Monday, August 27, 2018

There's No Place like Home

When I worked in California, before moving to New Mexico full time, we taught the students the basic needs of all species to ensure their survival as an individual, and a species:

FWARPS. Food, water, air, reproduction, protection, space.
It was fun working through the acronym from their 12 year old brains. Of course they never guessed Reproduction, and would giggle when I said it. They would guess the "S" stood for shelter, which I would lump under protection. But the final word, "space" really got them. I liked to teach this in the San Bernardino NF, next to a thick stand of hundreds of Ponderosa or Jeffery pine that were only about 6 inches in diameter with a foot on average between them. Next, I would take them to the strand and tell them about the unicorn sightings and explain that if they hug a tree and make a wish, it would come true, and that if they saw a unicorn they couldn't ever tell anyone... but this post is about space, not unicorns.

Over the years, I've identified my growing need for "space". In a recent appointment with my therapist, I was illustrating my own basic needs, and amongst "friends" and "nature" was space: both internal and external, illustrated by me in a little treehouse, with nature all around.

On a recent trip with a group of senior citizens, an older man named George asked where I was from. "I grew up in Texas, but now I live in Albuquerque", is one stock response that glosses over my transient period. "Oh, how long you been there?" he asked. "4.5 years," I bragged, "but the previous 5 years I had lived in 16 different places." "Oh wow. Where to next...?" he inquired. I smiled.
Although he and most of the crowd had been living in Albuquerque since the 80's, all transplanted from the East Coast or some far away place with an entirely different climate, he somehow recognized that my time in this city was coming to an end. 


The view from my old porch
When I ended my season of teaching in California, I moved to the space from which I am typing this. A small one-bedroom casita with modern fridgedaire appliances in a 27-acre park with apple trees, grapevines and lots of space. Friends and family have teased that I found my retirement job a little early. This space has been my Home, and I mean that in the deepest comforts of the word. On stressful days, I've walked from my front door to the pecan orchard and watched the ducks bathing in the irrigated grove. I've seen baby geese and blooming roses along the trails. I've had to say things like "please don't move your furniture into the sunflowers," and "Sorry sir, you can't use your metal detector here" and been offered a guinea hen, and told that I'm the Poop Fairy. In addition to being a constantly amusing albeit public place to live, this home has also been my safe place through the ups and downs of getting a great job, and losing one, and boyfriends coming in and out of my life, and this world. 



Kitchen/living room
 These walls have seen several shades of love, as I've shared them with my first fiancee, my game-warden-bound best friend and her adorable dog Boone, a work friend and her dog and occasionally her boyfriend, my soul-mate who met an untimely fate, and a couple of years with this wild man I'm looking forward to spending my life with. Under this roof, I grew and practiced different kinds of love. 
These walls have shared the laughter of long nights of rants and giggles. The floors show stains of memories from Amil squeezing peaches to distill into peach liquor, and the walls show a few knuckle dents from when things were really hard to take.


There are desert and NM skies like these elsewhere.

Despite all my fond memories of this fishbowl, I may have worn out my welcome. Two friends recently told me, in their own words, that... In life, when you feel like you it's time to do something different, you should really listen to that. I had held onto this space, despite my exhaustion of opening and closing the gates every day, sleeping with my phone on in case I don't hear the alarm, having to find someone to live-in my house and do my jobs for every night I didn't stay there, and the utter lack of privacy of living in the middle of a parking lot. I held on to the perks of my slice of nature in the city, and the pride of the reputation I have built in my Home. But I finally realized this summer, that there are other Homes. We found a beautiful place to rent in Valdez, NM, along a stream in a verdant canyon under the highest mountain in the state. The neighbors are like minded, the dog can roam free, and there is easy access to the Carson NF. 


Farewell, sweet little abode. 


On the day that I moved all my stuff up, I saw a bus boy watering the plants outside with the leftover water glasses from the table; we donated $10 to the local fire department and were told in exchange "thanks! We'll save you first" in all sincerity; and we discovered that the local "post office" is just a stand of P.O. Boxes. I think this place is going to be a good fit for a while. I can definitely start to feel like this is Home
[Check out the song Lost Boy on the link, can you hear me on the back-up vocals? 

