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Posts tagged ‘energy’

There Goes Our Sex Life

imgresWhen your newborn is literally sucking the energy from you twenty-four hours a day, will the energy to make love with your partner ever return? How do you nurture your relationship, and find time for sex, when you have young children wanting and needing your attention 24 hours a day?

You may find yourself replying to these questions by exclaiming, “Never.” “It’s impossible.” “You’re kidding!” or “We’ve given up trying.” The reality is that you DO have to make adjustments, continually negotiate with your partner and practice the patience of saints, but you DON’T have to give up your sex life altogether.

From the moment your baby comes into the world your lives are changed forever. No matter how long you’ve been together before the birth or how much you’ve read about it, there is nothing that prepares you for the overwhelming responsibility, attention and energy that parenting requires. Rarely do couples talk about how having a baby will effect their sexual lives, yet it can be one of the most difficult aspects of becoming a mother or father.

After having time to lavish each other with affection for months or years, before giving birth or adopting a child, you are unceremoniously thrust into EVERYTHING being structured around the baby. In terms of upsetting the apple cart of domestic tranquility, newborns are the most powerful force on the planet. When you sleep, eat, work and make love is predicated and influenced by the newest member of the family. It is utterly amazing how such a little bundle of flesh and bones can have so much control on our full-grown adult lives.

New fathers are particularly vulnerable during this change in life and often come down with the “whoa is me” syndrome. Not only does the baby literally come “between” the mother and father, the baby takes ALL of her attention. The physical bond between mother and child is very powerful. It can be difficult for father’s to accept this reality, even if they thought about it ahead of time. And if, like many men, a father associates sex with love, he may begin to fear that he isn’t loved anymore. This is especially true when the babies mother doesn’t have as much time, energy or desire to make love as often or as long as she used to. In the beginning months she may not want to at all.

Most women do not love their partners any less after the birth of a child; they simply do not have the time, energy and stamina to sexually express their love the same as they did before. Without denying the physical attraction that is part of the relationship dance, most healthy unions consist of more ingredients than just sex. This is where men (and women) can allow patience and understanding to take root, instead of frustration and anger and appreciate the many ways we can communicate our feelings for one another.

Give each other long hugs and kisses. Massage her/his back, neck, hands, arms, legs, feet and/or face. Cook and serve a special meal. Talk to each other and take the time to be present and listen. Don’t assume you each know what the other is thinking or feeling.

If you simply want sex, then find time alone to pleasure yourself. There is nothing wrong with some self-loving and care. Don’t expect your partner to supply all your needs or fulfill all your desires.

Usually, as a child develops, stops nursing and needs less physical attention, a woman’s libido also returns. If you’re the mother’s partner, let her be in the driver’s seat. She’ll let you know when she’s ready. Absence of sex doesn’t mean she loves or desires you any less, it is simply a physical and emotional reality that can arise from having a baby.

As your child grows physically and cognitively, steps into the toddler stage and enters their first years in school, an array of options for intimacy with your sweetheart will be presented. If your child is sleeping in your bed, once they have fallen asleep you can take a mat and go to another room for some mutual pleasure. Make sure to be aware of and adjust the sounds you allow yourselves to make, depending on how deeply your child sleeps.

Another wonderful opportunity is to develop a community of other parents with similar aged children and exchange childcare two to three mornings or afternoons a week. This is not only emotionally beneficial in sharing the experience of parenting, but also allows you to arrange your time, whenever possible, for you and your mate to get together and have a romantic morning or afternoon. If you have other family and/or friends who offer to provide childcare, don’t pass it up, always say, “Thank you. Yes. When and where?”

You can also carry on your romance without having to physically touch each other. Write a love letter, send a card, a gift or some flowers with a note. Stop by your partner’s place of work. If you’re son or daughter is with you, bring them along. You don’t have to stay long. Just stop by, let them know you were thinking about them and can’t wait to see them when they get home. If you’re the person working, take a break on your lunch hour, go home and give everyone hugs and kisses. If you work to far away to drive by give them a call. Let them know that even in the midst of your busy day, you are thinking of them.

As your child or children, move on into their adolescence, teens and early twenties, they become more aware of themselves and of their parent’s sexuality. It isn’t as easy to sneak off into the bedroom or bath while the kids are watching their favorite show or playing a video game. Nor can you linger in bed on a weekend morning, without them figuring out what’s going on. Make sure to have sound proof doors to your bedroom and teach your kids about privacy and knocking before entering a room with the door closed. They will want to have the same respect for their privacy as they age.

Once your child begins attending school there are more chances to rendezvous in a variety of locations. If you can’t make it home, call and talk sex on the phone.

