Lust from a Male Perspective

It has become fairly obvious that men, or a significant number of them, are very confused about sexual attraction between men & women.  Biologic differences are huge in what is attractive and stimulating for men versus what it is for women. Somehow men with power apparently believe their responses are the same for women.  Maybe needing a little bit more touchy feely talk, then men, but that’s about it.

The male arousal is based on quick and efficient mental/visual/tactile stimulation that allows them to pro-create at (almost) the drop of a hat. Biologically, they are driven to spread their genetic code and the more alpha the male, the stronger the drive. Yet, many alpha males are able to move beyond that simple response, to something with more depth. They are NOT captive slaves of their biology and cannot use that as an excuse.

The sight of breasts, skirt line shifting upwards, glimpses of underwear, and the response kicks in almost automatically.  For testosterone driven males the issue is when & where, not if… at least historically. What the female wants is not actually part of the equation.

It’s part of his biology. For a male under the age of 30, every 3rd thought has to do with sex.  NOT acted on, but entertained somewhere in their psyche. Age 50 it has slowed down a bit; maybe every 5th thought. This is not a justification for what some men are doing; most don’t, so what is the difference?

The more alpha the male is, the stronger his illusion that his strengths automatically translate to sexual desire in the female. He convinces himself that the women he pursues really do want a sexual relationship with him. They just have to be encouraged.

The fantasy that a male walking around nude, or seeing his arousal, will trigger the same response in a female, as it does for a male seeing a woman, is a core misconception.

Let me REPEAT that. Women are not aroused by just visuals or tactile. Just touching a woman’s breast does not arouse her;  UNLESS other conditions are met it can be serious turn-off.  It triggers a sense of invasion.

Sexual Attraction for the female

Attraction for a female is a delicate dance that involves much more than the immediate satisfaction.  For her to be significantly interested/aroused she has some psychological needs that need to be met.  There has to be some kind of relationship… that involves trusting and safety. It begins with talking, sharing, discussing… NOT touching, kissing, groping.

WHY is that?  It’s because she, biologically, bears the burden of a potential child. Her psychological needs demand that she ensure she and her child will be protected, while she is unable to provide/defend herself. A relationship gives her some measure of assurance… Once she feels safe, her arousal becomes possible. Women who did not, did not survive to pass their genes on.

Undoing a million years of genetic programming for survival of the species is not undone in a couple of generations. Yes, Virginia, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus… another way of saying different internal drivers.  Men explore, protect, defend, build; they are involved with developing strength and physical skills. He looks outward.  Women nurture, protect, provide support, build the nest; they heal.

Fantasy verses Reality

When you hear stories of Alpha Males who touch, grope, kiss, force themselves on women without being first invited; they seem to think that because they find it sexually stimulating, that it must be the same for the woman. Sadly, they are so out of touch with a real relationship with a woman, that they fail to see they are grasping at an illusion. They are treating a female as if she responds like a male.

How sadly pathetic that some males must use drugs to incapacitate a female to force them to fulfill his sexual needs. They are like teenagers who have never grown up.  As if the physical act is the end all. They miss developing the relationship that enhances the act.

It’s a rare alpha male who can see past the “testosterone drive” to reach for a deeper, more satisfying relationship, long term.

Deeper Needs Met

Real men build a relationship that values a woman and respects her for the qualities she brings. He honors her and builds that safe environment that she needs.  She is responsible, biologically, for the emotional health of both and if allowed, will  bring him to a greater, deeper, immensely pleasurable sexual life than he can imagine. He can’t even come close to, in these fantasy forced relationships. They only satisfy a quick temporary need.

She will support and enhance not only his sexual life, but also who he is, apart from sex. He does not have to “perform” to be loved and nurtured. Sexual relationships become richer because the need to perform is taken out the equation.

It’s a sad commentary on our society/culture these days that this kind of sexual education is not part of our lives.  Instead we are focused on the media driven male fantasy that tells our youth what relationships are all about. Jump in bed and you will be fulfilled, satisfied, and happy. They never know that the media has it backwards, for the most part.

Backwards: The Paradox of Sex & Friendship

They tell it backwards because it’s easy.  Not true, but easy and stimulating to the male, and parts of it, to the female. You know, “the chick flick”.  These are the stories we are telling our teenagers & young adults about how to function is the real world. It is true with groupies, young women who think that having sex with someone powerful gives them extra status; they do exchange the short term status for sex. Again, a reflection that we have not taught our youth how to value themselves in order to build a healthy relationship.

It leads to serial failed relationships because it is so shallow it has no depth to survive. The relationship is core, the friendship, the sharing builds the basis for a marriage which has a rich sexual relationship.  Sex, too soon, actually inhibits. Learning about each other seems to stop, if a sexual relationship occurs before a long-term commitment is entered into.

The pendulum seems to have swung way too far in the opposite direction. Although we have discarded the moral standards of earlier generations, I’m not sure we are any further ahead.  We’ve tossed aside our religious education which informed us about relationships between men & women. That, at least in theory, set boundaries and standards for men. (Remember, the ideal, not necessarily the reality).

In our current culture, with women taking an active role wherever their skills and educations take them, it’s time to reinforce the concept that they are not PREY to be abused at the will of the male. They have the right & responsibility to say no.

No, Females are not tools to be used at the discretion of the male, no matter how powerful, rich, or successful they are.

Mothers: teach your sons!

 

RN, NP in Women’s Health, 35 years

 

 

Back to Farm Life… a do over

15 years ago, we started our first homestead/farming/ranching venture.  Starting from the knowledge acquired through the years of just having a home garden and a few chickens, we bravely struck out.

Over time we developed THE HERITAGE FARM…FarmGraphic

In our culture we seem to think we must know all the answers before we are comfortable making a significant change.  NOPE! not us… you don’t even KNOW the questions to ask, until you are in the middle of a new venture.  While gathering info ahead of time is indeed important you just can’t have all the “right” answers all the time.  Part of the fun is figuring out solutions for different problems that crop up.

Most important, I think, is to continue learning; to explore new methods, to listen to other ideas, to explore why something does or does not work.

We like to have a tried and true method to rely on but history is not always the best teacher. Well hold that thought, it actually can be an excellent teacher of what has been done but has NOT stood the test of time (or test of quality, test of sustainability). Certain fixes look good in the short-term, but often have unintended side effects that create a disaster.

Internet technology has given every man access to knowledge that used to be held only by those in research universities.  Today anyone can “google” or “youtube” information. Our advantage over the past is tremendous.  The everyday man can take advantage of information, results of research, actual trials that was once almost unattainable.

Industrial agriculture has created some disastrous results.  Now that we have basically run out of room to move on to new territory to utilize, we are confronted with the long-term results of our past methods: dead dirt, sick plants, nutrient-poor food, loss of topsoil measured in tens of feet, chemical contamination of our water & soils. Out of those problems has come new research that has opened whole windows of understanding the dynamics of an ecological system that IS sustainable… and avoids the pitfalls of industrial ag.

When I say “Back to Farm Life… a do over” I mean it’s a learning process.  Each step of that journey we learn something new. If we waited until we had all the answers, we would still be waiting to get started! Paralysis by Analysis would be an appropriate term.

This will be our 3rd significant farming/homestead venture and I can see how all the pieces are falling into place.  How the things we used to do have morphed from the traditional into a sustainable model.  And it’s exciting to see; to understand the system nature has created over millions of years, we are learning how to work with it instead of butting heads.

I call it a Full-cycle Systems Approach: It’s all part of the soil succession ecological system that comes into play.  First, weeds; then grasses followed by shrubs, followed by trees. The soil microbial system evolves along with this, first being primarily bacterial based transitioning to fungal. Healthy veggies will have a much higher load of bacterial microbes, while trees will have mycorrhizae microbes (fungal). There is a synergistic relationship with the microbiotic world and plant roots.  The roots trade sugars, that the plants produce through photosynthesis, for nutrients the micro-organisms breakdown into a form the plants can use. 

