Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stewards of the Earth

It's about time I wrote a little about the environment. Check out the video above. It's truly an inspirational speech. Severn Suzuki  is known as the girl who silenced the world for six minutes when she gave a speech in 1992 at UN Earth Summit in Brazil. If you want to read the speech instead, follow this link:http://ssjothiratnam.com/?p=747

I wrote this a couple years ago based on a book and some articles I had to read for a class. My writing style has changed since then as have some of views on this matter. In truth, I'm optimistic that an alternative energy source will be found (shale gas, water, solar energy...).  Still, check it out.

According to the book The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler, the short-term benefits of our economy’s insatiable hunger for more is nearing its end, since there will be nothing left to consume. Greed and ignorance have blinded our country from the consequences of our actions. It has motivated people to exhaust the earth’s natural resources faster than it can be replenished. The technological advancements and seemingly never-ending discoveries have disillusioned the population, leading them to believe that continual innovations will rescue them from any crisis, such as Peak Oil. Pollution and the extinction of about 30,000 species a year have been attributed, in part, to the lack of attention we pay to our actions. The only savior to prevent the crash of this “flying civilization” (Reference from Ishmael) is caring enough to appreciate and understand biodiversity, the ecosystem, and working in unity with one another to ensure a future for ourselves, our animals and trees, and future generations. 
 Fuel allowed for the comfortable lifestyle society has come to know and love. Unfortunately, that fuel is running out. Modernization drank away half of the world’s easily accessible oil supply. The economic growth resulting from oil placed an enchantment over the population. They believe that their luxuries could never end. However,  according to The Long Emergency  “consumer culture will die” because they are dependent on cheap oil.  The remaining oil will not only be more expensive to extract but will require more energy than is worth expending. Any other form of alternative fuel, such as natural gas and coal, are not sufficient enough to run even "a substantial fraction of the systems we run on.”  Cars will eventually be reserved for the upper class, and other forms of transportation will be obsolete. Society will become more localized and more dedicated to conserving their resources, especially when the process of food production will be altered since food producing industries cannot run without oil. As bleak and disconcerting as this sounds, "Goods News for a Change" by David Suzuki (an environmental activist, academic and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation) and Holly Dressel (best-selling author of Good News for a Change and From Naked Ape to Superspecies). provide enlightening news to overcome corporate externalities.
    A sustainable, comfortable way of life is attainable through working in harmony with nature. The continual ruin of our forests grows as the traditional, natural methods are forgotten, while everything is practically run by remote control without realizing that it is exhausting the soil. In our current society, business comes first. Many are ignorant of the depletion of aquifers and water tables, basically the depletion of our finite resources. Cities, such as Germany, have proven that it is possible to live as luxurious a life as we do now, while protecting the environment  by having such things as water-conserving toilets and gas meters to moderate how much energy we use.
            Few realize the extent of damage human activities inflict upon the environment. The World Scientists Warning to Humanity is a bit extreme, but the overall tone stresses the importance of moderating our “current practices.” If humanity complies with the “What We Must Do” section suggested by the appeal, then we can understand how to “adequately manage our resources." The in depth description of the “critical stresses,” such as stratosphere, ozone depletion, exploitation of ground water, deforestation, and so on provide the reader with a better more informed perspective of the type of stresses we cause the environment. In agreement with the Hiedelberg Appeal by Michel Salomon “the greatest evil which stalk our Earth are our ignorance and oppression." Overall, both suggest that we need to change “our stewardship of the earth” in order to progress, develop, and in order to “overcome major problems, starvation, and worldwide disease” resulting from our ignorance.
Check them out:
World Scientists Warning to Humanity: http://www.ucsusa.org/about/1992-world-scientists.html
Heidelberg Appeal by Michel Salomon: http://www.his.com/~sepp/policy%20declarations/heidelberg_appeal.html

Also check out David Suzuki's award-winning tv show, The Nature of Things
Here's a preview:

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Sand-Dollared Cataract by Sofia Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Trust is taking a leap of faith and hoping that someone will catch you

So I always try my best to be honest, because I've felt the harmful rays of lies. However, I could never very well articulate the destructiveness of lies as well as the article below. 

