compassion_2We are born compassionate beings. Babies and toddlers often show unprompted moments of kindness, yet somewhere along the way some of us seem to lose this trait. Road rage is one example. Trophy hunting is another.

The case of Cecil the lion lit up the compassion impulse in so many of us despite the fact that Cecil was just one of thousands of animals that are killed in the name of amusement each year. In BC it is the threatened grizzly bear that is trophy hunted. If each one of our grizzly bears had a name and their individual and unique personality traits were well documented as was the case with Cecil, would we fight harder to bring an end to trophy hunting here in BC?

As well, because we are compassionate we would never subject our pets to inhumane conditions but we continue to eat meat from factory farmed animals who suffer horrifically. It’s easy to forget their suffering because it is well hidden from us. (“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.Paul McCartney) Cecil became instantly famous because he had a name, but all animals can suffer stress and pain, not just the majestic lion, and not just our cats and dogs. The factory-farmed animal doesn’t know anything but a life of stress and pain.

If we truly want to live our lives with the compassion and caring that is hard-wired in our hearts, we have to take a stand against both trophy hunting and factory farming. If we choose to eat meat, we should know where it comes from, know that the animals were free range and humanely cared for and slaughtered.

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

Photo credit:

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 (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