Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fear of socialism

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 09:  Job seekers ...
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 09: Job seekers fill out applications for employment during a job fair for San Francisco Bay Area grocery store chain Mollie Stone's Market on February 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Hundreds of job seekers lined up to apply for jobs at San Francisco Bay Area grocery store chain Mollie Stone's that is hiring up to 35 people for a new store that they are opening in San Francisco. The U.S. unemployment rate slightly dropped to 9 percent in January, the lowest level in nearly two years and 0.4 percentage points lower than December 2010. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
I don't consider myself the political type, but I do want to promote open dialogue about what is good and right for all life on Earth. I've been hearing some serious faulty thinking that can only hold you back as a species.

What could possibly be wrong with the idea that every person has the right to food, shelter, and basic medical care? There is a very pervasive lie that says "There isn't enough." You know that is a lie when you see empty houses. Only a few of you have ever really thought about the billions of pounds of food grocery stores throw away every day. See the documentary Dive! (free on netflix or at many libraries) for more info.

Another lie is that if everyone had free food and shelter, nobody would work. The reality is that there are not enough jobs that provide a living wage. Humans actually do have an inherent desire to contribute to something. When it doesn't require 40++ hours a week to ensure that basic needs are met, there is time to figure out where each person can best contribute. People love to create, whether it's art, literature, computer programs, or the goods of everyday life. Given a plot of land (and it requires less than you may think), most sentient beings like growing their own food. (I do!) When every product is built to last, there is no need to manufacture what will quickly become trash in landfills.

Can you look straight into the eyes of each of the millions upon millions of men, women, and children who are unemployed/underemployed/disabled/too young/too old and say "You aren't worthy."?

I can only point out the obvious. It is up to you to have a better vision of the world and make it happen!

The following video is long, but it is worth expanding your vision of economics and human life.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I am a __________

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14:  A teenager who colle...
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: A teenager who collects bottles and cans and lives in a city shelter walks near Times Square on April 14, 2011 in New York City. Homelessness in New York is at an all-time high according to newly-released statistics by the Coalition for the Homeless, which blames the increase on the policies of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the recent recession. A record 113,553 different people, including 42,888 children, slept in homeless shelters in fiscal year 2010, up nine percent from the previous year. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

How do you fill in the blank? I am a blogger. Who are you? You might answer any number of ways: I am a homeless person. I am a CEO....

I was listening to A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. He said that he congratulates people who say they don't know who they are. People inevitably ask if he wants them to be confused. He explains that there is a big difference between not knowing who you are and confusion. Confusion means you should know or need to know who you are. Simply not knowing is a place where you can create who you are.

Now, does it help to have a job description? Absolutely. It does no good to call a plumber only to be told, "I don't know who I am. Call back when I'm done creating." The skills you've already created and any job you have are certainly an important part of who you are, but they are not what defines you. If you lost your job or became unable to do what you do now, you would still be you.  

Unfortunately, on all but the most advanced planets you have to worry about food and shelter first and creating yourself second. This is sad because it allows amazing people to become caught up in illness, addictions, and despair because the people with the resources don't see that they are connected to the people without resources. (much like a landowner who clearcuts acres of forest doesn't feel his connection to the forest) To tell a homeless/hungry/unemployed/sick/overwhelmed sentient being to "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" (or whatever phrase you use to deny help to someone in need) is to say that he/she currently has no value (maybe if he/she cures addiction/illness without treatment he/she will be worthy, but no guarantees). All that gets is frustration and too many times the death of a worthy individual who just doesn't know his/her worth.

Even with adequate food and shelter, it is way too easy to get caught up in maintaining or advancing a material standard of living. There is absolutely nothing wrong with money or material comforts, but they are only part of what you can create for yourself.

I am love. I am compassion. I am a being who makes the world a better place.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Is it the toast or the bacon? Extraterrestrial diet wisdom

Carrot diversity
Carrot diversity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It's the most hated and controversial word on Earth: Diet.

Almost any vegetarian will tell you how bad meat production is for the environment. The most intelligent meat eaters will remind you how unsustainable corn, wheat, and soybean production has become. Both would be absolutely right.

On my planet, we had paid hunters as well as farmers (not that everyone ate meat). There was little need for heavily processed food because everybody wanted to shop for fresh groceries and socialize nearly every day. On other planets, meat is considered primitive and wasteful. Even their carnivorous pets eat legume based foods (which works, but it requires a processing technology Earth doesn't have).

