Thursday, 29 August 2013

Do you sweat the Small Stuff? How about the Big Stuff? How Energy Affects our Emotional & Mental Well Being.

Nervous Breakdown photo by Lyod
Image: “Nervous Breakdown” by Lyod
Source: Spaga_2009: media: DREAM: Nervous Breakdown

Ecosystems Help Maintain Psychological Well-Being

Imagine you’ve had “one of those days.” It starts out slow and dull after a long night of tossing and turning (the neighbourhood cats decided to have a social outside your bedroom window). You pine for a cup of java, but find you’ve run out of instant coffee cups. After scraping the charred bits off of some burnt toast (someone left the setting on “scorched earth”), you hear the time on the radio…7:55.

That’s when it hits you: you forgot you had an 8:30am meeting downtown today.

You LEAP into action (read: panic) mode: run through a frighteningly icy shower (the landlord is “still working on that”), throw on some kinda-sorta-ironed clothes and race for the car.

The traffic seems as if it was going backwards. Every light bleeds crimson. The clock in your car advances feverishly. You curse Einstein and his Law of Relativity (“time and space are not constant. Fine. But why do they always seem to work against me!?”).

You realize you’d better call your boss to let him her know you’re going to be late. That’s when you realize you left your phone in the den next to the fish tank.

Arriving late and somewhat dejected, you have no choice but to pick the flat-rate $40 parking garage in the luxury hotel, and still have to drive 5 levels down past row upon row of luxury sedans, sports cars and SUVs…their obnoxiously enormous headlamps and grills sneering at your pre-owned subcompact.

The remaining 30-minutes of the meeting go awkwardly. The potential client is stand-offish at best and hostile at worst. “But thanks for the late breakfast.”

Your boss is not impressed.

You collect your car; head to the office. There you are met by a mountain of emails needing your reply. Your thoughts turn to the “Missed Call” counter ticking up on your phone; messages hungrily gobbling up your limited voicemail box capacity. You wonder if fish can spontaneously develop telephone skills. Maybe they could have bike courier break into your place and bring you your phone?

What if that “special friend” you met recently is trying to call? What if your mother is trying to call? “Hmm...maybe leaving the phone at home was a blessing in disguise,” you muse to yourself.

Then it happens: your computer just stops. And no, re-booting the system will not get it to start.

Several hours of dealing with your own I.T. department (“Ned”), navigating automated phone systems, desperately trying to speak to—and be understood by—technical support somewhere in South Central/Eastern Asia, only to have to take your unit into a repair depot where after a 20-minute test it’s confirmed you’ll need a new hard drive. “Why couldn’t someone tell me that to begin with!?”

Don’t worry, eventually you do make it home: an empty apartment (except for some fish and a cell phone filled with missed calls and voicemails), an empty fridge, coupons for delivery pizza and/or Chinese food, hundreds of channels of trash on the TV, and countless webpages online to numb you to sleep (at least, you would have, if the Internet wasn’t on the fritz. Your landlord says “the ISP is supposed to be working on that.”)

Just then, deciding to clean out your voicemail box, you get the message from your “special friend.” They’ve met someone else and can’t see you anymore.

That’s the last straw: a seething rage erupts from inside! Your entire body seizes up with an intense eruption of energy, completely taking hold of you, and in a split second of explosive impulsiveness, you watch as your arm hurls your smartphone against the wall, smashing the glass on your favourite limited edition print, ripping the photo beneath.

Observe yourself right now, in this moment. We all know the feeling of having “one of those days.” The question is how do we handle such days?

Do we let each “little thing” get to us, however imperceptibly? What happens after the second, third, fourth…tenth “little thing?” Do we sweat the little things just enough that they add “another straw” to the camel’s back?

There really is no difference between a “little thing” and a “big thing.” Psychologically speaking, the small stuff and the big stuff are the same: something that didn’t go our way; an unexpected outcome which upset our expectations (it’s our expectations which cause the upset).

Often, we identify “big stuff” based on our reaction. However, in the above story, clearly the reaction was related to all the small stuff which occurred during the day. The straw that breaks the camel’s back takes the heat for everything, but it was just another in a series of incremental increases in negative energy.

So what does any of this have to do with PeapodLife and ecosystems?

