Friday, August 25, 2006

Choices That are Good for the Planet and Us: Think Organic

Today, guests on NPR radio (www.npr.org) were discussing the importance of consumers making smart buying decisions, being aware of how our choices drive fuel consumption and to make sure we create the demand for the right products - e.g., organic, locally produced/grown produce. The theory being that produce bought locally supports local markets and farmers, and it reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and the amount of pollution produced created by shipping out-of-season goods (e.g., berries in winter in the East) to our "yuppie" communities. Growing and producing organic foods does not create pesticide and toxic run-off (or at least not manmade run-off - large amounts of natural fertilizers can be harmful also) which can leech into our soil and waterways.

Obviously, these are habits that we can change and implement gradually, but it is urgent that we start now, despite what you think of Al Gore. Many people and communities are already doing this. We will follow your example. Please share your ideas. Remember when recycling was a new idea? (Maybe you don't.) Recycling is now part of my lifestyle, despite it being a pain-in-the-butt... I feel it is my responsibility as a homeowner and consumer; we, as a society, create so much waste.

What else can be done? We can renew, reuse, and recycle things that we normally throw away. Again, being aware and thoughtful about our actions and decisions. For many raised in the "Me Generation," this means being less self-centered. Americans are used to getting what they want, when they want it. Things have changed, my friends. We must change or know that we've done nothing to help our children and future generations live happy, healthy, and productive lives. Of course, if one is self-centered (egotistical), their response might be: "Who gives a damn? I'll do what I want, when I want." If that is you, realize that you are not a bad person (just selfish) but need to change some habits and think about how everyone's actions affect everyone and everything else. Probably one of the reasons the world hasn't changed much since barbaric times (violence, crime, racism...) is because as societies we are still failing to think in a multi-perspective way. Let's start acting like people who do give a damn. It means growing up and acting like informed, intelligent adults as a country and world community.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Word on Words... in the news and noteworthy

Random Literary Notes and Links:

- BOA Editions, a literary press, celebrates its 30th Year Anniversary.
Li-Young Lee is one of the outstanding poets they publish. Good news for creative writers...They will soon begin publishing fiction in addition to poetry.

- Kurt Vonnegut's essay offers his bleak, witty outlook for America and the world. This link is a six-paragraph teaser of the full article from Rolling Stone magazine in the their August 24, 2006 issue.

- Listen to your favorite writers, poets, and essayists talk about their opinions on modern living - everyone from William T. Vollmann to Billy Collins and those in between. Search by writer or individual's name here. You can also go to the Archives section and scroll through the Months to see the offerings.