Tag Archives: lifestyle

PLASTIC HERE TO STAY: THERE IS NO AWAY!

by Erlene Woollard

Have you noticed lately what is happening in the world’s oceans? If not, please take the time to do so. A good place to start would be the website of the Plastic Oceans Foundation, a global network of independent not-for-profits and charitable organizations, united in their aims to change the world’s attitude towards plastic within a generation. There are currently four Plastic Oceans Foundation entities: United States, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and Canada (in Vancouver), serving both the ocean and the public.

I went to the Canadian Premiere of their film of “A Plastic Ocean” and found it very disturbing and hard to watch but also enlightening. I was encouraged to see so many concerned and qualified people working on the issues of educating us all and trying to protect the world’s sea life from society’s careless use of single-use plastic.

The suffering this plastic is causing is heart wrenching and so unnecessary. If only we, as part of a caring society, would be more thoughtful and even vigilant in our use and disposal of the plastic that surrounds us in our daily lives. In other words, we urgently need to RETHINK our use of the stuff. The hope is that once people know the consequences of our disposable lifestyles as well as understand the importance of the oceans and their bounty in our lives then we will start to care. From caring comes positive change.

Here are some pertinent facts from the Plastic Ocean’s website.

  • Plastic, once made, is always with us in some form. When it is thrown away in one place, it shows up in another, always.
  • More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year.
  • We have developed a “disposable” lifestyle; estimates are that around 50% of plastic is used just once and thrown away.
  • Plastic is a valuable resource and plastic pollution is an unnecessary and unsustainable waste of that resource.
  • Packaging is the largest end use market segment, accounting for just over 40% of total plastic usage.
  • Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used annually worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • A plastic bag has an average “working life” of just 15 minutes.
  • Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.

Often, when we look at making changes in our lives, the changes seem daunting, unrealistic and very time consuming. Below are some things that can be done almost without thinking. These are things that help make each of us feel like we are part of a positive solution.

RETHINKING PACKAGING:

  • Bananas have their own natural packaging so do you really need to put them into a plastic bag in the store to take home?
  • When going shopping, take your own plastic bags from your collection under the sink!! I know this is easy to forget, but you don’t forget your purse or your jacket or your shoes, so……??!
  • Shop in stores that have bulk food. Do not just automatically buy things like cucumbers/apples that the store puts into plastic bags (you will find the others are usually fresher anyway).

 BECOME A BETTER CONSUMER:

  • Refuse to buy things that have excess packaging, and when you can’t avoid doing so then leave the packing behind for the store to deal with (and you can even write letters about this).
  • Use up things. Don’t squander resources on items that are hardly used or which you don’t need and then carelessly send to landfills.
  • Be willing to buy less and to pay fair prices for the things you do buy.
  • Take an extra few minutes to have that coffee in the café to avoid taking it out.
  • Take containers to restaurants in case you have any leftovers to take home.
  • Try to start remembering to ask for a drink without a straw in a restaurant. They even have stainless steel ones now.

BE BOTHERED AT HOME:

  • Hide the ziplock bags and Seran Wrap from yourself as well as other family members and train yourselves to use other methods to store that small bit of leftover onion which will probably end up in the compost anyway.
  • Wash those ziplock bags when you do use them and put them out to dry.
  • Recycle everything and into the right places.
  • Ask yourself “Do I need to use this?
  • When you do use plastic and are tempted to throw out, remind yourself about all the resources that went into making this amazing product and also about the fact that any plastic ever made is still in the world in some form.
  • Use your imagination to use things in new ways.
  • Make a habit of educating yourself about the needs and also about some of the wonderful innovative inventions happening all over the world to remedy this situation and support these as much as possible.

In order to help consumers become plastic literate and also so that we can make informed decisions about how and when to accept plastic, our intergenerational team in the Suzuki Elders would like to arrange a showing of A Plastic Ocean sometime this coming fall. If this is of interest to you please let us know.

There are many other things we can do and this is only to start you thinking about ways to change your mindset, your habits and home environment and to even begin to change the systems we live in.

One interesting idea is to teach ourselves to let the oceans speak for themselves. Listen to the stories of the sea creatures and the ways they have been made to suffer. Be an open space for learning from them and changing our own stories to save these beautiful creatures and their environment so that our own species can survive.

