Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Question for the Community: What are Today's Important But Solvable Problems?

Local Government Solar Initiative - Photo by Salt Water New England
One may suspect future generations will look back at us through a clearer lens than how we see ourselves today.  Time will, as it does, strip away the unreasonable fears, spikes of cultishness, and tittle-tattle, and we will be seen as a group of people with access to unparalleled amounts of opportunity.

Given that, it may be useful to think aloud about, what are some of today's important but solvable problems?    If technology, money, politics, and the time each of us has could be spent towards the betterment of the human condition, what are appropriate targets and goals?


47 comments:

  1. Well you asked.
    I pray for it every day. We need a reawakening in this county and a turn back toward God and the promotion of the nuclear family.

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    1. I don't think you're likely to get a better answer than this one.

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    2. I wholeheartedly concur! Start with that, and then move on to other issues. ARH

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    3. My favourite answer. A resounding Amen.

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  2. Healthy living via eating real food. People have forgotten or don't know how to cook. Even those on very limited incomes can eat healthy with a bit of work and know how. This is where I will focus my time and talent. Healthy eating makes a real difference on multiple levels- we would see a more positive outlook in people. Just reflect how you feel after a holiday binge versus how you feel when you eat the right food in reasonable quantities. This is completely doable.

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    1. Another good reply! I fully agree! I find it rather sad that so much of the food we have to choose from is mostly preservatives and additives. It can be challenging and costly to find the real stuff, and it should not be that way! ARH

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  3. Yes, agree with Anon "you asked!" Individuals taking responsibility for their own lives and becoming more self-sufficient...in line with the healthy eating mentioned above. Eating and living well can help alleviate so many ailments that many believe can only be cured with medications. Living well has nothing to do with your income but more about focusing on your faith, your family, yourself and your own well-being.

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  4. Oh, come on. Don’t you know the solution to all these problems? Bring back coal! Simple as that.

    Aiken

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    1. Coal never went anywhere and in fact, coal production is double what it was in 1960.

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    2. I'd believe that. I certainly hope mining technology has improved since 1960!

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  5. Is this really a question to be asked on this site? Seems to me that you're just asking for trouble when you ask a question like this, especially in today's hyper-charged political environment. Readers comments are more likely to divide fans of this site than to bring then together. This site brings people of all ages, backgrounds, and persuasions together to celebrate New England. Why jeopardize that?

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    1. We now see offshore drilling seriously being proposed nationwide. This will certainly affect New England, no? Are you ready to see oil rigs pumping away as you cross the Newport Bridge? I'm certainly not. How about seeing huge oil tankers ferrying across the harbor while enjoying a pizza in Portland's Flat Bread and looking out into the harbor? Can't imagine how much damage an oil spill may do to flora, fauna, and habitat along the New England shore.

      I'd say my wonderful New England is under jeopardy and vulnerable, bigly, by policies that support only greed. It that divides people, so be it. New England is worth a few divided feathers, don't you think?

      Aiken

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    2. Celebrating New England would certainly include recognizing that NE has, and always will be, a politically diverse and energetic region. NE history = hyper-charged politics (and law, learning, art--which are also forms of political expression). That's a good thing. Fear not.

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  6. It astonishes me that a question of this kind is asked on here. In the light of deeply divided societies in the USA and Germany (where I live) I only talk politics with less than a handful of very close friends nowadays.

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    1. I suspect that in Germany (where you now live) "in the light of deeply divided societies," there was a fair bit of this "tut-tut, politics is too vulgar to be discussed except among friends" in the 1930s as well. Genteel silence in times of turmoil is like the world's filthiest bandage on the world's most open wound.

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    2. Your answer proves that I made the right decision. Thank you for that.

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    3. You're welcome. And thank you for your right decision. You making that decision was right for the rest of us as well.