Imagine if you had an ecosystem at home and at work. Imagine a lush, green indoor environment filled with fresh clean air—like being in a rainforest or outside in nature after a fresh summer rain. Reread the above story and after each paragraph add the following:

Then you look at the ecosystem: it’s lush moss, beautiful bromeliads, delicate orchids, at once vibrant and soothing. You take a long, deep breath of the pure, fresh, clean air. You close your eyes for just a moment and take in the delicate calming sound of trickling water. “Life is good,” you think to yourself.

Image by PeapodLife: Custom Living Wall Ecosystem brings soothing nature into an office space.

Now imagine children at school. Employees at work. Parents in the retirement home. Patients in the dental clinic. Clients in the spa. Imagine all those little barbs of negative energy being dissolved, moment by moment, instead of building up inside.

The power of nature to help us maintain balanced mental well-being is priceless. That’s the power of PeapodLife.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Introducing Genesis Eco Fund - Our Non-Profit Partner is Now Online with Social Media

Image Collage by PeapodLife: Genesis Eco Fund is on Facebook, Blogger & Twitter Social Media 
Clipart Source: Social Media Monitoring: Multiple Social Network

Genesis Eco Fund

Today, we are pleased to announce that the not-for-profit division of our PeapodLife Branded Social Enterprise has gone live with its Facebook page, blog, and Twitter feed.

So what is Genesis and what do they do?

Genesis International Fund for Ecological Atmospheric Research is a Toronto, Ontario-based registered not-for-profit corporation. Its mandate is to provide support in furthering PeapodLife’s social mission via fundraising, research, ecosystem relief, education and community building.

The goal of Genesis? To increase humanity’s contributions toward, capability with, accessibility to, awareness of and collective benefit from Advanced Human Habitat.

Simply put, Genesis puts the “social” in our social mission to bring Building EcoSystems & Technology to a world in desperate need of a way to reintroduce the healing powers of nature into our modern-day lives.

The following Visual Summary helps put it all in perspective… 

Image by Genesis: Visual Summary of 5 Primary Activities: Fundraising, R&D, EcoSystem Relief, Education, Community Building
2013 © Genesis International Fund for Ecological Atmospheric Research

As the key not-for-profit vehicle behind the PeapodLife Branded Social Enterprise, Genesis devotes 100% of its time and efforts on activities which benefit: individuals, families, schools, particularly special-needs schools, hospitals and wellness centres, retirement homes, businesses, communities. is still under construction, and we are hard at work getting our fundraising and crowd funding efforts underway. Like Genesis on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to learn when they’re up and running full-steam.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Recreating Eden: Designing Paradise (Video)

Image: John Hardy’s Green Lifestyle in Bali is the epitome of modern economic lifestyle in harmony with nature.

Has John Hardy discovered the Ultimate Expression of “the PeapodLife” in Bali?

"We’re living in one of the most beautiful places on the planet we don’t need ornamentation."
~ John Hardy
Source: Designing Paradise

In the west, we hear terms like “green living,” “eco-lifestyle” and the like thrown about like a Frisbee. These buzz-words span the sustainability spectrum from flat-out green washing to living off-grid under a rock in the Yukon.  But what does it really mean, practically speaking?

Most “environmentally friendly” consumers in Canada fall somewhere in the middle of the sustainability continuum, buying energy efficient homes, Energy Star appliances and organic food (when they can get it and can afford it), and try to recycle and ride their bike to work as much as possible.

But is that really “green?” Even those who have small gardens or participate in community permaculture projects in Toronto and other cities…how connected are people with their environment? Is it even conceivable given North American climate and lifestyle to imagine something different?

Is it possible for us to visit a place that successfully melds the demands of modern economics and lifestyle with truly green living? Living one with nature in mutual symbiosis?

Canadian-born luxury jeweler Tom Hardy has an answer. He not only lives in Bali, his sprawling estate includes organic permaculture and aquatic farming, renewable energy, waste reclamation and a jewelry design and crafting operation employing over 500 people.

Watch the video: Recreating Eden, Designing Paradise (full episode) and see for yourself.

But let’s be honest: how realistic is this in Canada? For starters, we don’t have bamboo. And while the Innuit can live in ice houses up north, igloos are not a practical solution for the winter month in Southern Ontario. Lastly, what about fall and spring?

Layer on the other realities of living in Canada, we are stuck with a bit of a conundrum. And yet, there is hope!

Tom Hardy has captured the essence of what PeapodLife is: fresh air, living water, organic food, a healthy shelter that is one with nature. The difference is, whereas in Bali and elsewhere around the world (and up until the 20th Century), nature can support it, in Canada, we support nature.

