Stepping away from the comforts of routine is a wonderful way of clarifying why we do the things we do and why we keep doing them.
It's like hitting the reboot button on the computer, the mental cache is cleared and the focus of "why" becomes clearer again. My "why" is helping people create happy and healthy homes.
I spent the last few months in a small row boat attempting something that had never been done before: to row a boat solely under human power, without sail or motor, across the fabled Northwest Passage. I attempted this because it was audacious, because it was a first and because it could bring awareness to an issue that is affecting us all - climate change.
Over recent decades climate change has transformed the Northwest Passage from an impassable ice-choked waterway into a seminavigable sea route that, according to a Globe and Mail article, just saw its first commercial ship traverse its waters, shipping coal (ironically) from B.C. to Finland. Climate change is here, it's happening and it's altering our world in ways that we can only pretend to understand.
Rowing a boat across the Arctic was a single loud statement pointing to a pressing reality, a reality that needs to be addressed by us all. I'm no eco-warrior, far from it.
I'm just a regular guy - a designer, a dad, a lover of the outdoors. I believe implicitly that through our simple day-to-day actions we can all make meaningful change.
And here lies my mental reboot, I believe we can make a profound change on our global footprint by making changes right at home, literally right in our home: living smaller, living healthier, living greener. It's all simple stuff that, for most of us, characterizes desirable outcomes for our homes.
In coming months I hope to delve into the design of the truly modern home, the home that speaks to a current way of living, the home that proposes alternatives to bad "housing" habits, the home that recognizes the need for positive change.
I'd like to thank Dalit Holzman for doing an outstanding job of filling in for me when I was gone.
Kevin Vallely is a residential designer in North Vancouver. Follow along Kevin's "small house" design at cliffhangerhouse.com.
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