We need our oceans and the food they produce for so many reasons.

 

Change happens now; the world is rooted in our backyard

Paper presented at the Richmond Earth Day Youth Summit 2016

by Ryan LiuRyanLiu

Is nature not something beautiful, caring, extraordinary? Does it not surround us and care or us every second of the day like a mother, hence the term Mother Nature? But would you really treat your own mother this way? How can we throw our trash in her backyard, mess up her clean house, neglect her house plants, not thank her for all the nice things she does for us? Who are we to treat our dear Mother Nature this way?

Because of us, she is fading. She is dying from neglect and abuse. Because of us, there will soon be no nature to enjoy, no more wildlife nor vegetation, no more flora nor fauna. Because of us there will be nothing left. I don’t want that and neither should you.

I want to make a change. I will make that change. There’s a really big difference you know? Between wanting and willing. Wanting is just an empty way to trick yourselves into thinking you’re doing a good thing. To the people who sit at home wondering what if? What if what? What if you didn’t spend the day thinking but doing? If we don’t do anything, then how can we hope to accomplish anything?

We are the most powerful creatures to rule the earth; the apex predators, so how are we the ones to plunge earth to its doom? By not taking action, we are causing destruction. By standing by, we are letting the world pass us by. We have to do something for our environment, OUR planet. Remember, you guys still have to live here, under the roof of our Mother Nature.

Now I don’t want you to go outside and plant fifty trees because although that would be awesome, it’s unrealistic. If you could just plant one or have your own little garden, that would help. A small act makes a big difference.

I’m going to bring my mom a fresh glass of water, I’m going to clean up her house, I’m going to plant flowers in her backyard. I’m going to make my mom happy.

I know there’s plenty of people just like you, like me, people who want to make the world a better place. Who want to see our Mother Nature smile again, laugh and dance again, prosper and live on with a bright healthy future in front of her, in front of us.

Who wants to make that change?

Now who will make that change?

 

 

Report on Coast Salish Culture Day

by Peggy Olive

Mahan Hall on Salt Spring Island was standing room only for the Coast Salish Culture Day this past Sunday, February 21st. The large turnout, including dozens of captivated children, was a welcome surprise for organizer, Joe Akerman, and the local First Nations band members who attended and performed for each other and island residents. We were warmed by horsetail, nettle, and mint tea and by the energetic dancing and drumming of the Cowichan Tzinquaw dancers. Hul’qumi’num and Sencoten elders recounted stories and told of the changes that had occurred in their traditional territories and in their lifestyles in less than one generation. “We used to harvest clams and oysters, put up our tents on this island, and make clam patties. The land looked after us. We were a wealthy people.”

This memory of digging for clams in the 1940s brought forth an elder story about five clams sitting in the forest on a log. When a blue jay flew over, the clams told him that the other jays were saying that his feathers were dull. The blue jay went back to the other jays and complained to them. A bear came by the log, and the clams told him the other bears did not think much of him. That bear went back to the other bears and began to argue with them. Soon all the animals were arguing until they noticed that the clams were laughing and not fighting with each other. When they realized what had happened, the animals took all the clams to the beach and buried them in a deep hole in the sand so that when they spoke, their mouths would become filled with sand. When you hear clams bubble under the sand, they are talking about you.

We heard about reef net fishing, or sxwalu, a sustainable way of harvesting salmon that was once common practice among the Coastal Salish bands and which distinguished them as a people. In 1915, reef net fishing was outlawed in Canada. Now, for the first time in 100 years and with support of the Lummi nation in the San Juan Islands, reef nets were constructed and used at a traditional fishing site near Pender Island. Unfortunately, thanks to our warmer weather, the fish took a different route in 2015, away from the stationary reef nets. Nick Claxton who leads this effort, provided a model and description of the practice along with a full-scale reef net spread over the adjacent school playing field. An important distinction was made about this practice: “This is not about who we were but who we are.”reefnet

The day was rounded out with a salmon and bannock traditional lunch, a cedar weaving workshop, a talk on aboriginal resurgence, and music by Wesley Hardisty. We were promised a larger venue next year.

