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Environmental Protection: Because Adulting is Difficult

When you were a child, were you commanded to clean your room by a parent?

Compelled to clear the table or clean the dishes after dinner?
Forced to fold the laundry?
Told to take the garbage or recycling outside to their proper bins?

Sure! These were demanded of me decades ago and our son is asked and expected to do the same today.

These are basic and shared responsibilities to maintain a nice, clean, and healthy home.

  • Basic instructions.
  • Clear expectations.
  • Regular supervision.
  • Performance standards.
  • Threat of punishment.
  • Occasional, necessary enforcement.

Had it not been for all the direct, parental attention, I may never have built the habits and skills necessary to do so as an adult. Playing outside with friends or firing up a video game console was far more attractive. Someone else can run the vacuum cleaner!

And we’ve all had that sibling or roommate who didn’t live up to basic standards of health and cleanliness. Too self-interested. Insufficiently motivated. Plays by their own rules.

But the consequences are shared. And, at the end of the day, someone has to clean up.

And so it is with environmental protection.

 

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On Right Living: The 3 Most Important Things You Can Be

 

When our son was born several years ago, I thought very much about the kind of person we’d like him to be. Which qualities and characteristics to cultivate. What “right” living looks like.

From that motivation came an elementary system to share with him – basic guidelines for “right” living. It had to be simple, but scalable. Approachable for a child, but meaningful enough to grow with him into adulthood.

The result: The Three Most Important Things You Can Be.

Review them, see a fourth addition, consider other systems, and share your own thoughts.

Give it a look for yourself. And consider its applications in parenting.

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Our Contaminated Drinking Water: 3 Questions

Contaminated drinking water. Right in our own backyard. And probably in yours, too.

Unregulated, toxic chemicals linked to cancer in our wells. Perflourinated chemicals (PFCs), specifically.

Ever persistent, PFCs don’t break down and they don’t boil off.

Prolonged PFC exposure is linked to:

  • developmental damage to fetuses during pregnancy
  • low birth weight
  • accelerated puberty and distorted bones
  • kidney and testicular cancer
  • liver tissue damage
  • impaired production of antibodies
  • cholesterol changes

That PFCs are in our drinking water begs questions. I’ve got 3.

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On Mosses, Modesty, and Sustainability

Like all kinds of life, mosses have something to teach us about right living.

Basically a lift from an outstanding conversation on On Being with Krista Tippett titled “The Intelligence in All Kinds of Life,” this post celebrates the modesty and sustainability of one of the simplest and oldest kinds of life on Earth.

The guest, Dr Robin Wall Kimmerer, is a bryologist (expert in moss) and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. This balance of scientific knowledge and indigenous knowledge provided an interesting backdrop for the entire conversation.

“Science asks us to learn about organisms. Traditional knowledge asks us to learn from them.” – Kimmerer to Tippett

 

As I often do, I heard this episode while hiking. And, as I often do, I was hiking with my camera.

The conversation between Tippett and Kimmerer immediately changed my typical shooting subjects and perspective. Rather than going wide and grand, I shot everything with my 45mm f1.8 (90mm equivalent) for fun and challenge and did so low to the ground.

Here: a few choice quotes from and shot-while-listening images inspired by Kimmerer and Tippett. And a new respect for modest mosses.

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Considering Job Automation and Minimum Wage Hikes

A chorus of “I told you so” came down last week as headlines tied minimum wage hikes to job automation.

Fox News: “Minimum Wage Hike Backfiring? Wendy’s Increases Self-Service Kiosks”

Washington Times: “As minimum-wage hikes become mandatory, Wendy’s looks to expand self-service kiosks”

Investors.com: “Wendy’s Serves Up Big Kiosk Expansion As Wage Hikes Hit Fast Food”

The idea: raising minimum wage causes companies to eliminate jobs, bringing in job automation through self-service.

Keep in mind that Wendy’s itself only operates only 10% of stores, including zero in California (a minimum wage warfront), so they don’t fully bear these costs directly. Also, they cited competition to “access good labor” as a key driver of wage inflation. In other words, it’s hard to find good people, so they’re increasing wages to attract and retain them. And especially as the fast foot market softens overall, price competition remains fierce and cost pressures remain high.

Notable in the Wendy’s announcement was that mobile ordering and mobile payments are also coming.

And here’s where any confusion about correlation and causation breaks. And where a brief consideration of job automation begins.

There’s an inevitability to it all (maybe).
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Show Notes: TED Talk on Face to Face Communication

On being there in person, getting face to face, and falling back to simple video communication when time and distance keep us apart.

I enjoyed the privilege of producing and delivering a TED talk on these themes at the inaugural TEDxUCCS.

 

Right off the top: Thank you to EPIIC and UCCS for inviting me to participate.

Rather than provide a written version of the talk, I’m borrowing a concept from some of my favorite podcasts – the recording itself, plus “show notes.”

Included in these notes:

  • Links to ideas used to construct the presentation
  • Info and credits for the photos in the slide deck
  • Additional, related links
  • A few closing thanks

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