PFAS Traps – #WATWB

#WATWB — Self Assembling PFAS Traps

In a world where the news gets worse every day, where words like quarantining and self-isolating have become part of our everyday jargon, and where environmental degradation seems to be the least of our worries, where the world sits, steeped in misery and despair and at the point of implosion, there’s finally something to raise our spirits an inch:  PFAS traps.

First off, what the heck is PFAS?

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — collectively known as PFAS — are a group of man-made chemicals that include PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many others.  Manufacturing of PFAS began in the 1940s and soon this miracle product was being used in all kinds of products ranging from GorTex to teflon pans.  

And PFAS had superpowers.  They could repel both oil and water at the same time and were so versatile that  manufacturers started putting these chemicals into everything:  waterproof clothing, shoes, non-stick cookware, personal care products like hairspray and foundation, paints, carpet, fast food wrappers, cardboard packaging, electrical wire casings, surfactants, emulsifiers, and hundreds of other products.  Eggs don’t stick when you cook with teflon and clean up is a breeze.  And who wants to climb Mt. Everest wearing 20 pounds of wet wool when you can wick moisture away with GorTex?  Even airports and army bases were using PFAS in their fire fighting foam.

What an amazing product, right?

Unfortunately, our greatest triumphs are often our Achilles heel.

The name PFAS describes the entire suite of chemicals with a fluorine and carbon bond so strong they have been dubbed “forever” chemicals.  Further, the widespread use of PFAS has made them insanely persistent in the environment.  There’s about 5,000 chemicals under this umbrella but the two most studied are PFOA and PFOS.  While PFOS has been phased out of production, there are still plenty of replacements.

PFAS chemicals migrate through air, water, soil, food, even dust.  They’re also used in packaging.  Likely exposure routes are through food or water contaminated with PFAS, and through our skin via personal care products and clothing.   For instance, if you scratch your teflon pan, the chemicals in the coating are released, so you get to have PFAS with your eggs.

The FDA found PFAS contamination in many foods sampled at the grocery store including seafood, and even chocolate cake.  Currently there are no MCLs — maximum contaminant levels — for PFAS in drinking water, just a health advisory level of 70 ppt — that’s about 3 drops in an entire swimming pool.  It’s not an enforceable regulation but it is driven by a risk assessment.

Health effects of PFAS include cancer, liver damage, developmental issues and more.  A report by the CDC found PFAS in the blood serum of practically everyone in the U.S.   The number was going down since removing certain PFAS from many consumer products — which is good news.  And the industry is replacing the old chemicals with shorter carbon chain chemicals like GenX, but we don’t know a lot about these shorter chain chemicals.  We do know more research is needed to understand the fate and transport and exposure routes and that’s going to take more time, but do we have it?

Regulating PFAS is a complicated issue, but that doesn’t mean that the water utilities haven’t figured some things out.  PFAS are resistant to chemical treatment but they can be removed using granular activated carbon (GAC), reverse osmosis, and ion exchange resins.

And now, hopefully, with PFAS traps.

Scientists at the University of Buffalo have discovered self-assembling PFAS traps.  By creating a tetrahedral cage made from iron and other organics that assemble like Legos, they are able to trap the PFAS to the outside of the chamber.  The hope is to use these traps to pull PFAS out of drinking water which could ultimately improve water quality and drinking water standards.

And who wouldn’t be happy with a little purer water?

It’s the last Friday of the month.  Time to share the good news on We Are the World Blogfest — #WATWB — a monthly good news trip around the world.  May we all be energized and rejuvenated by the good news.  If you’re interested in joining our Blog Hop, the guidelines are as follows:

1. Keep your post to below 500 words;

2. Link to a human news story on the last Friday of each month that demonstrates love, kindness, humanity, support, open-mindedness, you know, that kind of stuff, but no proselytizing, preaching or inconsiderateness toward others;

3. Post on the last Friday of the month in sharing the good news.  No story is too big or small;

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar and help spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome;

5. Read and comment on others’ posts, play nice, and make friends;

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list.  This month’s cohosts are:

Susan Scott – http://www.gardenofedenblog.com/

Inderpreet Kaur Uppal – http://inderpreetuppal.com/

Shilpa Garg – https://shilpaagarg.com/

Peter Nena – https://drkillpatient01.wordpress.com/

Thanks for reading!

pam lazos 7.31.20

Posted in clean water, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

A Gallant Man

A Gallant Man

I’ll never get used to this death thing.  You would think by now we should be buds,  or at least on cordial terms, having lost both my parents, a baby brother, all my grandparents, uncles, cousins, friends, aunts, including my most adored one who was not really a blood relation at all, but like a grandmother, gifted to me from the universe to step in for the YaiYai and Nana I’d lost as a kid.  Yet, the universe does step up when you need it, for me in the form of my father-in-law who passed away last week, surrounded by his family and secure in the knowledge that he was on his way to the best of parties at the Place To Be where things would be a lot less worrisome than here on planet earth.

About a month ago, my father-in-law spent a week in the hospital.  He’d been taken by ambulance in the middle of the night when his oxygen levels dropped so low he could barely catch a breath.  For the better part of the last year, he’d been battling this issue with his lungs; for the 84 years prior, he’d been healthy, happy, and full of life, creating beautiful tables, lamps and sundries out of wood, still doing some side work for a friend, still helping his kids with their home improvements, still cutting his lawn with a push mower, still going hunting, still showing up whenever you needed him, still doing everything he loved and then some.  He’d been active in his church his whole life, until Covid, and was responsible for so many of the brick and mortar improvements at their church that it would be hard for anyone to walk in there and not feel his spirit just hanging about the place.

I think he could have dealt with most anything in life except the inability to be of service. That weighed on him — that and the leaky mitral valve that didn’t close properly so the tiniest bit of blood kept sloshing back and forth each time his heart beat.  After awhile stuff like that catches up with you and at the end, there wasn’t enough blood moving through to keep the rest of the body, especially his lungs, working properly.

The day he died, my father-in-law said to my mother-in-law:  “I don’t think I’m going to make it to your birthday.” 

