Conforming to the norm

Today’s post is about something serious- philosophical, maybe. Inspired by the article from the Lancet, it talks about bringing about change. How apt- how coincidental. All my life has been about bringing change and at last someone is writing about it.

When family tells you, what you say is true but one person cannot bring about change,

When society tells you how futile it is to be different,

And how much more easy life is if only one would agree to fall within the normal curve for behavior or thoughts or actions,

Why, oh why, must you be different or be that agent of change when so many others, more powerful than you have thought, acted, fought and given up?

When an academic article is published, it follows a certain structure, and mostly only those studies that have positive results see the light of the day- the ones that show no effect or a negative effect are often thrown into the trash can or the dustbin as we say. Having a structure is good but having a non-structure is also good for it eased the monotony of a scientific article and brings interest into journal reading.

And who says, all reading has to come from articles or journals or research publications? Why not from our good old books? I was so happy to read this, being the book lover that I am- the paper book kind and not the Kindle kind. In science they say, for an item to enter a book it would take at least 10 years, meaning a book is at least 10 years behind scientific discoveries or publications.

Environmental injustice, I read, is the stories of women who have wanted change- who noticed things happening to their children, when rubbish was dumped near where they lived, who demanded clean water, food, safety for their families. It is about people who wanted change and who wanted freedom from injustices.

I come from a Christian college of South India- where Christianity is practiced in name and by and large. But if you would like to see Christianity practiced in the day to day observances of student or staff life, you would be hard pressed to see even a small something that would rekindle your faith in this religion or way of life. When new students are admitted to the college, the senior students take it upon them to “welcome” the newcomers into their fold by the very old tradition of “ragging”. Ragging they say is a way to break the newbies into the medical world which is tough and not for the faint of heart. But what goes on in the name of ragging is far, far away from Christian principles. And for those who dare to be different or who choose not to “rag”, the result is “ostracism”. Speaking out against atrocities committed in Christian colleges against Christian and non-Christian students is a struggle for any student who chooses to do so. Yet, my belief is they must persist, they must speak up, they must talk and somewhere, sometime someone will listen and help them change things.

Thank you for this great reference article, sent out by my professor to our class.

Recycling, Reusing & Reducing( not yet)

Part of my student curriculum is to do a project and my project is on Environmental Justice or I should say- environmental injustice. The story of how I got to this project is uninteresting but it all seems pre- planned. I knew I had to do a project for the Fall Semester and I didn’t know how to go about getting a project. And while I was at home during my 2-week vacation, I got an email asking us students to apply to Climate Change projects if we wished, and I did( not knowing any better) and got it.

Now I know better- about environmental justice I mean. I knew nothing when I started- either that or I am a slow learner or have not been keeping abreast of climate issues while at home- which is totally plausible. A research administrator does not often think of the environment.

A recycled student

Everyone here at the University is up in arms about every climate and environment issue. The bug has bitten me too now. During my team meetings, I used to show up as a dud, knowing nothing but now I do know something. I know about environmental injustice being closely connected to race issues and human rights issues and the protests that took place in North Carolina that spearheaded the current movement.?? And the CalEnvirscreening tool and the Washington State Environmental Justice Screening tool and so much more. I am still learning so I probably have not understood things exactly as they are.

Every time there is an event here, they serve food and graduate students turn up there in droves. And priority is given to those students who bring their own utensils and cutlery- they are served first. The first of these meetings I attended, I got to the food table last- after most of the tasty morsels had disappeared. Graduate students do get hungry and where there is free food, there they are. It is funny to see students with their plastic containers collecting food and eating from them- it is a good move I think and one which everyone should emulate. I haven’t still gotten to carry around my own lunch box but eventually I will- I feel embarrassed to tell the truth. That’s why the title of my post says- reducing( not yet).

The Medical Library where I sit for a long time every day, has a campaign going on about how old timers in the US were pioneers- not just in clearing lands and establishing themselves but also in recycling. There are posters from olden times here that show how Iowans ( did I get that right)- were adept at recycling. Here are a few pictures from those days, that I photographed.

Love the messages and the couple in these pictures. This post is dedicated to my friend – The Chicken Grandma– who has inspired me to write this post- Faye, this post is for you.