Saturday, April 12, 2014

Asheville- Beyond Coal

Watch "Beyond Coal", and the next episode is in Asheville:  Asheville Beyond Coal | Beyond Coal

Thank you, Sierra Club, for the following information:

Mining our Mountains

In Appalachia, mining companies literally blow the tops off mountains to reach thin seams of coal. They then dump millions of tons of rubble and toxic waste into the streams and valleys below the mining sites.

This destructive practice, known as mountaintop-removal mining, has damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 miles of streams and threatens to destroy 1.4 million acres of mountaintops and forests by 2020. The mining poisons drinking water, destroys beautiful, biodiverse forests and wildlife habitat, increases the risk of flooding, and wipes out entire communities.

Who Gets Hurt

Mountaintop-removal mining pollutes waterways and allows toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, selenium, and arsenic to leach into local water supplies that Appalachia's people rely on. But the danger isn't limited to drinking water. Mountaintop removal also causes air pollution that affects communities for miles around. Many of the toxins that pollute mountaintop-removal sites are carcinogens, and cancer rates are twice as high for people who live near mountaintop-removal sites.

The Future of Mountaintop Removal

Ending mountaintop-removal mining and transitioning to clean energy will benefit Appalachia by creating good jobs in the clean-energy and tourism industries and by improving public health.

How air pollution threatens our health

In the United States, more than 40 percent of people live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Pollution from coal-fired power plants leads to smog (or ozone), a toxic compound and a dangerous irritant. Doctors liken inhaling smog to getting a sunburn on your lungs. It can cause chest pain, coughing, and breathing difficulties. It triggers asthma attacks, and it can lead to irreversible lung damage or even death. Smog exacerbates conditions like bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma—sometimes fatally.

Children are at the greatest health risk from air pollution because they are more likely to be active outdoors and their lungs are still developing. Asthma strikes nearly 1 out of every 10 school children in the United States and is the number-one health issue that causes kids to miss school. On “bad-air days” or “air alert days,” particularly during the warmer summer months, kids with asthma are forced to stay indoors to avoid aggravating their condition.

Meanwhile, soot pollution—a by-product from burning fossil fuels that results in small particles in the air composed of a mixture of metals, chemicals, and acid droplets—is one of the deadliest and most dangerous air pollutants. The smallest soot particles are less than one-thirtieth the width of a human hair. Because of their minuscule size, this fine particulate matter can travel deep into our lungs and even enter the bloodstream. Exposure to soot pollution is extremely dangerous and is linked to premature death, heart attacks, lung damage, and a variety of other significant health problems. Stronger soot standards could avoid up to 35,700 premature deaths, 23,290 visits to the emergency room, and 2.7 million days of missed work or school due to air pollution-caused ailments every year.

Continuing to allow high levels of coal pollution in our air could result in more than $100 billion in annual health costs.

But we don’t have to continue down this path—there is a better way. Clean energy sources like wind and solar can protect our health and boost our economy. No one has ever had an asthma attack triggered by a solar panel. For more information on air pollution in your community, visit our Air Quality Map.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Job in an Old Life...

How interesting to delve back into the world of acting and film.  As a kid I only wanted to be an actress or a C-5 pilot (my Mom was in the Air Force).   It feels like at least three lifetimes have happened from then to now.  Being forty and still unsure of what I want to "be" when I grow up is halfway between embarrassing, and, well, still exciting.  I'll be working with the New York Studio for Stage and Screen, as their development and social media manager! They are an incredibly talented group with an impressive array of professional instructors.  Ha.  Now this sounds like a commercial.  I'm just excited to be around people who love what they do and do it to the best of their abilities.

Go Asheville for welcoming a professional acting conservatory!!

 Here's the website, and a demo reel.  Enjoy!

The New York Studio for Stage and Screen(NYS3) Commercial Highlight Reel

Sunday, March 16, 2014

40 is Totally Rad.

The theme for my birthday was "halfway to 80", so, naturally, a totally awesome '80s party (in a cool basement) really was fantastic.  The music was perfect, the champagne was plentiful, and the pool table and firepit were hot all night!  All of the stress leading up to this "over the hill" moment dissolved like a bag of pop rocks and 1am found me outside with two of my best friends, toasting to love and gratitude, with a light snow falling in the background. 

