Friday, December 17, 2010

Divestment



The idea is very useful to the activist. If certain amounts of capital are taken away from an entity that is, say, clear cutting the rainforest, or in the case below, perpetuating social violence, business as usual is largely altered. Like all methods of disobedience, this is but another tool in the toolbox. Negotiating with entities that are able to wield such influence are also at the root for the greedy capitalistic structure. But they exists, have power, and must be dealt with on some level. There's always many facets to each action in seeking justice, and action is necessary (in all its forms).

Check out this message I received today:

On December 10, International Human Rights Day, in 23 cities across America people of conscience took a historic stand for justice and equality for all people in the Middle East.

Side by side, Jews, Christians, and Muslims went to 23 individual offices of the US’s leading pension fund, TIAA-CREF, and said do not use my money to profit from the Israeli Occupation. TIAA-CREF, divest from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from breaking the law, harming others and preventing peace.



You can watch the video for yourself to see people of every age in cities large and small across the United States—from New York City to Iowa City, and from Washington DC to Seattle, Washington—all telling TIAA-CREF to stop profiting from destruction.



TIAA-CREF is one of the largest pension funds in the world, and they have invested over a quarter billion dollars in Caterpillar, which manufactures the bulldozers used by the Israeli government to demolish thousands of Palestinian homes and life-sustaining orchards. Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers are an essential tool of an occupation that steals land, destroys livelihoods and injures or kills civilians.



Every day that TIAA-CREF holds Caterpillar stocks is another day in which the financial giant profits from these human rights violations.



In some TIAA-CREF offices, company representatives received a copy of our divestment petition or met cordially, in others they distributed a form letter in response, and in one office they refused to honor a scheduled appointment with someone who has been invested with TIAA-CREF for 50 years. 



TIAA-CREF simply does not offer participants an option for investments free from supporting the occupation. Even their socially responsible funds invest in Caterpillar.

Last Friday, December 10, was just the beginning. Additional TIAA-CREF participants have scheduled appointments to return to discuss their concerns. Many more continue to gather signatures for our divestment petition--we know that every signature from a TIAA-CREF holder makes a difference.



"We went to the University of Louisville, and together with the local Students for Justice in Palestine we collected 260 signatures for the TIAA-CREF petition in about 4 hours. That’s more than one signature a minute.”
Russ Greenleaf, Jewish Voice for Peace, Louisville, KY


"I was collecting signatures for an hour and a half at SUNY Cortland and was astonished at how easy it was. I thought it would be controversial, but every single person I approached signed. In fact, many thanked me for doing this, and told me how grateful they were that a Jewish organization is finally taking action on this issue. I didn't anticipate that."

Howard Botwinick, Associate Professor of Economics at the State University of New York-Cortland


People want to join you and the thousands who have already signed our petition. Now you can help them. Can you collect signatures? Forward this email? Every action you take matters- until all of TIAA-CREF's investments, and the lives of Palestinians are occupation-free.

This is just the beginning.

An interesting way to make some progress. Of course both sides of this deeply rooted issue have faults to be held accountable for, and analysis must be put to supporting a negotiation with capitalistic groups driven by enormous profits, but solutions will only be reached through steps built on peace and justice.

Divestment, playing the games of the system, but a compelling idea to add to to activist tool kit.

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrate Human Rights Day



On this day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its conclusion that, "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

But today in Oslo, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo's seat stood empty. He is in a Chinese jail. The Chinese government successfully pressured 15 nations to boycott the reception honoring his work for free speech and elections. The mission of Eleanor Roosevelt and countless others who worked tirelessly to make the Declaration a reality is not yet complete.

Let's remember what the Universal Declaration stands for and honor some of those dedicated individuals who have championed its principles.

• "After experiencing a prolonged period of human rights disasters and a tortuous struggle and resistance, the awakening Chinese citizens are increasingly and more clearly recognizing that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal common values shared by all humankind . . ." --From Charter 08, co-authored and signed by Liu Xiaobo
• "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world..." --Eleanor Roosevelt
• "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." –W. E. B. Du Bois
• "True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice." -Martin Luther King, Jr.
• "Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere." –Franklin Delano Roosevelt

(Courtesey of http://www.humanrightsfirst.org)

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The World's Largest Letter Writing Event




Take a few minutes, and write a letter.

How to get involved

SIGN UP to Write for Rights! Participate as an individual, or host an event and invite friends, family, and members of your community to join the call for human rights. Check out our Write for Rights! map to find an event near you.

SPREAD THE WORD! Tell everyone that you plan to Write for Rights on Facebook and/or Twitter. Encourage others to sign up for Write for Rights! by texting or emailing this registration link: www.aiusa.org/writeathon

Get your RESOURCES. Everything you need to participate in Write for Rights! will be available on this website, including case summaries, sample letters, promotional materials, and helpful tips for holding a successful Write for Rights! event. Participants will receive an email when these additional Resources become available. If you'd like hard copies of these items or have questions, email us: writeathon@aiusa.org.

WRITE and MAIL your letters. (December 4-12 are the key dates, but feel free to start earlier or later.)