At this age it is much easier to have them stay overnight at a friend or relatives, thus giving you the entire night to indulge in your fantasies or just go out to dinner, dance, a play, movie, etc. You may be able to swing a night at a bed and breakfast or go for a long ride in the country and make love outdoors. The possibilities are almost endless.

One’s relationship will change with or without children. Don’t let being a parent put a total stop to your sex life. You can experience the ecstasy and the agony of having children and the joy and pleasure of a satisfying love life. One does not preclude the other. It depends on your expectations, your ability to adapt and change and to love one another exactly where you are. Learn to love without trying to manipulate, control or coerce the other into some memory you have of how you think things were “before children” or having them match an imaginary image of “perfect sex”.

If you look, listen, feel and pause long enough to see what you have in your relationship and not what is temporarily missing, you may come to appreciate and value your partner in an entirely new light. Yes, having a child will change your relationship and your lives forever, but it doesn’t have to stop you from growing, sharing and loving one another in the most intimate and loving ways.

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FINCA + YOU

Dear Gabriel and Colleagues,

When you think of FINCA, what comes to mind – microcredit, entrepreneurship, sustainability? When you think of FINCA +, what do you envision? We see FINCA + You, working together to change the world.

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FINCA + You = Microcredit and other financial services for the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs, so they can work their way out of poverty, create jobs for others, and improve their families’ standard of living.

FINCA + You = Microenergy, a pilot project we’re running in Uganda and seek to expand elsewhere in Africa and eventually throughout the 21-country FINCA network, helping deliver clean, affordable energy technologies to FINCA clients and their families.

FINCA + You = the possibility for improving the health of our clients. Healthcare emergencies are one of the leading reasons families that climbed out of poverty fall back into it. So FINCA is exploring ways to help our over one million clients create “rainy day” saving funds and access insurance services to protect themselves in the event of serious illness or other calamity.

Join us as we create hope and opportunity to help change lives in 21 countries around the world.

Sincerely,
Soledad Gompf
Vice President, FINCA

PS: Don’t forget, FINCA is part of a $1 million challenge grant to fight hunger around the world. Donate today, and your support will be partially matched!

Killing Clean Energy

Dear Gabriel,

Take Action: Don’t let ALEC kill clean energy.

CoalPlantBlue_150With national climate and energy policy stalled in Washington, 29 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted state renewable portfolio standards(RPSs). These energy standards have helped more than double America’s non-hydro renewable energy capacity over the last five years, making renewables by far the fastest growing energy sector in the country.

But, the dirty energy lobby is waging an all-out assault on the clean energy revolution — and they’re working through the notorious American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to push model legislation to gut state renewable energy standards.

Take Action: Tell ALEC to abandon this misguided crusade and stand with the vast majority of Americans who support renewable energy.

The 21st century is fast becoming the clean energy century, and thanks largely to enlightened leadership at the state level, clean, renewable energy is booming here in the U.S. — a fact that should be universally celebrated.

Because of your state’s renewable energy standard, an estimated 214,331,876 MWh of clean, renewable energy were generated in California last year — the equivalent of taking 48 coal plants offline for the year.

But with companies like Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil sitting on ALEC’s energy, environment and agriculture task force, they are trying to kill clean energy in America.

Take Action: Tell ALEC drop its backward, fossil fuel-funded assault on America’s booming clean energy industry.

Thank you for all you do,

Heather Shelby
Action Network Coordinator
Environmental Defense Fund

Here Comes the Sun

Be part of the solution.
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Creating a better world with the 2 most abundant resources on earth: solar power and people power.

Vote Solar works at the federal, state and local level to implement the policies and programs that build robust solar markets — and pave the way for a transition to a renewable energy economy.

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Vote Solar is a national nonprofit organization working to bring solar into the mainstream with grassroots action and technical expertise.

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America’s energy problems — from economic crisis to global climate change — will only be solved by a national transition to renewables. Clean, homegrown, reliable solar energy is ready to play a large part of the solution. It is the fastest growing energy source in the world, but we have still just scratched the surface of solar’s vast energy potential. In order to bring the technology to scale, we need to bring down costs. Vote Solar works to build the economies of scale necessary to bring solar into the mainstream.

The Vote Solar Initiative on Facebook
The Vote Solar Initiative Web Site

Clean Offshore Wind Energy

Dear Gabriel,

oilspill_bird_emailNo more oil spills.

Clean offshore wind energy is safer for the oceans and the planet than offshore oil rigs. Tell your Representative to extend the Investment Tax Credit on offshore wind.

It’s time to go in a new direction. After the Gulf of Mexico oil spill nearly three years ago, we dared to hope that offshore drilling might stop, or at least that it would become much, much safer.

