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ShirleyGram

Sample Newsletter

This is a sample of my members newsletter.

Affirmation

As I journey through this month may I be the expression of peace and compassion that I hope to see in the world.

My Reel Life

I am taking this time between movies to work on a new book. I haven’t much to report on it at this point, but I will keep you informed as it progresses.

Health Notes

Did you know that more than one in four U.S. hospitals now offer alternative and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and massage therapy. A new survey of nearly 1,400 U.S. hospitals showed that the normally staid mainstream medical institutions are providing complementary and alternative therapies to meet growing demand from us, the public. The survey is conducted and published by the American Hospital Association every two years and the mpst recent shows the percentage of hospitals offering one or more CAM services increased from 8% in 1998 to 27% in 2005.

A 2002 CDC survey showed that more than half of Americans thought combining CAM with conventional medicine would be helpful. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) include therapies that are not based on traditional Western medical teachings and may range from acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, to diet and lifestyle changes, herbal medicine, and massage therapy, and beyond.

What seemed amazing and was contrary to popular belief, researchers found that complimentary and alternative medicine offerings were most common in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and less common on the West Coast. The least common areas to offer CAM services were in the South (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee).

The top six complementary and alternative medicine services offered on an outpatient basis among hospitals offering CAM were massage therapy (71%); tai chi, yoga, or chi gong (47%); relaxation training (43%), acupuncture (39%); guided imagery (32%), and therapeutic touch (30%). Top inpatient services were massage therapy (37%), music/art therapy (26%), therapeutic touch (25%), guided imagery (22%), relaxation training (20%), and acupuncture (11%).

Other findings of the survey include:

Most hospitals that offered CAM were in urban areas and were large or medium-sized (more than 100 beds).

Teaching hospitals accounted for 36% of hospitals responding to the survey and offering CAM services, perhaps reflecting the finding in a 2004 study that more than 3/4 of medical schools require a course in CAM.

Most hospitals offered their CAM services at other locations while 37% provided them in a hospital wellness or fitness center. That made me wonder if the hospital was concerned about their allopathic image being tarnished through association with CAM? Unfortunately, that possibility was not addressed in the study. It is also important to know that while it is wonderful these CEM services are being permitted and endorsed, most CAM services are paid for by patients as an out-of-pocket medical expense as there are limited insurance coverages for CAM proceedures.

Environment

This month engineers will begin building one of the world's largest manmade reservoirs that will be the size of a small city. It’s an effort to restore natural water flow to the Everglades. The reservoir, roughly 25 square miles in area, is set for completion in 2010. It will hold 62 billion gallons of water, or the equivalent to about 5.1 million residential swimming pools, and will be seven miles across at its widest point. The flagship project is part of the overall 30-year, $10.5 billion federal and state partnership in the world's largest wetland restoration effort.

Most reservoirs are built amid mountains and valleys or where a natural water source feeds the pool. In this case, 30 million tons of earth will be dug from flat land and surrounded by a 26 foot high, 21 mile long levee, making it larger than any other reservoir not connected to a natural source, according to state officials.

"When you stand on one side of this reservoir, you will not see the other side," said Carol Wehle, the executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, which is the agency charged with managing Everglades water.

Decades of dikes, dams and diversions have left the Everglades in a state of acute illness. Lake Okeechobee, which was once the vast wetland's liquid life source, is now laden with high levels of phosphorous from farms and suburban sprawl. The nutrient is choking life from the ecosystem. And because officials have historically had few places to store water, Lake Okeechobee is maintained at a higher than optimal level, which keeps sunlight from reaching vital vegetation on the lake's bottom.

The $400 million, 16,700 acre reservoir will allow water managers to redirect storm drainage, which will lower Lake Okeechobee levels and reduce pressure on its aging earthen dike. The diversion will also minimize the need for damaging deluges let loose through the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries that feed into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and stored water will also provide nourishment for the Everglades during dry seasons.

"Water storage is a key element to the restoration process, not only for controlling water releases but also for flood protection and wildlife habitat restoration," said Colleen Castille, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

"Right now, we have too much water in Lake Okeechobee most of the time," said Audubon of Florida's Chris Farrell. "It's going to help take a little bit of water off the lake, not as much as we'd like, but it's a start."

The massive reservoir, which will be nearly doubled in size in the coming decades, is part of the state's Acceler8 program intended to hasten efforts to restore life to the Everglades. The overall plan will eventually encompass two additional, smaller reservoirs near Lake Okeechobee. "Everglades restoration is about quality, quantity, timing and distribution," Wehle said. "It takes all of the projects working in concert with each other to restore the Everglades."

