Five ways to do Earth Day 2021 in a Covid lockdown

Earth Day 2021 is just a few weeks away, but since we’re still living in a Covid world you might be thinking you’ll have to skip it again. Fear not though, as this year there are more than a few virtual events planned already, with more to be posted soon.

First though I would like to acknowledge that the past year has actually seen movement on the environmental front. President Biden stopped the dreaded oil pipeline. People seeking ways to stave off lockdown boredom came out in droves last year to hike, camp, and volunteer for a ton of events. The USPS also put out an official Earth Day stamp, which is still available for purchase (and use) on their website. Plus, this year’s EUEC Virtual conference showed that multiple groups are actively working on not only fixing the existing electrical grid, but making it more eco friendly and efficient to boot.

If you would like to get involved this year too, here’s some suggestions.

  1. Start out by asking your local churches, parks, and your kid’s school, as they might be planning something already.
  2. Also check out your local library to see what they have planned, as most do something to honor the day.
  3. If you’re looking for ways to green up your home, then make sure to see what your local nursery is doing, since it is the start of planting season.
  4. You can also check out Ian Somerhalder’s new documentary, ‘Kiss the Ground‘, which is now playing on Netflix. This is getting some really great reviews, especially for the way it offers up hope by not only listing problems, but offering up suggestions for solving them.
  5. Finally, the San Diego Natural History Museum (aka The Nat) will be hosting it’s “The State of Biodiversity” virtual summit over the 4 Thursdays in April. Sign up for free on the summit’s website.

If you know of any other Earth Day events that are planned, please feel free to list them in the comments section,so others might join in too.

Happy Earth Month Everyone!!!

Being Green doesn’t have to be Taxing

Form 1040 - Wikipedia
image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_1040

I know that life is a bit busy right now, but hopefully it will come as a shock to no one that taxes are due soon. Although this can be stressful for some, it can actually turn out to also be one of the easiest times to flex your green muscles. When thinking about taxes and being green, most people will probably think about donations that they might have already made to any number of charities that help with animals and/or the environment. Although that is definitely on way to link the two activities, it isn’t the only one. You can also chose to donate after your taxes are done, but right before you submit them, at least if you live in California.

Before you finalize your federal tax return, pretty much everyone gets asked if they want to donate to the presidential campaign fund, but on the California tax return you also get asked if you would like to donate part of your state tax refund to any of about 20 or so different charities. Some of the charities deal with things like cancer research, Fire related issues, and autism research. However, several of them also have to do with endangered animals and the environment. If I recall correctly there was one last year that dealt with the otters, and there was a wetlands charity as well that was on the list. Al you have to do is click (or fill in the box) on the ones your want to help out with.

So, if your state tax return has something like this, then this year please don’t just skip over it. This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to make a contribution, and you get to choose how much you want to give (anywhere from a dollar up is accepted). Then next year that contribution can even become a deduction. Really it’s a win win for everyone.

No more blursdays

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Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

NO MORE BLURSDAYS!  That needs to start being a national (or perhaps worldwide) mantra. 

If you’re not sure what that means, well then you’re even worse off than I thought.  Blursday is defined by the Urban Dictionary as:

When you’ve been sheltering in place for so long because of a global pandemic you have no idea what day it is as they all blur together. Blursday!

Why does this matter?

It matters because this has become such a common phenomenon that Blursday has actually been picked as one of the new words that will soon be added to the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s one of those sneaky problems that the pandemic brought with it. Together, with all the other changes that we’ve had to make recently, this issue creates drag in our lives, and can further complicate any attempts to create a more balanced meaningful existence.

I know! I know! That may sound dramatic, but it truly is a problem. In the beginning of the pandemic, with all the shutdowns, and closures, this was just seen as a funny little quirk of quarantine life. It was thought to be something that would soon go away, and we would look back, and tell stories about how we suddenly realized it was Saturday instead of Friday, and that’s why the bank was closed early. Only, that isn’t what’s happened. As our yearly lives have been disrupted, the cumulative affect of Blursdays are being felt more and more. All those typical ways that we used to mark our lives, they’re mostly gone. Without those mile-markers, everything just blurs together. Even if you’re working from home, or remote learning, it’s still easy to fall into this trap.

Zoom just isn’t enough of a draw to break up the monotony anymore. I can’t count the number of times I’ve signed up for a chat or webinar, and then completely forgotten about it.

I miss the events that I would normally go to, but am also just as worried that I might never truly feel safe attending them again. Convention for 150,000 people anyone? Yeah, me neither.

However, without those markers on my calendar, the days still blur. So what can anyone do about it?

Perhaps the answer to that really does need to be answered individually. My solution might not work for you, and vice-versa. In the end, whatever you choose, it just needs to make the days stand apart from each other, and in many ways that means there has to be at least a few things on the calendar that you’re truly looking forward to.

