Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumnal Equinox began this morning................




 




Simultaneously, of  course, the Vernal (Spring) Equinox occurs in the southern hemisphere, as people begin their springtime season and as those people in the Northern Hemisphere begin their fall quarter of the year. Autumnul Equinox 2012 begins Saturday, September 22, marking the first official day of fall, at 10:40 a.m.ET this morning. the tilted earth revolves around to where the sun shines directly on the equator, and the hours of  daylight and dark are equal (12 hours each). The term "Equinox" has its origins in Latin, meaning 'equal night'. After today, we will have fewer hours of daylight and longer evenings. Traditionally peace and environmental activists call on people everywhere to celebrate the autumnal equinox by hugging a tree. Hugging trees not only relieves stress but also takes back the title "tree hugger" from those who would make it a term of ridicule and it also reminds people of the importance of trees to the environment.
 
Today is the first official day of autumn, which probably doesn't mean much to those living in the south where temperatures are still hitting the 90's. On the Autumnal Equinox, the length of day and night is nearly, but not exactly, equal, according to TimeandDate.com.
 
The Autumnal Equinox is also known as:Alban Elfed, Autumn Equinox, Fall Equinox, Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, and the first day of autumn.

So there you have it - today is the first day of autumn and for those of us living in Northern parts of the United States. We have already started getting a chill in the air in the evenings, it is becoming dark earlier each evening and the leaves are changing colors and falling from the trees.
For those readers who live in the warmer climates you should try to visit the Northern states because the foliage is beautiful and it is the best time of the year here.
 
Go on out there and hug a tree today – I dare you!
peacesojourner
 

Friday, September 21, 2012

International Peace Day - 2012






In 1981 the United Nations General Assembly declared, in a resolution sponsored by Costa Rica, the third Tuesday of September (the opening day of regular sessions of the General Assembly) as the International Day of Peace devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace.

In 2001 a new resolution was passed by the General Assembly, sponsored by the United Kingdom (giving credit to Peace One Day) and Costa Rica (the sponsors of the original day) to give the Day of Peace a fixed date and declare it as a global ceasefire day.

Today is set aside as the International Day of Peace which occurs annually on September 21. It is dedicated to peace, or specifically the absence of war, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone. It is observed by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples.

To inaugurate the day, the "Peace Bell" is rung at UN Headquarters. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents. It was given as a gift by the Diet of Japan, and is referred to as "a reminder of the human cost of war." The inscription on its side reads: "Long live absolute world peace."

Each year individuals and organizations from 175 nations gather to promote peace in their communities and the world. At this very moment, UN peacekeepers around the world are risking their lives in the name of peace.

I send grateful thanks to a good friend of mine, Elvis Chinchilla Hernández , from El Salvador, who spent 18 months in Liberia as a peacekeeper.

These men and women in blue helmets – more than 100,000 in total, making them the second largest deployed military in the world – can be found in 16 of the world's most dangerous conflict areas. They are stationed in such hot spots as Lebanon, Haiti and Sudan, and are fighting to preserve and ensure peace.

Sometimes that means disrupting drug trafficking and maintaining law and order. Sometimes it means disarming former combatants and disposing of mines. And sometimes it means organizing elections or helping countries develop legal frameworks to ensure continued justice. In any case, this work is critical to American national security interests, yet it often goes under appreciated in this country and elsewhere.

*****
September 21st is the date generally associated with the Autumnal Equinox – a time of great astronomical and spiritual significance for a great many people.

The United Nations General Assembly re-opens on or around this date every year. In this sense, it is a very symbolic time globally. The following statements are excerpts from
‘100 reasons to ban nuclear weapons’ :

because nuclear weapons threaten humankind. Let's get rid of them for good -
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

because as UN Secretary-General, I believe there would be no winners in a nuclear war
because nuclear weapons do not discriminate -
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

because it will make the world safer for our children and grandchildren -
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

because the resources it will free up could fight climate change -
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

because the resources it will free up could fight global food insecurity -
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

because the world will be more secure and stable without nuclear weapons.

because disarmament and non-proliferation are inextricably linked to development, human rights and peace.

