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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County

June 7, 2018
Plastic - Bad Boy of the World

Oceans Need Our Support

Quiet Time Alone Every Day

Road Trip Season! Free Game!

Fun Events!
Click to view our Business Directory
  Plastic - Bad Boy of the World

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All around the world there is way too much plastic in our rivers, on our beaches, floating in our oceans, in landfills. Photos of plastic trash are shocking! Plastic and other trash is a serious problem for marine life like fish, whales and turtles, birds and animals. Small changes in behavior, like using reusable bags and water bottles and passing on plastics straws, can make an impact in reducing plastic waste! No straws, no plastic bags are a start, but what about addressing the root cause? What changes would you make? How can we make a big difference? A visit to Seymour Marine Discovery Center on World Oceans Day can arm you with helpful information.

We know a quiet time outside or moments relaxing in a rocking chair are good for us, but how do we fit solitude into our busy family lives --for ourselves and our families? Human nature being what it is, I'm sure generations of humans have contemplated this conundrum. Science confirms the value of solitude.

Let go of the busyness and embrace some quiet! Enjoy the weekend with the family! Parmalee

Photos: Left: Coast of Manila Bay during the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day, Romeo Ranoco / Reuters. Right: A Santa Cruz beach cleanup 2016

 

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  Oceans Need Our Support

Just think of all the pleasure our oceans give us. All my life I've been privileged to live near either the Atlantic, the Pacific or the Gulf of Mexico. During the years I lived inland I missed the ocean terribly.  I like walking on beaches looking for little treasures the ocean has coughed up, dipping my toes into the edges, boogie boarding, partaking of fresh seafood, and sleeping with the sound of ocean waves "cleansing my brain." I've spent time sailing on the east coast and ferrying out to Nantucket. More adventurous friends like diving and deep sea adventures.

Lately more and more news about the ocean needing our support has been surfacing. It seems we citizens of the world have been mistreating one of our greatest natural treasures. The good news is that there is a large growing awareness of our oceans' need for our help. This year World Oceans Day is focusing on preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.

Locally, Adventure Sports Unlimited offers exotic dive excursions, kelp pickling and abalone weekends.  We learn more about our oceans and get up close, even touch, ocean inhabitants while visiting our local resources: Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, or the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Natural Bridges State Park offers tidepool tours.

 

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  Quiet Time Alone Every Day

(0 A May 2018) TimeAlone.jpgWhy we owe it to ourselves to spend quiet time alone every day

by Alan Lightman

By not giving ourselves the minutes - or hours - free of devices and distractions, we risk losing our ability to know who we are and what's important to us, says physicist and writer Alan Lightman.

The destruction of our inner selves via the wired world is an even more recent, and more subtle, phenomenon. The loss of slowness, of time for reflection and contemplation, of privacy and solitude, of silence, of the ability to sit quietly in a chair for fifteen minutes without external stimulation - all have happened quickly and almost invisibly. A hundred and fifty years ago, the telephone didn't exist. Fifty years ago, the Internet didn't exist. Twenty-five years ago, Google didn't exist.

The situation is dire. Just as with global warming, we may already be near the point of no return. Invisibly, almost without notice, we are losing ourselves. We are losing our ability to know who we are and what is important to us. We are creating a global machine in which each of us is a mindless and reflexive cog, relentlessly driven by the speed, noise, and artificial urgency of the wired world.

I would like to make a bold proposal: that half our waking minds be designated and saved for quiet reflection.

What can we do? Somehow, we need to create a new habit of mind, as individuals and as a society. We need a mental attitude that values and protects stillness, privacy, solitude, slowness, personal reflection; that honors the inner self; that allows each of us to wander about without schedule within our own minds.

Wilson's proposal is bold, and I would like to make a similarly bold proposal: that half our waking minds be designated and saved for quiet reflection. Otherwise, we are destroying our inner selves and our creative capacities. Different moments throughout the day can be devoted to contemplation and stillness, free from the external world.

How do we cultivate a contemplative habit of mind? Twenty years ago, a friend who taught high school in Arlington, Massachusetts, started something new with her students. At the beginning of each class, she rang a bell and asked them to remain silent for four minutes. As she wrote later, "I explained [to my students] that I felt our school days were too fast-paced and filled with noise, that silence could help us leave behind the previous class, and prepare to be present for this one. That it was a time to clear our heads. I said we were aiming for internal and external stillness." The results were miraculous, she told me. Both she and the students were calmer and more centered.

