Tag Archives: composting toilet

A New Journey Begins

A New Journey Begins

Picture us…lost on the barren wasteland through a cold wet December on a yet to be established living roof, situated somewhere between the solar hot water evacuated tubes and the bank of 16 solar PV panels on our roof.  Ann and I were about to set camp… for a month.  Yup, that’s right, we were going to OCCUPY our roof top equipped with our tent, our home grown food, and our composting toilet bucket from December 1 all the way through Consumptionmas (Xmas) till New Years day.

At the dinner table Emily cringes her eyebrows, cocks her head to one side and asks “Your going to do what?”  Parker shaking his head with a look of great concern resembling a parent upon hearing of their child’s wish to climb Everest… naked…asks “Why?”

Why?  Complete helplessness!  Pissed off!  Sad!  Angry!  Frustrated beyond words trying to make a difference the conventional way via slow incremental change (committee).  Passionately wanting to make a statement, (not that living in a mud house and shitting in a bucket doesn’t), but in respect to the movement to occupy for the change from a corrupt political and economic system, to occupy ‘reality’… not the illusions and distractions that entertain our culture, to occupy truth and fact and to dismantle the false arguments that sustainability is too hard – too expensive – too inconvenient.

The Scar next door (it is now 3 times bigger)

We wished to spend our month to speak truth to the failings of a growth based economy, corporate capitalism, greed, self-gratification, ecological destruction, political dysfunction, regulatory failure… all of which we can see from our roof.  We wouldn’t have to go far with our solar powered video camera to blog on it.  Just peak over the edge of our roof to see the thousands of trees gone on Goodwin Farms, and see what 10 months of dumptruck loads of fill look like (one day there was 120 dumptrucks, but even being conservative at 50/day for 8 months equates to 9600 loads of fill), entombing millions of life forms from bees, birds, fungi, ants, frogs, plants…  and the wetlands which is the local ground water recharge and spring mating ground for countless species; and this all being allowed under the watch and the rules and regulations of our municipality and province.  No Laws were being broken.  Well, the laws are wrong.  This is after all what land ownership means in our culture.

Nature has no rights…it is simply a thing enslaved to those with rights.  Here is a link to a Bioneers program talking about how 12 municipalities in the US have granted rights to nature.  http://www.bioneers.org/radio/series-archives/2010-series/earth-justice

Most of us could point to countless violations of nature which demonstrate the crazy extraction of anything, at any price for the benefit of a few, with the real cost yet to be paid.  Place these actions alongside the efforts for our community whose has produced a remarkable ICSP (Integrated Community Sustainability Plan) that is entirely aspirational… a great plan sitting on a shelf.  Here’s the link. http://www.highlands.bc.ca/sustainability/

Just imagining what Fox news north or the CBC would report on.  “Couple who recently completed building mud house, and whom compost their own BLEEP decide to move to their roof in December.”  The reality is that most of the country would just see the entertainment value of the two eco-freaks, unaware of the reason.  No impact, no information exchange… just two damp cold people more miserable than before, self abusing themselves for the entertainment of the sheeple (sheep people).

What are two conservation minded science nerds, with passions for local food, nature, solar technolgies,  policy, and green building supposed to do?  Well the first step is to not OCCUPY the roof, but rather OCCUPY ourselves.  You might argue that being occupied with a task, a project, will stop the ghosts from haunting you, and Chris Hedges would argue that it is merely more distraction supporting ones illusion… or delusion.  But what if you occupied yourself stirring the pot of Sustainability Soup.  What if you dreamt up a project that in its very concept would fit every aspect of the desires of the Municipal OCP and Sustainability reports, but broke all the “current” rules?  Now things are getting interesting.

Lower Garden Site (permaculture gardens and small Living Building Dwelling)

Imagine for a moment if two people decided to build an affordable dwelling on impacted land, where resources were shared between buildings and ecosystems, where the building needed no combustion for cooking or heating.  Where the house produced ALL of its own energy and water, with no waste, and that attached to the house was the creation of food gardens 10 times the floor area of the dwelling (also on damaged land).  What if this home like its parent (the Eco-Sense Home) had zero carbon footprint, and actually contributed to the community by providing local food, and the occupants could rely less on a car.  What if this building met all 7 petals of the Living Building Challenge, and the very creation of this building led to municipal policy changes to allow such.  Our home is about the reproduce!

