“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.
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.
“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!
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 –
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
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)
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
I’m so excited that I soon get to see these women perform in their new theatre production, Mom’s the Word 3: Nest 1/2 Empty. I’ve been following their careers since they staged the first version of Mom’s the Word, a collection of stories that poke fun at the joys and challenges of raising toddlers. Their second show in this series – some years later – dealt with raising teens and it was just as wonderful. Now they’re on their third production where their children are leaving the nest (or not). Their marriages may have evolved as well. Alison Kelly (second from right) and I swapped parenting stories on the side of the soccer pitch for many years so I know first hand where some of her material comes from. Continue reading
… for what I believe.
These are the 2 facts that led me to a plant-based diet over twenty-five years ago.
1. More than half of the grain grown in the US is being fed to livestock rather than consumed by humans. The US could feed 800 million people with that grain.
2. It takes 4,000 gallons of water to support an omnivore diet per day compared to 300 gallons to support a plant based diet.
I knew that by giving up meat I alone couldn’t change the fact that millions of people around the world don’t have access to fresh water and food, but it felt like the right thing to do. Since then I’ve learned that meat-heavy diets create more climate change than all cars and planes combined and I’ve seen photos of the atrocities animals suffer because of our wide-spread practise of factory farming. My resolve to maintain a plant-based diet has only intensified.
The smallest things can brighten my day. Finding these glass straws at a local business did just that.
Single-use plastic straws are one of the top 10 kinds of trash adding to the 20 million tonnes of plastic litter entering the oceans every year.
Enough plastic straws are produced annually to fill over 46 THOUSAND full sized school buses! (enviroglassstraw.ca)
Now that’s a visual.
Glass straws aren’t the solution for beverage businesses that still use straws in their drinks, but they are perfect for home use. (Fortunately there are biodegradable options if businesses still want to offer straws.)
It wasn’t too many years ago that curbside recycling was unheard of, and we all left the grocery stores laden down with plastic shopping bags. Now our blue recycling boxes and ‘green’ bins are full and everyone is remembering to bring reusable bags when they shop. The impact of these small behavioural changes has made a huge difference to our planet. Hopefully we’ll all move towards either declining straws for our beverages, or opting for glass or biodegradable ones.
“We believe that by making small changes to our everyday lives, we can make a huge difference worldwide.” (Enviro Glass Straw)
I believe that too.
Photo credit: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-globe-mascot-giving-thumbs-up-image23457370
Anyone who cares about their environmental footprint shudders at the thought of adding even one single-use coffee pod to the tens of billions that end up in the landfill each year. Separating the coffee from the foil and plastic for recycling/composting is painstaking. But these (pictured below) reusable, one-cup coffee pods are the perfect solution. You simply put in a scoop of ground coffee, brew, then tap it into the compost bucket when you’re done. A quick rinse and you’re ready to make your next cup of coffee in the same ‘pod’.