---- Just for fun: -------

The 3 stages of packing up your shit.
1) I am the definition of simplicity!
During this phase, you throw out everything you touch, thinking about how good you're going to feel packing the three little boxes into your car when it's time to move. You start with biggest stuff you've been threatening to get rid of, then work your way to the junk drawers and nooks of nothing you've been holding on to since college. You create piles of questionable materials like anything electronic and dead pens...wondering where you can recycle such things.
2) I might need this, later...
About halfway through the purge, you start thinking about your life in the next situation. What if it doesn't exactly work out. What if every Salvation Army and Goodwill across the country suddenly close and you can't ever get that rug/hat/jewelry stand/ boot scraper back...
3) To sleep, or to pack, that is the question: 
Finally, you realize that it will take as many years to sort through everything as it did to accumulate it. You put everything left in boxes, take the final three loads to goodwill, and just move it to the next place, getting rid of more stuff there as it doesn't quite fit with your new floor plan. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Life is Hard

Life is hard, sometimes.
And they don't prepare you for it.

As we grow up we learn to identify animals, make cupcakes, and analyze literature.
We're barely taught nutrition and how to balance checkbooks. The math we're taught is generally irrelevant, and no one can tell us when we're going to use it. We're not taught the importance of moving our bodies, in schools, but instead forced to sit still and attempt to pay attention.
I went to a good school. I learned the basics of American History, I read a lot of good books, I went to college, I took a lot of jobs post-grad that perpetuated my learning of subjects, and life, and it wasn't until then, until now, that I realized why adults are so grumpy. :)
Adulting Life is hard.
There's trust. Which no one in the world can tell you if you're doing right or wrong. Sometimes people will tell you if they can't trust you, and even less often how to fix it. But more times, you'll think you can trust someone, only to realize, maybe several times, that you are wrong...

There's greed. A simple enough thing when Adam is hoarding the oreos at recess and not sharing... but a growing complicated thing that makes people act less like animals and more like devils, intentionally causing ruin to their own species...for what...? power? yachts? I still don't understand.

There's hunger. I was really affected by Richard Wright's book Black Boy in high school. He had a powerful way of describing hunger, not only as a crippling longing for food and sustenance, but also an inner desire to do, to be, to create.

There's passion similarly. Which they don't teach you about. You just seem to have it or you don't. You can see it in others, you can feel it for others, but it can become grossly complicated and interwoven into your worlds.

There's the fact that none of us asked to be here, we all just popped out, crying and hungry and have fought to figure it out ever since.

I work with kids. I spent short but impactful hours with groups of kids of various ages and backgrounds. Many of them want to grow up, to have power and freedom. But with all that, comes responsibility, as Peter Parker probably said. No one wants to pay bills, argue with their partners, fight for their children's health, or spend half their day at the mechanics shop. We didn't ask for this. But we have the option to handle it with grace, or greed. With a smile, or a frown. Nobody really teaches us that.

I have a vision of our future world. Maybe this is more of a sci-fi Hunger Games or The Giver sort of scenario, but picture this:
[use your best mental action movie narrator voice]. It's the year 3000. Aydrean is a Learner, a select group of only about a few hundred people in our human population of 20 billion (only 10 or so live on Earth), who have secure access to books, the way our ancient people gathered information. Aydrean spends his days browsing through library catalogues in a giant pyramid-like library, to collect information to put into the latest technology, keeping things up to date as well as adjusting historical files as necessary. Aydrean is so ecstatic to enter the library every day, he hardly notices that Jiyuna is watching him. Eventually Aydrean and Jiyuna fall in love, and Aydrean confesses his plan to make The Library accessible to all, in case others want to try this unique thing called learning. 
 I believe that education is the solution to everything. I feel that the more our students have the answer to everything at their fingertips, the lazier they get about their education, and lose their will to learn. And even though our teachers aren't required to teach about Greed or Trust or paying your bills, while you're in school... you do learn those things. I'm learning a lot of them right now, and even though it's hard, and painful sometimes... I'm grateful to be learning. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Two Ways to Live (in love)


As a teenager, I wanted to create a board game called "Either/or" or something like that, in which players were confronted with a decision that they had to pick a side on... such as: 
Do you drive the frontage road, or the highway?
Chocolate milk or plain?
Do you brush your teeth up and down or in circles? 