Our job on the farm is to provide a healthy environment for the microbes to be able to do their job.  Healthy plants that get the nutrients they need are NOT attractive to pests and are resistant to diseases.  Industrial fertilizers tend to be too harsh and actually kill off the very microbes needed for quality growth.  The name of the game is NOT the fastest growth, but healthy growth.  Too fast tends to be too weak.

soilchart2

Our Next “do over”…

Moving onto our exciting adventure, on the farm.  Shortly after purchasing a 4 1/2 acre parcel of land (it took me three, yes, three years to find what I was looking for) we were able to put our well in. Despite the ongoing drought in California we were totally blessed to get 100 gpm output. (Anything above 10 pgm would have been good; 35 gpm awesome).

This meant we would have good quantity of water to actually farm with. Not only that, the water tests came back with”outstanding” quality.  Many wells have too much of this or that to make it palatable for consumption: human, animal or plant.  Our well is down below a clay layer that seals off the products of industrial life from leaching down into the geologic water.

Tragically… well I thought it was a tragedy because it delayed our work on building the farm. Instead we had to move away.

Currently, all that was on the property was an old ricky barn, an old chicken house,  and the debris from a collapsed barn. Instead of being able to start work on building a house, Jim found himself out of work!  He had to change jobs. With only 2 weeks notice we had to move to San Diego; from farm to city.Barn,Pasture,Oaks

City Life, a step back

The few positives of the move were that we had to wait anyway on septic hoops to jump through (required testing) that ended up taking two years to complete BECAUSE of the drought.  If you don’t have enough rain it’s pretty hard to document that the soil drains properly.  I was bummed. We were living in San Diego (talk about high density living) amid the a world seemly completely out of touch farming life.

There was a positive, at least in San Diego, we would get to spend some time with a daughter and meet her “intended”.  We thought it would just be until we got the septic testing completed (1 3/4 years) but we were delayed.  I was chomping at the bit to get back home, in Cotati, but it did not happen. We ended up having to stay another year.

Did I mention positives? Yep…some pretty big ones. One, we had designed a grannie unit (which was limited to 840 sq ft) along with the farmhouse but the housing crunch is so bad in the SF Bay Area – and definitely in Sonoma County (rent rates up 40% in 3 years)…in this last year they changed the limit. An accessory unit could be 1000 sq ft, potentially up to 1200 sq ft. The new square footage allotment would be a much better fit for us.

In the meantime, our daughter & new son-in-law, were expecting their first child.  We would get to be close at hand and get to spend some time with a new grandchild.  An unexpected pleasure! Enough, most definitely to counter the frustration of city life for another year.

Control? what control…

It continually amazes me how life progresses along certain path, despite what we “want” and ends up with a better outcome.  I’m learning to “work toward a goal” but don’t get too hung up on the time frame.  When it all comes together, it will. All the stress in the world doesn’t change anything; better to just enjoy the ride. Hard ’cause we SO like to be “in control”.

So Daughter, Son-in-Law, grandson move to the Swiss Alps (where his family is from) during the summer, this year.  We head up to Cotati to get some work done on the farm, preparing for septic, thinking it would be the next year before being able to move back.

While there, Jim get’s a call; would he be interested in interviewing for a software engineering job, in San Francisco. “HECK, YEAH”! He’s off the backhoe & tractor, scrounging around for some decent looking clean clothes, for an interview.  They offer him the job the NEXT DAY. Bamm, he starts work in SF, two weeks later.

We are back “home”.

Overdrive

Building a pump house, setting up corrals for the two half-lingers draft horses, cleaning out the pond area, setting up drainage for when the winter rains come, planting trees, building garden beds, prepping the pastures for green manure cover crops to enrich the soils.  Running water lines, putting in a small solar system, getting a small flock of chickens that free-range and provide us with the most awesome eggs.  You know, just some odds & ends to take care of. The first 8 weeks back on the farm.

I am in awe of my husband.  He gets up at 4:45 to catch the commuter bus into SF, works a full day; he get’s home after dark (6:30pm)… 5 days a week and then works non-stop on the weekend working his magic turning this place into our homestead.

He plans a plain ol’ funky shed to house the well head, pump, and electronics.  I ask for a mini cottage, with a porch and garden in front of it, with a tiny pond.  Voila! He starts creating it.

Each incremental step, is a piece of love, in creation. The soil (sediment from the base of the pond) he moves over to create the garden area is so rich & dark; it calls to be planted.  Our winters tend to be very mild (some frost) so while the above ground parts of the plant may be dormant, the roots are alive and well, creating a support system that will be able to handle the spring growth without missing a beat.

Building the Base

I’ve already been down to the seed store to buy wild flowers in bulk, and organic cover crop mix for Jim to lay down.  The cover crop he will plow into the soil in the spring, and then plant a rich variety of pasture mix.  I’ve coaxed him into reserving an area for fava beans, alfalfa, and barley.

We had a tiny bit of rain a few weeks ago (that helped put out the fires that were still burning in the range between us (Sonoma and Napa Valley).  It also helped germinate the weed seeds.  Two days ago we had good steady rain (over an inch) which has primed the soil for good growth. Jim completed the turning of the soil, to break up the compacted areas and till in the weeds, with 2 days of dry.  Now he’ll plant the seeds so that the rain we expecting all day tomorrow, will prime the pump.  Germinate those seeds and get the cover crops going before the weeds can kick in.

If we had irrigation we would have watered to germinate the weeds, let them grow a bit, then turn them over, returning their nutrient load to the upper layers of the soil. Do that 2 or 3 times, to decrease the weed load still in the soil seed bank. But we think the cover crop we selected will outcompete the weeds.  It doesn’t have to be 100%… even weeds have some positives.

Do you know WHAT a weed is?

A plant growing where you don’t want it to.  Traditional weeds actually have some significant properties that are important to the soil.  Plants that we consider weeds tell you a lot about the nutrient quality of the soil.  The roots of those plants tend to grow well in nutrient deficient soil because they go down deep where nutrients are.  When their root systems die they release those nutrients back into the upper layers of the soil where the microbes can utilize them. They aerate the soil while doing this. That is the point of us planting a green manure cover crop and then tilling it back into the soil in the spring.  To build the food base for the microbes to use, to feed the plants we want to grow.

Check the research done by Dr. Elaine Ingham on the Soil Food Web;

an incredible resource. Dr.InghamSoilWeb

I’ll say it again because it is so important.  It’s all part of the soil succession ecological system in play.

  • First, weeds,
  • then grasses,
  • followed by shrubs,
  • followed by trees.

The soil microbial system evolves along with this, first being primarily bacterial based transitioning to fungal.

Healthy veggies will have a much higher load of bacterial microbes, while trees will have mycorrhizae microbes (fungal).

There is a synergistic relationship with the microbiotic world and plant roots.  The roots trade sugars, that the plants produce through photosynthesis, for nutrients the micro-organisms breakdown into a form the plants can use. 

Again, our job on the farm is to provide a healthy environment for the microbes to be able to do their job.  Healthy plants that get the nutrients they need are NOT attractive to pests and are resistant to diseases. No need to add toxic chemicals to the soil or plants.

We take time to inoculate the soil with the base microbes that create a healthy system.  And then we let THEM do the real work.  I’ll be sitting on my front porch glorying in the view of the garden, sometime next year.

It starts with a vision… and a willingness to learn.

snoopyZen

 

 

Falling into the Forecasted Traps

You have heard of the Darwin Awards, right? The awards that are given for those outrageous events which remove the recipient from the genetic pool, thus ensuring that his genes are NOT passed on.

Here is an unbelievable winner (2010) which actually had his winning event, videotaped.

DARWIN AWARD WINNER OF THE CENTURY!