Lets face it… a project such as this would make great media.  So pro-active, a model of extreme affordable modern sustainability, a model of all the concepts cities and towns are trying to implement, situated right here beside an ecological disaster.  See map.  Even better would be the stories if the project was stalled and thwarted by a political system that although supports it on paper, disallows it as it is not legal.

Ann and I have decided to push and drive policy by ‘doing’, in an attempt to create the most appropriate example of sustainable community land use planning in the CRD, with the limited funds, skills and knowledge we have at our disposal.  Surely enough if we can do it, then anyone with more means shouldn’t be scared of it.

The new policy we have written by the way… is derived from our idea of the Net Zero Zone, and rather than create a new zone, we have written a policy for an attachment to the property called the NZAD (Net Zero Additional dwelling).  The details of the policy are presented in this PDF. 20120103 NZAD letter

Humans are purveyors of myths to attach meaning to what at times seems meaningless.   We are entering a critical time symbolized and enshrined by the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines attaching the dirtiest of oils to the veins of the culture, pumping heroin into the addicted as our entire cultural myth is unraveled.  The criminal gang pushing this symbolizes all things wrong with our current cultural story.  It shines light on a political system that no longer functions as democracy but as a vehicle for corporations to achieve their desires to extract monies from all those whom have come to believe that money in its very existence is real rather than just a monetary concept that was designed as a tool of trade.  It exposes the huge dichotomy of power, politics and greed from ecology and natural systems, from which natural resources are ripped away.  The pipelines are the divining rod where first nations, climate scientists, fisheries, naturalists, natural capital economists, youth groups and small towns have a platform on which to unite and actually put their lives on the line against big environmentally irresponsible monsters.   This pipeline, the oil tankers on our coast, oil sands, climate change issue makes our blood boil….

The unraveling of our present myth, is lending to the beginnings of weaving new stories and new creation mythologies to provide new meaning to something that is now being exposed as having no meaning.  Excellent talk by Michael Mead here (Bioneers) http://www.bioneers.org/radio/series-archives/2010-series/why-the-world-doesn2019t-end

A few more links:
Chris Hedgeshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zotYU21qcU

A great talk with Werner Simbeck about the radiation from Fukushema meltdown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_iLsJhzZ7g

Charles Eisenstein (article and short video) on Sacred Economics. http://www.ianmack.com/charles-eisenstein-author-of-sacred-economics-coming-to-vancouver/

if we can't figure out how to live on this planet, nature will send us back to evolve some more

So there you have it.  Welcome to 2012.  It’s going to be very interesting watching much of our civilzation unravel and a new reality emerge.  We all play a role in what that new reality will look like.  Time to get busy…VERY busy.

We will be blogging regularly with our Progress on the NZAD.  Time line so far:

  • Dec 3rd, 2011 corresponded with Jason McLennon from the Living Building Challenge.  Jason is very excited and supportive.
  • The process began on Jan 3rd, 2012 when we officially sent our policy request (see link) into the district of Highlands.  We hope to be on the next council agenda.
  • Jan 6th, we met with Highlands building official.
  • Jan 8th we started resurrecting the old pond (for irrigation water and Net Zero water).
  • Jan 11th started preparing the lower garden site – extensive permacutlure gardens (we have rented a small bobcat)

We’ll keep you posted.

Quick notes:

  • We will be presenting on solar energy on Feb 22nd at 7pm at the Calib Pike Heritage site in the Highlands.  Judith Cullington (from Colwood) is also presenting.  All welcome.
  • Newest Island Gals is out.  Ann’s writes on climate change, how bad it is, and what we can do about it.  see www.islandgals.ca to learn where you can pick up a complimentary copy.

Ann and Gord

Affordable, Sustainable Homes: Eco-Sense and the Future of Green Building

Here is link to the Cascadia report on Eco-Sense.  One year Research Project funded by a grant from Vancity and the Real Estate Foundation.  Gord and Ann have over 425 hours into this…250 of which was volunteer…we missed our summer.

