Eric Praetzel - Personal web page

Watch this:

"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

My vacation pictures from all over [Canada, USA, Europe]

pic. of Eric

I live in the city of Kitchener which is in the region of Waterloo in the province of Ontario in the country Canada which is on the planet earth that is circling a small yellow sun in the outer spiral arm of the milky way galaxy.

For SCA dance music check out my SCA Dance & Music web page for song lists and the CD web page for music and CD's. I also have many renaissance music arrangements (sheet music, MIDI) in other web pages listed below.

My Views

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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!
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. Misc. - Stop water fluoridation. Avoid buying things that are toxic to make and toxic to dispose of - plastics.
  10. 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

  • - excellent news.
  • Right Web exposiing the architecture of power that's changing our world.
  • and are great sources of news.
  • - 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
  • 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:


    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 vacation pictures.

    Social Dancing

    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)

    The following are excellent sources of musical instruments:

    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 externalized.

    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 recycled.
    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 participate). 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 breakfast respectively.
    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.

    Historical Costuming


    Image Capture/Viewing/Manipulation Software: Dvpeg

    My image viewing software archives has 3 files. which is a version of my viewer that supports very limited printing 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 from the 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 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 support:

    I don't support:

    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:
    Term Tutition With misc. Fees Co-Op Fee
    Fall 1983 $660.80 $733.87 N.A.
    Winter 1984 $707.80 $789.12 N.A.
    Fall 1984 $743.29 $835.58 N.A.
    Summer 1985 $774.79 $867.08 N.A.
    Fall 1986 $686.00 $1127.54 $195
    Summer 1987 $733.00 $1090.04 $250
    Winter 1988 $733.00 $1088.46 $250
    Fall 1988 $765.50 $1149.16 $269

    Misc. Quotes

    Wedding quilt:
    Wedding Quilt 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:
    My back yard - summer 2000

    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).