about me

I am an ecologically-minded writer/illustrator, speaker & consultant, with a background in biology & chemistry, architecture, and civil engineering, living in Toronto.


Since about the age of 14 when I read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, I have been ecologically minded and have shaped my education around learning whatever I thought I would need to ameliorate our relationship with our environment.  First, I studied biology & chemistry (B. Sc., University of Waterloo), which allowed me to understand nature including our bodily health.  Then, realizing that a lot of the problems – and solutions – are in how we design our cities, I studied civil engineering (B. A. Sc. University of Toronto).  Next, because I love art and design, I studied a bit of architecture (Certificate, Ryerson University).  Finally, I put it all together with a Ph. D. in civil engineering at the University of Toronto focussed on how to design sustainable & resilient communities and cities. 

Over the years, I have had the privilege of gaining technical experience at companies such as Ontario Power Generation, Stevens Burgess Architects, and Rivercourt Engineering and participating in a variety of grass-roots community groups such as Green Neighbours 21, Transition Toronto, and Abundance GTA.

Currently, I am focused on writing and illustrating books to support the “eco-transformation” I hope for. As well, I share my knowledge at conferences, schools, and in the community.  I also on occasion do stormwater or resilience work.  Thank you for visiting my website and I hope you’ll join me in our collective eco-journey! 

my book

first print run Sept. 2019

Rev. 1 Dec. 2019
Rev. 2 Aug. 2020

Where does it all come from? Where does it all go? Toronto’s water, energy, and waste systems

In a big city like Toronto, it’s easy to live disconnected from the environment that supports us each day. Many of us do not know where our water or energy comes from or where our waste goes. This Toronto-specific picture book answers these questions for Torontonians of all ages and backgrounds in a simple and fun way. Looking at maps, readers can get to know specifically how they fit into the larger picture. Once we know where things come from and where things go, we are no longer lost. We are connected, and have a foundation upon which to develop a caring relationship with our environment.

$20 + $1(fed.tax) + shipping

shipping is:
$4 within Canada

8.5″ x 11″, stapled together similar to a zine, matte finish
printed & bound in Toronto on FSC-certified paper
Rev. 2 is 100% post-consumer recycled!

ISBN 9781999255725

order a book

Please visit my store here.

past events

upcoming events

  • Stay tuned!

courses based on the book

  • I ran an 8-week online course that goes more indepth into each of the topics covered in the book back in Jan. to Feb. 2021 on Wednesdays 7pm to 8pm. It was a mix of tech talk, mindful local eco awareness & community capacity building, an experimental first offering open to curious adults. We had 8 participants. The course was fun, engaging, and provided some welcome regularity during the lockdown. Please email me if you might be interested in the 2022 offering of the course. Thanks!

who is this book for?

  • Torontonians – The book is Toronto-specific so is most suitable for Torontonians.
  • Young kids – Toddlers curious about taps & toilets have it read to them by a parent and enjoy the discussions with their parent. Parents learn too! Really little kids love the cat.
  • Older kids – 8 to 10 year-olds can read it on their own & some like colouring it in!
  • Adults interested in environmental or urban issues – For these people, the book becomes a handy reference book or coffee table book they are proud to show off.
  • Busy adults – The book allows important knowledge to be gained very efficiently.
  • Newcomers to Toronto – The book introduces newcomers to their new home, explaining things that might otherwise take a few years to learn about.
  • Those curious about but intimidated by technical stuff – The book explains technical things in a very simple and fun way.
  • Nature lovers who may know a lot about nature outside of the City, but feel disconnected in the city.
  • Elementary & secondary school teachers, home school teachers, environmental educators, college & university professors
  • Engineering, architecture, planning, and environmental studies students
  • Governmental, business and NGO workplaces wanting to go “green” informed of the local water, energy & waste situation.
  • Politicians and decision-makers for whom infrastructure may not be part of their main responsibility, but want the basics

endorsements & testimonials

“This book communicates basic facts all of us need to know in order to see our part in the overall environment.  Thank you, Mariko, for this important book for Toronto. 
This information will help us understand what actions we can take in our communities, workplaces, and civil society to ensure a sustainable future. 
Plus it’s delightful; my 5-year old grandson loves it.”