Affordable, Sustainable Homes: Eco-Sense and the Future of Green Building  (Written for the public.)

Also a link to the Technical Report  which served as the basis for the Cascadia report.  Written by Gord Baird, Christina Goodvin of Goodvin Desgins, and Ann Baird.  Lots of graphs, tables, and building science analysis for the earthen walls in four seasons (temperature, humidity, dew point),  full technical analysis of sustainable energy systems (solar PV, Solar Thermal, wood gassification), full policy report, full water analysis (grey water, rain water harvesting, composting toilets, water balance tables, and more).

See research page on blog  for all the individual reports (water, solar PV, building code, wall performance, and energy comparison reports)

January 2011 Eco-Sense Update

We’ve been saving up our words and this month we have two updates…the first is a very newsy update with short snippets and photos of what is going on here at Eco-Sense.  The second update is probably our longest and most thoughtfully assembled group of words describing what Wisdom means to us…this is a compilation of our deeper thinking on the world and how humans are fitting in.  We use our thoughts on Wisdom to explore what Less Life Stuff, More Life Style is really about and how we personally are getting there.

So here goes with the newsy bits…

Simplifying: In order to keep on track with living what we call a reasonable life with Less life Stuff, More life Style, we have both decided to pull back a bit on our outside commitments.  We have so much passion and energy that we get ahead of ourselves sometimes and get way too busy…hence burn out.  The first sign was that a couple months back our car insurance expired…and we didn’t notice for well over a month.  Oops!  The second sign was a trip to ECO-therapy to help us keep our lives on track.

Our paddle Honeymoon May 2005

The good news is that we are still very much in LOVE, and have excellent communication skills…we just need to make sure we get our downtime to recharge our batteries.  Gord has said that our life has kind of been like that of a drug addict where every time something great happens in our world we are excited and up…and then we crash…until the next fix.  So, Gord and I are learning to say No, and to tune out just a bit from the constant bombardment of negative news…you know, floods, fires, droughts, famine, collapsing eco-systems, greed, apathy, ignorance, dying oceans, melting glaciers…you know all that minor stuff the mainstream culture seems to be ignoring.  So here’s to a new year focusing on our success, spending time together, enjoying nature, and living our simple and rewarding life.

Greenhouse: As part of our own projects we are building an earth sheltered GreenHouse.  This will enable even more of our own food production.  It will even be tall enough for a lemon tree and have space to grow some tea plants.  Gord is really enjoying the project.  It is sure to be very beautiful and functional with the built in cob seating and cob oven on the North wall facing our house.  We will post photos as it evolves.

Wall Temp during sunny sub zero weather


House performance: In one word WOW…and we have the data to prove it.  All those sensors in the cob walls are telling a story.  This is a story about how R-value (insulation) and Thermal mass (heat storage capacity) are related and how they work together under different conditions.  Check out these graphs.  Our mass walls are also coming in at R24.

Policy: As many of you know we have become quite the policy nerds.  Last year we wrote a full report on the  barriers/policy ideas for our experiences building out home.  This full report can be found here.  As part of the research on our home funded by Vancity and the Real Estate Foundation, Cascadia is in the process of writing a full case study on the home including the barriers.  All the research, tours, publicity, and recent Living Building Challenge Petal award has resulted in yet another high level policy tour here at Eco-Sense organized by our MLA John Horgan.  John arranged to have the new provincial Minister of State for Building Code Renewal, Naomi Yamamoto and her Assistant Raechelle Williams tour our home to learn about our experiences building the “World’s Greenest Modern House”.  See this link to read our thoughts after this meeting.

John Horgan (MLA), Gord, Ann, Minister Yamamoto

This was not the only higher level Government attention that we received in the week before Christmas.  See this link for a very nice letter we received from MLA John Yap, Minister of State for Climate Action.