Angry Wheelchair Man, the rashly rushing rammer who epitomizes the downfall of the human race.

(25 August 2010, Daejon, South Korea) An angry handicapped man, annoyed that an elevator departed without him, thinks it over before ramming his wheelchair into the doors (bam!) once, twice, three times in all. Success and failure combined as he gained access to the elevator

Not to be too sarcastic but you can almost see the embodiment of the current status of western civilization played out in front of us. THIS is the answer to the 2nd WHY in the previous post.

We refuse to act like the laws of nature apply to us, so the same story is told time after time. Country after country, civilizations after civilizations, century after century. Except now, we have run out of new places to go.

Can you see the various elements in the video clip?  The overweight guy (ok, let’s name it… OBESE guy) on his motorized conveyance (because he can no longer move on his own) who is so ticked that he can’t have it “his way”, so he is going to insist, apparently tossing aside the logical consequences of his behavior, he forces the issue.

He forgot “Nature Bats Last” or “you can’t wish the laws of physics away” just ’cause you want to have it YOUR WAY.

Here is the symbolic connection.  We, as a society, have been told repeatedly that we, in our mass numbers (1 billion to 10 billion by 2050) are altering the very systems our survival depends on. The list goes on ad nauseum… and it is too unpleasant to contemplate. Like Scarlett in “Gone With The Wind”… I’ll think about it tomorrow!

Instead we keep ramming that door insisting that we will have it our way until we, as a human community, go over the edge.  Only, we take more than just ourselves, we take our children and grandchildren as well.

What sense does it make to have a population of millions on an island that cannot provide food or water for it’s population. One’s life becomes dependent on outside resources. Yet we expect someone to “provide” those resources. The harsh reality is that support will only be in the short-term, and people will suffer… and die.  And our hearts will bleed because we can’t fix what is already broken.  We need a new path, a new vision.

popscaleearth

Overshoot

Every way I turn there is need because we are in massive overshoot. We have lost resilience by becoming too specialized.

Our numbers place us at higher and higher risk as we push the natural world past it’s capacity to support us.

The more of us, the increased likelihood of a “disaster” impacting us. As the disasters increase in intensity & frequency the worse the impacts becomes. Roughly 5 million people in the USA in 1800, now 330 million+.

 

Of COURSE each disaster (tornado, hurricane, drought, flood, fires) will affect more people.

It is imperative that we think beyond what we want, desire, convenient… if our children are going to have a life.

 

You have heard the litany before:

  • rising temperatures, increased catastrophic weather events,
  • more fires, bigger fires,
  • droughts, floods,
  • rising oceans, acidification of the ocean killing off the organisms that provide the very air we breath,
  • contamination of our water, massive overdraw of our aquifers,
  • declining nutrient value & increasing pesticide contamination of our food,
  • resource depletion.

Research tells us that the more people you pack into a limited space the more dysfunctional their behavior becomes. In an immediate crisis neighbors help neighbors.  But with each ongoing crisis,  competition for available resources begins to increase, our community networks begin to break down. The haves and have nots go to war with each other. In the longer term, nobody wants to go down with the ‘ship’.

I know it sounds cold-blooded; we have done it to ourselves and while it is painful to experience, it is a choice we have collectively made.

head-in-sand

We have leaders, real leaders who have named the issues we face; the need to make significant changes in our world.  Question is, will we support them and build a new future or will we be sidelined by “arguing where to put the deck chairs as the Titanic goes down”?

Bernie Sanders: “The time is long overdue for Congress to understand that these recent disasters, and those that will surely follow, are exacerbated by climate change.

How insane is it to pour billions of dollars to rebuild devastated communities while continuing the same policies that led to their destruction? Now is the time to aggressively transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energies like wind and solar.

Now is the time to begin the process of preventing future disasters.”

So what are the practical steps we take CAN take in this impending series of disasters? It’s no longer about us; it’s about our next generations.

  • Recognize the problems – look at your situation & analyze what you can affect
  • Work on building resilience – LOCAL resilience – support your local community (mom & pop businesses instead of corporations), relocalize your food sources (100,000 acres of grapes/corn/soybeans doesn’t do you much good if real food is not there to keep you alive!)
  • Build your skill sets – cooking, plumbing, electrical, gardening, preserving foods, basic construction skills, sewing, chickens, rabbits,
  • Reduce reliance on high tech; go low tech as much as possible (what would YOU DO if the grid went down for weeks or months?) At least know how, develop a plan to wean off high tech as your total support
  • Learn to ENJOY living real life, wean off being entertained for life by media, build relationships!

NOT DIGITAL

Build a library of all round resource books, in paperback (not digital) in your home. Can you imagine the grid going down and you can’t charge your laptop/kindle/tablet to read the instructions to do ______ (fill in the blank)! As bad as not having a can opener to open your emergency canned foods.

I recommend “The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual for Living off the Land & Doing It Yourself” by Carla Emery  (Author).

THIS was an excellent all around book. It’s fun to read, as it covers 30 years of her hands-on experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture-Based…

The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture-Based System Using Greenhouses, Ponds, Compost Piles, Aquaponics, Chickens, and More

 

Learn how to work with nature instead of using chemicals to control nature & increase the quality of your products.  Putting the microbiome to work, as it was designed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Solar Living Sourcebook is a wonderful layman’s education in the various systems, for sustainable living.

 

ISBN-13: 978-0865717848
  • Take some classes, expand your exposure to learning how to do things instead of paying someone else to do it
  • check out books from your library that you may want to consider purchasing as you develop your skills

Then do the obvious:

Support the politicians that advocate core changes. Make your voice heard. Vote with your dollars!

  • reduce flying, reduce driving, reduce use of plastics,
  • reduce your sugar intake (you body is not built to handle the overload – don’t buy cookies or cakes, try making them),
  • eliminate HFCS (high fructose corn syrup from your diet – your body does not know what to do with it and just stores it as fat around the waistline),
  • EAT what your body needs (not what you desire)… walk 1/2 hr before a meal whenever possible, wait 20 minutes before taking 2nd’s at the dinner table (takes that long for the brain to recognize that you are full)
  • Decrease your body intake of pesticides, hormone disrupters, medications, chemicals you consume via food/water/containers

Purchase a Berkey Water Filter – yes, it took me a while to do it because of the price, but must admit it has been totally worth it. As more info comes out about what is in our water (that is NOT filtered out by commercial water treatment or stuff that is RELEASED by commercial tx) the happier I am. Read the fine print on what the Berkey can do, for yourself. Buy it, or something that does the same thing.

I’m glad we bit the bullet and made the purchase. It’s good to know you could take crappy pond water and have fairly reliable safe drinkable water. I don’t have to depend on FEMA or some outside resource to provide water in an emergency setting.

Why are catastrophic disasters occurring more frequently?

Because there are more of us in “harm’s way”.

We don’t live sustainably… we depend on outside resources which place us at higher risk.

And YES, we have upset the balance in nature to the point that events are bigger, longer lasting, and more intense.

Get over it.  It’s the new reality. Now… how do you deal with the coming future?

Start thinking and acting in ways that will reduce the impact for your children and grandchildren. If there is be any future for them.

Be a victim, or be proactive…. but don’t whine about it. Get moving.

Just don’t keep slamming on those closed doors and drive off the cliff.

 

OMG, I’m trapped in Catastrophic …

I’m being trapped in an ongoing onslaught of disasters… each one pulling me in with the sheer threat and then finally, the reality of it actually happening.  Only it’s not one; it’s one after another.  Hurricane after hurricane. Four in one season hitting and there is a month left to go.  An outlier hurricane hitting Ireland, of all places. The world feels unhinged. Flooding, unheard of depths of flooding, in Houston area. Vegas Mass shooting.

fire

Firestorm outside Santa Rosa, CA Oct 9, 2017

Firestorm & fire tornado hitting outside my door in Sonoma/Napa county.  Porto Rico wiped away with a lackluster ongoing response by emergency responders.  Earthquakes & buildings collapsing. Schools crushed.

