27 March 2009

Anyone up for bringing down the economy?

The Mountain Equipment Coop catalogue arrived this week. MEC is a member owned Canadian cooperative and they do all the right things for sourcing ethical suppliers, reducing waste and being all round good corporate citizens. But their catalogue is, of course, filled with stuff. I often get excited about something I see in the catalogue. Usually it's some kind of kayaking gear or high tech clothing, but this year it was a sidebar article that really caught my attention.

On page 79, in the outdoor athletic clothing section, is an article about a couple who have pledged not to buy any stuff for a year. They aren't buying clothing, DVDs, running shoes, duct tape, saran wrap or anything other than food and beverages and basic personal hygiene products, and only in recyclable containers. They call it the Clean Bin Project and they have a blog where they're documenting the whole thing.

Their project has a lot of appeal to me as someone who rails on about overconsumption while consuming at a pretty normal rate. I know the enthusiasm for this kind of project would be pretty low at my house, but perhaps there is someone out there who would take on a challenge like this with me? For a month if not a year? The Clean Bin folks state that they're "not unemployed hippies trying to collapse the North American economy..." but that's taking all the fun out of it. I'd like to call my challenge The Collapsing the North American Economy Because the Planet Can't Take It Anymore Project, but I'm open to suggestions.

Does this spark anyone else's imagination? If so, why not leave a comment and we can hash out the details. If not, I think there may be a vacancy in the marketing department over at MEC.

24 March 2009

The inconvenient will take a while

There's been some discussion on CBC the last couple of mornings about a petition being circulated by some high school kids to ask the city of Ottawa to limit the amount of garbage permitted to be placed curbside to one bag of garbage per household per week. This kind of restriction is already in place in many municipalities, but Ottawa still has a weekly garbage free for all. If you put it at the curb and it fits in the truck, it will magically disappear.

I was astonished to hear people's responses to this story. Apparently, people are not ashamed to state their names and declare on public radio that reducing the amount of garbage they excrete is not possible. I would suggest that if you had to pay fifty bucks for every bag of garbage you put out, you'd find it was indeed possible to reduce the amount. You'd be composting, using cloth diapers, recycling, and demanding that retailers and manufacturers reduced the amount of packaging in their products. You might even think about only purchasing things that can be repaired rather than discarded when they inevitably break. Maybe you'd even, heaven forbid, just buy less stuff. My unscientific, but common sense observation is that there is a direct correlation with the stuff going in to the stuff going out. The folks who went on the radio declaring garbage reduction to be impossible actually meant inconvenient. Boo hoo.

So here's what I don't understand. Why is it easier for a politician to argue against a minimum wage increase, or ask people to give their lives in a military action that serves only political interests, or give millions, billions or trillions of tax dollars to corporations with zero accountability to the public than to ask people to pay attention to waste? I blame us for not demanding better. But who knows what unintended consequences would befall society if people paid attention to waste? And this is not a convenient time for me.

19 March 2009

Free depressing book - hurry.

This book is available for free download in pdf format until tomorrow. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I thought I'd pass on the info as it looks likes a worthwhile read. I heard about this from Theresa at Pondering the Myriad Things. Crocuses, the last day of winter, and a free book....I'm having a great day.

First crocus on the last day of winter

It's all good.

11 March 2009

Doggie do-over

What a day we had yesterday. By yesterday morning, we realized that we had made a huge mistake in taking home two puppies. We began to see some ominous signs that it would be very difficult to train and bond with either puppy, and that they were very stressed, particularly Kit. The girls were fighting viciously (as vicious as 8 week old pups can be, but I was worried that someone was going to end up needing stitches in an ear). Kit was showing a disturbing lack of responsiveness to us. She followed Paige everywhere, but barely acknowledged our presence unless alone with us. Kit also demonstrated some territoriality around M which was surprisingly intense for such a little puppy.

A google search soon turned up the almost unanimous opinion that adopting littermates is a very bad idea. Littermate syndrome is a condition where 2 dogs develop an unhealthy dependence on each other but live with such stress that they are unable to properly socialize with people or other dogs. They often fight with each other.

There are two solutions. The second best solution is to feed, house, walk, train and play with each dog separately for the first 12 to 14 months so they develop as complete individuals. This would require an almost impossible commitment in the case of border collies who require a couple of hours a day of vigourous exercise in addition to the usual housebreaking and other puppy issues. The best solution is to rehome one of the pups. The breeder had already told us that if a dog didn't work out, she wanted it to return to her so she could be assured that it would find a good home. So we decided that it would be for the best if one of the dogs went back.

But which one? Several emotional hours ensued while the matter of which puppy to keep and which to return was discussed and dissected from every possible angle. The breeder was consulted, puppies were hugged and played with, and tears shed all around. In the end, it was decided that Paige would stay and Kit would go. So we brought Kit back to the farm. For a couple of reasons we have also decided that Paige should get a new name, and is now called Meg.

Kit has resumed her old life on the farm and has a couple of potential new owners already. Meg is less stressed, we're less overwhelmed, and life with one puppy is suiting the entire family well. We now know that we can raise one great dog, but that we stood a less than even chance of having two good-enough dogs. I wish we had figured this out before taking them both home, but I'm glad we sorted it out before any lasting damage was done.

08 March 2009

The girls are home!

We had glorious weather for Paige and Kit's first day at home. We spent most of the day outdoors with them exploring the yard and playing, playing, playing. They had a very exciting day with many new adventures. They said goodbye to their old home, had a car ride, played with lots of new toys, slept in a crate and met the rats. A great first day.

04 March 2009

Meet the puppies!

L is holding both Paige and Kit, but Paige is the one looking at the camera. Paige is a half sister to the rest of the litter and is 11 days older than the rest. She's been hanging out with the litter for a couple of weeks and she's just one of the gang now. She's a little shy because she wasn't socialized with humans very much in her litter of origin, but she's quickly gaining confidence. She's very pretty with very standard border collie markings: white ruff, collar, paws and a little blaze nose. Paige loves to play with the adult dogs.

M is holding Kit in this picture. Kit is a little female with delicate features and an almost entirely black face. She has a lacy little collar, but is mostly black like her parents. M and I have had our eyes on her since our first visit when she looked like a guinea pig. She's very friendly and mellow (mellow for a border collie).
On Sunday we'll take them home. Meanwhile, we're enjoying the peace and quiet before the puppy extravaganza starts.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...