In Praise of Urban Farming

Agriculture (Photo credit: thegreenpages)

After World War II urban planning separated farming and city living. Cities became food deserts overshadowed by high rises; family farms were replaced by factory farms. As time passed awareness about what we eat, how it’s produced, and concerns about health and environment issues led to a resurgence of backyard gardening, and the emergence of guerrilla gardening, community gardening and urban farming. Continue reading “In Praise of Urban Farming”

Nuclear Power: When will we ever learn?

March 11th was the anniversary of the devastating tsunami that struck Japan’s Tohoku region, which was triggered by a submarine earthquake far more massive than anything geologists had expected in that zone. That tsunami wiped out Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and in doing so, washed away the people’s confidence in nuclear power. Continue reading “Nuclear Power: When will we ever learn?”

Walking Lightly One Step at a Time

footprintsClimate change is one of the biggest threats we face and your home is plugged into nature. Your home energy usage or carbon footprint might seem trivial, however, as much as 17 percent of CO2 emissions come from private home electricity usage, heating and waste. Wasting electrical energy prompts CO2-emitting power plants to produce more and heating with oil, wood and/or natural gas directly creates greenhouse gasses. Continue reading “Walking Lightly One Step at a Time”

Islands of Sorrow, Oceans of Grief

globe On islands of sorrow, across oceans of grief,  all over the world there will be no tomorrow for marine life and ocean birds. They ingest our waste, starve, writhe in agony and die, and we are none the wiser.

The oceans are precious, yet we fill them with lethal junk that doesn’t break down in the environment,  junk that’s the agent of death for the life that’s left in the wild.  We sit in front of our TV’s and believe the wilderness we see there is intact. Well it isn’t and that’s a fact.  If you lived on a tiny island like me, you would begin to see a glimpse of what we are doing to the seas. Continue reading “Islands of Sorrow, Oceans of Grief”

Cabin Renovation: Simple Green Living

Protected by Copyscape Online Infringement Detector Umbrellas-PublicDomainThirty years ago my husband and I were city dwellers still spending most of our time working  for someone else.  Then we made a life changing decision, a decision to make our simple dream come true.  We moved to where we wanted to live,  purchased a home, committed to voluntary simplicity and built our own business from the bottom up. Continue reading “Cabin Renovation: Simple Green Living”

Are you a tree hugger too?

The thunderclouds collided overhead and the rain hailed down like bullets.  Wind howled,  limbs cracked,  whoosh  —  two earthshaking THUDS, seconds apart, shook the ground.  For 90 years they stood on the bank of the creek but now they spanned it laying side by side.  Bent and broken never to be mended, our two big trees had died. Continue reading “Are you a tree hugger too?”

Green Home Renovation Lessons Learned

It all began with the surprise announcement that we were spontaneously undertaking a large and expensive project within a time limited window of opportunity.  Two weeks ago I assumed it would be completely done by now. How wrong I was. Our recent green home renovation, repair and house painting scenario has caused us to pause and review an important life lesson. Continue reading “Green Home Renovation Lessons Learned”

Connecting Kids and Nature

We islanders got the dry spell we were craving and quickly exchanged our gumboots and umbrellas for sandals and sunglassess. We’ve been celebrating a week of gorgeous weather outdoors and that’s why I’ve been so scarce. The rhododendrons are heralding spring and the green background is punctuated with natural color again. The forecast is for another sunny week and my husband will be home. All is well in my world.  Continue reading “Connecting Kids and Nature”

Super Moon Moments and Memories

Supermoons occur when the moon’s closest approach to the Earth coincides with a full moon, an event known as perigee. The average distance between the Earth and the Moon is about 383,000 kilometres but last night the Moon was about 356,955 kilometres away. My husband and I have viewed the Moon many times before through a spotting scope but have never seen it so big and bright. The coppery colored Moon glowed in the night sky appearing 14 percent larger because it was so close.  Continue reading “Super Moon Moments and Memories”

Summer was Super

kitchenIn the summer months I have far less time to blog and social network in than I do during the other months of the year. This is reflected by the number of posts I publish and the amount to time I invest in blog promotion. Despite the fact the weather was a few degrees cooler than expected August weather did not disappoint.  We had a fabulous month with friends making sweet memories. Continue reading “Summer was Super”

A World Without Bees

sweetCan you imagine a world without bees? Entomologists are studying the reasons behind an enormous bee die off.  They call it Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and if they cannot find a solution the 80% of fruits and vegetables that require pollination may not make it to market.   Places bees can forage for pollen without being poisoned by pesticides have dramatically declined, and the cause of CCD appears to be related to diseases from pesticides, but no one is certain.

