Friday, April 27, 2018

Quote of the week

Insight: Accepting the battle of competing passions by Lorraine Glowczak

With each week’s publication, it never ceases to amaze me the number of people in our two small towns who live life with purpose, focus and passion; including many of the young members of the community. This week, the students from Ms. Rush’s Social Studies class and Kayla Collins fundraising efforts (both on the front page) reminded me to live fully and that our future is in good hands.
While I tend to live passionately and fully; focus and single-mindedness are not my strong suits. As a
result, I jump on board every opportunity to be of service and onto all adventures that cross my path. This overzealous tactic of passionate living pulls me in multiple directions, leaving my most ardent dream (publishing a book of essays) in the dust. I struggle daily with this fact. This leads me to a recent conversation I had with someone that made me stop and reflect upon this very issue.

While trying to establish a date to meet with a group of fellow writers, we were having a difficult time accommodating our busy schedules. All nine of us were going back and forth, tossing up possible dates but a conflict or two would always present itself. Our inability to quickly determine a date and time would frustrate the most laid-back personality.

As we were nearing the final possibilities, one person in the group got up to leave. As she passed by me, I asked, “Did you have date that might work best for you.” 

“This will be a waste of my time,” she responded. “I’m very particular about how I spend my time and I want to use it wisely.”

Although her words were a bit curt to my Midwestern ears, she spoke a truth and I admired her ability to remain focused with such conviction. She is also passionate about life, so her words made me stop to think how I might be misusing my time, preventing me from fulfilling my dream of publication.

For days afterwards, I reflected upon her ability to focus and live with intention. “How can I be like her?” I wondered.

One morning while jogging, it dawned on me – with disappointment at first. I am not her and will never be her and she is not me. Everything I do – I do because I love it. Yes, it is true that I – and all of us who feel pulled in many directions - may need to pull back the reigns from time to time and allow space to fulfill our lifelong dreams. As for me, there will always be too many adventures and learning opportunities to deny my gypsy’s soul. I will adjust the sails when appropriate and accept the pull of competing passions. 

So, if you see me running around town looking frantic and aimless, you have my permission to bop me on the head and remind me to pull back the reigns a bit. Then, tell me about all the exciting adventures you are pursuing in life, and I may just hop on board. Stat!

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The letter is regarding Gregory E. Foster Rep. Candidate for House Seat District #66

In a letter to the Editor of the April 13, The Windham Eagle publication, Gregory E. Foster, who cites that he is a candidate for Maine House District #66, makes his case why climate change does not, and will not affect Maine’s maple products industry. He refers to a conference where a conservationist and a forest scientist spoke and indicated that due to climate change the range for maple sap will continue to move north. 

Mr. Foster goes on to refute this is happening. The evidence regarding climate change is well documented and accepted by the majority of the world’s scientific community. Those who deny climate change cite other “studies”, some directly or indirectly funded by fossil fuel interests.
There are at least two credible ways to decide the truth: trust American institutions such as NASA, NOAA, the pre-Trump EPA, and the academic institutions researching climate; or do some research yourself. The alternative is to rely on talk show hosts, the Trump EPA, and studies by questionable sources. 

Then there is “circumstantial evidence” such as Mr. Foster’s observation that nothing has changed “in his neck of the woods.”  

Similarly, there was the famous “snowball evidence”: Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) threw a snowball on the U.S. Senate floor in an effort to disprove climate change. The idea being, we still have snow, so there’s no climate change. Right? We know what the incentive is for denying that climate change is occurring: the huge fossil fuel lobby. Before Mr. Foster’s letter I hadn’t heard any argument as to what possible incentive the world’s scientific community has to somehow collude and create a false climate change hoax, and for American institutions, like NASA, to falsify data. 

Mr. Foster seems to be saying that climate change is a fabrication, so the EPA can get more money. It’s the “big government” conspiracy theory. You can bet that Maine’s maple products, ski, snowmobile, tourist and fishing industries are all taking the effects of climate change seriously.
Mainers in District #66 can decide if they want to elect, for their Representative to the Maine House, someone who does not take it seriously.

Jeff Christiansen
Gorham, ME

Friday, April 20, 2018

Quote of the week. Happy Earth Day!

Insight: Earth Day is not always about saving the Earth by Lorraine Glowczak

I was six years old in 1971 when Keep America Beautiful, Inc. produced its anti-pollution campaign. It was probably the best-known and most guilt-inducing public service announcement in history. If this isn’t ringing a bell – it’s the commercial staring actor, Iron Eyes Cody as a Native American shedding a single tear at the sight of a trash-filled and smoke laden landscape.
The words in the ad go something like this: “Some people have a deep, abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country and some people don’t,” states a narrator in a baritone voice. Apocalyptic music follows as someone tosses a bag of half-eaten fast food out the window of a passing car. It lands and scatters at the actor’s feet. He looks forlorn into the camera as the tear rolls down his cheek. The narrator continues, “People start pollution. People can stop it.”

Without a doubt, this commercial made a massive impact on my six-year-old psyche and I became an environmental activist – well – at least for an hour after I saw the ad and until something else caught my attention. Eventually the commercial stopped running and although I never became an activist in the real sense of the word, you never caught me and never will catch me throwing trash out the window of my car. That tear really made its mark on me. Not only that, I do love the natural environment that Maine has to offer, and I would like to preserve it as best as I can.

Sunday, April 22, we celebrate the 38th anniversary of Earth Day. Whether you have been deemed an official “tree hugger” or not, we all have a certain responsibility to the environment if we wish to maintain the life we have now. 

It really does not matter whether you are a conservationist, or you simply enjoy the Maine outdoors, it behooves us all to assume a certain obligation to not mess up our own back yards. Our actions do not have to be big, profound, or impressive (but if they are, contact us and we’ll write about you!).They can be simple everyday actions that work within our everyday lives.

One small action I started a little over a month ago happens during my morning run. I’ll take a trash bag with me and pick up garbage thrown along the side of the road. The down side to this small action is that I stop every two or three seconds and the trash bag gets full in less than a ¼ of a mile. Recently, I noticed that there is less and less trash on the portions of the road I run. As I was beginning to feel I was making a difference, I would notice more trash after a couple of days. This brought back my memory of “the lone tear” commercial of my youth. 

It may appear as if I’m trying to save the Earth. But that’s not what I’m doing. I’m selfishly saving my own butt and the way of life I have become accustomed. 

If there is any truth that the planet is a self-correcting system (which is a debatable topic) then it would seem that the earth, in all its natural intelligence, will adjust just fine. Humans, however, don’t adjust so well. We love things to remain the same and we fight change with all our might. 

Whether it’s four-wheelin’ in the country side you enjoy or a nice meditative stroll down a forest path – we all want the same thing – for the beauty of nature and all it has to offer to remain as we know it.
Selfish? Maybe. But I personally don’t wish to experience Earth’s natural self-correcting system of a declining forest, dead lakes and animal extinction; particularly if we have contributed to that “self-correcting” process.

Comedian George Carlin once said that the planet itself will be just fine. It will just “shake us off like a bad case of fleas” to free itself from the object causing it pain.

So, the next time you consider throwing trash out the window, either remember the tear or think of the flea.