I’m proud to say that I created one of the frames for this project! Can you pick it out?
Borrowed right from the YouTube site, the following important information
Drawn to the Wild is a collaboration between singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer and Mountain Equipment Co-op. Canadians submitted over 1800 frames drawn using an online art tool. This video is the finished product. To learn more, visit http://www.thebigwild.org
The video comes from a documentary and concert film, “Escarpment Blues”, which features Sarah and her band touring across southern Ontario. Inspired by The Johnny Cash Project, Drawn to the Wild aims to raise awareness about threatened Canadian landscapes.
Sarah’s passion for this wild space not only shows through her video work and music, it shows through her words: “the Niagara Escarpment’s survival as a unique natural environment is seriously threatened. Drawn to the Wild is one way Canadians can both support its protection and collaborate with me and each other in a fun and creative way.”
“I’m a Mountain”
Written by Sarah Harmer
Video from “Escarpment Blues”, a documentary by Andy Keen.
THE ESCARPMENT BAND
With Marty Kinack, Bryan Bean, Chris Brown
Executive Producers: Sarah Harmer, Patrick Sambrook
Commissioning Editor: Rudy Buttignol – TVO
Producers: Andy Keen, Sarah Harmer, Bryan Bean
April 19, 2012 4:30 p.m. Weather 12 degrees, some wind, intermittent cloud. Findings: The Same: Again and Again Now it is a matter of maintaining the park area. I learned from the orientation that now the birds are settling in near the shores and that if I see any flushing at all from the ducks/geese out from under the cattails and other vegetation, then it wouldn’t be right to disturb their space, so I’m not pulling plastics out of the pond anymore. I spent an awesome walk, reflecting and just enjoying the outdoors. Max spent much of the time on leash as he LOVES the water!
The desire to write grows with writing. Desiderius Erasmus
April 17, 2012 9:30 a.m. Weather: 3 degrees, chilly and grey. I could have cried this morning when I drove over to the plot of land that edges the Shawnessy Home Depot. It had been mowed. No team had been assigned to pick the plastics and debris while the pieces were intact. Patricia of the Escalation Department of the Home Depot, in Atlanta, Georgia had informed me that the plot had been mowed…but yes, readers, you guessed it…they don’t know WHO mowed it. I can’t imagine how the individual felt who had to sit on that mower and watch such a large amount of plastic be ripped apart…knowing full well, it would end up blowing into the pond across the road or littering miles of land to the south. I spent a full hour picking up ripped pieces of plastic…materials that only days ago, were bags, boxes and packages. These had blown from the road’s edge all the way down onto the slopes.
A trail of shredded plastic everywhere.
I was broken-hearted. Whoever is responsible for this expedient ‘fix’, has had a negative effect on the surrounding area; environment AND wildlife. Later, I will post the quantity of material specific to the mowed yard, collected on this one trip.
This is how the landscape has evolved…mowing over plastics and litter.
This film…the day I reported to Home Depot, my concerns for the surrounding environment.
This film…taken today.
It’s interesting that, in fact, plastics break down…but they just become smaller and smaller pieces. If you can’t see the mess, you can pretend that it’s NOT there! To prove a point, “Out of Sight/Out of Mind”, I’m posting a single photograph, without appropriate citation. I found it here.
Alberta Tar Sands/ Oil Sands
If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it. Tennessee Williams
I grew up with stories and histories where nation upon nation claimed, sometimes begged, “This IS MY LAND!” When you think of it, this is at the crux of most disputes/wars that have plagued every nation under GOD for eons. When it was about money or religion…it was really about the metaphor for everything on this planet…THE LAND. Recently, a new challenge strikes at the heart of this land as we know it in Canada; the negotiations, challenges, strong opinions around the Keystone Pipeline. And turn your eyes toward the absolute destruction of LAND in Syria! What is this about…that one nation/culture continue to reek havoc on another, everywhere? This photo: REUTERS/George Orfalian featured in the National Post.
As I contemplate my ten year plan (I’ve always informally had one of these floating in the back of my mind and I seem to be facing fewer and fewer of these.), thoughts of my wee piece of property and what this might mean for my children, come to mind. We’re funny people, aren’t we? Investing so much of our lives and work in owning a piece of land? a house? When really, isn’t it an illusion of power/control? Were any of us really intended to own the land? Or were we meant to share it?
