Monday, December 28, 2015

the winter clean

The Japanese have something called, Osoji (大掃除), "the big cleaning". This happens every year right before the New Year. The idea is that a person should eliminate the clutter, dirt and emotional baggage carried with them from the last year. 

That is exactly how I spent my Sunday. Cleaning. The only problem is that I have cleaning ADD. Everything takes twice as long. I suddenly find all the things I own immensely fascinating. In this instance, I found some old writing. A.K.A. an entire notebook full of dribble. I tore out three sheets of digestible ramblings, and the rest went straight away into the recycling.

I thought I would share some of it here: 

There is always a secret in the dark. Shouldn't I be scared of it -- that in some way? Most people are. They have that evolutionary psychology that tells them to walk the other way. It's not that I take risks to be dangerous, or that I like to jump out of airplanes. (I don't.) It's that I know that the future is like a great chasm in front of me and no matter where I step, I will have to survive the fall.

Well, I am glad I am leaving that behind for this New Year. Although, it's like eight years too late on that one.

And now for something completely related...


Monday, December 7, 2015

project for awesome


It is almost time for the The Project for Awesome (December 11-12, 2015). What is the The Project for Awesome you might ask? Let me copy and past some useful information from their website.
The very first Project for Awesome was organized in 2007, and has been held every year since. Starting in 2014, Project For Awesome changed dates, now occurring annually on the second Friday & Saturday of December, which this year is December 11-12, 2015.
During Project for Awesome, thousands of people post videos about and advocating for charities that decrease the overall level of world suck. As a community, we promote these videos and raise money for the charities.
In 2014, the community raised over $1,200,000, including several generous matching donations. These were split between two organizations chosen by John & Hank - Save the Children & Partners in Health - along with twenty charities chosen by the online video community.
Legally speaking, the Project for Awesome is a project of the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, Inc. a Montana-based 501(c)3 charitable organization. You can see a list of all the charities that the FTDWS has disbursed money to in the past here.

SOUNDS GREAT! HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?

Project for Awesome has three parts.

First: YOU. Amazing community members from around the world make videos about a charity that is particularly meaningful for them. These are uploaded to the Project for Awesome website*, but also should be shared around the internet and viewed, discussed, commented upon, etc. You can vote on your favorite videos on the P4A site, which helps determine the charities that receive funding.

*Videos can be submitted from 12:00pm EST on December 11th through 11:59am EST on December 13th.

Second: fundraising. We will have an amazing selection of perks for you to choose from if you want to donate to the Foundation to Decrease World Suck through our Indiegogo campaign. From digital downloads to signed art, donated items from your favorite YouTube creators and our annual calendar… you’re bound to find something fun.

The Indiegogo will be open from 12:00am EST on Wednesday, December 9th to 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, December 15th.

Third: butfArt. Say what? Yes, this is where things get wacky. John & Hank, along with a number of special guests, host a 48-hour continuous livestream to feature videos, spontaneously announce new perks, and look at dollar bills under microscopes… or something like that. You never know what will happen, so tune in and join the fun!

The livestream will run from 12:00pm EST on December 11th through 11:59am EST on December 13th.

All funds raised during the first half of P4A (12:00am EST on December 9th through 11:59am EST on December 12th) will benefit Save the Children and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

All funds raised during the second half of P4A (12:00pm EST on December 12th through 11:59pm EST on December 15th) will be divided between the organizations chosen by the community.
In the spirit of the thing, I sent in an art perk creation. What is an art perk? Well, creators send in Nerdfighter themed art and donators can receive this art by donating to the charity campaign. I made 15 paper toy packs for whoever to cut and glue together. Here is a photo of my prototype characters and a photo of me putting together a pack set.



Saturday, December 5, 2015

christmas and advertisement

I have a love-hate relationship with advertisement. I understand that it is needed to perpetuate a certain degree of success. Sometimes, (when used properly) it can reflect ideas in a more straight forward way. The idea of compacting a message into a tiny parcel of time is really fascinating to me. However, I am often left with the thought, "What the hell was that?"

