22 April 2014

Things you can do on this Earth Day 2014 (and beyond)

Today, April 22, is Earth Day.

On this day, there are many things you can do to show your respect for the earth and its environment. Here are some easy ideas, repeated from last year's Earth Day blog post, since they're all still as relevant as ever (and so easy to do):

Say no to plastic bags. There are enough plastic bags in the landfills and in the oceans. If you haven't done so already, please invest in some reusable canvas bags and take them with you whenever you go shopping. You'll look cool and you'll help the planet.

Say no to bottled water. It's actually less regulated - and therefore possibly less safe - than tap water, and the plastic bottles they come in are a whole other horror story. Instead, invest in a reusable stainless steel bottle, and refill it with plain or filtered tap water. It's better for the planet, better for your health, and better for your wallet.

Go meatless for a day. A 2006 United Nations report called the meat industry "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." Eating 1 pound of meat emits the same amount of greenhouse gasses as driving an SUV 40 miles. So try going meatless on Earth Day. Then expand it to a once-a-week "Meatless Monday" - or more.

Do you have more ideas for simple things we can do to show our respect for this wonderful planet? Share them in a comment, and they could be included in next year's Earth Day post!

14 April 2014

Our tax dollars and Washington's priorities

Tomorrow is April 15 - tax day in the US. It is the deadline for filing our income tax returns.

And where do our federal tax dollars go?

According to the National Priorities Project, 27 cents of each US tax dollar goes to national defense (which in recent years has been playing offense instead).

Only 2 cents goes to education.

And only 1.1 cents towards science.

08 April 2014

Take action for Equal Pay Day!

Today, April 8, 2014, is Equal Pay Day. This date symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to catch up with what the average man earned in 2013 here in the U.S.

This pay gap not only unfair, it implies that women are of lesser value than men. And that is shameful.

What you can do:

The Senate is expected to vote on The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84) as soon as this week. According to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, "[t]his important bill would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially the same work."

Call your senators (202-224-3121) and urge them to vote "yes" on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84) and support equal pay for women!

05 April 2014

More on the "pro-abortion" myth

There's an email in my inbox from an anti-choice group. The subject line: "We Need Your Help Against Pro-Abortion Groups"

What they obviously don't understand is that virtually nobody is pro-abortion, and there are no "pro-abortion groups". But many of us - individuals and groups - are pro-choice.

Because a woman's medical decisions are none of my business. That makes me pro-privacy, not pro-abortion.

And because I don't want to see desperate women having to resort to the coat hangers and the back-alley butchers of the pre-Roe days. That makes me pro-health and pro-safety, not pro-abortion.

But such nuances lack the dramatic impact of that subject line in my inbox. And, sadly, such emotional appeals tend to work on some types of people who are quick to label and judge rather than think and consider.