Her birthday was only five days away.  Whether she expected him to say that or something else was unclear, but being the stoic woman she is, my mother-in-law reacted in a way I know I could not have. 

She didn’t break down or cry or ask God why.  (I maintain this is the difference between a Swiss/German ancestry and a Greek/Italian one.)  She just took it in stride, probably said something like, “yes, well,” shorthand for, “none of us has any control over what happens anyway since it’s all in God’s hands,” and went about attending to his needs.  “We’ve lived a good life,” she’s said again and again, and it’s true, they have.

Later that same day, my father-in-law asked Son 3 — there are four boys and one girl in my husband’s family — to get his car inspected, one less chore for my mother-in-law to do somewhere down the road is probably what he was thinking.  The standing instructions were to sell both cars after he died and buy my mother-in-law a new car so she wouldn’t have to hassle with car issues.  Even when he was dying, my father-in-law was thinking of others, especially my mother-in-law.  They’d been married for 65 years so this transition was going to be a tough one.  Everyone knew that.  Son 3 did as requested and then asked his father if there was anything else he could do.

“Yes,” was the response.  “Go get two dozen roses for your mother so I can give them to her for her birthday.”  My mother-in-law loves flowers and my father-in-law has always gifted them to her on her birthday and other holidays.  Son 3 bought the flowers as requested and snuck them into basecamp — the room where my father-in-law had been set up with a hospital bed and all his accoutrements for the three weeks since he’d been home from the hospital.  It was a comfy room with a TV, a couple chairs for visitors, a pot of hydrangeas my mother-in-law had put on the table so he would have something beautiful to look at, and pictures of their family throughout the years on all the walls, and, of course, the oxygen tanks.

The only problem was the windows didn’t allow him to see enough of the outside world like the bay window in the living room did so he’d fought hard to get out of that bed and into his easy chair that was just down the long hall that led to the living room.  A few days earlier, he had done it, done it so well, in fact, that all of us thought he was rallying, that maybe he could live for months or even longer this way.  The couple days in the living room were like manna from heaven for him and the family, a gift like no other.  He was talkative, animated, and full of wisdom he wanted to pass on.

Yet nothing of earth lasts forever.

 

“It all happened on the same day,” my mother-in-law said.  Her husband had died half an hour earlier, surrounded by us all, forever at peace.  Six hours before that, he had given her two dozen roses for her birthday.

With the instinct of one who knows they don’t have much time left to them, my father-in-law had dispatched Son 3 to buy roses for his wife.  He knew he wasn’t going to be there to give them to her personally so that day would be his last shot. 

Son 3 snuck two dozen roses into the bedroom.  The living room chair where my father-in-law had sat and entertained family a couple days before now seemed like another lifetime.  They called my mother-in-law into the room, and my father-in-law who now reclined in his chair in the bedroom motioned to the flowers and presented her with a card.  I wasn’t there, but I watched the video his son took.  The look of love on my father-in-law’s face was unmistakable and filled with such grace that my heart ached.  It said everything he could not.  The flowers were still there on her birthday, the day we buried him, not a consolation, no, but surely a symbol of his steady and undying love.

Losing a man like that is difficult for everyone who knew him.  My father-in-law was wise, understated, amazingly creative and mechanically gifted — there was nothing he couldn’t repair or build — a talented woodworker, an exceptional father, grandfather and great grandfather who loved trying new things — he bought a boat, and took up cross-country motorcycle riding in his 70s! — and never met a challenge he wouldn’t embrace, “I’m ready,” his epithet. 

 

He was always thinking beyond himself to the needs of others, and rather than ask how he could help, he just helped — the epitome of gallantry.  As for me, I am grateful for the thousands of ways, big and small, that he touched our lives, nurtured our children, and was tremendously supportive of us and our family.  When we used to keep bees he was there helping us with yearly honey extraction, and for me personally, he was especially supportive of my writing, a true gift to me.

 

Such a man can never be replaced, and really, there’s  no point in trying.  Instead, we’ll have to learn to live with the loss, but oh, how sorely he will be missed.

 

***

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll have read my posts about the book Sacred Commerce by Ayman Sawaf and Rowan Gabrielle, and my wobbly attempt to take up the challenge of writing about a different one of the 12 sacred virtues of the merchant priests each month.  It seems a very long time since the last installment, but in truth, I’ve been perseverating over this one — Gallantry — for a while now.  I honestly couldn’t come up with a single example of gallant behavior — neither the heroic kind nor the chivalrous kind.  I don’t know why I didn’t see the pattern in my father-in-law before.  My best guess is that sometimes it takes a tragedy to be grounded in the present.

“Yesterday I was clever. I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise. I am changing myself.”  — Rumi

 

Thank you for reading.

pam lazos 7.26.20

Posted in death and dying | Tagged , , , , , , | 68 Comments

What Forever Looks Like

I looked at my calendar the other morning, the one that hangs inside the pantry door, the family calendar where we used to keep track of soccer games, teacher conferences and kid meetups, of graduation ceremonies and parties, of our doctors appointments and dinners with friends, of volunteer meetings and weekends away, of our presentations and vacations, the calendar that at one time I could not possible run a household without, and you know what?  I hadn’t turned the page since March.

Most of the events in March never materialized, nor did the few in April.  We skipped past May with nary a mark despite a big event or two like my son’s college graduation that never happened and his then upcoming five-month stint out west.  We ran past June, the start of summer and a canceled beach vacation, and now, he we are, hurtling through July like the Space Shuttle.

It’s odd when the life events that mark the passage of time are suspended, when the social fabric that holds society together is put on ice, when you can’t even hug those you love most dearly without first undergoing a two-week isolation period, when things as simple as sharing a meal together or going to the grocery store have become something to dissect, pull apart, analyze down to the studs and wipe clean with disinfectant when you get home.

On another note, all the toilet paper that my husband and I each ordered individually when the pandemic started and you couldn’t get any at the grocery store arrived a few weeks ago, the boxes plopped down on our doorstep within a day of each other, so much that we now have enough to get through to the next pandemic.

Is this what forever looks like?  If so, where do we go from here?  Perhaps we’ll take our cue from the cat and head back to bed until this is all over.

pam lazos 7.24.20

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 30 Comments

Bountiful Calling

Here’s another voice to add to that ever more urgent call for action on behalf of planet earth — Fred Burton, and his novel, Bountiful Calling.

