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Sunday is the 42nd anniversary of the creation of Earth Day, a remarkable movement founded in Madison, WI by then US Senator and former Governor, Gaylord Nelson.

Earth Day has one central purpose: to encourage people to consider humanity’s impact on the environment and act in ways that reduce the negative effects on all ecosystems and species.

It is a simple goal, but has far-reaching implications and can be summed up in their most-recognized slogan, “Think Globally. Act Locally.” It was Senator Nelson who coined this idea, insisting that local action and education be the central method of Earth Day rather than protests and sit-ins.

“Act Locally” does not just mean in counties or municipalities, it means in our homes and businesses, and most importantly, our lives. Sure it means big things like urging local, state, and federal governments to pass laws that protect our environment, but it also means smaller things like being realistic about what we need to consume, Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ve had a bad customer service week. Actually, a bad couple of months. And by “bad customer service” I mean that I have been treated poorly by an awful lot of “customer service” representatives working for a wide swath of different types of companies.

To be short, this really irks me; not just because it is totally infuriating to be treated rudely by someone who is supposed to help you, nor because these representatives are often our only conduit to address our grievance with a company, nor because they are often powerless to do anything to help us or correct a problem, citing “company policy,” “lack of power”, or the all-too-common “that’s not my job.”

No, the trend I have witnessed irks me because for every bad customer service rep out there, there is a manager who isn’t managing, a company that isn’t sending the right message to its employees, and usually a business owner or executive who is too far removed or is too restrictive to make it possible to provide good customer service.

When a customer is treated poorly, sure, there is a low-level employee we can blame, and even fire, for the transgression. But the fact that it happened at all suggests that the employee may be unhappy, or was never trained properly, or that management hasn’t emphasized customer service. There is plenty of blame to go around and it almost never stops with the person who actually deals with the customer. Read the rest of this entry »

I work with a lot of self-proclaimed “liberals.”

I use quotation marks because, as I have gotten to know these specific people over the years, I have found that to them, “liberal” apparently means simply voting for democrats and bitching about whatever the republicans are doing. I, being an avoider of adhering to labels, am perplexed by this because if that’s really all it takes to be what they claim, then perhaps they should identify themselves as “anti-Republicans.”

To me, claiming to be a liberal suggests perhaps embracing some life habits that coincide with your liberal ideology. You know, walking the walk while talking the talk. In other words, putting your money where your mouth is. Read the rest of this entry »

I think a lot. Many have told me more than I should. I tend to roll things over and over and over in my mind, looking for different facets, examining my emotions and thoughts that stem from this examination.  I come up with questions, gray areas, or things that I must research in order to formulate an informed opinion. And hopefully, in the end, I come to a conclusion of some kind.

I don’t know if this is right or wrong, but I do know that one need only take a brief look around them to realize the number of idiots out there in the world.  I see examples of idiocy every day and I find myself saying, “If only people would think more.” Shortly thereafter, I hear the faint echo of one of the wisest men in history in the back of my mind saying, “You must BE the change you wish to see in the world.” And such is the reason behind my continual endeavor to think more.

I try to think of this as a good thing. But sometimes it gets me into  bind.  A mental one.  And before you know it, that bind has my mind in conflict…with itself.

In my continual thinking about public policy, socioeconomic trends, human suffering, the environment, biodiversity, energy, my own happiness, and of course, overpopulation (see my post on it here) my thought process has reached an impasse.  An impasse which I refer to as “The Liberal Dilemma.” Read the rest of this entry »

As the population expands, I am disturbed by the ever-growing number of choices we all have access to.

What news to read, what cereal to buy, what motion pictures to attend, what version of religion to hide behind. It seems our desire – demand, even – for options simply cannot be satiated.  Magically, out of nowhere, there are providers of options laying in wait. Hopeful, enthusiastic, entrepreneurial minds boasting the lowest price, or the newest fad, or the best colon cleanse. And we as consumers eat it up (and I don’t just mean “buyers” – I’m talking about all forms of consumption: of goods, or services, of thought and memes, of opinion and entertainment, and so on). Of course we want more options! That is the benefit of being a free consumer, endless options.

However, in the production of so many options, it seems we are witnessing a dilution of quality, reliability, accountability, and especially confidence in anything. More importantly, with countless options that constantly drive us to exercise our right to consumption we find we have more “stuff” to consume (and store, and care for, and clean) and yet less time to actually use/think about/enjoy it.

This problems gets even more complicated when we focus on some of the more rapidly changing/rejuvenating areas of consumption like technology, science, news, opinion, or social networking. With these ever-changing, ever-maturing, ever-re-branding sectors, consumption on any given day is likely outmoded or outdated by the time we’ve finally incorporated it into our lives and minds. Read the rest of this entry »

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