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http://edmontonearthday.ca/

April 22nd is Edmonton Earth Day at Fort Edmonton Park.

Take a look at the website link provided. It looks like an incredible line up of activities for the entire family.

I am particularily looking forward to seeing what Carbon Environmental Boutique will have on display and will be visiting the Solar Energy Society of Alberta booth.

I hope to see you there!

Tonight, Tracy and I found an incredible new restaurant in town. Near the kid’s school we have been meaning to check out Noorish, a new restaurant. What a great experience!  Noorish offers a vegan & vegetarian menu created with organic, raw, and whole foods.  The atmosphere was friendly, creative, spiritually uplifting and comfortably casual.  A live band began playing music during our dinner, putting on a very good show.

For the concious decision maker looking for a unique dining experience “out of the norm” this is a great place for young and old.

I recommend you check it out.

 

Happy Earth Day!

I have a lot of friends and family whom if I ever brave bringing up environmental topics around, are very quick to shout out ” I don`t want to know!”   What is it that makes people so afraid of information?  I suppose that people feel as though if they have the information, that means they would have to act upon it.  As long as they stay ignorant, life stays the same and requires no changes to action.  Pretty sad I say. 

If I asked those same people, if they would like to prevent their children from ever acquiring heart disease, osteoporosis or cancer, would their responses be the same?  Why is change so hard for people?

If you had asked me a few years ago, if I could make all the changes in my life that I have, I am quite certain my answer would have been no.  But, as I educated myself, my motivations grew, and living a more sustainable life became the only way I could feel positive about living and growing a family here on Earth.  If life all of a sudden isn’t matching our own values, we feel the desire for change.  So, perhaps changing people’s values is at the core of this issue.

I have read so many books over the last few years that have shaped and changed my views on the way I live my life and the way I want to teach my children to live their lives.  There is a vast amount of research and information our there that supports the drastic need for change in the ways we use this planet.  Humans today, particularly in North America, have built their lives around creating and maintaining modern-day conveniences, that asking people to put forth effort for change is almost impossible.

Last night I watched Jamie Oliver’s series The Food Revolution.  In this particular episode, he has every door slammed in his face as he makes his way trying to improve the foods we feed our children in schools and the food we so readily consume in fast food restaurants.  As much as it boggled his mind at people’s reactions and real lack of interest, it boggled my mind watching it.  Those are the same questions I ask myself all the time and what drove me to write this exact post.  I wanted to yell to Jamie through the tv screen “We believe you, we care, we want to know what we are putting in our and our children’s bodies!” 

I heard a radio broadcaster announce on the radio this morning as I was driving my kids to school, that new research has come out saying that girls are now hitting puberty at an average age of 9.  Go all the way back to 1840 and the average age was 16.  The announcer went on to say that doctors are baffled and don’t know why this is happening – perhaps higher rates of obesity, perhaps hormones.  Come on people!  What has changes so dramatically over the last 100 years to have such dramatic impacts on girls of today?  Our diet!  Doctors should be screaming that from the rooftops!  And more importantly, people should be listening, caring and willing to make positive changes.

I also read recently, that 2/3 rds of North American 12 year olds have the first stages of heart disease.  Jamie Oliver is on the right path to do for our kids what the parents who “don’t want to know”, should be doing.  It is a real shame we can’t see past our conveniences to see the real costs involved.  So kudos to you Jamie!

Let’s stop being afraid of information.  Let’s learn from it, question it, grow from it.  It is the only way that tomorrow will be better than today.

In our family’s continued efforts to reduce our impact on the globe we have now added a vegan diet to our lifestyle.  Many of you may be familiar with the term vegetarian, well vegan is one step further excluding the consumption of any animal products from one’s diet.  No meat, no dairy, no cheese, but lots of other yummy feel-good foods!

Why would we choose to do this you might ask?  Well for several reasons: improved health and wellbeing; reduced environmental impact; and reduced animal cruelty.  I will explain further:

1. Improved health and wellbeing:

 “The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of the last century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined.”-Neal Barnard, President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

“We are now seeing fatty deposits in the coronary arteries of children as early as age three.  By age 12, two-thirds of children on a typical north american diet have these first stages of coronary heart disease.”-Charles Atwood, M.D., pediatrician and medical author.

Based on the largest study of its kind out of Boston University that followed the health of 5,000 meat eaters and 6,000 vegetarian and vegans over a period of 20 years showed on average vegetarians lived 7 years longer than that of meat eaters, and vegans lived on average 15 years longer.

