Women’s History Month – Ellen Swallow Richards

Ellen Swallow Richards (1842 – 1911) Was a female trailblazer.  She fought for the right for women to obtain degrees in their desired fields.  She wanted to be a chemist.  However, women were not allowed to at this time.
Perhaps, this a protective endeavor, to prevent women from being poisoned by chemicals.  For young adults, recommending returning after parenting would be understandable.  However, the outright refusal is not a good idea.  It will prevent many breakthroughs.  It is an issue of understanding the consequences of working in such and environment.
Well before the EPA was introduced, she encouraged and worked on stream water analysis.  At the time, some pollutants were not tested for, or the tests were not as accurate as they might be today.
What would she think of today’s streams full of pesticides, herbicides, and processed medications?
Without the degree, Ellen Swallow Richards continued her studies on her own.  She developed sewage treatment options, which have saved millions of lives over the years.
She fought for healthy nutrition, at a time when the industrial revolution was taking off and filling the skies with pollutants.  She recognized the dangers of arsenic in wallpaper and clothing, at time when other scientists assured the public it was safe.
Her work in the scientific community helped women reach for a future that had been denied them for so long.  Without her work, we’d have reddish grey skies, and toxic, garbage filled waterways.

Works Cited: All Accessed on 02/23/17

https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/ellen-swallow-richards/

http://www.biography.com/people/ellen-richards-9457351

Women’s History Month – Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964) was a biologist, ecologist, and writer.  In 1936, she was a pioneer for women, as one of the two who worked in US Bureau of Fisheries. Her interests concerned the both the livelihood of the fisherman, as well as conserving the fish population for future generations.  She wrote many books and smaller items on sustainable fishing practices.
Her book, Silent Spring, in 1962, focused on other living creatures, primarily birds, and how they were going extinct due to pollution, fertilizers, and pesticides.  As a direct result of her work, DDT was banned.  Two years later, she died of breast cancer, likely brought on by her work and research into DDT.
Thanks to her research, the EPA was created in 1970 to help locate dangers, and protect the community from pesticides and other chemicals that alter human DNA, cause illness, and potential early death.  By protecting humans, we also protect the environment.  Rachel Carson gave her life to protect the lives of all future women.

May her work not be in vain.

Works Cited: All Accessed on 02/23/17

http://www.biography.com/people/rachel-carson-9239741#!

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/rachel_carson/about/rachelcarson.html

Snowflake versus Grasshopper

Snowflakes. Sweet gentle, delicate, lacy things. No two are identical.

They value diversity. They clump together to create intricate designs. As they slip and slide from the sky, they reach out to help one another. To lift each other up. Occasionally, one flake may lose a piece of itself while helping another. They join, and rejoin to create beauty in the eyes of people who are alive.
Children lick the snowflakes from the sky with pure delight. They sled and play in them.
Adults, those who are living and breathing with nature, enjoy their beauty from afar. They sip hot coffee, or hot chocolate, from the warmth of a fire. They know, the more snow, the more flowers spring will bring.
Adults who ignore nature, or see it as beast to be tamed, fret, argue, and scream at snow, as they beat it into water, slosh it way, and drive over it, abandoning their family time for isolated buildings far away.
Occasionally, the wind will roar. Snow will form a blizzard. It will cover everything. While it may look on the surface as if it is a uniform texture and coverage, it rarely is. It has humps, bumps, hills, dales, valleys, and even gentle streams lurking underneath.
When it melts away in spring, the beauty revealed makes all want to enjoy it. Streams and rivers form.  The ground is softened, ready to grow. Farmers know deep snows will bring forth abundant crops. Many regions depend on the deep snows for drinking and irrigation water.

Without the blizzards, droughts haunt the breadbasket of our country.

Like snowflakes, grasshoppers are pretty and fun for children to chase. When they occur a few at a time. Most are harmless. They simply eat a little grass and grain, and become the snacks of spiders and birds.
Once, our nation was covered in these tiny creatures. Now, they are rare.
Like snowflakes, grasshoppers can create storms on the wind, called locust swarms. Although locust swarms were once common in the US, they have been gone for almost 100 years.
When grasshoppers combine to swarm, they don’t do so to lift each other up. They gorge. They become larger. More extreme. Identical. Giant grasshoppers, all teeth and stomach. They fly together. They eat everything in sight. They are so ravenous, their tiny jaws will bite the flesh of human and animals as they engulf crops, grass, leaves, and any green thing in their path.
They leave destruction and death in their wake. Destroyed crops may extend for hundreds of miles in either direction. Before the days of the engine, entire villages would be wiped out, as grasshoppers ate the crops the people and animals depended on for winter.
However, unlike snowflakes who build each other up, locusts tear each other down. They abandon their weak, their wounded, the legless, and the wingless, to die a miserable death eating the last few hidden bits of grain in a location they devastated.
Not only that, locusts lay eggs in the millions that will hatch and eat next year’s crop as it rises out of the ground. It may take decades for a region to recover it’s flora and fauna from a locust storm.

