The importance of today

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Today is International Women’s Day, so naturally, I wasn’t on Facebook long before I was irritated and disgusted by the way some people view women’s issues.

From denial about wage gaps to the need for an International Men’s Day, attempts to belittle and deny the need for social change serve as a double-edged sword.

Although I’m sure those small minded people don’t realize it, their snarky and immature comments prove just why a day recognizing women’s rights is needed. Continue reading

From gas to grass— sustainability in Alberta

This week Justin Trudeau is in Calgary Alberta, meeting with politicians and Canadians alike, discussing a number of issues important to the province and Canada as a whole.

One of the issues I’m sure will come up, as it’s the constant elephant in the room, is oil and more than likely Mr. Trudeau’s previous comments about a future that no longer sees the need for the oil sands. Continue reading

A subsidized option

This is a blog that might not go over so well where I live.

Oil is always a topic that gets heated because it is something that has created a lot of opportunities in Canada, especially in Alberta.

But is it really something we should be focusing all of our energy and attention on?

The issue is one that many see as black or white. Oil good, oil bad; invest, invest, invest, stop, stop, stop.

But despite these simplistic views it’s important to understand the complex aspects of it, and some of the facts, on either side of the issue, can not be ignored.

Oil is something that has made a lot possible for our country, and there was a time when that was all we needed. However, a lot has changed since then and we have learned many things about oil, including its impact on the environment, the amount that is available, and that we can do a lot without it.

Currently, we are seeing and hearing a lot about pipelines, whether it be in Canada or the US.

People are fighting against them due to the dangers they can pose, 2 US states have declared states of emergency due to leaks, while others fight for them, desperate to find ways to relieve the economic hardships that face this country as areas see unemployment soar.

The truth is when it comes to oil no one will be happy as it is very much a double-edged sword, and there will always be risks with its production and delivery.

Trains, for example, are another means of transportation but as pipelines became more publically desired the reports of spills along railways increased, possibly just more publically reported, and concern about the method became an argument for a switch. The same thing will likely happen now with pipelines, but truly anytime there is a spill attention should be given to it, no matter the mode, as the ramifications are huge.

I recently saw a Facebook post touting the fact the Canada makes up a small percentage of the carbon emissions in our atmosphere and that if we decreased that amount it would not make much of a difference in the big picture. But to me this idea is ridiculous.

Since when does the idea of self-improvement rely so heavily on the actions of others? Do we not want to do our part to protect our environment? One of the things that makes Canada so iconic around the world.

Do we not look at fighting for things such as women’s rights because there are countries around the world where women have it much worse? Or do we not look at preventing homelessness because other countries live in higher levels of poverty than us?

As a country we should always be looking at ways we can make ourselves better, that is what got us where we are today and it will take us into the future as long as we don’t stubbornly grip to our outdated past.

The aforementioned post was an argument made against the idea of a carbon tax, something that is intended to act as a way for everyday citizens and industry to become more aware of their carbon footprint and encourage them to alter it.

Albeit, this might not be the best time to introduce such measures, due to the already looming economic hardships, but financial penalties seem to be the only way people will actually react to environmental initiatives.

As they say, money talks.

Over the years oil production has come a long way and technology has made it better for the environment; better being a loose term as this does not mean it’s good in any way.

For a long time now oil companies have been receiving help from the government, in the form of subsidies, which has allowed them to increase profits, create more jobs, and produce more oil.

This has worked in favour of oil-reliant provinces such as Alberta, but things are changing and the volatility of the oil industry has become increasingly clear despite the fact that it has always been there.

We live in a country that has all its eggs in one shaky basket, and many people seem to be okay with that when times are good.

Over the years an egg has popped out here or there, maybe even two or three, but half a dozen or more have fallen and the hens are stressed because the global coop has gotten bigger and there isn’t enough demand for omelettes.

Now, I’m not saying we should give up on oil completely, after all, humans are stubborn and there are things we likely won’t give up that are reliant on it. However, I do believe it’s time we seriously look at diversifying our portfolio in a meaningful way.

Oil is here to stay and the truth is we will still need it once we are ready to start transitioning over to more sustainable ways to produce the material items we know and love.

I view it in much the same way as building a new bridge. You don’t tear down the old one prior to completing the new, but rather use it until the project is completed and then look at whether there are new less strenuous ways old infrastructure can be used. Only when all options have been looked at and its use is no longer viable or responsible should its end come, and for oil that is a very long time from now.

Prior to the downturn we are now experiencing, I often questioned why oil companies themselves weren’t looking at “new” forms of energy (ie. wind, solar, etc). Surely there was money they could have invested into research and development so that when oil was in a lull there would be some sort of possible stability or even just another market they could take advantage of.

But alas they did not, and now you see companies facing dire times, some even shutting down because they chose to gamble solely on an industry that was out of their control.

All around the world, other countries are waking up to the fact that the global oil dependence is something that needs to change, and it is these countries, companies, and people that are going to benefit once the transition is finally made.

Where will Canada be when that day finally comes? Will we continue to focus on pipelines and patches, or will we accept the inevitable and embrace change?

No one can say that oil will one day be obsolete, that would just be naïve, but hopefully one day oil will simply be just another option.

A small man shadowed by strong women

As a strong minded and opinionated woman, I have come across many things that warrant me to go off on a tangent and rant. Lately, the Canadian media has been all over one particular person whose views make my blood boil, and I would happily punch if I had the opportunity.

Are you ready for my views on Roosh V? Also known as Roosh Vorek or Daryush Valizadeh.

For those who don’t know who he is, Roosh is an American writer and “pickup artist” known for his writings on “seduction” and antifeminism, most predominant right now is his view that rape should be legal on private property.

