You can't get off

Ah, spring! 

Blossoms abound, and the buzzing of bees and twittering of birds are hard to ignore. It is a time when most of us feel happily connected to the earth as the days get longer and the landscape gets greener. 

Really, what's not to like? 

But are we truly connected to the planet? Do we understand what keeps the planet healthy? 

Perhaps it is good that we have Earth Day on April 22 to remind us to be responsible planetary citizens.

Earth Day has been around since 1970. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson first launched the idea, he wanted to bring attention to the environment after seeing the effects of an oil spill in California. Nelson capitalized on the enthusiasm of student protests from the late 60s, and organized events across the nation. 

On April 22 that first year, there were 20 million Americans in the streets in support of a healthy, sustainable planet. In 1990, the program was taken to the world, and Canada was one of many nations to adopt it. Twenty-five years later, we are still working on ways to save our environment.

Natural food has always been at the heart of the environmental movement, with nutrition and eating seasonally and locally. Now there’s an added focus on the effects of chemicals on animals, soil, and air. 

Talk of bees and other pollinating creatures at risk due to changes in our environment adds another layer of danger to our natural world. Can I plant enough wildflowers to help the bees win their battle? Can I convince enough children that they can make a difference if they eat a fresh apple instead of processed applesauce? Or to have homemade salad dressing instead of something in a bottle with added preservatives and sugar?

I spend time with kids in my volunteer work, both through Girl Guides and the Farm to Fork education programs. Kids are aware of being responsible about recycling and not wasting energy, but many are also used to consuming processed packaged food and using all kinds of environmentally unfriendly products to make life easier. 

Products and packaging end up in the earth through landfills or sewers, despite the bits that get recycled. Sometimes I wonder if we haven't just adapted through technology - we have more ways to be earth-conscious, but we consume more stuff so we just recycle more. I am grateful for the sincerity and enthusiasm the kids have, though. It gives me hope to see their passion for our planet. They want to make it a better place.

Is Earth Day one you will mark on your calendar? Do you make an effort toward having a sustainable planet? 

I remember 1990 - I was in the bicycle business back then, and the shop I managed was very keen to promote cycling as a clean mode of transport. There I met a guy named Dave, who became a guru for many of us at the shop. 

He was trying to live a pure life, he said, and getting in touch with nature. He wore hemp clothing, and was a vegetarian. The most striking thing about him was the aura of peace he had. He wanted to be your friend, to hear what you were about. He thought if we could all just slow down and take the time to hear each other's stories then we could find common ground and live in harmony. We called him Dave Zen.

A few years later I left the bike business and Calgary, and lost touch with Dave Zen. I have often wondered over the years what became of him. I imagine him in a community somewhere, a sort of co-operative where people have found the secret to a long and happy life. When I spend time with the kids, I sometimes see the same glimmer in their eyes that I saw in his, and that makes me smile.

Earth Day Canada 

History of Earth Day

In honour of Earth Day, my recipe this week is one from Dave. It may look overly healthy and you might be suspicious as a result, but trust me, these are good cookies.

Eat them outside, in the fresh air.




3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
2 cups chocolate chips (carob chips can be substituted if you're feeling extra healthy)
2 cups unsweetened medium shredded coconut
1 cup butter (coconut oil can be substituted)
1-1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (optional - they make the cookies a bit more chewy and moist)


Measure flour, oats and coconut in large bowl and blend together. Cream butter and honey until smooth, add eggs and vanilla. Incorporate flour, oats and coconut gradually and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until golden on top and firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. 

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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