Bountiful Calling:  A Novel

Praise for Bountiful Calling:

“Perhaps the most important benefit of good fiction is that it allows the reader to experience the drama and emotions of the characters in the story in ways that non-fiction can’t do. Thus, good fiction gives us insights to human experiences that are often missed in our day-to-day lives.  Fred Burton’s powerful novel Bountiful Calling about the lives of people caught up in the explosive forces unleashed by the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania is not only an excellent and well-plotted story, but also describes very plausible emotional responses of those caught up in the highly contentious civic warfare over gas fracking that erupted less than two decades ago. Because the characters in this book are believable, understanding their hopes and fears deepens the reader’s empathy for those who continue to be engaged in disputes about the potential impacts of natural gas development on the environment from activities backed by some who benefit economically. Because the intensity of disputes about the acceptability of fossil fuel combustion is likely to deepen in the decades ahead, an understanding of the emotional life of some affected by fossil fuel controversies provided by this novel will enhance the reader’s insights about the human dimensions of important civic challenges still unfolding.”

—Donald A. Brown, Scholar in Residence and Professor, Sustainability Ethics and Law, Widener University Commonwealth Law School

 

Synopsis for Bountiful Calling

When an oil and gas company’s encroachment on Nicole’s family property steals away the bucolic life the family had known for years, Nicole begins a wild and provocative journey, aligning herself  with a group that engages in acts of civil disobedience, attending fire circles where pagan rituals are performed, and participating in a CNN interview that goes off the rails.  Before the crisis, Nicole and Joe, a staffer for a powerful Pennsylvania state senator were en route to falling in love.  Now the two are each asking themselves the bigger questions like what is it they believe and what is worth fighting for?

The action takes place deep in the Marcellus Shale region where Joe’s boss is hell-bent on exploiting the fracking boom to improve the economy in his region.  Watching Nicole’s family ripped from the inside out raises ethical questions Joe had never asked himself before.  Suddenly, he is cognizant of questionable behavior by business and government power brokers that he had previously not noticed, and now he needs to make some tough choices.  Does Joe jeopardize his career and betray the trust of those he works with or does he support the woman he loves?  How far will Nicole go to save the life she loved?  Read Bountiful Calling and find out.

 

All About Fred Burton

Fred Burton grew up in Queens, New York. He wrote fiction in his early 20s and returned to it again after his children reached their teen years. His first novel, The Old Songs, takes place in Queens during the 1950s and early 1960s. Although he grew up after the years covered in this book, he did experience the turbulent effects of this era and heard the stories brought forth from it. One reviewer said the book read like a “gritty Anne Tyler novel.”

His latest novel, Bountiful Calling, is set in central Pennsylvania and was drawn from a variety of influences. While living in Harrisburg, Pa. he was involved in the anti-fracking movement. This was an excellent vantage point from which to see the powerful business and government forces coalescing around the economic potential of fracking but also its effects on individual people and communities.

Burton avoids easy answers, whether in the emotional interactions in The Old Songs or the ideas swirling about in Bountiful Calling. He carefully constructs situations and characters and at a certain point lets them go on their way. He would rather place the reader within a richly textured, complex situation and let him or her decide what is important, what rings with the sound of truth.

Burton spent his career working in the computer information world, both for government and in the private sector. He’s now working on a new novel that builds upon the themes developed in Bountiful Calling.  He lives in Baltimore, MD.

 

Q&A With Bountiful Calling Author Fred Burton

The book’s main conflict involves fracking. Have you or anyone you know been personally affected by it?

No.

What brought up the desire to write this book?

I lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for many years. I attended a few anti-fracking demonstrations during which residents from the fracking regions spoke about the hardships they endured. These areas were under siege, the people collateral damage. I wanted to give voice to their struggles and this book is a response to that desire.  Further, actual historical events intermix with the fiction since Pennsylvania is one of the epicenters of fracking that is transforming the economy and environment of the U.S.

In your opinion, is there anything of merit that comes from fracking? If so, is it worth the negative side effects? Would it be better if the government worked with property owners more in order to facilitate the making of more agreeable terms, or do you think that fracking should not be done at all?

The only argument in favor of fracking is if it is used as a bridge energy source to renewables. This is clearly not the case in this country, because there is no defined policy directed towards this outcome. Instead, we burn as much oil and gas as we can pump out of the ground. Even if you listen to only the moderate narrative coming from the scientific community, it’s clear that burning fossil fuels, as we do currently, represents an existential threat to all of us. We are compelled to keep the gas and oil in the ground if we hope to continue a semblance of life as we know it. But this means acting in ways that do not maximize our profit-making capability. And this is in direct conflict with enormously powerful forces present in every phase of our lives. This is the essential drama of our day and Bountiful Calling tries to fairly portray this dynamic.

What would be an ideal government-citizen relationship in regard to fracking?

Today’s governments need to learn from indigenous cultures. Fracking is an excellent example of an overarching societal problem. When we separate ourselves from the world, everything is turned into commodities from which profit can be derived. Governments need to balance short-term needs with the health and sustainability of the planet. Fracking needs to be seen within this framework, which means it needs to stop as soon as possible and governments need to turn their attention to supporting renewable energy technology and development. Most people understand this. Governments need to be responsive to this majority and not the elites, who benefit most from current laws and regulations.

The book goes into more detail on fracking’s negative effects on people than the effects it has on the environment and animals. Was this a conscious decision? Was there a reason why you chose to distance the story from a more man vs. nature conflict in favor of a man vs. man conflict?

This is an interesting question. A major emphasis in the first part of the book was to give the rich cultural traditions that bound the people to the land, which described the spirit of the place. These relationships were at risk because of the juggernaut that fracking had become. This was the lens through which I described the devastating effects of fracking on the natural world. Perhaps I chose this route because this is a human made problem that can only be fixed by modifying human behavior.

Of the two major characters, Joe and Nicole, which one do you relate to more? Did that have an effect on how the character was written?

