As people try to understand the death of Robin Williams, it is valuable to find a teaching that helps us all deal with many of the same issues in our lives.
This post is about moderation. Without becoming judgmental in any way, it is important to realize that we all must moderate our actions if we are to strike a balance with life’s experiences. Ultimately we can experience joy throughout our lives in such a way that every moment is precious.
It is difficult to consider moderation in our age of exuberance and super sizing. But, Zen teaches us about moderation and taking the middle path. This practice is life saving and ultimately a more joyful experience. Extremes take their toll in causing us pain and suffering in the long run. It is better to enjoy our lives and reduce suffering through wise choices and moderation.
Take a deep breath; then exhale and consider where you are, and wisely take your next best step.
Taking your own life or that of another living being is an extreme act, one of finality. Pain and suffering are part of life, an important element of our existence. As Sakini put it, “Pain makes man think, thought makes man wise, and wisdom makes life endurable.”
We don’t have to face suffering alone or take extreme measures to avoid it. Moderation allows for small adjustments that can overtime reduce suffering to a tolerable level.
Life can be taken in sips of both the joyful and the painful. This is our life to live, we should not throw it away, no matter how hard it may be…it is far too precious to everyone in our world.
Be blessed…bless yourself.
How much money is spent on nuclear weapons around the world…weapons if ever used will mark the end of civilization? Imagine if that money was used to make sure everyone had reasonable access to a key element of life, safe water, so that all of our “civilization” could have a reasonable chance to live a full life.
Today’s water situation in Iran is a cautionary example of how the leaders of the world, bent on domination, are pushing development ahead of basic human needs.
The following article on the water crisis appeared in the Washington Post written by Jason Rezaian:
Iran’s water crisis the product of decades of bad planning
TEHRAN — Iran is headed for a water shortage of epic proportions, and little is being done to reverse a decades-long trend that has reduced the country’s water supply to crisis levels.
Changes in the global climate, a century of rampant development and heavy subsidies on water and other utilities are all contributing to a situation that is likely to get much worse.
“Our water usage is twice the world standard and considering the situation in our country, we have to reduce this level,” Massoumeh Ebtekar, a vice president and the head of Iran’s Department of Environment, said in a recent speech.
Currently Iranians use on average 250 liters of water per day each day. Comparatively, Iranians uses much less water than residents of the United States, who lead the world using nearly 400 liters per day, but Iran and other dry Middle Eastern countries do not enjoy the abundance of fresh water sources of the Americas or Europe. Accurate data for Iran’s neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan is not available, but other countries in the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, consume water at levels similar to Iran, although their populations are much smaller.
With Iran’s annual precipitation only at a third of the global average, heavy overconsumption has ravaged the country’s available water resources. A 2013 study by the World Resources Institute ranked Iran as the world’s 24th most water-stressed nation, putting it at extremely high risk of future water scarcity.
While Iran has several large desalination projects, and even plans to sell some of its water to neighboring countries, converted saltwater is only seen as solution for areas close to the country’s two main saltwater sources, the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, as the transportation costs of moving the water to the remotest regions of Iran are too high.
Throughout Iran, landscapes are being transformed as scientists warn that the already arid country runs the risk of becoming a vast desert.
Urmia, a salt lake in Iran’s northwest, which was once the largest in the Middle East, has been depleted to just 5 percent of its former volume over the span of only two decades. The Zayandeh river, which flowed through Iran’s heartland, is mostly a dry bed, as it has been diverted and dammed to provide irrigation for farms throughout the country.
Disappearing lakes and dried up rivers are the outward symptoms, but the root causes are less visible, stemming from the techniques and habits of a more traditional and less mechanized era.
“In less than 50 years, we’ve used all but 30 percent of our groundwater supply, which took a million years to gather and it’s getting worse and worse due to unsustainable development,” said Nasser Karami, an Iranian physical climatologist who is currently an associate professor at the University of Bergen in Norway.
Iran’s population has more than doubled since the 1979 revolution and grown eightfold since 1900.
After six years of below-average rainfall, few Iranian authorities acknowledge the depth of the problem, instead offering quick fix solutions that do little to address the looming long-term impact on Iran’s climate and landscape.
“I have repeated it several times, that if water consumption in Tehran is managed and controlled we will not need rationing this summer. If people reduce their water consumption by just 20 percent there won’t be any need for action,” Seyed Hossein Hashemi, the Tehran governor, said on June 20 in an interview with Jahan News.
In recent days, the city of Karaj, a sprawling suburb of Tehran with 1.6 million inhabitants, implemented a rationing plan. Other major cities seem certain to follow suit in the coming days.
For a society that has become accustomed to heavily subsidized utilities including water and has never been given proper education on managing its natural resources, convincing Iranians to make adjustments will be challenging.
“We don’t realize that we’re making life for the future impossible for our own uses today. We shouldn’t only think about living comfortably today at the expense of tomorrow,” Karami said.
