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Theodora Filis: An Environmental Columnist Shares Some Thoughts…

23/08/2010

A Twitter Friend: An Environmental Columnist Shares Some Thoughts…

“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.” ~Theodore Roosevelt, seventh annual message, 3 December 1907

Tweet This: Environmentally Safe - Organically Grown

One of the great benefits of joining social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and such is the convenience of connecting with some of the most talented, informed, interesting and successful people around. From my first week of tweeting till now, I have had, as so many others have, the opportunity to converse and collaborate with some pretty creative and impressive folk. My Twitter friends are terrific.

As I’ve said in other interviews here, the goal remains to share insights and stories from my interviewees and present the real people behind the many usernames that greet us on myriad sites. Theodora Filis is a twitter friend whom I met through another great twitter friend Deana Martina.

“There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.” ~Brooke Medicine Eagle
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

Dora Filis: An Environmental Columnist shares...

When we first connected on Twitter, what struck me about Theodora or Dora, as she is fondly called, is that she listens and remembers exchanges. How many of us are able to do this consistently? With all the internet distractions, it’s not as easy as we think. After a few tweets, I sought my way to Dora’s website to get a better sense of the person behind the username and found her writings and outstanding research on environmental issues. I remember a post she wrote on the impending water crisis in the US and how we are marching down the road to water becoming a rare commodity. Or as an expert said, “Water is overtaking oil as our scarcest natural resource in the world.” (Charity: Water is doing awesome work on this)

Dora has consulted with corporations and government agencies, travels extensively, lives partly in New Jersey and Greece, and actively contributes her freelance write-ups to various publications including Examiner.com, UK Progressive, GreenWala and more. Ever the busy mom of two boys, she agreed to share some thoughts with us. I am glad she did. I encourage you to read her blogs: F.R.E.E. Foundation, Introspections, DorasDoingitHerWay, Shewrites, follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn. Enjoy her contribution below…

“I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?” ~Robert Redford, Yosemite National Park dedication, 1985

Greek Nights: Unadulterated Terrain via D. Filis

Foundation Questions:
Tell us a bit on your background: Who are you? Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
My name is Theodora Filis. I am a 21st Century woman who lives each day to the fullest and looks at road blocks as stepping stones. I look at blessings as signs that I am not alone. Born and raised in Queens, New York, I moved to Athens, Greece in 1989 and lived there until 2009. I now reside, with my sons, in a small town in New Jersey.

What do you do for a living?
I am a freelance writer for UK Progressive, Examiner.com and GreenWala. I teach Organic Farming and Environmental Safety at Brookdale’s Outreach Program. Prior to moving back to the US, I was an environmental consultant working with organic farmers throughout Europe.

Why did you choose the path you now follow?
I did not choose this path, it most definitely chose me, and I continue to follow its light.

When did you decide to make key changes in your life?
I have yet to stand on terra firma. My life is constantly changing and shifting. Just when I start to feel settled – the tectonic plates of my life decide to shift.

Share your world view: How do you live your life and manage your household?
I have simultaneously raised two sons and built a career applying one very basic rule to everything I do: Love, Laugh, Respect and Appreciate!

***In Response to a Question: What are your top 6 environmental issues of the 21st Century:
Dora Responds: Here is the list of my top 6 environmental issues of the 21st century.***

Depending on what part of the world you live in, each one of these issues will effect you differently. Nonetheless, all have global impacts and demand global attention.

1. Climate Change

Climate Change has been the topic of more scientific research, political debate and public concern than any environmental issue of the past 10 years. Although climate change has sparked worldwide concern, it has failed to inspire world leaders to set aside their national agendas’ and work together toward a global strategy.

Recommended reading:The Climate War” by Eric Pooley. Provides a behind the scenes look at the efforts to solve the climate crisis.

2. Global Water Crisis

According to the New Global Water Security Index, 10 countries worldwide, including 5 African nations are at “extreme risk” because of limited access to clean, fresh water. The effects of climate change and population growth will exacerbate the stress on these water supplies, potentially threatening stability in many regions. Among the nations most at risk are Somalia, Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, and Iraq. Other nations at extreme risk including Pakistan, Egypt and Uzbekistan are already facing internal and boarder tensions because of limited
water supplies.

Global water crisis statistics: WaterAidAmerica.org

3. Endangered Species

The disruption of the food chain and fragile ecosystems have been pressing issues from 2000 till now. Once a link is disturbed, every balance is lost. There is an urgent need is to save the environmental niche of endangered animals on a global scale.

