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quotemagazine BECOMING A VEGETARIAN 30 DAYS AT A TIME

FREEZE FRAME!


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stella Woo PRODUCTION EDITOR Tony Chen COPY EDITOR Mary Campbell STAFF WRITER Jing Loh Mariana Bockarova Mary Campbell Ron Ha Shola Ekperigin Tim Chen SPECIAL GUEST WRITER Elaine Howarth PHOTOGRAPHER Mary Campbell YUFSCA


IT AIN’T EASY BEING GREEN

MODULAR FOOD

CROSS-CULTURAL FRIENDSHIPS

2 4 9 12 14 16 18

BECOMING A VEGETARIAN 30 DAYS AT A TIME

FREEZE FRAME

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

ECO-FRIENDLY TRAVELING


quotemagazine | 2

IT AIN’T EASY BEING GREEN


3 | apr 2011

Ever since receiving a note from the editors about incorporating the concept of ‘green’ into this edition, I’ve spent the past month or so wondering what I could write about: Perhaps the idea of green being the new social movement, or a discussion

of all natural foods? Maybe even an article advocating for fair trade, or promoting micro financing in some remote location. I sat at my computer, alone in my Bostonian apartment, typing away until I reread the first few lines of these potential articles,

and just like that infamous scene in ‘You’ve Got Mail’ (Is it that infamous? Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic whose seen the movie far too many times), I back-spaced it all and have come up with this, a rather (hopefully) ‘green’ article: by Mariana Bockarova

When I was young, much like most Canadian immigrant families trying to retain ‘old country’ values, my parents discouraged me and my older sister from exclusively speaking English in our home. Valuing languages deeply, however, my mother instead would ‘nimbly request’ - according to her romanticized version of our childhood, whereas I, rather, would suggest the phrase ‘forcefully insist’- that we rotate languages per days of the week, speaking French one day, English another, and our native tongue as the default. Naturally, as we grew, so did the lessening of my mother’s rules. The speaking of French halted once a bilingual certificate was earned, and our native tongue slowly faded, used mostly when our grandparents would visit. In a recent phone conversation with my father, however, while I was likely rambling about something that had irked me from earlier that day, he said a phrase which I remembered hearing again and again throughout my childhood, in

our ‘default’ tongue. The phrase he used would directly translate into “stop being so green.” Yes, that’s right, stop being so green. No, environmentalists, my father had no intention of polluting the earth at every opportune moment, rather by ‘green’ he meant ‘naive.’ After hanging up with him, I sat there, only hearing the footsteps of the neighbours above me and my thoughts racing angrily; I’m not naive, definitely not. Then came the forceful justification: I’m not naive, because if I were, I would definitely not be sitting here safely in my apartment. It would have been completely robbed by now. I collected my thoughts further, to the point of which I simply decided to accept my fate; Ok, so maybe I’m a bit naive. While many of us tend to go through life thinking of ourselves in the best light, horrified by even the suggestion that we may be slightly less than those few

adjectives we so fervently identify with, maybe being aware of our faults is not such an implausible suggestion. In this sense, maybe all of us Generation Yers are, in fact, just a little ‘green’. Those of us in the Western world, at least, have grown up in a society which breeds success as the ultimate goal. We struggle when asked ‘what is your greatest weakness’ during an interview, because, well, to be frank, we’ve been taught not to have any. We’re constantly bombarded with the idea that we are in a continuous loop of competition, no matter what stage of life we’re in - from learning the ABC to taking the SAT. The idea that we should we see fault in ourselves suggests that we will fall behind the competition in the seemingly giant race of life. While I don’t intend to see only my own faults from this point forward, I do believe that there should be no reason to suppress them. After all, maybe being just a little ‘green’ will help us along in the journey, not simply harm us in the race.


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MODULAR FOOD food that fits by Mary Campbell

F

or me, the month of April has always served as a re-awakening of the senses after the last gasps of long, lingering winter. Finally free of the cold and the snow, the world comes alive once again in all its verdant splendour. Thus, nothing exemplifies the spring more so for me than all the various hues of green, and peas are the perfect embodiment of the feeling, gloriously bursting with fresh flavour. To celebrate liberation from the icy depths of winter, I’ve created a series of recipes that showcase all that is magnificent about peas and springtime.


