Oh, Heck! Plastic Up to My Neck!

Refuse, Reuse, and Recycle That *** Plastic

“Paper or plastic?” When have you heard this question lately? I haven’t. It’s “plastic, you must!” That happens to me each time when I forget my reusable bags.

DETOUR to Germany. I just returned from there. Hey, Nutella comes in a glass jar there, isn’t that great? But vitamins are in messy bubble packs, why? Be it as it may, they are ahead of us with managing the mess. They charge deposits on (plastic) bottles and customers will return them to the store (picture below, the fully automated return).

  • Bottle return at a German grocery

Leergutannahme–Acceptance of Empties: Nice! Let’s bring all our bottles back to where they came from (Fry’s, Albertsons, Safeway, etc.). They made a buck on them, so they must share the recycling responsibility.

All other, non-deposit, glass (wine etc.) bottles must be brought to recycling dumpsters separated by white, brown, or green colors. Papers and cardboards are collected in a separate bin. Compostables go in a brown bin. Next, the packaging refuse (yogurt cups, food containers, cans etc.) are to be cleaned to be recycled. That leaves the “Restmüll” pile much smaller: diapers, hygiene items, & other messy messes to be incinerated.

On packaging: as the consumption of take out food ramped up in Germany during Covid too, there is a new law that all carry-out containers must be paper/cardboard. My mom has a wood-burning stove and can dispose of these in the hearth. For community festivals, china plates, real silver ware, or edible bowls must be used. I went shopping at the grocery store with a basket. Nonetheless, that dang plastic showed a horrible presence in the Edeka cooler section: sliced meats and cheeses strutting more plastic per weight than food. And lots of extra plastic wrapping on fruits and vegetables too (see Aldi).

In the US: Do what you might, you can’t apparently refuse the plastic. Store clerks look at you with disbelief: What? No bag? One for the apples, one for the meat, one for the shampoo, one for the tortillas, one for the toothpaste, one for the birthday card . . . Come on, what are you doing? Save them! These bags are precious!

I have fought to keep those bags at bay. I confess, sometimes I forget to bring my own reusable shopping bags. Then I tell the clerk, “Just put all that crap from the motor belt back in the cart!”  What? The packer won’t believe my callousness against his expert wrapping science. Little does he know that I have a (plastic) basket in the trunk. That’s where I throw all my purchases (without crushing my lettuce like they do).

That fight against the bags never ends. The only place that is perhaps a little different is Boulder, Colorado. There they make you buy a bag. Definitely, bags are precious. So, we should pay for them, reuse them, or refuse them. Let needier people have them.

Fight the plastic bags! If we can’t stop this trash, we will drown in it eventually.

Plastic bags should have become extinct by now. The next things to scratch on this long list are the one-way water bottles. Bring your own bottle to the game or school event, fill it at the faucet. Don’t be lazy. Or buy something in a can or glass bottle. Look, San Francisco Airport banned them already in August of 2019. Schools—oh my God, how much trash piles up there—should do the same! Train them school kids to bring their own bottles!

 

There are signs of hope against that plastic tsunami we live in. Here in Phoenix, the Phoenix Suns Arena was recently renamed the FOOTPRINT Center Arena for its partnership with a material science company that works hard to replace single-use plastics with biodegradable plant fibers. Imagine, all the hot dog boats and burger boxes will compose in the fill after three months!

Footprint Center

So here are my three points:

Let’s skip the plastic bag,

Bring your own refillable drink bottle, and

Boycott liquid detergent.

Why the detergents? Is there any proof that liquid detergent works better than powder? And if, is the result noticeable? I doubt it. BUT: It creates a lot of plastic trash. And plastic is precious, as we know, as our lives are precious. So save that plastic and spare us from it! Because the plastic comes around in the food chain from the plankton in the ocean and up to us. Therefore, if plastic is “dear” to us, we must use it most sparingly, even that micro-plastic.

If we fail on these easy things, we are failing ourselves on many levels. Let’s muster up some strength. Maybe St. Kateri Tekakwitha (Feast Day: July 14th), Patron Saint of the Environment and Ecology could help.

Oh, Holy Saint Kateri! May you protect us from all superfluous plastic and our own negligent recalcitrance! Or can you clean up Midway Island, please? (Sorry, you are right. We better do it ourselves.)

 

Someone needs to do something about it! How about YOU?

Take the pledge here:

National Geographic PLANET OR PLASTIC PLEDGE

READ about this Science Fair Winner: Fishing Micro-Plastic Out of Water–Fionn Ferreira

Fionn Ferreira, Science Fair Winner, Ferro-Fluids & Micro-Plastics

IDEAS? Any IDEAS? How can we cut out the plastic?

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Look Who’s Makin’ Art: Works by Priyanka

Makin’ Art, Priyanka’s label, is catching on. My multi-talented daughter has produced artworks since early childhood. She has always had a creative knack and amazing patience for precision. That suited her well for her Computer and Electrical Engineering degree at UC Boulder. Now she tinkers with coding and microcontrollers, making new circuits for  Sparkfun, an open source electronic components company, also in Boulder.