Comprehensive list of endangered species by country: Endangered species list

4. Food Safety and Chemical Contamination

World Health Organization reports: “The contamination of food by chemical hazards is a worldwide public health concern and is a leading cause of trade problems internationally. Contamination may occur through environmental pollution of the air, water and soil, such as the case with toxic metals, PCBs and dioxins, or through the intentional use of various chemicals, such as pesticides, animal drugs and other agrochemicals.”

View the complete report: FoodSafety

5. Deforestation

“Despite increased awareness of the importance of these forests, deforestation rates have not slowed. Analysis of figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that tropical deforestation rates increased 8.5 percent from 2000-2005 when compared with the 1990s, while loss of primary forests may have expanded by 25 percent over the same period. Nigeria and Vietnam’s rate of primary forest loss has doubled since the 1990s, while Peru’s rate has tripled.”

Global deforestation rates: Deforestation Rates

6. Biodiversity and Land Use

Every type of land use involves utilization of land resources for human benefit. Biodiversity is a land resource that is more often the target for human utilization. Land use may therefore, have direct effects on biodiversity, especially when the form of land involves harvesting or modifying the land cover.

***There are 4 other environmental issues that cause me great concern. They are
Ozone Layer Depletion, Air Pollution, Energy, and Oceans & Fisheries.

I will cover the remaining 4 in my blog: DFilis Blog and will write a follow-up article for UKProgressive in the days to follow.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Tweeting on The Environment?: For the Love of Nature...

Reflective Questions:
What do you consider the most important thing about yourself?
My loyalty and devotion to those I love, my work, and the world around me.

What motivates you to get out of bed?
The birds chirping outside my window, the dawn of a new day lighting up the sky, and my two beautiful sons.

What makes you happy/laugh?
Everything! Happiness is a gift I won’t squander – laughter is something I can’t control!

What makes you sad/mad?
Ignorance.

What would you do differently with your life if you had the power? With the world if you had the choice?
With my life – nothing. With the world, I would take the blinders off every person allowing them to see that we are all important, intricate parts of a divine whole.

What guiding principle(s) do you follow to make your life meaningful?
I have a destiny, and I will not rest until I have fulfilled that destiny.

What word(s) of advice would you give to others today?
Love, respect and honor one another and this beautiful planet we call home.

How would you like to be remembered?
As a loving mother who tried her best to do her best.

Happiness is … ?
Knowing God is with me every step of the way!

What are your questions or comments for Theodora? Are you an expert in a field that our readers can benefit hearing about? Do you have a story to share? Please share your feedback with us. Thank You!

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER FOR VIDEOS***
Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

PHOTO CREDITS:
Photograph of Theodora Filis ~ courtesy of Theodora
All other photos via Theodora Filis/Google Images

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Goz permalink
    23/08/2010 9:19 pm

    Yes, I too believe environmentalism is a calling – you often have to put up with a lot of indifference (and even resistance) for something you’re passionate about and which invariably concerns us all..I have for instance seen the devastating effects of deforestation where I live. In some places it’s contributing to desertification, in others erosion and greater vulnerability to the elements. We don’t have to wait until things deteriorate or become dire to respect the environment we have been given by God..

    Like

    • 24/08/2010 7:38 am

      Dear Goz,

      Thank you for commenting. I would be very interested in finding out more about your situation. Deforestation is a very serious issue. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you in greater detail.

      If you have the time, and the desire, please contact me via email. I look forward to hearing from you.

      Best wishes,
      Theodora
      filis.theodora5@gmail.com

      Like

      • 24/08/2010 3:14 pm

        Thank you Dora for sharing your insights! I am glad that you made some time in your scehdule to make this happen. Thanks for stopping by to respond to comments that appear.
        Best,
        Eliz 🙂

        Like

    • 24/08/2010 3:11 pm

      Thanks Goz for your comment; sad but true. 😦
      The environment belongs to all of us yet the abuse is perpetrated by the few whose aim is to control all our natural resources. Dora has given you feedback. She has extensive knowledge on the subject. 🙂

      Like

  2. richard permalink
    25/08/2010 1:08 am

    I want some of what she’s having!
    Great attitude– we are all a part of the environment… and respecting that makes us all healthier and happier..

    thanks for sharing!