55 || apr apr 2011 2011

If fresh garden peas are not available in your area yet, by all means, use frozen peas to make this dish. Just remember that it will take longer for the peas to fully soften if they start out frozen. The lemon juice adds brightness to the dish and helps the peas to retain their startling green colour. The tea and the kombu may seem strange and anathema to character of the main ingredient, but they solidly reinforce the underlying flavour of the peas and add a counterbalance to the peas’ sharp freshness.

1 2

Place peas and water in a large pot over high heat.

PEAS WATER KOSHER SALT BLACK PEPPER POWDERED GREEN TEA LEMON JUICE KOMBU KELP

Bring to a rolling boil and cook until peas are tender, about three minutes for fresh peas or about five minutes for frozen peas. Remove pot from heat once peas are cooked, but do not drain.

750 GRAMS 6 CUPS 2 TSP 1/2 TSP 1 TSP 1/2 LEMON 3” x 3” SQUARE

3

Using a slotted spoon, trans- powdered green tea and lemon fer about half the peas into juice. Stir. a blender and add half a cup of Add the square of kombu and the cooking liquid. Blend until cook the puree over medium smooth. Repeat with other half of heat for about five minutes, or unthe peas. til the mixture absorbs the flavour Return the pea puree to the of the kombu and thickens slightpot and add the salt, pepper, ly. Remove kombu.

5

4

THE BASE


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1

GYOZA WRAPPERS PEA MIXTURE (THE BASE) BUTTER GREEN ONION

Place one teaspoon of the pea mixture in the middle of the gyoza wrapper.

2

Wet the edges of the wrapper with a tiny bit of cold water and fold the wrapper over, to create a half-moon shape.

LAZY RAVIOLI

3

Pick up the ravioli by the curved part (the seam) and squeeze the edges together along the seam. Start in the centre and work out towards the points, getting as much air out of the ravioli as you can. Repeat until all the ravioli are formed.

4

Place 4 tbsp of the butter into a skillet over medium-high heat. Allow the butter to fully melt and

ABOUT 4-6 PER PERSON ABOUT 1 TSP PER WRAPPER 4 TBSP 1-2 PER PERSON begin to foam.

5

Place the ravioli in the pan and fry for about two minutes, or until golden brown.

6 7

Turn the ravioli and fry until the other side is golden. Serve, topped with the chopped green onion.

There are few pasta dishes more truly enjoyable than a big plate of ravioli in brown butter sauce. Most of us, however, will never muster the energy required to make ravioli on our own. They are, by definition, fiddly and time-consuming. These ravioli are made with Japanese gyoza wrappers and are fried, not boiled, so they’re more like dumplings than true ravioli. Gyoza wrappers can be found at Japanese supermarkets, and are also available online. If you can’t find gyoza wrappers, regular dumpling wrappers or won ton skins will work well here too.


7 | apr 2011

Soup is one of those miraculous concoctions that has the chameleon-like ability to re-invent itself for practically any season. The arrival of spring, in all its bucolic glory, demands a shift to lighter, fresher ingredients after months of hearty chowders and root vegetable concoctions. Pea soups generally adopt one of two forms: the ham- or bacon-laced, thick yellow variety reminiscent of cold, clear nights in the blustery depths of a Quebec winter, and the light, flavourful green sort that sparkles with the freshness of a bright summer’s day. While both are unendingly delightful, this soup is decidedly of the green variety. Enoki mushrooms are relatively easy to find nowadays, but if you can’t locate them, you could always garnish your soup with pea shoots or swirl in some sour cream.

PEA MIXTURE VEGETABLE STOCK EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL ENOKI MUSHROOMS

1 2

1 CUP 1/2 CUP 1 TBSP SMALL BUNCH

Place the vegetable stock in a pan and heat until boiling. Add pea puree and whisk until smooth.

3

Ladle soup into serving bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and garnish with enoki mushrooms.

