Better Planet, Better Skin

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Practices we observe for Earth Day and Mother's Day are good for society - at a micro and macro level

About Mother's Day coming up, and Earth Day just observed - let neither be one day of remembering in a year of forgetting. As this anti-ageism militant says, the more birthdays you have, the more they deserve celebration, with help to make the celebrant's everydays better. To paraphrase Ira Gershwin's classic lyric, the road needn't get rougher and lonelier and tougher.

About Earth Day, well, fighting everyday health perils got short shrift when only 22 of the many thousands of apartment house dwellers whose health is affected showed up at the CIVITAS forum on the Upper East Side's super-dirty air problem. The focus was on one major, but little publicized pollutant, the burning of number 4 and 6 boiler oil by most buildings because it is cheapest. Yup, fortunes are spent on new lobbies but converting to cleaner oil or natural gas heat remains on the proverbial back burner until the new law makes it mandatory by 2015. I was truly troubled by the meeting's low attendance with so much at stake and with such expert information offered on how best to convert and even cooperate with nearby buildings for more reasonably priced number 2 oil or natural gas. And so I wrote to CIVITAS executive director, Hunter F. Armstrong, "I'll bet if the meeting notice had warned how number 4 and 6 oil damaged and aged complexions and skin tone. rather than respiratory and cardiovascular systems, there might have been standing room only." He agreed that "a different marketing approach was needed." Til the revolution, let those concerned with the very real damage these dirty oils inflict on the community's lungs and hearts contact your local elected officials and also Hunter Armstrong at 212-996-0745.

About Mother's Day, again I'm strongly recommending Kate Stone Lombardi's book, The Mama's Boy Myth. Of course, it's important for mothers of sons, but even more for those social policy-makers who still excuse sons' non-involvement with families of origin, excusing it as typical male behavior, not a cultural thing that needs to be challenged.

Let's celebrate those adult sons who stay vitally connected to their mothers and fathers and other elder kindred like JaRon Eames, noted jazz vocalist and music historian, who has requested a copy of "My Mother's Eyes." Willie Nelson has a wonderful rendition.

And so deserving of support is The Amsterdam Boys and Girls Choir Spring Concert at Church of the Heavenly Rest (90th and Fifth Avenue) on May 18 at 4 p.m. This 26 year-old group founded and directed by James Backmon also tutors and mentors the young singers. I so hope they again perform my son Jeff's song, "Happy Birthday to a Little Girl" about a repentant absentee daddy who longs to get back into the life of his now 6 year-old daughter. This message needs to go viral and mainstream.

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