Dawn Green – Writer

Weaving words worldwide


Leave a comment

The backcountry beckons

Photo creditTucker Sherman

Photo credit: Tucker Sherman, Flickr

I am at a loss for words. This is how I feel, faced with the daunting task of attempting to describe what lies before me, as I peer out from the top of Whistler Mountain into the vast backcountry of Fitzsimmons Valley and beyond. The backcountry has this effect on people. It’s almost mystic in its strength, enticing you to explore, yet keeping its secrets close to its heart.

And so I turn to an expert for help with unravelling its spell. Keith Reid, a professional mountain guide with Extremely Canadian Backcountry Adventures and a twenty-year veteran of the mountains, describes how its aloneness is so appealing.

“The terrain here is big, breathtaking and world-class,” he explains. “On a given day of backcountry skiing, we might traverse half a dozen glaciers and numerous high alpine peaks without crossing the path of another skier.”

Guided tours are recommended in this out-of-bounds play area— and for good reason— whether your passion is ski touring, ice climbing, heli-skiing or splitboarding. Local guiding companies, such as Whistler Alpine Guides and Extremely Canadian, can show you secret stashes of powder and most importantly, safety. The backcountry is also avalanche country and it’s reassuring to have safety experts by your side while you explore.

And what’s the best thing of all? That it’s possible to spend epic days in the backcountry then snuggle up warm and cozy in a chalet in Whistler each night.

“What differentiates the Whistler backcountry is the ability to get on a lift from the Village in the morning, backcountry ski all day, then ski back into the resort at the end of the day,” says Reid. “There is nowhere else in North America where you can access this level of terrain on a daily basis without a helicopter.”

The backcountry changes people, he adds, and maybe this is its secret, revealed.

“We introduce them to an environment which, for many, is a ski of a lifetime. Seldom does a day go by that we don’t see that twinkle in our guests’ eyes that says they have been to a magic place and accomplished something very special.”

Find out more at www.whistler.com/activities/backcountry/

By Dawn Green

~This article was published in The Vancouver Sun and The Province on 3 May 2016:

www.theprovince.com/travel/Advertisement+backcountry+beckons+Whistler/11754790/story.html


Leave a comment

Ocean pollution – the monster that never sleeps

This guest post comes courtesy of Andrew Dilevics of Divein.com and reminds us of the worldwide problem of ocean pollution and how changes to our everyday lifestyle can indeed make an impact:

The ocean is one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. It provides over 70% of the oxygen we breathe and covers 72% of the world’s surface. Without the ocean we would not be here today, it’s that simple.

However, everyday our oceans are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans, which is causing untold devastation. Not only is pollution affecting marine life and habitats, it is also affecting man.

There are a number of ways in which we can help lower the amount of pollution entering our oceans and bring them back from the brink of disaster. Reducing your carbon footprint is a good start; you can do this by reducing the amount of energy you use in your household. Turn off the lights when you are not in the room and leave your car at home and ride a bike to work.

Avoid buying plastics; plastics are one of the biggest factors in the pollution of our oceans and once you have finished with your plastic products, their end destination is usually the ocean. Use reusable bags when going to the supermarket and reusable water bottles. If you have to buy plastic products then make sure you recycle them.

Help to take care of the beach. If you enjoy swimming, surfing or just relaxing on the sand, make sure that you clean up after yourself. If you see others littering try to encourage them to protect our oceans and its wildlife.

If you would like to learn more about the oceans and how pollution can affect mankind, then take a look at the fascinating infographic below, created by the team at divein.com

 

How ocean pollution affects humans How ocean pollution affects humans – Graphic by the team at DIVE.in


Leave a comment

Why ecological literacy is important for kids

I am delighted to feature another fabulous guest post from Ella Andrews – this one tells us how essential it is for our children to understand build a relationship with nature.

Why ecological literacy is important for kids3

Mother Nature is very important for our future. A major part of our future are our kids. We must teach them ecological literacy so as to make them learn how important it is to take care of the environment. Being introduced to nature from when they are little children will help develop in them a deep love and solicitude for their surrounding environment.