Live talks online tend to hold my focus better than pre-recorded ones. Letting everyone know that Wednesday and Friday afternoons are when you’ll be going for your walks might help prevent others from dragging you back into the blur. The return of a favorite TV show (finally) can set up the basis for a date night, or family night viewing party. Or, perhaps schedule a call (phone or video) with a friend of family member, so you both have something to look forward to.

However you go about it, the important thing is that you at least try. Your blurry mind will thank you for it.

2020 I just don’t know what to say

#RIP 2020
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The year that will live in infamy for years to come is finally nearing its end.  2020 might only have au couple days left, but the lingering impacts it’s leaving us with will hang around for a while I’m afraid.  Leading up to New Year’s Eve, I’ve been listening to others do their year-in-reviews, and I held off on doing my own until now, because quite frankly, I just really didn’t know what to say.

It isn’t really true that this has been a year unlike any other, a truth that anyone who had to live through the combined effects of WWI, and the 1918 Flu outbreak can attest to. In fact, that era had always been a fascination of mine, as I would marvel at all those people had to endure. Well, I guess I don’t have to wonder about how they managed it anymore, now do I?

In retrospect, we have to admit we’ve been exceptionally lucky up till now. Time and time again we dodged one bullet after another (SARS, MERS, EBOLA).  Our luck was bound to run out eventually, and when I think back on What happened once it did, I must admit that….

I JUST DON’T KNOW…

Why did we manage it all so badly? Why did we ALL have to freak out in the middle of it, and insist on taking care of so many other social issues right then and there, instead of focusing everything we had on stopping this thing? Why the hell haven’t we grown up enough as a species yet, to be able to recognize that there are some things you just need to get done, and as an adult you just shut your whiney little ass up, and do it because you have to? Keep in mind that I’m not saying you have to like it, nor that you can’t complain, or even try and make changes later on.  I am saying we had our priorities screwed up right now though.  Why can’t we collectively be better than what we’ve been over the last year?

I JUST DON’T KNOW.

As it stands now, the damage has been done.  For example, I used to love going to the movies when I was young, and despite not being able to go as often when I got older, I love it still.  I never imagined that I would see the demise of the movie theater industry in my lifetime, and yet here we are.

I freely admit that such losses haven’t helped anyone cope with this situation any better.  It feels like every time I turn around, all I see is that the things/places/events/experiences that used to be a major part of my aren’t there anymore.  To be fair, they’re not really all gone. Physically, most are still where they’ve always been, but they have become inaccessible.  So, almost everything that I used to do to relax and enjoy life, I can’t do.  The bigger concern that hides in the back of my mind is will I ever be able to do these things again in the future?  With the way life is changing, and the suggestion that many of these changes might become permanent…

I JUST DON’T KNOW…

There in lies the concern. That nagging fear of “will life ever be the same,” especially after of all the chaos that 2020 brought with it? Sadly, I do know the answer to that one….

IT WON’T.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that things do change after events such as these.   Some changes we will undoubtedly hate, some we’ll learn to live with, and others we might even love.  Here’s hoping that 2021 brings us more of that last one. After the year we’ve had, I think we could all use a break, don’t you?

Happy New Year Everyone.

 

Remembering #GivingTuesday

It may sound strange to be sending out a reminder about a thing that everyone will be talking about over the next couple of days, but oddly enough, that’s why it needs to be done. We can get so used to hearing about it that it just begins to blend in with all the other background noise. However, unlike all the other stuff, this really does matter. It always has of course, but especially so this year, with the economy in the state it’s in, everyone and everything seems to need help.

The complication this year is that more and more people can’t afford to contribute like they once did. Just like in the Great Recession, nonprofits are watching their donations disappear, only this time people often can’t safely volunteer their time either.

So, what’s there to do? Simply put, you do what you can. Even if it’s a single dollar, well that’s one dollar more than they had before you gave it. If enough of us do the same, then it can become enough in the end. We all just have to care enough to try. So, reflect on your situation, see what you can do, and participate in this year’s #GivingTuesday …. even if you have to wait till Friday when you get paid to do it, no one will stop you from giving if you’re just a little late. Pitch in folks.

Photo by Samantha Garrote on Pexels.com

Not all voting booths are made equal

i voted sticker lot
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

There are now only a few more days left in this election (thank God). That means anyone who hasn’t submitted their ballot yet really needs to hop to it. However, as if this year wasn’t complicated enough, now you have to also deal with fake ballot boxes too. That’s right folks, this year not all ballot boxes are legit.

This has come about for a variety of reasons, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Some were set up possibly out of malice, while others were done out of what might have been a real attempt to help (like a “Ballot party” I was recently invited to). Whatever the reason, legally their existence is dubious at best.

