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  • marcalee alexander

We started Canada to Key West to create Day for Tomorrow and Telerehabilitation International.

Now, it’s time to explain what they are and their importance.

What is Day for Tomorrow and why do we need it? Our earth has changed rapidly over our lifetimes. The carbon level has increased due to our use of fossil fuels in the 20th century and as a result the temperature has increased. With temperature increase comes volatility of the weather and such new terms as bomb cyclones and polar vortexes. While some may be confused about the increases in cold, this is part of climate change. In fact, a report just indicated in places such as Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey there used to be ice fishing on the lake and people used to drive on the lake in the winter. Now, this never happens. Additionally, animals such as the black tip shark that has moved from North Carolina to off the coast of Long Island are responding to this change. The beautiful corals in the world have not been so lucky and are showing bleaching and then just dying. As a consequence, we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. Humans tend to think of ourselves as separate from animals. We need to realize, however, that we too, are just animals, and we are vulnerable. And who amongst us is the most vulnerable? Persons with disabilities, the elderly, the homeless and the poor. If you are reading this now and you are not amongst the group, eventually as you age you will be and this is when the climate emergency will be worse, so this is everyone’s problem.

Day for Tomorrow is necessary now to make sure that we stop this sixth mass extinction in the tracks and we care from our fellow humans. It is the equivalent of Earth Day for People or “People Day” Why do we need it? Well, the earth will always be here. It may be uninhabitable, but it will be here. People, on the other hand will suffer great losses due to climate change and will also be vulnerable as a species.

Why is it called Day for Tomorrow? Because we can no longer be ready for tomorrorow’s weather as when we were growing up and your mother put your clothes away for the winter and the summer. Because of climate change there are more weather extremes and you need to be ready for a potential 40 degree temperature drop or raise and for surprise rain or snow every day.

What do we do on Day for Tomorrow? Get to know your neighbor. The idea is that we come together in community to be prepared for events that may happen. It is also a time to prepare as a group for extreme weather and to educate and take action against climate change. Recently, I was speaking to a resident in New Jersey who explained how FEMA was not so useful after Super Storm Sandy, rather it was the communities that brought people together and helped people with recovery after the storm. So, get together with your friends, your school or your church and have an educational luncheon. Or have a walk, turn off your power for a few hours or don’t drive on Day for Tomorrow. Having an event for the whole community is best, but even acknowledging the day on your own will work.

In addition to Day for Tomorrow, we are working to start Telerehabilitation International. The goal of Telerehabilitation International is to educate people about quality of life for persons with disabilities. Because when it boils down to it, the climate crisis will decrease the quality of life of people with disabilities the most; but it will also decrease the quality of life of everyone, except probably the top 1 percent. I am also a physical and medicine physician and I would like to help with disasters that are increasing in frequency. Therefore, I am also planning to start a volunteer network of rehabilitation physicians through Telerehabilitation International that will perform consults in disaster areas via telemedicine.

So what can you do right now? Right now, we have tshirts and athletic shirts that you can buy and wear on Day for Tomorrow. This is a first step.

The other step is to speak up about some of what is going on right now in the world. I am especially concerned that nationalism is being empowered around the world and this is the exact opposite of what we need now. The leader of Brazil has turned down money to fight the burning of the Amazon. The leader of Britain is cancelling Parliament so as to increase his chances to pass Brexit and the US is building a wall. Also, every day we see stories about ways our countries natural resources such as the Tongass Forest are being opened up to for potential use for business purposes.

In these troubled times, we’ve got to remember, it’s about people, not profits. We need to help each other and live in community. So, please show your support and get your Day for Tomorrow shirt now. You can send me a note, either via messenger or just on the Day for Tomorrow page and then venmo me.

Thanks so much for reading. We can do this. We are just going to have to work hard. But we need to start now and get our neighbors on board too.

#climatechange #climate emergency #climatecrisis #disability #humanrights

Chatting with Roberta Binder, Martha Sliwinski and Andrea Dobro, after the Climate Justice walk in NYC on 8/17 at the Oculus of the WTC

  • marcalee alexander

Weeks 3-4. I was going to write about gratitude this week but things have turned out otherwise and this week has been about survival and being resilient.

We are out of Maine and I can summarize the experience in one word! Hard. Perhaps this is why we only saw one person in a wheelchair during the whole journey on the road. Life Down East is clearly difficult and that is reflected in the sparse population. There is also vast difference between the state around the town of Ellsworth-where you take the road to Mt. Desert, the island where Bar Harbor and the main part of Acadia are located and further south. This is reflected in socioeconomic status, in that there are bigger, more upkept homes, many more businesses and a significantly greater population.