While young, kids explore and discover a lot of new things. We can help them expand their knowledge by showing them outdoor activities. The best way is if we have a garden on our property or take them to any of the nearest parks. Once we find a suitable place to play with our kids, we must do some preparations first. Playing outside may be dangerous so we have to do some efficient garden clearance first. Kids will be happy to see how plants smell and how the bees are alighting on them so take them on a trip in a garden that has lots of different flowers.

Once our kids see the beauty of nature, it is almost certain that they will turn into an adult who appreciates the small things and will take care of the natural world. Ecological literacy is important for our kids because if we lose nature, we will be lost too. Each living creature on the planet can’t survive without water and food and this is something that our kids must learn from childhood. Teaching them to take care and respect nature is maybe one of the most important lessons we have to teach them.

Planting some flowers will be very interesting to them, with this you can show them how to take care of something. After some time they will see the growth of their flowers and you will be surprised how satisfied they will be.

Another interesting thing for your kids will be for them to meet a gardener. A gardening professional will help you with not only the lawn care but also may help you with ecological education for your children.

Meeting with nature face-to-face, kids can see the different elements of our surrounding environment working together. Even doing some patio cleaning will show them how to take care of the world around them.

A good ecological literacy is something that is a must for every person in the world. As youngsters, we start understanding the importance of taking care of nature, and we can call ourselves decent people who know what is important for our health in the future. Many schools have classes that show the kids how to take care of nature. All the books and videos won’t educate kids on ecological literacy as much as looking at their parents doing some gardening outdoors and spending time playing in nature.

 


Leave a comment

Seven ways the Internet is changing our brain

During one of my many random internet searches where, after awhile, I forget what even prompted the search in the first place (sound familiar?), I came across this intriguing infographic.

It really sums up  our collective addiction to the Net and tells us how that addiction is actually changing our brains, and in some not so good ways.

Who reading this can relate to the first one, FOMO or Fear of Missing Out? Wow, that one strikes close to home and used to be a big issue for me, particularly with social media channels. Thankfully I have now managed to wean myself off of that unhelpful mindset and even take days off from checking social media, with positive results. I feel much more free and yet still enjoy my limited time on there, so luckily I have struck a good balance.

Good food for thought and perhaps a prompt to us all to enjoy the Net in moderation (just like with wine and chocolate). Sometimes it is good to simply turn off the screen, take a deep breath and head outdoors and notice the little things that matter in life.

~Dawn
Your Brain on the Internet
Source: OnlineCourseReport.com


Leave a comment

The Ultimate Guide for the Green Parent

The following is a guest post from Ella Andrews on green parenting – a topic that is near and true to my heart.

Thanks Ella!

how-to-be-a-green-parent

Credit:  moralfibres.co.uk

Embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle and being a parent at the same time can seem like a tough task. Even the zealous green activist will find it challenging when it comes to the enormous piles of laundry and the infinite numbers of diapers that need to be changed on a daily basis. A little dedication and determination can take you a long way. Green parenting is a great way to help the planet, while raising a healthy and environmentally conscious child. The following basic green parenting ideas can get you started. Of course, these tips are not prescriptive and depend on your parenting style.

  1. Eco-friendly Diapers

If you decide to ditch the conventional disposable diapers, there are several green options for your changing table. The most obvious choice is cloth diapers. These solutions have come a long way since your grandma used them. You can wash them at home or at a local diapering service. Don’t want to go through the hassle of cleaning diapers every day? Pick eco-friendly, disposable ones. These green diapers are made without fragrances, latex or chlorine. The Diapers Free movement is another alternative that might take some time and effort. You need to learn to recognize when your baby needs to “go” and take care of the business. The advantage of this method is early potty training.

  1. Wipes

Let’s talk about the other baby product that you use on a daily basis – the wipes. This is your best friend when it comes to efficiently and professionally cleaning the mess. Disposable wipes are filled with chemicals that are bad for both your child and the environment. Pick ones that contain only organic ingredients. To be completely sure that your wipes are safe, make them yourself. You will need a roll of heavy duty paper or cloths if you want reusable wipes, 1 ¾ cups of boiled water, 1 table spoon of pure aloe vera and the same amount of pure Witch Hazel, olive or almond oil, Liquid Castille soap. Fold the paper or cloth wipes in a container and pour the mixture.

