Tuesday, 15 April 2014

It’s Quality of Life, NOT Quantity of Life:
Downsize Your Upscale Lifestyle to a Life of Substance (with plenty of Style)

Image by PeapodLife: Your Quality of Life wants its Perspective Back  
Mansion Images Source: mansionproject.blogspot.ca: The Mansion Project - Bridle Path, Toronto, Canada - Part 2
“Giving up a home we were so proud of, I was expecting more condolences for the death of my upper middle class lifestyle, but friends wondered if they could get rid of all the clutter that bogged them down too. I was feeling shame for sure... but little by little, after three garage sales and a few trips to Goodwill I realized that material goods are not my identity. Making a massive difference in the world and keeping my family intact, much higher calling.”
~ Julie Kantor
Source: huffingtonpost.com: Huffington Post: Home: Julie Kantor: 5 Things I've Learned From Downsizing Our Lives -- Part 1

We’re not the first to talk about downsizing your lifestyle, and we certainly won’t be the last. From The Huffington Post series by Julie Kantor to an article on Scaling down a retirement lifestyle by Sonya Stinson on Bankrate.com, many smarter and more eloquent individuals have expounded on the many virtues of downscaling your lifestyle.

And while Julie and her family moved into a rental apartment, we at PeapodLife don’t necessarily believe one has to take such drastic steps to achieve the same goal. On the contrary, we have what we believe to be a unique take on the whole downsizing your upscale lifestyle to a LIFE OF SUBSTANCE.

If you’re living in the Greater Toronto Area, chances are your upper-middle-class home is worth in excess of a million dollars, and likely several million. The real estate market is very hot in Toronto these days, and there may never be a better opportunity to “sell high.”

But let’s say you do sell? You still have to buy another home. How will it be different? Also, what will you do with the excess cash? Where will you invest it? So long as you’ve lived in your home a number of years there’s no capital gains, but there are important financial considerations to make.

What if you could live in a green dream home and build 9 more like it for others to live in? You could sell them, rent them, or let PeapodLife’s Property Management Partners manage them for you.

You’re still invested in Real Estate, but no longer tied to a single enormous house you don’t need. Instead, you’ve diversified your real estate investment and are helping lower- and middle-income families also live in healthy green dream homes with PeapodLife ecosystems.

So, let’s be practical and walk through PeapodLife’s process step-by-step complete with some numbers. To keep it simple, we’ll work with a net house value of $2.5 million (after all real estate commissions and fees and any mortgage balance outstanding on the property; this is a fair number in today’s Toronto market for an upper-middle-class home).

       House worth $2.5 million (cash on hand after sale)
   1.    Get pre-approved for 10 mortgages of roughly $1 million each ($10 million total).
   2.    PeapodLife’s Affiliated Realtors locate 10 “sub par” properties (fixer-uppers) with one in a desirable neighbourhood you wish to live. All 10 (or just 9) can be selected on the basis of being able to be turned into duplexes with legal 2nd Suite Basement Apartments (income properties). Conditional offers are made on the properties.
   3.    PeapodLife’s Affiliated Architectural Technologists Inspect Homes, plans changes, prices out improvements including cost of high-order rainforest ecosystems on all 10 properties. Each property, cost of home + green renovations including ecosystem comes to less than $1 million.
   4.    Close on homes; roughly $250K downpayment on each ($2.5 million total, or cash on hand after sale of upscale home).
   5.    PeapodLife Affiliated Performance-bonded Contractors do the renovations & PeapodLife installs ecosystems.
       You are now the proud owner of 10 sensibly designed Green Dream Homes, 9 of which are income properties, all of which feature the healthiest, most vibrant, beautiful and stress-free living environment imaginable: PeapodLife BEST HOMES…Building EcoSystems & Technology via Home Ownership for the Masses that’s Economical & Social.
       You can rent, sell, or gift to your children any of the 10 BEST HOMES…whatever you choose. But make no mistake: you’re the hero here: you’ve transformed 10 run-down old houses into 10 green dream duplexes, all with legal basement apartment dwellings unlike anything else in the GTA.