PEA SOUP


quotemagazine | 8

ORZO WITH GREEN PEA “PESTO�

1

3

2

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Cook orzo in a large quantity Mix the pea puree into the of salted boiling water, as you orzo, along with the reserved would pasta, until al dente. Cook- cooking liquid. ing times will, of course, vary. Serve, garnished with goat Drain orzo, reserving a small cheese and lemon zest. bit (about 2 tbsp) of the cooking water.

DRY ORZO PEA MIXTURE GOAT CHEESE LEMON ZEST

1 CUP 1/2 CUP FOR GARNISH FOR GARNISH

Orzo occupies a strange place in the culinary world. Not quite rice and not quite pasta, it sits in a hybrid netherworld somewhere in between. Although cooked like pasta, in large quantities of boiling water, functionally, orzo is much closer to rice in gastronomic utilization. It works particularly well in mock risottos, the ultimate in comforting, lazy weeknight cookery. Here, the pea puree serves as a pesto sauce that combines with the starches in the cooking liquid to form a velvety, risotto-like texture. The goat cheese adds a salty tang to the dish while also enhancing its overall creaminess, while the lemon zest adds a bright citrusy sharpness that wakes up the palate.


9 | apr 2011

BECOMING A VEGETARIAN 30 DAYS AT A TIME F

or me, the decision of becoming a vegetarian was somewhat of an incremental revelation. Back in the summer of 2009, I came across one particular blog post titled “Trying Everything for 30 Days”. The post advised readers to sustain a healthy habit for 30 days, as a start. The idea was to try a lifestyle choice that seems impossible for a duration that isn’t infinite. I didn’t know much about the benefits or the drawbacks of being vegetarian, although I thought it was a good thing to try, regardless. After all, how harmful can a lifestyle change be if it only lasts 30 days? As it turns out, 30 days became two years and counting, and I am as healthy as ever, if not more so. I have also learned quite a bit about vegetarianism during those two years, and I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I learned.


HEALTH

many others benefits. As a young adult, I don’t really see these benefits as a big deal. After a period of being a vegetarian however, I feel physically more energetic, easier to focus for a longer period of time, and lighter.

This is one of the perks I realized after becoming a vegetarian. The whole process of ingesting vegetarian food is so much easier, cheaper, cleaner and healthier than ingesting meat. Grocery shopping became less of a chore, as everything I need is fresh, and of good quality. There is no need to check for the expiry date, or decide which piece of steak has more lean meat and less fat, or debate whether to purchase chicken breasts instead of wings because of the cost

difference. Just from today’s Metro flyer, Boneless Rib Steak is $5.99/ lb (down from 13.49/lb), and that is the titular item on the front page of the flyer. Compare this to my favourite vegetable, asparagus, organically grown at $3.49/lb or the most delicious king oyster mushroom, at $4.99/lb, we see a tremendous cost benefit to being a vegetarian.

On a philosophical level, scholars are debating whether we should focus on the consequences of our actions (for example, suffering of animals) or to give animals fundamental rights (such as the right not to be property) as non-human persons.

of a crib, you are given three inches of excrement as bedding and black tarps as windows and walls. You are pumped full of growth hormones since day one, and as a result you grow to double the normal size. Your teeth are clipped off as you’d probably go cannibalistic otherwise. Because of your weight, your legs can’t provide enough structural support, they buckle and you can’t stand for long periods of time. You can’t really walk around anyways because you are packed tighter than a can of tuna. As you sit on the excrement, you inevitably get all sorts of infections.

ANIMAL RIGHTS

If there is one reason as to why I decided to attempt vegetarianism for 30 days, it would be the potential health benefits. There are numerous health benefits of being a vegetarian. Research has conclusively shown that a vegetarian lifestyle, particularly one that sustained for more than 5 years, leads to lower body weight, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, lower risk of diabetes, lower cancer rate, and

FOOD

quotemagazine | 10

[Editor’s note] WARNING: The following contains content that may be disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised. These complications aside, imagine the following: you are separated from your mother at birth. Instead

There are many misconceptions about the potential drawbacks of being a vegetarian. In my daily encounters, I am still being questioned on and sometimes even criticized

I used to love meat. Ever since I was a little kid, I would refuse to eat any forms


