Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sundays' at the coffeeshop

I am currently sitting in Bridgehead yet again. I LOVE COFFEE SHOPS! They really do rock my socks, especially Bridgehead where everything is fair trade, so I can feel friendly as I drink my chai tea and transport myself to some far off land. 

Aside: Micheal Jackson just came on and this old man just starting bobbing his head to the song, I love it! haha

Well the land isn't that far off, since I do have to complete my course PDEng for school. So I am taking a break and writing a post, since I have been slacking. AND....a week has past! Time travel, yet still in Bridgehead.

This week has been soo beautiful outside, I have been loving it, yet I can't help but also be slightly concerned, the only reason it could be so warm (it was 19 degrees yesterday...this is NOVEMBER in OTTAWA) is global warming. Does anyone else feel overwhelmed these days?! Maybe its just me, but I feel like there is so much to learn and do now, and that there is no time to sit and do nothing. I feel like when ever I go home and just want to sit in front of my computer and watch tv, I really should be learning about the background of Diwali, what other countries are close to Singapore, or how our electricity grid system works. 

One reason I find the environmental issue so hard to tackle is because its not just an environmental issue, its a life issue. There is no simple fix, which we are so addicted to. Us western world kiddos have become addicted to finding the fastest and immediately easiest way to solve any problem: popping pills for any health issue, industrial farming to feed us, virtual friends to cure loneliness. But all these solutions fall apart, we become drug junkies, use land less efficiently, and become antisocial, only able to communicate with our digitally created friends. 

To start to change the way we treat the environment means to start to change our entire lives. We need to assess our food system, our tendency towards constant consumption of material goods, the way we design our buildings and our cities. In the past several years cities have been created with the car in mind, the main life lines to go from one area of the city to another were highways and roads. Residential pockets, often known as the infamous suburbs, were located so far from the actual city where children attended school, adults worked, and food was purchased, that it was near impossible to survive without a car. Our tendency towards spreading out as much as possible and using up space (since yes Canada is full of space!) has caused us to have a huge dependency on the automobile. Instead we need to create dense city cores, bring the housing back to the downtown area, and eliminate that ideal that the north American culture has breded that we should all own our own house.

The way we design our buildings also makes me want to cry. Not all buildings, but many, especially those suburbs, are built so quickly with little thought involved. Anyone could probably order a "Build your own suburbs" kit and put one together. We need to build with a frame mind that this building will be there not for 10 or 15 years, but at least 100 year! And how the initial costs are paid off over this period also need to be considered. Buildings produce 1/3 of the carbon emissions of the world, that's a lot eh!? And a lot of it has to do with our lack of effective planning when buildings are first established. Where will the sun hit the building? What renewable resource could we effectively harness in this area? Is there shading? What vegetation is going to be planted? Could a green roof/walls be installed? What material will best insulate the building to reduce the energy costs? And so on...all important questions to ask!

Then we get in to the food system...however, I think I'm going to stop, you've heard enough of my ranting, but if you want to quickly learn more...especially about the impacts of eating local, check out this list of 10 reasons why,, it gives you a QUICK summary! 

Time to enjoy this raining Saturday morning with  yoga, laundry, baking, reading.

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