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    4. We can't spend all our time talking about Range Rovers , fresh vegies and quality clothes . There's a whole other world of things happening beyond our enjoyment with SWNE .
      There is nothing wrong with rattling the door from time to time . Let's talk Brexit : I personally don't think the UK owes the EU anything . If Putin rolled over Germany tomorrow and the British did nothing , you can bet the French would just sit on their hands and look to the USA to save their butts . There ya go , I've upset a whole lot of readers already ! PS . Thanks for all the photos of your mother Muffy , she was a classy dresser :-) I can see where your DNA has come from .

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    5. The true extent of Brexit won't be seen until it actually happens. At the moment the UK is pretty divided, not that it's just suddenly happened overnight, it's been dividing for the last 30/40 years. The remain side has warned of disaster, the leave side has promised a land of milk and honey. If Brexit does turn out to be a shambles, and at the moment it's looking that way, there's one thing for certain... Both leave and remain sides will be thoroughly unhappy and there will be civil unrest, the likes of which will make the 1990 poll tax riots look like a bit of pushing and shoving in a school playground. The pitchforks are being sharpened, come 2019 we may see heads on sticks.

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    6. Agree 100%. It used to be in New England that there were two topics you didn't discuss in public: religion and politics. Now everything is politicized. What a shame.

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  7. The eradication of rampant consumerism through the imposition of highly punitive consumption taxes:

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
    -Pogo

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    1. I'll second that. What is it with this desire to waste resources making junk for us to buy, even though we don't need it? Whenever I go to a discount store for cooking items, I'm horrified by all the plastic Chinese tat filling the majority of the shelves. I mean, who really needs a 2 foot tall flashing plastic Santa at Christmas?!

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    2. Katahdin, I admire your answer, but I ask for advice as to how to resist the bargain consumerism I am faced with every day. Readers, I welcome you to weigh in on this very important issue.

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    3. This is one that goes around in circles unfortunately . In Britain we had such a tax system from the end of the War until 1971 . 30-50% taxes on many items , made buying anything for the average person somewhat impossible and life was not fun . With lower rate GST the consumption soon increases , but the buyer is always looking for the item cheaper . This is were it all falls apart , with factories being moved to low wage countries . Now we lose our employment , so low prices don't matter because the unemployed/poorly paid can't make ends meet . We've seen factories move from the UK to Portugal , then Poland , then onto Vietnam ( footwear was my family's line ......... ). Where the cycle can break this routine is with China and it's inexhaustible population . How that one plays out , who knows .Big Oil money counties have already been sidelined . Who'd have thought that 20 years ago .

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    4. Who is John Galt?

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    5. Wean yourself completely off of advertising--print, TV, catalogs, and use an adblocker online--for a couple of months and you'll be amazed how fast you find yourself shopping ONLY for consumable necessities. Without someone implanting the idea in your brain that you "want" or "need" or "must have" something that 15 minutes ago you never knew existed, well! Suddenly you have zero debt, a growing bank balance, less clutter and restlessness, and the great gift of Simplicity. In other words, step back to the world our grandparents lived in before the Idiot Box reprogrammed us all into Pavlov's dogs.

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  8. A return to strong families,faith and the value of hard work.

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  9. This superb article contains a few clues to the answer of your question: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/27/business/mind-meld-bill-gates-steven-pinker.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

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  10. We won't solve our problems unless we agree what the problems are. And likewise, we won't solve them if we confuse the problems with the solutions.

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  11. I guess I see reasons to be optimistic about the problems we face. The other day, you posted a question about how to furnish a first apartment in a SWME sort of way. Quite a lot of useful feedback was given and a lot of those suggestions also serve to prevent the environmental pollution we now face and which, we are told, is poisoning the air in our homes. For example, buying used furnishings helps in preventing more pressed particle board from being manufactured and, If that furniture happens to be antique, it emits no chemicals into the home environment-as it predates the use of modern resins and finishes. Those already in the habit of browsing thrift shops and estate sales, have seen good stainless steel, ceramic, and glass kitchenware available and again, the environment escapes the release of toxins inherent in the manufacture and use and eventual break-down of plastics. I'm optimistic about the rise of thrift shops in particular because they are often staffed by volunteers with profits heading right back into the community. Our local shops aid in bibles for missions, providing warm meals and home repair services for home bound elderly, and drug rehab. I see my friends washing and reusing plastic bags just as our grandmothers did and I scold myself for ever thinking it was too small an act to be meaningful.
    Sorry to be so windy, but If you spend much time on the internet, you're bound to have run across recipes for everything from home-made Miracle Gro to kitchen made laundry soap. There's a movement afoot by young American families and it bypasses American manufacturers that continue to put big plastic jugs on grocery shelves and food providers that don't feed our families properly. I am optimistic farmers, grocers, and manufacturers are already taking note.

