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May 15, 2021

#sh*tkidssay

"Mom, if you keep telling me what to do, I won't be able to follow my destiny."
—Gianna, age 6
submitted by @shepensblog
Little Quotes by Little Folks @littlequotesbook

weekly survival tip

Have you been missing hugs this last year and change? Same! Same. Well, lucky for us, experts say fully-vaccinated people can resume cuddles with abandon. So, have at it!

trail talk

We know, we know, more covid articles?? Uuuuugggghhhh… But, just go with us here for a second because a) we’re not out of this thing yet so there is still news to share and and, b) the stories here are meant to be more comforting than anything else. So, to dive in, let’s start with the fact that children, ages 12 -15, can now get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19. According to this piece from Buzzfeed News, that’s almost 17 million school-aged kids. Incredibly, the shots are apparently 100 percent effective at preventing covid in these younger teens two weeks after the full course of two shots. Woop woop!

Next, we turn to this article from Vox about why, once you’re fully vaxxed against Covid-19, you really and truly can relax a little bit. Yes, seems nearly unthinkable after more than a year of wearing masks, maybe two, and assiduously avoiding large groups and indoor events. And while you may continue to wear masks in certain settings (albeit perhaps just one now) and you may not be quite ready to attend a 300-person indoor spectacular, you can safely let your guard down in many other ways, experts say. Read on for more.

Still, maybe you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “I’m just not ready!” Well, we get that too. Here’s another offering from Vox that might help. This time it’s last Monday’s episode of their podcast “Today, Explained,” which is all about the anxiety that looms for many, even after getting vaccinated against Covid-19. It’s hard to toss all that aside – whether it’s just nerves about how to interact normally with other people again, lingering health concerns or whether or not we’ll be judged negatively for hitting the bars again. Understandable. Have a listen. We hope it makes you feel a little better, or at least, a little less alone in your ongoing worries.

Now, what about herd immunity and that being our golden ticket to finally ending this awful pandemic? Increasingly we’re hearing, and reading, that we may never get there, as this story from Mother Jones magazine and this Washington Post opinion piece argues. But, both articles say, that may also actually be OK. “Ultimately,” the author of the Post story, who is the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, writes “we will find ourselves in a situation in which the virus is never gone but some communities are affected more than others. Modest public health measures such as wearing masks during large indoor gatherings such as sporting events and concerts, better ventilation in indoor spaces, and testing in high-risk situations become the norm. We may not have herd immunity, but life will settle into a new normal.” It may not be what we’d hoped for, but we’ll absolutely take new normal over this last 15 months of super not normal.

trail magic

In this week’s edition of good environmental news, we bring you stories from Pennsylvania, Virginia and, perhaps most surprisingly, Louisiana. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced a clean energy initiative that aims to produce almost half of the state government’s electricity from seven new solar energy arrays to be built around the state. It is the largest commitment to solar energy by any government body in the United States so far. In late March, his counterpart in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam, released an executive order that bans single-use plastics by state agencies. All must be eliminated by 2025 but disposable plastic bags and single-use foodware must no longer be in use by the end of July. Meanwhile, in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced this week that he would join the U.S. Climate Alliance as part of an effort to significantly reduce his state’s fossil fuel emissions. The moves comes on the heels of a late 2020 executive order focused on making Louisiana carbon-neutral by 2050. For a major oil and gas-producing state it’s a welcome, albeit surprising, turn of events.

trail mix

Usually we devote this section to ideas for getting outside with your little (or not so little) iksplorers. But with everyone’s time stretched thin – especially these days as so many parents simultaneously work, caretake, teach virtual school, cook, clean the house and more – we wanted to think through the best ways we can use that (often very) limited time with our children. Because, as it turns out, operating on autopilot and trying to do all the things all the time, even if you don’t love doing them, isn’t great for anyone. Not you, and not your children, either. So what’s a busy parent to do? Maybe start with this guide from the Harvard Business Review, which lays out a methodical way to help you determine how to get the most bang for your parenting buck. Basically the idea is to line up what your children value most from you with what you are most passionate about doing with them and laser focus your time and energy there. Maybe that’s prioritizing songs at bedtime. Maybe it’s a daily walk and catch up. Maybe it’s a bike ride or building a fort or cooking a meal together. But it’s probably not all of those things. And that’s just fine.

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