According to information collected by RSF, police officers arrested Baongla at his home on 9 January 2002. Two days later, he appeared before a judge and was jailed at the Nkondengui central prison in Yaoundé. The police officers also seized the newspaper’s computers. In October, the journalist was sentenced in absentia to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 17 million CFA francs (approx. US$22,800; 26,000 euros) for “fraud”. He is accused of extorting ten million CFA francs (approx. US$13,400; 15,200 euros) from an official at the Ministry of the Economy and Finances. “Le Démenti”‘s editorial staff claim that the “accusations are groundless and were fabricated by the government.” They follow the newspaper’s publication of several articles denouncing the misappropriation of funds by the minister of the economy and finances. “Le Démenti” has repeatedly accused the minister of embezzling public monies during the installation of a sewer system in the country. Cameroonian journalist Paul Chouta sentenced and fined in defamation case to go further News CameroonAfrica In a letter to Justice Minister Amadou Ali, RSF asked for clarification following the sentencing of Georges Baongla, publication director of the weekly “Le Démenti”, to five years’ imprisonment. “Due process was seemingly not respected in this case. Firstly, Georges Baongla was not warned of his trial’s opening in October 2001. Secondly, he only learned of his sentencing several days after the delivery of the verdict. Thirdly, why did the authorities allow him to remain free for over two months before arresting him in early January? These irregularities lead us t o question the real motive behind the journalist’s sentencing,” explained RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. “Without judging the merits of the case itself, we call on the Cameroonian authorities to explain the situation,” the secretary-general added. News News May 31, 2021 Find out more May 19, 2021 Find out more April 23, 2021 Find out more News Organisation Case against Amadou Vamoulké baseless, French lawyers tell Cameroon court Cameroonian reporter jailed since August, abandoned by justice system Help by sharing this information CameroonAfrica Follow the news on Cameroon January 16, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Editor of weekly sentenced to five years’ imprisonment Receive email alerts RSF_en
He has served as chairman of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club and helped found and/or lead a mile-long list of other environmental organizations. He has received the chapter’s highest honor for long and outstanding service, the Joseph LeConte Award, and has been inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his contributions to the state of North Carolina. The ancient crash of tectonic plates that created the Appalachian Mountains pushed up the Blue Wall on the southeast edge of the mountains and formed the bones of the lake’s basin and the maze of gorges above it. The 2000-foot wall catches moisture from clouds drifting up from the Gulf of Mexico, creating an annual average of 91 inches of rain (and a whopping 136 inches in 2018) that feeds four landmark rivers, the Thompson, Toxaway, Horsepasture and Whitewater. Their destination-worthy cascades include Whitewater, Rainbow, Turtleback and Windy falls. Lead photo by Brenda J. Wiley 91-year-old Bill Thomas strolls through Gorges State Park, which he helped to permanently protect 20 years ago. And after some prodding, Thomas acknowledged the consensus of people who know the history of this property — that he, maybe more than any single person, led it away from the first fate and toward the second. “That was a high bar,” Diggins said. “The state did not have a history of land acquisition for state parks or natural conservation.” “He represents the best of what one tireless, committed individual can accomplish to preserve and protect outstanding land and water resources for the benefit of the natural world and the public,” Diggins said. “I do think, well, I’ve done one good thing in my life,” he said. The celebration of the park’s 20th anniversary at the annual Gorgeous Gorges Colors event this coming October is the perfect time to celebrate Thomas’ legacy. But do more than lift a glass to Thomas, said Molly Diggins, Sierra’s longtime state director. View him as proof that one individual can make a huge difference for the environment. Hold him up as