Daniela Ginta, The Mindful Writer

Freelance Writer and Photographer, Author of the Mindfulness Blog

Tag: climate change Page 2 of 5

Why We Ought To Take Another Look At Our Water Consumption Habits

Originally published as a column on September 3, 2017 on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News. 

If your summer fun includes going to the beach, on the shores of either the South or North Thompson Rivers, you likely noticed the receding water line over the last few weeks, more so on the first. From one day to the next, the river grows thinner and shallower.

There is enough river still for people to swim in and paddle, enough for dogs to play fetch, and even for motorized water vehicles, if that’s your flavour, but that is not good enough. The summer has been hot and dry, which means that those of us who wanted their lawns green and lively had to increase the water usage to keep the green going. How much more could that account for, you may wonder? According to the city’s records, Kamloops residents used one billion litres of water more this year than in 2016 (‘Water usage up in Kamloops, not nearing drought levels,’ August 24, 2017 on CFJC Kamloops News.)

Numbers like that make me dizzy. Divide that by the number of people living here and you get even dizzier. Yes, that comes to 10,000 litres per person! Unless that is a mistake. I hope the billion was in fact a million, which is not good either, but better than the many scary zeros a billion comes with. Say what you want, in a world where many do not have access to clean water (or water altogether!) such numbers are beyond indecent. They are downright shameful.

The conclusion of the article was that though the province is experiencing severe drought conditions in some areas, here in Kamloops we are doing fine provided the next month will not be a dry one. Right. Psychic powers notwithstanding, no one knows what the future brings; ultimately, it is not just about the water plant having enough to fill the pipes. It’s about the big picture, which yes, it does include us, but it includes so much more life, which if threatened, will end up affecting ours.

It’s about the watershed that should hold enough water for returning salmon for example. Salmon River, Nicola, Coldwater River, and the Similkameen watersheds are currently under level four drought conditions. We are one level up, under very dry conditions, when ‘Potentially serious ecosystem or socio-economic impacts are possible or imminent and impacts may already be occurring.’ Increased water consumption compared to last year’s does bid well, nor does the description of the next level down. (The South Thompson was at a level four just two years ago.)

Level four drought conditions are defined as ‘extremely dry conditions’ with water supply ‘insufficient to meet socio-economic and ecosystem needs.’ And it is the last step before ‘loss of supply’, and if that is not enough to make us mindful, I don’t know what will.

Where to from here? Voluntary water reduction is what we’re being asked for. Some of the things I see on late night walks with the dog point to the very opposite.

School fields are being drenched every night, and so are the areas outside the surrounding fences. That our children deserve the best regarding outdoor activities on school grounds is true, but reducing daily irrigation when the water levels are dropping dangerously may serve a better, more meaningful purpose: learning about the world they are inheriting, its many problems and that the solutions are within reach. Most of the time, the solution revolves around reducing consumption; in this case, water. Dry grass may not be pretty, but we need to steer away from looks after all, and speak openly about how to make our lives more sustainable.

The same goes for any kind of lawn in Kamloops. Keeping them ‘dormant’ may just be what we need to do so that the watershed is not depleted to the point of irreversible damage on the ecosystem. In the end, it is not about paying less, which is often how municipalities make water conservation through meter installation appealing to residents. It’s about understanding the deep impact our water consumption habits have on our immediate environment and on our not so distant future.

It’s about water we depend on. Living on the edge may sound attractive in many contexts, but not when it’s about water. We have to be mindful of our blue gold way before it gets ugly (hopefully it never will.) With a city and its surroundings dry as tinder, making sure we have enough water for what residents need, for what wildlife needs and for potential firefighting if need be, that seems both sensible and necessary at once.

If this was money in our savings account, we’d make sure we have more than ‘good enough’. Water conservation may just be more important than saving money; for obvious reasons. Please do your part and urge others to do the same.

 

A Little Hope Is Still Hope, So Don’t Give Up

Originally published as a column on CFJC Kamloops Today and Armchair Mayor News on Monday, July 7, 2017. 

