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Kaeleigh Phillips

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How should parents deal with child bullying?

Parenting challenges you in unexpected ways. Recently, my daughter confessed to me that a boy is bullying her at school for being vegan. This little kindergartener is a constant source of sorrow for the other kids, teasing and kicking other children at will. My daughter has mostly managed to escape his abuse, but not since he discovered she was vegan.

As a parent, how do I deal with this little bully? I can’t directly confront the child myself as I would if someone was teasing or kicking me, but I also cannot just let it go. Bullying is one of the most devastating things kids can go through in school, and it can have traumatizing effects if not dealt with properly. It does fall to parents to manage it and ensure that all the appropriate parties are aware they have a bully in their midst.

This leads to step number one; telling the teacher and/or daycare. Having open communication with the school and daycare teachers will help the problem. Most times, they simply aren’t aware that a child is being bullied in the first place. If the teacher seems dismissive of the problem, don’t be afraid to go to the principal. Your child matters and putting up a big stink about bullying is necessary to protect kids from harm.

If the bullying continues despite informing teachers or daycare instructors, the next logical thing to do would be contact the child’s parents. This can be difficult to do because parents want to think best of their children, and it is hard to admit when your child isn’t acting appropriately. At girl guides recently, another little girl tried to exclude my daughter from playing in a group of girls and luckily, my daughter held her own and played with another child. I could tell she was upset though and decided to step in after the fact. Being friends with the little girl’s mom, I decided to approach her about it. I made sure to not accuse or blame in any way, and having a friendly rapport with her helped a lot. It is important to build relationships with other parents, so that if there is a problem, it is much easier to speak to the other parent openly and honestly. If this isn’t possible or the parents aren’t receptive to being friendly, contacting them in the most polite and calm way possible is the best way to get the results you want.

Other suggestions include preparing your child against bullies through open communication. After both incidences, my daughter and I had a thorough discussion about how bullying is bad and is often a result of the ‘bully’ being insecure and sad. We also discuss how important it is to walk away from a bully, to be brave, and to tell the teacher. Practicing what to say in case a bully teases her helps her feel more prepared. Now, when someone teases her for being vegan, she knows and understands from our discussions that it is because she is different, but in a good way. Bullies often pick on kids that are vulnerable or different. I try to help her understand that being different is great and she should feel empowered for being known as the token vegan at school.

For younger kids, the book “Have you filled a bucket today? A guide to daily happiness for kids” is a great read that helps promote good behaviour towards others. The story explains that everyone has a bucket and filling other people’s buckets with love and kindness will make you happy. Alternatively, if you are mean and selfish, or you take from people’s buckets, then will be unhappy. It is very simple and helps kids relate better to the abstract explanations of emotions.

Bullying is a common problem that kids and parents are forced to deal with on a regular basis, and being prepared will help. Overall, I try to give my child as many compliments a day as I can to help boost her self-esteem. I try to not stick to compliments solely based on appearance, but compliment her intelligence and skills as well. A child that feels better about themselves can be better armed against bullies, and I want her to feel protected and loved.

What are your solutions to dealing with bullying as a parent? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

Are shipping containers the future of affordable housing?

Building a home takes time and effort, a considerable issue considering North America is experiencing an affordable housing crisis. But, a non-profit in Columbus, Ohio might’ve discovered a possible solution— shipping containers.

Cargominium, as the project has been dubbed, is a three storey-building made out of shipping containers that is being constructed by non-profit Nothing into Something Real Estate. The housing development is being built as affordable housing and will include 25 apartments.

The building consists of fifty-four shipping containers that are stacked together. Each apartment has two bedrooms and will be accessible from an exterior stairways. Before the containers were shipped to Columbus, windows and doors were cut into the steel and then, upon arrival, the containers are placed on top of each other on site. The containers will have stucco siding to make it look like a regular apartment complex and the steel container will be well hidden once complete.

Shipping containers as homes are growing in popularity because they are cheaper to use than lumber or other building materials. They are durable, versatile and are upcycled, a process that takes used products and creates products of better quality for environmental use. Deforestation from housing development is a crucial environmental problem and using shipping containers saves wood, and other building materials used in framing houses. Building with shipping containers comes with its own set of issues, including the difficulty of getting the container up to building code in regards to insulation and air circulation. But, the perks tend to outweigh those complications. For example, the flat roofs can easily be used for a green roof garden and solar panels. This gives an added environmental bonus and possible energy reproduction to the shipping container homes.

