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#Waste-Free Wednesday

25 Feb

It seems every day we hear and/or experience outcomes from our irresponsible environmental behavior and Mother Nature’s response. It’s overwhelming, with scary, dire predictions shared daily.

Politicians and corporations are dragging their feet; unwilling to change their role in polluting the planet. Even with dynamic climate leaders like Greta Thunberg providing reasons why they shouldand must – take immediate action. I say: it’s time WE lead!

Time to change where we put our energy and frustrations.

As individuals WE have Power. Power to change ourselves, and, to rebalance the environment. It’ll be hard and sounds hokey, but it’s time to acknowledge the change we can create by where and how we spend our money – and our energy.

Money speaks. Every day and every time we spend a dollar, we are providing support of corporations, and their actions. Time to spend money (in a way) to show what is important to us – on what we value.

There’s so much pressure, incentive, opportunity to buy something cheap, new, and shiny. But we all have to decide what’s important to us – really, in the long term.

Buying new, cheap and shiny things is fun – it makes us feel good, right? And all around us we’re shown how something new and wonderful makes us a better person. Especially new clothes that are on trend and Instagram perfect.

Ask yourself: WHAT IS IMPORTANT? Do I want to eat plastic in fish?

Power starts with small actions. It’s what we do and how we spend for starters. Each action may be a drop in the bucket, but, a single drop in the ocean can cause a tidal wave.

Imagine if each of us said YES to Re-usable mugs and bottles each and every Wednesday – how many disposable cups and single use bottles would NOT be used.

IF we stop taking our ‘STARBUCKS’ (or other brand) coffee cups, stop buying a bottle of water and instead refill our water bottles, companies will listen (because they won’t be making money!) and change – because WE have made them do so!

Time to start a tidal wave, one action, one drop at a time with #Waste-Free Wednesday.

Here are some ideas to put into play this Wednesday:

  • DON’T take a bag that’s offered – even from a trendy store (and even if it’s paper).
  • Bring a reusable bag with you.
  • Carry your own mug to the local cafe for your morning cup of tea/coffee.
  • If you commute, carry one of those commuter cups – you probably have a few in your kitchen.
  • Don’t buy FAST FASHION! We all know those trends of the week that are in style today, are cheap, and cheaply made. (it will end up in a landfill soon.)
  • Bring your own water bottle, or if you’re lucky to live in a place with good drinking water use the water fountain (or bubbler if you’re from Wisconsin).

If you already do some of these, perfect, add another action to your list, or make a longer time goal – and share here.

Spread the word and become the #Waste-Free Wednesday leader in your class, office, and family/friend group.

Imagining a rebalanced environment:

Imagine a Wednesday when 50% of people walking into Starbucks didn’t take a disposable cup and lid.

Imagine a Wednesday where 50% fewer people bought a bottle of water and instead refilled it at a water fountain, or, cafe/restaurant, office, etc.

Imagine not taking a bag at the trendy store (or drugstore) you just shopped.

Imagine shopping a local “BUY/SELL clothes store nearby – no packaging to throw away. And it’s fun! Make a shop date with friends like I recently did in Chicago with J. and L.

Money speaks. Money is a step to environmental action when we DON’T put our money in things that are unsustainable!

Join the movement: Become a #Waste-Free Wednesday leader, share on Instagram and Facebook what you’re doing today!

A little extra: Margaret Weis’ powerful quote reinforcing our power – and our ability – to start a tidal wave!

“We each have within ourselves the ability to shape our own destinies. That much we understand. But, more important, each of us has an equal ability to shape the destiny of the universe. Ah, that you find more difficult to believe. But I tell you it is so. You do not have to be the leader of the Council. You do not have to be king or monarch or the head of a clan to have a significant impact on the world around you.
In the vastness of the ocean, is any drop of water greater than another?
No, you answer, and neither has a single drop the ability to cause a tidal wave.
But, I argue, if a single drop falls into the ocean, it creates ripples. And these ripples spread. And perhaps – who knows – these ripples may grow and swell and eventually break foaming upon the shore.
Like a drop in the vast ocean, each of us causes ripples as we move through our lives. The effects of whatever we do – insignificant as it may seem – spread out beyond us. We may never know what far-reaching impact even the simplest action might have on our fellow mortals. Thus we need to be conscious, all of the time, of our place in the ocean, of our place in the world, of our place among our fellow creatures.
For if enough of us join forces, we can swell the tide of events – for good or for evil.”

― Margaret Weis, The Seventh Gatetags: changedestinyinspirationalphilosophyRead more quotes from Margaret Weis

Decomposing Failure: 2020 Vision

7 Jan

I believe: ‘Everything I need to know in life I coulda, woulda, shoulda learned from Mother Nature’.

