Don’t Drop that Straw !

Earth Day effort exposes plastic straws as a scourge

 

Young Spanish boy drinking milk with a straw : Stock Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Straws are among the pieces of plastic that litter Chicago beaches, cleanups have found. 
Straws are convenient for stirring cocktails or coffee, slurping down sodas and popping holes in juice boxes. But the small pieces of plastic can add up to a big problem for the environment.
In honor of Earth Day on Saturday, Shedd Aquarium is launching the “Shedd the straw” campaign to raise awareness that single-use plastic straws litter beaches, pollute lakes and rivers, and harm the animals that live in them.

The effort is one of several conservation activities planned across the Chicago area this weekend, including cleaning up neighborhood parks, vacant lots and the viaducts below The 606 trail.
Straws are among the many items — including water bottles, food wrappers and cigarette butts — that pollute Chicago’s beaches and waterways.

About 87 percent of the more than 40,000 pounds of trash picked up at beaches by volunteers last year throughout the Great Lakes region was plastic, according to the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
Cleanup events by residents help build a culture of care and stewardship that can continue past Earth Day, said Stephanie Smith, the alliance’s vice president of operations. The group has organized Adopt-a-Beach cleanups for Saturday, as it does year-round, to help keep the shoreline healthy and litter-free. Also on Saturday, Friends of the Chicago River is pitching in to clean up the river on a canoe trip in Evanston.
“Our individual practices can shift as a result of being involved,” Smith said, such as using reusable water bottles or requesting drinks without straws.
At two cleanups last year, Shedd volunteers collected more than 400 plastic straws and stirrers at 12th Street and 63rd Street beaches in Chicago. Straws, which are made of a petroleum byproduct called polypropylene mixed with colorants and plasticizers, are not biodegradable, according to the Shedd.
“We use (a straw) for a short period, and it’s out of our hands and ends up in a landfill or as litter,” said Jaclyn Wegner, Shedd’s manager of conservation partnerships and programs. “Looking at how we can change our daily habits to protect our animals around us is a priority.”
The aquarium, which no longer uses plastic straws or lids for beverages at its cafes, is urging people to turn down straws at restaurants and switch to reusable glass or metal straws or biodegradable alternatives like paper straws.
Shedd has partnered with a dozen Chicago-area restaurants to go straw-free Saturday.  At the Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook, that policy will continue beyond Earth Day, said co-owner Sarah Stegner. The restaurant will no longer offer plastic straws but will provide paper straws to customers upon request, she said. On the back of the card listing the restaurant’s dining specials will be an explanation of the Shedd’s initiative.
The aquarium approached the restaurant about participating in the campaign, which is similar to other initiatives across the country. An estimated 500 million disposable straws are used daily in the U.S., a figure provided by nonprofit recycler Eco-Cycle based on information from straw manufacturers.
“The numbers are staggering,” Stegner said. “If I can make a little difference, I want to do that.”
Stegner said she saw a viral YouTube video of a sea turtle getting a plastic straw extracted from its nostril, showing the impact straws can have on marine life.
“It’s something we just don’t think about,” she said. “Now we’ve been made aware of it, we have to do the right thing.”
lvivanco@chicagotribune.com

End-of-Life Option, Ray’s Story

Choosing end-of-life option, Ray Perman’s Story

In 6 states, those facing terminal illness can decide when to die

Five years ago, 64-yearold Ray Perman was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Perman, a designer and consultant who lived in the San Francisco Bay area, had sarcoma carcinoma, a rare and terminal cancer that affects only about 200 people a year in the United States. He also had a common, low-grade, progressive prostate cancer, not unusual for men his age.

The sarcoma caused a large, rapidly growing tumor to form in his prostate and nest against his colon. At the suggestion of his oncology team, he immediately underwent surgery to have his prostate, bladder, numerous lymph nodes and other flesh removed.

At the time of surgery, biopsies showed that both forms of cancer had metastasized, spreading the cancer to other lymph nodes. For a year, he and his doctor decided to wait instead of pursuing further cancer treatments.

A year later, the sarcoma reappeared in the form of a 5-inch, football-shaped, rapidly growing tumor in his lower abdomen, and later 12 quarter-inch and 1-inch tumors appeared in his lungs.

He was told he had two to six months to live.

Perman, at the suggestion of his oncologist, decided to try an unusual combination of two of the most powerful chemotherapy drugs available: Taxotere and Gemzar. The treatment was predicted to have about a zero to 30 percent chance of “doing something.”