On the other hand, I believe you lose something in terms of willingness to communicate with strangers when the population is greater. Whereas, we were able to ask for assistance in terms of rides for our back up vehicle Down East, we didn’t have the same kind of luck when in a populated area. From Rockland on, we asked a few times for assistance but people just looked at us and weren’t really trying as hard to be helpful. Now, I just wouldn’t think of asking someone for the same assistance in a crowded area. Maybe it’s just me, but at times it feels to me that the more people are around, the less you feel you can ask for help.

A positive aspect of being in a more urban area has been the availability of health care resources. Additionally, I have been blessed to be a physician and therefore have been able to write my own prescription for Keflex when I needed it for my calf cellulitis. Then fortunately, I was able to write a prescription for the shingles on my face before I even went to the Emergency Room and was quickly able to see an eye doctor. But this brings to question-what if you aren’t a doctor and what if you can’t find transportation to an ER or a doctor’s office? What do you do then? And even worse, what if you don’t have health insurance?

We can have so many issues in life and yet we all must get through them. Each in our own ways. Right now, I am working to heal my eye and realize how incredibly difficult it is to live life in pain and to feel fatigued and to have a visible, physical problem. I am hiding behind my sunglasses but still feel as if I am being stabbed in the eye and feel like a pariah. I don’t feel comfortable just reaching out to a stranger and speaking with them under the current condition. I can’t wait for this to heal, but realize that regardless of whether it is healed or not, I will be giving my first talk on the trip next Monday. I will definitely be wearing sunglasses then because I do not want to disturb people. But I have to be resilient and go on with the event.

Another thing that I have learned though this experience is how we need to have resilience in our current political environment, especially with dealing with climate change and the deniers. I splurged on my first pedicure while we were in Bath and happened to meet a woman with 3 young children doing the same. She is a lovely black mom from Selma, Alabama. I overheard her speaking to another woman about how uncomfortable she felt in Bath due to the lack of diversity and feeling as if she was being stared at. Realizing how the homogeneity had been apparent to me, I had to initiate a conversation. We discussed the lack of diversity in Maine and now I realize, how being in a situation where you are an obvious minority like this requires resilience and perseverance. Just like the fight to improve accessibility and the fight for clean energy.

But there is no choice. Even though life is hard at times and we want to crawl into our shells (definitely how I feel now and have felt the past 5 days), we’ve got to be tough and cling to our dreams. So, to all of you that are down today or suffering, although it is cliché, remember we only need to handle one day at a time and you can turn your scars into stars.

#climatecrisis #disability #sustainability #climatechange


  • marcalee alexander

Updated: Jul 21, 2019

This past week has been one filled with hope.

Just when my leg was the worst and it was cold, dark and pouring rain, we got to Searsport, Maine where we were fortunate to stay at the Historic Homeport Inn. We walked into an entrance filled with the aroma of freshly baked pecan spins with maple glaze and were quickly greeted by Anita, co-owner and a meticulous hostess.

We explained to Anita about our journey and our need for help with our back up vehicle. For those of us who live near major cities, it is difficult to realize that in less populated places there is no uber, lift or even good old fashioned cabs. However, this is not the case in Downeast Rural Maine. We were lucky our first week to find Joseph, the cousin of a waitress we had in Milbridge. He helped us multiple days with his driving but was unable the next day. Immediately, Anita came up with a way when she smoothed away our worries, saying she could help with our vehicle drive the next day.

Next, Anita whisked us to our room where we could rest our weary bones on a heavenly bed. After a great night of sleep, we sat down to a bountiful breakfast omelet and started a conversation with Marcia Clark, the co-owner of the Inn and omelet-maker, extraordinaire. When we spoke about our mission, Marcia lit up and told us a story about her family’s award winning maple syrup business and how climate change impacted the timing of when you would get the syrup. It moved from March to January and most recently instead of tapping once a year, they can tap twice-because of the change in climate. Instead of staying cold through April, it will get cold in October-then there will be warming in January which would lead to a first tap, then a Noreaster will show up and there will be cold weather again followed by a second warming and a second tap.