So why not think of failure the way Mother Nature does?

Nature’s dead stuff is whisked ‘away’ and recycled into spring’s fall fling (aka new growth) as I wrote about decomposers being the unsung heroes of the forest. Failure, like dead stuff on the ground outside our house has to go somewhere, otherwise it builds up and drowns us. It makes me wonder: how do we recycle OUR personal ‘dead’ stuff? Mother Nature brilliantly has decomposers to keep nutrients flowing – surely we can do something similar, right?

Dead stuff is how we may feel inside when we’ve failed. Failure being the death of us, or more likely a dream.

When did ‘FAIL’ and ‘LOSE’ become such bad 4-letter words. And why???

Failure may not be fun, but it can be a wonderful experience. Really – it’s not just something someone says who’s successful.

Imagine failure in nature, whether a plant dying, a giraffe captured by a lion (and dying) as natural; little experiences that feed into the future. (I live by my emotions, yet our human emotions separate us from nature in an unnatural way.)

Like nature, we can break down the ‘dead’ stuff from our experiences (aka failure) and grab the leanings to recreate our actions, thoughts, and, lives. It’s all about working out the ‘bugs’ (sorry, a decomposer pun…).

Not all flowers blossom; just like not all dreams bloom. Nature doesn’t give up and neither should we!

There may be reasons for failure, but also things that can be changed. It feels horrible to be sure, but think of the stories!

So here are four thoughts as we head into 2020 to think ‘naturally’ about failure and cultivate your life and grow your dreams:

  • Face it: failure happens.
  • Look at what went wrong: OUCH!
  • Make a change or two: tending to your life is like tending to a garden, even if like me, you don’t garden…
  • See what grows and do it all over again!

Change sometimes happens by being open and acknowledging failure – and the reasons for the failure.

Celebrating what you’ve learned, rather than wallowing in the shame gives the confidence to move forward and try again – and again – and again.

Mulch those learnings and remember to supply the right resources for growth!

Like all good (metaphorical and other) scientists, I view my life as an experiment. I fail – a lot. In fact, I view this blog as an experiment to work through my ideas. Each post is a seed I’m planting; finding ways to nurture that idea to blossom in the best way. I expect to make lots of changes as I mulch and decompose what doesn’t work. (And as my drawing skills improve.) Most of all I’m finding that putting these ideas ‘out there’ after thinking and talking about them for almost a decade is freeing and FUN! So please, join my exploration of how human nature mimics the laws of science and nature!

AND

Build on what you learn – don’t drown in OTHER PEOPLE’s voices. Listen to your own voice and GROW!

TAKING ACTION IS NEVER A FAILURE! TO FAIL MEANS YOU PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. BRAVO!!

Wishing you the happiest of risks, the best possible learnings – failures be damned in 2020.

Decomposers: Nature’s Unsung Heroes

5 Dec
The leaves have fallen and the decomposers come a crawling to do their thing beginning with cleaning up the spring/summer fling.

Walking through a park or forest (or your own backyard) in autumn it’s easy to think: what a mess – who will clean it up? And someone must, because by spring most of these dead plants, leaves (and animals) have vanished (mostly). Once again we enjoy the seemingly miraculous return of green and growth.

It is a miracle: the miracle of nature where everything works in partnership. Trees ‘leave’ their beauty behind, each and every autumn. If no-one cleaned up, the mess would be higher than the Empire State Building. And the smell… imagine… Yay for this miracle! The miracle where everything in nature works together to create an awe-inspiring environment each spring. That miracle is thanks to the slimy, yucky bugs (and mushrooms) who gorge on the all-you-can-eat buffet of dead stuff.

Decomposers eat all the dead leaves, etc., basically pooping out lots of good stuff including the nutrients needed for trees to blossom in spring. Purple Lego pieces represent Nitrogen, green is Carbon, red is Magnesium, and blue is Hydrogen.

How cool is it to think that every ‘organic’, once living thing can be broken down and remade: decomposed and (re-)composed again, like the perfect Lego set? (Read more about Lego pieces/matter in my Periodic Table post.) Maybe this is why we say things like ‘nature is at play’ when we think about spring’s rebirth?

I think it’s nice to think nature’s teamwork and cooperation is filled with the gratitude of tree and decomposers; that every autumn day (and night) is filled with parties and camaraderie as trees shower down leaves for hungry decomposers. Regardless, it all works because each ‘member’ of the ecosystem gives and gets exactly what it wants and needs for things to survive with the hope to thrive.

