Wednesday, 25 March 2009
I have a couple questions for people who are members of a CSA farm, or who would consider being members of one:
1) How long does it take you to get to your CSA (or drop off point) going by car, bike or on foot?
2) How far/long would you be willing to travel once a week to get to a CSA (or drop off point)?
Any and all feedback appreciated - thanks!
Sunday, 22 March 2009
I find it absolutely astounding that, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights linked above, leisure time and property ownership are considered human rights, and yet access to safe drinking water isn't. How is this even possible?
Sadly, I know the answer to that question: it's possible because private water companies want it that way, so they can further commodify and commercialize water, selling it to those who can afford it. And that big Canadian project that Minister Prentice also talked about, the Global Environmental Monitoring System, will just help these multinationals get even better at finding where the good water is, so they can exploit it further.
This is why it is absolutely essential that we as citizens do not support private water supplies in any way, shape, or form. We need to make it a point not to buy any bottled water, including water that comes in the form of bottled juice or pop. Companies like Coke, Pepsi and Nestle are notorious for tapping into the aquifers in places like India, and even Florida, denying those citizens their right to clean water.
Today is World Water Day. But it's a sad day for water and a sad day for Canada.
Picture courtesy urbansprout
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Thanks to Experiments in Efficiency for the heads up about this offer.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
And hooray for the Council of Canadians, for keeping this issue front and centre! March 22nd is World Water Day, and it is the day that the Council of Canadians launches its Blue Community Project. What can we do locally to promote water as a basic human right? We can start by talking to people about why privatization of water supplies is a bad thing. We can stop drinking bottled water and drink tap water instead. We can stop buying bottled pop and bottled juice, which are just fancier ways of bottling water. We can write to local, provincial and federal elected representatives to remind them that bottled water isn't a soloution to unsafe water supplies, but ensuring that our water supplies remain uncontaminated is. We can ask our local municipal councils, festival organizers, church groups, labor unions, or workplaces to stop selling and promoting bottled water.
One thing I've done lately to keep the importance of water foremost in my mind is to take one slow, mindful sip of water as the last thing I do before I go to bed. This serves to remind me how fortunate I am to have clean, clear, safe water coming out of my tap!
Sunday, 15 March 2009
I don't mind the snow really -- we do need the moisture in the Spring. But I am longing to see the actual ground again, and those first few shoots of green. I will have to be patient.
I learned a Winter lesson today: It is better to mark the location of the cistern lid and vent before the snow covers it up, then to have to dig all over the place later and hope you find it! I finally did find the necessary bits, and have now marked them with some flaggy items. At least now the water delivery guy will know where to go!
Well, back to shoveling....
Thursday, 12 March 2009
One day last week, I was feeling some grumpiness about something or other, and felt like spending my lunch hour searching the internet for all manner of things meditation-related. I even found an Alberta-based website with info on meditation, and came across this lovely description there:
Well, let me tell you, this idea really woke me up because I have been a bit of a slacker in terms of the posture I use when I meditate. More and more I've been sitting on a chair and putting a pillow behind my back to keep myself upright, rather than sitting on the floor with the pillow under my butt and holding myself in the proper posture. It's more comfy that way, and I could sit longer.
We sit meditation upright and open. This develops the habit of being both steady and relaxed regardless of external circumstance. Sometimes it is difficult to find our true home of awakening in the midst of trying circumstances. Sometimes things around us might sway us into feelings of anger or misunderstanding. We need to have a strong back and an open heart to sit upright.
Our steadiness does not close us off from the reality of our interconnection with others. We only sit upright because we sit upright with others. We don’t hunch over or lean because we have nothing to protect. Our hearts are open and we welcome circumstances exactly as they appear.
It was one of those neat 'aha' moments -- I realized that the actual physical aspect of the sitting was just as important as taking the time to sit in the first place. That sitting that way isn't just for show or to make my back uncomfortable on purpose, but that it is the form-al representation of what meditation is supposed to be all about: simply opening oneself to and accepting what is. I found the unity of this form and function very profound. This merging of form and function makes my brain all tingly when I think about it.
Silly Theresa: it's not about how long I sit or how comfy I am! It's about genuinely cultivating a strong back and an open heart, both literally and metaphorically. (Just now, I'm thinking that the exact same thing applies to Tai Chi.)
May we all develop the habit of being both steady and relaxed regardless of external circumstances.