an inspiration and follow his example. How Gorges Became a Park In fact, Thomas, 91, a retired chemical engineer, made an unpaid, late-life career of doing good things for the environment, applying his passion for the outdoors and brilliant, Princeton-trained intellect to a series of causes, including the blocking of a luxury subdivision planned for the heart of DuPont State Recreational Forest. To appreciate what Thomas did for Gorges State Park, think of it not as a stand-alone property but as part of the larger Lake Jocassee watershed. Also known as Jocassee Gorges, it is a freak of climatological and geologic nature that extends across the North Carolina-South Carolina line southwest of Asheville and has been named by National Geographic as one of fifty “World’s Last Great Places.” “I think the biggest high I ever had in my life was when the Horsepasture got protected,” he said. “Bill is more intellectually engaged on a wider variety of subjects than anyone I’ve ever met,” said his old friend and neighbor, Gus Napier. “He’s interested in everything!” Duke Energy, which owned about 60,000 acres in the region, had penciled in plans for several pump storage plants—designed to produce surges of electricity—on the Jocassee Gorges’ creeks and rivers. But the first active threat to the Jocassee Gorges came on one of the few large tracts in the basin that Duke didn’t own, 923 acres along the Horsepasture controlled by a company called Carrasan. It announced its plans to build a hydroelectric plant on the river in a tiny legal ad that ran in Brevard’s Transylvania Times newspaper on March 5, 1984. This caught the eye of the ever-attentive Thomas, which is one place to mark the start of his activism. His commitment to the park continued long after its formation. Thomas has been a member of park’s advisory committee since its founding. He long pushed for a Friends of Gorges State Park and served on it for several years after its creation nearly a decade ago. He thought about what it has been instead for the past 20 years—a safely preserved wonderland of deep ravines, plunging rivers and rare plants. Dressed in khakis and well broken-in leather hiking boots, he handled a short hike to Bearwallow Creek with ease, bushwhacking through briars and up and down muddy embankments. Wilcox commented on this, Thomas’ fitness, but his words could also apply to Thomas’ work for the natural world, the example he has set for younger environmentalists. Thomas knows his generation of activists is passing. He has dialed back on some of his commitments. He and Shirl are no longer the super-fit, avid hikers that smile from the banks of the Horsepasture in the photos of Dam it. Thomas lamented in an email that he could provide only a short list of contacts for former FROTH members. “All the others are gone.” “Bill was the superstar,” Leonard said. “Bill was very key to leading the charge and building public support.” He and Shirl, he said, were too naive to know that such environmental crusades typically advance at glacial speed. This one moved like an avalanche. With a few early allies, they formed a group called Friends of the Horsepasture River, “which we realized later could form a neat acronym, FROTH,” Bill Thomas wrote in a 2015 book he published on the effort, Dam it, No!! Powerful supporters quickly jumped on board, including Mike Leonard, then a young lawyer and now the chairman of the nationwide Land Conservation Fund. And a mere 2 ½ years after the founding of FROTH, it achieved its ultimate goal — federal designation of the Horsepasture as a Wild and Scenic River, signed into law in October 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. 20 years ago, Gorges became a state park instead of a hydroelectric dam, thanks to the efforts of one inspiring leader. Today, it’s still one of the most beautiful and best-kept secrets in Southern Appalachia. But he has been blessed with health that others might seem as a karmic reward for his good work but that he views as merely a pleasant mystery. He and Shirl still walk nearly every day in the community of tree huggers near Brevard where they settled in 1998. He still works on its trail-building crew. He still organizes its nature programs and sends out email blasts alerting residents to sightings of black bears and hummingbirds. When his friends describe his mental sharpness, they are not grading on the usual nonagenarian curve. The Wall also catches windblown spores