Christmas is the worst time for being pummeled by advertising. There is a sense of desperation in it. A cloying pressure to buy that new thing or get that other thing cheap. Then, there is the manipulation of the Christmas ideal. Buy that new car. Have that perfect life with a fireplace, a Christmas tree, and a hot drink steaming in the background. It makes a person subconsciously aware of their, "haves" and "have-nots".

It is not like advertisers aren't aware of this. This Kit Kat commercial proves that little truth.


I can't help compare this to the ad strategy premise behind the movie Crazy People.


But let's get back to the point.

I have noticed a phenomenon in advertising. I will deem this phenomenon, word-salad-propaganda. This is when an advertiser utilizes a lot of disjointed words or phrases to, "inspire" you. They do it so you will connect with them and buy from them. I would say this doesn't work, but they keep doing it so it must be working. How is that possible? It is just bad poetry for the capitalist regime. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic. But still, I can't imagine someone buying into it.

Just to prove my point, I will write one of these commercials. 

For the setting, just imagine that perfect Christmas imagery I mentioned before. Add to it a family, all wearing Christmas sweaters possibly made by Grandma. A golden retriever rests in the background on that stain free white couch. (Who buys a white couch?) It's Christmas morning and the family is opening their gifts. Each opens their gift slowly. Each family member presents their joy (and their gift) to the room. Superimposed over this scene are words. The words fade in and out as the commercial progresses.

Warmth.
Shine.
Giving.
Joy.
Laughter.
Timeless.
Generic Brand Name.

I wish I could say this was something new and yet, I found this ad after some light Googling. I can't tell you if it's real, but I suspect it is. Nothing says Christmas more than objectified ownership of your lovely bride and spoons. Can't leave out those spoons.

Image Source: Flickr

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

holiday time

It's that time of the year again and it will be my second vegetarian Thanksgiving. Neat! I still haven't crossed over into vegan land, although I have been make a lot of progress in that avenue. My vegetarian to vegan stats are 20% vegetarian and 80% vegan.

Last year, I made my own Seitan Roast with Old Fashioned Stuffing for Thanksgiving. This year I am going to try an all vegan Thanksgiving.

The first recipe is Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing from Chowhound.com. This is a fully vegan and gluten free recipe which is awesome since I have been cutting back on my gluten as well.    

Image Source: Chowhound.com
For a side dish I plan to make a vegan dupe of the following recipe. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic-Sage Brown Sauce from Aidamollenkamp.com. I will be using Energ-G Egg Replacer to bind the gnocchi and agave nectar to replace the honey. For the butter sauce I will be using Organic Earth Balance Vegan Spread and I have a gluten free flour ready to go. I haven't decided what route I want to take to replace the Parmesan but a ground cashew and pistachio mix sounds good.

Image Source: Aidamollenkamp.com
Next, I am planning to make my favorite holiday dish, a vegan Swiss Chard Gratin from Chocolateandzucchini.com. I use a homemade seasoned cashew cream base for the béchamel and a generous amount of Daiya Mozzeralla Style Shreds, instead of the comté. Yum!

Image Source: Chocolateandzucchini.com



Monday, November 16, 2015

What do I think of the attacks on Paris?

I was asked what I think of the attacks on Paris today. This is my response.

First, I will say that what happened in Paris is tragic. There is really not more to be said on that level. My heart bleeds and I am deeply concerned about the whole situation. It takes a very twisted and confused person to not be hurt by this. Yet, I can't help thinking about the bigger picture.

The day before the Paris attack, ISIS(Daesh) also bombed Beirut which killed at least 43 people and injured roughly 240 more. This story cycled through the news media so fast it was barely noticed. The question begged to be asked, "Why did Paris gain the attention of America?"

The morning after the attacks on Paris, I was still clueless. My phone (which has Facebook alerts) informed me that Bernice (named changed for privacy) was safe in Paris. I was confused. Why was my phone telling me that? This lead to the discovery of the Facebook "safety check" for Parisians and thereby I learned about the attack itself. 

