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The Disaffected Lib: Four Out of Ten. Hey, That’s Still Less Than Half.

We know that as climate change steadily closes in around us, our resilience as communities, societies even as a civilization will be tested. Droughts, floods, severe storm events of increasing frequency, duration and intensity are already setting in.

Then there’s the environmental threat Maude Barlow warns is almost equally threatening as global warming, the global . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Four Out of Ten. Hey, That’s Still Less Than Half.

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: National Caregivers Month: The Third Pillar is Patience

Patience. We learn it the hard way in caregiving. In this break-neck-speed society, caregivers are like student drivers, always trying to put our foot on the gas, but with ‘fate’, the driving instructor, firmly putting his foot on the metaphorical brake. 

Caring for young children, an elderly parent, a loved one with disabilities, or someone . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: National Caregivers Month: The Third Pillar is Patience

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: National Caregivers Month Part 1: Bullet-proof

November is National Family Caregivers month and I’ve decided to write a series about resilience.

When I think about my own resilience, I am only half-joking when I tell friends that I’m bullet-proof.  What I mean by that is this: I experience a full range of emotions, but another part of me is in . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: National Caregivers Month Part 1: Bullet-proof

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: How To Be A Resilient Caregiver – Especially When Change Hits Hard

Resilience is a word that’s thrown around a lot these days.  Everyone needs it and everyone wants it, especially people giving or receiving care.   And the truth is we all need resilience the most at times of big life changes or transitions.  We mine our reserves of strength and optimism when our children with disabilities . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: How To Be A Resilient Caregiver – Especially When Change Hits Hard

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: When a Couple at McDonald’s Said I Shouldn’t Feed My Son in Public

I am fortunate to write for the marvellous site, The Mighty.  Here’s my latest post for the good folks there – and if you feel like a daily dose of good news, subscribe to the feed.  You won’t regret it!  In 1993, we were living in London. My husband’s diplomatic career made us fearless about . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: When a Couple at McDonald’s Said I Shouldn’t Feed My Son in Public

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Caregiving With Strength – A Guidebook for Grieving Caregivers

Eleanor Silverberg understands grief.  She is a child of holocaust survivors who often witnessed her mother silently weeping.  An unspoken sorrow infused the Silverberg family home…..grief seeped into their furniture, their walls and of course their hearts.

Eleanor Silverberg’s book Caregiving With Strength: Raising Self Care to New Heights by Acknowledging the Losses . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Caregiving With Strength – A Guidebook for Grieving Caregivers

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: What Next! What Best Laid Plans Fall Through

Sometimes, even the best laid plans fall apart.  And life feels very, very unfair.  Every caregiver has a story about a high school reunion or an anniversary dinner that had to be cancelled at the last minute because of a loved one’s illness or worse, bad weather.  Sometimes, the Gods just don’t want us . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: What Next! What Best Laid Plans Fall Through

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: How To Stay Positive

GUEST POST by a Staff Writer at Dry Depot Being a caregiver is a difficult task and many of us will face extreme physical and emotional challenges as we care for our loved ones. However, we continue to go about our tasks, as it is an important part of our daily lives even if it . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: How To Stay Positive

Politics, Re-Spun: Welcome, Dropping Oil Prices!

So, expensive oil made the tarsands and LNG more financially attractive if not climate-destroying.

We know this because…science! Unless you are a science-denier.

But even with and prices AND demand dropping, we are seeing the makings of a real flattening of long-term stability in demand that can fundamentally undermine the BC Liberal Party’s ignorance-embracing lust . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Welcome, Dropping Oil Prices!

The Disaffected Lib: Hey, Think You’re Resilient?

“Resilience.”  It’s the new climate change buzz word.  It applies to individuals, communities, institutions, and infrastructure.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from repeated climate change impacts. It’s the ability to withstand repeated floods, for example.  That might require making your home resilient by having it mounted on stilts well above ground . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Hey, Think You’re Resilient?

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Memoir of Mourning: Journey Through Grief and Loss to Renewal (Book Review)

Perhaps you fear losing the parent you care for.  Or maybe, you fear your own death as you care for your dying relative.  Maybe you just don’t know who you will be when your loved one passes and leaves you alone in the world, without the identity of caregiver.

Claudia Chowaniec has wrestled all these . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Memoir of Mourning: Journey Through Grief and Loss to Renewal (Book Review)

Political Eh-conomy: Victim or menace: Notes on the TFWP and political agency

The louder the debate about temporary foreign workers grows, the more it seems temporary foreign workers, especially those from the global South performing low-wage labour, are left in the din on the sidelines. While there have been stories about exploitation on the job and beyond, much of the focus is on Canadian resident workers, business . . . → Read More: Political Eh-conomy: Victim or menace: Notes on the TFWP and political agency

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: The Caregiver Benefits of Silence and Solitude

This morning, I have no intention of getting dressed.  I have a cold and sore throat, but I’m not complaining, because I’m tucked up in a cosy robe, reading in a blissfully quiet house.  An hour ago, I settled on the sofa with my coffee and “The Guardian” newspaper open on my laptop.  I began . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: The Caregiver Benefits of Silence and Solitude

