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lets get serious about the banter....

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I was raised by good parents, but they were an are not very 'world conscious'. I must admit that for most of my life I was the same way. But in the past couple years, I have begun to break out of this mold, and I am increasingly looking into and doing things to "help the world out".

I have begun with small things like ensuring I have only one vehicle for our household, and making it a fuel efficient car, taking my own bags with me when I shop so as not to use plastic bags all the time, began replacing bulbs with energy efficient lights, donating more to charity, including sponsoring a child through World Vision, recycling (which I am not completely sold on), and probably most importantly, I will be raising my daughter to be more conscious than I was raised. Educating children from a young age on the importance of world thinking I believe is more important than any program out there right now.

I intend to do further things like getting a rain barrel installed in the spring, I am looking for 'friendly farms'. I don't believe that eating meat is wrong, but I do believe it shouldn't be every day, and that the animals should be treated with at least some level of respect. I want to find some local farmers and support them.

And all around, just trying to buy less and become more 'aware'. And I will be the first to admint that I am a little hypocritical because I do still enjoy many of the finer things in life that I could live without.

My realistic side see's that overall this is a very daunting task. We all think that North Americans are bad, but just wait until China comes in as the world power over the next decade. They are just entering their industrial age.

Anyhoo, enough babbling, thats my 2 cents.

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I have noticed many people with the intent of not having kids.

I personally think that not having children because you don't want to add to the world's population is insane. That's like saying 'I am going to get rid of this cold by killing myself'. The people that are conscious about the world are the ones that should be having children, and raising them properly. And for those really dead set against having children, you can adopt.

I do think that there should be a world limit on 1 or 2 children each, but we all know thats not going to happen.

I could not imagine life without my daughter.

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I am looking for 'friendly farms'. I don't believe that eating meat is wrong, but I do believe it shouldn't be every day, and that the animals should be treated with at least some level of respect. I want to find some local farmers and support them.

heya Pann... Plan B is a conscientious local organic farm that has a lot of diverse produce availabe (not sure if they have organic meat or not, haven't been out there in quite a while though I buy their products in town)... you'd like the guys who run it too, they kind of remind me of you

will grab one of their flyers for you next time I'm down on Locke Street (or pop into Christine's Locke St. Hemp Shop and grab one if you're in the neighbourhood)

personal latest accomplishment has been turning my folks onto Fair Trade Shade Grown Organic Coffee (which rocks)

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I think I have heard of these guys... is this the place where you buy a share for the season, and get produce each week? I am definitely interested in checking these guys out.

Anyone know where, as close to possible to Hamilton, I can find Ostrich or Emu meat?

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Paan, I haven't ruled out adopting, and I agree that as kids are the future we need to help to raise them with aware, open, and critical minds. However if you think of the exponential increase in population that occurs from every birth and the offspring they will produce in turn, that's a lot of burden on our ecosystems. I agree that adoption is a good choice though.

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remember hearing there was a farm years ago out past the Satellite Drive-In (near highway 20), don't know if its still going or not

if you locate one find out if they offer ostrich rides, that I might be up for

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I'm about in line with Paan except I don't have kids, and don't have a rain barrel as I'm in the apartment. In terms of waste we divert about 90% of our food waste to a worm composter and in the spring will use all of the compost for a few vegetables on the balcony. We've investigated sharing a CSA plot this season or possibly buying a share from one of the farms in the area that is delivering produce into Ottawa on a weekly basis. From what I know, the "bounty" is far more than the two of us could eat weekly so it makes sense to share it with another couple.

I do own a car but it's my trusty corolla, and I drive probably 10 kilometres a week just on weekends. As bulbs have burnt out in our apartment we've been changing them with fluorescent (word of warning: by the best ones that you can because the cheaper ones give off a terrible sobering glare).

We drink fair trade coffee but with food products I prioritize local over organic. Of course I'll choose local AND organic where possible, particularly with meat and dairy, but figure the organic carrots from california consumed a heck of alot more gas to get to O-Town than the conventional carrot from Ottawa valley.

Things I'd like to improve: Look at ethical investments and seperate the romantic aspects of that from the practical, reduce waste consumption because even though we recycle we still have alot going to the recycling bin, and cut down my water and electrical consumption more than now.

My main thing is continuing to live happily and enjoying life while also being conscious of how I'm living. I know far too many people who live with this "end of the world" philosophy that's so overwhelmingly negative that they forget to work on the positive things. I don't want to spend my life worrying, I want to do what I can at my own level.

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Fair Trade Shade Grown Organic Coffee

drinking some right now and it is great!

if people can't afford to buy organic or don't know where to get it, i think the next best thing is local produce. almost every place has a farmers' market and the prices aren't too bad at most of them. at least you cut down on the energy consumed in shipping and you usually get a lot less packaging when you buy local. you also get to know the people you shop from and they show you when they get cool stuff in. (i live across the road from the kitchener market which kinda sucks in the winter but it's great in the summer!)

i just want to mention that animal rights are not the only reason to go vegan. it's a very environmentally sound practise.