Oneesan Container Housing Project. Photo from the Atira Women’s Resource Society.

Canadian companies are jumping on board as well, providing shipping container options for affordable housing in Vancouver and other clients in Western Canada. Edmonton-based company, Honomobo, builds prefabricated affordable housing shipping container homes and has received more than 12,000 inquiries from 74 countries for more homes. The Atira Women’s Resource Society in Vancouver also built a successful affordable multi-dwelling affordable housing development known as Oneesan, for vulnerable women aged 55 and over in 2013.

Private homeowners are also hopping on the trend, with local restaurant owner, Carl Cassell, recently using a shipping container to extend his Queen St. home. Development Company, Wonder Inc, is another Hamilton-based company designing and building a house completely made of shipping containers for writer and broadcaster, Geoffrey Young who has worked on international developments and has a passion for urban design and sustainability.

Shipping containers are not a permanent solution to affordable housing, but they are a good temporary one. They can be built quickly and provide immediate shelter for people who are desperate to find a home. However, municipalities that use shipping containers as a form of affordable housing must not rely on them as long-lasting, but using this building material will give city officials more time to find a better solution. Creative resolutions are the best way to solve the affordable housing crisis, and shipping containers are an inspiring start.

How to expand your email campaigns and event planning

Never underestimate the power of communication.

At an intimate learning workshop series at the Centre for Social Innovation, communications professionals from various non-profits, including Sierra Club of Canada, Community Environmental Alliance and Scouts Canada, gathered to learn from the best. The workshop, “Supercharging Your Purpose”, offered important tips on how to gain support and donations to succeed in the world of non-profits. The workshop was run by Second Revolution Communications, a communications company that leads workshops in conjunction with the Sustainability Network, a non-profit that provides learning networks to non-profits across Canada. The workshops run about three times per year.

Over the course of two days, non-profits were invited to learn about strategic planning, designing a better brand, event planning, and email campaigns from speakers Brad Pearson, Creative Director of Second Revolution Communications, and Keith Treffry, Director of Strategy at Second Revolution Communications. Both speakers come from an extensive background in the environmental non-profit sector. Previously Treffry was the Director of Communications for Earth Day Canada, a non-profit that has been around for over 25 years. Pearson is a graphic designer by trade, and previously worked for Greenpeace.

Women’s Post had the opportunity to attend the event planning and email campaigns workshops and left with valuable takeaways on how to plan for success in the world of non-profit.

Event Planning

“The biggest challenge in event planning is creating a unique event that will resonate strongly with your supporters,” Treffry says. “There are so many variables in events, you could have the best event semantically, but screw up by charging too much for tickets. Create a unique niche and separate yourself from your competition.”

When planning an event, begin by creating a steering committee. Researching finances, potential partnerships for the event, timing, competition, and venues is critical to a successful event. It can be dangerous to jump the gun and start planning before all these details are considered. The second step is to define the budget and consider important things like food, speakers, A/V, marketing and insurance. Don’t forget to developing a theme and brand for the event that can be used on social media.

Only after all of those factors are taken into consideration can you choose the venue. Make sure to ask about indoor/outdoor, A/V capacity, food and beverage options (if you are using their catering), size, and location. From there, implement your communications plan, which includes event materials, an Eventbrite or other ticketing system, a website, and signage for the event. Be sure to focus on getting speakers, deciding on catering or food options, and venue décor.

On the day of event, be sure to have a run sheet that lays out A/V needs for speakers or panelists along with any required images needed throughout the event. Don’t forget to make sure your sponsors are front and centre. Pearson recommends to obtain presentations from speakers in advance, noting that it can be difficult, but will make the event much smoother.

Both speakers focus on different aspects of the most integral elements on the day of the event:

Treffry: “Execution of the event is essential. Make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and knows what to do and when. Make sure they stick to the script.“

Pearson: “I focus more on A/V aspects of the event. At larger events, I’ll be in the sound booth coordinating with the presentations. My background is in design, but I’ve enough multimedia experience to be reasonably efficient. You learn how to wear multiple hats.”

Finally, after the event is complete, don’t forget to debrief with the team. Engaging with the people who contributed to running the event will make future events even more successful. Communication is key!