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Guest Post: 4 Tips on How Caregivers Can Keep Their Family Relationships Intact

4 Tips to Help You Reduce the Impact of Caregiving on your Relationships Becoming a caregiver can be one of the most impactful changes that can occur in a person’s life.  Caregiving is not a change that only affects the relationship between you and the person you are caring for, it is one that . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Guest Post: 4 Tips on How Caregivers Can Keep Their Family Relationships Intact

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Making Peace with Aging and Infirmity

On holiday in Cat Island, Bahamas recently, something happened.  Regular readers of my blog might recall that I’ve blogged about Cat Island before – it’s a remarkable place in its beauty, its simplicity and its authentic (but few) inhabitants.  Last year, I visited an 87 year old firecracker called Miss . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Making Peace with Aging and Infirmity

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Positive Self Talk = Powerful Medicine

I learned about the power of positive self-talk when my children were small.  I would cross the street with Nicholas in his wheelchair, my daughter Natalie in her stroller and our golden retriever on a leash.  I used to push Nick and Natalie at once, while keeping the dog with us by strapping the leash . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Positive Self Talk = Powerful Medicine

openalex: Sustainable Urban Resilience: A Contradiction in Terms?

David Bello, Associate Editor over at Scientific American, has an interesting post up today looking at the supposed tensions between “resilience” and “sustainability”. His argument in a nutshell is that precisely the characteristics that make many urban systems resilient can also make them deeply unsustainable from an environmental point of view.
He’s right, sort of. But really what’s at stake here is a redefinition of how we build resilience into our urban systems.

It’s not so much a contradiction as an evolution. Let me show you what I mean.

As Bello points out, both “resilience” and “sustainability” are hot these days. Read any recent municipal planning document or press release and you’ll find them sprinkled about liberally like some kind of magic spice. 
But what happens when the two come into conflict? Think of fail-safes like combined sewer outflows (CSOs) that dump raw sewage into local streams when storms overwhelm infrastructure, or diesel generators that protect residents and businesses from failures in the electricity grid. Both are key (and common) examples of elements that increase the ability of a system to weather a crisis, but at significant environmental costs.
I was working in Durban (South Africa) when storms ravaged the coastal city flushing effluent out along the city’s beaches and then later when the national electricity grid collapsed (due to poor management, not weather) leaving residents and businesses reliant on diesel generators for months. The tradeoffs between resilience and sustainability were glaring.
Buzzwords Old and New
So, is the current adulation of the two concepts really just a trendy contradiction in terms? That’s the lure that Bello uses to hook the reader. Contradictions are captivating. He changes tune later though, hinting at the way in which conceptions of resilience are shifting: Green roofs and bioswails can create resilience just as well as CSOs, and they purify water rather than polluting it.
But that’s where he ends. To me that’s really just the beginning.
City’s have always cared about “resilience”, even if they called it something else. It only takes one failure to make the case that systems need to have some form of redundancy built into them. The question is how you provide that redundancy. What Bello is calling a contradiction is really just one old approach to resilience rubbing up against a new one.
Holistic Approaches to Resilience
Up until very recently, urban resilience was created by offloading localized stresses onto the surrounding environment. It’s no surprise that solutions designed following that model conflict with attempts to make cities more environmentally sustainable. But the contradiction lies in the method, not the goal of resilience itself.
More recent approaches to resilience emphasize synergies between built and natural systems. Cities have moved in that direction not simply because green is trendy, but because it yields better results. Engineered natural storm water systems (like green roofs or bioswails) address multiple forms of resilience simultaneously: they protect sewage systems from flooding, and they also reduce the urban heat island effect and increase resilience to heatwaves. Choosing decentralized solar over diesel adds redundancy, while also increasing air quality. 
Definitions of resilience have also been broadened to include issues like health, food security, and social cohesion. Looking just at bricks and pipes only capture part of the story.
So can cities be both green and resilient? Yes. But to get there means changing the ways we’ve provided resilience in the past, and making the most of solutions that provide for multiple forms of resilience simultaneously. 
photo: bioswale, Greg Raisman

. . . → Read More: openalex: Sustainable Urban Resilience: A Contradiction in Terms?

openalex: Sustainable Urban Resilience: A Contradiction in Terms?

. . . → Read More: openalex: Sustainable Urban Resilience: A Contradiction in Terms?

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Keeping the Demons at Bay

Yesterday, I wrote about those disaster scenarios that have a way of poisoning our imaginations.  Today, I’ve been thinking about some strategies that I use to keep the demons at bay, especially now, when an trip to the emergency room with Nicholas is fresh in my mind.  Nick is 23 now and he’s . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Keeping the Demons at Bay

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: The Caregivers’ Worst Fear

Every caregiver has a worst fear – a nightmare scenario that unfolds like an unwanted, sinister guest in the imagination.  It might be triggered by the sound of an unusual thud upstairs, a front door slamming, or the smell of burning toast.  In my case, it’s the telephone.  When Nicholas was very young, . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: The Caregivers’ Worst Fear