because the resources it will free up could fight global poverty -
UN Secretary-

because we are serious about the future of humankind

because while nuclear weapons exist, accidents can happen

because 6.8 billion people are at risk

because any feud between countries could be a death warrant for the planet -
Michael Douglas, UN Messenger of Peace

because billions are spent on a tool of self-destruction while many die of hunger
(sent from Poland)

because killing people by any means is simply wrong; why on earth do we accept the idea of total destruction?
(sent from Canada)

because love, empathy, collaboration, understanding, generosity, unity, forgiveness, goodwill, kindness, caring, reason, and compassion are answers, not weapons of mass destruction
(sent from the USA)

because peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding -
Albert Einstein
because the future of our world depends on sustainable development for the preservation of lives and families, not building nuclear weapons
(sent from Nigeria)

go to the united nations website for more information about the efforts toward world peace.

International Peace Day - 2012

peacesojourner


Thursday, September 20, 2012

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Cars-part 2







Remember the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair
Keep Tires Properly Inflated - You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. If you don't know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find it listed on the door to the glove compartment or on the driver's-side door.
Put long-lasting, high-quality tires on your car. Caution: over inflating your tires (as some mileage fanatics suggest) will have a negative affect on your car’s handling. Check your wheel alignment periodically.

Fuel Cap - Around 17 percent of the cars on the road have gas caps that need attention, and the evaporation from the tanks of those autos accounts for 147 million gallons of wasted gas a year. If the gas cap on your car is damaged, loose or missing, take time to visit the auto parts store and fix it. Evaporation wastes gas and adds to air pollution.

Planning and Combining Errands - A painless way to reduce your driving (and the fuel consumption, pollution, and greenhouse gas generation that it entails) is to think about all the errands you need to take care of before you get behind the wheel and plan accordingly. Try to shop in one location you will find that one ride covering a half-dozen stops can cut out five additional trips. You'll not only save fuel, but also reduce wear and tear on your car.

Delivery Gas Savings - UPS squeezes every last drop of mileage from its fleet of 94,000 vehicles, saving 3 million gallons of gas a year. Some expert tips: Keep moving. “Left turns waste time and energy,” says a UPS spokesperson “you don’t want the engine idling at a green light while you wait for oncoming traffic to pass. When you do make a planned stop, turn off the engine.”
This idea takes a little time to get used to. I tried it and found it quite simple to vary my route slightly by taking only right turns. :-)

Commuting - If you can stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours, you'll spend less time sitting in traffic and consume less fuel. If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets the best gas mileage whenever possible.
Consider telecommuting (working from home) if your employer permits it. Many employers are now offering 4 day work weeks (10 hours per day) in an effort to cut down fuel consumption. Why not ask?
If possible, take advantage of carpools and ride-share programs. You can cut your weekly fuel costs in half if you take turns driving with other commuters. Many urban areas allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use special High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. Look at alternative transportation options—even if it's just for one or two days a week. Walk, bicycle, carpool or take public transportation and leave your vehicle at home. Public transportation could also save money by not paying for parking fees.
Think about how your fuel conservation efforts benefit the Earth and future generations


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Reflection - Some Thoughts on Friendship

This week I received the following message from a friend – I thought it worth sharing with you



ON FRIENDSHIP

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,

it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty,

to provide you with guidance and support.

To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part

or at an inconvenient time,

This person will say or do

something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire

fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered

and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because

your turn has come to share, grow or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME - relationships teach you lifetime lessons,

Things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional

Foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have

learned to use in all other relationships and

areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life,

Whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Peacesojourner



*****

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. Kahlil Gibran

Friends always show their love. What are brothers for if not to share troubles? - Proverbs 17:17

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10

“The only way to have a friend is to be one."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

photos by peacesojourner


Thursday, September 13, 2012

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Cars

Reduce,Reuse,Recycle & Repair

This photo shows a new electric car - most of us will not be able to purchase such a vehicle but there are a few things we can do to economize.

We may not have much influence about the rise in gas costs but we can do a few things to lower the amount that we purchase.

Check Prices - Before you actually buy gas, check on the lowest prices in your neighborhood. Go tohttp://autos.msn.com and look for gas prices. Type in your zip code and you might be surprised at the difference in prices at local stations.

Drive Sensibly - Aggressive driving, speeding, rapid acceleration and braking, wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money. Observe the speed limit.