It goes in waves. That’s the best way to describe it. One day the smoke is so thick it drowns every bit of hope and positivity you can muster. The next day, a breeze start sweeping away at the smoke until the blue sky swallows your gaze yet again and the feeling of ‘we’ll get through this and we’ll be fine’ surfaces.

A day trip to Sun Peaks on Saturday infused enough positive thinking to help me get back on that track. Hope? Check. Gratefulness and finding ways to cope? Ditto. There is something about blue skies and sunny mornings that revives your heart in a way that nothing else can.

The best part was being away from technology, save for the occasional use of my phone to take photos. No news, no feeling of helplessness upon hearing of more wildfires breaking out somewhere or the ones close by growing to gargantuan proportions.

Getting out of the fray for a day or even less, just enough to reposition your hope bearings in the right direction is a way to cope. I urge to do so if you can. We came home to a smoky Kamloops, but the good feelings lingered enough to make it through the night on a high note. Sunday morning was a different matter. It is now midday and white all over. I no longer wonder about when it will end. Realistically speaking, not soon. Still, we must have hope.

As they say, it often gets worse before it gets better. For the most part, this unprecedented crisis truly brings out the best in people. Appreciation for a good word or a laughter shared in the face of desperation, hugs, or a shoulder to cry on when needed, an invitation to dinner at a friend’s house that is out of the thick smoke. Increments of hope indeed, but they matter.

I’ve heard many people say how much they appreciate blue sky and clean air and how often we take them for granted. It’s not just a tree-hugger’s speech. It’s what enables life. One day this will all be behind us, morning sun will break through our curtains shining bold, and by then, we will have all become wiser in how we manage the world we live in and how we build the future. One can hope.

On a particularly smoky day last week, we went to McConnell Lake for the afternoon. It was clearer there. We walked around the lake, listened to beautifully haunting loon calls, and dipped our feet in water, thoughts and worries abounding.

I was contemplating evacuating with my sons to a place that will help my youngest’s breathing, as he suffers from asthma. That the coast is now invaded by smoke brought forth a particularly hopeless thought: there aren’t too many places where we can hide from smoke. You can run but you can’t hide… Talk about hopelessness redefined.

But giving up is not an option either. I found my hope resuscitated by gazing around. Yes, it was smoky and eerie looking. But there were flowers still in bloom, bushes full of berries and dragonflies dancing their colours over the still water.

The next day turned clear for a bit, and so did people’s smiles. It will be like that for a while. We will feel lost and hopeless, then we’ll smile and see past the smoky troubles. But beyond that, there are the people who fight the fires in various capacities. My husband is among them. When the smoke here is thick and ugly, I think of them all, knowing that where they are, the smoke is at its worst; I realize once more that giving up on hope is not an option. They are there proving it with all that hard work, extreme heat and smoke notwithstanding, every single day.

Incremental or not, hope is in us, though painfully low at times. Yes, some lost souls still light campfires (some newly put out were discovered near Kamloops at Pemberton Lake just the other day,) and others steal truckloads of pet supplies and food from the Sandman’s emergency centre. Fragile as hope and positivity are these days, incidents like that can really make one’s optimistic thoughts turn to ashes temporarily.

But then hope rises again. There are more hands willing to help than steal and there is still a whole lot of blue sky behind that thick smoke.

We will hopefully emerge wiser about how we build our tomorrows, so that we can wake up to blue skies and stubbornly sunny summer mornings yet again. It’s the twelfth hour many say in terms of climate change affecting our world, and it may well be, but really, what other option do we have but to hope, and rebuild, having understood that we cannot employ the same means we have employed so far. Here’s to hope once again, and to wiser and kinder ways of treating our world and each other.

The Time For Trade Offs Should Be Behind Us

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on July 17, 2017. 

It’s a smoky morning in Kamloops and about to get smokier still, judging by the large plume riding down the North Thompson. I took the dog out for a walk but we’re both slowing down our usual pace on days like today. It’s more work to take each breath in. I think of people struggling with respiratory disease on a good day (my youngest included). It is only mid-July and summer is still unfolding as we speak. More wildfires to come.