Somewhere I have a list of at least 50 more creative things I thought of over the years. This was a mental exercise that would help pull me from the very non-binary world that we live in and focus on the simple things. Do you prefer Sweet or Savory breakfasts? Are you a morning person or a night person? I never quite sorted out the game-part...how players move across the board or whatever, so patent is pending. 

As I've grown up, I've become increasingly aware of my science-centric mind, yet as a collector of data, I see the evidence in astrology. All that is to say, that as a Pisces sign, I often experience two polar-opposite things pulling me in different directions. That has ultimate been the theme of my life for the last 6-8 months, if not the last 5-10 years... and I am SO incredibly grateful for the patient friends who have helped me find a course despite the pulling. 


Image result for pisces
Two fish swimming in opposite directions-- a metaphor for my life. 

I was thinking about binaries on my 2 hour drive to my boyfriend's house this morning. My previous partner lived 6 hours away, so I suppose this is progress (even if we lived together for the last two years).  Do you move in with your partner immediately and try to work things out, or live separately until the ultimate commitment? I have always been in the latter category, but for the next few months I get to practice the former. 
Do you write letters, allowing time to wander between thoughts sent and thoughts received? Or reach out with the increasing-ease of immediacy that technology affords? I miss writing out letters of Thank yous. 
Thinking about the binary situations of the way I live now, contrasted with the way I lived when I moved to ABQ, I wondered: What's changed? My partner, partly. Another quality of Pisces is leading with our heart, and being sort of a maleable spirit, and I have seen that exemplified in my life through my last four partners (It's been a wild 5 years...). And also, my job. I remember thinking a lot before I took this full-time position about how it would change the slow-pace of my life. The blog I wrote about how everyone should work part time would become hypocritical, and instead I would spend the next three + years working time and a half or so, for a cause I believe in through every fiber of my being.  

Through the last five years with four different partners and one very complicated job; I have learned the two ways* to live (and love; in love?)...
1) As a planner: 
a)I spent a lot of this life thinking about the future. I wasn't often satisfied with a meal, for I was thinking about my next one. I asked the universe for things, and it responded. I was constantly planning my next hour, day, 10 years. And this helped me get a sense for my current trajectory and how to track success on every step of my journey. 
b)Perhaps more a consequence of my transient lifestyle than my partner(s) at the time, I also had a lot more free time to put into writing letters, being intentional with my words, making food from scratch, and traveling with a flexible itinerary (and 3-6 plans for how that itinerary COULD go).

2) In the moment: 
a)I've been learning this one in the last few years. While I don't think I connect with it as much deep down, I can appreciate the beauty that comes with living in the moment. Why plan the future, if there's a chance it's going to change, is my current partner's mentality. So we wing a lot. We find ourselves in unique unplanned situations that often are pretty cool, but sometimes are less fun than waiting at a dentists office. We definitely have good stories that come from unexpected last-minute decisions. For example, we've been talking about purchasing a bed together for a while. I imagined we'd go to three different mattress stores, lay on 100 different mattresses and argue about the necessary hardness to get a night's sleep... but instead we drove a European-sized Wal-Mart at 9:30pm and gazed at different varieties of inflatable mattresses and toppers before settling on a queen-sized-green-tea-scented foam thing in a 2'x4' box. Through this life, I laugh a lot. Instead of having expectations, I embrace the daily surprises. 
b)Then, as a result of my latest lifestyle, I'm living a bit more frantically. I rejuvenate quickly from a shower or a cup of coffee, then go back into checking off tasks, an ever-growing list that will never be satisfied. Food is less-interesting, and more quickly fulfilling. I live for the deep breaths looking at the clouds, or the rare event that I get to listen to a whole song with nothing else on my mind but the beats of the music. I soak in the sporadic successes of hours of sweating, speaking and scheduling. 

I'm really grateful my my mutability, though it's really a pain in the ass sometimes (there go those fish again). I'm thankful that I have immersed myself into different lifestyles and challenged myself to embrace new behaviors.... for now I have enough data to know that I'd like to settle into 1b, with a dose of 2a. In the very-real transition into my 30's, I'm appreciative of all the chances I took and experiences I had in my 20's. Now I know what I which way I want to live. 

Which way do you live? How would you characterize your life?