It’s really hard to not use vulgar language to describe his broadcasted view on the world and women, but I figure I might as well put a real effort at giving him what he deserves through the written word.

To me, Roosh V is nothing more than a sad, desperate, and most likely unhappy excuse of a creature, and I’d rather focus on things that are much more important, impressive and go against everything he thinks, or portrays as thinking, is true.

GIVING A SECOND THOUGHT TO BULLYING

Example one, Trisha Prabhu, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago who wants to put an end to cyber bullying, so what did she do? She designed ReThink, a software system that encourages adolescents to reconsider their actions before they send an offensive, cruel or demeaning message online.

I can’t imagine something more against the ideals of Roosh than a young woman with the intellect and ability to help make the world and Internet a safer place for everyone. In fact, it’s something he could probably get good use out of.

According to reports, Prabhu was first inspired to create a possible solution to the problem that is cyber bullying after reading about an 11-year-old girl in Florida who killed herself after being targeted by the crueler side of the world wide web.

SPEAKING OUT FOR THOSE THAT CAN’T

Next, we look to a country where women’s rights is definitely not high on the priority list and where generations of abuse are slowly coming around to social change.

In India, it is said that of the estimated three million prostitutes, 1.2 million are children, many of which are abducted by commercial sex traffickers or purchased in rural areas. To honour these stolen lives and lost innocence artist Leena Kejriwal launched “Missing”, a memorial to those girls — half of whom are trafficked between the ages of 11 and 14.

As part of the project, stark black silhouettes of girls with the word “Missing” written above are now appearing on walls across India. Kejriwal began the project last year with an outdoor installation during an art festival, where she set three larger silhouettes of girls and women on the roof of the venue. According to A Mighty Girl, she described these figures as “like sharp, black holes cut out of the sky. Holes into which millions of girls disappear from the face of this earth.”

With much more planned for her mission of bringing awareness to a disturbing issue, as well as to honour those who have already been lost, it’s easy to see that Kejriwal is a strong woman, something Roosh V does to accept in his “pray” or conquests.

TECHNOLOGY AND INSPIRATION

Next on my short list of young inspirational women that don’t fit the bill of egotistical male chauvinists is 18-year-old Hayley Todesco from Alberta Canada, who’s passion for the environment combined, with the predominant industry in her province, lead her to create a much needed invention.

A project that took two years to develop, Todesco built a bioreactor, that uses bacteria to break down waste, that also incorporated a sand filter. For the young inventor, the goal was to determine if her system could break down naphthenic acid, a major toxic component of oil sands waste.

Although she did not have access to oil sands tailings or bacteria, this small hiccup was overcome and did not waiver her determination as she reached out to the University of Calgary for assistance.

Through trial and error Todesco was finally able to develop a filtration system that breaks down toxins 14 times faster than the conventional method, a feat that saw her win the 17- to 18-year old category at the 2014 Google Science Fair, as well as the prestigious science fair’s “Local Award” for the Americas which recognizes projects addressing a locally relevant issue. Todesco has also won many other awards for her creation, including the 2014 Stockholm Junior Water Prize.

LOOKING AT LEADERS FROM THE PAST

Finally, although this blog could go on forever if I wished to recap every woman or girl that has had an astounding impact on our world, I look back into our history to see how women have helped to create environments that have developed the strong women we see today.

From scientists such as Marie Curie, developers like Grace Hopper, and women’s rights activists such as Nellie McClung, our past has been nothing shy of spectacular and empowered by women who would not allow the low expectations on their gender to determine their impact on the world.

Without the strength of those who fought for women to be educated, to vote, or to be taken seriously as academics, there is no telling where our world would be or where it will go as more and more strength and determination is shown by today’s youth.

Gender is nothing when it comes to the abilities of a person to succeed, and when we focus on how amazing women have been and continue to be, rather than those who’s goal is to hurt our advancements, then we further strengthen a society and world that embraces female power and creates women and young girls who know never to give up.

“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her; but the strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Where is the country I love going?

There’s been so much going on in the media lately and I haven’t had the time to write any blogs, so when it came time to sit down and hash something out I didn’t even know where to begin.

Today more than ever we have access to information that could benefit the world, strengthen communities and society, as well as empower people to bring positive change to areas where we see grave injustices.

After all, you can strengthen your knowledge to the level of university grads simply by going online and accessing thousands of free textbooks.

The only problem is that people do not seem to be taking advantage of the information and instead blindly follow the firsthand account of certain situations, or blindly spread stories written in satire as truths.

Let’s face it, humans at times are nothing close to rational and when something impacts an aspect of our lives that we are passionate about some have a tendency to be blinded from the fact and become part of the ignorant heard. Continue reading

A nation mourns, but a family suffers

As yesterday’s events carried on throughout the day I sat at my desk, unable to work and uninterested in the small events going on around. Nothing against the great things happening in Drayton Valley, but something big was happening, something that many didn’t quite understand how it will impact the way things progressed over the day, but also over the days, weeks, months and possibly years to come.

After a day in the office, which started at 7 am due, I sat at my desk, receiving an alert on my phone about what had happened only a short time after I sat down and began to fill on reviews on boots I purchased online.

Over the next nearly 10 hours I worked and listened to what was happening in Ottawa, at first thinking of my father in law who will soon be based in Ottawa after serving at CFB Esquimalt, a Naval base in Victoria BC.

Messaging Ben I stated, “You mom is not going to like the idea of your dad going to Ottawa now.”

Later in the day after listening to the replay of information for hours, despite very little changing, I messaged Dan to let him know I was thinking of him and hoped things were as well as could be expected. In the natural good spirit of Dan, he replied “Kicking asses and taking names. Love Dad.”

The day carried on and more information came out and I continued to work and listen, when in a state of exhaustion I finally went home shortly before 5 pm. Continue reading