Notes from Canada: Giving Back to Uganda with Love

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I was born a white child in Uganda, East Africa to missionary parents, Velma and David Freeman. When I was 8 years old, our time in Africa came to a sudden and frightening end.

Just three months earlier, my dad had witnessed the brutal killing of our town mayor in Masaka. The mayor had been dragged through the town on the back of a pickup truck, and then a major in the army openly slit his throat as a warning to anyone who might stand against the regime of the ruthless and unpredictable dictator, President Idi Amin. My father was the only white man he could see, along with a few Asians in the crowd.

Our deportation was ordered shortly thereafter. Idi Amin’s soldiers picked up my father late one night and took him to jail. We had 48 hours to leave. Little did I realize at that young age that everything I knew as normal would change forever….

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Beauty Night Heals Mind, Body, and Spirit for Marginalized Women

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Survival sex-workers, drug addicts, and homeless women rarely have an opportunity to feel that someone truly cares about them or to experience human touch in a healthy way. But the volunteers at Beauty Night Society in Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.) are striving to change that.

Caroline MacGillivray is the National Executive Director and Founder of Beauty Night Society. A 1995 graduate of Gastown Actors Studio in Vancouver, her interest in helping marginalized women arose while volunteering at WISH (Women Information Safe House) to conduct research for an upcoming role.

She explains, “My best friend from theater school married a gentleman who was going to school to become a preacher. They were ‘house parents’ at a transition home for sex workers who were trying to get off the street.

“When she would tell what she did, people sometimes seemed judgmental. She’d get questions like, ‘Why are you helping sex workers?’ ‘Why are you helping people with addiction issues? They have no discipline; they have no control,’ and those types of things….

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My 5: Dana L. Miller, Founder, Sustainable Earth

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Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Dana L. Miller two questions we ask all our interviewees. Miller is the founder of Sustainable Earth and proponent of UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Burns Bog in Vancouver, British Columbia.

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

MILLER:

1. Media: Abolish the business of government propaganda, public relations, and conglomerate media in Canada and biased editorial columns. Reinvigorate investigative journalism….

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A Plea to Protect Burns Bog as a UNESCO Site

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Environmentalists tend to be a passionate lot, on fire with conviction about the importance of preservation, conservation, and the well-being of the planet. But, despite our convictions, not all of us are activists. Dana L. Miller of Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.), is an environmentalist who not only espouses her beliefs, she follows through with focused activities that support them. Miller is a vocal and dedicated advocate for protecting British Columbia’s Burns Bog with UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with Miller by phone from her B.C. home. We began by asking her to tell us what’s unique about Burns Bog and why UNESCO designation would help protect it….

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Jen’s Kitchen — Serving Up Sandwiches and Humanity to Survival Sex Workers

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On any given night, between 7 PM and 1 AM, Jennifer Allan walks from street corner to street corner in a section of Vancouver, British Columbia known as the Downtown Eastside. She is looking for prostitutes. They are easy to find at this hour, in this place, where drug addiction is common, and addicts will do almost anything for their next fix. But Allan is not seeking sex or drugs or stereotypes. She is reaching out to hurting, hungry people. She carries with her a basket of sandwiches and a heart filled with compassion.

Jennifer Allan is the founder and sole proprietor of Jen’s Kitchen, which she describes to me by phone as “an advocacy, outreach, food-relief program.” She adds, “We work with survival sex workers, single mums, victims of domestic violence, and women getting out of federal and provincial prison.”

The term “survival sex worker” is new to me, so I ask Allan to define it….

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Laura Mack, Contributing Writer

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Laura Mack is an international business consultant, a facilitator of dialogue, and a writer with a passion for positive transformation of individuals, communities and organizations…

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My 5: James Glave, Author

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Blue Planet Green Living asked author James Glave, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”

Here’s his response: “To me, saving the planet means so many different things. It’s deforestation. It’s depletion of fisheries and fish stocks. You can easily get overwhelmed with what do we need to do. To me, it just comes down to global warming and climate change. Whatever we can do to reduce our emissions, we should do….”

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Choosing to Value a Sustainable Life

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Yesterday we introduced you to author James Glave, a very down-to-earth, environmentalist who is working to reduce his family’s carbon footprint. He is also active in his community, helping to not only spread the environmental message, but also to make the island he lives on more sustainable. In today’s post, Glave talks about pressing environmental issues that confront both his own community and Canada at large.

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Saving the Planet with a Laptop and a Hammer

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I believe I swing a pretty mean hammer. Just talking with author James Glave about his book, How I saved 1/6th of a Billionth of the Planet, inspired me to go out to the tool shed and polish up my 20 oz., curved-claw Estwing. I missed it, and I missed the smell of pine sawdust. Glave made me realize something else I had missed through all my years of construction: Everything I had built for the last 20 years, I had built wrong; I had not considered my planet.

For Glave, moving to Bowen Island, British Columbia, raised ethical issues about his family’s carbon footprint. Commuting — and shipping in supplies — from Vancouver to Bowen requires a ferry ride, which by itself substantially increases each resident’s impact on the environment. So when he wanted to build a small office/guest house next to his home, he decided to do it with the least-possible carbon footprint. He chronicled the building of the “Eco-Shed” and its impact on both his family and the Bowen community in his book. I talked with Glave from his home on Bowen Island, to find out more about the man and the impact of his work on his community.

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