Among the symptoms of Iranians’ disregard for water conservation are unregulated gardening taps in public parks that flow for hours on end; the widespread practice of hosing down hot and dusty concrete to cool it down; and faucets that are habitually left running in kitchens around the country.
Environmental experts say that any solution will need to extend beyond conservation to include a long-term strategy to reverse the damage done to groundwater supplies in recent years.
“We’ve over exploited our groundwater, which is sort of a hidden water resource. People believe they can use it as though there is an unlimited supply. We are in a severe drought, but we could have prevented these kinds of problems, or least come up with a better plan,” said Mehdi Mirzaee, a professor of water resource management at Tehran’s Islamic Azad University.
Iran’s water problems go far beyond the everyday consumption habits of its nearly 80 million citizens. Agricultural use, which accounts for 90 percent of Iran’s water usage according to statistics released by the Islamic republic’s Environmental Protection Organization in May, is also in need of massive reform. State estimates put the amount of water wasted in agricultural irrigation at 60 percent.
“Going back 3,000 years, our ancestors knew where to grow, where not to and how to use water and irrigate their land wisely. But we have put aside all their valuable experiences and ruined lands and water resources by digging wells, diverting water and creating and abandoning dams,” Bijan Farhang Darehshori, an Iranian environmental activist, said.
(Jason Rezaian has been The Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012. He was previously a freelance writer based in Tehran.)
…so we should ask ourselves, if Iran’s water crisis is because of bad planning, does that not indicate that we as a global population, at the mercy of our crazy leaders, need to take charge of our best interest and set safe water as a top priority?
It is time to reject “leaders” that perpetuate the insanity that killing is the answer to our problems, and chose to follow those principles that lead to our survival as humans living with very precious resources.
Ethiopia: World’s Poorest Have Least Access to Safe Water – UNICEF
Almost four years after the world met the global target set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for safe drinking water, and after the UN General Assembly declared that water was a human right, over three-quarters of a billion people, most of them poor, still do not have this basic necessity, UNICEF said to commemorate World Water Day.
Estimates from UNICEF and WHO published in 2013 are that a staggering 768 millionpeople do not have access to safe drinking water, causing hundreds of thousands of children to sicken and die each year. Most of the people without access are poor and live in remote rural areas or urban slums. UNICEF estimates that 1,400 children under five die every day from diarrheal diseases linked to lack of safe water and adequate sanitation and hygiene.
“Every child, rich or poor, has the right to survive, the right to health, the right to a future,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s global water, sanitation and hygiene program. “The world should not rest until every single man, woman and child has the water and sanitation that is theirs as a human right.”
The MDG target for drinking water was met and passed in 2010, when 89 per cent of the global population had access to improved sources of drinking water — such as piped supplies, boreholes fitted with pumps, and protected wells. Also in 2010, the UN General Assembly recognized safe drinking water and sanitation as a human right, meaning every person should have access to safe water and basic sanitation. However, this basic right continues to be denied to the poorest people across the world.
“What continues to be striking, and maybe even shocking, is that even in middle income countries there are millions of poor people who do not have safe water to drink,” Wijesekera added. “We must target the marginalized and often forgotten groups: those who are the most difficult to reach, the poorest and the most disadvantaged.”
According to UNICEF and WHO estimates, 10countries are home to almost two-thirds of the global population without access to improved drinking water sources. They are: China (108 million); India (99 million); Nigeria (63 million); Ethiopia (43 million); Indonesia (39 million); Democratic Republic of the Congo (37 million); Bangladesh (26 million); United Republic of Tanzania (22 million); Kenya (16 million) and Pakistan (16 million).
Ethiopia is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target related to water-62 per cent of the population should access improved sources of drinking water by 2015 against the MDG target of 57 per cent. More than half of the households (54 per cent) have access to an improved source of drinking water, compared to 35 per cent in 2005 and 25 per cent only in 2000 (EDHS 2011).
However, the country is lagging behind on sanitation targets. While the MDG target for access to improved sanitation facilities is 51 per cent, only 8.3 per cent (EDHS 2011) of the population has access to improved sanitation. Children in school are especially vulnerable as the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Inventory data shows that only 33 per cent of school have improved sanitation facilities for students and teachers, and only 31 per cent have access to water.
“While the theme this year is the inter-linkage between water and energy, we should focus on women and children as the primary beneficiaries of water in Ethiopia,” said Samuel Godfrey, Chief of WASH in UNICEF Ethiopia.
Huge disparities in the quality of water and sanitation infrastructure lie between the urban and rural area. In most rural areas across Ethiopia, water scarcity, inferior water quality, lack of sanitation facilities and inappropriate hygiene behaviors threaten the well-being of communities. There is also an urgent need to address the issue of separate sanitary facilities. Girls are often reluctant to use facilities, even if they are clean, because toilet blocks and hand washing facilities (important for menstrual hygiene) rarely provide the level of privacy and security they require.