I am incredibly blessed and grateful for amazing friends and family. Thank you for a rockin' 40.  I think it was Carl Jung who said, "everything before 40 is just research"...excellent, let's get to it then!
(cue Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me"...)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I approach Forty as I would an Eating Disorder

For the next six months I'm going to do something amazing every day.  It might be having a salad for dinner, or going to the gym...or happy hour at Mai Tais.  (Depends on the day)

I approach forty like an eating disorder, which will be easier to deal with in hindsight, but here I am now.  Geneen Roth wrote a wonderful and heartbreaking book called, "When Food is Love" and I read it through tear-blurred eyes, the first time, when I was about 13.  One chapter, in particular, has stayed with me- the part about the little girl and M&Ms:

A mother brought her overweight daughter to Ms. Roth, frantically overwrought that her daughter kept gaining wait and she was so young.  Ms. Roth asked the little girl what was her favourite treat, "M&Ms!!!" she cried.  The mother was instructed to get a pillow case and fill it with the chocolate candy and have her daughter carry it around with her wherever she went.  The mother did as instructed and the daughter was ecstatic; candy whenever she wanted it.  At first, the girl started gaining even more weight and the mom not happy, but she kept her mouth shut.  As time went on, the girl started forgetting to bring her pillowcase of candy, and at a certain point, stopped taking it with her altogether.

I might be stretching the metaphor a tiny bit, but my fortieth birthday and all that's wrapped up in it (real or imaginary) is going to stay right with me, so that I can indulge in my issues at any time.  Maybe by the time February comes around, I'll have left my pillowcase of self-doubt somewhere on the side of the road, and maybe it will turn into flowers.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

6 months until 40

"The time is now, the walrus said, to talk of many things..."

Well, in 6 months, I turn forty.  Yeah, yeah, I know, it's just a number.  Regardless, I started taking a Social Psychology class and there was an "about me" portion to fill out on our profile.  I know I'm coming up to a time that is a huge right of passage, and it might take 10 years to get through it...but I feel it.

Here is what I wrote:

As a social entrepreneur, I look at a problem as an artist views a blank canvas, and my mediums are storytelling, art therapy, music, theatre, spoken word, and film.

I have engaged in community activism all over the world, but the experience closest to my heart is when I produced and directed the musical HAIR. The event was preceded by a host of local events, workshops and panel discussions that created dialogue on race, sex, drugs, war, and the environment. Among those who were engaged in this production were the Asheville chapter of the Veterans for Peace, local community cultural centres, UNCA Centre for Diversity, Gary Orfield (former co-director of Harvard Civil Rights Project) and Michael Butler (original Broadway producer of HAIR ). Together we all played a part in this most inspiring community event that served as a catalyst for a diverse group of strangers who became empowered activists and who also created a network of friends. It was a truly profound experience!

A few years earlier, I was honored to facilitate another network of empowerment during my service in Americorps at Mission Dolores school in San Francisco. There I created a women's studies class for seventh grade girls. To witness the girls using a knowledge of their own history, creating identities of confidence, based on critical thinking skills, continues to give me hope that a similar program can be re-created and implemented in schools around the country and eventually the world.

A panoply of skills and good timing helped me secure a position at the 2008 Olympics in China. I was open to this incredible experience after two personal traumas: being hit in the face and chest with fireworks and then being violently attacked in my own home, which precipitated my need to leave my life in Asheville for awhile. While in Beijing, I managed a hospitality suite for executives from Telstra, Australia's biggest media company. Interacting with and making invaluable connections with these corporate giants renewed my interest in social entrepreneurship and reinvigorated my commitment to creating programs for indigenous women in Australia and North America.

To transform this idea into reality is most vital: women in developing countries and indigenous societies are especially at risk for violence, poverty, and have no access to health care.

I used to say, "I want to develop programs that...", but after living in the desert in the Anangu community I don't want to speak at all; the time is for action and support, with consistency and determination. I first learned about the atrocities endured by the Aboriginal population in Australia, and consequently in my own country, while pursuing my Masters degree at Macquarie University, just north of Sydney. Later, I returned to the Garma Festival in Arnhem Land (NT) where my mind and heart were truly opened. After getting married, my husband and I traveled back to Uluru, in the centre, and spend three months with Anangu Elder, Uncle Bob Randall. It's a constant struggle to find the meaning in paying rent when we'd rather be there, being present in the day-to-day of community life. We then spent a month in Aotearoa and continue to be humbled by the power of the First Australians, Maori, and keep learning from their relationship with the Land.

Currently we live on Oahu, Hawai'i. UA MAU KE EA O KA ‘AINA I KA PONO O HAWAI’I. (The life of the land is preserved in "Pono", that which is right and perfect)