I’m rambling this morning. I’ve got my coffee on, after waking at five a.m. and ringing again and again in my mind are the words I heard yesterday. “This ISN’T our land!”
I heard from Patricia of the Home Depot Escalation Department in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday. My phone call was taped for quality assurance, so I will relay this conversation as a paraphrase, the gist of the conversation that we shared. The phone call was in reference to this piece of land.
Patricia agrees with me, wholeheartedly, that this is an eye sore. Apparently, since lodging my complaint with her CEO, Frank Blake, Patricia has been assigned this particular ESCALATION. The tone of her phone call, however, was about her research into WHO OWNS THE LAND…not about the potential for stewardship. She told me how there was no way that the store associates could be used for clearing up the litter that had accumulated on this land edging within one foot and covering one of the two staff picnic tables on their property. She informed me that this piece of land is not owned by the City of Calgary, but has been purchased by another party. However, she said that she has no idea WHO OWNS THE LAND now. She informed me that, in fact, someone had gone onto the property, mowed over the garbage that my readers see in this photograph and left the broken plastics strewn. She told me that the Home Depot associates would not be able to be involved in cleaning up this waste (although I had informed her that 80 % of the litter was labeled with the Home Depot logo) because that would mean trespassing onto someone else’s land. All I had hoped, in my imagination, was that Home Depot would see this as an opportunity for community service and stewardship. Chandos Construction Ltd. had answered this call to stewardship and for me, this demonstrates the difference between a company with ethics and one who espouses to that, but does not follow up at the community level.
I asked Patricia if I might have made more progress contacting the Home Depot Canada’s offices. She assured me that the answers would all be the same. I ended by telling her, “I am not surprised at this very bureaucratic response to my concerns.” When I told her that perhaps I needed to contact the media about the Home Depot ‘way’, she said, paraphrased, “If that’s what you need to do, go ahead.” I took her response and sat with it. Now….this.
I’ve contacted my City of Calgary, By-Law Representative, Rick Haddow. Last night he was going to drive by the tract of land that I am making reference to. He told me that his office had not heard from Home Depot, but that is not to say that some other department hadn’t. He asked me to leave this matter with him and he would get back to me.
In conclusion…for today. Here we have a GIANT among corporations, Home Depot, clearly drawing boundaries and thinking about whether this piece of land is under their jurisdiction rather than thinking, “What can we do? How can we help? What initiative can we take?” Instead, the culture of Home Depot and this particular store is to provide their ‘associates’ with a picnic space that is right on the line of this devastation. The line is drawn. “This is NOT OUR LAND!”
When did this happen? That we can not take care of the land, because we don’t own it?
April 16, 2012 11:00 a.m. Weather: Sunshine, warm breeze 5 degrees. We had so much snow on the weekend, that I didn’t get out to do my pickin’, so today I cleared out the Tim Hortons Latte cups and the Corona bottles, as well as a new batch of plastics. Unfortunately, long pieces of heavy weight plastics are coming across the road from the Home Depot’s landscape products now. I picked up two on this trip, taking up most of today’s bag. I’m still waiting to hear from Patricia of Atlanta, Georgia…home of the Home Depot Executive Escalation Team. I was told I’d hear from them today regarding the situation at the Shawnessy Home Depot and their thickly littered boulevard.
Plastic-wrapped landscape product...just waiting for Calgarians and spring!
Typically, the stuff that gets away, ends up in One Bag. I met a couple of people on my walk today…didn’t catch their names, but they were both drinking Tim Hortons lattes. I said, “I sure hope you are putting those cups in the bin, once you’re finished.” I learned that these folk often pick up a small plastic bag from the ground while they go on their walks at Frank’s Flats, and fill it with litter. It ended up being a real ‘gratitude’ talk. I enjoyed it very much.
I spoke to them about the fact that Alberta does not yet have technology whereby the Tim Hortons cups can be scrubbed of their poly interiors, so untimately, while they do advertise and provide recycle bins for their product, it all ends up in the landfill. They were surprised that it is only the Atlantic provinces that are recycling their cups. Something for Albertans to think about.
