Archive for the ‘Introduction’ Category

Another day in paradise / making a difference

I wonder what difference one person can make.  I often feel overwhelmed when I read stories about what is actually going on in this world. I have kept this site mostly about issues that affect the environment, some resources links and some images and quotes that I like but I want to do more.

I am starting a new chapter at URBNgreen. how about URBN awakened? is that a word?

I want to share positive things that have happened and continue to happen. As you can see I recently posted a picture of the new president elect, Barack Obama. I feel like with his election to the position of the “most powerful man in the world” that there is change in the air and what better time then now to be a part of the change we want to happen.

What does the American political scene have to do with me?  a Canadian woman, well I don’t know yet. My grandmother always told me to stay out of politics. I think i always felt drawn to make a change or be a part of something bigger then I am.  Instead of the politics I have chosen to live a private life, and an alternate life to many people.

In many ways I am very typical. I am married and have two children.  I run my own business, volunteer, cook dinner for my family every night and generally live a typical domestic life.  On the surface it may appear that I am just like so many others out there, except there is a difference, at nine o’clock when the school bell rings my ten year old son is not running across the street to the school, but probably sitting in his pajamas reading a book or playing with his little sister, happily! 

We homeschool and have for five years.  I am my son’s teacher, but he is also my teacher. Our days are busy most of the time with classes, field trips and playdates.  We do have some days when we are working at the kitchen table with workbooks and researching at the library or online. Some days we are out at the beach or in the forest, or running errands.  The kids and I volunteer every week, this is an opportunity for us to give something back to the community and feel the satisfaction of  helping others.

We try to incorporate a  mind body connection in our daily routine, this may happen through sports, dance, karate, or Tai Chi, and even just by walking to our destinations. ( we don’t own a car).  We try to eat consciously by buying organic and locally grown food, eating low on the food chain, a mostly plant based diet, and recycling our leftovers to our worm composter. These are small choices, but they make a difference in our lives and consequently in the lives of others, ( the animals we are not eating, the farmers we support, the less waste to the landfill, not contributing to the auto industry. it actually seems like a lot when i look at this way )

We are by far not perfect and don’t claim to have all the answers to the mysteries of life, but we are living this life together and happily existing in this beautiful city and country.

I started this post talking about what one person can do to make a change in the world and surprisingly I talked only about what I am doing in my family. Maybe that was my point today. We have the power to choose each day how our lives will be. Each day is full of potential and we can choose to create what we want in this life.

I read a quote recently that I can not agree with more.

Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.   Dyer, Wayne

Kids weekly update part 4:6 Activeties

Hello there it is me, Justin, and my topic today is six activities for you to do: activity number one:jungle gym getting old?Try climbing a tree!Its lots more excercise on account they were’nt made for it!The best one I know is the one at second beach park at the playground. Number two:Is that motor boating getting motor BORING?Try kayaking instead!So MAYBE it is tough on the elbows.BUT it will give you some excersize on the arms! and then it is tough to get to school when you are 2 minutes late so instead ride a bike!It is fast,excercize and it is fun!Also good for those darned grocery runs that you gotta do.#3:I have a bit of a hard time with this excercise but it is cool to know how to do it and that is swimming!#4:Skiing is an excellent sport if you can get the hang of it but it is fairly easy to do once you get the hang of it and if you like it enough go twice a week!#5: Nintendo thumbs killing you?Of course it is O.K. too use Thumbsmasher 3000 a little but to work out those hands to be stronger try this:pretend you have a newspaper in each hand and scrunch them as fast as possible.And number 6:nature programs can be…not so hot…but being right there is great!imagine if you were in a kayak and you came across a natural waterhole that connects to the lake or whatever and then you can see all these cool animals like maybe even a black bear!(editors note:with adult supervision please!!)well that all for this week but next week:a hint at the contest and my favorite indoor sports!next week,Justin.

The Other NFL

When I first heard of NFL I automatically thought of football. After all being raised in a semi sports literate household I knew there were two major football leagues, the National Football League and the Canadian version the CFL. Much to my surprise i learned about another NFL that had nothing to do with football! NFL is also the acronym for Natural Family Living.

I learned there was a name for this way of living through a magazine I found at the library shortly after the birth of my first child. I picked up a magazine with a breastfeeding mother and baby pair on the cover. The magazine was called Mothering, and this was my introduction into the extensive world of natural family living.