I’m probably more aligned with Nicole’s point of view because I think we need to explore alternative lifestyles. We have become extremely isolated from each other and the world around us. Healing the wounds this has caused won’t be accomplished with incremental change. But I definitely feel there is a need for people like Joe, whose gift is to work within the system, guided by concern and fairness.I would like to think my alignment to one or the other character had nothing to do with how the characters were developed. In nearly every aspect, I try to distance myself from the book and instead act as a conduit for the development and action that must necessarily occur.

The book follows the point of view of a few different characters, but it focuses on Joe and Nicole the most. What caused you to have two central characters rather than only one?

I think it is extremely powerful to bring to life multiple characters simultaneously. This gives the reader a dynamic experience, as he or she considers who they stand with, and what resonates for them. It’s also consistent with other ideas I’ve expressed in my comments previously. We really aren’t disconnected from each other. Energy flows between us. Expressing that energy is one of the magical qualities that is particularly well-suited to a novel.Another advantage to working with multiple characters is it helped me avoid writing a polemic. This book takes on very complex issues, and multiple points of view deserve to be represented. Environmentalists will probably be the central audience, but there are some within those ranks who will feel I should be harsher with those having different opinions. Anyone with an interest in the societal costs and benefits of fracking should find in this book something that stimulates thought and emotion.

Was there anything you were trying to convey by making Joe work for the government since it was portrayed to a major extent as a co-antagonist of the story? What made you decide to have Joe work with Nicole from within rather than represent the opposing ideals?

This is an excellent question. Joe developed a moral core through the course of the book. In the beginning, he was satisfied with managing his day to day tasks, and performed them without much consideration for their meaning or consequence. Later in the book, I could point to factors that contribute to his behaving in ways not aligned with his best self-interest, but I can’t tell you exactly why he does what he does. In these instances, he experiences his own non-linear, non-rational decision-making process. Accepting this part of himself, then embracing it, allowed him to grow in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.

Was Gabe’s death always planned from the beginning? Was it always intended to be Nicole’s driving force, or was it something that you discovered needed to happen while writing?

It was not planned from the beginning. When I’m writing a novel, I look for the time when the structure is sufficiently formed that it begins placing its demands upon me. These moments, when it starts giving back more than I’m putting into it, are the most exhilarating. Once I accepted the fact that Gabe should die, it opened up the possibility for themes that would be carried through the rest of the book. An example is the transfer of mythic power from 1960s style activism to the type of behavior young people are exhibiting today.

What was the inspiration for the activist group 2 Degrees? Do you think that change can be brought about more effectively if there were more groups with that same level of activism? Or would it be more of a hindrance than a help for the cause?

Groups like 2 Degrees are more of a hindrance. If they ever were able to rise to power, their rule would be just as cruel and unjust as the power structure they are in conflict with. But that is irrelevant because they will never have enough guns or bombs to effect the outcome they desire. The only way for real change to occur is if enough people decide they are not going to participate in the lifestyle demanded of them by those in power. Local, resilient economies must emerge, like the one in its nascent form at the end of the book.There was no specific inspiration for 2 Degrees, although I did find myself thinking about the daughter in Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. Her pursuit of a pure, revolutionary spirit not only destroys her own life but the lives of her family as well.

Nicole ends up attending a festival that has a spiritual effect on her. Was this inspired by anything that you’ve experienced? What values, if any, does the festival hold that you agree with? How important do you think connecting to the spiritual is for a person?

The festival was inspired by an event attended by someone very close to me. I think the values expressed there, of community and encouraging experiences that extend beyond rational thought, are necessary and useful. But the festival also plays a part in a very important theme of this book. The idea that you cannot force fundamental change is posited in the first few chapters. Instead, we move forward as best we can in partial darkness towards some hard-to-recognize destination. And then, suddenly, outcomes that seemed out of reach are made manifest. And those of us open to what is newly available will be there to embrace them.I think many of us in this culture are working our way back into living with a heightened, spiritual sense. The first way for many is to enter into a more direct relationship with the world around us and to be open to the wonders that this relationship brings forth.

Is there anything about the final story that ended up being different from what you originally had in mind? Was there anything that was cut or added later in the writing process in order to make the book’s message stronger?

There weren’t a lot of significant changes after the first draft. I was surprised at how things fell into place once I got rolling. Actual historical events, my personal observations, and totally made-up characters and scenes all melded agreeably. This was something for which I am very grateful.

Now that you’ve finished this book, what’s next for you? Do you have anything else in mind for Nicole and Joe? Any possibilities for their stories to continue, or are you happy with leaving it here for the two of them?

For now, I will let Nicole and Joe go on their way. I’m confident their lives are on good paths. Currently, I’m working on another novel. It was inspired, in part, by Elon Musk’s work with Neuralink technology. It will pit a fully-formed cyborg who has been programmed for military purposes by a dystopian government against a cyborg who has had Neuralink sessions across the full-range of his thinking and emotional capabilities. But the non-government cyborg is forced to flee before he can fully synthesize all the information available to him. His search for a third way must be performed outside the laboratory.With my new book, I am challenging the notion that the new cultural paradigm I hinted at in Bountiful Calling does not support the idea of heroes and super-heroes. I’ll let you know what I decide when I finish the book.

What are you hoping readers will take away after reading the book?

Throughout the book, I debunk many of the cultural icons on the left and the right. This set the stage for Joe and Nicole to take very bold risks at the end of the book. These actions were tied to an increased appreciation of their own humanity and the world in which they lived. If this gives readers a little more courage to pursue activities that give them a deeper appreciation of their lives, that would be enormously satisfying. If the readers have already staked out a path they feel destined to follow, I hope this helps them stay true to that path and gives them a sense that there are others out there with them.

Bountiful Calling is available on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/38TmHyR

pam lazos 7.13.20

 

Posted in book promotion, book release, book review, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

13th — Why Words Matter

 

13th — Why Words Matter

13th is a powerful look at systemic racism and what is being called the criminalization of an entire sector of society.  Nominated in 2017 for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, 13th is the story of how our nation — unwittingly to many of us — has managed to systematically keep the black population enslaved despite the language of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.  The film, directed by Ava DuVernay, was released back in 2016, but has gained traction recently as the death of George Floyd instigates protests worldwide, like a tourniquet to keep pressure the wound so it doesn’t kill us.

