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I have had the opportunity to attend the first two days of the "Change It" conference in Boston which is being sponsored by Greenpeace and Seventh Generation. There are more than fifty young people present. Each of them has a passion for the environment, but they are all very different. Students have come from the South, like Florida, from New England, from places like Vermont and from the Mid-West and each of them had so much energy and excitement. I actually ran into a YP4 fellow at the conference, Betsy Ott from Northern Michigan University. Everyone is at the conference with the hope that when they go back to their campuses they can change it.
This summer I have had the opportunity to canvass with a group working on environmental issues affecting the Gulf Coast region, the Gulf Restoration Network in New Orleans. After spending most of my Freshman year sitting in lecture halls , studying in the campus library or working in front of my computer, it is quite a different experience to be going door to door trying to engage people about the environment.
One thing I noticed right away is that a typical day is not really typical at all. The experience on a given day largely depends on who answers a particular door. At that point you have a short window of opportunity to present your message and persuade the person to show her/his support for your cause.
I was canvassing in Louisiana in favor of the restoration of the Gulf Coast. While doing so, I encountered certain ordinances or other restrictive regulations that restrict access to housing in certain areas, like closed subdivisions or limit access at certain times. I believe that having an executive government in place at the federal level that tries so hard to keep information from its citizens, allowing these type of restrictions that negatively impact canvassers's ability to disseminate information to the public is very bad. Since it seems to be local government bodies and public officials that have either put these restrictions into place directly or else have allowed them to be adopted, we need to take a closer look to see if these actions run afoul of the First Amendment.
It seems that the Bush Administration has decided that executive branch agencies have to behave like the three monkeys: Speak no evil, see no evil, and hear no evil. According to articles in today’s Washington Post and the New York Times newspapers, last October, 2007, members of Vice-President’s Dick Cheney staff edited out six pages of proposed Congressional testimony of Julie L.Gerberding, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”)where the CDC was going to point out that global warming caused by greenhouse gases emitted from fossil fuels are a serious threat to public health.
Like most people I don’t think of girls as brides, unless they are wearing a costume for Halloween or a school play. However an article in the New York Times this week, “Tiny Voices Defy Child Marriage in Yemen”http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/world/middleeast/29marriage.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=yemen&st=cse&oref=slogin made me aware that girl brides are part of the reality of several countries in the world, and that for these girl brides life is not a game but a painful reality.
Society has failed the mentally ill over and over again. Only today in the media there was a story of a woman in New York who had been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility who died after falling to the floor in the emergency room of the psychiatric hospital and laying there unattended. A videotape revealed that numerous employees of the facility saw her lying on the ground convulsing and then motionless but no one did anything to help her for over an hour. The woman had been forcibly taken to such facility 24 hours before yet had received no treatment at the facility.
Was there a pregnancy pact between the teenage girls attending Gloucester High School? Whether or not there was a pact I believe the real issue is not the veracity of the story but the fact that there are so many pregnant girls in this Massachusetts High School.
Higher food prices are having an impact in many people’s lives all around the world, but probably more so to those in developing countries. The prices of food just seem to be getting higher and higher. At the beginning of the summer while visiting my parents in Puerto Rico I read about food riots in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. I just came back from a short trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and that gave me a first hand look at the problem.
Being a person with a disability is difficult, but reading an article from Disaboom entitled “Top election issues for people with disabilities” by Kim Dority which was posted at http://denver.yourhub.com/DenverSouth/Stories/Sound-Off/Politics/Story~484899.aspx (viewed on 6/19/08) shocked me. The article pointed out that people with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world. I had never thought of people with disabilities as minorities.
In my Introduction to Anthropology textbook, “Culture asGiven, Culture as Choice” by van der Elst, there was a comment that got me thinking, All that is needed for women to fall into poverty is just to have one more child than they can afford. This comment impacted me and got me thinking and it made a lot of sense. One child represents not only the additional cost to support that new human being, but also the opportunity costs of not pursuing other economic activities because of caring for the newcomer.