11 | apr 2011 based foods contain calcium: “Got Milk” isn’t the only way. Interestingly, studies have shown that due to high protein content dairy consumption, calcium loss may occur as protein leeches calcium from bones. Lastly, all vitamin B12 comes from bacteria; neither plants nor animals can synthesize it. Studies have show that vegetarianism is not indicative of the frequency of contracting diseases related to Vitamin B12 deficiency.

of vegetable. I thought there was something about that taste and that texture of meat that I wouldn’t be able to live without. As it turned out, I only craved meat for about a month or so, and then I sort of forgot how it tasted. And when I really crave meat, simulated meats taste awesome and are vegan! They provide a diversion from the day-to-day fare. For example, I made a Tofurkey tofu turkey for Thanksgiving last year. It came with all the stuffing (which would be mostly vegetar-

ian anyway), vegetarian gravy, and even a vegetarian edible wish bone.

Instead of getting proper treatment, you are pumped with all the antibiotics in the world. Once you get big enough, you are pulled away in your sleep. In a factory somewhere, you are showered with boiling water and become chicken wings and chicken breasts.

mones, the antibiotics that would never be given to humans, all the bacteria and viruses, and the excrement that aren’t cleaned during food processing because it’s just too inefficient. As an example, salmonella, a bacterium that is sometimes fatal in humans, is transmitted through the feces on shells of chicken eggs.

Even if we ignore all of the cruelties above because we think chickens don’t feel pain (which they do, just like you and I), we can’t ignore the health implications, we can’t ignore the substances that go into our wings and breasts. There’s the growth hor-

5 12 6 19 1 26 2 3 7 1 0 27 2 4 8 1 1 1 28 2 5 9 2 1 2 29 2 6 10 3 1 3 30 2 7 11 4 18 2

about my lifestyle choice as a vegetarian. These questions and criticisms seem to all focus on my “lack of nutrients” - particularly the lack of protein, calcium, and vitamin B12. Soy-based products provide more than adequate amount of protein with none of the cholesterols and indeed all plant-based foods contain proteins. The calcium myth came partially from the massive ad campaign of the milk industry. Most plant-

I have not seen much literature on the issue of cleanliness. It is so much cleaner to not have to deal with meat. Nothing smells bad. Food lasts way longer. One knife pretty much cuts all vegetables. It is almost impossible to overcook or burn a vegetarian side, and undercooking never results in diseases. Many vegetables are just as delicious when eaten raw.

There is some debate on whether shellfish feels pain, but make no mistake that hens, cows, swine, and pretty much all the animals we eat feels pain just like us, and just like us, they don’t like it one bit.

There are obviously many factors this article didn’t mention, that is because the decision to become a vegetarian doesn’t have to be a well thought-out one. It is impossible to predict all the implications of a lifestyle change, good or bad. I am arguing for not letting that uncertainty become your resistance to change or your excuse for not changing. After all, trying it for 30 days won’t hurt you.


quotemagazine | 12

YOUR CURRENT TELL ME ABOUT LIFE SITUATION IN YOURSELF 140 CHARACTERS I’m a city girl...Torontonian born OR LESS and raised! My dad is a homeAfter 3 years of unemployment and/or having jobs that I really hated (don’t know which one was worse), I feel like my hard work has finally paid off!

sick Brit who immigrated here (by boat!) in his early 20s. My mom is a French-Ontarian, from a mining family in Sudbury. I love food and eating, being outdoors and physically active, and I think I’m hilarious (and if you don’t, we can’t be friends!).

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW? I co-founded a non-profit organization called Young Urban Farmers CSA. We take under-utilized backyards in the city and turn them into productive miniature farms. Our vision is to grow community foodsheds, increasing a neighbourhood’s food sovereignty. This means growing food for the community, within the community. I like to call it ‘hyper-local’ food!