Like many first time parents, I knew the basics when it came to having a baby, I was blessed with a sister who had already given birth naturally and choose to breastfeed her son, and these were things I also thought I would do. Although my pregnancy was uneventful I did end up with a typical hospital birth when my first child arrived. I tried to manage a natural birth but did end up using an epidural. Breastfeeding came along after a few tough weeks and I continued to nurse my son until he was more than two years old. I knew that it was the best thing for him, as many studies would back up now. I didn’t know at the time that there were communities of people, families, that took breastfeeding to a whole new level. It was not the only “natural” decision when it came to parenting choices, although it is the basis, in my opinion in helping to form a great attachment with a new baby, and to get much needed sleep with the baby in the bed it was easy.

I had not heard anything about “attachment parenting” before I found mothering magazine. I knew I would follow my instincts, and when It came time to vaccinating my son I started to learn what the standard protocol was. After much research and soul searching I choose to selectively vaccinate my son and not to circumcise him, we had already been co-sleeping since his birth as this felt right and was much easier to nurse him during the night. It turns out that all these choices were considered to be Natural Family Living.

When I became pregnant with my second child I decided I did not want to repeat the medically managed birth of my son. I found a midwife and planned a home birth. On a warm day in May my daughter was born into the hands of her daddy with her brother and our two midwives, one doula and my brother-in-law at home.

I continued to find great resources that supported a more natural life at home. Many years previously I had made the choice to become Vegan and followed a very strict diet for five years. I had always felt that animals were more than pets or dinner and decided to not use them for any purpose that I could find an alternative for. My diet has fluctuated over the years, with my subsequent pregnancy I decided to return to a somewhat tradition diet, selectively adding some animal products back into my diet, organic free range eggs, wild salmon and most recently raw honey. Our family still identifies strongly with Vegan morals and we don’t use animal by products, buy things that are tested on animals or are made of animal skins. We do use wool and own some silk play toys, like with many things in life, it is about finding a balance.

Beach days

With my second child I was even more “natural” and choose to use a combination of cloth diapers, elimination communication and recycled paper diapers. I nursed her for three years, co-slept, didn’t vax at all, and carried her as much as possible. I have learned a lot from both my children, I have also learned to rely on my instincts.

There are no rules to living naturally, there is a spectrum. Our family definitely falls on the high end of this, but no one has come along and given me the “mother earth” award yet, and that is okay with me. For our family natural living did not start or stop with the pregnancy and birth of our children. We don’t own a vehicle, we walk, bike and take public transit. I stay at home with the kids and homeschool them. We use only natural cleaning products in our home, we recycle and compost. We believe in gentle discipline and child led learning. We are far from perfect parents or people, but we do believe the choices we are making are helping to sustain a healthy and positive life for all of us.

If there is one piece of advise I would give to anyone transitioning to a more natural way of living it is this; read, listen to and explore all the ideas that interest you, try different things and find what works for you and trust yourself. It has been my experience that many of the more natural choices can save you money, time and help the environment. We are all on our own personal evolution. There is always more than one way to do something, there is no right or wrong, only choices. What works for one family may not work for others, but we can all learn from each other’s experiences. Live your life, play as much as possible and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, what could be more natural?

Where to start…an introduction

The environment is on everyone’s mind these days and it seems everyone is “going green” We have been taking on the challenge of creating a greener life and through trial and error we have found many things that work for us. We want to share our experiences and learn more.

Our site offers information and different perspectives . Our focus is natural family living, finding ways to connect with nature and treading lightly on the earth. We strongly believe in the sacredness of animals and places, and we offer our experiences and insights into the world the way we see it.

We are not a typical family in many ways. We homeschool our children, we strive to eat an organic, plant based diet, We don’t own a car, we live in the densely populated West End of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. We are two blocks from the beach and steps away from a bustling urban center. It is our experiences living here that inspire us. We know our choices have an impact on the earth.

I will be adding categories to make it easier to find out what we are doing, what other people are doing, and what we dream of doing to create a sustainable lifestyle.

Greening your life…and mine

This is my first website. I am working on the content and hope to have lots of great information and tips on how to be environmentally friendly. As this world of Internet blogging and this website is new to me I will be making changes as I go. So Welcome to my site!

URBNgreen is committed to education and environmental stewardship. Our objective is share information about what people are doing locally and around the world to create a sustainable future.
delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at