Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Send a Net, Save A Life

When thinking about the Millennium Development Goals, it's easy for me to feel overwhelmed. Our global problems are so great, how can we ever make a difference? While doing some research on some of the United Nations' sites, I came across the concept of a Quick Win. A Quick Win is an action with a high potential of success that can be immediately implemented. I love the concept because it empowers individuals and helps us realize that we can make a difference in the world. With that in mind, I did a little research to find a Quick Win.

One of the Millennium Development goals is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Malaria is a very serious problem, it is a leading killer of children in Africa, accounting for 20 percent of all childhood deaths. Every 30 seconds a child in Africa dies from malaria. A simple bed net can prevent malaria transmission by 50 percent by stopping mosquitoes from biting during the night, when they are most active, and by killing mosquitoes who land on it. Just $10 can buy and deliver a bed net and protect a family for four years.

It is easy to make an online donation of a malaria net on Nothing But Nets . The site has much more information about malaria, how it is prevented, where your donations are used, and how you can help. Within a couple of minutes, you can donate a net and save a family! Of course, if you are inspired to do more, you can donate more nets or form a group to protect a whole village. There are also several other organizations with similar campaigns.

The Millennium Development Goals are achievable, and individuals can make a difference. We can take small actions which have real, measurable results. One action here can help in a very real way a family in Africa and protect the lives of children and families.

Millennium Development Goals

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mauch Chunk Lake Park

Today we hiked around beautiful Mauch Chunk Lake in Carbon County. The air had the crisp chill of early Autumn, but it was warm in the sunshine. The foliage was stunning, crimson and gold and orange. We walked the perimeter of the lake over rock strewn pathways and through forests of hemlock and rhododendron. Later we ate dinner in historic and unique Jim Thorpe.

Mauch Chunk Lake through crimson trees

The woods were yellow and gold and orange.

Looking across Mauch Chunk Lake

Carbon County has a refuge for injured birds. I am always saddened to see these magnificent birds in captivity, but it is so amazing to see them up close. We saw red tailed hawks, rough legged hawks, black vultures, turkey vultures, great horned owls, barred owls, and a bald eagle and a golden eagle.

This barred owl has his head turned completely around! We're looking at his back!

Our hiking group

Saturday, October 25, 2008

United Nations Millennium Development Goals

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals were developed out of the United Nations Millennium Declaration , a resolution adopted by the General Assembly on September 18, 2000. The General Assembly came together on that date to "establish a just and lasting peace all over the world" and to "uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level". They discussed the fundamental values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility.
Out of that initiative, eight Millennium Development Goals were developed. The eight goals are the following:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

Here on "Let It Shine", I would like to periodically post on what we can do on an individual level to help support these goals. I think the goals are a wonderful unifying point for collective action to create a more peaceful and just world. Sometimes I will just write a sentence or two, or point to a website, and sometimes I will try to focus more deeply on a goal. I would also love to have guest bloggers on these goals.

For my first posting I would like to point my readers to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals website. There is a wealth of information on the goals, how you can help, and even a detailed study of the state of these goals in 2008. The goals are broken down into targets for action, with detailed ideas on the steps that need to be taken on every level. They are achievable and practical only if we work together as a world community. Working together, we can "make it happen"!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Baha'i Community Celebrates the Birth of the Bab

Reproduced with permission of the Bahá'í International Community

Tonight the Baha'i Community is celebrating the Birth of the Bab. We had a wonderful community celebration with prayers, readings, music, games, and lots of fabulous food!

Lehigh Valley Baha'i Community

Saturday, October 18, 2008

In The Pink

Today I ran the Women's 5K Classic in the Lehigh Parkway. I saw lots of friends and co-workers!

The mission of the Women's 5K Classic is the following:
"1. To promote fitness among women and invite women to participate in running and walking to enhance their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
2. To support women with breast and female cancers and their families and to contribute to funding for related programs and research in the Lehigh Valley.
3. To educate women about cancer awareness, prevention and treatment."

It was a great event. The atmosphere was very optimistic and supportive. Our goal was to help each other be healthy and fit. Over 5000 women participated in this event, 1500 in the 5K alone!

Bringing it home.... A sea of pink

Anne and Shelly

Anne and Siddiqa. This was Siddiqa's first event. Go girl, go!!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Guard Ye My Trust

O Ye Rich Ones on Earth!The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.

Today is Blog Action Day for Poverty, when over 9,000 bloggers will be writing from their own area of interest on the topic of poverty.

When thinking about what to write today, I looked at the Baha'i International Community's statement "Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights". As mentioned in the quote above, the poor are the trust of all humanity, and it is our duty to guard them. The Baha'i Community addresses poverty from a human rights perspective, poverty reduction is not simply charity but a question of justice. Poverty is "a problem for all of humanity, not just for the poor".