There is one decomposer having its ‘day in the sun’ (ironically, since they live in shade) these days: Fantastic Fungi! Not just the name of a great movie, and the darling of foodie tables and forest foragers, fungi (aka mushrooms) are also turning out to thrive in a changing environment! Fungi – not just for pizza anymore! It’s still important to remember:

Trees are who they are BECAUSE of the work the decomposers do. Unseen and met with squirms instead of squeals of delight (like trees), decomposers do the dirty and oh so necessary work.

Meanwhile, back in our human environment…

Obviously THIS never happens in nature, but it may be more familiar in our human environments. Sad….

Ah, to be a decomposer in the forest rather than an office worker in our human environment… Too often it’s the flashy leader who gets the glory, love, and, of course money when others are working hard, composing and decomposing, for that leader’s success. Crazy how our human partnerships evolved… I hope Fantastic Fungi aren’t thinking they’re better these days even as people tromp through forests for them.

There are two things we can learn from the partnership between trees and decomposers (and the rest of the ecosystem):

  1. Leaders can say ‘THANK YOU”. Leaders can make sure workers have the resources needed for (the leader) success. Resources should include proper materials, environment, and of course health care. (Decomposers get to work in beautiful settings and get to eat healthy, organic food to stay healthy after all!) Success is the result of a partnership and cooperation.

So, we know leaders need to recognize the teamwork of ‘their’ success. Looking deeper into our human environment and the mess we create in autumn and the other three seasons is a second important learning point…

Humans have created great ‘stuff’ over the centuries. Unlike in nature, our ‘stuff’ isn’t natural; isn’t organic. There are no decomposers who can break this stuff down and return the nutrients, elements, Lego pieces back to be recomposed…

2. Humankind has tried to be creative as nature with one small, I mean LARGE problem: what will we do with all this crap???? It’s time for US to become decomposers and find ways to reduce the amount of waste we create. That means each and everyone of us will need to look at stuff we buy and think: ‘Where it will end up in a month.. or a year? Do we want people to live with it in 10 years and beyond?‘ It’s pretty daunting – but as humans, we have so much potential. (Read more about gifting GREEN)

Importantly, we can acknowledge no worker is ‘lowly’; no dirty job is ‘unimportant’. Rather, each and every one of us has a role in creating a successful environment where we all want to live and thrive. Starting with leaders who should say thanks, all of us who should share gratitude and appreciation for everyone who does seemingly little jobs that provide huge benefit.

We can learn to become decomposers, and seek what fills us up naturally and organically, while keeping ‘stuff’ that can’t be broken back into its Lego pieces, out of landfills!

As Humans we have great power: let’s decompose, compose, and share gratitude!

5 Reasons to Celebrate: 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table

22 Oct

What? If you’re like me you’re thinking ‘oh no’ – I could have been celebrating the Periodic Table these last ten months! Brush away the shame and celebrate now. Here are 5 reasons why the Periodic Table is the table to admire.

Periodic Table in a Ukrainian Primary School

Full disclosure: In the 1980’s, as a young chemistry teacher I told my students if they wanted to travel light all they needed to carry was the Periodic Table to read. (This was before kindles and smart devices). The Periodic Table has all the elements of a great novel: romance, lust, conflict, betrayals, destruction, construction, family drama, drama between families, and, more changed partners than any soap opera. Then, I wanted to engage my students; now, I trust the Periodic Table holds insights into actions and reactions elemental to life. This post is simply an introduction or a Cliff Note Version with more to follow beginning with:

  1. “Better Living through Chemistry” was a DuPont slogan from 1935-99. Chemistry not only makes everything better – chemistry IS everything – it is US and everything you do, see, eat, hear, touch, and, even think! The Periodic Table is the encyclopedia of that everything.
Advertising slogan for the Dupont Company from 1935 – 1982,

2. Matter Matters and The Periodic Table is the dictionary of matter. Each atom (of a particular element) represented on the Periodic Table are like Lego pieces, and as if our universe was created with one giant Lego set. Imagine it was a really huge set, and, it came with a whole lot of pieces. But there were also a finite number of each piece. (Based on the Law of Conservation of Matter.) This Lego-like set is constantly played with, creating and recreating everything around – and inside – of us. I’d say this gives whole new meaning to the idea that the universe is a giant playground.

3. ‘Good chemistry’ or ‘bad/no chemistry’ is one of the first things we think of in any new relationship or interaction. Relationships are about chemistry and the Periodic Table is the perfect ‘Relationship Guidebook’ we should all receive in High School Chemistry class. The Periodic Table is the ultimate in inclusivity and acknowledging ‘everyone’ (element) has a seat reserved at the table. Each element has value and importance whether it’s a popularly bonded element or not. Not all elements bond or react together; even chemical families that share qualities and characteristics don’t always bond, just like our biological families. Relationships are challenging. Stay tuned for ‘Who Sits around your Table (Periodic-ally).