My heart bleeds. The catastrophes are never ending, and I’m seduced by the TV screen, the YouTube video clips, the radio reports, the emergency alerts on my iphone and am drowning in the wave after wave of hits.

I tear myself away and ask,”When is it going to end?”

breakingNews

My anxiety level is hitting the danger zone…despite not actually, really being in the middle of true danger. The closest I personally came to real danger, was the toxic smoke from the 200,000 acres that burned beginning 10 miles away from my home held back by 10,000 firefighters who stood the line.

 

Lost Sense of Control… Why?

Why? There are two parts to that why:

  • Why do I keep listening? and
  • Why is it happening?

The first is easy to answer. Why do I tune in? It’s part of our genetic makeup that has allowed us to survive the last million years or so. Stay aware of one’s surroundings.

Krakatoa

1883 KRAKATOA – first event broadcast around the world

 

 

The problem being that one’s surroundings have expanded from a few miles around hunter/gathers, to telegraph network a 150 years ago that allowed intercontinental news to be passed around the world, to today’s virtually instantaneous audio and video portrayal of “news” to impinge on our every waking moment.

 

Trigger Words

Couple that deluge of information along with the media’s increased use of psychological imperative emotional words geared to trigger an adrenaline response, that trigger that need to know.  News Flash, Breaking News, this just out… the drum beat of  thumping continuously behind the talking head, to alert you to the drama.  Couple that with goal to not only tell you what is going on, but to have you feel like you are there; coercing disaster victims to play out their emotional trauma, for their ratings. “What did you feel, watching your ____ (fill in the blank) burn, flood, washed away?

breakNews

I’m pretty sure our psyche was not engineered to cope with such a deluge of on-going disasters and yet we’re not setup to turn it off. It takes conscious thought and decisions to do so.

  • Yes, this is happening somewhere;
  • No, it is NOT happening to me or my family, and
  • No, I can’t change it/fix it.
  • Yes, I can contribute to relief measures, but
  • I can’t live my life and the lives of millions of others.
  • Well, not and stay sane for very long.

Repercussions

According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

“The rates of anxiety and depression among teens in the U.S. may be as much as eight times higher than they were 50 years ago – higher than during the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and the societal turmoil of the 1960s and early ’70s. And teens from all geographic, economic and ethnic demographics are affected.”

“…the kind of hopelessness that young people experience nowadays is unprecedented. Never before have we been so well-informed about the insurmountable threat to our environment or had such constant exposure to the injustices faced by so many around the globe.”

anxiety

Social psychologist Jean Twenge, author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” wraps it up neatly:

“The research tells us that modern life is not good for mental health.”

“In a pre-smartphone age, young people were forced to interact face-to-face with their family, peers and community, and they learned empathy and social responsibility through witnessing the visceral, immediate impact of their actions in real time. In this way, they strengthened their understanding of themselves and their connection with others and the world around them.”

We used to have a world that included community connections through our church, clubs, community centers, etc. In our current world of connecting by social media, we interact on a stage.  Not really connecting with others but just fulfilling our preconceived roles and never knowing if they are valid.  They are just the “face” we put on, thus not grounded in action & consequences.  Never getting past the superficial because absent facial expressions, tonal inflections, reactions,  we never know how the written words will be interpreted.

Teens are not the only ones experiencing difficulty.  CNN reports that an astounding one fourth of U.S. women are now on antidepressants. So many, it has been showing up, across the USA, in our water supply.

Quiet Time

                     One day in the car, I turned the radio off, turned off my Audible book,                                  turned off my GPS map. 

I had an epiphany, “what if I just experienced the now, the quiet?”

If we fill up all our spaces with things, when do we have time for processing, thinking, sorting things out, allowing our imaginations to be active.  When do we have time to connect with the breeze, the smells, the little sounds (birds, crickets, dogs) that are part of the actual world.

We need to take back control of our space… we’ve given it over to the consumer-driven society in exchange for entertainment, non-stop. As they work to increase their “ratings” we suffer the loss of our connections with our family, our friends, our community, in real time.

Important, I think, to create a buffer space between “staying on top of the news” and living in real time.  To actively make choices that protect our psych from overload; especially those of our children.  On advice from my grandson’s pediatric neurologist (a micro preemie born more than 3 months early), once home absolutely NO SCREEN time for the first year, and minimal for two years, to facilitate healthy neurological development.

I suspect this should be true for all of us, “In all things, moderation.”

Ask yourself, is any more information useful or needed… and pull the plug, if the answer is no.   Take some time out and experience the outside world. Breathe, be thankful, smile. Spend quality time with family, with friends, in real time.

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It rained last night, the air is cleared of smoke.  I take a deep breath and can see blue skies and the surrounding tree studded hillsides. I hear my chickens in the background and appreciate the absence of sirens & the whir of helicopters, today.

We have been blessed.

It should be savored.

 

Why is it Happening?

The second part of the why… is the subject of my next post.

 

The Sleeping Giant Awakens…again

History repeats itself, with a variation.

This time the danger is not from the outside; it’s from the inside.  We will see if our checks & balances,  our system of government, can withstand the onslaught.sleepinggiant

“Make America Great Again” touted by a presidential candidate, would tend to make you think they were running for the office, to govern the country.

He promises, through his leadership, to basically turn back the clock. To return to the 99%, everything that was.

Think again: In the guise of leadership we have a business man who sees the opportunity to make a buck…  a lot of bucks. NOT interested at all in governing for the benefit of the 99%.

We will see if our system of governance, of three branches, of checks & balances will stand the test.

It snuck in the door under the guise of seeking to provide a breath of fresh air to a corporate supported political structure. A political structure that seemed to only respond to mega-interests, instead of the common man, the 99%.

Not realizing that we had the ultimate con man asking to be placed at the helm, to right ship, he steps up to the plate.  He promises to return all to the way it was.  The token words, promise everything, but there is no substance. 

If you want to steal from a bank, the best way is to own the bank.  If you want to steal from a country, the best way is to “own” the country.  Install your cohorts and divide it up among yourselves. The technical term is an oligarchy.

Replace the rules & regulations that put constraints on your actions, so they allow you to take advantage, to the determent of the man on the street, the environment, the world as a whole.

Tell the coal miners they will get their jobs back, all the while knowing that automation will eliminate those potential jobs, and while the environment is increasingly damaged, the corporate owners will take home huge profits.  

He’ll tell people what they want to hear, that will reverse their desperate situations, even if it makes no sense.  He will scapegoat the “others” to protect us from them.  He will alter the facts to fit his world view. 

Something Better….really?

We gave the new guy on the block a chance to back up his words with substance.  Repeal & Replace with something better, cheaper, more coverage, for more people! The mantra was shouted at rally after rally. 

Well, that was short-lived and quite an eye-opener.  Absolutely no idea on what to do.  More expense, less coverage, and 24 million more, with no healthcare coverage.

Reality sucks, because reality doesn’t care about word games.  It’s dollars in and dollars out.  Saying something over & over, louder & louder won’t change anything. Certainly not in 17 days. “I didn’t realize it would be so hard to do!” is no excuse. Like duh!

The most promising outcome of installing a con-man into the “highest office” of the land, is that his own cons will trip him up. It’s certainly entertaining… a poorly written script that would be sent back to be written into something more believable.

The country as a whole, the sleeping giant, is waking up to the reality of a group installed in leadership positions who’s only goals appear to be to dismantle every protection, for the benefit of the 1%.

The investigative journalists certainly have something to put their teeth into!

The New Game in Town

Realistically the choice was pretty bad from most people’s perspective. The political insider or the business outsider. He at the very least, voiced the correct mantra’s that appealed to us all.  Business as usual in the political world, or someone from the outside.  The only real third choice, that rose from a grass-roots movement, was disemboweled by his own party, to protect the “elites” choice.

