Friday, October 5, 2012

Goodbye... I'm so happy and sad all at the same time!

Well, everyone, this is it: the last post. I have exhausted my resources for this blog, and so it's time to move on to other things in my life. I feel so happy that I have completed this blog, yet so sad that I have to let go. I will definitely think about this more before I post this for real.
To those of you who are seeing my blog for the first time, feel free to look around! I have spent many hours working on this blog. But for the rest of you...

On the weekend, I attended the 2012 Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Justice, as an Ontario Nature Youth Council member. It was one of the best weekends of my life. I didn't have time to post anything that Friday, because the moment I got home from school, I had to have lunch and then pack my bags.
One of the workshops I attended was about Global Governance and Environmental Justice (or something like that). A particularly memorable moment was when the presenter, who worked as a critic of global governments, took a look at the colourful masses of acronyms that she had written on a paper on an easel and joked, "So this is my life. I'm trying to figure it out." The moral of the story: don't get bogged down by a bunch of terminology and super-long acronyms unless you have to.
I'm trying to figure out my life, too. Has Hug A Tree Today, Seriously helped me with that? Perhaps. It has definitely given me a chance to make a difference in my own way, in my own time.
Sign from the YMCA camp where the summit was held.
The guest speaker was Simon Jackson, a Canadian from British Colombia who founded the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition. His story was an inspiring one. It made me realize just how easy it is to get public attention for your organization. Apparently, when the royal British princes came to visit Canada, Simon maneuvered himself right up to the front-- amidst hordes of screaming girls-- and asked the princes to help him save the Spirit Bear (which is a white variety of  black bear). And they did! Although the Spirit Bear is still in need of protection, he has come a long way towards saving this unique species.
 I am incredibly hopeful that we can make a difference in the world. I'm not giving up on my environmental activism by ending this blog. I still am on the ON Youth Council, I have a print 'zine on environmentally-friendly living, and I do other cool things on and off that I can't remember right now. Remember to continue to do your own things to help save the environment during your lifetime!

Oh, and I have a few more eco-tips for you all:
  • If you want clean, smooth, glowing skin, use sea salt! Simply wet your face (or hands, or whatever) with warm water and then rub sea salt onto your skin. Rub it in well and then rinse it off. Do a final rinse with cool water to close off your pores. It works really well.
  • Have you been considering alternative energy? Well, I want you to know that you shouldn't be too quick to jump on the bandwagon. Solar panels can disrupt bird migration patterns and take up large quantities of land. Wind turbines chop up tens of thousands of birds in the U.S. alone every year, and they also take incredibly large amounts of energy and land to operate. The best way to go is simply to conserve energy!
  • I suggest that you find another blog to follow now that mine is done. Find ways to be in nature. Keep up your eco-friendliness-- you will not regret it.
Now, a few parting words:
  1. To all the followers (official and unofficial) of this blog, you rock! You rock because you care about the environment and you are willing to do something about it. You rock because you've helped me reach and surpass my goal of 1000 pageviews by the end of the year. (Keep reading to find out how many pageviews I've achieved at the time of this writing.)
  2. Around New Year's Eve in 2011, I set the goal of reaching 1000 pageviews by the end of 2012. At the time of this writing, I have reached 3701 pageviews! And it's only October!
  3. If you have enjoyed following this blog or reading my posts, please go to The Animal Rights Action Site, which is now my official primary blog. I may start another blog at some point, but it most likely will be under a different name, for privacy reasons!
  4. Bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a good life, everyone.
Carolyn, signing out, ready to take on the world...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Next Week and Beyond

Hi all,
Next weekend I'll be at the 2012 Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Justice! I'll tell you all about it when I get back. In the meantime, I invite you to look at Eco-Friendly Conferences and What They Have to Offer to refresh your memory of the conferences I went to last year.
By the way, I am unfortunately running out of ideas for my blog. Can anyone give me ideas, please? Thank you.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Eco-Friendly CARS?