4. It’s not just the Table itself that holds important life lessons, but the man who ‘set the table’. Dmitri Mendeleev is definitely worthy of celebration. Mendeleev had the right element for a perfect solution for ordering the elements: CONFIDENCE. Confidence and belief in his science and himself. Other chemists, like Lothar Meyer, worked in parallel to create an ordered table, BUT, Meyer was reticent to declare a periodic law. Meanwhile, Mendeleev left (empty) seats at his table for still unknown elements. In 1871, those missing elements were discovered to perfectly fit in and claim the exact space (and qualities/characteristics) just as he’d predicted. Not only did he believe in himself, his research, and, the science – he made others believe it too. Mendeleev was an eccentric teacher and fascinating man (Khan Academy). We may not all discover something as powerful as the Periodic Table, but imagine what we could uncover if we all followed Mendeleev’s lead and:

Research your passion, do the work, get dirty, and, believe in yourself and speak up for your ideas.

5. The Periodic Table has been key to understanding life for 150 years. It is the most diverse table ever. Each element shares some qualities, yet is important for its unique qualities and for just ‘being’. Even if that element isn’t ‘popular’ and ignored in most bonding or matter that exists around us. Not all elements get along/bond; some are rarely seen, acknowledged or included, and, ‘they’ still have a coveted seat reserved at the table. No element has been kicked out of the table or bullied. Reactions occur for balance. No element or family seems to work to kill off another, and, while no family is housed in a mansion or castle, they stick together. (IF there is danger of extinction, or the loss of these Lego-like pieces, it would be thanks to humankind.) Since we’re made of atoms of these elements, wouldn’t it be nice to treat ourselves, each other, and the stuff/matter around us with the respect the elements seem to treat each other?

Let’s pay attention to the chemistry around and within us. It matters. There’s so much to understand and learn. Let’s strive to be like Mendeleev and follow our curiosity, do the science, and most of all believe in ourselves.

Read more about the International Year of the Periodic Table from Newsweek

Trees Throw Shade

14 Oct

So there I was going through my news feed and reading headlines of one celebrity throwing shade at another. Had they become trees or something? And I somehow missed when this Jane Austen-era action rebounded into the 21st century. “Throw shade” , “throwing shade”, or simply “shade” are slang for (often) a nonverbal insult or sneering contempt or disgust for someone.

Yet, I can’t quite figure out how ‘throwing shade’ can be considered an insult in out increasingly hot world. Even more, are trees cut down because they throw shade? Do people feel their backyard tree is insulting them and their house by its cooling summer shade and feel that nasty old tree has to go?

Trees throwing shade are giving trees. Like the premise of Shel Silverstein’s book “The Giving Tree”, a live tree that throws shade gives humankind unconditional love with fruit, oxygen, absorbing water, and most of all giving shade, something greatly needed in our increasingly hot world.

A Giving Tree is a Shade Tree.

Language has power, slang is probably the most important language. As talk of global warming has its ‘day in the sun’, perhaps ‘throwing shade’ needs to be reclaimed for what its literal meaning. Let’s make it cool again to be a shade thrower and plant a tree or two!

Plan to Plant NOW for your Spring Fling

10 Oct

Hope is a form of planning. It’s a vision of what you’re going to do the next day and the next. So to not be hopeful is to be defeated immediately.

Gloria Steinem

There’s a beautiful tree lined street I love walking down each morning. This time of year though I hold my hand over my head when I hear the ‘tck’ of acorns smacking the sidewalk and bouncing across the street. Rather foolishly I look up to see if squirrels are playing, scoring how many humans can be knocked about with a flying nut. Maybe the nuts also keep score as each vie for a prime piece of real estate to dig in and call home. I think of it as an amazing race- for seeds. The winners who find a viable location fastest, germinate, and, root will be announced in the spring. Stay tuned for the results.

“old science” and the power of dirty underwear.

While nature is taking time to prepare for a new year, I like to follow suit by planning and planting for my own new spring growth (aka my dreams and personal goals). After years of leaving dirty underwear in the corner I finally realized it will take far more for my new ‘life’ to spring forth. I used to think it was because I didn’t use an empty jar with wheat until I faced facts that this is real SCIENCE. Seeds and nuts need to be planted for new growth, literally and metaphorically. True, nature’s nuts rely almost solely on luck to root. For us humans, it’s different. Knowing science is real, I forego the reliance on luck, wash my dirty underwear, and, instead use a scientific method-like 5 step process.

  1. I create a vision for the new year:

I don’t know if this is the easy – or hard part – thinking about what I want this year to produce so to speak. Being specific and attainable is key, and maybe, that also means thinking big but reasonable. After all it’s hard to jump up a mountain.

