Thoughts Under Water
The Earth is warming up due to the fact that humans are adding more greenhouse gases to our atmosphere at an accelerated rate, mainly by burning fossil fuels.
With the recent increase in news coverage on global warming, and the statements that the polar bear is the first animal to become endangered due to global warming, I feel the need to ask myself what I can possibly do to make a difference, and effect change that might positively impact the Polar Bear in my own life.
Researches estimate that there are between 22,000 and 40 000 polar bears in the world (they are difficult to count) with close to half of the polar bear population living in Canada. Polar Bears were put on the endangered species act in 2004, and in the past four years we have barely heeded the warning and have continued to drill for oil. We can only scream for CHANGE now that our new President Elect is at the helm, but the last plan was merely an attempt at placating:
Two-thirds of Polar Bears Could Perish by 2050 That’s about 42 years from now, in our lifetime.....
In addition to the harsh reality of interrupted polar bear habitat from oil drilling, The U.S. Geological Survey reports that thinning sea ice from global warming could kill off two-thirds of the world's polar bears (including the entire Alaskan population) by mid-century, and because both issues have drastically effected the bears plight, the Polar Bear symbolizes the very core of one of the biggest issues facing us today as a global population:
We are the unconscious consumer, destroying the the very planet we depend on for life.
Consuming oil, and it's products at a staggering pace, and although not the largest contributer, oil, it's consumption, and it's devastating effects accounts for a major portion of our future woes.
So what can I DO? I started by taking a personal inventory on how I contribute to the problem, and have found that many of the products I invest in and buy, are made using oil. The list is STAGGERING.
Shoes, clothing, appliances, make-up, toothpaste, luggage, mops, shampoo, toys, vitamin capsules, and the list goes on and on.
One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make most of the products we purchase, and fill our homes and lives with.
THE MORE WE BUY PETROLEUM PRODUCTS (Oil) THE MORE WE CONTRIBUTE TO GLOBAL WARMING.
We are a consuming culture. Our popular culture loves the new, the shiny, and the art of the re-do, and most of us feel entitled to the luxury of “things.” We love to buy, and spend, and have, but most of us, have no clue that we have the power and the choice at an individual level to effect change by making better buying and asking ourselves:
"What we are really buying, and ultimately what it is REALLY costing us?"
The US Consumption of Oil is triple that of any other nation second to China, which means that we also triple our carbon output contributing to the problem of Global Warming more than any other Country.
If American consumers start to moderate OR CEASE our consumption of oil, and get the connection between our buying power and the state of the environment we can make a difference, and decrease the destruction of our planet.
Because I am a female, and a mother, I make most of the purchasing decisions in my household. I have started to realize that I can make a difference just by influencing my spouse, children, extended family and friends to make better choices, and choose alternative products that are starting to become more available in the market.
If other mothers around the world joined me in this effort, we could together, make a substantial difference because:
IF WE WON'T BUY IT, MANUFACTURERS WILL STOP MAKING IT (by law of supply and demand.)
Here is how you can make a difference:
If we stop buying petroleum products, manufactures will stop making their items from petroleum products. They will either die off or find an alternative more eco-friendly way to produce, and bring their products to market.
(In my next post, I will tell you more about what you can do about the other half of our oil consumption which is based on travel. How products get to us, and the benefits of BUYING LOCAL.)
So what does shopping have to do with the mass extinction of polar bears and other species?
It’s a Major piece of the Green GAME, and I DARE YOU to stop sitting on the sidelines, and make a difference. Get in the game with me. We are part of a team, and a collective body of intelligent, inspiring, thoughtful, creative, and ingenious beings. Don't think you have to do it all, just start somewhere...like home, and most of us who are lucky enough to have one will continue to increase our chances of sustainable life if we start making better purchasing decisions.
"The overall betterment of the planet happens bit by bit, every little bit counts."
“If I wasn't already already skeptic about the global warming media mind control campaign this one would do it for me. Back, back, "dumb blond" jokes. Stop jumping into my head.”
