My doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine gave me this recipe when I was still weighed down with congestion from the swine flu after Christmas. He calls it: “Soup for kicking off cold (virus), raise immune system.” It really works. I left out the 1/3 pound chicken (leg/breast), used broth instead of water and added a few other things. It still works and it’s really yummy to boot.
3/4 lb fresh green cabbage chopped
2 large onions (I used one)
5-6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine/grated
1.5-2 oz fresh ginger root, chopped fine/grated
2 celery stalks
1 small bundle parsley
2.5 litres broth (water fine if you’re using the chicken)
I also added:
1 heaping tblsp engevita yeast (gives it a nutty flavour and it’s uber healthy)
1 heaping tsp turmeric (makes it taste like chicken soup)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup barley
I sauté the veggies first, starting with the onions and garlic, then add in the rest of the veggies, broth. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about half an hour. Up to 3 hours if you’re using the chicken.
I got a shock the other day when I walked by my old stomping grounds at 2150 Maple Street, the site of the compost garden where I used to work. The city-owned “SPEC” building was gone. Not a speck left. It was condemned due to all the mold, and the decision was made to demolish it. I spent fourteen years of my life going in and out of that building. Now it’s an empty, fenced lot with a beautiful garden and cob house behind it.
The building was a model of energy conservation back in the 1970s. It had solar panels on the roof deck, an attached greenhouse with solar heating capacity and other state-of-the-art green features. The building housed many environmental groups over the years including the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation or SPEC as they’re called. City Farmer occupied the greenhouse and created the compost demonstration garden in the back. Fortunately, City Farmer is staying on. A trailer is being put onto the property that will serve as an office and workshop space. And luxury of luxuries, an indoor washroom. The fun factor of “going” in the outdoor compost toilet is soon lost in the dead of winter.
Many of the environmental groups that used to run campaigns out of that building are long gone, but SPEC still exists. They now reside a few blocks away on Pine Street. I’m speculating, but I’m sure they too have a mold free indoor bathroom.
Since 2008, UBC has committed to LEED Gold for all of its buildings. The Life Sciences Centre (2005), the Aquatic Ecosystems Research Lab (2008), and the Friedman Building Renew (2011) have already achieved that certification level and eleven more buildings are pending. For the past several decades, Educational Studies has been housed in the Ponderosa portables, “temporary” wooden annexes. Although they are old and musty, the windows open and we were surrounded by pine trees. All that changes in August 2015, when my department will move in to a brand spanking new state-of-the-art green building. Our new home is part of the two-phase Ponderosa complex. Phase one is nearing completion. The two towers have student residences and study areas, academic offices, fitness facilities and bike storage. The Audain Art Centre makes its home on the ground floor of one of the towers. I like the planters and bench seating outside of the café at the base of the other, not sure if the materials are recycled. I wasn’t able to find out details on the landscaping from the website. Looks like drought resistant plants, no trees in sight though. Sadly, I will already have graduated by the time we move in to our new golden digs. At least that’s the plan.
As I sat waiting for the bus today at the Cornwall/Balsam street stop, I saw several vehicles run the red light. This is the very corner that I was almost creamed on. The scrapes the car made on the light post are a constant reminder for me. A friend, who also had a close call at this corner, told me she saw a car up on the northwest curb the other day, the exact spot where the car had jumped and almost hit me. I could see the rezoning sign for the private hospital on that corner had been bashed in.
I watched the speeding vehicles pass, a few ordinary vehicles amid the SUVs, Denalis, Mercedes, BMWs, Lexi (plural of Lexus?). There are no speed limit signs along this road from Burrard to McDonald, just one reminder to slow down in a school zone. Seems to me it would be a good spot for photo radar.
The City has now closed off this speedway that was never meant to be a highway, that is, they have closed it off at McDonald so they can’t speed through onto tony Point Grey Road. If the point really is to stop people speeding through these beachside neighbourhoods, then why not close it off from Burrard? Make the whole street a greenway instead of just the manored strip along Point Grey road. That way us apartment dwellers can cross the street in safety too.
Four years ago tomorrow, my little nephew was born. I was home with my family, watching the Olympics while on baby watch. We were glued to the television, becoming experts in curling, speed skating, ice dance, biathlon and waiting. We loved every second, but always with an ear tipped towards the phone. Little Red Ryder took his time coming even though he was more than fully baked. He was born very early on the morning of February 27. I will always associate him with that happy magical three weeks in our country when we all felt like champions. Happy birthday mon petit champignon rouge.
