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Breast Cancer Awareness – Mr. Pruitt Do Your Job

I will not be silent! What about you?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month prompted me to write to EPA chief Scott Pruitt requesting that he do his job, which is protecting human health and the environment.

As an American, a mother, and a breast cancer survivor I am outraged that Administrator Pruitt is purposefully enabling industries to pollute our air, water, and land. It is shocking and frightening that the top ranking environmental official in the United States is actively trying to dismantle the organization that he is supposed to be leading while endangering the health and well-being of Americans all across the country.

I doubt I am the only person who sees a connection between carcinogens and other harmful substances in our environment and people getting cancer and a myriad of other horrible diseases. Pruitt should be eliminating pollution and toxins from our environment not adding to them.

On Monday, October 9, 2017, I saw the news stories reporting that Pruitt announced he is repealing the Clean Power Plan instead of implementing it. Watching Pruitt on video proclaiming, “The war on coal is over” was disturbing. As the head of the EPA, he should be declaring, “The war on air pollution is on.”

This same man says that he is first and foremost, a family man. If he really is a family man then why is he not doing everything in his power to protect human health and the environment? After all, his daughter and son need a habitable planet to live on along with billions of other people and living creatures.

I will not be silent!

Even if someone shreds my letter as soon as it arrives at EPA headquarters and it never makes it to Pruitt’s desk, I felt compelled and obligated to write it and put it in the mail. I am including a copy of the letter in this post.

Write Your Own Letter

You can join me by writing your own letter to Administrator Pruitt. In my dreams, a million letters written by concerned Americans decorated with pink ribbons magically make it past Pruitt’s censors and fill his office to the ceiling.

Make a Public Comment Online

If you do not feel like writing a letter, or even if you do, you can share your thoughts with Administrator Pruitt by making a public comment related to the EPA’s fiscal year 2018-2022 strategic plan.

The 38-page draft strategic plan outlines the EPA’s priorities for the next four years. If you are at all concerned about the state of the environment and/or climate change, it is worth your time to read it and then make a public comment.

Making a public comment is easy. The following link will take you directly to EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0533 on the regulations.gov website. From there you can read the draft plan and enter a public comment (you may make an anonymous comment if you do not want to provide your name).

For my public comment, I excerpted a paragraph from my letter to Administrator Pruitt and then uploaded a copy of the letter as an attachment.

The deadline for public comments is October 31, 2017. Make your comment today!

My Letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt

2017-10-09 EPA Administrator Pruitt Letter - Breast Cancer Awareness and EPA Strategic Plan

 

Reader Note: if you are interested in learning more about breast cancer, the EPA, Scott Pruitt, or environmental legislation, you will find information in the posts and resources sections below.

Featured Image at Top: Portraits of Women Forming a Map of the United States Representing Breast Cancer Awareness – Image Credit iStock/bubaone

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Can Spreading Happiness Save the World?

Anyone can spread happiness and kindness, it’s up to you.

I know this may sound crazy or silly but I believe spreading happiness and kindness could indeed help us save our planet and this is why.

Earth is struggling to survive and so are people. There is no planet B and even if astronomers discover one tomorrow, evacuating over 7.5 billion people and billions of other living creatures is way beyond our current technology, resources, and money. Working together to live sustainably on Planet A our Earth seems like a practical idea.

Whom do you think will succeed? People who love, respect, and care for each other or people who hate, demean, and harm each other? My money is on the first group.

Let us say you agree but you feel increasingly disturbed by the constant cascade of depressing, sad, and hateful news. The urge to turn away, to escape, or give up can be very strong. When problems seem vast and insurmountable, you can feel overwhelmed, powerless, and hopeless.

You are only one person. What could you possibly do that would make a positive impact?

Okay, so here is the crazy silly part.

You can choose to shine a light in your little corner of the world by spreading some happiness and kindness. I know this is not an earth-shattering concept but sometimes if you are stuck in neutral or frozen like a deer in the headlights you just need a nudge to get going again.

My nudge came in a yellow envelope.

The Happiness Sprinkling Project

Happiness Sprinkling Project Newsletter, Sticker, and You Rock CardIn early August, I received a bright yellow envelope in the mail with a circle on the front embracing the words “enjoy today.”

The envelope contained a newsletter, a “Sustaining Happiness Ambassador” sticker, and a business card with the words “You Rock!”

