environmental citizens organization

Celebrate the International Year of the Pulse!

February 15/16

Those who follow the Standard American Diet (SAD) will get the standard American diseases and die the standard American death.

2016 has been designated as The International Year of the Pulse. Whenever I mention this fact, I get a blank look; or someone’s fingers will move to his wrist as if measuring the heartbeat. No, I smile, not that kind of pulse, rather, that broad genre of plant known as legumes that we eat as an edible seed from a pod: black beans, kidney beans, chick peas or lentils to name a few.

I was elated when I discovered that the United Nations had elevated the humble legume to food of the year, not only because the pulse is a staple of my vegan diet, but because it is one of the healthiest foods we can eat. It has twice as much protein as other whole grains and so becomes a perfect replacement for animal protein, limiting the saturated fat in our diet. Pulses/legumes are high in fibre, helping to decrease and control blood sugar levels and cholesterol. And they are high in B vitamins, as well as key minerals including magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium.

All this in the lowly bean.

But there’s more, and this fact is every bit as critical. The pulse is super-healthy for the planet. Its carbon footprint is significantly lower than that of animal protein. 1 kg of legumes = 0.5 kg in CO2 equivalent vs. 1 kg of beef which produces 9.5 kg in CO2 equivalent.

And planting pulses leaves nitrogen behind in the soil – valuable nutrients for future crops. Growing them in rotation with other crops can disrupt disease and insect infestation cycles.

Speaking personally, I intend to extend my own expiry date, but more than that, to ensure that those last years will brim with vigor and glowing health. If you feel the same, ditch the SAD diet and get on board with healthy, plant based nutrition. For some great recipes check out:

To watch an inspiring TEDX Talk and get in the know about plant based eating, visit:

Here’s to your good health!


The role of fish in the Northern BC rainforest

In Northern British Columbia, Canada’s coastal temperate rainforest stretches from above Vancouver all the way to Alaska. It houses immense amount of biodiversity and is the habitat for legendary large North American mammals, like wolves, wolverines and bears. Three types of bear, in fact, live here in the remote drizzly forest: The grizzly, the black bear and the illusive Kermode (spirit) bear. (The spirit bear is an all white black bear that is revered by locals). This forest is aptly called The Great Bear Rainforest. Bears are at its heart, and are a keystone species that help the forest function and grow.

Bear fish thousands salmon out of the rivers here each spawning season. Salmon carcasses are distributed, via the bears’ messy eating tactics, throughout the riparian zone of the forest and act as fertilizer for the ancient old-growth trees; delivering marine-derived nutrients like N15 into the soils. Some scientists theorize that the reason the trees in The Great Bear Rainforest grew to be so large and so old is because of the bears fertilizing the soil with their dinners each spawning season.

This is an example of the interconnectedness that exists in all ecosystems throughout Canada, and throughout the world. Species are integral pieces to a large puzzle of biodiversity, and removing a species can have catastrophic effects on an ecosystem. For example, if Grizzlies continue to be overhunted in British Columbia, or if the salmon population is prevented from spawning by an event such as an oil spill the vegetation of The Great Bear Rainforest will lose its nutrients and decline.

I encourage you to watch Spoil, a documentary that outlines the salmon-bear relationship in British Columbia, and let it inspire you to see the interconnectedness of all life in Canada.

spoil video image
SPOIL  A powerful award winning documentary on the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposed to stretch from the tar sands to the Great Bear Rainforest on the coast of British …
Haleigh Ryan


Moola, F. (2015, October). What are B.C’s policies and laws? [Powerpoint].


New Year, New You, and a Healthy Environment!

10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

With the beginning of the new year, it was time to sit down, reflect on my 2015 resolutions, and make plans for the year ahead. For the last several years, I have vowed to get healthy, read more, volunteer in my community, and learn a new language.

!! GET HEALTHY – Over the last couple of years, my family and I have done our best to eat healthy and get active. This resolution is always being adapted and will continue to top our list every year.

!! READ – In 2014, I joined a book club. I have been reading non-stop ever since.

!! VOLUNTEER – As for getting involved in the community, I joined ecoCaledon back in January 2015, combining my resolution to get involved with my passion for creating a sustainable future.

!! LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE – As for learning a new language, well, that resolution is still a work in progress.

On the heels of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and the bold targets and commitments set forth, I thought it was time to add a few “green” resolutions to my list. While I am already quite passionate about conservation and reducing waste, I knew that there was more I could do to reduce my carbon footprint.

Being “green” does not mean a huge investment of time or money. There are a number of low and no cost ways to make a big difference to the environment.

Here are my top five “GREEN” resolutions for 2016:

1) EAT Meatless Meals and BUY Local – Trim meat consumption by cutting out meat just one day of the week. Meat production is a major contributor to climate change and livestock production is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization).