This week, the Vancouver Park Board decided to scrap their plan to put a new bike path through Hadden Park on Kitsilano Beach, even though it was supposedly “a done deal.” Good for them! The public input may not have been contained within the boundaries of their official public consultation, but they listened to the residents and allowed for a more democractic process. I applaud them.
Although I am a proponent of cycling and bikeways, I was not for this bike path, for reasons that I outlined in a previous post. I followed the debate with interest, reading media articles, Facebook and blog posts from both sides. For those of us who were opposed, the general feeling was that the bike path was unnecessary as we were already adequately supplied—and it was a lot of money to spend on duplicating what was already working quite well.
What really struck me about the discourse from the Yes side was how they dismissed all of us westsiders as a bunch of rich, elitist, NIMBYs. I suspect many of the folks making these comments weren’t from our neighbourhood, so they couldn’t know that many of us live on or below the poverty line and that social programs are few and far between. They probably don’t realize that many of the soldiers and families who live on the Jericho army base are barely scraping by, or that some of our seniors are malnourished or even going hungry because most of their income goes to rent. We have many students living here too, in dank basement suites and packed into rundown “character” houses. And because we have very little social housing, we have homeless people too. You just have to walk in to one of our many second hand stores to know that not all of us are affluent on the west side. Jimmy Pattison did his homework. He knows we are a patchwork quilt over here with pockets of poverty. Two of his No Frills stores are strategically placed in Kits.
I think sustainability, more than any other social movement, if I may call it that, requires inclusivity. We need all the voices—their opinions, their proposed solutions—if we really are going to achieve the sustainable community we all desire. So it’s important to hear from the cyclists and the Sunday picnic people, the dog walkers, the suntanners, the seniors, the students, and yes the rich people too, many of whom are also cyclists. We all matter and sometimes we have to make compromises. The inclusive (and sometimes frustrating and time-consuming) dialogue process helps us to set priorities.
In my mind, it’s hard to justify a 2.2 million bike path when there are underfed and underhoused people over here. We have to give equal consideration to the social side of sustainability or we’re just cladding our city with a cheap green veneer.
There are some super sustainability offerings coming up at Simon Fraser University. The first two courses below are part of the certificate program that I’m involved in. The third is a free lecture on transportation with national columnist Andrew Coyne. Check them out.
Community Food Systems
Mar 7-8, 2014
9 am-5:30 pm
Instructors: Janine de la Salle, Urban Food Strategies and others
Communicating Sustainability for Awareness, Accountability, and Action
9 am–5:30 pm
Instructors: Nina Winham, New Climate Strategies, and others
FREE LECTURE SERIES & LIVE WEBCAST
Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas
Brought to you by TransLink in collaboration with the SFU City Program
Easing Congestion in Metro Vancouver: Prices Without Subsidies
February 25, 7 pm
Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (at SFU Woodwards), 149 West Hastings, Vancouver
Admission is free, but reservations are required. Reserve
Live Webcast: http://creative-services.sfu.ca/broadcast/
I saw this development sign up at UBC the other day, propped up in a wide open field. Oh, no I thought, not another building taking up green space. When I got closer and read that it was a new aquatic centre, I thought, oh goodie, a new pool to swim in! Classic self-interest flip flop. Then I read this Thought for the Day from Eknath Easwaran.
Do you want to be free? Most of us are held hostage in life by our likes and dislikes. We are bound by countless little preferences in food, clothing, decor, entertainment – the list goes on and on.
The person with rigid tastes in one area, for example in food, is likely to have rigid tastes elsewhere as well. He will probably enjoy only one kind of music, she will appreciate only one style of art, and when it comes to people, he has very definite allergies. In any case, a rigid person is conditioned to be happy only so long as he gets everything the way he likes it. Otherwise – which may be most of the time – he is unhappy over something.
The way we respond to small matters reflects the way we will respond to the larger matters of life. If we can begin to release ourselves from our little likes and dislikes, we will find that we are gaining the capacity to weather emotional storms. Then we can begin to face whatever comes calmly and courageously.
–Eknath Easwaran, Thought for the Day
UBC Point Grey Campus
A mural appearing out of nowhere. Materializing as the long blank wall of the building came into my view. As if in protest of its blankness. So delicate. Ephemeral. As if it would wash away in the next rain.