Eric Praetzel - Personal web page
"Modern agriculture is the method by which we convert petrolium products into food." Dr. Albert Bartlett (note that we expend about 10 calories of oil to get 1 calorie of food.
Check out my work home page. or
say hi to me (praetzel at uwaterloo.ca)
You can't consume your way to sustainability. We must power down, scale back and
start to live in a sustainable way.
We must stop out the need and demand to consume, to drive, to eat non-local foods or
foods out of season. We must consume locally what we can
produce locally. In short we must live within our means - without being a parasite on
the rest of the world. The world population, esp. the "developed world", needs to be cut to
1/2 or 1/4 of what it currently is in order to limit the damage done by our rabid
consumption. While it is easy for the average household in the USA and Canada to cut
their energy consumption in half - that is only a drop in the bucket. Our planet is
well beyond it's carrying capacity; we are endangering the future our our species
and the single more dangerous living creature is the "western consumer".
We have lost sight of what many religons teach - that to grow we must understand our
own flaws and always strive to overcome them. Our biggest flaw is our insatiable wants
and this is now what endangers our species.
Having gone vegetarian and now mostly vegan with a diet centered upon "whole foods" I've watched my
weight drop 30lb, my blood cholesterol go from 180 (what a doctor would call "healthy" but which only cut my risk
of heart disease in half compared to blood cholestorol > 240) to being < 140 - meaning that my diet will
cause NO extra risk for heart disease and will actually unclog my arteries.
I've also seen my teeth and gums improve.
I'm a strong proponent of:
- Growing Food - We have a garden at home and have a goal to only plant things that feed us. We also
run the Victoria Hills Multicultural Community Garden
- Food - become vegetarian or better yet vegan. The world can't take the environmental destruction
of eating meat. Read The McDougall Plan and The Food Revolution and The China Study and The New American Diet and Diet For a Small Planet
A high meat/protein diet is linked with cancer, obesity and a multitude of health problems. Avoid
the metals in fish, the bioconcentration of pesticides and poisons in meats,
the growth hormones in diary products by eating low on the food chain!
- Diary Products - Our high dairy consumption is unnatural. Dairy products are loaded with fat, cholesterol
cancer promoting animal protein, IGF-1 growth hormone as well as an other hormones given to the cows.
- Consuming - DON'T DO IT! It's that simple. Buy what you need for life - don't
consume recklessly - the planet can't take it. Read The Last Hours of Anchient Sunlight
- Food - buy local, buy fresh and buy organic. See the books above for why. In the summer
we get much of our food via a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). Here is a new local one
Diversity Gardens CSA/greenhouse
- Lifestyle - Voluntary Simplicity. Live it, believe it. People are more important
than profits or things. Unclutter your life and put your valuable energy/life into the things
that matter. Consumerism is a dead end - an end that'll take our society and our planet with it.
Follow the Boy Scout motto - leave this planet in better shape than you found it!
- Sustainability - Fight for a sustainable lifestyle. If you live in the USA then fight
for a world in which puppet regimes are not instituted via the US Military - fight for a country
that is sustainable - one which the world admires and that leads the way to our future - not
pollutes us into the stone age in order to maintain a lifestyle that is destructive to society
and living things. The USA which people dreamed about is dead - it's now a monster that people
fear - with just cause. What other country lets 18,000 of it's own people die every year because
they can't afford healthcare - but will spend $300B bombing, invading and occupying Iraq even though
it has no connection to the 3,000 deaths on Sept 11! Support the US troups with the
Courage to Resist.org
- HomeStyle - Unclutter your home. Gas powered lawnmowers put out many times more
pollution than cars per hour of use - use a push mower or just get rid of your lawn - plant clover! Stop using
pesticides (herbicides, fungicides) and get them banned in your community for the health of everyone. Most
pesticides simply end up in our carpets and drinking water.
- Misc. - Stop water fluoridation. Avoid buying things that are toxic to make and toxic
to dispose of - plastics.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and do it in that order. If you reduce then there is that much
less to reuse or recycle. If you reuse then there is that much less to recycle. It's a pyramid.
Those that argue to support their rampant consumption by saying they recycle just don't get it.
Alternative News and Useful Links
DemocracyNow.org - excellent news.
Right Web exposiing the architecture of power that's changing our world.
TomPaine.com are great sources of news.
ThomHartmann.com - Liberal talkradio guy and book writer.
"Free Trade" is simply a method by which the certain nations
rape and pillage the others. We should be fighting for Fair Trade.
Giving people the "option" of working in conditions that we would never
work under for less than a working wage is abuse. For information about
what the WTO is achieving check out www.gatt.org
The Skeptical Inquirer is always an excellent example of people working to debunk the gunk that fills peoples minds.
In the USA the National Public Radio is a refreshing change from the mainstream gibberish.
TV and mainstream news are methods by which people get turned into zombies. "Real" news broadcasts are hard to find but you may find them on a university campus and community radio stations.