April 9, 2012 5:00 Weather: Warm, Blue Skies, Easter Feelings Findings: A Pair of Men’s Pants, a HUGE empty whisky bottle, four plastic letters for signage.
New Signage Provided by City Parks
I spoke to Lisa of the City Parks this morning early and asked her about a sign for the area of the park where the owners seem to be forgetting to pick up their dog poops…today, when I arrived for my picking, it was there! Awesome! I’m hoping that this will make a difference.
Bags of Letters and Plastic and Pants
Another thing that surprised me was that both bins had bags of litter that I DID NOT PICK!! What???
The Gift of Someone's ONE BAG!
I think that the person who did this is an angel! I know that we can change the landscape, one bag at a time!
And Another!! Thank you!
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. Phyllis Theroux
This is the first day since my Lenten journey began that I haven’t been outside, changing the landscape, one bag at a time. I decided that today I would head out into nature, the way most people do…with the intent of taking it all in; no garbage bag…no rubber gloves, no rubber boots. It was a glorious day outdoors at 12 degrees, although the last couple of hours it has looked as though the clouds are stirring some weather up.
At two o’clock this afternoon, I had a meeting with Tim Coldwell, Chandos Vice President of Corporate Accounts and his wife. We spoke informally over a coffee, about the project, my findings during the project and the nature of the solutions that will be offered. I really appreciated Tim’s accountability on behalf of Chandos and their handling of the South Fish Creek Recreational Association, specific to the clean up.
Prior to meeting with me, Tim took a walk around the site that has been primarily cleared during this stewardship journey of mine.
I brought along a brief, explaining the points on the Chandos website that I most admired and wondered about, along with a few photographs from my archives of the project. I’d like to post a couple of the vision statements here.
In the communities where we do business our people keep us connected. We support the passions of our people with corporate donations to the charitable causes that our employees and friends are involved in. With this approach, we contribute to the communities that create our business opportunities.
Like the spaces we construct, we are an organization built to last. Our planning, decisions and daily actions are all guided by the notion that we are here for the long term. This sense of corporate social responsibility has resulted in our position as the green building contractor of choice – these are just two examples.
We built the first LEED® buildings in the prairies and have developed award-winning expertise in construction waste diversion. Where others saw a financial burden, we saw an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by diverting construction waste at no incremental cost – now standard on all projects. Last year alone we diverted more than 300 train cars of waste from landfills.
Tim flipped over the paperwork that I had prepared and began to draw a map of the area where I have been picking litter. His map was a good one and he made reference to the slope that has recently been frustrating me. Since clearing all the large pieces of foam, insulation, and industrial packaging, there now remain countless wee pieces that will require raking or they WILL end up in the pond and have impact on the environment. He has agreed that I won’t have to clean these up.
A series of events will now take place as a follow up to the meeting.
1. A team will be established to go out sometime within the next week or two, to rake and clean up the remaining small, but countless items on the slope and the flats that edge the asphalt.
2. The large and obvious items that remain, edging the pond and the fencing will be cleared away.
3. When the ice melts, one or more Chandos employees will bear hip waders/rubber boots and clean out the remaining industrial garbage from the job site.
4. Tim and I will follow up with an inspection of the area before landscaping is pursued.
5. A case study may be developed based on this site by Chandos sustainability department in Edmonton…a study that might convey the importance of environmental issues to every extent for the sake of employee training, specific to expectations. Words from their website…
Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Ask yourself what they expect and what they appreciate. Think about how the small details can make a big difference in the lives of those you serve. Engage Chandos today for industry insight, recent achievements, issue analysis and more.
6. Tim has approved a contribution to the charity of my choice, a cheque for $1,000.00 to St. Albert the Great Parish, earmarked for our recent drive to support the Feed the Hungry Program. At 1.97 per meal, this means that Chandos will provide 500 meals for one Feed the Hungry event. I am most grateful for this contribution.