In recent years, numerous organizations - such as Mindful Schools and Mindful Education - have been created to introduce periods of quiet and meditation into primary and secondary schools. For example, in 2015, mind-body educator Stacy Sims started a program called Mindful Music Moments in which students listen to four minutes of classical music during the morning announcement period - similar to the idea of my friend in Massachusetts. Mindful Music Moments now operates in 65 K-12 schools, camps, and social service organizations, most of them in Cincinnati.

Perhaps there could be mandated screen-free zones in public spaces and labor laws that guarantee workers a half hour each day of quiet time at the workplace.

To develop new habits of mind, different groups must use different methods. I have some recommendations, which should be viewed as starting points rather than comprehensive solutions:

  • For K-12 students, a ten-minute period of silence sometime during the school day. Students could quietly write down thoughts in a notebook during this time. Different schools have different cultures, and each school will know how best to institute this period of silence.
  • For college students, "introspective intensive" courses created by each academic department. Each student would be required to take at least one such course each semester. Introspective courses, while based in the particular subject matter of the department - for example, history or chemistry - would have a reduced load of reading and assignments and encourage students to use the free time to reflect on what they are learning and relate it to their lives and life goals.
  • In the workplace, a quiet room or similar space where employees are permitted and encouraged to spend a half hour each day meditating, reflecting, or simply being silent. Smartphones and computers would not be allowed in the quiet room. This period of quiet would not be part of the regular lunch break.
  •  For families, an unplugged hour during the evening, perhaps during dinner, in which all phones, smartphones, computers, and other devices are turned off. Dinner should be a time for quiet conversation.
  • Individuals should think about how they spend their time each day and try to build in a half hour away from the wired world, such as taking a walk while unplugged, reading, or simply sitting quietly.
  • For society as a whole, mandated screen-free zones in public spaces, where digital devices are forbidden, and labor laws in which workers are guaranteed a half hour each day of quiet time at the workplace.

Don't we owe all of our children a world in which their contemplative lives are valued and supported? Don't we owe it to ourselves?

(0 A June 2018) KennedyRockingChair.jpgI believe that we can develop a new habit of mind toward the wired world, but it will take time. We will first need to recognize the danger. Certainly, younger people should take some responsibility for their addiction to the wired world at the expense of their inner selves. But shouldn't we who created that world take more responsibility? We are victims ourselves, but we are also the perpetrators. Don't we owe all of our children a world in which their contemplative lives are valued and supported? Don't we owe it to ourselves?

Although changing habits of mind is difficult, it can be done. With a little determination, each of us can find a half hour a day to waste time. And when we do so, we give ourselves a gift. It is a gift to our spirit. It is an honoring of that quiet, whispering voice. It is a liberation from the cage of the wired world. It is freedom. Decades ago, when I was that boy walking home from school through the woods, following turtles as they slowly lumbered down a dirt path, wasting hours as I watched tadpoles in the shallows or the sway of water grasses in the wind, I was free. We cannot return to that world, nor would we necessarily want to, but we can create some of that space within our world today. We can create a preserve within our own minds.

Alan Lightman is a physicist, novelist and essayist. He was educated at Princeton University and at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a PhD in theoretical physics. He is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams, three collections of essays, a book-­length narrative poem, a memoir and several books on science. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, among other publications.

 

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  Road Trip Season! Free Game!

(0 A June 2018) RoadTripBingo.jpgLitWits.com

It's road trip season! Don't leave home without our one-of-a-kind "The Phantom Tollbooth Road Trip Bingo!" Keep the kiddos watching out for Mountains of Ignorance, a car that looks like Milos, and bumper stickers bearing "half-baked ideas."

Or (parental favorite) see if they can make the car "go without saying!" (shhhhh!). This is a super fun game we made just for you - sign up here for our Tips and Updates and you get it for free :). https://litwits.com/product/the-phantom-tollbooth/ Happy traveling!