if there are any homeowners out there who would like to increase their home's efficiency you should get the EnerGuide for houses evaluation done. people come over and do a test on your house for it's energy consumption. they give you a list of suggestions on how to improve the rating and if you do them withing eighteen months and then have another evaluation done the government will pay for a bit of it! also, if you install solar panels or another alternative energy source on you house you get the retail sales tax back from the government. also you can get a 10% refund on your mortgage insurance premium from the cmhc or an extension on your amoritization period if you have an environmentally friendly home. go here to check out all of this http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca (the cmhc links out from here, and don't forget to check for programs offered provincially and locally, this one is federal- you can search using this website, just explore it and you'll find it)

another environmentally sound practise is to buy things used whenever you can. there is already so much stuff in this world it's almost useless to make more. used clothing, cars, furniture, dishes and anything else is available and if you look long enough you will find nice stuff. in kw we have two really cool used clothing stores (other than value village and charity thrift stores) the first is "out of the past" (the manager there is a really hot chick named summer, i think she might play congas or something too ;) )which is on king st. e. on king st. n is "360 clothing" and it's right down the street from "papa lou's" used furniture, another great store.

basically, the personal is political. all of the little choices you make on an individual level have an impact upon the globe. the trick is to make the smallest impact possible. :)

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if you adopt I'd just like to suggest you be prepared to live and let live as sometimes people of different genetic make-ups like entirely different things (not saying you wouldn't or anything)... though perhaps you're vegetarian and like music an adopted child may crave raw steak and want to race cars... only mention it as I was adopted and thought everything was wrong with me until I was in my 20s as I was nothing like my folks in regard to diet, interests or temperment... we get along great now out of love and mutual respect of our differences... just mentioning it as I wish someone would have told my folks that as they didn't mean to be at odds but didn't know any better, they tried to cram my round peg through the square hole to no end... genetics are genetics

hate mentioning being vegan as it often seems to draw defensiveness from those I mention it to but just because thats my choice shouldn't affect anyone else detrimentally... I really don't care that much what other people eat or don't, [edit] when I was young I didn't like meat or cheese at all so it was pretty easy to get back to that for me (though I'd taught myself to like meat and cheese over time)... that said I do think its good for people to try not to consume much meat and dairy as its not necessary for most people and contributes to huge amounts of pollution, deforestation and wasted land... that and most people don't need much in the way of animal products for good health, though body chemistry's differ and some people seem to need it more than others... on the other side of the coin the kid who grew up around the corner from me was a strapping 230 lb. football player with a quick smile who was brought up vegetarian all his life

but mainly I dance a lot on weekends

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Some more things to add;

I've had my current vehicle for almost 4 years - times washed = 3

I bought my house 3 years ago - times watering the lawn = 0

- times pulling weeds and other wild flowers = 0 (it looks much better in it's natural state anyway)

My parents are the same as yours Paan. "Yay we filled a blue box in 2 months"

Every 2 weeks when I go to the dump we have 1 bag of garbage and 2 blue boxes. Also many pails of composting. My dad likes composting for his flower beds but my mom hates the mice that it brings (hehehe)

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Re:used things. If you are in Ottawa you can score awesome things from the trash. I can't take credit (and my girlfriend is a sometimes lurker) but just last week she scored an immaculate lounge chair. No scratches, all the padding and stuffing intact, even the fabric was totally white and stain-free. I seriously have no idea why someone would throw it out unless they bought a new chair.

There's some amazing trash in the glebe for all you O-towners.

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I haven't had a chance to read this whole thread yet which I will, but I thought I'd throw a little curve - the guy who wrote this book was on the Daily Show last night, he brings an interesting perspective to the conversation:

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/bottomlesswell/

I'll be back later but I couldn't resist throwing this in to the frey.

Peace,

Mr. M.

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ok---confession-- I was a little drunk last evening when I wrote this... I made a comment "I am very influential" what I meant to say was "I am very easily influenced."

Love all these ideas... I still rent, so I cannot really make big changes around the house, however, there are alot of ideas, that I have started to do, or I will start to do in order to do my best...

but what about politics??? Is there anything we can do or say above and beyond our vote??

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I recently hosted a forum-discussion in Whistler where I brought the Director for the Institute for Cooperation in Space to fire up Whistlerites on the idea of having Whistler declared a "peace zone" all the way to the sky, meaning no weapons in space above Whistler. (Practically speaking, this does nothing, but it does get the attenion of the Feds when enough municipalities make this declaration.)

Grass-roots efforts like that go a long way, in my view.

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-join the green party

Actually, a study was recently done on the various parties' platforms that found the Green Party was really not all that "green" as compared with some other parties. If you want to join a party (who also has no chance of being in power any time soon, but definitely makes the statements that I think most Canadians truly agree with) I highly recommend checking out the little-known, relatively new Canadian Action Party. These guys are great and certainly could use some support.

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that website is a touch out of date. it's talking about the anticipated 2004 federal election. the newest news article is from last july and the last press release is from june. do they still exist? i'm also finding that it's focus is more about anti-globalization than specifically the enivronment.

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I assume they still exist, and you're right that they are more generally focused on international issues as they pertain to Canadians than merely environmental.

I am no expert on this party, but the last time I reviewed their website I was really impressed.

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Platform to platform, A coalition of environmental NGOs endorsed the NDP in the last election in terms of their sustainability, the probability of instituting their framework in a reasonable timeframe and their balance of environmental and other issues..the "other issues" very much impacting on the environment in an indirect manner.

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This is a fantastic thread.

Thanks for the website Bokonon. As a new homeowner (with obscene hydro bills) that is all very, very interesting to me.

This summer we hope to put a small vegetable garden in our back yard (I'm looking at you Asparagus ;)). We recycle and have changed all the bulbs in our home to the energy savers ones. The rain barrel is an excellent idea as well and I think I would like to start composting. Lots of little things can be done in our new place and none of them are too difficult.

We do not want children, but that's got nothing to do with their environmental impact but rather is a personal lifestyle choice.

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