    Like

  3. Bree permalink
    25/08/2010 3:04 am

    This is an interesting post and I enjoyed reading the envronmental issues she raised.
    The water post is very important because it is a crucial resource.
    My question to Dora: is if you hat to put together a list of you top 6 envronmental issus of the 21st century, what will they be?
    Happy answering!

    Like

    • 25/08/2010 10:33 am

      Dear Bree,

      Thank you for comment and your question. Here is the list of my top 6 environmental issues of the 21st century.

      Depending on what part of the world you live in, each one of these issues will effect you differently, nonetheless all have global impacts and demand global attention.

      1. Climate Change

      Climate Change has been the topic of more scientific research, political debate and public concern than any environmental issue of the past 10 years. Although climate change has sparked worldwide concern, it has failed to inspire world leaders to set aside their national agendas’ and work together toward a global strategy.

      Recommended reading: “The Climate War” by Eric Pooley. Provides a behind the scenes look at the efforts to solve the climate crisis.

      2. Global Water Crisis

      According to the New Global Water Security Index, 10 countries worldwide, including 5 African nations are at “extreme risk” because of limited access to clean, fresh water. The effects of climate change and population growth will exacerbate the stress on these water supplies, potentially threatening stability in many regions. Among the nations most at risk are Somalia, Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, and Iraq. Other nations at extreme risk including Pakistan, Egypt and Uzbekistan are already facing internal and boarder tensions because of limited water supplies.

      Global water crisis statistics:
      http://www.wateraidamerica.org/what_we_do/statistics.aspx?gclid=CMKWhszP1aMCFdJL5QodeVmpuA

      3. Endangered Species

      The disruption of the food chain and fragile ecosystems have been pressing issues from 2000 till now. Once a link is disturbed, every balance is lost. There is an urgent need is to save the environmental niche of endangered animals on a global scale.

      Comprehensive list of endangered species by country:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/datablog/2009/oct/23/endangered-species-red-list-data-review

      4. Food Safety and Chemical Contamination

      World Health Organization reports: “The contamination of food by chemical hazards is a worldwide public health concern and is a leading cause of trade problems internationally. Contamination may occur through environmental pollution of the air, water and soil, such as the case with toxic metals, PCBs and dioxins, or through the intentional use of various chemicals, such as pesticides, animal drugs and other agrochemicals.”

      View the complete report: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/chem/en/

      5. Deforestation

      “Despite increased awareness of the importance of these forests, deforestation rates have not slowed. Analysis of figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that tropical deforestation rates increased 8.5 percent from 2000-2005 when compared with the 1990s, while loss of primary forests may have expanded by 25 percent over the same period. Nigeria and Vietnam’s rate of primary forest loss has doubled since the 1990s, while Peru’s rate has tripled.”

      Global deforestation rates: http://rainforests.mongabay.com/deforestation.html

      6. Biodiversity and Land Use

      Every type of land use involves utilization of land resources for human benefit. Biodiversity is a land resource that is more often the target for human utilization. Land use may therefore, have direct effects on biodiversity, especially when the form of land involves harvesting or modifying the land cover.

      There are 4 other environmental issues that cause me great concern. They are Ozone Layer Depletion, Air Pollution, Energy, and Oceans & Fisheries.

      I will cover the remaining 4 in my blog:dfilis.blogspot.com and will write a follow-up article for ukprogressive.uk.com in the days to follow.

      Best wishes,

      Dora

      Like

  4. 26/08/2010 10:09 am

    A lovely profile of one of our most prized contributors. Dora succeeds because of her talent, passion, knowledge and ability to scare the living daylights out of me. Her columns should be bookmarked and referred back to frequently. If more journalsts were as serious as she is and more publications took this intelligent an approach we’d make much more progress on all of these critical issues!

    Well done!

    Like

  5. 27/08/2010 1:14 am

    You’re right Denis. Dora’s posts on her blog do handle very critical issues, but they are very important. They can help raise awareness and make us think more about what we do and why we do it or keep on doing it.

    Help us Realize what the consequences of our actions are.
    I think more people need to read her work.
    There are enough critical thinkers who can use the information Dora provides and change their behaviour if necessary.

    Like

    • 27/08/2010 3:02 am

      Dear Deana,

      Your words alway touch me so deeply because they come from your heart. Thank you dear friend for your continued support and thoughtfulness!

      Like

      • 20/12/2010 1:10 pm

        Thanks again for the excellent effort Dora. I enjoyed our exchange. Happy Holidays! 🙂

        Like

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