Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Hobby Day

Today is Summer Hobby Day. I don't know about you, but I have no hobbies I do in the summer that I don't do the rest of the year. The closest thing that is different is I avoid the outdoors during summer as much as possible! It's hot here!

I should amend that. I'm going outside today. Specifically, to the garage. Our garage door decided some weeks back that it wanted a change, and literally folded itself in half one day while we were lowering it with the automatic door opener/closer. Suffice it to say it was a strange experience, and I don't recommend anyone trying to duplicate it.

Weeks later, it is much improved. Hubby and sons got it unfolded that day, but once they got it closed, forget it. It was staying closed. My father, a master mechanic, has taken it as his personal mission now to get it working again. I love my dad! He's awesome! The door can be lifted now (with muscle, thank you, boys!) and I can return to what I was attempting to do when the door first cratered. Clearing out the clutter.

I thought, and certainly grew up believing, that garages were for cars. They had a workbench. Maybe holiday decorations were stored in there along the wall.

Not my garage.

(not my garage, but isn't it cool?!)

I want to say I am secretly pleased when I glimpse inside a neighbor's garage and notice they have no room for cars, just like my garage, but I can't. I'm actually very bothered by it. While my kids were growing up I could use the convenient excuse that they, and running a household, took all my time. My kids are all grown now. I can't justify that reasoning any longer.

My dad joked I could clear it out quickly by torching everything in there. My husband has suggested hiring a bulldozer.

Yeah, it's that bad.

I, however, like a challenge, and I'll be honest: opening up a box and reacquainting myself with the contents sometimes feels like Christmas. Hey! I haven't seen this in awhile! Oh, cool, I was wondering where this was! I am proud to say I am more discriminating than in years past. I dump out a box and sort through it. I have next to me a trash can, a bag for any recyclable paper, a large plastic trash bag for donations to the local Goodwill or assistance ministry, a bag for books to donate to the library's sale shelf. It is very satisfying to empty a large box and have only a small pile that actually comes into the house.

I still have a long way to go in clearing everything out. But it has become my summer hobby, at least for this year, and I am enjoying the heck out of it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

World Environment Day

June 5 is World Environment Day. According to the United Nations Environment Program, World Environment Day celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.

The program is designed to help "personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development."

It is also a day for people "from all walks of life to come together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations."

Whatever your beliefs regarding the health - or lack of - the environment, we can all agree that we should care for it. Each in their way can do something, anything, to make a difference. The UNEP offers several suggestions, and I have pulled from it those we can do today, with little to no planning:

Adopt a ‘green’ way of life
Art made of recycled materials
Bicycle parades/races
Calculate your carbon footprint
Dedicate your blog to World Environment Day on 5 June (done!)
Donate to an environmental cause
Excursions to nature sites
Exhibitions (drawings, posters, photos, paintings)
Give a gift membership of an environmental organization
Join an environmental group
Keep your neighborhood clean
Kick-start an environmental campaign
Kick the CO2 habit!
Know your rights
Lobby local authorities to adopt sound environmental policies
March for the environment
Never litter
Offset your emissions
Organic farming/cooking
Parades (even just a small one on your street with only you and your kids)
Performances (plays, songs, poetry)
Plant a tree
Plastic bags: avoid them!
Puppet shows for children with an environmental message
Rainwater harvesting
Reduce, re-use, recycle
Rehabilitate natural habitats
Replace your light-bulbs with energy saving ones
Save paper
Sort trash, separating recyclable materials into different containers
Switch off stand-by TV and computer
Use sustainable modes of transportation (walking, jogging, cycling, skating, carpool)
Visits to botanical gardens and national parks
Volunteer for organizations such as Clean Up the World
Waste less!
Write plays, poems, songs
Write letters to civic leaders, members of parliament, government and newspapers

These don't have to be big or elaborate activities. Doing them in your home, with your kids, will go a long way. Invite your friends and your kids friends over and make a day of appreciating and respecting nature.

Just do something. Like Margaret Mead said, "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
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