Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Waging War on Waste

Down in Arizona...

Photo: Man in the Maze
Tens of thousands of pounds of produce are being dumped into landfills on a regular basis.

The reasons are economic, but the results are humanly tragic as people in the surrounding towns suffer from a lack of good nutrition - or the ability to pay for nutritious food, or even get to the market to buy it.

Fortunately down in Arizona there are also people like Yolanda Soto and the good folks of the Borderlands Food Bank who salvage thirty to forty MILLION pounds of food every growing season, distributing it to the hungry, the needy, the undernourished.

Across the fiery desert...

Nurturing growth near Tucson - Las Aventuras
A group called Native Seeds / SEARCH is doing something remarkable.

Remarkably important and remarkably simple.

They are growing a bank of seeds that will not only preserve the very existence of the endangered plants and crops these seeds give life to, but offer local farmers and ordinary citizens the opportunity to produce crops and grow their gardens in an area hit by the one-two punch of increasing impoverishment and rising temperatures.

Native Seeds also educates people in agriculture as they provide these seeds of food and life in an effort to reincarnate the thriving agricultural environment that began at least 500 years ago - by the ancestors of the same people who struggle there now.

And on the big screen...

Phil Buccellato and Jesse Ash give us all a good look at the ongoing tragedy of food gone to waste - and the people who are working to change that - in 'Man in the Maze', winner in the 2015 Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge.

Watch their 8-minute eye-opener right here.

And let's all be thankful, this Thanksgiving and always, for the food we have on our tables.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Parallel Heritage

Roberto Morales Connects to His Childhood...and to Other Children

Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains are now a Designated U.S. National Monument, thanks in part to the efforts of Nicaraguan-born Roberto Morales.

Mr. Morales, in this Sierra Magazine interview, gives us a look at where he came from, why he was drawn to the San Gabriels and why he feels what he is doing is worthwhile - not just for him but for the children he touches as a community activist and Outward Bound educator.

On working with inner city youth Mr. Morales clearly gets while he gives. "When a youth from South Central L.A. gets into the mountains and says, 'I didn't realize the world was so big,' the moment stays with you," he explains. He also tells us that his kids, when asked what someone who loves the mountains loooks like, they typically respond with 'It's someone with a beard.'

Mr. Morales is not the only person working to introduce more children to the beauty of a world they don't even know exists, but as one of many his efforts are to be applauded...and emulated.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cause Celeb (I Stole That)

I usually skip the blather, on-line or in print, of the stultifying details of the inconsequential matters of the lives of the celebrities we create. It was one instance of the garbage that gets tossed at us from all sides that was the catalyst for this blog. But as we all know there are good people out there, even among the mainstream spotlight.

Cheers to the folks at USA Weekend - or shall I say cheers to those involved - for spotlighting some of the people we see on screen who are doing even greater things off-camera.

Think you guys could devote a little more space to them?

*** Chris O'Donnell, featured in last week's issue, is helping feed America's less fortunate children. Check out and share his video What If Your Child Was The One? and one meal will be donated to Feeding America.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Making A Splash in Community Safety

Bobby Hazen of Shirley, Long Island didn't set out to set up a task force. He wasn't even planning on getting wet. But in 2001, in the course of his involvement with Long Island's Saf-T-Swim schools, he had to fill in as a swim instructor. So he jumped in, literally. And he discovered something even more important than a newfound hobby.

Every year, he explains in this article, the phone at the swim school would light up after another tragedy - one of a child drowning in a pool. This spawned the Long Island Drowning Prevention Task Force, which has grown to encompass the involvement of an impressive list of participants and disseminates safety information to families and schools all over the area - on top of their efforts in the pool.

It is difficult if not impossible to gauge the success of Bobby Hazen's efforts in numbers. How can you count how many children have not drowned because of the efforts of his community? Instead we can think about all the people he has reached out to, all the parents he has informed and influenced, all the children he has helped understand there are things to be aware of before they go jumping off the deep end. And consider that maybe, in all those families, every single child has been able to go over to mom or dad after their swim to dry off and maybe get a giggle and a hug.

These happy endings to a day in the pool are his understated legacy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just Do It - for real.

As Theresa sat on the beach, she saw participants from the annual Block Island Triathlon run by.
“I said to myself, ‘I’m going to do this.’”
And from there Theresa has changed her life, her daughter's, and, so far, many other girls'.
All from one spontaneous decision: "I'm going to do this."
Read what she decided to do - and what has come of it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Much More Than a Meal

Christmas is, of course, the season of giving.
For people like Georgianna Loney Wilson at the St. James Soup Kitchen, the season lasts all year, every year.
She has to be tough at times, as we all do. Yet she makes it look so easy.
She appears as though she was made for it. Perhaps she was.
You can also hear her telling us, without saying so, that we can all do it.

Thanks Christie Duffy at Fios1 for bringing 'Miss Georgianna' to us. And for reminding us that none of us is immune to need.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Following a Higher Order

The young men and women of America who decide they want to serve their country don't get to choose how, where and when. They are given their orders and sent away.
Following their orders, some lose their lives.
On September 8, 2009 Marine corporal Dakota Meyer didn't follow orders meant to keep him alive. Instead he put himself in mortal danger. Five times. And saved three dozen lives.
If he had been lost before saving any of those thirty-six others, he would never be known. Like, perhaps, so many others, whether following their orders or their hearts.