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April 1 - April 30, 2021
Natalie Zend's avatar

Natalie Zend

DrawdownTO

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 441 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    1,743
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • up to
    315
    minutes
    spent exercising
  • up to
    85
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    20
    minutes
    being mindful
  • up to
    392
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    19
    zero-waste meals
    consumed

Natalie's Actions

Coastal, Ocean, and Engineered Sinks

Smart Seafood Choices

Ocean Farming

I will visit seafoodwatch.org or download the app and commit to making better seafood choices for a healthier ocean.

Completed
One-Time Action

Land Sinks

Explore My Area

Sometimes protecting nature requires feeling connected to nature. I will invest 360 minutes in exploring and appreciating a natural area in my region, whether a forest, wetland, coastal area, or somewhere else.

Completed
One-Time Action

Land Sinks

Choose Better Wood Products

Forest Protection

I will only purchase wood and paper products from ecologically certified sources like Forest Stewardship Council.

COMPLETED 7
DAILY ACTIONS

Buildings

Research Retrofitting Incentives

Building Retrofitting

I will spend at least 60 minutes finding out if my city, region, state, or country offers incentives for retrofitting existing buildings.

Completed
One-Time Action

Buildings

Research Heat Pumps

High-Efficiency Heat Pumps

I will spend at least 180 minutes researching heat pumps to see if installing one makes sense for my home/building.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Zero-waste Cooking

Reduced Food Waste

I will cook 2 meal(s) with zero-waste each day

COMPLETED 9
DAILY ACTIONS

Transportation

Conduct Virtual Meetings

Telepresence

I will encourage my office to hold meetings virtually whenever possible instead of requiring travel.

Completed
One-Time Action

Transportation

Go for a Daily Walk

Walkable Cities

I will take a walk for 30 minutes each day and take note of the infrastructure that makes walking more or less enjoyable, accessible, and possible.

COMPLETED 8
DAILY ACTIONS

Transportation

Stay on the Ground

Telepresence, High-Speed Rail

Instead of traveling by plane, I will find an alternative way to accomplish the goals of an upcoming trip (i.e. telepresence, vacation locally).

Completed
One-Time Action

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Eat Mindfully

I will eat all of my meals without distractions, e.g., phone, computer, TV, or newspaper.

COMPLETED 9
DAILY ACTIONS

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Tend A Garden

I will tend to a garden, or prepare for one, each day using sustainable gardening practices.

COMPLETED 6
DAILY ACTIONS

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Mulch the Base of Trees and Plants

Farm Irrigation Efficiency

I will prevent water runoff and increase absorbency by mulching the base of trees and plants in my yard.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Feed


  • Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/17/2021 3:52 PM
    I researched retrofitting incentives to see whether I might apply, in order to benefit from the incentive to replace my boiler. My combi boiler (radiant heat and hot water on demand) was 17 years old and I was planning to replace it this summer.  What I found out is that in order to get a retrofitting incentive you have to have an energy audit done before and after you do the retrofits, and you have to do at least TWO of the retrofits on the list. Because I did an energy audit in 2009 when I bought my house, and then implemented all the recommended actions, I couldn't find a second retrofit to add to replacing my combi boiler. 

    Luckily I had already figured this out when my boiler died this week! I replaced it with a more efficient boiler (95% efficient rather than 85%), and just took the hit, no incentives! :-( It was expensive ($13K) but as of yesterday I have a lovely new Viessman boiler that I'm hoping will be hassle-free and nice and quiet. So far, so good.
  • Reflection Question
    Transportation Stay on the Ground
    What was your process like for restructuring your trip? How can you avoid more air travel in the future?

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/11/2021 9:09 AM
    Hahaha! The pandemic was my process for restructuring many trips. I work in the field of international development and have tended to travel  a lot for work. For personal reasons my work-related travel diminished from 2015 onward, but I was still travelling internationally about once a year, or within Canada a couple of times a year. This came to an abrupt end in March 2020. Since then, I have become an expert in virtual workshops, learning Zoom, Adobe and WebEx well enough to be a producer (tech host) of workshops. I have redesigned several in-person workshops for virtual delivery. It has felt good to embrace the challenge, knowing that we now have the technology to do this well, and that the great benefits for the climate mean that we should have been adapting in this way anyway. 
  • Reflection Question
    Land Sinks Explore My Area
    How can spending more time outdoors enhance your sense of place -- your deep knowledge of and appreciation for your surroundings?

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/11/2021 9:05 AM
    This winter I found a "sit spot"--a place nearby to sit outside for 5-30 minutes a day. It is a little curb in a laneway just across from my house. Somehow, because it faces South and has a wall behind it, and I sit low to the ground, it has a microclimate and is very warm, even in the winter. I feel the direct sun, take in the brightness of the light, feel the breeze on my skin, hear the birds chirping and the relative quiet. It is mostly paved over but I noticed the day that the forsythia bloomed and the day the buds appeared on the tree. In this spot I feel a very direct connection to the elements. There is a gentleness there. I effortlessly feel quiet peace and joy when I am there. It is very nourishing and has a remarkably reliable and instantaneous effect on my mood and my sense of health and wellbeing. 
  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Zero-waste Cooking
    In North America, up to 65% of food waste happens at the consumer level. Chef Steven Satterfield advocates for utilizing every part of a vegetable. How can you incorporate using an entire vegetable, including the skins, tops, and stalks during your next meal prep?

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/11/2021 9:01 AM
    I like to eat broccoli stalks raw. I learned this from a friend. You cut off the toughest part--the end of the stalk. Then you cut off the outside, leaving the tender core. You dip that in salt and eat it the way you might eat raw carrot or celery.

