Changing our World View

I’ve been thinking. Thinking about the Amazon rain forest fires, polar ice cap melting, plastic in our oceans and numerous other contributors that are destroying our environment. Thinking how our advancement in science and technology are now needed to fix the problems our progress created.

I think it is time. Time to change how we view our planet, people and nature.

I have a passion for learning about (and from) the Indigenous people on our planet, especially in Canada, where I live. The more I learn, the more I see that they have a very different world view about land, water, plants and animals.

We need to start listening.

I had the opportunity this summer to hear Elder Adrian Wolfleg of Siksika Nation speak at the Closer Look Tour: Niitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. He spoke about the history, traditions, and values of the Blackfoot people who have lived for thousands of years on the plains of Alberta and Montana.

At one point Elder Adrian Wolfleg explained how tipis were built. Whenever they cut down a tree for the frame, they planted a new tree to replace it. I commented how our world would be very different if we adopted that practice. He agreed and said that for every house we purchase, every piece of furniture we buy or make, we should replace the resources we have used.

Can you imagine? What if our government, businesses and communities thought that way? We purchase a chair or table or house, then we (the manufacturer, suppliers, sellers and us personally) contribute back to the environment by planting the appropriate number of trees, etc.?

I had a similar moment of enlightenment speaking with Dr. Patricia Makokis, Ed.D. from Saddle Lake Cree Nation this past year when I participated in the Walk for Common Ground and Treaty Talks. Dr. Makokis shared they are teaching her grandson that all life is sacred, and all animals, including insects, are his relatives – to be cared for and protected.

Indigenous people in the Amazon are saying the same thing and fighting desperately for their own survival in the rain forests and for our planet as well.

We need to start listening to the Indigenous people of this world. It is time to embrace a similar world view. To see our planet and all life as sacred.

Are you ready?

Blue Zone Basics

The community in which I live is set to become Canada’s first city to adopt the Blue Zone lifestyle and I couldn’t be more excited! The principles behind this movement have been around for a while. I actually wrote about it back in April 2014 in How to Live to 100 and Stay Healthy.

If you haven’t heard about Blue Zone or aren’t sure what it is, here are a few basics:

What are Blue Zones?

  • A term to describe various regions of the world where people live active, healthy and much longer lives (more).

Why is it called Blue Zone?

  • During research, regions with the highest concentration of centenarians were (literally) circled on a map with a blue marker and then referred to as “Blue Zones” (more).

What is a Blue Zone lifestyle?

There are nine healthy lifestyle habits practiced by active, healthy, long-lived people:

  1. Move more by adding moderate, regular physical activities throughout your day (walk everywhere, garden, hike, etc.).

  2. Have a life purpose, something to live for beyond work.

  3. Slow down at times by adding stress-free routines into your daily life (meditate, pray, nap, happy hour).

  4. Eat (a lot) more plants and vegetables and lower protein intake (beans, whole grains and garden vegetables). If you do eat animal protein, keep your portion to the size of a deck of cards.

  5. Eat in moderation by practicing portion control (eat until you’re no longer hungry, rather than until you’re full).

  6. Drink alcohol moderately limiting to one or two glasses a day, preferably with friends and food.

  7. Incorporate a regular spiritual or religious community into your life. The choice of denomination doesn’t matter.

  8. Join a social circle or build a group of friends for companionship and to support each other.

  9. Make loved ones a priority by spending time with your children, spouse and elders. Show them your love.

If you already incorporate Blue Zone habits in your life or this inspires you to make a few simple changes towards a healthier and happier lifestyle, I’d love to hear about it!

Buying Bulk Without Plastic

I’m continuing on my mission to eliminate single use plastic in my life.  One area that has stumped me until fairly recently was buying in bulk.

Bulk Spices from Community Natural Foods

A few months ago I discovered that Community Natural Foods allows people to use their own jars for bulk items. You simply bring the empty jar to customer service or any cashier to have it initially weighed (they write the weight on the lid). You can then go ahead and fill it and check out, where it will be weighed again. Since we buy a lot of our organic spices from this health food store, it works really well for us. They also accept cloth bags for bulk and encourage you to bring your own containers to their cafe. Read more in BYOC – Bring Your Own Container.

I recently noticed an ad for Bulk Barn Foods promoting Plastic Free July, offering 20% off all purchases made with reusable containers or cloth bags between July 11 and 24. They even have a Reusable Container Program where you can learn more. Good for them! I don’t typically go to Bulk Barn but I think I will check them out now.

It’s time that all grocery stores make the switch to offer plastic free alternatives. If you agree, mention this to your local store manager. I know I certainly will.

