Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gorgeous Weekend

Hello! So. We went CAMPING. Here is a delicious picture of my darling red car, and other precious moments of our trip. My car made it all the way to the mountains without looking like garbage, and still looks really good. We ran off to enjoy our small little weekend before my design class started.

We managed to get the car packed after our trip in a way that allows us to (gasp) go camping with minimal packing in the back seat- most of our camping gear is in the trunk, which we never use. This is a perfect example of applications of Human Ecological thinking to everyday issues. Why work if you are not able to do what you enjoy? DH (darling husband) and I enjoy getting into a tent and cooking over a stove, and have made it infinitely easier at this time! Working to live is a big deal, and by making it easier to get on with living is a huge part of the struggle. So setting ourselves up for success means we are more likely to throw some bananas and tortillas in the backseat and run off for the weekend. Go us!

And why wouldn't you want to get away? Even though we were relegated to the overflow campsite, I can say it was amazing. You may be thinking: but overflow is just a big boring field. We were able to find our own spot, we had access to washrooms, we had already brought our own water, and I think the pictures show that this was not just a boring field.... Can I say "Boom, Roasted" for only having to pay ten bucks to camp?

Saturday, when we went into Jasper for a quick trip to pick up essentials (chocolate, ice, etc) we saw a bear in our rearview mirror. We turned the car around and scuttled back down the road to see if we could get a better look. Unfortunately, little brown bear had run back into the bushes. *tears* That evening we saw a natural light show with some amazing lightening.

Sunday afternoon, we packed up our goodies and set out to go home. Ahead of us on the road, a truck was going quite slowly. Driving up, I saw a bear running into the brush, and was so excited to at least get a flash of it, but sad that we didn't get a picture. Then DH pointed out that the second bear had not yet vacated the premises...

We got fabulous pictures of a berry hungry little black bear (Get it? Berry hungry? Very Hungry? Did I mention I love puns?). Five feet from our car, we were as close to real nature as we could be.

Which leads me to thinking: what is our natural environment? We are told by parks attendants not to interact with bears and other wildlife. That we will take them away from their own natural existence. Where are we from, what exactly is our natural existence if not within the natural constructs our surroundings provide us? Why have we moved so far away from this natural existence? Is this why we yearn to go back to this world? And what does it say that our mere presence in this natural state can be so disruptive to the other inhabitants, like bears?


Saturday, July 25, 2009

An attempt to be "Green"

Ok। I won't lie. As a burgeoning human ecologist, I am exploring exactly what that means to me. In the frequently greenwashed North American market, what kind of niche can my skills fill? Who do I want to become, what do I want to represent. Human ecologists fundamentally feel that education provides people with the agency to better their lives and the lives of others. They strive to provide sound scientific evidence of these improvements so that the education is validated. Research, Education, and Facilitation seem to be at the core of their mindset. I think. (so I've kindof gathered from three years of human ecology schooling.) But what does it really MEAN? So this blog is to record my efforts- I am enabling others and myself to improve our surroundings. Or something like that. I like money. I like being environmentally sound. Often those things go together: use less gas, don't go on vacation (airline travel makes your carbon footprint span the globe), turn off the lights. Often those things don't: buy a hybrid, or newer less gas guzzling vehicle, pay for carbon neutralizing credits (Balancing out those nasty Mexico flying miles...), replace your furnace... This makes me scream for moderation. Where does this go? How does a normal person, who doesn't have the money of A.l Gore manage to be somewhat responsible, without also becoming the victim of the current financial crisis by blowing their money on Soy this and Hydro that, Eco Whatchyamacallims and Green Shenanigans ? Well. For starters... Today I washed my car with just water, and a terry rag. Shocking. For all you grease monkeys out there, jumping up and down at the thought of me not waxing, buffing, chrome detailing my car with the love and attention similar to that of a russian mail order bride, let me set your mind at ease. I drive a 2007 Pontiac Wave. It's not a work of art, it's a car. It wasn't that dirty, it got a lovely chemical infused full on wash after winter, getting rid of all the scary salt and grime that would potentially rust (? ha, sure) all of it's hard plastic pieces. My thoughts: 1)Good outside fun. Cold Water. Hot day. Sunshine (30 degrees, which NEVER happens here!). I got to see steam rise off the roof when I washed it... that is not normal in E.dmonton! 2)Saves me $20.00 or all of my hard earned Esso extra points, when it really is calling for rain tomorrow... Especially when I'm going camping, so the highway drive will likely mess this wash up anyways. 3)Brings me appreciation of those people who detail cars, or the machines that wash them 4)Doesnt expose me and my family and everyone else in the area to all the weird junk in the suds at the gas station I'm not going to say I will never wash my car at a car wash again. Im not going to say that it was super easy, or that it was the CLEANEST looking car ever. sometimes I had to wash and rinse the side three times before the streaks were gone. But the car looks awesome, I saved the planet a bit of junk, I saved ME some money, and I got a small amount of vitamin D... If I had kids, I would say this is a great way to spend time with them with some super soakers... kids love pretty much everything to do with water, sunshine, and you.. So yeh. Go ahead. Tell people its to "Save the planet a little" when really you're just a big cheapo. Hmm. That may have been a slight segue. But I'll get back to my holistic approach to life and how it works with my profession later. Mainly, I just have to stop talking.