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Reflections of an Optimist

A blog by Debra Efroymson

“A defeatist attitude guarantees defeat”

Recent Blog Entries: Debra Efroymson

Why not walk?

July 14, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Dhaka, Exercise, Livable Cities, NCDs, Walking Post a comment!

Traveling from one place to another, if it is not particularly far, makes most sense on foot. Walking can be fun; it requires no parking space; it’s exercise; it allows for a full appreciation of the surrounding scenes; it costs nothing. Beyond all that, it just makes sense. 

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Bottled folly

July 6, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Healthy Eating Post a comment!

Remember when those lucky enough to live in a country with potable water drank it straight from the tap? It seemed the most natural thing in the world to hold a glass under the tap, fill it, and drink. I remember the pleasure on returning to the States from my Peace Corps stint in Guatemala and being able to do so.

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It wasn’t my fault!!

June 16, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Livable Cities Post a comment!

“It’s not my fault.” “He wasn’t paying attention.” “She suddenly jumped in front of my car.”

Recently, ironically enough on the way home from doing a recording for a documentary on carfree cities, our car bumped into a pedestrian. My driver and the other passengers immediately launched into a chorus similar to the above phrases: he should…

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Giving street vendors their proper place

May 31, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Healthy Eating, Livable Cities, Public Spaces, Socializing, Urban Planning Post a comment!

What role do street vendors play in cities? Does it make sense to ban them or should we work to preserve them?

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Markets vs. supermarkets

May 15, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Healthy Eating, Livable Cities, NCDs, Urban Planning Post a comment!

Helping people make healthy food choices requires access to sellers of fruits and vegetables...preferably without the temptation of buying ultra-processed food. Markets do just that and are great for local economies, but can pose a threat to big business, and thus can be subject to bans. But we can fight back.

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People over profits

April 22, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Advocacy, Exercise, Healthy Eating, NCDs Post a comment!

Can what we have learned from tobacco control be usefully applied to NCDs overall? Or should the two always be kept separate?

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Which women don’t work?

April 8, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Advocacy Post a comment!

If we don't count household work in calculations of GDP (unless it is paid), how do we recognize all the unpaid work done by women throughout the world?

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Gratification

March 27, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Livable Cities, NCDs Post a comment!

Months or years of hard work...and a sudden flurry of results.

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Beef lovers beware!

March 11, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Healthy Eating Post a comment!

The industrial meat production system in the United States, which is spreading internationally, is good at producing large quantities of meat at low price. That is, the price is low if we ignore the many externalities of the production, such as dealing with vast swamps of stinking waste. Another externality is disease caused by salmonella and E. coli O157:H7. When you raise a lot of cows in close…

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Can advocacy succeed?

February 9, 2015 By Debra Efroymson Advocacy, Children, Exercise, Livable Cities, Public Spaces, Walking Post a comment!

People sometimes question the effectiveness of advocacy work, arguing that "It will never change anything." My own experience over many years of working with HealthBridge's Liveable Cities program in various countries shows that advocacy can in fact yield enormously important benefits for people's health and happiness.

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