Protesters on Parade

To celebrate Earth Day, I joined protesters across the world in a “March for Science.” People even turned out at the South Pole. My mom and I marched in Olympia, WA. Like most Washington days, it was cold, wet, and mucky. A fellow protester said it smelled like wet dog. People showed up anyway.

Walking down the street with everyone seemed like a parade. We dressed up, played music, and even had a spot of sunlight.  It lasted five minutes and felt fabulous.

People used their creativity. The organizers sold pink knitted hats that looked like brains (they’re cuter than you’d think) and one woman dressed up in a bee costume. FYI— bees do 80% of global pollination. No bees, no food.

Without science, we wouldn’t have many advances we consider necessities. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite fond of clean water, electricity, and medicine. One speaker, Rep. Laurie Dolan, is only alive today because of science. She had multiple myeloma and needed two bone marrow transplants.  One sign, carried by a mother, said, “I enjoy my kids not getting smallpox.”

Worst of all for a nerd like me, without science we would have no science fiction. Movies about pod people wouldn’t exist.  The apocalypse genre would vanish.

Unless, as we stop listening to science, we get a real apocalypse.  Protesters on Parade

Big Mouth, Little Penis

I got catcalled as I was leaving my car yesterday: “You damn fine.” Acceptable responses to that would be “You damn rude,” giving them the finger, or a swift kick to their (tiny) balls. I did none of those. I get my best comebacks a few hours after I get picked on. I’m not alone. According to Stop Street Harassment, 65% of women get street harassed.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me. At work, I accidentally clicked on a virus that filled my monitor with porn. I had to throw my jacket over my computer so my co-workers wouldn’t see a screen full of vaginas that looked like alien venus fly traps. What’s worse—one of the IT guys who was supposed to fix it kept making jokes about how I was a dominatrix.  The Huffington Post says that one third of 18-34 year old women have been sexually harassed in the workplace.

One non-profit, Hollaback!, made a viral PSA video of a woman being harassed 108 times as she walked through Manhattan. One guy followed her for five minutes. Harassers—we are not your property. You have no right to our space.  Your behavior will have consequences and not only to the women you’re molesting.

Look what happened to Bill O’Reilly.

Three Reasons to Fund AmeriCorps

The new administration plans to cancel funding for AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps has given me the chance to use my degree, learn new skills, and taste fabulous caramel ice cream at orientation. (Guess which was most important). Here are three reasons to fund AmeriCorps.

  • It fights poverty. I volunteer at an organization that assists people with disabilities to find meaningful work. These people not only have to overcome their individual disabilities, but the stigma that comes with having them.
  • It encourages diversity. In the town where I grew up, most everyone was rich and white. In elementary school, my sister thought that lawyer and doctor were very common careers because so many kids’ parents had them. The world isn’t this homogenous. AmeriCorps gave me the chance to meet people that, surprise, weren’t exactly like me.
  • It enables young people to find work. Employers want experience, but you can’t get experience unless you’ve had a job. This irony is why almost 40% of young people (ages 22, 23, and 24) get financial help from our parents. AmeriCorps gets our feet in the workplace door.

AmeriCorps isn’t an expense. It’s an investment—one the new administration should make.

Baby’s First Protest

I made history today. I marched with 10,000 other Americans in my hometown of Olympia, WA to protest after the inauguration. We came to stand up for civil rights and claim the “people’s house” of government, in solidarity with millions of other protesters around the globe.  A lot of us came in pussy hats.

I wore a pussy hat and a pair of pink socks with “fight” written on them. My mom made the hats herself, and they were purr…fect. The cat ears posed a challenge though; I only hope they didn’t look like balls in a pink scrotum.

We marched not only for civil rights, but for a variety of issues. One person had a sign that said, “There’s no planet b.” And that’s right; there isn’t. Carbon in the atmosphere has reached over 350 parts per million, and we’re no longer evolved to survive. We’re toast—literally.

