Environment… Activate! Throwback Fort Mac.

I purchased two things today. One was to protect my brain. The other to protect my home.

The first, I wont say much about; I bought a helmet. I do way too much cycling in a city where drivers shouldn’t actually have drivers liscences to be wearing a helmet with a crack in it from about 1970. Not cool. So I got a new one. It’s pretty. And keeps my noggin in tact.

The other was a membership to the Wilderness committee. This is not in fact what I had set out to do this morning, but they had such good sales tactics, how could I not. Their brains are CLEARLY in tact. An environmental activism group set up in the lobby of MEC in North Vancouver, and they are handing out fresh baked cookies AND they are two hot guys?? Really, I mean how could you not stop and chat at least. So I stopped, he gave me his shpeal, and I walked away with a membership.

On my way home however, I thought a bit about what we had chatted about. I told him I was from Fort McMurray; he asked about it; I gave him some insight on what it’s actually like up there, or at least what it once was like, and dispelled the propaganda he was living by. It was fairly successful. But me being me, and being a bit slow, I kicked myself a bit, because I realized there was more that I should say. SO I’ll write it here instead….

Yes, Fort McMurray is a drug and crime ridden town, and yes there is some shit that goes down there. But where doesn’t shit go down? And doesn’t most of Alberta and Indeed, many other places besides have similar ideas about what oil’s role in the world is? Do you drive a car? Do you buy ANYTHING with plastic packaging. Do you paint your walls? If you live in a city, it’s highly likely that you and your idealistic ideas about oil can just go straight to jail, do not pass go and do not collect 200 dollars. Because you and I are a living lie. I try to be good. I fail a lot. I get plastic bags at the grocery sometimes. I bought a helmet made of PLASTIC AND STYROFOAM today for petes sake. But…one step at a time. My point is this….

its great that groups like the wilderness committee are promoting environmental activism, and its great that they are trying to save the BC parks and wilderness, but where does the water that feed this wilderness come from? It comes from the same place that the oil comes from: The Mackenzie Watershed and the Athabasca River feeding into the muskeg lands of Northern Alberta and making its way into the Canadian Arctic into the ocean, and Voila! into our tap water. Hmm…intriguing. So yes, it is great that we are aware here in BC where it is relatively easy to keep our easy-growing rain-forest lush and beautiful, but what about the fragile north; what about the frozen tundra; what about the delicate wetlands; what about the barren alpine regions; what about the southern Alberta desert? It is more important that ever to keep these way-points clean and working. And the way to do that, as we are seeing is to have people who are aware, and actively care about the environment living in these areas. In my opinion, if they don’t the problem will likely just propagate, the social structure will diminish, the health and wellness of citizens will decline, and the whole caring about the earth thing will just go straight to shit. It’s what has happened in good old fort Mac I am quite sure. When I lived there, there was nice young families, people taking care of the trail systems, and recreating and being healthy. Not so much now, and I believe this is because it got too hard. I am partially to blame; I left. I cared about that area and I left. And other people took my place, who don’t care. I even encouraged my friends to leave as well, who also cared. And people took there places who didn’t. We left because it was too hard. We wanted to be around people who also cared, and go to those places that were easier to care about. But it’s so much more important up there! I am truly worried about it. The Wood Buffalo Region is truly beautiful, and deserves to be treated as such. It deserves people to be using the land for healthy activities who respect it and enjoy the area for all it has to offer. And we cant expect the people working in the oil sands to treat this area well if they don’t care for it. How do we do this?

It starts with caring for yourself. Be active; use the landscape to keep you active. Run up a hill. Reduce morning traffic by riding your bike or carpooling. Care for the food you put in your body. Make sure you know where it is coming from and how you prepare it. Chances are if it is healthier for you, it was healthier for the land it was reaped from.

Care for your home. Keep a nice house and situate it around your friends. Make sure it is easy to get places by foot, bus or bike. Build yourself around your community; dont expect your community to build itsself around you.

If you care for your home, you will probably want your community to be nice as well. You will pay more attention to issues at hand, and be more involved, thus leading a more active, social lifestyle, be more aware of social justice issues, and more concious of your environmental choices.