from ferns and mosses. At least that’s one theory for the variety of rare and endangered species that can be found here and nowhere else on Earth. The endangered Oconee Bell wildflower, almost unknown in the wild outside of this watershed, grows abundantly within it. He also stuck to it through the process of acquiring and protecting the watershed — including more than 7,000 acres that became Gorges State Park — even though it proceeded at the more typical pace of environmental action. Very slowly. He retired from DuPont in 1989 to start a stint as statewide Sierra Club chairperson. He traveled to Washington D.C. to persuade federal lawmakers to acquire key portions of the old Carrasan property, now part of the Nantahala National Forest. He fought to block a powerline that ended up being built through the park. “We got our heads beat down on that one,” he said. And after Duke let it be known it was willing to sell its land in the mid 1990s, Thomas was Sierra’s point person on the creation of the park, putting him in the thick of the negotiations with hunters who at one point threatened to withdraw support for the acquisition. He played a crucial role in “elevating this issue among Sierra members,” said Diggins, which gave her the backing to lobby state lawmakers. And he did a fair amount of lobbying himself, seeking not only that the land be purchased but that most of it be designated as a state park. There’s an old saying that activists are divided among tree shakers— the inspirational, visionary types, and jelly makers—who do the sustained, detailed work. Thomas is both. “I’d put him on top of the list of (volunteers) making the park happen and making it work,” said Superintendent Pagano. “Bill, you’re my hero,” Wilcox said. “I want to be you when I grow up.” One of his lobbying tools was a Jocassee Gorges hiking guide that Steve Pagano, park superintendent during its first 19 years, said might still be the best one published. Its maps and photos were supplemented with detailed passages on history, ecology and geology. No matter what issue he took on, Diggins said, he seemed to know every ecological asset, every threat, every political and bureaucratic key that needed turning. But his awakening actually began a few years earlier when he met his second wife, Shirl, who also deserves a Gorges anniversary toast. At the time, Bill Thomas was working at the DuPont plant near Brevard. He was a lifelong birder and hiker, but also a lifelong Republican, a Sierra Club member uncomfortable with its advocacy. “After meeting Shirl,” he said, “I got retreaded.” Bill Thomas, taking in the views at Gorges State Park, thought about what this land could have been— a vast zone of hydroelectric projects, its famous waterfalls funneled through pipes, its wild rivers cooped up in basins designed to flush like toilets to produce surges of power. I observed firsthand his acuity and passion for nature, on a trip to the Gorges with Thomas and park ranger Neal Wilcox. As we drove deep into the backcountry in a four-wheel drive pickup, Thomas let out spontaneous exclamations of enthusiasm. “Fantastic!” is a Thomas favorite. He explained how geology and erosion had created the vertiginous slopes of the gorges that Wilcox navigated. He identified the species of each bird that called and of the ground-hugging halberd violets and midstory silverbell trees. Once they saw the ad that threatened one of their favorite hiking spots, they set about researching the environment of the Jocassee Gorges and the approval process for Carrasan’s project. Meetings and phone calls consumed their evenings. Bill Thomas put the Xerox machine in his DuPont office into overdrive pumping out promotional literature. Though the ecological and recreational value of these gorges seems obvious now, it was once appreciated only by a few intrepid scientists and hikers. In the 1980s, its potential was all about hydroelectric power.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County police have identified a 44-year-old man who drowned in a public pool in his hometown of Woodbury over the weekend.Jonathan Sobel was swimming in the main pool at Syosset Woodbury Park before he was found floating face down at 1:25 p.m. Sunday, police said.Lifeguards pulled the victim from the pool and performed CPR.The victim was taken to North Shore Syosset Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.Second Squad detectives are continuing the investigation.