The local University of Waterloo CKMS radio has not been bad and thru them I've been introduced to the following sites:
- PR Watch - Reporting on the PR industry
- Flipside - An Alternative Daily news source that is Canadian based.
- The Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is excellent reading and provides links to:
- CounterSpin is a weekly show by FAIR and offers information that you'll never hear from the mainstream media
- Making Contact An excellent radio show about the human realities of politics and making democratic changes.
- Institute for Public Accuracy
- 51 Percent - From WAMC-FM radio in Albany (a PBS station), this program looks at issues of particular interest to women.
- Borderlands - Borderlands is a series of radio documentaries on development and international cooperation as lived by real people in real situations in Africa, Asia and the Americas. It focuses on the unique contributions that Canadians, and our development assistance programs, are making in these places. Borderlands is produced at CFRC-FM - Queen's University radio in Kingston, with the assistance of CUSO.
- Jean Kilbourne A pioneer in alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of
women in advertising.
I enjoy cross-country skiing and a popular local place is Schneiders Farm. Here is a
small map and a
big map of the main group of trails.
If you use these trails; remember, only hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.
We enjoy these trails because of the good will of the Schneider family. The trails can be found by noting
roads mentioned on the map. Look for the T intersection on a map. It is west of Erbsville and north of
Erb street. Note where Carmel Convent is on the map. The trails also continue south of map and around
Sunfish lake - although I have not found the Sunfish lake trail yet.
Sadly - as of winter 2003 some very large subidivisions are encroaching on the Waterloo moraine
and the increased traffic and people will likely close these ski trails.
I have been caving in several places. In a private cave preserve (West Virginia) I just had to shoot some film.
It was all experimental stuff with long exposures. My caving light was the mother of all lights. A
20W halogen flood light and it worked like a charm when the passages were large or I was in a cavern.
Here is some information about my medium format cameras
and some film comparisons I've done.
I have information for people interested in cave photography.
Lastly, I have information about 35mm cameras that I've used for my
Social dance is dancing for fun, not performance. It involves interacting with partners and
other dancers and / or couples. Live music is usually an important part of the dance.
Some of the dancing I am involved with involves costumes - renaissance (pre 1600) , vintage (1800's to
early 1900's) and Playford (1650 - 1750). Other forms of dance I like include Irish, Scottish, French, English, square
and contra dances.
Music (CDs, MIDI, Noteworthy, SCA & ECD dance related)
I produce over 10 CDs of renaissance dance music on an at-cost basis.
To hear this music, order the CDs & books or get more info check my
SCA Dance CD & book web page
I have over 200 SCA dances songs in sheet music (PDF, Postscript)
available on a series of web pages. Please go to my
SCA music web page or go directly to my
Music Search Engine.
I also have a non-SCA Music Page. ie Post 1600 dances and
music will be put there at some point.
The following are excellent sources of musical instruments:
- Kelischek (Susato) (winds and much much much more!)
- The Marion Woodworker - Albert Winters, Marion MA (harps, dulcimers, psaltery)
Music that is easy to learn on a recorder
Costuming, SCA (medieval recreation)
Cars, Homes and the environment
In Jan 2001 I had a REEP home energy evaluation.
I've started compiling information about home energy use and solutions.
Here are our energy upgrades (home, auto) and our
energy use measurements.
We are experimenting with converting a freezer into a more efficient fridge.
I advocate at least a doubling of the cost of fuels [gasoline, natural gas, oil, etc] in or order
for people to be encouraged to reduce their use as most of the true costs
(healthcare, supporting slave labour, environmental destruction) have been
We used cloth diapers with our kids and here is the cost of washing them (top
loading vs front loading washer) cloth diaper costs
Oasis Design has an excellent website about grey water common errors
I like to repair things and here are some pictures and my comments on repairing our
Kenmore front loading washer
Gardening and Fruit Trees
The western treatment of human manure as a "waste product" needs to end. It's loaded with
nutrients and is necessary in order to close the cycle of food production. We can't continue
to dump our humanure into clean water then then try to treat it before dumping it into the
environment with the associated environmental problems. Humanure needs to be collected and
In particular urine from healthy individuals is near sterile and an excellent fertilizer. I
recommend the book Liquid Gold: The Lore
and Logic of Using urine to Grow Plants and it's web page as well as the free humanure book:
the Humanure Handbook: a
guide to composting human manure covers all details with the safe collecting and composting
of human manure. As of 2007 one can find much work and research in Sweden and Holland about
urine diverting toilets. While I believe that the best solution is composting; the easiest
thing for a city dweller to do is to use their urine on their garden and do divert it from
dumping into clean, fresh, water.
Here are some websites with information:
Here is my garden planting and harvest schedule
Here is my gardening and fruit tree web page It has information
about what type of trees I have and how they have been doing in this climate.
