It is universally wished for, prayed for, and sentimentally sent on Christmas cards every year. When I was younger and taping Greenpeace quotes to my wall, I truly believed that peace would be manifested in my lifetime.
Peace in the Middle East. Peace on the streets of Oakland. Peace in the hearts of our neighbors and strangers because while life certainly isn’t fair – as typically discovered early in playground yards, classrooms, and simply growing up – there is hope in youth that life can be made good for all, someone just has to make it happen.
I don’t think I would be able to experience the world in the same way if I didn’t still believe that someway, somehow, positive changes will happen. I don’t think I would be able to discover the joy and beauty in this world the same way if I didn’t believe that all the darkness could be eliminated. I don’t think I would be able to look at my children if I didn’t believe that the world can change and be a better place.
What do you think now? I am curious what you think peace on earth and good will toward men would look like. What would you want it to look like?
Want to do something?
What is your choice?
What would mean peace to you this holiday season?
1. In Oregon, a two-year long battle to keep Nestlé out of the Columbia River Gorge is almost over. It is expected that Governor Kitzhaber will make the key decision by the end of this month about keeping the scenic area free from the harm Nestlé wreaks in every small town it has managed to gain bottling rights. Will you ask Governor Kitzhaber to stop Nestlé in the Gorge?
2. The EPA should be unveiling the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standard very soon. Yes, the one that will lower the amount of mercury, arsenic, acid gases, and other toxins in the emissions from power plants. Mercury damages brain and nervous system development in babies; coal-fired power plants are the single biggest source of mercury emissions in America, but the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standard will prevent the majority of the mercury in coal from being emitted into our air.
Yet many members of Congress and lobbyists are working fast and furious to make sure that the Obama Administration does not approve the new standards.
- adoption of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard would lead to the net creation of about 28,000 to 158,000 jobs between now and 2015 and some industry CEOs are embracing the new standards wholeheartedly.
- It will save tens of thousands of lives, prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma and heart attacks and avert millions of missed school and work days yielding hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits to our communities.
3. Did you know cement kilns are the second largest contributor of mercury emissions in the U.S.? If you read the guest post by Lisa from Retro Housewife Goes Green a few weeks ago you would. And mercury isn’t the only toxin they release, many of which are known carcinogens, yet the House voted to exempt cement kilns from the Clean Air Act. You can find out exactly how cement’s toxic emissions affect your state at Earthjustice’s State Fact Sheets.
We have one cement kiln in the entire state of Oregon, yet so much more of the state suffers the consequences through the toxic emissions into the air, as well as into reservoirs and rivers that there is a warning for pregnant women and children under 6 to not eat fish caught even hundreds of miles away from that cement kiln.
Will you contact your senator and tell them to vote no on the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 and the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011?
4. Still looking for a holiday gift? Think before you shop.
Or, choose one that saves lives. I posted last year about the gift of donation and I am going to suggest it again. This is a way to change the world, one step at a time. Find an organization that does something to stir the soul of the intended recipient. Find something that friends and family are passionate about.
My top three choices this year all allow you to choose gifts like clean water, medicine, education, emergency aid, environment, and more.
- World Vision has a wonderful gift catalog that helps you find something meaningful that you can give. I especially like that there is the option to choose “gifts that multiply” and their “maximum impact” gifts that allow you to give something tangible, the gift that gives twice. http://donate.worldvision.org
- International Rescue Committee has life-saving gifts for as little as $18 and this year your donation will have twice the impact. All online donations will be matched dollar for dollar until Dec. 31. http://gifts.rescue.org/
- Mercy Corps is a local organization. The work they do is inspiring and I have been able to learn more personally about it because they are local so it will always be a favorite because of that. Their website makes it so easy to find the perfect gift by passion, price, or category. http://www.mercycorps.org/gifts
May peace be with you in whatever you choose.