Archive for March, 2008

Earth Hour

Earth Hour

I am so pleased to see this symbolic appreciation of the Earth. I will be eating dinner by candlelight during Earth Hour and even take some time to reflect on what I can add on to my green list. Toronto Star has listed many tips of how we can reduce our carbon emissions. Here is a list of some of the tips I liked:

Screen savers don’t save electricity. Instead, set your computer to go into sleep mode when you aren’t actively using it. That can cut your power consumption by five times, cutting your electricity bills by more than 500 kilowatt hours per year, according to The Carbon Buster’s Home Energy Handbook

 Two large power plants have to run constantly to supply enough electricity to run North American television sets WHILE THEY ARE TURNED OFF. They’re called power vampires, as they suck energy to stay in a constant state of standby. Plug your television into a power bar and turn that off when you aren’t watching. That will save about 40 kilowatt hours over a year.

Wash your clothes in cold water. Since 80 per cent of the electricity in washing your clothes comes from heating the water, using cold rather than hot water will save you as much as 2,500 kilowatt-hours of power a year – more than twice the average household’s monthly energy bill. (Source: The Canadian Energy Efficiency Centre)

Hang your clothes up to dry. Even now, in winter. One load in the dryer uses enough energy to toast 250 pieces of bread, according to Change The World for Ten Bucks: 50 Ways To Make A Difference – a book put out by the “movement” We Are What We Do. (www.wearewhatwedo.ca)

This is action 13 from Change The World for Ten Bucks: 50 Ways To Make A Difference: “There are 9.3 million mobile phones replaced in Canada every year. That’s a heck of a lot of annoying ringtones and worse, it equate to around 1,000 tonnes of landfill (and a whole bunch of nasty chemicals).”
Instead of throwing your old broken down phone in the garbage, take it to a collection centre – where it will be either refurbished or recycled. There are many around Toronto – in high schools, community centres, even Pizza Pizza outlets. Find the nearest one to you at: www.pitch-in.ca/Pitch-In.php

Buy organic bananas. Even though the pesticides on regular bananas won’t make you sick, they’re heavy on the health of workers in Costa Rica, where many of our bananas come from. There, only 5 per cent of cultivated land is used for banana plantations, but they account for 35 per cent of the country’s pesticide imports.

 Find many more tips on the Toronto Star website

Here is more info on Earth Hour from the WWF website

Earth Hour is a global event created to symbolize that each one of us, working together, can make a positive impact on climate change – no matter who we are or where we live.Created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour has grown from a single event into a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 35 US cities will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco.

Earth Hour brings together communities, local governments, corporate and nongovernmental organizations to heighten awareness about climate change and to inspire our nation to take practical actions to reduce their own carbon footprints.

Earth Hour: March 29, 2008 8 – 9 PM

– Cities around the world will join together in literally turning off the lights for one hour to offer leadership and symbolize their commitment to finding climate change solutions.
– Lights will be turned off at iconic buildings and national landmarks from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
– Local businesses and restaurants will also be asked to turn off their lights.
– People at home can take advantage of the hour by replacing their standard light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

How will you be celebrating Earth Hour?

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Food for Excellence

Climbing Mountains

I love what Robin Sharma has to say on his blog about food:

The food you eat today will determine your health tomorrow (and far off into the future). “Sooner or later, we all must sit at a banquet of consequences,” observed Robert Louis Stevenson. Actions drive results. Always.

I know you stand for a life of excellence/adventure/wonder (and fun). So I encourage you to take your diet to it’s next level. Eat excellent food. Fuel your body with only the best. Consider yourself an elite athlete – putting only superb nutrition in so you only get superb results out.

What’s the point of getting to your mountaintop – but getting there sick? Or not having the stamina/energy/fire to chase down your dreams and play at brilliance? So eat to win.

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Spring again

spring

Trust everyone had a wonderful Vernal Equinox/Full Moon/Easter/Nawroz. Spring is in the air and it feels most wonderful. Though the trees here don’t have any buds like the ones in England, it is good to know they are around the corner. I love the fragrance of spring and am inhaling big gulps of it.

Spring again
Spring again
Spring again
Isn’t it?
Buds on the branches
A breeze in the blue
And me without mittens
My sweater unbuttoned
A spring full of things
All before me to do.
Author: Karla Kuskin

Enjoy this time of  reawakening and new beginnings.

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Impressions from Africa

Island off Dar es Salaam

 Life is truly magnificent and I am so very grateful for the miracle of each moment. Regardless of where I am I appreciate the beauty, wonder and preciousness of life. Here are some impressions from my journey to Africa:

– How much I enjoyed the very thing I used to fear in times gone by – Flying

– The gorgeous weather while in transit for a day in London

– Safia’s  delight in her first trip despite moments of homesickness

– Seeing my brother after 15 years and connecting right away

– The love and support of my Mum, brother and my sister-in-law for all that I am and all that I want to be.

– The pace of life in Africa. Time slows down even amidst chaos. Everybody seems to be living outdoors during the day.

– The lushness of the vegetation and the miles and miles of tall coconut palm trees against the blue, blue sky

– The tropical fruits and wild young coconuts sold everywhere making it very easy to eat well while on the road

– The intense beauty of the majestic ocean and the warm, soft sand on the beaches. Oh to dig my feet into the sand and then walk into the ocean.  

 – The lush, balmy evenings

– The women in their colorful clothes

and much more.

Now I am back in Toronto and I see mountains of snow, bare trees and a grey sky but I also see my home and my boys and I am so happy.

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Back home

Mwenge Dalla-Dalla station

 I had the most amazing trip ever. I did go to an internet cafe in Dar es Salaam but my screen kept going blank. Anyhow here is an update on my trip.

We went on a dolphin tour in Zanzibar. The best time to go is early morning. We arrived at 11 am and by the time our boat was at the dolphin site we were alone on the ocean as all other boats had returned to the shore. We had the ocean all to ourselves. It was just our family in a wooden boat watching and enjoying the dolphins, the wide ocean and the open sky. Absolute heaven. When we returned the tide was in and the boat could not come closer to the shore. So we had to get into the water and walk to the shore. Definitely part of the fun.

On the way back we visited Jozani forest, home to the rare and endangered species of the Red Colobus monkey and got to see many monkeys swinging from tree to tree.

In Dar-es-Salaam, where my Mum lives we spent our last day which was also Safia’s eighth birthday at Wet and Wild, the largest Water and Entertainment park in East and Central Africa. Safia absolutely loved it. It was definitely the best Water Park we have ever been too.

More in my next post.

Wishing you a happy St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know that St. Patrick’s day is also celebrated in Dar-es-Salaam and Dubai?

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Jambo from Zanzibar

Zanzibar

Saying hello from Zanzibar. I spent the day at my cousin’s place in London while it transit. London greeted us with gorgeous sunshine. We got the most beautiful aerial view of London and were We  able to see the Tower of London, the Wheel and more. While Toronto was dealing with snowstorms, the trees in London were already blossoming and Spring was in the air. I love England and will have to come again. Neeta bought me the most delicious raw lunch and dessert. How lucky! Thank you so much, Neeta. It was wonderful to spend time with my cousin and his wife. I flew on to Dubai and spent an hour at Dubai airport. Dubai brought back many memories of the time when I lived in Doha, Qatar. I encountered friendly people at every airport and everything was smooth sailing. I arrived in Dar-es-Salaam full of energy although I had spent 21 hours on the plane in 2 days and slept about 4 hours.

I have been in Zanzibar for a week. Zanzibar is full of contrasts. I am living at Ahlan Palace, my brother’s hotel in Stone Town. Stone Town is Zanzibar’s ancient part and full of historic buildings, palaces and old homes. There are many beautiful hotels here but also a lot of run down homes. Although it is low season there are very many tourists here. Stonetown is full of narrow alleys that look all alike to me. I am starting to understand the maze somewhat now.

My favorite part are the countryside which is full of wild banana trees and coconut palms. I estimate that only about 25 % of the land is being used for produce. The seaside is stunningly beautiful. 

Fruits are in abundance. There is a main market but produce is sold on the road side everywhere. Fruits available include papaya, pineapple, young coconuts, passion fruit, custard apple, water melon, mangos as well as local fruit of which I don’t even know the english names.

Most of the population seems to spend time outdoors. Children are always playing outside their homes and women and men will tend to sit outside as well.

For breakfast I always have 2 glass of smoothies made with coconut combined with fruits and spirulina. The chef at the hotel makes them for me and my brother who has tried spirulina for the first time. Out on the road there are plenty of wild young coconuts, sugarcane juice with ginger and lime and peeled mangos.  

I really enjoyed the spice tour. We went to a farm with 150 varieties of produce. The owner gave us an excellent explantion of the plants and their uses. Here are just some of the plants I saw: Tamarind, jackfruit, durian, aloe, starfruit, clove, vanilla, cacao, coffee, cardamom, passionfruit, coconut, turmeric, ginger, lychees, curry leaves. bay leaves and more.

A farm worker climbed up a coconut tree and served us fresh wild young coconuts. At the end we were served lychees, bananas with seeds and passion fruit. The farm workers made bags out of the coconut palm leaves as well as a ring and bracelet for Safia.  

My time is over. More to come.

 Hello to everyone and sending sunshine your way.

Fatma

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