In this final weekend of voting, legitimate pop-up locations are being opened around the country. Although they are meant to make voting easier, for some they might just make it more confusing. The one sure way to know if the site/box you’re about to go to is for real, is to ask. Look up the Registrar of Voters for your county, and see if it’s listed on their website. Still not sure? Wait until Monday, and call them to hear it directly from the horse’s mouth.  Then sign up to get updates on the status of your ballot, the registrar’s office should be able to tell you how to do that as well. Now that you have your game plan, go find that ballot of yours, and finally fill it out! 🤗

Coastal Cleanup Day still on in 2020

(Image courtesy of California Coastal Commission)

Good new Eco-wariors, this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day 2020 is still on, but with Covid-19 necessary adjustments.  Each state will of course decide how to best make these adjustments, but here in California, the event is being spread out over several Saturdays instead of just one, and the number of locations has been increased to allow for more social distancing.

Each year people come together to help clean our beaches, parks, shorelines, and coastal shallows.  With an ever increasing amount of plastics, and other garbage, entering the oceans every year, this endeavor is more important that ever.  Luckily, even the Coronavirus can’t stop dedicated individuals from doing their part, especially now that there won’t be the danger of large groups congregating together while they do it.

For details about how your local Coastal Clean Up is going to work this year, just do a search for what’s going on in your state, if you live in California though, you can just look here for the California website.

Has Coronavirus exposed Big Brother?

Yet again the current administration has quietly put through another order meant to hinder the spread of information regarding something of vital importance.  This time it was the Coronavirus.

According to a just published article on the NY Times website, the White House has now sent out instructions to hospitals that all Covid data is to be pushed through to a central office in DC, and not to the CDC, as it normally would be.  Will future data at least be shared with the CDC in its entirety?  Only time will tell.  (Use the link below to read what they found in the NY Times article).  When you start to think about other similar steps that have been take at various other times when those actions mostly benefit someone’s re-election campaign, this all becomes even more concerning, especially since it seems to have been done so covertly.

Considering what’s at stake, this can’t be allowed to stand as is.  Sadly it seems that there might have been a useful side to Coronavirus after all, as it might turn out to be one of the only things powerful enough to actually pull back that curtain, and expose the current location of Big Brother for us all to see.  The question now is will enough people even bother to look.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/trump-administration-strips-cdc-of-control-of-coronavirus-data/ar-BB16KfXB?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout

Pondering the oddity of our Covid19 days

white and tan english bulldog lying on black rug
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ask anyone (including your dog), and they’ll tell you that we’re living in strange times.  A world-wide pandemic, protests, locust swarms on multiple continents, and a massive dust cloud are sadly but a few of the issues we’re all facing right now.  Social isolation is the key we’re told, to group survival; and to be fair, past pandemics have proven this to be true.  Yet, the oddest thing of all, is that with all of our technology we started out thinking we wouldn’t truly be isolated at all.

A couple of months was all it took to show us the falseness of that techno promise, but hey, it’s not the computer’s fault that zooming just isn’t the same as hanging out.   We’re now being reminded of how much real connections matter.

Things will, no doubt, continue to rapidly change over the next several months.  What legacy this pandemic will leave us with is anyone’s guess, but one thing that is odder still, is that one thing it apparently won’t leave is a song.

Oh, I know various artist are already writing up a storm about life during Corona, but what I’m talking about is the childrens’ songs that past pandemic have inspired.  For example, the Spanish Flu had a jump roping song about “a bird named Enza,” and as they opened the door “in flew enza.”.  Even the Black Death inspired a song.  You may have heard of it, it was called “Ring around the Rosie.”

However, here we are, several months into this ‘experience,’ and not so much as a hummed tune yet to be heard.  Is it just too soon?  Will later reflection show that a song did come about after all?  I guess we’ll see, but until then, go play with your dog.  This whole Covid thing is so stressful for him too, now that it turns out dogs and cats can catch it as well.  Man, what a weird disease, what ever will the future lyrics even sound like I wonder?

Stay safe everyone.

Congrats Grads, may your future always be green!

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020, both the high school and college versions.  Seriously, congratulations!  This may not be the event you all had imaged just a few short months ago, but it’s still a monumental achievement worth noting.  So take the pictures wearing your cap and gown anyway, as this is something that someday you Will want to look back on.

Now, as you move forward with you life onto the next stage, remember that in many ways the hard work has just begun.  It’s time to be a full participant in the world in which you live.  Time to learn to do your own taxes, clean up your own space without being reminded, and some day even take care of kids of your own.  Most importantly though, it is time to walk to walk.  All those Friday Protest for the Planet were cute and all, but other than getting some attention for the cause, lets face it, not too many of the participants were really doing anything other than ditching school.  Now it’s time to truly show you dedication to the environment, by choosing to live your adult life as green a way as you possibly can.

Growing up you’ve all heard about how this is supposed to work, and now is your chance to actually make those decisions that will hopefully help to make the world a better place.  So welcome to the future 2020 Grads.  In time this whole Corona thing will come under control, and once it does you will hopefully step out into the world again, ready to help in the fight we all must be part of, to fix all those other problems that still need your skills.  To those of you still willing to be part of this movement, with or without the benefit of skipping class, welcome to the fight.  We’ve can’t wait to see what you achieve while your here.