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Going Green: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Day-to-day actions, and the habits you cultivate, that matter most. When you change your thinking, you change your life. Adapting to a greener lifestyle is worth it for all kinds of reasons and it’s not all about the planet. Green habits often save you money and improve your health and life, as well.

How to change your thinking? Simply start practicing some mindful observance of your routines, purchases, and other aspects of your lifestyle. It’s a good idea to keep a “lifestyle journal” for a week where you note the following major areas where it’s easy to go greener:

  • Amount and type of meals eaten out of the home
  • Grocery shopping habits (what, how much, where)
  • Commute
  • Type of vehicle you drive
  • Size of family
  • Home carbon footprint (use a calculator)
  • Travel (type, how often, how far)
  • Where you buy your clothes, electronics, and furniture
  • What kinds of cleaning products and personal care products you use
  • Any existing environmentally-aware habits: biking, recycling, using energy-efficient lights, a canvas grocery sack, carbon offsets when you fly, and so forth.

Once you have a better determination of your lifestyle, it is easy to begin “tweaking” every day actions. And that starts with being aware of how much and what you consume – and what you do with things after you’re done using them. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a very easy method for integrating actions and awareness. Some green tips

  1. Did you know 1/3 of food goes to waste? (Some say half!) The first thing you can do is reduce your food waste. Keep better track of grocery shopping – here’s another place where a journal will help.
  2. Buy higher-quality clothing in seasonal cycles rather than trendy, cheap clothing several times a month. Example: buy one good coat this year; a good wallet next year. Aim for purchases that may be a bit more up front but will end up saving you cash in the long run because they will last you a lifetime.
  3. Most entrees at restaurants are big enough for two. Save money and prevent food waste by splitting meals (warning: do this with close pals only or you may get accused of being cheap!). Brown bag your lunches, too.
  4. Force yourself to always wait one day on non-essential purchases in order to avoid impulse buys.
  5. Order online or direct from companies rather than driving to a store. This helps reduce fuel and energy waste at many points along the production-consumption chain.
  6. Look for ways to go digital to reduce waste: books, magazines, music, and movies.
  7. Keep your car longer. Instead of a 2-year lease, finance a car with a 5-year loan and keep it for 10.
  8. Reserve one day for your shopping and errands instead of making multiple trips all the time.
  9. Carpool as often as you can or ask your boss if you can telecommute.
  10. Become a zealot about turning things off: the water, the lights, the electronics.
Green Tips to Reuse
  1. Buy vintage everything. From electronics to furniture to fashion, vintage is the most eco-friendly choice you can make.
  2. For vintage furniture and electronics, try Amazon and eBay. You’ll save the earth’s resources’ and your own.
  3. Check out garage sales and estate sales, too.
  4. Try community barter trading sites
  5. Wash and save glass jars for handy use as storage, vases, and food leftover containers.
  6. Use cloth napkins and towels instead of disposable ones.
  7. Use old t-shirts for yardwork and vehicle cleaning tasks. Try to find a use for everything you normally throw away. You can get pretty creative! There are dozens of things you can reuse.
  8. Reuse paper. Printer misprints make great to-do-list scratch paper.
  9. Shoe boxes and yogurt containers can be turned into herb planters, file storage and more.
  10. Check out this helpful list for more ways to reuse household items.
Green Tips to Recycle
  1. Recycle all glass, metal, paper, and plastic.
  2. Compost everything – a lot more than food can go into the compost bucket. By recycling the basics and composting, you will drastically reduce your waste.
  3. “Recycle” things you don’t want anymore by donating them – old toys, clothes, furniture, decor, games, movies, books, and tools.
  4. Recycle paint, motor oil and other toxic household cleaning supplies.
  5. Recycle batteries.
  6. Recycle every type of plastic.
  7. Recycle your electronics for cash.
  8. Recycle your computer.
  9. Recycle your cell phone.
  10. You can even recycle your car.

Book: Global Warming Over Cool Cocktails Anyone?


The summertime air is hot, and not just from the rising temperatures. It’s hot with the buzz of global warming. Whether it’s around the water cooler, at a family barbeque or at a cocktail party – we can’t escape this heat. With mounting mixed messages and confusing sound bites flooding the airwaves, global warming has summer society all hot and bothered.

Bothered because we all know we have a problem, yet we haven’t a clue what to do or whom to believe.

Well, relief is in the air courtesy of Canadian author Annette Saliken.

Cocktail Party Guide to Global Warming is an environmental primer that should reside next to the grilling tongs, in the beach tote and even in the briefcase this summer.

Saliken, a first-time author, is officially launching the book in Vancouver, Canada July 17. But her going green manual is already generating buzz, having scooped the highly regarded Editor’s Choice and Publisher’s Choice Awards. It’s quickly become the No. 1 bestselling global warming book on Amazon.ca, shooting from No. 796 to No. 1 in just three weeks.

