Thursday, May 25, 2006

Consider synthetic oil.

I've written before about biodiesel, hybrid cars, and other ways your fuel and car choice can affect the environment, national economy and more. But what if it's not time for a new car? Even if you are not ready for a new alternative fuel vehicle, you can make a positive contribution to our world by choosing synthetic oil over petroleum-based oils. Here's what you need to know:

When one considers manufacturing and engine use, synthetic oils produce just as much pollution as petroleum-based oils. BUT, since synthetics last three or more times longer than petroleum-based oils, they don't have to be changed as often. That means less total oil is used. That's important since 40% of used oil is dumped on the ground or down the sewer, polluting the environment. Plus, it's more convenient!

Want to know more?

* Learn about used oil pollution. For example, "it is estimated at present that over 240 million gallons of oil are improperly discarded annually. Dumping 240 million gallons of oil is nearly the same as two Exxon Valdez spills each month. How dangerous is used oil? Just one quart can produce a two-acre oil slick. One gallon of oil can make one million gallons of water too foul to drink and 35 ppm of oil will kill fish. Improperly disposed used oil is dangerous."

* Consider this FAQ from Quaker State. It will address many of your questions about use of synthetics, switching to synthetics, etc.

* Read your car owner's manual to see if your car can use synthetic oil. For example, Mazda engines cannot.

* Recycle used oil it when you remove it, regardless of which type you use. "Just one gallon of used oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of water. Recycling your used motor oil keeps it out of our rivers, lakes, streams and even the ground water. In many cases, that means keeping it out of our drinking water, off our beaches, and away from wildlife." There are sites all over that will accept used motor oil for recycling. Consider these in the UK, and the US. In the US, you can call 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687) to find a collection center near you. Some oil change companies, like Jiffy Lube, will accept used motor oil for recycling. Never dump oil down a storm drain.

So next time your car is due for an oil change, recycle the used oil and consider replacing it with a synthetic oil. It's better for the environment and easier on you.

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." - Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Get into the game.

I missed Blogging Against Disablism Day two weeks ago, but here's my entry anyway. Better late than never, right?

I've written before about how to use entertainment media as opportunities to learn. Here's another way you can do that.

Get into the Game is a social action campaign that uses the hit documentary Murderball to increase public awareness about people with disabilities and to raise funds for the U.S. Paralympics. Haven't seen it?
Murderball is a film about tough, highly competitive rugby players. Quadriplegic rugby players. Whether by car wreck, fist fight, gun shot, or rogue bacteria, these men were forced to live life sitting down. In their own version of the full-contact sport, they smash the hell out of each other in custom-made gladiator-like wheelchairs. And no, they don't wear helmets.

From the gyms of middle America to the Olympic arena in Athens, Greece, MURDERBALL tells the story of a group of world-class athletes unlike any ever shown on screen. In addition to smashing chairs, it will smash every stereotype you ever had about the disabled. It is a film about family, revenge, honor, sex (yes, they can) and the triumph of love over loss. But most of all, it is a film about standing up, even after your spirit - and your spine - has been crushed.

So how can you get into the game?

* Host a screening of Murderball. They'll send a free DVD, tips for a successful screening, flyers, and more.

* Donate to the Paralympics Just $215 will provide a wheelchair to a deserving athlete. Pass the plate and enter your group donation online or send checks made out to the US Olympic Committee to:

Murderball Donations
PO Box 16699
Beverly Hills, CA 90209-2699

* Spread the word to others who may want to donate, participate or host a screening.

* Check yourself and make sure your language and actions don't promote the stereotypes or discrimination of disablism.

And if you want to host a double feature, check out Emmanuel's Gift, also available on DVD. Thanks for the tip, Nick! Now let's get into the game!

"Someday, I may get evidence that changes my beliefs about equality in parenting, about the commitments we should make to children, about the worthwhileness of life with disability . . . Perhaps someday I will change my beliefs. Perhaps I will change either my evaluation of existing evidence, my understanding of new evidence, or the values I bring to the debate. That is what life is about. Meanwhile, I must keep paying attention and keep speaking out.” - Adrienne Asch, 2001

Friday, May 12, 2006

Take care of yourself: MIND, body and soul.

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. The Sisters of the Yam (best bookclub ever!) is commemorating the occasion by reading and discussing Bebe Moore Campbell's book 72 Hour Hold in which a major character has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness). Here are some ways you may want to take note of National Mental Health Awareness Month and mind your health:

--> If you or someone you know is contemplating or attempting suicide, please call one of these national hotlines: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or for TTY, 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).

* Visit the National Mental Health Information Center to find mental health services in your area, look up mental health terms, consult the list of toll-free national hotlines and more. Resources are also available in Spanish.

* If you are suffering from addiction, perhaps in a conscious or subconscious effort to self-treat your own mental illness, GET HELP.

* If someone you love is suffering from addiction, perhaps in a conscious or subconscious effort to self-treat her or his own mental illness, GET HELP.

* If your emotional or mental state doesn't allow you to treat those you love in a way that honors them, GET HELP to stop the abuse.

* Consult this state-by-state list of mental health hotlines for more local resources.

* Peruse the online resources available from the National Mental Health Association. Many of them are available in English and Spanish.

Every month is a good month to MIND your health!

"One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows slowly endures." - J.G. Hubbard

Monday, May 01, 2006

Visit Thistle Farms.

Thistle Farms is "the cottage business of Magdalene, a two-year residential community for women with a criminal history of addiction and prostitution. Magdalene was created to provide a sanctuary in Nashville for women in need of a safe, disciplined and compassionate community." You can support the women of Magdalene by supporting Thistle Farms. Here's how:

--> Purchase Thistle Farms "balms, candles, sachets, eye pillows, bath salts and body scrub, which are made with the purest ingredients including cotton wicks, soybean based ecowax, sea salt and virgin olive oil and then placed in recyclable containers." You can bay a lip-balm for as little at $3 and know that the proceeds are going to a good cause.

--> Host a Thistle Farms Party. "Having a Thistle Farms party means giving and receiving three ways. We give you a hostess gift as thanks, you'll receive the gift of knowing you've helped make Thistle Farms and the women of Magdalene stronger, and you'll experience the power of the women's stories and the joy of having shared it with your friends. Magdalene women are available to speak in person at parties in the Nashville area, and satellite parties can be arranged for hosts outside of Nashville.

--> Volunteer at Thistle Farms or Magdalene. "Volunteering at Magdalene provides the opportunity to work with a great team and have a lot of fun while providing a valuable contribution of your skills and time."

--> Donate financially to Magdalene. Your contribution will help "provide sanctuary and work to women who are taking the hard steps towards breaking the cycle of prostitution and addiction. Your support covers the cost of the food, supplies, utilities, maintenance, medical care, clothing, educational expenses and salaries that make Magdalene work."

Learn more about Magdalene, and you too will want to support their work.

"Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you." - Wayne Dyer