Archive for October, 2009

International Day of Climate Action

October 24 will mark the most wide spread day of environmental action in world history.

350.org was set up to make the public aware that this is the number 350 ppm is the maximum amount of co2 that our planet can handle. Right now the amount is at an unmanageable 390ppm

In December 2009 the UN, world leaders,  will meet in Copenhagen for an  international climate change summit. There will be a new climate treaty forged this winter. In the tradition of the Kyoto protocol, first world countries will gather with rising nations like China and India to discuss what can be done to reverse climate change.

Canada is one of the biggest polluters and have been lagging behind many other developed nations, like the U.S. when it come to creating change and instigating legislation to combat co2 emissions and creating a greener economy.

This year, U.S. president Barack Obama has invested $75 billion to create clean energy jobs and working towards economic sustainability.

The worlds citizens need to wake up and realize what Al Gore talked about in his prize winning documentary An inconvenient truth, that the time  to take action is now!

Today 80% of the human energy system is run on burning fossil fuel. Things like small hydro, carbon credits and carbon capture, cap and trade, and carbon offsets are all buzz words that distract us from the real problem.  A drastic change must happen now in order for our planet to survive.

Solar, wind or tidal power, alternative energy is out there and has to be on everyones agenda for change to happen.  Conservation of resources, legislation and action on the part of every individual is the only way we can reverse the problem. Global warming, melting ice caps, droughts, and other weather catastrophes are on the rise.

When every person who can chooses to take a stand the world will be healed. It is not too late. We can all make a difference through our actions. Read about what is going on, vote for politicians who have this as a priority, change your light bulbs, walk or ride your bike.  Everything we do has an impact so make sure it is a positive one.

Walk to School Month – October 2009

When I was a kid growing up in southern Ontario, walking to school was not a choice but a requirement. Our family did not own a car.  My mother commuted to work in the city while my siblings and I braved the elements, be it snow, rain, sleet or extreme heat. We often lived far from our school, and the long walk would be  a form of meditation, if not endurance and triumph upon our arrival at school.

We would see other kids getting rides from their parents, and the yellow school buses trucked in a few hundred other kids from far out in the country as well.  Today parents driving their children to school seems to be  the most popular option.

When my son started school seven years ago I was amazed by the line up of cars at his school. Most were idling, dropping off the kiddies, or diligently lined up at the school at 3PM to pluck up their precious kids and drive them to soccer or piano lessons.  Had they not heard that it is bad for the environment to leave the car running while waiting for little Suzie or Billy? Do they all live so far away that they needed to bring the car to get the kids? Every day?

Recent legislation has tried to combat this problem with anti-idling by-laws. This is a step in the right direction.

To go even further, many communities around the world have now adopted the walk to school week, month,  or even a permanent walking school bus.  With kids and parents walking to school together everyone gets a few minutes of fresh air and exercise before being locked up all day in buildings.

Last week in the lower mainland, was walk to school week. All public transit was free for elementary and secondary school students! This encourages students to find their way to school with no need for a ride from parents, this option lets kids find an alternative and feel some independence.

06 16 09 car free day

Public transit was my first means of transportation.  It  remains one of the main ways my family gets around, along with walking and biking.  I am  still car free today.

I encourage everyone to celebrate walk to school week any way you can. Get out and walk with your kids to school, the library or soccer field. Take public transit to the movies or art gallery. Bike to the river or corner store.  Being active and reducing our reliance on cars is the key to lowering our personal impact and carbon footprint.  Each step you take makes a difference.

Enlightenment $2 ?

Can we buy enlightenment? I suppose it depends who you ask. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines that to enlighten it is to instruct,  inform, to give spiritual insight to;

It is the spiritual insight that I am interested in.

I have wondered about this for a number of years. There are many opportunities, books, retreats, mantras,and meditations that one can use as a tool to acquire peace.  No longer is  seeking inner tranquillity just for hippies, new agers and beatniks. Spiritual guidance is available at most community centres, and strip malls in the form of  yoga and martial arts classes, at the library, online, on T.V. and in the movies.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me last week when I walked past a newspaper box that donned a picture of the Dalai Lama with the caption “Enlightenment $2″

The Dalai Lama was in Vancouver at the end of September for a global peace summit.
An impressive list of Nobel Laureates, world leaders and philanthropists joined together at The Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, to explore the idea of world peace.
Dalai-Lama-Elton-Melo
With topics like World Peace through Personal Peace, compassion and community, illuminating dialogue was the intention.This opportunity for Vancouver to host such an important event is not only relevant, but desperately needed. In a city where a large number of residents are mainly concerned with paying the rent and the violence on the streets, taking time to reflect and acquire tools to a happier life is vital.

