Category Archives: Making a Difference

Candle Season (or how to spread kindness)

As we light candles to add a soft glow to our homes during these long, dark nights of winter, let’s think of the flame as a way of spreading kindness.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” (Buddha)

“So spread your light through love and kindness to the people around you and let the ‘giving spirit’ you initiate spread like a virus, infinitely touching the lives of people you may never meet, across boundaries you may never cross, in ways you may never have thought possible. That is the power of our love and kindness, and it’s your ticket to making the world a happier place.” (author unknown)

I remember the day a total stranger pulled over to the side of a busy and narrow highway to help me change a flat tire. It was dangerous work with huge trucks barreling past, threatening to drag us along in their undertow. I asked for the stranger’s name, wanted to buy him lunch, something, but he simply asked me to do a good deed for someone else. I was  touched by his kindness. I do try to practise kindness in my life, but need to make a greater effort to practise random acts of kindness for strangers each and every day. It may not be a  something big, like changing a tire, some days it may only be a sincere compliment, but who knows where it may lead? Hopefully the gesture will ‘spread like a virus.’

Flushing Away Our Forests: The Issue With Tissue

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“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

–Cree Indian Proverb

So many of our shopping choices are ones we make by habit. We continue to buy the same products simply because they’re the ones we’ve always bought, or because they’re on sale. We don’t stop to consider whether we could be making better choices.

Take something as simple and common as toilet paper. Did you know the average American (and probably Canadian) uses almost three rolls of toilet paper per week? According to the Vancouver Sun (February 26, 2019) the majority of toilet paper (and tissue and paper towel) comes from virgin fibre pulp from Canada’s old boreal forests. This is to meet the demand of us consumers who want the softest, most absorbent tissue we can get. (A number of really cute commercials spring to mind.) These manufacturers do not use recycled materials or alternative fibres and this comes at the expense of our forests

There are, in fact, less well known tissue manufacturers that use recycled materials or sustainable bamboo and sugarcane instead of pulp from trees

Bamboo tissue (with sugarcane fibres) are 100% free of all wood fibre. They are biodegradable. And they are soft.

Trees are essential to our existence. They  provide oxygen and clean air for us to breathe and help moderate our climate.  When trees are re-planted it can take several decades  to reach full maturity. Bamboo, on the other hand, grows quickly and produces 35% more oxygen than trees. 

Switching to a different paper product is just one small change we can all make to ensure the survival of our forests.

Look ma, no tailpipe!

It’s 2019 and I’ve turned over a ‘blue Leaf’.  Nissan Leaf that is. I’ve made the leap to electric. Zero emissions. The electricians are in the garage right now, installing the correct hardware (220 volts.)  The car salesperson assured me that the “range anxiety” new electric car owners experience would dissipate in just 24 hours. It will take some time to get used to plugging it in each day, but I won’t be watching  gas prices anymore. What will take the most getting used to is the larger sized body. My little red Smart car (Ladybug) was so easy to parallel park and maneuver in tight spaces. Suddenly I feel like I’m driving a mini van again. But it drives so smoothly, so quietly. So far I’m loving everything about it, especially the no emissions part.

I think I’ll name it ‘Dragonfly’ as they symbolizes change, transformation, and adaptability.

Fitting, no?

Little Free Library

“Take a book, share a book.”

I remember the day I stumbled across this Little Free Library. It was the first one I’d ever seen. It stands in a yard a few neighbourhoods away from my own, but one that I can easily walk to. I thought it was absolutely charming although, perhaps, poorly named. (Aren’t all libraries free?) Anyway, I immediately began ‘taking and sharing’. Often I leave copies of my own titles.

I learned this week that Todd Bol – founder of Little Free Library – has passed away. He started the trend in 2009 with the first Little Free Library in his own front yard. Before his death  last week there were 75,000 Little Free Libraries worldwide. I expect this number is modest as people are creating their own designs, with wonderful results.

Before his death, Bol said, “If I may be so bold, I’m the most successful person I know because I stimulate 54 million books to be read and neighbours to talk to each other. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the very definition of success.”

I absolutely agree!

 

 

A Sunset Industry?

I read 3 opinions this week (re the controvercial oil pipelines in BC) that really spoke to me.

1. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” (Upton Sinclair)

2. “Buying this pipeline is like buying a horse and buggy company at the advent of the car.” (Andrew Weaver)

3. “Why is our government subsidizing a sunset industry rather than doubling down on cleaner renewables. Renewable energy and clean technology create more jobs per dollar than pipelines.” (David Suzuki Foundation)

I guess it’s easy to see which side of the fence I sit on, though I know the issue is huge and complicated.

 

We Shape The World

We shape the world –
By what we consume.
By what we give.
By the questions we ask.
By what we stand for.
By what we won’t.

We shape the world –
By taking the time to make
Thoughtful decisions.
Supporting artists and makers
Because we want a world
That supports artists and makers.

We shape the world –
By consuming less.
By buying it only if we love it.
And using it for years to come.
By mending it when it’s broken, and
Someday passing it along to become
Someone else’s beloved treasure.

(As seen on a storefront in Deep Cove, BC)

Reaching out…

making a difference 1 Last week I received a Facebook message from a woman who asked if I’d taught at a particular school close to 30 years ago. I had. She said she’d been a student in my class when she was in Grade 3. She’d recently read a post on Social Media about favourite teachers and it made her think of me.

This woman, who is now 41, went on to tell me that she remembers that I was always ‘happy and fun’. She shared a few of the funny things she recalls from my class (like how to use the tune from the Mickey Mouse song to spell my name) (I still use that song to teach people how to spell it) and how she began to come out of her shell that year. She finished by thanking me for being an ‘amazing teacher.’

I was so grateful to hear from this woman. I would have been in my early 20’s then and was definitely wet behind the ears when it came to teaching. I felt like an imposter, not a ‘real’ teacher. Apparently I did okay.  🙂 Hearing from her has reminded me of how important it is to reach out to those who have made a difference in our lives and to thank  them. Let’s do it before it’s too late.

Be an encourager. Scatter sunshine. Who knows whose life you might touch with something as simple as a kind word. Debbie Macomber

 

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