Be The Change
Today, I have nothing to say about design or construction or anything like that. As it was National Children's Day yesterday (November 20) I thought I would talk about a very important topic to me- more important to me than sustainable design and recycling. Kids. The future of us all here on earth. The leaders of tomorrow.
I have been a Children's Advocate for Compassion Canada for a few months now, and I wish I was a least a million times more outspoken about children and poverty. It absolutely breaks my heart to read statistics like 4 million children die every year because of starvation. Break that down, and it's almost 11,000 a day. 40 million children are exposed to abuse. 160 million children under 5 are malnourished. That 246 million children are being exploited. (World Health Organization/ International Labour Organization stats)
I always talk about being conscious about how much energy we use or water useage and things like that. I really encourage you to be conscious of the fact that every thing we do makes a difference. There are many ways to make the world a better place, whether it be by doing something "green" or making a difference in a child's life.
Sponsoring a child is not a huge financial committment at $41/ month, and I know it makes a huge difference. I have been sponsoring my child for about 15 years. Her name is Joanie, and she is now 17 years old. She is from Haiti and lives just outside of Port-au-Prince. As you can imagine, it was a difficult few months for me not knowing if she was ok. Thankfully, she survived, but her house was destroyed, and still is in need of re-building, over a year later. My heart goes out to her and her family, and I wish I could do so much more for her, but I do know that sponsoring her has helped her out tremendously. She has been able to attend school, buys goats and clothes with the money she gets through sponsorship, and is able to receive medical help when she needs it through the Compassion Canada.
Below I have 2 children that need sponsorship. If you are interested, please let me know. I get new children to advocate for every couple months, and if these ones get sponsored, I can get the information for other children's sponsorship too. Sponsorship is an amazing thing. If you are not ready for the long term committment, there are other options to help people who are less fortunate. Every Christmas, a gift catalogue comes out. Not the typical Sears catalogue, but a catalogue where you can purchase chickens, pigs, cows, mosquito nets, wells, toilets, dental care, medicine for children and families in need. Check out Gifts of Compassion at http://www.compassion.ca/shop/?linkid=222.
This is Wenska-Silove Jean Louis. She is going to be 4 in January. She is from Haiti, which we all know was hit by the massive earthquake in 2010, just before her second birthday. Thankfully she lives on the outskirts of the earthquake. Her parents are sometimes employed, her father a farmer, and her mother a seller at a market. When employed, the average wage is about $23 a month. That's about a quarter of an average monthly cell phone bill.
This is Wilquin Flores. He is 4 and a half. He is from the Dominican Republic, and there are 7 children in his family. Not the easiest when the majority of adults in his area are unemployed, or if they are lucky to have employment, they make about $105 a month. That's about as much as someone would spend at a coffee shop in a month- $5/ coffee a day= $105/ month.
A huge thank you to those who sponsor children!
FAQ- How much of my donation goes to help my sponsored child?
No less than 80 percent of your donation goes to ministry activities, including all field level expenses, which directly benefit sponsored children. Children and families receive no cash. Benefits are only ever in the form of goods and services, carefully designed, delivered or purchased according to their needs.100 percent of family and child gifts go directly to the child and family, as appropriate gifts purchased by project staff in consultation with the family (nothing is withheld for administration). Independent and internal audits of our work are conducted to ensure donor support is being used efficiently and with integrity. (www.compassion.ca)
Thanks for participating! Just a fun little quiz to get you thinking about the 3 R's!
Tis the season to be jolly. And cold. As much as I'd love to crank up the heat and pretend I am somewhere tropical, with the white "sand" piling up on the driveway, it's not the most eco-friendly thing I could do. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the temperature keeps dropping.
~Insulate your home- Insulation is the biggest way to cut heating costs. You can use natural materials such as recycled newspaper or sheep's wool or you can opt for Icynene spray foam, which is free of VOC's, HCFC's, formeldehyde, etc. Adding insulation onto your pipes prevents freezing in the most severe cases of "house frostbite" and adding a jacket to your hot water tank ensures that your hot water tank will not be jealous when you bust out your parka.
~Draft-proof your home- Add weather stripping and caulking to areas of your house that are areas of great heat loss. Think doors, window, baseboards. If possible, replace window that are drafty and opt for double or triple paned windows with a higher R-value rather than single paned. Thick curtains even help. Sometimes a little can go a long way.
~Use renewable heat sources- Geothermal heating might not be in your budget this year, and a wood or pellet stove might not be the easiest thing, but it is a renewable resource, whereas oil, natural gas, and coal are not sustainable. Not to mention, a fireplace definitely adds to the ambiance of Christmas time! If this is not an option, maybe having thermostats in each room is. There isn't much need for as much heat in the bedrooms throughout the day as there would be having more heat in the living room.
~Manage your airflow- Make sure your ducts are clean and unobstructed. The monsters under your bed might appreciate the heat but if your bed is over the vents, getting out of bed in the winter might be less appealing. If you have a radiator, try adding a shelf over top, and don't block it with curtains, as to prevent the heat from just going up the wall, but instead circulating the heat around the whole room.
~Bring on the layers- My dad always told me, it's better to over-dress than it is to under-dress, just take off a layer as you need. So, add layers, whether it be on your shoulders or on your bed. Add a blanket on the couch. I personally start my winter mornings with long johns, sweats, and snow pants. Highly fashionable. I know.
~Unplug your freezer during winter months- who needs a freezer when it's minus 30 outside? Ok, this may seem weird, but really, why not?
You might think it's pretty tough being green, worrying about our carbon footprints and our emmissions and energy efficiency, but there are many ways to be green and it's easy! The basics we teach is 1. Reduce; 2. Reuse; and 3. Recycle.
Think to yourself- 'Do I really need this?' or 'Is there a similar product with less packaging?' or 'Do I have something like this already that I could use again?'
Reduce your water consumption easily by using your dishwasher (is this not way easier than handwashing??) Dishwashers, even the inefficient ones, use about 65 litres of water, while washing your dishes by hand with running water can use up to 135 litres! Even better, an efficient dishwasher uses as little as 13 litres. That sounds easier than doing it myself for sure. It's not so hard being green after all.
It might be out of style in your mind, but bring your old clothes to the thift store. As the saying goes- one person's junk could another person's treasure! Or if it really is out of style or worn out, some companies have been reusing the worn out clothing to make new clothing. (Think Patagonia, Mountain Equipment Coop, even Nike) And of course, my favorite example, re-useable bags. Why wouldn't you?
You do know you get money back for recycling your beer bottles? Now, while you don't get money back for everything that is recyclable, wouldn't saving the world one piece of paper at a time be worth your while? What is recyclable? More than you might think! Appliances, batteries, metal, oil, paint, plastic, rubber, paper are only some of the recyclable products out there. Did you know that when you buy a TV, you are also paying for the responsible disposal of it, for when down the road when you want a more efficient TV? You could be paying as much as $45/ per TV so that it can be dismantled, recycled and disposed of ethically. Why wouldn't you take advantage of a service you have already paid for? Remember, while not everything is recyclable, things should be disposed of responsibly. For questions on what is recyclable and where to recyle or to dispose of hazardous materials, check out the Recycling Council of British Columbia to make it really easy! http://rcbc.bc.ca/recyclepedia
Hey Kermit, being green is actually pretty easy.
Ants on a Blog
By Jena Keenan