Ask Alexandra October 2013
1) Alexandra, I think you are an incredibly beautiful woman and the more I see of your compassionate nature, your love of animals and your heart of gold, the more I perceive the beauty that is inside you. Were you compassionate as a child and did your parents have a great influence in developing your compassionate nature?
Well I very much appreciate your supportive email. Kindness has always been a guiding principle for me, ever since I was at our Congregational Church’s Sunday school and I learned the saying “When in doubt, do what Jesus would do – the kindest thing”. I have fallen short of that goal many times in the ensuing years, and I am no longer a Christian, but I do believe that doing the kindest thing is a good ethic to live by.
My father loved animals. After my parents divorced, he lived in the country with 2 dogs and 3 cats and they would all sleep on the bed with him. He would not want to get out of bed lest he disturb them! He once gave mouth to mouth resuscitation to a goose that fell into his pool.
My mother volunteered a lot when we were kids, she voted in every election, she gave blood several times each year. She taught us to take care of the pets in our household meticulously.
Most of all, my parents loved us kids, even after they no longer loved each other. I always felt cherished, and never once was I criticized for who I was. Yes, I was chastised when what I did fell short in some way, but I was always made to feel worthy as a person. When you feel loved, it is easy to love back.
My brother is a vegan and a longtime environmental and animal activist. My twin sister Caroline was almost kicked out of Stanford University for her activism there, and was teased in the firehouse where she was a firefighter for being an animal lover.
So my family all loves and respects animals and other living beings. I am lucky to have them as role models!
2) Hello Alexandra,
A few months back your husband posted on FB your speech on world overpopulation, while I understand the premise of your speech, I can’t help but think of its ramifications. Truly with respect, how do you hope/plan to get the world population down to 2 billion. family planning will not work on 5 billion. I don’t want to put words in your mouth but should we not send aid to the next disaster, should we let the weak and sick die? because I personally can’t see how to get rid of 5 billion people humanely. sorry I just found the speech to be very troubling.
I appreciate you watching my TEDx talk on human overpopulation.
I never ever want to cause human beings to suffer, so I would never ever advocate to let people die to lower the population! Never ever.
I do believe the ideal number of people on the planet is about 2 billion – this would allow everyone on the planet to live really well without depleting the earth of her resources. However, there are currently 7.3 billion people on earth and we are expected to add 2 or 3 billion more in the next 36 years. We would need several earths to meet their needs.
The way to get to a stable population of 2 billion people on the planet is to encourage people to have fewer children. Eventually – and this will take several generations -the number of people on the planet will lower because so many couples will be leaving behind only one child between them, instead of 2 parents leaving 3 children or more behind. This is humane, practical and ensures that future generations will have enough food, water and space to live.
The fastest, most effective way to have smaller families is to educate girls and empower women. And to educate everyone on the benefits of a one child family. Today, the cultural ideal in almost every developed country in the world is to have at least 2 children (a boy and a girl), often 3. In developing countries, the ideal number of children a couple would like can go up to 7, as in Mali.
When it comes to stabilizing population growth, making sure babies live – reducing child mortality rates – is a very important factor in small families. If a parent worries their child might die before the age of 5, they will tend to have more babies than they actually normally would, just to counteract the reality that so many of their kids will die.
I advocate for a lowered population rate and fewer people on the planet, but I never ever want to cause suffering. I want to ALLEVIATE suffering – that is why I believe it is so important to lower the world population! There are just not enough resources for all of us, and certainly not 10 billion of us.
Please watch my TEDx talk again, and I think that you will see that what I advocate is actually the course to the least suffering possible. In fact, there are many, many positive side effects to having small families and a world population of 2 billion (which is the world population of only 80 years ago).
Thank you for writing Ara. I am assuming you are an athlete since you follow my husband Ian Murray on facebook – so best of luck in your training and racing!
After reading about electric cars, I really want to get one, but cannot afford the Tesla. What other cars do you recommend?
The electric car that is right for you depends on your lifestyle, driving range, pocket book and personal taste!
There are quite a few on the market now, and I found this excellent article, which will help you narrow down your options .
After you have found a few cars that match your criteria, test drive them at a dealership. If there is not a dealership near you, find some of the chat rooms that specialize in EVs as a whole or your EV of choice in particular, and ask if there is an owner near you who will show you their car. EV owners tend to be very generous and if they are talking about their EVs online you know they have a bit of EVangelist in them, so will probably be happy to show you how great their vehicle is.
Plug In America is an awesome non profit advocating for battery powered electric vehicles. I was one of the founding board members, and that site has a lot of great info on it about tax rebates, EVs on the market now and soon and much more.
So glad you are getting an EV. Please let me know when you purchase it! Wishing you smiles and smiles of emission free driving!