TELL US HOW IT WENT! We want to hear from you: did you meet your letter pledge goal? Do you have great ideas on how we can make next year's Write for Rights even better? Be sure to complete the very brief online evaluation form (available soon) or send us an email: writeathon@aiusa.org.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/?c=I1012W01&msource=W11WATEJ&tr=y&auid=7453148

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Friday, December 3, 2010

The fight continues...





B.C. natives protest Enbridge pipeline
Take to Vancouver streets, buy full-page ad opposing Northern Gateway


Native leaders are vowing to do whatever it takes — including civil disobedience — to block a proposed oil pipeline across northern B.C.

Representatives of 61 First Nations marched and drummed through downtown Vancouver streets Thursday to Enbridge Inc.'s headquarters to deliver a signed declaration stating their opposition.

"Civil disobedience is not out of the question," said Larry Nooski, from the Nadleh Whut'en First Nation near Fraser Lake.

The $5.5-billion Northern Gateway Pipeline proposed by Enbridge would run from the Alberta oilsands to B.C.'s North Coast.

Signatories of the declaration say the twin pipelines that would run 1,170 kilometres from an oilsands hub near Edmonton to the port community of Kitimat would pose the risk of an oil spill either along the pipelines or from tanker traffic along the Pacific coast.

Although the group believes they have the legal capacity to halt the project, Enbridge said the ultimate decision does not rest with First Nations.

"A joint review panel made up of the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will make the final decision," said company spokeswoman Gina Jordan.

The panel is holding a public regulatory review process that is engaging aboriginal groups and citizens in the decision making, said Jordan.

She said Enbridge has signed a protocol with 30 First Nations groups, although she declined to release their names, citing confidentiality. She did say all of them are either located along the route of the proposed pipeline or nearby.

Two Enbridge pipeline leaks
An April 2009 publication by Enbridge features a picture of then chief Robert Charlie, of the Ts'il Kaz Koh First Nation, better known as the Burns Lake Band, during the signing of a protocol agreement for the Northern Gateway in December 2008.

Charlie has since been replaced in an election, and it is not known whether the change in leadership will affect the protocol agreement. Current Chief Albert Gerow could not be reached for comment.

Enbridge has been under fire in recent months for two high-profile pipeline leaks in the U.S. Midwest.

In July, a pipeline in southern Michigan spilled millions of litres of crude into the Kalamazoo River, and less than two months later, another line leaked in the Chicago area.

Calling themselves the Save the Fraser Gathering of Nations, the aboriginal groups took out a full-page ad in Thursday's Globe and Mail newspaper to declare that they will not allow Enbridge to transport tar sands oil across their lands and watersheds.

"An oil spill in our lands and rivers would destroy our fish, poison our water and devastate our people, our livelihoods and our futures," said the ad.

"We will protect our rivers from Enbridge oil."


Read more:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/12/02/bc-first-nations-enbridge-pipeline.html?ref=rss#ixzz174xoC59T

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/12/02/bc-first-nations-enbridge-pipeline.html?ref=rss

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Hungersite




I've said it before, and I'll say it again, if you're reading this and have other friends who use the Internet daily (you do!), just take 1 minute to visit, www.thehungersite.com
There are 6 links and by clicking each one you do something good. Look closely at the sites and what each does, or just hit it up fast, no matter which way you choose if you use the computer, this should be the first page you visit each day.

Thanks for all you do,

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vote for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability on November 2, 2010



As much as you can anyway.

It is for surely not the most "democratic system" as some might say. The failures in "our" system are such that one can most certainly point to the fact that by engaging in this system, like voting, one only serves to perpetuate the inequalities in policy, economics, law, and so on that the US system of government promotes to its people domestically, and all who are affected abroad. However, while working for true equity, while fighting for ways to change the racist, classist, and oppressive political system that celebrates some and castrates most (thank you capitalism), my perspective is your voice in the vote is better than without it. Why? I know radicalism and righteousness begs us to critique this train of thought-and it should-for perpetuating the system, but that's when I'll speak up and say,

"Okay, but the election will happen Tuesday, people will vote, and while this system does persist and we want it restructured/altered/obliterated dramatically, it's best to instill some form of difference within it, because it will shape many realities over the coming weeks/months/years and failing to honor that because you don't believe in the system trickles down to not believe in the change that we must have, that will come".

That's my 2 cents. It's so fake that "our" system is looked at as the best, most progressive, when the capitalist system, served mainly by rich white men in power, continue to serve their interests while impacting the lives of the many other people of color, low income individuals, houseless people, veterans of war, people without health insurance, and those that have been brainwashed to believe the American Dream will be there for them when the Dream itself could never exists without so many failing, so a few can rise to the top.

Here's a link to a progressive voter guide regarding the propositions: http://www.credoaction.com/voterguide2010/?r=6279&id=11673-3044894-AxXUpHx

When I vote, I primarily use my power to give support to whatever seems best for people and the earth (for example, no on 23), but also to give something to the Green Party, Peace and Freedom party, or other third party candidates. My hope for this system, beyond the total restructuring/altering of it so that actual liberty and justice for all is realised for all people and the earth, is that there can one day be more than 2 parties (or 3 if you count the conservative nuts in the Tea Party) so a real Democratic reality can be realised.

