Today is a rainy and gloomy day here in Ottawa, but thanks to NZ Wine in Canada, I was gifted a ray of sunshine!
This morning they announced the winners of their Twitter contest – and I was one of the lucky winners! Which means this Sunday, November 1st, I will be participating in the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival. I’m so unbelievably excited to attend!
Their Twitter contest was to answer the question: what does sustainability mean to you?
My response was: “Sustainability to me means more green space in my city, for better air quality, mental health welfare, etc.”
I could have written a full blog post on the topic of sustainability, but for 145 characters, I think that was a pretty good summary. Although the winners were picked at random, I carefully thought-out my answer.
I live in the central part of my city, which is our downtown core. We have Ottawa’s main University close by, lots of businesses, government buildings, condo buildings and shopping malls. Although I love the urban city lifestyle, I’m fortunate to live near a large park. I’m a firm believer in the importance of green-space for the well-known health benefits, such as air quality.
“Heat from the earth is trapped in the atmosphere due to high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases that prohibit it from releasing the heat into space. This creates a phenomenon known today as the “greenhouse effect”. Trees help by removing CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis to form carbohydrates that are used in plan structure/function and return oxygen back into the atmosphere as a byproduct.” – Urban Forestry Network
Another benefit that derives from having green space in our cities, is good mental health. Personally, I’m a big fan of nature, when I was younger, any time I would feel anxious I would take a walk in one of the many trails around my childhood home. Being among the giant trees, and walking through the long trails, gave me an incomparable sense of peace. There are now many studies around the world that provide real-time data that support the mental health benefits that stem from nature (pun intended).
“The experience of nature helps to restore the mind from the mental fatigue of work or studies.” – Urban Forestry/Urban Greening Research, University of Washington
While I’m on the subject of mental health, my good friend Julianne is seeking volunteers in the Ottawa region, to help her raise awareness on overcoming Mental Health Challenges. She will be taking portraits and interviewing people who have dealt with mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. I think this is a wonderful project and I can’t wait to be involved and see this beautiful project come to life. Please check out her post which describes in more detail her Mental Awareness Project, and please also check out her Website to see some of her past photography work! I’m very proud to have such an amazing and talented friend.