Will next year be the same? Worse? Better? How about the one after? That we cannot foresee the future, let alone create a better one, is a sobering thought. At the same time, one could argue, we do have a say in what is to come. With some margin for error (and growing every year,) but still.

So, the smoke. Particulate matter is hell on earth for all of us. More coming as fossil fuel consumption increases and the resulting greenhouse gases causes temperatures to increase.

More dust and particulate matter coming if the extraction sector continues its forays into the underground riches. Case in point here in Kamloops: the Ajax mine.

City council is about to cast their decision today. A relevant step. I have stated where I stand on a few occasions: a firm no. There is not enough money in this world to buy health or a mouthful of fresh air. I know what it’s like not being able to breathe from watching my son fight to breathe on more than one occasion.

I cannot picture adding the dust and increased amounts of exhaust gas from mine traffic to the city air on a day like today. Jobs are needed, that is true everywhere. But the trade-offs are to be considered carefully. Now more than ever.

If a hundred years ago, or even more recent in our history, we had enough clean environment to spare (I stubbornly believe there never is ‘enough’ clean air, water, and soil to spare), we are now seeing the results of that way of thinking in many places around the world, our own country-wide backyard included.

Industrial developments that put a community’s health and well-being at risk ought to make people rethink priorities. Mines without solid safety standards in place end up costing a community more than all the jobs combined. Examples abound, more so in a province like ours where the lax mining standards have been costly, socially, and otherwise. Hence the need for objectivity and a clear vision of the future, no pun intended.

It’s been said repeatedly by our governments, provincial and federal, that decisions on mines, liquid natural gas operations and pipeline construction are done with science in mind. ‘Facts-based decisions’ is the refrain that keeps on coming to remind us of the soundness of the decision-making process.

In case of the Ajax mine, science reports came back rather unequivocal. Not in favour, that is. In other cases, such as Mount Polley Mine, science seems to be employed as a weapon of betrayal (presently, treated wastewater is dumped in the lake, as per our former government’s decision following a ‘science-based’ process. The initial spill cleanup has not happened yet.)

The human population is growing, hence the need for more. Emphasis on ‘need’. We are making use of wants though, more often than we should, and we do that in ways that prove detrimental to our own well-being: our environment is polluted in the process of extracting resources, manufacturing goods, transporting them, and in the process of disposing of them. Garbage is at an all-time high on land and in the oceans, and, much like the human population, on a growing trend.

We’re bulging at the seams, yet more is produced, and more developments are underway. Life is not a one-way street, where you leave stuff behind as you go. It is a circle, and in true circle fashion, everything is engaged on a trajectory that keeps returning to the starting point. We’re part of it too.

We know, factually speaking, that our environment is aching; it has been for some time. Helping a community thrive while considering possible deleterious health effects of a local economic project is where the balance stands. The time for trade-offs should be behind us, because no matter how you stack it, money can never buy health, no matter how much of it you pile up.

Challenging Times Bring Out The Best And The Worst In People

Originally published as a column in CFJC Today and Armchair Mayor News on June 10, 2017. 

I was almost done with writing this week’s column by Thursday last week. It was about the missing campfire ban; it was long overdue and its absence worrying. Then Friday came, all hell broke loose in the southern interior and the Caribou, and a campfire ban was implemented without further delay.

Many thousands of evacuees later, homes burned, and multiple fires eating their way through the province, growing with every hour and gust of wind, the skies are hazy and the immediate future worrisome. In the midst of it all that and with the fear of more coming, it is almost too easy to get discouraged.

But since despair does not do much to help, making more room for better feelings might just be the way to go. To start with, gratefulness for having resources to fight fires, and for having people who are giving everything they’ve got to the fight with an adversary that takes no breaks. Firefighters often end up working all night during times like these. Their working conditions include hot, parched air, thick relentless smoke, and much physical exertion. Saying thank you seems like such a small thing to give in return. To them and to all those whose jobs take them to that front line where fear, anger, anxiousness, and heartbreak exist alongside people chased out of their homes by fire and some end up losing them to it.