  1. Toys and Baby Accessories

When selecting your child’s playthings, keep in mind that your baby likes to touch everything and put toys in their mouths. Your best bet is wooden and organic cloth items. Most plastic objects including the baby bottles contain Bisphenol-A, which is an artificial estrogen. Look for wooden toys with water base-stains or unfinished solid wood. As for the cloth items, get products made out of organic cotton and other natural fabrics.

  1. Cleaning Products

Cut the use of potentially hazardous chemicals, by choosing eco- friendly alternatives you can find on the market or in your kitchen cabinet. Make your own green cleaners by using nontoxic ingredients such as lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar and borax. If you are not into homemade cleaners, you can find great organic alternatives on the market.

  1. General Green Tips
  • Reuse, reduce and recycle – borrow or buy gently used items you will need only for a short period like bouncers and cribs.
  • Recycle bottles, clothes and paper.
  • Green eating habits- breastfeeding and organic food are super healthy for your baby.

 


Leave a comment

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog.

Thanks everyone for having a look at my sporadic postings throughout the year on a variety of topics ranging from kids’ screen time to the plight of community newspapers.

Wishing you all much happiness for 2016 – the new year has 365 blank pages…what will you fill it with?

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Leave a comment

The changing face of the community newspaper

3195246447_218367a442_o

As audiences demand more access to online content, community newspapers across the globe struggle with finding a delicate balance between the old and new. Photo by Colette Cassinelli, Flickr.

When news of the massive mudslide reached editor Nicole Trigg on her day off in July 2012, she didn’t hesitate. She dropped everything, jumped in her car and sped down to the scene. Mesmerized by the incredible force of nature at work, Trigg got to work at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, gathering shots of the damage to the resort using her personal camera and conducting interviews with eyewitnesses who were clearly still reeling from the experience of witnessing such formidable destruction. The resulting video of the breaking news aftermath, as well as a breaking news article, was posted by Trigg on the Columbia Valley Pioneer newspaper’s website and not long after, the video was picked up by national media, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. As Trigg noted, herein is an example of the power of online journalism, which, as she says, is “great and far reaching.”

63076invermerewebpicIMG_4704

Debris from the mudslide that swept through the Columbia Valley, BC on July 15, 2012. Photo by Nicole Trigg.

This is a tale occurring across the land as not only media giants but the humble community newspaper struggles to shift and adapt in the changing seas of digital media. Where in the past a journalist would snap a couple of photos that would appear in print later that week, this video was posted online within hours of the event and quickly spread across the country.

It’s obvious that adapting is the key to survival in these uncertain times of descending subscription rates and changing needs of audiences.

The evolution of the audience

And audiences are indeed changing.

Jay Rosen, media critic, writer and professor of journalism, captures the essence of this shift in his blog, The People Formerly Known as the Audience, wherein he explores the new expectations of the audience in a mock letter to media people.

He describes the new audience as the writing readers, the viewers who use video, the formerly atomised listeners who now have the power to connect with each other and speak to the world.

Formerly on the receiving end of the highly-centralised old media system that was top-down, that had high entry fees and a few companies in competition to talk loudly while the rest of the population listened in isolation, in the past audiences had little power to influence the media other than to write letters to the editor and phone in to their local radio station.

My, how times have changed.

Rosen describes how the invention of the blog has delivered freedom of the press to the people; once the editors of the news, now citizen journalists can edit the news and choose front page material; while shooting and distributing video was once the realm of Big Media, nowadays users can make and share videos in a way never seen before, thanks to YouTube and other social media outlets.

The champion of the citizen journalist, Dan Gillmor writes in his book, We the Media, that we stand at a time where people can bring strong alternatives to mainstream media.

“…the grassroots are transcending the pallid consumerism that has characterized news coverage and consumption in the past half-century or more. For the first time in modern history, the user is truly in charge, as a consumer and as a producer.”

This shift in power is tangible in the way that users engage with media, as Tom Curley, CEO of the Associated Press points out, “The users are deciding what the point of their engagement will be — what application, what device, what time, what place.”

