a youth up north on the lakes of Algonquin Park, and it is there, I believe, that I first felt my passion for nature and the earth.
So when Mike Barber told me that he though Transition Guelph should host a canoe race, I was totally game.
After weeks of planning with a dedicated team of volunteers who were all committed to making this event a success, we gathered together last Sunday for the inaugural Transition Guelph Canoe Race! The weather cooperated very nicely and what started as a cloudy morning soon turned to sunny skies and warmer temperatures – perfect for spending a day with friends and canoes.
All in all, we had a great turn out for the race. Bike It Guelph helped out by delivering canoes for the race on a bike trailer – a great sustainable way to get canoes across land! There were three different divisions planned for the day: a family (non-competitive) race, a competitive race, and a kayak race. We started the first family race at 10:30 with 4 canoes in the first heat. The route was planned from Gordon Street bridge travelling west down the Speed River toward the McCrae Bridge, around the bridge and back to Gordon Street. We had two more heats of family racers all making remarkably good time! Next up was the competitive race and we had a number of spectators standing on the bridge shouting and cheering the racers as they sped down the (appropriately named) Speed River, trying to beat the other canoes. Finally, we had a father-daughter kayak race to bring the day of racing to a close! In total, there were over 25 people who raced as well as 20 or so spectators who spent the day helping out, cheering on the paddlers, and enjoying the day.
We also had some great vendors, Northern Cookstoves and Wiseway Stoves and come set up shop for the day, and The Command Post serving great sandwiches and ice cream. Kids and adults alike we entertained by Andrew the Abolsutely Normal and we had some amazing mini paddles to paint lovingly crafted by The Children’s Art Factory.
A huge thank-you to everyone who came out to share the day, to everyone who lent hands to help out with the day, and especially those that donated prizes for the winners!
Transition Guelph has always had a unique perspective on the collaborative model. The Transition model itself relies on collaborative efforts, and often asks the question: “Is someone else already doing this? Great! Let’s work with them.” When we thought about how we could share this perspective with the wider community, we realized that our organization could also have a lot to learn from others around us, and we decided to have an Open Space event to explore the issues of moving from a competitive model to a collaborative model in our community. The question we asked at the Open Space was:
“How do we move from competition to collaboration to promote the local good that is happening in Guelph?”
We had some amazing discussions that covered topics from practical applications to dealing with emotions like fear to making sure the right people are at the table. The information below is a summary of the discussions that happened at the Open Space; we hope that you will find it useful when looking towards future collaborations in your life, community, or business.
If you know someone who is working in a collaborative model and would benefit from our suggestions, please share this document with them! We would also love your feedback – do you have something to add to our list? A revision to consider? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think.
Our friends over at Appleseed Collective had a busy two weeks gleaning berries, berries, and more berries! Here’s a quick update from Denise on their success:
To date, we have gleaned 314 quarts of strawberries from Marcy’s Berries – thank you so much to the Marcy family, who has donated their share back to the Collective, for distribution.
Other than the volunteers’ shares, these strawberries have been donated to food access distribution sites in Guelph: Chalmers Community Services Centre, Royal City Church Life Centre Agape Café, the Julien Project, the Welcome In Drop-In Centre, and Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis.
We have delivered large quantities to the Flamborough Food Bank -which is local to the berry farm- and the Salvation Army Food Bank in Guelph. We have also frozen several quarts of strawberries, to be used at a later date in a jam-making workshop.
[With apologies to “That’s Entertainment” (Weller, 1980)]
Knees red from squishing ripe ones,
Belly sore from too much sampling,
Snails and thistles, i just swallowed ten fruit flies,
But I have to smile, ’cause i’m giving it all away
That’s berry gleaning,
That’s berry gleaning
Waking up at 6 am on a cool morning,
Out in the field and breathing in positude,
The bull is snorting in a nearby yard, but
I’m not missing the tranquility of solitude
That’s berry gleaning,
That’s berry gleaning
On a cold, dreary day in February of 2014 I was sitting at the window wondering what to do when I grow up. How to take what I knew and what I didn’t know (yet) to make positive change in my life and perhaps someone else’s, too.
