My friend Josephine cam all the way from California with her contingent from Elders Climate Action, for two days of lobbying on the Hill, and the People’s Climate March. They marched the halls of Congress for 2 days before the big march!
I live on a lovely little bay off the Potomac River, downstream from Washington, DC. It’s alive with turtles and catfish and migrating water birds. Bald eagles nest in the woods nearby, along with osprey, woodpeckers, red-tailed hawks and many other birds.
But my bay, and the larger Chesapeake, is choked with foul rotting algae much of the year, the result of excess ‘nutrients’ from farms, sewage, run-off and lawn fertilizers. The sewage plant has recently had to absorb the waste outflow from a gigantic new development over 12 miles away, with more than 5,000 residents and 13 million visitors annually.
While National Harbor has brought jobs and tourist dollars to Prince Georges County, which has never benefited as much as surrounding counties from DC’s economic growth, this overwhelms the sewage treatment facilities resulting in more filth in my bay.
Few people consider how their toilet flushing, lawn chemicals, street run-off or local farm waste are affecting our natural environment.
And yet our river is quite healthy for an urban river, as the birds and the fish who still live here will testify. In many places the situation is much, much worse.
The voracious habits of the developed world, now exported to China and India’s millions of aspiring workers, are only accelerating the pace. In my lifetime we’ve destroyed most of the ancient forests on the planet, and killed half of the wild creatures that roamed the earth.
Consider this, from Joanna Macy & Jennifer Berezan:
Please be thoughtful in your choices that impact our world. Consider what you can do and give to help reverse the damage our people do to the world.
I saw Disney’s new Jungle Book film, and it’s a magnificent experience – a beautiful, heart-wringing adventure. As one of the millions of kids who were a captive audience for the 1967 animated version, I watched it in rapt delight and breathless anticipation.
I’m more of an experiential viewer than a critic; thus I fell in love with Bagheera’s green eyes and cultured voice (Ben Kingsley.) Bill Murray as Baloo the bear was inspired. The lushly detailed environments, plants and animals is a feast for the eyes. But the story the crisis that Mowgli the man-cub brings to his jungle community is bittersweet.
Mowgli is raised by the wolf pack and mentored by Bagheera. They consider the boy one of their own. Shear Kan, the menacing Bengal tiger, claims that man is the most dangerous beast of all, and insists that the man-cub must leave, and later, die. The community erupts in debate, and Mowgli, unwilling to be the cause of such strife, agrees to leave.
For all the lush beauty of this film, with it’s depiction of vibrant life, knowing it’s all created with CGI leaves me with a hollow ache. The ‘jungle’ world that Kipling wrote of in 1894 no longer exists today, except in scraps of parkland. So Shear Kan made a valid point: humans will bring the end of life as they know it.
Please, go enjoy the movie. It’s lovely. But then take some small action to help the creatures in the film.
To learn more about the state of the ‘jungle’ today, visit one of these organizations.
While it may be true that there are certain, say, presidential candidates who don’t need encouragement in this area, most of the people I know could benefit from more sincere self-appreciation.
What if we didn’t just wait, hoping that others might notice we need love and appreciation? What if we had a day to honor the best in ourselves? Well, Terri St. Cloud of Bone Sigh Arts posted this on her blog: “Let’s put the Heart in Valentine’s Day”.
You’ll find some heartfelt examples there. And I bet you can think of people in your own life who deserve more love and credit for goodness than they give themselves.
Let’s give it a try. First, spend a little time considering what you need, and see how you can give yourself more. More peace, more time, more love, more patience; more compassion. And look for ways to share this gift with others who need a little, or a lot, of encouragement to honor themselves.
It just might make the world a better place.
In celebration of Dr. King’s holiday, I want to honor the Rev. Delores M. Roberts-Mason, who dedicated her life to “the least, the last and the lost,” empowering children through reading, performing arts, education and religion.
Mrs. Roberts-Mason was a natural at empowerment. She pursued her first degree while her two children were young, and took them with her to campus on weekends. “I want them to assume they belong in university,” she told me.
The list of Delores’ accomplishments is long. during her 30 years with DC DHS she touched many lives, uplifting, educating, encouraging and empowering families who had fallen on hard times. Her testimony before the House and Senate Select Committee on Aging in 1989 was helped pass legislation protecting seniors. Howard University honored her as an Outstanding Woman of Washington for her work with young people.
When I met Delores in 2004, she was the head of Zoe Life Ministries, a faith-based youth empowerment organization that ran reading, performing arts and non-violence programs with area kids.
Armed with only volunteers, Rev. Delores and the Zoe Kids & Teens Theater Group wrote, produced and performed numerous musicals including Day of Reckoning, Heart of an Angel, Why and more. The typical production took 2 years from script to performance. Dedicated volunteers worked with the kids on dance, acting and music. But it was Rev. Delores who recruited, wrote, rallied and wrangled the entire magnificent enterprise into being.
The Teen Peace Summit was a special school day dedicated to violence prevention held at Walker Mill Middle School in Capital Heights, MD. Tapping her extensive network of professionals in many fields for leaders, Rev. Delores created a dozen or more break-out sessions with topics like Conflict Resolution, How to Say NO, Seeing One Another through Art, and more on the morning of this special day. The afternoon saw awards presented to students for accomplishments in writing, speaking and art.
Rev. Delores had many gifts, but perhaps the most important was the ability to help people open up and share the best part of themselves. She touched many lives in her work, certainly my own. I believe she had the heart of an angel.
You can listen to a beautiful radio tribute to Rev. Delores here:
MPI celebrates the life of Rev. Delores M. Roberts-Mason
If this story moves you, give more of yourself to those in need, from the heart. It’s what Rev. Delores would have encouraged you to do.
This video broke my heart. Again.
Please tell me how this video makes you feel.
I’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover the vet bills that have exploded in the wake of Lily’s skin disease.
If you can help by sharing the link or donating even a few dollars, that’s a big help. Prayers and good wishes are greatly appreciated. You can read all the details at this link:
I didn’t want to get to this point, but I found out the hard way that relying on the budget vet clinic is a very bad idea with skin diseases!
Thank you again for your kindness.
Meet Rana Raeuchle , teacher, artist and mother, currently working in South Korea. Her son Allen, now grown, keeps the home fires burning until Rana completes her contract later this year.
Young artist and mother, left by husband, gets education and raises her son, working as an artist and educator. To help out, Rana’s mother eventually acquires a modest house and rents it to them. Then, Mom gets cancer and goes through several years of terrible and fatal illness. Due to unforeseeable problems with wills and lawyers, the house does not, as planned, convey to Rana.
For all these years Rana has paid rent, and more recently the mortgage. But with probate complete, the bank is forcing a sale since Rana is not the original mortgage holder, nor the official heir. Despite Rana’s diligent work history but admittedly low-income, her efforts to procure a loan to cover this amount have proved fruitless. Now the clock is ticking, and a solution is needed by the end of the month.
The amount required to purchase this house is only $45,000.