Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Call me Kate

Call Me Kate is a great read set in the Civil War era.  Fourteen year old Kate's family lives in Pennsylvania in a mining town.  Of course, the mines were very dangerous at that time, with no compensation for injuries or death.  Kate's life is tied to the perils of the time and place where she lives. 

As the Civil War goes on, Kate takes a job at the home of a rich family.  She risks it all to help a friend in the Molly Maguires.  They play a role in protesting the draft.  Yes, you heard right - there were draft dodgers in the Civil War era. 

Buy it at Amazon, or go to Tribute Books - http://www.tribute-books.com/

*Mom's Choice Award Winner in young adult historical fiction category

*4 1/2-star rating at Amazon.com

Friday, October 15, 2010


I love where I live, in a small town a few blocks from the Nooksack River. Recently, my Dad and I went up to Mt. Baker National Forest. One of the special places there is the Nooksack Falls. The native people in this area hold this place sacred.

Beyond the beauty of this area, which is amazing, is the clear, clean water. In the last place I lived, not far from where we now live, the water comes from an underground aquifer. During the five years I lived there, there was one day that chlorine was added to the water! Otherwise the water was tested regularly and pumped straight into our taps. This is no small thing, since so many people in the world do not have access to clean water. And we humans cannot live without water.

It is hard to believe nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean water, which causes a litany of struggles, diseases and even death. African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink. In fact, many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water.

At the same time: it takes 24 liters of water to produce one hamburger; it takes 40 million liters to charge the 80 million active iPhones in the world; a cotton t-shirt took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and jeans require an extra 6,813 liters. And waste and pollution diminish the available clean water even further.

The good news is that we can take action: contribute to organizations like water.org and charitywater.org; correctly dispose of household wastes so they don't end up in our streamsrivers and eventually the oceans; or measure how much water it took to make your favorite foods with this app: http://virtualwater.eu

Be aware, be careful with this precious resource, and be grateful for the water that comes out of your tap.