March 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Along with the buy ban, I’ve been focused on the concept of simplicity lately. The serene, nature-filled days of Tulum brought on a lot of thought and inspiration since returning home around how much more simply I could be living… and how much more space I could be creating in my life for new ideas, new inspiration, new activities… new priorities.
It was hard not to notice the sharp contrast between worlds. Of course things will always be very different on a vacation when compared with every day living. However, there was something about getting power from the sun, water from the rain, getting up with the sun, and getting in tuned with the moon and tidal patterns that felt invigorating and pure. Life in the city means a whole other world of thought, decision-making, and priorities. The constant barrage of noise, cues of what’s important, things to buy, and conflicting things demanding for your attention and time.
Coming back, I want to simplify and maintain some semblance of the connection I felt while I was away to nature, the natural cycles and rhythms of nature, and more space for more inspired thought.
All very conceptual and abstract, so naturally, the first place I started was… my closet.
Why the closet. I see it as a material symbol of how much clutter I have in my life. It’s also something I have to see and make decisions about daily. As a physical, tangible thing, I felt it would be worth attacking as a step towards the larger effort to simplify. Not a shelf, rail, or drawer was left untouched. On average, I purged a third to half of what I had, and the result has been incredibly liberating and eye-opening. I simply haven’t needed all these things – but better yet, someone else may have use for it. So the bag of clothes and other accessories are going to a Mennonite-run clothing drop-off location, whereas I have more space already.
February 27, 2013 § 1 Comment
I’ve been thinking about sustainability a lot lately: this concept of existing in a way that enables people and nature to thrive for a long time in their natural course. Or in an even better scenario, leaving a positive impact on others around, whether it be environment, community, or people.
This concept that was once touted by many as being “hippy” or “airy” is now an ever-growing necessity demanding attention from government, agency, corporate, and people. We simply cannot sustain our current path and methods of consumption and development. Companies are starting to take notice and to pay attention. Consulting practices like the Deloittes, KPMGs, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers of the world that were once focused myopically on financial and stakeholder stewardship are establishing social responsibility disciplines and departments.
More recently, McKinsey posted an article capturing thoughts by philanthropist, Judy Rodin, who speaks to a different way of approaching infrastructure and planning. What Rodin describes and asserts for is a more holistic approach and consideration to development. It’s not saying development won’t or can’t happen, it’s that when it does, there are other means to accomplishing the same thing, if not better. When there is a win-win, why not explore it? It’s a great article worth reading if you haven’t done so yet.
As an aside, my sister and I were in Tulum, Mexico recently. It’s paradise. Not only because of it’s white sand beaches and beautiful year-round weather, but because many of the people living there really care. Many of the boutique hotels available along Tulum beach are sustainability-minded. Solar for power, rain for water, and architecture designed to eliminate the need for air conditioning. Of course, the picture is not perfect – there are those who fly in the face of this, and unfortunately, there are more to come with enormous big box developments happening behind the scenes of this beautiful coastal town. Locals estimate that in another five years, Tulum will look and feel like its neighbour, Playa-del-Carmen up the beach: crowded, over-developed, and a shoreline eroded and ruined by ill-planned piers, infrastructure, and cruise ships. The beaches currently in Playa are man-made to repair the damages done to them, and if you take a walk down the beach in Playa, you can see where the erosion is still happening and will likely need repair in a few years down the road.
Imagine development that does not repeat recent and long-time historical errors that are not only costly to try to amend, but often irreparable. Maybe Judy Rodin is on to something.
May 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Earth Day was on April 22 – as it is every year. I didn’t know it before, but Earth Day has actually been around for a long time. Started initially in 1970, the first Earth Day aimed to raise environmental awareness among Americans. Over the years, it’s grown a great deal, with this year seeing 192 countries participate in Earth Day, involving over a billion people. Canada was one of those proud countries.
Of particular interest to me every year are the promotions that pop up in time for Earth Day. For a day that is dedicated entirely to generating awareness and action towards global sustainability and environmental stewardship, it’s always ironic to see the mass flyers, posters, and ads encouraging consumers to buy more stuff, albeit stuff claimed to be “green”, at a special price on that day. A little (or a lot) counter-intuitive to the mission of the day.
This year, as I walked down the neighbourhood streets of our fair city, one particular one struck me. It struck me so much I actually stopped and took a picture of it. Although well intentioned, it took the Earth Day promotions of the years past to an entirely new level.
The company? Kiehl’s.
The promotion: a limited edition rare earth deep pore cleansing masque.
The concept is… an earthen mask for your face just in time for Earth Day. Perfect! What could be better for Earth Day than actual earth for your face? I may be going out on a limb here, but I don’t think Earth Day had anything to do with soil from the earth, outside of protecting it. That said, what does soften the blow is that all proceeds from the masque go to a not-for-profit organization focused on promoting recycling. The limited edition masques are also sold in limited edition containers produced with their own Limited Edition Art Label series.
That’s better. A little art, a little donation, and a pore cleansing earthen masque for your face.
July 17, 2011 § 2 Comments
I’m a huge fan of electric cars, or rather, the concept of electric cars. I say “concept” because currently without them having taken off in the mass market yet, they’re not fully suitable for the typical driver’s lifestyle, depending on how far you generally need to drive. There aren’t an abundance of charging stations around yet, and without those, who wants the risk of getting stranded? No one.
And then, there’s the look of the electric car. When you think of an electric car, you’re probably like me and visualize the small, cute, round-looking 2-person (or physics-defying 4-person) cars that are not quite buggy, not quite car.
So, to date, an electric car hasn’t been fully suitable from a functional and design aesthetic perspective… so it’s not fully in the consideration set of most car buyers, right?
Enter the Fisker Karma – a luxury (real) four-seater electric car that looks – well, it looks sexy! Now that’s a car. What’s better, it’ll go the distance you need it to without the frequent charge ups.