W

FREEZE FRAME! with Elaine Howarth

elcome to quote magazine’s new feature: Freeze Frame - a series of stories about new graduates around the world. Bloomberg Businessweek published an article* anointing Generation Y as the “lost generation”. We’ve put together this series to thumb our noses at this stereotype and showcase some of the amazing things that people our age can do. * “The Lost Generation,” http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_42/b4151032038302.htm


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HOW DID YOU DECIDE THAT YOU WANTED TO PURSUE YOUR CURRENT LIFE PATH? As I mentioned, I love being outdoors. As a kid, my parents regularly took me and my sister camping, canoeing, hiking, etc. Similarly, I was always interested in plants and gardening, even when it wasn’t cool (i.e. high school). I knew I wanted a career in the environmental field, but I wasn’t sure which specific area I wanted to devote myself to. In high school, I volunteered for a number of nonprofit organizations that focused on species at risk, conservation and advocacy. In university, I studied Environmental Politics, Policy and Law and Political Studies. However, the beauty of studying at Trent is that they are big on interdisciplinary education. Because of this, I was exposed to International Development, Economics, Geography, Women’s Studies, Native

Studies, Biology, etc. Sometime during my second year I realized that I was writing a lot of my papers on agriculture in relation to whatever discipline the class belonged. Taking this as a sign, I signed up for a Global Food Systems course. The very first class I knew what I wanted to do! I love food, I love being outdoors and working with my hands, and I was clearly interested in the issues surrounding agriculture. From there, I took a couple of Sustainable Agriculture courses, got involved with Food not Bombs, and partnered with Peterborough’s OPIRG branch to do a community based education project where I wrote a chapter of ‘The Supermarket Tour’: a booklet that addresses issues around the industrial food systems and sustainable alterna-

?

THIS ISSUE’S THEME IS ‘GREEN’. WHAT DOES GREEN MEAN TO YOU? To me ‘green’ is a term used to describe a sustainable living. For me ‘being green’ or ‘living sustainably’ is about the choices I make. No one is perfect and no one can do everything. I make choices based on what is important to me, what I can afford, and what will have the biggest impact. I’ve chosen to live

my work, and I’ve accepted the pay cut! I truly believe that people who separate their work lives from their ‘actual’ lives, or work just for money so they can go on their 2 week vacation over Christmas to escape from work, will never be truly satisfied or fulfilled. Spiritually unsustainable?

tives. I also started volunteering at Trent’s greenroof and ¼ acre, where I learned how to grow a number of vegetables, and also what it takes to be a farmer (hard work!). Once graduated, I moved back to my hometown inspired and ready to take action. However, when I got here, I didn’t really know what I, a total city girl, could do to further sustainable agriculture. I worked at a community garden, volunteered for the Riverdale Food Working Group, which addresses food security in at-risk areas of my community, and networked/volunteered every chance I got! Eventually I met like-minded people, and after musing about how much wasted land we have in this city, and wouldn’t it be cool to start an urban CSA, Young Urban Farmers CSA was born!

ANY ADVICE FOR THE NEW GRADUATE? Find something you are passionate about. Volunteer or intern until you find the right organizational fit. Keep trying, your hard work will pay off.

To learn more about Young Urban Farmers CSA, visit http://www.yufcsa.com To learn more about the Riverdale Food Working Group, visit http://ralphthornton.org/?p=887 To learn more about OPIRG, visit http://www.opirg.org/


quotemagazine | 14

CROSS-CULTURAL Cross-cultural friendships are a bit like an Ebelebo fruit (google it!). The delicious juicy exterior is comparable to the first stages where you’re learning new and interesting things about the other person; their culture, history, social values, use of language etc. Then there’s the hard seed within. Cultural differences might arise from a number of areas. Breaking through the hard shell reveals a delicious almond-like nut, which is the crown jewel of the fruit, and is comparable to a well-established cross-cultural friendship.

As a cultural enthusiast, I find the beginning stages of a cross-cultural friendship to be especially exciting. At the international college I attended prior to university, my friends and I had what we brilliantly labeled our “Multicultural Parties”. For example we had a “Colombia” night, where we were introduced to home-made Colombian pastries, traditional music and dances. Also, for the first time ever I participated in the art of dumpling making! I also had the opportunity to introduce my friends to Nigerian cuisine,

music and dances. Being a history and cultural buff, I also enjoy listening to my friends explain their traditions, beliefs and practices. My Fijian friend recently explained some facts about the Hindu religion, which I found exciting and remarkably similar to some African religious practices. Without any illusions though, there are definitely challenges to crosscultural friendships. Like the hard seed of an Ebelebo fruit, they could be very hard to crack sometimes,