  • This visioning process gives me a chance to focus on what’s important. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what’s really important until you don’t have it.
  • When I think of what I want to include I also think ‘what will it bring me’. While I don’t have money or finances in my drawing here, it always come up for me as freedom and knowing that I can care for my health, etc.
  • Dreaming big is important, though I know it’s all but impossible as I said to ‘jump up a mountain’. In retrospect I always realize I need to buy the boots first and then start walking before I can jump.

2. I begin the daunting task of taking stock of how my seeds succeeded – or in the past year:

Hmmm…. a rather mixed bag!

I don’t know about you but when I review my year I sometimes forget to look at the WHOLE year. In the middle of a temporary drought I force myself to acknowledge the riches that sprang forth in previous months.

  • Things always look different with a little distance and a little less emotion. Even in the middle of a drought I’ve find seedlings and optimism that have fed and fueled me in unimaginable ways.
  • Ups and downs lead to balance, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the moment. As South Africa Peace Corps Volunteer a few years ago, every day was an emotional roller coaster. My daily reaping often left empty-handed. The long view showed my joy and the rich harvest I walked away with.
  • Stay focused on the long view, not just the lush, or luster-less crop in front of you. This held true for me years ago and something I remind myself even now.

3. Next, I go deeper and think about why seeds flourished or not:

Okay, so it’s not just that I had some successes and some duds, I have to be honest and think:

  • WHY: What was my reason for wanting to reap this particular crop (so to speak). I realize my ‘why’ of surviving vs. thriving also drives my vision and keeps pushing me just enough out of my comfort zone to keep me happy.
  • WHERE: Location, location, location – I definitely think where I’m planting my dreams is as important as anything else. That was true when I was consulting, and just as true in my new growth phase. For me, location includes: the type of business, city, street, country.
  • WHEN: Timing is everything, cliche as it sounds. I’ve been playing with this blog idea for years, and yet, it’s laid fallow. I’ve finally (I hope!) gotten to the point where it’s ‘If not now, when?’ Timing… there’s really a right time for something to take root – let’s also hope this is finally the right time for people to take real action against climate change.
  • Get rid of what’s holding you back: I toss a symbolic stone, leaf, etc, to rid myself of a behavior or emotion that hasn’t worked well for me into a river. For growth, I then find a new symbolic (something) for that behavior I want to bring into my life. This wonderful and cathartic ritual, tashlich, is done during the Jewish High Holidays. For me, tashlich focuses the internal changes that will (hopefully) change my external world. I’ve noticed it takes more than a year and tossing more than just one big rock in a river to get rid of some anger or regret. I think that’s what I like best about this yearly planning, the chance to try again (and again) to get ‘it’ right.

4. Time to get dirty! Once I’ve figured out what worked and didn’t, it’s now time to plan what I need to plant to achieve my vision and then strew some seeds about:

Every step is the hardest it seems. Actually digging in and getting dirty to strew and plant those seeds is big time hard. It means sitting down and (for me) actually writing (and remembering how to use wordpress…). It means I have to leave the warm comfort of my room and go talk to new people (gasp!). It means I have to make (another) change. Even more:

  • Sadly not all seeds take root. Or if they do, they may not bloom. It’s like that faltering friendship or the dream job that becomes a nightmare.
  • You gotta strew a lot of seeds. I like the way that sounds! So many times I’ve put all my energy and focus on one planting, one job, only to find myself starving emotionally, financially, and spiritually. It sounds dramatic and it felt that way. These days I know to have a Plan A, B, C, D.
  • Each seed may have only one chance to bring life and that’s why a lot are needed.
  • As you plant those seeds for Plan’s A, B, etc. plant with purpose. Try to keep in mind ‘what it will bring you’ and if it will bring you joy.
  • If seeds don’t take root, I change and recycle my vision – or I like to think I do, at least a little. I also (try) to remember that past failure (performance) is no indication of future success. It’s equally hard to remember that past success is no indication for future success…

5. Once the seeds are planted I (try to) make sure they’re nurtured:

Keeping dreams front and center seems like it should be the easiest thing to do, right? But somehow, even with my relatively simple life there’s always something else jostling for my attention. (And I don’t even go on Facebook…). My right brain challenges my goal setting and detailed follow-through so I stay focused by journaling, jotting ideas, drawing, etc. including:

  • Having a notebook or two to record my thoughts. I used to write long paragraphs, but now I tend to jot more ideas and use more visuals and LOTS of color. It’s easier for me to keep track of and a lot more fun to revisit on a regular basis which means I review more often.
  • And review I do and think and rethink what action I have to take to reap what I (hope to) have sowed. This means reaching out to friends often knowing I’m the wanderer and also reworking my Plans A, B, C, D for followup and forward action.
  • I regularly review what I ‘tossed’ during tashlich in step 3, since this is always an intangible emotion and it’s really hard work to change a behavior – even harder, or equally hard, then logging back into wordpress and letting my fingers do my talking.