 

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  Fun Events!
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JUNE

CALENDAR

 

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Mount Madonna PreK-12, Ramayana 6/7-10

 

ALL SCHOOL EVENTS

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir

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88 Books
to read this summer
recommended by Ted Talks speakers

88 Books

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Gerbera Festival

6/09 from 10:00am to 4:00pm
Come see gloriously beautiful gerberas!
Watsonville, (831) 429-1840

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Japanese Cultural Fair
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  Japanese Cultural Fair
Japanese Cultural Fair
Date: 06/09/2018 from 11:00am to 6:00pm
Ages: All ages
Details: Explore traditional and contemporary Japanese culture
Special Instructions: Japanese Theme
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 462-4589 view all details >>
     
Javi's Home
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  Javi's Home
Visceral Artery Theatre
Date: Every day (Jun 8-Jun 9)
Details: Follow Javi, his new moms, and one furry feline through first night jitters, trips to the park, new friends, and mealtime confli
Special Instructions: June 8th 7PM, June 9th 2PM & 7PM
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
40th annual "Ramayana!"
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  40th annual "Ramayana!"
Mount Madonna School
Date: Every day (Jun 7-Jun 10)
Ages: all
Details: A story of love, adventure, separation and an eventual joyous reunion, in an ancient allegory of the battle of good and evil
City: San Jose Phone: (408) 847-2717 view all details >>
     
Last Day of School Party
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  Last Day of School Party
Library Boulder Creek
Date: 06/14/2018 from 12:30pm to 2:30pm
Ages: All
Details: Last Day of School Party with root beer floats, bubbles, paper airplanes and more
City: Boulder Creek Phone: (831) 427-7717 view all details >>
     
Samba Samba with James Henry
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  Samba Samba with James Henry
Library Felton
Date: 07/12/2018 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Ages: All
Details: Learn to samba and more with Samba Samba with James Henry
City: Felton Phone: (831) 427-7717 view all details >>
     
Author Talk: The Kurdish Bike
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  Author Talk: The Kurdish Bike
Library La Selva Beach
Date: 06/07/2018 from 10:30am to 12:00pm
Details: Based on her true story, especially friendships with women in a local village
City: La Selva Beach Phone: (831) 427-7717 view all details >>
     
Phenology Walk
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  Phenology Walk
Arboretum
Date: 06/09/2018 from 11:00am to 1:00pm
Details: Study the science of the seasons: be a part of a national effort to monitor the effects of climate change.
Special Instructions: $5 for Adults and $2 for Children (6 to 17 years old), and free under 6
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831.427.2998 view all details >>
     
Laurie R. King, Island of the Mad
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  Laurie R. King, Island of the Mad
Bookshop Santa Cruz
Date: 06/12/2018 at 7:00pm
Details: A reading and signing of her new novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes,
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
English Country Dance
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  English Country Dance
English Country Dancing
Date: The 2nd Th of every month from 7:00pm to 9:30pm
Details: It's really, really fun!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 426-8621 view all details >>
     
Author Talk: Dana MacKenzie
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  Author Talk: Dana MacKenzie
Library Aptos
Date: 06/04/2018 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Ages: Adults
Details: Dana will talk about the perplexing fact that science has struggled so much to make sense of causation, something that is intuit
City: Aptos Phone: (831) 427-7717 view all details >>
     
Author Talk: The Kurdish Bike
click to view website
  Author Talk: The Kurdish Bike
Library La Selva Beach
Date: 06/07/2018 from 10:30am to 12:00pm
Details: Based on her true story, especially friendships with women in a local village
City: La Selva Beach Phone: (831) 427-7717 view all details >>
     
Geology Walk
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  Geology Walk
State Park Ano Nuevo
Date: 06/09/2018 at 1:00pm
Ages: All: (Lots of walking)
Details: 60 minute exploration of the parks coastal geology
City: Pescadero Phone: (650) 879-2025 view all details >>
     
Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle! Tour
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  Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle! Tour
The Wiggles
Date: 06/08/2018 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Ages: All
Details: You might like to "Do the Propeller" or "Dial E for Emma" say g'day to Lachy's friend Ponso the Pony or play "Simon Says" as wel
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
 Oceans and Solitude
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  Oceans and Solitude
Date:
view all details >>
     
Javi's Home
click to view website
  Javi's Home
Visceral Artery Theatre
Date: Every day (Jun 8-Jun 9)
Details: Follow Javi, his new moms, and one furry feline through first night jitters, trips to the park, new friends, and mealtime confli
Special Instructions: June 8th 7PM, June 9th 2PM & 7PM
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Women by Women Film Series
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  Women by Women Film Series
Watsonville Film Series
Date: The 2nd Th of every month (Mar 8-Jun 14) at 7:00pm
Details: Join us for a series of powerful films by and about women!
City: Watsonville view all details >>
     
     
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