Participation Is Power

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This election is already too long, too silly, and too expensive, but please don’t sit it out! Choosing the next president of the United States is a long cumbersome process, and such a small number of people actually participate in this beginning process, but it is the most important!  Those that show up have the power!

How do we get more people to participate? You are important to this process, and everyone needs to feel that their vote and their opinion count, but you can’t do that if you don’t show up. If you don’t vote, you pass your power as a citizen to those that do participate. With all the money in politics, participation in the voting process is our one voice. This voice is needed to try to keep big money and corporations from making all the rules. Good elected leaders are important to health of our planet and the health of our people.  We need to elect serious leaders that are capable of getting the big picture and choose leaders that are not beholden to those that make big financial contributions.  A democracy is only as strong as those who work to make it strong by participating.
In Minnesota like Iowa we have caucuses. Caucuses take a high level of commitment.  Political parties organize and run the caucus meetings. Because the political parties run the caucus meetings, many think they aren’t welcome. Everyone is welcome, and your voice is not heard if you don’t attend. Even though I don’t like the process, I attend. I believe in the voice of all citizens. You need to attend because your voice as to who is elected is just as important as the party hacks and leaders.  In Minnesota you don’t need to be registered to participate according to what I read, and I have never seen anyone register. Caucuses in Minnesota are not set up to register people.  Find you caucus location through your state Secretary of State website.(This is Minnesota as an example)

If your state has a primary you are lucky, go and cast your vote on the correct date, at the correct polling location, but make sure you are registered.  Call or google your city hall or Secretary of State to find out how to register and where to vote. Every state has different rules for registering and voting. Don’t waste your one vote! See the link below for your state’s primary election or caucus date.

The job of all citizens is enormous, and your help is needed! Caucuses can be fun. Go and make a night of it. You will learn something, and you will meet new people! If your state has a primary election, get registered and vote. Our country will be stronger the more people who participate. Many around the world would love to have this opportunity!

See when your state presidential event takes place in the link below:

http://2016.primary-caucus.org/

Just do it, participate!

Please report back what you learn, and what surprises you.

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Loving A Mild Winter, My Superior View

Ice on Lake Superior doesn't last long.
Ice on Lake Superior doesn’t last long.

“There is a privacy about winter that no other season gives you. Only in winter can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”  Ruth Stout

January has been a month of peace, quiet and intense beauty on Lake Superior.  Snow frosted balsams radiate a charm that goes unnoticed during other seasons.

Then a few hours later open water on the big lake.
A few hours later, open water with a few ice clumps on the big lake.

The face of the lake can change hourly as the lake refreshes itself, and the wind shifts. The lake dramatically changes from ice-covered to a few floating chunks of ice, and then back to ice-covered. Sporting new looks adds to the mystique of this enormous fresh water lake.

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Calmer winds allow the balsams to stay snow covered. A few ice chunks on the lake.

Pure Michigan?

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As you drive into Michigan you are greeted with an advertising campaign,”Welcome to Pure Michigan” with images of clean pure water.  Could the millions spent on this campaign have been put into actually keeping their water clean?  Even when Governor Rick Snyder’s administration knew the water in Flint was bad, they told residents it was safe.

Why has telling lies become OK? Why do officials entrusted with our safety make stupid uninformed decisions? Why don”t they get the big picture? Do they become blinded by power and campaign donations? Do they understand the word trust? What needs to change?

No one should be allowed to mess with water or food safety.  As a public, we trust that the best decisions are made for our safety. However, holding elected officials accountable is tough. They know most of us aren’t paying attention and think they can do almost anything without being penalized. Saving money in Flint, Michigan became more important than using good sense . Officials, including Governor Rick Snyder, should all be forced to resign and be banned from government jobs in the future. The fact that lead polluted water flowed into the homes in Michigan in the year 2015-2016 is astonishing.

I would always be wary of candidates that claim they will “cut your taxes”.  Yes, they cut taxes on the backs of the most vulnerable.  In Flint, Michigan officials were more interested in saving money than the health of their constituents.  The only good thing about this situation is that they have been caught.  Unfortunately, caught after harming of the health and future of Flint’s children and residents.  Below is an excellent segment from the PBS Newshour about what happened in Flint:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/in-flint-public-trust-poisoned-by-toxic-drinking-water-crisis-2/

Pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who called attention to the elevated lead levels in Flint’s children, explained to NPR how the city’s water came to be contaminated:

“The city of Flint under state-appointed emergency management, almost bankrupt … switched their water source from Detroit, which was fresh Great Lakes water source, which we’ve been using for over 50 years, to the local Flint River to save money.

