This is really just another of these stop-gap posts, a List Of Ten Things. It’s not a top ten nor in any particular order. The things in this instance are things recently read, half-read, reread, and bookmarked.
Hope some of the following are enjoyable and/or informative. Mainly enjoyable. Given it’s summer and the season for enjoyment. Seasonally-appropriate news first.
- Some great news: smart hand pumps (using mobile/cell phones) help clean water supplies in Africa (Kenya, Zambia). Great news, given that water is one of the most important environmental issues (if not THE single biggest): not using it all up, not abusing it, distributing it equitably, maintaining it, preserving it for the future, etc.
- related, from futher back: news of huge water resources under the African continent (BBC, April 2012)
- and, alas, a water map showing “water insecurity” (BBC again, back in 2010)
- Gorgeous Skin has been testing some sunscreens
- the most expensive moisturiser in the world
- look! even the Daily Mail can have an environmentalist conscience: here, on disposable “bargain” fashion
- The Beauty Brains ask: does Vaseline lengthen lashes?
- and a post (and comments) about DIY cosmetics in colonial America
- “Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and DNA repair mechanisms.” Joi A. Nichols and Santosh K. Katiyar. Archives of Dermatological Research 302.2 (March 2010): 71.
- from a Pixiwoo post (2010) about L’Oréal and animal testing: great discussion, and I’d especially recommend the very last comment (May 2012) which offers a good template base for writing emails and letters to companies asking them about their cruelty-free status and policy.
It’s summer: potentially entertaining and enjoyable (though less so for people like me, who’d be nocturnal and/or troglodytes in an ideal world). But also a time to be extra careful not to start fires in dry places, and to save water. Yes, saving water all year is great… but hardest to do in a hot summer. Hardest of all, for testing will-power, in first-world countries with first-world problems: how many showers a day? water used in hosing gardens? how cold do drinks have to be? how much ice do you make and consume? And those summer extras in energy consumption: how much power do you use in running electric fans and air-conditioning? Going to the beach or otherwise spending quality time outside in the sunshine: how to balance the efficacy of your sunscreen with its biodegradability and compatibility with the water-system and food-chain, once you wash it off?
I can’t preach here, as I fuck up and/or do lazy things just like anyone else. But I’ve met some people through work recently who actually work on water issues (in the sciences and social sciences), and it’s been very much on my mind. I’m trying to do the following (though like I said, sometimes I fuck up):
- shorter showers, turning the water off at times when I don’t need it to actively rinse stuff off me. Timing this, I’ve reduced my shower-water-consumption to 1/4 to 1/3 of what it was
- turning the tap off when I’m cleaning my teeth: for swirling and so on, using a glass of water
- turning the tap off at the kitchen sink when I’m basically just running water down the drain: I have a terrible habit of doing this when cleaning kitchen work-surfaces after preparing food and then after eating it, when cleaning up and doing the dishes
- using less water when doing laundry: shorter cycles and between the “small” and “medium” load-setting or equivalent: basically, at least one setting lower than your load actually is. Plus using lower temperature settings as far as possible (for energy consumption reasons), and eco-friendly detergents.
- when washing dishes in the sink, filling a basin in the sink rather than running the tap over dishes.
I hate this. I hate washing-up basins and bowls with a passion verging on the irrational and fanatical. This really pains me. It’s that thing about the revolting water with greasy blobs and food scraps and general disgustingness floating around at the surface. Then when you empty out the basin, there’s always a spoon left at the bottom, which you have to rescue before it goes down the drain and blocks the pipes, and caught up with the spoon you always catch further grot and indistinct slurry in your hand. Urgh.
(I say all that as someone who’s emphatically not a germaphobe, or at all disgusted by the sorts of things that most people find disgusting: bodily fluids, dismembered body parts, injuries, infections, vermin, smaller life-forms, slime, etc.)
So that’s my summer work: reducing water consumption. It’s only Vancouver, so the summer is pretty nice and balmy compared to what our neighbours south of the border have been suffering, those poor unfortunates in Missouri and DC especially. And we have no garden or car, so none of their complex watering-dilemmas. No aircon, just electric fans and manual ones (which are sooo much more chic anyway). Using clothing and hats as principal sun protection, and for sunscreens using only water-safe ones. Other practicalities of environmentally-responsible living, as per usual. (Can’t remember if I did a post about that, should probably check and maybe do another one at some point…)
On the subject of first-world problems: welcome to Vancouver, where if your schedule is becoming busy, you don’t need to traumatize yourself by trying to decide between stand-up paddle-boarding and yoga: you can do both.
Creativity and imaginative play are an integral part of everyday life here. The above two examples show, I think an expression in a different medium of something that’s seen most often here in Van in gastronomic culture. A local law of nature: fusion rules. This isn’t just a global centre for the creative industries. In the pictures above, and in the Stand Up 4 Great Bear one—that is,
- BONUS ADDITION TO THE RANDOM NON-TOP TEN ABOVE: the Great Bear Rainforest Youth Paddle, which I should add to recent news as that was quite big regional news in June this year). Main page with most recent blog posts is here. Taking a stand (in some cases, literally) against the Gateway Pipeline Project and oil supertankers. Local and regional affairs, for sure; but with global environmental impact and repercussions worldwide for aboriginal rights, and then their political implications, including relations between individual, community/society, and environment.
Now that’s creative industry in action.