September 28, 2009

protest at whole foods

I was dissapointed when the CEO of Whole Foods wrote that piece in the WSJ against the public option of Obama's health plan. Many people have been boycotting shopping at Whole Foods since then.

Here's a video of a group in Oakland who protested with a song and dance routine. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there is something so positive and uplifting by protesting with song and dance. Much better than yelling and fighting!

Could you imagine using this tactic to solve large global conflicts?

September 23, 2009

reclaiming public spaces

I have noticed several projects lately that are reclaiming land for public spaces. I love how a spot that was once concrete or a random unused plot can be turned into an area of beauty and usefulness.

San Francisco has a 3 areas where they've closed certain streets to make either gardens or gathering spots.

One of these areas was created by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design collective, who is also responsible for the very cool PARK(ing) day event. PARK(ing) Day is an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.

Also here in San Francisco there is also a little plot of land near an off ramp of the freeway which has been tended into a garden. Caltrans even gave permission for a very motivated neighbor to transform the space (not without some parameters, though). It has been an intriguing project because not only has it made the space so much more beautiful, useful, and interesting it has also brought together many folks from the community.

Of course there is also the famous example of the High Line in NYC, which I have yet to visit in person. It looks amazing. The High Line was originally constructed in the 1930s, to lift dangerous freight trains off Manhattan's streets. Section 1 of the High Line is open as a public park, owned by the City of New York and operated under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. When all sections are complete, the High Line will be a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park, running through several neighborhoods on the West Side. It features an integrated landscape, combining meandering concrete pathways with naturalistic plantings. Fixed and movable seating, lighting, and special features are also included in the park.

It is so inspiring that these efforts to maximize public spaces are making the environments more useful and appealing.

* I had hoped to have loads of images to share of these spaces, but am having some trouble obtaining them. Click the links to see the fabulous spaces. I'll add the images if I can sort it out.

September 17, 2009

swine flu

Now that the kids are back in school, I'm thinking ahead to keeping everyone healthy. Starting school often means bringing home new colds and viruses. This year, the talk of more Swine Flu has even caused many schools to send home notices about their Swine Flu policies.

I'm not one to be too alarmed about these things, but was grateful to read some advice sent home from one of our schools. It all comes down to some common sense and good habits, too!

These tips were forwarded from Jim Franicevich, a nurse practitioner in PublicHealth at the Refugee Clinic. He says that the most important issue in the control of ANY communicable disease is SANITATION. The best thing that we can do for our children and ourselves is to have them wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. Since young children often do not know how to do this well, we must help them by showing them.
  • Use a good quality basic hand soap, NOT one with antibiotics or other "sanitizers" that are causing bacteria to become resistant.
  • Show children how to rub a small quantity of soap AROUND AND AROUND to make good lather, working the bubbles around the nails and palms.
  • Rinse well with warm water, if possible.
  • Repeat the process cleaning around the mouth and nose, but only after the hands are clean.
  • If no water and soap is available and you are using wipes, ALWAYS WIPE THE MOUTH FIRST BEFORE WIPING THE HANDS.
  • Train children to cover their mouths when sneezing and coughing. The most practical way is to cover their face with their elbows. If mucus or spit comes out, they should wash their hands and face again. (For children who have allergies, this is bothersome but very important because it is not always possible to know if they are sneezing or coughing because of the allergies or sickness.)
  • Avoid eating in places where food handling may be questionable.- Feed your child whole, nutrient dense foods to keep their immune system strong. Avoid sweets and carbohydrates with white flour that exhaust the digestive system.
  • Most important is to observe your child for signs of fatigue, grumpiness, lack of appetite or fever and let your child rest at home. This is for the safety of your own child and the others she may come in contact with.
If you use common sense, many illnesses, including one like Swine Flu can be avoided.

But if you are interested in options which do not include much common sense, you may want to take a look at this great video about Swine Flu precautions from the New York Times. Puts all the panic in perspective, really. Not that it shouldn't be taken seriously, just that there are limits to what we can control and what will be effective.

September 16, 2009

absentia

I haven't posted in awhile. Maybe you noticed? Everything is fine here, just overloaded. I had intentions of all kinds of back to school posts and information, but the actual process of sending everyone back to school combined with all the meetings, etc. just overloaded me. I needed a break from writing.

As always, I have lots of ideas of improving the blog and ideas for posts. I just need to make time for them to come to fruition! Stick with me, progress is on the way.

And in the meantime, be sure to follow me on twitter. I have found it is a great way to send quick little things I see without requiring writing up a full post.

Come back tomorrow, and I'll have a new post for you on Swine Flu!

September 1, 2009

straight from sigg's mouth

The CEO of Sigg posted an update on their website today regarding his statements about the bottle liners. While it sounds like he is hearing that customers felt mislead, it also seems this statement of clarification is providing the company an opportunity to cap off and control their return/replacement program.

If you intend to send back your old Sigg bottles for replacements with the new Ecocare liner, you must do so by October 31, 2009.

I'm still on the fence about if I should send mine back. I want them to know that I feel mislead and have lost my trust in them. Should I take the new bottles? Should I simply write a letter? Which action will affect them more?

from Sigg:

September 1, 2009

Dear SIGG Customer,

Last month, I wrote a letter to try and provide you with as much factual and historical information as I could in regards to the evolution of the SIGG bottle liner. I also suggested that people could email me if they had any questions and comments.

After reading and responding to hundreds of emails and viewing nearly as many blog & Twitter posts, I realize that my first letter may have missed the mark. What I should have said simply and loudly to all of our loyal SIGG fans is: I am sorry that we did not make our communications on the original SIGG liner more clear from the very beginning.

I have learned much over the past 2 weeks. I learned that many of you purchased SIGG bottles - not just because they were free from leaching and safe - but because you believed that SIGGs contained no BPA. I learned that, although SIGG never marketed the former liner as “BPA Free” we should have done a better job of both clearly communicating about our liner as well as policing others who may have misunderstood the SIGG message.

For over 100 years, SIGG has earned a reputation for quality products and service – and we do not take that for granted. From the day we made our announcement last month, we made a commitment consistent with SIGG values that we would offer anyone who is concerned about BPA an opportunity to swap their old SIGGs for new SIGGs with the new EcoCare liner. Today, I am announcing that this voluntary Exchange Program will be in place until October 31, 2009 to ensure that our customers have ample time to send their former liner bottles back to us should they choose to do so.

Once again, I truly apologize for the lack of clarity in our previous communications. All of us at SIGG hope that we will have an opportunity to regain your confidence and trust.

Sincerely,
Steve

Steve Wasik
CEO, SIGG Switzerland
Steve.Wasik.CEO@sigg.com