Spring Gillard


falltreeGrateful for the opportunity to vote today in the advance polls. Praying for change, within and without.

You are not the same, nor are you another.
   – The Buddha

The Buddha is saying that we change from moment to moment. Personality is not cast in a rigid mold; the whole secret of personality is that it is a process. The nature of a process is that it can be changed. For a time, it is true, the changes you are trying to make will not seem natural. When someone is rude to you, you will still feel a wave of resentment inside. It does not matter; at the outset, it is enough to act kind, to pretend to be kind, to stage a sort of kindness performance.

Gradually, if you put your whole effort behind this transformation, using the tool of meditation, the seething will subside. Then it will not just be a flawless performance, you will actually transform anger into compassion. You will feel sorry for the person who has offended you. You will not be the same angry person you used to be; and yet you will not be someone else, either. To be patient, kind, and secure is our real nature; anything else is being false to ourselves. – Eknath Easwaran, Thought for the Day

Nap Desk

NapDesk1Don’t think this will fly at my workplace, but I’m sure the tech companies will be snapping them up. This restful workstation is designed by Studio NL out of Greece.

Study Hammock

hammocksNew seating at UBC. Great for “study” periods.

Garden in the Village

OVgardenSweet little container garden in the middle of Olympic Village. There’s no sign, so don’t know the story behind it. Anyone?

Mystery Box

grnhsegasI was finally able to solve the mystery of this giant wooden box on the UBC Campus. It’s the Temporary Energy Centre, part of UBC’s Academic District Energy System steam to hot water conversion project. Inside the wood enclosure are two temporary boilers producing hot water for the district heating system. Using these efficient boilers to produce hot water instead of the less efficient steam plant reduces UBC’s GHGs. The new and permanent District Energy Centre will be on Agronomy Road. Construction is almost finished and then that site will take over from the temporary one. The wooden enclosure was designed and built by architecture students last summer to hide the not-so-pretty sea cans that contain the boilers. More information is available here.

Mac in Home

computerIf you’re a Mac owner and you live in the Vancouver area, take note. I’ve been using Macinhome as my tech consultants for years now – the best part is they make house calls! Whenever I’ve had something go wrong with my Mac that I can’t fix, I give them a call. It used to be such a drag hauling my desktop to the shop on transit. And I would have to leave it there. Now it’s a quick diagnosis, and usually a quick fix. They also solve email issues, do set up, can sync up your devices and deal with network problems too. I’ve also gotten in-home tutorials. The tech experts really know their stuff. You can get help with any of your Mac or Apple devices. They charge just over a hundred bucks an hour, but you can get a lot done in that time. I keep a running list of questions. I’ve always found the sessions well worth the money. If what you need is under an hour, you can book a virtual appointment, which I’ve also done. Their e-letter is full of helpful tips too. I know this sounds like an ad, but I just wanted to give these guys some props for a great service. Not sure what I’d do without them.

Politicos: Growth is Passe

Photo: Mikey G Ottawa via FlickrCredit: Mikey G Ottawa via Flickr

I’m very tired of hearing about “growth” in the economy from the mouths of politicians and newscasters. Even CBC radio devotes far too much space to the ups and downs of the Dow Jones. Unchecked growth leads to disease and collapse in any system. In Fritjof Capra’s words, we must look to optimizing variables, not maximizing profits. The Canadian economy is part of a global economy based on the same growth principles. Despite the fact that this economic “system” has simply increased the gap between the rich and the poor, not one politician is talking about an alternative to the current economy in the lead up to our Canadian federal election. It’s not as if there haven’t been economists who have proposed this direction previously, for example, E.F. Schumacher (Small is Beautiful, 1973) and Herman Daly (Steady State Economics, 1977). Paul Hawken, an entrepreneur and successful businessman also provided a clear blueprint in The Ecology of Commerce (1993). If this election is all about the economy, why not put an ecological economist on your At Issue panel Peter Mansbridge?

I was happy to see David Suzuki calling for “a new vision for the economy.” Here’s an excerpt. Hope the politicians are listening. All we need is one brave soul to chart a new course.

A better economic vision would support the right of all Canadians to live in a healthy environment, with access to clean air and water and healthy food. It would respect planetary boundaries and provide the moral imperative to decrease growing income disparities. Businesses would be required to pay for environmental damage they inflict, capital would be more widely distributed and ideas, such as employee shareholder programs with ethically invested stocks, would be the norm. 

– by David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Environmental Economist and Policy Analyst Michelle Molnar. You can read the full article here.

Update: Turns out there’s an Ecological Economics conference in Vancouver Oct 1-4, 2015.

Circular Economy

zerowasteSaw this blurb on waste reduction in the Greenest City newsletter. Metro’s Zero Waste conference will focus on the circular economy – sometimes called cradle to cradle. In other words, you plan for the recycling/reuse of the product during the development stage. Looks interesting.

Did you know we throw away over 80,000 potatoes a day in Metro Vancouver?

 The Love Food Hate Waste campaign can help you use more of the food you buy and save you up to $700 a year on your grocery bills. 

If we each do one thing differently, we can make big reductions in the amount of good food that is thrown out. Check out online tips for ideas on keeping your food fresh longer, using your leftovers, and reducing food waste while preparing meals.
 The global marketplace is shifting away from a linear take-make-dispose model. Businesses, policymakers and others are taking bold steps to create disruptive ideas, new business models, and enabling technologies that will reduce waste world-wide. On October 29, Metro Vancouver will build on last year’s discussion during their fifth annual Zero Waste Conference. Take in game changing perspectives and hear about leading initiatives that challenge traditional assumptions around waste and demonstrate the economic potential of zero waste and circular economy approaches.

 It is a pivotal time in the transition to a more circular and regenerative economy.

Culture Days

Photo: Ari de la MoraYou can take part in more than 50 arts and culture events through this coming weekend in Vancouver. The festival is part of Culture days, celebrated around the province. There will be arts tours, theatre and films, ballet classes, evening candlelight visits to museums, scratch animation workshops. You can even learn how to make a mini comic book. The International Day of the Dead Tour and Exhibit on Granville Island looks intriguing. For a full list of Vancouver events, or your own town activities, visit the website. Vancouver events are also listed in a spread in this week’s Georgia Straight. Photo above by Ari de la Mora.

Feast Table

feasttableI’m going to this on Thursday. Can’t wait.

Chefs from UBC and the Alma Mater Society will prepare a sustainable, family-style community dinner on Main Mall using some locally sourced UBC Farm items. White linen, tableware, glassware, and candles will be set for tables of 14 and music will be performed by students from the UBC School of Music. Vegan and vegetarian options will be available and bottles of wine can be purchased (cash only; must be 19+). Please note that the Harvest Feast will take place rain or shine, and no refunds will be given. More info here.

Date: September 25
Time: 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Place: Main Mall between Martha Piper Plaza and the Great Trek Cairn
Info: Purchase tickets here ($18 students/$22 others/$308 table of 14)