I received two wonderful comments from last Friday’s ‘Being Green‘ post, one from Olivia Khalili in response to my link to a post she had written, and the second from Doug Makaroff, as I had also mentioned his Living Forest Communities project, Elkington Forest. In his comment Doug said, “I would love to find out more about you and your blog.” and I thought, ‘That’s a fair question.’ Now, if you wander around our blog you’ll find that we write about many different things – food, photography, stories, poetry, spirituality and other things. I’m not going to get into those but restrict my comments to the ‘Being Green’ category. So, who am I and why do I do this? Better yet, why should you bother to read what I write?
Well, beyond our ‘About Us‘ page, and without getting too loquacious, suffice to say that I had some wonderful years as a boy living in the woods in Quebec, followed by some less than wonderful years living in a city after that. Fortunately or serendipitously the section of the city where we moved to had a small wooded area not too far away, and when I needed to escape I went there. Those forests and fields are almost entirely gone now, overtaken slowly but inexorably by housing developments. I’m not going to make any derogatory comments about developers, only that those years living close to the earth became a major force in shaping my life. I became an ‘environmentalist’ at 15.
When I grew older (I’ve yet to ‘grow up’) I graduated three times from Sir Sandford Fleming College’s School of Natural Resources in Lindsay, ON with two diplomas in Fish and Wildlife Technology and one in Geographic Information Systems. Over the past 30 years or so I’ve been privileged to do environmental assessment, fisheries/wildlife research and other environmental work in five different provinces.
I’ve also done a lot of ‘other’ work to fill in the gaps, including driving truck , residential construction and renovation. That’s given me some insight into building construction methods. I used to work at the north end of Toronto, and during the late 80s and early 90s I saw thousands upon thousands of new homes being ‘thrown up’ all around the greater Toronto area. Of all of those new subdivisions I only saw one that advertised R2000 insulation standards, ground source heat pumps and things like that. This was over twenty years ago, and even then we knew better.
The internet has changed the world in many powerful and profound ways, often in ways I believe that nobody could have predicted a few decades back. One of them is the tremendous resources now available for free to anyone who looks for them. As LEED and other standards began to be established, as we created the Canada Green Building Council and the US Green Building Council and other groups, organizations and government departments, all of them developed websites, .pdf files, videos, webinars and more. And so I began to teach myself more about those things that interest me; new ideas and technologies surrounding ‘green building’ and sustainability became a part of that. I’m not a LEED-certified expert, nor am I a certified plumber, electrician or carpenter, but I have some knowledge of these things.
I walk a path between being a scientist on one hand and being a deeply spiritual person on the other, and I don’t think they need to be mutually exclusive. I’m not really going to get into that here, but I did want to mention that one idea common to pretty much all aboriginal cultures is the idea of ‘the spirit that moves in all things’. A quantum physicist would call it something else. Someone wise in the ways of business today might call an adaptation of that idea the ‘three-legged stool’, that business must balance profit, environmental sustainability and the support and needs of its clients and its workforce. When I was fifteen and writing letters to politicians I often wrote, “This earth may be 25,000 miles in diameter, but it’s a tiny jewel in the vastness of space. If we screw this up we have nowhere else to go.”
That’s probably more about me than anyone really wants or needs to know. As to the blog, it was an idea planted by our son Nick, who works both in radio and as a web designer. I had been sending out weekly e-mails to a few people I knew with updates on environmental issues I had learned that week, and those e-mails have become my Friday ‘Being Green’ posts.
Okay, I should mention that I haven’t been online a lot this week, so the following list will be shorter than usual. However, the links for this week include:
- People Protect What They Love
- Unilever Sustainable Development Overview 2009 (.pdf)
- MIT Enterprise Forum: Creating Value Through Sustainability
- TravelZoo (US): Deals at LEED-Certified Hotels
- Painting the Town Green: the Making of Greenbuild 2009
- Algae the new crop harvested by home-growers
- IBM Makes Water Clean With Smarter, Energy-Efficient Purification (YouTube video on using nanomembranes to purify drinking water from any source)
- Energy 101: What Is a Smart Grid?
- ED+C eNews
- Green Building Advisor e-Letter
- World Resources Institute Digest – From Angst to Action: Moving Forward After Copenhagen
- Best of Green 2010: Cars and Transportation (Planet Green and Treehuggers)
- The Keys to Green Affordable Housing: A Guide for Existing Multifamily Properties – parts 2 and 3 of this webinar series are on April 15 & May 13, respectively
- Façade Stabilization Solutions – webinar, April 22, 2010
- RETScreen Clean Energy Project Analysis Software: from Natural Resources Canada
- Training Calendar – upcoming events, around the world
- EcoStructure March/ April 2010 digital edition
- Sustainable Santa Monica eNews
- BuildingGreen.com newsletter
- ISEAL Impacts April 2010
- Cascadia Region Green Building Council: Living Future 2010 Unconference – May 5-7, 2010, Seattle, WA
- inhabitat weekly e-News
That’s it for now. Have a great week!
P.S. Why not ‘green’ fashion shows, too?