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Dandelion days: What will you have to drink?

in Environment/Opinion by

It was a warm spring day at our food co-op as we ran the annual plant exchange. Gardeners with overflowing yards had dropped off excess plants and cuttings, and now those in need of greenery were choosing which plants they would like to take home.

“Excuse me,” said a hesitant voice, “I’m looking for some help with dandelions.” It was one of the neighbours from down the block. “I really need to find a way to deal with all the dandelions in my grass.”

My colleague and I shared a glance. “Well,” I said, “You could always leave them. They are one of the earliest sources of pollen for bees, and they are fun for the kids to pick. You could also eat their leaves.”

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Make new habits easier: Simple ways to care for the Earth

in Environment/Opinion by

What are the things that make change possible? We might decide to eat better, or get more exercise, or care for the environment. But then we find ourselves late, so we grab some fast food, or we have too much work to do so we skip the walk, or we would like to buy local, but we can’t really afford it. The truth is, it is hard to change our habits, no matter how important we think such changes could be.

One way to make changes and stick to them, is to make it easier to do things the new way. Here is an example from my house. We wanted to cut back on our energy demand. And nothing takes energy like a clothes dryer. So, we chose not to have a dryer.

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Man versus Squirrel: The epic battles

in Community by
A squirrel on a large bin of "squirrel-proof" bird feeder parts. Photo: Jamie Morris.

Any gardener or homeowner with an attic or an interest in feeding birds will tell you it’s a daunting instance of Man vs. Nature.

An unequal contest, really. On one side, you have a creature capable of scrambling both up and down vertical surfaces (its back feet can rotate 180 degrees), tight-roping across clotheslines or fences and sliding headfirst down wires, a creature that can launch into the air, cling tenaciously, and use its dexterous claws and sharp teeth to have its way.

Above all, you have a highly-motivated creature with a single-minded determination to sniff out, seize and literally squirrel away food, and a will to squeeze its way into cozy nesting spots.

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