Saturday, May 16, 2009

Climate Change ... Brrrr ...

This is Victoria Day weekend in Canada -- a three day holiday -- and today is the official start of summer here in Vancouver. Kitsilano Pool opens, it's the first day of camping and boating season, and everyone here in Kitsilano pulls their Birkenstocks out of mothballs. In order to actually be a resident of Kitsilano, it's de rigueur to own a pair of Birkenstocks. In fact, they don't let you let you live here if you don't own a pair. And yes, I have a pair of Birkenstocks.

I remember just a few years ago getting sunburnt to a crisp every Victoria Day weekend. When I was growing up on Vancouver Island, (and no, it was not that long ago -- the dinosaurs had long since perished) we had already been swimming outdoors for several weeks before the arrival of Victoria Day weekend. I would rush home from school, jump into my bathing suit, and go swimming with my friends in the swimming hole at Kitsuksis Creek. The banks of the river were lined with blue shale, and we would slide down the shale into the water. The water had warmed up enough by that point that none of us suffered from hypothermia. In just a few short years, the climate has changed significantly enough that folks can't do that anymore. It's c-o-l-d.

Sometimes I wonder what we can do to change the damage that has been done. How can we fix the problem? We have become accustomed to so many things in the past couple of decades -- every family has two cars, mostly out of necessity. Everything we use is wrapped, packaged and sold in plastic. Everything is made with plastic. We use plastic every day, without even thinking about it. It's rare to see natural products anymore because plastic is durable. I was sitting in a food court yesterday, looking around, and I saw that everything was made of plastic -- the tables and chairs, drink containers, knives, forks and spoons, the signage, trays, garbage cans, (even most of the food *heh*) -- plastic everywhere.

Does anyone remember Dustin Hoffman (Ben) in "The Graduate"? He is at a cocktail party, and a businessman by the name of Mr. McGuire takes Ben aside...

“I just want to say one word to you ... just one word." says Mr. McGuire
"Yes, sir."--Ben
"Are you listening?"--Mr.McGuire
"Yes, sir. I am."--Ben
"Plastics."--Mr. McGuire

I am going to try to get back to using natural products as much as possible -- wood, paper (trees are a renewable resource and paper is recyclable), cotton, wool, silk. Thank goodness I am allergic to polyester clothing (polyethylene terephthalate), but I did not realize until just recently that most polyesters are not biodegradable. Perhaps the genie is already out of the bottle, but I certainly hope not.

20 comments:

Canarybird said...

Jo do you remember the 24th of May parades? Then we did still celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday on Victoria Day but it was May 24th and it was always hot in The Valley. And there was a parade and my cousins and I would be issued little Union Jack or Red Ensign flags on wooden sticks and we'd wave them at the members of the Elk's band as they paraded by. White ankle socks with white sandals, straw hats and wonderful memories with the May Day Queen being crowned down in recreation park with maypole dancing where it was also hot! Cheers, Sharon.

Leslie: said...

Gosh, Sharon, I can remember those, too! Here in my little village we have "May Days" complete with parade and amusement park...but it's never on the long weekend. It's next weekend and I'm looking forward to going.

Well, Josie, I'm heading up to the OK later today until Monday evening and am really hoping for nice warm weather there. After all, it IS the desert of BC...

*fingers crossed*

Jo said...

Sharon, oh goodness yes! I was one of the maypole dancers when I was a really little girl. I remember twirling the ribbon around the pole. And I always thought the May Day Queen was so beautiful and grown up, like a real princess. And yes, it was hot! Hot, hot, hot! Today it's only 52 degrees Fahrenheit in The Valley. Brrrrr....

Leslie, oh, you are going to have a wonnnnnnderful time up there. It will be dry and warm. Watch out for the rattlesnakes. *heh*

Kathy's Klothesline said...

It is chilly here, too. As we prepare the pool so that it will be full next weekend. The water will be bonechillingly cold; but all the kids will jump in for as long as they can tolerate the hypothermia.

Ever noticed how polyester clothing makes your sweat smell funky? Maybe it is just me and I am allergic to it also. I prefer cotton and don't mind ironing it for a crisp look.

Russell said...

Plastics ... yes... I remember in It's a Wonderful Life that George Bailey's friend tells him he should get into plastics. Of course George stays at the Bedford Falls Savings and Loan and, well....

