Well its been about nearly 4 months since our epic river journey with the Sustainable Living Leadership Program.
So much has happened since the day we landed on Jericho Beach and now, mentally and personally.
I gained an amazing outlook on life and our environment. I had trouble sleeping indoors for the next 3 months for one.
One says it takes 21 days to change a habit, well we were on a river, living and sleeping out of a boat for 25. My diet is affected now focusing on less meat, which is one of the major causes of excess carbon and methane in our atmosphere.
My necessities of life are drastically reduced, surviving with less and making do with what I have everywhere I go. Engaging in more conversations and deep listening with the people in our communities whom are also trying to make a difference in our ways of life and environments. I am glad I was influenced.
As some of you may know, my project plans also changed along route. On one of our pit stops along the highway to canoe paddling practice, we pulled into a rest area to view some waterfalls. Always being on top of the waste we pack around I used the opportunity to unload some of ours. Inside the Jasper National Park, to my surprise I only see one garbage bin in front of me. No option for recycling, no option for returnable beverage containers, and no option for compost. Opting to wait for a better opportunity, I could not resist not looking inside the bin… for garbage. Of course I found many returnable beverage containers, all worth money of course. I found many to-go coffee and drink cups, plastic packaging and paper. These things are recyclable all over the province, however not here?
This phrase was used often on the rest of our journey as the power of the Fraser River got our creative juices flowing. As a group we came up with many new project ideas, for us and for potential new SLLP recruits. These project details will be revealed later on, I’m sure.
I still work at the Potato House Project regularly. Many people stop by our site to view our community gardening efforts, active composting program, heritage projects inside the house, new root cellar for the food bank, busy bee hive and of course to chat. I have been using this opportunity to share the wonderful experiences from the SLLP, not only because I want to but also because many people ask about it. It is wonderful.
During the late summer and fall I have also had the opportunity to expand my knowledge and networking opportunities in the waste management field. Quickly upon my return, I assisted the local regional district in setting up two new recycling depots in some of our more remote communities, Horsefly and Nimpo Lake, BC. After the Recycling Council of BC’s annual zero-waste conference in Whistler, we (The Potato House) were invited to attend the Alberta Recycling Council’s recycling conference in Jasper. I also helped host the annual Southern Interior Waste Management Association Conference right here in Williams Lake making some great new local contacts. Most recently I was able to attend a Compost Facility Operator’s Course in Abbotsford and am now a step up in my composting experience.
I have had the opportunity to revisit the river many times since coming home. I will make a drive West just to go say hi. I took my Swiss cousins camping by the Churn Creek confluence sharing my experiences with them. I camped up at the Goat River Trailhead with Simran and some of our friends for a few nights pushing through some new trail. We laughed and spread the knowledge we learned. I took my grandparents and parents out to Xat’sull Heritage Site and taught them the ways of the people there. I got to reconnect with Petra, John and Megan down in the Fraser Valley a few times as well. Mary and I even got to raft to Russian Island again.
Each visit to the water or the people is inspiring every time.
The SLLP program has been a great tool for me in my life experiences this year. Sharing the knowledge, spreading the joy of the experience and talking about the major role and importance of the Fraser River in our lives. Just like the river flows, my life has been flowing. In a direction for positive change, continuous progression, continuous improvement… kaizen.