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Recycling Report

I get a lot of e-mails for local events, and many of them, are cleverly marketed to look rather interesting. But when I realized I was available mid-Saturday to attend the Recycling Panel to update Albuquerque on the state of recycling... I wrote it in all my calendars, and convinced a friend to come with me.
It is totally indicative of my interest in learning that I neglected to notice that the panel was part of a larger event-- the 9th annual Recycle Festival!
So last Saturday, I dragged my young friend along, fueled by some delicious chiliquiles, into a room of about 30 people facing a panel of 5 people, two of whom I knew (one used to live in my house, another I know through his waste management job).
While waiting for the final panelist, the facilitator was probing the audience for what we were curious about.
I admitted, "I have always been a recycling Nazi/ambassador (depending on which side you're on). When I moved here, I had the opportunity to tour the recycling sorting center, which provided great insight into the behind-the-scenes world of recycling. I'm the kind of person that pulls bottles out of trash cans and makes quips at people for not walking the 3 feet to the recycle bin. So I feel like I should be equipped with the best information."
At the Friedman Recycling Center, I saw how they used magnets to pull out metals, and wind to sort the paper. They used employees to further sort, and then baled everything up and sent it away. It was there that I learned the 5% rule-- that whatever gets sorted only has to be 95% of that substance. This was illustrated as we walked around a big bale of papers, complete with pipe cleaners from some child's art project poking out.
Part of the discussion on Saturday was centered around a big change to that rule. China has vowed to no longer accept the world's "Garbage". Recycling plants (predominately in China) have started sending back anything with more than .5 percent contamination.
What does this mean for recycling?
"We should think of quality over quantity" said one of the panelists, as a take-away. This directly contradicts my previous method, which the panel shamefully referred to as "aspirational recycling."
Since seeing the recycling center, and their publications about everything that can be recycled, I was definitely the kind of person who would toss anything that wasn't plastic film or food waste and think, "they'll figure it out".
But with the new recycling standards, people like me need to get in check. Quality over quantity means thinking about the energy that goes into processing the things we put into our green bins, and imagining what it's going to be on the other side.
(We talked briefly about greenwaste, which unlike material recyclings is usually recycled locally, saving another precious resource).
I walked away from the talk feeling excited, and a little ashamed. One of the questions to the panel was how we can justify, living in a severe drought state, the water necessary to rinse out our recycling. No one had a conclusive answer to the same question that I was asked by a family member when I was home for Christmas, so I did some research. I read 8 articles from California, Australia and in between (if you're looking at a Mercator map), and this one tells the fullest story, which can be summarized saying: use gray water to rinse the food out of your plastics, metals and glass so you're not wasting water.

If you're new to recycling, or you don't have the time or opportunity to visit your local plant and attend panels of recycling agents-- you can download the Recycle Coach App, which has a search option for all your queries.



Monday, April 9, 2018

The State of our State and the World it's within

If you were to read every blog I've written (not counting those angsty livejournal pages from High school), you would note a clear shift from environmentalist to doomsdayer. It's becoming increasingly difficult to put down my "Oh-shit, we're fucked" mindset and focus on the joys of nagging people to recycle one bottle at a time...especially in our current world. If you don't know what I'm taking about, pick up any newspaper.

The EPA being sued for violating clean air policy 
Massive Oil Spill in Indonesia

---
These are just a couple headlines in the last few weeks.

I am fortunate in some ways to get to spend the Spring away from technology and news, hiking in remote public and private lands of Northwestern New Mexico with local students, sharing with them an appreciation for the Earth beneath their feet, and trying with all my might to instill a sense of wonder at this wholly-connected world we live in.
Despite my very full-time job leading and organizing camping trips, I have had some unique opportunities so far this year, to travel beyond those trips and gather beta on the depressing (my opinion) state of our future generations.

Some students on an adventure-focused trek 
REI's latest ad campaign states that Americans spend an average of 95% of their lives INDOORS. Despite constant evidence that, as animals, we are designed to be in and connect with nature, we seem to be increasingly ignoring this connection, and even causing harm to it. This is both promising and discouraging-- even heart-wrenching. Working in a field that promotes environmental literacy, there is a sort of capitalistic promise in that we are making positions like mine, and the knowledge I possess more scarce. But it won't matter how marketable my skills are when our mono-crops have failed, we've destroyed 25% of the Earth's diversity, and billions of people are fighting over privately owned water sources. See-- sustainability and politics/the hope of our future freedoms are more hand in hand that most of America believes, it seems.