So Vote on Tuesday, make your voice heard, and if you choose not to, make sure you protest and articulate your thoughts on why you are not voting to others. Activism comes in many forms!

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vision Magazine and Food Not Bombs

If you're looking for a monthly publication that speaks to the conscious lifestyle through promotion of healthy food, peace, spiritual nurturing, justice, and sustainable living check out www.visionmagazine.com It's a great resource and a very worthy read.

Also, for those who don't know, check out http://www.foodnotbombs.net I strongly believe this is one of the most well rounded, passionate, worthy groups that's alive and well across our planet. Take a look inside the site, see if there's a chapter near your home town-don't see one, think about starting one, and definitely review the many links to phenomenal resources this site has has to offer.

With respect...

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Monday, October 11, 2010

Today Is Not A Holiday

If you choose to celebrate Indigenous peoples day today that's great, and a respect filled choice. However, to celebrate a legacy of colonization, oppression, and racism by falsely looking at Christopher Columbus as a hero you need a little lesson in history. Columbus "discovered" the "New World?" Please. That's the kind of institutionalized racism I was taught growing up, and it wasn't until much later in life when I realized Indigenous people had already been inhabiting the North American continent for centuries, and I questioned how this explorer could have gotten famous for "discovering" a land mass that has already been lived on for countless generations.

Do yourself a favor a read up on the travesty of this so called holiday, why efforts have been brought about to reclaim the day with the designation of Indigenous People's day, and share your thoughts with your families and community members. A good place for deconstructing your knowledge is here: http://www.rethinkingschools.org/ProdDetails.asp?ID=094296120X

Also, here's a message from Earth Works that speaks to the day in question:

The Western Shoshone have lived in Nevada's Crescent Valley for thousands of years.

And they've regarded the Crescent Valley’s Mt. Tenabo, and its springs, as sacred -- a place of worship -- for all that time.

And yet the U.S. government continues to approve mining operations that would cause great harm to this important place.

As we shared with you during last week's call to action, the federal Bureau of Land Management has permitted Canadian Barrick Gold to mine at the roots of Mt. Tenabo. However, there's one court-ordered caveat: BLM and Barrick must come up with a plan that protects the cultural and spiritual significance of the Mt. Tenabo’s sacred springs.

Last week's action alert was a call to tell BLM that their plan was grossly inadequate -- that it did not protect what made the springs sacred, their sources.

This Indigenous People's Day (in some circles, but certainly not among the Western Shoshone, referred to as Columbus Day), we write to thank you. We asked for letters, and you sent them by the thousands.

And we also wanted to share with you a note from one of the Western Shoshone:

Thank you for your letters. I hope that, this time, the federal government will listen. Many Americans celebrate the "discovery" of Christopher Columbus, but for native people it marks a time of change of our way of life: our lands taken over, religious rights, and practices not accepted. So, it is no celebration for us. Despite this opposition and the poisonous consequences of that arrival we still pray to the Water, Air, Sun and Mother Earth and continue to practice our way of life, in tune with nature's way. Perhaps this time, in at least this one case, the U.S. government will respect our rights.
-- Larson Bill, Western Shoshone, South Fork Tribe

The comment period for public input on BLM's "spring protection plan" has closed. BLM is now considering all comments submitted -- including your letters. When they're done, they will have to submit a revised plan. That could come out in weeks or months. We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, know that EARTHWORKS remains committed to fighting for communities and the environment however we can -- whether by challenging plans that violate indigenous people’s rights -- like this one -- or by fighting to reform the antiquated 1872 Mining Law which made it possible in the first place.

Sincerely,
Alan Septoff


See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Websites and Blogs Move to Carbon Neutrality



CarbonFree Blog



Although we know reducing consumption is at the core for lessening the impacts of global climate change, any tool that helps combat carbon footprints should be examined for its useful application.

The Carbon Fund (http://www.carbonfund.org/) is now offering a way for websites and blogs to go carbon neutral. The Internet is a worldwide tool that not only helps us educate ourselves and others to be more responsible global citizens, it also happens to contribute to about 2 percent of global carbon emissions.

Check out Carbon Fund's website to see how you can make your blog and/or website carbon neutral, and help others take the same path. Our Peace, Justice, and Sustainability blog is taking this step because we know we have a footprint, and because we know each of our core themes are supported by lessening our perpetuation of climate change and by taking action to ensure we are all aware of how we can all play a part to combat its drastic effects.

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5 Years After Katrina, Combat Operations Stop in Iraq, and the Hate of Glenn Beck

Last Sunday marked the 5 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. While an amazing effort to rebuild New Orleans has taken place, many residents never returned home, and low-income community members continue to face inequitable burdens. Add this to the impacts from the BP Oil spill and the New Orleans/Gulf region needs a great deal or continue support.