While you might think Marcia would say, this is a good thing, she has an arthritic knee and the change in climate and weather variability has made her knee so painful that for the first time last month she had to use crutches for a couple of weeks. She told us about the brown tailed moth which is now increasingly common in Maine and can cause a poison ivy type rash and respiratory problems. Finally, she shared a video of her dad, that just passed away this spring speaking about the impact of climate change on maple sugar production. I encourage you to view the video—it’s actually from 2009 but to me it shows me more reasons why we’ve got to take action now to move out of fossil fuels and into renewables to sustain the quality of all of our lives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kX6jXYsWAI

After the conversation about our mission, Anita came in and told us about her sister-in-law, who started a non-profit called Partners for World Health that recycles hospital supplies that US hospitals need to discard and sends them to places around the world that are in need. They also grew to organizing medical missions to southeast Asia and Africa for nurses, doctors and students. This is something that I have often thought about as we’ve had to discard out of date supplies at the Birmingham VA and other places I’ve worked, but I couldn’t take the time to do it. If you are in a position where you can recycle hospital supplies or if you want to look into participating in a mission, I urge you to check it out at https://www.partnersforworldhealth.org.

After finding this out, I started thinking that I was living through The Celestine Prophecy. Such luck and coincidences, meeting people that shared our values and caring about the earth and people, all pointing towards positivity. Because I had energy, it was a clear beautiful day with blue ocean in the distance, I decided it was time to film a video of moving Qi Gong. I had been wanting to do this for two years, since I taught Qi Gong to people at the VA but couldn’t do it then because of red tape associated with government employment.

Craig and I put on bug spray to ward off the multitudinous mosquitos and walked down the road towards the water. My mouth dropped when I saw the most beautiful site! An attractive windmill in close proximity to a house, actually, the closest I’ve ever seen. I have wondered about how windmills could be practically used and this was a picture right in front of me. There was a nice patch of green grass next to the house and a pleasant gentleman was working outdoors. I asked about him about the windmill. “It’s great but by itself, it wasn’t enough to provide all of our power. With the addition of solar panels, the power is all taken care of.”

Here I was, in Maine and after walking 100 miles, just happened to come across the first totally renewable energy powered house. Since moving Qi Gong is energy exercise and all about bringing in the positive and letting go the negative energy, I really felt that this was the place! The video went well, the mosquitos stayed away and Rick Schweikert, the owner of the home came over to tell us his personal story.

Rick is a cancer survivor and had actually published a story of his experience in Maine Seniors Magazine winter 2016 with first a triple bypass and then a pineoblastoma that he had which was a size of a tangerine when it was diagnosed because he couldn’t “see straight, stand straight, walk straight, think straight, feel straight.” In the article I was able to read later, he had talked about his experiences with reaching out to friends through facebook, Reiki and The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer. I find it enthralling that I just randomly decided to record my Moving Qi Gong video on Mr. Schweikert’s property and he obviously had a great story to tell. You can read about his journey with you can find it at: https://issuu.com/mainegreenadvantage/docs/msm-42-web

With respect to climate, Rick reported that the sea level and the tides are definitely higher outside his home, the ticks and mosquitos are worse and the weather is more unpredictable. He validated what the other people in his neighborhood said. But, seeing the actions he had taken on his home, turned on the lightbulb of hope in my head!

This was lot of information for me to process. We set off for our week of walking and at some point, I posted the video which is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StcbDp-hbSM

The news this week has also emphasized the dire need to deal with climate. Fireworks were cancelled in Anchorage because it was too hot, there were record temperatures around Europe, a flood in Japan that forced 1 million people to evacuate, the city of New York declared a climate emergency and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated on the 30th of June to a group at the United Arab Emirates. “Climate disruption is happening now, and it is happening to all of us”, he warned. “It is progressing even faster than the world’s top scientists have predicted”.

Yet, there are still deniers in the US and some of you who I know and love that are reading this may also be a denier. For those of you who haven’t believed all of the scientists yet, I would strongly consider doing so. And for the intense deniers or if you have a personal financial connection to fossil fuels, I only hope that the collective positive energy that so many people are now sharing will make you realize we need to change and start tipping the pendulum towards a more inclusive, accessible world where we care for each other more than we care about what is happening in our own pocketbooks in relationship to changing to clean energy.

The good news is that Maine, amongst other places, is making green power more available, a solar wind farm is being planned off Atlantic City, New Jersey and there are ways to help stop the excessive release of carbon into our atmosphere. So, when you here about the tariff’s the current US president is placing on solar and if you are watching the deniers on Fox News, think about instead watching Ice on Fire by DiCaprio and ways that we can make positive changes to bring the earth and her inhabitants including people with disabilities, those in low lying areas, our children and grandchildren back to equilibrium. We can do this. I hope we do. #sustainability #climatechange #disability



©2019 by Canada to Key West.

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