An allocation of more than €1.3M in funding for National Roads Scheme for projects in Donegal.Minister of State, Joe McHughA total of €1.35M in funding has now been allocated to the N14 Lifford Bridge to R264 Raphoe project, and the N56 Letterkenny, Kiltoy Junction project.This is part of a €34 million stimulus fund secured in July for critical remedial works, maintenance and strengthening of the road network at national, regional and local level. Junior Minister Joe McHugh has welcomed the announcement.“This funding for the N14 Lifford Bridge to R264 Raphoe project is going to be used for pavement overlay and strengthening in Lifford between Lifford bridge and the junction with the R264 to Raphoe, while the N56 Letterkenny Kiltoy Junction project will include the commencement of junction improvements at the Kiltoy Junction, involving the construction of a roundabout. The projects will go to construction in 2015, which is good news for the local community.“The Government is committed to spreading the economic recovery to all regions of the country. Ensuring the upkeep and maintenance of our road network is essential in facilitating our future economic growth and securing job creation. A good road network helps to attract investment and improves efficiency for small business around the country. Ensuring that all areas of the country are accessible on a well maintained road network is good for small businesses and for the communities that benefit when those businesses are thriving.”FUNDING OF €1.35M ANNOUNCED FOR DONEGAL ROADS was last modified: August 27th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:fundingJoe McHughROADS
The pristine environment of HumewoodBeach has earned it Blue Flag status forthe coming season.(Image: Emily van Rijswijck)MEDIA CONTACTS • Ted KnottNational Blue Flag coordinator, Wessa+27 33 330 3931 or +27 82 337 1273RELATED ARTICLES• Sharkspotting keeps seas safe• PE’s King’s Beach gets a facelift• Life’s a beach in South Africa• Saving the African penguin• SA protects its oceansEmily van RijswijckHolidaymakers heading for South Africa’s coastline can look forward to 27 Blue Flag beaches to choose from when the summer festive season gets underway in December.The latest beach to receive Blue Flag status is Humewood in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Another 14 beaches in the country have applied for a developmental or pilot stage in Blue Flag status.Blue Flag Beach status is awarded every year for a specific period, depending on the season when the beach is visited the most.The accolade is awarded only after rigorous judging by a South African and international Blue Flag jury, and indicates that these beaches have met standards in excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness, environmental information and environmental management.Throughout the period that a blue flag is flying on these beaches, visitors can be sure that the stringent standards apply and are upheld.In South Africa, the six sub-tropical beaches of KwaZulu-Natal have a year-long Blue Flag status while the more temperate to colder waters of the Cape beaches only have Blue Flag status for two to four months during the peak summer holiday season.At the end of the season, lifeguards, cleaners and security staff go off duty and visitors should not expect these services to be in place.In addition to the country’s beaches the Blue Flag programme will in future also include marinas, with three marinas in Cape Townand one in Port Alfred looking to achieve pilot status in the forthcoming season.Tourist leisure craft may also apply for Blue Flag status. The Dyer Island Conservation Trust‘s Whale Whisperer, a whale-watching craft, has received a pilot Blue Flag for the environment-sensitive manner in which it undertakes its activities.For a map of South Africa’s accredited Blue Flag beaches, visit the local Blue Flag website.South Africa the firstIn South Africa, the programme is co-ordinated by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) through its National Coastal Project, which in turn resides within Wessa’s Water Programme.In 2001 the country became the first outside Europe, where the Blue Flag programme originated, to implement its own programme.This year’s national Blue Flag beach season, running from summer 2011 to summer 2012 was officially launched at the Eastern Cape resort of Kenton-on-Sea, near Port Alfred, by Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the deputy minister of Environmental Affairs.“The success of the Blue Flag programme in South Africa over the past 10 years can be attributed to the commitment of participating municipalities to provide beach-goers and holiday-makers with world class beaches,” she said, speaking at the event.The beach at Kenton-on-Sea has had Blue Flag status since 2009.The same commitment has been shown by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality who worked hard to restore its Blue Flag status for Humewood beach. This is the view of Morgan Griffith, Wessa’s conservation officer in the Eastern Cape, who handed over the flag to the municipality on 1 November.In 2001 Humewood Beach became the first local beach to receive Blue Flag accreditation. It lost its status as a result of logistical problems when too many people flocked to the beach and insufficient numbers of lifeguards were present, breaking one of the important requirements for a Blue Flag beach – that of safety.Griffith says the role of Wessa, as overseer of the programme, is not to police, but rather to help municipalities to get to grips with real environmental management of their marine areas, and to sustain this for the greater benefit of the community and the economy in the long run.“One of the effects of Blue Flag status is that it brings about real economic benefits, boosting tourism,” he said.Research has shown that the investment coastal municipalities make in meeting and sustaining the international standards of Blue Flag accreditation pays off.South Africa’s domestic tourists are increasingly choosing Blue Flag beaches as their destination of choice, and in so doing, mirror trends that have been seen in Europe and Scandinavia on their Blue Flag beaches.Marketing assetMandela Bay Tourism acting CEO, Cheryl Witte. says the area has about 80 kilometres of unspoilt beaches, with the addition of the Humewood beach as a Blue Flag beach now becoming a real marketing asset for the city.Port Elizabeth has boosted security around the beach area and lifeguards will be on duty at all times during the Blue Flag season, which runs from November to April. The beach’s water is also tested every two weeks by an independent laboratory.Blue Flag criteria are set by the Foundation for Environmental Education, a non-profit organisation promoting sustainable development through environmental education.The Blue Flag programme is one of its five key projects and is actively pursued in 44 countries worldwide. There are now almost 3 650 Blue Flag beaches and marinas around the world.
