The things in life I may never get; but that are sure lovely to dream about.

So I originally posted this on my tumblr page but thought that this really was a perfect blog post. So I’m sharing this with you.

1) A tiny house, and I don’t mean just a really small home, I mean a tiny home that I built myself on a trailer. One built with the hands of my friends and family as they help me, and with resources I foraged from reuse stores and old furniture.

2) A garden. Not just any garden, but one filled with fruit and mostly vegetables. With herbs for my cooking, maybe even a section just for native plants from the area I live.

3) At the same time as wanting a tiny home, I also know that I will one day have children, and hopefully a partner to raise them with, and many dogs; so I realise I will have to graduate to a home one day. It is in this home that we’ll have a fireplace and an open plan bottom floor. Big windows will let in the natural light and the floors will be real hardwood. My kids will make forts under the stairs (pretending to be Harry Potter, eventually we’ll make this our reading nook, it was wasted space anyway) my dogs will sprawl in the space between the kitchen and living room. It will be quaint and cozy.

4) In this home my partner (or friends, who knows how I will raise my kids) have bought and made our own our furniture will be mismatched antiques. Bought from garage sales, and second hand stores (or habitat for humanity, I don’t waste an opportunity to help a good cause) and we will sand them and maybe repaint a few. But it will not match. We’ll have 4 or 6 different dining chairs none of which match the table, our couches will be covered in pillows we make ourselves. Our dressers won’t match the bed. But it will be home; cozy and unique like we enjoy living our lives.

5) To live within convenient walking distance to a fresh market, or a farm/farmers market. Somewhere that sells seasonal produce so that I might learn to cook like that. But also because I enjoy eating things like bananas and romaine lettuce, but bananas ripen all together too quickly to eat, and running into the store every other day for lettuce and or a single banana is just a little silly to me. Especially because I (currently) have to take 2 buses to get there.

6) I will live in a neighborhood where instead of family at every other door in the street it’s my friends. Ones I trust and who have similar ideals to me, about raising our kids and having dogs, and saving the environment and being politically involved. Where my kids are “going to aunty Sarah’s house” even though we’ve never been related, or “are hanging out with the cousins” even though I only have one sister.

7) On that note, having enough money to give my sister the home she deserves, even if she’ll be 18 at the time would be nice. That’s a dream that isn’t all that far off, just four years really. And of all of them might be the most achievable.

8) To go camping at least once a month. To get into a car and drive for a few hours in no particular direction. Find a site, or hike to it, and sit under the stars. Just my dog(s) and I, and perhaps a friend or two.

9) To have a bicycle that fits my height and live in a space I feel safe to ride it in. Perhaps with fewer cars, where most of the people around me do the same. Maybe even one of those basket bikes, so I can shop, and carry young children or dogs or camping gear or anything. That’d be a nice thing.

10) And because I like to round things out neatly, in the house I have one day, for this I am sure I will own with hard work and good investment (regardless of if I had to build the tiny home myself, or renovate our cozy home with my partner) I want a large bay window filled with green. Flowers and plants will fill this window, letting in filtered green light. Catching warmth on long leaves and round ones; through pale red and blue petals, and off of thick succulent leaves. This window will frame my home with it’s hanging baskets of green and gold and purple and yellow. It will welcome everyone. With large cwtchy chairs and couches, my loved ones will gather here, with cups of tea and coffee, or juice if they prefer, and my dogs and cats will curl at their feet (or mine, if my friends would really prefer to avoid the hair).


The North American Hero Complex.

I want to preface this post with this: I am Welsh-Canadian and as such I have a pretty limited scope to be pulling from. This article is being written from the viewpoint of a Canadian living, Welsh-raised, Environmental Studies student. So while I am making a rather large (and problematic in some cases) broad assumption about North American stereotype it is in no way intended to offend, but simply bring to light a very serious question.

That question being: is the N.A. hero-complex detrimental to environmentalism (that being conservation, restoration, and policy implementation in the efforts to maintain and ‘save’ the planet)?

I read a post on tumblr (yes I know, prime research resource) that really got me thinking. The be all and end all of the thread was that America per-capita has the highest rate of firefighter death worldwide. And the rate of casualties wasn’t limited to firefighters.

Some resources to kind of outline the issue.


LODD statistics for USA Law enforcement

Statistics builder of US firefighter deaths

Officer Fatalities per year USA



Statistics Canada Officer homicide rates (1961-2009)

Officer Down Memorial

*Note: LODD is the abbreviation I’ll use for ‘Line of Duty Deaths’ from here out.

Now the tumblr post insinuated that the reason for this is very simple, that North America is bred up with the idea of heroism, that the biggest honour is to die in the line of duty or in the service of another. The American dream is built on (in a lot of ways) and includes heroism and rushing in to save the day. Little heroic efforts to ‘change the world’ so it seems.