That hasn’t happened. Dolphins and other wildlife are still at risk from oil disasters, and the threat is as big as ever.

We can keep fighting oil, and we will. But we can also fight for a safer, cleaner energy source: offshore wind. Offshore wind can harness a clean and infinite source of energy, while eliminating deadly drilling disasters and helping to create many more sustainable jobs than traditional fuel industries.

Act now to tell your Representative to support clean and safe offshore wind energy TODAY»

The biggest barrier to wind is financing. As with other emerging technologies, offshore wind needs a boost to get started. H.R.3238, the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act, will help with some of that cost by extending the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for the first 3,000 MW of offshore wind installed.

But we’ll need your help to get it passed. Contact your Representative today and tell them to cosponsor the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act»

We can prevent another Deepwater Horizon disaster. Support clean offshore wind energy today!

We can do this,
Emily Fisher
Oceana

Let the Wind Blow

Dear Gabriel,

It couldn’t be clearer that we need more jobs and sources of energy that don’t bring doom and gloom to the planet.

Yet we are we are weeks away from losing one of the most successful programs to promote wind energy in the U.S., and tens of thousands of the jobs that have come with it.

The Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which expires at the end of the year, has been an unequivocal success since it was enacted in 1992. In addition to helping lower the cost of wind energy by 90% and power the equivalent of 12 million homes, the PTC supports 75,000 wind jobs and helps raise $20 billion in private investment in wind energy each year.

Tell Congress: Renew the Wind Production Tax Credit. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

The PTC should be a no-brainer. But the Koch brothers-linked American Energy Alliance and Americans for Prosperity are waging a major campaign to sink it, and many Republicans are going along.

These Republicans are cynically claiming that we can’t afford the $1 billion-a-year program, even as the very same Republicans vote repeatedly to protect billions more per year in tax cuts and giveaways for the oil industry.

Their obstruction could cost an estimated 37,000 wind jobs over the next year, and already wind companies facing the changing economics without the PTC have laid off thousands of workers.

Tell Congress: Renew the Wind Production Tax Credit. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

The PTC is a bipartisan policy originally authored by Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Even the rabidly anti-climate U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers support the program because it has been and continues to be a terrific investment. So any elected leader who votes against the PTC is doing so for one reason only: to protect polluters, even at the expense of American jobs.

The potential for wind energy in this country is massive — 20% of all our energy could come from wind by 2030, supporting half a million jobs. But the industry can’t grow without predictable policies. The PTC has been allowed to expire three times since 2000, and each time, new installed wind capacity, and jobs in the wind industry, have plummeted.

It should come as no surprise that it is extremely difficult for emerging sources of energy to compete, as the oil, gas and coal industries continue to benefit from nearly a century of government investment, subsidies, giveaways, tax breaks and now even a political system that has been shaped by their influence and money.

But for the sake of our future, clean sources of energy must not just compete, they must surpass fossil fuels. The PTC keeps us moving in the right direction and Congress should renew it right away.

Thank you for working for better energy policies.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Renewables Rescuing Schools

From Nation of Change and Yes! Magazine
by Erin L. McCoy
News Report. 6 November 2012

Net Zero’s Net Worth: How Renewable Energy Is Rescuing Schools from Budget Cuts

As the new Richardsville Elementary School rose from its foundations on a rural road north of Bowling Green, Ky., fourth-grader Colton Hendrick was watching closely.

He would climb to the top of the playground equipment across the street and watch construction crews hauling in bamboo flooring and solar panels.

“He wants to be an architect some day,” recalled Manesha Ford, elementary curriculum coordinator and leader of the school’s energy team. “He would sit and draw, draw all the different aspects.”

But Richardsville Elementary would not only capture Hendrick’s imagination—it would come to inspire his classmates and school districts around the world. When Richardsville opened its doors in fall 2010, it was the first “net zero” school in the nation, meaning that the school produces more energy on-site than it uses in a year.

Solar tubes piping sunlight directly into classrooms eliminate much of the school’s demand for electric light, while a combination of geothermal and solar power cut down on the rest of the energy bill. Concrete floors treated with a soy-based stain don’t need buffing. The kitchen, which in most schools contributes to 20 percent of the energy bill, houses a combi-oven that cooks healthier meals and eliminates frying. This means an exhaust fan doesn’t pipe the school’s temperature-controlled air to the outdoors all day long. Meanwhile, “green screens” in the front hall track the school’s energy usage so kids can see the impact of turning off a light in real time.

These and other innovations make Richardsville better than net zero. It actually earns about $2,000 a month selling excess energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

But building a green school isn’t enough, according to architect Philip C. Gayhart, principal in the architecture firm Sherman Carter Barnhart, which built Richardsville and has helped the Warren County School District achieve Energy Star ratings for 17 of its 24 schools.