“It is vital that girls should not feel marginalized and lose their self-respect due to lack of WASH facilities in schools. We need to foster an environment where girls maintain their dignity and focus on their school attendance and achievements,” stresses Mr. Godfrey.
In order to harmonize the WASH efforts in the country, the ONEWASH program has been launched in 2013, bringing together four ministries: Water Resources; Health; Education; and Finance & Economic Development. ONEWASH attempts to modernize the way water and sanitation services are delivered; improving the health situation, decreasing the drop-out rates of children in schools, and making financing for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) more effective. Above all, the program contributes significantly in meeting both the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets.
This week, UNICEF launched a global social media campaign to demand action for the 768 million people without access to safe water. Followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be asked to discuss what water means to them through the use of photography and the hashtag #WaterIs to help raise awareness of what it means to live without access to safe drinking water.
School sick days could be reduced with safe drinking water
Sat, 15 Mar 2014
Providing free drinking water in schools could be key to helping people in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Research published today shows that schools providing clean water report fewer children off sick. It is the first study to investigate whether providing drinking water in schools can reduce absenteeism.
Researchers looked at absentee rates in eight schools in Cambodia – half of which received treated drinking water, and half of which did not. The 26-week study period spanned two terms – one in the country’s dry season and one in the wet season. The absentee records of 3520 children were taken into account.
They found that during the dry period, children without access to clean water were about 2.5 times more likely to be absent from school than children where water was provided.
Prof Paul Hunter from UEA’s Norwich Medical School said: “We focused our intervention on local communities that have poor access to clean drinking water. Each participating school was given a 20-litre bottle of clean drinking water per class each day.
“We found lower absenteeism in the schools that received the free clean water – however this association was only seen in the dry season. During the wet season, absenteeism increased in all eight schools, which is explained by children being kept off school to help in the fields.
“Education is one of the most important factors that enables children to fulfil their potential later in life and reduce poverty. Better education is also associated with substantial health gains – especially for child health in future generations and in reducing child mortality. However, even when schooling is available, absenteeism rates can be high. Clearly reducing student absenteeism is vital to improve educational attainment and alleviate poverty.
“As well as helping to reduce waterborne infectious disease, providing free drinking water helps combat dehydration. Even mild dehydration in children may be associated with poor health, and previous studies have shown that keeping well-hydrated improves cognition and energy levels in children. So providing free water in schools would improve children’s general wellbeing and learning experience.
“The overall cost of the scheme equated to $1.4 USD per child per year – a very modest cost compared to the potential educational benefits and subsequent life potential,” he added.
The research was carried out by the University of East Anglia in collaboration with French water charity 1001 Fontaines, its Cambodian partner Teuk Saat 1001, the University of Lorriane in France, and the Mérieux Foundation which is dedicated to fighting infectious diseases.
‘Impact of the Provision of Safe Drinking Water on School Absence Rates in Cambodia: a quasi-experimental study’ is published in the journal PLOS ONE on March 15.
Below is the writing of Mother Teresa, in memory of her work caring for those most in need:
People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway!
If you do good, people will accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway!
If you are successful, you will win
false friends and enemies.
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway!
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway!
What you spend years building may be
People really need help
but may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway!
Give the world the best you have
and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway!
We all have the chance to live our dream. It means making a lot of right decisions, focused on the right path of attainable goals.
One of Frank’s patrons returned from a South Pacific sailing vacation and commissioned Frank to paint a new work. She wanted a composite scene from her memorable time with a friend. Frank painted the “Dream” in acrylic on a 30” x 15” stretched canvas.
Live your dream. Be inspired by it.
Just make sure it is realistic, and down the right path…and you know what is right.
Capt. William H. Wincapaw, known as an adventurous and skilled Airman, unknowingly began a tradition in 1929. He was just a guy that wanted to bring holiday cheer to the lighthouse keepers along the East Coast by dropping packages of toys, coffee, shaving supplies, and snacks around Christmas time. He soon became known by the light keepers as the Flying Santa. Over the decades the planes and pilots changed, but except for a break during World War II, the practice continues today, now by helicopter.
This Christmas, Frank wanted to pay special tribute to the new Airman in the family, his grandson Griffyn. So, a new 30” x 24” acrylic on wood panel painting shown below is added today to Frank’s lighthouse series. The lighthouse seen in this painting is the Boston Light.
This painting honors those who take special care of the all-important light keepers, as well as the remote Coast Guard outposts.
Now as Griffyn has his first Christmas away from home in the Air Force, we wish him and his group a safe and enjoyable Christmas, as we thank all those who bless and protect us from above.
The official authorized Internet site for F D Kliewer and Associates, LLC. Frank is a consultant, artist, innovator, developer, manager, teacher and persistent gardener.