Shenandoah National Park © pam lazos
Moderation in all things is a phrase attributable to the Greek poet Hesiod (circa 700 b.c.), the Roman comic dramatist Plautus (c. 250–184 bc), Buddhism generally, and I’m sure a majority of everyone’s grandparents. Even the Bible talks about moderation in Philippians 4:4-8 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Okay, that last one is a little obtuse, but the point is, moderation allows you to eliminate the screechy, shaky extremes — like anger, hysteria, anxiety — from your day and assures, to the extent possible, a certain measured living that allows for optimal performance, i.e, it’s not only the key to a good and productive life, but probably happiness. That doesn’t mean that you have to drive your life down the middle lane at all times, never experiencing either euphoria or sadness because, how dull, eh? Better to live as Oscar Wilde said: Everything in moderation, including moderation.
This Thanksgiving, and for the foreseeable future, I’m trying to live more moderately in my emotional space, more purposefully, and with a loving-kindness mindset toward my fellow man, even the ones that drive me completely round the bend. I don’t have to look to far to find those people so anyone who thinks this is going to be easy hasn’t had a convo with me in a while.
How does one incorporate moderation? Well, I guess I would start with gratitude which not only has been known to have some positive emotional affects like lifting one’s spirits, helping our perspectives, reducing stress, providing a positive outlook and lowering anxiety, but it also reduces blood pressure, inflammation in the body, and even helps with stress eating!
Regardless of how extremely polarized we have become, and regardless of all the yelling across the aisles (it’s not as many people as you think), things are changing out there. We may not reign in climate change this year or even next, but FINALLY, almost everyone agrees it’s a game-changer and one we have to tackle in order to survive; ten years ago that was not the case. And we may not solve all our water problems this year, but we are working toward fixing more of them each day. So for our kids and our kids’ kids, we’ll keep at these intrinsic and seemingly interminable issues front and center until we’ve moderated them all into oblivion.
To that end, here are a few feel good stories I’ve been meaning to write about. Enjoy the hard won victories!
When we think about winter storms, we don’t think much about the deicers the states and municipalities put down to keep us all from driving our cars off the road, but use them we do, and as a result, salt levels can increase in freshwater streams to ocean levels during the winter months. Thankfully, there’s help. Congratulations to Philadelphia for taking the Green Infrastructure thinking up to new levels.
We’ve heard about using goats to mow lawns as a way to reduce the carbon footprint, but have you heard of using goats to prevent wildfires? In 2020, Lani Malmberg started the trailblazing (pun intended) Goatapelli Foundation to train people in using goats, something she’d been doing on her own, but saw the vision in expanding to a larger community. Not only do the goats reduce brush from the vegetative floor to as high as nine feet — which is how high a goat can stand on its hind legs — but after digesting the brush, their waste increases the organic matter in the soil, thereby improving soil quality and helping the soil to hold more moisture. Wow, goats are the GOAT!
3D Printed Houses:
As we can tell from the red hot housing market, housing has become a bit of a crisis globally. People can’t find a home, can’t afford the home, or have been priced into homelessness which may as well be oblivion. Enter 3D printing and Africa where 14Trees made the first 3D printed house in Africa in12 hours with 70% less carbon emissions! Go 14Trees!!
A Lightsaber for Water Pollution:
When Ross Gillanders won 15,000 pounds for Lightwater Sensors, it was originally technology built to detect landmines, but while it worked well in the lab for that purpose, it didn’t perform as well in the field. Where did it perform well? In water. Mr. Gillanders technology acts like a laser beam for locating pesticides in water. Fantastique! Can we get a home version?
The Chesapeake Bay:
The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the country, is a national treasure, garnering the attention of the six bordering states — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, and Delaware — but if you know anything about the Bay, you’ll know that nutrients like nitrates and phosphates from farming runoff as well as developmental pressures in the surrounding areas are killing its vibe. But, good news. In 2022, the Bay experienced fewer dead zones — those areas where algae have blotted out the oxygen and killed the SAV, submerged aquatic vegetation — the 10th smallest since 1985. Okay, not the resounding victory we’d all like to see for the Bay at this point, but still pretty darn good.
So celebrate the forward thinkers, maybe even become one of them yourself, and let’s moderate ourselves to happiness.
Speaking of, Happy Thanksgiving, friends! We have much to be grateful for. May we all live long and sustainably, and prosper along the way.
pam lazos 11.23.22