Well, the country told the “elites” what they thought of that.  They would at least take a chance on something outside business as usual. Let’s hope they heard the message; you can only push people so far before they start to push back. 

If you want the game to continue, you need to share… and you need to pay attention to the damage that is being caused, else you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, you haul home.

Daily, unbelievable changes. Never mind science, Climate change… no such thing. Eviscerate the EPA. Who cares about melting oceans. Drill baby, drill.

It takes 3 barrels of energy to only get 2 barrels of energy out of the tar sands; never mind, I can make a quick buck before it all catches up! Who cares about all the water ruined in the process… who needs it.

The Real World…yes, really

Pulled from our daily business of working, raising families, enjoying the benefits of computers, movies, sports, etc. we can no longer play a passive role while going about our everyday lives. In WWII the country pulled together almost overnight once confronted with the danger.

We are again called to address major issues that endanger the long-term quality of our lives and the world we live in. Our forefathers gave their lives to build our country.  Hokey as it may sound today, those were hard fought days, they endured to protect future generations.

Amid all the other significant concerns, what rises to the fore at this point in time is the need to prevent one small group of men who want to replace our government with an oligarchy; to tear apart the country for their own financial benefit. (Putin as a mentor, perhaps, if one needs an example.)

By definition, an Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. Aristotle pioneered the term as a synonym for rule by the rich.

They make the rules.

In Greek history, after the restoration of democracy from oligarchical coups, the Athenians devised a method for selecting government officers in order to counteract what they saw as a tendency to oligarchy, if a professional governing class were allowed to use their work for their own benefits.

Currently, we have a blatant oligarchy being installed; before we had a somewhat subtly hidden oligarchy which was also working to “change the rules of the game” for their benefit.

The prior oligarchy was just a bigger group – corporations and they went through the motions of playing by the rules.

We sent a loud message of rejection with Trump’s election but we may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. That’s OK. Getting burned definitely gets your attention and motivates you.

If nothing else, the stakes have been raised so high, that if we don’t pay attention and begin to institute some changes, we will indeed deserve what we get. Incredibly though, change IS occurring.  People are actively talking about political issues, who have never been engaged before. I see it everywhere, which gives me hope.

Freedom is not Free, it must be guarded and maintained. It takes a population that is involved.

It’s time to put childish things away

It’s wonderful to not worry and let other’s deal with the details, while we get on with the business of living our life.  But not being involved has its price and it can be a pretty nasty one.

No easy solutions but ignoring the situation is not an answer.  It is required of each us to take an active role in building a consensus of basic quality government for the benefit of the whole country. Not for “special interests”, not for the financial benefits of corporations, or for the 1%.

Start on the local level: your community groups, your city council, your county officials.  Change comes from the bottom up.

The sleeping giant has been awakened and it is US; it’s time for us to make a difference.

Overshoot: in Today’s World

The challenging part of being a parent is setting boundaries for your children. As parents, we know, giving your child everything they think they want is NOT in their best interest. Or ours. We would raise a generation of “entitlement”-  I want, therefore I should have. The real world has limits. The real world has consequences. The real world (physics) does not care. What does that translate into?

farmstand products

Re-Localizing Quality Foods

The simply way to illustrate this is using food, something we all relate to. Given the choice between fresh cookies hot out of the oven most of us would choose to eat one (or one dozen) instead of broccoli. And that’s OK… unless you make it your lifestyle. We recognize that our body can not sustain itself on junk food. Luckily our body will, looking at those cookies at some point, say ENOUGH. I need some real food.

OK. Let’s extrapolate that out to some areas that are not as clearly seen and the internal limits not as explicit.

Historical Constraints

Historically population growth was constrained by disease, food availability, and war (kill off the young men). We lived in a world bound by certain constraints. If you could not grow enough food, or have something to trade for food, you starved. If you did not eat well enough, you were more susceptible to disease and would die off. If you had “resources” that others wanted they would come to take yours (war). I.e. If they did not have enough food or resources, your’s was up for grabs. Pretty basic raw life, for most of history. We’ll just move in and take over someone else’s stuff (land, food, gold, timber, you name it).

To some degree there was a rough check and balance system, by nature, in play. Too many people? Some will die (starvation, disease, war).

Technological Trap

What happens in today’s world. Because of our technological increased capacity to feed the “world” (in varying degrees, but still, compared to history) our population numbers have exploded past the carrying capacity of many countries. It’s called OVERSHOOT.footprints-1

Overshoot… you are consuming more than is being produced. Your waste products are not being broken down fast enough to prevent toxic buildups. You are consuming the very things you need to provide your future.

The answer, in the past, has always been to move to fresh territory. Take it and use it, regardless as to who was there originally; in human terms “might” trumps all. Your tribe (family, clan, tribe, country, race, etc) comes first. Everyone else becomes the “enemy” and it translates to “OK to take from”.

Reality Is A B.I.T.C.H.

We have now reached the end of that storyline. Out of room, no new territory to take, used up, spent, killed off what was there… what does the future bring?

head-in-sand

It brings us face to face with the constraints of reality. Unless, of course, you want to continue the ‘head in the sand game’ that has been played for the last 100 years. As adults we must face the real world and start thinking as adults and not as “entitlement children” who think the hard&fast real world is subject to our wants.

I have little hope that this will happen because we seldom want to give up what we have at present; letting go and moving to a simpler life that respects the limits. We need to treat our land as a valuable resource to be nurtured and preserved. 

That’s where the Britxit comes into this picture.  It’s a country where the common people have said, enough is enough. We have too many people to take care of as it is.  It’s the same theme you hear in the USA about illegal immigrants, etc.

A simplistic way to look at this situation is:  Should your children starve so that others do not?  When you limit your childbearing to provide for the children you have, does that mean that others can come and have as many children as they “have the right to”? and you pay the bill? (i.e. you give up conserving resources, living within your ecological footprint?)

Those questions are tough ones to face.  less-pop

popscaleearth

We either face them & deal with them or endure the consequences long term.

Seriously, each country needs to be able to provide the basic needs for their own population. Develop a society that sustains itself.  Relocalize your food supports.

56 Countries can NOT feed their population without importing food; many of those countries do not have resources to trade for food… and yet their populations are expanding.

When we took the technological steps to develop medicines we removed a constraint that in one sense of the word, kept things in a ecological balance (a rather raw brutal balance). If we choose to remove a constraint then I believe we also need to exercise a balancing technological constraint by utilizing birth control. (I’ve always said that providing food aid needs to include providing birth control as well.) It’s a part of living within nature; not abusing it.

Immigration Policies

This is NOT going to be a popular policy but we must rebalance or nature will do it for us.

If you don’t allow immigrants then you figure out how to live without their “slave labor”. If you can’t fill the job, then the the cost /value will go up until someone will, or learn how to do without.

Moving to another country is another example of using up all the resources in one area and moving to another, to utilize the resources that are there.

Immigrants, refugees are part of that pattern. It sounds cold blooded and harsh to say it, but shifting the problem elsewhere is not a solution. It’s a temporary fix that will result in the same outcome, UNLESS we constrain our population base.

Right or wrong, christian or not, fair or not, it is a reality that must be dealt with or nature will take care of it in her own way. And it ain’t a pretty way….

The proverbial Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death, Disease, Starvation, & War.line-separator

popbybillions

2016 – we are at 7.5 billion

 

Life Moves On, the Path Changes

K bull calf - Old World Jersey

Life on the Farm

What a surprise… our journey has taken us from our sustainable farming adventure to big city life in an apartment. Like CRAZY. But again, it’s an education in what many people must deal with.

It, of course, is about following the money.  We were finally able to close on a foreclosed piece land that met the requirements we were looking for, for a future farm.