Email Campaigns

Emailing campaigns continue to be an important part of communications and marketing for non-profits. Though various social media outlets can appear to be more effective, emails are still an essential form of engagement for online communication. Pearson says that people have three times as many emails as other social media accounts and 56 per cent of people check their email first when they wake up and last before they go to bed, more so than other social media networks.

When building a subscriber list for emails, provide a banner and button on the website that will engage people to click on it. Providing click-bait such as a fun phrase or compelling image will draw people to subscribe. When asking for information, keep it simple as well. Simply ask for an email and provide an option for people to give additional information such as gender or city to build a better idea of the demographics your website is reaching.

Be sure to test different times, various subject headers, and different images in email campaigns to gauge success with your audience. Try using videos as well. Using video or other multimedia storytelling will raise email engagement by about 35 per cent. Be sure to focus on who you are audience is. Pearson pointed out that 80 per cent of people who have stopped opening emails feel it has become irrelevant. Engaging an interested audience is imperative to the success of an email campaign.

There are key challenges that remain to email campaigning, but there are solutions. “It is a difficult process. You can’t buy lists anymore because you need explicit consent,” Pearson says. “It isn’t so much about the size of your list as compared to the quality of your engagement. Make sure not to miss an opportunity. Testing different variables is also important and improves engagement rates. It is about long-strategy vs. short-term panic.”

Communications is key to creating relationships with supporters when working in the non-profit sector. Using events to network and engage with people will help create lasting partnerships and loyalty. Likewise, email campaigning can foster an online relationship that could further the success of a given cause. Most importantly, focus on the purpose for your non-profit and you won’t lose your way.

Oscars’ best picture win will reflect what society stands for today

Films often reflect societal views; confronting current issues and using the artistic power of the lens to capture history. Watching someone perform on film brings out various elements of the human condition and can hold incredible sway over the viewer. Thus, to celebrate such artistic feats, the Oscars emerged as one of the most highly viewed awards shows of the year.

In the last few years, the Oscars have been criticized for favouring films with ‘white’ actors, even producing a popular hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. This year, the nominations strayed from the ‘white’s-only’ club to include several strong contenders with leading roles for people of colour. Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins, is a film that follows a young gay man through his childhood, teen years, and adulthood, and touches on various issues that affect the African American community in the United States today. This film is a front-runner to win Best Picture, with seven other nominations as well. Another nominated film with leading roles for people of colour is Fences, directed by Denzel Washington, is a film that explores the intergenerational trauma of racism and a father’s inability to help his son succeed because of his own failed success. The third film that touches on African American themes is Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi, and is based on the true story of a group of African American women that worked for NASA and helped the first space mission launch in the 1960s.

La La Land, a musical directed by Damien Chazelle, is nominated for 14 awards and many expect this film to win best picture. The musical focuses on Hollywood and the struggles that come with stardom. The musical score in this film happens to be phenomenal. Lion, by Garth Davis, arguably has one of the most unique storylines and is based on the true story of a boy adopted from India who used google earth to find his family after he was lost as a child. The tear-jerker of the year is Manchester by the Sea, directed by Kenneth Lonergan, that explores how losing one’s children can destroy you as a person.

Many critics believe that La La Land will win Best Picture because a) it is a fantastic film, b) has won several other awards already and c) was well-received by the academy. A rising sentiment is being whispered among film buffs though that Moonlight will take the crown. Since President Donald Trump has come into power, there has been a growing protest movement in Hollywood that opposes his racist, xenophobic and otherwise extremist right-wing ideologies. A new unified movement in the film community is rising up against the racist and islamophobic reign of terror that has overtaken the United States. Due to the societal convictions of the progressive left, Moonlight should win — also because it is a wonderfully touching film that deserves the recognition.

Though La La Land captures the heart of film and music and has beautiful cinematographic references, Moonlight represents the United States as it currently stands today. Jenkins’ manages to take the struggles of being black in America today and turns it into an art piece. This film offers an opportunity for a person of any ethnicity, age, or religion to step into the role of being a young, gay, African American boy, and it is when the leading character Chiron pauses in silence, that you can feel years of black history and oppression being played out one scene at a time.

No matter what, this year’s Oscar win for best picture will undoubtedly be representative of what Hollywood cares really about — whether that be ignoring reality and embracing the sublime in La La Land or facing the visceral reality of how society has failed people of colour in America in Moonlight. Tune in Sunday, Feb. 26th at 8:30 E.S.T. to find out.

