By Alexandra Del Canto
When thinking of a front yard, the first thing many of us envision is a carpet of green grass.
Lush lawns do not occur naturally, therefore a healthy lawn does not happen without much effort from the owner. But what started this craze about homes needing a front lawn?
Lawns originate back to the aristocratic times of the early 18th century. Lawns were a sign of wealth and were popular as the climate was conducive to growing them in the United Kingdom. The trend was adapted throughout history over and over again, although many would argue that owning a lawn is actually hurting the planet.
Well, the EPA estimates that 30-60% of fresh water is used for watering lawns.
Just as certain species of plants do not thrive in particular areas, lawns do not thrive well in certain areas as well. This can mean that depending on the location, lawns may need extra water and certain pesticides to keep them lush and growing.
Both of these elements are detrimental to the environment. On top of the extreme use of water and pesticides, mowers that maintain the lawns emit a large amount of pollutants. The EPA estimates 580 million gallons of gasoline are used for lawnmowers annually.
With severe on going droughts in many part of the world, why are we continuing to waste our natural resources on maintaining a piece of aesthetic and modern comfort?
In many areas, as well as South Florida (where Rise News is headquartered), not “properly maintaining” a lawn is punishable by law. But what if you wish to not have a lawn at all, so you do not have to use the resources to maintain it?
In most areas of South Florida, that’s not okay either, you must maintain a certain amount of lawn on your property.
Here’s an example from the Broward County Code:
(Article VIII, “Landscaping for Protection of Water Quality and Quantity,”):
“For the purpose of this article, native vegetation shall consist of those plant species indigenous to the ecological communities of South Florida, as indicated on lists provided by Broward County. The remainder of the required landscape area shall be landscaped with turfgrass..”
Why is there such an emphasis on growing lawns rather than maintaining native vegetation? The most practical use of personal land would be to benefit the environment and it’s inhabitants. The use of land for growing food rather than lawns should be encouraged rather than discouraged. Think of the consequences of keeping a lawn and the alternative uses of potential space. Besides, beauty is only blade deep.
This article was original published on www.risemiaminews.com.
Cover Photo Credit: Alexandra Del Canto/RISE NEWS
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The internet and social media have revolutionized the way in which we communicate, conduct business, and learn.
For students especially, such a rapidly changing environment has had an equally pronounced effect on student life and culture.
Opportunities are endless, and pursuing those unlimited opportunities seems to be pushed harder and harder with each new wave of prospective students.
As a recent graduate friend of mine reflected, by sophomore year, incoming freshmen will be overseeing at least five on campus organizations, conducting graduate level research, working two jobs, applying for 30+ internships, and getting published all at the same time.
While a bit of an exaggeration, it isn’t too far from the norm, and reflects a growing trend among college students leading increasingly fast paced lives.
None of this would be possible without the internet, but there may be a dark side.
Several studies have come out recently highlighting an increase in levels of stress and anxiety among both college level and high school students.
Academic institutions are increasingly having to expand care for mental health as the demand continues to exceed capacity across the nation.
According to the American Psychological Association, the percentage of students seeking counseling has skyrocketed from 37% in 2007, to around 50% by 2014.
Anxiety ranks as the most common reason students seek help.
As a rather involved university student myself, I’ve grown accustomed to the occasional fits of anxiety and have seen it become more and more commonplace among friends and peers.
The problem may be that technology has opened up so many doors that students are having trouble deciding which ones to close.
This goes back to the increased level of involvement of students mentioned earlier.
We as humans are naturally risk averse, and for far too many, not pursuing an opportunity is seen as a risk.
At the same time, social media exposes us to what everyone else is doing, causing us to judge our actions more harshly against a larger pool.
Instead of applying for five colleges for example, some high school grads report applying to a minimum of 15 as the norm.
All too often we find ourselves pursuing opportunities either because we saw that someone else had success and wonder if we can mimic it, or because we don’t know what we want to do so we apply for everything.
If we don’t, we feel we may miss out.
Thus, students end up increasingly overburdened with work they may not even enjoy, and more and more confused about their futures.
Among those students who don’t favor such a fast paced life, they too are finding themselves questioning their decisions and lifestyles against their other more involved peers, ignoring what may be best for themselves.
At the end of the day, that is where all this anxiety and stress is coming from.
It is a product of doing something that is not in line with one’s personal ethos, and the increased uncertainty of an environment dominated by technology.
By that I mean, the internet has no set focus.
It bounces around from one thing to the next with no attention span whatsoever.
If we are to give any credit to the idea that humans mimic their environment, the internet is making it increasingly apparent that we do.