I felt that the hard work of these past many days has been rewarded through Tim’s authentic listening and the willingness to set in place, appropriate action…action for a better community and a healthier environment. The culture of the landscape is many-layered and many-faceted. High school students need to be better stewards, busy or not and teachers and administrators need to encourage this. Sports facility users need to walk to their garbage/recycle bins and take a degree of pride in the sports center that is now theirs. South Fish Creek Recreational Association needs to take a stance of pro-active control wherever possible, rather than a stance of defeat. This is NOT an insurmountable problem. The landscape CAN be changed, one bag at a time. The retail stores…Home Depot and Wal-Mart need to look in their back yards. It’s a disgrace! Time to take responsibility for each wee piece of land and not wait for someone else to do it!
March 31, 2012 4:00 p.m. Weather 12 degrees, thick dark cloud gathering and threatening rain.
It’s midnight and I decided to upload a quick clip. First thing this morning, I wrote a letter to Tim Coldwell of Chandos Construction. I intended on visiting Chandos on site at the South Fish Creek Recreational Association, but thought I should scope out the website first of all. It was at this viewing that I decided to contact Tim, Vice President of Corporate Accounts in Calgary, directly. It was less than minutes from the time that I wrote down my concerns, that I received a very thoughtful response by telephone and we have agreed to meet regarding the matter of the less-than-successful clean-up after this recent project. He is adamant that this situation be used as an educational tool and we will be discussing the matter very soon. I was very disheartened yesterday, but am feeling optimistic today. Thank you, Tim.
What remains at the site anymore is ‘small stuff’ and I am not able to fill an entire bag in an hour. It is a very time-intensive experience now…countless plastic straws, bottle caps and packages, along with new plastic bags and fast food containers that that day’s lunchers toss onto the ground.
I decided to tackle the section of Frank’s Flats where dog-owners like to leave their responsibilities behind. From everything the City believes, dogs are responsible for the big mess at these parks. While this wasn’t my favourite day working on this project, I did determine that there is no way that the worst of the dog messes comes close to filling a single bag! On the other hand, I’ve filled almost 40 bags with person-made litter! What does that tell you? I had fun making this film and considered, for one short moment, leaving the bright blue bags behind. In the end, I imagined that they may be thrown onto the other side of the fence, so chose to retrieve them and get them into my bin.
I met Darlene today, outside of the Tim Hortons that edges onto Frank’s Flats. I gave her one of the toques that Elma had knit for me last winter.
Darlene holds out her new toque.
She is Cantonese and has learned her english, just by being with people. She let me photograph her recycling and her material possessions. We chatted for some time about my project and some of what she does. She took the Tim Hortons coffee that a young lady passed to her, transferred the coffee into an insulated thermos and then put her cup into one of her bags on her cart. I told her how much I appreciated that she doesn’t throw her cups onto the ground. She said, “Oh yes, that would be a disgrace.”
March 27, 2012 3:39 p.m. Weather: 5 degrees The sun came out after a day of intermittent snow. It felt warm outside…a real sense of springtime at Frank’s Flats. In fact, there was Frank…soaking in the good feelings also, surrounded by a stand of evergreen trees. He told me he’s likely heading for the coast, in search of work. He also got into telling me stories. One was about a time when he watched a pick-up truck pull over onto the shoulder of 22X, throwing up a terrific amount of dust. A guy rushed out of the truck and spent, what seemed to be, hours, scouring the ditches and the slope on the far side of the pond. The next day, the same guy appeared again with an entire contingent of his friends and again, gave the once-over to the area. Frank surmised that something very valuable must have been lost out of the back of that pick-up truck, so the day after that, he road his bike over there and spent a good bit of time looking for himself. He said that he believed there was some sort of treasure over there, yet to be found. I smiled…and just kept on picking. I told him, before leaving, that I had named the place Frank’s Flats. And he said, “Well, I appreciate that.” I told him that not many people have a beautiful park named after them…just kings and princes. He smiled…and we said our good-byes.
What God Leaves Behind: March 27, 2011 Frank’s Flats
The litter today included many granola bar packages and many plastic bottle tops and straws. I topped off the bag of countless little bits of plastic and packaging with a part of a large cardboard box I found on the east side. I’m thinking that health food bars and granola bar packaging should really reflect a more sustainable approach.