    Also, I have learned that you can put the skins, tops and stalks in a ziploc bag and keep it in the freezer, and then use it for making soup stock. I have yet to try this, but it's a good idea!  
  • Reflection Question
    Coastal, Ocean, and Engineered Sinks Smart Seafood Choices
    Many states and countries have advisories on eating fish. Find out what is advised for your region. Do you think your diet choices fall within these guidelines? What steps do you need to take to make sure that they do?

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/07/2021 11:48 AM
    I found this: https://www.ontario.ca/page/eating-ontario-fish-2017-18.

    I learned that fish organs should be avoided as they can be high in heavy metals and pesticides. Eggs of fatty fish such as Salmon and Trout from the Great Lakes should be avoided for their high levels of contaminants.

    I also learned you should track your fish consumption and there is a table advising you on how much fish you can eat a month based on the time of fish. It seems to be specifically about fish caught in Ontario.

    It says that removing the skin and trimming the fatty areas, and allowing fat to drip away can reduce contaminants.

    Mercury is a particular concern. Canadians are advised to limit consumption of fresh/frozen tuna, shark, swordfish, escolar, marlin, and orange roughy. In general, you can eat up to 150 g per week of these fish species combined. That's according to this website; https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/chemical-contaminants/environmental-contaminants/mercury/mercury-fish-questions-answers.html#ca2

    Separate advice is applicable only to canned albacore (white) tuna. This advice does not apply to light tuna. Women who are or may become pregnant and breastfeeding mothers may consume up to 300 g a week of albacore tuna. This is equivalent to about two 170-g cans of albacore tuna per week. 

    I do eat fish, but very little. I sometimes have tuna salad (one 170 g can maybe once a month) and I sometimes buy salmon, Arctic char, rainbow trout or whitefish and cook it up (maybe 1 fillet every 2-3 months). So I think I am well under the advisories.  
  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Mulch the Base of Trees and Plants
    Name some of the human activities impacting the health of water systems, both locally (your watershed) and globally (freshwater and oceans). What can you do to improve the health of water systems?

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/06/2021 7:32 AM
    We put straw over the vegetable garden bed last fall. At planting time, I am thinking of removing the straw and then putting it back around the seedlings as mulch. Any thoughts on using straw as mulch?
  • Reflection Question
    Buildings Research Retrofitting Incentives
    How can you share what you have learned in your research with others?

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/06/2021 7:31 AM
    I looked into retrofitting incentives. I am needing to replace my boiler and it seems I could be eligible for a $1000 incentive. That would help! However I am only eligible if I undertake 2 eligible retrofitting projects. I've already done everything else on their list that I could consider doing. So it seems I don't qualify at this point. :-(
  • Reflection Question
    Buildings Research Heat Pumps
    Why is taking action on climate change important to you? Why do you care?

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/06/2021 7:29 AM
    My on-demand combi boiler (hot water/heat tankless boiler with radiant heat system) is 17 years old and should be replaced this summer. I see it as an opportunity to consider all possibilities! 

    In my ideal world, I am able to replace it with a system that:
    - does not use fossil fuels
    - does not contribute to climate change in other ways (e.g. high-global warming potential refrigerants)
    - is energy efficient and cost-effective to maintain
    - is reliable, with professionals available for on-site maintenance/repairs/system fixes as needed
    - maintains a comfortable temperature throughout the house 
    - maintains my finished basement apartment as a functional, rentable living space (my very small combi boiler—Baxi Luna—is currently in a very tight enclosure within that apartment) 
    - AC would be a bonus (I currently only have ceiling fans and a window unit in one room that I use 2-3 days a year)
    - I have some flexibility financially but it still needs not to be exorbitant!

    I have been looking into the option of a heat pump (e.g. Arctic Heat Pumps) but am running into two issues:
    - Who can give me quotes to install such a system in Toronto?
    - It seems that these systems use R410a refrigerants. From the Drawdown material, I understand that these materials are very potent GHGs, so it’s not clear to me that it is actually a really good green alternative to a very efficient gas boiler. So far, the green retrofit experts I’ve asked about this don’t seem to have the issue on their radars at all.

    Any thoughts from you folks out there? I need some expert support, perhaps from a building scientist.
  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Eat Mindfully
    Mindful eating is healthier for us than eating with distractions. How does your eating experience differ when practicing mindfulness?

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/06/2021 7:27 AM
    I committed to mindful eating, but honestly I haven't done that yet. It's hard to be motivated! I get bored. I am hooked on some great Netflix shows and movies (Shtisel, Om Shanti Om, Call My Agent...). I like to read the news. Sometimes I take advantage of the down time to read from my current novel. Any tips, folks, about how to stay motivated to eat without distractions?
  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Tend A Garden
    Have you ever had a significant experience in nature that altered your perspective or focus? If so, please describe it.

    Natalie Zend's avatar
    Natalie Zend 4/06/2021 7:15 AM
    I committed to tending my garden. I am seeing a lot of emails and FB posts advising people not to clean up their garden until we have temperatures of 10 degrees every day for a week. e.g. from https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/info/when-to-start-spring-garden-cleaning.htm:  "Many pollinators, like bees and butterflies, overwinter in dead plant material. They ride out the cold weather there and emerge in spring to do their good work. By removing dead material too early, you risk destroying many of these pollinators." Fine by me to wait! But I have lamb's quarters taking over my wood chip garden path, and I would like to get on top of weeding that ASAP. It's ok to weed a path, right? What are your thoughts?

    • Andrea Stephens's avatar
      Andrea Stephens 4/07/2021 7:43 PM
      I follow the same rules Natalie, but this week, with all the early pollinator favourites in bloom, bluebells, snowdrops & crocuses to name a few, I raked &  mulched up the leaves in my yard - so I'd say start weeding! 
      I'm so looking forward to a couple weeks from now when all the new growth  turns my garden a bright beautiful green!