Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pollution. It's in you.

Pollution. It's in you.

Pollution. It's in you.

That's the tag line for the Environmental Defence campaign "Toxic Nation"

Pollution is not just a cloud of chemicals spewing from car exhausts or the nearby industrial plant. It is also found in our bodies. It comes from the air, soil, food, and the products we use. The list is long- and scary. (Another list here)

The Toxic Nation campaign strives to change policies to minimize these pollutants, conduct studies to expose the risks of these pollutants to Canadians and put together resources to help Canadians make more informed, healthy choices about the products we use- from shampoo to curtains, to pj's.

Did you know?

Major gaps in public health laws allow cosmetics companies to use almost any ingredient they choose in everything from sunscreen and mascara to deodorant and baby shampoo, with no restrictions and no requirement for safety testing.

Alternative: The U.S.-based Environmental Working Group has created the Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database. This database allows you to search almost any makeup, skin, hair, eye, nails, baby, oral care, sun protection, and other products to see what their ingredients are and how toxic they are. It rates them on a scale of 0-10 (o is good!). One warning: some companies have different ingredients in the American and Canadian versions of their products- so be sure to double check the labels at the store!

Did you know?

A large and growing body of scientific research links exposure to toxic chemicals to many ailments that plague people, including several forms of cancer,reproductive problems and birth defects, respiratory illnesses such as asthma and neuro-developmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

So what can you do?

Some of the most serious toxins in our lives come from hidden ingredients in the everyday consumer products found in our homes. The good news is that there are simple steps we can all take to reduce our exposure.

Ten Ways to Detoxify Your Home

(more details on each recommendation by clicking here)
Recommendations from the authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck

  1. Reduce non-stick products and stain repellents
  2. Cut PVC plastic and fragrances
  3. Eliminate Flame retardants in fabrics
  4. Don’t use hard plastic containers
  5. Eat Organic food
  6. Have some fish in moderation
  7. Stop using antibacterial products
  8. Use natural household cleaning products
  9. Call the companies
  10. Express your concerns to your MP & MPP

Want to learn more?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Earth Day!!

Earth Day is April 22!

What will you do to celebrate?

How can your actions last longer than just one day?

Here are some ideas:

In Huntsville, there is the "Greening Huntsville" initiative. It includes:

  • 2 Street Sweeps: April 21

  • Urban Strretscape Tree Planting Program

  • Free Compost at Madil Church Yard (April 21)

  • Roadside Clean-up (April 30)

  • Neighbourhood Clean-up

  • Free Garage Sale (May 7)

Some Muskoka-wide events:

Have you decided to "Give it Up for Earth Day"?

There are prizes, materials, answers to your questions, and a community of like-minded people at Earth Day Canada's "Give it Up for Earth Day" Challenge.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Muskoka's Native Plants

Spring is here - and so is the Muskoka Heritage Foundation Annual Native Tree & Shrub Sale!

Wild Columbine Aquilegia canadensis

This flowering plant is drought tolerant and likes sand or loam soil types with partial or full sun- and it's so pretty! It attracts birds, hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies which makes it useful in the oh-so-important pollination.

Staghorn sumach Rhus typhina

Spectacular red, edible, and showy seeds on this shrub. It likes clay, sand, and loam soils, partial or full sun, and normal to dry moisture.

Butterfly weed Asclespias tuberosa This red/orange flowering plant attracts pollinators and is also drought resistant.

Bear berry Artostaphylos uva-ursi This native ground cover is suitable for your shoreline restoration projects, in the riparian area. it is drought and salt resistant. It also attracts pollinators and adds a splash of colour to your garden!

I wrote last spring about why native plants are important for your gardening projects. Who can resist a garden that is colourful, disease and pest resistant, low maintenance, and provide habitat for wildlife? It just makes good sense!


  • Duplicate natural growing conditions

  • Consider soil type, moisture, sunlight, wind

  • Take clues from what is already growing



  • Orders must be placed by May 9th (email form or call in)

  • Pick up your order in Huntsville, Bracebridge, or Bala on May 14, 2011

  • Special workshops and information available at Bracebridge location

Happy Gardening!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Signs of Spring

Spring was definitely in the air this weekend!

What did you do to enjoy it?

Did you remember your camera?

I noticed some sure signs of spring when I was out during the past week:

The ice is melting and shifting on Lake Rosseau

New growth and buds on this Red Maple in Annie Williams Park, Bracebridge

The river is free of ice, most of the snow has melted, and buds are starting to appear on the trees in Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge.

All the details you need to enter the "Spring to Life" Photography contest can be found here or on the blog post from last week.

There are some great prizes! Deadline for entry is this Friday, April 8, 2011