Stop Wasting our Food!

David Suzuki once again making a very important and seemingly obvious notes about how we humans focus so much on oil and other fossil fuels as the primary source of waste, when we’re also wasting our FOOD!

This post originally appeared on David Suzuki’s blog.

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Research Scientist Scott Wallace

Lick the plate: The ecological and economic costs of food waste

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family to appreciate the bounty of the fall harvest. Eating is both a highly social and personal part of our lives, and food preferences can even make for lively dinner table conversations.

In North America we tend to focus on how food is grown and harvested. Consumers face a myriad of labels when they shop for Thanksgiving feasts — organic, free range, cage-free, Marine Stewardship Council, fair trade, non-GMO, vegetarian-fed and locally grown among them. From a sustainability point of view, though, the most important question is missing from these labels: Will this food be eaten or will it end up contributing to the world’s growing food-waste problem?

We’re hearing a lot about food waste lately. Every year a staggering one-third — 1.3 billion tonnes — of the world’s food is wasted after it has been harvested: 45 per cent of fruit and vegetables, 35 per cent of fish and seafood, 30 per cent of cereals, 20 per cent of dairy products and 20 per cent of meat. Food waste ends up in landfills, increasing methane emissions and contributing significantly to climate change. A recent study found Americans waste close to $200 billion on uneaten food while Canadians throw away $31 billion.

These figures only account for 29 per cent of the full cost of waste. They don’t include factors such as labour, fuel to transport goods to global markets, inefficiency losses from feed choices used to produce meat and fish, or food left unharvested. As methodologies are improved and accounting becomes more inclusive, we’re likely to find even higher waste figures. Dozens of studies across many countries with different methodologies not only confirm the increase in food waste but suggest food waste is even higher and on the rise. In Canada, food waste cost estimates increased from $27 billion to $31 billion between 2010 and 2014.

In a world where one in nine people doesn’t get enough to eat — many of them children — this is unconscionable. According to the World Food Programme, poor nutrition kills 3.1 million children under the age of five every year. It’s the cause of almost half of child deaths in that age range. When it comes to feeding the world, distribution and waste appear to be greater problems than population. And yet we continue to destroy more forests, drain more wetlands and deplete the oceans of fish to meet the needs of a growing world population.

Not only that, the monumental economic losses from food waste represent money that could be used to fund much-needed social and environmental programs. Money lost in North America would cover most of Canada’s federal budget. Food waste in Metro Vancouver homes adds about $700 a year to a household’s grocery bill.

Every morsel of food wasted represents unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural lands and disruptions to marine food webs. Based on 2007 data, the UN estimates that the equivalent of 3.3 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions globally can be attributed to food waste. Canada’s total emissions, in comparison, are about 0.7 gigatonnes. If food waste were a nation, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter.

We need to tackle food waste at all levels, from international campaigns to individual consumption habits. In September, the UN agreed to an ambitious global goal of reducing food waste by 50 per cent by 2030 as both an environmental and humanitarian imperative. Earlier this year, Metro Vancouver joined the international effort Love Food Hate Waste to meet municipal waste goals and encourage individual behavioural change. A similar U.K. campaign led to a 21 per cent cut in food waste over five years. Grocery stores in France and other countries are offering discounts for misshapen produce under an “ugly fruits and vegetables” campaign. Businesses are using audits to map out where food waste is affecting bottom lines.

Food waste is a crime against the planet and the life it supports. Reducing it not only addresses food insecurity, it benefits everyone. This Thanksgiving dinner, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, locavore or pescetarian, plan for a zero-food-waste meal. Show thanks for ecosystems, growers and harvesters by buying only what you will eat and eating all that you buy.

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Research Scientist Scott Wallace

Find original article here.

East Van Snobriety

I live in East Vancouver, a district of Vancouver that encompasses a plethora of little villages with residential & business zoning closely tied together, intermingling on street parking, laneways filled with recycling boxes, garbage cans, graffiti, chicken coops and overhead electric wires, community gardens, greasy spoon all day breakfast diners, dive bars, overwhelming homeless problems, hipster joints, and all the cool kids.

It’s a beautiful place to live, for the most part a very friendly and pleasant community to hang out in with most people saying hello while out for a walk on a lovely Vancouver day.

But – yes, there’s a but – there’s a problem.

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Things to Keep in Mind While Writing Poetry

I stumbled upon this essay by Dana Gioia called Thirteen Ways of Thinking About the Poetic Line.

He outlined some very interesting facts and factors to keep in mind when constructing a poem, illuminating all the elements available to the poet as they express their prose.