I recently read about the Transform New Orleans Fund, and whether you simply refamiliarize yourself with issues going on this region, or have the ability to contribute, take a look at what this Fund is trying to do for residents of New Orleans:

The organizations benefiting from the Transform New Orleans Fund are fighting every day for regular people. Some of the groups are working to ensure that the government works well, and is accountable to everyone in New Orleans. Others are using arts and culture to advance social change, while still others are on the front lines of the fight against inequity in the justice system. What they all have in common is that they've turned the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina into an opportunity to build a city more equitable and just than the one that preceded it. The groups include:

Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana is a New Orleans-based advocacy organization that aims to reform Louisiana's broken juvenile justice system into one that builds on the strengths of young people, families, and communities to ensure that children have opportunities to thrive. JJPL seeks to reduce the number of youth incarcerated; improve conditions of confinement in youth detention centers; increase support for evidence-based alternatives to incarceration; ensure that all children have access to effective counsel at all stages in the court process; reduce the number of school suspensions and expulsions; end the practice of transferring youth to the adult criminal justice system; and protect the rights of incarcerated LGBT youth and youth living with HIV/AIDS in secure care facilities.


The New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice is dedicated to organizing workers in the Gulf region across race and industry to build the grassroots leadership and civic participation of workers and communities in the Gulf region. Founded in August 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Center has grown into a constituency organization with 10 staff and close to 4,000 workers and residents from immigrant and African American communities who are the driving force behind the Center’s campaigns at local, state, and national levels. (The National Immigration Law Center acts as the fiscal agent for New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice.)


Ashe Cultural Arts Center emerged in 1998 and has served as a community hub of artistic collaboration, local advocacy and dialogue, economic development, and as an overall centralizing and stabilizing community force in post-Katrina upheaval, distress, and displacement. In addition to hosting community planning meetings, lectures and panels, art exhibits and film screenings, the Center partners with churches and cultural and advocacy organizations in their programming. (Efforts of Grace, Inc., acts as the fiscal agent for the Ashe Cultural Arts Center.)
(http://www.colorofchange.org/)

This past Tuesday, President Obama addressed the US from the oval office for only the second time. When troops stormed Iraq back in 2003, allegation of Weapon's of Mass Destruction (WMD's) fueled a fire that was started with the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Like many of Obama's speeches he spoke of a future of peace and long term prosperity in Iraq, and he thanked those who’ve served the US profusely for their service. But we all know there were never any WMD's found in Iraq. Beyond the fact that this means the war was brought upon these nations in an unjustified manner, it also means troops lives were unnecessarily lost and gambled on through an illegal war.

Obama spoke about helping Iraqis to achieve a better future, for Iraq to have control of itself. This sounds good on the surface, but even those of us who wanted this stopped before it started will argue our intervention in this country is due for many more years so long as instability stemming for our illegal invasion exists. What's more Obama spoke of a reallocation of troops to Afghanistan, to defeat terrorism.

In all, Obama;'s message can only be absorbed with mixed reviews. Yes its a "victory" to end combat roles in Iraq, but US involvement here is far from over. And another escalation in Afghanistan to "defeat the terrorists". This rhetoric is nothing peaceful, nothing new, and with the trillions spent on war in the past decade, and million of Americans still hungry, loosing their homes, we must ask when/how can this perpetual cycle of destruction will be stoped?

As always, stay in touch with http://www.democracynow.org/ for up to date information regarding peace, justice, and sustainability. There's coverage on Obama's speech posted today.

Lastly, while this site seeks to respect all orientations of religion and spirituality, I have to post this piece written in response to the blatantly hateful act of Glenn Beck stirring the cauldron of hate from the same location where peace, justice, and sustainability was furthered 47 years prior by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Was a Social Justice Christian