Does it have a cost? What would someone be willing to pay?  The lucky few who were able to attend this event in person will, no doubt, have had an experience to remember. Hundreds of school children were there as well. The whole series of talks were recored and are available to watch here. For the price of an Internet connection, or for free at the local library we can also participate, if only as a spectator of this event.

Now that his holiness has left the city, life goes on. There is no doubt that the work and good intentions of the many people involved in this undertaking will satisfy a need. But what about the rest of us? Should we be forced to pay for our spiritual expansion to the guy with a coloured belt at the local strip mall? Or buy books online or in a incense infused crystal strewn  emporium of  trinkets and extracted relics? I don’t think so.

Can you buy enlightenment? The simple answer is no. Having studied martial arts, yoga, Qi Gong and other  practices for more then a decade, I have come to realize this first hand.

There are books, and classes that will inspire you, spiritual practices, prayer and meditation can all uplift and expand your compassion for others, but true enlightenment is a personal journey that can not be taught or bought.There are many great teachers that can guide and acquaint you with parts of yourself you have forgotten or never knew.

You can learn to find it for free. It is in the smallest parts of your everyday life. In your morning coffee, in your children’s laughter, in  your own back yard. A sunny day, a song that takes you away to another place in time. Remembering to breath deeply before reacting to the kids latest squabble, or the burnt dinner. Reflecting on the time spent with people you love. listening to the birds outside your window before getting out of bed in the morning, and being grateful that you can hear them.

We can find peace within ourselves, the secret is that it’s already there, one only needs to take the time to look and it will be revealed.

World Vegetarian Week October 1 – 7 2009

October 01 to October 07 is World Vegetarian Week.  Countless Organizations around the world are joining this movement to promote a healthier, and more humane and environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

You are also invited to get involved!

Why a Vegetarian Week?

With nearly daily reports of severe droughts, floods, storms and wildfires, and climate scientists predicting increasingly warm temperatures, it is urgent to shift the world from its present unsustainable path to avoid a huge catastrophe. Many reports have shown the significant contributions of animal-based diets to global warming, so it is essential to get the urgency of dietary shifts onto the world’s agenda.

Everyday is an excellent day to be a healthy and conscious vegetarian, but October 01 to 07 is a nice opportunity to double our efforts and campaign towards a better world:

  • October 01 is the World Vegetarian Day

  • October 04 is the World Animal Day

What you can do

As a non-profit organization:

  • Send a press release or articles to local media about this week;

  • Invite other organizations to get involved;

  • Invite health stores, supermarkets, restaurants and other businesses to promote the vegetarian week, e.g. by having discounts or offering some vegetarian items for free;

  • Organize cooking demonstrations, talks, conferences, workshops or other events;

  • Create leaflets and posters and distribute them to stores, restaurants and other locations where many people go;

  • Create e Cards or postcards that people can send to friends;

  • Send a newsletter about the week to all your members;

  • Start a letter writing campaign;

  • Organize a Love Earth Gathering on October 3rd or 4th.

As a company:

  • Offer some vegetarian gifts to your employees or customers (a book, CD, DVD, etc.);

  • Promote a workshop, talk, cooking demonstration or other activity;

  • Organize a vegetarian lunch or dinner for all your employees.

As an individual:

  • Send letters to newspapers or magazines, sharing your experience;

  • Participate in leaflet distributing events;

  • Invite friends or family to a vegetarian dinner;

  • Join your local vegetarian organization;

  • Ask for vegetarian meals and talk about the vegetarian week at your local restaurants;

  • Speak to local clergy, educators, media and other people, stressing the multiple benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.

Where to start

  • Forward this message, translating into other languages if necessary;

  • Visit www.vegetarianweek.org, see what others are doing and what materials you can use;

  • Decide what you can do, as an individual, organisation or company;

  • Inform us about your plans by sending an email to info@vegetarianweek.org, which we will then publish in www.vegetarianweek.org and through the EVANA news system at www.evana.org;

  • Refresh and update your knowledge of vegetarian-related issues, so that you can be as effective a spokesperson as possible.

Source: Vegetarian week website

URBNgreen
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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delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at DailyLearners.com