All interesting and alarming “headlines” that certainly got our attention.  But what is it like to not eat a meal containing animal products for over a month and a half.  That right, we have not eaten meat, milk, cheese or other animal products in over a month.  Well I find I have more energy than ever, my previous digestion issues (IBS) have corrected themselves, and our meals have been more interesting than ever!  Tracy has found some amazing recipes full of healthy, fresh, and nutritious ingredients. In fact we haven’t yet repeated the same meal twice.  Way to go Tracy!

Our diet includes things like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and rice milk.  I like them all, but rice milk has seemed to taste the closest to skimmed cow milk.  We also eat many different beans, soy cheese, fresh organic fruit and vegetables.  Earth’s General Store, Planet Organic, Save-on-Foods, and the Farmer’s Market have all the goods.  A little more expensive-yes, but we look at it as paying for a preventative measure against cancer, heart disease, and other serious ailments.

2. Reduced Environmental Impact:

One cow grazing on one acre of grass will produce 58 pounds of meat, which is enough to sustain a person for two-and-a-half months.  If the same grass were replaced with soybeans, the beans would contain enough protein to sustain the same person for seven years!”-Good Medicine, Autumn, 1996.

“You can save more water by not eating 1 pound of beef than not showering for 9 months.”-John Robbins, The Food Revolution.

Having considered the last two quotes, the American food  industry brings to slaughter over 10 billion animals each year. Industrial livestock operations (ILO’s) contribute in huge ways to soil erosion, ground water pollution, antibiotic resistance in humans, hormone disruption in humans, greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and the list goes on… more on that later.

You should also know that the average North American eat sapproximately 95 animals each year.  I found this hard to believe, but have come across this statistic in several sources.

3. Reduced Animal Cruelty:

Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings we are still savage.”-Thomas Edison, Inventor.

This third reason supporting veganism is pretty self-explanatory, but to add, research has shown that pigs have a higher intellectual and emotional intelligence than that of dogs.  We wouldn’t think of eating Fido now would we?

These are just a few points that we have come across as we begin to explore a new lifestyle, a new diet, and further reduced impact that actually leads to immediate improved health.

Some famous vegan/vegetarians (for interest sake):

  • Plato
  • Leonardi da Vinci
  • Sir Isaac Newton
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Mahatma Ghandi
  • Vincent Van Gough
  • Albert Einstein
  • Henry Ford

One final thought: 

“All truth passes through 3 stages:

First, it is ridiculed.

Second, it is violently opposed.

Third, it is accepted as being self evident.”-Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher

 Keith

Wow, I can’t believe it has been so long since our last post!  Now don’t worry, we haven’t fallen off the green wagon.  3 months ago we moved into our new house and have been focused on getting settled and into new routines.  We are really excited to share some new ways we are going even more green, getting healthier and smarter about our families decisions.  Watch for our new posts coming over the next couple of weeks and thanks for everybody’s continued support of the Reduced Impact Family!

Tracy

Time spent in front of the T.V. or computer surfing blogs such as this one uses electricity, doesn’t it.  Sitting quietly in a dark cold room uses less energy, but isn’t as much fun and you certainly don’t learn all the great things that we enjoy learning and practicing.  Like Annie Leonard’s great commentaries (post below) or learning about Edmonton’s world leading waste management system.  Well I am proud to say that we have now taken steps to “offset” the energy used in creating and maintaining this blog site.

Here is an interesting stat according to blog site “Carbon Neutral Blogs”:

“Every blog that attracts 15,000 hits per month generates on average around 3.5kg of carbon every year – this figure is worked out according to a study conducted by Alexander Wissner-Gross, PhD, physicist at Harvard University and environmental activist, who has worked out that an average website causes about 0.02g of carbon dioxide for each visit – so a blog attracting 15,000 visits per month contributes around 3.5kgs of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per year. His study took into account the power consumed by computer usage, electricity hours and server cooler systems. Although 3.5kg’s a year doesn’t sound like a lot, when you consider that last February The Sunday Times reported that there was around 200m blogs in the world, it means that with an average readership of 15,000 hits per month blogs alone contribute around 700,000 tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere every year.”

I found this incredibly interesting and thought that you might too.  In exchange for linking to their blog posts from our site, this organization will plant a tree in an effort to “offset” the carbon emmisions related to the energy used in maintaining and surfing to our Reduced Impact Family blog.

Thanks guys!

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