SustainUs COP22 Delegation

Our delegation has begun booking flights.  At our retreat in California this last week, we filmed a video for our fundraiser:

 

<a class=”embedly-card” href=”https://www.generosity.com/volunteer-fundraising/sustainus-cop22-fundraiser–2″>SustainUS COP22 Fundraiser</a>
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https://www.generosity.com/volunteer-fundraising/sustainus-cop22-fundraiser–2

 

Donate, share, and communicate!  We are looking to bring issues to COP22, including #NoDAPL work.

American Pride or Unconstitutional Selfishness?

FoundingFathers

Every year that the 4th of July rolls around, I become more and more disgusted by this country. Here are my biggest concerns with this holiday:
1. It’s all about the barbecues.
2. It’s the only day we give a sh*t.
3. We desecrate the American flag.

1. What does this holiday stand for anyway? It should represent freedom, remember those who fought for us, and remember those who still do fight. It should remind us of our strength and why we work towards a better tomorrow every day. What’s sad is that we are forced to remember a day that meant victory for the European immigrants, but which marked the beginning of the end for a lot of native cultures. Something is lost in translation when we root for “America” and I’m not sure what the real answer is. All I know is that, more and more, we see advertisements for picnics and food and events, not for moments of silence or any of those things that really matter. What has become of this country?

2. Just because it’s the 4th of July doesn’t mean we aren’t patriotic on the 3rd, the 5th, or three months later. What is it with national disasters and national holidays that spark pride for a moment and die when the excitement becomes passé? Are we really that easily bored or distracted? Do we not know how to be patriotic when we are continually spoon-fed by the government and each other? When we can sue anyone who mildly offends us? Every action should be done with an intention of bettering the community, the country, and the planet.

3. Patriotic colors are wonderful and hanging the flag is even better. But what in the world ever happened to RESPECTING the flag?? Do you even know how to hang a flag properly? How to fold it so it doesn’t touch the ground? How to burn it if it falls? Did you know it is unconstitutional to wear the flag in any way? To DESECRATE it?? I see all of these girls bubbling over pins of American-flag skimpy tops and bathings suits on Pinterest and I just want to GAG. What has become of this nation? When these girls are our elderly, we might as well sell our souls to the Middle East and live in Oz. There’s no hope for this future if we don’t pull our act together, respect our country, grow up, and realize we don’t live in a bubble that will keep us safe and protected from all of the bad things in this meanie of a planet.

And that is my rant that I rant every year come the 4th of July. Thanks for your time.

France-Enamored Americans: Love or Lust?

I have finally arrived in France after a long time traveling across Asia and Eastern/Central Europe. The last bits of my trip brought me through Venice and some other extremely touristy cities in Europe. As I sat back in some cafes, I observed the behavior of many tourists. The ones who stand out the most are always the photogenic Asians, the loud Brits, and ignorant Americans.

This isn’t my first time in France, but I am again dumbfounded by the cults of young women who flood the south of France, Paris, and fashion capitols across Europe, dying to “experience the culture” and indulge…but in what? In clothes, food, and boys. I’m not saying that my student group in IES is full of people like this; in fact, I’ve been quite impressed by the mix of people genuinely exploring the area for diligent work and culture experience. No, I’m referring to past experiences and current observations outside of my group.

Did you know there are H&M stores all across Europe? That many European youth in fact strive to be American-dressed, American-fed, and American-serenaded? Yes, while young women and other adults across America are dying to “experience France”, the youth over here are having quite the opposite desire. But what is the draw to France? Why do so many young women I know at home take French lessons, study journalism and fashion, read silly magazines, and eat at fancy restaurants so they can show off how to pronounce the names of foreign foods? It’s NOT a LOVE of FRANCE. They don’t care about the culture, about the politics, about the dirty facts about poverty and immigration and daily life in the not-so-fancy corners of the country. Not at all.

These are today’s youth who LUST over the IDEA of France, the images you see in those glossy magazines, the zombie-like models totting clothes that look absolutely ridiculous but that we are TOLD looks “fashionable” (ha!), the wine and the cheese… They want to lay in the sun and bask in what THEY view to be life in France. They turn their noses up at the most pungent of the cheeses and instead settle for things within their comfort zones. They avoid foie gras or pieds de cochons, or anything mildly ambitious that goes outside of their comfort zone.

These people, my friends, are the future generations and the people who spoil the image of American tourists for the rest of us. This ignorance plagues me and the vanity makes me nauseous as I sit at a cafe and juxtapose life here to my days passed at Luna Cafe at school. I dress to fit in, to respect, to not stand out. I don’t dress to make a scene, to become the new “It Girl”, or whatever it is these silly girls lust over these days. I have had quite enough of friends who come here for the boys, for shopping, for not speaking the language, and for picking through McDonald’s and other American treats. For shouting and being obnoxious and getting attention. For staring at themselves in the mirrors and taking photos of themselves to plaster online so everyone can tell them how adorable and “French” they are.

Please, indulge in the Love of France and not the Lust.