Environmental Conservation Volunteer Nari Sohn in Paraguay helped her community plan and construct an Eco-Parque (Eco-Playground) using recycled materials, tires and plastic bottles. There were eco-brick making sessions too. A local NGO donated paint, regular bricks and cement as well.
Today forty students and other community children have a safe place to play and have fun during and after classes, all thanks to the “trash” they found around the neighborhood.
There are 226 volunteers in Paraguay working with their communities on projects in agriculture, community economic development, the environment and health. More than 3,885 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Paraguay since the program was established in 1966.
To help address the environmental and health problems caused by cooking on firewood and charcoal, a group of dedicated doñas (this is a respectful reference to older women) and I decided to build improved cookstoves in my community. These stoves have an enclosed cooking chamber that burns firewood more efficiently than cooking out in the open. The fire inside the stove heats up two hot plates, so Dominican women can still cook their daily pots of rice and beans, but unlike an open fire, these stoves have chimneys that take smoke away from the cook.
Also, the improved cookstoves reduce the use of charcoal by rural families, because the stoves work best when dry firewood is used. Less charcoal use means that more trees in my community can remain standing!
- Peace Corps Community Economic Development Volunteer Courtney Columbus on the EPA blog
For example, someone who doesn’t use computers could ask us “You seem environmentally conscious and respectful, but why in the world are you using a computer that was made from petroleum-based plastics and unsustainably-mined metals with processes that result in a lot of toxic pollutants and then requires the use of electricity which most often comes from fossil fuels with all their pollutants?” Of course, we have our reasons for why we’re using computers. I use mine primarily for business purposes since a lot of my art sales are online and I also do a lot of networking, so it’s something crucial to my method of making a living. But does that mean that I’m more justified in my desktop than someone who only uses their computer for games, socializing, and other not-work things? I personally don’t think so, since leisure and socializing are good for human health, and for some people the computer is a tool for that. OTOH, we can counter some of the nasty environmental consequences of having a computer by making certain choices—only buying secondhand computers, or upgrading a computer instead of replacing it, and giving away or recycling a computer that no longer can be repaired or upgraded; or by signing on for greener energy options if the services are available in your area so that at least the electricity is cleaner. And so forth.
So what’s that have to do with my hide and bone art? Well, I’ve been doing this since the 1990s, and I’ve had a LOT of time to think about why I make the things I make. First and foremost, it’s a reclamation of the remains of animals that others killed. I don’t hunt or trap, though I have nothing against people who do—a lot of them do so to supplement income or groceries. What I do is work with remains from taxidermy, from the garment industry, from people’s private collections, and other sources; I have bins full of fur coats, I have vintage taxidermy, I have scraps left over from coat manufacture, I have secondhand leather jackets and other clothing—and so on.
From the beginning I’ve been motivated to take my hides and bones and turn them into things that honor the animals who once wore these remains. A fur coat is usually seen as a status symbol, not a sacred garment (though there are exceptions). A piece of taxidermy may be seen as a lifelike recreation of the animal, but for some people it’s just “Hey, look at the size of the rack on that deer I killed!” Here in Portland vintage taxidermy has become a hipster cliche, and some businesses have old mounts hanging up just to attract that sort of trendy crowd.
For over fifteen years I’ve done differently. The things I create, even something as simple as a fox tail, are meant to be honored. For some people it’s a spiritual thing; a lot of my customers over the years have been nature pagans or part of some other nature-based spirituality and for them the things I create are an integral part of their beliefs and practice. For others, even if they aren’t particularly spiritual, they still appreciate that they’re holding the sacred remains of a once-living being that should be treated with respect. I can’t control what someone feels or believes when they buy something I create, but I do a full ritual purification on everything I make and a prayer that it’ll go to the right person. It’s a big part of my spiritual path and has been for many years. (I even wrote a book about my spiritual work with hides and bones.)
I’m also well aware of the environmental impact of the materials I work with. I know the toxins inherent in commercial tanning, and I’m aware of the many ways in which animals are killed in the wild and in domestic situations. It’s why I get a lot of secondhand things to work with, and why I make sure everything gets used—I even stuff throw pillows with the tiniest scraps left from my work.
I also support education on the most humane ways to kill animals, whether for food or otherwise (I am an omnivore). If we are going to take away a living being’s life, then I want it to be as clean as possible. Therefore I support educating people in the best practices for hunting, trapping and fishing, as well as in killing domestic animals on farms of all sorts.
Finally, I have always given a portion of the money I make from my art and writing to nonprofit groups that benefit wildlife and their habitats. It’s a way of trying to give back to the ecosystems from which the hides and bones I work with came from. My partner says it’s his favorite alchemy that I do—taking the remains of the dead and turning them into funds to help the living. And because I’m self-employed I have a flexible enough schedule that I can do some environmental volunteering—I have a stretch of the Columbia River that I clean and monitor as part of Oregon’s Adopt-a-River program, and I also volunteer at other times doing tree planting, invasive species removal, and the like.
And that’s my way of being an environmentalist. It’s not the only right way, but it’s the way that works best for me and my situation at this time.
Imagine a modern AU in which Bard desperately needs extra cash FAST and someone points out that hey there's an ad looking for new models and the pay is INSANE and Bard really doesn't think he has a chance but he really has like zero other options and
~ I feel like therewas probably a second part to this prompt, but unfortunately if that is indeed
the case then it never made it to my askbox :S So i have just kind of rolled with what I got, I hope you like it anyway :)
God this was a bad
idea. It was in fact possibly the worst idea Bard had ever had – which was
seriously saying something because he had once decided it would be a great idea
to let his friends take him out before his archery championship and had turned
up the next day completely hung-over (well he thought he was hung-over, in
reality he was actually still drunk from the night before) and had almost shot
It was okay though because
he didn’t actually shoot anyone and when he went back the next year (because
for some reason they hadn’t banned him) he completely wiped the floor with
And this was possibly more stupid than that, well, there was
slightly less risk to bodily injury, but far more risk of utter humiliation.
Well, uni was where you
were supposed to do stupid shit anyway right?
Christ he was going to
get laughed out of the room.
But needs must, and
Bard really, really needed the money.