Dollar-Sign-101

Need Dollars

 

In order to get a construction loan to build on that 4 1/2 acres, someone had to have a formal job.  Thus Jim put out the “word” and got four serious offers back.  Amazing considering he is 64 (ancient wisdom & experience) within two weeks (in the Xmas holiday season, no less.

But none of the job offers were local. The closest (and most appealing because our youngest daughter was here) was San Diego.  We moved into a senior apartment complex in N San Diego, University City.

Instead of the gentle breezes and crickets in the distance, we are now serenaded with breakneck traffic, screaming sirens, and trucks lumbering down the road, shaking our windows day & night.  Our precious little patio is virtually unusable except on Sunday mornings, when the traffic load finally dies down.

I’m quite convinced that our brains and our psyche where never meant to endure the constant onslaught of noise & fumes that filter through the windows.

Interestingly, where there are jobs, there are fairly high rents. Not just a SF-Bay Area phenomenon.  There are many academic, science, medical, and high tech complexes. Very much a mini-silicon valley and toss in some of the most advanced medical facilities in the world (education, research, and patient care). Decent wages but the rents reflect that.

The only advantage we had in a senior complex, the deposit was minimal. We, at least, have a bit of green around us and some trees, plants, flowers, etc. compared to the SD ApartmentComplexhuge beehive complexes that are 5 – 15 stories high apartment complexes, packed shoulder to shoulder to each other. apartments

Depressing and claustrophobic.

But the rental rates are marching their way up to the stratosphere.  We started at $1900  (1,000 sq ft) and will be at $2300 -$2500 (depending on a 6 month lease or a 12 month lease) at our next renewal.  Sad that it is such a waste of monies we would rather put into building the farm. There goes any discretionary income… and I wonder how those raising a family can cope with the chipping away of the income they have while dealing with the increases in expenses just having kids, incurs.

Yes, you can get rents slightly cheaper… and then spend 1-3 hours a day commuting. Really.  Someone asked how far we live from the airport, “depends on the time of day. At the right time it’s only a 18 minute drive. At the wrong time, it’s at least an hour. Same 10 miles.”

We opted for a higher rent, biking to school and work, less commute hours in the car, and more quality home time. It’s all about trade offs.

Someone asked, “How do you like living in San Diego?”.  Well, it is true, the weather is wonderful.  The evenings are spectacular on the coast, rarely too cold & the dry heat is moderated by the ocean so that those living within 10 miles of the coastline live in 70-80 degree weather almost year round.  A lot of people like living here because of the

SD 4thofJulyBeach

the beach in San Diego, 2016 4th of July

weather… and I mean ALOT of people… as in San Diego is the 3rd largest city in California (I had no idea).  It’s now almost non-stop town between the cities of LA & San Diego. That’s a vision of the near future: LA and San Diego merging into one huge metro-complex.

San Diego county has enough water for 800,000 people, I’m told.  With a population of 3 MILLON water has to be “brought in”. Not just water, but food as well. Very little arable land to grow; good crops of boulders, rock and sand. Not enough water or food to support the population base in San Diego County, by a long shot.  If one could subsist on avocado’s, strawberries, and flowers one would do just fine.

Just pray that the “next really big one” is not down here in San Diego, as a significant earthquake would take the whole county down rather quickly. Any significant disruption of the transportation or water systems would bring it to it’s knees. transform_fault

The good part of an EQ in this part of the country; it’s two plates sliding past each other. San Diego is headed toward San Francisco. NOT the subduction type EQ that happened in Japan, where one plate is pushing beneath another (and triggering a tsunami).

Folks here live day-to-day, without a thought to what the future might bring; they just party on into the night.

But they do enjoy the weather, and we do as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marshmallow Study, REALLY?!

There is more to the story; much more.

The basis of a Stanford study, called “The Marshmallow Experiment”,

One now, Two in a While

One now, OR Two in a While

that was begun in the 1960’s and has been replicated several times (and validated)… looking at the long-term effects of delayed gratification that could be demonstrated in 4-5 years old who were followed through adulthood, for 40 years!

The ability to delay eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes to get TWO instead of just one marshmallow, was indicative of abilities that would translate into an increased life-long capacity to delay immediate gratification for long-term benefits.  The implication was that the inherent genetic programming of the child had already pre-determined their path.

NOT!

That was the implication of the study, but further study brought out more insights which creates a picture of a much more complicated process; one in which the environment actually plays a significant role, in the first 4 years. The environment that the parents create, actually.

As a labor & delivery nurse for some 25 years+ I’m well versed in the innate personality differences that are present from the very moment of a newborn’s first breath. Having had the unique experience to be part of over several thousand births, it always continues to be incredibly inspiring.first breath

A newborn, in those first few minutes of life, show great variability in their response to emerging into the world. Some open their eyes and look around at the new world that they have entered, calm & accepting, while others have their eyes clamped shut as they scream bloody murder until placed in their mother’s arms and are calmed by her heartbeat and touch. There is indeed a whole spectrum of responses.

Some, of course are a response to the type of deliver: varying from easy, short labor vrs long, traumatic vrs newborn’s responses depressed due to being recipients of drugs for maternal pain relief, vrs those that had oxygen issues during labor and delivery. But generally, for those rough deliveries, these are temporary adaptive responses and the newborns innate personality shortly becomes apparent.

Differing Personality Types

From the moment of birth,  normal delivery and  Cesarian section deliveries, newborns show a range of responses that are part of their own personal patterns.  It’s easily recognizable at birth; how does the newborn respond to brighteyesstimulation, to change, to touch, to comforting measures, to voice, etc. He recognizes mother, and father, in the delivery suite, illustrated by the quiet, calm responses when parents interact with the newborn, who “tunes in”.

Dr. T. Berry Brazelton wrote a book, in the early 1970’s that looked at how newborn’s communicate with us, as well as identifying newborn temperament that are all within the normal range of development. He moved beyond the “sick” or premature newborn, to what the normal newborn brought to the table.

Infants and Mothers: Differences in Development  Dr.T.Berry Brazelton 

While babies may not speak their first word for a year, they are born ready to communicate with a rich vocabulary of body movements, cries and visual responses: all part of the complex language of infant behavior.

He identified three major personality groups he called Quiet, Average, Active Baby.

Brazelton was able to identify ways that mother’s could interpret their newborns behavior patterns and work with them. So yes, many things are innate, part of our genetic backup. It turns out that being able to “hear” our newborns and respond to their needs influences the way they interact with the world around them. (To learn more about the specifics of the process check out this webpage: Brazelton Assessment ).

Reliability?

Getting back to the Marshmallow Experiment; if a newborn or toddler, is raised in a world where their needs are heard and met fairly consistently then they build a picture of a world that is dependable.

The Marshmallow Experiment, with a Twist, at the University of Rochester; divided the children into two groups.

  • The first group was exposed to a series of unreliable experiences. i.e. promises were made but not kept.
  • The second group was exposed to a series of  promises that were made and consistently kept.

Each group was learning something about the world around them.

The first group had no reason to build trust. “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” would be an apt expression for that group. If your world is constantly changing and unreliable… you tend to live for the moment.

The second group was learning two important things: waiting can be worth it, and, I have the ability to wait; in fact they would wait up to 4 times longer than the first group! Impressive. Especially given that it only took a few “reliable experiences” to influence their behavior.

birdInHand

As mothers and fathers we have an enormous effect on the world our children experience. If we build a framework that is caring and consistent, then our children find it dependable.

In an experiment: when a newborn cries are answered within 3 – 5 minutes, they quickly settle. That same newborn if left to cry for 10 minutes, so that they are not ‘spoiled’,  are unable to settle for over 30 minutes.  Babies do not get spoiled, they only know their needs are answered, or not. But once they are “out of sorts” (i.e. abandoned) it takes much longer for them to calm back down when their needs are attended to.

Responding & nurturing our children works toward building healthy adults, as we create a dependable world as much as is possible, from which to reach out and deal with a world full of experiences.  Over time, as our experiences and awareness expands we are able to tolerate more “ambiguity” in our world and work toward the goals we have set.

