Archive for September, 2009

September 27th is World Rivers Day

What began 29 years ago as BC Rivers day, has grown to a world wide event! For the past five years it has been celebrated annually on the last Sunday in September as World Rivers Day. Plans are under way in communities around British Columbia and in dozens of other countries.  People will celebrate the diversity of life in and by the river. Everything from art shows, shoreline clean up, and fish enhancement projects will take place around the globe.

07 22 09 Fraser River 008

The 2009 Rivers Day featured river is the Fraser River.  British Columbia’s history is deeply connected to it. From travel to fishing, industry and life grew around the shores of “The Mighty Fraser”.

It’s namesake Simon Fraser was the first European settler to fully navigate it.  It is the tenth longest river in Canada.   British Columbians have relied on the river for livelihood, culture, transportation, historically and today  it is a driving force in the economy.

The world’s rivers and streams face threats from over-fishing, industrial pollution, and damming for hydro electricity.  Events will be held around the world  to celebrate rivers and waterways. People are encouraged to become stewards through educational workshops,  stream restoration initiatives, boat tours, quiet picnics or live music events. 2007_0417Image0003

Living in a country with possibly the most fresh water on the planet has coloured my experience with rivers. In my life I have seen destruction to rivers that may take many lifetimes to correct. We must all realise that our lives and health are connected to the water.

The United Nations is half way into a decade long initiative called Water For Life. From their website;  Among the themes that are central for the ‘Water for Life’ Decade are: scarcity, access to sanitation and health, water and gender, capacity-building, financing, valuation, Integrated Water Resources Management, trans-boundary water issues, environment and biodiversity, disaster prevention, food and agriculture, pollution and energy.

Water is as essential as air. What the future will look like is being determined now and our actions will speak volumes.

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Teach your children well…

Can you hear and do you care and

Can’t you see we must be free to

Teach your children what you believe in.

Make a world we can live in

-Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young-

International Day of Peace

Today, September 21st 2009 is the United Nations International day of Peace.

However you choose to celebrate is up to you. One thing you can do is make a commitment to living a more peaceful life.

John Lennon said  Whatever you do, do it for PEACE

peace_symbol_3Love and Light

From the website here are a few things you can do for peace today;

Examples of Peace Day events:

Bio Bags are they really green?

bio bags

Reducing our impact on the environment is on most peoples radar these days and  biodegradable garbage bags may seem like a good choice when it comes to the waste we create daily. That was what I thought too until two years ago.  I was volunteering at an Eco-fair downtown when I began talking with a manufacturer of this exact product that I got the real scope on Bio bags and their lifespan in the land fill.

Like many environmentally aware people, I pride myself on being up on the latest ways to be good to the planet.  After making a commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle, we are still faced with the green garbage bag at the end of the week that needs to be collected and transported to the landfill.

With many of the grocery chains now charging for plastic bags or eliminating them all together I needed to look for another source of garbage bags, I hated the idea of buying a product, namely plastic garbage bags, to throw away.  I  justified it to myself by the fact that I would go “green” and pick  biodegradable garbage bags for my kitchen and home.

The  outlandish price tag, usually two to three times that of the common  brands, was just the price one has to pay to be responsible.  How wrong I was!  The gentleman I met was promoting biodegradable compost bags that were specifically designed for backyard composters for vegetable matter. The bags do compost quite well when under the proper conditions.

It was these “proper conditions” that I was not aware of  until he explained it to me.  When I asked why he did not sell Bio “garbage” bags as well,  I learned that the bags that are destined for the dump will not degrade even if the bag is made of this super new green technology.

In a landfill, the bags would not be exposed to the two key elements needed for the process to work; oxygen and sunlight! The garbage bags that we put out each week to be swept away by a couple of strapping guys in a stinky truck will not be set out to rot and return to the earth in any matter that is close to natural. The garbage will be compacted and covered with a layer of dirt within hours of reaching it’s final destination, to stay there for hundreds or thousands of years!

It’s just one example of the green machine taking advantage of the everyday consumer. So if these bags are not going to breakdown any faster then the ones made of petroleum products, should we just throw our hand up in surrender and return to our old ways and buy the cheap bags once more?

There is another option, garbage bags made of recycled plastic.  This reused product may sit around for a long time too, but it reuses what would have ended up as garbage. Next time you are out grocery shopping look in the cleaning isle and you’ll find these recycled plastic bags are becoming more common.

Why all plastic bags are not made of recycled materials is a question for another day, and for the politicians perhaps? Until the laws change and environmental protection is a higher priority for the government we must  be proactive in our resolve to make the best choices we can with the information we have.

Each choice you make in favour of recycled products, reducing your consumption of disposable items and thinking about the final destination of your purchases will add up to a greener planet and that is what we all want and need.

Natural cleaning

Like many of you I have been trying to get back to basics when it comes to keeping my home clean.

One area where I have always tried to maintain a small Eco footprint is in the laundry room.  We all know there are many products on the market today that claim to “whiten and brighten” our clothes while leaving them smelling fresh.

I have never been a fan of the fabric softeners and always felt the “fresh scents” were a little too artificial for my liking, not to mention how unnatural it would be to go around smelling like a “flower meadow” or “spring breeze” all day or even on a time release schedule- how does that work anyway?

Well this spring while I was volunteering at an Eco-fair I found a wonderful laundry soap that is made here in Canada!

It is called Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda!

09 10 09 bday- nellies 018I have to admit the stylish design was what first caught my attention, then the dryer balls! If you use a clothes dryer, like most of us do, you may have been tempted in the past to use dryer sheets. They reduce static and leave your clothes smelling fresh, right? Most people don’t give a second thought to what the chemical smell is? If it is tested on animals and how it is affecting the environment.

This is a great alternative! Nelly’s dryer balls are  reusable rubber balls that you simply add to your dryer to reduce lint and  static. You can even choose to add the convenient all natural fragrance sticks to them, they will make your clothes smell wonderful! The scents are  made of pure soy wax, essential oils and paper board. The balls even have a two year warranty and even reduce the drying time by 25% saving the consumer even more money and energy.

None of these products are tested on animals, and all the ingredients are listed on the packaging.

I bought the full line in a promotional package, and it is all I have used for the past four months! I am still on the same tin! The product is extremely concentrated and highly effective.

I know there is one more natural way to dry your clothes, and if you are lucky enough to live in a house with some space you can line dry your clothes! If that is not an option for you look at this wonderful product as the next best thing!

Homeschooling Books

Hold On To Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld

Teach Your Own, Learning all the time, Instead of Education: Ways to Help People do better, What do I do on Monday? by John Holt

Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves by Alison McKee

The Teenage Liberation Handbook How to quit school and get a real education By Grace Llewellyn.

Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto

Learning at Home: a Mothers Guide to Homeschooling by Marty Lane
(A wonderful book written by a Victoria BC homeschooling mom)

Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery: A Journey of Original
Seeking andHave Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow: Homeschooling and the Curriculum of Love by
David H. Albert

Have Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow. Homeschooling and the Curriculum of Love

The Complete Home Learning Source Book : The Essential Resource Guide for Homeschoolers, Parents, and Educators Covering Every Subject from Arithmetic to Zoology by Rebecca Rupp

Home Learning Year by Year: How To Design A Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp

The Homeschooling Book of Answers: The 88 Most Important Questions

Answered by Homeschooling’s Most Respected Voices by Linda Dobson

Homeschooling the Early Years by Linda Dobson

The Unschooling Handbook: How to use the whole world as your child’s
classroom by Mary Griffith

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.
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