So you’re an environmentalist on Twitter, and you’ve been getting active in environmental causes. You’ve been tweeting links, retweeting interesting photos and comments, perhaps joining a few conversations about specific environmental topics you care about.
Get More out of the Conversation!
One of the most effective ways to tweet and learn about environmental topics online is through a website called The Tree (treealerts.org). This site allows you to become a more effective communicator about environmental topics you care about. Check it out. Pick a topic you’re interested in, such as hydraulic fracking (treealerts.org/topics/hydraulic-fracking/) or Idle No More, and The Tree provides you with relevant reports and studies, images, videos, and quotes about the subject. Some topics include a list of tweets and hashtags that are used by the cause’s community.
Also check out this list of environmental hashtags to include in your tweets: some people follow certain hashtags and this can be a great way to gain followers and start conversations with new people.
A Verdant Geisha’s Top Environmental Hot-Button Topics
Zeitgeisha will be highlighting select environmental topics and providing you with tweets to use, twitter and facebook accounts to follow, and blog posts that may be of interest. Check back later, Geishas!
Green Topics on Twitter
Pipelines in Canada, especially the Pacific Coast and BC
Destruction and over-harvesting of old-growth forests
What is Farm Sanctuary? It is a non-profit organization operated in California, which rescues and protects farm animals from various horrible situations.
What is the difference between the animals we share our homes with, and the animals we eat? Nothing, except cultural norms. In fact, pigs have proven to be smarter than dogs in many experiments, chickens can recognize and respond to their own name and recognize hundreds of faces, and cows have been known to adopt orphaned calves. Try looking into their eyes and you will see the spark of life that resides within all of us. I simply couldn’t imagine murdering, cutting up, and eating my precious cats. So why do we do it to pigs, chickens, turkeys, and cows?
Farm Sanctuary rescues animals and provides a better life for a few animals. So many more die in hopeless misery. For all those we cannot save, Farm Sanctuary honours them by giving rescued farm animals the best, most enriched life they can. Compassion is wonderful! While we cannot save every animal, it makes a world of difference to those we can.
You might not want to take the plunge and go vegan, that’s totally understandable. It’s not our fault we have been raised to eat meat and use animals for their skins, furs and for entertainment. But even reducing your meat and animal product consumption makes an huge impact. Take Meatless Mondays for example. It’s so easy to do. Eventually you may find meatless most days, except special occasions, and you will see how much variety is in vegetarian and vegan food. Try kale, tofu, quinoa, chickpeas, beans, lentils, tempeh, and many more!
Time’s August 2013 article, the Childfree Life, was the first time childless living was given the cover of a respected magazine.
I’ve struggled for most of my twenties with ideas of motherhood, but during my adolescent years it was clear; I was meant to be a mother. My mom is one of those generous, selfless, endlessly maternal beings. Her capacity to love my brother and I both inspires and bewilders. How could I possibly let her legacy down by not having children?
In my early twenties, my childhood goals of being married by 26 and pregnant by 28 were too close for comfort. I decided to put off marriage and motherhood ’til my thirties. Although some of my peers are excellent parents, I didn’t feel ready to spend my time and resources on somebody else…. even if they were my kid.
Then, I learn about the world. I feel uneasy about internet culture, wildlife extinction, carbon pollution and overpopulation… not to mention government corruption, electronic surveillance, and psychographic datamining. I think of the future.
I start to think that the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement isn’t crazy, and I read lists with hundreds of reasons not to have kids. I begin thinking of Otherhood, the persecution of the childness. I realize how deeply the values of motherhood were projected on me by society; how a childless woman brings to mind spinsters, ugliness, and too many cats.
So, I talk to people about why they want kids. The only answer that made sense to me was, “Who else will be there when I’m old?”
But that sounds selfish. I begin to notice that the relationship my grandmother and her friends have with their children isn’t so sound. Their kids live far away, ignore them for months on end, and think a semiannual Skype session is enough to postpone a real visit.
In the Book of Small, Emily Carr recalls childhood in the 1900’s. It’s hard to deny that communities and families deteriorated in somewhere the 20th century. We have more freedom and less rules, but our relationships with those closest to us (in proximity and genetics) have become less cohesive, less crucial, and less complete.
I don’t hate kids! I think babies are cute and I know I’d make a kick-ass mom… but those are terrible reasons to become one. The idea of watching one grow up and stuff doesn’t excite me – at all. Raising a dog is the perfect amount of responsibility for me. Besides, I can still make an impact on a child’s life through the Big Sisters program, volunteering, and spoiling the kids of friends and family.
