Toxic-Free Artists

I recently started subscribing to Toxic Nation E-News from Environmental Defence (in Canada). It’s also available online. This item in the October issue caught my eye and I thought I’d share it, in case any artists in Ontario may be reading this. I think many artists are now aware of some of the hazards of our occupation, but I believe we can always learn more on the subject. We really need these workshops across Canada!

TOXIC-FREE ARTISTS: CARFAC Ontario presents Staying Alive! – A Health & Safety Workshop for Visual and Media Artists
Coming to Ontario cities of Windsor and London on October 14th and 15th, and Timmins on November 25th.

About the Workshop: Artists often repeatedly use harmful chemicals and toxins, and continually place themselves in harm’s way in order to create art and make a living. How often do we consider the consequences of repeated exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals and situations? These issues are addressed by:

• Ted Rickard, MLS, MEd, CRSP, Manager of Health and Safety at the Ontario College of Art and Design; and
• Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua (Dr. J.J.), BSc, ND., naturopathic doctor with the Artist’s Health Centre.
The CARFAC Ontario Staying Alive! workshops are presented in partnership with the Artist’s Health Centre Foundation and Environmental Defence. For more information and to register please visit the CARFAC Ontario website.


this earth


What a glorious sunny day yesterday, with more ahead! Despite my cold, I was drawn outdoors to check the amazing growth in just a week. Everything is green and lush, the tulips are glowing in their riotous colours, the prune plum tree is smothered in blossoms, the white camellia flowers are the size of my hand, the magestic magnolias are still gorgeous even with scattering petals on the ground, the perky little forget-me-nots are opening, and some azaleas and rhododendrons are showing their colours. All seems well in this little spot on earth.

As I’m admiring spring’s profusion and taking lots of photos, I’m thinking about our very early ancestors who blessed the earth every spring. I wonder how many people still do that, maybe only some of the aboriginals still do it in a meaningful way. I wonder if everyone – from the leaders of every government of very country, and every CEO of every corporation, down to all of us humble little people – were to bless this earth by taking care of it as we do of our own little gardens (naturally of course), then maybe, just maybe, we can still save our poor suffering EARTH for our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social, and spiritual consequences. It is time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions that underlie our lifestyles.” – David Suzuki
Earth Day Canada
Earth Day articles


When you can’t muster a post about anything else, there’s always the weather!

Yule Heibel, who lives in Victoria, over the water southeast of Vancouver, beat me to it, that is, a discussion of our unusual Westcoast weather. She’s said everything I wanted to say and better than I could, even mentioning Winnipeg, where I grew up.

All I can add is that around 3:00 pm today our outside thermometer was 32C (about 90 F), which is a July heatwave, usually lasting about two weeks. Doing the spring gardening has been tough, with very cool and wet weather last week (more than Victoria as usual), and this week I have to be outside very early, while the dew is heavy on the lawn and do what I can before the heat. By this time the house is also hot, so my brain is fried trying to work at the computer or anything else. If this is a sign that we are in for three or four months of hot weather, you will be looking at one miserable person – I wilt and turn into a cranky, headachy, non-functioning vegetable. My northern blood may start telling me it’s time to move to the Arctic, hah!

Talking about climate change, in today’s Vancouver Sun (link will be short-lived), the front page headline is “Climate change threatens future of B.C.’s famed red cedars: Warmer, drier summers lead to tree fatigue”. Our trees have certainly been dropping their mess a lot more than usual the past two years, and end up blown into flower beds, eavestroughs and decks.

On a lighter note, go to the last page (courtesy of Finnish artist blogger Cholegh).

Oh, and to my American friends and family, have a great Memorial Day long weekend!