This coming Saturday, August 28 will mark the 47th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." Glenn Beck has chosen this day to deliver his own speech from the steps of the Lincoln memorial.
On that same morning I will be speaking at the dedication ceremony of a work of public art that commemorates the words and legacy of King. It is not a protest. Rather, it is an opportunity to reflect on what this great American had to say and is still saying to our country today. Whenever we take the time to collectively consider what that dream was, we all benefit.
My picture has graced the Glenn Beck blackboard a number of times over the past year. I am quite sure that if the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he would have been on Glenn Beck's blackboard long before I would have ever been considered. That is because Martin Luther King Jr. was clearly a Social Justice Christian -- the term and people that Beck constantly derides. If the Christians of King's era had listened to Glenn Beck, they would have been forced to walk out on MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. If they were to heed his advice to turn in social justice pastors to the church authorities, they all would have had to turn in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On December 18, 1963, at Western Michigan University, King gave a speech whose topic was "social justice and the emerging new age." If Glenn Beck had been there, I don't doubt that he would have gotten up and walked out as he has told his viewers to do if they hear "social justice" from their pastors. It might be foolish, but I hope that as Glenn Beck prepares for his rally on Saturday, he takes the time to read this speech and think about what it says. In it King explained why for justice to be just it can not only be individual, but must also be social:
"All I'm saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."
This is why in the Old Testament, God commands his people to be charitable but also to work for justice. The people of God are to give offerings of their own free will, but there are also laws that show the government has a legitimate role to play. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus changes people's hearts and lives, and that is something that government policy can never compete with. But, I also believe that personal charity does not do the work of justice. Here is how King put it in that same speech:
"Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you've got to change the heart and you can't change the heart through legislation. You can't legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion. Well, there's half-truth involved here. Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart. But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government."
King recognized misunderstandings like this as obstacles to social justice. But, ultimately he was hopeful:
"I think with all of these challenges being met and with all of the work, and determination going on, we will be able to go this additional distance and achieve the ideal, the goal of the new age, the age of social justice."
Yes, King named social justice as the goal of the new age. This is why so many Christians were willing to turn themselves in to Glenn Beck as Social Justice Christians. It was not difficult for them to choose between King's interpretation of the gospel and Beck's interpretation that I know some in his own Mormon church are not comfortable with Did King believe that the role of government was only to eliminate discrimination? No. As he wrote in "Showdown for Nonviolence" in 1968, it played a role in ending poverty too:
"We will place the problems of the poor at the seat of government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind. If that power refuses to acknowledge its debt to the poor, it would have failed to live up to its promise to insure 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to its citizens.'" (From A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.)
Now, Beck and I do have one area of significant agreement. When he spoke about the civil rights movement in context of the debate around health care he said, "Who were the civil rights marchers? They were people with profound belief in God." This is true. Both Beck and I would probably agree that the most powerful social movements are rooted in deep faith. But he finished that thought saying, "They were trying to set things right. They weren't crying for social justice, they were crying out for equal justice." Beck's mistake is to somehow think that the two can be separated. Beck has lied again and again about me and so many others; it saddens me to hear him now try to rewrite the legacy of Martin Luther King. When you do the work of social justice there are always criticisms, detractors, and those who will slander and lie. But, in the words of Dr. King in 1961 to the AFL-CIO:
"Yes, before the victory is won, some will be misunderstood. Some will be called Reds and Communists merely because they believe in economic justice and the brotherhood of man. But we shall overcome."
Glenn Beck has continually called me, Sojourners, and many others "communists, socialists, and Marxists" because we call for "economic and social justice." If he were an honest man, he would have to include Dr. King as well. But King must have been thinking about the Glenn Becks of his time when he concluded his speech at Western Michigan University:
"In spite of the difficulties of this hour, I am convinced that we have the resources to make the American Dream a reality. I am convinced of this because I believe Carlyle is right: 'No lie can live forever.' I am convinced of this because I believe William Cullen Bryant is right: 'Truth pressed to earth will rise again.' I am convinced of this because I think James Russell Lowell is right: 'Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne; Yet that scaffold sways the future, And behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above His own.' Somehow with this faith, we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new life into the dark chambers of pessimism. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation to a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. This will be a great day. This will be the day when all of God's children, black [people] and white [people], Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God, Almighty, we are free at last!'"

(http://www.sojo.net/)


See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s March on Washington is just days away




A message from the NAACP. Let them, and everyone else know how the Dr.'s words have inspired you:

Thanks to stories from men and women all across the country, the NAACP social media history campaign to remember that historic day has been an incredible success.

Each story we receive stands as a reminder of the challenges we have overcome and our perseverance to carry on. And although each story was unique, they were all powered by the same four words: I have a dream.

Do not miss out on this opportunity to be a part of history. Tell the NAACP how Dr. King's epic speech inspired you:

http://action.naacp.org/yourstory

Last week, to commemorate Dr. King, a woman named Gloria wrote in to tell us her story. Her words really inspired me:


"On August 28, 1963, I was sitting in my all black class room with my fellow students glued to the TV. I was feeling very important that day not just because of my turning twelve years old, which was a big thing for me, but also because I was experiencing something that I was to carry with me for the rest of my life.

"When Dr. King's time to speak finally came I was hooked, I knew that my place and my purpose was to hear and to experience the soul of a Dream. That fateful day would not only define the struggle of a people, my people, it would forever create in me the proud Black person, woman, wife, mother, and grandmother that I am today. I will always remember the day August 28,1963 as the day I vowed to always make my people's struggle mine. Thank You Dr. King for helping us strive for the Reality."

When you shared your thoughts you proved something that I have always felt: that the dream is still alive and we are all a part of it.

This movement is so much bigger than one person or one speech. It is the culmination of centuries of struggle triumphing over oppression, forging the path toward equality. And every story brings us one step closer to achieving that dream.

Share your story with the NAACP today:

http://action.naacp.org/yourstory

My deepest thanks,

Ben Jealous
President and CEO
NAACP


P.S. -- This Saturday I will be walking the streets of DC with the National Action Network for "Reclaiming the Dream." The event will commemorate the anniversary of the March on Washington with proper respect. If you're in the DC area, please join us:

http://action.naacp.org/reclaimevent



See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

10/10/10 will be a day of work parties for our climate all over the world

Think about organizing an event, or getting involved if you can:

Friends of the Earth is partnering with 350.org and other allied groups to organize a global work party on October 10, 2010 (10/10/10).