As I get older I realize I don’t want a kid of my own. If I had a child, I’d always feel like I was missing out on a more fulfilling life. Maybe that’s selfish. The world hates childless women and that’s the only reason it’s a difficult decision.
There’s a reason we’re “Generation Me” – too busy “doing me” that I’ll never make a “little me”.
Twitter. Everyone’s heard of it. Most people see it as Facebook’s less popular cousin, though still far more popular than their buddy Google Plus.
While it is a social networking site, like Facebook, Twitter is really in a category of its own in terms of connecting people and exploring current events. With Facebook, you must be friends with someone in real life, however casually, before they become part of your network. And this has its place. On Twitter, however, you can follow interesting people, and you can also connect with any person talking about a topic you are interested in, simply by clicking a hashtag or typing into the general search bar. You can explore currently trending topics, and most shared tweets about certain topics. The author doesn’t have to “friend you” for you to eavesdrop on their conversations, or even join them.
Twitter helps you get involved & get educated
I have found that if you are interested in causes such as the environment, animal welfare, human rights, feminism, or really anything, you can learn a lot and get active on Twitter. You can find discussions, links to blog posts, petitions and websites. You can join the conversation, post things you find interesting, and get active in things like tweetstorms, a coordinated event during which many people tweet the same hashtags at once, in order to raise awareness of an issue or even get the topic trending regionally or locally. Connecting with people online who are interested in causes you care about… bonus!
In Egypt in 2011, people used Twitter to organize, spread news and information on the streets as it happened, and share photographs. As the world saw, Twitter evolved into something different during that time, and has continued to bring us news and photographs from the heart of the storm during civil disobedience and protests. In February 2014 on the streets of Kiev, a medic named Olesya Zhukovska was shot in the neck by a sniper and tweeted “I’m dying.” A photograph of her, holding a blood-soaked cloth to her neck, accompanied the post. While Zhukovska survived, the tweet brought the sniper-filled streets of Kiev to the computers of those around the world.
I believe that Twitter signals a return to reality for photojournalism. Our governments have attempted to sanitize and politicize war and conflict around the world, bringing us patriotic sound-bites while the bodies pile up. But Twitter brings us photos and news direct from the streets, not filtered through multi-national news media. It reminds me of the Vietnam war, and how the hippie movement grew out of seeing the photos of the realities of war. Since then, government and news media have worked together to change the message into something that aligns with their goals. But they have lost control of the flood, and reality is getting through.
Basically, sign up for twitter and start tweeting. Links that are interesting. Photos that you like. Petitions. Raise awareness about things that actually matter to you. And sure, follow a few comedians while you are at it, you could use a good laugh.
Going to the grocery store is a lot more challenging these days. It is not as simple as bread, milk, cheese, and apples. Do you want sprouted grain or “natural” white bread? Organic or factory-farmed milk? Imported goat cheese, organic clover-fed camembert, processed cheddar or non-dairy shreds? Organic or genetically modified apples? Well it helps to know what these terms mean, so you can make an informed decision. For this installment in our series on lexicographical musings, I will be exploring some terms that the food industry likes to sticker all over our groceries.
USDA approved organic foods are not treated with pesticides and grown in an environmentally-sustainable way. Usually your best choice, but price can be a factor. For meat, organic incorporates humane husbandry practices, along with organic feed and no hormone use. For produce, farmers must not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
The “Dirty Dozen.”
You may have heard of these dozen produce items that have the most pesticides and are the best to buy organic if possie. While this is a great list for budgeting, don’t forget that any fruits and vegetables are better than none, and that organic also guarantees environmental stewardship and living wages for farmers, so it’s not just about pesticides. But if cost is an issue, choosing organic for produce on this list and conventional for produce where you do not eat the skin will reduce your exposure to pesticides.
This doesn’t mean anything for most products. They can literally slap this label on processed cheese product and say it’s “natural.” For meat products, “natural” means that the product wasn’t altered in any fundamental way, but for anything aside from meat, the label is simply a sales pitch. If you ask me, natural is more a sign that the product is trying to deceive you in some way. Check the ingredients. If it’s natural, you will recognize them as food products and there won’t be more than a few of them. When you see ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, put the box down and back away slowly.
Usually on eggs or meat. Means the animal had access to the outside. The animal still may have been raised in filthy, crowded factory-farm conditions and their “range” could be anything from a beautiful green field to a muddy pen next to a highway. Also the amount of time that the animals are allowed to have access to the outdoors is also not regulated and can vary greatly. A company doesn’t have to prove to an independent auditor that its animals had access to outdoors. So while the idea of free-range is great, it’s hard to trust that this means anything either.