Art keeps growing on Priyanka and has taken on a technical form: she designs and builds electronic gadgets for art installations, such as Trey Duvall’s mobile constructs and Jaime Carrejo’s “Waiting” exhibit at the Denver Contemporary Art Museum.

All right, let this proud mom brag for a minute or two. Tenacity is one of my daughter’s trademarks. She does art in spite of a full engineering load and turns out a lot of good stuff. Who would have thought that in the digital age she would learn black and white print processing on her own initiative? (Didn’t ask me. You must know that her mom has a degree in photography.) She also paints beautifully in watercolor. Lately, Priyanka has developed the Shrinky-dinks  into whimsical earrings and charms. And since she knows what makes a clock tick, other artist keep calling her about musical cuckoo doors, blinking neurons, or floating plants. That is the technical part of her art. How lucky she is to be an engineer.

Now here comes the joint project: Last Christmas Priyanka surprised me with the illustrations for my Random Accident story. That scenario, about 20 years in the making, is somewhat between Brave New World and Shrek. Her images are right on: a fantastical, hopeful, post-apocalyptical environment, in which salvation is steered by a little girl. Whimsical, humorous, and yet right down to earth in their floral splendor. What a multi-talented daughter!

You can find out more about Priyanka’s activities and projects at www.priyankamakin.com

Random Accident is available at AMAZON.

Posted in art, environment, life, survival & ecology | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Im Jittoa Bo’o: My Healing Journey, by Dr. John W. Molina

Dr. John W. Molina is a remarkable health professional and activist. I met him first at my own house, when he attended my friend Renate Mousseux’s launch party for her memoir, Renatle, Mosaic of Life. Renate had known Dr. Molina for many years. She had organized fundraisers for his Las Fuentes clinic in the past. Dr. Molina makes a striking appearance, looking the part of a Native American doctor wearing a long braid and traditional regalia.

A couple of years later, I got to edit and produce Dr. Molina’s own life story. Having worked with Native American youth in the Mesa School District, his memoir was a real eye opener for me as I kept editing away. Molina’s title evolved over time and became Im Jittoa Bo’o—My Healing Journey, leaning on his Yaqui heritage. And the content reads like a movie. The “Healing Journey” and life experience thrilled me on many levels. I fell right into it. This book, which came as a complete and quite clean manuscript to me, helped me see the Native American experience through Molina’s eyes.

Dr. Molina’s story is written in an engaging narrative voice. He is careful with word selection but all out honest. He grew up in the little Yaqui town of Guadalupe near Tempe as a day laborer’s son. He finished high school (an exception in his community back then), hired on with the Navy, then became a pastor for a Christian church, studied psychology, and eventually landed a community project looking after diabetic patients from his own village. Molina saw many unattended ailments and a great need for a doctor. “Why don’t you become that doctor?” his mentor challenged him. And so he did. After medical school (UofA), Molina specialized in OBGYN and founded the Las Fuentes Community Clinic. So much for the first 25 percent of his CV. He is also a jurist, healthcare advocate, and Doctor of Humane Letters, the whole list is hard to remember.

Molina is totally honest about his bumpy road to success. He faced bullying, alcoholism, prejudice, peer pressures from his own tribe, but whatever he set his mind to—he accomplished it each time at a high price and at his own risk. Tragedy struck not only once. Racial bias in the professional arena did not deter him.

Along with studying the academics, Molina also observed the ancient knowledge of medicine men. As a healthcare compliance officer for Native Health, he now makes sure that Native American patients receive good quality of care. He has reached a position that allows him to work from his cultural roots, through a holistic outlook, to serve the the whole human being. As a young physician laboring through 36-hour-shifts, he also strove for integrative approaches and, when possible, allowed the traditional healing methods to cure the body as well as the soul.

Many times Molina encountered serious doubts and discrimination. “You are a doctor?” hospital parking attendants would ask him when he walked by in street clothes. At a very young age he had realized that a white coat makes all the difference.

My favorite passage is the part where Molina hashes through the decision making process of becoming a doctor. He tells his mentor. “If I go to medical school, I will probably be 40 years old by the time I become a doctor.” His friend replies, “You will be 40 years old whether you become a doctor or not.” Simple fact. Age is an arbitrary measure, but what you do with your time has real value.

As I navigated through the book, my admiration for this man’s determination, ambition, and compassion grew with each chapter. As an anthropologist I was fascinated by the fact that Dr. Molina also turned to traditional healers and the deep knowledge from the past.

Molina narrates his story with bone-chilling honesty. He shares painful details about his affliction with addiction, family tragedies, and professional trials and tribulations—as well as his remarkable, almost miraculous successes.

All throughout his reflections, Molina does not go easy on himself. He has led a full and restless life, but he overcame, regrouped, and always put himself back on the straight road again. Now, granted, he is still a workaholic, but all to the benefit of the Native American nations and their health improvements.