This comment was posted by a viewer of my You Tube Video: “Deep thoughts on Polar Bears and Shopping”
Thank You Dear Viewer,
I am fully aware of how awkward, shallow, and sometimes how “blond” I might look as
I put myself out there. I am humbled and sometimes embarrassed and downright mortified at my own attempts as I struggle to understand what consciousness really is in my own life on every level: my relationships, as a business owner, how I define myself, and who I am and what the real purpose of my life is.
The following questions haunt me:
I ask myself these questions, as I fumble toward my own understanding, and answers, and if my fumbling allows or impacts another to have the courage to do the same, then I am truly fulfilled. I am not a PHD, I do not have a doctorate, or a laureate, and don't even have a graduate degree.I’m not out to win any awards or a Nobel Peace Prize, but to know that I’ve impacted another in a positive way through all of this...well, then I guess that would be enough. With that said, am I afraid of what other people think or say about me in the process? The answer is yes. It hurts me, sometimes makes me question myself, and it occasionally humbles and quiets my spirit for a while. It’s those days my demons haunt me that I want to (and sometimes do) crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head, and pray for the grace to begin again.
Sometimes my own self doubt turns against me to rob my spirit telling me that I am insignificant, incapable, and ineffective. The voice I search for within myself everyday both terrifies and inspires me: that i actually can make a difference in the world somehow, or in someway, and perhaps impact another human being's life.
I think my own personal truth lies in this declaration: “I desire to make a difference.”
If I wait to have my life “look perfect” or even “good” or for my environmental degree before I open my mouth and share my thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams....then what and who do I deny in the meantime? If given the choice I'd choose allowing myself the freedom to fumble towards something more authentic.
So Dear Viewer,
Thank you for commenting, because it made me think about all this, and you have made a difference for me today. I hope that your skepticism releases it's hold that the media is just creating a sensation around Global Warming. Perhaps it's not really about Global Warming at all, and that real opportunity at hand is about making a difference, thinking differently, and taking a step on the journey of consciousness in our own individual lives no matter how awkward, blond or silly it all looks.
Every once in a while my faith in public radio is restored by a really amazing program. I have taken to downloading pod casts for my commute to work and I recently listened to a Fresh Air episode in which Terry Gross interviews Bill Ayers. If you have been in a media blackout (I would never fault anyone for that) you might not know that this is the man that the McCain / Pailin campaign tried unsuccessfully to link to BO (now PEBO) in an effort to drag down his campaign.
Mr. Ayers was a founding member of an activist group in the late sixties and early seventies known as the Weather Underground. Its members were called The Weathermen. They initiated a number of actions in the course of their history aimed at the destruction of property They targeted the government and corporations making money on the war in Vietnam. In his words, they were committed to “taking war to the war makers”. They did not ever hurt or kill anyone, fact.
The interview is fascinating and amazing on a number of levels and I think it provides some amazing insight into what it takes to be an activist of any kind in this day and age. I think the lessons that Bill Ayers offers us are very applicable to all that we try to do out there in the big wide world. Like I said, he has much to offer, but one thing that really struck me about the interview was his unwillingness to let anyone else frame the conversation that he was thrust, unwittingly, into. And how he is able, in the face of that, to remain focused and committed to his principles and beliefs about his life and actions.
I just found his position and the place from which he spoke to be very powerful and… solid. Solid in the way that only a very active AND examined life can be solid. At one point he is asked how he deals with doubt, uncertainty. In our attempts to change and help others change their relationship to consumerism, the environment, recycling, whatever… we all come up against major doubts. I found what he said to be really amazing and educational:
“I think that I live with doubt today, everyday, all the time… I argue to my students, I argue to young people all the time that you cannot live a political life, you can’t live a moral life if you are not willing to open your eyes, to see the world more clearly… Try to make yourself aware of what is happening in the world… and when you are aware you have a responsibility to act, and when you act, you have a responsibility to doubt, and when you doubt you can’t get paralyzed. You have to use that doubt to act again, and that then becomes the cycle. You open your eyes, you act, you doubt, you act, you doubt. Without doubt you become dogmatic, and shrill, and stupid. But without action you become cynical, and passive, and a victim of history. And that should never happen.”
