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Posts Tagged ‘Earth Day’

This Earth Day weekend was spectacular. The rain stopped for our neighborhood’s Third Annual Community Cleanup and people fanned out around our twenty square blocks with garbage bags, claw grabbers and gloves to clean the streets and storm gutters from debris. I found a jury-rigged clothes hanger for breaking into cars, an empty bottle of cinnamon whiskey along with lots of beer bottles, and a discarded sippy cup filled with milk! But the worst culprit by far was cigarette butts.

It’s hard to believe people still smoke, or vape, or whatever. It’s a dirty business, smoking, and I’ve always hated it. As a kid I was stuck in a small house with two chain smokers, and occasionally in a small Corvair with the windows closed. I felt trapped in a cloud of noxious fumes and vowed then and there to never smoke.

I’ve seen the culture change around smoking, and I can only hope to see our culture change around guns. Suicides by gun, “accidental” handgun and hunting accidents, mass murders like our recent Waffle House massacre in TN (our 2nd in a few months), and even the occasional crime of passion are all a national public health emergency.

When the white supremacists in Cville outgunned the local police, well maybe that should have been a good clue – if not Sandy Hook or Parkland.

Maybe we should call out the National Guard? After all they were all stationed in DC for the Women’s March. I waved to them sitting in their buses waiting to be deployed in case things got nasty. They already know how to handle a gun, you wouldn’t have to educate teachers and arm them.

Just put a few National Guardspeople in every school, shopping center, cinema, music concert, sports arena, oh and restaurant…maybe even every workplace? We already have an armed militia, so why not use them to fight our gun nuts?

It would seem the only newsworthy part of the latest mass murder was the killer’s state of undress when a semi nude guy strolled into the Waffle House just a few miles south of here with an AR-15. At least we knew he didn’t have a bomb strapped on his chest. And because he was white, a reporter asked the sheriff if he thought the suspect was “mentally ill!”

Wearing only a jacket, the accused gunman, 29-year-old Travis Reinking, allegedly fatally shot two people outside the Antioch restaurant, police said.
He continued his rampage inside the restaurant, killing two more. Reinking fled the scene completely naked after a customer intervened.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/24/us/tennessee-waffle-house-shooting/index.html

Never mind that he kept an arsenal in his house, that he had waltzed onto the White House lawn before, that his father returned all his guns to him after the FBI had confiscated them…we all need to know WHY?

A white supremacist is a terrorist. A brown jihadist is a terrorist. Anyone with an AR-15 wants to terrorize someone. They ALL may even be mentally ill, so….

You know the definition of crazy right? “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

When we as a country allow these mass murders to happen over and over and over again, we are the very definition of an insane society. When our legislators listen to TV personalities and NRA lobbyists, we the people suffer. The first thing we need to do is get all those weapons of war off our streets, to reinstate the assault weapon ban of 1994.

Or maybe Macron can get Mr T to sign the Paris Climate Agreement? It’s a toss-up, the American people or Mother Earth? Either way, we’ll have to get down and dirty.

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Happy Earth Day everyone! It’s a blustery, sunny morning on the Blue Ridge, and life is almost back to normal. Bob left late for the hospital, so we had lots of time to discuss that five year old boy, you know the one. The parents “allowed” him to identify as a boy since the ripe old age of two, even though biologically he’s a girl. Mia or Jacob, you decide. It seems we have different opinions on that one, but I’ll just let you guess. Because I hate judging parents, I really really do.

Then before I had a chance to head outdoors and plant a rhododendron, the Bride sent me this Salon article because all her friends were talking about it: “What a Horrible Mother” by Kim Brooks:

http://www.salon.com/2015/04/19/what_a_horrible_mother_moms_arrested_for_leaving_their_kids_in_the_car/

So many touchy issues here. First of all,, I don’t believe this is an absolutist argument. There are many shades of grey, so if you’re of the opinion that one should never, and I mean ever, leave a kid in the car, you should stop reading. Same goes for those of you who believe, like the Scandinavians, you can always just plop your child alone, in public, while you run into a coffee house. Grandma Ada’s generation believed that fresh air was essential for a child, so they parked the pram on the porch and went about their housework every single day.

Today, if you run into the dry cleaners and leave your sleeping, sick child in his carseat, windows cracked open, parked and locked in the shade for a few minutes, on a 50-60 degree day, you may come back to your car and find yourself arrested!

For Dawn, a young mother in New England, it was the same: a moment of convenience followed by one of shock. She had just picked up her daughter from daycare when she remembered she was out of toilet paper. Her daughter, worn out after the day, was strapped into her car seat and busily enjoying what was her first ever Happy Meal to boot. Dawn pulled up in front of a Rite Aid, locked the doors, and sprinted inside. By the time she returned to the vehicle, three minutes later, a woman was standing by the window, beside Dawn’s daughter, who was still waiting comfortably.

“You’re disgusting,” the stranger said. “What a horrible mother. I’ve called the police on you. I have your license plate number. I’m waiting here to make sure they arrest you.”

