Plus Letters To the Editor
This week’s cover story arrives just in time for the holiday season—when moods tend to swing and stress levels could become a bit elevated. But let’s focus on the good. A group of “positive psychologists” are applying some science around what may have once been considered pop-psychology. It appears that these days, psychologists and neurologists can factually prove why happiness is actually beneficial for our brains, our bodies, our health—and even the health of others around us in our lives.
In the meantime, it should make you happy that, with less than six weeks until the begining of the new year, there’s no reason (or time) to be bored or listless around Santa Cruz County. There’s too much to do, and too much to ponder during this reflective season.
Let me turn your attention briefly to what’s unfolding with Second Harvest Food Bank’s annual Holiday Food Drive this year. The organization’s goal this year is 3.5 million meals. There are a number of ways locals can help SHFB reach that goal. 1. Participate—as in, start your own food and fund drive. 2. Virtual Fund Drives are now very doable. 3. Challenge your close friends and colleagues, and family, to help support your own goal to raise funds for SHFB. 4. Spread the word: let participants know that $1 provides 4 meals for those in need. Learn more about all the details at thefoodbank.org.
In between all of that, there’s the rest of this week’s issue to enjoy. Those who opposed desal in Santa Cruz may be intrigued with our story this week on how the matter is sliding over again to the Soquel Creek Water District. What are your thoughts on desal? Keep the conversation going online. Also in News: GT’s Joel Hersch updates us on some good news for the Santa Cruz Warriors. And be sure to dive into our Santa Cruz Warriors blog online, too.
Enjoy the rest of this week’s issue. More next time ...
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
‘Saving Paradise’ and Beyond
GT’s recent cover story, “Saving Paradise” (10/31), reflected grave environmental issues. Through my peregrinations to South Pacific island nations, I realize the potential of our climate crisis, have seen depleted fisheries and witnessed the endless plastic/Styrofoam washed ashore on otherwise Shangri-La-like coasts throughout the Pacific Rim. After reading Elizabeth Limbach's sterling exposé, I was both angered and motivated to make increasingly drastic lifestyle changes. Our collective human over-consumption behavior is responsible for the abhorrent condition of our plant, animal, air, soil and water resources as well as our surly weather (Typhoon Haiyan). A cleaner, healthier Earth begins with more minimal, more disciplined consumption habits. Yes, you will be inconvienced. Most of us dislike change.
Ask yourself: Do I need to buy: nail polish, mouthwash, conditioner, shiny new wheel covers, nutritionally-vacant GMO foods, a GPS-app, an android, yet another pair of shoes, a new car and/or more decorative clutter for my home to make me feel better? Can I possibly learn to take public transportation, driving my car once or twice a week? Can you ride a bike more often to work, to shopping, to the doctor, to the gym, to the beach? Perhaps you can live as the islanders on Ulithi have begun to do, communicate and collaborate more with neighbors. Ask your neighbors if there is anything they need at the store. Exchange ideas about ridesharing, growing a community garden or gather to play games.
In case you haven't heard, our Planet Earth isn't Eden anymore. What can you do about it?
Hary Harrold | Soquel
On ‘Mountains Were Here’...
Coming from a West Virginia local, living in Santa Cruz, I applaud these lovely women—Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle—and everyone involved in bringing awareness to the issue of mountaintop removal. It does not only affect those in West Virginia, but all of us. If it can be done there, it will be done everywhere, eventually.
I also spend so much time convincing Californians that West Virginia is more than just “Coal Country” and the stereotypes associated with it. It is a beautiful place rich with culture and friendly neighbors.
On ‘A Tarplant Tale’...
Working together, we can help the city manage greenbelts for responsible recreation, providing for plant and wildlife conservation. Here's what you can do: support city council members with commitment to wildlife conservation and demand the city proceeds fairly, in compliance with laws, with projects like the Arana bike roads. Do your part: volunteer with Friends of Arana Gulch, the California Native Plant Society, or Friends of Pogonip. Help protect nature—before it’s too late.
Thank you for this article. The thought of bridges and asphalt traversing Arana Gulch's amazing open space saddens me. While the construction will
mangle the tarplant habitat, it will also negatively impact the survival of the hawks and owls and sparrows. Our children will never be able to touch the earth of the primitive pathways through the meadow and under the ancient oak trees. Casualties of progress?
SURFING THROUGH This shot at Lighthouse Point/Steamer Lane captures a lone surfer preparing to take the plunge into the surf around sunset. photo//Robert Morneau.
MAH Hands Out Awards
The Museum of Art & History’s History Forum has announced the winners of the 2013 Historian of the Year Award and Lifetime Achievement Award. Norman and Kathy Poitevin nabbed the Historian of the Year Award—their recent event found them dressing up in historically accurate attire as testament to the living history of Santa Cruz. The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Carolyn Swift for her noteworthy work assuring the inclusion of women in local history. Her writing, speaking and exhibits are just a part of her lifelong advocacy to ensure women’s place in history. Congratulations.
O’Neill Sea Odyssey Pays It Forward
Mark Saturday, Dec. 6 on your calendars. From 2-4 p.m., the O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) education center hopes to generate change with its second annual Holiday Lighthouse Ceremony and Celebration (upstairs at 2222 East Cliff Drive). Proceeds from the event will benefit OSO, which engages fourth-, fifth- and sixth- grade youth with a hands-on science education field trip aboard a 65-foot catamaran as well as classes in a shore-side education center. The benefit costs $30 per person and is payable at the door.
“Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable.”
—Clare Boothe Luce
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