Thursday, April 17, 2014

Unbowed In The Protection Of Mother Earth

We all realize that environmental conservation is so much more than a hot topic and requires true global connectivity to help protect and restore our planet’s precious resources.  

Environmental conservation is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and has become especially pertinent in recent years due to concerns about global warming and the necessity for clean, renewable energy resources. The impact (either good or bad) that we have on the environment today is making a big difference on the world of future generations. It’s our responsibility to care for our planet and ensure the future well-being of all living things. If we can get to the point where we are living sustainably and technology is providing the majority of our resource needs, things will be a lot different. There will be fewer wars, fewer poor and starving, less threat of species extinction, and most importantly we’ll be creating a way of life that can continue indefinitely. To me that’s a big prize for acting in an environmentally conscious way; for the betterment of society today and for a strong and sustainable society of the future.

As I think back to my most treasured visit to Africa, specifically Kenya and Tanzania, I often wonder what this world would look like without the majestic animals and the beautiful landscape of sub-saharan Africa along with other ecologies around the world I’ve experienced through my extensive travels. It would be a world I most definitely would not want to live in. 

Climate change is an urgent threat caused by humans that must be addressed immediately before it’s too late. Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, to generate energy has the greatest impact on the atmosphere than any other single human activity. 

To adequately address the climate crisis we must urgently reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the consequences of global warming, which the world is already experiencing. To avoid the worst consequences of climate change, we need to dramatically reduce the world’s carbon emissions. But we must also prepare for the significant changes in weather that the world is presently experiencing because of the pollution already in the atmosphere. Communities and governments need to work together in transitioning toward 100% renewable energy and implement practical measures that improve air quality and protect water supplies.

Protecting our forests, home to many of the world’s most endangered wildlife, is also a significant action that will help fight climate change. If we protect our forests, rather than destroy them, they will protect the planet by absorbing carbon dioxide, which is a major source of pollution that causes climate change. 

Additionally, governments must play a central role in tackling the climate crisis. Governments must invest, support, and encourage clean energy technology, and lead the way by creating environmentally conscious legislation. 

And finally, businesses have a responsibility to reduce their contribution to climate change by incorporating policies and effective ways of doing business that meet goals to reduce carbon emissions while sustaining their core business.
Now on a personal level, in order to help meet the demands of environmental conservation here are a few things we can all do in order to reduce our carbon footprint and in exchange, if enough of us adopt this sustainable way of living, can stop climate change altogether. I know these are ideas we’ve all heard of before but it certainly is a reminder that even small changes in our daily habits can make a positive impact on caring for mother nature.
  1. Invest in a car with better fuel economy, purchase a hybrid, electric or hydrogen fuel  cell car.
  2. We can simply take public transit, bike more, or walk more. Afterall, this is of course good for our health as well. 
  3. We can help with reforestation by planting trees. 
  4. Where possible we can use alternative energy, such as solar power, wave power, wind power, hydroelectricity, biofuel, and hydrogen power (just to name a few). In other words we need to conserve our energy – use energy more efficiently and only use it when needed. 
  5. Buy appliances that have a good Energy Star rating.
  6. Use energy efficient lightbulbs.
  7. We can buy food locally and organic food (or both). This is known as a low carbon diet and it not only promotes your health but supports local economies as well.
  8. We could reduce our meat consumption and eat more plant-based foods. Large amounts of carbon dioxide are released as a result of the meat industry. This is mainly done through the deforestation of forests in order to create livestock fields, producing the meat itself and transporting it. Switching to a mainly plant-based diet is good for our own health as much as it is for the planet.
  10. Composting is a great way of helping local farms and gardens while preventing global warming. In fact, compost can be rich in nutrients and is used in landscaping as well. It is also important for organic farming.
  11. We are our choices. What we choose to buy is what we choose to support. Be conscious about supporting companies that make and obtain products in ways that help to stabilize the environment not destroy it. Give those organizations your full support.
  12. Get involved with your local government asking them to take action on environmental initiatives in your community. Speaking of voting, if a political party does not make climate change one of its top priorities, we should not vote for them.
  13. Finally, spread the word. Share information about our planetary crisis. Raise your voice.
For a visually inspiring look at more ways we can help make a difference, here’s a link to a great printable and sharable idea guide that I just love. Place it on your refrigerator and Go Green!