The wording of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads as follows:

AMENDMENT XIII

SECTION 1

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

SECTION 2

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

DuVernay’s argument is simple.  The language except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted has, in effect, kept slavery alive even after the country fought a bloody civil war to abolish it.  

The war on drugs started with Nixon, a concept dreamed up by Nixon’s counsel, John Ehrlichman of Watergate fame,  and this “war” disproportionately affected black men in the way justice was dispensed.  Nixon called drug abuse “public enemy number one” and vowed to eradicate it, a battle cry that resonated especially loudly with Southern voters.  This sleight of hand worked and Nixon resoundingly won the electoral college vote although he only narrowly won the popular vote the first time around.

In 1970, one year into Nixon’s first term, there were approximately 338,000 people in incarcerated; today, that number is well over 2 million, and of that number, almost half a million are in jail without yet having been convicted of a crime because they can’t afford bail

We in the U.S. have 5% of the global population, but 25% of its prison population.   Today, one in 17 white men will be incarcerated versus one in three black men and one in six Latino men.  That should make anyone watching 13th do more than raise an eyebrow.

DuVernay argues that, like systemic poverty, you become acculturated to systemic racism and the very subtle ways in which the system has been skewed against the black community. 

If Nixon started the problem by campaigning on a law and order platform,  Ronald and Nancy Reagan kicked it up several notches with their own war on drugs, and it really shot through the roof — which was surprising to me to learn of someone who at one time had the moniker “the first Black President — with Bill Clinton’s “three strikes” rule which took discretionary sentencing away from judges and replaced it with mandatory sentencing.  That meant that if you were busted three different times, say, twice with a single joint, for example, and the third time for a violent crime, you would be serving life in prison even though the first two crimes were more likely misdemeanors.  President Clinton has since apologized for this law.  

All those who have died at the hands of the police — many of them just kids — have set the stage for the protest following the death of George Floyd, events that have been simmering for years but seemed to have coalesced overnight.

13th returns to lawyer and author, Brian Stevenson, civil rights activist, Angela Davis, former Obama-administration official Van Jones, and Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates, among others, again and again to chronicle the difficulties African Americans face in their daily lives and how society has been engineered to create barriers to their success.  The commentators provide commentary and background as each of these individuals has their own personal stories — vis-á-vis their lives and careers — of insidious societal behavior, yet each one has successfully navigated a larger life despite the handicaps they’ve experienced as a result of the color of their skin.

If you want to see why words matter, watch 13th.

Today is July 4th, the day our country celebrates freedom from tyranny and rule of the oppressor.  It’s time for us to take a long look inside to see how we are oppressing each other and what we can do to really make our nation The Land of the Free for all its inhabitants, not just select groups.

Watch 13th, currently streaming on Netflix.  Take a look at what’s happening on the other side of the fence.  Consider it your patriotic duty as an American.

Posted in movie review, movies, racism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

World Environment Day — When Will Dawn Arrive?

Banner on the U.N.’s website

“The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature.

Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message:
To care for ourselves we must care for nature. 

It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices.
It’s time to build back better for People and Planet.

This World Environment Day, it’s Time for Nature.”

#WorldEnvironmentDay #ForNature

Today is World Environment Day.

It feels irreverent to speak about the environment when the world is on fire right now, spiritually, allegorically, and most definitely physically, fulminating against a backdrop of a coronavirus pandemic, rising unemployment, police brutality, and centuries of institutionalized racism.

People are on edge. Issues of race and inequality, always a backdrop for the lives of African Americans, have spilled over into the mainstream like a too-full pot of boiling water. Injustice can’t be contained forever so what better time for this conflagration than in the middle of a pandemic?

It’s not a coincidence that the worst of the worst is occurring all at once. For years, people of color have remained at the lower socioeconomic rung of society, shut out by systemic racism that leaves practices in place meant to keep people down along many spectrums — housing, education, health, and even plain old opportunity. The question isn’t why the anger is erupting now, but how it has been contained this long.

Dr. Jane Goodall’s learning schedule on rootsandshoots.org

I realize the environment is often a care associated with white privilege. I also realize why. When you have been harassed by the police as a way of life, when you are struggling to take care of your family, when you have been routinely told that your life doesn’t matter as much as your contemporaries with whiter skin than yours, you may not have much bandwidth left to think about the bugs and bunnies, clean air or clean water. And that’s okay, because in order to live an authentic life, we all need to follow what has heart and meaning, for us. But what if changing our relationship with the natural world, our relationship with all of its inhabitants could change humanity as well?

perfect balance

Enter Balance. You can’t walk without out it, can’t run without it, can’t ride a bike without it, can’t stand on your head without it, and can’t live your life without out. Actually, you can live your life, but the lack of balance will eventually catch up with you — through misfortune, death, disease, whatever — and the world as it is presents a perfect example of this.

“This pandemic was predicted and people have not heeded the lessons we should have because we have disrespected the natural world, disrespected the animals who live there, taken away so much habitat, crowded animals together, viruses spilling over from one animal species to another, some animals pushed into conflict with humans and human beings hunting them, eating them, trafficking them, sending them from one country to another along with their viruses and selling them on these wildlife markets as food or pets and because the animals are stressed, because there’s blood in everything and everywhere, it’s the perfect environment for a virus to spill over from an animal to a human, and people have been predicting this.”

DR. Jane Goodall appearing on Jimmy Fallon on Earth Day

We could easily substitute the word human for animal in Dr. Goodall’s words and the meaning would be the same. For hundreds of years, white civilization trafficked in black civilization, disrespecting them, crowding them together, treating them the way we treat animals today. Sadly, and while it’s not universal, it is prevalent, much of this spillover behavior toward Black America continues in the form of generationally engendered racism, and, in particular, police brutality.

No such terrible deeds are without repercussions which is how we have arrived where we are today, unwilling to deal with the sins of past, unable to cobble together a path forward. Certainly we can’t claim to have respect for the earth if we don’t even know how to have respect for each other.

