I have been working at editing my writing, which unfortunately means more reading! I am currently reading Canadian Environmental History, edited by David Freeland Duke. It's a collection of about nine essays on Canada's environment. I like it because the essays are well written and referenced.
I am doing this so I can get versed on the things that I think are relevant to what we are trying to accomplish here in Toronto. I would like to see the name of the city changed from the Big Smoke to the Big Green!
We will hope.
Did you know that according to the United Nations Environment Programme, 2011 is the International Year of Forests? I found that out on the UNEP website. I checked that out because I missed out on the International Year of Biodiversity (2010).
I know, we can't have it all. One thing has been on my mind here though, and that is this: there has been a tremendous amount of work done on local organic gardens in Toronto's communities. I think this is a good thing, because we need more of that, especially in a recession.
I have a few comments on that score. First, these are nothing new, at least in my experience. My parents had what they called a Victory Garden in the back yeard. It was modest, tomatoes, pole beans and one summer, corn. However, since both my parents were working and my father had diabetes, the money we saved from not having to go to the grocery store was helpful.
Second, we also had a victory garden of sorts up north at our cottage. I know it helped with the grocery bills. At one point I got involved - I have two black thumbs and know it - but I had a little patch of hot peppers.
My point is this: if we can get people growing even on a modest scale, and do it as a community activity, have we not just set the stage for a community building exercise? Surely something like this will help us to bond and we can do outreach to spread the word about the green Toronto that we'd all like to see.
I know it's easy to sit here in a warm library and type away with ideas, ideas are fun! But I also want to see if, when my wife and I move, we can get a little patch and help others who can teach us those survival skills.
That is the difference between the Victory Garden the way I remember it and the gardens that are being created now: the social aspect. I know my late parents would a) not be surprised at these gardens and b) approve wholeheartedly. This is because they both approved of being frugal and looking after the resources that you have already, rather than buying new all the time.
Victory gardens for the planet. I think it's a good idea, and I know I'm looking forward to spring. I know everyone else is too.
In other news, I will be going through my contacts and inviting people to join TT; one of my friends has already expressed great interest and he has a green thumb. I admire him - his name is Luis - because he has more knowledge of plants and cultivation than I will ever get and he has been showing me different types of plants on our walks around the neighbourhood. That sort of knowledge is something I don't have and I know it.
That being said, I know that I have a natural curiosity, and far from killing this cat, it has allowed me to grow and, I think become more interesting as a person. So in the spring, if there are any community gardens and I can get involved I would like the opportunity.