So long as you can carry the mortgages, you can wait for bidding wars to break out on any of the properties (which is not unheard of in today’s market). In the meantime, you can hand over the Property Management to PeapodLife’s Real Estate Partner and either earn an income (or at least carry the mortgage).

Or, if you want a real life of substance, you can price the homes fairly (which still gives you an R.O.I. of $125K per house, or 50% ROI) and give 18 families (9 x residences) access to affordable green dream homes, knowing you’ve helped rejuvenate aging buildings in Toronto, and progressed the Green Building Movement.

PeapodLife’s BEST HOMES: Green Dream Homes in 5 Easy Steps 

No matter how you look at it, it’s a win-win-win. No matter how you slice it, you’ve downsized into a life of REAL SUBSTANCE, with the healthiest, stress-free living space for you, and for 18 other families in your community.

Email us today to get started: info@peapodlife.com.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Would You Take Advice from This Man? A Country Did, and they Ended Apartheid
Desmond Tutu to the World: “We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet.”*

Image: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“We must stop climate change.
And we can, if we use the tactics that worked in South Africa against the worst carbon emitters”

~ Desmond Tutu, The Guardian, 10 April 2014
With the death of Nelson Mandela, a nation saw their Father of Freedom pass into the annals of history. But Mandela was not alone in his struggle against apartheid. Desmond Tutu’s efforts emerged as a loud and steady voice against the forces of freedom and inequality. They worked.

Now, Desmond Tutu is at it again, only this time, he is turning his voice to the cause of ending climate change. And his opening salvo was directed squarely at Canada and the U.S. who is as we speak:

“debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Producing and transporting this quantity of oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, could increase Canada's carbon emissions by over 30%.”*

And, as he did versus Apartheid, he is calling on the people of the world listen and take action. Whereas apartheid was, it could be argues, a regional struggle, the negative impacts of climate change “affect the whole world, our shared world, the only world we have.”*

Citing his believe in “the only just response to injustice,”* Mahatma Gandhi’s passive resistance, Tutu suggests using boycotts, divestment and sanctions, as in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

“It is clear that those countries and companies primarily responsible for emitting carbon and accelerating climate change are not simply going to give up; they stand to make too much money. They need a whole lot of gentle persuasion from the likes of us.”*

So what does an Apartheid-Style anti-climate change strategy look like?

“We cannot necessarily bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess.”*

Tutu believes serious economic and moral pressure is needed. “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.” *

Here are some anti-climate change tactics taken from the pages of Tutu’s anti-apartheid playbook:
  • Boycott the events, sports teams and media programming they sponsor and/or produce
  • Demand energy company advertisements come with health warnings
  • Encourage universities and municipalities to cut ties with these companies
  • Organize car-free days
  • Build social awareness
  • Ask religious leaders and their communities to take a stand
  • Encourage energy companies to invest more in the development of renewables
  • Reward companies who invest in new clean technologies by buying their products
  • Install solar panels (and other renewable energy sources) where possible
Tutu suggests all this because “It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future.”*

On a bit of good news, the article suggests that “General Synod of the Church of England voted overwhelmingly to review its investment policy in respect of fossil fuel companies;” and, “colleges and pension funds have declared they want their investments to be congruent with their beliefs.”*

On another bit of good news, he suggests that young people are leading the charge on climate change and that “The fossil fuel divestment campaign is the fastest growing corporate campaign of its kind in history.”*

* From Desmond Tutu’s Editorial in The Guardian, Thursday 10 April 2014 17.00 BST;
Source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/10/divest-fossil-fuels-climate-change-keystone-xl

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Confessions of a Nature-Lover

Today we are trying something different.

We came across the above image on Facebook and thought we’d share it as part of a kind of social experiment to determine how many of us “nature lovers” harbour fears, phobias, et cetera toward members of the animal kingdom?

You can post your comments below or on our Facebook page.

And to help get you in the mood…

You get the idea… 

Tell us your nature confessions!

DISCLAIMER: PeapodLife Rainforest EcoSystems do not come with giant spiders, stinging insects, or poisonous snakes. We also avoid toxic plants and flowers.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Why Sensationalizing Serious Issues does [Chicken] Little for the Cause

Image: Planetary Destruction 

“It is always the novice who exaggerates.”