An honest look at the effects of dishonesty

By Stan Dale

Stan Dale, DHS, author and founder of the Human Awareness Institute, started the Love, Intimacy & Sexuality workshops in 1968, and nearly 75,000 people have since attended. For more information on Stan Dale and HAI, please see the listings in Seminars.
Trust is taking a leap of faith and hoping that someone will catch you
Whether we're aware of it or not, we communicate 24 hours a day. Even in dreams we communicate. Even when we aren't saying anything we communicate. Our relationships are strengthened or destroyed by communication — there is virtually nothing else involved in a personal relationship except communication of one form or another. Trust is the only reliable foundation on which a relationship can be built and honesty is the cornerstone.
"When we lie, we destroy relationships..."
Throughout my life as a husband, lover, father, friend and therapist, I have experienced and observed the destructive power of dishonest communication. When we lie, we destroy relationships - both the one we have with ourselves and those we have with others. Lying is counter communication. It erodes the very foundation of a relationship. It is a time bomb that will eventually destroy the relationship.
Telling a lie weakens the already weak self-esteem of the liar. The person to whom the lie is told (whether or not s/he ever finds out the truth) feels the effect of the lie. Why? Because lies are negative communications. Many relationships are falling apart because trust (if it ever existed) is being eroded; one more lie, one more time bomb planted.
Dishonesty is a protective device. Lies are protective devices. We think we are protecting the other person when we lie, but in reality we are protecting ourselves. Lies are told because the person lying believes that s/he has no other choice. S/he is too afraid to tell the truth. When we lie, we set the time bomb ticking, and the explosion will rip through the delicate fabric we attempt to weave between ourselves and someone else.
"There is no real love Without trust."
We're being two-faced if we say, "I love you" and then lie to that same person. There is no real love without trust. If we don't trust the person we say we love, how can we ever be vulnerable? How can we ever be intimate? And, if we can't be vulnerable and intimate, what do we have but a lie?
One day, ka-BOOM! Why? Because communication finally broke down beyond the point of repair.
There are two basic lies — the overt and the covert. The overt lie is usually spoken. It's a falsehood. Even a little white one.
The covert lie is more subtle and the most often used. Its telltale signs can sometimes be observed in body language — such a darting, downcast, or side-glancing eyes; twitching of some part of an extremity; false smiles; a deadpan face; etc.. In other words, the covert lie is usually something that needs to be said, but isn't. It is often more damaging than the bold-faced lie because the other person may never perceive that something is wrong. Reading body language takes quite a bit of practice. If covert lying can be detected, the time bomb can be defused before it explodes.
Envision a gorge. The only thing connecting the two land masses is a bridge hand built by those who dared to risk. Isn't that the process two people take when they try to establish a friendship? Two entities wish to connect. They put out furtive feelers, then become slightly bolder the more they think they can trust each other.
Each communication, no matter how conveyed, is one more plank in that bridge. The more honestly we communicate, the more we get to know one another and the stronger the bridge becomes. The more we know each other, the sooner we lower the barriers of self protection. We often approach others as if we were knights in armor. Slowly we shake hands "checking for weapons" as in the days of old. Then, slower yet, we raise the visor to "see" the other person.
"Intimacy is total vulnerability."
Why are we so protective? Probably because intimacy is frightening to us. It may be the single most frightening thing we face. The effect of being totally intimate is being totally naked — emotionally, psychically, and possibly even physically. Being intimate is letting every part of me connect or touch with every part of you.
Intimacy is total vulnerability. Now I am totally defenseless. Every time we lie, hiding our "nakedness," we are telling the other person, "I don't trust you" and further weakening the painstakingly built bridge between the two people. We are so afraid of hurting others and of being hurt that we do the very thing that is guaranteed to destroy what we cherish. The paradox of being totally naked, vulnerable and intimate is that we are also totally potent. In reality, we cannot hurt or be hurt unless we choose it.
Being naked, vulnerable and intimate with someone else is first to say that we are totally naked, vulnerable and intimate with ourselves. Do we trust ourselves or not? That is the ultimate question. Do we trust that we can handle whatever comes our way or will we run scared, hiding in the tunnel of darkness that is laden with ignorance and fear?
The decision, of course, is up to each one of us.