John Horgan:  John has been very supportive of our work here at Eco-Sense over the years right from his first tour in 2008 before our home was finished.  This tour inspired him so much that he actually got up in the legislative Assemble to discuss our home.  Here is the Hansard minutes from April 10, 2008 with his speech. http://www.islandnet.com/~anngord/downloads/legislative-report-april10-08.pdf

This visit was the first of many over the following years.  We always found John very knowledgeable, practical, approachable, and highly principled.  John recently attended our big party to celebrate the announcement of our Living Building Challenge award, and has really gone to bat for us with bringing awareness to some of the barriers we have faced with building and living sustainably especially when it comes to energy policy.  John gets it and has an excellent grasp on current reality and the challenges faced and the steps required to move forward in this rapidly changing world.

Our Two Eco-Cents…we support John Horgan for leader of the NDP and for the next premier of the province.  We are generally non-partisan and vote for people not parties.  If you are so inclined to join the NDP to vote for John Horgan as the parties new leader, you must be 12 or older, and pay $10.  You’ve only got one week…to join!  Talk about making your vote count.   We sincerely hope that John Horgan can shape the politics of this province so that EVERYONE (Green, NDP, and liberal views) can work together to focus on the issues and not the politics.

BCSEA Webinar: Also in Dec…the same week everything else seemed to happen around here, we put on a webinar organized by the BCSEA to do a virtual tour of our home to 200 registered participants across BC.  It was a lot of fun as we breezed through over 100 photos of our life and our home telling our story, bantering back and forth, discussing policy, showing energy graphs, etc.  We then took questions for about 20 minutes.  This link on the www.BCSEA.org site allows you to download the slides for the presentation with audio coming sometime in the future.

HSTF, WCS, SSAC, ICSP. Ok, the acronyms are starting to be completely unsustainable in my mind.  Ann served a one year term (2009) on the Highlands Sustainability Task Force  (HSTF).  This full report containing all 42 recommendations is on the Highlands website at http://www.highlands.bc.ca/planning/documents/SustainabilityTaskForce_FinalReport.pdf.  The District of Highlands has brought the Whistler Centre for Sustainability (WCS) on board to help with implementation of these recommendations.  So another committee, the Strategic Sustainability Advisory Committee (SSAC) has been formed to guide the WCS in creating the  Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP).  Sounds complicated, but it really is a fascinated process as we navigate through the recommendations and create the tools to actually implement the recommendations within a municipal context.  By mid 2011 it is hoped that the OCP will be updated and the Highlands municipality will have a long term community plan to move our community forward.  For me it is very exciting to think that our Eco-Sense ideas of Flush Toilet Ready, Net Zero Zones, carbon offset payment for new construction, energy and water conservation/incentive programs, and no net increase policies for energy and water could be policy or even written into the OCP…and these are only 4 of the 42 recommendations being implemented.

Mary Lake: The Highlands is definitely leading the way with many aspects of sustainability…including that fact that over 39% of our land base is park.  And for those who have not heard the news, a group of passionate volunteers from our small community are working their butts off to create another park, 107 acres around Mary Lake.  www.saveMaryLake.com

Mary Lake

This land consists of mature low lying Douglas Fir ecosystem, with wetlands, two creeks, and a lake.  The Save Mary Lake volunteer group launched a social media campaign headed up by Bob McMinn (86) who has been absolutely relentless in keeping our dreams alive.

Bob, our inspirational leader

This land is an essential nature corridor that connects Thetis Lake park to the Gowlland Range.  Please check out this video of Bob to fully experience the importance of this land for everyone.   http://www.savemarylake.com/contest/

Bob hiking Gowlland Range at 86 years old

Imagine being able to hike right from Victoria to the Gowlland range…ocean to ocean on beautiful trails.  Mary Lake is the missing link.  You can help for just $10 on the interactive map and pick your own personal square meter to save and dedicate.

Spell the word FROG in a wetland with your square meters

Save square meters to spell the word LOVE

The campaign is very unique and fun…Our family is creating a family tree where we have all saved square meters on one old growth tree…right near a very old log cabin that it is rumoured that Emily Carr stayed.  The campaign to save Mary Lake has just got a lot more interesting too…with the launch of a contest called “The Power of Many” to win up to $10K by creating your own utube video to convince people in your life to help save this amazing land.  All donations will also receive a tax receipt from the registered charity with my signature as I am the treasurer doing my little part behind the scenes.  I would personally like to thank the others on the front lines (the BRAINS) of this project; Bob, Greg, Neville, Pattie, Rod, Koi Neah, Dustin, Libby, Eric, Ellie, Rob, and many others….especially the visionary group on the Highlands Stewardship Foundation board who pulled out the Scotch after our last meeting.  I don’t think Gord wrote that into the minutes.   Here is an awesome link to some photos and slide show (of the lake…not us drinking Scotch)…enjoy!

