This May Be Wrong

Hi Folks:

This post is based on two events from yesterday, but before I get to them I should provide a little history…

The last time I was in school was a little over twenty years ago, and one Sunday afternoon when I was studying I had a woman who was a representative of a local religious organization stop by my door.  She wanted to discuss her faith, and perhaps because I wanted to take a break from studying or perhaps because it was a sunny Sunday afternoon, I said, “Okay.”  So we stood and talked for about an hour and a half.  However, for everything that she offered from her system of beliefs, I countered with a different viewpoint from another Way.  She’d suggest something from the book she had with her, and I’d offer something to the effect of, “Yes, but the Buddhists believe…”  or “the Bible says…” or “in Taoist philosophy it is said…” or “in Native Spirituality they believe…” or, well, you get the idea.  We went back and forth like this as I said for about an hour and a half until finally I said, “I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t have all the answers; I’m still a student.”  Her response to this was, “Well, I’ve found mine.” but I countered that with, “No, you think you have; you’ve stopped looking.”  At that point she left. Continue Reading →

“Fuzzy Shoes”

Hi Folks:

This is “Fuzzy Shoes” – she’s the newest member of our family, although I must admit I borrowed the name from the daughter of an old friend.  It was the name she gave her hamster.

30-second video - click to watch!

Continue Reading →

Being Green – Carrot Mobs

Hi Folks:

Been a little quiet here on our ‘Being Green‘ site for the past few weeks, but life has been keeping us busy.  I wanted to share an idea I only heard about a few weeks back; the idea started in San Francisco in 2008 but has since spread to cities around the world.  The term ‘Carrot Mob‘ refers to the two general ideas for motivation – carrot and stick.  The carrot of course is positive reinforcement, and the stick refers to negative enforcement.  The problem with negative enforcement, as has been proven over and over again in psychological studies, is that it doesn’t work.  Positive reinforcement or incentive, however, can create long-lasting change.

The idea behind a ‘carrot mob’ is a variation on the premise of ‘voting with your wallet’.  It’s a little different than a ‘flash mob‘, as the latter, by design, serves no real purpose other than to have fun and surprise passersby.  We’re all consumers to one degree or another.  Individually and collectively we choose what products and services survive and thrive in our local and global economy.  Some have tried ‘boycotts’ as a way of expressing dissatisfaction, but a carrot mob is sometimes called a ‘buycott’ instead.  This isn’t ‘rampant consumerism’ or ‘buying for buying’s sake’, but an effective way to help support local businesses make ‘green’ changes to their operations.

The basic idea behind a carrot mob is that local businesses (restaurants for example) that want to ‘green’ their operations pledge a percentage of one day’s sales to achieving this goal.  Often several businesses are asked to compete, and the winner is chosen by the mob participants.  There have been two carrot mobs here in Victoria so far, both of which have been organized by students at the University of Victoria:

  1. In 2010 Wannawafel earned 327% of their normal daily income and used a portion of the proceeds, as promised, to invest in biodegradable napkins and other sustainable products.
  2. Earlier this month the Fernwood Inn was chosen as the site for a carrot mob.  On the day of the event, the owners pledged to match proceeds for the day dollar for dollar toward sustainable initiatives, and by closing time had generated a total of $16,137.26 toward that cause.  That makes it the largest carrot mob fundraiser in North America to date, and the second largest in the world.  The UVic students are planning an even bigger event for mid-May, which will include having several establishments competing for participants.

No matter where you live, this is a great idea that can easily be scaled up or down.  Contact local businesses, introduce them to the idea and see what changes they would like to make in their operations.  Drum up support and get the competition going!  And once the carrot mob has passed by, remember to keep supporting those companies that are aligned with what you value.

Okay… I usually end my ‘Being Green’ blog posts by adding a (long) list of links to other articles and sites of interest that I’ve come across in the past week.  However, in a world of Facebook and Twitter and the like, from what I can tell those links aren’t often followed.  It takes me many hours each week to collect and link all of those sites together, and I’m not going to bother if nobody’s using them.  What I’ve started doing instead is retweeting/posting the articles that I find the most interesting.  So, I leave it up to you.  If the links I post here are of value you to you and you’d like me to continue adding them in, post a comment here and let me know.  If you’re happy getting the news from other sources, that’s quite fine with me.  And if you want to follow Marcia and/or me on Twitter, you can find us through the Blogroll links on the right hand side of this page.  What I will continue to add are links to time-specific events, conferences and the like.  For example, the Living Future UnConference is happening in Vancouver, BC on April 27-29, 2011 and the ISEAL Alliance Conference Public Day is June 8, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland.

That’s it for now.  Have a great week!

Hugs,
Mike.

P.S.  I don’t drink Pepsi, but this is still a good idea: Pepsi Hits the Farm

How to Buy a New Camera

Hi Folks:

The first 35mm film camera I ever used was my dad’s Argus A5; it had four shutter speeds, five f/stops and ‘guess the distance’ focusing.  No lightmeter, of course.  It taught me a lot about photography.  Back then I couldn’t always afford film, but I’d take that camera out in the woods and make compositions through the viewfinder, measure the light with the little handheld lightmeter and calculate exposures.  My first SLR camera was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F; a definite step up in photographic terms, and a great little camera, even though I eventually jumped ship and went with Minolta instead.  Continue Reading →

Little Wisdoms

Hi Folks:

Been a little quiet of late here in our little corner of the ‘net…  Anyway, some aspect of my Self has taken to waking me up at 1:40 or 3:30 a.m. or somesuch time and planting these little thoughts in my head, and since they’re mostly very short I’ve been posting them on Twitter.  I also started collecting them into a Word file, and I’ve got together enough now that I thought maybe I’d post them here as well.  If any of them resonates with you, feel free to share them… I usually just sign them as: ‘ ~ MNP’ Continue Reading →