Occupy May Day

Happy May Day. Maydays aren’t usually happy and I suppose this one isn’t supposed to be either, but I’m pretty happy. Occupy is attempting to make its come back today.

“May Day is an international day of celebration to honor the labor movement. This year the Occupy movement has made a call for mass action—the May First General Strike (#M1GS): a day without the 99%. A general strike is a way to build and demonstrate the power of the people. It’s a way to show this is a system that only exists because we allow it to. If we can withdraw from the system for one day we can use that day to build community and mutual aid. We can find inspiration and faith—not in any leaders or bosses but in each other and in ourselves. Over 115 US cities have organized in solidarity with this call to action,” http://www.occupytogether.org/

This day will be used to ask for “for migrant rights, jobs for all, a moratorium on foreclosures, and peace – and to recognize housing, education and health care as human rights, and calls for the building of a broad coalition to make that a reality.”

I’m not exactly a support for all those, but they’re not all bad. Without getting into the complexities of Occupy and what they believe or do not believe or whether this is a good or stupid idea…blah, blah, blah, I will tell you exactly why I love Occupy Wall Street.

1)      This is the probably my biggest reason. Americans have gotten soooo lazy and so comfortable. The country has been falling apart for years. The government keeps throwing away our money, corporations are gaining more and more control and we’re just sitting by, letting it happen. It’s disgusting. Finally, people are getting up, getting angry, doing something, anything whether it’s stupid or not, it’s just something. Finally people are standing up for themselves. Gosh, it’s so freaking amazing. It’s a game changer to say the least. That is the most important thing that I love about Occupy Wall Street.

2)      Corporations have lobbyists and bribing money and it’s about time we have something. That something used be called congress, but it seems like that idea was burned along with our money.  If this thing doesn’t die out like it did in winter, whether it was a mutual agreement or just happened, then I think it could have a huge and lasting impact. We just got to stay with it.

3)      Everyone has a place. Occupy, for the moment, is a grassroots campaign. People can step up; find their place as the leaders they never thought they could be. If people think that this idea is stupid then they can come up with their own idea. People can organize their own movements. I think part of the reason that we’re so ‘lazy’ is because we’re comfortable, but also because we’re afraid. We haven’t been outside our comfort zone that we’re afraid to fail, of being wrong. I feel bad for the kids growing up, who have never had a scraped knee, or felt the burning of growing muscles. It’s good for us to be uncomfortable. It means we’re growing, except with a less cheesy line.

4)      It’s bringing us together. Having a common enemy or a common goal always brings a nation together. For the Romans it was Gladiatorial games, for some countries it’s other countries. We all need it. Having goals, I hesitate to use enemy because I don’t want it to be an us vs. them mentality, will unite us and it will make us productive. And it’s not just America, it’s the whole world. The whole world is standing up for themselves. I love it.

5)      Connected to the last thing is the idea that we’re learning how to work for something. People want the ‘American Dream’, but I think often times we forget that we actually have to work for it. Whether we are thinking about this way or not, the Occupy movement is teaching us that we have to work for what we want. The politicians, the companies, the banks are not going to hand us what we want, but we’re going to have to fight for it. We can’t just go to work and get a raise, we have do something that gets noticed in a good way.We can’t just go to school and expect to be handed the whole world when we get out. Going to school is nothing compared to real life. We have to prove that we can do more than memorize a bunch of useless facts and that we can also put those facts into practice. And about student debt, some people work through college, some don’t. Those who don’t shouldn’t expect to walk out and have money thrown at them. You have to earn it. That includes more than working and sitting at a desk, memorizing useless facts. Testing is hard, but it’s not real life. Also, students should stop lollygagging around.  “Approximately 57 percent of first-time students who sought a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and enrolled at a 4-year institution full time in fall 2002 completed a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at that institution within 6 years. By comparison, 55 percent of students in an analogous cohort who began seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in fall 1996 graduated within 6 years.” http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40 Unless they’re working too much, dropped out, or just can’t afford it, students should be out in four years. Period. Do that and they would have less debt. This is a subject that has many different variations and I’m interested in researching more about it, so I may have an update with this soon.

 Back onto the real subject, I could list hundreds more, but I would consider these my major reasons. So, how are we supposed to celebrate this wonderful ‘holiday’. Well, take the day off for one. No going to work, no buying, no selling, no going to school, no nothing. It works because of us. Let’s remind them of why they should appreciate it.

  1. Move Your Money:      If you haven’t already, May Day is as good as any to move your money out      of a national, corporate bank into a local bank or credit union. Support      your local community and break up the “too big to fail” Wall Street banks      that threaten our economic system. Learn more about moving your money      here: www.moveyourmoneyproject.org
  2. Have a Potluck: Share a meal with others and talk about subsidized      agriculture and factory farming or make a meal with friends to serve      to local homeless people a la Food Not Bombs.
  3. Start a Personal/Community Garden: On May Day, start or pledge to start a personal or      community garden. Growing our own food means independence from corporate      farms. This is one more way to take yourself out of a system bent on      keeping us complacent.
  4. Have a Free Store/Fair: Get together and share your unwanted items with others.      As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You could be helping      someone who was about to go out and buy a (fill in your item here)      anyway.
  5. Ride your bike to work/carpool with friends: Ride your bike or arrange a carpool to work. When you      do this you are lessening our country’s dependency on outdated, unclean      energies.
  6. Screen a Movie:      Invite your friends or neighbors over to watch a documentary. After, have      a discussion about how it relates to your values or the ideas of Occupy. You can watch political documentaries online at the following links for      free:
    http://http://crimethinc.com/movies/

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/category/politics/

    http://www.documentarytube.com/category/political-documentaries
    http://freedocumentaries.org/
  7. Have a Skill Share: Give a free class to share your skills and knowledge. This could be as simple      as giving a knitting demonstration or as complex as teaching someone a new     language.