15 | apr 2011

FRIENDSHIP

by Shola Ekperigin

and would require some skill and patience. Lingering stereotypes, or just the perception of such, might pose a challenge to establishing trust, understanding and appreciation with other persons. As an example, during my first year in university I felt that people considered my English to be inferior because of my accent. Once I got into a huge argument with my friends over the use of the word “gum�. I used it to refer to an adhesive, she thought it could only mean chewing gum. After consulting a diction-

ary, I insisted on an apology. At that point, our friendship hinged on her admitting I was right. In retrospect, they were trivial disagreements, but at the moment they felt like a hard nut to crack. Communication can be another big hindrance - it’s amazing how the same words or expressions could have different meanings and implications to different people. My brother has an especially compelling example.

Once upon a time I was in a class in an international school with a Sikh student and while carelessly hurling jokes at each other, I made fun of his turban. He felt so enraged and insulted that after consulting with other students from the same religion he decided to go home and get a knife to kill me.

When it comes to the pitfalls of a cross-cultural friendship that would probably be as bad as it gets. Luckily I got wind of this and through a third party, conveyed to the individual that no insult was intended.

We often times have to go out of our way and out of our comfort zone to establish cross-cultural friendships. When you do, you might experience some of the phases that I discussed above. By

taking the time, and using tact to deal with the challenges that you may face, you could encounter an unexpected surprise- a lasting friendship as yummy as an Ebelebo fruit!


quotemagazine | 16

W

ork-life balance: something that everyone tries to understand, yet it is a quality that only a few actually seem to achieve. It’s generally viewed as a two-dimensional see-saw where one side must give way to the other. If Work gets busy, our personal relationships don’t get the attention they deserve. If we have Life goals to accomplish, we have to put our careers on standby.

WORK-LIFE I personally don’t like this model, so I propose something different. Instead of a 2D see saw balancing act of Work and Life, consider a third dimension: Rest. If you break down your day, it’s really comprised of (1) going to Work during the day, (2) doing whatever Life things after Work (ie. hitting the bar or spending time with family), and then (3) going home to sleep or Rest. It would be an incomplete picture if we didn’t consider this third and equally important factor. Could you imagine not resting, ever? It would be like pulling a lifetime all-nighter. I’m sure most of you can appreciate how that would be - absolutely brutal. It may seem obvious that Rest is a necessity, but it doesn’t often turn out that way, especially for those “work hard, play harder” types. If those people work 9am-7pm days, does that mean they go out for another 14 hours? When do they Rest?

I think a lot of people downplay the importance of Rest. I personally struggle with this every day. I get by on an average of 5 hours of sleep a night, meaning sometimes I get 4, sometimes I get 6. Rarely will I get 8. It’s a vicious cycle of attempting to “make the most of my day” by cutting out Rest time and replacing it with

T S RE

Life time on stuff like writing this article (at 1:30am tonight I’m only getting 5 hours at best). Although I try to justify and rationalize these late night habits, I know it’s not healthy and definitely not sustainable. In fact, I already see the negative impact of insufficient Rest, especially on my short-term memory, which is getting pretty shot.

K R O

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E F I L


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9

BALANCE by Ron Ha

6 I guess it boils down to priorities. If you have things you have to do in the day, then you go do them. The problem comes when you have too many things to do. Things get squeezed together, and some things get squeezed out. But if you think about it, I bet each and every one of us squanders at least one or two hours a day of absolutely zero value-added activities, namely things that sit low on our priority

listing. It doesn’t matter what these things are, because we all have a different list of priorities, and so our value systems are different too. But regardless of how these priorities may differ, if we were to cut out these time traps, imagine how much extra time we might have for Life and Rest.

has become my most important asset. It’s more important than money, because money comes and goes, but an opportunity to make a memory is fleeting. If you miss that one chance in Time, it’ll be gone forever.

The bottom line is this: there are only 24 hours in one day no matter how you cut the pie. Then one It’s safe to say that for me, Time, question remains: “How do you diand the freedom to allocate Time, vide the pieces?”

