Skinny house in Vietnam is surprisingly filled with natural light and cooling winds

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Commissioned for a middle-aged couple and their child, the Cul-de-sac House is named for its location at the end of a long and narrow cul-de-sac. To maximize natural light, the interior is centered on an atrium that funnels light from the skylight into the surrounding rooms. Windows of varying sizes, including grids of square openings, punctuate the home to promote airflow that provides much-needed natural cooling in the tropical climate.

Related: Thong House in Vietnam redefines the traditional… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building



Idaho mom built a tiny house for her family and their Great Dane

Macy Miller built her own tiny house in Boise, Idaho, but it isn’t just Miller living there – she also shares the space with her kids, partner and one giant dog. Choosing to focus on experiences rather than stuff, the space requires some clever thinking and a few tight squeezes, but the whole gang lives happily together in just 196 square feet.
READ MORE > View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Maine’s Historic House Vote and the Demise of LD 1270

Maine Senate Vote on LD 1270

This is a report from this week’s votes on LD 1270, a Death with Dignity bill, in Maine’s legislature, by our long-time supporter and volunteer, Valerie Lovelace.

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Valerie Lovelace is the executive director of the nonprofit It’s My Death, which she founded to honor a promise to her sister Dee, dying of cancer, “to teach others how to be with dying, how to speak and listen to one another the way we had learned to speak and listen, and how to go on even when afraid.” She is an inter-faith minister, ordained by calling, studying and practicing in the traditions of her elders and teachers, who are Native American, Christian, and Buddhist. She is a hospice volunteer, artist, and the parent of three adult children. She is also a homeopathic practitioner and a Reiki Master, retired from the U.S. Navy, and a trained EMT. She lives in Maine.

Today I am both happy and sad.

I’m happy that LD 1270, An Act Regarding Patient-Directed Care at the End-of-Life, enjoyed a Committee hearing, a Committee working session, two Senate hearings with roll call votes, an historic House hearing with a roll call vote—all in the space of just two months.

LD 1270 in the Legislature

The first Senate hearing on Monday resulted in an 18-17 vote “Ought Not to Pass”; the subsequent hearing in the House House yielded a 76-70 vote “Ought to Pass,” which sent the bill back to the Senate with the same result. Fascinating and encouraging is that these aren’t all the same votes. One Senator changed to a supportive position while another changed to opposing. That means there are changes of heart around this issue and lots of potential exists for ongoing education and advocacy in Maine’s legislature.

The bill was a late-in-the-first-half effort that took a lot of time, because four different legislative teams drafted bills. The four merged into Senator Katz’s draft, a fine piece of bi-partisan legislation, modeled on Vermont’s Act 39, with very strong sponsorship that finally went to public hearing on May 15, 2015, just one month and two days before the end of the session.

Death with Dignity in Maine Isn’t Going Away

Add to this the difficulty of getting a budget settled and all the turmoil that goes with it, and it feels to me like efforts with LD 1270 were hugely successful. I’m happy that two physicians, one in the House and one in the Senate, boldly supported the draft. But, LD 1270 is no more.

After the Tuesday session, Senator Katz said of the Senate’s failure to pass the bill, “Today, we fell short by one vote. Just one. This will come to the legislature again. It’s an end-of-life issue that isn’t going away.”

I feel sad making phone calls this evening to some terminally ill people who counted on this bill and counted on their legislators. But I am encouraged by their commitment to keep telling their stories and working towards another bill for the next legislative round.

I’m sad so many in Maine remain unaware of what this legislation is about and what it seeks to achieve, and I’m sad (and perhaps a little angry) when organized efforts to sabotage safe, thoughtful legislation like LD 1270 come from people who say they have the utmost compassion and value for human life.

The persuasion of public policy by people who believe their perspective is right for everyone comes with serious consequences. For end-of-life options, those consequences are actual matters of life and death. At the end of a human life, no one—no one—has the right to assert a particular viewpoint, a set of values dictating what is “right” and what is “wrong,” or a medical healthcare perspective that overrides any of the civil liberties enjoyed by that dying individual.

Representative Beavers, the bill’s co-sponsor in the House, testified that likely 30 Mainers per year would end up taking a life-ending medication if statistics here are anything at all like Oregon or Washington. Those are pretty huge consequences. They have faces. They have names. They have families who care about them.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Vermont House and Senate Pass Death with Dignity

Vermont made history today!