For meat, this is a third-party accreditation that guarantees that the animals have continuous outdoor access, adequate space, and humane slaughter practices. It guarantees that the animals will be able to express natural behaviours, such as chickens having space to flap their wings and dust bathe, and pigs having space to move around. Honestly, when I write that down, I am appalled that we have to have a certification to tell companies that a chicken needs room to flap its wings. Isn’t that obvious to anyone with a heart? It’s no wonder food companies put picturesque images of happy cows on lush fields on their packaging, as they do not want us to know how far down the rabbit hole they have gone into making farming an industrialized, de-humanized, soul-sucking machine.
Whether you’re commited, casual, or spontanious it is a fact that humans want – nay, need, sex. It should be as natural as breathing, or eating, or any other basic bodily requirements, but in today’s society it is still taboo. In this “evolved” day and age, we still demonize sex, and attach all sorts of meaning, rules, and expecations to something which is, essentially, mashing body parts together till stuff comes out.
I can’t go into the long, sordid history that sex had had in human society, nor can I presume to know why it is still the monster today that it was a hundred years ago, but I can tell you this: someone, somewhere is doing it. And I applaude them. The ideal encounter is one where each person is a comfortable, consenting adult; Preferably two that have the good sense to protect themselves (against stds, pregnancy, and honey badgers), and who each work towards the gratification of the other. In reality though, it is often as unfullfilling as a Paulie Shore movie, and leaves you feeling just as dirty.
If we are to be sexualized, and dehumanized, and left wondering what we did wrong while our partner basks in an after-orgasm glow, then at least let’s make it fun! Let’s take back our sexuality, not in a “Burning bras” kind of feminist way, but in a gradual call-to-arms for the female gender. We can’t single-handedly break the glass ceiling for women, but at least we can have our own personal revolutions, every day.
We’ve already talked about how SEX- language can impact you, well here are 3 steps you can take to being more SEX+ in y0ur life:
Step 1: Open up the lines of communication.
Talk to your partner, your girlfriends, your mom or even your dad. Talk to whoever your most comfortable with, and talk candidly. Start by saying “hey, did you hear about this awesome thing called Fucking?” (Just kidding. Please don’t say that). It doesn’t matter what you start with, just start with something. Instead of letting that elephant hang out in the room, bring it into the light, and give it an awkward mouth kiss. If you’re happy you got laid last night, say it! if you wish your lover had done something different, tell him! If you have been having sex for years and haven’t had an orgasm with anyone but yourself, by GOD WOMAN you must rectify that situation, post haste! I like to make mildly shocking observations in crowded places, as if it was normal to comment on the nipple in the painting in the art gallery. Everyone’s thinking it, so let’s start saying it.
Step 2: Want more.
Want more fun, more passion, more orgasms. Want more stability, or spontenaiety, or more partners. Whatever you want, so long as it’s safe, is a good thing, and you should have what you want. I was very repressed for much adult life, and I used to struggle with my sexuality and lack of entitlement in the bedroom. Slowly, through the encouragement of a select few of my vivavious friends I have learned that it’s okay to demand, and expect more out of sex. Even if that just means having the courage to refuse bjs and handies if the man isn’t planning on putting his face in my lovely lady parts. Baby steps, ladies.
Step 3: Do more. (Good.)
We are our own worst enemies, and our criticism of ourselves and others only hinders us as humans, and as sexual beings. The next time you find yourself critiquing another persons flaws just take a step back, and check yourself before you wreck yourself. Women should stop being catty, because the rest of the world is already hard enough on us. So, please, for the sake of your sisters, take a minute out of every day and appreciate something new about yourself, and stop at least one stranger to tell them something nice. Maybe if we put more good into the world it will one day start to cancel out the negativity.
This goes for men too: you have no right to terrorize women the way you do. Stop being jerks, just because it’s socially acceptable doesn’t make it right. I can’t fathom why men feel the need to call down a woman, as the guy in the elevator in Vegas felt the need to make a double take at me, and say “whoa, hideous!”, where his friend replied “what, that?(me) That isn’t half bad.” To that I say a hearty “Fuck you”. And I really wish I’d said it at the time. You rarely see women attacking men like that, and while it’s fair to say that they have to endure hardships as well, it is in no way comparable to the ones girls face on a daily basis.