Nature Red in Tooth and Claw

by Bob Worcester

About 30 years ago wcougare began sojourning from the city to our cabin in Howe Sound. Our island retreat was an idyllic place to relax and recharge before returning to the work and worries of the city. It was also a safe and stimulating place to introduce children and now grandchildren to the wild outdoors. They spent summers exploring beaches and forest trails, mostly unsupervised and unstructured. It was hard to get lost on an island and they were mostly isolated from serious hazards. There were the acceptable risks of wasps, water sports, fires and falls. Deer, ravens, owls and occasionally raccoons visited our clearing on the island but they were mostly welcome unless they took excessive interest in our garden.

Recently, however, rumours circulated of a cougar on the island. A dog had been mauled, paw prints were found in mud, and there were second-hand reports of sightings. It is a large island so such warnings were filed mentally away with the forest fire advisories as something to be aware of but not too concerned about. Then we heard first hand that the cougar had been seen on the rocks above our beach where the grandchildren had played on their summer visit.

The abstract became real. Our sense of safety shifted as we imagined an encounter on the trail to the beach. Cougars are iconic creatures and efficient predators. They rely on stealth, speed and precision to bring down prey often twice their size. Attacks on humans are rare but have been fatal. Although the probabilities are low, when shadows lengthen and you are alone on a trail the possibile seems real enough. I found myself more vigilant, scanning my surroundings more closely and listening more carefully to sounds I might have otherwise ignored. I carry a walking stick now that is a bit more solid than before and a flashlight when I am out at night.

There is something primal in this reminder of my tenuous position on the food chain. The feeling probably predates the ice age when humans were fair game for predators before technology gave us the edge in close encounters. I can imagine the cougar watching me from the shadows to see what the upright apes are up to now. It is good to remember that the wild is not a Disney movie or a nature documentary. And I am glad cougars are not vengeful since this one was no doubt displaced from its home range by land development or clear cut logging.

We can share the island as long as the cougar does not develop a taste for grandchildren. I am probably at greater risk from ticks than from this new neighbour and there certainly are far greater dangers in the city than from cougars in the wild. That said, I will continue to carry a stout stick when I walk in the woods and be more alert to the sudden, swift and silent movement that would presage a dramatic end to my story – but one well worth telling to the grandchildren.

Abundance, Digital Distress and Time

by Morgan ReidGuest blog seal

Originally presented at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, March 23, 2014

I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy” – Thích Nhat Hanh

We have a largely materialistic lifestyle characterized by a materialistic culture. However, this only provides us with temporary, sensory satisfaction, whereas long-term satisfaction is based not on the senses but on the mind. That’s where real tranquility is to be found” – The Dalai Lama.

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This apple is a bit of a modern miracle. Partly because it’s March. A fresh apple in March! And shelves full of them in every grocery store.

How many of us have grown apples? How many of us have stored apples over the winter? Like in a cellar or basement? This perfect apple didn’t come from a cellar, but from a storage facility where humidity, temperature and oxygen levels are mechanically controlled and monitored by computers. This apple is an example of modern abundance. Apples aren’t in season. Apple season is six months away. But we can buy almost anything in many places, almost anytime. Anyone who has experienced seasonal shortage might realize modern abundance is pretty remarkable. But to those of us who have lived in relative comfort in modern times, this abundant availability of food and other goods is just normal.

Before modern refrigeration and storage were widely available, only the best apples were selected and stacked in baskets and crates, then kept cool in cellars, underground pits and caves. Although I grew up in modern times, when I was a kid we had a cellar dug into the bank near the stream that ran through our property. It was like a small basement. In October, we would look at the big box of apples and the dozens of jars of fruit, vegetables and salmon, and feel a deeply pleasing sense of abundance. In mid-winter, getting home from school, we would run down to the cellar where it was warmer than the freezing outside air and reach into the box and pull out a perfect crisp, cool, sweet apple. In late January, they were getting a little soft, and by March, they were gone. No apples left in the cellar. The garden was still muddy and bare from winter, except for a few stems of kale and chard and a few buried carrots. The thimbleberry and blackberry bushes by the creek were still months from bearing fruit, and fishing for steelhead and winter chinook was an expensive and chancy sport rather than a realistic source of food. We stacked empty jars on the cellar shelves after each meal.