The media propagates this idea, society feeds it with stories and honouring the fallen. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, there IS honour in dying to save another but the problem is how deeply ingrained this idea is and how dangerous.

Think of it this way, the entire idea of a Hometown Hero surrounds the idea that a young person reaches their pinnacle before 18. Yet in the statistics builder I listed above, ‘hometown hero’ is a count of LODD. To me it’s a telling statistic of US/North American hero-complex culture. Young people dying in the LOD even when it isn’t their duty is a normality enough that they have a statistic.

Another interesting stat is that from 2009-2014 there are an average of 554 LODD in the USA and of those between 17-32 (per year) are Hometown Heroes. Interestingly enough, stress and overexertion are by far the HIGHEST causes of death across all 4 years. It’s another statistic that makes me wonder about the enforced hero-complex of NA.

Especially since looking at RCMP, since the 1870’s there’s only been a total of 222 officer deaths in Canada, but between 1870 and 1871 the USA has already overshot that by over 100. And between 1961 and 2009, 133 police officers were murdered in the line of duty in Canada, but between the same time something to the tune of over 8000 officers were killed in the US.

*Note again this is just from my preliminary research and finding relatable stats is very difficult when police/emergency service/militaries of these two countries are very different

Of course the statistic is somewhat skewed by population density but still the number is rather harsh.

So, with that out-of-the-way (and congrats if you’ve made it this far) my question.

We have such a drive to save the planet, I do as well I want a career of it soon, but mostly this drive comes from self-interest and not in the interest or duty to another person. Other than, perhaps, our future children/future of the planet.

I mean, we rush into restoration, rehabilitation and relocation projects  with fever, and a lot of the times these do more damage than good. They’re band-aid solutions we dive headlong into.

And I’m not just making wide and exaggerated claims to support my point. I think by now we’re all pretty familiar with the baby bison that was euthanize because of some ‘good Samaritans’? If not here’s a link:

SourceFed’s Video

A short article of the incident

Good intentions and split-second decision-making are good things. Don’t get me wrong. We need them in a lot of ways (whether they be in life-or-death emergency respondent duties, or in making a change for the environment) but they are dangerous.

Had the couple through it through, realised that the bison a calf or not is a wild creature that is fortified for the cold wilderness, he may have survived, and never been rejected by his cow. And this incidents happen often. Saving baby birds, pulling caterpillars off of trees. They all equate to an ingrained curiosity and intense hero-complex.

Not only is this kind of action detrimental to the health of the ‘rescued’ flora/fauna/biome, but it is also detrimental to other efforts. If people continue this kind of attitude, then it becomes impossible to allow for any human interaction with protected sites.

If even one of every thousand guests to a national park ended-up inadvertently killing a young animal or rare plant it would be impossible to keep publicly accessible parks open, instead land would be shut down to public access. This might not seem all that terrible but think a bout it.

If ALL national parks were shut down and became inaccessible preservation, how successful would they be?

Not very. Not only would public opinion be unfavourable or unsupported, but we are at a point where we as a society really cannot afford to live in a world where fragments of ‘true nature’ are isolated from us.

Water cycles through the planet endlessly; our synthetics will reach those isolated fragments.

Air is ever-moving around the planet; our synthetics will reach those isolated fragments too.

Not only thus, but we humans ARE a part of nature and to isolate ourselves from it is just as dangerous as any other option. Education would be impossible without seeing and interacting though being so hands on and ‘hero’ like is NOT the same as ‘interaction’ with nature.

Another issues of course is that isolating fragments of nature behind fences is dangerous to genetic flow. Already all over the world (Europe especially) land masses are fragmented by urban infrastructure and leaves many flora and fauna in a spiral of limited populations because they have nowhere to go, no means to jump between patches of habitat, no corridors and no options. Isolating and absolutely irradiating the spread of flora and fauna isn’t going to work.

Allowing a culture where we feel duty bound to personally interfere with the world around us, without contemplation or planning is dangerous, and will eventually lead to irrevocable damage to out planet.

We cannot wait to take environmental action this is true, but a few years, a few months, a few weeks, hell, even a few SECONDS of extra consideration as to WHY and HOW you’re taking action could save not only an entire population, but a single creature’s life; maybe even yours.

So, to end. Do I think that the North American Hero Complex is a danger to environmentalism?

Yes. Our fast and loud attitude to solving problems in our environment (including and certainly not limited to police work, and firefighting) is leading to premature death and premature actions and implementation and it’s not working, and won’t work any longer. I think we need to keep asking WHY we want to act so fast when a band-aid solution usually leads to an unnecessary death or injury.

And the next one to suffer will be the planet.