I have also been drying fruit and here are my dried fruit stats
FASS - A Yearly Play at the University of Waterloo
FASS is a yearly play put on at the University of Waterloo in the cold months of
January and February. We reherse during Jan. and the play is on the stage in the first weekend in Feb. on the thursday, friday and saturday nights. The friday late show is the "special" one that is well attended by former FASS members.
Anyone who wants to help out is in the cast! There is not enough time to reherse everything and get it down pat but the point of FASS is to have a show that
is fun for both the participants and the audiance (and the audiance members who
We have had in excess of 100 actors during a show and nearly everyone is out there for the opening song and dance! It is quite amazing seeing such a diverse group of people come together and make the show even funnier than the writers thought it would be.
As far as I've seen, this is the social highlight of the year. If you have a
month of time to sacrifice to FASS, try it!
Some FASS pictures (mid 1990's)
Financial RSP Info
I've writen some programs to harvest RRSP fund prices and plot them. These are
built into plots of how the fund prices change over time.
I regularily make raisin bread and oatmeal for snack and
I also like to make ice cream. Check out Steve's Ice Cream Recipes
Here are my icecream recipes.
Here is a quick fudge recipe.
Bicycling and Unicycling
In Sept 2010 I borrowed a unicycle and learned how to ride it.
- I've had some shifting problems with my Klein Quantum II and have documented
a quick and dirty fix that improved things quite a lot.
- I have cycled in many places. Check out my vacation pictures
- One of the fun things about being on campus is that you can participate as a lab. rat
in experiments. I've done that for a few years and here is my VO2 max test results. This test measures the maximum amount of oxygen that someone can take in. This
experiment used an upright bicycle that required the cyclist to increase the power that they
produce; until they drop.
- I have built several bike lighting systems using 10W and 20W halogen lamps. Here
is the system explained with pictures.
- Recumbent Bicycles
I have built some recumbent bicycles. A few
recumbent pictures are available and
others are on
ece.uwaterloo.ca in pub/jpeg/pics/hpv directory from the bikes I have
and others which have been built by experimenters. There is a company
in the Kitchener called Doppler Cycles which designs, builds
and races recumbent bicycles with rear suspensions. They are quite innovative
in their designs. Basically, I just like to do around 10,000 km/yr on my
various bikes. When I diversify a bit more I'll get back to some bi, duo or
triathelons. During the winter the only thing to do is go skiing, uphill of
George Farnsworth has an excellent web page on traveling
Ever wonder how bad the drivers in Kitchener Waterloo are and what my experiences with them has been? Check out my Cyclist vs Drivers web page. Amazingly enough the government has started a DriveClean program to test cars. In the past few years the haze has been pretty bad on summer days and this should help.
Want to learn about car sharing? Check out People's Car Co-operative
- I enjoy riding with www.GreatCanadianBicycle.on.ca
Image Capture/Viewing/Manipulation Software: Dvpeg
My image viewing software archives has 3 files.
dv-print.zip which is a version of my viewer that supports very limited printing
dv-simpl.zip which is a striped down version that doesn't require much memory
the 3.0L version of my viewer (most features and most bugs!).
You can get them
Dvpeg web page
Here is my SMOOTH program (ZIPed) which is a
general purpose JPEG manipulation program. It offers smoothing, scaling,
cropping and conversion to grayscale/GIF/Postscript. It comes with no
warrenty, guarantee or anything else. It is a command line program for DOS.
I also have a Linux version available.
To learn more about JPEG check out www.jpeg.org web page
Charities, Memberships, etc
I am a member of Mountain Equipment Co-op
For meeting people I'd suggest social dance or The Science Connection
I don't support:
- the corporate rape of our planet or people thru "free", not fair, trade. As members of a first world
nation we must protect all peoples from "free" trade, social, familial and economic destruction thru the policies
and goals of multionals and governments like the USA. Sadly, in many countries people are abused and oppressed
by their own governments. The free trade paradigm seems to say that this means that it's fair game for us to
go in and do the same things.
Tutition at University of Waterloo
If anyone is curious what tutition was like at the University of Waterloo for
Electrical Engineering here is a summary for when I was a student:
|With misc. Fees
- Life: A positively terminal experience with elements of shock and suspence. Some scenes may contain nudity. Viewer discretion is advised.
- If one truly believe there is an all powerfull diety, and one looks around at the condition of the universe, one is lead inescapably to the conclusion that a god is a malign thug. Mark Twain
- Well, tell me about god. Tell me why he allows the foulest hyenas of our society to run amuck while decent men and women cower in terror. Faith you urge me? I have faith in people not gods. Harlan Ellison
Here is the full size picture
Many other people have web pages on this machine. Go to the top web page to see what is here.
Back to my home page
Here is a picture of my back yard:
When did you get on the web? I've been here since Feb. 1995. I started
using RedHat Linux servers in April 1997 (with RedHat 5.0 I believe).