Saturday, February 11, 2006

nepal, houston & feeding the poor

I'm sleepy... Why does it always take longer than you think to do what you need to do?

I have been doing a writing project on Mt. Everest and Nepal and I'm enthralled. I have to get over there sometime. Definitely on my to-do list now :) Nature calls my soul right now. I see these wide open vistas, forests, glaciers, wildlife in images as I research the Himalayas and my soul longs for nature. I am blessed in what I have, but it does not bless my soul this home, this suburbia. I don't like how it makes me feel. I live in Houston's cancer alley. The poisonous air pollution comes from Baytown and Pasadena right up the San Jacinto River and Kingwood and Porter have some of the highest rates of cancer and respiratory ailments of anywhere in Houston. Dina Capiello did a great report for the Houston Chronicle last year on the air pollution in Houston. Developers around here are just chopping trees down as fast as their truffala-whackers can smack. It's such an un-green place - and I don't mean the color but the attitudes. And yet throughout Houston strides are being made to replant and green the highways. I tell ya though, what good does it do to plant a few roadside stick trees when developers are allowed to mindlessly graze hundreds of acres of 30-50 year old trees? The carbon storage and benefits trees provide are substantially greater for old trees... I know something has to be done, but I just wish there were a more concerted effort.

Anyway in following up on my thread a couple days back, I decided one thing I can do to help the poor in my life and career. I decided that in each and every article I write, I will explicitly ask myself the question of how this particular issue affects the poor and whether I can write about some angle that would help the poor. I consider the poor also those who don't have a voice to speak for themselves and that includes those who are unaware, and wildlife/plants that have an inherent God-given right to live and thrive. But specifically I will address the issue of how the situation might be written about in a way that will benefit the poor. For example, in the Everest piece I found that the use of non-traditional forest products and medicinal plants can benefit rural poor and indigenous people, but has to be done in such a way that the locals aren't exploited by businesses who come in and harvest without returning profits to the community. So I included some of this in my project. Raising awareness is a crucial first step.

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