Picture courtesy this flickr site.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
I could go on and on (and on) about why such things typically don't have a deterrent effect in the two categories of people who make up the bulk of the prison population (i.e., antisocial, impulsive types who don't consider consequences before acting, and gang members who consider doing time the price of doing business as well as a good way to get more recruits), but I won't. (Even though I have done research in the area and have worked in the field for the past 13+ years.) Instead I'd like to focus on a much bigger picture: the hypocrisy of the whole proposition.
In my view, the crux of the matter is this: why would anyone come over to the 'good side' of society when the so-called 'good side' consists of governments that cover up the crimes of their own members, and who let people like Bernie Madoff get away with billions of dollars in fraud? When society at large endorses psychopathic tendencies, including the unfettered pursuit of individual goals regardless of the consequences. When doctors who try to bring attention to the effects of the tarsands on the population of a small town are harassed by the government's health department. When 11 million litres PER DAY of toxic leakage from tarsands tailings ponds is considered within acceptable parameters. When the person in charge of ensuring a nuclear reactor is safe is fired when she says the place isn't safe anymore. When big pharma can muzzle research that is contrary to their business interests. When the ocean contains massive zones of plastic detritus that kills birds and deforms turtles. When we keep on over-consuming and sending our garbage to China for peasants to pick through. When we tell other countries to deal with the consequences of decades of OUR actions, while we do NOTHING.
We have lost the moral ground on which to stand and point fingers at the B&E artists, the con-men/women, the robbers, the fraudsters, even the murderers and rapists. They are us. We are them. There is no fundamental difference.
Because of our insatiable desires for more, always more, Western society has become a place not of fulfillment, but of a harried and crushing emptiness. We need a re-making of society, from the ground up. Just like we demand of the criminals in jail, we the non-jailed must be accountable for all of our actions, take responsibility for all of their consequences, and start acting to repair the harm we have caused to everyone and everything.
This starts here. Now. We must walk the walk, not just talk the talk. We must lead by example, not just point fingers at "criminals" and say, "what you've done is worse than what what I would ever do." No. Enough.
If we want others to be kind, then we must be kind. If we want others to be truthful then we must be truthful. If we want others to value fairness, justice, and peace, we must live our lives like we value these things too.
We can not legislate our way to a better society. This must instead start with each and every one of us, right now, in what we think, say and do every minute of every day.
Let's get started.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Saturday, 7 March 2009
Thank you Federation of Canadian Municipalities, for taking this bold step!
Picture courtesy watersecretsblog
Friday, 6 March 2009
"In the end, Hamon said, we will return to the way we used to live a generation or two ago. That means grandparents living with their children. Workers taking lunch pails to work instead of eating at [iconic donut shop]. One-income families. People raising their own children and cutting their own grass. Camping instead of cruising. "There will be a reduction in living standards," Brennan said."
This article struck me as both a good and bad thing. On one hand, I think it's good that the seriousness of the economic situation is finally being talked about in the mainstream media. And words like "cataclysm" certainly draw attention, and might serve as a wake up call to those still slumbering in the soporific stew of consumer culture.
But on the other hand, I don't agree that living the way we did a generation or two ago can be considered a "reduction in living standards." I already take my 'lunch pail' to work and I already cut my own grass. In fact I'm cutting it less and less often, and there is less and less to cut, as I let grassy areas grow wild. I already prefer camping to cruising, but don't even need to go camping really, since I've got a nice garden to putter about in, whenever I want. And, we've been weaning ourselves down to one salary for a couple years now, and could go further. None of this has been a hardship, and it certainly hasn't been cataclysmic.
A dictionary definition of 'cataclysm' is: "A violent upheaval that causes great destruction or brings about a fundamental change." Some synonyms for the word 'cataclysmic' are: disastrous, devastating, catastrophic and calamitous.
In fact I'd take the radical approach that what we have wreaked upon the earth in the past 50 -100 years has been the cataclysm, not what's happening now. I'm looking forward to things getting back INTO balance again. And for that I will happily keep packing my lunch pail and skipping the obligatory cruise.
Chapter 37 of the Tao Te Ching has something to say about this, about returning to basics and knowing when enough is enough:
The Tao never does anything,Tao Te Ching translation by S. Mitchell
yet through it all things are done.
If powerful men and women
could enter themselves in it,
the whole world would be transformed
by itself, in its natural rhythms.
People would be content
with their simple, everyday lives,
in harmony, and free of desire.
When there is no desire,
all things are at peace.
Picture courtesy this website.