So, there you have it..a VERY quick update to see what’s happening in Eco-Sense land.

Hugs from Ann and Gord

November 2010 Eco-Sense Update

Just Telling StoriesIt was six years ago when Gord set his eyes on a fiery little red head wearing gumboots, a yellow floater suite and driving a boat named ‘Brutus’; she drank scotch…straight, could catch and clean a crab, use a chain saw, and lived off grid with a humanure bucket in her very classy bathroom.

Ann's Car - 'Brutus'

Ann's Wise Island bathroom with 'Humanure toilet'

Within three months they were engaged, and in six months married.  Gord brought two little kids into their family, and not to be outdone, Ann brought her parents.  Another short six months passed, and together this new multigenerational blended family purchased the Eco-Sense land and sold everything to move into two trailers to make this piece of land in the Highlands their home…forever.   It was five years ago that this passionate couple embarked on a journey to create a life that would transition two somewhat sane normal people into living in a mud house and pooping in a bucket and teaching others about how to live sustainably.

Beginning our new Journey...only 5 years ago

This past month (October 2010), our story culminated in being presented an international award where the Eco-Sense home achieved ‘Petal Recognition’ in the Living Building Challenge.  (See next weeks post for full details of the LBC certification)

Just married

The Living Building Challenge is the greenest building rating system on earth, surpassing LEED, Architecture 2030, and Passivehaus standards.  Until the next home is assessed we oddly have the label as “The World’s Greenest Modern house”.  As you can imagine it got a bit busy around here with all the media.  See this link for many of the recent articles.  https://ecosenseliving.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/media-list/

Living Building Challenge Award

BUT… lets put this into perspective.  There are millions more sustainable houses that exist… virtually all indigenous peoples around the planet…   Our family’s story is just a part of a bigger new story that is unfolding as our culture moves towards a more sustainable and just future.

Stories told in the present connect our past to our future

Stories have been at the core of humanity right from the early hominids.  This is how social evolution occurs.  Think back to how our early ancestors told their stories… how First Nations told their stories; then try to think how we tell our current story, of our culture, of our social rights of passage, of our status, of the place we inhabit.  Stories appeal to our common values from our ancestral humanity and NOT to our modern day inhumane culture of over consumption and distraction from our sense of place. Our current consumer culture is probably the only one that has ever excluded the past and the future.  We have become a me-now culture.

Three generation family of six - our new home and life

In today’s realm we are not painting pictures on cave walls, or performing the same dances with song and symbolism… we are not passing culture, values and stories on from one generation to the next;  we are so much more efficient and sterile at getting the distorted message across!  So much more modern!  Hell we have TV, billboards, Youtube, video games, advertisements, corporate lobbyist, and of course email updates from crazy people living in MUD houses.

Family dance party in the house

Special 2nd anniversary treat from the kids

Our Eco-Sense real life story is easily lost in the bombardment of the masses with the fictional news we call reality.  We think happiness comes from a new iphone and that meaningful existence on earth can only come from monetary growth.  Our culture believes money is real wealth; that GDP is more important than millions of years of evolution; and that the earth’s resources only have value in terms of their use to us this second. To hell with our evolutionary past or our descendants of the future…we want, so we take;  This is our right, ‘cause we earned it.  What a crock of SHIT!  Obviously there is no use looking at the facts… else we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in… excuse us as we should clarify that our kids wouldn’t be in the position we put them in.

Solar Kids

Chickens, dogs, kids, trailer and Gord

OK, so your saying “I know where you’re going”.  Really?  How did you come to wear the clothes you do, buy the food you do, throw away the stuff you do, and program your kids for this dysfunctional culture.  What… you grow your own food… why?  Hope you don’t buy local meat because hey that’s dangerous (according to our cultural rules that protect us from the improbable risks while exposing us to the probable risks), and how dare you think of drinking raw milk! ( All those poor babies being malnourished by unpasteurized breast milk… we really need to be milking all moms, healthy and unhealthy, combining all their milk and pasteurizing it because raw milk is dangerous you know).

Obviously most stories come through the media…mostly because we hardly ever bump into each other any more (we’re all in cars or watching TV).  The news has become advertisements selling consumption and fear coupled with celebrated arrogance and ignorance.  You can listen to the radio and hear about bootie; watch TV and envision driving a beautiful car; play a video game like Street Fighter and pretend you can kick the ass of every stranger;  you can even google all the loveless sex out there.  What story do I learn from these messages?  I could do whatever it takes to kick someone’s ass, to get a nice car and get some bootie and have sex in unfulfilling ways and feel that I have reached the penultimate of humanity… twice as much would demonstrate ultimate.  Ah the story of our culture!  I find this reality demented!  I’ll take the mud house and bucket…

This is our story

What stories should we start to tell?  David Eisenberg, a policy guru from Tucson was in town for a lecture and a visit.  He told us many stories, all linking the reconnection of people to the environment and community.  One story in particular differentiates western reality from many indigenous peoples reality.  Our culture sees trees, land, water, and minerals… as resources to be stripped, mined blasted, drained …

Sharing our story with our community

One friend of David’s explained that the earth is their family, that it is no different then a brother, grandmother or sister.  A hard one for our consumptive culture to wrap our head arounds, but if you viewed the place you existed with such reverence would you clear cut your grandmother, would you stuff radioactive waste in your daughter, would you blow up your son?  A different story… a different reality.  We belong to this earth…not the other way around.

All of our scientific study with earth sciences, life sciences, and social sciences tell us conclusively that the earth actually functions with all life, energy and resources… as one.  But our modern culture has strayed so far from this reality to the point that many among us actually won’t accept well supported scientific evidence.

The story of the Frog and the Basil

Some even condemn the science while gladly accepting the benefits that this same science provides in the form of extremely clever technologies.  Our species is clever, but profoundly lacking in wisdom.

Telling Different Stories

Obviously people are not genetically programed to listen to facts when it goes against their social programing…so the only hope is to start telling LOTS of different stories…because we ARE programed to respond to stories.  People won’t listen to facts about climate, our failing unjust monetary system, species extinction, but they will, oddly enough, listen when they visit our home on tours.  They leave inspired, and desiring what we have…you know a MUD house, a bucket, less money, and a lifestyle that uses 90% less water and energy.  I love that people that I otherwise wouldn’t connect with desire a beautiful healthy home like ours… I want them to crave it…  If tours of our home and lifestyle can leave someone who cares not about climate change, human exploitation, or the pillaging our our planet, craving a lifestyle where you work 1/3 of your time, spend a 1/3 of your time in the garden, and spend the last third doing whatever (like being with friends, doing art, or being active in our community), while at the same time having a lower ecological foot print… then bring it on!

We all LOVE zucchini - baked with butter and garlic

For a look inside the human mind from a biological and cultural perspective check out these lectures by Dr. William Reese.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F9cDA-R4J8&feature=related

showing the kids how separate the Quinoa

A friend from our first workshop back in 2006 told us that if he could teach his kids just one thing it would be  “When you tell the story of your life, tell a good story as the story you tell, becomes your story”.  So there you go…it’s that easy.  Start telling the story about your life as the life you crave with the values you hold…tell it into reality.

The new story of technology

We watched an interview of Barry Lopez by Bill Moyers.  In the interview Barry Lopez told an old story, but one in which is really significant as a new story, (http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04302010/watch3.html).  It is the story of Zeus and Prometheus.  Prometheus came and stole fire, a symbol of technology.  Here is Barry Lopez’s version of Zeus speaking to Prometheus.

“Okay, you stole fire. Great for you. Now your people have technology. Wonderful. But here’s something you don’t know. You lack two things. And if you don’t take these two things that I will give you, this will be a failure. Technology, you know, fire, all your magic, it will fail completely. It will be your undoing. And the two things that you need to make it work are justice and reverence. And if you have these two things, you won’t get in trouble with this third thing that you thought was the be all and the end all.”

