In my post a few days ago, (Oh! The Humanity!) I sent out a plea for examples of admirable human beings as an antidote to the kind of internet sensations who fail to inspire and instead make me nauseated. You know what I’m talking about, right? The rampant dumbing-down of our species, “urgent” stories of greed and fear and violence and stupidity and pettiness and the like are probably a dangerous toxin to our culture. Where are the role models who will help us do better and why aren’t we using our advanced media to promote them more often? For every “Who Wore It Better?”, we could be viewing 5 “Who Lived It Better?” stories. Why not?
I have enjoyed a morning at work in the kitchen and with the book business while listening to the music of my Mensch of the Day. This is an artist who has inspired me since my pre-adolescent days, and I’ve only just discovered this live recording from 2 years before his death. He is the recipient of the 1993 Albert Schweitzer Music Award and the only non-classical musician to be so distinguished. His humanitarian efforts supported the National Wildlife Federation, Friends of the Earth, The Cousteau Society, and the Windstar Foundation. The CD I have was a concert for The Wildlife Conservation Society’s 100th anniversary. Ladies and gentleman…….John Denver: a singer and songwriter whose lyrics ring with authenticity and passion, whose music spans genres from country to pop to blues to rock, and whose commitment to peace and preservation permeated his career. As a cultural ambassador for the U. S., he visited China, Viet Nam and the Soviet Union and recorded a duet with a Soviet artist, becoming the first American to do so. In my mind, he follows in the footsteps of another hero of mine, Pete Seeger, who, at 93, is still active in the same kind of musical ambassadorship that promotes cultural tolerance and environmental responsibility. I did have the privilege of hearing him give a concert for children when I was in my single digits.
Who will carry the torch when he passes away?
To read more about the Schweitzer Award, see http://www.anchor-international.org/07.html. For more about John Denver’s career, see http://learningtogive.org/papers/paper349.html. For a good listen, go to “You Say the Battle Is Over”.
Internet news gives me a stomach ache. I just feel sick after browsing through photos and videos and stories about cruelty, stupidity, fear, and all kinds of petty, human activity. I really appreciate bloggers and others who post genuine evidence of our more noble capabilities. Although, sometimes this is attributed to “angels among us” or some non-human inspiration. Is kindness not a human trait? Justice? Wisdom? What do we gain by hesitating to credit people for exhibiting these admirable qualities and then splashing our media with all the “awkward” examples we can fit on a screen? Bleh…I just feel like I’ve been gorging on rancid movie popcorn. Humans plugged into more and more machinery, morphing into robo-sapiens, give me the same sour taste.
Please, somebody show me a living mensch! A human being, acting gracefully. Are there so few left? Browsing through my photo file, I realize that only a handful of pictures actually contain people. Is it because I find beauty in nature and form and so rarely in mankind?
Here’s one I did uncover. I took this shot last March. It shows a retired thespian giving a presentation to school kids on the process of making maple sugar one hundred years ago. He’s describing hand made tools, telling the story as if he were remembering his boyhood. He peppers his talk with jokes to make the kids laugh and pay attention. He is a teacher of old ways, engaging with new minds, passing on a respect for trees. He’s not doing it for remuneration or applause, he’s doing it because it’s important to him. And I think he’s a good example. Can you show me others? My stomach will thank you!
Like Kermit says, it’s not easy being green. It’s not easy building green, either. My son has a degree in Construction Management and is interested in green design. He’s having a hard time finding an entry-level job in this field, but it seems like a very useful career in the long run. 7 billion human beings generate a lot of construction; we need to be wiser about how and what and where and when we build because it makes a huge impact on our environment. That’s common sense. What does it look like when that is taken into consideration? It takes time. It takes money. It takes intelligence and skill. So, “forget it” is the conclusion many construction companies take. Fast, cheap and easy…up goes another WalMart with a parking lot the size of an inland lake.
I’ve visited two LEED certified buildings here in Wisconsin. (click on the links to read about their energy-saving and environmentally responsible features) The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center was certified on the Gold level. It houses a pre-school, among other facilities. The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center was certified on the Platinum level. Built where Leopold died while fighting a brush fire, it houses office and meeting spaces, an interpretive hall, an archive, and a workshop organized around a central courtyard. I took some pictures for my son at the Aldo Leopold Center, and this prompt is the perfect opportunity to post them and share!
The 2012 presidential election is over, swept up like confetti in the parade of change and movement. The conservative, religious, wealthy White male was defeated…for the second time. This seems to be frightening a lot of people. Our nation was founded and shaped by those types. Isn’t that what America is supposed to be? Or is America “The Melting Pot”? Is evolution, change and movement something to resist, or something to embrace? Why?
Fear is a powerful agent. Safety is a motivator. Primal survival instincts are very active in our social species. However, the history of the planet shows that species evolve, they change, they adapt to the environment, and they die out. It’s natural. Is it acceptable? Can you accept that your country, your “club” and your family will change? Elements that may threaten you WILL be introduced. How do you respond? How do you want to respond? Who do you want to be? The “fighter”? The “opposer”? The peacemaker? The tolerater? Do you change along with the rest of the Universe…or do you go down stubborn as plastic into the landfill?
You can probably guess my preference. I want to be mulch. I believe something beautiful will always grow.
All the best, America! Be joyful and courageous in change and movement!
Steve and I donated our hair to Locks of Love yesterday. Ten inches each. A wonderful way to re-purpose hair if you don’t have your own compost pile. We got our cuts for free and were left with enough to still pull into a ponytail so that hair care on our camping trip will be a bit easier. Thanks to MaeLyn and Megan at Azana Spa in Brookfield, we are now ready to roll down the road a bit freer and easier! Here’s a gallery of shots of the event:
Still learning basics on my new Canon Rebel T3i. Yesterday, I went out for a walk. Here are some things I found:
This last photo I’ve titled “Up and to the right”. Like the graph of increasing complication showing that line going “up and to the right”. Speaking of which, I am now using Canon’s EOS photo processing software…a whole lotta new tools to learn how to use. Sometimes, I just want to rebel and go back to stick drawings in the dirt. Maybe my Rebel will remind me of that. Makes me think of one of my favorite movies: The Gods Must Be Crazy. Seriously, how did we get so incredibly technical in our tools and so dull at human interaction? Grocery store clerk yesterday seemed to look right through me as she asked me if I wanted help bagging up my purchases. For contrast: I found a privately owned gas station in my town where the owner hopped out of the office to pump my gas for me. “Stop by again; I’ll take good care of you,” he said. Price was 4 cents less per gallon than the Mobil station 2 blocks down. Let’s not turn into robots, even if computers can take good pictures.
Kind of an over-the-top battle cry, but that’s the level of absurdity to which you sometimes have to rise when taking on an epic task. Yes, Team Galasso stepped out to Stop Diabetes on Sunday…perhaps we should simply have made it a swim-a-thon. So much moisture in the air! Thank you to all of our sponsors and supporters! We had a pre-walk huddle to remember Jim and other friends and family who have experienced the disease first-hand and dedicated our efforts to them. Here are some photos:
Have a great week, folks! Don’t be afraid to tackle something big; just be sure to come up with a matching pep slogan!
Curiosity, creativity, collaboration, compassion.
Spontaneity, self-esteem, self-reliance, morality.
Ignorance, competition, capitalism, aggression.
Complaint, dogma, habit, paranoia.