Water and climate: Recognize anthropogenic drought

Since 2012, California has been experiencing its worst drought in more than a century. Temperatures are breaking records and the region is down a year’s worth of rainfall1. Forests, fish and wildlife as well as the regional economy are struggling.

California is known as the United States’s salad bowl because of its prolific fruit, vegetable and nut production. But fields have had to be left fallow, contributing to statewide losses of US$2.2 billion in 2014 (ref. 2). More than 12 million trees have died, with cascading impacts on amphibians, birds and mammals3. Streams and wetlands are drying up, including the American River hatcheries of steelhead and Chinook salmon. More than 17,000 jobs have been lost, mainly in poor rural communities.

Excerpt from AghaKouchak and others’ article in Nature- Read more.

Two paths to peace: the secular and the sacred


In late July, while John Kerry sat across a table in Paris from Mohammed Zarif, chief Iranian negotiator for the Iranian-US nuclear treaty, I and six other Americans from the Global Peace Initiative of Women sat across tables from some of the major religious figures in Iran. We were in Qom, the Vatican of Shia Islam.

One thing struck me: We were all working on behalf of peace, Kerry on one level, we on the another. He and his team were trying to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Our team — two Hindus, an Evangelical, a mainline Protestant, a Zen master, a Sufi and a Catholic nun — were hoping to find the common ground that makes having weapons of mass destruction unnecessary.

Excerpt from Joan Chittister’s article in National Catholic Reporter- Read more.

Shaping your wellbeing

girl ocean

Mindfulness can provide benefits for our daily lives, writes life coach Jan Aitken.

Mindfulness. What comes to mind when you read that word?

It’s a concept that has become very popular over the past few years, and practising mindfulness is showing many benefits for our daily lives. It’s a simple technique to learn, you don’t need any expensive equipment. In this column we’ll look at what we mean by ”mindfulness” and take a look at what being mindful can do for us. In the next column we’ll take a look at how we can be more mindful and how to practise it on a daily basis.

Excerpt from Jan Atkins’ article in the Otago Daily Times, New Zealand- Read more

Living Life in a Delicate Balance



It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

~Alfred Lord Tenneyson~

Carol and I recently made dinner plans with our dear friends Harvey and Sharon. When it came time for the dinner we found ourselves at a funeral home for our friends’ calling hours. They had been killed in a plane crash a week before. We hadn’t seen them for a while but always treasured our time with them and looked forward to their company.

The whole week between their deaths and the calling hours, I woke up at night with visions of the fiery plan crash, trying to imagine what it must have been like for them. Did they have time to reflect on their lives? Did they say they loved each other one last time? Did they hold hands for their last few seconds?

Most of the people I lost over the past few years knew they were approaching death and so did I. Fortunately I had time to reminisce with them and ultimately say goodbye. While our parting was sorrowful, I had time to be with them one last time and share a few moments of joy.

With Harvey and Sharon it was different. One moment they were part of our lives and the next moment they were gone. I have learned that people I cherish don’t need to be part of my daily life to be important to me. Just knowing they are on earth brightens my outlook and gives me a sense of belonging and being loved. They have become part of me and  the fabric of my life.

Losing people like them leaves me feeling that part of me has been ripped away. I am still the same person but something is missing. I mourn the part of me they took with them when they left the earth. As the reality of their loss starts to set in, I feel less sorry for myself in their loss. I remember all the great times we had, the joy they brought to my life and the ability to be fully myself in their company.

Yet tears still come to my eyes as I write this, knowing that I will never again delight with them over Harvey’s koi pond or Sharon’s feast table. I find it hard to savor their memory without feeling the sting of their loss. I have also discovered that the older I get, the more I rely on memories of those I have loved and who have loved me than on the experience of their company. It remains sad, but my memories of dear friends and relatives help me manage hard times and comfort me when I face difficult challenges.

Life Lab Lessons 

  • Set aside some time to bask in good memories of those you have lost.
  • Treasure what you have learned from them.
  • Recall what their best qualities were.
  • Try to show those qualities in your life.
  • Care for others as those who loved you cared for you.



Why We Need Isolation To Make Us Human Again

hands, sand, beach

Its 9 a.m. on a Monday, and I wake up with sun shining through an open window as a palm tree sways just outside. The smell of salt water, combined with the sounds of people milling about on the sidewalk below reminds me that I am not in Silicon Valley. Instead, I walk up to the window to see Waikiki Beach just a block away. In short order, I’m off to the beach.

Excerpt from Gil Laroya’s article in the Huffington Post- Read more.

