Saturday, May 19, 2012

Earth Day Everyday ~ Week Six

Recycling Electronics and Other Products

For week six of EARTH DAY EVERYDAY we are asked to look at what  electronic  products we rely on and really think about the what happens to these items when they are used up . I mean think about it all things wear down , break down , some need to be replaced . My dh was talking about the subject of fixing things . Our dd vehicle broke down and he helped repair it . 
He was saying how he never was taught how to fix cars or electronics but more it was the type of family he came from . If something breaks you try and repair it . You figure out how things work and just fix it . His grandfather and father were both like this . They just never would think to throw stuff out or get someone else to fix things . 
My dh does all work on all our vehicles , computers , cameras , sewing machine  etc. it has saved us loads of money and fact is we probably never would've had vehicles throughout the yrs. had he not been able to or had the attitude he could fix things . 
He also has noticed the issue of cheap manufactured things . That not only does a washing machine , stove break down , the time period in which items break is ridiculous . once where a stove or washer might last into two families rarely is this the case . okay sometimes items break down and even though they are cheap they can be fixed but the parts are made often so you cannot replace one item but have to repurchase a whole new part rather than just a piece . 
So what do we have in our home that not only is plastic but also electronic ? clock radios , we have both VCR & DVD players , we've old turn table , tuners , cassette player , a television , my laptop , camera, the boys each have some kind of video game box system , stove , fridge , microwave , HE washer & dryer , toaster , waffle iron , iron , cordless telephone , dh has a cell phone his work gave him , ds25 has his own cell phone .
When appliances have broken there are several guys in the area who collect scrap metal so we've given to them so they can collect the cash . 
dh found a place that recycles computers and resells them . but honestly I've wondered , what if a computer cannot be re-used there must be parts that cannot be recycled . 
we have gone without computers and used library and really it is fine . when dh bought me this laptop I sort of cringed at the thought because I really came to like going to library only using computer for short time periods . and reality is more people at home personal use computers we could most of us use library or public computers should be more accessible at schools too . but how about business ? the world is reliant on the electronic system . all the stores, all the offices , all the hospitals . so what is necessary and what is not ? what is the world using in access ? 
I love having our music our old turntable and records , I love tv , the good stuff , yet to what extent do we/I need all this ? 
what about good radio going down the tubes ? is this a result of people using online for news , music etc. ? 
the world seems global but how much is actually turned into self isolation ? 
My dh wants us to be off grid , this does not mean without electricity just not using that of Hydro , but do we want to use electronics at all ? 
I know I want the wood cook stove , I've been wondering about an ice house instead of a fridge too
even though we have a HE washer and dryer I am getting an old wringer washer from my cousins this summer and hanging our wash . if it works well I'll use it throughout winter as well. 
what about cars , in our search for a property over the yrs we've witnessed several interesting uses for old vans . one place used it as a chicken coop and another , get this made a homemade outdoor wood boiler ! it was hilarious but did the job . 
I see out of the city our kids rarely want for electronic items . bikes are used old skills are reborn . 
I read more , I write real letters , we walk , ride bikes , I remember my yoga again .this year I do not even have a phone I have to go out to Mums to call anyone and its just fine with me . 
So I am hopeful , no I don't think we can go totally without electronics but I sure know we can cut back and go without several items . I am really hoping that the old rotary dial telephones work out in the country as in the city we can't use them at all anymore . 

Midwifery , Motherwort & Mothers Day

Thought I'd do a quick catchup 
About one month ago I began an online Midiwfery course with wonderful Teacher , Mentor & Midwife Gloria Lemay 
I'd actually enquired about the course for our dd who is hoping to become a midwife herself .
Yet when Gloria invited me to take part I thought why not ! 
I may only attend the births of my grand children but I think I can be example to other young women especially within our Aboriginal community .
Its been awhile since I've taken part in the whole homebirth / midwifery movement , and it was because of the entrance of medical midwives I took a step back because which I've written about before I just do not agree with nor believe in the legalization and certification of midwives here .
Then I began meeting and realizing there are still beautiful traditional lay midwives here . Yes we have medical knowledge and progress in education but this is a calling first not a career . and that is the biggest thing I see as the negative in the whole legalization process. People are thinking they can become a midwife who are clearly not midwives .
So I am enjoying Gloria's course immensely . It is a connection to old and new people . A reminder of my beautiful journey being homebirthing Mum & granny .
This spring and summer have been a beautiful awakening for me to return to the country and enjoy the simple pleasures .
I realized Mother Earth is my altar . I need not build a shrine or sacred space because the forest the lake , the sky it is all one beautiful altar .
Indigo & I signed up for a wild edible course with Laura Reeves  .  Indigo just thrives in this learning environment and as Mother it just affirms for me we are on the right path .
I grow in spirit when my children do ☺
The area of the province is very different than where we live , it reminded me of the bush around prairie farms and my childhood . 
Laura asked us during the beginning of the class to each go off on our own and sit for 15-20 min and get to know one plant .
I walked off  into a shadey area with little patches of sunlight peeking through .
There was nettle and new thistle popping up but there was one plant I did not know the name . I chose her . I traced a leaf and tried to draw free hand . 
description a lobed fuzzy leaf .
Later when we gathered round to discuss and begin picking , Laura identified the plant I'd chosen as Motherwort ! 
How cool is that , I have used Motherwort for my peri menopause but never grown it . This was a beautiful affirmation that this plant chose me as much as I chose it and again I'm on the right path .
It did not even dawn on me how connected all this great life is .The next day was Mothers day ! 
We were tired from our course but not much time for rest because off we had to go to plant the 700 trees we'd received from the Trees for Tomorrow .
It was a wonderful way to spend Mothers day with Family .
dd came out and I took the boys to the lake while others planted . 
I got to be Mum & granny so it was just perfect .
We are spending most of our days out at my Mums again now , planting gardens on our land and at the cottage . 
Indigo is thriving picking morels and building a smokehouse 
adventure boy is riding bike everyday , his hair is growing and he is wanting to swim in the lake which is still extremely cold lol 
so our family is well on the mend from the past yr of illness . 
Lots of Love til next time 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Earth Day Everyday ~ Week 5