Take a look at the following 3 headlines:
  1. GMOs will unleash global killer 'ecocide' across the planet, warns prominent scientist

  2. Research reveals the deadly dangers of excess calcium

  3. It's not just the sugar that destroys your teeth: Carbonated beverages are all made with acid
Read more: naturalnews.com: Natural health news

Look, we get it: the world is a noisy place and audiences have ADHD. Every media outlet out there is competing against every other source of distraction: from high-brow artistic documentary to so-called serious mainstream journalism to forthright infotainment.

Then there’s all the noise of the web. Let’s be honest: most of it is just that…noise. Yet many producers of web content will tell you they are far less biased than mainstream media outlets. Really? What that means in their mind is less fettered by editorial oversight and responsibility (FOX News notwithstanding).

Make no mistake: advertising-supported web blogs are no less biased than any other media outlet. Because they have to attract and retain audiences without the benefits of traditional networks, in a world where it is easier for users to click-away even than it is for viewers to change the channel, in many ways they are even more biased.

Web properties tend to gravitate to a certain basket of issues relevant to their target audiences, just like any other media source. And, some might argue, just like most editorial content, web properties tend to champion causes around those issues.

The problem, I find, with how the web—and to some degree mainstream media as well—present stories around issues and causes is getting ridiculous. Forget all sizzle no steak, we’re all just getting whacked in the face by an empty hot fajita pan.

How are we supposed to take seriously the journalistic integrity of new stories when one after the next sound the alarm of some looming apocalyptic scenario?  Calcium? Deadly? Really?

And when you actually read the stories, many are quite boring and straightforward. It was the headline that took hyperbole to new heights (or lows).

I partly blame social media. Facebook, Twitter, etc. The whole goal, it seems, of social media marketing is the precious click-thru, that holy grail of web activities that web properties sell to advertisers and sponsors: eyeballs.

No one is going to click to find out the dangers or health risks of consuming too much calcium…they’d rather watch paint dry. But CALCIUM CAN KILL YOU!? Now there’s a message you haven’t seen in a “Milk: it does a body good” TV ad campaign! Must be something to it! Gotta check it out!

Ridiculous. And sad.

Many of the issues being raised are important. Many of the causes are, indeed, just and worth giving a fair hearing. But a fair hearing demands a fair, measured, honest telling! As the above quotation from C.S. Lewis suggests, it’s no time for amateur hour, but that’s how these media properties come across.

Look, PeapodLife has a blog. We’ve got a non-profit arm called GenesisEcoFund.org which also has its blog. We know what it’s like attracting and keeping eyeballs. We write about contentious and thought-provoking issues. And we’re not even journalists or a bona fide media outlet.

Still, at PeapodLife we turn to nature as our guide. We follow the example of an ecosystem which—sorry to say, techies—is an infinitely more complex network carrying information human beings cannot begin to process. Yet it is simple, dignified, and at times vividly beautiful. There’s an essential truth to it.

Beautiful. And enlightening.

Maybe we don’t always succeed, but we do our very best to bring nature’s very best to you…in all we do…so you can be at your very best. Anything short of that, we leave to others.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Original Social Net Working
Nature Shows us the Way to Authentic Relationships

What is the connection between Social Networks and Being Lonely?
Published by 1622Shimi

“Always watch and follow Nature.”
~ Egyptian Proverb, The Temple of Luxor

The award-winning video, The Innovation of Loneliness by Shimi Cohen, describes in simple words and animation the problem with today’s technocratic culture as it relates to what might be called real social connections.

In a nutshell, Cohen’s argument is this: we have engineered a whole new approach to loneliness.

Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and even business networking sites like LinkedIn have increased human connectivity and social networking on a quantifiable scale not fathomable even a few decades ago, but there’s a reason for that, Cohen argues…humans simply can’t handle it.

Cohen explains for monkeys grow in numbers until the size of the social group is no longer viable, then they splinter into two social groups and go their separate ways. Once upon a time, families, villages, tribes, etc. also likely followed a similar dynamic.

Even in empirical, hierarchical structures, large numbers of individuals must be broken down into manageable-sized “units.”