I knew that those superimposed flagged faces would immediately marginalize the lives lost in Beirut. How many of us knew people in Beirut? For that matter, how many people knew where Beirut was? 

FYI: It is the capital and largest city of Lebanon.

I couldn't help notice another image dominating my social media. It was the Eiffel Tower peace symbol that Jean Jullien, a french artist, created. I wondered, "Would anyone have noticed a similar artist from Beirut creating an artistic rendition of the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque?"

We romanticize Paris. The city of love. The city of art. The city of baguettes and Jerry Lewis marathons. Even if we have never been to Paris, it is in our culture, our stories, our film, our music and our art. So, the attacks on Paris, that is personal to us. It is personal to us regardless if we have an immediate connection through family and/or friends. It is simply too close to home.

I can't tell you how much it saddens me to see people trying to compare apples to oranges. People lashing out and calling names. People using really bad comparisons to prove misguided points.

For myself, I am a humanitarian. That is just who I am. I will always be a humanitarian. During the early days of America, I would have been helping slaves on the underground railroad. In the days of Nazi Germany, I would have been an active member of the White Rose. Even as I child I remember throwing myself in front of a school bully to protect an Indian girl that he was calling a "dot head". That being said, I will always choose kindness and compassion before I allow any fears and threats control me.

The mass psyche has so quickly went from being horrified, to being angry. It has given me whiplash. The result is a passionate debate of, "Do we or don't we allow refugees into our borders." On one side, people say, "All humanity is ours. We need to help. We are all in this together!". On the other side, people say, "We need to take care of our own first and we do not want to invite violence to our homeland."

Logically, I understand all of the arguments. There are some very valid and invalid perceptions on all sides. I am on the, "Let the refugees in" side. There are a lot of arguments I could make. But I won't. If a person has chosen a side, that is where they will stay. They are entitled to their opinion. The only time I open my mouth (uninvited) is when someone is sharing grossly false information or they are bordering on hurting people. 

However, I am frustrated that we aren't looking at this differently. We are becoming a people of forced choices. We are made to decide who's life is more important. We should NEVER be placed in that position. We should NEVER EVER feel comfortable with making that kind of choice. 

We really should be thinking about terrorism itself. No, I do not mean in that, "bone crushing fear" sort of way. What I mean is that terrorism breeds power in fear. Terrorists use violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. They use us. They use our fear and our self preservation against us. It makes me feel like a battered wife trying to mitigate the damage. This is all about intimidation and to the big bag bullies of the world, I for one refuse to be intimidated.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The 500 Hundred Hats of Me...(Okay, maybe less than that but bonus points for catching the reference.)


Friday, October 30, 2015

venezuelan economy

If you haven't heard, Venezuela is economy is tanking. Politics aside (both within Venezuela and internationally) the people of Venezuela are struggling. NPR wrote an article yesterday that shows just how this crisis is affecting the average person.


What the article doesn't talk about is that the Venezuelan government is running out of cash and has started selling it's gold reserves to pay off their debts. Which is devaluing their currency further. This means that the people of Venezuela may face even worse hardships in the future.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

finding purpose and multipotentialites

Finding your purpose is hard. I think it can be difficult for many reasons. A person might find it hard to figure out what path to follow. There can be problems of logistics, like time or money. There can be internal issues, like self doubt. How do we sort it all out?

To the first question, I have a few answers.

First, a person doesn't necessarily need to follow one path. That is a very limiting view in this very complex world. As a self proclaimed multipotentialite, I understand this all too well. A person can be interested in many disciplines and address them and utilize them as they desire. It is that simple.


But, let's say you are determined to find that one thing. That jewel of a purpose that will complete you. I am here to say you probably already found it.

What? That's right you probably already have the answer and didn't even know it. 

I have seen the following image circulating a lot lately in regards to purpose and I think it is useful as a guideline. It can show you a lot of things that might have you looking at completely different fields, especially if you focus on getting paid for it last.

Purpose, is something inherent in our being. Something we are drawn to. Something that we strive for. We don't even have to be good at it, we just have to want it. Well, want it enough to pursue it and act on it. But we will touch on that later.