Technology can help our kids...or REALLY mess them up


...and frightening

The point of this story… reverence is the ability to have awe and respect for  all things including those that can’t always be known.  Justice combined with reverence will control for the ill effects that technology brings with it.  So Technology will fail without justice and reverence.  Very wise indeed.

Technology can be very messy

The story of Transition. What happens when there is a story that is positive, full of energy, and good news.  Well we only have to look as far as the Chilean Miner rescue.  In our own little world here, it seems this past month that our story is becoming popular once again.  With our enjoyment of our home, our new levels of food self sufficiency, reaching our goal of balancing work/home/volunteering, beginning to understand our role in the wider community, and the final results of the Living Building Challenge.  We have stories  galore that have been written for updates, then left to be forgotten on the solemn hard drive.

But it is important for our stories as well as all the others to be told; these are good ways of living and being, good ways of shifting towards a richer culture, and sharing where and how transition has occurred.  These stories of transition need to permeate and surpass the ass kicking muff nuzzling self indulgent images of our current culture.  Stories filled with justice and reverence that harness our explosive technology will ultimately prevail because down deep we all still crave our genetically programed human values of love, sharing, and community.

A sad political Story

It seems our federal government and their media friendly supporters had been trying to push to idea that climate change and climate science was inaccurate; this has been quietly dropped from the mainstream… except perhaps the national enquirer.  The new story being told in mainstream is how Canada is going to be a “winner” with climate change.  Warmer weather for growing, access to the oil rich arctic… great outcomes from a really shitty reality.  But what is missing in these corporate sponsored stories?  What about the collapse of ocean life; what of the collapse of other countries and cultures; what about the famine, drought, fires, and floods, what of the immense pressures for migration to the only habitable places on earth… and I use the word migration over immigration on purpose.  What of the stories of world unrest while resource wars are fought; and what are the stories of the costs incurred by monsoon patterns, wiping out our food production season after season washing away roads from coast to coast, followed by droughts.  What is the story for the sockeye that have their rivers flooded at the wrong time of year.  What of the story of the Amazon that all but dried up in drought as the great hurricanes pulled the moisture from the Amazon.  What of the story on planning for geo-engineering?  These are all happening…but not in the mainstream news.

Our kids LOVE chard

The mainstream story tellers we rely on don’t have the freedom to tell the whole story, they only tell the piece that fits into a 30 second sound bite, or that can fit between the advertisements on a page written for a grade nine education;  it best not insult the corporate sponsors, or for that matter be muted and diluted from the PMO’s office.

Where to find the stories?

There are places out there where you can get a different fun and inspiring story.  Here are a few:

Peak Moment Television

The Story of Stuff; Story of CosmeticsStory of Electronics

Sir Ken Robinson – Education Paradigm Shift

RSI animate“History of oil”

RSI animate “What motivates us”

We believe that our Western Civilization will be ending its current bad story within this century, in our kids Parker and Emily’s life time.  Changes are underway and we all need to pull together even more to adapt to this changing world.

This painting tells many stories

The future is in our hands

Western Culture is just a story similar to many other cultures before; like the Roman’s, the Mayan’s, the Easter Islander’s… and undoubtedly there will be new authors for the next versions of failed culture.  Our story is Eco-Sense… our family has a story, and the house on the front cover is not glamorous or expensive, but it is beautiful…  its simple… it’s full of good news offering hope and inspiration.

So let’s celebrate all the new stories out there… let the bad ones die out and sit on the history shelf for reference.  What we say and do today is our collective story that will become the past of future generations.

Check out our blog for up to date posts and for the list of recent media on the house.

Update on the Living Building Challenge coming soon.

Gord and Ann Baird

Humanure: Used in food gardening

Check out page 15 of this “BC Organic Grower, Winter 2010.”  Seems that the compost tested at UBC was just fine for use in organic growing but was a bit lacking in N and P.  Our compost would be better as the style of composting collects and retains the N and we also add all the kitchen scraps which includes a few bones (adds P).

Read More  Use of Humanure on the Organic Farm