Then there’s resilience. People who have been through losing their possessions and entire homes to previous wildfires are proof. Someone I know who went through the 1998 Salmon Arm wildfire had intense emotions triggered by photos of the ongoing fires; yet moving on happens because that’s what people do. When the going gets tough, and it does so because life is a blasted roller coaster trying ride at times, people find inner resources they did not think they had, so they keep on going. It’s the beauty of the unbeatable human spirit. It works best when you’re not alone in it.

Which takes me to the next good vibe. So many businesses in Kamloops have been opening their doors to evacuees, offering food and drinks. The offer is outpouring as we speak. Local kennels and people are offering to take pets and farm animals in. Backyards and home spaces are made available for impromptu camping.

It makes your heart swell a few sizes. It’s good to know we live in a place where big wide arms are ready to help. Yes, Kamloops has a big heart. In fact, many big ones. And this is just the beginning. There is a growing list of people who want to volunteer and donate to cover needs. The ongoing fires are still growing, most are zero percent contained – which does not mean hopeless, but hard to beat, and I know that we will see them restrained soon enough. All we can hope is that no others will start any time soon.

Which takes me to the bad sides showing in some humans. Family friends contacted me last night with questions about the fire ban. Driving near Hyas Lake area, their family spotted a few campers enjoying some good old campfires, despite the ban. Though some areas might be less dry than others, the fire danger is extreme and there is no going past that. That the said campfires were combined with drinking and that good old time that makes people less aware of sparkles landing on the grass… well, it’s just not right.

There is no happy follow-up either for this one. The campfires were reported the first night and local firefighters went and put them out, and gave warnings. The night after, campfires were back and there is little to say past that.

Lack of any social conscience is perhaps one of the most insidious and deadly disease that humanity has to defend itself against.

It’s only logical that I touch on cigarette butts next. On a sidewalk, they are an eye sore; in a place like Peterson Creek*, for example, or other city parks, which are as dry as dry can be (and getting dryer still with every day of scorching heat), a cigarette butt flicked carelessly could create yet another disaster. The many discarded cigarette butts I saw during my walks with the dog in the last few days before the park, were one too many to count or not be nervous about. All it takes is a spark.

Last, but not least: cars heating up fast when left in the sun even for a couple of minutes. Please do not leave children or pets locked in, even with windows cracked open. Hot weather turns merciless in mere seconds. Keep a watchful eye as well when you pass by parked cars in a parking lot. If you notice any children on animals, let someone know right away.

Stay safe, help when you can and as much as you can, and don’t give up hope. This too shall pass.

*Though now closed, Peterson Creek Park is now for the most part a large carpet of dry grass right underneath the Highway 1 bridge. Even one cigarette butt thrown out of a car driving by could mean sheer disaster. Please be mindful.

Holding Onto Hope Is The Only Way Out

Originally published as a column in CFJC Today and Armchair Mayor News on Monday, June 5, 2017. 

I admit to no longer looking forward to checking the news. After a weekend spent with my family, out of reception, on the shore of a little-known lake near Little Fort, the return to the fast-moving, permanently-connected-to-the-internet world, is nowhere near pleasant.

We had a weekend of stories and adventures, laughter over the silly antics of a dog so happy to be exploring the woods and jumping into the lake as she pleased, and full of the togetherness that words like ‘family camping’ do not do justice to. We went paddling in early mornings and late evenings when the water is as smooth as glass and the haunting calls of the loons are but wrapping around your thoughts like vines.

The phone was but a camera. When we left on Friday I was still processing the troubling thoughts caused by the US president’s decision to withdraw his country from the Paris climate change agreement. Overwhelming is an understatement. We are not yet in dire straights environmentally speaking, not over where we are anyway, but the threads that hold it all together disappear with every bad decision.

