Tag Archives: Meetup

When Disaster Strikes Others, Feel the Pinch of Generosity

If you were lucky enough not to be blown away by disasters like Harvey or Irma, you might feel powerless in the face of all the suffering and destruction. But you can flip that attitude into action by brandishing your human-only superpower of generosity.

Consider the Houston Independent School district. Harvey’s rain was still pounding when district officials decided every one of their 215,000 students could eat breakfast and lunch for free the entire school year. They knew returning to normalcy would take time and, if students were to continue to grow and learn, they needed regular nutritious meals.

In Texas, the display of durability was stunning on the part of the Cajun Navy and other just-plain-folks freely giving of their time and skills. That’s why, in the days before Irma, Florida’s governor made an explicit pitch for volunteers. Within 36 hours, 8,000 residents had signed up with VolunteerFlorida.

That’s the thing about generosity. It takes effort.

Philosopher C.S. Lewis wrote:

If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small.

Donating an old, stained coat may count as “generosity,” but it can actually be a relief to pitch it. True generosity hurts, if only a little.

Generosity for The World

Considering our overall state of busy-ness, to feel the pinch of generosity may be a matter of Continue reading

What’s Wrong with Rita (and Right with Wikipedia and Meetup)

I was walking with my friend when she told me her dog, Rita, was having a terrible time with allergies.  Nothing—from pricey prescription dog food to medicated soap—made any difference. As she was talking, I thought of a Green Living Meetup I had just attended, the topic:  “Ways of Reducing Chemicals in Your Home”.  Something I learned there just might help.

I had never been to a Meetup before.  When I arrived a little early on that rainy Saturday afternoon, the room in the public library was already half full of a diverse assortment of adults, plus a few babies.  Our smiling hosts, Sara and Todd, sat on a table up front next to an array of boxes, bottles and bags.

Sara spoke first, explaining how the human body fights off infection and rids itself of harmful chemicals. Toxins are carried off in secretions such as sweat and mucus, or filtered by the kidneys, liver and other organs.  Allergies and chemical sensitivity happen, she claimed, when those mechanisms are overwhelmed.  The wafts from a fresh coat of paint or new printer could be the last straw to break the back of the body’s natural defenses.

Promising he’d have good news later, Todd launched into a litany of scary environmental data.  A long-range study by the EPA detected 900 chemicals in the air of the average government office building.  Indoor air can be ten times more polluted than the air outdoors.  Houses, especially new ones, can harbor a host of noxious compounds.  Throat-cancer-causing formaldehyde, for instance, may hide in your shampoo, your tissues, your carpet, and the no-iron clothes you wear. Continue reading