Outside Magazine's most recent issue has an article explaining the pollution and mismanagement of Mt Everest. I think this is a beautifully horrifying metaphor for our use of the outdoors. Mt Everest is a microcosm of our use of nature. Find the biggest/baddest and conquer it, giving little thought to the impact of you doing so.  In the same magazine as the REI ad and the Mt. Everest article, there's a review of the movie Mountain. With our decreasing understanding of the Earth and how it's working, and the slow stripping away of our public lands, romantic places to relax and unwind will so soon be full of people and pollution.

This weekend I led a presentation for the Association of Experiential Education conference here in Albuqeurque. My topic was how to engrain Environmental Education into Outdoor Education because it came to my attention at the international conference in November, that they aren't the same thing. There are currently people earning degrees in Outdoor Leadership and Adventure Learning that don't have biology, ecology or environmental studies as a required course. They take students into the wilderness for days or weeks at a time, and don't know of the incredible contentedness of the ecology they're existing in. This is a huge problem.

I attended two education conferences this winter. At SXSW EDU in Austin last month, I stood in a room full of ways to connect students to new technologies, to teach circuit building and robotics. One company teaches through holograms-- allowing kids to "experience" new things. We are clearly on the verge of a futuristic world that I honestly don't want to live in. I was one of three organizations there that offered travel experiences, and the only one that does so unplugged. We are so obsessed with ensuring kids have the abilities to be 'connected' we have forgotten to connect them first with the earth beneath their feet.

My booth at SXSW
At the Montessori Conference in Denver, I was a little more enlightened. Inspired by the Rachel Carson quote,
 "If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adults who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in."
I was reminded that Montessori educators value nature, above most things, and students lucky enough to receive a Montessori education have greater environmental literacy than most. The conference was concurrent with the rallies for stricter gun control, which was inspiring to see. It is my understanding that most of what they are asking for is already in play in our legal system...but it was encouraging to see the turnout of families and adults and children of all ages.




Every day, I am grateful that I followed my heart toward a degree in Environmental Studies. And every day I am enraged that the people who make political decisions, educate our youth, and affect our daily lives did not obtain the same simple education. I am working HARD to ensure that everyone, at least in New Mexico, has some environmental awareness. But this fight is taking too long. At this rate, there will be little of our Mother Earth to fight for by the time we win. I am honestly afraid of what is to come. All I can do in the meantime is smell the flowers and wonder for how many years they will be able to bloom.

Want to test your "Environmental Literacy"? Here's a quiz with some basic questions EVERYONE should know.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Thirty! 30! thirty.

19 year old Cass
Today I turn 30 years old. Other than going through several boyfriends/fiances and living in 5 states and moving 18 times or so, it was a pretty chill decade of slowly easing out of my comfort zones. 
I decided that for my thirties I need to drink more coffee and do more drugs. 

I decided that to keep me focused on blogging this year, I'm going to post a monthly list of 30 things, starting with

30 unique things I have done in my life. 



21-year-old Cass


  1. Was told that having Controller of the Universe on my resume was too intimidating, so I changed the title of my planetarium job to Controller of the Solar System. 
  2. Sent nude photos to my fam and friends with my college graduation announcements. 
  3. Got a phone number from a guy on a bus by filling out a "reason's why you're awesome" notepad sheet and putting it in his hand as he walked by. 
  4. Dated a man I met on the internet (before it was cool).
  5. Shared a room with two different bosses, to save money on hotels. 
  6. Was paid to Mime on 6th street (when I was a teenager). 
  7. Took drum lessons with my favorite band's drummer just to ask him out. But I learned a bit, too. 
  8. Been in the president's room at the Kennedy Center.
  9. Spent at least a week away from home for 45 of the last 48 months. 
  10. Vomited on an OU fan at a Texas bowl game. 
  11. Lived in Four of the US Time Zones. 
  12. Auditioned for my dream role as Peter Pan, but didn't get it. 
  13. Spent three weeks in Germany-- ate gelato every day, but only had one beer, and no meat. 
  14. Dated four different guys in a three-day weekend. 
  15. Driven at least 10,000 miles in a 15 passenger van.
  16. I am an illustrated character in a kids book. 
  17. Paid to "lose my head' as a magician's assistant (best paying gig I've ever had). 
  18. I have watched the sunrise on the East coast and set on the west coast (but not in the same day). 
  19. Bought a new car.
  20. Shaved my head 5+ times. 
  21. $19/hour is the most I've ever been paid (other than Mime and magician gigs).
  22. Been engaged twice, never married. 
  23. I can do half a handstand push-up. 
  24. Paid off my student loans (Thanks Grandma!)
  25. Got paid to do voiceover for a kid's program.
  26. I used to have three black lights and a disco ball and strobe light in my room, where I would dance to 311 and Metallica, and Disco music and the Night at the Roxbury soundtrack. A lot. 
  27. I've given $2000 to a friend in need (on more than one occasion) and received a $1000 plane ticket from a friend when I was in need. 
  28. Did 9 days of the 10-day Master Cleanse
  29. Hiked 26 miles in a day (from my front door, up San Gorgonio and back to bed) in Merrel's paceglove. 
  30. Slept in a homeless shelter, a park, a teepee, a hogan, a Wigwam and a variety of tents, several vans, and a couple hatchbacks as well a dozens of nights on the ground under the stars.
I would LOVE to hear if anyone else has done more than one of these. :)