Lately I have been immersed in a book called ‘The right to be cold’ by Sheila Watt-Cloutier. It is a fascinating read with lots of Inuit history and, at the same time, an accurate and heartbreaking description of the way life in the Arctic has been affected by many factors, mainly climate change. The climate change-induced transformations of the Arctic world are happening twice as fast compared to changes in the rest of the world. A cautionary tale at best.

Yet, there are still climate change deniers. That I will never understand. I’d do but one thing to appeal to their minds and hearts: I’d take them to one of the many places where the sun splashes on a lake trying to coax waterlilies to reach to the surface, and you feel dwarfed by trees of all kinds shading delicate fairy slippers, wild strawberry flowers and newly emerged arnica flowers. Then I’d ask: What if this corner of paradise and many others would cease to exist? What if basic life needs could no longer be satisfied because the planet is simply not enabling for it?

There is still time. There’s hope.

A recent study done in Germany concluded that planting trees to sink carbon is simply not enough to counteract the effects of climate change. Though trees do absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, which makes new trees grow a lot faster due to its high concentrations these days, we would need immense surfaces – the equivalent of all the agricultural land plus some more, if we are to slow down climate change. We need to let go of fossil fuels and focus on alternatives.

Yet letting go of hope is not an option, no matter how deeply disturbing one president’s decision to embrace denial is. Hope we must, hope we will. There are still many countries (some US states too), committed to act towards making life on earth last, Canada included, which is a comforting thought.  Yes, Canada will have to forgo pipelines and dams and LNG soon enough if the commitment is to be a fruitful one.

That was, as I said, the thought context in which I entered the blissful ‘out of reception’ zone with my loved ones. Upon our return, connection grabbed onto our phones half an hour or so after leaving the campsite.

We got home, unloaded, scrubbed dishes, and sorted through the camping gear to store it away till next time. It was my oldest who checked the news first. There was another attack in London, he said.

More people senselessly killed, others critically wounded, more fear and terror spreading, more questions that will remain, once again, unanswered.

I know this is but the one of the facets news outlets focus on. I know that the famine in South Sudan is beyond tragic and millions are on the brink of death due to starvation and diseases; that boats of hopeful migrants, many of whom children, still engage in crossing the Mediterranean in search of a better life, and that the Middle East is still ravaged by bombings, and senseless dying happens everywhere you look.

It’s that and more that made me steer away from connecting back to the world. It’s sad, it’s scary, it’s angering, and it’s not going to end anytime soon, unfortunately. Yet, just like I stated above, it’s hope we must commit to. There simply is no better way.

Hope makes anger dwindle; when solutions are needed, rather than more resentment, hope, and willingness to hold onto what makes us human (kindness is what comes to mind first) must be strengthened. It’s the hardest thing at times.

Whenever dark, hopeless thoughts invade my mind, I seek the one refuge that somehow stays unaltered every time: the hope that the world can be changed. It takes many (most of us?) but it’s possible. Somehow, some of the areas of the drawing board on which we sketch life have become blackened by horror acts and fear. But the big picture can still be lit up if enough well-wishing hands keep on sketching bright, hopeful bits of life. It takes many. Most of us and each of us.

Why Everyone’s Vote Is Vital

Originally published as a column in CFJC Today and Armchair Mayor News on May 1, 2017. 

Our days are rife with politics. News, campaign bites, signs abounding. Provincial elections coming up! Wednesday night found me listening to Elizabeth May at the Double Tree Hilton hotel downtown. No matter your colours, politically speaking, an admirable and inspiring presence like Ms. May’s transcends all of that. She has a straight backbone and accountability. We need more politicians like her to help restore people’s trust that things can turn out better after all.

We can get ourselves there on May 9, or between May 3 to 6, if you prefer advance voting. Please get out and vote. Voting is, at once, the right, duty and chance that can see us building a better future.

To say the clock that measures our time as a species on this planet is ticking may sound too much like the doom and gloom predictions that environmentalists have been delivering lately. I agree, it’s not pretty. But it’s real.