Saliken says she was inspired to write the book while completing her master’s thesis (related to the topic) at Royal Roads University in 2006. Her words have cut a refreshing path through the dense fog surrounding global warming. With contribution from Martin G. Clarke, the easy-to-read “layman’s handbook” aims at helping the great “unwashed” Canadian public better understand global warming and alternative energy. She says it’s all you need to be able to converse confidently and intelligently in social settings on these complex issues.

Priced at $18.95, the 178 page guide packs a wallop. The concise content:

  • translates thousands of pages of scientific data (from sources such as the Nobel Prize winning IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) into everyday language for non-technical readers.
  • “connects the dots” between climate change, global warming, natural processes, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and fossil fuels.
  • clarifies common misconceptions and answers frequently asked questions.
  • explores breakthroughs in alternative energy technologies including solar, geothermal, wind, ocean, hydro and bio.

The Joy of Wives


When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her. Sacha Guitry 

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one , you’ll become a philosopher. Socrates

Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them. Dumas

The great question… which I have not been able to answer… is, “What does a woman want?
Sigmund Freud

I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.
Anonymous

“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.”
Henny Youngman

“I don’t worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.”
Sam Kinison

“There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.”
James Holt McGavran

“I’ve had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me, and the second one didn’t.”
Patrick Murray

Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming
1. Whenever you’re wrong, admit it,
2. Whenever you’re right, shut up.
Nash

My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
Rodney Dangerfield

A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong.
Milton Berle

Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy.
Anonymous

A man inserted an ‘ad’ in the classifieds: “Wife wanted”. Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: “You can have mine.”
Anonymous

First Guy (proudly): “My wife\’s an angel!”
Second Guy: “You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.”

Is Professional Certification A Scam?


I have been working in project management for the past 25 years. I have managed projects that vary in size from small $50,000 projects to large several million dollar ones. I have followed various international project management standards and lately I have been working under the CMMI standard.

Now my current employer is pushing me to get certified for the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation, I have refused because as far as I can see, the PMP designation though it may be a way to tell other parties like business partners to my firm or potential employers that I am indeed qualified to perform my job as a project manager, acquiring the certification is not a way to actually improve my skills.

In my mind having a PMP designation does not make any difference to what I do. I work with many project manger who have obtained the certification by spending thousands of dollars to prepare themselves to write the certification exam. It has not changed the way any of them work; they still conduct their projects according to company standards.

In my software development firm, we are Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) compliant, a standard that provides us with a strict process in delivering software. Many of the project managers we hire have the PMP designation when they come to us, but are not familiar with CMMI, and have to change the way they are used to doing things to comply to the company’s process. Many fail and leave or are dismissed, so I have concluded that PMP certification is irrelevant, and wonder why companies demand this certification.

If we look at my industry, in software development, historically very few projects have made it on time, resulting in the project managers being seen as the ones at “fault”, this might well be the case in other industries as well. As projects continue to overrun their time lines, a business opportunity was spotted. The certification industry has targeted project managers and offer them a new designation that seems to give them added credibility in carrying out their job.

The Project Management Institute that acts as the authority for certifying project managers, in all industries was created. To receive a PMP, a project manager has to agree to a adhere to a code of professional conduct and meet the Project Management Institute (PMI) requirements. Passing this standard allows a project manager to use the PMP acronym next to their name.By the end of 2006 there were approximately 220,000 PMP\’s (source wikipedia). It has also become much easier to get a PMP, as exam content is available on the Internet allowing individuals to gain certification without much knowlegde or understanding.

What PMP has created is an auxiliary business for universities, trade schools, and consultants in preparing and certifying professionals, some more professional than others, and also opened doors for cheating and undermining the PMP designation. Many serious business universities have raised their fees to ward off any cheaters and hopefully attract only serious individuals perhaps. Since when has the ability to pay been a measure of integrity?

It is not enough that we go to university to get a MBA, or PHD on top of our BA degree, we now have to get certified in the profession we choose, to compete for the available jobs out there. So, if your chosen profession is project management, you’d better get your Project Management Professional (PMP).

Before you receive your undergraduate degree, it might be a good idea to check with your university what prep classes they have for your becoming a PMP.Certification is a contentious issue, despite improving professional practice being its raison d’etre. The problem is, a certification is a stamp stating that you can do a specific job, but it says nothing about how well you do the job. so it is up to the individuals interpretation or the company process on how they do their jobs, and a companies process might not have anything to do with how you been certified to do the job.I eluded to it earlier when I mentioned that our project managers with the PMP did not change how projects were delivered and missed deadlines were still a problem.