  1. The most obvious difference between prose and verse is lineation. In art the obvious is always important—although it is usually exactly what experts ignore. Poetic technique consists almost entirely of exploiting the expressive possibilities of lineation as a formal principle to communicate and intensify meaning.
  2. The three common principles of organization for the poetic line are metrical, syntactic, and visual. Each system operates by different rules, but all systems share the assumption of the paramount importance of lineation in focusing the expressive energy and meaning of the poem.
  3. Every element in a poem—every word, line break, stanza pattern, indentation, even all punctuation—potentially carries expressive meaning. If you do not shape that potential expressivity, each passive detail weakens the overall force of the poem. Those passive elements are dead weight the poem is obliged to carry.
  4. There should be a reason why every line ends where it does. Line breaks are not neutral. Lineation is the most basic and essential organizing principle of verse. A reader or auditor need not understand the principle behind each line break intellectually, but he or she must intuitively feel its appropriateness and authority.
  5. The purpose of lineation in verse is to establish a rhythm of expectation that heightens the listener’s attention and apprehension. The purpose of poetic technique, especially meter, is to enchant the listener—to create a gentle hypnotic state that lowers the listener’s resistance and heightens attention. Free verse lacks the steady physical beat of metrical poetry, but it seeks the same neural effect by different means. Lineation is the central organizing principle of free verse.
  6. The reasons determining line length should be consistent within a poem— unless there is an overwhelming expressive necessity to violate them. It takes time and energy to establish a pattern of expectation. Violate the pattern too easily or too often, and the governing pattern falls apart. A badly executed pattern is worse than no pattern. Without an expressive pattern there is no poem.
  7. Every poem should have a model line. The standard line length should be clear—consciously or unconsciously—to the listener or reader. The standard should be maintained throughout the poem, except for meaningful expressive variation. After each of these disruptive junctures, the poem either returns to the model line or creates a new standard. The expressive value of all disruptions should be greater than the loss of momentum and the breaking of the pattern’s spell.
  8. Each poetic line has two complementary obligations—to work well within the total pattern of the poem, and to embody in itself the power of poetic language. The successful poem does not merely balance those differing obligations; it uses them as partners in a seamless dance. Unless they dance, there isn’t poetry, only versified language.
  9. Each line should have some independent expressive force. Filling out a pattern is not sufficient justification for a line of verse. It should have some independent vitality in musical, imaginative, or narrative terms. The individual line is the microcosm of the total poem. It should embody the virtues of the whole. That is one reason that poetry can be quoted with such advantage.
  10. The lineation tells the reader how to hear, see, and understand the poem. As the central formal principle of verse, lineation establishes the auditory and semantic patterns of the poem. The overall formal power of the poem cannot be achieved if lineation is done carelessly.
  11. Line endings represent one of the most powerful expressive elements in poetic form. Poetic lines turn on the final word in each line. (The original meaning of versus is “to turn a plow making furrows in a field”—hence “the turn” is one of the ancient governing metaphors for poetry and poetic technique.) This verbal turning point, even when it isn’t rhymed, offers enormous potential for meaningful effect.
  12. The word at the end of a poetic line should bear the weight of imaginative or musical scrutiny. The end word of a line is highly visible and audible. Never end lines on weak words unless there is a strong expressive necessity. The end words—rhymed or unrhymed—should generate energy for the poem.
  13. The line break is nearly always audible (and always visible), even if only as a tiny pause or echo. One doesn’t hear the bar in music, but the trained listener always knows where it is by the shape of the notes around it. Since the line break is so prominent, it must be used for expressive effect. If it doesn’t work for the poem, it will work against it.

So there you have it. I really couldn’t have put it better myself!

Have anything to add? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

I Want to be a Published Author

“I want to be a published author, but where do I start?” This is a question many aspiring authors ask themselves. In a world of literary agents, publishing houses, eBooks, and an ever increasing number of self-publishing options, it can be a daunting task choosing what direction is right or best for you.

As obvious as this may sound, the first thing any aspiring writer must do is write. And not write an outline, or a summary of what his or her work is slated to be, or create a blog with a few teaser-chapters, because that will not sell or catch the attention of anyone. Nobody cares how brilliant your idea is; and in fact all of those strategies hurt your chances of success. One must actually complete the process and finish something tangible and concrete. Accomplished writers do not live off of potential; they illustrate proficiency and results.

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So You Wanna Be A Writer

So you wanna be a writer.

And with being a writer comes learning to write. Gets your tenses correct. Knowing where to put your prepositions at. All that good stuff. Once you can write clean, compelling copy, it should be a cake walk… right?


Because unless your grand ambition is to have your grandmother and her knitting circle tell you how * wonderful* you are… at some point you gotta learn about the business. Because if you don’t, you’re going to waste a lot of time blundering around like a buffalo in a bookstore.

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