Wasting water

bucketMy province is experiencing an unprecedented drought this summer. Living in a rainforest, we’ve always taken our water for granted, but now we’re  being asked to find creative ways to reduce our water consumption. Our gardens have withered because of the watering restrictions, our cars remain dirty , but what else can we do?

I discovered one more way to conserve water in my home – collecting the cold shower water.

My shower has to run for a ridiculously long time before the water gets warm enough for me to step in. With our water restrictions in mind, I decided to collect that cold water. I was shocked that it filled an entire pail which I  now use to water my remaining flowers but it makes me squirm to think of how much perfectly clean water I’ve allowed to run down the drain over the years that I’ve lived in this house.

We may groan about having to conserve water this summer, but after seeing first hand the distance people in India and Africa have to walk just to collect water and then carry it home, I am just grateful that water still flows from my taps, and I vow to be more mindful of how I use it.carrying watercarrying water 2

http://inweh.unu.edu/archive/WaterForLife.html (photo credits)

How I’m Honouring Canada Day


I won’t be viewing fireworks or waving flags, but I did celebrate Canada Day by making a donation to the David Suzuki Foundation as a tribute to their passion in protecting the Canadian environment.

As well I will:

  • shop locally
  • read a book by a Canadian author
  • hike a local trail
  • and try (this is the hard one for me) to take a greater interest in Canadian politics to determine which party makes environmental concerns a priority.

This week I had the great fortune to explore two new (to me) local trails. On these hikes I saw a deer with her fawn, 2 beaver, a bear, a woodpecker, free range chicken (!), a bald eagle, a brood of baby ducks and numerous other birds. With each of these encounters I knew I was experiencing a ‘Canadian moment’, and marvelled at how all this wildlife can live in such close proximity to the city and still flourish.

The following quote comes from the David Suzuki Foundation, and reflects on personal values and how they can shape the kind of world we live in. I hope you’ll join me in being conscious of where we ‘direct our light.’

“The good news is that values that support a healthy society and sustainable planet — self-respect, concern for others, connection with nature, equality — also make us happiest in the long term. Each one of us is a value prism, subtly bending the light in a particular direction. As Canadians, let’s be conscious of where we direct our light.”

(Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Public Engagement Specialist Aryne Sheppard)

Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday 2Okay, today is Wednesday, but I just read in the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) Newsletter that, “If all Canadians went meatless on Mondays, more than 100 million animals would be spared from a miserable life and death in our country’s factory farms.”

Whoa. That’s a lot of animals. I’m guessing this means over a person’s lifetime… but still. That’s just one day a week. What if we had Meatless Monday and Wednesday and Friday? Or everyday?

Pass it On

Thinking Like a Teenager

Gotcha! wpMy books are written for a teenage audience, so when teenagers review them I really pay attention to what they have to say. Did I get the ‘voice’ right? The following quote is from a recent teen review of my novel Gotcha! Phew! It seems I nailed it. I suspect that it was because I was living with three teens while I wrote the book that I was able to think like a teen, and not someone “decades older”, which, of course. I am. Now that my own teens are young adults, I may have to adopt a teen in order to stay current!

“I found the characters in the novel to be quite believable. In the past, I’ve read books aimed towards teenagers, where the characters personalities and actions were inconceivable. In those cases, it was obvious that the authors had not been teenagers for many, many decades. They are written such that it makes it seem as if the author is an outsider looking in. On the other hand, Shelley Hrdlitschka writes with such brilliant pose it’s as if she’s a teenager herself. She understands the highschool dynamic very well. She knows that friendships don’t last forever and that people whom you once had an alliance with, can turn their back on you in a heartbeat, both scenarios reflected in this novel.” Read the entire review here:  http://wajihas.wix.com/chasingdreams#!Gotcha-Thorough-Novel-Review/cmbz/556a56260cf298b2d3f31483