Today, there are plenty of apples on grocery store shelves. In fact we all know we can get just about any fruit, vegetable or food product just about any time, a short drive or walk from home. We can buy an unbelievable range of toys, gifts, housewares, clothing, appliances, tools, electronics, and entertainment. Compared to older times, when the beginning of spring was when we humans deliberately, and out of necessity, consumed less, now every new season marks a new shopping cycle.

Long before I or anyone I know was around, the Equinox marked a time of hope for life to re-emerge after the dark, cold winter. A time to hope for renewal and a fresh new growing season to start. A time to reassure ourselves that food would again be abundant, and that we would again celebrate and feast together. We use the symbols of eggs, bunnies and flowers to remind ourselves of the fertile abundance the renewed season will bring. And we remind ourselves that the forces of good and of life are strong, and that goodness and light return even after a dark winter. In the old days, things were rough in the early spring. People had been hungry for awhile, some got sick. At this time of year, we really needed flashes of hope and light: little shoots of green, a bit of solemn confidence and some sweet surprises and big smiles from the grown-ups. And a nice party for everyone, young and old. These are all about raising spirits.

Today we have abundance beyond measure. More than we need, more than we can readily comprehend. But it seems that we are still hungry. With all this abundance of things, what do we do? I can see that a lot of us spend time with each other and do quite a lot of good work. Many of us have grown up working a lot, doing the things we needed to do to bring abundance to our families and to this church as well. But today, a lot of us are experiencing a different kind of abundance: this incredible avalanche of material goods, and of information and technology and entertainment that have become part of normal life for so many of us.

And many of us are still hungry for Something. There’s this feeling of need. That desire for Something in the old days was what motivated us to go outside, or to put on a show, or to explore the world. How many of us remember that feeling of wanting to have something to do and someone saying “Go play outside.” And you did. You’d read all the books, played with all your toys, there was nothing on TV or you didn’t have a TV, or you were over your quota and anyway not allowed to waste a day sitting around inside. So you connected with friends and did something. When I was twelve years old, during the March break, my brother and I found some wood and built a tree house, more of a tree platform, ten feet off the ground and eight feet square. It had beams and floor joists. We didn’t officially know how to build a floor, but we did it. Our parents had no idea what we were doing out there in the forest. When it was built, we called them outside to see what we had done. We ran ahead, climbed up and hid there, so that when they walked down the path through the forest they didn’t know to look up until we popped our heads over the edge and yelled with unforgettable pride, so they could see what we had done. We loved our tree fort, but the look on their faces, their amazement. That was gold! Those were the old days.

Today, we—grown-ups—have built an abundant universe of technologies to reach for when we feel the need to do something: the internet, smart phones, video games, World of Warcraft, Facebook, Pinterest, texting. Now I know that you and I haven’t designed and built these personally. But from the perspective of a young person, we adults approve these technologies implicitly. In fact, while many of us grew up without networked digital communications and entertainment, we now accept them as normal. But they are not. They are new, and they may not be as great as the technology zealots, marketing specialists and the human-computer designers would like us to believe.

Let’s take a few seconds to remember what normal was like fifteen years ago. It’s not easy to remember, because we humans are adaptable. We get used to the new normal pretty quickly. The new normal is that 30 percent of North American households have no limits on screen time for children and teens. The new normal is that the average North American teen has a screen in her face for seven and a half hours a day every day. The new normal is that we don’t seem to have the time to help our kids with their problems. And the new normal is that we adults need to go and “work” on the computer some more. Children and youth are following our lead: looking at their phones, computers, televisions, and game consoles, following us into the habit. Into digital default; and when it gets cut off, into digital distress.

There is a growing, recent body of research into this new normal, asking to what extent the new normal might be harming children’s chances in life. We know that brain development during childhood and youth is rapid and complex. We are learning that too much time on screen harms learning, thinking, and moral development. The biggest concern is that we don’t know to what extent we are risking children’s capacity for future learning and development. Overuse of technology may cause changes in the structure of the brain that limit later learning and development in areas like empathy and motivation. As a result of this research. the Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children “aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to [screen time], 3-5 year-olds should be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 year-olds restricted to 2 hours per day.” The Kaiser Foundation (2010) and Active Healthy Kids Canada (2012) found that the new normal is that kids are on screen for four to five times the time limits in these guidelines for children and youth. It’s kind of an experiment, really. We are responsible for a massive experiment in which our young people are the underage research subjects. Are we giving informed consent? What are we risking in this experiment?

A friend reminded me that we have done massive social experiments with our young people before—widespread literacy is relatively new—and these experiments had both benefits and costs. I don’t think this is the same experiment. We need to consider “What costs are we incurring with this present experiment?” And “What exactly is the experiment?” Just to make this a little more real, imagine you are handed a consent form asking you to sign your permission for your nine-year-old to see seven hours of TV, video, video games, smart phone apps political messaging and advertising every day for an indefinite period of time. There’d be a warning on the form: Risks may include learning and social difficulties; or Combined with an average North American diet, sedentary behaviour may cause health problems; and There may be increased chances of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, anxiety, depression and the controversial diagnosis of Internet Addiction Disorder. Would you sign the permission form and send a child into this experiment?

I will note that some studies have been able to measure increased abilities in video gamers on certain skill tests, but it turns out these tests are measuring what children learned in the video games, rather than their skills in real life. There is plenty of research that identifies problems, and there are quite a number of health care providers in several fields who are fully occupied with treating children with problems associated with excessive screen time. Something to keep in mind if this turns into a debate: it’s easy to point to kids who have done OK, despite overuse if technology: family involvement, stable homes, enriched environments, good diet, friends, good schools. These can all counter the progress of digital addiction. But does anyone really claim that seven and a half hours a day of screen time is good for children? No, not really.

Children and youth are much more likely to be healthy and smart, good and happy if they spend less time online and more time in the real world. But that is not the trend right now. The trend is that those of you who vaguely oppose all this digital culture might sheepishly deprecate yourselves as Luddites, those famous opponents of automation technology from the early industrial revolution. And you expect to get brushed aside. But maybe you’re just right. Maybe your instincts are right. Maybe you’re countering a massive cultural trend that is going in an unhealthy direction and you’re not sure how to approach your son or daughter or friend when she or he doesn’t want to turn off the video or put the phone down for a few minutes.

And what about sleeping? Sleep is important to learning, development, and mental and physical health. When it comes to taking a break, getting rest and unwinding and recharging and processing our experiences through sleep, we are in a dark time indeed. “Night time. It’s a good time to sleep,” I tell my son. But many children are awake into the night. A Boston College study found that 75% of nine and ten year-old children are sleep-deprived, and most of them are allowed screens in their bedrooms, unsupervised. When all these patterns combine, are we reducing children’s chances for a healthy, happy life? We see children being fed a digital diet that leaves them hungry. And chances are they will be fed medication rather than a nourishing diet of real life, and time with family, friends, and nature.

It is a dark time. But the desire to stay online, to keep watching the next episode, to play up to another level, is real and strong and learned. And it can be unlearned, in time. It’s time to re-emerge from this digital darkness, and to reclaim our time, and to help our children reclaim their young lives. Equinox and the Ostara rituals have been around for a long time, to recall the energy of life in the time of rebirth of plants and animals and good spirits. In our wish, this year, for abundance, what do we really need? We’re short of life’s most precious gift: Time. But because of the abundance of connections we have around us—the friends, families, the people sitting next to you in this community of like-minded seekers—we have the wealth we need to create more time.

When I made the above presentation in March 2014, I offered each member of the audience a coupon. For time. Sometime. I suggested that, while the daffodils were still up, they find someone to give that coupon to. It’s good for an hour of their time – an hour of undivided, unplugged presence. Doing something or doing very little, it’s up to them. But in the giving of that time (which is really just a seed), we create an hour of the kind of time we all need more of. And in those hours our friendships grow, and in the unplugged time, in the several hundred hours among us, away from tweets and texts, in the real world, together, our children may blossom and thrive again.

References

Video Games Can Help Boost Social, Memory & Cognitive Skills

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 

Pediatric occupational therapist Cris Rowan 

Dunckley, V.L. Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain 

Tremblay, et al. Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (aged 0–4 years) 

Three Voices/One Message: The Importance of Mimesis for Human Morality. Sally K. Severino, Nancy K. Morrison 

Web Junkies

American Journal of Psychiatry. Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction

Shyamali – homage to a friend

by Archana Datta

ShyamaliEarlier this year the Youth and Literary Activities Sub-Committee of the Lower Mainland Bengali Cultural Society in Vancouver held its monthly gathering at which we hosted a young guest speaker from the Global Alliance of Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).

