It is Friday, dear friends! Can I get a whoot whoot? I am always so happy when the weekend arrives, and my girls return home from a long week at college. Our space of love is filled again with singing and laughter, and my husband gets to relax some while watching sports! It’s a good thing I like football and baseball, but I didn’t realize that jumping up and down cheering for a team was relaxing.
I hope you have some wonderful plans for the weekend. Let’s get this party started with some good java and a look at the news.
We are jumping all over the map today to share many different subjects that are of interest, so fasten your safety belts and off we go!
Oil prices are falling, which is good for some and not for others.
A dear reader commented the other day about oil prices falling and how there does not seem to be a shortage of oil. So why were the prices so high to begin with? The answer to that are oil futures, which is just another way of saying gambling on the future price of oil. Now an odd thing is happening internationally, and things that used to keep oil prices high, like military conflict and weather devastation, are not working. The price of gas has fallen significantly over the past few weeks, and now governments in oil producing countries are scrambling to make up for shortfalls in expected oil revenue. While I believe we must move away from a petro-based economy to create a more sustainable world, getting a break at the pump is a nice thing right now!
Researchers are going to Hawaii to get ready for Mars.
The selection of researchers, who will live for 8 months in a small geodesic dome on the slopes of the Mauna Lau volcano in Hawaii, was like a scene out of “Survivor.” After a 6-day camp out in the Rocky Mountains, participants were asked to vote on who they would least likely want to go to Mars with, and who they felt should be their leader. That process tapped Martha Lenio, a young renewable energy entrepreneur, for the commander’s role. The mission, which is sponsored by NASA, was initiated to learn as much as possible about the cramped quarters that will be involved in long range space flight, but Lenio also sees it as an opportunity to test the outer reaches of sustainability. When crews can only use the power of the sun, the water they brought with them and the food they grow themselves, much can be learned and translated to sustainable models in a bigger environment like earth. Good luck, all you simulated space travelers, but we expect a post card!
Texting and driving are big no no’s, and soon there could be an App for that.
My brother went to Steven’s Institute for his engineering degree, so I was happy to see that a very cool app could soon be coming out of their graduate program, in conjunction with Rutgers University. We all know that using a hand-held cell phone to make a call or to text while driving are illegal in the US, but a quarter of all car accidents involve cell phone use. A new App is being developed, and has been tested on the street successfully, that disables the cell phone of the driver, while allowing a passenger to still make calls. Sounds like a great plan to me!
Researchers are getting into the heads of our younger generation.
While we previously looked at research focusing on the younger generation in the UK, related to their expectations about business ethics, this editorial discusses two recent surveys into the minds and ideology of the generation called the Millennials, who came to adulthood in the US around 2000. The point of the research, done by the Pew Foundation and Reason, a libertarian think-tank, was to see which way the wind blows related to their religious views and political stance. What is striking about the results is how very different this generation is from older ones in the US, with less affiliation to big religion but more desire for service and problem solving. While the author is speaking directly to the effect of this generation on the political and policy world, I believe their real contribution will be in creating a world that works for everyone. Their world is smaller and more interconnected than ever before, due to technology. They abhor debate, simply want to create positive change, and be in service. That sounds like a generation poised to make a huge impact on our blessed world!
What do bugs and coffee have in common? Healthy ecosystems!
The University of Washington has a big collection of creepy crawlies, representing a snap shot of the diverse ecosystem that used to thrive in Guatemala, before deforestation and slash and burn agriculture literally wiped much of the slate clean. It is heartening to know that business, in the garb of Fair Trade models, is helping to restore these damaged ecosystems. To participate in Fair Trade, a supplier does not just supply good product. Farmers must prove that they are stewarding land in traditional and ecologically sustainable ways. To earn a fair wage, sometimes double what they could make growing coffee for big agriculture, mountain farmers must restore the land. They are working with university researchers to plant indigenous vegetation that attracts insects, birds and animals. The healthier the environment, the more species will return to the niche. As a biology student, I was always so fascinated by how nature proves to us, through observation of species, how healthy an environment is. As a coffee drinker I am happy to know the Fair Trade model is making a difference not only for farmers, but for the environment as well.
Is Feminism and Gender Equality the new thing among celebrities?
As we discussed previously, Emma Watson just announced her HeforShe initiative before the United Nations, and asked men to stand up for gender equality around the world. It seems that some of her celebrity brethren have been “inadvertent feminists”” all along, but have recently declared it for all to hear. This article highlights five famous men who ardently declare themselves Feminist, discuss their reasoning behind going against the “man-hating feminist stigma” and take a stand in support of their sisters worldwide. There is also a link to a petition asking the US to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, which would come out strongly in favor of gender equality. Any movement in the media towards a more positive image for gender equality is a good one.
Happy International World Food Day!
October 16th marked the celebration of International World Food Day. This year, the focusing theme is Family Farmers. Everyone speaks about monoculture and big agriculture, but did you know that of the 570 Million farms world wide, 500 Million are family farms and some have been in families for over 1,000 years? Many family farmers have used traditional methods continually and add tremendously to the sustainability of agriculture, the health of the land and easing hunger in their local areas. Cheers to family farmers and blessings on all they do!
That’s the news for today! Have a brilliant day, and a miraculous weekend! The roundup will be back tomorrow, and I hope you will also join me for my favorite part of the week, Feel Good News on Sunday!
Be Well. Be Joy. Be Love!