Saturday, April 30, 2011

Let's Talk About Mothers

A woman dies every 90 seconds from complications of pregnancy and 90 percent of these deaths are preventable. Christy Turlington Burns has her directorial debut in this documentary entitled "No Woman, No Cry" which will be screened on the OWN network on:

Saturday, May 7:
9:30pm Eastern & West Coast / 8:30pm Central
12:30am Eastern & West Coast / 11:30pm Central

Sunday May 8:
1pm Eastern & West Coast / 12n Central

This film shares the powerful stories of at-risk pregnant women in four parts of the world, including a remote Maasai tribe in Tanzania, a slum of Bangladesh, a post-abortion care ward in Guatemala, and a prenatal clinic in the United States. Christy Tulington Burns became interested in this cause over seven years ago when she herself experienced birth complications that would have put her own life at risk had she not had access to proper healthcare.

Trailer for "No Woman, No Cry"

To find out more information on how you can help in this important cause check out Every Mother Counts

About Christy Tulington Burns:
Christy Turlington Burns is the founder of Every Mother Counts and producer and director of No Woman, No Cry, a documentary film about at-risk pregnant women in four countries around the world. 
I believe that each of us is born with unlimited and untapped potential to
give of ourselves.
I also believe that one’s sense of service can be innate and instilled. Of course, this potential must be ignited before it can be realized. When I look inward asking what ignited mine, the answer that always surfaces is my Mother.

My mom was born in El Salvador and came to the US when she was eight years old. Not only did she quickly learn the English language, she also climbed to the top of her class, became a spelling bee champion and a cheerleader – all within just a few years. For as long as I can recall, my mom volunteered her time to a variety of causes. She brought gifts to the Children’s Hospital during the holidays, fed the homeless and for a period of time in the 1980s, volunteered for an HIV/AIDS hotline in the Bay Area (where we grew up).
I followed in her footsteps when I decided to continue with my education – from the completion of high school following a period of teenage rebelliousness after my modeling career took off and again when I decided to continue my education at NYU at the age of 25. While under different circumstances, my mom also went back to school later in life after having children. In 2005, when I started to advocate on behalf of the humanitarian aid organization CARE, my mom joined me on that first trip to El Salvador. It was there, while I was 6 months pregnant with my second child, that I decided maternal health would be the focus of my advocacy work. (Not surprisingly, my mom was and is a long time supporter of CARE).
By that time, I had been involved in several different causes: several efforts to rebuild post war El Salvador, I volunteered as a counselor at a summer camp for children fighting cancer and their siblings, and I advocated smoking prevention and cessation (after quitting myself and then losing my dad to lung cancer). Each experience brought me closer to fulfillment but led me to create my own authentic path of service.
After delivering my first child in 2003, I began to hemorrhage. I was lucky I had access to emergency obstetric care, while hundreds of thousands of women do not and die each year in pregnancy and childbirth. When I returned to El Salvador with CARE in 2005 I visited with other pregnant women in a rural community and imagined what might have happened to me had I suffered a complication as I had with my first. No electricity, no running water, no paved roads. It would have been a miracle if I survived.
Since then I have committed myself to action and am doing all that I can to increase awareness of and support for improved maternal and child health.
Service is as much a practice as anything. The more you do, the more you want to do and the more purposeful in your intentions you will become.
So, thank you, Mom.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nuclear Power Plants in the United States - Status

Note: Some of the power plants shown have been shut down. In the Northwest, only one of the three plants shown is still operating, the one at Hanford.

There are 104 nuclear power plants currently in operation in the United States. For a link to the U.S. government NRC  Click Here

In addition there are 23 new nuclear plant locations planned in the United States. Of this total;  2 have been suspended, 2 suspended indefinitely, 1 delayed, 2 temporarily suspended, leaving 16 in progress with opposition.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a website Project No Project  I put together a summary table from that source. But if you go to the Project No Project link you can find out the current status by state of new nuclear power plants.

If you live in a state that operates a nuclear power plant you should make it your responsibility to see that these plants that are in operation are being checked and are meeting the safety guidelines that have been established. Don't assume that your government is taking care of this for you. They are not!

There was a time when I believed that nuclear power was a viable energy resource, I no longer believe that, the long-term risks that come with nuclear power grossly out-weigh the advantages. Nuclear waste, used (spent) fuel needs to be stored and transported safely. The more nuclear power plants the more spent fuel there will be to be stored.

Current nuclear plants are old, no new plants have been built in the United States since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. Long before the recent incident in Japan there have been discussions of the pros and cons of nuclear energy. Again, it is your responsibility to read the arguments and decide if it is a good thing or not. Don't sit back and think that the government is just thinking of YOUR safety when these decisions are made. Energy is BIG business, powered by BIG money and when BIG money gets to Washington it speaks with a  BIG force to Congress.

If you agree that nuclear energy is not the way to go then work to see that new plants in your area are not built, check to see that plants currently in operation are meeting safety standards and work to get current plants shut down as soon as possible.

If you think nuclear energy is the way of the future then it is your responsibility to see that all safety standards are met. When accidents happened radiation isn't choosey and  exposure is never a good thing. It is not good for humans, not good for plants, not good for animals. Do your homework and read the facts. You owe it to yourself, your family, your community and planet Earth!

For more information read Scientific American's article Safety Concerns Often Amount to Status Quo at U.S. Nuclear Industry's Aging Reactors