Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Want To Be Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Environmental Activist

In 1992 a very young Severn Cullis-Suzuki took the stage at Earth Summit in Brazil. She chastised a group of United Nations delegates and government representatives from around the world. She reminded them in no uncertain terms why they were there and what their responsibilities are.

"You are not really heads of corporations and elected officials," she said. "You are fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and someones child." She reminded them that in kindergarten children are taught by adults to share, clean up their messes, get along with others, and be kind. "Have you forgotten those lessons?" she admonished them.

War, poverty, global warming, selfish consumerism - she threw it all back in their laps and begged them to do more than clap for her and smile. "Make your words count. Do something so when I have children, they will have a future."

It was the most powerful speech I've ever heard and it all flew out of the mouth of a twelve year old girl. I was so impressed and moved I cried. Here is the link to a grainy YouTube post of that speech. I wish I had a better copy to pass on but it's her words that will move you, not the cinematography.
Sixteen years later, Severn is still working to change the world. She is sought after to speak to groups and corporations around the world. She graduated from Yale with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is a published author and was a member of a special UN advisory panel. She makes her voice heard. She rattles the cages of corporations like NIKE and calls them to task, as individuals and a group, to be responsible for their actions and responsible with our planet's resources.
She is what I want to be. What the videos on YouTube. Google her name and read her accomplishment, watch her other speeches and you will see why I want to be her. We should all be so aware and unwavering in our defense of our planet. We should all be so vocal.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stumbling Blocks

Dear Reader,

Since the creation of LifePrints in the spring of 2007, I've dedicated myself to posting on a regular basis. You may have noticed that since May I've slowed down. Some of that due to my schedule and the rest due to hardship in my family...that's about the time Casey, my brother, went into hospice care.

Since his death last month I've hardly written at all, except to write about him. I know you come to LifePrints for a daily dose of the positive, to maybe lift you out of your gloom.

My cherished reader and friend, it's my turn. I need somewhere to go and it's not to my own writings or my blog. I apologize.

Things will get better and LifePrints will go back to normal. It will again be a constant source of uplifting content. Just not today and maybe not tomorrow. So, faithful reader, grant me that time. It may be only a few more days. I have ideas in the works. They are on the tip of my tongue. It will come. I know. Just not today.

Please keep checking back for new content. If you came here today needing what I need - a little pick me up and some reassurance that the world is a safe and compassionate place. You can still find it. Search the archives. There are over 200 posts to prove that despair and fear are mostly wasted energy and there is hope for our planet and the people who live and love on it.

God Bless,


Monday, July 7, 2008

Casey Leonard - The Music Will Live On

I met Casey when he was sixteen at a party by the lake in Augusta, Georgia. He's just got his tongue pierced, in spite of what his parents might have wanted. He was full of himself and his dreams of the future. Back then he played the drums. This was before he discovered the magic he could make with electronic music. He didn't talk to me much that day. It must have been strange for him to meet his big sister for the first time. I understood. I felt awkward in my attempts to relate to this cocky teenager who happened to be my baby brother.

What we lacked in communication he made up for that day by befriending his nephew, my son. He took him down by the water and escorted him out to a boat where more of my new family waited. Casey took care of him as Uncle Leo tooled around the water, pulling various bouncing kids on an inner tube.

We watched each other while we ate corn cooked on the grill. I'd catch him eyeing me over the rim of his cup. I'd smile and so would he. He had the biggest, most captivating smile I'd ever seen. I was in love and wanted nothing more than to protect him and keep him safe forever. I imagined what it might have been like to have grown up with him in my home, a baby brother to care for when I was fourteen, a toddler to dress up like my own personal doll. He'd have hated it. I would have loved it.

We met at this late date because of circumstances out of our control - difficult choices that led our father and my mother to give me up for adoption at birth. Back then Casey was only a twinkle in my father's eye.

Last summer, at the age of 27, my brother was in an ATV accident. He suffered severe brain injury from striking a tree head on without a helmet- most people don't survive injuries of this sort. My brother was not average. He didn't believe in counting the odds and predictable outcomes. Anyone who knew him can attest to that. If he was told he couldn't then by God he'd find a way.

And find a way he did. He clung to life with the fierceness of a warrior. In the hospital his IPOD continually played in the background. His hands moving to the beat, as if he were spinning in his favorite club. I'll never forget stroking his hand and telling him I'd understand if he was ready to leave me. He couldn't speak or even open his eyes but he squeezed my hand as hard as he was able. I took that to mean, "No, not yet."

My brother was ready on June 29th. In his time, in his own way he let go and went back to God. I'll miss him and the abundant life I'd imagined for his future. His wife who arrived at the funeral dressed in his clothes will miss him. His two young children will miss their daddy. My family will mourn for quite a while. His mother and my father will be lonely and lost without him to care for. I'm not sure yet how to let him go. I'm still working on that one. All I can say to him now, knowing how hard this past year has been, is, "Casey, I understand."