To start off the challenge, we think it's important to go back to basics and spend some time outdoors to remind ourselves what Going Green is all about - making choices that allow us to live in harmony with the natural environment. This week, the challenge is simply to Go Play Outside. Luckily, we have so many wonderful places and opportunities to get outdoors in our city.

London’s nickname of the “Forest City” is attributed to the vastness of greenspace in London dating back to the 1700s. Though a lot of forest was lost to development over the centuries, many efforts have been made to protect what remains and regenerate what was lost. ReForest London has even created a Million Tree Challenge, where they inspire Londoners to get involved in planting trees for both the environmental and human health benefits associated.

An increasing amount of research shows that spending time in nature can improve our physical health and mental health. While 120 minutes a week seems to be the most optimal amount of time to spend outdoors, there also seem to be benefits of even just spending half an hour outside, such as decreasing heart rate and blood pressure. 

Any school teacher, or frankly anyone who attended elementary school, can attest to how important recess is as an outdoor play break, and some businesses are starting to get on board with the idea that being outside is important. 

But how does being outside save the world

It doesn’t. But it’s a step.

Many environmental education programs start with immersion into the natural environment through hikes, play, and exploration. This acts as a channel for education which can result in the resources needed to make effective change on national and global scales. Further, gaining an individual appreciation for spending time outdoors might lead you to get your family, friends or co-workers outside, and the more people we have getting outside and enjoying it, the more public support we have for environmental policy changes.

So this week, just get outside and enjoy the environment. Take a picture of you doing something fun outside and post it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #LondonGoesGreen, and tag the London Environmental Network. Each post with the hashtag and tagging LEN will be counted as a ballot in a weekly draw.

Check our social media channels throughout the week for Green Tips about things to do outside, as well as learn about some of our organizations that have truly gotten behind the idea of playing outside.

Submissions for this week will be counted until 11:59 pm on Sunday, July 14. This week’s winner will be announced on Monday, along with next week’s theme.  Check out the official rules below.

Official Rules:

In order to be eligible for an entry in the weekly draw, participants must:

  • Post an original photo to either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #LondonGoesGreen, and tag the LondonEnvironmental Network

Twitter: @LondonEnviroNet

Instagram: @LondonEnviroNet

Facebook: LondonEnvironmentalNetwork

  • Upload and tag their post with #LondonGoesGreen between  8:00 AM Monday morning (the day of that week’s theme announcement) and 11:59 PM Sunday evening of that week to be considered for ballot entries
  • Be a current resident of London, Ontario

One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via the social media channel they participated on. Participants must be 16 years or older or have written consent from a parent or guardian in order to receive a prize. Chances of winning are dependent on the number of entries received. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen at random. Prizes are supplied by the London Environmental Network and are not redeemable for cash value.

This challenge is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and are completely released of any responsibility related to the contest.