There is a kind of moral vigilantism that has resulted from our “See something, say something” culture of fear. Perfectly normal, educated women are being arrested for a judgement call. The kind of thing I, and my generation, did all the time. Yes, I left my babies sleeping in the car in the garage when we got home from a long morning. The garage door was open and i could see them through the family room and hear when they started to stir awake. I’m pretty sure I left them in a locked car for a few minutes while running into a store, in fact it was such a commonplace thing, we didn’t think twice about it.

I remember feeling good that I had never actually locked the keys inside the car with the baby, something a few of my friends did. But when that happened to them, bystanders would help pop the lock, not call 911.

This was over 30 years ago, and in New England. But have stranger kidnappings increased since then, NO – only sensational media stories of car-jackings, and sleep-deprived parents forgetting their child in the car while they spent the day at work. Yes, we hear about the parent who walks into Walmart, leaving the baby in a car that quickly heats up over 100 degrees, resulting in death. That is ignorance, that is depravity, and it is a crime. Just like the parent who leaves guns around for that toddler to pick up…these are not accidents. I can get pretty judgmental about it.

Instead of pointing a finger, I would hope that I would react more like the woman at the end of the article. The one who helps a young mom empty her cart and plays peek-a-boo. Because the oceans are rising and mother earth needs all the help she can get, here are some free Earth Day games for your children. http://www.primarygames.com/holidays/earth_day/earthday.php

Be kind to each other.  IMG_2489

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Happy Earth Day everyone. I was reminded of my favorite psychologist, Abraham Maslow’s, saying this morning, “At any given moment we have two options; to step forward into growth, or to step back into safety.”  I loved his theories when I was an undergrad Psych major – only I’d add another option. We could also choose to stand still and do nothing.

Doing nothing is a choice. We all know these people. They are the ones who say, “Oh we tried that before and it didn’t work.” They are the self-involved, solipsistic loners. If they are not talking about themselves, well then what’s the point? Which is why a film about a young environmentalist falling for the middle-aged mom of a prescription-drug addicted daughter caught my attention.

“Bottled Up” explores the life of an enabler. Melissa Leo plays the quirky, lovable mother who flirts with denial like a pro – because for any addicted child to continue to live at home in their childhood bedroom, they would need the full cooperation of someone, right? Getting this reclusive mom to stop doing what she’s always done, and open her heart to a little, light Indie film romance gives this timely, weighty topic a humorous edge.

This Earth Day, instead of committing to changing your light bulbs, or remembering your grocery totes, why not think about what parts of your psyche may need an overhaul. Throw out the cobwebs in your head that keep you stuck in a “monkey mind,” adrift in a sea of indecision and inertia.

Instead of worrying about your carbon footprint, today let’s pull on our work boots. Get out in the yard, make the choice to start living a more healthy life. To make a few small, incremental changes toward growth, thank you Dr Maslow! After all, if we heal ourselves, maybe the planet will have a chance? Our hydrangeas need pruning and food! I’ll  eat more oranges, walk more and complain less. Maybe try to avoid sick/germ carrying people – unless it’s my Love Bug, then all bets are off. I’ve been wondering if all the Puffs tissues I’ve been going through with my latest virus are biodegradable?!

Speaking of my little Easter bunny. This is what you get when your adult children have to work on Easter Sunday. The Bride, my Jewish ER doctor/daughter and her husband the Christian Groom, who was on call in the MICU, sent the Bug off to a day filled with chocolate and jelly beans courtesy of their wonderful Nanny Kristy and her son Caiden. And for this moment, I am eternally grateful.        10271536_10203190002052914_8222434554150655467_n

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Happy Earth Day! What are you doing to celebrate our planet this weekend? A group of Dems in town get together to do a road clean-up project, and with rain projected it may be a wee bit muddy. My Irish is coming out because I just watched this video about eco-villages:

The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) has been around for awhile, in fact you might call it the modern evolution of hippie communes; without all the free sex and drugs. Its purpose is “…to support and encourage the evolution of sustainable settlements across the world, through:
Facilitating the flow and exchange of knowledge about ecovillages and demonstration sites thru:
Website Information sharing & networking forums and webinars;
Promoting partner programs and social actions that reflect GEN’s core values; and
Fostering Global Cooperation/Partnerships (UN Best Practices, EU Phare, EYFA, Ecosoc).” http://gen.ecovillage.org/

When we were building our mountain home, I took a class on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building practices. It was essentially one of the first courses offered about building a sustainable house in the area and I felt out of my depth with architects and builders. Some people had built houses of straw (think thatch) and some had geo-thermal heat. Many sported solar panels and rain barrels. http://www.usgbc.org/

As you know, we grow many of our vegetables in the summer and we live in a town that has grass growing on the roof of the County Office Building. I try and remember my totes for grocery shopping, and pledge to always remember them for Earth Day. I will also spread Michael Mann’s teachings about Climate Change around as much as possible (see blogroll). Knowing where exactly my food comes from was not always on my radar, but I pledge also to be better at this. Rather than doing one thing today or tomorrow, maybe we could commit to one small change for the rest of our lives to help mother earth. Remember Kaizen? We all benefit from a sustainable planet.

Here is the front of our “Not so Big” semi-sustainable house, facing east, away from the mountains. Bob has just mowed on his tractor and Ms Bean is wondering if I have a ball. Thank you to all the bluebirds and woodpeckers for letting us share your home.

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