Creator of Nguni Juices Norman Mpedi in his factory. Workers collect fruit in the veld for processing. The umviyo fruit is rich in vitamin C and fibre. (Images: Norman Mpedi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Norman Mpedi +27 82 267 3053 [email protected] ARTICLES • Paying it forward with goat farming • Teaching people to work with nature • South African wine farms invest in biodiversity • SA’s burgeoning berry industry Emily van RijswijckThanks to canny survival skills learnt in the bush, former Umkhonto we Sizwe soldier Norman Mpedi has made a drastic career change and launched successful organic juice manufacturing operation Nguni Juices, using wild indigenous fruit harvested in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.It all started when Mpedi could not find work in the South African National Defence Force following the disbanding of Umkhonto we Sizwe. At this stage he often used to think back to times when he and his fellow comrades survived solely on what was available in the Angolan bush. Sometimes this only amounted to edible wild fruits growing in abundance.He recalls: “We ate this fruit, the umviyo, sometimes for up to three weeks at a time and we survived.”Untapped potentialUmviyo is the isiZulu name for the wild medlar or Vangueria infausta, a wild fruit similar to the better-known marula (Sclerocarya caffra) or Mnguni in isiZulu. Nutritionally, it’s as rich in vitamin C and natural fibre as the latter.In juice form it is an almost unrivalled high-energy natural supplement. Knowing this, Mpedi knew there was untapped potential in this source and started to investigate it further.“No-one had this idea before,” he says.This was back in 2003 and Mpedi began tackling the challenges of researching various indigenous fruits and their potential for juicing, and finding financial assistance for his start-up venture. He also had to register his product and patent his juice with the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office.With the help of specialists in the field from the University of Johannesburg and Pretoria, his final product was tested for nutritional quality and taste, and finally given the thumbs-up.“All my products are organic and completely free of chemicals,” says proud Mpedi. His products are currently only available at selected tourist and health shops, at some fruit and vegetable outlets and certain petrol stations.Mpedi is still looking for additional capital to fund expansion.RecognitionIn the meantime, his efforts have not gone unnoticed. In February 2011 Mpedi got a personal mention in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s annual budget speech.Gordhan related how Mpedi, Mlondolozi Kosi – with his ICT training centre in Willowvale in the Eastern Cape, and Antonio Pooe – with Exactech Fraud Solutions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – are small business operators setting an inspiring example for others.“Small businesses are an important source of jobs. Businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers account for 68% of private sector employment,” Gordhan said at the time.Mpedi employs about 12 workers at his factory in Mokopane in Limpopo. As the fruit ripen in summer, his busiest times are from January until March when he employs additional local people to help with harvesting.In 2007 he was a finalist in the small companies category of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Technology Awards, and in 2008 he was recognised by the Industrial Development Corporation for his research on indigenous foods.In the new year Mpedi hopes to branch out into other products, such as alcoholic ciders from the same fruit.In addition to umviyo, he harvests monkey oranges and a plant known as utshwala benyoni, also known as white birds brandy, because when birds eat it they “become very noisy and lively”, Mpedi says.This plant is used as a natural enhancer in the fruit juice as it has a minty flavour.“Next year my business will grow even more, for sure,” he adds.