None of the advanced planets I know of genetically modify their food. Without going into a big genetics lesson, you can't modify one trait without affecting something else. Plants and sometimes animals are bred for certain traits, but it is always considered important to keep food diverse and minimally altered because of the risk of food allergies, food borne infections, and loss of nutritional value.

The drinking of another animal's milk, particularly when skimmed of all or most of its natural fat, is unheard of on other planets. Most planets make some versions of cheese and yogurt, and emergency infant formulas are sometimes based on animal milk (When possible, breastfeeding is always better for babies regardless of species), but it was just really surprising to find so many people on Earth drinking animal's milk.
 So, what should you eat?

Once, during adolescence, I had an infection that tends to get worse on a high carbohydrate diet. My mom took me off of all fruit and grain for a short time. Well, it happened to be a holiday time, and much like on Earth everyone had a great dinner, except me. I tried something similar again as an adult and quickly got moody, tired, and extremely hungry. I constantly thought of every sweet baked good and fried root vegetable I'd ever eaten.

On the flip side, when I wanted to lose a little extra weight, I tried to eat fat free. Nothing I ate really tasted like anything (except fresh juices). I was beyond tired, a little moody, and extremely hungry. I thought about meat all the time, even though at the time I hadn't eaten meat in a few years.

The moral of the story is what you already inherently knew. Everything in balance. There is no one right answer for everyone (other than staying away from highly processed food). Some need less carbs. Some need less fat than others. If you're at a healthy weight and feel energetic and happy most of the time, keep doing what you're doing. If not, don't give up on yourself or feel self hatred. You are what you eat, but you are not a single donut or even a whole large pizza. Nourish yourself so you can nourish others.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gardens and Life

I was out planting in my garden this morning. So I've got tomatoes in five different colors, and none of them are red! I was planting pink brandywine tomatoes and hungarian hot wax peppers and kicked my shoes off. The soil felt sandier than I thought it was. I know it sounds weird to say I felt the energy in the plants and soil, but I think I did.

It made me think of the gardeners in my life I have lost. I'm not totally used to gardening alone, but I'm starting to enjoy it. Growing your own food is so life affirming. It takes a little planning and effort, but there are many varieties you can't buy in a store. Fresher food tastes better.

No matter where you live, you can grow something. Many typical garden plants (tomato, pepper, eggplant, and even small corn) do very well in containers. Now is the time to go to your nearest plant nursery and grow!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What do drag queens and sustainable farming have in common?

State fruit - Tomato
State fruit - Tomato (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Chickens (Photo credit: Allie's.Dad)

yesterday morning I was watching watching the film Fresh which really gets to the heart of sustainable vs unsustainable farming. Then late into the night I was youtube-ing my favorite drag queens, Pandora Boxx and Sharon Needles. I thought about what the farmer on Fresh said about how farming works best when the chickens are expressing their chicken-ness and tomatoes express their tomato-ness...

The key to any species flourishing is an environment which allows each individual to fully express whatever it was made to be. If you stuff a building full of chickens, cut off their beaks, and feed them a bunch of antibiotics and hormones, you get unhealthy meat and eggs. If you let chickens run around the yard and hunt and peck at safe food, you get healthy food. If you spray tomatoes with a ton of herbicides and pesticides and pick them way before they are ripe so you ship them to some far away chain store, you get bland, less healthy tomatoes. 

So, what makes a human flourish?

English: Pandora Boxx performing
English: Pandora Boxx performing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Humans beings tend to hide from criticism and intolerance, but put them in an environment of acceptance, even praise, and they flourish. I don't always connect with comedy, and I'm not the biggest fan of horror. So why do I love watching Pandora Boxx and Sharon Needles? Because they are so passionate in their self expression. If anything was ever made to be played with, it's gender. There's just no reason to get uptight about gender expression or sexual orientation. When you simply allow a human being to be whoever they are, it's a beautiful thing.

Before you can truly get along with the rest of the species on Earth (and be ready to meet the rest of the universe), you need to "play nice" with other human beings. I'm already seeing some great evidence that you can. I challenge you this week to get out of your comfort zone and just strike up a conversation with someone you wouldn't normally talk to.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Why Am I Here?

Earth (Photo credit: tonynetone)

Doesn't every sentient being ask that at some point? I could talk about all the circumstances that brought me here. I could endlessly dwell on the losses I've faced. Instead, I only answer for this moment, and most of the time I see that I am right where I should be. You'd think that would make me seem cold or distant, but the opposite is true. I'm open to all the pain and joy possible in life. The point is knowing there is something more than chasing those feelings (it seems like some feelings chase you but by simply accepting any and all emotion as perfectly okay you can slow it down).