More Bees Please

For such a small creature, bees truly make a big impact. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food that we eat is only possible because of pollinators like honey bees. It only makes sense that we do everything in our power to keep local bees strong and healthy, so they can keep doing what they do.

Did you know that it takes about two million flowers and 556 honeybees to make one pound of honey?

What bees need most is pollen and nectar. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  1. Plant a variety of wildflowers, perennials and trees ensuring that you have blooms from April to October.
  2. Avoid using any kind of pesticides (they kill insects).
  3. Only use herbicides when plants are not in bloom and so that it doesn’t touch any standing water (bees need clean food and water supplies).

Articles that may spark even more ideas:

  1. Spare the dandelions, save some bees
    Dandelions are an early source of food for bees so leave them on your lawn all summer or at least until other blooms appear.
  2. Feeling lucky? Plant a clover lawn
    Replace grass with bee-friendly plants such as creeping thyme, self-heal and dutch white clover.
  3. Buy local honey
    Supporting beekeepers in your area not only keeps the local economy strong, it provides you with the purest form of honey.

I’d love to hear what you are doing to help our amazing bees.

Wisdom from the Honey Bee

I recently attended a speaking event called “Lessons from the Humble Honey Bee” through an organization called Ladies Out Loud (details below). Guest speaker, Lori DuMont, was informative, entertaining and truly inspiring!

While Lori covered interesting facts about bees and beekeeping, it was the life lessons we can take from them that I want to share with you.

All jobs are important

  • Whatever you are doing, whether you are the queen, worker or drone, your skills and tasks are vital to the community.

The queen bee works for the colony

  • No matter what your position, always work for the benefit of the group.

Look to the future to prepare and thrive

  • Prepare diligently and methodically for harder times.

Success requires a non-partisan, informed democracy

  • Share wisdom and communicate effectively with each other, always with the focus of benefiting the whole.

Your 1/12 of a teaspoon counts!

  • Each individual honey bee provides about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. It doesn’t matter how small your contribution is, it still counts!

As we watch what is happening around the world, it can feel discouraging. Will our efforts make a difference? The humble honey bee says YES!

Every little thing we do helps to make the world a better place. Keep going!

Biographies

Lori DuMont is a teacher, pianist, bibliophile, gardener, and honeybee enthusiast. She lives in Airdrie with her husband and two young children.

Ladies out Loud is for women who are interested in learning, who want to be inspired by other women, and who like to have fun and chat about anything and everything (website).

ABC Bees is a pioneer Canada-wide for beekeeping education and innovation. They are Alberta’s only educator of beginner, intermediate, and advanced beekeeping skills. (website)

Replacing Plastic Produce Bags

I’m continuing my mission to eliminate single use plastic in my life. This week it’s about no longer using those flimsy plastic produce bags that come in rolls at the grocery story.

I realize I could just place produce in my grocery cart “as is” and not bother with any kind of bag. I already do that for fruits and veggies that have skins I don’t use (bananas, onions, etc.) however I just don’t feel comfortable putting my kale and broccoli in a cart (or on the checkout scanner) that may have recently been in contact with raw meat.

I did some research on this as I wanted to make sure that my replacement wasn’t harmful for the environment. A friend sent me an article on why cotton totes were worse than plastic (thanks Helen). I also read through All About Bags, Types of Reusable Bags which gives advantages and disadvantages of bags based on type of material.

ChicoBag Reusable Mesh Produce Bags

In the end, I decided to go with bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and chose the ChicoBag Reusable Mesh Produce Bags from Well.ca where we already shop.

They work great! And it feels good to do something to reduce the number of bottles that end up in the ocean.

Now, if we could only get grocery stores to stop using plastic wrap as well.

No More Plastic Food Wraps

I’m on a mission to eliminate single use plastic in my life. I replaced plastic water bottles with metal ones long ago. That was easily done. But what about the plastic wrap we use to store food in the fridge?

I’ve discovered a number of alternatives that work quite well.

Casserole dishes with plastic lid. While I realize it still has plastic, it’s not a single use item and can be reused over and over again. It is airtight and works well for storing raw meat as well as prepared foods and leftovers. It even works in the freezer.

Casserole dish with glass lid. These are great for food that need to be covered while cooking (and eliminates using tin foil) and also works for storing foods. It is similar to what my grandmother used to do – place food in a bowl and cover it with a plate.

Organic Reusable Food Wraps. I use the Etee Food Wraps which are made with organic cotton fabric, beeswax, coniferous tree resins, soy wax, jojoba and essential oils. They are bio-degradable, reusable and cling to bowls just like plastic wrap. They are not recommended for raw meat but they work great for everything else.

After a recent dinner party, I was grateful that I had all three solutions readily available for an easy cleanup… and no single use plastic!

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