Mental Health America 

In no particular order.

When somebody has to take off unscheduled time because they or someone they care about is sick, they are often risk losing their job entirely. Without paid sick leave laws in place, most employers are legally allowed to fire employees for missing too many days due to illness. To make matters worse, not having paid time off means can also mean facing financial insecurity, which in turn leads to food insecurity, home instability and other financial problems. People without access to paid sick leave are more likely to go to the emergency room instead of going to see their primary care physician. This puts additional financial strain on both the employee — who has to pay for these expensive emergency procedures — and for the national economy, which could be spending the taxpayer money used to fund emergency room procedures elsewhere.

My earliest memory of being asked to contribute towards conservation was at the Minnesota Zoo as a kid, touring with my family. We turned the corner in the reptile hall and at the end of the exhibit there was a box that said something like A Dollar can save X amount of rainforest. Consider donating to help our efforts. And even as a young child I was incredibly skeptical. What was going to happen? Was I going to drop a dollar, or five, or ten, into that box - and miraculously deforestation would stop? A tree would stand strong, alone in a wasteland? We walked by it, my parents paying it no mind. 

That ambiguous mentality towards conservation persisted until I came to work at The Field Museum, when I was introduced to the Action Center team. The name in itself evokes the idea of superheroes: crime-fighters in capes, launching over the Amazon with Captain Planet and Mother Gaia. Turns out that image isn’t as realistic as it is sincere; this group really is a major boots on the ground initiative towards conservation. They are the dedicated botanists, anthropologists, ornithologists, and biologists of every assortment dropping into various areas of South America to conduct biodiversity assessments of uncharted rainforest in order create informed legislation that protects those areas. They’ve endured disease of every kind - Giardia, malaria, yellow fever, dengue, leishmaniasis - parasites, fungus, chiggers, botflies, waking up with snakes in their tents, held up at gunpoint from confused locals assuming they’re from the illegal logging industry. Two famed biologists died in a fly-over in 1993 - Ted Parker and Al Gentry pioneered this field of rapid biological assessment, creating the foundation for the decades-old legacy we carry on with their conservation mission in mind. 

And in the process these groups have secured and protected 23 million acres of wilderness of the Amazon headwaters. Looking at this map you realize that conservation initiatives are happening one area of forest at a time - slowly, with the help of new legislation, growing education, and heightened awareness of the issues at hand. 

In mid-October, I’m helicoptering into the Peruvian rainforest with this crew. It’ll be the first time Tom films out of the country - I’ve never been to South America. I’m getting my yellow fever vaccine on Monday and despite reviewing field guides and laying awake imagining the heat and mosquitoes and cacophony of the forest I’ll never be fully prepared for what we’re going to encounter in these biologically uncharted areas. 

We need to change the face of conservation from donation boxes asking for a dollar to real, relatable, actionable plans for preserving native wilderness. If it takes me getting a botfly in Peru to do so, I’m in. I just hope you’ll come along for the adventure.

Can anyone help?

I’m looking for:

  • Autistic filmmakers 
  • Otherwise disabled filmmakers
  • People with films featuring disabled people

Preferably on the topic of a particular disability or disability as a whole (or with is as a theme).

To be clear, I’m looking for amateur to semi-professional filmmakers here on tumblr or contactable online to talk to about their films and the possibility of featuring them in an event.

somespaceman asked:

People put so much stock in the president when congress is what you need to be paying attention to. Like we could have the worst president but if our congress isn't all conservative old farts then whoever is president can't do anything. I want a majority queer female poc congress before a president bcuz then we'll get shit done.

I agree with you. The president can only approve or veto bills, they can’t pass them. And having queer women of color in Congress would be fantastic.

My recent criticisms of Obama, though, haven’t been about what laws haven’t been passed. I’ve been critical of how little he *tries* to advocate for certain important issues. As President, every word he says will be listened to and reported on. Absolutely doesn’t mean people will agree, but the words will be out there.

Imagine if Obama actually fought for unrestricted access to abortion instead of just saying he’s pro-choice.

Imagine if Obama actually fought for an end to state-sanctioned genocide and terrorism of African-Americans instead of giving money to police departments for body cameras.

Imagine if Obama actually fought for amnesty for the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants living in constant fear of violence and deportation instead of stating that the immigration system needs to be fixed?

A big part of a president’s job is to be an advocate. On too many important issues, Obama makes no serious effort. And that has nothing to do with Congress.

In my opinion, counting on the president or the congress is pretty much useless. We have to advocate for ourselves. And we have to work together so that our collective voice will be loud enough to be heard.


"[sex workers] came to merchant street and took control of their bodies—bodies that were radical in their mere existence in this misogynistic, transphobic, elitist world[…]The varied, often conflicting portraits these women presented shaped my developing composition of womanhood. When I am asked how I define womanhood, I often quote feminist author Simone de Beauvoir: "one is not born, but rather becomes a woman."[…]This short, powerful statement assured me that I have the freedom, in spite of and because of my birth, body, race, gender expectations, and economic resources, to define myself for myself and for others." -Janet Mock (Redefining Realness)