The real issue in my industry is that we do our planning well, but during the execution due to personnel or functionality we add new features without factoring in the impact these changes will have on the end result. No collection of letters after your name is going to change this.

So, the software industry’s response to this was the industry certification of a company’s process under the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), the CMMI has 5 levels, a company has to start a level 1 and build towards level 5, with various certifications in each step.

This has been proven to lengthen the project, as a largest part is gathering the requirements upfront, and the execution of the project then comes in on time. But due to changing priorities or client demands, executives in the software companies over-rule the process to meet specific business needs, and project still run overtime. I do not think the software industry is the only one that has business needs going before process, that happens in any industry regardless of a PMP or CMMI or ISO 9000 or what ever the specific industry certification process is.

So, to conclude there is a new business opportunity – certification of company Executives, why should the rest of us be certified when they can change the requirements or due to business needs change ways we certified workers do our jobs.

We need to know that our executives are qualified to do their job!

10 Life Rules


Do you have life rules that you live by, here are some thoughts about life rules to live by

  1. Nobody is thinking about you – So much energy is wasted on worrying, everyone is thinking about themselves – banish paranoid thoughts – so if someone is about to get you don’t fret about it, you can not control
  2. Live by the 70/20/10 rule – ignore the 10% that you will not be able to change, focus your time on the 20%
  3. Appearance is frequently reality – be yourself
  4. Envy no one – ever
  5. Don’t blame the parents for one’s life
  6. Never bring news of slander to a friend – if a friend bring bad news your guard is down and you react, if an enemy slander you, discount it
  7. Never expect gratitude – if you are spending you life to expect glory, you are going to burn yourself out.
  8. Go against the crowd be a leader not a follower
  9. Be a positive person
  10. Self praise is no honor, you are a braggart, if another person says you’re great, people pay attention

Re-use papers


Tips on how to use and buy re-useable papers.

Look for the EcoLogo on paper and other office supplies. All purchases should be made with environmental considerations in mind.

  • Double-up! Produce double-sided documents and photocopies.
  • Reduce paper usage by using electronic mail.
  • Collect paper that has previously been used on one side and re-use it for fax messages, draft documents and notepads.
  • Pass items you no longer need on to co-workers who can make use of them.
  • Save and re-use binders, file folders, envelopes, paper clips, elastics, etc.
  • Use your own re-usable coffee cup, rather than a disposable cup.

World without borders


What does it mean to be Canadian when we come from everywhere?

How do we forge a shared national purpose among people who have never shared anything before?

The world is coming to Canada. More and more Canadians are global citizens, exploring the world or staying connected to our countries of origin more instantly, more easily and more inexpensively than ever before.

We are Canadians without borders, looking outward to an exciting future. We have come together from every corner of the globe to continue to build a progressive, vigorous, multi-ethnic democracy that is unique in human history. We want to embrace the national responsibilities that have been thrust upon us because of our unique place in the international community.

Our destiny is to show that Canada can be a model for a troubled world increasingly challenged by religious and sectarian friction, and environmental catastrophes. Our growing diversity as a people, our huge pool of human talent, is our greatest strength from which to forge a clear, national purpose.

We need bold and visionary national leadership to inspire us to confidently take on the world and convey a sense of forward motion.

We need national leadership that inspires Canadians once again to believe that those in public life can translate rhetoric into action. We need a national government that governs for the Canadian people, not the provincial premiers, and that brings forward initiatives with clarity and conviction.

Here are some examples of what such leadership could achieve:

We need a vigorous national commitment to establish the best public education system in the world. Among other things, this should mean:

Child care, including early childhood education, available in the schools (elsewhere as necessary) from the age of 3.

Enhanced parental leave to permit one parent to stay home with children for at least the early years of a child\’s life.

No public funding for faith-based schools and a curriculum that includes serious study of religions of the world.

Funding to ensure that there is a teacher\’s assistant in every classroom.

Schools open in the evening and serving as community hubs.

Assured access to the full range of post-secondary education to all qualified students.

We must once and for all devote the attention and resources necessary to put an end to Third-World conditions among aboriginal Canadians.

We must likewise take all necessary steps to achieve equality of opportunity for all Canadians in practice, not just in theory. We must solve the foreign credentials problem that has deeply hurt so many new Canadians, and provide adequate infrastructure to help new Canadians maximize their potential through language training, settlement services and internship programs that provide work experience.

We must also establish wage security to enhance the employment insurance of those whose jobs are displaced by global forces, and take much more effective steps to eliminate poverty and unemployment.

We should have true national standards for medicare, with a commission at the national level establishing what services should be necessary for all Canadians, from autism therapy to physiotherapy.