Three factors are essential to making a green school work: First, you need the participation of the community and the local power company; second, you can’t forget that a school is a dynamic learning environment; and third, you need to speak the language of money.

Green by necessity

Since the economic recession began in 2008, school districts have suffered. Local tax bases were shaken as property values plummeted, and states have cut back on funding to districts, which were pushed to cut funds wherever they were able. Addressing energy use made a lot of financial sense.

Few states have been harder hit than Arizona, where the 21.8 percent decrease in per-pupil spending was the highest in the nation.

Sue Pierce, director of facility planning and energy with the Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix, watched as teacher positions were cut, furlough days were scheduled, and $6 million in annual facilities funding disappeared.

“We saw that energy was really an area where we could perhaps save money by simply changing behavior,” Pierce said. “I approached the superintendent and asked permission to develop a program.”

The district’s new energy policy aimed to cut energy consumption district-wide by 10 percent in the first year and 40 percent over the next five years. As part of the program, Pierce began to distribute monthly reports on energy usage, which included every school in the district.

Some schools took to the program more quickly than others.

“Just by changing behaviors, they were showing 10 and 15 percent reduction the first or second month,” she said. The reports then fueled a competition between schools, and by the end of the first year, energy use had been cut 15 percent district-wide.

Since that time, the district has hosted a pilot program that, for the first time, demonstrated the feasibility of geothermal power in Arizona. Another pilot used smart water sensors to cut outdoor water use, and was so successful that the cost of the sensors was recouped in less than three months. The district even won funding to build two “green schoolhouses.”

Including grants the district has won, Pierce concludes the district has saved more than $15 million.

And while the district’s commitment to environmental consciousness has never been stronger, Pierce thinks that broaching the issue as a financial concern, rather than an environmental one, was the smartest approach.

The school district initially adopted the changes “as a way to save money, to save jobs for teachers,” she said. “What started out as a way to save money for the district—and it has—has evolved into a commitment to sustainability.”

A foundation without a footprint

While Washington Elementary School District and many others like it were just kicking off their energy programs in 2008, Richardsville Elementary and the rest of the Warren County School District were already five years ahead of the game.

The district had kicked off its district-wide energy campaign in 2003 under the direction of a forward-thinking superintendent, according to district Public Relations Coordinator Joanie Hendricks. The district was growing by about 400 students per year, and construction projects seemed to be always on the agenda.

So Warren County became one of the first districts in Kentucky to hire an energy manager and was able to save $560,499 in the first year by making small changes.

That first year of savings inspired the ambitious plans that came next, Hendrick said. “When you save half a million dollars in just changing your mindset, it just becomes a simple idea.”

Since 2003, the district has offset more than $7 million in energy costs. That equates to 45 teaching positions. It’s a number that really speaks to people.

“It makes you think twice when you’re going out the door to turn around and turn the light switch off,” Hendrick said, “when you know that could save somebody’s job.”

By the time Warren County decided to focus on greener schools, the architects at Sherman Carter Barnhart had been incorporating newer and greener materials in their plans for years.

“The perception is—and it’s not all wrong—is that it’s more costly, and we think if it’s done correctly it’s not really more costly,” Gayhart said. “I think the real ‘green’ is the dollars you can save the client in the life of the building. That’s the legacy you want.”

Learning gets greener

In 2005, Alvaton Elementary in Warren County opened using 36 kBtus of energy per square foot annually. That’s less than half the national average for schools, which is 73 kBtus. A few years later, Plano Elementary was using 28 kBtus, and today, Richardsville and two net zero-ready schools in the district use only 18 kBtus per square foot.

Net zero-ready schools have everything a net zero school has, minus the solar panels, which Richardsville was able to afford with the help of federal stimulus grants that have since run dry. Bardstown City Schools Finance Director Pat Hagan said although his district is implementing energy-saving measures, the up-front cost of solar doesn’t make financial sense right now.

Bardstown, situated in north central Kentucky, has two schools with geothermal systems.

“They’re a little more expensive to put in but you get your money back pretty quickly,” Hagan said.

Still, all options are on the table for a new school in the planning stages for Bardstown, which expects to see a bid from Sherman Carter Barnhart.

“When they built [Bardstown] High School in ’59 I don’t think anybody thought about energy at all,” Hagan said. “Nobody thought about it even from a cost or environmental view. Now, that’s the first two things you ask.”

For the next generation, this outlook may become a way of life. The schools described in this article have all integrated environmental and sustainability components into their curriculums, and students have adopted these issues passionately.

Read entire article at Nation of Change or Yes! Magazine.

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