Saturday, May 28, 2016

Don't Shut Up

In a previous post, "On The Turning Away," I referenced a Pink Floyd song. It's a good one. Written in 1987, it is no less spot-on now. Why don't we listen the first time around? This seems common. Here are some of the lyrics:

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?

It's why I say over and over again, don't shut up. Those that spread lies don't shut up. They keep talking until their lies become truth. We're polite, so we back down. We don't want to argue. We don't want to seem loud or inappropriate.

What has this gotten us? Frustration and abundant stupidity. Misinformation. People who don't know and don't care. It's time to change that.

So what if there are some who think we are rude or don't want to listen to us? It's not for them. It's for the people who don't have a voice. It's for that person on the side who hasn't had the courage to speak up and maybe thinks they've been wrong this whole time until they hear you, you - speaking up, saying exactly what they have been wanting to say but were scared. Next time, because of you, they may be able to speak. Or the time after that. We speak because it's the truth and the truth should be spoken. The truth should be shouted from the rooftops.

The stakes are too high, the risks are too great, the losses are too unfathomable. Don't shut up. We can't. It's up to us. There's no one else. So we sound a little crazy. (Crazy people, incidentally, don't shut up either.) We may sound like conspiracy theorists. Again, so what? When the shit goes down, at least we can say we tried.

Let me say that again: At least we can say we tried. Don't shut up.

Here's a link to a version of the song if you want to check it out, with the lyrics listed, I highly recommend: Love the album art, too.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

On the Turning Away

It's no secret that we have turned away from Nature. I'm far from alone in thinking that this is the source to most if not all our problems. Sometimes, though, my brain goes a little sideways and I get all X Files on myself. I can't help it - I think a lot. (And I like the X Files.) Step into my brain for a few. It's OK. It's dark, but I'll let you out. Maybe. Mwahahahah...

This is going to apply largely to the US, because in Europe and other places, humans actually eat a lot more sensibly. I am anticipating Spring, and the bounty that will explode in my yard. I will practically graze after this hard Winter. Plantain, dandelions, purslane, chickweed.... an abundance of healthy stuff provided by Nature. For free. Healthier than some of the stuff we pay big bucks for in supplement form. Every one of them is either ignored or cursed by the majority of those with yards or gardens.

I only mention the four most common in my yard. Other "weeds" are maligned in other places, healthy things like burdock and nettle, but I'll focus on these. Especially dandelions. As a child, I was completely delighted by every aspect of these happy bright beauties. They provided hours of entertainment on the playground. We wished upon the seeds. We made chain necklaces out of the stems. We picked giant bouquets of sunny yellow happiness. I can practically still feel the consternation of our neighbor, as our dandies grew freely, and he had his lawn visited by the ChemLawn truck every year. (I shudder to realize that I played on that lawn, too. Ick.)

We spend millions and pour tons of herbicides into the Earth to destroy this little piece of sunshine. And still it grows. And it may be one of the most beneficial plants on the planet. I had received news that my cholesterol is a tad high. As I refuse to take drugs for this, I turned to my herbal remedy books to look up what Nature recommends. First on the list? Dandelions. What do we do to manage our cholesterol? Get prescriptions for something created in a lab. What am I going to do? Turn to Nature.

Purslane is crazy high in Omega-3 fatty acids. And it grows like crazy. The more you try to pull it out, the more it grows. Like crazy. And it's actually delicious. Raw, cooked, sauteed, steamed, tossed in with almost anything. And yet where do we go to get our Omega-3, which are highly recommended? FISH OIL. Because no one is making money if you get your supplements FROM YOUR YARD. Money would be lost all the way down the line, right to Big Oil who is responsible for those plastic bottles. (Thanks, Roger!) And if we knew we could munch on free stuff from our lawn, we might not spend money on herbicides (Monsanto) and we might be more healthy and we would not need Big Pharma. Follow the money.

It gets worse. Grape seeds - insanely healthy on multiple levels. What do we buy in stores? Seedless grapes. I have actually looked for black grapes with seeds still in them. They are very hard to find. Hmmm....

The list goes on and on of things we can easily get in Nature that would keep us much more reasonably healthy, but we ignore them completely, avoid them, or worst of all actively kill them with poison. Poison that harms us too. So we need more Big Pharma. Can you blame me for thinking it's a conspiracy? Do you see it now, or just think I go too far? I'd love to hear. When did it start? This turning away? Have we been turned away on purpose... slowly... slowly... am I going to disappear?

Pink Floyd has an awesome song that comes to mind for this: 

"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in

The turning away"

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Make the Connection

It was over the course of a few days - a flurry of plastic articles and headlines.

From the Guardian:

Phthalates risk damaging children’s IQs in the womb, US researchers suggest

While at the same time, in another area: 

The Oceans' Plastic Pollution Problem Is Far Worse Than We Thought, and Here's Why

And even this:

Fleeced again: How microplastic causes macro problems for the ocean

(Photo: Paul Kennedy/Getty Images)
Maybe I was just paying extra-super close attention. Maybe I'm extra tuned in. Maybe people really don't care. Maybe I have more time than parents. Maybe they should make more time. After all, they're the ones that have to deal with the consequences. Theor kids and their kids' kids.

The phthalates story was in the news scroll at the bottom of my morning news viewing, and t was followed immediately by the warning that there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean. Surely, surely that was on purpose, and surely, surely people made the connection.

Right? Surely? Yeah.

