Posts Tagged ‘Eco’

Rice, we’re over. Cavena Nuda Je t’aime.

I confess – we eat rice.

Rice straight from the Bulk Barn.  Not straight from the rice fields, but from the truck that travels thousands of miles from the port in the US where it met the tanker that had crossed the ocean after it met more trucks in the harbour where it came from.  Straight from unsustainably managed rice fields somewhere out there where a farmer is just trying to feed his family.  Even worse, we love white rice.  Sticky white basmati rice.  While I keep a supply of what is touted as a healthier choice, brown basmati, on hand also, neither are remotely local and if I want organic, I’m bound to buying some form of plastic packaging.

With (purchasing) power comes great responsibility.

For the most part, I’ve played the ignorant card when buying rice, justifying it because well, everyone else eats it and if I have things on hand that Dylan enjoys, such as rice, he’s less likely to say “Pita Pit?” when brainstorming dinner ideas.  But rice, you’ve been replaced (it may be more of a gradual phasing out, and I make no claim to perfection).  Welcome Cavena Nuda. Je t’aime.  I first found you in the bulk barn flyer, labelled “New! Rice of the Prairies” and the possibility of a rice from Canada made me have to try you!   A “hull-less” oat that cooks just like brown rice, cavena nuda is a nutty grain that cooks al dente and is amazing in many dishes because it holds up very well.  I may be late for the cavena nuda train because apparently it was on Dragon’s Den, but I bet there are many people out there who have yet to hear about it.  I can’t remember all the ways that I’ve used it, but the other night I added some garlic scape pesto, basil, steamed beans (all from the garden), and some canned Ontario tomatoes and wow!

Here’s another fresh spring meal that we had, pretty much simple rice (eek) pasta with a simple home-made sauce of garlic, onions and canned tomatoes, made so fresh with herbs from the garden!

And here are our watermelon radishes that have been great additions to potato salads, beet salads and sandwiches…

Having vegetables right in our backyard has been the highlight of my summer!  No more ethical dilemmas at the grocery store, no more debates at farmer’s markets and lots more fresh, local, organic veggies!


My Sustainable Future…

In my sustainable future, No Frills will be a farmer’s market.

Wal Mart will host trade-ins, where you pay with credits that you’ve earned for bringing “stuff” back.  No one will work more than 30 hours away from home a week, and that work will be meaningful, inspiring, fulfilling and will always contribute to the greater good (why on earth most jobs do not seems terribly self-destructive for a species).

Sunday’s will return to a day of rest and family.  The plastics loop on the planet will be a closed system, only using and re-using what we’ve already made, no more new plastics.  Population growth will be an oxymoron.

The standard forms of transportation will be bike, horse (this is “my sustainable future” after all), wind powered boats, sun powered planes (they’re mighty close to the bright light) and food powered feet.  My love will be my life will be my work will be my pastimes will be my partner will be my children will be me.  We will live in a community of small, natural homes, surrounding a massive food forest.  Our compost heap and the sun will heat our greenhouse where we will grow an avacado tree. We will have a shared outdoor kitchen, even with a bbq. We will also have our own, private kitchen with a solar dehydrator, some new eco-kind of refrigerator, root cellars, and renew-ably powered appliances.  I will teach yoga, including handstands and cartwheels, and sustainable living and writing to youth and adults.  Children will be afraid of “strawberry candy” because they learned what a juicy, ripe, organic strawberry was long before the candy imposter.  Thus, “food” that in fact is not food, will not be sold as such.

Our community will have a huge library, with windows, plants and big spaces where we can lay on cushions, read and discuss.  Somehow, computers will have a role, maybe they will take the shape of a calendar on the wall listing everything that needs to be done that day, including baking cookies in the solar oven, meetings and having the youth learn to build a home.  My sister will be my neighbour, well maybe down the street, and my brother will be dreaming up designs for whole systems of communities that include not only building designs, but land-use, retrofits, and cradle to cradle principles.  We will know our neighboring communities, and while we may not always like them, we will compete with them in sport wholeheartedly.

Consumption will have been recognized as a black hole of human potential and a perpetuator of unhappiness. Clothes will be simple, natural, functional, beautiful and biodegradable.  We will have slowed the production of all forms of toxins enough so that nature will have removed those that she could, and enough to be able to exist forever with the ones that nature will never know what to do with.

The idea of going shopping as an activity, without a true need, will not be an idea.  Instead, that time will be spent thinking, creating, repairing, discussing, reflecting, and being still.  The only packaging that food will come in, will be the packaging that nature gave it.  You will carry your own basket or storage container to the store, fill it up from their storage container, weigh it, exchange some form of currency for it, and be on your merry way.  There will be one rainbow a day.  Two on holidays. And sometimes, just sometimes, you’ll actually see a flower open one of it’s buds, witnessing one of the most beautiful events this life brings.

