Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ideas to reduce gun violence

With the never ending amount of gun violence occurring daily across the United States, one has to wonder just what actions could be taken to make an impact on this epidemic.  The Children's Defense Fund produced a document, Protect children, not guns 2012, where they provided some suggestions.

1.  Parents, remove guns from your home
2.  Support common-sense gun safety measures for the nation
            e.g. plug the gun show loophole
            Reinstitute the ban on assault weapons
            Strengthen restrictions on people convicted of a violent misdemeanor or a violent act as a juvenile
            Require consumer safety standards and childproof safety features for all guns.
3.  Help state and local governments protect children from guns  e.g. repeal “Stand your Ground" laws.
4.  Incorporate nonviolent conflict resolution as a part of our homes, schools, congregations and communities.
5.  Boycott products that glamorize violence
6.  Focus attention on the number of children killed and inured by gun violence
7.  Support innovative efforts to promote positive youth development

Friday, December 19, 2014

Charging for plastic bags changes behavior

Even as someone that really dislikes plastic bags, I very often forget to utilize the many reusable bags I have available to me, and end up with plastic bags from the stores where I do business.  What would it take to change my behavior and the behavior of others?  Simply adding a charge of a few cents for the purchase of bags can do it!  Read more about this in the Washington Post's Wonkblog, The surprising reason why those 5 cent charges for plastic gags actually work. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Green retirement options

Wouldn't it be nice for people who like to garden to have a retirement community where they could keep their hands in the dirt, and grow a significant amount of fresh vegetables?  An international architecture studio has created the design for "Homefarm", a high density development with gardening plots all throughout the retirement village.

You can read about this visionary concept through Mother Nature Network, Agriculture-minded retirement community keeps greenthumbed residents happily occupied.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Electric cars not so green when they use dirty energy

It was interesting to discover that electric cars are actually more harmful for the environment than standard gasoline fuels automobiles.  The reason for this is that they require electricity, much of which is developed through the use of coal.  You can read more about this in an article, If you all-electric car gets its power from coal, new study says it is dirtier than gasoline.

Another myth that was dispelled in this article was that ethanol is better for the environment. Ethanol creates 80 percent more air pollution mortality than traditional gasoline engines.  Hybrids and diesel automobiles are better for the environment, given they expel less heat-trapping gas.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Foggy morning in the park

Yesterday morning's warm temperatures made for a foggy park, pictured above and below.

At left is a abstract of foam that created an interesting pattern on top of the ice.  I'm forever amazed at the amazing designs in nature. I tweaked the colors to make it a bit more vivid.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Food insecurity in America

Did you know that about one in six American's is food insecure? By food insecure it means people rare  having to struggle to afford food in addition to other basic necessities such as rent, utilities, medication, etc.  This is pretty discouraging in one of the world's wealthiest nations.

Where I work, Second Harvest Heartland, we distributed 89 million pounds of food to people in need from within our region.  Much of this food is donated by area corporations such as General Mills, Cub Foods, Target, Walmart, etc.

In addition to generous donations of food, thousands of volunteers helped feed those in need through Second Harvest.  Last year volunteers contributed time which was equivalent to 70 full-time employees.

You can read more about this from NBC News, America's real hunger game: 50 million in crisis.