Now, logistics can often cause a problem for those who want to actively pursue their dreams. Money, time, and responsibility; being the largest roadblocks. You want to be a Doctor? Yet, you can't afford school. You want to write a book? But, you work too many hours. You want to become a surfboard salesmen? But, you have to take over the family business. At this point you must ask yourself, how can I? How can I make school cheaper and make more money to afford school? How can I dedicate even a half hour every day to writing? How can I sell those surfboards and still run the family business? 

The idea that something is impossible is what holds you back. It makes you inactive and inaction is the enemy of purpose.

Action is key. Even if it is small actions everyday, it creates a space where you are closer to your goals. The closer you are; the less impossible it will seem. The less impossible it seems; the more motivated you will be. This creates a cycle that can remove the negativity of the, "I can't" attitude.

"I can't", can mean many things. But it what it really means is, "I don't know how." and when you combine that with self deprecation you can find yourself in a bad place. Ignore all the negetivity and allow yourself grow. You can and that is all you need to know.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

mental illness and lies

Both my parents are mentally ill and they would probably be very frustrated to have me announcing this to the world.

When I was very young, I didn't think it was unusual. I thought everybody had to go to the psychiatrist. I thought everyone took medicine. I thought everyone had a father with severe depression and a mother with schizophrenia.

I suppose growing up under those conditions has created some strange reactions in me. My mother, for instance, tried to kill herself in my presence more than once. Besides the initial trauma, my view of death is skewed. I am not terrified of it on that basic human intrinsic level. However, I have a fundamental love for having the opportunity for life. But, my teachers and school therapist were certainly concerned when I would say, "The only sure thing in life is death." That seems to send up red flags.

There was nothing wrong with being pragmatic. I know that now. At the time, those words would send me into a tail spin of self doubt. I would state the truth and be told that was wrong. Confused, I started to lie.

It became easier to exist in the world shielded by these lies. Not because I felt I had to use them for me, but for other people. It took a lot of work and time to get out of this habit. 

It's scary to me that the world has become a place were we are less concerned about truth and more concerned about how other people perceive us. We don't speak our truths and then wonder why we feel so alienated. We wonder why other people cannot understand us. We grow into a mass of repressed and mentally ill people who are hiding it from other people. We fear the truth as much as we fear being flawed.

I'm flawed. 

I'm not mentally ill. Not in the sense that I take medicine or have a diagnoses. However, I am mentally ill in the sense that a have a list of phobias. I have a few minor compulsions. I am neurotic. At times, I can have some very magical thinking. There are deep wounds in my psyche that will never heal. But none of that makes me less of a person. 

I have read that 1 in 6 people have mental illness. Whereas I believe that 6 in 6 people have mental illness and I feel like we are lying to ourselves if we think otherwise.

I always loop back to acceptance.  If we lived in a society that did not categorize and marginalize people for "needing help" or"expressing themselves", we'd be in a much happier place. Literally.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

oh, andy

I was looking for an old file and came across these Lulu comics about Andy and I. 





They are still pretty damn awesome! (I drew them about five years ago.)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

near death experience

It has been five years since I died and came back to life.

The beginning of this story is innocuous. I was a healthy 29 year old, on my way to a friend's house with Andy. The only sign of trouble is that I kept complaining about how thirsty I was.

Things started off as they usually would. We gathered. We talked. We laughed, Then, one friend suggested we go out dancing. I was indifferent to the idea.

The club we went to was typical. Music. Booze. Dancing. So, I wandered with Andy towards the bar and ordered bottled water.

It was while I was drinking that water that I started feeling an odd sensation. A prickling behind my eyes. I tried to shrug it off, but it persisted. Irritated that a migraine was coming on, I decided to dance to distract myself.

After a few minutes of dancing, I lost time. I found myself standing on the dance floor, unsteady on my feet that the first pang of fear hit. What was wrong with me? How long had I been standing there? I looked around and a man in a dark suit was watching me. His expression unreadable,

I struggled through the crowd to find Andy. I managed a few coherent words once I found him and he helped me over to a quiet space. When I looked back to where I had been, the man in the dark suit was gone.