Last step… Be kind. First and foremost be kind to yourself. It seems to me it’s too easy to be swayed by all that ‘noise’ out there. Noise muting our own voice. Listen to yourself – I know for years I’ve strived to listen more to my own voice and not those of others. If something isn’t working go back to Step 1. Rethink your vision and decide if it’s for instagram, your friends/family, or, if it comes from deep within you. We all have the power to heal the world if we follow our own personal visions and dreams.

Wishing you success and lots of new growth!

Current Score: Trees:0 – Humankind: -420 (ppm)

24 Sep

Balance! I always say all of life – and science is about finding – and maintaining – balance. Whether it’s balancing a chemical equation and surviving chemistry class or getting through the day balancing work, work-outs, and a night out. My balance is challenged navigating icy sidewalks – yet I know it’s not really my greatest problem.

Greta Thunberg and other young leaders are demanding the UN take real action on our planets imbalance. About time right?

The UN and world corporations must take action to cut greenhouse gases and each and every one of us will have to act alongside them. It’s time for team-work – balancing OUR climate will be a team effort meaning that each and every one of us has to take action. Yup, individually and societally all of us are key players to keep the ball in play – and balanced.

SOOOO, which team are you on?

Mother Nature will always win – she is resilient. In truth, so is Humankind even though we’re currently imbalanced in so many ways. BTW: to ‘play’ we need to breathe, and right now we’re lobbing way too much CO2 at far too few O2 producers. This simple cycle we all memorized for a science test has become the central question of our life test. Will we pass?

Image thanks to ducksters.com http://www.smore.com/6k7zg-carbon-dioxide-oxygen-cycle

Time for a balanced game. Time to start a PERSONAL Climate Action. I’ve got a few ideas, but first share how you can become a team leader.

Size doesn’t matter: The Coronavirus teams with germs to win the war

7 Sep

This post was written years ago, and today, as the world faces it’s first pandemic in a long time I thought it would be a good time to update it and show the power these little ‘guys’ have to bring down us big homo sapiens. If the war of the world has started, the virus – and this tiny unseen virus is currently whipping our butts – keeping us hunkered (and bunkered down) in self- and mandated quarantine/isolation.

Interesting, right?

And oh, so humbling… We are being reminded of our place in the world in a way economic sanctions, genocides, and other human-made actions have been unable to make us stop and take action. Well, maybe it’s time. Time to realize bacteria and viruses, and all germs in general have a place and need to be respected.

So read away and remember the old days as we enter a new era. Wash your hands and keep them to by your side. Text, email, and call friends far and wide now that you have time – tell them you are thinking of them and love them, and, hope they are well.

Obama to announce expanded plan to fight Ebola

(Headlines from USA today, September 16, 2014)

War is brewing.  The war to end all wars between Humankind and Mother Nature.    Don’t worry – dinosaurs won’t get us – cloning hasn’t been perfected.  And we seem to be doing a pretty good job of killing off other predators – in a gentlemanly way – by killing off their habitats.   To be sure, Mother Nature retaliates to our carbon barrage with draught and killer storms.  But I think we can’t see the real enemy.  Brilliant warriors – the germs’ll get us.

We’ve created germ warfare –  forming alliances with germs to kill  ‘enemies’.

And antibiotic soaps and sprays – to wage battle against germs themselves.

Prescribed antibiotics protect us from insurgent germs.

With the best of intentions, the good guys give support to the bad.
With the best of intentions, the good guys give support to the bad.

This war will be like others – the good will be sacrificed while killing the bad. The red cross will be called in for intestinal disaster relief aka probiotic/antibiotics – likely a shot in the arm for the economy.   And killing off the good, creates funding for the bad, making them stronger launching them into attack mode.  In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, these little guys are building strength as they sneak into our internal and external lives from run-away viruses to antibiotic resistant bacteria.

I can’t help but wonder:  How did something so good get to be so bad?   Is it bad PR?  A slur campaign?  Is it time to start a save the (good) germ campaign?

A ‘germ’ is not a four-letter word, not by definition:  All new ideas start with a ‘germ’ (of a good idea), the bud for future growth and development.   Too much of anything can be bad even when it’s good.  For some reason, technology springs to mind, including old-fashioned TV.  Germs, as new ideas and technology can be scary.  Remember when some thought TV would be the demise of society?  Until TV’s invaded living rooms around the country and took over our minds and hearts.

