I decided to add this page because the environment is something that I am really passionate about and I want to do what I can to raise awareness and explore new ways that I can become more environmentally friendly. I also just love nature – trees, flowers, animals, bodies of water, wind, rain – so I’ll probably be sharing photos as well.

I’ve already talked about this a little bit under other sections so I will link you to them. A few months ago I looked into global warming a bit and human’s responsibility for creating greenhouse emissions. This is particularly related to our mass production and consumption of animal products, which you can read more about here – https://livefree0seizetheday.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/global-warming/

Although not made explicit in ‘Natural Living,’ (https://livefree0seizetheday.wordpress.com/category/natural-living/) if you read between the lines, it is clear that all of the chemicals we use in our daily routines cannot be good for the environment. They aren’t good for our bodies, they take a long time to get out of our system, and you can think of the environment in the same way – they are harmful for the Earth and end up in landfills where they take a looooong time to decompose. Not to mention all the packaging that these products come in.

For now, here is a picture of me from last summer under an enormous Willow tree (one of my favourites) that I found while hiking with my brother. You can find this beauty in the Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls Conservation Area.

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The Dictionary of Imaginary Places

the dictionary

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi, Illustrated by Graham Greenfield, Maps and Charts by James Cook, published in  1980. I’m not entirely sure, but I think I might have picked this book up a few years ago at The Book Gallery (see previous post – https://livefree0seizetheday.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/the-book-gallery/).

This book is seriously the coolest. It is literally a dictionary of imaginary places (that existed before 1980). That doesn’t just mean it has ‘Middle Earth,’ it has every location in Middle Earth, complete with a description of the location, and the people who inhabit it, where it is located and a reference to the literary work in which it is from. Some entries even have maps, sketches and charts. I have found entries that are from literature from the 14th century, right up until 1980.

middle earth

One thing I think is really cool is that if the imaginary place is on Earth, there is a map showing where it would be in relation to the real world. In addition, the book shows more than just cities, it has individual buildings or landmarks and often includes floor plans of buildings as well.

I only recognize a fraction of the places listed in this book and most of the ones I do are from Tolkien’s mythology. But it’s cool to flip through and find Emerald City, and Narnia. I would love to see an updated version of this book published just so I could see some of my favourite books/places included (Kingkiller chronicles, Harry Potter & Inheritance Cycle, the Maze Runner) that were published after 1980.

I have some books that are similar to this – two dictionaries of Tolkien’s mythology and a Tolkien Bestiary. The former being a dictionary of every person place or thing that exists in the Tolkien universe and the later focusing on the beasts (which includes people, elves, etc.). I find them all fascinating and the one’s that focus on Tolkien are essential if you are going to take on the Silmarillion or other background texts.

The Female Orgasm

This (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1m0-s6l8PHJfAMBcUjRPzdOUFFJwHkBJAA-Z9sOSNZ-Y/edit?usp=sharing) is a paper I wrote last semester for my Special Topics in the Sociology of Deviance class which focused on the topic of sexuality. It’s one of the longest papers I wrote at university and it took a long time (not surprising). I was kind of uncertain about it but I ended up get 98% on it and it was worth 50% of my mark for the class, so I am happy my effort paid off.

I picked the topic because none of the other ‘deviant sexualities’ were of particular interest to me and this is something that is still quite taboo to talk about. I found a TON of interesting stuff while I was doing this research and would like to emphasize how important it is for people to get to know their bodies and avoid falling prey to big companies.

Obviously this paper is quite long but feel free to read it/parts of it and comment. One point I would like to emphasize is the element of control that has historically existed in regards to female sexuality. Women are controlled by men and religion and the liberation of female sexuality is inextricably linked to feminism. This is evident in the following excerpt from my paper:

“Female masturbation can be viewed as a woman taking back control of her body. Block’s (2014) comment that “it’s empowering to be able to do it for yourself” is a perfect example of how masturbating puts women in control of their own sexuality and pleasure. In this instance, women are no longer at the mercy of men to awaken their sexuality and the female orgasm is no longer a tool to reassure men of their sexual abilities. In these ways, female masturbation is challenging historical and current ideologies about female sexuality and the notion that it is a response elicited by men.”

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is incredibly prevalent in many countries around the world, including Canada. It can take many forms (physical and verbal) and can take place between strangers and non-strangers and in essentially any environment. This happens in public, the work place, and in schools with kids as young as 12 (yes, 12 year old girls are being sexually harassed by their male classmates and sometimes much older boys/men).

There is a lot of focus on the experience of women being sexually harassed, and they are the primary target, but the truth is, anyone can be a target, and anyone can be a harasser. In addition to women, other common targets are effeminate men or really anyone perceived as abnormal.

This is a really important topic to talk about because of its prevalence and its effects. Individual’s who are sexually harassed experience many negative side effects including self-objectification, poor self-esteem and fear of being in public. In this case, it really seems that education is key. Men who are uneducated are likely to continue sexually harassing women and encourage their peers to do so as well. Women who are uneducated are likely to be more severely affected and be unable to respond to or cope with the experience appropriately.

To learn more about how sexual harassment is a gendered phenomenon, check out a literature review I wrote this past semester for my sociology of sexualities class – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z66MIvTgW7dCke_avaqX_iERcid6PTZQroQIAY8t0-s/edit?usp=sharing  (feel free to read and share your thoughts).

The paper talks about how men and women perceive the impacts of sexual harassment much differently due to their experiences and then how sexual harassment is used to reaffirm gendered identities – men sexually harass women to assert their masculinity and establish a hierarchy of power.

While doing research for this paper, it became more and more evident how much we still need feminism. In a place like Canada, known for being progressive and equal, it is not nearly as bad as the situation is some other places. But we still have men who are treating women as animals just to prove that they are ‘manly,’ not to mention to establish that they are superior to women…

Educate yourself. If you witness sexual harassment, do something about it. This is especially important for men – call out your friends who are acting inappropriately. Maybe you think it’s a joke or a compliment, but chances are, the women does not appreciate it.

 

Killing Me Painfully

Over the counter pain killers are incredibly common and widely available. The most common of these are acetaminophen and ibuprofen, often under the label of Tylenol, Advil, etc. I have a collection of this stuff in my cupboard – ibuprofen gel caps, Tylenol extra strength and Alieve – and usually take it weekly, or sometimes daily due to chronic headaches and knee pain. But I saw something a few months ago that made me think twice about it – regularly taking these medications can lead to health problems.

Acetaminophen is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States and is found in allergy medication, cough and cold remedies, fever reducers, pain relievers, and sleep aids. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are taken too often and in doses that are too high which leads to heart and stomach conditions in addition to liver failure. A quick google search on the topic will reveal the extent of this problem.

Pharmaceutical companies provide the illusion that these medications are safe and the solution to our pain, but they are essentially chemicals and have the potential to harm our bodies. My goal for this summer is to limit the amount of these pain killers that I am taking and find natural, alternative methods to use instead.

The Professor

tolkien

I’ve never believed in an afterlife, but if I did, I would want it to be how Tolkien described it through Gandalf – “No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… and then you see it. White shores.. and beyond. A far green country under a swift sunrise.”

Tolkien would have been 125 this year. He may be long gone, but he will forever live on through his mythology.

“The road goes ever on and on…”