Incredible Value of Parenting

I often think, that we don’t realize just how important our young mothers and fathers are, in the development of their children.  It’s not enough to “birth” the child, feed, cloth, & educate. Not if we want them to successfully navigate the future world. Here is 3 min video on how dependent the child is to social interaction with mom: Mother/child interaction

The biggest complaint that we heard voiced, when working with “street kids” (those who had left home, and were roaming the country)… was the sense that they had been abandoned by their parents to the TV, the video games, to someone else, while their parent’s focused on their careers. (NOT my statement, but what I heard from them). Or parents just were too tired to interact with them, when they did come home from work.

Few (uh, as in none) had been taught life-skills (cooking, mechanics, gardening, sewing, etc). This was true of most of our farm interns, as well. (Usually from stable families and educated.) They lived a life of either processed foods out of a box/bag or fast foods. (In the ’70’s only 2% of meals were out of the home; today over 50-70%).

I worked hard to get my nursing degree and to work in Maternal-Child nursing. I will say that we tried to make it a point that at least one parent was home most of the time, and that I worked only 3 days a week for most of my nursing career.  I felt like 4 days a week, life revolved around work but working 3 days a week allowed life to revolve around family.  This is NOT a choice most people have, though.

I ended up dropping my nursing program with my 2nd child. I delivered her in the middle of my semester on Maternal-Child Nursing (with lectures on how important the maternal connection was in the first two years of life).  The dichotomy was crushing.  Coming home from a lecture to a newborn that I had abandoned for school (a choice I had the luxury of making) was more than I could emotionally deal with. My first responsibility, if within my power to do so, was to the child. It’s not always an easy choice, it was a high price to pay. It took me years to get my nursing degree because of the detour.

CHOICES

Just before the housing crash, when we put our 10 year project of a remodeled home (we were all involved in the building process) on the market, the kids were devastated (not little kids but young adults, college & senior in high school).

We had all poured heart and soul into creating a home that worked for us.  All I had to say to them was, “would you rather have dad home/retire or he continues to work full-time ?” They opted for having dad there & getting to live life, in lieu of having “things” (possessions that posses us, I guess).

Real happiness is not things, of course, but it is meaningful work and relationships, after all. It felt good to see the choices the young adults opted for.

The take home message for me, from “The Marshmallow Study, with a Twist”, was how important our interactions are, with little ones.  To be consistent, to follow through on our word, and to nurture them creates a world they can trust. That trust factor allows them to look past grabbing the immediate satisfaction, building the capacity to work toward longer range goals.  Your interactions with preschoolers is more significant than you might think!

With a Twist:

 

Orginial:

 

 

 

What’s Next?

I struggle a bit with this blog because there are SO MANY things to “talk” about, and yet, there are so many different directions to go.  Ruminations to me, is about where do things I mull over, lead me to think about… and what are the implications in the larger sphere.

Sometimes it’s about farm life but it generally expands to a larger arena.  “No man is an island unto himself” kinda concept.  So how do things connect in the broader view and what should we consider.

head-in-sandIt’s very easy to take the so-called ostrich viewpoint; it I don’t like what I see so I’ll bury my head and pretend that it’s not there, and go on my merry way. A little like Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind”, “I’ll think about it tomorrow!”.

 

But of course, tomorrow never comes; there is only today.

It’s definitely a tightrope to walk.  Overall I’m a fairly optimistic person, thinking the glass is half full rather than half empty.  I believed that people generally do what they think is the best thing to do, and don’t intentionally hurt or take advantage of others. Raised in a family that held religious values as the basis for our lives, it never occurred to me that people would not work for the benefit of others, by taking the long view. Boy, was I in for some real world lessons!

Marshmallow Studymarshm

You have heard the story of a group of kids, 4-5 years olds, that were offered a treat, a marshmallow.  They were shown a treat but told that if they could just wait a few minutes while the giver went to another room to get a 2nd treat, they could have two instead of just one. The wait was 15 minutes long. That has to be close to “forever” in a 4 year old’s world.

http://youtu.be/QX_oy9614HQ

The study looked at which kids would not wait, and which kids would hold out for the bigger prize. I.E. deferred gratification. And then these children were followed for an extended period of time. This study begun in the 1960’s looked at the long term behaviors of the two groups of kids and found that those who “could wait” had significant higher live achievements (you can read the study to hear how that was defined).  http://jamesclear.com/delayed-gratification

For my purposes in relating the story, it has to do with the seemingly innate ability to see the longer term goal as “worth” the added effort. That some people only see what is directly in front of them.  Other’s can see the longer term benefit.  Now it turns out that those attributes are not “written in stone” but can be adjusted somewhat BUT it takes concentrated work to do so.  For some, it’s easy and other’s it is a challenge.

I take the biological imperative perspective: each has survival characteristics that have allowed the trait to continue in our genetic heritage.  Or at least in the last 100,000 years of our current human development process.

  • The hunter who could wait patiently,
  • the farmer who could tend his fields,
  • the mother who could nurture her children:

each one of those aspects have long-term payoffs.

Of course,

  • the hunter who waited patiently, also wiped out the massive herds of buffalo that traveled the plains, in less than 50 years.
  • The farmer stripped the soil of it’s nutrients while initiating the desertfication process and then moved on to richer land,
  • and the mother died in childbirth after having 10 babies (more or less).

How “long a view” is enough?

It’s one thing when there are 5 million people on the planet who can move from place to place (you don’t think the middle east was always a desert do you?), which allows the earth to restabilize, usually.

Think 100,000 years to reach the mark of 5 million people, 8,000 years ago at the dawn of agriculture, give or take a few (years or people).

It has taken all of human history to reach 1 BILLION people, in 1800.              The kicker is, only 200 years to reach 7 Billion.

Up to 2005

Up to 2005

39popgrowth

Short-Sided View = Time’s UP!

In 1970, only half the population of today’s population, existed. We have doubled.

We have moved into a new era… one that we are unprepared to take on.  At least most of us, will and have resisted looking at the new future. We argue about where to move the deck chairs, on the Titanic, in her last hours. We have used our intelligence, our drive, our resilience to build the world we have now, and it’s a relatively comfortable world for most of us, at present.  Somehow we are resistant to looking at where we are headed.

 

As we contaminate our water, destroy the live-giving microbial life in the soil, strip the oceans of life and foul the air… what are we thinking? Where do we think we will end up? More critically, our children and grand-children.  Is our comfort and pleasure worth condemning them to pain and suffering? You do know that is the outcome of our actions today, don’t you.

Only 3.5%, Makes THE Difference

In a country of 300 million, research has shown it takes roughly 10 million to change the direction, and make a difference.

ganhdi color

The Process

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they join you”, to paraphrase Ganhdi.

I’ve seen major sifts in policy, but it’s led by the everyday man. Not by Wall Street or government, but by people who care enough to say something. Or, to VOTE with their dollars.

From the Vietnam War, to seat belts, to helmets, to family-centered birthing units, to organic foods, to climate change is real, to smoking IS harmful and no you don’t have the right to impose that on everyone else. All of these issues were part and parcel of the “crazies”, the outliers who don’t fit in. But change did happen.

Today we are the cusp: a point of transition between two different states: 

One that looks toward the realities of our future and moves to deal with it,

and one that says, “I don’t like what I see, so I just won’t look!

Someone else can deal with it.”

Where do you stand? Because where you choose to stand will today make the choices for your children, and their children.  It’s time to take the long view.

cusp

 

Just WHAT exactly is an emission, I ask!

What does it actually mean, “cut emissions”.  I understand the words themselves, but how does that translate into something in my day to day life?  What is the nitty-gritty reality of how I need to emissionsreformulate my life, my lifestyle? Like normal human beings, I want my cake, and to eat it, too.