Where our food comes from is also a factor in climate change. The average meal travels over 1,200 kms from the farm to our plate (David Suzuki Foundation). Food that is grown closer to home will have fewer emissions, and will be fresher and more nutritious.

2) “TAKE Back the Tap” and KICK the Bottled Water Habit – It takes millions of barrels of oil to produce plastic water bottles each year. Even though they are recyclable, a large percentage of plastic water bottles get tossed into the trash or end up polluting our oceans (David Suzuki Foundation).

3) PACK a “waste-less” Lunch – Packing a “waste-less” lunch is one way to make a difference for our environment. Some simple tips include: using a reusable lunch bag and water bottle; reducing waste by purchasing in bulk and then placing food items in smaller reusable containers; and, placing unwanted food scraps and peels in the green bin. This may mean bringing scraps home if there is no access to a green bin at work or at school.

4) ELIMINATE Phantom Power – Some equipment use energy even when switched off. Cut expensive waste by unplugging phone, tablet, and laptop chargers when they are not in use.

5) Get CONNECTED to Nature – Spending time outside makes us healthier and happier. As residents of the Town of Caledon, we do not have to travel far to get connected to nature, we have access to a number of beautiful trails and outdoors spaces. Get connected!

Looking forward to making 2016 the GREENEST year yet!


Valleywood Fall Tree Planting on 17 Oct

Saturday, October 17 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Newhouse Park (16 Cliffview Court, Caledon)
Enjoy the outdoors, plant a tree along the Etobicoke Creek Trail and assist with tree monitoring. Equipment and a planting demonstration will be provided. This event will run rain or shine. Dress for the weather and wear appropriate foot wear. Highschool students are eligible for volunteer hours.
For more information and to register for this event visit at

Moms-n-Tots Nature Walk on Oct 14

Wednesday, October 14 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Location: Newhouse Park (16 Cliffview Court, Caledon)
Interested in getting to know other Moms-n-Tots? Bring your family out this fall and explore nature in the Etobicoke Creek Valleylands. We will walk rain or shine so please dress for the weather and wear closed-toe, sturdy footwear. For more information and to register for this event visit at

Great Canadian Shoreline Clean up on Sept 26

Saturday, September 26, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Newhouse Park (16 Cliffview Court, Caledon)
Bring your family and friends out to participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Help us get rid of plastic bags, bottles, cans and other litter in the Etobicoke Creek Valleylands. Highschool students are eligible for volunteer hours.
For more information and to register for this event visit at and select “Newhouse Park” as a site.

Moms-n-Tots Nature Walk on Sept 23

Wednesday, September 23 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Newhouse Park (16 Cliffview Court, Caledon)
Interested in getting to know other Moms-n-Tots? Bring your family out this fall and explore nature in the Etobicoke Creek Valleylands. We will walk rain or shine so please dress for the weather and wear closed-toe, sturdy footwear.
For more information and to register for this event visit at

Video contest for Caledon students grades K-12

The following is a press release from the Town of Caledon about an exciting new competition for local students:

To help raise awareness about the Town of Caledon’s new Idling By-Law, the Town has invited teachers and students from all Caledon schools to submit a short ‘idle-free’ video showcasing the idle-free promotional activities of their class or an idle-free message for the public.

In 2014, the Town of Caledon joined over 25 Ontario municipalities by introducing a new Idling By-law that prohibits unnecessary idling for more than two (2) minutes. The new By-law builds upon past anti-idling efforts, such as the establishment of idle-free zones at all Town facilities and libraries. Idle-free zone signs have also been provided to all Caledon schools and some local businesses.

“The wonderful thing about this contest is that it’s a creative way to get Caledon youth, from kindergarten to grade 12, excited and educated about the benefits of living in an idle-free environment,” said Mayor Allan Thompson. “I can’t wait to see what the results are.”

To be eligible, videos must be no more than three-minutes and must be submitted by April 10, 2015. Approval from the school principal is also required.

In recognition of Earth Day, the winning video will be announced on April 22, 2015. The winning class will receive a pizza lunch and their video will be featured on the Town of Caledon’s website and presented to Town Council.

For more information, please contact the Town at or visit

Media Contact:

Bethany Lee Corporate Communications

905.584.2272 x.4106

To find out more, please see this POSTER with competition details, or visit the Town of Caledon WEBSITE


Thermal imaging camera will aid in tracking down heat loss in homes

ecoCaledon has just invested in a FLIR thermal imaging camera which will be used to help Caledon residents see where heat is escaping from their homes. In many cases, once the location where heat loss is occurring has been identified, it can be eliminated be sealing gaps, adding more insulation or making other small repairs. After training, ecoCaledon members will be offering to take thermal images of the homes of participants in their “Walk the Talk” program. “Walk the Talk” encourages participants to reduce energy use in their homes, leading to lower carbon emissions. To see some early thermal images, go to our Walk the Talk page