Travel. You never know how to care for your own area if you dont see how it is affected by everything else in the world. Because it is. And I mean everything.

I think it is so important for a community to be aware, and to be invested in its future. It is for this reason, I encourage you to settle somewhere that maybe there are not like-minded people to yourself. Be a pioneer. Start the change in the community of your choosing. Sure, its lovely living in a place like Vancouver where everyone is all nice and hippy-dippy-trippy. But I challenge you to be a pioneer; start a revolution. Its got to start in the dirty oil mining towns. Skim off that layer of oil and see the beauty in the town!

And buy a helmet. I know they are made out of plastic, but they will save your brain, and we need brains like yours to go out there and make a difference 🙂

And with that, I will leave you with the recipe for my lunch. Its a beautiful sunny day, and I’m craving a drink. Instead I settled with procrasti-blogging and making a delicious drink inspired salad. Bottoms up!

Mojito Salad


Half a cucumber

Half a Nectarine or peach or stone fruit of your choosing

5 leaves fresh mint, minced

2 tsp Hemp hearts

2 tsp shredded unsweetened coconut

zest of half a lime

Juice of half a lime

sprinkle of sliced almonds

Mix er up, down that salad, feel good about yourself, and go be active!




Let The Waves Wash Over You

I figure I should probably say something about the whole flooding situation. Alberta is my home. It always has been and it always will be. It was where I was born and where I grew up and however much I move and however much I claim I am a west coast hippie now, I will always be “Alberta Bound”. Its true. It made me sadder than I thought would happen to see the devastation in Alberta, especially in my hometown of Canmore. It’s one thing to see disasters in nameless places that I have yet to travel to, or places that I have seen in passing, but when it happens to your own home, its a bit of a different story. And I really dont think that I can exactly put into words how it made me feel (I’m not quite the veteran blogger I like to believe I am yet).

But I can say this. It made me realize maybe some more imminently pertinent and personal issues in my life. Some old middle school friends came to visit me this weekend, and while I have kept in touch with them over the years, we have led and continue to lead very separate and very different lives. We have been growing apart for some time now, and even though, I think we will always be friends just because of how long we have known each other, it is now clear to me how much I have actually changed. I have a different lifestyle, different values, and different pastimes. I was trying to grapple with the idea of my town being destroyed and they were busy shopping and worrying about celebrities. This is not what I had in mind for priorities to say the least.

Some things I learned;
-I don’t care in the least what people from high school are doing now. It may sound insensitive, but I mean really; I didn’t exactly form long lasting friendships in that school, and I don’t exactly want to remember my time there.
-If I have to spend more than about 30 seconds putting on “a face” in the morning, I absolutely will not enjoy my day, because it probably means I am doing something mundane and annoying with more annoying people
-I refuse to spend money on food that I can make at home. I mean seriously. WTF. Spend money and don’t get to have fun making it in my own kitchen and don’t get to walk around in my underwear in the process, AND don’t get to tweak it and make it exactly how I want to? Talk about quadruple loss.
-I have changed. Completely. And I have no time in my life to make an effort to cultivate relationships with people I wish to not cultivate relationships with.
-My home is important to me. Not because of my things in my home, but because of the memories that reside in a place. Canmore, Kananaskis and Calgary may not hold any of my worldly goods at the moment, but they do hold the majority of my memories. And when the landscape changes it kind of fucks with those memories. Sounds a little wierd, but I am writing this blog and I will choose what I want to say.
-No matter what, NOBODY, I repeat, NOBODY should or can make you feel like less of a person. No matter what names they choose to call you; no matter what they judge you for; and no matter who they are. You are who you are, you have something in you past they don’t know about, no matter how close they are to you, and every part of your past makes you who you are today, and as such makes you an amazing person.

Ok, enough with the emo kid ramblings. Sorry for that. I will post some recipe goodness soon because that is really all that matters in this world and can make anybody feel better! Some family is coming to visit and will bring some delicious veggies from their amazing farm in the Okanagan. So I will make something with said veggies and share.

Happy Monday!