When I think of the environment and the task we have ahead of us to create a world for our kids those words ring so real and true. We cannot afford to live without doubt OR action, they are both integral to our success. Remember, as Bill Ayers does in this interview, that the anti-war movement was ultimately a failure. He is right when he says that they did not do enough, it was the Vietnamese that finally kicked the Americans out. That decade long struggle of war and destruction had its costs, our struggle to turn this civilization around will too if we are not successful.
'Tis the holiday season and I start hemorrhaging money and get my biannual migraine. I have always taken the Charlie Brown approach to Christmas, why all the commercialism? To be truthful, I am lazy. I hate malls, crafts, baking, cards and
candles. I really hate having to purchase or make said above items.
This year I'm sending my holiday greeting cards Digitally, NO WASTE!
I would love to get a simple email in return, and I want my friends to know..."It's ok, the pressure to photograph your children on the beach in those adorable white or blue roll neck sweaters making them look all nice and clean and cooperative, is off!!!" See? isn't THAT a nice gift?
All I really want from any of my friends is a quick email that makes me feel one or all of the folloiwing emotions: happy, sexy, needed, longed for, appreciated, admired, and thought highly of.
I think I would be especially happy if I got one that read, "Hey Maya, your butt looks great these days!" or "Maya, you look a little too skinny, have some eggnog for Pete's sake!", I would love said person forever, and there would be bo need to re-gift either!
This type of strategic compliemnt would also be especially good for the economy right now because I would run out and buy the cutest pair of environmentally friendly $300.00 jeans I could get my hands on! That takes care of me for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa!
Then there are my children, and kids' stuff is out of control. Why is a matchbox car packaged like a cassette tape from 1987? What is all this brightly colored garish poorly made plastic junk? I'm giving my kids the gift of heat and hot water, I spoil them...I know.
You know what expression really ticks me off?:
"The hard to buy for person on your list."
WHAT??? That person would not ever make my list. Hard to buy for? I can't believe we let those people live. What they receive just isn't good enough? I can't imagine being one of those people that have so much or that have everything that people would be at a loss as to what I could POSSIBLY need.
I think when my name comes up my family/friends always have a few ideas...A couch, forks, door knobs, chairs, sheets, pillows, tires, toothpaste, bras(ok a bra), milk, light bulbs, ski boots. You see where I'm going with this? If you are one of those "hard to buy for" people ( and you know who you are) you need to travel to your nearest homesless shelter to see how the other half lives. Hmmm...I wonder if people in refuge camps are "hard to buy for?"
Anyhoo...I am gettig ready to send out my holiday emails soon...I hope you all like them, and don't forget to email me back!
The busy day that injects my life is an illusion, distracting me from the finer, deeper, and more meaningful inquiry of my purpose and my path.
I wrestle the urge to fill the quiet spaces with a phone call to a friend, a busy task to keep me occupied, or a shopping excursion that will offer more things to help me fill the “space.”
My mother always told me to learn to like myself in the solitude, and often encouraged me to be alone. She told me that in solitude lies the space for growing and the gift of insight. Her thought was that through insight comes the capacity to love oneself, and self love is the golden key that enables one to truly extend that love to another, and allows oneself before all else - the freedom to discover who they are.
I think I am starting to understand this at a deeper level.
It’s important to know how to love another for so many reasons, but not for the reasons i used to think we needed to. I used to think we loved someone because it completed our quest to belong and filled the space that left us feeling incomplete. Belonging to something, belonging to someone, is the constant aching that I am left with in the quiet of empty space. But if I take away the "someone or something else," what I am left with is the deep aching, and desperate desire to really deeply know, trust and love myself. The more I love myself, and discover who I am, the closer I ultimately get to loving and discovering who someone else is. The more I can discover who I am, the more likely I am to have something to contribute to someone, and allow another to contribute to me.