At first, the only thing I could see was the reflection in the window. A quiet room, a sleeping cat, a dusty table, a mature (?) woman ready for change. But as myeyes adjusted to the light, I began to see the garden. Dirty snow, wet mud, a few frozen weeds – not very inspiring, that’s for sure!
My partner and I rent this house from the Holody family. The first generation of Holodys who came from Poland made their home here. The matriarch of the family, Barbara Holody, tended the large garden and fed her family and neighbours from the harvest – mostly potatoes. When she passed, her son, Joseph, (owner of Holody Electro-plating and past owner of the Guelph Platers) continued the tradition by keeping the garden planted. Each year, for the past four years that we have lived here, we have had a small plot of our own. Mostly for fun because Joe kept us and everyone else in his circle supplied with tomatoes, peppers, and mostly potatoes!
As the cat moved to another spot to continue his nap, I began to think about the garden in a different way. What if it became a place where people could plant, tend and harvest their own food? The snow that began to fall tried to squash my excitement but it didn’t succeed. What if our landlords let me turn their garden into an intentional community garden? An email request came back very quickly – “Yes, go right ahead!” Oh my, a February garden dream is quite different than an actual garden. How would I make this dream become a reality all by myself?
Enter Transition Guelph’s Backyard Share (Volunteer) Program Coordinator, Mike Barber. Mike came to visit us on a cool, sunny day in late March. We stood outside and talked about the garden (I am good at talking…not as good at soil preparation or rottotilling). Fortunately, Mike is a doer. He co-dreams, sees the steps necessary to make it happen…and then gets to work. By the end of April, the garden was nourished and tilled, plots were marked. We had neighbours and other Guelphites, as well as our nieces from Toronto, anxious to begin planting. But, the weather wasn’t cooperating yet. One day in early May, as I sat at the window, a few February snow flakes floated by. That day I went to a Seed Share and we selected seeds with mittened hands! Peas went into the ground…little, tender tomato plants waited on the window sill…waiting, waiting.
And suddenly it is a warm and breezy June day and I am sitting outside, on the other side of the window, at a donated patio set near the community garden (we also have donated chairs, a kids’ table, and other gifts). Each plot has a different “flavour” much like the gardeners that tend them. We are getting to know each other as we share the soil that is beginning to grow our food. We talk about what is growing well, share garden tools and use water from the rain barrels. The children that come to garden create beautiful sidewalk art and blow bubbles (to keep the rabbits away). Sometimes there is lemonade and munchies on the table…sometimes a parrot-like bird (Sophie) and a beloved gardener’s pet (yes, Ted, this is you!) visit. Strangers walk by and stop to chat about what we are doing…next time they walk by they are no longer strangers. Often, I am working inside or not at home when gardeners come by. It is so much fun to come back to the garden and see changes – new plantings, transplants, a pot of seedlings on the back porch with a note saying, “Please share these”.
In the center of our garden there is a designated community plot. Extra seed and seedlings have been planted here and the produce will go to the Welcome In Drop In Centre, the Guelph Food Bank and any other place where fresh food is needed. Another plot has become the pumpkin patch (with cantaloupes and squash, too) mostly planted by our kids. And our latest gardener has tucked some hot pepper plants in available spots.
On June 29, 2014 from 2:00 – 4:00pm, one of our gardeners is offering a Garden Stepping Stone free workshop here. Some materials will be provided and small stones, shells, beads, rubber gloves, etc. are welcome. And, we are having a Potluck Picnic on July 11, 2014 at 6:00pm. Everyone who is interested in gardening, community, and eating food is welcome to come to one or both of these events! Please contact me at email@example.com for more information and/or to reserve your place.
Dreams are amazing things, aren’t they? Who knew that my desire to grow up in a new and better way, on a cold day just four months ago, would bring such change to my life? A community garden… a garden community… a dream that became a reality… didn’t happen on its own… it is taking an entire community (garden) to help me grow up.
Appreciation is extended to the Holody family and the wonderful people at Transition Guelph (especially Mike and his supportive family), who are teaching me about inter-dependence and resilience. And to my dream-partner, Elizabeth, who went from saying, “This is your idea, I don’t want anything to do with it!”, to researching and building trellises so that we may grow vertical zucchini and other squash. Thank you!
Surrey Street West Community Garden