As important as it is that we find cures to the diseases affecting Canadians, we must also take much more aggressive national action against environmental causes of ill health and disease, such as by identifying and eliminating the toxic chemicals and pesticides to which Canadians are exposed daily.

The time is long overdue for the national government to:

Put an end to the costly, wasteful barriers to trade among provinces.

Create a single national securities regulator.

Take firm steps to make Canada the greenest country on the planet, with a minister of the environment on a par with the minister of finance.

We can start by putting a price on carbon and introducing a carbon levy on polluting activities, including a levy on gas at the pump. This will provide substantial dedicated funding for a wide range of initiatives designed to increase energy efficiency and conservation, and develop new sources of clean, renewable energy, including a national electricity grid. The additional revenues can contribute to a reduction in personal income taxes and ensure that business and investment taxes remain competitive.

The time is also long overdue for a well-funded national infrastructure program to help establish public transit, new sewers, safe water supplies, and ensure repairs to existing bridges, roads and railways.

Finally, almost every aspect of our daily lives has a global dimension. All the serious challenges we face – whether climate change, dreadful poverty, wars, sicknesses, nuclear proliferation, terrorism – require global co-operation and decisive national leadership.

With clear global vision and bold national leadership, Canadians are uniquely positioned to be in the front ranks of a world without borders.

Take a Houseboat Vacation


A houseboat is a large RV that runs on water instead of the highway. You move in, set up housekeeping and use the houseboat to get around. A houseboat vacation is relaxing, with little to do all day but swim, cruise around exploring lake’s, picnic on a n island, read, play games or take a nap. I’s a nice change of pace if you want to slow down for a while.

What’s Included

Most houseboats will have a generator and heater. Some have an air conditioner or evaporation cooler. You’ll find taps for hot and cold lake water as well as fresh water. You’ll often find a gas-powered barbecue on deck and deck chairs.

Most houseboats have fully-stocked kitchens with a refrigerator/freezer, gas stove, microwave, oven, blender, coffee maker and toaster, along with dishes, silverware and plenty of pots and pans. They even provide the dish soap. If you need extra storage for cold foods, make sure there\’s a supplementary ice chest.

Sometimes you can find restaurants at marinas around the lake, but it’s more fun to eat on the boat. Plan simple meals that everyone can help prepare, or make them ahead at home and freeze them. Bring ready-to-bake cookies or a cake mix, especially in cooler weather.

Things to Bring on a Houseboat Vacation

Know what’s provided. You probably won’t need to bring your flyswatter or toilet paper, but you will need to bring you own bedding. Don’t make any assumptions. Ask if you have any questions about what the rental company does and does not provide, ask.

Think through what you’ll be doing and what you’ll need to do it and make a list. Check with each person who’s going along to see what they might want to bring. These are some of the things everyone will need:

  • Towels: Bath towels, hand towel for bathroom
  • Bath mat
  • Bathroom air freshener
  • Bath soap
  • Sheets and blankets for the beds or sleeping bags
  • Pillows
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Earplugs (to block noise for a better sleep)
  • Games, cards, books
  • Slippers to wear inside or warm socks (in cooler weather)
  • Paper and pens, so you can leave each other notes
  • Binoculars
  • When you go on shore, you\’ll pick up a lot of mud on your feet that\’s easy to track inside. Bring a doormat or an extra pair of shoes to wear inside.
  • Bring a cell phone, or even better two phones that use different service providers. They’ll come in especially handy if you forget something or get in trouble.
  • If you own them, walkie-talkies can be very handy when trying to maneuver or anchor.
  • The on-board refrigerator runs on propane and has only eight cubic feet of capacity. If you’re taking a lot of food, you’ll need ice for the auxiliary ice chest.
  • Butane match (the kind you might use to light a barbecue), cigarette lighter or kitchen matches
  • Wood for a bonfire.

Clothing you might not think of:

  • Waterproof fanny pack for your wallet
  • Warm clothing for the evening. It can get quite cool on the lake any time of year
  • Water shoes that are also suitable for light hiking. Closed-toed ones are better than sandals.

Orientation

Orientation will take about an hour. Pay close attention, ask questions, take notes. It all sounds easy until you\’re in the middle of the lake and forget how something works.

  • If you have a digital camera along, take pictures to help you remember
  • Don’t stop at listening to instructions about how to drive the boat. Ask if you can back it out, go in a short circle and come back in with your instructors. It’s harder than it seems, and you may be able to avoid what happened to us when we ended up stuck against the dock going the wrong way.
  • Practice tying and untying the boat with your instructor.

Boating Tips

Try to keep track of where you are by matching the landmarks you pass such as marinas and boat ramps to the map.

Before you try tasks that require a lot of coordination like tight maneuvers or anchoring, appoint one person to be the only one who make decisions. Discuss every step in detail before you start, and once started, obey your leader.

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