Congress has failed to act aggressively to solve to the climate crisis, and we've decided that we're not waiting for them any longer. On Oct. 10, on every corner of the globe, we will implement climate solutions: from solar panels to community gardens, wind turbines to bike workshops. We'll tell leaders: “We're getting to work--what about you?”

These actions will demonstrate to Washington the broad public support that exists for climate solutions, and can help shame politicians into siding with people and the planet instead of corporate polluters.

Please use the form below to sign up to host an Oct. 10 action.

It's still early, so it's okay if you don't yet know all the details of your local work party. There's a list of work-party ideas at www.350.org/workparty-ideas to get things moving, but don't worry if you don't have a game plan just yet.

If you register now, we'll follow up and provide you with resources and support that can help you out along the way. We'll also try to connect you with supporters in your area who might be able to lend a hand.

http://www.foe.org/organize101010

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Prop 8 Repealed!


On this Sunday, take a moment to contemplate the present victory for justice, peace and equality in California. In a historic ruling, one that will for surely see greater dialogue in the coming months, marriage was ruled a basic civil right no matter if it's between a woman and man, a man and man, or a woman and woman. Clearly the message that if two people love each other their gender should not marginalize their commitment was honored, and we should hope this ruling stands as an example for righting wrongs of the past that are rooted in unsustainable hate.

http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/one_issue_three_rallies_marriage_equality_2008-2010

http://www.mercurynews.com/columns/ci_15696960?nclick_check=1

http://www.examiner.com/x-61222-Oklahoma-City-Democrat-Examiner~y2010m8d5-Prop-8-Blocked-in-California

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/04/MNBA1EP23K.DTL


See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 24, 2010 is Animal Freedom Day

Celebrate Animal freedom Day with educating yourself and others regarding the many overlaps in lessons on peace, justice and sustainability the comes from recognizing the right for all walks of life to be be treated with respect. The issues of environmental health, human health, and conscious living are intricately intertwined with the efforts of this celebration.

Here's some words from organizer and activist Nadia Masoudi:


Dear Friends:

Animal Freedom Day is fast approaching and will be taking place this Saturday July 24th!

We hope that you are looking forward to this day as much as we are.

We want to thank everyone for all of your support with Animal Freedom Day. Not only have you helped to make this event worth while but we have also been receiving amazing responses from many. A special thanks goes to those who have organized their own events around the world for Animal Freedom Day.

I would like to remind you and invite everyone you know (including your family, friends, co-workers, network, etc.) to watch us online on July 24th.
In addition, I also encourage you to sign up and take the "Veg Pledge" - "Be a veggie for one day."

Find out how you can help the environment, your health, the animals and world hunger by being a vegan for one day.

Be a part of Animal Freedom Day and speak to us live via Skype. Share your thoughts, feelings and your efforts. Our Skype account name is animalfreedomday.

Make sure to watch us live online at www.animalfreedomday.com

Animal Freedom Day has been making a lot of buzz these days. Please visit AFD's Media Page and have a look.

With your participation in Animal Freedom Day you will be included as part of the climactic moment of the film Don't Eat Me. You will be able to view never before seen footage from Don't Eat Me on Animal Freedom Day during our program. Don't Eat Me is planned to be released in summer 2011.<>

With your contribution Animal Freedom Day has become an international celebration.

Once again thank you for your support and love of animals.

Let's make every day an Animal Freedom Day.

Happy Animal Freedom Day!
Best,
Nadia Masoudi

Filmmaker/Activist
(905) 540-3804 ext: 470
Direct E-mail: nadia@animalfreedomday.com
www.donteatme.ca
www.animalfreedomday.com

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Poem

The following written prose is a gift from activist Joemae Santos,

The pride of the nation


The time you had privileges and had food was when others were suffering
The pain of the hot sun attacks our skin
as our flesh burns
along as gasoline burns
and the black smoke lands on her face and
it’s the word itim that enters others mouths
cause it’s best to be white
be embarrassed of
your skin
her skin
his skin
our skin
because it’s ugly
not nice to look at so
go back to working in the streets with a mile to walk
for decent cup of water
that’ll be empty before you get where your going
because it’s the heat like a net caressing our population
increasing the sweat that nurtures our land
ang lupa hiniram, NO “this land is your land” stuff cause
ever since Rizal’s time we’ve been tough
with nothing but the clothes on our backs
we worked till the rich were happy and satisfied with our pain
we are strong we fight for survival and die for necessities this is the
Filipino the ones who fought with pride
against others cause a fight was what they provoked
the joking matter of death spoke spoke
spoke like a speech that will never be forgotten
don’t ever forget the blood that drizzled
as the cold hearted hearts of our enemies beated
alongside the cries for help that pinoys and pinays
asked for back then
back then in history we were discovered
but lapu lapu sparked our defensive attitude
towards the many islands that can say
Salamat Ninoy at Cory for you made change that was greatly needed
we need to be given our needs
our lives at stakes with rain water at our knees
the houses that tremble and stand on nothing but a stick
with the protection from our trope from the scary scary man
that looks at me up and down and the
gossip that’s always being murmured from ear to ear and
the disgusted look people give you if you are poor rich
as to who
who huh will be accepted
but it’s the bone breaking
pride
thinkin’
sweatin’
tearin’
up person that walks through this land
like life is as easy as the gravel is like fire
while their feet sizzle like coal underneath Jollibee’s grill
but the child waits outside for maybe
just maybe someone will throw their half eaten burger
it’s starvation the lack of money is to much to
bear cause the cardboard bed beside the mango tree is painful
insects are easily feeding on me but I won’t
repeat that WON’T die off these islands without
a meaning cause it’s the meaning of pride
we have learned to carry and pass on to others because as a
Pinay my history will live
thru the children who beg
thru the jeepney that runs
thru the teen that works graveyard
thru the palenke that smells
thru the elders that protest
thru the land we have lived on and
No we will never give up on ourselves because
they are
we are
I are

