Sustainable Schools Blog

ToyBots: Teaching Sustainability through Toy Choices

We’ve just begun a course of study focusing on the sustainability of toys. We asked the kids to consider their favourite toy in answering the following questions:

  1. What is your toy made of?
  2. How long will you play with your toy?
  3. How long will your toy last?
  4. How active does your toy make you?
  5. Where does your toy come from?

What we Learned:

At all ages the children seemed to understand that most toys were not made in this country. By fourth and fifth grade, a significant portion (20%) said their favorite toy was the Ipad. Stuffies came in second. We found it pleasantly surprising that soccer ball and bicycle were often cited as favorite toys.

What We Got Wrong:

The students easily grasped the idea of why a more sustainable toy might be a better choice. They understood that there was a manufacturing process behind the creation of their toy. There assessment for how long they would play with a particular toy was very optimistic. Most students said they would play with their favorite toy forever or for at least five years. We haven’t yet found the best way to get the students to reassess the length of time they will actually play with any given toy.

Best Quotes:

“When I’m through with my McDonalds’ toy, I’ll give it my brother to play with. That way, we’ll get more use out of it.”

Purchase Sustainable Deck Chairs! Support Our Great Programs!

The EcoLiving Reclaimed Wood Deck Chair!

$100 ~Profits Support Great EcoLiving Programs You’ve Come To Expect.

Chair open and baby asprins


Great for the Beach! Camping! Stampede! Canada Day! The Deck!

Sit, Reclaim, Sustain!

Hand-crafted in Calgary Using Found Pine and Oak from Pallets.

All Chairs are hand-made in Calgary by Landry Woodworks in cooperation with EcoLiving Volunteers!

Sustainability and functionality. These light-weight, yet strong, chairs are great for the environment and they’re great for the Spring and Summer Season.

They fold for easy transport and storage.

They’re built to last. They’re built in Calgary by hand. They’re built out of reclaimed pallets.

Calgary and Airdrie Residents, Delivered To Your Door Within Seven Days of Your Order!

It Folds!

Chair open and baby asprins copy 2B

Sit, Sustain, ReClaim!

4/18 Re-Localize Fair

C$, REAP, the Arusha Centre, and Thrive present
the Down to Earth Week’s

Saturday April 18th, 2015 at 12pm

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.14.45 AM

Michael Shuman * Market * Workshops! (see below)

Come celebrate the world-wide movement to localize food, energy, transportation, businesses, communities, the economy and culture in Calgary. As part of the 2015 Down to Earth Week, Calgary Dollars, REAP, and the Arusha Centre will be hosting the Fair to celebrate this movement.

There will be a Market atmosphere and Workshop sessions on how to be local, resilient and sustainable in our communities and businesses.

Participatory activities for young and old, with live music! Spend your Calgary Dollars! And learn about complementary currencies. See first hand how Bridgeland’s walkability design makes it a community for the future.

Michael Shuman
Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and one of the world’s leading experts on the Local movement. He has authored, coauthored, or edited eight books. His book, The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition received as bronze prize from the Independent Publishers Association for best business book of 2006.

12pm – MICHAEL SHUMAN: Keynote speech on being part of the buy local movement.
1-5pm – MARKET: Local businesses, artisans, and community vendors
1-5pm – WORKSHOPS: Hands-on activities and learning that will help you learn how to enhance a sustainable and resilient lifestyle or business.

Workshop Info:

Speaker and Market Free; Workshops may have donation requests applied.

Location: BRCA (Bridgeland Riverside Community Hall)
917 Centre Ave NE Calgary. Just steps away from the Bridgeland LRT station.

Use your Calgary Dollars Here!
More information: 403.270.8002 / /


Michael Shuman is speaking on other topics as part of Down To Earth Week:
– Shuman on social innovation and businesses:
– Shuman on local investing:

Make sure you check out the full Down To Earth Week at:

Earth Hour 2015 Success!

Earth 2015 at Olympic Plaza!

What a success! Thank you to all of the volunteers, the City of  Calgary, Open Streets, and the other great organizations that participated!

Earth Hour Photo Booth

Earth Hour Photo Booth

Check out all of the Photo Booth Pics!

We’re so proud that Ian the Erhu player came out and donated his time:


Bati the Story Teller donated his time and mesmerized the kids:

Bati the Story Teller

Bati the Story Teller

The Children loved our EcoVillage:




Earth Hour 2015 Saturday March 28 at Olympic Plaza

We’re helping host the City of Calgary’s first ever Earth Hour event at Olympic Plaza!

Power Down for the Planet!

Earth Hour Kids
What? Earth Hour a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet. In 2013, 7001 cities and towns in 154 countries and territories across all seven continents participated.

Who? This event is for all ages!

Where? Join us at Olympic Plaza for a family friendly party that will be ENTIRELY sustainably powered.

Why? Calgarians are united with the world in reducing our energy consumption

When? March 28, 2015 8:30pm-9:30pm local time. The challenge is to turn off ALL modes of power that rely on non-renewable energy sources.

6:00pm – 9:30pm: A host of engaging activities including bike generated music & lights, button-making, LED lantern making, FREE hot chocolate, pool, foosball, ping pong, Earth Hour photobooth, with a chance to win a fantastic grand prize!

8:00pm-8:30pm: A lantern/ LED light procession to exhibit and collectively celebrate powering down for the planet.

When posting use the hashtags: #earthhour2015 #earthhourcalgary and #arushacentre 

Brought to you by the The City of CalgaryEcoLiving Events CalgaryOpen Streets Calgary, and the Calgary Climate Action Network.

Tell Us You’re Going on our Facebook Event

Valentines’ Day Party Success!

Success By the Numbers:

Over 150 Guests!

Over $1000 raised for four great organizations!

Over 80 Volunteer Hours donated!

Over 20 new memberships for Good Life Community Bike Shop!

We Accomplished our Four Main Goals:

  1. Organize an event sponsored by four great organizations working together in partnership!
  2. Celebrate Winterpalooza/Cyclepalooza
  3. Educate Guests about sustainability choices via OpenStreets’ PedalPower bicycle and Alberta LED lights and Bullfrog Power.
  4. Have a great time and meet new people.

 The Organizations:

Ecoliving Events

Good Life Community Bike Shop


OpenStreets Calgary

The Sponsors:

Bullfrog Power

Village Brewery

Alberta LED Lights

 The Photos:


The World’s Best Volunteers! Look How Happy They Are!


Light Provided by Human Power via Pedal Power and OpenStreets!


The GoodLife


Mike's Happy Face.

Mike’s Happy Face.