If you see a pretty lady just appreciate her, and the effort and perhaps genetics that went into making her as beautiful as she is. And if you feel the need to tell her how much you want to bury your groin in her backside then at least do it with some tact.
Word’s can wound, hurt, and heal. They have an incredible ability to express who we are on the inside that no other form of communication can compare with, but they also hold the power to traumatize and damage us every single day, and often the most hurt we receive is so subtle and subversive that we don’t even notice.
Ever been told “don’t hate the player, hate the game”? That saying is a prime example of how normalized sex negative words have become. The word “player” makes light of a man who sexualizes, objectifies and abuses women, and by saying “the game” it has turned something offensive (creeping for women to manipulate, use, and then leave) into something bordering on cute.
If someone has ever claimed they’ve been put in “the friend zone”, they’re taking what was commonly known as “unrequited love”and turning it from the fault of the aggressors into the fault of the victim. The man is no longer to blame for his feelings for a woman who has no interest in him, it’s that frigid harpies fault that he’s been relegated to a sexless nice-guy-only zone.
Popular culture is rife with songs, movies, and tv shows that normalize the words “slut”, “bitch”, “skank” or “twat”: all words that refer to the same idea of a woman. The idea that she is no longer a whole person, or a being worthy of respect and understanding; she has been reduced to a depthless creature of promiscuity and unwarranted hostility.
We, as a society must first recognize our rampant use of sex negative words, and work towards using sex positive ones instead. It isn’t always easy, as sometimes bad words are more fun to say and these days they’re so common that we don’t even realize we’re using them anymore. But words hurt, and just like the unrealistic images in magazines are damaging our impressionable youth so are negative stereotyping words that serve no purpose except to dehumanize the recipient.
Next time you blindly call someone something negative I recommend you take a step back and reasses the words you’re using, and make a concious effort to use sex positive words instead. Because someone out there is calling you a cunt behind your back, and it sure as hell hurts, and it sure as hell matters that they think they have the right to do that. No one should ever feel that they have more rights than anyone else to call others down, and judge them unfairly. By using sex positive words we can take a step in the direction of change, and we can take back our bodies, our sexualities, and ourselves. Own your vagina’s, ladies, because someone out there would like to call them “dick parking spots”, and they have no right to do so.
The following are a selection of slang or cliché words of the present time – found on the internet, in conversation and popular culture – that are doomed, and you should stop using them.
Because + _____
“Because science” and “because politics” are not answers. It was funny when people first started saying it, but it’s played out and sounds less intelligent than those who use it.
It’s such a unanimous way to thank and say goodbye, but it must stop. I’ve seen receptionists say cheers sixteen times in three minutes. Unless you are handing me a beer, don’t tell me cheers.
Doin’ and Goin’
This one reminds me of Doge speak – “How you doin’” – except too clear and lacking proper verbage. How doing? is better. These words should never be contracted.
Da and Tha
These one’s just need to die with the rest of the nineties. When I read these these alternatives to “the,” my mind hears only the idiocy of the speaker.
This grammatical mess is okay for four year olds.
Unless you’re legitimately tagging or discussing a real social media campaign, adding useless hashtags to your filtered instagram photos and bored tweets should stop in 2014.
This word has been so bastardized ,it’s now just a word describing the cultural outcome of the millennial generation. Everyone was a hippy in the seventies… some only just wore bellbottoms and felt bad about Vietnam. Read the definition of hipster on Urban Dictionary and tell me you don’t identify with at least some of the description. Maybe not the shag haircut, but the loose sexual identity and creative inclination, perhaps
Because naming a woman after a tool is not okay (see: hoe) – what’s next, a spade or a wrench?
For a brief period, saying totes was cute and quirky, but now it sounds totally ridiculous.
I understand 90’s revival, in fact I kind of love it – but no one knows why there’s a “T” in front of the word “work.”
For real, die-hard book-lovers, this isn’t even a question. Of course, real books triumph over e-readers! The feel of their time-worn pages turning as you plunge towards an exciting ending; the smell of old smoke, patchouli, or something altogether more mysterious, bringing you back to childhood days devouring book after book; the joy of passing a well-loved title into the hands of a friend, knowing that you are passing on a whole world to them.
But the benefits of an e-reader have begun to grow on me. The convenience of carrying a few hundred titles with you wherever you may wander, this is a pure joy any book-lover would understand. Other benefits include less heavy boxes when moving into that cool new apartment, a reasonable amount of shelves in ones house, and a zen-like attitude about dusting.