I note some things that have become evident in the U.S. over these last few years:

  • reasonable public debate is a tired old shoe that no one wants to wear;
  • people pretend they are listening to each other, but really they are just waiting for their turn to talk;
  • people cling to the trappings of the 3rd dimension like a drowning man clings to flotsam even while many Americans declare themselves to be religious or spiritual and not bound by such trappings;
  • despite all evidence to the contrary, there are some people who will never change their opinion on an issue either because of pride, fear, or a stubborn belief in their own superiority.

I think it’s this last one that does us in more than the others. If we are unwilling to change our minds, how will we ever evolve as a species? Without compassion, without empathy, and without true listening skills, nothing will ever change and we will be destined to revolve through these cycles of ill will, discontent and inequality, year after year, for generations to come.

Sadly, the only way to get through to most inhabitants of a 3-D world is through revolution which means more horror, more bloodshed, more tears, and more death. I think we can do better in welcoming a new dawn to this battered world.

Balance for the planet and all its inhabitants, starts with good environmental stewardship. If you love the mother, you wouldn’t disrespect one of her creations, right?

Everyday is a new beginning, a chance to start again. Isn’t it time to heal the sins of the past? Isn’t it time we give all people, regardless of race or religion, their due?

Revolution is passé. Evolution is where it’s at. Let’s start now.

I’ll leave you with this:

dark and light exist side by side into eternity

A Small Needful Fact

by Ross Gay

Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.

pam lazos 6.5.20

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#WATWB — Needleworkers Unite!

It’s the last Friday of the month which means it’s time to share the good news on — #WATWB — a monthly good news blogging trip around the world. May we all be energized and rejuvenated by the good news. 

We’re all getting a bit tired of quarantining, but if you’re a needleworker, you had the opportunity to make history, or at least the Guinness Book of World Records.

Needleworkers in the U.K. have created a 9-mile long flag — 79,001 knitted flags in all spaced no more than two inches apart. Quite the sewing circle! Admittedly, the knitters had more time on their hands than usual as a result of the Covid-19 shutdown, but hey, what a way to make good use of your time.

If you’re interested in joining our Blog Hop, the guidelines are as follows:

1. Keep your post to below 500 words;

2. Link to a human news story on the last Friday of each month that demonstrates love, kindness, humanity, support, open-mindedness, etc., but no proselytizing, preaching or inconsiderateness toward others;

3. Post on the last Friday of the month in sharing the good news.  No story is too big or small;

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar and help spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome;

5. Read and comment on others’ posts, play nice, and make friends;

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.  Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list.

This month’s cohosts are: Susan ScottLizbeth HartzShilpa GargMary Giese and Damyanti Biswas.

Happy Friday y’all. Spread some love this weekend.

pam lazos 5.29.20

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer

 

One of my favorite things about being a blogger is the community of like-minded individuals, befriended over the years, who support one another in both writing and life.  The camaraderie we share when one of us reaches a milestone, writing or otherwise, is lovely to behold.  It’s like having your own virtual cheering section.

To that end, I’d like to share the work of fellow writer, Paul Andruss, who I met through my dear friend, author, and publisher Shehanne Moore, or Lady Shey as we lovingly refer to her, as she is the creator of Shehanne Moore’s Smexy Historical Romance blog as well as the engine driving Black Wolf Books publishing.

So rather than waste your time listening to me drone on about it, I’m turning the mic over to Paul who can give you the skinny on what’s happening in his world these days.

Take it away, Paul.

Paul here.  I want to share some wonderful news. At least I think it’s wonderful. You may not.

My first novel is published.

Don’t worry I won’t be making the newbie author gaff of launching straight into promoting Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer, published by the exciting new and independent Black Wolf Books and available right now on Amazon.

No Siree, I’m certainly not dumb enough to go banging on about Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer; the first novel in a young adult magical realism trilogy that will, hopefully, appeal to all readers and not just the younger end of the market.

What’s it about, do I hear you say?

Oh, you didn’t say that, did you? You didn’t say anything at all.

Never mind, I’ll tell you anyway. 

It’s about fairies.

Fairies? Fairies!

Yep. Fairies.

When 12-year-old Jack Hughes sees a sinister fairy queen kidnap his bother Dan, he knows his parents will never believe him. Nor will the police. Not when he says Dan vanished into thin air. If Jack wants to see Dan again, he has to save him. And not just him.  If he ever wants to find Dan, first he must save Thomas the Rhymer from a wicked enemy.

Bravely embarking on a rollercoaster adventure into the dark fairy realm, Jack and friends face monstrous griffins and brooding tapestries with a life of their own, learn to use magic mirrors and travel on ley lines that whip them off faster than sound.

Jack knows even if he returns Thomas the Rhymer to his selfish fairy queen, she might make Jack her prisoner. With the odds stacked against him, can Jack succeed in finding and freeing Dan? Or will he lose his brother forever?

Prefer a different summary?

How about a poem written by Jack?

 

Jack’s friend Catherine did the calligraphy and illustrations and sent it to the school magazine. It wasn’t published.

Did I say Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer is the first book of The Jack Hughes Trilogy?  Sorry if I’m repeating myself; I’m just super excited about this fast-paced, feel-good adventure that introduces the reader to a fairy realm rooted in Celtic myth. Fairies are not sprites or elementals, but real men and women with psychic abilities, struggling as they are overwhelmed by the modern age.

The fairy world is crumbling, destroyed by railways and roads, pylons and power cables. We have light and heat at the flick of a switch; radio, television, telephones, satellites and computers. They think we have all the magic.

With the race dying, fairies steal children, or at least those children who share their genetic heritage …

Amazonian Indians, also on the brink of extinction, steal children from Brazilian towns for much the same reason. Have you ever thought the Elfin may deserve your compassion every bit as much as those poor Amazon tribes?

The fairy world is different to ours. They live a waking dream spun by the Fairy Queen ruling the nest. In his dreams, Jack experiences what his kidnapped brother sees.

How about a little excerpt from Chapter 4 Dream a Little Dream of Me

Lying on a bed covered with a thin blanket, he stared through the high windows at the full moon, watching tiny fairies play in the moonbeams. Hearing the key catch as the door unlocked, he saw his mother enter. At least he hoped it was Mum but was scared it was a trick; like everything was a trick.