The whole universe is full of intelligent life, but Earth is unique. Some would call it primitive, but I prefer to call it young.You have some serious growing up to do. It is frustrating to watch so I refuse to simply watch. That is why I'm writing here. I wish I could just hand you some technology that would solve all your problems, but it's not that simple. There is no machine to make you take your greatest ideas and develop them to their full potential. That is up to you. I can only point to some bad ideas (anything involving social or ecological injustice) and let you decide what you want Earth to look like.

Every single being makes a contribution to the whole universe. What is yours? (hint: think moment by moment and define yourself by the most loving and fulfilling thing you could be doing)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Who Am I?

A View of Earth from Saturn
A View of Earth from Saturn (Photo credit: alpoma)
Most people who see me think I'm just this girl who makes her home with animals nobody wanted and tries to grow a few plants. How could anyone possibly know I'm not from Earth? It's not easy to see, but if you look really deep into my eyes, you'll see. Not a strange color or shape. It's beyond any physical trait.

I'm a deeply spiritual being. Not religious, spiritual. If I were religious I might have something to argue with you about, but I don't. Whatever faith or lack thereof you have, I'm good with that. Whatever your physical appearance, I see you as you. Whatever your sexual orientation, I love you. However you identify or express your gender, I celebrate you.
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Animal friends: Phantom

Here's my writing muse. The shelter kitty with a sing-song little purrt. About 25 pounds of kitten (she's about 2 years old and still very much acts like a kitten) and official bag inspector of the house. Little round face, big green eyes, barrel body, little legs (almost like a munchkin cat). As you can see, she doesn't make a very productive writer.

Animal Friends: Henry Calcifer

Precious baby found lost at a rest stop. Maybe someone thought he would get along with the feral colony already there, but this guy isn't feral. He doesn't really meow, but he purrs. Normally, I wouldn't try to pick up a strange animal (always use a live trap when rescuing animals), but he was different. Now, he's my baby. His hobbies are birdwatching (no interest in going out and chasing, he will just stand there at an open door) and pouncing me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Antibiotic Resistant Infections: Are We Getting It Yet?

Staphylococcus aureus - Antibiotics Test plate
Staphylococcus aureus - Antibiotics Test plate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Supermoms Against Superbugs Targets Antibiotic Use On Farms As Factor In Drug-Resistant Infections

It only keeps getting worse. Indiscriminate antibiotic use in people and animals used for food is becoming deadlier.

Don't get me wrong, antibiotics save lives, and nobody wants to live without them. The problem is when they are used too much, and especially when they become part of our food supply.

Use free-range (preferably local) organic meat, dairy, and eggs whenever possible. Eat more vegan meals when it isn't.

Think twice every time you or your family member is sick. Consider alternative therapies for repeat infections. If you really do need an antibiotic, follow your doctor's prescription.
Enhanced by Zemanta Domino's Pizza: Stop Making Pigs Suffer

Imagine spending most of your life in a cage on a dirty concrete slab unable to even turn around. Does a craving for pepperoni pizza justify any other living being being treated that way?

Dominos is still using cruel gestation crates for the pigs used in their pizza toppings, even though this practice is banned in Sweden and the UK (and the rest of the European Union as of 2013). Many other companies have stopped or are stopping the use of gestation crates.

We can do better! By adding your signature to this petition, you are saying there are more sustainable and less cruel ways to produce food.

If you want to learn more about gestation crates, please visit Crammed into Crates Life for America's breeding pigs.

Monday, May 14, 2012 Please Save Our Home from clearcutting!

Clearcutting involves indiscriminately removing all trees from a given area of forest. In this case the area of land is 320 acres in Williams, OR. The petition creator fears that this action will poison the local waterways with herbicides sprayed after the clear-cut. Without the trees, erosion could seriously change the current waterways, causing water shortages and/or floods. This town is also home to dozens of organic family farms and a large herbal medicine company, Herb Pharm.

Your signature matters. This is not just some distant rainforest. This is in your own backyard (relatively speaking). Just as the body won't function without lungs, the Earth will not provide enough oxygen for humans to breathe without trees.

If you want to know more about the dangers of clearcutting, please visit NRDC: What Is Clearcutting?
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