September 10, 2021
“This isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.”
-My 12 yo complimenting dinner
--Dadman Walking, @dadmann_walking
weekly survival tip
Packing school lunches for kids that are enticing, delicious and nutritious can be tricky. Yeah, we get stuck in the PB&J rut, too. But these tips on brain-boosting foods could be the inspiration you need. Walnuts and blueberries? Salmon on sprouted grain bread? Almond butter and berries? Yes please!
Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Among the nearly 3,000 people who were killed on that tragic, transformative day, were many parents – some whose children were so young they would grow up barely remembering the mothers and fathers they lost. To commemorate this momentous anniversary, NPR visited with some of these children, now young adults, to share their stories. Although their memories are laced with heartache and sorrow, these young people prove the power of resilience. No doubt their late parents would be immensely proud.
For more content to mark the 20 years that have passed since the attacks, you may be interested in some of the recent documentaries created that explore the events and their impact from different perspectives. This list from Entertainment Weekly gives a run-down of 17 films across various channels with a brief synopsis of each. From eyewitness accounts to a Spike Lee feature to a film that digs deep in the 12 hours immediately after the attacks, there’s plenty of variety to pique your interest. And, finally, you may also want to check out this essay about how our collective and personal memories of that momentous day evolve over time; how remembering is an act, how it can be political, how it shapes culture, and how it plays out for people differently at different times. It’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece.
On a different topic, but still on the theme of children and their parents gone too soon, here’s a lovely essay about one young woman’s trip on a gay cruise with her dad in February 1991 as he was dying of AIDS. The stigma then around homosexuality and HIV – in the early years of the AIDS epidemic – was intense. Her father’s dentist wouldn’t see him after his diagnosis. Her grandparents wouldn’t allow him to bring a gay friend to Thanksgiving dinner. “I didn’t know any other kids with families like mine,” she writes. “The truth would, I imagined, bring with it the demise of whatever social life I had. So I hid. I lied. I deflected. I covered up.” But on the cruise, “among the gays I could relax.” The lone woman passenger (she thinks), she became friends with two young staffers on the boat, enjoyed the attention of other cruisers who complimented her looks and relished the scene of men taking to the dance floor with a joy and abandon they couldn’t always express. “The dance floor was a space for celebration, for exaltation, for escape,” she writes. “The men filling it were free to be themselves, free to flood their ailing bodies with endorphins, free to be together in a community that understood and adored one another. It was like a church where the d.j. was preacher, house beat was heartbeat, and God did not discriminate.” Read the whole thing. You’ll thank us.
One month ago, nearly every major media outlet included at least one news story about a UN report on climate change that the UN Secretary General António Guterres called “code red for humanity.” Yeah, it was not full of a lot of good news. The report, prepared by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned of ever increased global temperatures and both more extreme and more common devastating weather events like heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, flooding, hurricanes, etc. But, according to this piece from Yale Climate Connections, there was some good news, too. “Tucked into it are details illustrating that if – BIG IF – top-emitting countries respond to the IPCC’s alarm bells with aggressive efforts to curb carbon pollution, the worst climate outcomes remain avoidable,” the author writes. And he concludes with this hopeful tidbit: “there is no tipping point temperature at which it becomes “too late” to curb climate change and its damaging consequences.” Yes, any increase in temperatures will lead to worse weather and environmental outcomes. But, “limiting global warming to less than 2°C,” he writes, is still “a distinct possibility, depending on how successful countries are at following through with decarbonization plans over the coming three decades.” What stands in the way is politics. But maybe, just maybe, humanity will win out this time. We’re hopeful at least and that feels like a good place to start.
We know that food waste is an environmental problem. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, food is the single biggest category of material filling municipal landfills in this country. There it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is among the major contributors to climate change. And, as it turns out, these predominantly food-filled landfills are the “third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.1 percent of these emissions in 2017.” So, what’s to be done? How about composting? When we compost our food waste, all those nutrients in food go back to the soil, enriching it as they do, instead of adding to the pollution that’s warming the planet. But to compost properly, you’ll need a good composting bin. If you don’t know what kind to use, or what will work for your lifestyle, living arrangement and location, this guide proves especially handy.