He addressed a full house of 21 parents and children, and spoke eloquently to us on the environmental issues surrounding GAIA’s vision of a just, toxic-free world without incineration. GAIA mobilizes grassroots action against the spread of incinerators and other end-of-pipe waste technologies, helps build a movement for environmental justice, local green economies and for creative zero waste solutions. Our young speaker touched on the practical alternatives to incineration and what can be achieved through workshops at community and municipal levels, as well as individual and group efforts. He stated that being aware about the environment is the first thing one can do for one’s self, and then taking it further one step at a time. Whatever one does, it is important to always remember things in a bigger context as they affect life

I watched the reactions of the children and the parents alike. They asked questions on the challenges, what they could personally do, and how they could take the first steps. Our speaker made an obvious impression on the mixed audience. That was important for our small committee, so I let go a few items of our agenda and let the question-and-answer session proceed up to the end. All the while I watched the speaker fondly and intently, because he was the son of my dear, late friend Shyamali, and I have known Ananda since he was about 9 years old.

Shyamali was the daughter of an eminent Bengali artist, sculptor and educator from Dehradoon, India. Motherless at a very early age, Shyamali grew up with her grandmother in Shantiniketan, 160 km north of Kolkata. Shantiniketan (“home of peace”) was originally an ashram built by Debendranath Tagore, the father of India’s renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore. Today Shantiniketan is popularly known as a university town where anyone, irrespective of caste and creed, can come and spend time meditating on the one Supreme God. Shyamali grew up in nature, which had a profound influence on her.

She was an artist, activist and a mother. In the early 70’s she went to central America with her architect husband and their very young son. In the mid 70’s they came to Vancouver. She was a very social person and introduced herself to me when I was a new arrival in the city. From the first day I knew she was different to anyone else to whom I was introduced in the Bengali community.

Shyamali was a keen observer of what was going on in the world beyond her four walls, and a lot was indeed going on. She participated in public meetings, forums, artists guilds and rallies against nuclear armaments, war and the irradiation of food crops. She joined the artists’ guild and lived in a tent on Jericho Beach for a period. She was jailed in the U.S for protesting nuclear armament proliferation.

Her young son Ananda was always with her, but there was friction. On one side there was the tumultuous period in the USA with its effects on Shyamali, and on the other side there was an affluent life style. It was considered not to be healthy for the child’s soul, so Ananda was sent to an elite residential school in Ooty, situated in the mountainous Nilgiri Hills in southern India. Shyamali was not happy with this arrangement. By attending public lectures, rallies, forums and workshops with speakers the likes of Margaret Mead, Helen Caldicott, James Douglass and David Suzuki, she realized she needed to go back to her home base if she really cared for Shantiniketan and her son. She went back to India and brought her son to Shantiniketan where he finished high school.

As long as she lived, she did whatever she could do to protest against whatever she thought was wrong and she sided with whatever was right for people, for the soil, for the air, and for the water. Once in Shantiniketan she protested against a vintage car rally, arguing that the already polluted air of Shantiniketan should not be subjected to a few rich elitists’ pleasure. The organizers did not pay her any attention. She had much conviction and was a believer in non-violence as a great tool, so on the day of rally she just quietly laid herself down on the dusty road in front of the starting line and stayed there in a matter-of-fact way without any publicity and media attention. The rally could not take place. In all her artistic works, be it in a painting, in her story-telling with her home-made puppets or in her origami, she was one with nature.

She was a very gentle soul, yet uncompromising for the causes she thought were right – a tough but extremely loving role model for any child. According to Indian custom, once the body is done with living, it is incinerated. Shyamali wanted to be alive and remain part of living nature. Today her mortal body is buried under the soil in a village close to her beloved Shantiniketan. She chose that particular village because it did not discriminate against people of different religions, castes, creeds or social positions.

After he completed high school, Ananda came to live in Vancouver with his father. Since arriving here, he has never worked for any corporation, company or organization other than environmentally dedicated ones. Growing up during his formative years in Shantiniketan, with its particular social and physical environments, he realized what his mother had tried to instill in him throughout her life, namely that life is precious, not only for a privileged few, and that a healthy life is a right for every living being.

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