Florence is the largest asteroid to pass Earth in a century

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Though the American eclipse may have come and gone, the skies above Earth never cease to amaze with new interstellar events, like Florence, the largest asteroid to approach our planet in over a century. Florence measures 2.7 miles (4.4 km) in diameter and is expected to pass by from the relatively proximity of 4.4 million miles (7 million km) away from Earth. View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building



California voters pass Proposition 64 to legalize recreational marijuana

Related: Legal Marijuana More Popular and Profitable than Smartphones in the U.S.

Via the Los Angeles Times

Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

So You Want to Pass a Death with Dignity Law in Your State

The number one constituent question we get at the National Center is, “what do I need to do to pass a Death with Dignity law in my state?” The answer is never easy because enacting a Death with Dignity law through the legislative process or ballot initiative is a complex, time-intensive, and expensive endeavor.

In a legislative environment, lawmakers are afraid of legislation focused on death even though repeated polls show a majority of Americans support Death with Dignity laws. Ballot initiatives are costly and time-consuming, requiring years of background work and the engagement of expensive professional political advisors nearly every step of the way.

The unfortunate reality is, while there’s a lot of activity and momentum in the New England region, not every state is ready to move forward immediately with Death with Dignity policy reform.

There are, however, lots of things you can do in your own state to jumpstart momentum and engage others in your request to push for reform, and I’m writing a five-part blog post about different ways to begin the process of legislative engagement in your state. Today’s post is focused on identifying allies because one thing is certain: you cannot do this alone.

Before you start, you need to understand your own commitment, including time and resource restraints. To effectively engage legislators, you may need to make a two to three year commitment of at least five hours a week. That’s a big investment of your time! Asking yourself whether you want to make that sort of commitment is important, because you’ll be asking others to join you. If you’re not willing, nor able, to make a commitment of that magnitude, there are other things you can do. Making the decision to go forward as a catalyst for statewide reform should be made with much deliberation and consultation with your family and friends.

If you really want to work on pushing Death with Dignity policy reform into the public debate, you’ll need a group of allies who share your passion. Realistically, you’ll need five or six people willing to invest approximately ten hours a month in volunteer time with the issue. To find such dedicated people—those who will become your “inner circle” of confidantes—you may need to approach 25-30 (or even more) potential volunteers.

This process may seem daunting, but you’ll repeat it over and over again throughout the time you’re engaged with the issue. In politics, when you don’t have big money, you have to have people…and our movement is all about people. It’ll get easier the more you do it. And, there are two wonderful things you’ll uncover: there’s more support in your community for Death with Dignity than you realize and people have the most amazing (and sometimes, tragic) stories to share.

For the most part, you’ll want to have individual meetings with potential volunteers. In these earliest of days, public meetings are not your friend. Ask five friends to tea; ask another five to join you for happy hour. Talk to five people at your church or synagogue, on your bowling league, or at your fitness club. Listen to their stories, and see what happens. You’ll find an ally willing to do this work with you, and then another.

Drop me an email and let me know your progress, and enjoy the stories.

Next up: Engaging Allies and Learning the Issue

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