Filipinos are worth dying for

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Isreal Assault Leaves Several Dead, Continues Injustice in Gaza




After Israel assaulted a humanitarian aid ship bound for the Gaza strip, many have stood up to speak about this completely unnecessary act of brutality.

The question is, how does this influence the Middle East peace process, and where does this act lie in the continued struggle for justice in the Gaza strip?

Coverage of headlines from Democracy Now!

Flotilla Survivors Deported from Israel
Survivors aboard the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip have begun to provide their accounts of the Israeli assault that left at least nine people dead and sparked an international uproar. Israel has begun deporting the 682 people seized from the ships during the assault. Many have challenged Israeli military claims that soldiers acted in self-defense after repelling onto the Mavi Marmara. Some say Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the vessel. Passengers on other ships in the flotilla say they were threatened at gunpoint.

Aid Ship Continues Gaza Trek as New Flotilla Planned
Despite the assault, another aid ship has set sail for Gaza intending to challenge the Israeli blockade. The ship is named after Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in March 2003. The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, meanwhile, has announced it’s planning a flotilla of even more ships than the first to set sail for Gaza in the coming weeks.

US Maintains Refusal to Condemn Flotilla Assault
The Obama administration has refused to condemn the Israeli assault. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined the US stance in Washington.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "The United States supports the Security Council’s condemnation of the acts leading to this tragedy, and we urge Israel to permit full consular access to the individuals involved and to allow the countries concerned to retrieve their deceased and wounded immediately. We urge all concerned countries to work together to resolve the status of those who were part of this incident as soon as possible. We support, in the strongest terms, the Security Council’s call for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation. We support an Israeli investigation that meets those criteria."

Ban: Lifting Gaza Blockade Would Have Prevented Flotilla Deaths
All the permanent members of the Security Council except for the United States have called for Israel’s three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted. On a visit to Uganda, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon renewed his demand for an end to the blockade.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "Had the Israeli government heeded to international calls and my own strong and urgent and persistent call to lift the blockade of Gaza, this would not have happened. Therefore, it is again very important and urgently required that Israelis would immediately lift this blockade of Gaza."

Thousands Worldwide Protest Flotilla Assault
Global protest, meanwhile, continues to grow in the aftermath of the assault. Tens of thousands of people turned out in rallies across the world Tuesday, from South Africa to Greece to Lebanon to England to cities across the United States. Here in New York, a large crowd marched on the Israeli consulate.

Remi Kanazi: "I think anybody, a person of conscience, should be here today to stand in solidarity with the Gaza boats, with the aid boats, with the people of Gaza. I mean, as an American citizen, my tax dollars are going to fund every single Israeli bullet, every Apache helicopter, Hellfire missile, cluster bomb, white phosphorus, and I think we need to stand up. It’s important to educate, but it’s also important to take action. And being in the streets or engaging in boycott, divestment and sanctions, we need to be engaged in the community, we need to be part of the grassroots, and we need to be moving things forward and standing in solidarity with Palestinian society."

US Student Loses Eye After Israel Fires on West Bank Protest
Meanwhile, an American college student has lost her left eye after being shot in the face by an Israeli tear-gas canister during a protest against the flotilla assault in the occupied West Bank. The student, twenty-one-year-old Emily Henochowicz, underwent surgery in a Jerusalem hospital on Tuesday. The Israeli peace activist Jonathan Pollack witnessed the attack.

Jonathan Pollack: "It was a spontaneous and quite small demonstration against the atrocious violence on that ship coming to Gaza, a hundred people at its largest at the beginning. And at the time Emily was shot, there were about, I don’t know, twenty people at most there. Emily was standing aside from where things were happening, and at some point the border police officers just started shooting indiscriminately, shooting directly at us tear-gas projectiles, one from a very small distance of about twenty, ten to twenty meters. Emily was hit in the face by one of those, and it was intentionally aimed towards us. There could have been no mistake, the small distance and the place where she was standing at."
See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Monday, May 24, 2010

Major Oil Spill Continues to Damage the Gulf Coast



It's been over a month since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig began shedding its pollutants throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and the onslaught to residents both human and non-human species alike continues unabated. Even the most cynical of activists didn't think this disaster would explode with the magnitude of impact it has brought to the Gulf Coast. Worst case scenarios painted by BP executives state up to 85.3 million gallons of oil may have already been spilled. Compare that to 10.8 that was Valdez!


