August 12, 2012

Manufactured landscapes in the modern world

I think the environmental movement has failed in that it has used the stick too much; it’s used the apocalyptic tone too much; it hasn’t sold the positive aspects of being environmentally concerned and trying to pull us out.” (Edward Burtynsky)

This 30-minute video is a fascinating look at manufacturing and the effect urban activity has on our world.  More importantly, it presents the idea that we can have this conversation in a positive, affirming context.  

NO NO don't fall asleep!  I know it sounds like a boring drag of a subject- but I promise, you already like it.  Have you ever been to a "Secret Santa" party?  Aside from the fact that it sounds vaguely lewd, Secret Santa is when everyone brings a generic gift, and everyone leaves with a gift.  Ok, hold that thought.

I do not fit the description of an "environmentalist" or an "environmental activist."  I hate fighting- HATE it.  I can't really imagine myself as an agitator. That said, I am an enthusiast for the benefits of responsible urban renewal/development.  In particular, I am passionate about the necessity for rebuilding historical gathering areas in places like downtown Hattiesburg, MS. 

All of these ideas- and many of our other current concerns and topics of debate- orbit a single thought: sustainable activity.  Without it, we don't evolve.  We devolve.  

When a system is self-sustaining, it operates freely within its own set of available resources.  The sustainable system takes what it needs, with the most minimal impact on the environment that surrounds it.  But most importantly, the sustainable system evolves.  It is designed to succeed, because it gives more than, or an amount that is equal to, what it takes.  

Just like Secret Santa, if ten people come to a party with gifts, and eleven people- or fifteen or 100-are invited to "play the game" of exchanging gifts, the game devolves into failure.  Someone who gave does not receive, because someone who received did not give. Bummer!

By how we choose to live, we are currently having an impact on the planet.  In order to reverse this, we will not only have to balance our own impact, we will have to repair more to make up for those who will take, and not give.  That's a fact.  But no more gloom-and-doom talk about the apocalyptic disaster we are creating. I would like to support change, and in particular those brilliant people who are teaching us, if we are willing to learn, how to work toward taking less, and giving more.  

You may want to check out, a stimulating blog with all kinds of positive sustainable conversation.  

Let's have a discussion about sustainability.  

August 4, 2012

PTSD- Puppy Telly Streaming Day!!


Puppy Break!  Watch puppies here and now!  <<< Click!  

(Join through Facebook page- it's safe.)

Known as Holly's Half Dozen, these Golden Retriever puppies were born June 24, 2012, and from the beginning they have been on 24 hour live cam. Not only are these puppies adorable but they are involved in very important work with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, MD. These pups- five girls and one boy- are being raised and socialized by members of Warrior Canine Connection, who care for and train the dogs as part of their own healing- from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Here's a story from Business Insider-<<< click for more information on military and PTSD programs.  

As programs designed for veterans have begun to address the issues military men and women face, more attention has been paid to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is more common than most of us realize, and effects people who have been bullied, abused, sexually assaulted, or who have lived through a fearful event, like war, catastrophic event, natural disaster or violent crime.

Just tapping into the live stream is a stress-reducer (as if you needed an actual reason to watch puppies do nothing.)  But it's true! 

Puppy Break #2!  Watch puppies here and now!   

PTSD is an anxiety disorder, and can include symptoms like agitation or excitability, dizziness, fainting, headaches and feeling your heart beat in your chest. It usually occurs after someone has experienced a traumatic event, and causes the person to feel stress symptoms that can include panic attacks and flashbacks. Many people are walking around with PTSD symptoms and don't even know it. Unfortunately, after a traumatic event, well-meaning people might encourage a survivor to "shake it off," or to return to "normal" behavior- but while he or she might be functional, they may not be able to experience a full life without some help.
Puppy Break #3!  Watch puppies here and now!   

After that, you may want to check out the symptom list below- or feel inspired to learn more about PTSD, so you can do that here:   PTSD information.  

The most important thing I can say to you is this: if you think you might have PTSD symptoms, talk to a counselor about it. (I did!) If you have ever experienced a violent or traumatic event, you may recognize that you have these symptoms of PTSD, which usually fall into three main categories:

1. "Reliving" the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity

  • Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again 
  • Repeated upsetting memories of the event (could include repeated fear of the event reoccurring)
  • Repeated nightmares/night terrors of the event 
  • Strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind you of the event or how you felt during the event. 
2. Avoidance
  • Emotional "numbing," or feeling as though you don't enjoy or care about anything 
  • Feeling detached from others, or from yourself 
  • Being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma 
  • Having a lack of interest in normal activities 
  • Showing moods less, being "flat" or having physical "feelings" (like feeling tired instead of sad; experience back pain instead of fear)
  • Avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event; avoiding situations where you may not have control
  • Feeling like you have no future

3. Arousal

  • Difficulty concentrating, or agitation in stressful situations 
  • Startling easily
  • Having an exaggerated response to things that startle you 
  • Feeling more aware or self-defensive (hyper-vigilance) 
  • Feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger or terror
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep