New York's Shadow Transit | The New Yorker
"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."
It's important to step back and look at the big picture, too. Intuit has spent millions of dollars lobbying the federal government to make sure that American taxpayers still have to file tax returns, even though for most people the IRS could simply pre-populate the form with the information they have and cut us a refund check or send us a bill. The state of California already does this for state income tax returns, and other countries do it. People would be welcome to do their own math and file a return, but they wouldn't have to.
Last night I got to watch The Health Care Movie in a marvelous way.
In a living room on a big screen TV. For free. With the filmmakers, Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg -- who now reside right here in Salem, Oregon. Here's the trailer.
After the showing I told Laurie and Terry that their movie about the American and Canadian health care systems was one of the best "cause" documentaries I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot. . . .
Let's make Oregon the first state to show that a single payer system for everybody can work in this country as well as it does in Canada.
A perfect stranger pours her heart out to me over the phone. She complains that her 6-year-old son is unable to sit still in the classroom. The school wants to test him for ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder). This sounds familiar, I think to myself. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I’ve noticed that this is a fairly common problem today.
The mother goes on to explain how her son comes home every day with a yellow smiley face. The rest of his class goes home with green smiley faces for good behavior. Every day this child is reminded that his behavior is unacceptable, simply because he can’t sit still for long periods of time.
The mother starts crying. “He is starting to say things like, ‘I hate myself’ and ‘I’m no good at anything.’” This young boy’s self-esteem is plummeting all because he needs to move more often.
Over the past decade, more and more children are being coded as having attention issues and possibly ADHD. A local elementary teacher tells me that at least eight of her twenty-two students have trouble paying attention on a good day. At the same time, children are expected to sit for longer periods of time. In fact, even kindergarteners are being asked to sit for thirty minutes during circle time at some schools.
The problem: children are constantly in an upright position these days. It is rare to find children rolling down hills, climbing trees, and spinning in circles just for fun. Merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters are a thing of the past. Recess times have shortened due to increasing educational demands, and children rarely play outdoors due to parental fears, liability issues, and the hectic schedules of modern-day society. Lets face it: Children are not nearly moving enough, and it is really starting to become a problem.
We quickly learned after further testing, that most of the children in the classroom had poor core strength and balance. In fact, we tested a few other classrooms and found that when compared to children from the early 1980s, only one out of twelve children had normal strength and balance. Only one! Oh my goodness, I thought to myself. These children need to move!
Ironically, many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today–due to restricted movement. In order to develop a strong balance system, children need to move their body in all directions, for hours at a time. Just like with exercising, they need to do this more than just once-a-week in order to reap the benefits. Therefore, having soccer practice once or twice a week is likely not enough movement for the child to develop a strong sensory system.
Children are going to class with bodies that are less prepared to learn than ever before. With sensory systems not quite working right, they are asked to sit and pay attention. Children naturally start fidgeting in order to get the movement their body so desperately needs and is not getting enough of to “turn their brain on.” What happens when the children start fidgeting? We ask them to sit still and pay attention; therefore, their brain goes back to “sleep.”
Fidgeting is a real problem. It is a strong indicator that children are not getting enough movement throughout the day. We need to fix the underlying issue. Recess times need to be extended and kids should be playing outside as soon as they get home from school. Twenty minutes of movement a day is not enough! They need hours of play outdoors in order to establish a healthy sensory system and to support higher-level attention and learning in the classroom.
In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.
Jan 19, 2008: LOVESalem reaches the web, bringing a vitally needed message to Oregon's capital city: We must Oregon-ize to put the needs of people before the needs of cars. This requires that we live our environmental values -- that we LOVE (Live Our Values Environmentally) Salem -- by working to stop the Sprawl Machine.
The Sprawl Machine is a ravenous beast that feeds on green space, close-in neighborhoods, and property taxes and that excretes monstrous, ugly road projects that pollute the air, increase mortality and morbidity, promote climate change, weaken families and neighborhoods, and help weaken the social fabric and civic participation.
The Sprawl Machine works by constantly luring its prey with promises that the problems created by cars can be addressed by doing more of the same -- building more lanes, more bridges, consuming ever more money. In other words, the Sprawl Machine promises that we can keep doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result this time.
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