Two years ago I was lucky to be one of the few Americans allowed to visit Iran. We were there for 8 days visiting cultural and historical places as well as meeting many Iranian people. After 40 years of hearing what an awful country Iran is, we were thrilled to find a friendly engaging people. They are interested in, and like the American people. Everywhere we went we were approached by the charming people. The wanted to talk to us and find out how we liked their country and how we liked their food. Many times a day they would approach us offering us candy, asking to take pictures of us, wanting to engage with us. They seemed to find pleasure that we also had unpleasant leaders, and we often heard, “We both have bad governments, butwe the people, we are friends!” Our guide said the Iranian people never chose this government, the Ayatollah was able to take over during the Iranian Revolution.
“I have found meaning, in a world that sometimes seems meaningless to so many people.” Greta Thunberg, Swedish 16 year old activist
What can we do to have more meaning in our lives? What can we do to have a happier and healthier world? As I write this many places in the world are in crisis. It is flooding in Japan, a hurricane is bearing down on the United States and Bahamas. The Amazon, Alaska, and Canada are burning up, and Hong Kong is in political chaos, and many others are starving and face daily violence. This is all serious stuff, and even worse we are so lacking leaders with vision, with positive thoughts for the future. We need leaders that really care for our Earth and all the people that live here. It is stressful. We can all lighten our stress on the world by being aware of our actions and the impact we make.
Yes, many are under stress as is our Earth. I think the best thing you can do for your mental health is to be outside and find beauty in each day. Go for a walk, a bike ride or just sit on a bench. Search for quiet and beauty. Get out of your car, and unplug those phones! Everyday do something good for yourself, but also for the world, and for others. Our actions matter. Set some healthy goals for yourself and get outside for a walk as much as you can, take your nature-pill
The Actions for Happiness group has a calendar with good ideas, take care of yourself, and find better meaning in life. See below. Good luck!
I think most of us would agree we don’t want polluted air and water, or a world without interesting animals, birds, and butterflies. Can we accept a world where people are staving to death? Do we want to live without diversity, in a mono-culture where we can’t accept anything different from how we live? Do we want a world where disrespect is accepted?
Several recent studies and events should wake us up and shake us to action. First a study from the United Nations that says we are going to have a food crisis if we don’t change our land use. We just aren’t going to have food for everyone if we continue on our path of land use and wasting food. The study encourages a reduction in our meat consumption. The raising of meat, especially beef and lamb takes an enormous amount of energy, land, and water resources. It also states we must stop wasting so much food. Read the study comprised by over a hundred scientists here.
Second, how about some plastic in your drink? Plastic is everywhere, and it might never break down. The amount of plastic microfibers in our water and air is troubling. Read about it at Plastic. Read about the plastic in the big lake at Lake Superior.
Finally, the quality of life will decline if we don’t have song birds and crickets singing, if we don’t have eagles, hummingbirds or happy chickadees to entertain us. We all want a world with penguins, giraffes and elephants. Our changing climate makes it necessary that we protect and support animals that will take longer to adjust to this change. Protecting some animals might be as simple as keeping oil and gas companies from drilling in certain areas. Read at Endangered Species Act . The Trump administration intends to end special protections of some of our most cherished animals.
What actions matter? These are the things my household tries to do everyday. If everyone does a little, it adds up to a lot! 1. Reduce food waste. This is the hardest, but the most important! https://savethefood.com/ 2. Eat less meat, https://damndelicious.net/2014/12/02/15-best-quick-easy-meatless-recipes/ 3. Reduce our plastic foot-print and work for zero waste 4. Buy less stuff, and purchase items that will last, not junk! 5. Be kind. It would be a boring world if everyone had blue eyes, blond hair, tiny noses, and a perfect weight. Be respectful of our differences.
If everyone does a little, it adds up to a lot! Our warming planet is real, and we need to find ways use our land more efficiently, and to slow down our warming planet. What do you think? What kind of world do you want to live in?
How can each of us show more respect for the Earth and all human beings? We all want to live in communities that respect who we are, thrive, and are healthy. None of this happens by accident. Each of us can work for better communities by limiting the noise we create, pick up after our dogs, pick up litter , sweep our sidewalks, smile, be friendly and talk to people. How hard is that? We can create environments that are pleasant to live in, and it doesn’t cost any money! Kindness creates a ripple, it radiates out, and helps create a happy environment.
Also, think of the children. They are watching us. What kind of role model are you for them? Always tell the truth, and be sure you follow the rules: slow down your driving, stop for stop signs, watch for children, pedestrians and bikers. Yes, our communities can be safe, healthy, and friendly to everyone! See the Actions for Happiness calendar below for many actions for respect and kindness:
July 1, is Canada’s birthday, and July 4, is the birthday of the United States. Both kick off a month of celebrations, reunions, and all kinds of parties. How do we cope with ideas and activities we don’t agree with? Actions For Happiness calendar ideas below help us to enjoy the month of July.
I always recommend outdoor time, and a daily walk without technology! Set a goal for something to work on such as Plastic Free July. My husband is training for a long walk, and others are training for long bicycle rides. Maybe just set a goal for a short outside walk everyday, sign up for a new class, or really commit to zero waste, smile more, or reduce the amount of driving you do! I met a woman whose goal was to go fishing and camping in Canada. She was so happy!
Take control of your life, don’t let politics get you down, unplug, be kind, and enjoy!
This is a week to appreciate and celebrate our pollinators. In my yard there are many baby monarch caterpillars eating on milkweed, and eggs of the painted lady butterfly on pearly everlasting and pussy toes. A dragon fly has been following me around as I work, and the hummingbirds stop to check things out. It is a beautiful exciting time! Get outside and enjoy.
Our insects and pollinators have been in serious decline the past few years. This is a week is to heighten our awareness of pollinators. Make an effort to spot some butterflies, bees, dragon flies, or maybe a hummingbird.
Unfortunately, we have become a mono-culture world of asphalt, concrete, turf grass and hostas. Maybe you live in corn and soy bean country, more mono-cultures. Most of us can make changes to our environment to help pollinators. Maybe just place a pot of flowers on your deck, something that bees and butterflies like, or maybe replace a hosta with a wild geranium or native violets, maybe stop using chemicals on your lawn and turn it into a clover yard, or plant some bee balm, milkweed, coneflowers or sunflowers.
A new extensive UN study says we are on track to loose over a million spieces in the next few decades. Pesticides are a problem for bees and insects, but the study says the lack of plant diversity is also a big problem. Our farmers plant too much corn and soybeans, and yards have too much turf grass and too many hostas!
Each one of us can make a difference, think diversity in your yard! How can you brighten your yard and make it more attractive to pollinators?
The urban and rural gardener all have an important part to play in the health of our pollinators. Diversity is important. Keep it simple to start, native plants are easy to grow, but don’t forget native trees, especially oaks, are excellent at adding diversity. Last, but most important, purchase plants from serious nurseries, and ask to make sure plants haven’t been treated with neonicotinoids.
“Nature needs to be appreciated for itself and viewed as natures health dictates our human health. Without healthy water, land and soil and wildlife we will not survive as human beings. We must set aside of land, and water bodies and protect them from development. We must be aggressive protecting our land water and wildlife.” Ecowatch, read more here.