In face,  bad gut bacteria can alter minds and hearts in a way even binge watching ‘Game of Thrones’ can’t cure.  A scarier example: “Take Toxoplasma gondii, the single-celled parasite. When mice are infected by it, they suffer the grave misfortune of becoming attracted to cats.

OR,

read about how one doctor cured a teen of OCD:  Although plenty of questions remain, the benefits of using probiotics to treat human behavior are becoming increasingly obvious. Yogurts like Dannon’s Activia have been marketed with much success as a panacea for all of our intestinal ills. Other probiotic supplements have claimed to support immune health. Probiotics’ potential to treat human behavior is increasingly apparent, but will manufacturers one day toss an anxiety-fighting blend into their probiotic brews?

What do you think is hiding in cells as ‘fake’ proteins, awaiting the right time to inflict disease on an organism?  Viruses!  It gives whole new meaning to sleeper cells.    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707092707.htm?utm_source=feedburner.

It’s not easy…  Kill off one germ, and others spring to life and/or adapt.  New generations of super germs are raised and recruited, able to resist determined antibiotics meant to kill them.    Those little guys must have the best R&D around to adapt and survive.  Is it any surprise killing one germy dictator  gives rise to a whole new breed of (bacterial) terrorists?

Ebola is the germ du jour.  Sweeping fear and disease across the world faster than a tweeted selfie at the Oscars.  Insidious little germs that can’t be caught, attacking silently and stealthily.  All reminding me of news of ISIS, and other (still small) terrorist groups brewing around the world…   Ah, human kind – with all our advances, there’s still no cure, no antibiotic for hate, terror, and injustice.   Germs are tough, resilient, and ambitious for survival.  We need a probiotic to balance needs.

Tweets spread faster than viruses/germs (so far).  I wasn't a carrier for this tweet - were you?
Tweets spread faster than viruses/germs (so far). I wasn’t a carrier for this tweet – were you?

Annihilating germs can’t be done with inoculations of mass destruction – that just creates new problems.  The best action – maybe the only immunity– it seems, is creating environments that don’t support the bad germs.  Got an infection?  Forget antibiotics.  Simply create an environment for the good guys to take over.    http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/herbal-antibiotic-alternatives.  A good guy environment must include food, jobs and safety from the bad guys.

How do we create a good guy environment?  Or once created, will we change the climate to favor the germs?   Can we win?  Is any war winnable?

Do you care what gets chopped? Hair or trees….

4 Dec

‘Terrorists Probably Knew About My Haircut’: Jennifer Lawrence Admits Short Crop Making Headlines Was One Of Most Surreal Moments Of Her Year

Hunger Games star chopped off her locks…

I laughed yesterday when I saw a sign asking for people’s opinions about Jennifer Lawrence’s haircut (and no, I didn’t catch the twitter address….)

Now I think Lawrence is a great actress.  Yet….

How is it that her haircut occupies so much interest and energy, when cutting carbon dioxide emissions or the cutting of forests (even the rainforest) attracts so little?

www.hikingartist.com  How brilliant is this?  Check it out!

www.hikingartist.com How brilliant is this? Check it out!

Actresses provide entertainment – trees provide life.  Trees provide oxygen.  Trees provide the resources to win (real life) hunger games.

Chopping trees down around the globe has created bizarre weather patterns – draught – and hunger.  But it’s not a game and it’s not a movie even though we see the results on TV.

catching fire

And btw, Catching Fire is really wonderful.  So get entertained, then contact one of these organizations to plant a tree in someone’s name (a gift that keeps on giving!).

www.jnf.org/support/tree-planting-center

www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com/tree

www.growforests.org

www.americanforests.org

www.treesforthefuture.org

www.nwf.org/trees-for-wildlife/about/tree-bank-information.aspx

What do you care about?

Read more at http://www.entertainmentwise.com/style/133262/1/Terrorists-Probably-Knew-About-My-Haircut-Jennifer-Lawrence-Admits-Short-Crop-Making-Headlines-Was-One-Of-Most-Surreal-Moments-Of-Her-Year#SXVG4vvdziJi8Es4.99

Flash to Fallow: Mother Nature’s 5 Financial Lessons

4 Oct

This post originally appeared on blogher’s ‘Diary of a Single Professional Woman’

Nature is rich – in resources – just like I want to be.