In many ways, PeapodLife represents a complete turnaround…not an evolution of living, a REVOLUTION in living. Human structures and technology supporting indoor ecosystems, which then, in turn, turnaround and support us right back! In this simple way alone PeapodLife is truly “revolutionary.”

When you think about “recreating eden,” you have to begin with an origin; a foundation. Tom Hardy began with what he had to work with: the lush living natural surroundings of Bali, and he’s not stopping with his home and business. He has moved onto Green Education, which you can learn more about on the inaugural Genesis Foundation Blog.

PeapodLife begins with what we have to work with: our modern homes, sick buildings, and concrete jungles of cold steel and glass…lifeless…draining…stressful.

But what if we can turn the lifeless interiors of our modern post-industrial cityscapes (Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver et al) into Advanced Human Habitats capable of supporting that very essence of the lush Balinese lifestyle? This is the revolutionary genius of the PeapodLife for Canada.

Watch the Full Episode of Recreating Eden: Designing Paradise online now at:

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

What’s wrong with Business? Our “One Word” Solution to a “One Tweet” Problem

Image Collage by PeapodLife: Exploitation v.s. Symbiosis:
Image of Tweet from @DarylIT “[Employees] are costs. Full Stop.” In response to @hblodget. 
Source: Henry Blodget: This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business
Cartoon Re-Thinking Symbiosis by Nick Galifianakis, 

Today an article by Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor, Business Insider, arrived in my inbox via LinkedIn. The article was entitled “This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business.”

In it, Mr. Blodget describes what he believes the problem with business today to be: the overwhelming belief among senior managers that employees are “costs,” nothing more.
“And "costs," as we all know, are supposed to be reduced as much as is humanly possible (except the "costs" of the salaries of senior management and investors--those are supposed to be increased).”
~ H. Blodget, in This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business.

He also offers the above tweet by Twitter user named Daryl Tremblay as succinct synopsis of this widely held belief, tweeted in response to his suggestion that McDonalds increase restaurant workers’ pay:
“(I was arguing that McDonald's employees should not be treated as "costs," but instead as valuable members of a successful team who shouldn't have to work that hard and still live in poverty.)”
~ H. Blodget, in This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business.

What Blodget is really highlighting at this point in his article is the culture of exploitation. Then, in exploring the reason for the presence of this widely held belief, Mr. Blodget drops the “S-word:”
“Whenever you suggest to folks like Daryl that it doesn't have to be this way, that some companies can and do balance the interests of shareholders with the interests of customers and employees—and, in so doing, create a symbiotic relationship that supports all of these constituencies—folks like Daryl call you a ‘socialist.’”
~ H. Blodget, in This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business.

Sorry Daryl et al, the magic word here is NOT “socialist,” it is “symbiotic relationship”…SYMBIOSIS: the close interaction between two or more organisms of different biological species.

So how does a business move from a culture of exploitation (people are “costs” to be squeezed, like the natural world, for every last drop of value), to symbiosis?  Why not start with the work environment?

We are all products of our environment. Our environment affects us in ways medicine and psychology are barely beginning to comprehend. Nonetheless, it is well documented how stress adversely affects wellness (the word disease itself is a compound word: dis-ease, not at ease…stressed).

What if there was a way of injecting the workplace, office, boardroom, staff room, etc. with an engine of wellness whose very foundation was symbiosis? Not only that, what if that engine of symbiosis was made possibly only because of a symbiotic relationship between human technology and nature?

Is it possible that an environment saturated by the forces and dynamics of collective symbiosis might have a positive effect on the decision makers working in said environment? If they breathed the same air, drank the same water, and shared the same indoor space as an ecosystem, would they not, on some level, begin to align their thoughts, emotions, and decisions to the underlying matrix of the ecosystem?

Image by PeapodLife: EcoSystem in Canada Life Meeting Room

At PeapodLife, we know making an investment in an indoor ecosystem for your management and employees will yield tangible benefits to your bottom-line. Improved mood, reduced stress, fewer sick days, and much more—all the reasons why many companies already invest in wellness programs.

But we also know that ecosystems will have another, more subtle and yet more significant impact on your business. A business whose strategies and tactics are more aligned with what’s going on in the world.

Just imagine corporate activities and culture which embrace a more holistic view of life “out there” by embracing a deeper and more conscious understanding of our worlds “in here”—in your business; that is, the collective bodies, minds, and hearts of your company’s people.

See, people are only “costs” if we adhere to primitive, mechanical belief systems expounding the virtues of exploitation as the highest goal of capitalism: maximize profits; minimize costs.