I have loved myself and felt love for others in the quiet, and though so often tempted to pull those others close in order to define myself, I know I must rail against the temptation. The quiet is ultimately the only space I truly "become."
In this space, I create myself, question myself, struggle myself, surrender myself.
I search to find the world to which I am called. I continue to know and listen for myself in the quiet.
I continue to trod a path deeper inside, a path that only I can really forge
toward the world "to which I belong."
"When I try to identify myself to myself I realize that, in my most
immediate reasons and affections, I am less than an American, less than
a Kentuckian, less even than a Henry Countian, but am a man most
involved with and concerned about my family, my neighbors, and the land
that is daily under my feet.... Now, having completed this very
formidable list of the problems and difficulties, fears and fearful
hopes that lie ahead of us, I am relieved to see that I have been
preparing myself all along to end by saying something cheerful. What I
have been talking about is the possibility of renewing human respect for
this Earth and all the good, useful and beautiful things that come from
it. I have made it clear, I hope, that I don’t think this respect can be
adequately enacted or conveyed by tipping our hats to nature or by
representing natural loveliness in art or by prayers of thanksgiving or
by preserving tracts of wilderness — although I recommend all those
things. The respect I mean can be given only by using well the world’s
goods that are given to us. This good use, which renews respect — which
is the only currency, so to speak, of respect — also renews our
pleasure. The callings and disciplines that I have spoken of as the
domestic arts are stationed all along the way from the farm to the
prepared dinner, from the forest to the dinner table, from stewardship
of the land to hospitality to friends and strangers. These arts are as
demanding and gratifying, as instructive and as pleasing, as the
so-called “fine arts”. To learn them is, I believe, the work that is our
profoundest calling. Our reward is that they will enrich our lives and
make us glad."
"In Distrust of Movements"
- Henry County, Kentucky
I have found, over the years, that no author or speaker or public voice
so inspires and settles me like that of Wendell Berry. I am becoming
aware, as many of us are, of how deep and black the hole is that I have
crawled into, one step at at time, in the years since Bush took over. I
not only pulled back, pulled away, and made believe that it couldn't be
that bad; I actually stopped paying attention. As has been said and
written many times in the days since the election, our new President
Elect brings an awakening of sorts. I new idea and a new relationship
seems possible for the first time in a very long time. I am thankful to
be paying attention again, thankful for the new look of our national
I am reminded today, however, that our essential task remains unchanged
no matter who is in that big white house. To create the world that we
want and the world that we need, the world so often looked to and talked
about on this blog, we need to remain focused on what Wendell Berry
calls the "domestic arts". Our government and the person of our
president will only ever matter so much, will only ever touch our lives
so much. One of the things that Bush actually helped me to understand is
that the most important work I can do is the work in and around my own
"place". In the early Bush years, as things got progressively more
dismal, we all needed to work it out for ourselves... how could we
provide resistance, make a difference, stop the madness? My answer was
not to write letters or join protests (although I did that as well) but
to tone down, work my land, and create the world I wanted around me
relationship by relationship. The insanity of our system was right out
there for everyone to see, we had only to decide whether we could stand
to keep hearing about it and seeing it or not. For me, definitely not...
so no more radio, no more TV, no more paying attention to anything
beyond my own realm of influence and accountability.
As I try on these new duds, the ones that have me paying attention and
feeling supportive of something "national" again, I am cautious. I am
reminded to slow down, take stock, and wonder... what has really
changed? Well... a lot has changed, I know that and I am grateful,
optimistic, hopeful, and excited. But I know as well that nothing has
changed on many levels. Not in a pessimistic or cynical way, but in a
real way, an honest way, a way that holds my own feet to the fire. If we
are to continue to prosper and thrive as a people, we all know that
changes more fundamental than heads of state need to be made. We have to
get in touch again with the domestic arts.