We can see this on every level, from the CDC’s tracking of increased rates of ADHD in kids, to college students who report less and less meaning in their relationships.
The way many millennials behave and interact with each other draws stark parallels to the way we consume information.
Facebook, for example, is overloaded with short flashy videoclips that bounce around form one topic to another.
These videos are quickly becoming the average millennial’s go to for news and updates, and while they may look nice on the surface, in actuality, they convey very little.
This makes the problem of stress even worse because normally our best counters to those feelings are our personal relationships, friends and family that keep us grounded.
Instead, millennials are turning to their phones and computers for their security, but very little of it provides any genuine long term comfort.
The internet has changed the environment at such a sharp pace it may be that the mind has not had enough time to adapt.
The best medicine may simply be to slow down.
As someone who once went into a cardiologist’s office mistaking anxiety for heart problems, if there’s any advice I can offer my fellow peers who feel overwhelmed by the intensity of the world around them, it would be to learn how to say no instead of maybe.
Remind yourself that you don’t have to constantly be in motion.
That sometimes a moment of solitude on the shores of a lake offers more value than a night out. And to do what you want to do, not what you feel pressured into.
Because at the end of the day, you will never do as good a job at something you don’t like as opposed to someone who enjoys it.
College is a difficult time for everyone, but the most important lessons you learn won’t come in the form of your classes.
You’ll forget most of that stuff anyway, and most the experience you’ll need will come from work or post-grad.
Instead, the most important lessons that college teaches you are how to handle people, how to handle time, and most importantly, how to handle yourself.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Sodanie Chea/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 75
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Death is not a calming thought for most people.
But these guys aren’t most people.
They want you to die. But only after you listen to their podcast.
Brian Lemmerman and Cory Hardaker are interesting figures in the growing South Florida Mindfulness firmament.
Both are young and deeply believe in the power of living in the moment.
Hardaker is a meditation teacher at Innergy Meditation in Miami Beach and a skilled martial artist.
He also teaches self defense to adults and anti-bullying prevention to children.
Lemmerman is a professor of Mindfulness at Barry University in Miami Shores who previously ran an advertising agency.
Together they make up Mindfulness of Doom, a recently launched weekly podcast about “life, peaceful living, and existential dread.”
The episodes are funny and light in tone but they tackle some pretty meaty topics.
Along the way, the hosts remind their listeners that we are all going to die at some point, so we might as well be happy with the time we have.
We recently interviewed sent Lemmerman some questions via email (because we are busy and are GOING TO DIE!). Here’s what he had to say:
RISE NEWS: Tell us about your background and how you got involved in Mindfulness.
Brian Lemmerman: I was born in Miami and grew up in Broward County. I studied Architecture at the University of Miami and graduated at the height of the last recession when there were no jobs available in my field. In response, I started an advertising agency with some friends and taught myself web design and marketing to support myself. It was a fun occupation, but learned it wasn’t my passion. I sold my shares in 2012 and got back into the world of architecture and urban planning for 2 years until one evening in May 2015, I was struck by a vehicle and sustained a brain injury that put me out of designing for almost a year. In the meantime, I continued my 5-year mindfulness practice, and I found daily meditation to be the most effective tool on my healing journey. I decided to teach mindfulness to help others who have their own healing including removing internal barriers that keep us from pursuing our passions. For a while I did some marketing consulting while getting my teaching career started, and as of August, I made the big leap to mindfulness full-time. We’re now working on a business to teach mindfulness and meditation online at a deeper level than our podcast offers. I’m also currently teaching as a Mindfulness Professor at Barry University.
RISE NEWS: How do you explain mindfulness to someone who has never been exposed to the concept before?
I describe mindfulness as an art of paying attention on purpose and without judgement. Many people have this idea that mindfulness and meditation are interchangeable terms, and that meditation should somehow be relaxing and peaceful. In practice, one is mindful as long as they are aware that they are paying attention. And for a first-timer, staying aware and consistently paying attention are difficult tasks. The process is anything but relaxing and peaceful. The mind spouts off all sorts of distracting thoughts and daydreams that pull at our attention every moment. Meditation is one expression of mindfulness, and there are endless meditations one can add to their practice. One of the most common and basic meditations is a breath meditation where one sits cross-legged on the floor and simply watches their breath for a period of time. From the outside, it looks peaceful. Almost certainly however; the practitioner’s mind will be thinking hundreds of noisy thoughts during the session. The point of the meditation is not to stop the thinking. It’s to stay focused on the breath despite the thinking. The mind is designed to think. Why stop it? The heart is designed to beat. It too can be distracting in silence. But why stop the heart? This kind of practice strengthens the mind’s focus and attention, just like weight-lifting strengthens our muscles. Inner peace and unexplainable feelings of joy happen to be fortunate by-products of the work-out.