Last Friday, president Trump reversed the order regarding drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic. The oceans that are already at risk due to warming, acidification, overfishing and plastic accumulation, will see more drilling for fossil fuels. The announcement spoke of jobs and other benefits, without any references to the risks.

That our governments, provincial and federal, should re-examine their stand on how they deal with the fate of future generations, no matter what our neighbours to the south do, is an understatement. We now know that carbon dioxide levels have breached the 410 parts per million threshold. Another kind of beast unleashed, one that we should stop feeding and soon, or else.

One way to do it? Go and cast your vote. Read up on what each candidate and their party stand for, ask questions, and listen to debates. A lot is at stake. Jobs are needed, yes, but creation of jobs should be the result of an ‘out of the box’ process. A much needed reform.

The world as we know it has been changing due to climate change, and in face of that kind of threat, money can do little, if anything, to compensate.

We cannot turn back the clock or put the greenhouse gases back in the bag. But we can ask that our governments show concern for the environment, globally and locally.

And there are many local and province-wide issues our future elected MLAs will have to deal with. In Clearwater, industrial logging at too large a scale in high-risk areas has brought the local population of the Canadian Southern Mountain Caribou to a dire situation: there are but 120 left roaming (and declining).

The infamous Site C project, criticized by environmentalists and scientists here in Canada and abroad is a failure to care of our present government, to put it mildly. An environmental, economic, and cultural disaster waiting to happen. Disasters that have already happened (Mt. Polley mine tailings spill) have yet to be properly addressed, legally, ethically, and morally speaking. The present government has failed at that too.

If environmental issues are not your highest concern, there are plenty of other issues in need of addressing: child poverty (British Columbia has, after all, and shamefully so, the highest child poverty rates in Canada), lack of proper medical care, and lack of a proper school system, to name but a few.

These issues are but testament to the need for change in how our provincial government deals with life at all levels.

It has to be good for more than a select few, and it should happen even in the most remote communities (think access to clean water which is a basic human right.)

It has to come with a vision for what the future could be like, should alternative technologies and industries be promoted so that our pale blue dot and our children have a fighting chance.

It has to come with people being offered jobs that do not put their own communities and health at risk, and it has to come with a good education and medical system.

The order could not be taller. Nothing could be delivered overnight either once May 10th comes around. The future is built one day after another rather than delivered in one day as a done deal.

What matters now is to choose politicians whose minds and hearts are open, and who are willing to communicate and follow up on issues. Leaders with the moral stature and vision that will call for fairness and ethics in determining who gets to do business in British Columbia, making transparency the word of the day and the standing practice in all governmental offices.

Yes, a lot is at stake. Voting is the one thing that can be done to save what can be saved and through that, our future. Please consider casting a vote when the day comes and encourage others to do so too.

Happy Earth Day Beyond Earth Day

Originally published as a column on CFJC Today and Armchair Mayor News on Monday April 25, 2017. 

There is an interesting realization that sneaks up on you once you spend enough time in nature to be humbled by it: that you know squat about it, other than the very basics, if that, unless you dedicate time to learn about it. It is mind-boggling to think that for the most part, our awareness of the living world is minimal. That hinders much of our chance to succeed at saving ourselves.

Children have the right idea when they start out as wee curiosity-fueled machines. Nothing is yucky in their path, nothing too disgusting to look at, smell or touch. The world is an endless array of networks to learn about, to wonder at and to return to every day.

Nothing is ugly or boring. Rain or shine, hot or cold, children want to be out and exploring. As they grow up, we qualify the living world around them using words and concepts meant to provide safe boundaries which often end up becoming the reason children’s curiosity subsides. They learn to disengage.

Moreover, that childhood nowadays comes with screens and alternative reality fast-paced games and movies that take the young minds even farther from the slow-paced real life is not helping much either.