Even the nerds showed up (including yours truly) ready to fight with their Voldemort comparisons and their quotes from the Lord of the Rings. A group of people had signs with “A woman’s place is in the resistance” and General Leia’s picture on them.

Everyone’s place is in the resistance.protest

Four Awesome Women You Didn’t Know About

A couple weeks ago, I attended an art exhibit/lecture on “Dead Feminists” where I’d never heard of most of the women listed—Eleanor Roosevelt and that was it. I felt like I was in a class where I hadn’t done the reading. If, like mine, your education has some gaps, then this list is for you.

  • Shirley Chisam—the first African American congresswoman. She fought for the Equal Rights Amendment and against the Vietnam War.
  • Vera Rubin—an astronomer who pioneered discoveries in dark matter. Dark matter is an unidentified substance that takes up most of the space in the universe.
  • Emma Goldman—a women’s rights, free love, labor activist during the early 20th century. She was imprisoned for two years for opposing the draft during World War I and later deported in 1919.
  • Dorothy Parker—a biting critic and short story writer. She once said, “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

In a history written mostly by men, women’s stories get lost.  I’m trying to find them.

Morning after Election Blues

When I heard that Trump won, my jaw dropped. My mother said it was the worst election of her life, and she’s been around since the 50s. She lived through President Nixon. We elected a man who said that he liked to “grab [women] by the pussy.” Sixty-five percent of all women have experienced street harassment and 23% have been sexually touched. Trump helped create those statistics. I’m going through the five stages of grief right now, but the last stage isn’t acceptance. It’s action. These are things we’ll have to fight for with Trump in office.

1). The EPA, which Trump has promised to get rid of. I live by the water surrounded by trees.  I’ve seen bald eagles and river otters lounging on the docks. The otters follow us creepily whenever we go swimming. I’d like them to follow the next generation too.

2.) The rights of our minority citizens. Many of the people I knew in college were gay/lesbian, and one of my friends was Muslim. She told us she was worried about Trump. I told her he was too crazy to get elected. She was right. I was wrong.

3.) Gun restrictions. We’ve had six mass shootings since 2015. That’s six too many.

4.) Planned Parenthood. It’s first on the chopping block. Trump said women who got abortions should be punished. A man who assaults women isn’t likely to care about their health.

The great thing about democracy is that citizens can fight peacefully for the things they believe in. Now is the time to do so, so that when we tell our minority friends that something is too crazy to happen, we’ll be right.

Environmental Hazards That Cause Health Problems

I’ve learned recently that many things we do that hurt the environment also hurt us. It turns out that pumping toxic chemicals into the atmosphere isn’t all that great for our lungs either. Who knew? To that end, I’ve written a list of environmentally destructive practices that are bad for our health and what can be done to avoid them.

1). Plastic in the ocean. There is an area the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean that is covered in plastic. Unfortunately for us, these plastic contaminants like mercury and lead end up in the sea food we eat. And mercury consumption never did anyone any good. Ask the mad hatter. To reduce these contaminants don’t use as much plastic. Drink from the sink or water fountain instead of using bottled water.

2.) Pollution. In addition to accelerating the greenhouse effect, pollution also causes emphysema, asthma, bronchitis, and possibly cancer. To limit pollution drive a Prius or electric car instead of an SUV. As a bonus, this will make it easier to park and turn. Driving an SUV is a lot like driving a boat—unwieldy and cumbersome.

3.) Lead in the water. Five thousand three hundred U.S. water systems have amounts of lead over the legal limit. We’ve known lead was bad for us since the eighteenth century. Apparently 300 years hasn’t been enough to get us to stop using it. Ask your congressman to push for mandatory lead testing in public water systems.

4.) And last but not least…climate change. Climate change causes drought, which increases wildfires. Fifty thousand acres in California have already burned this year and hundreds have been forced to evacuate. To avoid barbequing yourself this summer, remove dead trees and vegetation from the area.

Humans come from and depend on our environment. It follows that what’s bad for the environment hurts us to. The problem is that we often don’t see the connection until the 50,000 acres have already burned.