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Sand-Dollared Cataract by Sofia Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Maternal Brain: Its Effect on Behavior

My brother licking my sister's head

           Saw an interesting presentation and decided to write about what I learned. 

Dr. Fred Punzo discussed the physiological and behavioral changes females undergo during procreation in his captivating presentation, “The Maternal Brain: Its Effect on Behavior.” He showed the transition in the psychological orientation from virgin females to pregnant females and explained the factors leading to this transformation in women. His research indicated that pregnant women gained enhanced skills and senses during this process as a result of the hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy.
            Certain pregnancy hormones affect the processes in the brain differently in a pregnant female. The ovary secretes the female sex hormone, estrogen which affects the hypothalamus of the brain resulting in the release of neurotransmitters. Estrogen stimulates two processes: neurogenesis and synaptogensis. It also increases the size of the medical preoptic area (MPOA) and hippocampus. An increase in the hippocampus boosts spatial learning and short term memory in pregnant females. Oxytocin and prolactin are two additional major pregnancy hormones that affect the behavior in vertebrates. Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone that causes the uterine muscles to contract, strengthens immune system, and raises stress resistance. Prolactin is a peptide hormone that triggers the creation of oviduct jelly. The differences in behavior between pregnant females and virgin females were shown with pet scans of their brains. Punzo showed us an image of two brains belonging to a pregnant female and virgin female. The virgin female’s brain did not light up as much as the pregnant female’s. It proved that the activity of the brain, for both females, was different when processing olfactory information.  
            Pregnant females develop a multitude of maternal behaviors as a result of the breeding process.  These females are capable of grasping information more rapidly as opposed to virgin females. They are better at multitasking. Their olfactory sense, level of attentiveness, meticulousness regarding a particular task, and auditory stimuli are supposedly enhanced. Compared to rats and certain invertebrates like the wolf spider, pregnant females have similar behaviors. They feel a heightened need to protect their child and to make sure their child has a home and other necessities.
            Dr. Fred Punzo concluded that hormonal interactions that occur during a female’s pregnancy control their behavior in ways that surpasses the abilities of a virgin female and enhances their cognitive abilities.

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Sand-Dollared Cataract by Sofia Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You only have one life to live, live it right

How often have we said goodbye to something or someone that we love? Suddenly, it seems that it is far too late to lay our souls and hearts bare. How often have we allowed resentment to barricade kind words? What does it take for us to realize that vengeance never pays? What is there to gain from hurting others? Of throwing daggered words so fierce you hurt one far deeper than they hurt you? When is it ok to let anger blind reason that we make a very fatal mistake?

Must we wait for loss? Must we wait to listen to heavy sighs and stifling silence, the sniffles in the corner of the room? The piercing wails of irretrievable love? Until we hear the soul-hurt cries that bring relentless tears?

Many times in life we have heard that life is too short for petty arguments, too precious to be wasted, and yet, in the busy successions of mundane tasks, it's quite easy to forget. In reality, you may be a kind soul, respectful to all that cross your path, and sadly encounter those who take advantage of you, or push you to your limit. Sometimes we forget, in anger, to focus on the moment, because emotions ARE powerful enough to distract us from what truly is important. Of course, there are materialistic desires we want and believe we need. In short, we lose focus, we forget, we get distracted...until, that is, something brings you back to earth.

 Still, in life, it's important to pause and take into account who and what is important. It's essential to transcend negative emotions and find a more positive approach to the situation. You won't regret it. Don't let your last words be filled with anger or hurtful intent. Be kind, respectful, and mindful of your impact on others. Don't be so consumed with materialism that you forget what truly is important: your family and your friends ( to name a couple).

Don't let the condescending words of others push you to anger, or make you feel inferior. Remember, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." It doesn't matter what school you attend, what car your drive, what job you have, so long as YOU are happy. So long as you have touched someone's life. So long as you have loved and loved deeply. Appreciate those around you and value their presence, before it's too late.

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Sand-Dollared Cataract by Sofia Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.