Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A million dollar question

What is the answer to the man who I just walked by asking for change on the street corner?

I love the stuff that Kiva does, is that what we need in Regina?  Microloans?  Jobs?  Better social programs?

What is the answer, I think I may go back and ask him...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Critical Thinking

I recently took a course at Royal Roads University on critical thinking.  Critical thinking is the act of thinking critically and reflectively about a subject.  Wikipedia defines it as: "Critical thinking has been described as “reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do.”[2] It has also been described as "thinking about thinking.""  I like to do this when I make big decisions, I do this through the rigor required in my Masters studies, I like this definition and see the value of more of it in our society.  For example making critical decisions on infrastructure, vehicles, housing, emissions control, neighbourhood design, energy infrastructure (coal, nuclear, solar, etc), forestry management, all environmental resource management for that matter, etc is valuable and necessary for us to minimize our impacts on the planet and hopefully maximize both human and ecosystem benefits.  

So why am I writing this post??  Well, I have a problem with critical thinking when it is simply being critical.  I feel like this in the workplace, when reviewing others work, or when asked for feedback or when asking for feedback on a project we jump at the opportunity to be critical.  Many times the conversation goes straight to critical "why we can't do something", rather than a team let's solve this mentality or here's how we "can do" this project... this wears on a person, its like constantly hitting a roadblock, a barrier, I didn't realize it until tonight it hit me.  I recently handed in a draft project for review, and I was afraid to check my email, I didn't want to find another critical message in my inbox... maybe I need to practice more critical thinking, maybe this is just a lot of fluff, but I am asking you to think critically, be constructive, and support your coworkers, friends and family in their pursuits as positively as you can muster, it may mean a lot to them, it probably does and the opposite can just get tiring.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

This is bloody brilliant


"self propelling prophecy, engineers, designers, architects etc all thing things need to be neat, straight and perfect so customers (people) come to demand neat, straight and perfect and then you get the advertisers who sell us neat, straight and perfect and the colour and trend of the day!"

This guy is saying so much more then recycle products to build better homes.  He is talking about human nature and the irony of our wants and desires and our insatiable appetite for more and social norms that we talk ourselves into.  "we have confused Maslow's hierarchy of needs" - what we want and need is completely confused when we save for designer jeans instead of essentials

"our housing has become a commodity" - we sprawl whenever we can, we have invented excess... "we need to reconnect with who we really are and that is a thrilling opportunity"

The coolest house I ever visited was in Vietnam, Dalat.  Check out the pictures here:  http://hotels-in-vietnam.com/hotels/Dalat/crazyhouse_hotel.html .  That was the funnest most entertaining house I have ever been in!  I want to do more with my home with less...  Work like this video and this crazy hotel in Vietnam should act as inspirations for the architects who still have artistic roots and those costumers who still see perfect not in straight lines but in beautiful recycled and reused functional elements of a home.

There is a huge desire and market for renovations in Regina right now, I don't know anyone in the construction industry that isn't crazy busy, many friends don't even answer their phones when they think it will be new business.  Why are we suddenly soooo caught up in granite counter tops, new kitchens and bathrooms, hardwood flooring, new paint, etc etc etc,  Where is all the old stuff going, Habitat for Humanity only has room for so much stuff... Another benefit of used furniture, recycled and reused stuff is that the off-gassing of potential and probable carcinogens was already done in someone else's home (too bad for the Joneses who keep buying new stuff). I recently heard about a cool project called the Re-house that Waalnut is taking on with the Restore where everything is going to be recycled reused and refurbished, I LoVE it and would love to see more of this kind of thinking.

I promise to think before I renovate!