The Vermont House and Senate both approved the same version of a law based on Oregon’s model Death with Dignity legislation, and the bill now heads to the governor’s desk for signature. In the past, Governor Shumlin has indicated he’ll sign the bill if it reaches his desk. With the Governor’s signature, Vermont becomes the third state with an assisted dying law and the first state to enact this law through a legislative process. A historic achievement.

This achievement comes after over 10 years of diligent work by our partners, Patient Choices Vermont. In August of 2002, dedicated volunteer Dick Walters brought together a group of Vermonters who wanted their state to allow the same rights Oregonians had because of the groundbreaking Death with Dignity Act. Knowing he needed to consult experts in passing this sort of law, he contacted the only organization which had successfully written and passed such a law: Oregon Death with Dignity, the predecessor of the Death with Dignity National Center.

Right from the beginning, the Death with Dignity National Center formed a strong partnership with Dick Walters and his group, Patient Choices Vermont, to advance legislation allowing for safeguarded assisted death, and we’ve been there every step of the way. Over the years, we’ve joined our credibility, knowledge, and connections to end-of-life care experts with Patient Choices’ dedication to Death with Dignity policy reform in their state.

Beyond our countless hours of work lending political experience to help Patient Choices, we connected them to people who’ve seen Oregon’s law in action through their work in hospice and palliative care. One such expert is Ann Jackson, former Executive Director of the Oregon Hospice Association. Reflecting back on her most recent trips to Vermont, Ann said:

What was most different—and gratifying—about Vermont’s experience was that the House and Senate, as whole bodies, were able to discuss or debate the issue. The bills did not die in committee. What was most interesting was the quality of the discussions in committees—thoughtful and looking for good and truthful information.

The House and Senate debates were more about innuendo and lacked depth. This is not criticism—it is expected that committees seek information and learn and teach. What was most frustrating is that Oregon’s credibility is questioned, even when data and independent studies corroborate state findings. The same dire predictions are being made now that were made in Oregon in 1994 and 1997—and proven wrong—and in every state and country that has considered physician-assisted dying before and after.

But today, facts and data won. Oregon’s law now has 15 years of data demonstrating the groundbreaking Death with Dignity Act written by our founding board member Eli Stutsman is no longer an experiment or test case; it now serves as the model for end-of-life care policy reform. All of us here at the Death with Dignity National Center applaud Vermont lawmakers and Patient Choices Vermont for being truly dedicated to patient-centered care and moving one step closer to allowing all Vermonters to determine how to live out their final days when death draws near.

The bill now heads to Governor Shumlin’s desk for final approval. With his signature, Vermont will take the historic step of becoming the first state to enact Death with Dignity through a legislative process.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Vermont House Passes Death with Dignity

VT Statehouse, photo by Mark Danielson on flickr
VT Statehouse, photo by Mark Danielson on flickr

Vermont took another step toward allowing terminally ill people to decide the manner and timing of their deaths through a safeguarded process. Today, the Vermont House approved a bill emulating the time-tested Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts by a vote of 81-64. The path has been a long one, and it still has a ways to go before a final version would be presented to Governor Shumlin.

Since its introduction to the full Senate for debate earlier this year, the proposed bill has taken a meandering path. In the Senate, the bill was drastically amended before being approved and sent to the state House. In the House, the Senate bill was introduced and referred to the House Human Services Committee for consideration.

After listening to hours of expert testimony, the committee voted to restore the original bill’s safeguards, bringing it more in line with the existing Death with Dignity laws. Because of the changes to the structure of the bill, the House Judiciary Committee had to go through it with a fine tooth comb to make sure the proposed bill would work with existing Vermont laws.

At the end of last week, the Judiciary Committee had completed its inspection, and approved the bill for consideration by the full House. After a lively floor debate over the course of two days, the House advanced a bill today which differs from the Senate bill. Before a bill can be sent to the Governor, the Senate either needs to agree to the House’s amended bill or request a Committee of Conference made up of House and Senate members to find common ground between the two versions. If a Committee of Conference is assembled, the version they come up with would need to approved by both the Senate and the House before moving to the Governor’s desk.