While e-readers could never fully replace some books, such as art books or your favourite dog-eared classics, I believe there is a place for them in your book-lover’s heart.
The main benefit, in my opinion, is the cheaper prices, meaning you can afford to keep up with your latest obsessions at around half the price of buying physical copies, without having to order your book ahead of time and pick it up, or hoping that your local bookstore will stock it. It’s also pretty cool having a small library in your purse. Whether you are in the mood for some philosophical musings, a fast-paced fictional tale, or some edgy erotica, your e-reader will be happy to provide, and nobody on the bus next to you gets to make knowing comments. Now that’s a bonus! (Us die-hard readers tend to be on the introverted side, and often don’t even want people to know what they are reading when it’s as innocent as Winnie-the-Pooh.)
An important caveat: don’t waste your time trying to read books on your smartphone or tablet. The screen was designed to make HD images and movies look beautiful in a darkened room, not display black text on a white background in bright sunlight, and the battery won’t last a day without charging. Save your smartphone for phone calls and your tablet for Netflix. The newest e-readers use magical e-ink, drain very little power, and weigh about the same as a small paperback. It’s the only legitimate comparison to an actual book, otherwise you might as well read on your computer screen and allow your eyes to ache daily with the strain of it.
I don’t think books are going away any time soon. But, just as mp3s have become mainstream and only audiophiles collect LP’s any more, e-books are here to stay, so get used to it. Now, I have to decide whether I want a Kindle or a Kobo….
Nestled in the mountains is a magical place, where people go to experience a bit of that magic themselves for a brief weekend in their lives.
Motion Notion is an electronic music festival that has been going for 15 years, 5 locations, and thousands of dance steps. Since its move from Drayton Valley, Alberta to Golden, B.C., it can no longer tout itself as “Alberta’s premier electronic music festival”, but it has already given the events in B.C. a run for their money.
Showcasing world-famous artists, performers, and stages it is a spectacle of lights and sound unlike any other, but the thing that makes MoNo (as it’s affectionately called) different isn’t something that is easily defined.
As a veteran, or “old schooler”, festival goer I have seen and done just about everything. Pounding bass, crazy costumes, excessive indulgence, wacky hijinks, and touching moments between friends new and old. Festivals make my world go round. 10 years and 20 festivals later I still hold Motion Notion dearest in my heart, and it isn’t because of the acts that it books, or the attendees is attracts. It’s the living, breathing, beating heart of the festival that keeps me coming back for more.
Despite its success, and its popularity, Motion Notion remains in the few-thousand attendees category. Big enough to be a massive party, small enough to feel like you matter. You can see the same smiling faces every day in your travels, and you can find that new friend again that you met that other night. You’re welcomed with hugs (and water) when you lose your way and end up in someone else’s camp, and you can rest assured that your own site is safe from vandals and theives as your neighbours are very friendly and will notice something suspicious. Girls can dance without fear because fellow festival goers are respectful, and if they get too grabby the community will set them straight; security rarely has to intervene, it’s the people and the vibe that maintains order here.
Friendly vendors, and affordable food are some of the financial perks to MoNo. The festival charges less for fees, so the businesses can charge less for what they’re selling. A breakfast that costs $15 at another, larger, festival will cost you $5-10 at Motion Notion. A retail vendor will give you the personal attention you deserve as they aren’t overwhelmed by other customers, or shoplifters.
Each stage is set up, and taken down every year: no permanent structures remain, giving the event a feeling of blissfull temporary beauty. You feel like you are part of something fleeting, and special. You feel like you, yourself, are special just by getting to be a part of something so lovely.
Want bass? They got it! With PK Sound beating your eardrums into gleeful submission the sound quality is comparable to larger festivals, but with the dance floor space to really let loose and flail.
First timers at a festival can look forward to the awesome party, without being overwhelmed by the magnitute and facelessness of giant crowds. Don’t worry, the crowds are big, but manageable. You will be surrounded by beautiful dancing people in the thick of the stages, but can escape to catch your breath and take in the night sky just a moment away. You will feel safe, and more open to experiences at a festival like this, as it is has not lost its grassroots charm, nor it’s polished spectacle.
Veterans can catch their breath in a place like Motion Notion. If you’ve been to festivals before, you will certainly appreciate the unique beauty of the location, and the lack of corporate involvement. These people aren’t out to take all your money and leave you sleep deprived and buzzing for the ride home, they’re out to include you in an immersive experience that enriches your soul.
They say there’s no place like home. Well, there’s no place like Motion Notion. Welcome home.