Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Escape to Rural Nova Scotia

When was the last time you stepped outside, far from exhaust and human created noise? Most of us live in hugely busy cities, surrounded by concrete, polluted air with the concept of stars and a non-human soundtrack a distant dream.

Many environmentalists, including David Suzuki, theorize that as a culture part of the environmental disconnect is the missing puzzle piece of actually experiencing the natural world. A nice example of this is that commercial of the little boy who brings his mother an actual bullfrog; who looks disgusted and forces him to read about frogs in a book. The lesson: Nature is dirty and should be experienced at a distance.

I find it sad that we have to go to the park to experience nature. It's obvious city life is wearing on me and perhaps it's time to consider a long term "sustainable home" savings plan. The biggest barrier? Commuting to work. Currently we both walk to our jobs for the most part, everything is very accessible (including the farmer's market). Living in a city can potentially decrease a person's carbon footprint; should they choose to access everything via public transit and support sustainable city infrastructure. Unfortunately, the way Halifax is currently set up sucks away my soul to the point where I feel as grey with a head filled with constant electronic background hum that I'm not sure how to connect with the Earth I was so passionate to save just months ago.

I'm still not sure it's possible to live in a city the way they are organized today and truly experience the connection I believe necessary to engender a sufficient amount of "I care about this" sense of urgency. Without this paradigm shift, it's much more difficult to encourage behavioural change necessary to make that cultural shift from wasteful to environmental. I don't mean buying the "eco" versions of things, but decreasing consumerism, walking or taking public transit to work and growing your own food. (And demanding environmental policies from our political leaders).

Our trip to my parents this weekend in rural Nova Scotia was a necessary hit of nature to sustain me until we can plan something a bit more substantial.

 (old school lobster 'pots' or traps that still hang out a a childhood friend's driveway)
 (fiddleheads peeping through the brown burnt ground while we were walking on the old 'tracks' which used to be the train tracks when the train actually went past Halifax. Now they function as a four wheeler, walking or bicycle path. The ground was burned as the land owners here often burn old under growth during the spring).
 (Mayflowers- they smell DELICIOUS and grow wild- and are Nova Scotia's official flower!)
 (mom wanted some for her kitchen. As muck has never been a deterrent for me, a quick hop and tentative plucking around the pickers and....)
 (A beautiful bouquet!)
 A melted green glass bottle
 A typical view along our road, as we don't have a street name in our village. That's the Atlantic ocean and an island that you see.
 Fishing boats coming in the harbour after being out lobster fishing since 3am that morning. It was around 3:30pm when I took this picture. That's an island where a few Americans bought the land and thought it would be 'quaint' to build a few houses... which they never lived in...

(I say this days before Andrew and I take a plane for Montréal for the CASLPA conference. It's for my work and professional development, but I can't help but feel guilty for the amount of carbon I'm helping to pump into the atmosphere. If I were more wealthy I'd try to get some carbon offsets or something. Ah well, lots of walking and metro-ing while I'm there!).

Regardless, right now living in the city is the only option for us. As our "eco-home" is still a few years away, I feel like we have time to figure out a few commuting solutions.

In the meantime? Frequent weekly Yoga in the Parks and Guitar playing picnics at Point Pleasant can't come soon enough.

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. I have been thinking about this issue a lot, but from the other side. Literally, the other side of the world - in New Zealand. The cities here are amazing. I walk through bush to get from my house to the university. In Wellington, the capital, I walked through the botanic garden. It seems that every city here has green, and lots of it, even Auckland, which has more than a million people in it. Granted, New Zealand has lost the vast majority of its native bush thanks to hundreds of years of burning by the Maori and then followed by two hundred more years of agriculture by the Europeans, but somewhere along the way, the English decided to keep the suburbs "safe" from the cities and built town belts. The idea has stuck, and it makes New Zealand cities feel a little greener. It might be part of the reason that NZ is ahead when it comes to environmental issues, though they are far, far from even being "good" let alone perfect. But it is a nice change from growing up in the suburbs in the United States.

  2. Beautiful photos of your home!

  3. I live in the city and I connect with nature every day. We are lucky to live in a city with so many trees and quite a few green spaces. No matter what we are still surrounded by nature's sights, sounds and may just need to stop and look for them. I know that living outside the city offers a completely different nature experience and I absolutely love it but there is so much to be said about taking the time to seek out that little bit of nature peeking up between the cracks in the sidewalk and wonder in amazement how tenacious it can be! Or focusing on the songs of returning birds calling in the morning over the din of the traffic. I think part of the reason we feel so disconnected with nature in a city is because it is easy to is not in your face like in a forest...but it is still there waiting to be discovered.

  4. For this great blog, I'm really happy to gift you with a Versatile Blogger award. Apparently you accept by: 1. Thanking the person who gave you this award; 2. Sharing 7 things about yourself; 3. Passing the award on to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason – no particular order; 4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

  5. i don't know...i wouldn't say that the majority of people living closer to nature (ie in the suburbs or country) are actually motivated to be kinder to nature than the people living in cities. they are still driving around, living in big houses, chopping down trees for suburban sprawl, buying more stuff to fill their bigger houses. the people living in cities are being kinder to nature without realizing it. but i do agree there is a problem with children who grow up in cities and don't even understand how the natural world works or how their actions are interconnected with our planet's ecosystems.

  6. Glad you were able to get home for a bit. I have the same thoughts about the city--usually two years in the city has been about my breaking point when I've moved back to small town America. It will be interesting to see if suburbia (where we're living now) is a good buffer. Ironically we're in a pretty ideal location and our rental has everything and more than we could imagine to be moving toward a more sustainable I suppose there are trade-offs?! Once hub is done with his schooling, we'll probably move someplace smaller, but who knows how we'll feel after 5 years...much can change.


I love hearing from you! So I don't miss a comment, I like "pre-approving" them :)
I ask only that we stay respectful.
Also, please note that this is a personal blog and not a space for advertising your company. I reserve the right to delete "advertising" comments.

**NB: The ANONYMOUS option is the BEST way to comment if you don't have a blogger or established google/gmail account.