Canadians join conservative party to sway leadership vote

Watching extreme-right conservative party candidates like Kevin O’Leary and Kellie Leitch gain popularity in the conservative party is frightening, and a lot of people feel helpless to prevent such an extremist conservative leader from gaining power. At a time in which our neighbours south of the border are leaning to the right, promoting xenophobia and racism among other things, it would be devastating if Canada followed suit. There has to be a way to stop the conservatives from electing a far-right leader — and a few Canadians have found one.

Instead of sitting idly by, many concerned left-leaning and liberal citizens have taken matters into their own hands by joining the conservative party, only to take part in the vote for their next party leader in May. These left-leaning citizens are being dubbed ‘imposters’ by the Conservative party for doing so, but Canadians are desperate to prevent an extreme right-winger from gaining control of any party in federal politics.

For only 15 dollars, a Canadian can join the party, as long as they are older than 14 years old and then take part in the internal party vote for the next conservative leader. The only other criteria to join the conservative movement is to accept the 22 principles of the conservative party, which are relatively moderate and democratic in nature. Examples of the principles include fiscal economic responsibility and accepting all Canadians, regardless of religion and ethnicity.

So, how does joining the Conservative party just to vote in a leader have an impact exactly?

Joining in order to vote in a more progressive leader could sway the vote substantially because of the type of voting system used in this type of election — a preferential ballot system. This means that if there is no clear majority winner, the voter indicates reference to each of the candidates listed on the ballot, and then the preferences are counted together until the winner is determined. If people are joining the conservative party simply to cast a vote for the leader, this system of voting preference could substantially change whoever the potential leader could be.

Joining a party to affect leadership is an unusual approach to democracy, but is a credible way to affect change to the right-wing political party in Canada. Kevin O’Leary is one particular leader who has little history in politics and extreme-right views, begging the question: ‘who does that remind you of?’. Kellie Leitch is another concerning candidate — woman who is pushing a xenophobic and racist agenda under the guise of “Canadian values.” She has argued for a ‘barbaric cultural practices’ RCMP tip line that has been criticized as islamophobic and is an ardent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump. Maxime Bernier is another strong candidate due to his long history in Canadian politics, but continues a long-held conservative tradition of being bland and never thinking outside of the box. He would most likely continue the work of former conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

With left-leaning citizens joining the conservative party in order to vote, it may be possible to get a more moderate candidate like Michael Chong into the position of the leader. Chong believes in imposing a carbon tax and doesn’t stray to the far-right in his policy-making. He may be a better choice for a conservative party leader, and wouldn’t lead Canada into extreme-right rhetoric that the United States in currently experiencing.

Having an extreme right-wing leader at the helm of the conservative party could be extremely damaging for Canada. The global sentiment is currently swaying towards xenophobic, nationalist and racist ideologies that are out-dated and downright dangerous. As Canadians, we need to ensure that we do not end up in the same place as our neighbours in the U.S. Though joining the conservative party to sway the vote may be extreme, protecting true Canadian values, and not the kind of ‘Canadian values’ that Leitch is referencing, is essential.

Ultimately, you decide what kind of country you want to live in. It is up to all of us, and as a Canadian mother, I know I do not want my daughter to grow up in a country built on right-wing extremist islamophobia and hate.

Celebrating Women: Amy Symington

There are many reasons why people choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle — whether its for ethical reasons or to inspire a healthy lifestyle — but avoiding meat and dairy may have other perks, including preventing chronic disease. Nutritionist, vegan chef, professor, and owner of Amelia Eats, Amy Symington, focuses on teaching individuals how dietary choices can actually impact overall health and contribute to saving lives.

Symington is a multi-faceted woman actively involved in the vegan health community. She is very warm and easy to approach and is intelligent in a non-assuming way. Symington started her career as a vegan chef seven years ago and now teaches nutrition and culinary classes at George Brown College. “There is a stigma to vegan food being not flavourful,” Symington says. “The other chefs try it and they are shocked at how good it is. I like to focus on converting people to a plant-based diet through food.”

Alongside teaching, Symington runs a business called Amelia Eats that does catering, nutritional consulting, and creates recipes for various publications and businesses. She provides vegan nutrition expertise through her website and will also provide deluxe vegan catering dinners at request.