RISE NEWS: Where did the idea for the podcast come from?
For us, the podcast is a passion project that allows us to share our knowledge and experience with a larger audience. Cory and I began meeting over the summer to concept a larger business idea, of which Mindfulness of Doom is one component. Ultimately, we’re committed to creating a global university or retreat center that serves to educate people in real life skills such as mindfulness, interpersonal communication, physical well-being, financial literacy, and many of the other important skills our mandatory childhood education system doesn’t teach. This school will be made available online first, and the podcast is our first step.
As our first foray into podcasting, we’ve gotten some feedback on roughness in terms of sound quality and editing. We’re improving with quantum leaps each week.
RISE NEWS: Miami is a stressed out place. How do you think mindfulness could help make things better?
I hear people say Miami is a stressed-out place. I hear them say things like “people here are rude and impatient” or “Miami is a shallow party city”. That may be true for some people. One important distinction I learned while practicing mindfulness is that my attention creates my reality. If I choose to focus on my automatic judgements of other people and believe the automatic generalizations my mind invents about places, then some of these phrases might become true for me. Instead, I’ve learned to manage my attention and remain aware of what I choose to believe. As a result, I tend to be surrounded by people who do the same and live in a different story about their surroundings. Miami is a story, and we get to tell it. I choose that Miami is a peaceful and community-oriented place. I live as though this is true, and it becomes real for me. If I’m the minority in this mindset, some might say I’m crazy. If enough of us make the choice to believe and live differently, the collective story about Miami will eventually shift. To change the world, we must first start within.
RISE NEWS: What are you ambitious for the podcast? Where do you see it going?
We recently launched our Patreon Page and are actively seeking regular monthly contributors to help support us in our transition as entrepreneurs sharing mindfulness in this unique way. We plan to continue producing the show weekly, and as our listening community funds us, we will hire staff, seek high-profile guests, and continue to improve production quality. Cory and I have a book idea, and dreams of traveling to do live events. As we grow, we plan to connect with masters and practitioners all over the world who are making a difference one mindful breath at a time.
Fans can become funders for as little as $1/month. Every contribution helps! http://patreon.com/mindfulnessofdoom/
RISE NEWS: The name, Mindfulness of Doom is obviously pretty unique. But how do you keep the podcast from becoming dark and depressing though?
Given its name, we acknowledge that Mindfulness of Doom can be an odd first choice for someone getting into mindfulness, but we’ve learned from experience that putting mindfulness in the context of our own mortality creates a sense of urgency to live the most fulfilling lives we can right now while we’re still on earth. The name has a dark yet geeky sound to it, and on first impression, listeners find the podcast light-hearted and humorous. We joke about the end of the world in every episode, but the Doom we’re talking about isn’t apocalyptic. We’re simply acknowledging that this life of ours has an end-point sometime in the future. Getting past the fear of our inevitable demise and honoring our mortality brings a sense of inner contentment and clarity on who we are and what we must do next.
RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!
Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This Gun Loving Miami Teen Is In Jail On A Child Porn Charge After His Dad Turned His Phone Over To PoliceBy Staff Report
What You Need To Know About This Story:
-An 18 year old student at Miami Krop Senior High School is in jail after his father turned over the teen’s phones to police.
-Sean Mesa was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography and a charge of improper display of a firearm after police were given his phones to look at concerns his father had regarding his gun use.
–The Miami Herald reports that federal and local investigators knew about Mesa before his father turned over the electronic devices because of various social media posts he has made in the past.
-Mesa’s father was apparently motivated to turn over the phones after the Parkland shooting.
-From the Herald:
“Mesa came to the attention of U.S Homeland Security Investigations’ Violent Gang Task Force, which forwarded his Instagram and Snapchat photos “recklessly displaying firearms and pointing them at the camera,” according to an arrest warrant.
Miami-Dade Schools Detective John Messenger went to Krop High on Tuesday to try to “engage in a friendly conversation to understand what Sean Mesa’s fascination with firearms was.”
Mesa, however, bristled — telling him ‘he likes guns and it was his right to post on social media whatever he wished.'”-After the police visited Mesa at school, his father agreed to turn over the phones to authorities.-During the search on the phones, the US Secret Service found video of a 10 year child being sexually abused. Mesa allegedly had shared in a group chat.Do you know Sean Mesa? Send us a tip to email@example.com.
This story is from The Miami Monster, a new brand focused on telling the true stories of what life is like for a young person living in South Florida. Be sure to also follow our founder Joel Franco on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest breaking news in the area. You can send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.Post Views: 131
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