So while we are fresh with optimism and while we are believing that we
can change the world, let us not forget that all change must be local
and elemental first. Nothing is more local and elemental than food, this
is where we can all start to make a difference. How do we reverse a
trend among our people, how do we resurrect a cultural way of being, how
do we compliment a national change of heart? One way for sure is to
embrace the domestic arts in any way you can... plant, cook, invite,
share, prepare, make do, restore, contemplate, stop.
The first seven years of a child's life are magical. Children under the age of seven live in the protective cloak of their imagination, and if sheltered from television, media and what can sometimes be termed as "burdensome" information, they can genuinely engage in the most elaborate of play where limitless ideas and images color the interior and exterior of their existence.
Parents of children this age should not underestimate the power and importance of this precious time, and keep in mind that children will have their whole lives to interface with the "real" world. This phase of life is critical for grounding the child in their own sense of self, and in allowing them the opportunity to build and grow and create an idea from scratch. Through imagination is the power to problem solve, the ability to design elaborate playscape's and encourage story telling. Images, colors, and fantasy will take root in their cognitive minds and they will be able to retrieve it and exercise this muscle for the rest of their lives.
It's often difficult as parents to resist the urge to occupy your children in front of the TV.
Just like sleep training, helping them build their ability to entertain themselves is one that takes a little bit of time, and patience.
Here are my suggestions for unplugging and getting imaginative juices flowing with your children:
As a parent your role is to simply observe and step in obviously if it looks like someone is getting hurt, but if left alone, you would be surprised at how quickly a squabble will be resolved on their own, as they genuinely love this experience and want to work through the dynamics of this type of play with each other. They will easily find their ryhthms with each other and get better at working things out.
Imagination is a beautiful thing, and will make your children have a more rich and engaging mind for problem solving in the future if encouraged!
Many of you have heard about my own personal battle with "giblets" mentioned in one or several of my earlier posts. FYI: IF YOU HAVE KIDS...YOU HAVE GIBLETS. They are the little "things" that kids somehow aquire, are attracted to, and have utterly no value. You can't sell them, you can't eat them, you can't seem to ever get rid of them.
My Definition (and I am thinking Wikapedia should define it this way) : Giblets are usually the size of or a little bit bigger than a marble. They float around the house without a home, and they "junk up" drawers, counter tops, and litter the bottom of toy baskets. They are the undefinables...the bat with out a cave, the beach without a wave. The onsie's of toys that somehow lose their other parts and haunt the house with their tiny insignificance!
They come in the form of but are not relegated to: stones, legs, plastic gumball toys, shells, bit's bouables, broken do-dad's, buttons, marbles, and game pieces etc. etc. etc.
If you want to have some fun with the kids and save your sanity too on a rainy day? Here is what you should do!!!!
1. Grab a jar or small container with an opening no larger than the mouth of a jar ( Hint: If it does not fit in the jar...it's not a giblet)
2. Hand the jar to your kids and send them on the hunt for all of the "Pieces of things" like a big treasure hunt.
3. They will run around and busy themselves finding the loot for at least 20 minutes or more: ( They get REALLY into this!)
4. Have them bring their findings BACk to a table and have them take turns showing what they have found. This is the part where you want to aknowledge and reward them for finding the missing game piece for shoots and ladders that has been missing for the last 6 months. Take those pieces that need replaceing and put them back to complete the set or game or whatever and then assess the rest.
5. Now that you have all these pieces left with no home...ask the kids what they think should be done with them? Talk about their memories of certain things. For instance...when I did this with my daughter Manon she found a plastic tiny horse that she got in a gumball machine that was a treasure on the same day that she accompanied her dad to the hardware store and ...blah blah blah.... it will generate conversation, and memories that might be sweet to hear about.
6. Talk to them about creating an art piece or a collage with the pieces. Is there anything that they could make for a special family member for Christmas? Can they use any of the pieces to make up a game? Maybe they just want to keep their jar by their bedside as a visual of things that they can add to as giblets are found. It's also common for the jar to sit for weeks and we find ourselves needing a random object...Lets look in the giblet jar!
7. Use your own imagination or inspire your kids imagination to use the pieces for virtally any creative idea.
8. Have fun and enjoy the rain!