Armenian Genocide: 100 Year Remembrance

by Beth Shepherd
( April 24th, 2015 )

Every year on April 24, thousands of Armenians gather at Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian genocide monument. But this year is significant in that it marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Yerevan Genocide Memorial

Completed in 1967, Tsitsernakaberd  is dedicated to the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who perished in the first genocide of the 20th century. It is constructed with twelve pylons representing the twelve provinces where Armenians were massacred.

Armenian provinces

Inside burns an eternal memorial flame. The flame represents the Armenian spirit, which can never be extinguished. Tsitsernakaberd means “Citadel of Swallows,” and was so named because the swallow always returns to its nest, even if its home has been destroyed. The tall needle-shaped shaft beside the monument stands for the rebirth of the Armenian people. Nearby, on the same hill overlooking Yerevan, is The Genocide Museum, whose mission is rooted in the helping visitors understand what happened during that tragedy, with the hope that education and remembrances will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Eternal flame

I have visited both the memorial and the museum on several occasions. It is hard to comprehend this horrific piece of Armenian history, yet what took place is woven into the fabric of my daughter’s roots. Tsitsernakaberd stands in testament to the atrocities of 100 years ago, and a reminder—as philosopher George Santayana once said—Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Tsitsernakaberd sky

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Take the road less traveled, Beth

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Earth Day 2015: Random acts of greenness

by Beth Shepherd
( April 22nd, 2015 )

Earth Day 2015


Earth Day

Mother Earth faces a many challenges like climate change and species extinction. This is why, 45 years ago, Earth Day was created, to help activate the environmental movement worldwide, through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns.

There are so many ways to get involved and participate in random acts of greenness! When I looked through the list of ‘campaigns’ mentioned on the Earth Day Network website, I realized our family does a number of the actions listed. You don’t have to wait for Earth Day—you can commit to protecting our beautiful Mother Earth all 365 days of the year! Here are a five ways you can go green every day:

  1. Reduce Energy Consumption

  2. Start Composting

  3. Stop Using Disposable Plastic

  4. Buy local produce

  5. End Junk Mail

This year, I decided to participate in one of the campaigns on Earth Day’s website: Create Art to Raise Awareness. Art Works For Change, along with Earth Day Network and Global Footprint Network, invite artists to submit a digital image of original artwork (all visual mediums are welcome) for an opportunity to be featured in their online exhibition, which will open on Earth Overshoot Day 2015  in August.

I submitted three photos and logged my ‘Act of Green,’ because—for me—there’s rarely a day that passes without me noticing something about the beauty of our world. It might be the colorful feathers on a bird, the uniquely shaped petals of a flower, or the majestic skyline views in the spectacular city where I live. When I’ve traveled, I always marvel at the mind-blowing beauty of our natural world: mountains, oceans, creatures in the water, in the air and on the land. Many of the shots that captured my eye recall natural beauty that I was lucky enough to encounter.

Yet sometimes, I am also saddened by the reality that—unless we do something NOW to protect our planet—some of the sights I’ve seen will disappear or be forever changed for future generations.

Mt Everest from Tibet

Mt. Everest, the tallest and most iconic mountain on earth, covered with immense glaciers. Unfortunately, like most mountains, Everest is melting. Glaciers in the Mt. Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent in the last 50 years and the snowline has shifted upward by 590 feet (180 meters),

And, this beautiful mountain is also littered with tons of trash: tents, sleeping bags, oxygen cylinders and even the corpses of climbers who never made it down remain. I was heartened to read, in a new move to fix their garbage problem, Nepalese tourism authorities said climbers must bring down 18 pounds of trash when they return.

Baja California whale

Whales. One of the most majestic creatures on the planet. Seven out of thirteen great whale species are vulnerable or endangered. Of course, whales are only one of many—too many—animals who might not be around for future generations.

endangered tropical plants

As a gardener I love plants, flowers and trees. They provide food, shelter, oxygen and beauty. Animals—including us humans—need them to survive. Sadly, like the creatures on our planet, much of our plant life is also in danger of disappearing. Over 20% of plants on earth face extinction.

I know photographs aren’t going to save the world. But awareness—and action—might. Earth Day! Commit a random act of greenness.


And if you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Take the road less traveled, Beth

 

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Pampers and Pakhlava: 6th Anniversary!

by Beth Shepherd
( April 17th, 2015 )

How did I manage to miss my blog anniversary?! Six years ago, I decided to BE BOLD and launched myself into the blogosphere with Pampers and Pakhlava. On April 13, 2009, in my first post, From here to there, I talked about the decision process my husband and I went through when we chose to pursue international adoption, from Armenia.

6 year blog anniversary

My second post, Where the heck is Armenia, tells the story of finding myself in Elliott Bay Book Company, trying to get my hands on a book about Armenia. I wanted to learn more about the country, its people and culture, but the salesperson had no clue where Armenia was.

Here I am six years later, still blogging and—lucky me—people are still reading. Lots of people, in fact, because my blog has consistently been one of the top five for traffic on Wanderlust and Lipstick, a hugely successful travel website. So a big shout out to my readers: Thank you!

Since those initial posts, I have traveled. Oh have I traveled, in the literal and metaphorical sense. I’ve now visited Armenia five times, along with trips to France, England, Netherlands, China, Tibet, Kauai, Colorado, Baja California. I love to travel and only wish I could do more.

And I’m a mom! When I started Pampers and Pakhlava, not only did I have a lot to learn about Armenia, I had a lot to learn about ‘pampers.’ Changing that first diaper, in a Yerevan apartment is an experience Big Papa and I will never forget.

Aside from travel and parenthood, two reasons I started my blog were to have the opportunity—and inspiration—to write more and take more photographs. This post is number 590! So a second shout out to Beth Whitman who believed in the power of my story and took a chance on me.

Happy Sixth Anniversary Pampers and Pakhlava!


May there be more stories and more photos to share. And may there be more travel!

If you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Take the road less traveled, Beth

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