Poverty is a symptom of broken economic and social relationships at all levels. The remedy to poverty lies in addressing destructive values and human attitudes and behaviors, primarily the promotion of "the advantage of the few at the expense of the many". The statement further goes on to discuss our relationships to each other: "each member of the human race comes into the world as trust of the whole, which includes the family, the community, the nation, and the world". We are all responsible for each other.

Women are disproportionately represented in the world's poor. The equality of men and women must drive all our poverty alleviation efforts. The participation of women in all levels, legal, political, economic, and academic is critical to our efforts.

Key to poverty alleviation is the right to education. Knowledge is the means to alleviate poverty and achieve human justice and dignity. A culture of learning must be a valued dimension of society.

The availability of meaningful work is also central to poverty alleviation. The status of work is not merely the means to consume goods, but it is "the means of developing one's craft, of refining one's character, achieving self-subsistence and being of service to others".

It is clear that this complex problem must be addressed on many levels, community, government, business, the family, the individual must all play a part. Nations must be assisted and held accountable for their treatment of the poor. On an individual level, we must be guided by a sense of responsibility towards other human beings.

When I studied this statement, it became clear to me that although poverty alleviation must be addressed on many levels, it is also an individual responsibility of mine. Yes, there are many occasions and opportunities when charity is necessary, but above and beyond that is the ultimate importance of raising up the dignity of the individual and the realization of human potential. Can I find a way to render assistance and support education? Can I contribute to the realization of the equality of women and men? Can I encourage the youth in my community? Can I be aware of an over-reliance on material goods at the expense of others? There are no simple solutions, and there is no one solution, but perhaps day by day, encouraging each other we can live our lives in such a way as to make some small difference in the world. Perhaps with all of these small differences, we may eventually transform our attitudes and values to such an extent that it will no longer be acceptable for us to allow members of our human family to live in poverty.

See what other bloggers are writing about poverty on Blog Action Day 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lehigh Parkway, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Today I went for a practice run in the Lehigh Parkway. The Parkway is one of Allentown's beautiful treasures. There is a lovely gravel path along a tree-lined stream perfect for runners, bikers, friends walking together and sharing conversation, and families enjoying each other's company.

Beautiful colors are beginning to show.

Maple trees changing from green to brilliant orange

I love the interplay between the green leaves and the brilliant Autumn colors. The transition of the seasons is so wonderful!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wolf Swamp, Deep Lake, and Big Pocono State Park

Today was a perfect day for a visit to the Pocono Mountains. Fall foliage is nearing its peak, and the day was warm and clear. Wolf Swamp and Deep Lake are glacier lakes nestled in the beautiful Pennsylvania forests. We were treated to views of brilliant vermilion, orange, and yellow foliage while we hiked to these picturesque lakes. Later in the day we also hiked Big Pocono State Park for beautiful vistas and views of Delaware Water Gap and Little Gap. After a long day hiking, we had homemade pasta at charming Sette Luna in Easton.

Brilliant orange maples against an azure sky

Vermilion trees amidst forests of birch and pine

Brilliant red and yellow

Beautiful canopy of Autumn foliage

Reflections of brilliant color in Wolf Swamp

Colorful shoreline

Panorama view of Wolf Swamp

Translucent maple leaves

Deep Lake through the pines

We stopped for lunch by the shore of Deep Lake and watched a Kingfisher fishing for his dinner.

Lily pads near the surface. We watched schools of minnows and a few salamanders in the shallows.

Panorama view of Deep Lake

We also hiked some of the trails at Big Boulder State Park and were treated to vistas of the colorful forests below.

Delaware Water Gap in the distance

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hawk Mountain, Kempton, Pennsylvania

Today was a beautiful day for a visit to Hawk Mountain. By early Fall, we are well into hawk migration season. We saw dozens of sharp-shinned hawks, several kestrel, several red-tailed hawks, a northern harrier, an osprey, an immature bald eagle, and a peregrine falcon. We also witnessed an aerial "boxing match" between a raven and a red-tailed hawk!

View from North Lookout

Look! In the sky!

Another view from North Lookout

Beautiful red-tailed hawk. She was full of energy today.

Unfolding her wings

Great horned owl

All captive birds are rescues and unable to fly.

Panorama view from North Lookout

Panorama view from South Lookout. River of rocks is visible in the distance (click to enlarge)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire Mount Hope Estate

Today we spent the day at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire at the Mount Hope Estate and Winery. The day started out chilly and a little drizzly, but by early afternoon we had clear skies and a crisp sunny Autumn day.

Elijah has a balloon sculpture made for him.

Making the balloon sculpture

Queen Elizabeth strikes a pose

The pirate ship sets sail

Goth statue

Preparing for the joust


The Queen presides over the human chessboard.

Fighting over a chess square

Elijah gets a lesson in the art of swordsmanship

Gypsy music

Gypsies dancing

Oh geez, be CAREFUL!

Breathing fire!

Juggling with fire (yes, that really is a plunger on his head)

Mount Hope Estate

Mount Hope

Beautiful Autumn decorations

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