Are you a snowflake lifting others up? Valuing and creating more diversity? Creating beauty in the now, and furthering life after you melt in the warmth of spring?

Or a locust, eating everything in sight, and leaving the once fertile fields barren of life?

Conservatives versus Liberals

Before November of 2016, I rarely thought about politics. Why bother? Bunch of hollerticians who would rather fight each other, than help the common person. Rarely did anything change. Although, Obama tried to get passage of several laws that would allow equality among people with disabilities, medical conditions, the poor, and other overlooked and forgotten populations.
He tried to help the common person. Congress and corporations fought him every step of the way.
I never paid any attention to political “parties.” They have no idea what a party is. A party is a loud, obnoxious, sound and sight disaster with constant commotion. It begins and ends, and is over. Politics groups rarely end.

Our founding fathers did not want a two – part polarized political system for the very reason of what has happened in the last year.

The group who took control of the branches of government call themselves conservatives.
What are they conserving?

They do not want to conserve freedom of speech.  They have declared the press, and news channels, the enemy.
They do not want to conserve the air. They want to pollute to where you won’t be able to see your mailbox from your home. They have voted to destroy the EPA.
They do not want to conserve the water. They want to fill it with toxins and make it undrinkable. That will also kill the fish, and the ocean.
They do not want to conserve the animals. They don’t care if every animal on the planet dies. They have decided to eliminate the Endangered Species Act.
They do not want to conserve land. They want to turn the public lands over to developers. They want to destroy the national parks.
They do not want to conserve the science.  The first accounts they tried shut up were the scientists.
They do not want to conserve jobs. They’ve already eliminated more jobs through the destruction of the EPA, Endangered Species Act, and Healthcare repeals than they can create.
They do not want to conserve healthcare. They want to destroy the ACA, and take healthcare away from those who most need it.
They do not want to conserve the Social Security program. The program that workers paid into for their entire working careers. They want to eliminate it.
They do not want to conserve Medicaid. They want to delete it.
They do not want to conserve education. They voted in a person to run the education department that has no understanding of the education system, and wants to eliminate education for those with disabilities.
They do not want to conserve the future. They have no concern for the future, or the children of today. They don’t care if they live, or die.
They do not want to conserve the ADA laws. They want to hide and ignore those with disabilities. Including the elderly, blind, deaf, wheelchair users, and walker users. If you aren’t identical to everyone else, they don’t want you.
They do not want to conserve women’s rights. They want to remove all of them. Including the right to vote. It isn’t much of step for them to remove property rights, jobs, education and more as well. This is beyond a slippery slope.
They do not want to conserve safety. They have voted to repeal many domestic violence laws. The president even brags about sexual harassment, and walking in on young girls changing clothes. How was that ever okay?
They do not want to conserve relationships with other countries. They’ve already seriously damaged relationships with Mexico, Canada, Australia, and most of Europe.
They do not want to conserve the right to choice of religion. Or no religion. They want to go against the Constitution and insert their personal, private religion into political situations.
They do not want to conserve the rights of minorities, regardless of ethnicity or gender. They want to take away their rights to self choice. Some of which have been hard fought for.

Does anyone know what a conservative does want to conserve?

Interestingly, the other group are called Liberals. Nothing liberal about them. They simply want equal rights for all – regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, birthplace, birth income, education status, medical condition or ability.
They want all humans to be treated as humans. With a chance to succeed where, and when they can, in a way that they can. What’s wrong with that?
Liberals believe everyone deserves an education.
Liberals believe everyone deserves clean, healthy air to breath.
Liberals believe everyone deserves clean, healthy water to drink. – Including wild animals.
Liberals believe everyone deserves healthcare. To deny healthcare is abuse.
Liberals believe everyone deserves education. Without it, there is no future.
Liberals believe everyone deserves freedom to, and from, religion. It doesn’t belong in public places.
Liberals believe everyone deserves to be counted as human – young, old, abled, disabled, female, differently gendered, regardless of ethnicity, and other concerns.
Liberals believe everyone deserves the right to work as they can. They value the jobs society overlooks – cooking, cleaning, building, sewing, all the little things the world cannot live without.

Liberals believe everyone deserves the right to live the life they were meant to live, and not be blocked in by walls.

To those conservatives who would say life isn’t fair. We are humans. Not wild animals. We should do everything possible to make life as equitable and fair as we possibly can for all. No human, or animal, should be abused, or killed, for no reason. As humans, we should expect fair, and equitable, treatment by fellow humans.