Have a great May Day

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How to Celebrate Earth Day

As you probably know, Earth Day is April 22. It’s right around the corner. I try to celebrate the Earth every day, so I’m not really sure what I’ll do to make April 22 extra special, maybe dumpster diving or maybe throw myself out of my comfort zone and make a recycling convert. Since I don’t go very many places on Sunday, I may have to settle for doing that on Friday. I don’t know yet, but I’ll let you know.

1.      Plant a tree in your back yard: Besides being a fun activity for your family, planting trees help to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and they provide a habitat for a variety of other plants and animals. Go to your local nursery, and pick out the perfect native tree for your yard. Lifetime trailers make it easy to haul the tree home. More trees in your yard can actually lower your cooling bill by providing shade over your house. Everybody wins when they plant trees.

2. Make pine cone birdfeeders- Bring birds right to your yard and watch them as they enjoy a healthy snack. Making pine cone bird feeders is a fun and easy activity for children. click here for instructions. Keep in mind, birds from different areas need different nutrients, so do your research before buying bird feed. Also, try not to hang the bird feeder in front of a window.

3. Visit a nearby recycling facility- Recycling processes are fascinating and fun to watch.  By visiting a recycling center, you can see how super, duper easy it is. Just give it that chance. If you save up recyclable materials to drop off during the visit, you’ll earn some extra change you can use to pick up ice cream cones afterward (our city’s recycling center doesn’t pay, but some do. We take our cans to a metal recycling center and we get paid for that.)

4. Sit with the family and set specific goals to recycle and save energy- It’s often as easy as changing your light bulbs, adjusting the setting on your fridge, or making a routine trip to a nearby recycling bin.

5. Plant or renew your vegetable garden- April is the perfect time to plan your garden. Section off an area of your yard or use a Raised Garden Bed, and decide what you’d like to grow this year. If you don’t have a yard, window boxes and large pots work just as well. Home grown vegetables are pesticide-free and help you save money. You can also nourish them with recycled kitchen scraps and grass clippings, using a composter. Let the children choose new types of fruits or vegetables to try out each year, and give them responsibilities in the garden.

6. Plant flowers at a local non-profit organization, church or community gardens- Contact the organization prior to planting. Most are thrilled when someone offers to beautify their grounds.

  1. Go on a nature hike- Nature hikes are a great way to appreciate the details of our beautiful earth. Pick a park or nearby trail, or visit a new place every year on Earth Day.
  2. Ride a bike or walk- Take some extra time out of your day and ride or walk to work or whatever activities you’re doing this Sunday. It’ll help you get energized, feel accomplished, get you ready to take on the day while helping the environment.
  3. Clean up litter at a local park- Parks provide places for everyone in the community to enjoy nature. Unfortunately, litter detracts from their beauty, and can be dangerous to people and animals. Bring some large bags and gather up trash to revive your park. Use sticks to pick up the litter you don’t want to touch.
  4. Attend an Earth Day event- Earth Day events are held across the nation, and are full of fun activities for both you and the kids. Pick a place close to you, events can be seen at http://act.earthday.org/ .
  5. Cook a special Earth Day meal using all non-processed foods- Invite the friends and family over to share a healthy, home-cooked meal. Get creative and decorate in an ‘earth day’ theme using leaves or potted plants, and let each guest take a plant home to add to their garden.  Here are some good websites for ideas on how to throw an eco-friendly dinner party: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500171_162-4946088.html

http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/803355/throw-an-ecofriendly-dinner-party

http://www.articlecontentprovider.com/articlesubmit/Article/Designing-an-Environmentally-Friendly-Dinner-Party/216772

12. And last, but not least, contact corporations, your local representative in congress, anybody who practices something that you would like them not to. Green4u has information on how to contact your representative in Congress. As a celebration of Earth Day, they also have posted companies that use Styofoam and ways to contact them and ask them to stop.

I contacted Chic-fil-a and Jumba Juice. I didn’t just ask them to stop, but why they should. With additional details, basically I said Styrofoam is just a bunch of chemicals, they give cancer, other health risks like death and they’re terrible for the environment. Some stores have a recycling bin the styofoam, so they at least care somewhat about the  environment, but they’re reasoning for keeping the styofoam cup is that people are constantly praising their insulating abilities and until they find a cup that does that just as well, they’re not changing anything. It’s nice to know that people and companies have their priorities straight. You can’t put a price on a ice cold beverage. Actually, you can, it’s called cancer, death and a destroyed environment. I have still yet to contact anybody from congress. To be honest, it’s just the fact that I don’t know what to say. They make me so that if I started then everything would just be a rant  and that’s not what I want. So, I’m mulling it over.

Earth Day reminds us we all share the same planet. Sharing Earth means taking responsibility for what we use and how we use it. It is a day to think of the environmental challenges we face and how to solve them. Protecting Earth is every person’s and every country’s responsibility.