Closing his eyes, he listened to her footsteps on the bare cold floor. Gently, he started snoring, hoping she would think him asleep and leave him alone. The thin mattress sagged when she sat next to him. He smelled his mother’s perfume, the one she wore for best.

“I know you’re not asleep, love.”

Cautiously, he opened his eyes. “Mum?”

“I’m here.”

“Are you better?”

“Yes.”

She stroked his forehead.

He sat up, throwing himself into her arms, “How did you find me?”

Even as he spoke, he knew this was not his mother. She would never find him here.

“My lovely, Dan.”

Jack was shocked hearing her call him Dan. This was no dream. He saw what Dan saw, locked in his prison hundreds of miles away.

Whoever was pretending to be his mother sensed his doubt. Her voice slipped to no more than a pale imitation. “I am what you remember. If you see me, hear me, feel my touch. What is the difference?”

“It is different. Just is, that’s all.” Jack heard Dan shout.

“I can give her back. She will never change; never grow old or ill, never busy. Everything the same. Always.”

“Liar. It’s not the same.”

You tell her, Dan, thought Jack.

“It is if you want.”

Sadness weighed down her voice. Hugging him fiercely, she stroked his hair. There was a terrible heat burning in her. She kissed him on the mouth, hot dry lips tasting of chocolate. Disgusted, he pulled away.

“You’re not my mum.”

She was gone. Only her silver voice remained, hung with echoes of mournful bells, as she complained, “I only want to love and be loved in return.”

-END-

If you liked that, you can discover more of the fairy world in the 2nd book of the series, Jack Hughes and the Daughters of Albion.

When the most powerful Fairy Queen in Britain dies, the spectral Daughters of Albion appear at her carnival funeral. The fairies fear their appearance is the death knell of their world. Jack and his friends set out to save the fairy world. They do not get far before disaster strikes.

Before the book reaches its explosive climax at Stonehenge, you will witness the summoning of archangels, learn the ancient shamanic secret of mind transference, and even meet a werewolf!

In Jack Hughes and the Thirteenth Treasure, the final book of the series, Jack and friends search for the legendary Thirteenth Treasure.

But how can anyone find the Thirteenth Treasure when nobody knows where it, what it is, or if it even exists? If all they have are fragments of legend, how will they know the Thirteenth Treasure even if they find it?

***

So that’s it really.  One book down, two to write.  No biggee.

All that remains is to ask who is Paul Andruss?

No really. Who is Paul Andruss?

Oh, It’s me. I remember. Dear God, it’s terrifying when that happens.

I was born and raised in Liverpool, where the city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left a mark, or some might say, scars.

I dropped out of college at 17, keen to get out into the world. A year later I was taking exams at Night School, while working in the local Tax Office. On the grounds that anything was better than work, I applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University. Considering my grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than me when they accepted my application.

After graduation, I worked near the romantic Lake District, so beloved of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. No, not Harry’s mum. Peter Rabbit’s. Then in Manchester and London before moving to Bodrum in Turkey.

To finance a passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, I wrote short travel articles for local tourists, focusing on the history and myths of the ruined cities and temples. I began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop because it let me remove power lines and the odd Esso sign from photographs of ancient sites.

After returning to the U.K. I started focusing on writing and illustration. Last year I was lucky enough to get signed by an exciting new, independent Scottish publisher called Black Wolf Books. In the next two years Black Wolf will release the Jack Hughes Trilogy, Finn MacCool, a book of short stories and a couple of novellas.

If you enjoyed learning about Jack Hughes and Thomas the Rhymer, or even if you didn’t, don’t forget to visit http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/

Explore the story of Thomas the Rhymer. http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/story-of-the-book.php

Download posters http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/art-gallery.php

Read pre-release reviews http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/thomas-the-rhymer.php

And listen to music written for the book by classical composer Patrick Hartnett http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/music.php

Yes, he loved the book that much.

And who knows …

So might you.

***

So that’s all from Paul today, but check back later for a bit of the odds and sods from the mind of Paul Andruss.  In the interim, if you’re state-side, have a safe and acceptably socially distanced Memorial Day weekend.

pam lazos 5.23.20

Posted in book excerpt, book promotion, book release, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Happy Mother’s Day

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

There was a time shortly after my mother died a little over four years ago that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to enjoy Mother’s Day again, missing her as I was and knowing that she would never again be there for her sage advice and steady presence that calmed my worst fears even in the darkest times.  She was an unbelievable rock, all 105 lbs. of her, the foundation of everything I’ve ever accomplished in life, and her faith in me was unshakeable, far surpassing any faith I might ever have cultivated without her, in myself.

 

Now that I have kids of my own, I realize that’s the crux of motherhood — an unshakeable faith in your children that gives them the strength and the will and the courage to absolutely and without a doubt become the person they came to this earth to be.  I pray that I can give my children that same ineffable gift because God knows the most important things in life are not things, and at our core, our only real task in life is to work our way toward wholeness.

Here’s what else I know.  I’ve always gravitated toward women who have had more experience than me — often a generation or two ahead — women who could play the role of mentor in whatever endeavor I had undertaken.  Maybe it’s because my grandmothers died before I was old enough to enjoy their company, not just as grandmothers, but as women.  I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about my own mother’s life, not just as my mother, but as a woman on her own journey, shining her own light, and it has given me great insight into my own inner-workings.

Today’s society focuses so much on youth, but that is a pitfall-laden path.  The youth must make their own mistakes, yes, but doing so blindly leads to unnecessary hardship.  Having a mentor who is even a dozen steps ahead helps you navigate life’s craggy paths with much more certainty.  There’s a reason history repeats itself.  People forget to go back and read the notes to review what came before, yet if we just asked a few questions of the right individuals, maybe we wouldn’t have to repeat all the drama in quite the same punishing fashion.

So this Mother’s Day, I’d like to extend my gratitude to all my surrogate mothers and mentors who have lent their ear and their wisdom, their guidance and creativity, their patience and expertise to the winding road that has been my own journey, to my friends and contemporaries, the women walking this path with me because where would we be without each other, right girls?!, and, of course, to my own mother whose spirit lives on in all kinds of surprising ways.