When you comprehend the inner workings of an ecosystem, the beauty and power of symbiosis reveals itself as a far more effective modus operandi (which is probably why it works so damn well in nature): support all beings in their efforts to achieve optimal expression of their inherent abilities, and reap optimal benefit in a mutually symbiotic, collectively harmonious, and highly successful enterprise.

So what other kinds of things can people imagine when technology and ecology come together in mutual symbiosis?
“Mexican artist Gilberto Ezparza has created a piece title Nomadic Plants, a plant/robot hybrid which forms a symbiotic relationship…[which] carry plants and biodigesters on its back, and moves to different energy sources when it needs to replenish its fuel….His small robot runs on energy produced from a store of bacteria. When these microorganisms need nourishment the machine seeks out dirty water, which is then decomposed to create energy; any surplus is used to emit a noise and sustain plants carried on its back. The machine and plants becomes co-dependent.”
~ GRANT, in D-Build Blog: Deconstruct Design Develop: A Symbiotic Future for Plants

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Fresh Water Crisis could be Solved by “Mother Nature’s Engineers”

Screenshot Image: The Beaver Whisperers LIVE Online. 
“Watch for Beaver Kits; Meet the Beavers; Explore the Beaver Habitat 360’Panorama; Presented by CBC’s The Nature of Things with David Suzuki.”
Visible Tweet by PeapodLife: “@PeapodLife believes supporting Mother Nature is the BEST way to solve environmental problems. Bravo Beavers! #CastorCamCBC”
Source: The Nature of Things: The Beaver Whisperer LIVE

"The Beaver Whisperers" Nurture Wildlife to Help Recover Watersheds

“Beaver do better work than the Corps of Engineers.”
~ Mike Todd
Source: Mike Todd Quotes & Sayings
The expressions “busy beaver” and “eager beaver” may not be as well-known as they once were, but that may change if more people become aware of the incredible ways these whimsical animals are helping environmental biologists re-establish vanishing watersheds and revitalize ecosystems.

Last night The Nature of Things with David Suzuki aired a repeat of the outstanding documentary, The Beaver Whisperers, which apparently first aired in March. We were heartened, amused, informed and down-right amazed at both the tenacity and versatility of these iconic Canadian rodents, and the:
“growing number of scientists, conservationists and grass-roots environmentalists [who] see the beaver as a much overlooked [partner] when it comes to reversing the disastrous effects of global warming and world-wide water shortages.”
~ The Beaver Whisperers Film Website

Typically, human beings impose our will on the nature with the express purpose of exploiting it to meet our insatiable appetite for natural resources. When encountering nature’s resistance in the form of resilient organisms exhibiting industrious if not relentless opposition to our violation, we brand them as “pests” standing in the way of economics, progress, etc. Thus stigmatized, any opposing organisms are subjected to all manner of suffering, from forced relocation to outright extermination.

The Beaver Whisperers show us a better, smarter way to manage ecological issues. The key is embracing resilient, versatile and tenacious organisms and their specialized role in the natural order of things.

Image: Beaver building dam.  

When we cooperate with beavers, they stop being part of the problem and start becoming part of the solution.  It begins by changing our understanding of their true nature.

Beavers are hydrological engineers extraordinaire.  They are tenacious builders, work all hours of the night, conduct their own maintenance and training programs, manage family planning concerns, and are only too happy to assist us in the re-engineering of wetlands, re-establishment of vanishing watersheds, and revitalization of ecosystems.  

So here then is another example of a better, smarter way to manage ecological issues, just like PeapodLife. We focus on better understanding the fundamental matrix of nature and the infinitely interconnected mechanics of the ecosystem. Comprehend what Mother Nature needs and wants, on HER TERMS FIRST. She will always return the kindness. Nurture nature! The results are remarkable.

Image: Nurture Nature for our Future.
Source: Poster "Nurture Nature For Our Future"by Julia Pak, a project on SCAD Portfolios

For more information about The Beaver Whisperers, view live webcams of beavers, and much more, visit The Nature of Thing’s microsite dedicated to the subject, film, and “the stars of the film” (it’s nice to say that and really mean it).

P.S. Here’s a photo snapped by Wo-Built Inc. President & CEO (& Founder of PeapodLife) Martina Ernst during a very personal and touching encounter with an industrious and generally friendly (if somewhat shy) Toronto neighborhood resident.

Photo: Being Inspired by the Little Bit of Magic in My “Backyard“