Category Archives: Environment
Plastic: useful, convenient, ubiquitous, ugly, persistent . . .
My son reminded me of the daunting presence of plastic when he took this photo of a whale made of plastic found in the ocean.
Beauty crafted out of refuse in Bruges, Belgium.
The art of my friend’s daughter, Jennifer MacLatchy, makes me think about the terrible beauty of plastic. She makes art out of what she gathers from the Atlantic Ocean near her Nova Scotia home.
Nova Scotian artist turns ocean trash into treasure | CBC News https://t.co/Xf3eEhELqx
— Arlene Smith (@somertonsmith) June 25, 2018
It reminded me of the plastic we found on my Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip to Bolivia six years ago. I wrote a post then about an imagined future world where our descendants wallow in our discarded plastic grocery bags. Read it here: Paper, not plastic.
I’ve been really thinking about plastic and the price we pay for its terrible beauty.
How do I use it now? How could I change how I use it and recycle it?
There are other ways. There are better ways.
Not so long ago on the day when spring arrived in our city on cat feet, we convened on our front porch to savour the warming breezes. After a suitably reflective time spent surveying our awakening gardens and our peaceful neighbourhood, my husband said, “If we won a lottery and had millions of dollars, this is still exactly where I would want to be.”
What an immeasurable fortune—a life crafted such that no amount of money could make the foundations of it any finer.
This weekend—a long Victoria Day holiday weekend here in Ontario, Canada—my friend Stephen posted this picture on Facebook with the caption “Weekend getaway spot.” When I saw the caption I wondered, “Where is Stephen off to now?” (He travels quite a lot.) I smiled when I recognized the photo as the view of his own background with parkland and a gently murmuring creek beyond.
What an immeasurable fortune he has created for himself and his family. If he had all the money in the world, he would still be happiest right where he is, with the ones he cherishes around him.
My friend Jean spent the long weekend savouring the beauties of her garden in British Columbia, Canada. She posted the photos of her exploding blossoms on her blog page at Poetry to Inspire.
What an immeasurable fortune of natural beauty. If she had all the money in the world, it could not buy her more pleasure than she derives from nature bursting forth.
Speaking of nature bursting forth, we spent some time this long weekend enjoying the Canadian Tulip Festival in my home (vacation) city of Ottawa, Canada.
There is something grounding, centering and reassuring about a festival that celebrates a flower for simply being what it is. The tulips bloom because they cannot help to do so, and we stand back in awe. The tulips don’t have to try, or dress themselves up, or pretend. (The Kardashians could learn from this.)
You know you have done some things right, made quality choices and gravitated toward the positive in life when your home is a favoured vacation spot, and when you know you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Send a postcard to yourself, and enjoy Willow Marie’s poetic meditation on being present. Postcard: a meditation
“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experiences of life. Life is not something you get; it’s something you experience. Life exists with or without you.”
—Michael A. Singer in The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Those with an astrological bent would say it’s a full moon in Aquarius, opposed by a Leo Sun, with Venus in retrograde. Those without astrological interest would say hogwash to all that.
I’m not sure about astrology, but I give the moon its due. It moves our massive oceans, so it’s not difficult to believe that a force that mighty at work all around me could have an effect on me too. It find it easy to believe that the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun creates some ebb and flow in me too.
At the very least, a second full moon in a single month makes me turn aside—take a break from my usual busy-ness and preoccupations—and pay attention. It makes me take a break from trying to make special experiences happen so I can appreciate life’s actual experiences.
The blue moon is not something I create. It exists with or without me. I get to experience it—the beauty of it, the gravitational pull of it, the brief and rare glory of it.
I don’t intend to miss it.
The heat collectors at the top of the house were glass panels in front of metal plates. The sun’s heat waves went through the glass and heated the metal to a temperature as high as 150 degrees F.
Fans then blew the heat down through pipes storage cans filled with a sodium compound that soaked up and stored the heat.
Why didn’t this catch on?
The article, written on the cusp of the 1950s, promised that the sun-warmed house “could be the beginning of a big reduction in the approximately $3.5 billion the U.S. pays annually for household fuel.” At the time, architect William Hamby predicted that solar heat would replace all other types of home heating within 10 years.
In 1949 we didn’t foresee the oil crisis or believe that fuel resources would be finite. We didn’t foresee the environmental damage of fossil fuels. We didn’t foresee the number of human lives that would be lost because of wars that had the word “oil” at the bottom of the pile of reasons for their development. We were not nearly motivated enough to adapt.
Oh, scientists of today, how about now? Something to ponder on Earth Day Eve.