Saturday, February 17, 2007

It’s No Longer An Option…Everybody Has To Do Their Part

I have been on the environmental soap box since I was a junior in high school. It wasn’t an epiphany or anything. I had already been environmentally conscious for a few years. But in my 11th school year, something happened. The junior class decided to sell recycled note paper as a fundraiser. I was very active in the student body and I attended the demonstration given by the representative of the paper company.

It’s a presentation I still remember vividly — and I would even say, fondly — today although it was more years ago than I care to mention. The reason is, this man did not stand up on our auditorium stage and simply spew facts at us. Instead he told us a story about how he had taken time off from the corporate rate race to drive around the United States. Barely an hour outside of his northeast hometown, he picked up a male hitchhiker. The two hit it off and the hitchhiker stayed with him for the entire trip.

On that trip, they took photos, which he converted into slides…and that was his presentation to us. The pictures were absolutely breathtakingly beautiful…foamy waves, wet sand, blue skies, breathtaking mountains, forests, birds, lakes, trees, redwoods, multicolored sunsets, oceans, animals…all the things in America that we not only don’t see on a daily basis, but that we often forget exists. He showed the beauty of America, the vulnerable parts of America — what we abuse and take advantage of every day when we throw out our trash, spew emissions into the atmosphere and take the Earth for granted.

He didn’t try to sell us on recycling. He didn’t need to. He sold us on America. It worked.

It was only a year later that we celebrated our first Earth Day. But since then, Earth Day has been like a typical American holiday. People get together and make nice one day a year and then we all leave and go about our business, forgetting that taking care of the environment is as daily a ritual as taking a shower and brushing our teeth.

Then global warming started to rear its ugly head. The tsunami happened. And hurricane Katrina. And former vice president Al Gore released his frightening documentary. Now people are starting to sit up and listen…and they’re asking what they can do to help.

If you haven’t been listening as of yet, please listen to me now. We’re killing our planet. And if you think it doesn’t matter because you’re not going to be around when it all goes to hell in a hand basket…or because it’s easy to turn your head and look the other way…you’re wrong. Entire communities are being built on top of landfills. Landfills release fumes and gases that can cause lifelong health problems.

On top of that, it takes more than 50 years for a bag of garbage to decompose. If hundreds of millions of people throw out two to three bags of garbage a week, each taking more than 50 years to decompose, how long do you think it’s going to be before there is no planet left that is not a landfill?

The time is now to start recycling every possible thing you can. And to start buying recycled materials, organic foods and alternative forms of energy. This is your planet. You don’t get a free ride in life. You helped create this mess. Now it’s your turn to help clean it up before there’s no planet left to clean.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Monday, February 12, 2007

You Didn’t Have to Like Her to Feel Bad

I feel compelled to say something about the tragedy that befell Anna Nicole Smith. I was in no way a fan, and I liken her to Paris Hilton in that I feel her notariety is her claim to fame, rather than actually doing something worthy of fame. If she wasn’t in the news so frequently, I wouldn’t even know who she is.

For days, I struggled with whether I should say something or not. I was afraid that a post about her would embarrass me, making me look less than professional. This is a personal blog after all, but it is read by many professional people I interact with, so I have to take that into consideration.

But after several days of not being able to get her out of my head, I finally came to the conclusion that, irregardless of how she lived her life, and whether I agreed with her lifestyle or not, I am overcome with compassion for the people who are suffering as a result of her loss, and I needed to let it out.

The fact remains, she left behind a very innocent and vulnerable baby girl who not only did not ask to be part of any of this tragic mess but, worst of all, will never see her mother again. And that is so incredibly sad.

In addition, I don’t think much of Howard K. Stern. He has a very phony expression and looks a bit like a male gold digger to me. But he loved her, and he is now a devastated broken man. As is Larry Birkhead.

The point is, these are not soap opera characters, although we may treat them as such. They’re real people with real hearts that are really broken. And my heart goes out to them. All of them. Parents, sisters, ex boyfriends, her ‘quote un quote’ husband. It is not for me to judge. I can only pray for them and wish them the strength, hope and faith to go on.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.