I vaguely remember telling him that the strobe lights were bothering me. That the smoke machines were making it hard to breathe. That I felt dizzy. He was concerned. He flagged down our group and suggested we go eat somewhere. Thinking giving me some time to reboot would me some good. I have had seizures in the past and I know now that is what he thought happened.

We left the club and walked to a local diner.

It was about five minutes after we sat down that I knew I was in trouble. Everything started looking like it was a strange shade of green. Like it was tinted. I couldn't get enough air. I was trying to tell Andy what was wrong but I could barely talk. It felt like I was separating from my body.

This is when I remember things in slices of fragmented time and fear. Like my consciousness was a skipping record. Nothing. Fear. My friend saying something was wrong with me. Nothing. Fear. Andy leaning me against a wall, telling me to open my eyes. Nothing. Fear. Andy calling 911. 

Then nothing.

It was a real nothing. No fear. No sound. Blackness and a distant sense of peace. The fear was gone and a huge part of me was gone. It was like I was experiencing the real me for the first time. At the same time, I had no sense of self.

I knew the secrets of everything. I knew I was dead. I knew that I had three choices. Go back. Reincarnate. Or go to a higher realm. I am not sure what I chose but I didn't choose to go back. Not at first. I was ready for a new life or a new world or both. But also understood my decision wasn't about me. It was about more. When I thought about it that way I didn't to go back.

The first thing I became aware of was a sense of self and it felt like an uncomfortable coat. Then fear followed. Quickly followed by pain and I heard Andy's panicked voice whispering. 

"You promised. You promised."

Through the pain I jerked my hand it felt like lead. My breaths couldn't get enough air. Andy hugged me and mumbled his thanks. I experienced the time skipping like I had before. At one point Andy stood me up. Then I was outside on a bench. There was a stranger next to me. A man. He had a lispy feminine voice. I could barely open my eyes. He held me at his side. Petting me. Whispering in my ear, breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out. I was grateful to him. A few times I would stop breathing and he would shake me. Tell me to breathe. We'd start the process over. It felt like hours of this.

Andy returned with paramedics. I remember bits and pieces of him explaining what happened. My symptoms. Him getting into a verbal fight with the paramedic. They wouldn't bring me to the hospital. I still don't understand why. The stranger that had been holding me, now backed Andy up.

He said, "I agree with him, you guys need to bring her to the hospital."

The paramedic said, "And you are?"

The guy who helped me shrugged, "Just some gay guy."

Afterwards, time kept skipping. We eventually were home. I remember it took days for me to not have loss of time. It took me at least two years to not think about it constantly, to not wonder why I was here.

When I asked Andy to describe that night to me, it started off similar to mine. Friends. Club. We got water. I danced and came back. I told him I didn't feel good. He gathered up the group and we went tot he diner. He said I put my head down on the table and relaxed. It was when my friend offered me some water and I didn't respond that they knew something was wrong. Andy told them to get the check and bring the car around. He helped me to the bathroom area thinking I was going to be sick and instead, I collapsed. He opened my eyes and they were blank. He checked my pulse and there was none. He called 911. That is when he scooped me up and kept telling me that I promised. Then my hand jerked and I was back. He decided to take me outside so that when the paramedics came they'd see me right away. He sat me on a bench. Minutes later the paramedics came and he stepped away to flag them down. He returned and the paramedics said I was fine. That I must have took something. When Andy said I didn't. They didn't believe him. That is when he said that a random gay guy appeared out of nowhere and tried to get them to bring me to the hospital too.

I told Andy about the gay guy helping me breath. He slowly said, "No, honey you were alone on that bench." Then I asked him if he saw a man in a dark suit at the club. He said, "No, I think I'd remember that."

I still don't know what to think of my experience. It's hard to say if everything that happened was a creation of the last synopsis of my mind. Perhaps, a moment of insanity. The only thing I know for certain is that I was dead, and now I am not.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

the circus continues

The first thing I will say about this book is that the synopsis is poorly written. The book I read vs. the book I thought I was going to read were extremely different books.