I will feel joy with every breath I take, I will use intellectual intelligence every day and I will listen deeply with compassion and love for even the people I do not understand.  I will still feel pain, loss, sadness and despair.  And because these feelings seem innate to our species – a natural balance to my butterfly and unicorn fantasy – maybe the world will go on as it does.  We are in the Kali Yuga, the age where human civilization degenerates according to Indian scriptures.  There are systems that I can not paint in pretty pinks and sky blues, such as the legal system, the finance markets and the human ego brought to you by the letters “I”, “Me” and “Mine”. I don’t doubt that a sustainable future will indeed occur, but that does not mean it will be in our favour.  We are not the centre of the universe.  We are a mere manifest of it, and the Universe will sustain itself, not us.  But that does not rob me of my imagination and my heart.  So I will go on seeing the world through my rose-coloured glasses, picking flowers and singing on my bicycle.  I’m pretty sure in any future, I will still get to ride a horse and grow an avacado tree.

Awesome Parody!

Watch this video, this version of the song will get stuck in your head for sure!

EcoTravel (TO to BC) = Sleep Upright + 4 nights + no food $500


– In true hipsie form, just as we are settling into our secluded, peaceful log cabin, we are beginning to move on.  We are out of here in March, and I am again investigating Yoga Teacher Training and/or Waldorf Teacher Training.  Dylan plans to come along for the ride.

So far, the best match is to do my Yoga teacher training in Nelson, BC, Canada, for the month of May.  I could go to India for pretty much the same cost and the same training with a more cultural experience, but then I would have to fly, somewhat unnecessarily.  If I’m going to be working in ‘Education for a Sustainable Future’ (a field that has yet to exist in Canada), I think it would be nice to say that I obtained my Yoga training in a sustainable fashion.

However, now I am challenged with crossing Canada in a sustainable fashion.  Dylan’s bright-eyed, boyish expression makes it hard to say no when he exclaims “We can take the truck!”.  ‘No’ actually doesn’t register as he goes on fantasizing about how we’ll sleep on the roof (in April…), drive across the desert (it’d be the prairies, but the photos in his Landrover Magazine are overlapping reality at this point), drive over the Rockies etc.  Instead, I suggest the train, and as his awareness of who he’s talking to returns, he concedes “ya, that would be fun too”.

So, now I’m looking at what it would be like to take the train across Canada. $500 one-way, for a seat for 4 days/nights….no bed, no food, few stops, no shower.  That is worse than hitchhiking.  The bed and food options are available for $900 one-way.  Yikes.  Is it actually possible to sleep sitting up 4 nights in a row??  I remember the glamorous Via Rail commercials of the cross-Canada train, called “The Canadian”, with picturesque views of the mountains, food coming to your seat etc.  What they failed to mention is that you also sleep in that seat unless you can afford the “Sleep-Touring” option.  And I bet the meal being delivered in that commercial would cost $20 or so.  So, if Dylan and I were to actually take the train to and from Vancouver and keep our sanity (ie. get the bed option), it would cost us probably about $1800 each.  That’s over $3500 for both of us.  And then we need to take an 8 hour bus to Nelson. That’s a 1/4 of a house down-payment.  If riding a train across Canada was the purpose, ok, fair enough.  But, it’s actually just our transportation.  Yoga Teacher training costs $3000 for one month, full-time.  Plus accomodations and food and Dylan’s entertainment (skiing).  There is a bus option, with Greyhound, that takes 3 days (3 nights I think) that seems to only cost $200/pp return.  Has anyone reading this taken the bus or train to or from Vancouver?

If we drove (and it would be the Landrover), we would likely pay about $700 in fuel both ways, plus costs for wherever we rest our heads and what we eat.  But we could stop where we like, take photos, camp, frolic in the mountains, bring our bikes (!), couchsurf, take 10 days, serve food at soup kitchens, pick up hitchhikers, bring along a friend or 2 (anyone interested?), stop at friends places (Sarah in Winnipeg) and visit others while we’re in BC.

I haven’t resigned to considering flights yet, but perhaps I should.  Perhaps I should just accept the state of the world and technology and exist within it for my own happiness… I was going a little far there.

It’s a tough decision.  It’s like the paradox of ‘health food’: Actual food (ie. non-pesticide laden, GMO-free, local food from the ground) is more expensive and less accessible than the alternative convenient, prepared, packaged, foreign, full-of-ingredients-I-can’t-pronounce “food”.  To take a more planet and future friendly mode of transport is incredibly more expensive, less accessible and less comfortable.

I’m stumped for now, but the nice thing is we have another month or 2 of winter left to brainstorm.  Any suggestions?