Symington’s interests go beyond simple cooking. She is researching how plant-based fare can help people who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. “My mom had breast cancer. During her treatment, I focused on plant-based foods and nutrition,” Symington says. “During my mother’s treatment, I found there wasn’t an option for people with cancer to be provided with a nutritionist or dietician. It was more like an assembly line with pills. There is no tender love and care in our system when it comes to cancer. There are wonderful doctors and nurses, but when to nutrition there is a gap. Processed red meats in particular, sausage, and bacon is directly linked to an increased risk of cancer and also breast cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a statement that shook people last year.”

After learning more about these risks, Symington began a vegan supper club program on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, and provides social and emotional support to cancer survivors. The program involves preparing and cooking vegan fare for cancer patients and their families twice a week. “Gilda’s program focuses on cancer survivors. There are 50 different cancer care affiliates in North America and the vegan supper club programming is very popular,” Symington says. “People were very skeptical at first and would jokingly ask for steak instead, but they came around to the vegan meal and now they love it. It is all about winning people over with really flavourful food.” She focuses on a menu with fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. “They are most nutrient dense foods out there with high fibre, healthy fats and high antioxidants. Antioxidants fight off ‘free radicals’, osteoporosis, and diabetes and help with chronic disease prevention in general.”

Symington’s mom focused more on a vegetarian diet when she was in treatment, and her doctor became concerned if this was the best choice for her health. This later inspired Symington to start a community guide about how plant-based diets can positively influence good nutrition if you have cancer. It is proven that fruits and vegetables are filled with phytochemicals, fibre, and health promoting nutrients and tend to be healthier than meat and dairy products. As an expert nutritionist, Symington is creating a plant-based guide to cancer nutrition for people who would like to prevent cancer, those going through treatment, and those who are in recovery from treatment. Symington received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) award to create the guide and this will help fund the project. “There will be three components, including a literature review on what to consume for cancer prevention, then large quantity recipes focusing on foods mentioned, and the third part will focus on how to run your own supper club programming,” Symington says. “The students at George Brown are helping create recipes and then we test the recipe at Gilda’s on Tuesdays.”

Along with her husband, Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, the couple plan to raise their son as a vegan.  “Generally. babies are vegan. You exclusively breast feed them, which is recommended. The first things that are recommended are cereals and fruits and vegetables. From there, use calcium-fortified tofu, lentils, and whole grains to get your complete proteins,” Symington says. “As a parent, you need to be informed about specific nutrients including vitamin D, DHA, probiotics, B12, iron, and calcium.”

When Symington isn’t working, she enjoys cooking on her own time and making delicious vegan food. Her guilty pleasure sounds absolutely delicious: “My death row meal is a good burrito or taco equipped with avocado and sweet potato with tempeh, and turmeric or tempeh tacos, always with hot sauce.” When she isn’t working, She also loves running and soccer, and is currently reading “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford.

Symington is leading the way in disease prevention with a compassionate approach to food and health. She is inspiring and her knowledge about vegan health foods gives people vital information about living a healthier lifestyle. Check out Symington’s recipes through Amelia Eats and if you get a chance, enjoy one of her vegan meals.

How to look sexy in rainy weather

I love watching the world slowly wake up again after a long winter. However, with the snow melting and the sun rising, a new element is introduced into our daily lives. Yes, I’m talking about rain, slush, and more rain. Is this something you are ready for?  Instead of succumbing to the rainy weather, there are ways to dress for it, be prepared, and still look great.

Kate Spade Trench Coat, $320, Hudson’s Bay.

A lightweight trench coat

A waterproof trench coat will protect all of your clothes and it is versatile for cooler and warmer weather. If you purchase a light-weight trench, you can layer under it or dress lighter depending on the temperature outside. Trench coats are also flattering and fit where as a typical raincoat can end up looking quite boxy. Trench coats can be quite affordable second-hand or online, or you can opt for a pricier option to use for years to come.

 

Leopard Rain Bonnet

Patterned Rain Bonnet

A problem all women experience in rainy weather is their hair getting frizzy from the water and if you find umbrellas incredibly annoying, keeping hair dry is a problem.  Instead, use a waterproof rain bonnet to make a unique fashion statement and keep your hair dry. There are bonnets that have patterns on them as well such as leopard spots, which is a sassy addition to a great outfit.