This is how the synopsis should have read:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a competition is underway between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been guided since childhood expressly, for this purpose, by their unusual instructors. They do not know the rules or the why's  but they know they must perform.
But the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead


I think one of the problems with this book is that it was written in a way that has no validation. There are many things alluded to, but never confirmed. 

This book creates a world where magic and mystery is a supporting character. Where the circus itself, is the most important main character. The game that Celia and Marco find themselves in, is open to context. I synthesized this by filling in the blanks. When the elder magicians pit Celia and Marco together, I formed the idea that the game was a sandbox creation and that the rule makers themselves didn't fully understand.

Then there was the plot. I am still kind of struggling with this. The book has a very simple plot stretched over years. However, if I follow the development of the circus, it becomes immortal. As if the plot could continue in the recesses of my imagination. That open ended space is something I enjoy, immensely. On the other hand, it is by definition a bad structure for a book.

Why did I love this book then? The language. The world building. The mystery. The magic. How it left me feeling when I finished it. How a part of me felt like whoever read this book, became part of the circus magic themselves. The book felt more like art and that is pretty awesome if you ask me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

my inner dialog anytime I am in the produce section


the aftermath

Anytime I finish a self induced project, I feel a little sullen. Like my offspring has grown up and I have sent them off into the world. After completing the 18 Days of Global Goals, I can't help feeling a bit bereaved.

Yesterday, after finishing a variety of tasks, I tried to think of some new thing that I could sink my teeth into. A purpose. A creation. An idea. My mind is a total blank. I wouldn't call it creative block. Not really. I have a list of small projects that I want to complete. But none them have purpose and with the 18 Days of Global Goals, I found myself waking up every day with a purpose. It was satisfying and exhilarating. 

Purpose is really different than what a person "does". Errands. Work. Meetings. Meals. Cleaning. Those things are what people do. A purpose is so different. It brings out an inner resolve and an understanding that the outside world is improving by ones actions. 

I am left thinking about validity. What will be valid and useful in my life? What will be valid and useful in other peoples lives?

Any ideas out there?

Monday, October 12, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 18)

17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

This is the last of the global goals which calls for rich nations to give more assistance to poorer countries and to help less developed nations progress.* But it strengthens the idea that all the global goals should be pursued by the community of our leaders.

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level:
Raise awareness. Support and actively address the rest of the global goals. Understand how our nation can benefit from global success.

On a International level: If global citizens around the world petition politicians, endorse ethical and globally-minded companies and promote more international dialogue, then Goal 17 can be achieved.**

Sunday, October 11, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 17)

16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

In other words: We should all live in harmony. The goal also calls for an end to violence and corruption.* This is obviously easier said than done but there is no reason why we can't focus our energies to get a little closer to being peaceful, genuine human beings.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Peace and justice are goals that begin on an individual level and grow outward. They start with everyday people treating one another with respect and lending a helping hand when needed.

On a International level: Promote peace and justice, learn more about the world, have cross-cultural discussions, actually treat everyone you meet with respect and call on world leaders to send robust aid to countries in difficult situations.

*NPR

Saturday, October 10, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 16)

15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainability manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

This goal targets all processes and actions that are a threat to animals, plants and ecosystems on our great, green planet.

Some specific, key elements of what this looks like include: Saving the rain forest by putting a stop to deforestation and promoting reforestation Making sure ecosystems like forests, wetlands and mountains are conserved, restored and made sustainable. Preventing the extinction of threatened species. Stopping the poaching and trafficking of protected animals. Making biodiversity values a part of development planning.*

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level:
Plant trees. Switch to clean energies. Recycle. Compost. Reuse. Repurpose. Create your own garden or join a community garden. Use natural pesticides. Create and nurture save environments for flora and fauna to coexist.