OOPS! Cars aren't eco-friendly, now are they? I don't think that any car is actually good for the enviroment, but if you must get a car, there are ones you can get that are more environmentlly friendly than the regular ones. Here are some of the types of "eco-friendly" cars on the market.

Hybrids
According to Wikipedia, "A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. ...
"Power sources for hybrid vehicles include:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle

My comments: Some of these sources are good ones, yet not all of them. Coal, wood, electricity, natural gas, petrol, solar, and wind all have serious problems associated with them. On the other hand, if you can get a hybrid car that runs off, say, scrap vegetable oil from local fast-food places and human power, then you've got yourself quite an eco-friendly car!
Do some research into different types of hybrids to figure out if it would work out for you.

Electric Cars
I don't really believe that these are eco-friendly at all. Depending on where you live, your electricity might come from coal, oil, or alternative energy sources, but it's usually a mix. Coal and oil, of course, are not environmentally-friendly, and alternative energy sources have their drawbacks, too (see next week's post for reasons why alternative energy isn't as great as it sounds).

Biofuels
Biofuels are bad. Sorry to be blunt, but with 1 in every 7 person in the world not getting enough to eat, we should not be burning corn to power our cars. Biofuels also require a lot of land for growing, which results in native family farms being converted into foreign-owned monoculture.

Small Cars
When you use a small car as opposed to a medium-sized or larger one, you'll be using less fuel. Therefore, whether your car runs off vegetable oil scraps or regular gasoline, it should definitely be small.

No Car
The best option, of course, is to use no car at all! Who needs a car when you can use buses, bikes, and your own two feet? Taxis will always be available in a pinch. For some awesome ideas on sustainable, car-free transportation, please see my other blog post on the subject, Sustainable Transportation: Part I.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Earth-Friendly Meal Preparation

As an environmentally-concerned vegan, I have to put a lot of thought into how I prepare my food and what goes into it. I've already posted about the latter (the food you eat), but today, I want to talk about the former (how you prepare it).
Like most people, I do enjoy a hot meal, and am not particularly fond of half-cooked or boring foods. However, eco-friendly meal prep can be so much more than that-- read on to find out how!
  • Try a solar oven before winter settles in! You can find out how to make one here: http://www.ehow.com/how_2083_make-solar-oven.html. Please note that it may take twice as long for the food to cook in a solar oven, and you should not use it to cook raw meat or other foods that must be cooked in order to be safe. You can make vegan cookies, re-heat veggie lasagna, and more, and from what I've heard, it works!
  • Eat a cold meal once in a while. Chickpea salad, PB&J, vegetarian sushi, bean salad... the list is endless. To see a portion of the endless creative recipes you can use, please see http://goneraw.com/.
  • Instead of using an electric mixer, mix those ingredients manually by hand-- use that muscle power!
  • Buy food in large containers that can be re-used.
  • Avoid using plastic wrap to cover your food in the fridge. Either cover it with a plate or transfer it to a resealable container.
  • When washing food, put it in a bowl filled with water instead of running each piece individually under the tap.
  • Raw Vegan Food can look just like typical westernized food!
    Photo courtesy of www.lucidnutrition.com
    Until next week!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Yet Another Filler Post

Hello everyone,
I'm unfortunately too tired to give you a post today. This is the last night of my summer trip and I am also tired due to the fact that we switched time zones yesterday, which means that my body clock is an hour later than my watch. Sorry. Keep following, anyway!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Alternatives to Video Games

Hi everyone,
I've made it to a computer on a Friday after all-- in the Maritimes! So, here is my post...
Today I am going to write about the alternatives to video games and computer games. Video games are so addictive, but it is always better to find real-world activities to engage in, partially to enrich your life, and partially to reduce your eco-footprint. However, if you are already hooked on video games, you will probably want to do things that are similar to video games-- just more real. Here is that list of things:
1) Card games. You can play with a partner, group of people, or by yourself. I used to play online card games like Scarab 21 and Pyramids on Neopets.com until one day I couldn't, so I got out a deck of real cards instead. It was so fun, and it had a sort of video-game feel anyway.
2) When I was addicted to my favourite virtual pets site, neopets.com, I made a noble attempt to "bring it off the computer", by doing things offline that I had previously been doing online. For example, I started making up my own Neopets- related brain-teaser games and writing them on paper. I also made my own Neopets fan merchandise-- out of repurposed materials, of course.
3) If you are hopelessly obsessed with your video games, here is my advice to you:go out and pretend that life is a video game. Go out into the woods and pretend you are in your video game in the haunted woods. It sounds nerdy, but really-- what is better: sitting at home with a computer screen to keep you company, or having fun in the real world?
I'll take the real world anyday!
Remember the expression: If you don't use it, you lose it. If you don't go out in nature, it won't be preserved and it will disappear!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Things To Watch Out For In The Media

I'm heading off for the Maritimes tomorrow, and I'll be packing like crazy today, but first, I've got to post. Today, I'll be talking about media traps.
Controlling your own personal intake of media is important, seeing that what you are exposed to every day influences how you view the world. It is hard to resist assimilating into a culture that is so prevalent everywhere you go-- yet it can be done, and should be done, because our Western culture is built on the basis of aquiring more material possessions.
And so, here are some things to avoid in the media:
  1. Celebrity gossip and worship: Yes, I said "worship". For many people, they worship celebrities as idols (and even sometimes admit it, like American IDOL). This is the worst on television and in magazines, and on the Internet, of course. You can take all sorts of quizzes comparing yourself to celebrities-- on things like personality type, fashion style, dream date, body type, BMI... It is as though we need to match ourselves up to a celebrity to have worth! Unfortunately, most celebrities lead luxurious, and, ultimately, unsustainable lives; if we all tried to live like them, I'll bet the Earth would be depleted at least twice as fast. So please, surround yourself with the real world instead of celebrity magazines and such... You'll be happier anyway.
  2. Advertisements: ARGH! They are everywhere nowadays. You can't use a search engine or check your e-mail without advertisements popping up left, right, and centre! Even my beloved virtual pets website has ads all over the screen and it makes it less fun :( Not like I play on Neopets anymore, really, but I still go on once in a while! It is best to distance yourself from hordes of advertisements, telling you to buy, buy, buy. Even if you don't rush out to the store and buy that particular product (does anyone actually do that?), you might order it online, or simply be encouraged to go shopping in general. Even if you don't notice a difference before and after you see an advertisement, look out-- your mind might be on "shopping mode" for the rest of the day!
  3. Certain movies and TV shows: Especially the ones with the "product placement" woven right into the story line, in which the characters of the show talk about how wonderful a certain brand is (they're paid to do that).
  4. Certain songs: Especially the disrespectful new pop songs. True, they do not actaully tell you "buy stuff NOW!" but they do originate from the same faulty and obnoxious culture that is destroying the environment.
To put a long story short, the media is poisoned with the "buy stuff and get happy" motto. It is best to look for media that does not contain this. For example, I listen to CBC Radio 1, which doesn't have any advertisements or sketchy "product placements". You can opt for watching movies that aren't the type to use product placement, and hey, maybe you can just ditch television altogether!
By now you might be wondering what to do instead of immersing yourself in a flawed culture. After all, it wouldn't really work to pull yourself out of one culture only to find that there is nothing to replace it. The key is to join groups that think like you. Try joining any one of the following types of groups:
  1. Environmental Organizations and Other NGO's: You can go to the meetings, events, etc. and meet people who also don't believe that we should be consuming the amount of stuff that most people do. You can join local nature centres, vegetarian associations, etc.
  2. Libraries, which are amazing for many reasons, including the fact that they hardly ever focus on business and consumeristic habits. You just go and borrow a book and take it home and bring it back... and hang out for free at one of the tables, without anyone expecting you to buy anything.
Can you think of anything else? If so, please let me know by commenting on this post. I'll try to get to a computer next Friday while I'm away, but as I stated before, don't worry if I don't post-- I haven't given up on all of you!
See you later, then... :)