Patagonia Torrentshell, $129.

Patagonia Torrentshell

The Patagonia Torrentshell ($129) is an affordable raincoat that looks great and is versatile for city commuting and outdoor activities such as hiking. This jacket is also made out of 100 per cent recyclable nylon material collected from post-industrial waste fiber and yarn collected from a spinning factory. It is also made from discarded industrial fishing nets and all parts of the jacket can be recycled. It is affordable and protects the planet, a double win!

Lock and Love Faux Leather Women’s Jacket, $50, Amazon.

Pleather Jacket 

Another great rain jacket is a pleather jacket. Avoid leather because wearing animal skin is honestly out of fashion, but pleather is a great way to look amazing and it is waterproof! Pleather jackets are also cheaper than real leather and are easier to find. A nice bomber jacket for your nights on the town looks sexy with a pair of great rain boots and you won’t be soaking wet at the bar. Longer pleather jackets look great too, and can be roomier to have layers on underneath.

Pashmina/light scarf

Pashmina Scarf

It is too warm for a wool scarf and if it gets wet, it will take a long time to dry. Instead go for a pashmina that is lighter and will still keep your neck warm. If you decide to choose a bold colour or pattern, it will also contrast the dreary weather as well.

Another important addition to a rainy outfit is great boots to pull the whole outfit together. Check out Women’s Post Editor-in-Chief Katherine DeClerq’s great tips on which boots to wear this wet season. Making sure your outfit is waterproof and looks sexy will make you feel prepared, warm, and fashionable. 

Best environmental books to read right now

One of the best ways to educate yourself about environmentalism is to read as often as possible. There are many talented writers who are experts in their field and able to provide detailed accounts about various environmental issues while still making them interesting to the reader. Knowledge is one of our greatest weapons, an integral tool to tackling, and understanding, the world’s problems.

Here are a few recommended books about issues in the environment that will leave you determined to save the planet:

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Silent Spring is a ground-breaking historical environmental read that was written by scientist Rachel Carson in 1962. The book followed several lawsuits in the United States about the effects of DDT, chlordane, dieldrin and other non-banned substances and their effects on humans and wildlife. It caused an uproar and 10 years later, led to DDT being outlawed in the country. The success of creating protectionist environmental law saved several species including bald eagles and hummingbirds. Carson is an acclaimed author as well due to the fact that though the content of the novel is heavy, it still reads as a well-written novel.

Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach

Animal Rights: the Abolitionist Approach by Gary L. Francione and Anna E. Charlton

This book discusses the six key principles of the animal rights abolitionist movement, which is centred around the idea that owning animals as property is inherently wrong and only serves to make the public feel better about using animals. It also emphasizes that veganism is the only way to be a real animal rights activist. Gary L. Francione and Anna E. Charlton are both celebrated animal rights lawyers and have led the way in bringing animal rights law education to the forefront in training lawyers the legal means to rights for animals. Francione was the first person to bring animal rights law to academia in the United States in 1989.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walden is a poetic account written by Henry David Thoreau that describes his deep love of nature. It was written over a period of two years, two months, and two days in 1854 and is an account of Thoreau’s spiritual, and transcendent journey of living in nature and solitude. Thoreau’s descriptions of nature have been used time and time again in environmental movements because of their absolute beauty and clarity. He does an amazing job at helping people understand why humans need and rely on nature.

Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy.

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

 Melanie Joy brings an important novel about the reasons why people have certain animals as companions and other animals are used as property in various ways. By understanding the societal implications of doing so, it helps people understand why these differences are inconsequential and driven by immoral factors.

Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet by Todd Wilkinson

 Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet by Todd Wilkinson

 Ted Turner is a talented environmental journalist who has written for almost every major environmental publication in North America. Wilkinson has written a biography of Turner, and leads the reader through the life of the media master. Turner ending up marrying Jane Fonda and also tried to repopulate over 2 million acres of property with bison and prairie dogs.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

There is a possibility that trees can communicate with each other, care for the saplings that are borne from their roots, and help their sick family members. Wohlleben brings that reality to life through the imaginative and eye-opening exploration of the life behind trees. This book will change the way you look at trees forever.

What are your favourite environmental novels? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below!