Use Cruise Control - Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas. Cruise in the Slow Lane. Gas mileage drops considerably when you go over 60 mph. According to the Department of Energy, you pay about 20 cents more per gallon for each 5 mph you go over 60. Over time, that's a lot of extra fuel, and cash!

Remove Excess Weight - Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2% the equivalent of 8 cents per gallon. In other words, you can save up to $50 per year simply by cleaning out your trunk. If you have a removable roof rack and you are not using it, take it off to improve your fuel economy by as much as 5 percent.

Avoid Excessive Idling - Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines. Pausing somewhere? Shut down your engine: Idling for any length of time burns more gas than it takes to restart the car. Note: It only takes 30 seconds to warm up your car.

Keep Your Engine Properly Tuned - Tune up your car according to your owner’s-manual schedule (usually every 30,000 miles) and raise your car’s fuel efficiency anywhere from 4 to 40 percent. Use the right motor oil. If the oil is too thick, your engine will have to work harder—burning more fuel. If it’s too thin, you won’t get the needed protection. Stick with the type recommended by your owner’s manual for maximum fuel efficiency.

Check & Replace Air Filters Regularly - Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Your car's air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine.

Think about how your fuel conservation efforts benefit the Earth and future generations. Look for more on this topic in next week's blog posting.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11/2001

They Were Our Neighbors
 -

by Dawn Colclasure

They were our neighbors,


Someone to whom we'd just say "hi."


Never did we ever think


The next day they would die.


We never took one last long look


Or gave an extra smile.


The attacks on September 11


Taught us to go that extra mile.




We'll never be able to hug them again


But now we can hug others.


And say an extra "I love you"


To our children, friends and mothers.

We miss our neighbors every day


And wish they were not gone.


But we'll cherish those that are still here


While we will move on.


The local Red Cross in Buffalo put out 2,917
flags in memory of those who died.

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11 -

we will never forget.

photos by peacesojourner


Thursday, September 6, 2012

If It is Thursday it's Going Green - Humane Farm Animal Care


Battery Cages

Like all chickens raised for eggs, these hens have had large portions of their sensitive beaks cut off, and they will spend their entire lives in a filthy, cramped wire cage. Each hen has an area smaller than a sheet of notebook paper in which to stand and does not have enough space to spread even one wing. The cages are stacked on top of one another, so excrement from hens in higher cages often falls on those below. Ammonia and the stench of feces hang heavy in the air, and disease is rampant in these filthy, cramped conditions.

Humane Farm Animal Care

I was buying organic eggs until I recently viewed a video of the chickens on the farm where the eggs came from. It showed the chickens living in cramped cages with several being squeezed into a small space. Their beaks are ground down so low that they cannot even groom themselves. Their living situations are just deplorable. I learned that I should seek out free range eggs from chickens who are fed organically. I am happy to report that I was able to purchase them from the local farmer’s market.

It's sad fact, but more than 10 billion animals are raised for food in the United States every year and many of them are treated inhumanely.

Animals are frequently confined in spaces so small they can't stretch their limbs, flap their wings or turn around. These unnatural practices compromise their immune systems, so to keep them alive they are pumped full of antibiotics, damaging the quality and safety of our food and our medicines.

Grocers need to know that their customers won't stand for the inhumane practices at factory farms. And when grocers know, you, their customers demand Certified Humane® foods, they will in turn require their suppliers (the farmers and growers) meet those standards.

You can take a stand against factory farms by buying Certified Humane® products. The Certified Humane® label on a product means: the animals are fed a healthy diet without antibiotics or hormones, cages and crates are prohibited and the animals have ample space for them to stretch their limbs, flap their wings and move around.

Pledge to buy Certified Humane® products. If you cannot find them at your local grocery store ask your grocer to start selling Certified Humane® foods.

Better yet, consider not eating meat. Or at least try one or two meat free meals a week. Educate yourself about the foods that you purchase for your family. In Western New York the farmers have already started to bring their foods to the open markets and there is plenty to choose from.

Choose organic (no chemicals added). If you buy in a local store check the labels and try to purchase foods that were not transported from other countries or distant states. This will cut down on pollution in the environment caused by trucks driving thousands of miles to your area.


Buy local and read those labels



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Some Mindless Trivia


CAN WE BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT WE THINK WE SEE?



DO YOU SEE A FACE OR THE WORD 'LIAR'?




DO YOU SEE BLACK BLOCKS OR THE WORD 'LIFT'?





