Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake: The Gift of Clean Air

Please enjoy my column for the May-June 2018 Edition of the Loon Lake Times

Copyright ©2018, ElizaBeth Coira

The sun has finally returned to brighten our days. The swallows sing and swoop overhead. The coots have taken over the lake, though the heron still finds there’s plenty of space. It’s spring—really SPRING—at last here at Loon Lake! The warmer temperatures invite back more neighbors and friends. And at last I can rejoice in opening the windows—life just feels better when it’s all aired out!

Once upon a time, living in cities, I had to be more careful about opening my windows. The pollution of traffic, cigarette smoke, and a hazy industrial grime threatened my joy, health, and love of life in the fresh, clean air. Though many find it hard to understand the allure of a more rural, quiet existence; the clean air, serenity, and gift of relative silence have all done wonders for my state of being. But I wonder, do we realize, even appreciate Mother Nature’s inherent gifts like the fresh air we depend on essentially to be? It’s a gift that so many in the cities long for, and many will unfortunately never know. It’s the type of gift we must honor and treasure, respect, protect, and preserve for all.

Among the benefits of airing out our homes is the insurance of greatly improved indoor air quality, not only a health enhancer, but in some cases a life saver. Moving to this region, I was surprised to discover that both Stevens and Spokane counties are among the “hottest regions” in the nation for radon gas. Radon gas is invisible, odorless, tasteless, and naturally occurring; it comes from the breakdown of uranium in the earth. This gas, however, can become trapped and build up over time in our closed-up houses, especially after a long winter. Long-term exposure to this radioactive gas has been directly linked to lung cancer and certain types of sarcomas (cancerous tumors). You can check your indoor air quality, and specifically radon levels, with testing kits available from most hardware stores. And some in this region have found it necessary to install ventilation systems. But one of the easiest, cheapest ways to improve your indoor air quality, at least in this area, is to simply open your windows. Other sources of indoor air pollution with links to various cancers include a buildup of gasses from cleaning products, pesticides, herbicides, and also from clothing that’s been treated with dry-cleaning chemicals. Carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dust, and mold can also cause serious, life-threatening effects. When in doubt, air it out!

Of course opening you windows is all contingent upon whether you or your neighbors are burning anything. According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the following list of items are banned from being burned, at all times, in all places, due to public health and safety concerns:  Continue reading

Duty ~ By ElizaBeth Coira

Is it my duty
Obligation
Responsibility
To put on
A pretty face for you

Simply because I’m a woman

As though my life
Weren’t meant for more
Than the shadowy
Fantasies
Of others

As though my life
Weren’t my own
Beyond what a man
Would pay for

No my friends
That moment has passed
Of social sickness
Putrid illness

At least in my mind
But what’s true for you
Do you buy and consume
The old bloody ruse

How funny
How entrenched
The sins of old
Designed to confine us
And subjugate

One from another
Equal lovers
Partners make
For very poor soldiers

Converts and subjects
Free thinking
Free loving
Free wielding
Free me
Free you
For we

Are meant for more
Than such trifles
Distractions
Pawns
In a muddled
Man-made game

I’m looking forward to sharing this piece, and a couple others, TONIGHT, at the Spokane FemFest–Feminist Art Festival! Checkout this clip of our recent interview on Good Day Spokane, highlighting the event! And join us in Spokane, Washington tonight, 6 pm at the Bartlett, if you can!

Walk A While With Me Friend ~ We Can No Longer Remain Silent

Please enjoy my article for the March/April 2018 edition of the Loon Lake Times

Walk A While With Me Friend – We Can No Longer Remain Silent
Reflections from the 2018 Women’s Marches in Eastern Washington
Copyright ©2018, ElizaBeth Coira

  • Compassion. Common Sense. Humanity. Love. Equality and Equity. For All.
  • The Earth. The Water. Scientific Research. Human Rights, regardless of race, size, shape, identity, disability, affiliation, or sexual orientation.

  • Bodily Autonomy. Healthcare and Access. Family Planning, Birth Control, Reproductive Rights. For our Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Cousins, Friends, Neighbors, Ourselves.
  • Legal Protections and Recognitions. In the Workplace, in the Home, in Public, in our Neighborhoods, Schools, and Community Streets. To Keep Us Safe from harassment, assault, rape, abduction, gunning down, and systematic economic discrimination.

  • Build Bridges Not Walls. What about the real-life humans, critically contributing to our communities and economies. They immigrated simply trying to survive and perhaps even make a better life. Their aspirations may not be so different from yours or mine. Are we comfortable with relying on them to pick our fruits, clean our offices, slaughter our meats; only to shout “Shut Up, and Get Out”? As we gorge ourselves on cheap hamburgers, pesticide-laced apples, and twisted up versions of the “American dream”. And their children who arrived at young and tender ages, sharing classrooms, sports fields, and school lunches with our children for most of their lives; shall we shout “Get Out Too,” as we show them the door, with a steel-toed boot and baton in hand?

  • Safety in Schools for our Children and Educators, from the tyranny of violent threat and chaos. Investment in Public Education Funding, for the infrastructure, supplies, teachers, and counselors guiding and shaping young minds—Our Future.
  • Legal Protections for all from military grade weapons built for rapid, automated modes of nothing more than mass destruction. How many stacks of slaughtered, innocent civilians will it take, as politicians and lobbyists watch from ivory towers and yachts, golf clubs and private jets? Our “all or nothing” public dialogue about guns must seem so pathetically simple, amusing, and profitable to them.

Above are just some of the issues that mobilized over 4.2 million Americans at Women’s Marches across the country, the weekend of January 20th – 21st, in what some are tallying to be the largest demonstration in US history. Here in eastern Washington friends and neighbors also gathered, united in protest: 6,000+ strong in Spokane, 100+ strong in Chewelah. Our neighbors and friends, families and colleagues showed up, spoke out, refusing to be silenced by the unfortunate attempts of cowardly online bullies, drive-by verbal attacks, and even familial and workplace intimidation. So many of us in eastern Washington are no longer content to look the other way when misogyny, racism, unchecked greed, and power grabs of various sorts threaten our lives and our American democracy.  Continue reading