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Case (for/of) Children...Part 1



I know it's pretty early in the year to anger people, but I have a story to tell you.

This is the story of a little girl and a little boy. The only reason they exist is because their mommy decided not to tell their daddy that she would stop taking birth control, surprising their dad with their existence, and ensuring he would be connected to the mommy forever. Their mere existence required the dad to quit school, the family to move, Wal-Mart to become their primary shopping experience, and a decade of emotional neglect, and deception to dominate the children's lives.
Sadly, I have met an increasing number of the people of these stories. Parents who tell me their children are little blessings, albeit expensive ones that they don't have the emotional capacity to care for.

This morning I listened to a pediatric neuroscientist explain the basic need of physical touch to all mammals. He expressed that the growing trend of raising isolated families without the existence of the extended-family or village community that has been present in 99% of our evolution, young adults are entering the world with the emotional capability of a 4 year old. I thought that this perhaps explains my reluctance to have children. I explain to others that I still very much feel like a child, developing my beliefs and decision making processes such that I would feel unprepared to bring a new human into my world, under my care.

Image result for children cost as much asI'm at the phase in my life where friends are starting to have children. Technically that started when I was 18 or so, with some friend's kids looking exactly like they did when I met them in 4th or 5th grade. I have struggled to speak heartache at seeing all these children, because it seems so taboo. Babies are supposed to be blessings, bundles of Joy. As animals, we are genetically wired to want to procreate. But as intelligent animals, I don't understand how this urge overwhelms our senses, especially in the midst of overwhelming population growth, resource over-consumption and a growing body of children needing physical touch and community that seems to be ignored.

I have met, entertained, taught, played with and educated over 1000 kids in under a decade. Through this experience I have learned that every kid's most basic needs beyond food and shelter, are attention and love, and the freedom to act as children. In the ten years I have been teaching, the trend of children not having these basic necessities seems to be growing.
When I am not working to teach children the joys of nature and the importance of our environment, I am helping my friend's children learn to tie their shoes and use manners, or I am trying to teach life skills to a young woman with a complicated family life who knows the foster system all too well. Meanwhile, Facebook shows me more and more photos of perfect little white babies born to happy moms and dads with the means to support them. And although those families have the best of any intention to raise their babes into component, intelligent inspiring adults-- I see every new baby born as a crime against the millions of children in foster care systems wishing they had a family to love them. I see it as an injustice to an Earth that has given us everything from it's soil to it's sunlight to sustain our insatiable demands. If I imagine the world the way I want to live in it-- parents would have to prove themselves financially stable and emotionally intelligent enough to have children. Ideally, they would be required to foster before having their own children-- to share their love and resources with those in need before bringing to this world another mouth to feed.  I just don't understand why it's adopting dogs is so common but children is not.

I know that most of the people reading this have children, (my mom included) or strongly desire children. I don't mean to judge or shame you. I just want you to know that for every ounce of love you have for your current or soon to be baby-- I have for the mountains we blow up to mine the metals for your smart phone, the wildflower covered fields that were paved over with your new subdivision, and at least some of the hundreds of children I know that need far more attention than I can give them.

...