Not This OR That, but This AND That

It’s especially funny when you consider the dichotomy of today’s media that regurgitates non-stop messages that are in direct contradiction to what we are being told we need to do, to ‘save’ the world.

It’s like saying ‘breath, but don’t breath’… or’ eat but don’t eat’ via TV, radio, internet, billboards, almost anywhere you look.  Those “hidden messages” are there… CONSUME to grow the economy, else there goes someone’s job (and corporate/wall street profits)… but “cut emissions” to protect the environment/slow-reverse global warming.

The reality is, that this is more than just “carpool” or don’t BBQ on certain days, or don’t run small engines (lawnmowers, blowers).

Greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-economic-sector-IPCCWhere do those fantastical magic “emissions” come from?  Well let me tell you, not just from cars and small engines!

Try the clothes you wear, the couch you sit on, the computer you compute on, the books you read, the food you eat, etc., etc., etc. Just about everything produces emissions… somewhere.

Most of it elsewhere; out of sight, out of mind…. I don’t feel guilty because I don’t even connect the two.

CONNECTING THE DOTS

Buy a new top? Do you need it? ‘just love those colors, that style, Jane has one, I’ll look so cool’, etc.

But what if it translated to a death? or serious health issues?  Because mom, working in the 3rd world factory, to produce ‘your discretionary purchase’, gets sick from the fumes of the machinery she works on 12 hours/day. Or triggers asthma in the surrounding populations of children from the particulate matter so thick in the air, they have to wear a mask to go outside?

But it’s just a top…. just one.

Yep… some 1 million ‘just one’ do tend to add up, though. The reality is the particulate matter index that is objective, coldly, unflinchingly real.

OK, bring it closer to home. I love seafood. We’re loosing a dramatic portion of our seafood ecosystem: shellfish (oysters, clams, shrimp,etc) because they are having problems making their shells.  The ocean waters are becoming acidic at a rate 10 to 100 times faster than ever mapped. Ocean core samples tell us 65 million years ago was the last time the oceans were so acidic.  The ocean ecosystem needs a bit more than just a 50 years to adjust to such a dramatic change in their world. (By the way, the ocean plankton produce 50% of the O2 we breath!)

The oceans absorb and hold 50 times as much carbon (CO2) as the air.  Shellfish can’t make their shell’s in water that is too acidic. Those that already have shells, find that their shell is dissolving. In a human being, an acidic change like that in our bloodstream, would cause seizures and death. Such a simple little thing with some really, really long term consequences.

We have to reverse the trend,  but because the acidification has already been put in motion, it will take a while.  Think of a rock that goes over the edge. Once it goes over, it’s pretty dang hard to get it back. In fact, you don’t. You just wait till it get’s to the bottom and deal with the consequences.

MY BACKYARD

Let’s bring it really close to home.  Remember that top you purchased?  Now it comes time to wash & dry it.  Did you know there is NO SUCH THING as an energy efficient electric dryer?  That term is called an oxymoron; two words joined that mean the opposite of each other.

solar array countryWhen we lived off-grid for 4 years I had to learn to pay attention to some little details.  How many watts did it take to run something. Our advantage was that it was solar that powered our setup, so outside the production & transportation of the solar array, it was now emission neutral.

But we lived on a “budget” of watts that were available for use. A tiny inefficient college refrigerator “cost” almost as much to run as my super energy efficient french door fridge! Amazing.  It paid to look at the “details”.

A laptop.. 40.  Crockpot… 100. An iron… 1,000.  An electric dryer…4,000.

The real day-to-day choice is, do I hang that top up on the clothesline to dry or toss it in the dryer?  If I hang it up, will I need to iron it? Just how many watts am I using? (watts = emissions, generally, unless you have solar panels). And come to think of it, how often do I need to wash something, really.

Here in sunny California, with our ongoing drought, I suspect one of the most significant things we can do at this point (having already done the usual conservation measures) is to REDUCE the amount of laundry we do.  It consumes water and energy. Lots. Moving water creates emissions.

In our current society of plenty, we wear something once, toss in the laundry.  Washer & dryers were touted as labor saving devices when they first arrived on the scene.  But people increased the number of things that went into the laundry such that there was no ‘extra time saved’ because you had more to do. More to do = more emissions. More water used and more emissions to move the water, to get to you.

WHAT IF?

What if you did something wild and crazy… like purchased fewer items, picked more durable fabrics,energy cloth use wore them longer, wore them more frequently.

What is the net result? Any impact on emissions? Take the challenge… reduce your wardrobe, increase the wear time between washing, hang it on the line to dry.  Can you see the domino effect of that simple change in lifestyle?

Jim has two sets of jeans… one set for office work and one set for farm work. Now the office work jeans don’t ever really get what I call dirty. EVER. They get crinkled.

His farm jeans… OMG, they get so much dirt/crud on them, they could almost stand up by themselves. Wash something when it really does need it. Otherwise, air it out.

I remember as a kid, when I had 2 pairs of shoes. One pair for church, one pair of tennis shoes for everyday wear. If I needed something nice, it was the church shoes that got worn.

REAL PRICE? 

Price, and having the ability to pay it, is not the only consideration anymore. What are the other costs that we are asking others to pay?

Is it something actually, definitively needed? or just “wanted”?

See… Wall Street, Public Relations, Media, Psychologist have gotten very, very, very good at their “business” of appealing to our wants, in order to fund their profits.  On the surface, it just seems to be about having the dollars to pay for something. But it is the “something” they are telling us we should want/have/desire/deserve to have regardless of the real price being paid. Never mind those other “costs”, they don’t concern you.

One of the best books I read in high school, was called, “The Hidden Persuaders”. Originally published in 1957, The Hidden hiddenPersuaders by Vance Packard, was the first book to show how the manipulation practices that have come to dominate today’s corporate-driven world began. It has been re-released, and now features an introduction by Mark Crispin Miller, revealing how advertisers use psychological methods to tap into our unconscious desires in order to “persuade” us to buy the products they are selling.

If you listen to a commercial today (we rarely do, thank you TiVo & the fast forward button on the remote control), there is seldom any real information; it’s all a sales pitch with little relationship to reality. “You deserve this”, “This will make you more appealing – people will like you”, etc. Even supposedly factual information is slanted to convince you that this will be good for you somehow.

They are never ever looking out for my interests, it’s only about profit. Period.

TAKING IT BACK

But I can take all that back.  I don’t have to buy into the ‘game’.

Some years back, we stopped (heaven forbid) celebrating Christmas, the commercial Xmas.  It was such a joy and relief. We had quiet time together.  We actually enjoyed visiting with family and friends.  It stopped being about the gifts and the crazy-making circus that went with that.  Now, we don’t have little ones, and we will buy gifts for the children. But limited in scope/dollars.  It no longer runs the show.

Media tells you, “you need this and that” but do you really? Or is it just so you can spend your life paying them their profits? at the expense of real connection; talking, sharing, working together, playing, etc.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO MAKE CHANGES

Our current lifestyle styles have created the long-term problems that will effect the whole world.  It’s time to reverse that process. A world based on consumption i.e. producing emissions, is headed toward extinction. The only real questions is do we want to go down that path. If not, then now is the time to make thoughtful choices. It all begins today.  I think it begins with the a simple question, “Do I really need this “fill in the blank” to live? Followed by, “And is it worth the price others might have to pay?”

Take a close look at how you define the word “NEED”, and is it a substitute for need for approval, need for status, need for competitive advantage, need for control”? It will tell you a lot about who you really are compared to who you “think” you are.

The best thing you can do is to try and lower how much carbon dioxide your lifestyle produces every day. You have heard the phrase, “Recycle, repurpose, reuse, reduce”. Begin to consciously integrate that into your lives and gently suggest & model it to those around you. Change in our culture starts from the ground up, in your home, inside our families.

You may well find a world more satisfying and real.

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