Kyoto

From the 2006 Earth Dialogues conference

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has publicly urged the United States and Australia to sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming; declaring that the world's reservoir of life was rapidly shrinking.

Australia and the United States are the only major industrialized countries that have not signed the Kyoto treaty, which mandates specific cutbacks in emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases by 2012 in 35 countries.

"Our reservoir of life is shrinking," Gorbachev said from the eastern Australian city of Brisbane, where he is heading an international environmental conference. "Before it is too late I think we need to put our environmental house in order." Gorbachev said the United States had behaved like a "stubborn animal" over the Kyoto agreement, and urged Australia to show leadership by joining the pact.

Australia's conservative Prime Minister John Howard is a staunch supporter of U.S. President George W. Bush, and has thrown his country's weight behind several U.S. foreign policy decisions. "That's even more reason for Australia to sign the protocol," the former Soviet leader said. "Then that closeness will play a positive role. If that closeness is used only for aggravating mistakes such as the war in Iraq that's not positive, that's not useful."

Gorbachev said he believed the forum was important to mobilize public support for dealing with global warming. "World public opinion is now considered a superpower in its own right, and we have a responsibility to make use of this power to drive positive action for a sustainable future," he said.

Natural Habitats Shrinking

Tiger habitats worldwide have shrunk 40 percent in the past decade and their survival depends on cracking down on poaching, working to reduce conflicts with humans, and protecting key habitat ranges. Tigers now reside in only 7 percent of their historic range, 40 percent less than a decade ago, the World Wildlife Fund said.

According to a recent study, the worldwide tiger population has steadily declined to about 7,500 globally, and the big cats continue to face a myriad of threats, including the trade in tiger parts to meet demand for traditional medicines in China and Southeast Asia. Paradoxically, the study by a coalition of conservation groups identified for the first time 76 areas, mostly in Asia, that have the best chance of supporting tiger populations.

"Many important areas have been overlooked for funding, largely because there has been no method to systematically identify areas of high conservation potential," the study said.

About half of the 76 areas can support 100 tigers and "offer excellent opportunities for the recovery of wild tiger populations." Conservation efforts so far have helped stabilize certain tiger populations, but many initiatives were "ad hoc" and "did little to stem the crisis," the study found. John Robinson of the Wildlife Conservation Society said tiger conservation requires commitment from local groups, governments, and international donors to "bring the species back to all parts of its biological range."

Researchers are focusing on a few key regions in India, Russia's far east and parts of Southeast Asia. Tiger breeding areas must be protected and efforts to link different tiger habitats need to be improved, the study said.

"We have learned many important lessons over the last 10 years, and this study provides a blueprint for scientists and the countries that hold the key for the tigers' survival," said Mahendra Shrestha, director of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Save The Tiger Fund, which commissioned the study.

Preparedness

I have been reading your emails and the posts on the Encounter Board under Preparedness with great fascination. Some of you have shared dome very good ideas, like:

Hi Shirley,

I'd take inflatable items such as pillows, mattress or chairs and a cell phone(even though I'm not a fan of impersonal constant communication).

My 8 year-old niece Eleni, who I'm raising, would take her pets, money and people.

My sister Georgia would take a CD with scanned family and important photos.

Yia sou,

Enigmat(Steve)

Pillows and cell phones should definitely be on the list. The pillow is our grown up security blanket and the cell phone is a must, even if they don’t work at first.

Shirley,

Something else to add to the list would be dried fruits, berries and nuts - raisins, currants, Goji berries, blueberries, almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc., and herbal teas.

Faye

I agree. Dried fruits and berries will last a long time and will naturally bring up your blood sugar. Nuts are great sources of protein. And herbal teas are always comforting. I would make certain to have some chamomile tea for restless nights.

Hi -

We evacuated from the MS. Gulf Coast at the last minute before Katrina hit. I sure wish we had brought the local phone book with us, having the white and yellow pages would have helped our finding friends and neighbors, and services that were still operating. For instance, we needed numbers for getting our destroyed cars towed, trees cut off of the house, getting hold of someone who could go check the house right after the storm. You just don't realize how much you use those books until you NEED them. The online directories don't give reliable information.

Hope this helps! Peace,

Jodi

This is a smart thing to keep in your vehicle! Many phone companies produce smaller (in size) phone directories now. They might require a magnifying glass or 2.50 magnifying glasses to read them, but at least you would have the ability to make contact with people and companies that you need to after a disaster.