Pacific Garbage Patch

When I’m stressed, I sing. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I need to quit creating songs.
One aspect that is lightly mentioned in my novels, and would make a good follow up short story if I ever have time – the trip to the Pacific Garbage Patch.
We really need our teens to work on this. Teens – because they have the brain power, the energy, the strength to do the work. They haven’t been told no too many times. They haven’t accepted the death of the planet as inevitable in the next few decades. They don’t want to race to that moment. They want to live to see adulthood.
We need them to create ways to collect the garbage patches. We need them to clean up the mess their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents made.
Then, we need to know if the plastic eating bacteria are safe. What happens when they encounter batteries in the garbage for instance?
We don’t want to create a bigger problem.
Or, like some Northern European countries, we need to turn those plastics back into fuel.
Our planet cannot exist without living oceans.
If all the animals die – through over hunting and eating plastic instead of food, the currents will slow. The tides will change. The weather patterns will falter.
We need living oceans.
We need living creatures.
We don’t want to be the cause of the only living things on Earth being bacteria and viruses.
We need science oriented teens to lead the way to save our planet.
We might not live long enough to see sustainable oceans. They might. Teens are our hope for a future. One we won’t see.
One they, and the children of today deserve. They deserve a chance to live. And at least a tenth of the resources of those who lived in the last century.
Give them a chance to save the Earth for themselves, and their future.

The Greatest Generation

The Greatest Generation. The first generation to name themselves.
They raped the land, the air, the seas. Much as they did the women of this planet.
It was hidden. Deep inside. Pain. Deep pain. The Earth, and women, do not forget.
The Greatest Generation. They used this planet’s resources. Sure to take every bit of them with them.
They took the oil. That kills marine wildlife when they rise to the surface to breath.
They made plastics. That fill our woods, rivers, ponds, oceans, and is eaten by starving wildlife.
They filled the air with toxic fumes, so thick no one could see the house across the street.
Their children and grandchildren arrived. Slowly. Birth rates lowered. Sickness spread. Cancer grew rampant.
Their children became adults and fought to make the planet produce food again. To make the air breathable. Make the water drinkable. Lower health risks.
We made slow progress. As so many did not want to give up the comforts of the current generations. Things. Only things. Things that had not existed in the tens of thousands of years of human history.
Once again, our air, water, land, and lives are threatened.
I remember the Trinity River. It flowed rather like a mud pie sliding down hill. Millions drank from that mud pie. What toxins caused permanent damage for them, and all future generations?
I remember when Hospice nurses were told to flush un-used drugs when a patient died, so they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. Now, we know, as I did then, they end up in our drinking water. As does RoundUp, and every other chemical we pour into the soil.
Even know, the water is so dangerous, it comes to our homes as bleach water. Too many times, I’ve drank it from the tap. Too many times, I’ve suffered mouth burns from the bleach. I’ve lost many teeth to the bleach in the water we are supposed to drink.
This is the first time in my life I am glad I don’t have children. I would not want them, as new adults, to be struggling with survival. Wondering if the air is safe to breathe. Or the water to drink. If they will ever have healthcare. Or a home to live in. Wondering if their children will be born with deadly, or life-altering birth defects, requiring constant care until their deaths.
I don’t wish this questions, or their unlikely answers, on the young adults of today. I wish them hope. I wish them food, clothing, shelter, family. All things they may lose as the Greatest Generation struggles to return us to a time when there were no regulations.
The Greatest Generation. The Generation that had to build landfills. They throw more away in one week, than our ancestors did in an entire lifetime.
They have ensured that those few humans who survive will be able to mine there garbage pits for over a thousand years.
The Greatest Generation. The ones who left their children and grandchildren behind. A mess to clean up. Little food. Little safe water. Floods of epic proportions.
An endangered species list, that grows to include us.
Towering garbage piles, swarmed by birds, rats, and wild dogs.
Mother Nature has a way of responding to threats.
She has earthquakes. They are increasing due to drilling.
She has volcanoes. Many are being wakened by drilling, and other human activities. Plugging them with our garbage would only complicate matters.
She has hurricanes. They devastate the coasts. Where people congregate.
She is tossing and turning in her sleep.
Will the Greatest Generation waken her full fury?
Or will their children and grandchildren, manage to calm her restless spirit?

Care

I don’t want the rivers and lakes to catch fire. I don’t want to lose the trees. I want safe drinking water. Not chlorine bleach that destroys my teeth. Save the EPA. It needs to be strengthened, not weakened.
If people cared about themselves, we wouldn’t need the EPA.
If people cared about themselves, they would care about others, the environment, and the future.
Instead, we’ve had generations of teaching people to despise themselves, others, and the environment.
Without an environment, there is no future.
No food. No water. No animals. No people.
Share. Care. For yourself first. Then, you will care for others.