I often say ‘Everything I need to know about the economy and life I learned from Mother Nature’.   As fall sends nature’s flash into fallow (or dormancy), it’s the perfect time to learn from her (save, spend, grow) sustainability plan.   After all, she’s been around a long time – so what does she know that we don’t?  And more importantly what can we learn so we spring open along with the crocuses come April?   Here’s my simplistic, and metaphoric thoughts on ‘environmental economics’ to kick around along with the leaves.

seedling

Fall may feel like an end rather than a start – look out the window and nature looks like it is dying.  Ha!  Mother Nature is transitioning from her extroverted spring/summer flash to a well-deserved introverted fall/winter recovery time.  Her withdrawal of energy allows time to reflect, rejuvenate, and save for spring’s big bloom roll-out.

Shorter days likely darken our mood.  Especially as color leaves our external environment.   Green, in particular colors our thoughts – and the U.S. dollar or greenback, that universal currency.  Simply:

Lush, rich, life = Green

Green = Money

Green = Nature

Nature = Resources

Resources = Money

Money = Nature

Nature = Resources = Life

Yet, when it comes to linking the economy with the environment, it seems we are colorblind, too often living in the red.  I think we need to ask: which resources are needed for life?

For a brief period of time, I thought it was a ‘red handbag’.  As you’ve read,  it was a temporary want.  Sure, I love ‘stuff’ that makes my apartment home.  But honestly, I don’t need it – I just want it.   The only resources any of us really need for life are oxygen, water, and food.  Resources only nature can provide contrary to food package’ ingredient listings.

I say our challenge is working with Mother Nature for our needs while satisfying our human nature with our wants.

It’s asking:  What Would Mother Nature Do (WWMND) for economic success?   She’d say begin with her 5 steps:

1.  Balance:    Mother Nature has obviously spent plenty of time on a playground seesaw.  She understands the need to maintain balance even while going up and down.   She uses what she has – while saving a little for the future.    Mother Nature foregoes debt, once her bottom line turns from green to red, she catapults into endangerment/extinction.

Lesson:   We may become morally, emotionally, financially bankrupt overusing resources, causing our internal peace (balance) to become extinct.  Live under your means to keep your personal seesaw going.   Debt drives your energy, emotions, finances and goodwill into the red.  And remember: There is no plastic – no credit cards – found in nature.

Maintaining balance, like on a see-saw can seem like child's play.
Maintaining balance, like on a see-saw can seem like child’s play.

2.  Save:   Mother Nature saves everything including those piles of leaves in your yard.   This is not hoarding.  She reduces those dead leaves/blooms by recycling (decomposers de-clutter causing decaying leaves to smell like a frat house bathroom on a Sunday morning) and reusing (notice those leaves are gone by spring – broken up and back into the soil like using old clothes to make a quilt).  All this saving leads to new blooms – and a reminder that the future is no predictor of the past.

Lesson:  use what you have to grow your future – like with an IRA.    And don’t bother raking those leaves in your yard!

3.  Spew seeds:  Seeds are nature’s C.D.’s (certificates of deposit), little packets of possibility to ensure future growth.   They even sound similar!   Seeds, like C.D.’s only open at the right time, in the right place, and the right conditions – and they are supported by all those unused seeds and leaves that ‘die’.  There are even special seeds that open during a forest fire to ensure that tree species survival.  Kinda like emergency C.D.’s/funds.  

Lesson:  save for emergencies as well as the future – though the stock market provides better returns than C.D.’s.

Nobody would touch this funky burr-covered seed till it was already  open (like all CD's should be!)
Nobody would touch this funky burr-covered seed till it was already open (like all CD’s should be!)

4.  Diversification: The healthiest forest and gardens are filled with diverse trees that play host to lots of different bugs, and are called home by lots of birds.   Having only one species like Dutch Elm (on decorative paths) found one ‘sick’ tree caused them all to die.

Lesson:  Diversification of your holdings maintains balance and growth so even if your ‘Dutch Elm’-like stock tanks/dies, other stock species survive.

5.  Be sustainable:  Mother Nature thrives because everything she has is used and supports everything else, even though it may seem to be in conflict.

Lesson:  Invest in things that feed your future.  Material things that overwhelm you and end up in landfills throw you off-balance and leave nothing to decompose – unlike the leaves left in your yard that will decompose to nurture spewed seeds.  Experiential investments always leave you with seeds or kernels of thought and growth.

Part of the Coney Island boardwalk by the NY Aquarium
Part of the Coney Island boardwalk by the NY Aquarium

 Mother Nature’s 5 lessons keep you blooming in all seasons:

  • This holiday season, stay green and out of the red by matching  spending with your values (http://communicationessentials.wordpress.com/values-activity/) and keep you growing.
  • Make every day is your special Valentine’s Day by making black the new red.  Love yourself by loving your finances and living under your means to live fully in the future.

And really, just one more thing to think about:  We may say money is the root of all evil, and we should add, resources are the cause for conflicts personally and globally...

Meanwhile, what steps will you take to support your spring blooms?

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