Getting Fed Up

 

By Susan Lutz

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is watch. We know we should speak up. We know we should act. But, at times, we must let go and watch.

For years I’ve watched young people around me participate in life according to what others have told them. Advertisers cram sugar down kids’ throats; plastic toys fill up bins; we consume and consume and create chaos in our drive to satiate our desires.

I’ve worked to be a model for my kids in how I eat. I speak up about how the milk on the table is made and where the eggs in the carton come from. I show them videos about ecology, recycling, and humane treatment to animals. After awhile, I feel like the teacher in the comic strip, the Peanuts: bla bla bla – after awhile, my message thinned over the airwaves of our home. I knew some was getting in, but society pushes hard. I gave up on some issues, even warmed to a few I once staunchly disliked (i.e. Disney comes to mind).

As I watched my kids and friends’ kids grow, I’d learn of one becoming a vegetarian, another off to build a solar boat, and others blossoming in their awareness of the environment. When a young person’s mind turns on, it’s an amazing thing to stand witness too.

After a class of kids I know saw the documentary film, Fed Up, some were appalled at the treatment of our food system and as if awoken from their childhood world and were shocked at how corporations had a grip on what went into our food. Some I talked to truly empathized with people in the story, suffering from obesity or health issues all so companies could turn a buck.

The light bulbs didn’t just go on – the passion arose. I could see their minds ticking and their ire rise. Discovering the message the film was way more powerful than me just babbling on about it at the dinner table. I am sure the message will fade and settle over time but perhaps a few will let it truly sink in.

The hard truth is we have to go back into the grocery stores, feed our families, and ourselves drink our water, and breathe the polluted air. Cutting out sugar is a lot harder once we realize it is in almost everything we eat. Yet, the power in what they now know gives me the confidence to now watch as they take on these issues for a new generation. And, once they’ve grabbed on and owned it, we can join together and speak up with a louder voice than before.

1618 Kandi Mossett of Indigenous Rising Dakota Pipeline

Kandi Mossett of Indigenous Rising  Dakota Pipeline

The Many Shades of GreenShow #1618  A powerful conversation with Kandi Mossett, of Indigenous Rising, who is literally on the front lines of one of the current battles in the climate justice fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. There are many reasons you need to listen to Kandi and learn more about what’s at stake.

 

What’s the Tipping Point for Our Mess

By Susan Lutz

A growing problem in the United Kingdom, and worldwide, is what is called fly-tipping. The intriguing name drew me into the video. Clip after clip showed cars pulling up to spots around the U.K. and dumping their trash, couches, plastic roofing, recycling, and one group of people even dumped dead sheep. All the mess, stink, and trouble left for someone else to clean up. After seeing the video, I felt I’d tipped, as if it was one too many videos about terrible things we’re doing.

I want to care about all our troubles. The disturbing election in the U.S., the terrorist attacks, the rape victims, the dolphins slaughtered and captured, the sharks butchered for their fins, the children taken from their families. After so much, I feel numb, no longer seeing, or feeling, the pain. I only look, a voyeur just scrolling by.

The heavy load of the constant barrage of information weighs me down. Though, it’s not visible on the outside, on the inside, I think my soul is suffering from so much “much.”  The fact that people are dumping trash on other people’s property and country roads and national lands enrages me. I want to scream, donate money, judge, yet, where do I go with that anger? I find myself lost. I feel the whole grow bigger.

I remember those campaigns against littering in the 70s. The roads were dotted with trash, cigarette butts, everything we could toss out a car window or discard while walking. Then, we rallied, we educated, we recycled, and now we find we’re fly-tipping? Letting others take care of our problems passes the buck to no end. There might not be a difference in fly-tipping and creating little plastic coffee cups by the billions to pollute the land for a one-time thrill. The consciousness behind all these acts is meant to quickly satisfy and satiate- to not take responsibility for our choices.

When I lived in Central America, I often heard tourists or expats talking to each other about the shameful way the citizens polluted their lands. Yet, everyday I saw hard working men and women sweeping the streets, earning probably less than $400 a month trying to change things, keeping the land clean. I saw things change. I see them change here too. Then, I see on-line what seems to be this unearthing of non-stop hideous behavior of people hurting each other and the environment. I needed to ask: why keep looking? Is it ever going to change?

I look because in the mess of our humanity, I see warriors of peace, love, kindness, and smarts, all trying to make the world a better place. Just recently, I read France will be banning plastic cutlery, “to promote a ‘circular economy’ of waste disposal, ‘from product design to recycling…’” A rescue organization in India finds desperate animals in dire condition in the street. In a few moments, I can see a transformation from near death to salvation – this with the power of social media.

There’s good out there, a lot. There’s bad too. Staring at it, looking for too long takes away the time we have in front of us to take responsibility for the little and big issues we all face. By keeping our heads tucked deep into our phones and feeds and likes, we miss the opportunity to create a connection standing, sitting, flying, flapping, or wagging right in front of us. I’m the first to raise my hand and say I am guilty of too much. I’ve even wondered if the beeper wasn’t such a bad idea. The number came up, we had time to look, find a quarter, a phone….all that time….all that time to think about what we were doing.

 

 

 

#1617: Green Sex For Climate’s Sake

Green Sex for Climate’s Sake (Yes, Green Sex is a shade of green)

There is no single solution for climate change…but separating sex from childbearing represents an under appreciated opportunity to forestall climate disaster…for the climate, family planning’s potential benefits are profound.

Those are the words of my guest this week, Alisha Graves, who is the co-founder of the OASIS Initiative (a project of UC, Berkeley which focuses on reducing population growth and poverty in the Sahel region of Africa). Her recent article, “Green Sex for Climate’s Sake,” debates the link between carbon emissions and population, and the need to educate young women, as well as young men, about contraception, family planning and health. For more information go to: oasisinititative.berkeley.edu and projectdrawdown.org.

#1616: Anti-Poaching Game Changers

damien_profile“Green” eco-warriors are working to protect rhinos and elephants, which are on the verge of extinction, as they are killed by poachers for their horns and tusks. My guest this week, Damien Mander, founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, is working to train rangers in the preserves of Africa, via legal and direct tactics, to bring poachers to justice. He is a vegan and believes that animals suffer tremendously when they are raised for consumption, which is also a major contributor to climate change. Damien is starring in a James Cameron film called “The Game Changers”, which you can check out by going to gamechangers.com. For more information on the work of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, go to iapf.org

#1615: Green Politics

Green Diva Meg and I bring our two shows together to form The Many Shades of Green Divas, a/k/a 50 Shades of Green. This episode delves into politics, both green and mean, as we speak to the very political Phil Margo, and to Van Jones who is a leader in the climate justice movement. We also have a special tag from the current Democratic nominee for President, Hillary Clinton. So tune in and find out what her shade of green is, and how Green Diva Meg and I bring green and other topics into the conversation. The show is also available on Green Divas Radio Show- thegreendivas.com, as well as on iHeart Radio, iTunes and Stitcher.

1614: Accelerating Appalachia

sara-day-evansMy guest this week is Sara Day Evans, Founder of Accelerating Appalachia, which provides social and economic assistance to nature based and local businesses in the vast region of Appalachia, which spans 12 states and has a population of 25 million people. It is one of the most bio-diverse regions on the globe, and new businesses that are based on food, farming and forests are providing jobs and promoting sustainability. Nature Based Businesses (NBB’s) are part of a movement to protect the earth, and maintain the beauty of the Appalachian region. To quote Ms. Evans “My advice to someone thinking of starting an accelerator or a business is this: Be resilient, stubborn, and focused, and love what you do.”  For more info go to acceleratingappalachia.org