 

Looking natural: tips on how to look great without make-up

I rarely wear make-up and often get comments from other women about how brave I am to show off my natural beauty — a strange sentiment if you ask me. It honestly makes me feel fabulous and free. My skin also looks better as a result. It may feel risky to go make-up-less for a week, much less a day, but it is definitely worth a try and you won’t regret it.

For many women, it’s the worry about blemishes and dark eye circles that prevents them from going oh-naturel. Women’s Post has a list of tips for you to look natural and beautiful. Put your various brushes, and sparkles aside and focus on the beautiful person that is already right in front of you.

Taking good care of your skin is the first step to illuminating your natural magnificence. Find a moisturizer that is replete with eco-ingredients like shea butter and lavender essential oil. Before applying, try making a natural scrub that will help exfoliate your skin. Combine coconut oil, brown sugar, and a dash of vanilla to make a simple brown sugar scrub. Rub it in circular motions on your face and rinse. Make sure you find out what kind of skin type you have, ranging from oily to dry. Once you understand which skin issues you need to tackle, you can address them as needed and end up with a smooth and happy face.

Eating healthy foods will also bring out your natural beauty. Fruits, vegetables and foods replete with omega 3 oils and vitamins will make your skin look healthy and full. It will also help remove dark circles under the eyes and reduce acne. Pair healthy foods with getting enough sleep and your skin and face will glow. Taking extra vitamins will make sure all proper nutrients are being absorbed into your skin. Take a vitamin e, c and collagen are good supplements to enhance natural beauty.

If your eyes are especially puffy, there are ways to decrease puffiness using natural methods. Cooled chamomile tea bags on the eyes bring down puffiness and reduce black spots. Chamomile has antioxidants that help the skin and the coolness is very calming. After you drink a cup of chamomile tea, use the tea bag to cool your eyes and try it out. Another option is cucumber slices, a well-known way to decrease puffy eyes. Simply slice them and use them on your eyes (and eat them afterwards if you want to!).

Natural beauty comes easily to women who believe in themselves. Covering up your skin with colour enhancing products is nice in moderation, but many girls rely on make-up every single day. It takes courage to have a naked face and show of your true colours. Using high-quality and natural skin creams and a healthy lifestyle will bring out your natural magnificence and ultimately shows that every woman is beautiful.

Empty houses are driving up Toronto real estate market

People often speculate on reasons why the real estate has ballooned so heavily in the last couple years in Toronto, and across Canada. Everything from foreign buyers to decreased land availability has been blamed, and Statistics Canada sheds further light on why the housing market is on high alert.

The newest 2016 census shows that Toronto alone has over 99,000 unoccupied homes in the city. These statistics results reflect that a lack of occupancy is a top housing issue in the city and is growing at the same rate as the rising price of real estate. Across Canada, the number of unoccupied homes as grown and is highest in Toronto, followed by Montreal. Vancouver is trailing in third, potentially in part due to the new foreign buyer bylaws that have come into effect.

By comparing the number of total private dwellings and the total private dwellings occupied in each city as collected in the census, it is easy to see there is an unusual difference between occupied homes and total dwellings available. In the last 10 years, the amount of unoccupied dwellings have also grown 10.5 per cent in Toronto, and the problem continues to worsen. It appears that the highest rate of non-occupancy is in the Concord area of Vaughan, which was at 35 per cent. Downtown Toronto also had more homes that weren’t being occupied, especially in the fashion district at King St. W, with 21 per cent not regularly occupied.

In this circumstance, blaming foreign buyers isn’t a viable reason because local Canadians are most often the residents to fill out the statistics report. Other factors could be AirBnB or short-term rentals to explain the unoccupied rentals, but it is becoming more clear that speculation is a big part of the reason. Homeowners are hanging onto their homes while the red hot real estate market is at its highest, and people are waiting until the city hits its peak price. These people are often known as ‘flippers’ and are unnecessarily preventing families in desperate need of housing from getting a much-needed house.

Having statistics available to highlight housing issues can provide answers to convoluted real estate issues that are often kept under wraps by stakeholders. By crunching numbers, it is easy to see why unoccupied homes are negatively contributing to the real estate bubble in the city. House flippers and speculators need to sell or rent unoccupied homes to people who need them, and housing must be made more affordable. Hopefully the government takes the necessary steps to crack down on unoccupied homes, and the real estate market can balance as a result.