No doubt about it, the Death with Dignity movement is standing on the precipice of monumental change, and we’ll be there every step of the way until all terminally ill Americans have the right to a dignified death. Thank you for your support.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Vermont House Human Services Committee Advances Death with Dignity

All the recent legislative activity surrounding Death with Dignity shows Americans are ready for a meaningful conversation about how we die. Your support makes it possible for us to work with people throughout the US to advance these discussions.

Some highlights:

  • Vermont: Our partners on the ground are mobilizing citizens to talk to their lawmakers about why these laws are needed. A Death with Dignity bill has already cleared the Senate, and moments ago, the House Human Services Committee voted to advance a bill with safeguards which emulates the time-tested Oregon Death with Dignity Act. The bill now moves to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration, and Judiciary has dedicated this week to hearing testimony on the bill.
  • New Jersey: A bill which would lead to a voter referendum for a Death with Dignity law has been sent to the floor of the House for consideration.
  • New Hampshire: The House advanced a bill to study Death with Dignity laws.

Read more about these & other states >

Stand with us as we make history and lead the way toward real and lasting healthcare policy reform to allow for safeguarded assisted dying. Your tax-deductible gift of $50, $100, or even $500 makes all the difference. Thank you.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Vermont House Committee Decides to Focus on Bill Language with Safeguards

Dr. Angell testifying in VT. Photo care of Patient Choices
Dr. Angell testifying in VT. Photo care of Patient Choices

Great news from Vermont today! After hearing testimony from various end-of-life care experts, advocates, and some opponents over the last two weeks, the Vermont House Human Services Committee decided to focus on bill language with safeguards modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity legislation. All of us here at the Death with Dignity National Center applaud the Vermont House committee members on their decision and extend an enormous thank you to our partners, Patient Choices Vermont, for all of their hard work to get to this historic moment.

But let’s step back a moment, and get everyone caught up. Back in February, the Vermont Senate advanced Senate Bill 77 after drastically amending the language of the bill to remove the safeguards similar to the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts, and moved the bill to the state House for consideration. The bill was introduced and filed with the Vermont House Human Services Committee. Because the House Judiciary Committee is likely to be involved if Human Services decides to change the bill back to be more in line with the existing Death with Dignity laws, the two House Committees held joint hearings to gather testimony.

Last week, committee members heard from end-of-life care experts including George Eighmey, Anne Jackson, Harry Chen, and Diana Barnard. This week, the committees heard from advocates and proponents at a public hearing and continued listening to more end-of-life care experts such as Dr. Marcia Angell and people who are dying of terminal illnesses and want more end-of-life options like Ben Underhill.

This morning, the Human Services Committee began their work in earnest to determine whether they wanted to keep the Senate version of the bill or focus on bill language which would include extensive safeguards such as the ones found in the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts. They decided to focus on bill language with safeguards modeled on the Oregon law.

The bill still has a long road ahead of it; check back often for the latest news. You can also catch up on videos and audio files of the recent testimony in Vermont through Patient Choices Vermont’s website.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Vermont House Committees Hear Testimony on Death with Dignity Bill

Patient Choices VT Ad "Now--Not in 10 Years"

The proposed Vermont Death with Dignity bill started its journey through the state’s House of Representatives in earnest this week. The bill (Senate Bill 77) took some unusual turns before being approved by the Senate on February 14th of this year. This week, House Judiciary and Human Services committees heard from Senators about the bill’s path in the Senate and end-of-life care experts familiar with the need for safeguards in Death with Dignity laws.

The hearings started on Wednesday with Sen. Claire Ayer explaining the process the bill went through in the Senate. She was followed by many people with extensive knowledge about Death with Dignity laws including Jean Mallary—widow of Vermont Congressman Richard Mallary.

Hearings continued on Thursday and included supportive testimony from several notables: two former governors, Barbara Roberts from Oregon and Madeleine Kunin from Vermont; Harry Chen, Vermont Commissioner of Public Health; George Eighmey, the newest Death with Dignity National Center board member, former Oregon legislator, and former executive director of the Oregon nonprofit which works directly with patients to access the state’s Death with Dignity Act; and respected palliative care physician Diana Barnard.

The hearings this week wrapped up with expert testimony from Ann Jackson who headed up the Oregon Hospice Association when Oregon’s law went into effect and Marnie Wood (featured in Patient Choices’ Ad available on their website) whose sister used Oregon’s law.

Next up: a public hearing on Tuesday, April 16th. Stay up-to-date through our blog and on social media through Facebook and Twitter.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center