•    Countries > Provinces > Cities > Neighbourhoods
•    Armies > Divisions > Companies > Units

This is just plain common sense when you think about it. Seriously, how many real, meaningful relationships can you maintain? People have always organized themselves in such ways because of the natural limits imposed by our necessity for authentic social interactions.

We need social nets that work, not social networks. What comfort can we take from scrolling through endless portraits of all our Facebook “friends?”

A single Rainforest Ecosystem from PeapodLife contains more living organisms than all the “friends” on Facebook combined, ever. The difference is, PeapodLife friends are not measured in quantity, nor are they organized by cold algorithms and crude databases.

PeapodLife follows the laws of nature in its highest expression. A community of organisms impossible to comprehend—let alone organize—by means of the human intellect, miraculously woven into a beautiful, self-organizing web focused on the success of every last inhabitant: including you.

No other technology comes close.

Here’s a vivid example of how nature shows us what a real relationship is; and what beauty emerges when we watch how the original “social net” works, even after 20 years.

Not a new story but worth watching again and again!
Uploaded by EVOLVE Campaigns 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Why there are NO GOOD I.T. COMPANIES left
(if there ever were any to begin with)

Image Collage by PeapodLife: No Good I.T. Companies.
Image Credit: I.T. Company Logos,  Source: egexa.com: eGexa Download: All best IT Companies Logos

Simplicity is DEAD in the Digital Age.

I just spent the better part of an hour trying to UNDO the stuff which the too-clever-for-their-own-good minds at Google INFECTED my gmail account with.

Because of Google’s irrational insistence that any changes within any application on their platform must automatically populate across all other applications in said platform and irrevocably alter my Google account as a whole, I am unable to actually make any use of certain customization options within Gmail.

I’ll spare you the gory details. You’re not interested anyway. If you’ve used any form of I.T. within the past few years, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Case in point: Microsoft Office’s arbitrary auto-formatting anomalies.  Take its insistence that a line beginning with an asterix (*) MUST mean you are starting a bulleted list; or a number MUST mean it’s a numbered list; or some other formatting change that is automatically spread like an infection.

And yes, I know all about “styles and formatting.” I have been using Word for over 15 years, observing each new version become progressively more efficient at its ability to confound and frustrate. 

Then there’s Adobe, where we get the inverse problem. Creative Suite is a suite in name only, as there is no uniformity in the graphic user interface, short-cut keys, menus, etc. Oh, there is some consistency: just enough to give you a false sense of security. But you’ll soon be searching Google for the way to do in PhotoShop what you know exactly how to do in Illustrator. And yes, Adobe’s help files are useless. 

Let us not imagine this phenomenon is limited to computers. The new breed of tablets and “smartphones” have spawned an entire new strain of patience-testing anomalies.

How about intelligent keyboards which automatically insert a space after a period and capitalize the next letter, so that URL’s you try typing into your browser end up looking like this: “Www. Thewebsiteineed. Com” until, that is, you go back and manually delete the spaces so the browser will work. And don’t even get me started on so-called intelligent prediction, voice recognition, etc.

Now I know what you’re thinking: I can “opt-out” of these features. Just turn them off. Why should I have to do that? They are good features when they actually work. I don’t want to opt out of not wearing a seatbelt, I expect that seatbelt to work. If it doesn’t work, it shouldn’t be there in the first place.

What a concept. Call me old fashioned, but there was a time when you bought a tool to do a job and unbelievably, it did so: hammer, toaster, typewriter, guitar, telephone, et al. Where and when, exactly, did we as a society exempt the digital age from the same standards as the analog one? When did it become a “best practice” to consistently overpromise and under deliver?

The mantras of the digital age are faster, smaller, smarter; feature-packed functionality; style over substance; gimmick over purpose; quantity over quality. Nowhere is quality, integrity, simplicity and intuitive human-centric design at the forefront. No, not even at Apple (but I’ll not get into details, because I don’t feel like sifting through reams of hate mail from zealous Macheads and iOS users).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s handy having a smartphone. It’s convenient and I’d be hard-pressed to live without it, now that I no longer commit anyone’s telephone number or email to memory. But there is something very wrong with the digital age and how companies from Microsoft to Google to Apple abuse their power, influence and ubiquity in our lives.

Does it have to be this way?