29 November 2013 South African National Parks (SANParks) is to beef up its arsenal in the fight against rhino poaching with the deployment of a Gazelle military helicopter. The Gazelle was donated by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation and African aerospace and defence group Paramount, and forms part of an on-going capacity building partnership announced a year ago. A Seeker MKII Surveillance aeroplane, also donated by the foundation, has been operating in the Kruger National Park since December 2012. Speaking at the helicopter’s unveiling at Letaba in Limpopo province on Thursday, SANParks CEO David Mabunda thanked the Ichikowitz Family Foundation for their involvement, which has included the provision of fuel, pilots, specialised training and operational capacity. Ivor Ichikowitz, the chairman of the foundation and founder of the Paramount Group, said the Gazelle would give SANParks superior airpower in its fight against rhino poachers. The light attack helicopter has a maximum airspeed of 310 kilometres per hour and a range of 670 kilometres. “A critical part of this helicopter’s capabilities is its speed and the fact that the Gazelle has a night vision capable cockpit,” Ichikowitz said, adding “Part of our contribution is to the training of the pilots to be able to fly at night, thereby fundamentally taking the war directly to the poachers.”Kruger rhino census Mabunda, outlining the results of a census conducted a few months ago, said it was estimated that the Kruger National Park was home to between 8 400 and 9 600 white rhino. SANParks scientists conducted the census using a 40% block count survey method. The census took three weeks to complete in September, making use of three helicopters with a total of 220 flight hours. The bottom line, Mabunda said, was that despite escalating poaching, increased anti-poaching operations had ensured that there were relatively stable rhino numbers in the park since 2008. “We are certain that without intense anti-poaching operations, Kruger’s rhino population would have begun significantly declining by now.” Ichikowitz said that, with the Gazelle now part of SANParks’ anti-poaching operations, “we hope that the fight for the rhino will reach a tipping point in 2014”. He added that his foundation was assisting SANParks with further training of its game rangers in advanced bush tracking techniques, and together with Paramount would be providing SANParks with tracker dogs and related training in 2014. SAinfo reporter
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the Merger Agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins the work of finalizing due diligence and the unification of policies, procedures, systems, and people progressing towards an effective date of Sept. 1, 2017.In a joint statement, Jeff Osentoski, President and CEO of Agland Co-op, and Eric Parthemore, President and CEO of Heritage Cooperative both agree that, “The merger of Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative will create a dynamic organization built for the future. It will be a cooperative that brings value and benefits to members, employees, and our communities while protecting members’ equity, without compromising our fundamental core values or social responsibilities.”Heritage Cooperative serves the agricultural needs of farmers and residents in a 20 county area in central Ohio. The cooperative includes 30 locations which serve over 3,300 farmer members, and over 4,000 rural and urban customers.Agland Co-op, Inc. is based in New Philadelphia and serves customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, and Kentucky. Agland Co-op has 23 locations which serve over 1,900 farmer members.
By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTPixabay[Heart Hand Hands Love by ArtsyBee, September 3, 2015, CC0]“Now that we have absolute evidence of the negative consequences of compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress reactions that are too high and that your resilience can’t deal with… all of those things are unethical. It’s unethical to work with other people when you know that you’re not functioning at your best because of the need for self-care and for attending to your own particular needs.” –Dr. Charles FigleyWe were all deeply engrossed in conversation within the chat pod during Dr. Figley’s captivating keynote session for the 2017 MFLN Virtual Conference when he expressed the above thought that hit me like a ton of bricks and stopped me in my tracks. I’m not being selfish, I am being unethical when I don’t take time for self-care. And, for me, unethical trumps selfish any day of the week.When Dr. Figley first mentioned self-care, a barrage of comments started to ensue, which included far more negatively related connotations than positive ones. Here are a few that stood out:“It’s easy to feel like you should be “tough enough” to not need to take time for yourself.”“There is a social stigma and negative association with self-care. It is oftentimes viewed (unfortunately)as selfish and is therefore taken with a layer of guilt.”“It feels selfish to make sure my oxygen mask is on before I take care of others.”