Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More on my Green Weight Loss Challenge

So how have I been doing on my Green Weight Loss Challenge you ask? Oh...you didn't ask? Well I'll tell you anyway. It is a bit frustrating to be honest. Two weeks ago I was only able to walk to work 2 out of 5 days and last week I managed to squeeze in three days of walking to work but then I also walked to a volunteer outing I had on Saturday morning, so I am going to count that as well. So I am now up to 21 trips to the office on foot and I have managed at least not to gain any weight. My weight loss is minimal and I can't really explain this. I still weigh 200lbs and I truly felt it would be no sweat for a guy of my physical stature to get down to about 190 by now. I have a new appreciation for those people who struggle to lose weight.

So what does this lack of weight loss mean to my Carbon footprint? Really it means nothing as I'm still continuing to keep carbon out of the environment. At present my calculations have me at almost 23.9kgC, far from attaining one carbon credit. I feel at present the carbon credit system is severely unbalanced and until polluters pay more than $20-$40US for a carbon credit they will simply continue to pollute and take a small refund when it is available and the clean green technology exists. Unfortunately for individuals such as me, this makes keeping track and having our credits audited not worth the effort. I simply have to be happy saying that I am doing the right thing for the environment, because I think in the end it would cost me more to have some consultant company validate my carbon reduction efforts. Here are a couple of sites I reviewed "What are Carbon Credits Worth?" or "How do I validate my carbon offsets?" and "How can I start a carbon offset project?" I find that there is a great deal of information out there but a lot of it is very vague and therefore I question its validity.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Camping Know How

Hey this is a great link I found this morning and I think if you are considering a winter outing this could be very informative. Backpacker has become one of my favorite resources so enjoy the link.

Winter is quickly coming to an end so plan one last hurrah and get out there. for those seeking their first winter experience March in New Brunswick can be a great time to do that. Temperatures are mild enough to be safe but cold enough you can still call it a winter outing :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Canada and Sports At Their Best

Canada and Sports At Their Best

As I write this I am in the midst of finalizing plans for the Sussex Corner Winter Carnival and thousands of volunteers in Vancouver are prepping for the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics, both less than 3 days away. I thought for some time about how to celebrate the Olympics in my column and even still as I write this I am not entirely certain how it will end up. If you think about it though, uncertainty and suspense is what keeps people's attention at the Olympics. True competition often results in drama and bizarre story lines that are either heart breaking, or inspiring and the best stories are the unexpected ones.

There are 15 different sports represented at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Each of those has multiple competition styles in which athletes will compete for a gold medal. In total there will be 615 medals awarded at the Vancouver Olympics according to http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-medals/vancouver-2010-medals/ and every one of them is unique. The Olympics are about more than the medals though. The Games are more about the competition and about dedication to sport. No matter how commercial the Olympics become and I don't think that is a bad thing, the athletes will always rise above that, and their stories will be what people remember. Can you remember one commercial from the 1988 Calgary Olympics? Probably not, but I bet you remember "Eddie the Eagle."

It might have to do with being Canadian. It might be that I could be considered a bit odd. Whatever the reason, I prefer the Winter Olympics over the Summer Games. I can simplify the Winter Olympics easier and thus I can more easily put myself in the athlete's shoes. Tell me you don't watch the luge and move your body back and forth as the driver takes a turn at over 130km/h. Maybe you lift your chest higher as the ski jumper lifts off and then you relax as he touches back down. It is likely the most active an armchair athlete will be for sometime.

No matter how close we might feel to the athlete there is nothing like truly being there and competing. Watching the inspirational musical montages, no matter how moving, just doesn't show how much hard work and dedication the Olympic athletes put into getting to the world stage. Hours of training, injury, financial hardship, family sacrifices, all simply to have a chance at competing. What drives someone so fiercely? Is it as simple as the pride in representing your country? If someone were to offer you a million dollars or the chance to compete in the snowboard half-pipe in the Olympics which would you choose? My answer is without a doubt "Can you teach me how to snowboard?" Unfortunately for me no one is going to make that offer, and even if they did I still wouldn't have the true feeling of getting there. Likely the only feeling I would have is embarrassment.

For the next couple of weeks the glow of my television will light my living room as we watch the Olympics. I will likely tell some of the stories of Olympics past to my son and pass my torch of love for the Olympics onto him. I wish the Canadian athletes great luck. GO CANADA GO.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Corner Cup Schedule

Sorry all this was the easiest way for me to get the word out on this. All the teams have a good schedule. Hope you can understand it.
2010 Corner Cup hockey tournament schedule
Game #DateTimeHome Away
THURS.Feb 117:00pmAB
8:30PMEG8teams X $50/team = $400
9:15PMFH$200 to winner
$200 to winner's charity
SAT - AMFeb 139:00AMAC
SAT - PM 5:30PM#1 #2
7:30pmChampionship Game

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Monday, February 8, 2010

A New Life Changing Journey

Recently I have been feeling very blessed in my life. I am very fortunate to have all that I have, and believe me that doesn't mean financial success, but simply life success. I truly thank God for this. With this in mind I have committed to a new adventure for me, one that requires turning my back on my beloved Atlantic Provinces for a short time and getting a passport.