The human brain is amazing in how it can absorb and use information, in how it can solve problems and find solutions. And puzzlingly so, it is also, especially in our young ones, easily addicted to things and activities that create pleasure loops to get lost in, all supplied by an array of marketing ploys that are, as per their intended design, overwhelming.

Such activities, toys and gadgets, provide the kind of stimulation nature cannot provide. Not because it lacks anything, but because the nature’s rhythms are not meant to create addiction of any kind, but to soothe, heal, and allow for space to find ourselves and the inside voice that suits us best. That voice is, for lack of better way to explain it, in tune with the living world around.

That kind of meaningful, life-enriching and enabling duet, is more visible in some fellow humans than others. Come Earth Day, we are invited to remember the things that matter. No economic growth plan matters much if a community is under the threat of natural disasters, often induced by improperly and abusively conducted human activities. It could be clear cutting, mining, building of dams, you name it. Not just in BC and Canada but throughout the world.

Nature’s little note, never illegible I dare add, reads the same every time: work in congruency with nature’s way, never against it. Make operations sustainable and respectful of the living world, and things can work just fine. The one caveat: there would be lower profits perhaps, though bringing ethics into it can make it fair for everyone. The reward, though, would be longer term projects and much healthier outcomes environmentally and human health-wise; common sense replacing greed and the utter conviction that nature is ours to grab from, dominate and squeeze dry.

Awareness of the earthly gifts in all of us, from the very young to the very old, can make Earth Day a culmination of sorts rather than the isolated day when we celebrate our planet. An hour of turning off the lights is a good thing, but better yet if we do it daily. Just imagine having an hour a day, at least, when you spend time with your loved ones, or rest, walk and listen to the sounds of the world around you, anything that can be done with lights off and without any devices close at hand.

The earthly gifts are many and varied, but the basic ones are the same everywhere: water, air, and food. Imagine the kind of awareness that can be created if we had days dedicated to learning about hunger and thirst for example. By experiencing them, no less. Imagine a day when we would have a limited supply of food available, or clean water.

Imagine having the kind of overwhelming marketing campaigns that promote the selling of goods, and then more goods and gadgets, promoting awareness instead, based on what we need to know of the living world, people included.

Imagine being made aware (and becoming more appreciative of your own blessings and abilities to help) of issues that can be alleviated or even mildly improved, by knowing more about: lack of food or proper food, lack of clean water (more than 80 Indigenous communities in Canada are under boiled water advisory and many other communities are plagued by industrial pollution of their drinking water), lack of proper legislation that would see natural habitats protected and thus helping restore any environmental imbalances that ultimately come to affect our lives.

Imagine a day when those in a position of power, whether in manufacturing or marketing, would come together to realize that there is already enough stuff to go around and would press for developing aggressive alternative strategies to address the surplus through reusing, repurposing and overall reducing consumption. Delivery from slavery on both sides of the spectrum you could say…

On Earth Day and beyond, remembering that we have become so used to having convenient rather than respectful to nature, is worth yet another reminder. We have become used to resealable, non-recyclable bags for everything we consume, from produce and fruit to snacks and wipes; we have become accustomed to simply grabbing our cold drinks in single-use plastic cups covered with the plastic lid (number 6, non-recyclable in most recycling facilities), with a straw planted in it, no less, and we choose to not spend too much thought on why Canadians now produce approximately 10 billion tonnes of garbage yearly (9.6 billion tonnes in 2012) while the world’s oceans receive a staggering 8 billion tonnes of plastic from all of us earthlings.

During a recent talk at TRU on the topic of the health of our oceans, Fabien Cousteau shared one of his favourite quotes by Richard Louv. ‘We cannot protect something we do not love, we cannot love what we do not know, and we cannot love what we do not see. Or hear. Or sense.’

Hence the need to return to the simple things: exploring nature alongside our children. Playing in the muck, sitting in the shade of old-growth trees and listening to birds, wading in streams, and growing some of the food we put on the table. Discovering more so we can live with less. Knowing. So we can love and protect.

Happy Earth Day beyond Earth Day!

Page 2 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
%d bloggers like this: