A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the tag “Edmonton”

Daily Prompt: Origin Story

Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different direction than you’d planned?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BEGINNINGS.

Origin can be  defined as 1. The point at which something comes into existence or from which it derives or is derived. So lets take a trip down memory lane. I started the blog as a way of sharing ideas, posing questions, and hopefully solving a problem or two along the journey.

For those of you who have wondered why the Blog is titled A Western Buddhist’s Travels, and yet the site is keiththegreen.wordpress.com, well here’s the answer. If you look at my page, my tag line is “Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment” so there’s the first clue. The blog was initially called Keith The Green’s Blog, as I definitely try to lead a low environmental impact lifestyle. However as I posted I realized that most of my decisions are based not on being green, but on not doing harm to other beings or the environment. Buddhism and environmentalism go hand in hand quite easily in daily life.

For those who haven’t read Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls, my about me page, let’s go back even further into the origin of this blog, before it was even conceived.  I grew up in Western Canada, in a household that mixed East and West. Asian and European, with in the British influenced culture of the 60’s and 70’s when Canada was still a largely homogeneous culture. Multiculturalism was beginning to sprout, the second-growth was just developing. There used to be a joke that to be considered a real town, instead of a village meant you had a Chinese restaurant in your town. Most Canadian cities had a Chinatown, some of which have survived, and others have vanished. Vancouver and Edmonton China-towns were a familiar place to me, growing up.

I was at the first Heritage Days festival in Edmonton 38 years ago this weekend. When the Province of Alberta declared the first Monday in August as a holiday to celebrate our heritage, and for two years a small festival was held at Fort Edmonton Park. Today with over 60 pavilions and over 80 ethnic groups, it draws over 350,000 visitors every year. You have a chance to see performances of singing, dancing, with the traditional clothing from each country. Plus you get to sample delights from every corner of the world. My parents taught me to respect all cultures and religions, while being proud of my heritage. I would always tell people about this great celebration, and encourage anyone to visit at least once. So if you are close enough to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada this weekend, make the trip. However I hereby absolve myself of any weight you gain from sampling the delicious delicacies offered. Admission is for the low price, of a voluntary donation to the food bank.

So you might say the origin of the blog started years before the internet, I just had to wait for the medium to catch up, so I could share the wonderful journey life is. So well the blog’s name has changed, and so does the content, the purpose, and goal has remained the same.

Edmonton Heritage Day’s Website 

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Daily Prompt: In a Crisis

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I can’t say why but I have generally handled crisis, with ease. It’s like someone is running the projector showing the movie of my life, not sure what you call a fifty three part and still growing movie, but it’s well beyond trilogy. Whenever a sudden crisis hits, it is like a slow motion part of the film, think back to the matrix, where Neo(corrected from Nero thanks to a sharp eyed follower) is in the gun battle with agent Smith, and you see the whorls in the air as the bullets sail past where, Nero was just a microsecond before. While it seems that way when a crisis hits, I seem to have enough time to see what is happening, and make a decision.

When Edmonton was hit by the tornado, on July 31, 1987, a day that is known there as Black Friday. I had just pulled into the McDonald’s across from Kingsway Mall, and saw the new temporary bus terminal at the mall, which was a few feet lower than the road. While I was in McDonald’s the rain hit the area, and when I came out I saw the buses sitting in a lake with the water lapping at the floors. These were the standard GM city buses of the time, with the three steps up, not the lower floor models no common in most places. Hearing that the city had been hit by a tornado, I went home, grabbed my safety shoes, and with a few other friends, went to volunteer our services. I have also seen vehicle accidents, reached for the cell phone, and dialed 911, and grabbed the first aid kit from the trunk, then walked to see what I could do to help.

However during these times, I tend to be focused on the acts to get through the situation, and may not be as compassionate as I could be. So while I am happy I don’t freeze up, I would like to be able to be less clinical about the situation while it is in progress. A friend of mine who ran an emergency department, said I have the personality, that would have made me effective in a triage centre, as I can asses, initiate action, then move to the next crisis.


Daily Prompt: Ripped from the Headlines!

Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.

Here is a link to the article: http://o.canada.com/2013/01/11/canada-at-150-suzuki-sees-a-nation-facing-an-apocalyptic-period/

Life seems to take many swings in different directions as we travel through it. To me it’s like a clock pendulum swinging from side to side, only briefly in the middle, as it inexorably swings to the left or right. As a Buddhist I try to walk the middle path, through life, and being an environmentalist I try to leave as light a foot print as I can as I walk along the earth. There are some who denounce the environmental movement by claiming that we would all have to live like cavemen, while others who attack every corporation as pillagers of the planet. Anyone who has experienced a Canadian winter with temperatures of -30 or lower knows we need to use energy to live through these periods. That said, we can design buildings to be energy efficient, and our communities to be net zero, where the community produces the same amount of energy as it consumes. Edmonton Alberta is redeveloping its old downtown airport, and after an international competition which attracted firms from around the world, chose this concept, with the city retaining the developers role, to make sure the standards are met. Take a look at the concept, as it shows what we can carry out with existing technology, and planning. Corporations are accountable to shareholders for profits, they are also accountable to the communities they are is to make sure that the environment does not suffer, from their activities.

What can we as people do, a lot more than most of us think we have the power to do. Speak up, during any debate about development, hearing about new business licenses, speak up demanding the government make sure the community does not suffer an environmental disaster, while the profits flow out of the community.  Some of the North American First Nations, had a seven generation outlook when making a decision, in that will this be good for those who follow in seven generations? Look at your children, and think what type of world do you want to leave for them? In 961 Jane Jacobs wrote her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, where she showed that everything needs to be balanced and connected for people to have healthy places to live and work in safety. It’s time we head the lessons of the past as David Suzuki, pointed out in his look at Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday, and decide where we want to be heading by that milestone, for Canada has the opportunity, and the obligation as a developed nation to be a leader in responsible economic development.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margret Mead


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