That card immediately brought a smile to my face and unbeknownst to me planted a seed in my mind, which turned into an idea about six weeks later.

The idea will make more sense to you if I digress and tell you about the source of the envelope, which was from Laura Lavigne who runs the Anacortes Center for Happiness and its Happiness Sprinkling Project.

My introduction to the Happiness Sprinkling Project occurred while I was serving on the Board of Directors of an environmental and social justice nonprofit based in San Luis Obispo, CA called Ecologistics.

I challenge you to say the word sprinkling without smiling. Here is what the project is about very briefly.

Picture yourself getting ready to cross the street on your way to a job interview feeling nervous and scared or sitting in your car at a streetlight feeling depressed and sad because you just found out a friend passed away or riding your bike down the street after an especially stressful day.

Suddenly you look up and spot a group of people standing on the corner wearing yellow shirts and holding up big signs that say things like “You Rock!” “It’s Going to Be Okay” and “You Are Delightful.” Chances are you would smile and feel your spirits lift even if just for a moment. You might even be inspired to pull over, park, and join the group or stop on the sidewalk for a hug.

People Wearing Yellow and Holding Encouraging Signs - Happiness Sprinkling Project
People Wearing Yellow and Holding Encouraging Signs – Photo Credit Happiness Sprinkling Project

These yellow-garbed happiness ambassadors are sprinkling happiness and kindness and so can you and me. Here is what I am doing.

Happiness Sprinkling for Shy Introverts

The chances of me organizing a Happiness Sprinkling event where I live are infinitesimal unless I wake up some morning transformed into a totally different person, meaning an outgoing extrovert who thrives on trying to get people to volunteer to do something.

Since a personality transformation has not been forthcoming, I have been musing about what I could do to sprinkle some happiness in my neighborhood.

After weeks of staring at the “You Rock!” card I had pinned on the bulletin board next to my computer, I had an idea. I could do a happiness sprinkling project right in my own yard.

We live in a small town and the street our house is on leads from the main thoroughfare (aptly named Main Street) up a steep hill to other roads and quite a few houses. We get a fair amount of traffic going past our house as people drive to and from work or just go about their daily routines. A few hardy souls walk past on their way to or from Main Street.

My idea was to revamp one of the signs we had made for the March for Science and stick it in my yard to cheer up passersby. My spouse was enthusiastic and being a person who likes engineering and building stuff suggested a weatherproof sign holder that could withstand the fog and wind that frequents our house.

Now that I had roped my spouse into the project, my vision expanded into being able to change the sign periodically so we could display different messages. Project managers will instantly recognize this as scope creep.

My spouse constructed a sturdy sign holder completely out of materials we had on hand from other projects; and created the first sign printing it on three pieces of letter-size copy paper (this part was tricky).

We scouted a suitable location in our yard. I weeded the area while my spouse pounded in a couple pieces of rebar. We slid the sign over the rebar and took a photo.

Green Groundswell You Rock Yard Sign

I may never know if anyone actually notices the sign or if it brightens anyone’s day but odds are that at least a few people will crack a smile, laugh, or tell someone else that there is a nut job living down the street with a sign that says “You Rock!” in their yard.

As much as I like the sign holder my spouse made, I would have been happy with my original idea, too. The important thing for me is that I took action and did something to sprinkle a tiny bit of happiness in my neighborhood and so can you.

You Can Sprinkle Happiness, Too

Sprinkling some happiness is within everyone’s power. It can involve wearing yellow or signs, but it does not have to. There are countless opportunities every day to be kind to another person and spread some happiness. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices started.

Let the person behind you in the grocery market checkout line go in front of you even if they have a lot of items. Smile at the people you pass on the street or in the hall and say “Good Morning.” Volunteer to take out the trash even though it is not your job. Engage in a conversation with someone who does not share your view on a particular topic. Listen to an excited coworker talk about their kid’s school play even though you have a deadline to meet.

You get the idea.

Let’s go sprinkle some happiness.

Reader Note: Neither the Happiness Sprinkling Project or Ecologistics solicited this post. They will find out about my project when I email them the link to this post.

Featured Image at Top: Yellow Happy Face Ball Surrounded by Blue Sad Face Balls – Photo Credit Dreamstime/Pablo Scapinachis

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