“Sometimes finding time for self-care is hard when so many are in so much need.”Sometimes the struggle is that the needs seem so urgent… an example would be the failing health of a loved one. It’s so hard to say ‘no, I need to take care of myself”.As Military Family Service Providers, it’s easy for all of us to have these thoughts and associations with self-care. But, isn’t it a totally different ballgame when you hear that what you are doing is unethical? Isn’t it ironic that the one reason most of us had for NOT taking time for self-care (selfishness) was actually doing more harm than good? But, if the “unethical card” isn’t enough reason for you to start practicing self-care like it was for me, here are some great responses from other participants in our chat pod who seemed to have a much more positive spin on self-care:“My emotional bucket can get empty and needs a refill sometimes.”“So many forget that if your emotional bank account is overdrawn, you can’t invest in anyone else… Self-care is so important, decompressing from tough cases and having your listening board to bounce thoughts off…”“I learned that I have to sit with the discomfort of other people’s judgment when I take care of myself.”“Encouraging helping professionals to take time for self-care and opening conversations like this one are so important! We need to continually encourage self-care as part of the culture for the profession.”So, whether your reason for taking time for self-care is because you recognize that your glass is empty or because you know you are being unethical, you are doing yourself AND your clients a huge favor that can make all the difference in the world!We would love for you to share your motivation for taking the time for self-care in the comments below.This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Written by: Christopher Plein, Ph.D. West Virginia University and MFLN Caregiving Team MemberIt is the winter solstice, or nearly so. While the days will soon be getting longer, the colder months are upon us and the year is coming to a close. It’s a time for reflection. Recently, I have been mulling over Aesop’s fable of the “The Ants and the Grasshopper.” Most of you will know the story and how the grasshopper fiddled away the summer with music and dance, as the ants industriously prepared for the winter ahead by harvesting and storing grain. I offer the fable to my students to remind them of the importance of studying and preparing early for the projects and tests that will come at the end of the term. With the weather closing in and semester’s end, it is little wonder that I am thinking about this fable.As I have been going over my past blogs for 2017, a couple of constant themes stand out – one deals with knowledge and the other with change. Knowledge comes about through self-awareness and self-reliance. We live in an information-rich age, but we do not always avail ourselves to reliable knowledge that is literally at our fingertips or to the wisdom of those around us. Change is a constant — but unpredictable. We need to anticipate and prepare for life’s vagaries – whether it’s a change in a policy or program that affects our job, or whether it’s a more jolting change that affects the wellbeing of a loved one who may need our care and support. Like the ants in Aesop’s fable, it is important for us to gather a storehouse of reserves – in our case knowledge and awareness so that we can meet the uncertainties of the future with wisdom and confidence.The Military Caregiving Team and the Military Families Learning Network offers programming that is aimed at helping us acquire these resources. We do this through webinars, virtual events, podcasts, and video series, but also through blogs. To help gain knowledge of important policy developments regular updates and reviews are often the subject of a blog. This past year, we did this even if it did involve a “Little Medicaid Summer Reading” . We also tracked the rapid and uncertain developments in the politics of the Affordable Care Act . Taking a step back, we explored how the design of our government and the past shapes current policy development and outcomes – Encountering Change Part 1 & Part 2. An appreciation of both policy and program detail and the context, helps us to assess the present and to anticipate what might be in store for the future.We also explored that when facing change, it is important that each of us be self-aware and self-reliant. But this does not mean going it alone. Indeed, we may be not see the bigger picture or appreciate the views and needs of others if we do not work with others. This is a concept we explored in a blog on fairness, inclusivity, and ethics entitled “Gaining Perspective to Understand Change”. We also learned that we should be aware and cultivate our networks and links to many resources: whether it is to help us care for a loved one; to access the many resources that are available in communities; or connect to resources through the military family readiness and support system.We can learn a lot from the ants in Aesop’s fable, but life is not rewarding if we do not have a little bit of the grasshopper in each of us. As we invest effort to build the storehouse of knowledge and self-awareness, also take time to celebrate and enjoy. There’s no better time than now. Season’s greetings and best wishes for the New Year.This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on December 22, 2017.