I have never been a fan of plastic. I detest plastic bottles or containers. Glass is much more desirable for food or drink.

However, I will admit I like plastic over metal when it comes to outdoor things like lawnmower covers, etc. since plastic does not rust and is lighter.

Now just don't get me started on those plastic bags you get at the grocery stores and big box stores...!!! Heh!

Jo said...

Kathy, oh, goodness yes. Polyester is horrible. I can't even sleep in cotton/poly blend sheets. Even a hint of polyester, and my skin crawls. :-)

Russell, oh, gosh, yes. The thought of drinking out of plastic makes me shudder. The grocery stores here offer fabric sacks, and I have about a dozen of them. They're reusable and they hold much more then the plastic ones. Where does plastic go!?

Starlene said...

Natural things just sort of feel better anyway. Don't they?

This reminded me...how is your local diet going? Did you ever find a any oranges?

Jo said...

Starlene, believe it or not, I have really narrowed a lot of my food down to locally produced -- but not entirely. And now that local summer produce will be here soon, it will be even easier. :-)

Deb said...

never been a fan of polyster, my grandmother received a severe burn on her legs, she spilt a pot of coffee on her lap wearing polyster pants, the Dr.'s said that is why the burn was so severe, it melted the polyster to her legs...

TheChicGeek said...

I wanna live where you live, Jo :D So pretty!

Have a Happy Weekend!

Lover of Life said...

I am doing my best to avoid plastic - but it's next to impossible. Someone suggested having the store remove the item from the plastic packaging to make a point - but that seems hard to do with everything you buy. I have long used cloth bags for grocery shopping and I keep a cool rolled up one in my purse, but other than that plastic is hard to avoid!

A human kind of human said...

I think the second and last photo in your post says it all without words. No prizes for anyone who can guess which one, with all it speaks, is my favourite. Yes, we have come to live in a plastic world and unfortunately many people in our world today has also become plasticised (Is there such a word?) Your previous post confirms this statement. That second photo is absolutely beautiful!

nomore said...

Indeed we are all live in the Plastic World...i agree with u..we should to avoid it from the plastics as possible from now....

mo'ikeha said...

What an interesting entry of yours. Most of the holidays over here, are celebrated with parades, with either military or school kids walking to marches...
Avoid much of plastic toys for the kid and it seems that he enjoys wooden toys also more.
Have a nice weekend.

Jo said...

Deb, oh, goodness yes! How awful for your grandmother!

TheChicGeek, yes, Vancouver is extraordinarily beautiful. :-)

LoverOfLife, yes, unfortunately plastic is hard to avoid. I am typing on a plastic keyboard -- as we speak. :-)

AHumanKindOfHuman, Hmmm... now I have to check back and see which photo you mean. :-) And yes, we have become plasticized.

Nomore, well, I think the genie is out of the bottle, unfortunately. Big business...

Mo'ikeha, yes, I think kids do like wooden toys. Maybe it is an instinct. Plastic is to -- plastic.

Marguerite said...

Hi Jo, I just discovered your fabulous blog via the comment section on my friend, Lover of Life's, blog. Vancouver sounds like a wonderful, beautiful place that I'd love to visit. Great post and pics!

Butler and Bagman said...

Great chairs. And, yes, I remember The Graduate very well...I was in college at the time and Bagman was just coming of age and while I do remember the line about plastics, I also remember that The Graduate infected Bagman with a lifelong fascination with older women. Not that he needed encouragement.

Patty Mooney said...

I was able to relate with this a lot. Only here, in Southern California, it's not that the water is cold. It's that the water is gone. It dissipates with the heat. We frolicked at one of our favorite swimming holes for about a month this year, (late April/ early May). Prior to that, it was too cold too jump in. Now, the water has stopped flowing, the pool has gone dank - and in just a matter of days! If you go to my blog, you can see a video of the place; we call it "White Beaver Dam." And like life, it's fun while it lasts.......
P.S. You could add hemp to your list of sustainable resources. It's even better than trees for paper and all kinds of other products, even some in lieu of petroleum.

Paula Slade said...

Paper or plastic? The old debate. Don't know if you ever saw the commercial where a man is holding up an entire line at the grocery checkout debating to himself when the clerk asks the simple question: Sir, paper or plastic? The commercial was quite funny. For me it's paper.

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