Kim Todd is the founder of the non-profit thegreenrock.ca and social enterprise guide to the good. guide to the good makes it easy for people to choose local, social, and green for their everyday purchasing and lifestyle choices. The enterprise is a platform that promotes local producers, businesses, and information on sustainable lifestyle choices. To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting Kim’s leadership in the sustainability sector.
How to live more sustainably is a question many of us grapple with everyday. How can we make choices that benefit our communities, our planet, and our own well-being? We connected with Kim Todd, founder of the nonprofit thegreenrock.ca and social enterprise guide to the good to learn how to live with sustainability in mind.
Kim has been working in the sustainability sector for over a decade. She founded thegreenrock.ca in 2011 and her latest initiative, launched in 2015, is the social enterprise guide to the good. g2g, as it’s nicknamed, is a website that “makes it easy for people to choose local, social, and green for their everyday purchasing and lifestyle choices.”
What is sustainability? As Kim defines it; “Sustainability is the capacity to continue and regenerate in a way that benefits that individual, the community, and the planet.” While environmental sustainability is an important part of sustainability, the term also encompasses individual and community well-being. Sustainability, at its core, is about using our environmental, social and mental resources in a way that avoids depletion and allows for regeneration.
One of the benefits of guide to the good is that the platform makes it easy for people to learn about sustainability and make more sustainable choices. Through her research, Kim found that people wanted to support local and live more sustainability, if only they knew where to look. A platform for all things local seemed like just the thing.
There are so many ways to live more sustainably, and so much information available at our fingertips, that it might seem overwhelming. “What we have done with guide to the good is created a set of values that help us move forward,” Kim explained. “And that is to be non-judgmental. The decision that I make that works for me may not be the decision that you make that works for you.”
“Sustainability is the capacity to continue and regenerate in a way that benefits that individual, the community, and the planet.”
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a sustainable lifestyle, but rather a set of values that can help guide the way we choose to shop, eat, socialize, and live. “What we strive to do is encourage connection to yourself, encourage connection to your community, and encourage connection to the planet. Because those are the three things that will be able offer sustainability to you, your community, and the planet.”
She also found that supporting local is one of the most effective ways to make our communities more sustainable. “Our research showed that one of the best ways to build sustainability and resiliency into communities is to support local companies,” Kim said. “Companies that are locally operated, locally owned, and locally headquartered bring benefits to the community economically, socially and ethically.”
Leading the Way Forward
Kim draws inspiration from women in her past, and leaders of today. “My grandmother, who was born in 1900, was a huge influence on me when I was growing up.” In Newfoundland, people of her grandmother’s generation lived sustainably out of necessity. “My experience is Newfoundland rather than Labrador so I can only really speak to that, but 100 years ago, we did live sustainably, or you didn’t live,” Kim said. “That was it. And while you don’t want to go back to that, sustainability was important. Food security was important. It was the responsibility of every family to maintain their own food supply, which they did do, by growing, by hunting, by all those sorts of things.”
“We can work together to create change, and women are at the forefront of that.”
Kim realized the vital importance of sustainability and the consequences of overconsumption when she had her own children. “When I had kids, it was a huge deal, because here are these little creatures who I love more than anything and I want for them to have a world that they can live in.”
The future of sustainable living is not a return to the past, but an improvement upon it. “We can do this, we have done it before,” Kim said. “We now have the technology and connection to do it better.” She noted the research being done today on food security and sustainable living is forging a new path for future generations.
Like Kim, many women are leading the way in the sustainability sector. “We can work together to create change, and women are at the forefront of that,” she added.
Looking to the Future
Learning about the effects unsustainable practices have had on our planet can be disheartening, but Kim believes that here in Newfoundland and Labrador, we have everything we need to forge a more sustainable future; “It’s not only commerce. It’s living. Being outdoors, connecting to the land, connecting to the sea, connecting to the air, connecting communities, they are all fundamental to good health and wellbeing. And- we got it! We’ve got that, we can do that, no matter where you are.”