Continue reading “A World Without Bees”

Essential Oils: All Purpose Citrus Cleaner

citrusThe blogger at everydayinthegarden is a Permaculture Design Consultant  reaching out to fellow gardeners, who might enjoy her observations, how to guides, and recipes.  We connected and I discovered she is into aromatherapy too.  She cleans her house with various natural recipes including essential oils and she shared this recipe for an Essential Oils All Purpose Cleaner with me that can be used for almost all household cleaning. I tried it and it works very well. Continue reading “Essential Oils: All Purpose Citrus Cleaner”

Blue Camas Love Affair

camas lily Many years ago my friend and I took a new bend in the road on our  weekly woodland walk and happened upon a gorgeous sight — a sea of Blue Camas lilies in full bloom in a Garry Oak meadow.   Enamored by the display before us we exchanged our associations with the color blue.  She snapped numerours pictures which inspired us to include Blue Camas meadows in our  paintings for years to come. She also shared some history about the flowers we were admiring and the ecosystem they grow in. Continue reading “Blue Camas Love Affair”

BC Lighthouse keepers not getting the boot

Fisgard Lighthouse
Fisgard Lighthouse – Click for full size – Image Credit – Fisgard Lighthouse Historical Site

Canadian lightkeepers report on weather and sea conditions, collect long-term scientific data that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, protect rare wildlife and plant species, give first aid assistance and other help to tourists and hikers, track down overdue boats, assist vessels in distress with pumps, provide first aid and sanctuary, patch boats,  and prepare staging grounds for medical evacuations, and much more besides.  On the Pacific coast they  also participate in the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, a program that collects reports of whales, dolphins, porpoises and sea turtles, many of which are threatened or endangered species. Continue reading “BC Lighthouse keepers not getting the boot”

Perpetual economic growth is unsustainable

globeThere’s little doubt in my mind that the three-legged stool economic model is flawed and needs replacement. Setting economic concerns as a priority above the environment when the environment is the grounds for all is irrational and adopting this never-ending growth model has had catastrophic consequences. Continue reading “Perpetual economic growth is unsustainable”

Are your cosmetics hazardous to your health?

We live in youth obsessed society and the vast array of cosmetics available to us are evidence of  our determination to pursue and project a youthful  external image to the grave. Pervasive and persuasive advertising cosmetics industry campaigns have created a highly lucrative and growing market for anti-aging  and  presumed beauty creating products. There’s  also cross-over marketing that targets beauty product consumers by purporting  such products can do much for their health.  But is that true? Continue reading “Are your cosmetics hazardous to your health?”

What Would You Sacrifice for a Secure Future?

pink cloudsThe scientific evidence of global warming is overwhelming, and there is no reason not to act.  We ought to be rethinking and reducing oil dependency as it’s obvious  that we must act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to provide a cleaner planet for future generations.  There are many other sources of renewable energy, but every option comes with concern about public participation. Continue reading “What Would You Sacrifice for a Secure Future?”

Beating the Heat

Last night I had several dreams and every one of them had the same theme –  cooling down. From standing under a waterfall,  to being caught in a snow storm, to being stranded on an iceberg, and shivering in an ice cave my sub-conscious mind supplied me with my deepest desire which was to be cool. So I hauled a mattress out onto the deck where my husband was already sleeping, pulled a sheet over me, and continued to dream cold dreams. Continue reading “Beating the Heat”

On the Beach

I’m enjoying my vacation with friends and our catching up on each others lives and sharing new experiences has been so wonderful and so exhausting. I feel like I’m asleep on my feet or living a dream right now. We have developed an pattern of relaxing on the beach early in the mornings and late in the evenings.  Our conversation topics have ranged from the intensely personal realm to politics. We have exchanged opinions on everything from off shore oil drilling and oil tanker traffic to reciting spoken word poetry.

Last Saturday night I had the experience of reading a poem written by my friend to a small gathering. I knew I did a good job of it because when it ended my audience was so engaged that there was a delicious 2 minutes of silence before the applause.  I can’t post  my friend’s  poetry as it’s yet to be released officially, but I can tell you we both admire Mindy Nettifee’s poetry. Here’s one of her pieces for you to enjoy.