So ladies — whether you have kids, or dogs, or cats, or even a bearded dragon, I wish a most joyous Mother’s Day to you all.

May your day, and all the life in it, be lit from within.

pamlazos 5.10.20

Posted in gratitude, mother's day, mothers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Love in the Time of Corona — Fitness First

[Happy baby, Apollo-style]

Love in the Time of Corona — Fitness First

Everyone knows that the most successful fitness regimes aren’t relegated to the body alone, but to mind and spirit as well.  That’s why during these Days of Isolation in addition to working out every day, I’ve been aspiring to eat right, cutting down on my go-to fix which is sugar; get enough sleep — easy enough since I’ve shaved four hours off my daily commuting by quarantine-working from home; and feeding my soul a little every day with a good book, lovely music, and of course, the daily walk with the Apollo to beat the blues.

 

Speaking of, I think our pets are the big winners in the quarantine game since, between my husband and I, Apollo gets somewhere between four to six miles of walking in a day.

It helps that spring is here and we can partake of color therapy just by walking outside.  Even the rainy day walks have a dashing brilliance about them.

Food prep has risen to another level spurred on by the family-food-sharing chat group where we connect with our extended family members in a way that we never did before corona, texting a little info daily, exchanging tidbits on health and wellness, grousing about the current situation, global, political, and otherwise, but mostly just staying connected to assure that no one gets lost.

[Tikka Masala, Dahl and green beans by yours truly]

My husband’s been researching mushrooms, mostly because of this guy:

If you haven’t seen the movie Fantastic Fungi yet, I urge you to check it out.  Mushrooms could actually be the new wave in personal health for the 21st century.  Need something to support your immune system during Covid-19.  How about some turkey tail mushrooms?  Need some memory and nerve function support?  Try lion’s mane.  (My husband is growing some in our kitchen.)  There’s even a mushroom that eats plastic — pestalotiopsis microspora — and you can bet I’ll be looking into that a little more closely in the months to come.

So that leaves spirit.  There’s a lot to ponder in corona-villa and given our isolation status, more time to ponder over it.  Not so much for first-line workers, teachers who are trying to manage online classes, and parents with young kids who have found themselves playing both parent and teacher these frenetic days, but quite the opposite — but take heart.  The world will remember your contributions while your children will remember these days for decades to come.

For me, this time has shined a spotlight on the importance of family.  I never took my family for granted, but watching the impermanence of life play out daily across the globe makes me realize that it’s true — we only have the present — and despite every day looking a lot like the one that came before it, every day is still special.

You may find it hard to believe that, especially when all of our personal freedoms have shrunk to the size of walnuts, but if you, like me, believe that we have too many choices in our day-to-day lives, especially here in the U.S., then you may also believe that having so many choices can actually impede the quality of your day-to-day experience because you spend so much of it trying to decide:  between product a and b; between activity a and b; between entertainment a and b; and more.

[Raul and Bella and the constant choice of in or out?]

The choosing can be exhausting.  There’s a reason why a store like Trader Joe’s is thriving.  Their outlets are small compared to regular grocery stores because they’ve limited the consumer’s choices and rather than shy away, the consumer rewards them by voting with their dollars, running to TJ’s in droves, grateful not to have to think so much because the work has been done for them, the quality products are on the shelves, and isn’t that such a relief?  In fact, our bottomless pit of choices is one of the reasons many scientists think our planet now teeters on the brink of a sixth mass extinction although there are some who say that when that time comes it would be too late for intervention so go buy yourself a case of scotch instead.

Whether we’re going extinct or just really screwing things up for our descendants won’t be known until this time has passed, but we don’t need to all keep marching in lock-step on the road to extinction and then jump off the cliff en masse.  We can change the course.  Just look at the statistics.  In two short months, air quality has improved; traffic has lessened; and wildlife is returning; all great arguments for living more sustainably, revitalizing local economies, and making the world more resilient to future pandemics.

Before McDonald’s and Starbucks and Yankee Candle, to name a few, once upon a time, every community had a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker, small-town makers of goods and services that everyone needed.  Then NAFTA came along and free trade agreements ruled, and chains sprung up around the world, and America sent its production lines overseas to the cheapest bidder.  The upside is you can get your coffee or burger anywhere in the world; the downside is that you’ve just missed out on the local cuisine.

Think globally, act locally is a concept that has been around since the early 1900s.  The bigger upside to this approach is enormous, especially during times of crisis.  When the one maker across the globe of the tiny widget needed to complete the assembly on, say, an Apple iPhone goes offline, Apple doesn’t need to stop production because there will be more than one maker of that particular widget.  At least, that’s how it used to be before globalization went in search of a bottom line instead of a better life for everyone which, if you recall, is how the concept of globalization was sold to us.

I’m not saying we should ditch on globalization, just that we need to consider instead the triple bottom line (TBL) made up of the three P’s:  profit, people and planet.  Yeah, it’s cheaper to do business with a factory in China to assemble the new fall clothing line, but for years, China has had next to no environmental laws and if you asked the people who live along the Yangtze River who have contracted cancer from all the industrial dumping, I bet they’d prefer a regulation or two and maybe a water purification system.  If we want to trade globally, then our global trading partners should adhere to the same standards we do, be it for environmental, human, or civil rights.  Otherwise, vote with your feet and trade somewhere else.  Isn’t that a better way to live, giving everyone has access to a healthier, more affluent life, not just the developed countries with money?

Maybe, when this is all over, the coronavirus will be remembered as our watershed moment, the time we realized that we didn’t need all the choices and all the stuff that goes with those choices, rather, we just needed each other.

If you want an ah-ha moment, watch this beautiful little video.

And if you want to believe, watch this one by my friend, Jeff’s daughters — guaranteed to add light your day.

Stay well and healthy, friends.  Think good thoughts.  Send love to the planet and your neighbor.  “The universe has us surrounded,” says Swami Beyondananda, “so we might as well surrender.”  Why not work together to assure a collectively bright future?

Namasté y’all.  Stay safe.

pam lazos 5.2.20

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments