Love Your Earth

Love Your Earth

What good is money when nobody can breathe?
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Saturday, April 22nd was Earth Day, an annual celebration of the planet that we live on and a day when, generally, people try to do favors back for Mother Earth -- planting trees, collecting litter, etc. It's a cute, community-filled day when everybody looks at our beautiful home, celebrating the flowers we've seen, the breathtaking sunsets we've gawked at and reminiscing on the hidden jewels that we've discovered. It's amazing -- because Earth is amazing.

But what now; it has passed, moved on, and we've gone on with our lives as usual. We idle our cars and ignore the bags blowing at our feet; we cut down trees to build strip centers that sit empty and ugly and burn chemicals out into the atmosphere. Scientists call for help for our voiceless planet -- "stop doing these things!! your actions have an impact!! temperatures are rising!!" -- but they are dismissed as liars or conspiracy theorists and ignored. Environmental regulations are the most scoffed at, the most hated because of the money they cost businesses and are the most circumvented.

Can I just ask a question..? Where does everyone think we're going to live when our home is no longer able to keep us alive?

When we have an Asian Brown Cloud over every continent and cannot walk outside without masks when global temperatures climb so high that snow is an anomaly and Antarctica melts when the oceans rise and take back some of our states, will we care then? When bees go extinct -- our primary pollinators -- and large chunks of our food stuff die off, when birds and fish get poisoned and make us -- their consumers -- sick, will we care then? When medications and coffee and chocolate are too highly-priced for us to consume because they come from a rainforest that has been mowed down, when zoos truly are the only places left to see even turtles at all, when the oceans cannot be swam in because of an oil slick on the surface that is harmful to our health, will we care then?

At what point should we stop planning to be retroactive and decide, instead, that we want proactively to never reach that point? When did pieces of paper become more important than clean, life-giving oxygen, when did expansion of business take precedence over clean water and when did the outward appearance of our home start to matter more than a hole in our atmosphere? When did condemning entire species of animals to death become secondary to inexpensive clothing? And if you truly don't care about animals, then when did transporting oil a mile more quickly begin to be prioritized over somebody's honorable worship site and somebody's water health?

We have only one planet -- as far as space travel has come, we cannot plan for our entire population to just relocate and start over. This isn't a cigarette butt that you just toss out of our window, ready to light another or a repavement of a road that was damaged when chemicals spilled on it. This is our PLANET. Our HOME.

In being at the top of the food chain, being the industrialized species that possessed weaponry and processing capabilities to destroy the world as we know it, it is our job and our responsibility to be caretakers of our environment, to care and value the land around us and to not bleed it dry. Business and a healthy Earth can coexist. Besides, if humanity has no future, what point does one's business have? Money is secondary to oxygen; if there is nobody alive and capable of buying your product, you will have scarred the earth empty for nothing. The increase in expenditures per year is more than worth the idea that you are helping the Earth to have a future -- it is your home.

And if you need any more motivation, go outside and look up at the sky. At the leaves on the trees, each individual blade of grass in your lawn, and take a deep, full breath. How nice it is to have a healthy, beautiful home.

Thank you for celebrating Earth Day and for helping keep Earth beautiful.

Cover Image Credit: Wallpaper Backgrounds

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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