Here are some great examples of how NOT to be prepared. (Don’t laugh; these are real)

As a heat wave baked the capital, global warming dominated a number of conversations in and around the government Thursday.

The House Government Reform Committee began an inquiry into allegations that White House officials edited reports on global warming to play down the threat it poses.

Retiring Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., announced his last hurrah, a bill to reverse the U.S. growth in heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases from burning coal and transportation fuels. He spoke at an indoor rally. The air conditioning was on.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy group, predicted that energy companies' plans to build more than 150 new coal-fired power plants will increase U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent above 2004 levels.

The House committee chairman, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., and the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, said they will request data from the White House and hold hearings into whether the White House Council on Environmental Quality intentionally diluted scientific information on the threat of global warming.

Democrats and Republicans took turns criticizing each other, with President Bush's senior environmental adviser fending off attacks on the administration's go-slow approach. "The Bush administration has very little credibility on this issue," Waxman said. Last month, he proposed phased-in cuts in U.S. greenhouse gases over the next four decades. (Four decades? Please!)

James Connaughton, chairman of the White House environmental council, kept cool in his role as lightning rod. He said Bush's efforts to slow the growth rate in carbon dioxide and cut methane emissions globally go "far beyond what's been done before." "Step one is to slow the growth," Connaughton said.

With temperatures hovering around 100 in parts of the nation, global warming has generated heat at the box-office with movies such as Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth."

Scientists told the House committee that humans are causing most of the earth's warming and the planet is 8 degrees to 10 degrees hotter than it was thousands of years ago. Some voiced concern with the pace of U.S. efforts.

And most telling:

"The fact that we don't have a plan is really disturbing," said Judith Curry, head of Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

Are these people living on the same planet I inhabit? Do they watch the news? Have they any connection to Nature? We have to do it ourselves, because Washington certainly isn’t doing the job!

Fur People

Finally! Governments are beginning to see that we humans consider our furry, feathered and scaled friends to be a part of our family! Below is an AP article that shows there is hope for our friends when a disaster strikes, even if it is only in one area. I hope the trend continues.

A statewide plan to evacuate pets during hurricanes is being worked out by state and local officials, who are required to map the procedures under a new law enacted to avoid the problems that erupted after Hurricane Katrina struck.

The law applies to cats, dogs and other domesticated animals. "I am greatly worried about the evacuation of pets from New Orleans," said Laura Maloney, executive director of the Louisiana branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "We have many unfilled needs. We have lots of shortages." The law was prompted by pet evacuation problems during and after Katrina that resulted in the deaths or abandonment of thousands of cats and dogs. In some cases, pet owners endangered their own lives by refusing to abandon their animals.

The law requires the governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and their local counterparts to devise humane ways to evacuate and shelter cats and dogs during hurricanes. Service animals such as guide dogs are supposed to be evacuated with their owners. Household pets in carriers and cages will be allowed on public transportation if they do not endanger people.

State and local emergency officials are supposed to find animal shelters and draft regulations as well as set up an identification system so pets can be reunited with their owners should they become separated during storms. Maloney said that, unlike last year before Katrina struck, pet owners would know where to find evacuation shelters. State agriculture officials have asked operators of animal shelters, humane societies, veterinary offices, kennels, grooming facilities and other sites to provide copies of their evacuation plans so they can be made public.

TidBits

I hope your container gardens are doing well? Is there anything better than picking and eating straight from the vine a fresh, organic, home grown tomato? I think now!

I do have a watering tip I’d like to share. Many like to water their vegetable in the evening. However, through trial and error, I have found that if they are watered first thing in the morning, the will withstand the day’s heat much better.

So far I have enjoyed juicy yellow pear tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, a few big beefsteak type tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers of all descriptions, carrots, onions I planted last fall and several different types of lettuce. What an incredible fresh salad. Top it off with a few colorful violet petals and fresh dill from my windowsill garden and all I can say is, Wow! I hope you are having the same experiences!

Calendar

Aug 6 – Member’s moderated chat

Aug 7 – Summer Bank Holiday – Ireland, Scotland

Civic Holiday – Canada

Aug 9 – Full Moon

Aug 12 – Perseids meteor Shower

Aug 13 – IE Radio

Aug 20 - Member’s moderated chat

Aug 21 – Cooking in the Lite Radio with Larry Cook

Discovery Day

Aug 27 – IE Radio

Aug 28 – Summer Bank Holiday - UK

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