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  12. Maybe one good place to start is the animal industry. Rip away all the opaque veils of secrecy erected by the industry and its immoral politicians and start treating “farm animals” less like they are concentration camp prisoners at Auschwitz and more like the living, breathing, feeling creatures that they are. Who knows where this might lead. Heck, we might even start treating each other more kindly and with more compassion. Look out!

    Aiken

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  13. I am glad to see so many thoughtful problems highlighted here. And it begins with us. We can solve these problems by getting involved in action in our communities. There are incredible pressures on the American family - wages, time-off from work, even time for oneself. E.g., If you have put in a full day’s work, do a load of laundry, oversee children’s homework, do housekeeping - would you not consider getting an affordable prepackaged dinner so you can get to bed by 11 and get up at 5? Open that prepackaged dinner with scissors you bought at the dollar store - it’s functional and the money you save can go into the family budget? My mother did all the above to raise us, and she wasn’t thinking organic or landfill or healthy - she was just doing the best she could. I dare say many are struggling with these same situations that are getting worse. I enjoy the beautiful contemporary and vintage photography on this site as much as anyone. It is brave and salutary to have such questions posed - thank you SWNE.

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  14. The end of excuse-making and a return to personal responsibility.

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  15. What the world needs now and for the future: Civility.

    Great new book---promotional blurb: two White House Social Secretaries, Lea Berman, who worked for George and Laura Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Barack Obama, offer an important fundamental message—everyone is important and everyone deserves to be treated well.

    https://www.amazon.com/Treating-People-Well-Extraordinary-Civility/dp/1501157981

    You, Muffy, and SWNE are leading lights of civility. Am grateful.

    N from VA

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    1. Lea's blog, www.americas-table.com, has good recipes and nice photos.

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  16. 1. Whole plant-based foods to prevent and cure all ills.
    2. A ban on all but absolutely necessary plastic usage.

    Oh, and a swift sharp return to old fashioned family values.

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    1. Plant-based diets may not cure all ills, but the science is clear: if you are concerned about diabetes (Type II, Adult Onset), heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and several common cancers, a plant-based diet is a much better cure than drugs.

      Aiken

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    2. Your genetics will tell you pretty clear what your upcoming health will be.

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  17. A return to the culture of cigarettes and martinis.

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    1. In Manhattan during the ‘70’s, some fellows with whom I had been at school decided to “prank” one the first online dating services by posting with the headline “Martinis & Marlborough Lights”. We managed to persuade one young lady to meet at Mortimer’s bar on the Upper East Side, or so we thought. When my chums and I entered the establishment we beheld not one girl but rather a half dozen Pine Manor friends who were also spoofing the service (and yes I realize today that one might infer an underlying unkindness from our stunt)

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  18. I would like to suggest more public transportation. I live in northern California where traffic is abysmal and public transportation skimpy at best.

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  19. Have you all lost your minds? The only great problem that is a plague on Western civilization is the wearing of brown shoes with blue suits. Have you seen this vulgarity on the streets of major cities? I should prefer that these men were arrested for stupidity and bad taste in the first degree. Oh, the humanity.

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    1. Hardly. The combination is de rigueur for a Boston Brahmin.

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  20. My suggestion is to value the young people in our communities. I have worked in the special education department of a public school for the last five years. Although the students I work with have learning disabilities, many of them have true grit and are very concerned with improving the future. Often, the children of our country are shown as an example of what is wrong with the United States and as a drain on resources. Investing and supporting the young people in our communities is a great legacy.

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