Saturday, November 19, 2011

why do we give money or time to people we have never met?

I just made a KIVA donation, if you have never heard of it please check out Jessica Jackley here:, an amazing organisation doing really amazing things.  My question; what is the psychology, behaviour, attitude and values behind doing something for someone half way around the world who you have never and will never meet?  Sponsor a child, make a micro loan, send donations, etc.  I am sure there is a wealth of information out there on this subject a literature review would probably be quite valuable.  I discussed this yesterday with Auden Schendler author of Getting Green Done and the sustainability VP for Aspen ski resort (pretty cool job).  Auden highly recommended reading Peter Singers (a utilitarian philanthropist) book The Life You Can Save.  Auden says this book says it all, why we give, why we don't, and most importantly why we should!!!  A short video can be found here:  Brilliant, make a drop in the bucket, so simple. 

On the ride home from the Building Saskatchewan Green Conference today a friend said to me, "I and I" (Used in the rastafarian religion in place of "you and me" to show that all people are equal under Jah.)  and the Beatles sang "I am you and you are me and we are all together".  We are all in this together, a friend often says to me just some of us won the lottery at birth (if you are reading this I am likely referring to you), which I am so thankful for... 

make a drop in the bucket, you, me, we can make a difference!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roadmonkey Vietnam 2011 - An Attempt At Words

What can I say other than thank you, I was completely humbled yet again by the kindness, generosity and hospitality of the Vietnamese people.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Less = More <=>

Watch it!  This is five minutes of your life well spent.  You may even come out with less stuff, less space, a new outlook...  Housing in Regina is currently worth about $200 / square foot to build, this doesn't include the land.  So for the average monster house which we are currently building to the North, East and Harbour Landing south of our city, this is costing 2000sqft x 200/sqft roughly 400,000 + the space (200,000), so roughly 600,000 per house.  What if you could live in half that amount of space, you would save 200,000... I don't know about you but for me to save 200,000 could take decades...

I just returned from Vietnam (more on that to come) where we built a 320ft sq home for a family of three.  In comparison to what many in that community have, they tell me that this is a palace.  I felt a real sense of community while in Vietnam, neighbours look out for children, everyone knows everyone, you don't need to worry about full time supervision of your children because everyone knows everyone in the community and will keep an eye on them.  While I was there this looked a little bit like little monkeys running around everywhere, without the care of a parent.  Since I returned I learned this is completely normal.
Recognizing that you don't have to live close together or in small homes to have a vibrant community, I believe rural and farm communities in Saskatchewan to be very vibrant and warm.  I feel like the design of living closer together (so close) in modest (small) dwellings encourages us to engage with our neighbours and our community much more.

How many square feet do you occupy?  Could you live in 320ft sq?  Could you share it with your sibling and an uncle, like the Vietnamese family we met?  My sister who lives with me, as well as a roommate, in what I am sure the Vietnamese would consider a kingdom (1600sq ft condo), is downsizing.  I am up to the challenge.  Downsize, buy less stuff, occupy less space, save money, reduce your footprint...  I am heading upstairs right now to go through my closet!!

kind of a ramble, sorry about that, the video was worth watching at least!