Discovering what the term ‘Mindfulness’ is all about

girl ocean

Likely you’ve heard the term mindfulness being bandied about as if it’s the latest “fad”.
Thousands of studies from around the globe have shown mindfulness to be beneficial for everything from Anxiety to Alzheimer’s; for helping schoolchildren improve their concentration; prisoners with reducing aggression; partners with enhancing communication and empathy; workplaces for reducing burnout; leaders for developing greater responsiveness and creativity. A truly impressive list for something as simple as paying attention in the present moment!

Excerpt from Anie Chapman’s article in the Wanganui Chronicle- Read more.

Healthy Seniors Get More Out of Living Longer

footprints in sand

During the 20th century, life expectancy rose dramatically among the world’s wealthiest populations from around 50 to over 75 years. This increase can be attributed to a number of factors, including improvements in public health, nutrition and medicine. Vaccinations and antibiotics greatly reduced deaths in childhood.

Excerpt from Karen Wiggins article in the Daily Jeffersonian. Read More

When Bad Things Happen: How to Survive, Thrive and Never Look Back

When Bad Things Happen How to Survive, Thrive and Not Look Back

Knockbacks, knockdowns and knockouts are an unavoidable part of full living. The number of times I’ve wished they weren’t – so desperately at times that it’s hard to believe it’s not enough to make those bad things disappear. When bad things happen, it’s up to us – and only us – to decide what happens next. It’s cliché (oh I know how cliché this is, but stay with me) – but by changing the way we experience the bad, we can emerge from the chaos and thrive, strengthened by an experience that could have just as easily floored us.

Excerpt from Hey Sigmund– Read more

Le Roy author travels the world of teens

BATAVIA — Teens may very well live in a world all their own.

Retired psychologist, author and columnist Joseph Langen has found a way to at least visit them. He has written a book, “Make the Best of Your Teen Years.”

“I wanted to give them some things to think about,” he said at his Le Roy home. “They’re trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be.”

He actually started writing it several years ago and then stopped. He thought he was about finished with the project but left it alone for awhile. Then he asked some people to read it and they — adults and teens alike — said they wanted to see more of the stories. So he went back to work on it and ended up with 11 chapters and a story for each. There are also poems to set the tone.

Langen dedicated his book to his very subjects: a group of teens that shared their own struggles, concerns and experiences. Instead of writing what he thought kids deal with, Langen first issued questionnaires followed by in-depth interviews to be able to better understand their world.

After working with that age group for 35 years, he figured he had a good starting point. But there needed to be more. As a teen, one is no longer a child and not yet an adult, he said. There can be many topics those youth find troubling or, at the very least, puzzling.

So he dove into topics of one’s emotions, family, friends, physical, mental and sexual health, love, difficulties, spirituality and future. Areas within those topics include suicide, self-injury, substance abuse, bullying, death, homosexuality and pregnancy. Each chapter includes a story, loosely based, about a day in the life of a teen.

For example, Alice talks about her appearance while John discovers why a stranger makes him so angry. After the story, Langen makes a series of suggestions. To make better sense of your feelings, he suggests that the reader make a list of things he/she feels bad about and another list of everything he/she is good at doing.

“I wanted to help teens realize they’re not weird,” he said. “The virtual world has taken over. It has really taken away the human part of interaction. It is OK to talk with other people. Don’t limit yourselves to texting. They know what you’re saying but not how you’re feeling.”

He thinks it might be a good idea that parents read some of the book as well. He wasn’t certain if troubled teens would be as inclined to just read this book themselves. It may be a nice gift from a parent, teacher or counselor. It’s also a helpful aid for peers to be able to understand one another, he said.

“The stories are not about any one person; they’re to give you an idea of what it’s like for kids,” he said. “I think it can be a bridge for talking about difficult things with your parents. Teenagers are sort of a mystery.”

Langen worked for more than three decades with children, teens, adults and seniors to help them to deal with assorted stress. He has written six books and his next project is to condense a previous book into 30 pages about stress for teens and adults.

Langen has a blog athttps://bestteenyears.wordpress.com/.

For more information about his book, go toAmazon.com. The book is available in either paperback or ebook formats.

Article by Joanne Beck, The Daily News, Batavia NY

Finding Life in Death

I normally blog about books, the media, marketing, and things like literacy or the First Amendment, but today we’re going to talk about life.  I got the reminder that life’s too short, too precious to waste.  A guy I knew from high school just lost his wife to cancer.  She was only 46 and was diagnosed with a rare disease just seven weeks ago.  You can never predict something like that is going to happen.  But we know it can – and does.