– Dr. Dianne Saxe, environmental and climate lawyer and president of Saxe Facts
and former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Hi Mariko, I love your book. It’s clear and straightforward.
The illustrations and the cat especially shine through and carry us from
beginning to end as does the prose which is suitable for adults and children alike.
After I put it down, I thought a great sequel might be
“Where does food grow in Toronto?”” 

Sandra Campbell, Author of Getting to Normal
and producer of eco-arts projects in the Greater Toronto Area

My toddler loves this book and we often read it prior to “nap” time. The only problem is he’s now in his crib yelling “ASHBRIDGES BAY TREATMENT PLANT!” to himself repeatedly at full volume, instead of napping… Thanks all the same, @mariko_uda!” (on twitter)

– Joe Moed, Toronto father

“Mariko, my 8-year old loves your book!  They love the story, illustrations and that they can colour it. It’s been a while since they were so enthusiastic about a book. Good luck with getting the word out – more children need to see this book! And I loved it too :)”

– Sandra Luz, Toronto mother of two

“A great picture book guide for anyone who has ever wondered where their tap water, electricity, space and water heating comes from or where their toilet/drain/poop/rain water goes. Find out where it all comes from and where it all goes in Toronto! Also, a good tool for provoking discussions about the environment and our current global environmental crisis.  We are happy to have it as part of our library collection.

– Rotem Anna Diamant, Librarian and Founder Canada Comics Open Library

Did you enjoy the book or find it useful? Would you be willing to provide an endorsement or testimonial to encourage others to read the book also?
If so, please send me one in an email. Thanks so much!

order a book

Please visit my store here.

where else to find the book


  • So excited to have my book in The Spacing Store at 401 Richmond St., the place to go for stuff that captures the spirit of Toronto and its neighbourhoods! – in stock! (as of Aug. 6, 2021)
  • Old’s Cool General Store – near Main Subway Station in the east end of town – in stock! (restocked Apr. 5, 2021)
  • ecoexistence – St.Clair W. Ave & Christie St. area – in stock! (as of Oct. 7, 2021)
  • A Different Booklist – on Bathurst St. just south of Bloor – now available! (as of Nov. 11, 2021)


Librarians, if you would like to add the book to your library, you may order direct from the library wholesaler Library Bound Inc. Thanks!


Apr. 22, 2021: I was interviewed by Word on the Street on Earth Day! Video still available. (25 min.)

Mar. 3, 2021: My friend Kristina Shea of Blueskys Life interviewed me on her Wellness Wednesday Instagram show! See it here.

Oct. 14, 2020: I was interviewed on a cool new podcast called “How Public Works” hosted by Ilmar Simanovskis based in Toronto.

Jul. 2020: You can see me talking (ever so briefly! @1:20) on Global News a day after a big storm in Toronto


Fall 2021: I participated in a roundtable “Connecting our Inner and Outer Landscapes” documented in the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects’ Ground Landscape Architect Quarterly

Dec. 12, 2020: Shawn Micallef wrote a piece in the Toronto Star featuring my book!

Summer 2020: The Ontario Water Works Association featured me and my book in their Pipeline journal.

Dec. 2019: I was profiled in an alumni article by University of Toronto Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering

book reviews

Green Teacher wrote a review in their Fall 2021 issue. Click here to read review.

Toronto Field Naturalists wrote an article in their Sept. 2021 newsletter.

join my email list

Email me at eco mariko toronto all one word “@” gmail.com & let me know you’d like to be added to my email list. Emails are short, sweet & infrequent.

contact me

Please reach out and let me know what you think of the book or if you have any questions.

My email address is: eco mariko toronto “@” gmail.com

You can also follow me on Instagram where I post about lifestyle, nature, art & about my book. Or you can follow me on my facebook author page where you are welcome to leave book-related comments. Just click on the icons below.

What are the differences between
the original version, Rev. 1, and Rev. 2?

Click here to see the version history of the book.

Copyright Mariko Uda 2021 – All rights reserved