The former audience is now the active audience that is very much involved with the media and wants to share, discuss and create, which means the press is now divided into pro and amateur zones that have a degree of overlapping and interacting.

As Rosen says in his blog, “The people formerly known as the audience are simply the public made realer, less fictional, more able, less predictable.”

Community newspaper dilemmas

So let’s turn our attention now to the humble community newspaper existing outside the parameters of the big smoke, yet working with this new audience just described. How are they coping? Are times changing for them as well or are they operating in a time warp compared to modern fast-paced city newspapers?

Trigg, the editor of The Columbia Valley Pioneer, whom we alluded to at the start of this story, has a lot to say about this topic.

Located in the small mountain town of Invermere, in BC, Canada, the Pioneer publishes 6,400 print newspapers to locals and visitors to the valley each week. Trigg says that while she has seen an increase in regional sharing between sister papers due to easy access to online stories and an increase in the newspaper’s social media presence on sites such as Facebook, the print newspaper still rules.

“Print is still king for my area and print ads are still the main economic driver,” she explains. “This is likely due to the tabloid full-colour format of the free paper I publish as well as this being a tourist destination with lots of visitors who like to pick up the paper to have something in their hands while they’re here. The paper is also a coffee table favourite among locals. It’s actually company policy not to let online draw attention away from the money-making print product. Online access to the subscription-based paper I put out is protected by a paywall.”

So apart from breaking news posts, photo galleries and teasing stories on Facebook and Twitter, time and policy constraints don’t leave much room for online activity, laments Trigg.

She describes her dilemma as her bosses started pushing for more of an online presence but then cut her staff which, she says, keeps her scrambling to stay on top of the newspaper print edition.

“I think one point to make is how difficult the transition to online can be when a news team is already swamped working on the paper product, which actually makes the money because advertisers are preferring to see their ads in print rather than online. Online sales here are negligible. Ideally I would hire someone who could make online their main focus, something I have yet to see materialise despite my many requests.”

Clare Ogilvie, editor of the Pique Newsmagazine in Whistler, BC echoes Trigg’s sentiments.

When she took over as editor of the community newspaper five years ago, the first thing she did was re-launch the digital website and move to a seven-day-a-week staffing model.

“With such a tiny staff it is really impossible to do justice to the news that is happening daily but we try,” she said in an email, adding that reporters struggle as they are being asked to do more for less money than they have ever been asked to do before.

Ogilvie notes that they have a reporter on staff who makes amazing videos (an example can be found here) which they try to use, but the reality is there often isn’t enough time to post videos.

“We don’t make any money from it… so it is pretty far down the list of priorities,” she said.

So once again we see how the role of the community newspaper has changed dramatically over the past decade. Ogilvie says that there are several factors contributing to this. One reason lies in the staff cutbacks at large papers, so the daily newspapers (dailies), such as the Vancouver Sun, now frequently take stories from the weekly newspapers (weeklies), such as the Pique, rather than do their own research. Dailies and weeklies often “share” content, which is another strong solution, she adds.

She is quick to point out that at the root of these changes is the fact that the world has gone digital.

“People want information now,” she notes. “And they don’t want to pay for it either — and since they can mostly get it for free, the digital side of media has not been able to figure out a way to monetize it. Dailies have been forced to go digital in a big way, but they are not making any money from it.”

The move to digital has also forced community newspapers to keep up.

At the Pique newsmagazine, this has led to the seven-day-a-week staffing situation, constant updating of the website, as well as social media postings throughout the working day. Her staff are active on Pique’s Facebook and Twitter sites and there is an expectation that reporters will post to social media when they are at events, even if they are not working.

So it seems that our community newspapers are facing some unique challenges in this new digital era, ones which are ultimately attached to the newspaper business model.

But there is optimism in amongst the grim facts of overworked and underpaid staff labouring away at community newspapers all across the country.

Ogilvie says that as a result of all these changes, communities now rely more and more on their local newspapers for information, and this should be seen as the silver lining in an otherwise challenging situation.

“This gives local news organisations a unique opportunity to become indispensable, and is one we should all embrace.”

 

By Dawn Green

~ Originally posted on the COMM5602 blog for the unit Online Journalism at UWA. November 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.