One final thought … when I reflect on the importance of protecting Mother Earth, my thoughts immediately drift to Dr. Wangari Maathai, the first African Woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for the creation of The Greenbelt Movement, an organization that taught Africa’s most impoverished that if we truly care for Mother Earth, she will take care of us. Nobel Laureate Dr. Maathai was unbowed in her conviction to care for our planet. Her insight is one we should all applaud and seek to emulate in our own special and unique way. 

People need nature 
nature needs people to care about it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Connor and 'Imaginary-Real'

One of the greatest privileges I know is being able to spend time with a very special 10-year-old boy, my friend Connor. You see, Connor is an extraordinary and unique growing young man who sees the world and the wonderment that exists in it, the way that I hope to, and unfortunately, in a manner in which as adults, we find easy to forget - how magical this planet really is. Funny that a 10-year-old boy equipped with a sensational imagination and a heart so pure and true is a beacon of humanity’s potential at its best. I am reminded often that mankind’s pursuit to enrich our condition is fostered in the ‘imaginary-real’ that exists in all of us. The challenge we all too often have is when we fail to recognize and embrace the ‘imaginary-real’ magic that exists within each of our hearts. 

And so to you Connor, I would like to thank you for being the incredibly cool, young man you are growing up to be; you are what is right about the world to me! Never forget the gentleness and kindness of your heart and spirit, that of which is the most powerful and important part of who you are.

Connor, you will go on to do great things, as long as you embrace your kind and gentle ways. There may be times that it does not appear to be easy – each person faces their own challenges – but overcoming them makes us that much better of a person, and so, you too, will face challenges in your life that you will have to learn to overcome. In fact, when we overcome challenges (like doing math) life becomes more fun! 

In reality, the biggest blessing about my friendship with Connor is that his world opens mine up to a more colorful world. I have a deep appreciation for the way in which he sees things. Like everyone on the face of the earth, we are people, with a mix of strengths and weaknesses… here are just some of the positive personality traits I recognize in Connor and ones in which I hope we’ll all try to emulate:

Connor Is Reliable
Connor doesn’t have hidden agendas. He will tell it like it is. What you see is what you get, and what you hear is what he means. He is wired to be more comfortable by himself. Because of not feeling the need for social contact as strongly as other individuals, he is able to select honest, genuine, and dependable persons like himself, who share his interests, to be his friend. That is pretty cool. 

Connor Has Unique Perspectives
Although Connor may struggle with seeing the big picture, he is gifted with the ability to focus intently on details of things and situations. Because of this, he is often able to come up with innovative solutions to problems. Since Connor has the ability to focus long and hard on his areas of interest (Legos, Pokemon, animals), I have confidence that one day as an adult he will make great academic and scientific strides for the greater good of society.

Connor Holds No Prejudice
Perhaps because Connor knows what it is like to be unique, he tends to be more accepting of others. He is more focused on people’s behavior, versus on hierarchies or social position. He can teach the rest of the world a lot about accepting people for who they are, rather than pre-judging others. We should all learn from this. 

Connor Has High Integrity
Connor is conscientious and diligent and dedicated to whatever it is he is working on. He may need initial instruction, support, and coaching, but once he is situated, he is enormously productive and loyal to completing the task or project. I see this firsthand when I have the opportunity of being his ‘Lego Builder Helper’ when we work on constructing a new Lego set together. I am usually awe-inspired by his commitment to finishing the ‘project’ successfully and completely. Yet again… super cool!

Connor Is Extremely Intelligent and has Strong Perseverance
Connor has a very active and curious mind. When it comes to his particular interests, it’s not hard to see how tenacious he is in pursuing them. This is a very strong combination that he benefits from now but always will throughout all stages of his life.

Connor is Honest and True to His Word
To Connor truth is truth – his word is the real deal. Like it or not. ☺

Connor Lives in the Moment
How often do typical people fail to notice what's in front of their eyes because they're distracted by everything around them? Connor truly uses all his senses to be ‘in the moment’ with astute mindfulness.

Connor is Passionate
Connor is truly passionate about the things, ideas and people in his life. And that is contagious! 

Connor Has Terrific Memory
How often do typical people forget directions, or fail to take note of colors, names, and other details? Connor is so much more tuned in to details. He has an amazing memory!

Oh and I forgot to mention one technical fact about Connor … he, like many other amazing individuals I have come to know over the past few years happens to be on the spectrum. As you can see, being on the spectrum happens to have amazing benefits – benefits that we all aspire to have. And as for my very good friend Connnor, what defines him most is the ability to make ‘Imaginary Real’ a reality.

And that, like my friend Connor, is awesome!