The combination was so toxic, Perman said, that it caused his legs to swell, his fingernails to fall off, excessive bleeding, loss of body fluid and neuropathy, a nerve disorder that causes weakness, numbness, tingling, pain and balance problems in the arms, legs, hands and feet.

Miraculously, the treatment worked.

The large, aggressive abdominal tumor in his lower abdomen and the 12 in his lungs shrank, extending his life.

A second round of chemotherapy began about a year and a half later, when more sarcoma tumors appeared in his pelvis, tailbone and rib cage, but this time it had little effect.

“When it became obvious that treatment wasn’t working, that the side effects of the treatment were worse than the disease and that I had only a few months to live, I knew I had some decisions to make,” said Perman. “And I decided to seek only palliative care through hospice at my home and began to investigate the use of the California End of Life Option that went into effect on June 9, 2016, and authorizes medical aid in dying.”

Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding and protecting the rights of the terminally ill, says that where end-oflife options are legal (Oregon, Washington state, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington, D.C.), the fear of liability has been lifted and patients are able to talk frankly with their doctors about their fears and hopes and how to end life peacefully.

“When you’ve watched someone suffer, you will quickly become a convert for peaceful end-of-life options,” said Coombs Lee, adding that when people don’t have options, they revert to denial.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 69 percent of Americans said they agree that “when a person has a disease that cannot be cured … doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it.”

And doctors mostly agree, according to a Medscape survey of more than 7,500 doctors from more than 25 specialties. In the 2016 survey, 57 percent agreed that “physicianassisted dying should be allowed for terminally ill patients,” while 29 percent were opposed. In Medscape’s 2010 survey, 46 percent were in favor and 41 percent were opposed.

Dr. David Grube, national medical director of Compassion and Choices, said he’s found that in states where end-of-life options are legal, patients most often bring up the topic with their doctors. Those doctors, he said, are then ethically bound to be sure their patients understand the parameters of end-of-life laws.

To participate in end-oflife options, a patient has to have a terminal disease with less than six months to live as corroborated by two doctors and has to be psychologically capable and physically able to selfadminister oral medication.

“One third of those (in Oregon) who do get a prescription don’t use it, but it makes a huge difference for a person to know that he or she is in control and has the right to self-determination,” said Grube.

For Ray Perman, once it was clear that there was no further viable treatment for the cancer, the key issue became quality of life.

He spoke with his exwife and adult children, who had been supportive, and began the end-of-life options process required in California. He got confirmation from two oncologists that he was terminally ill with no chance of recovery; told his doctors of his wishes; and was competent and able to self-administer the life-ending medication.

His prescription was filled.

“I know I am going to die, and this end-of-life option has given me the freedom to enjoy the rest of my life without the fear of losing control over my own existence,” Perman said. “I don’t want to be described as struggling or battling cancer. I am living and breathing and singing and playing music with cancer, and most of all, I’m enjoying the profound beauty of life.”

On Feb. 4, Ray Perman took his end-of-life medication, and surrounded by his family, he died peacefully.

brutal childhood to peace with horses–interview

Listen to touching interviews.  Click here.

Monty Roberts is a horse trainer who has a remarkable relationship with horses. He has developed a radical way of communicating with them that has earned him many fans, including Queen Elizabeth.

Enos Mafokate is South Africa’s first black showjumper. His exceptional talent and passion for horses helped break down the racial barriers that governed all life in the apartheid era.

 

Slavery, here and now

In U.S. Restaurants, Bars And Food Trucks, ‘Modern Slavery’ Persists

IA new report highlights victims of human trafficking in the food industry, from farm workers to restaurant bus staff, cooks and wait staff. Some victims are exploited for both sex and labor.       Juanmonino/Getty Images

They come from places like Vietnam, China, Mexico and Guatemala, lured by promises of better-paying jobs and legal immigration. Instead, they’re smuggled into the U.S., forced to work around the clock as bussers, wait staff and cooks, and housed in cramped living quarters. For this, they must pay exorbitant fees that become an insurmountable debt, even as their pay is often withheld, stolen or unfairly docked.

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Find out how  slaves are working for you.  http://slaveryfootprint.org/

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In restaurants, bars and food trucks across America, many workers are entrapped in a form of modern slavery. That’s according to a new report by Polaris, an organization that fights human trafficking and helps survivors.