Im Jittoa Bo’o—My Healing Journey, by Dr. John W. Molina. Read it. Molina’s book will enrich your outlook. Money is not all that counts. Insights are important too—and maybe a long list of credentials. Or better, what you did to help others.

You can find out more about Dr. John Ward Molina MD JD DHL on his LinkedIn page.

And you can buy his book on Amazon

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The Adventure of Waiting–MCA Denver until August 22, 2021


Waiting. Waiting again. Now at Safelight Autoglass.

Safelight_autoglassThis wait was totally unexpected. The timing was freakish. An ice block from the overpass hit our windshield as we were driving under it. It delayed our trip by a whole day. Dreadful.

Aren’t all waits dreaded? The wait in the doctor’s practice, the turn of the red light, the hand of the clock to reach twelve? Waiting for summer, for your turn, waiting for what and why?

During this time of Covid, we had a lot of waiting to do. And we still haven’t learned anything. We still don’t like it and we are not good at it. Waiting takes practice. It’s a skill, It’s an art. Good waiting makes creative and happy.

Many of us (used to instant gratification at a click) couldn’t wait any longer but then we learned it again during the Covid year. Waiting to go back to school. Waiting for take out orders. Waiting in the carvalcade to get your specimen taken and then waiting for the results to come back. Wait, wait, wait a minute or an hour or a week.

The wait at the post office (even pre-Covid) was usually the deadliest for me. I always thought each PO visit would shorten my life by a day or two. So I avoided the PO. HOWEVER, I was so WRONG: actually the PO extended my life. It tricked me into appreciating my time more. The PO gave me slack time that I wasn’t aware I had in my rushed daily routines.

“Waiting for God” was a British sitcom about feisty older folks in an assisted living home. They didn’t jus want to wait around. They wanted to be players in their home court. Nobody wants to wait. Waiting seems a waste.

Waiting is good. Why? We discover our own inner world of fantasy and creativity.

Ask Jaime Carrejo. This Denver artist just now has an installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art called “Waiting.” He made up a colorfully decorated waiting room where the walls seem to come alive in floral patterns and the hanging plants randomly raise or lower themselves. I know all about the ins and outs of this exhibit because my daughter Priyanka Makin (proud mom shout out) designed and built the motorized mechanism for ten of these trailing plants. These spider plants are making a name for themselves by hanging on a thread.

The description for “Waiting” says that “Jaime Carrejo explores the relationship between confinement + duration (=waiting) by layering Southwestern symbolism, mid-century design, and objects from his domestic space.” Wherever this comes from, it is just fun to watch and live inside for a while. More often than not, the pictures on the wall of my doctor’s office have come alive too.

Here is what we learn in this exhibit: Waiting doesn’t kill time. It makes the relationship between space and duration more colorful and essential. Waiting entertains us too. We never know what might happen next. So waiting becomes the real adventure.

Jaime Carrero, WAITING, February 26-August 22, 2021

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ASCHOLDING: Industrielle Bauphasen eines idyllischen Dorfes

My idyllic hometown, Ascholding, received a hodge podge of oversized industrial buildings over night. Some structures are large enough to park the whole church inside. Was this necessary? Where will this insanity end?

Im Jahr 2018 hat das idyllische Bachzeilendorf Ascholding ein Gewerbegebiet erhalten. Hier (anklicken) ein Überflug mit den Dohlen vom Kirchturm: Zuerst das wunderbare Alpenpanorama, dann das industrielle Schachtelwerk.

Da haben wir den Salat–ein “Gewerbegebiet.” Die zwei größten “Flugzeughallen”, überdimensionale Fremdkörper, verhindern nach allen Richtungen den Ausblick. Solche Mammutbauten gehören nicht einmal an den Rand des idyllischen Bachzeilendorfes. Bieten die neuen Firmen den Ortsansässigen viele gute Arbeitsplätze an? Die landwirtschaftlichen Felder sind für immer zerstört, die Sozialstruktur verstädtert.

So war es früher einmal: auf dem Feld links unten steht jetzt das Gewerbegebiet.

PHASE II: Geht es jetzt so weiter? Mehr als 80 Parkplätze für den Edeka Markt (insgesamt ca. 120 Stellflächen mit Kindergarten eingerechnet) sollen noch kommen. Aber brauchen doch mehr Grünflächen und weniger Abgase, um das Global Warming zu reduzieren? ABER: Die nächste Bauphase (II).

Wie viele Parkplätze braucht ein Lebensmittelladen in einem 1000-Seelen-Dorf?

So viele wie der Holzwirt (40 geteerte, 30 auf Kies)? Oder so viele wie der Netto in Egling? Genau 68, aber Egling ist größer. Oder so viele wie das Kaufland in Geretsried (120, wenn ich mich nicht verzählt habe)? Welcher Parkplatz ist jetzt da am schönsten?

PHASE Baustelle mit Keltengrabung–2019, siehe Schotterfeld

PHASE EDEKA und Kindergarten–2020–Siehe Mega-Markt

Und so weiter . . .?

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