We are products of our environment. Anyone who works in I.T. is surrounded by electromagnetic fields of zillions of bits moving across fractal spaghetti networks at hyperspeed, a condition which results in a culture of error since our primitive animal minds cannot keep up with the complexity and speed.

All an I.T. company would need to do is take a page from analog artists and craftspeople of the past: SLOW DOWN a little, and turn to nature for guidance, inspiration, imagination and rejuvenation.

Hey Google, forget the foosball and pool tables, how about an indoor rainforest ecosystem from PeapodLife? If Adobe’s separate application teams develop a harmonious, symbiotic relationship with a rainforest ecosystem, their applications will work in harmony and symbiosis with each other and users.

Immersed in the electromagnetic field of a high-order ecosystem (both calming and revitalizing), developers can find new inspiration, imagination, solutions; unlock nature’s secrets to managing infinite complexity; and embody the perfection of a measured, ordered pace of development in their work.

The result: beauty, depth, peace and harmony. How’s that for a “new feature-set” for the digital age?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Surprise! Sugar Ain’t Good For You!
World Health Organization takes its foot out of its mouth and puts it firmly down.

Video: CBC.ca Reducing sugar intake The World Health Organization says we should reduce our sugar intake by two-thirds, to about six teaspoons a day. 

"Sugar might become the new tobacco in terms of risk"
~ Dr. Francesco Branco, head of nutrition for health and development, WHO
Source: cbc.ca: CBC news | Health: Lower sugar intake to less than 5% of daily calories, WHO says
The World Health Organization (WHO) has had an epiphany.  Hold onto your hats: sugar is bad for you. Did we just blow your mind!?  Chances are, not really.

If you’re even remotely interested in nutrition, health & wellness and the like, you’ve probably already seen, read and heard reams of information on the perils and evils of the dreaded “white powder.”

What has taken so long for the WHO to come around and reflect what is far and away the consensus among nutrition and healthcare professionals is simple: industry pressure.

The WHO has made statements about sugar consumption in the past, but they have stopped short of changing the maximum recommended intake of sugar because the processed food industry—and the sugar growers which fuel it—gave such tremendous pushback.

So, just as with tobacco, we had years—if not decades—of weakly-worded recommendations lacking any real teeth. In the meantime? Consumption of sugary products was on the rise, as the following infographic illustrates…

Infographic: The National Sugar Rush

So How ‘toxic’ is sugar? Research suggests links to deadly diseases but some doctors and food industry representative are skeptical. Surprise, surprise.

There seems to be a tremendous amount of research and scientific evidence, but the industry will likely NEVER agree with the science. Exactly how the tobacco industry dragged its heels for decades in the face of hard science and countless illnesses and deaths at the hands of their product.

Image: “Eat Less Sugar…you’re sweet enough already.”

It’s good advice, really.

We too often search for quick fixes, intense pleasures, instant gratification, all of which are actually filling some deep subconscious emotional/psychological void in our lives.

But we all know sugary foods have little to no value. According to the WHO’s recent statement, sugar is 10 times more addictive than cocaine.

When we look at all the hidden sources of sugar, it turns out that the average Canadian consumes about 40kg (or 20 bags) of sugar. That is about 26 teaspoons a day, more than double the new recommendation of 10 teaspoons.

PeapodLife believes that part of the problem that we face with all this toxic food we eat, prepared by an industry built on exploitation, consumed in houses that are toxic indoor environments, is that it all fits together.

Why would we expect part of “the big machine” to produce anything different than how the rest of the machine works?

Healing our environment is one proactive step we can take today to break the cycle of toxicity, junk, exploitation. Installing a vibrant, living rainforest ecosystem in our homes, workplaces and schools fills our lungs with purity, our hearts with beauty, our bodies with vitality, and our minds with clarity.

There is no way we can stomach toxic foods when we live in an ecosystem. Our relationship with the orchids, moss, bromeliads, and countless other organisms forbids it. Our responsibility as active members of the ecosystem demands we uphold our place in the order of things.

Exploitation and toxicity have no place in a high-order rainforest ecosystem, any more than they have a place in our lives, our diets, society as a whole and the wider environment of the planet.

Image: A real estate investor gets up close and personal with PeapodLife’s Angolo model at The Property Show.