On a International level: Raise awareness. Donate to reforestation projects like http://www.edenprojects.org/. Or sponsor a wild animal through http://www.worldanimalfoundation.net/wildlife.html

Friday, October 9, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 15)

14. The conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Dramatic global economic growth has created the need for more food. More trade has left the oceans and seas increasingly vulnerable to human activity. Around 76 percent of the world’s fish populations are endangered and ocean acidification, which has troubling consequences, is increasing.*

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Recycle. Compost. Reuse. Repurpose. Buy only sustainable fish. Use all natural soaps, that are biodegradable. Invest in permeable driveways and sidewalks for your property. Utilize water collection containers to water your lawns. Change your nozzles and toilet systems to use less water. Think about converting to gray water systems. Think before you book that cruise. One billion gallons of sewage dumps into the ocean each year from cruise ships. According to the US EPA, a cruise ship with 3,000 passengers produces 21,000 gallons of sewage waste a day. There ARE responsible ship lines to choose from.*

On a International level: Join and support groups like http://www.theoceancleanup.com.

*Globalcitizen

Thursday, October 8, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 14)

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

This global goal sets measures to integrate it into international policies. As well as improve education, awareness-raising and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation and adaption. *

Whether you want to believe in it, climate change is a real thing that is grossly affected by carbon waste and other pollutions of humanity. It is true that there have been carbon fluctuations in the past, but those fluctuations do not compare to the consistent damage we afflict on the Earth in our short lifespans.

Remember the Kyoto Protocol? Countries that committed to reducing carbon emissions by 5 percent of 1990 levels actually reduced emissions by 22.6 percent between 1997 and 2012. The US has already taken action to reduce emission by 25-27 percent by 2025, please support our governments efforts to reduce our harmful affects on our world.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Help stop deforestation. Plant trees. Switch to clean energies. Buy into carbon footprint offset programs. Recycle. Compost. Reuse. Repurpose. Eat less beef. Beef produces 5 times more carbon emissions, uses 28 percent more land and 11 times more water than pork or chicken. Or go vegetarian which saves on both water and carbon emissions. Use all natural soaps, that are biodegradable. 

On a International level: Raise awareness. Practice active harmony with the Earth at all times. Donate to reforestation projects like http://www.edenprojects.org/

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 13)

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
 
This goal sets bold targets for cutting in half food waste by the year 2030 and over the next five years overhauling industrial waste streams. *

The United States has a lot of room for improvement, where many other countries barely have any detrimental waste at all. In Sweden 1% of the countries waste ends up in landfills. Whereas, the United States sends 69% of waste to landfills.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Recycle. Compost. Avoid food waste. Reuse. Repurpose. Offer large items on Craigslist for free. Donate anything reusable to thrift stores. Join community and urban cleanup efforts. Purchase products with less packaging. Purchase products from companies that reuse materials in innovative ways. Utilize electronic and battery recycling programs. Avoid using any products that have a long decomposition rate. Example: Standard Styrofoam takes 1 million years to decompose.

On a International level: Join and support groups like http://www.sustainabilityconsortium.org/ that actively dedicate themselves to the global improvement and sustainability of consumer products.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 12)

11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

This goal envisions sustainable, livable urban centers with universal access to green spaces.* This focuses energy and finding solutions to the increasing amounts of slums and urban decay, while using models from more sustainable cities to develop a more functional city space.

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Recycle. Create your own garden or join a community garden. Become more externally involved in your community. Understand and become active in civic engagement, on local, state, and national levels. 

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to programs like http://practicalaction.org/slum-improvement-1 that actively support and provide services to slum residents. The adoption of these practices, slum upgrading and land tenure create a more sustainable outcome than other slum solutions.

*NPR

Monday, October 5, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 11)

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.

