Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Beautiful Sunrise

Much as I hate going to work and coming home in the dark, I love the chance to see the sunrise and sunsets (as you may have gathered by the multiple photographs)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

One Shot Left?

Whether you believe/agree with this article or others like it, it's scary reading. We can gamble/hope that the science is wrong, but we have to remember we could be gambling with very high stakes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2008-09-27 Australia Parrots

These photos were taken at Rainbow Jungle, a bird habitat and breeding center, with the largest free flight aviary in Australia.

I love being inside aviaries with the birds where I can take pictures of them without bars, and where it's not so blatant that they're prisoners.

As well as the birds, it's a beautiful place with well kept gardens and ponds (as you can see from the last photo). And there was an art exhibition scattered throughout, which added interest.

2008-09-29 Australia Parrots

Monday, November 17, 2008

Michael Pollan on Food

Lately I've been reading Michael Pollan's books about food and the food industry. (The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food) (I actually got started on his books with A Place of My Own about building his own cabin, nothing to do with food.)

His recent article in the New York Times gives a good overview of his ideas.

Eating locally is tough in Saskatchewan, especially in the winter. But Shelley and I do try to get what we can from the farmer's market. And while we don't eat "junk" food, we do tend to use pre-packaged convenience foods, albeit usually "organic" or "healthy" ones (for whatever that's worth).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Day Down Under

I've gradually been working my way through our Australia photos. It's embarrassing to take this long after a trip to post them. And there are so many I realize I should post them in sections anyway. So here I'll just cover a single day of our trip - Sept. 27.

We had stayed overnight in the campground in Denham. First thing in the morning we drove to Monkey Mia where they have been feeding the dolphins for years. It's a big tourist attraction to see the dolphins up close. From there we drove to Kalbarri. It was spring in Australia and there had been some rare rain, bringing out the spring flowers. Against the red sand and drab bush the flowers were beautiful splashes of color.

It was a long weekend and school holidays so we were a little worried about finding somewhere to stay in Kalbarri. People were telling us that everywhere would be full. But an act of kindness paid off for us. When we stopped for gas a women asked if we could give her a ride to where her car had broken down. We did and along the way got talking about where to stay and she told us about a riding stable just outside town that had places to stay. It turned out to be a really nice place and they had both camping and rooms. We decided to splurge and got a room ($50).

We went to the Seahorse Sanctuary just outside Kalbarri where they breed seahorses for the aquarium trade so that they won't be taken from the wild. They also breed pipefish and peppermint shrimp. It was pretty cool to see them and learn how they breed them.

We stopped at a beach and watched the surfers. Pretty good waves here. The lady at the seahorse place suggested we watch the sunset from the beach and cliffs at Pot Alley, It was a beautiful sunset.

Here are the photos:
2008-09-27 Australia

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Sunset

I think I'm pretty lucky to get these kinds of views walking home from work. Better than staring at someone else's tail lights, that's for sure!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Carbon Offsets

I recently started buying carbon offsets from Planetair. For example, it cost me $650 to offset our flights to Australia and $25 to offset flights to Calgary. I also signed up for $30 per month which is what I calculate our electrical and heating equate to.

There's a lot of debate over carbon offsets and claiming to be carbon neutral. Do I think it will solve our climate change problems? No, but I think it's better than nothing. Just arguing about the best solution won't solve it.

The other question is where the best place to buy carbon offsets is. I just looked for a Canadian company with a good reputation. Planetair is recommended by quite a few organizations and is the only Gold Standard offsets in Canada. (for whatever that's worth) They're definitely not the cheapest, and for air flights they suggest doubling the offset because of the increased affects of emissions at high altitude. But to me it doesn't make much sense to look for the lowest cost.

Even if carbon offsets aren't the best solution, I can always just look at it as donating money towards the development of renewable energy.

As you can tell from the amounts above, it's my long distance travel that is the worst offender. In most other respects I think I'm doing quite a bit better than average. But so far, despite feeling strongly about the issue, I can't bring myself to quit traveling. So I'm also trying to offset a certain amount of guilt.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Banff Photos

We just got back from our annual trip to the Banff Mountain Book and Film Festivals. We spent a free day hiking up Tunnel Mountain and around the 12km Spray River Loop. It had snowed overnight and the clouds were swirling around.

2008-11-05 Banff

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Glorious Sunrise

One of the good things about spring and fall is that sunrise and sunset coincide with going to and from work. I'm not sure the people in their cars appreciate it, but I sure do.

(as usual, click for larger versions)