Thoughts on a nitrogen dioxide leak.

Today started off with an alarm going off outside for a nitrogen dioxide leak from the local smelter. My husband and I listened to updates on the radio and read notes on social media as tried to decide how he should get to work. It didn’t seem safe for him to walk, and I didn’t really want to load the kids into our one vehicle to drive him, but then I didn’t want him to take the car either in case we really did feel it necessary to leave our house and go out someplace further away from the leak. Continue reading

wildflowers, mealybugs and monarchs

Two years ago my family drove down to a wildflower farm so we could fill our front garden with some of Ontario’s wildflowers. Of course it wasn’t until after we had replanted them and watched them grow for a year that I started to recognize the exact same plants growing wild across the street, and down the road from us. Should I fill silly for spending money on “weeds”? No, it is on the education, for it wasn’t until I was tending to my own labeled plants did I really learn to recognize them. Big and bushy, they fill the Continue reading

For a Diversity of Tactics

I went last night to a presentation by two women from Deep Green Resistance. It was an interesting presentation focusing on the question of how we make change in our world. The two presenters critiqued the myth that if we just bring enough awareness out there we can create a mass movement that will bring about change through solely nonviolent means. The presenters talked about how historians and story-tellers get to choose from a huge variety of details which ones they present, and so by focusing on Gandhi we ignore Bhagat Singh (and, for that matter, the fact that Gandhi Continue reading

When it comes to climate change, the devil is in the details

The Fall 2012 edition of Our Schools Our Selves includes an article by Victoria Wills about environmental education in schools. She points out that school field trips are the dominant “experience of nature” for many students and that too often they end up reinforcing the idea that nature is somehow seperate from civilization. She applauds the efforts of schools to recognize the educational potential of ‘near nature’ of parks and urban spaces. She laments that liabilities make schools treat nature as dangerous (I suspect too many parents do that too). She laments the awkward situation where schools attempt to teach Continue reading

animals in our community and community in our children’s books

 “Always include local nature – the land, the water, the air, the native creatures – within the membership of the community.” The above is rule number two of poet, author and environmentalist Wendell Berry’s “17 Rules for a Sustainable Local Community” and it makes me think of a couple of different children’s books I’ve read recently. They are not books about green living or environmentalism specifically but instead books that in some way recognize the presence of other species as part of the local community. One of the books is called Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth. It is Continue reading

costs both hidden and obvious

I wrote before about how I enjoy playing coasterville because I break everything down in my mind – a quest isn’t really a quest, it’s a matter of eight clicks, three clicks from a friend and two clicks at two hour intervals. Well my same love of breaking things down makes me fascinated by looking at what goes into creating real things. What all goes into feeding a family? Occasionally I keep track of what my family eats for a week and occasionally I think about laying out an equivalent amount of food in the style of the What the Continue reading

Canada’s First Nations are fighting for the environment.

If you were one of the millions of people who watched The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard and you thought, “yes, we need to take action to reduce the destruction we are doing on this planet,” then one way to do that is to support the First Nations in their efforts to have their rights respected. To explain why, I am going to quote this wonderful article:  Canada’s First Nations protest heralds a new alliance by Martin Lukac. The paragraph that stuck out for me is the following:  “But here’s the good news. Amidst a hugely popular national movement against tar Continue reading