This target tries to address the growing gap that's emerged globally between the "haves" and the "have-nots."* The reason people are trapped in cycles of poverty is because of extreme inequalities that persist in society today. By taking action to reduce these inequalities we can create a world where people have equal access to all the benefits of life.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Stand up for equal human rights for people of all races, genders, and socioeconomic status. Do not discriminate between classes of people no matter who they are or where they come from. Support the previous nine Global Goals to create an atmosphere where equality can exist.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group like http://www.amnestyusa.org/

Sunday, October 4, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 10)

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

This goal calls for increased technological assistance from developed countries to poorer nations to modernize roads, dams, electrical grids and other infrastructure,* while supporting the idea of domestic development of sustainable industries in all nations.**

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Support small and local businesses. Make investments in American companies. Donate or volunteer to research projects. Support and learn about OpenSource projects found at http://opensource.com. Support a Kickstarter project that benefits the future of technology at http://www.kickstarter.com/.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group like http://fee.org/freeman/third-world-development-foreign-aid-or-free-trade/

Saturday, October 3, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 9)

8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

This item sets an ambitious annual economic growth target of 7 percent per year for the poorest nations.* While protecting labor tights and promoting safe and secure working environments for workers. **

The recession hit America in 2008 creating an atmosphere where the unemployment rate went from under 5% to just over 10% in 2009. Reported in September 2015, the United States has dropped back down to 5.1% over time. *** Yet, there are still people working very hard to rebound from the recession.

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Buy American made products. Support small and local businesses. Make investments in American companies. Help your friends and families with their careers. Direct people to job skills programs. Do research on money saving tips. Volunteer your time or money to homeless shelters that actively assist the homeless back into the workforce.

On a International level: Look into micro loan programs like http://www.kiva.org/ where something like $25 can assist a person become monetarily independent through hard work and a little capital.

Friday, October 2, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 8)


7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

This goal calls for universal access to electricity and more renewable energy. * More than 1.3 billion people still lack access to affordable, reliable electricity—critical to education, health and livelihoods. **

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Limiting your power usage and learning how to consume less energy. Helping your friends and family do the same. Investing in green renewable energies. Support a local non profit organization that helps the elderly with their power bills.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group who is trying to provide affordable renewable energy services like,  http://www.wri.org/our-work/project/charge

Thursday, October 1, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 7)

6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

40% of the world's population live without access to sanitation. * This global goal calls for toilets and clean drinking water for everyone. It also promotes protecting and restoring natural water resources over the next five years. **

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Use all natural soaps, that are biodegradable. Invest in permeable driveways and sidewalks for your property. Utilize water collection containers to water your lawns. Change your nozzles and toilet systems to use less water. Think about converting to gray water systems.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group who is trying to provide clean water and sanitation around the world like, http://www.wateraid.org/

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 6)


5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

This goal aims to end discrimination and violence toward women and girls. It also calls for the elimination of child marriage and female genital mutilation.* As well as, trying to eliminate human trafficking other types of exploitation, while supporting reforms that give women equal rights to economic resources.**

But gender equality issues expand beyond female exploitation. There are people who are born inter-sexed and ambiguous, both physically and genetically. There men who struggle with the belief that they are truly female and woman who struggle with the belief that they are truly male. Then there are men and woman who reject gender completely and live in a world of neutrality.

This creates a social climate of misunderstanding, profiling, and bullying, where support and acceptance is needed.

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Support friends and family who feel the pressure of discrimination and violence. Practice acceptance and understanding in general. Volunteer or donate to a battered woman and children shelter. 

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to a group who is trying to prevent and respond to gender based violence like, https://www.usaid.gov/gbv

*NPR

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

18 Days of Global Goals (Day 5)

4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The literacy rate has improved globally from 83 per cent to 91 per cent between 1990 and 2015 (when the last Global Goals were implemented), and the gap between women and men has narrowed. * Still, our nation is ranked 36th in education in the world.** The new Global Goals continue to stress that students everywhere should have free access to education regardless of status or gender.

Asking yourself what you can do to help the UN reach their goal?

On a National level: Challenge yourself to learn new things. Get that degree. Utilize things like CLEP credits. Help friends and family with their education. Join a tutoring or a mentoring program. Volunteer or donate to after school programs. Support and learn about OpenSource projects found at http://opensource.com/education. Donate to http://www.educateamerica.org/.

On a International level: Volunteer or donate to groups like the Institute of International Education at http://www.iie.org/.

*UN
**Dosomething