3


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ECO FRIENDLY TRAVELING by Jing Loh

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ravel will continue to be a major source of happiness for all of us - a method to escape the confines of sedentary cubicle life. And so, when we get the opportunity to board a jet plane, we tend to spend big, enjoy big, and go all out on the next vacation. But as responsible professional youths, we should take into account the inconvenient truths of traditional tourism and its impacts on the environment. So with this green issue of quote magazine, we’re going to inform you about traveling responsibly and sustainably.

The facts show that tourism is only going to increase in the future, with more and more destinations opening up. With money to spend, we’re all very excited about going on that next exotic locale, eager to play on manicured golf courses, or checking out animals on an African game reserve. And what’s wrong with that?

We can all agree on that statement and that tourism is a powerful force for economic growth. But what about the kilograms of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used to groom that golf course, the threatened biodiversity in an ecological hotspot, or the threatened coastal and marine communities? These are but a few concerns on a long and growing list, so let’s agree that “Tourism is an effective way of re- the way we travel has to change. distributing wealth and a catalyst So let’s start: for gender equality, cultural preservation and nature conservation” (UNWTO*)

* UNWTO: The World Tourism Organization


19 | apr 2011

Be aware of the impacts that we have on our next travel destination

Learn about sustainable travel practices

Change the way you travel

The first step is to acknowledge that we make an impact when we go somewhere. Whether it’s the garbage we decide to throw out onto the street because sanitary conditions are different, or whether we take a brick off the Great Wall of China, anything you do will have long-term repercussions. You’re a tourist with lots of money to spend, but learn to respect the people, place, and environment as if it was home - it’s all a part of our common human heritage. After all, you want generations of travelers and locals to continue to enjoy it, and you may even decide to come back.

Now that you know about the potential impact that your travels may have, you might as well find ways to travel sustainably before you go or while you’re travelling. For example, before you go, pack a “green” suitcase that’s light with reusable/recyclable items. Or you can choose smart transportation options by taking the train, biking, or walking, instead of flying (practically speaking of course). While you’re travelling, you may want to engage in the local culture and economy by hiring local guides, eating at street food vendors, and taking care at protected areas.

If you’ve already booked that allinclusive resort, there’s always next time to reconsider other options. These include volunteer travelling, calculating your carbon footprint when you travel, donating/giving back to the places you visit, and booking your next travel with a sustainable travel company. We’re not asking you to put that glass of wine away. But there’s certainly a way to make your personal travel more responsible while having your glass too. Can’t budge? Just start by respecting the people you meet and the places you visit.


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MARIANA BOCKAROVA is a graduate student at Harvard University. She completed her undergraduate Life Science degree at the University of Toronto in 2009. In her leisure, Mariana enjoys spending time with family and friends, figure skating, cooking, and following fashion.

RON HA is a graduate of the Queen’s University Commerce Program, currently working towards his Chartered Accountant (CA) designation. An enthusiast of photography, Ron freezes life with his SLR. A sucker for great sound, he blogs through the expression of music and lyrics. A glutton for (good) food, he will eat anything at least once. A disciple of martial arts, Ron seeks philosophy through training.

MARY CAMPBELL developed a passion for food at a very young age. One of her favourite pastimes, when not writing or antiquing, is developing new recipes. She particularly enjoys exploring new cuisines and adding to her collection of vintage cookbooks. Mary is a graduate of the University of Toronto.

SHOLA EKPERIGIN is from Nigeria, Africa. He currently works as a support staff at McCague Borlack Barristers and Soliciters LLP and has been working there for over 4 years. Shola has a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Philosophy and two minors in African Studies and Sociology. In his spare time, Shola enjoys playing the djembe, chess and cooking Nigerian dishes.

JING LOH is a food enthusiast with a gluttonous obsession. He channeled his energy into a Commerce degree at Queen’s University, traveled the globe to “find” himself, became more Chinese by learning Mandarin at Beijing University, and ate on the streets in China and South East Asia (yak meat anyone?). His most recent project is Food Trotter, a company that discusses global food and travel.

TIM CHEN is a graduate from the University of Toronto Engineering Science Infrastructure option. He enjoys web design, photography, and enjoys keeping connection with the University of Toronto Engineering community.


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