I have created a new diary blog to share my journey. You can check it out at http://www.wwguatemalamission.blogspot.com/

This is definitely a big step for me in more than one sense of the word. This journey will likely pose many challenges and I will likely be given some great creative opportunities and I hope you will share this with me.
(photo courtesy Wendy Osborne)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Latest on My GWC

Well I now weigh 200lbs again. This is nuts. I really thought I could lose weight a bit easier than this. Although when I think about it, it is only fair. I was only able to walk to work 3days this week. On Monday it was bitterly cold and I walked only to have my eyebrows freeze and my balclava frost up all around my face. Tuesday and Wednesday weren't much warmer. The funny thing about that is I actually enjoyed it. Call me crazy but it felt like I was defying nature to a certain degree.

So my total weight loss is 6lbs and I have kept 20.5kgC out of the atmosphere. I actually feel pretty proud of that. I have researched the pay out for carbon credits and the number I get is only $30/CC (Carbon Credit) which is not really all that much if you ask me. I think companies are getting off dirt cheap. I doubt the validity of this number though so you should too. I am going to keep searching.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sussex Corner Winter Carnival

The Sussex Corner Winter Carnival is just around the corner and excitement is building. This is a great event hosted in a rural community with lots of outdoor scenery and small town charm. The winter Carnival was reinvigorated last year with the addition of an outdoor hockey tournament and fireworks and it was well recieved. Organizers are hoping that this years version is even better.

The main site of activity is Sullivan Park on the Post Road. With the Bluff as the scenic back drop families can enjoy sliding on a groomed hill, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, skating, and lots of games and fun. There will be lots of food, live entertainment, and of course the competition will be tight for the 2nd Annual Corner Cup. Truly a family oriented event geared to get any family outdoors in winter. A great way to beat the on-set of cabin fever in February, so grab your skates, sled, and some warm clothes and meet all your friends at Sullivan Park, Saturday, Februaury 13th.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Kings County Record is still down on the internet so here is a copy of my column this week for those who prefer to read it this way.

Whalen's Wanderings

A Valentine's Date Outdoors

This column is for all those outdoor enthusiasts out there who might be looking for an idea for Valentine's Day. I would not likely be classified as a romantic. In fact my wife would likely say my idea of romance is giving her burnt toast for breakfast in bed. Now in my defence, she likes burnt toast. For you true blue outdoor enthusiasts though this could be romance at its best, I stress could.

In this part of New Brunswick we have some incredible places where you can let your creative juices create a romantic date while outdoors in February. Snow and ice add a romantic overture to any outdoor activity. Cold temperatures simply mean that you can get closer to your significant other. Here are some possible date ideas to get your juices flowing but don't be scared to add your own flare to the scenario.

Everyone loves sliding, but sliding at night with some candles lighting your path adds a whole new feeling to the activity. Cuddling on the toboggan or doubling up on a crazy carpet provides some personal contact while adding an extra layer of fun and enjoyment. To top the date off be sure to have a lantern at the bottom of your sliding hill along with a thermos of hot chocolate and maybe a light snack. Your sliding hill should be easily accessible, yet isolated enough that you'll be certain to be alone and this is where you will have to do some research. It wouldn't be right if I told you everything.

Snowshoeing is an activity that anyone can do. You don't have to be great at it to enjoy it. In fact it might be more fun if you are a bit clumsy on your snowshoes. In the winter time the snow reflects a great deal of light back into the night time sky. When the stars and moon are out it definitely makes a loving mood for you and your partner to enjoy one another's company. A walk to the Bluff or another scenic ridge makes an idyllic destination for a date and the lights from Town just add more romantic flare. Don't forget to take a headlamp and a warm drink to top the date off.

The last idea, but definitely not the least romantic, is to pitch a tent in your backyard and snuggle in for a night of cuddling. Light a candle lantern and spend the night reading to one another, doing puzzles, or simply talking. Unlike camping away from home, this method is a bit less stressful. There is no packing gear into a vehicle, no worrying about weather, and no campsite fees. If you really want to impress the object of your affection, make them breakfast in bed. No one can resist the feeling of snuggling into a warm sleeping bag while sipping on hot tea and a hot cereal. If you make toast just make sure it is the way they like it.

I want to say happy Valentines Day to my wife. You inspire me.

Ben Whalen is an avid outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist, who promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles in Kings County. For more of his writing check out http://www.whalenswanderings.blogspot.com

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