I know what you’re thinking… big metal robots changing into vehicles or trucks here to help planet earth. 🌎 The American sci-fi series Transformers may have begun in the 1980s, but the reality is that experts estimate that 85% of our jobs may change to involve robotic hands which are more precise and only require an occasional tune-up! That’s fine, but have we imagined all the trash and dangerous chemicals left behind? Humans are made of organic material, machines are not. Thus, the reason that schools at all levels through colleges/universities need to include topics or classes such as global health and sustainability, teach kids about civic engagement and volunteerism. We are all interconnected and can all be transformers.
A recent video by health expert Jess Ghannam says it “like it is” talking about the Palestinian cause as a concrete example of global health issues. We need to listen, else we are aiding in a new world of trauma (and potentially creating new opportunities for extremists to develop more terrorizing…that’s my thought, not his implicitly). Selling guns for war shouldn’t be a form of ‘population control’. We need to look at the needs of all communities and of course keeping in mind the equity of resources like water, food, fuel, shelter.
One of the best books to help children understand about transformation (also a voice-over cartoon on YouTube) is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We can even use this to talk about body image to little ones, as sometimes they may be overweight because they are growing, or all of us may eat too many sweets and other sugary-based foods and drinks! The important part is we change, and we must prevent such conditions like eating disorders taking over our life. We can do this through continued education, a foundation of social support, and spirituality. Thus, why it is important to read and publish posts such as that by “BeautyBeyondBones” talking about the author’s past struggles with anorexia in her post “the freedom in being known”. Kudos to you because new generations cannot escape the continuous bombardment by social media on what is “beautiful” or “sexy”. It used to be only a condition of white women in the West, but we, unfortunately, are seeing the same in black women (African Americans), young men (obsessing more about their looks), and by mid-life women struggling to keep up with the younger women. You ARE a transformer lady, keep writing!
Others of us work to help transform ideas and raise awareness about personal and community health issues… such as dirty tagging and the “ghettoized” or “..izing” of neighborhoods as I keep calling it. In once lovely towns and cities, the few have destroyed what most have built — once one person starts vandalism it spreads like a disease. Unfortunately it’s most often the 11-17-year-olds wanting to make a statement or angry about something, which is actually a normal part of their development. In societies where we have accountability by parents, neighbors, community police these things are under control but not in cities or countries of general crisis. Can we not transform this energy into individual growth and positive community change? Why can’t we see it as a public health issue and of course a health literacy problem? Can we not discuss these issues in our classrooms at all levels? As I said to two teachers as we were walking to keep up with our own health, “you guys build health literacy and don’t even know it”. Yes, you ARE transformers!
Looking at some images of neoclassical and stone buildings recently photographed in the town of Agrinio (Αγρίνιο) ~ 3 hours outside Athens. We must teach young people to respect the hard work of others, their municipalities, and themselves. This includes even the artwork by graffiti artists — please don’t tag over them as seen in these images below ….. has anyone cared to ask the building owners what they want? what the community wants?
tagging on graffiti art
stone building and front-face tagged
I believe we need more city planners and more collaboration in order to Respect Cities as well as transform neighborhoods into an oasis of beauty and positivity which is much needed for both younger and older people today starting or ending their life cycles. Thus it was a great thing to see how towns like Volos (Βόλος) get it “right”! Their efforts increase tourism and is respectful of the locals. You might not be able to read Greek but the images are clear in this Athens Voice article on Volos — an ‘open’ museum on plain walls (not stone or buildings of historical significance) of artwork!
Getting back to Agrinio, in my opinion they are working on ‘transformation’ of their city, starting with the top-down approach. municipality has put up butterflies on their main walkable paved road. I’m happy to continue our work on many levels to make safer and healthier communities with small changes at a time.
We ARE all transformers, keep going! Change is slow but as our dear turtle 🐢 friends, we always reach the finish line….