Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Purl. Tink. Fushia. 5.00 mm.

Several years ago while living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, I took up knitting with my roommate. We would drink sangria, smoke Newport Lights, and knit while trying to share the space in front of the one window air con unit we had in our third floor apartment. I wasn't very good and gave it up after almost setting my project (and the apartment) on fire with my Newpy.

Yet, I'm giving it another go. Luckily, I thought this might happen and brought my gear with me to Amsterdam, just in case. You never know when you're going to want to start a new craft. This time around, I am not mixing it with sangria and Newport Lights - I'm so adult like these days!

If you too are thinking of taking up this old lady hobby, use this youtube lesson to help get you started. I really like they there is no talking, just video footage with house music dropped over it. To save time, keep your cursor over the mark :30, you will watch it more than once.

This is as far as I have gotten.

In the last several months several state legislatures have passed bans on BPA (bisphenol-A) and this week we saw one more, Washington. If the governors in Washington, Maryland, and Massachutes sign these bills, coupled with Connecticut and Minnesota, it will make five states limiting BPA. It almost looks like all this happened quickly, but many people have been working for years to help make this happen.

Action likes this is much more complicated than it seems. It is often comprised of public hearings, letters to the editors, public pressure on corporations to show leadership, impacted communities speaking out, industry 'experts' flying in to speak to politicians, rallies, health and environmental reports, product studies,  and of course one on one conversations we all have with our families, friends, and co-workers about the issue. Behind all of these activities are people dedicating their time and energy in putting on events, writing articles, and thinking up ways to get the message out over all that noise we are surrounded with everyday.

I realized recently that I traveled 21 countries in the past 10 years. In many of these countries I volunteered for some community organization while in the area. It just helps me to understand where I am and what I am really seeing and experiencing while in the country. Also, I can't sit still and I need to do something with my time besides drink beer and visit museums and volunteering allows me to meet people and learn things you can't at a bar.

But I also spent a good amount volunteering in towns where I live too. I've sang songs with 6 year olds in Washington DC, organized an event with student groups and 8th graders in a park on my college campus,  edited a report in Budapest, taught a Burmese boy how to take pictures on my ditigal camera in Thailand, and made phone call after phone call to try to elect the next mayor of Orlando, Fl.
Eliminating toxic chemicals from our homes, bodies, and planet doesn't just happen. It takes a whole bunch of people showing up everyday trying their best. Here is a list of organizations that need your help, money is good, but so are time and skills. 

Speaking of time . . . my time in Amsterdam is winding down. Only four more weeks, so I'm taking advantage of having a part time job and trying out new places. I'm hanging out in the main Amsterdam library today and it is pretty amazing. Here are some photos:

And there is a bar on the first floor. I love this place!

Renee Claire

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