TWO FACES OR SEVERAL PEOPLE?




DO YOU SEE FOUR PEOPLE?




FOCUS ON THE DOT IN THE CENTRE AND MOVE YOUR
HEAD BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS - HOW CURIOUS IS THAT ?



Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 2012







September

How lovely the world is
In September
Warm air
Leaves just turning gold

Summer still lingering
Autumn coming nearer
It is a time of bittersweet endings
And bittersweet beginnings

It seems that every September
The world takes a deep breath
Shakes off the August heat
Prepares for a long winter

Knowing no one will feel this way again
Until next
September.

Nina Dringo



September


The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'Tis a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

Helen Hunt Jackson





Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon - August 2012


What is a Blue Moon?

August 2012 features two full moons. The full moon occurs once every 29.5 days. This
essentially means that there is one full moon every month, however, as we know,
every month but February has at least 30 days in it, which occasionally
presents the potential for two moons in a month.


There are two definitions for a blue moon. According to modern folklore a blue moon
is the second full moon in a calendar month. February is the only month that
can never have a blue moon.

The full moon that you will see this evening looks like an ordinary full moon, but it is actually a bit extraordinary – it is also a blue moon. This month we get two full moons in August. The first was on Aug.1 (Sturgeon Moon) and the second full moon falls on today, Aug. 31.
Barring clouds, tonight’s full moon should be easy to spot. The blue moon is not a serious subject, it’s not even really blue. Our calendar is a tool devised by humanity and it happens that two full moons fall within that given monthly space.

“Once in a blue moon”: This saying is in reference to the rarity of the blue moon. The famous 1934 love ballad “Blue Moon” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart was also likely inspired by this uncommon event.

Today offers the last chance to see a so-called "blue moon" for nearly three years. Stargazers won't be able to see two full moons in a single month again until July 2015.

Blue Moons come along once every 2.7 years on average, and sometimes much more frequently.
Blue Moon myths run wild – Today’s Blue Moon definition come from old editions of the Maine
Farmer’s Almanac. Ancient cultures around the world considered the second full moon to be spiritually significant.

The Blue Moon’s conjunction to Chiron will give us the opportunity to expose and heal any
psychological complexes. With this Blue Moon we are giving the opportunity to
let our body speak to us and tell us about the state of our mind.

Being passive and letting things slide around you is just as spiritually irresponsible as willfully
provoking fights. The message of this moon then is to be vigilant, be a watcher
over your own behavior and that of others.

So, heads up - enjoy this gift from Mother Nature tonight.

peacesojourner

Thursday, August 23, 2012

If It is Thursday it's Going Green - Take the Stairs


Remember the 4 R’s:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair

Some Things You Can Do To Make a Difference:

Power down: Many of the resources we use and the waste we create is in the energy we consume. Look for opportunities in your life to significantly reduce energy use.

Drive less, fly less, turn off lights, buy local seasonal food (food takes energy to grow, package, store and transport), use a clothesline instead of a dryer, vacation closer to home, buy used or borrow things before buying new, recycle.

All these things save energy and save you money.

Waste less: Per capita waste production in the United States just keeps growing. There are dozens of opportunities each day toreduce the waste in your home, school, workplace, church and community.

This takes developing new habits that soon become second nature. Use both sides of the paper, carry your own mugs and shopping bags, get printer cartridges refilled instead of replaced, compost food scraps, avoid bottled water and other over packaged products, upgrade computers rather than buying new ones, repair and mend rather than replace - the list is endless! The more we visibly engage in reuse over wasting, the more we cultivate a new cultural norm, or actually, reclaim an old one!

Unplug (the TV and Internet) and Plug In (the community). The average person in the United States watches T.V. over 4 hours a day. Four hours per day filled with messages about stuff we should buy. That is four hours a day that could be spent with family, friends and in our community.

Park your car and walk. Make exercise part of your daily routine, take the stairs not the elevator. Driving less and walking more is good for the climate, the planet, your health, and your wallet.

Talk to everyone about these issues:

Let people know the changes that you have made and the difference that they make to the environment. Talk to as many people who will listen - at school, at work. Tell your neighbors, and especially your family and friends. Talking about these issues raises awareness, builds community and can inspire others to action. Children talk it over with your parents.

Make Your Voice Heard.