Water Supply and Contamination Concerns

Once again I am weeks behind on this Earthday everyday project . Polly is already on to week 8 and here I am not done week 5 !
The issue of water is so dear to my heart I discovered . I always thought I was not very close to the element of water but in my love for lake Winnipeg I wrote last year .It became evident I am very connected to water . Water in Aboriginal teachings here is connected with women .Women are water keepers as men are fire keepers . 
Of course I believe all have their connections with all the elements in someway. Perhaps two spirited persons are more connected to all. 
People might think living in the center of the country , a prairie province etc. we don't have much water to view here . We have many beautiful rivers and so many beautiful lakes . we've vast areas of swampy marshlands too .
David Suzuki did a show all about Lake Winnipeg on his Nature of Things last yr. 
During the depression yrs my family were able to water gardens & catch fish for food . 
In the cottage my grandmother had built after her house burnt down she had rainwater as the water source .
She had two huge cattle troughs raised up on platforms under the eaves of the cottage . this water supplied water into the dwelling and we used it for washing . 
when I was a child drinking water still was brought up with a pail from the well my grandfather made . 
our water ways have gone from being sources of nourishment to water ways of pollution and destruction . 
Hydro raises lake levels when they need more power . Our province is now looking to build more dams in order to supply and sell to the USA . 
 I've written several times of the flooding of sacred ground and the contamination of fishing waters due to raising lake levels . 
Our rivers are no better off all the run off water goes straight to the river through street sewage drains , run off naturally would normally go through the ground via many layers of soils filters things out then filtering into rivers naturally . Now because of vast amounts of  cemented areas trees do not get enough run off , and the river gets direct flow from sewer drains . 
people do not realize by digging ditches and building roads it often has changed whole areas of water shed systems . these systems act as a filtering system for water . 
I recently read about the Ogala Aquifer  . This is a huge source of water for the central midwest USA . and it is being used to fast and therefore running dry ! 
Farming on huge scale and consumption of water by people over using water is the cause . 
I just don't get how when people have actually felt the effects of water shortage in CA etc. how on earth can they justify building swimming pools , water parks , showering everyday , washing a car every weekend ....  
which brought me to the latest stupidity of our city .
Winnipeg MB is built around an area that was a gathering space for First Nations peoples for thousands of yrs. It is a space where two magnificent rivers flow and meet. People call it The Forks . 
that the city didn't call it by its Aboriginal name just goes to show right off how sacred space is not honoured . 
Instead of the place being a sacred space to acknowledge and respect everyone , trade fairly etc. it is all about making money . The human rights museum almost finished is a farce and most lower -middle class know it is not a human rights museum . It covered up vast amounts of acrhelogical sites and once again is a building that is all about money nothing to do with respecting people . 
Now there is very little green space left and the city came up with a plan to build a water park and hotel on what is now a parking lot . 
again it made me think of the area before any buildings were built there . homeless people lived there in old boxcars , the trees and grass provide really great green space , bike & walking trails , you could actually see the stars at night when we'd lie in the grass at night . 
So a water park , one of the best examples of the abuse of water . 
to make money . The city was actually trying to promote this as a good thing for families ! How is a water park good for our children ? 
It teaches them nothing , it teaches them to exploit the element of water and focus on self satisfying .
In winter months instead of learning to ice fish , snow shoe , skate chop wood , read books they are encouraged to stay indoors and slide down plastic slides in chlorinated water . 
 Our city has a chance to do something , we've a beautiful natural water source right there , we could make a sustainable city farm where families , schools could partake in growing gardens to feed the families and homeless, people could relearn traditional skills , winter months so much could happen , the area is so rich in archaeological finds that should not be covered up with cement . We could have a great teaching center where people could visit from all over  to learn from us . How messed up is our society when we actually view big complexes full of plastic crap as the good for our future generations ? 
With the issue of privatizing water I can see issues like this will keep coming up regarding water . 
So as I pack up for our move once again out to my Mum's place I am well aware of the situations regarding our water consumption etc. last summer we suffered a drought here the renters could not handle not having running water as the well ran dry . We did just fine hauling water , using stored rain water to wash dishes etc. This spring I'm getting a wringer washer from my cousin . we'll hang our wash when we do it . Bath in the lake if need be . 
I'll keep praying for lake Winnipeg but the fact is unless people decide to consume less the lake and rivers will keep suffering dams being built & levels rising . It is really hard to have people change to use less when they are so used to adding more to their lives and consumption .