In the report the group offers a detailed portrait of human trafficking as it occurs in the U.S., breaking it down into 25 distinct business models, from nail salons to hotel work and domestic service.

“Because human trafficking is so diverse … you can’t fight it all at once and there are no single, silver bullet solutions. You have to … fight it type by type,” Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, told reporters on a press call. “We see this report as a major breakthrough in the field.”

He called the report the largest data set on human trafficking in the U.S. ever compiled and publicly analyzed. The Polaris team analyzed 32,208 reports of human trafficking, and 10,085 reports of labor exploitation processed through its hotlines for victims between 2007 and 2016. The goal: to identify profiles of traffickers and their victims — and the methods they use to recruit and control them — across industries, in order to better thwart them.

Janet Drake, a senior assistant attorney general in Colorado who has prosecuted human trafficking cases, called the new report “a game changer.”

Only 16 percent of cases identified through the hotline calls involved labor trafficking, Drake says, “but now we realize through the work we’ve done that labor trafficking is probably at least as prevalent, if not more so, than sex trafficking. And that’s a real problem we’ve had as prosecutors – being able to identify and disrupt these labor trafficking networks.”

Three of the 25 categories the group tracked involve the food industry: restaurants, bars and agriculture.

From dairy farms to orange orchards, nearly 2,000 of the cases involved the agriculture industry. Workers — mostly men from Mexico and Central America — often were enticed with assurances of an hourly rate, but once they showed up in the U.S., they were paid on a much lower piece-rate basis. Many reported being denied medical care and protective gear to do their job, forced to live in squalid conditions, and threatened with deportation.

Of the more than 1,700 restaurant industry cases, the vast majority of victims involved immigrants, recruited from Mexico, Central America and East and Southeast Asia. Nearly one in five was a minor. They included cooks, wait staff and bussers at restaurants, food trucks, buffets and taquerias.

Traffickers often take advantage “of language barriers between exploited workers and patrons — and in some cases other workers at the same restaurant who are not being abused — to help avoid detection,” the report says.

Workers who try to leave may face threats of deportation. Traffickers also may threaten to injure or even kill the worker’s family back home. About a third of the cases involved immigrants without legal status in the U.S., but many other victims were here on valid work visas.

Some victims were forced to provide both sex and labor. Women from Latin America — including many minors — come to America beguiled by promises of good wages, safe migration or even a romantic relationship. They’re put to work selling drinks, and sex, at bars and cantinas, says Jennifer Penrose, data analysis director for Polaris and co-author of the report.

Many times these are “legitimate bars and restaurants, where they’ll sell alcohol, often at inflated prices,” Penrose says. But behind the scenes, “forced commercial sex may occur on-site or nearby at a hotel or warehouse.” In this model, she says, traffickers tend to be “part of larger criminal organizations.”

Because the report was based solely on calls and text messages to Polaris’ hotlines, Myles notes there are limits to what it can tell us. “Potentially, restaurant trafficking may be much higher than we’re learning about, but we’re just not getting enough of those hotline calls to be able to describe that,” he said.

PIX

Hi Dad,
This coyote ate some corn at about 7:00 yesterday morning, after checking out the whole yard.  She is beautiful, but it’s scary to have her in the yard.
Love you,
Jenifer

 

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In  Moab,  everyone has their homemade dollies and hand knit sweaters.

With Grandmo Foote:  Paloma, Luisa, Hazel– Beth and Jesse’s kids from Boulder, and Rachel and Michael’s boy River from Richmond (northern) Vermont.

Yes, Grandmo.  Michael and Jesse have always called Alice Mo.

 

Hooray for Short People !

source

She wins  against girls a foot taller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mississippi State’s Morgan William, right, celebrates with Breanna Richardson

“Friday night in the national (basketball) semifinals, the 5-5 (yeah, right) William went for winning shots twice against UConn’s Gabby Williams, who is 5-11 but has amazing hops. The first one, at the end of regulation, Williams blocked. The second one, at the end of overtime, soared over her fingertips as the clock was winding down to zero.

That one swished, and once again, Morgan William had stolen the show at the women’s NCAA tournament, leading Mississippi State past top-ranked UConn 66-64.”

After the game, the coach picked her up and kissed her.

UConn had not lost a game in the last 111, beat MSU in last year’s tournament by 60 points.

 

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