“And that local Flint River was innately more corrosive than the Great Lakes water source. And the critical corrosion inhibitor, which is mandatory for all drinking water systems to use … was not added to that water.

“So you had a more corrosive water source without the corrosion control added to it, going into an aging infrastructure with a lot of lead plumbing. That was a perfect storm for that lead to leach out of the pipes into the drinking water and into the bodies of children.”

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/16/463319454/obama-declares-state-of-emergency-over-flints-contaminated-water

https://ecowatch.com/2016/01/18/obama-flint-state-of-emergency/

http://www.startribune.com/a-timeline-of-the-water-crisis-in-flint-michigan/365527721/

http://www.startribune.com/flint-is-exhibit-a-for-environmental-regulations/366133611/

http://www.startribune.com/a-sensible-presidential-veto-in-the-wake-of-a-drinking-water-disaster/365990721/

What can you do?

1. Read the paper and pay attention to what policymakers are doing.

2. Call officials, attend city meetings.  Let them know you are not happy.

3. Always vote, and not for the tax cutter!

4. Trust: What can we do to make officials want to earn our trust?  If they want leadership positions, shouldn’t they be role models for the greater good? How do we ever get to that point?

5. Support rules and policy that call for strict clean and water and air standards.

Ready for City Composting?

Backyard Compost Collection
Backyard Compost Collection  This is now frozen and covered by snow.

http://www.startribune.com/four-things-to-know-before-you-get-your-new-minneapolis-organics-bin/366901451/

Food waste composes about 30% of our landfill waste. If left to rot in landfills it can create green house gases, and if it is burned, it pollutes the air. We can change food waste into a new healthy material for our gardens and plants. The end result of food waste is compost. No fertilizer or chemicals needed with compost!
I am thrilled my city, Minneapolis, is beginning to collect food waste for composting. You need to sign up for a cart by February 1, 2016.
Below is a great video about commercial composting:

What do you use to collect food waste?
What do you use to collect food waste?

If you have participated in commercial composting in your city, give us some tips to help us learn about it.

Just say, “No straw!”

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Just say “no” to straws

My series on #31daysoflesswaste continues: How can you use less plastic today, and everyday? Below is an exciting campaign to eliminate the use of straws. It gives you hope!

Keeping plastic out our oceans, lakes and rivers is essential. Below is a video of a “No Straw” campaign being done by high school students in California.  You will like it.

Read more: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/photos/16-simple-ways-to-reduce-plastic-waste/just-say-no-to-straws#ixzz3KqhfhwN1

 

 

Resolutions to help You and our Planet to Better Health

“If everyone does a little bit, it adds up to a whole lot!” health4earth

What can you do?
What can you do?

We all need to take some personal responsibility to make ourselves and our planet healthier. Below are some of the things I work for everyday, and I hope you will add a few of them to your 2016 agenda. Please respond with your clean climate ideas.

My series #31daysoflesswaste continues:

1. Buy less stuff, reuse, reuse and reuse the things you have.

2. Stop idling your car, bundle your car trips together to drive less, and carpool more!  Or take the bus!

3. How can I use less electricity?

4. How can I prepare for drought and inundation? Save water run-off by planning and building a rain garden with native plants. http://bluethumb.org/raingardens/

5. Compost food scraps and strive to be a Climatarian. https://health4earth.com/2015/12/28/climatarian-a-new-resolution/

6. Recycle and donate your unwanted stuff “More and more people understand that there is no “away” in the finite system that is planet Earth and that we can’t keep using our precious air, water and land to dump the stuff we no longer want. If something can’t be reused, repaired, refurbished or otherwise repurposed, the next best thing is to recycle it.” David Suzuki  www.earth911.com or donate to your local donation non-profit

7. How can I reduce single-use consumption of plastic bottles/containers, and reduce my consumption of plastic bags?

What do you do for our planet and yourself to be healthier?

Happy 2016!

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