Too much plastic in our oceans and environment, and too many plastic chemicals messing up our children. There is no magical solution to this whole thing. It won't be cleaned, it won't go away. There is no "away." There is only mitigation at this point. We are not going to find a way to magically scoop up the plastic in the oceans despite the cool articles you see people share. There is no amazing bacteria that is going to lunch on plastic and solve our problem. Frankly, if there is - like the shared articles claim - then I will just wait for the whole new host of problems brought on by overfed insane mutant bacteria. There is no fix, other than to stop adding to the problem. Stop.

It is the one solution: stop using this stuff. It wasn't enough to tell you it was bad for the environment and to cut it out before it was too late. Now it's directly affecting your kids and it is too late and now maybe you'll pay attention.


There are too many people here. It is unsustainable, and we are ruining the place. And because we need cheap and convenient for all these way too many people, we use plastic, and it's just plain bad.

I have to wonder what's going to give first. Will we back off in time or will Nature take care of it for us? I know what my bet is on. Go ahead - guess. I'll wait.

I do use plastic. It's very hard to avoid. I wear fleece and other clothing that will give off microfibers. I am certain this would not be so much of an issue were we keeping a closer eye on population. There is nothing that cannot be blamed on there being too many people for this ecosystem. Period. So, here we are. Let's see where we go next.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Mama Bear Myth

The Urban Dictionary defines “Mama Bear” as a mom who can be cuddly and lovable but also has a ferocious side when it's necessary to protect her cubs, and suggests “a tough, aggressive, and protective mother, often going to extreme lengths to protect her child, usually her son, and herself.”

There are a number of memes and blogs saying things like, “If you mess with my child, I will unleash my fury and destroy your world” or “I may seem quiet and reserved, but if you mess with my children, I will break out a level of crazy that will make your nightmares seem like a happy place.” And a favorite: “You ain’t seen crazy yet … but you will if you attack my children physically or verbally. Hugs! Love, Mama Bear.”

Yes. All well and good. Sounds bold and protective. Except you don’t really mean it. I don’t believe you. When asked this question, “Is working to try to prevent environmental damage for the future really a part of being a good parent?” ninety-three percent of the public (men and women) agreed in an anthropological poll and study by MIT investigators. Yet, where are you? Where have you been on the great threats of our day?

You will overreact to some perceived slight and call it being Mama Bear. You will get all Mama Bear on those of us who might cast a glance aside if your child is having a public tantrum and we have the nerve to let a touch of annoyance cross our face, as though your child can act up anywhere but we are not allowed to have any feelings about it. Because you’re a Mama Bear. “Don’t mess with my cubs.”

Here is why this doesn’t ring true. You aren’t fighting the most important fights for your children. You are busy insisting you can breastfeed wherever you wish, and your children are allowed to run amuck in a restaurant and we have to tolerate it because they are kids and tough nuts to anyone else in the vicinity. You cheer on a mother who punched another woman for daring to speak about a tantrum the child was having. While you are doing these things, your kid’s real and actual future is in trouble. Your kids and your kids’ kids are in profound trouble, but somehow, this doesn’t bring out the Mama Bear in you. Why is that? Why are there so many moms claiming to be mama bears sitting back and doing nothing when climate catastrophe can be seen on the horizon, or when the chemical industry teams up with bioengineers to alter your children’s food supplies in dangerous ways?

We have the very real threat of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the chemicals they can tolerate on our dinner tables. You can’t be bothered. With all the studies pointing to danger, we ask you to use your mother bear might and vast numbers to help fight, but apparently it’s too much trouble. Your daughter’s reproductive rights are at risk, but you won’t go vote because you can’t or won’t make the time. BPA bleeding from plastics are affecting your kids’ long-term health, reproductive health, your unborn kids’ health and development, but you haven’t taken the time to even know what BPAs are. The research is everywhere, but you don’t know and do not care to educate yourself. Climate Change is here and it is causing widespread disruption to the point where your kid’s future is going to be very tough - full of droughts, famine, intolerable heat and dangerous cold, diseases, shortages. Scientists just warned that the oceans will be completely destroyed by 2048. Where’s Mama Bear on this urgent warning? Too distracted? Too tired?

You are not a Mama Bear. You fall for every convenience out there because you are so busy. You give your kids fast food and chemical-laden plastic-wrapped processed crap, because being a mom is tough and you are tired and don’t have time or energy. You are putting your kids in very real danger. No, it’s not the immediate and very real danger of a bully or a snarky comment in a store. It’s the slow, deadly danger of cancer. Or sterility. Or developmental difficulties. Where is your fury and your crazy here? Where is the Mama Bear now?

This is where I get a lot of “You aren’t a mom, you don’t know.” What I do know is that people like me who don’t have their own kids are fighting for your children. We are fighting on a pretty grand scale, as a matter of fact. We’re trying to make sure your kids have a future here on this planet. We are thinking ahead. I know we’re in trouble here, and I know you brought your kid into this world, but you aren’t really thinking about their kids with your Mama Bear claims. I am. I’m thinking about your kids and their kids and all the kids, everywhere, while you are busy growling about your kid getting a behavior correction from a store employee.

So before you get all Mama Bear and smack me down with a giant paw, why don’t you listen for a moment, and take the time to realize that I am on your side. I’m on your kids’ side. While you are all riled up in the moment, I’m in it for the long haul. Yes, there are some super-awesome moms out there. There are moms out there fighting the big fight, there are some really good Mama Bears out there. They see the whole picture, and this little piece is not aimed at them.

Think about this: actual mama bears raise their cubs then never have anything to do with them after about their second spring. Is short-term parenting what you are modelling for your children? I doubt it. Let’s drop the bear myth and end the misplaced ferocity, or better yet redirect your focus and anger to the real threats by fighting for your children’s future.  Let’s work together for the long-term future of children everywhere.