Love Poem to Long Beach

by Mindy Nettifee

“When award-winning Long Beach poet Mindy Nettifee speaks … you’re powerless—you have no choice but to raise your wine glass high over your osmosis head and join her pledge of allegiance to graphic truth.  Her poems have the grace of cursive letters and the guts of a truck driver.”
-District Weekly

Offshore drilling is bad news, and we should say so

Offshore oil production is a growth industry that has  produced numerous large-scale oil spills destroying  an immense amount habitat and devastating wildlife.  Clearly drilling is not the answer to any of our energy problems. It creates far fewer jobs than clean energy,  it won’t help us become energy independent,  and it definitely won’t help solve the climate change crisis. Continue reading “Offshore drilling is bad news, and we should say so”

Rethinking and reducing oil dependency

My husband and I awoke to the news that BP Plc is preparing for a key procedure to replace the containment cap over its blown-out Macondo well, which could temporarily cause more oil to gush into the Gulf of Mexico.  This provoked a long and thoughtful discussion about global warming and what additional steps we can take to reduce out own dependency on oil. Continue reading “Rethinking and reducing oil dependency”

Naked in Eden Book Trailer

This is so exciting. My friend Robin Easton adventurer, writer and blogger has released her Naked in Eden book trailer. It’s the remarkable story of her adventures and awakening in the Australian rainforest. The book will be released Sept 2010. Follow the Naked in Eden Blog – Robin Easton for updates. And while you are visiting treat yourself to reading some of her excellent blog posts.  Continue reading “Naked in Eden Book Trailer”

Celebrate Earth Day with better food choices

 earthday Picture It is important that humans begin supporting organic or small farms, local production and sustainable techniques while harvesting increased yields and protecting the topsoil.

The time for action is now, before the world’s rich farmland washes into the sea, and before chemical pesticides and fertilizers cause any more harm to our drinking water and our oceans. Continue reading “Celebrate Earth Day with better food choices”

Earth Day 2009

Earth Day 2009, April 22, will mark the beginning of the Green Generation Campaign!

This two-year initiative will culminate with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010. With negotiations for a new global climate agreement coming up in December, Earth Day 2009 must be a day of action and civic participation, to defend the Green Generation’s core principles: Family with windmills: Renewable energy for future generations. Continue reading “Earth Day 2009″

Bloggers Unite for Earth Day

globeEarth Day is on April 22, 2009 and according to the Earth Day Network’s web site, it took us (collectively as a human race) about 125 years to use our first trillion barrels of oil. We’re going to use up the next trillion barrels in only 30 years. It stands to reason our increased oil usage has an impact on our environment, our health and our lives. Continue reading “Bloggers Unite for Earth Day”

Will Willie and friends see shadows tomorrow?

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. Canada’s Groundhog Day relies on the predictions of an albino groundhog named Wiarton Willie. Although Punxsutawney Phil gets the most attention, various American cities have their own special groundhogs; New York City’s official groundhog is called “Pothole Pete.”

If Willie and his friends their shadows then we can expect 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t spring is just around the corner. So what do you say will he see his shadow or not?

The earliest American reference to Groundhog Day (February 4, 1841) can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College. When German settlers arrived in the 1700s, they brought a tradition known as Candlemas Day, which has an early origin in the pagan celebration of Imbolc. It came at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Superstition held that if the weather was fair, the second half of Winter would be stormy and cold. For the early Christians in Europe, it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of Winter. A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home. The day’s weather continued to be important. If the sun came out February 2, halfway between Winter and Spring, it meant six more weeks of wintry weather. Source

Geotourism: Do you know what it is?

Some of the “pet” subjects I have researched and written about include the negative impacts of tourism on the most special places on earth, ecotourism, geotourism and sustainable tourism. For several nights now I have had Great Wall of China dreams. I have never been there but, my friend who works in the tourism industry, is on his way back for a second tour. I believe these dreams are arising from the research and writing I have done and shared with him and, the photographs he has shown me of mountains of tourist garbage in the past. I also believe the book I’m reading is prompting the dreams as well (see below). Continue reading “Geotourism: Do you know what it is?”

News from the Union of Concerned Scientists

Political interference in science has been all over the news recently. We thought you’d like to be aware of the following developments:

Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona reported he was muzzled from speaking about topics like stem cell research and sex education.

Vice President Dick Cheney was accused of personally interfering to change the science around endangered salmon.

A federal judge blocked the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from implementing new cattle grazing regulations because they were based on manipulated science.

Tuesday, a presidential executive order went into effect that would place political appointees deeper inside federal scientific agencies where they could more easily prevent inconvenient science from ever seeing the light of day.

During the past several weeks, the UCS invited the public to help choose the winner in Science Idol: the Scientific Integrity Editorial Cartoon Contest. And after almost 20,000 votes were cast, Jesse Springer of Eugene, Oregon is the contest winner -> see the cartoon.