Friday, February 8, 2013

Perspective...

Line of Sight : Chesapeake Bay : Photo copyright: Janet M Kincaid, 4/2008


Space: The Final Frontier...

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who is currently doing a stint aboard the International Space Station, is tweeting photos of the Blue Planet from outer space. This has me noodling an idea for a photo project I may undertake. Stay tuned to this real estate. In the meantime, enjoy Astronaut Hadfield's photos of the place more than 7 billion of us call home.

America: No Longer the Greatest Nation on Earth?

A clip from Aaron Sorkin's Newsroom is currently making the rounds on the Internet. I haven't seen a full episode of the show myself, though it is on my want-to-see list. This clip echoes many of the thoughts I've had in recent years about my home country. Are we really the greatest nation on Earth? Don't get me wrong. I love my country and I'm pleased to be from the United States, but I'm also seriously concerned by what I see and hear in our nation. 

We seem to have lost our enthusiasm and curiosity for discovery. We belittle those who seek intelligence and intellect as elitist. We get our news from sound bites and express our opinions through memes. Our reputation as a people who can be truly compassionate and giving is undermined by our incongruous politics and excessive consumerism. 

Yes, we have been and can be a great nation, but at the moment, I'm not so sure. And the question is, how do we fix it?

First World Problems

And speaking of greatness: living in countries where we want for nothing, how many of us find ourselves put out by what we consider to be inconveniences? The other day, I was bemoaning my desire for cinnamon toast, but I had the wrong bread. 

The wrong bread. The wrong bread?! I had bread. Shouldn't that have sufficed? In some parts of the world, people are lucky simply to have bread, if they're even lucky to have that. And yet, here I sit in my warm, dry, structurally sound apartment with a view of the French Alps, living on the edge of one of the richest cities in the world, complaining about not having the right bread.

Water is Life put together this video of people in developing countries -- places where there is real need. Where poverty, starvation, and disease are the norm -- reading first world problems. Many of them are jarring. Each of them begs us to have some perspective and get our priorities straight.

A Final Bit of Food for Thought, So to Speak...

From Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia: "The notion that we could have a functional planet if people did not eat animals indicates a profound ignorance of ecology. Animals would soon overpopulate the earth... Plant destruction could lead to population collapse. Erosion and soil destruction would follow... With little vegetation, temperatures increase, the rain stops, and the earth is destroyed....

"I would certainly hope that anyone placing animals on such a high pedestal would not spend more on his or her dog or cat than on making sure hungry children in Africa [or America] got fed. This is a litmus test of priorities. Americans spend more on vet care for their dogs and cats than the entire continent of Africa spends on healthcare. As a culture we have Bambified ourselves into foolishness, and it's reflected in our values and day-to-day activities." (Sowing Dissent: Lunatic Farmer Joel Salatin Digs In. Tracy Frisch, The Sun Magazine, October 2012, Issue 442, p 9.)

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