Recalibrating Our Needs to Get the Most Out of Life

Film Recommendation

Minimalism (2016)

An Alternative Outlook

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, a touching documentary of life out on the road with Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, as they promote their book and the philosophy of minimalism. I’ve had the pleasure of following their blog for some time now, as it syncs wonderfully with the idea of sustainability and the need to reduce our environmental impact, getting the most out of what we spend our precious time and money on. The idea is to focus on relationships and experiences, and less on the the material. Many in the world today equate success and satisfaction with material possessions, particularly in the United States where consumerism has become a source of patriotism. The Minimalists seek to offer Americans, and indeed the world at large, a reminder of what is truly valuable and the consideration of a possible alternative lifestyle where consumption is not the driver.

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Cloth Diapering – My 6 Month Experience, and Counting…

alldiapers

Before the baby was even born

When I found out I was pregnant, I had so many questions and mixed emotions! Incredible highs clashed with anxious lows as I contemplated what was best for baby and me, and I kept awake for many nights as I considered the future, something that is undoubtedly common with all new moms. Added to the emotional brew was my own blend of curiosity and conviction, and it does make for an exhilarating ride!

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The Daily Commute: Considering the Options

The Road More Traveled

The Deeply Ingrained Car Culture

Most of us living in the US and Canada get to work by car. While I personally use my bike or public transportation, I am keenly aware that I am in the minority. I write this not to pass judgement, but rather simply to state the facts. In the United States, 86% of commuters get to work by car and more than three-quarters of those people drive to work alone. Canadian statistics are no better. Half the Canadian population commutes to work, and of those 74% drive there. Of these, the majority also tend to drive alone. The national average for solo drivers across Canada is 83%, compared with 76% in the US.

These numbers are staggering! Moreso when we consider the cost of all our vehicles. Both in terms of the money we dish out to purchase and maintain this lifestyle, as well as the very real costs to our long term health and the environment. Clearly this is an inefficient system. Not only do our cars rapidly deplete in value, contribute to the extensive use of fossil fuels, require copious amounts of resources to construct, and provide a substantial source of stress and loss of life, they also represent some of the least efficient instruments of our modern civilization. Particularly considering that cars spend the majority of their lifespan parked (and I don’t mean in traffic!). In the US cars are parked for 95% of the time, in the UK the number is closer to 96.5%. After carefully considering the cost benefit analysis our solo car commutes are evidently illogical. So, what are our options?

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The Consequences of Rapid Consumption

Film Recommendation

True Cost (2015)

Following the Trend

This documentary investigates the social and environmental costs of the fashion industry. As described by the filmmakers, Fast Fashion has made significant gains in the garment industry, encouraging consumers to buy more and discard (click for SNL spoof commercial) what is rapidly considered outdated wear. This approach has generated enormous profits at the cost of suppressing labor wages in the developing countries that provide the manufacturing.

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What’s Eating the Planet?

Breaking it Badly

Our Diet’s Impact on Climate Change

As you are no doubt aware, the planet is warming. The earth’s climate is changing at an increasingly rapid rate, and those privileged enough to be educated to that fact are wondering what to do about it. What’s perhaps less commonly known however is the impact that industrial agriculture has on carbon emissions, green house gases, and the consumption of water and energy. Indeed, some reports indicate that agriculture currently represents 30% of green house gas emissions, as well as being a direct contributor to deforestation, and major source for the extensive array of chemicals that are now permeating our soil and water. Not only are these chemicals responsible for the killing of bees and other wildlife, but they are also becoming embedded in our food and water sources. As a result, these chemicals end up in our bodies (including our children’s tinier bodies), and are directly linked to an increase in birth defects, cancer rates, autoimmune diseases, Parkinson’s disease, and the list goes on. So what are we supposed to do about it?

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