Amongst The Pixies
I’ve made a living for over 20 years turning other people’s waste into wealth. I was born in the UK shortly after the Depression, when nothing was wasted. We couldn’t afford to. I grew up when conservation, repair, and frugality were fundamental values.
As a lad, I spent most of my time wandering around the rustic byways in of the most beautiful of places, Cornwall, in the Southwestern tip of England. The Atlantic crashes on its shores onto spectacular beaches, and it possesses a wild, rugged, and stark beauty. It has kept its many Celtic mysteries secret until only recent times when it was “Anglicized”.
I grew up with witches and fairies and pixies as common knowledge.The natural world always held me spellbound. I was more at home in the hedgerows than inside a class-room. This was long before the days of anything “environmental”. I just intuitively felt in harmony with the natural world – not just as a background, but inherently interwoven with the very fabric of my existence.
Roads were designed for horse and carts, and many an unwary driver found himself face to face with a tractor moving at a snail’s pace with no room to pass. Ancient “ley-lines” criss-crossed the land, and it could well be said: “here be magic”
So it was no wonder that I was bewitched by stories of the majestic forests of the Pacific Northwest of Canada, in “super-natural” British Columbia. A visiting friend from this far-flung land regaled me with tales of massive forest giants stretching to the far horizon, clothing the snow-capped mountains with an emerald green. Complete that with the Pacific Ocean crashing onto the BC shores, and I was on my way. I found myself at the end of 3,700 Km train journey gazing up at the mountains that framed Vancouver – I was home! I was awed anew by a very different natural environment, one on a spectacular scale. How the city is cradled by forest and sea is one of the great wonders of the world – to a country boy fresh from a world in miniature by comparison.
Home on the Range
After a time in music production, I moved from the big city with my wife to the bucolic tranquility of Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.I decided to do the immigrant thing, and hew a homestead out of the wilds. I bought 14 acres of forest, and I felled a few of the mighty Douglas firs, from which I constructed my first home. I did a stint of tree-planting to make ends meet, and my whole life changed.Up to that point, I assumed that when I sped along the highway, the stunning beauty in the form of majestic trees stretched away forever beyond the margins of the road. I soon discovered to my horror that small band of tress enclosing the road was only that: 50 foot beyond there was a barren wasteland. I thus came face to face with the truth: BC was liquidating its ancient forests by clear-cutting everything in sight. My illusions were shattered, but I made a resolve then and there: I would do whatever I could to make this world a better place, one tree at a time. Especially for my then 4 year old son, Christopher.
Saving The Planet, One Tree at A Time
Thus began my environmental career. It all started with standing on the barricades on Clayoqout Sound, and soon morphed to opening the first recycling program in the community where I lived, Comox Valley. My rationale was that if most of the trees were being turned to pulp and paper, replacing virgin fibres with recycled paper, less trees would need to be felled.It felt like criminal travesty to pulp a 1,000 year old majestic wonder of the world – the towering spruce or fir – into the New York Times. Thus was born Comox Valley Recycling.
CARE -Citizens Action for the Environment and Recycling
A group of us formed a non-profit society in 1989, CARE . I was elected the first president, and the Society went on for more than a decade. We had numerous projects including: Comox Valley Recycling, Sound Solutions, The Tribune Bay Constructed Wetland, The Comox Valley Environmental Resource Centre, The Comox Valley Composting and Education Project, Septic System Solutions, Waste to Wealth, Spring Clean Up Days. For many of these I worked as the Project Manager, reporting to the CARE Board of Directors.
Fast forward to the present: I now live in the most wasteful culture that the world has ever known, North America. 5% of us consume 80% of the world’s resources.So I continue to do whatever I can to care for this beautiful planet that I inhabit. Climate Change scientists tell us that we have passed the tipping point – there is no going back. However, I have found out that to live in today, to do what I can as though this day is the last, gives me hope that there is a future. Caring for the Soul is what brings me to this place of acceptance of what is. Peace without will only come from peace within.
I have discovered that many people wish to live sustainably, but they don’t have access to information or products that will help them achieve their goals. Some products are just so inspirational, that I have posted them in The Eco-Store.