It's funny to listen to President Obama call into question the leases for off-shore oil drilling expansion he recently allowed before this disaster first struck. Really, why now? Because national and world-wide media are covering what's quickly becoming one of the deadliest ecological disasters in history? Have "we" not learned that it's better to promote long-term, sustainable planning in the beginning rather than be forced to react with conscious thought after disaster strikes? Apparently the forward progression of renewable energy generation and "clean power" policy have not been felt at home enough for Obama to understand the travesty of nuclear power, "clean" coal, or continued exploitation of a finite and non-renewable, dirty source or energy like petroleum.


It's alarms me to find hope in this continued disaster, to an area of the US still economically, socially, and environmentally distraught from Hurricane Katrina. Couple this catastrophe with the failure of the US Government to rightfully aid and assist the ecosystems and community members devastated by that Hurricane, and you have to wonder how Louisiana will bounce back, again. Yet I can only hope that somehow, the continuous volume of pollutants that reach the US shoreline (never mind the greater oceanic health concerns) send a lasting message that, that's right, WE NEED CHANGE. And change does not equal business as usual, but rather the forward, progressive thinking many hoped Obama would (and perhaps still can?) bring to US politics, aka, the definition of business as usual.


I'll throw a "Yes We Can" to that, and offer a few current resources to read about what's happening in the Gulf.





From Democracy Now!

BP Rejects EPA Demand to Use Less-Toxic Dispersants
The British oil company BP has rejected demands from the Obama administration to use less-toxic chemical dispersants to break up the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past month, BP has used about 715,000 gallons of the chemical Corexit, made by the Illinois-based company Nalco. The chemical is banned in Britain, and scientists have questioned its safety as well as effectiveness compared to other dispersants. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency ordered BP to switch chemical, but BP is now fighting that order. The dispute between the EPA and BP highlights the power the oil company has been granted in controlling the cleanup of the spill. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen was questioned on CNN about BP.

Candy Crowley: "And they say, why is BP in control now? They don’t trust BP, so why is BP in control of this?"

Thad Allen: "I don’t think it’s an issue of control. What makes this an unprecedented, anomalous event is access to the discharge site is controlled by the technology that was used for the drilling, which is owned by the private sector. They have the eyes and ears that are down there. They are necessarily the modality by which this is going to get solved. Our responsibility is to conduct proper oversight to make sure they do that."

On Sunday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited the Houston command center where scientists for BP and the government have been working to plug the blown-out well.

Ken Salazar: "I am angry and I am frustrated that BP has been unable to stop this well from leaking and to stop this pollution from spreading. We are thirty-three days into this effort, and deadline after deadline has been missed."

Bipartisan Commission to Probe BP Oil Spill
President Obama has created a bipartisan commission to investigate the oil spill disaster. Heading the probe will be Democrat Bob Graham, a former US senator, and Florida governor and Republican William Reilly, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

President Obama: “If the laws on our books are inadequate to prevent such an oil spill, or if we didn’t enforce those laws, I want to know it. I want to know what worked and what didn’t work in our response to the disaster and where oversight of the oil and gas industry broke down. We know, for example, that a cozy relationship between oil and gas companies and the agencies that regulate them has long been a source of concern.”

Despite Moratorium, New Offshore Drilling Permits OKed
The New York Times reports that in the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted.

Other sources of information:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/05/oil-spill-threatens-wetlands/1

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/science/earth/25spill.html?hpw

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/01/us/20100501-oil-spill-tracker.html?ref=earth

http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/homepage/STAGING/local_assets/bp_homepage/html/rov_stream.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/05/7-secrets-bp-doesnt-want_n_563102.html

http://unearthed.earthjustice.org/category/tags/oil?gclid=CIrh3dfg7KECFQykiQodClyCOw

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0524/BP-oil-spill-pushes-Louisiana-to-desperate-massive-berm-plan

http://beforeitsnews.com/news/49/024/Gulf_Oil_Spill:_EPA_and_U.S._Coast_Guard_Consider_BP_s_Scientific_Analysis_Of_Alternative_Dispersants_Insufficient.html

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Happened to Immigration Reform, Reflections on the 40th Earth Day, and Cell Phones that Fuel War



Please visit this site,
http://altoarizona.com/

and educate yourself and others on what is happening in Arizona. Before President Obama took office he swore to enact lasting immigration reform within his first 100 days of office. Obviously this is a more complex issue than that, and obviously his reform hasn't happened yet. But in order to be fully Holistic in the fight to bring peace, justice and sustainability to the US and the planet, this is an extremely important issue that must be dealt with appropriately.

Here's another important link to get you involved, http://dreamact.info/.

"Over three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. Most get the opportunity to test their dreams and live their American story. However, a group of approximately 65,000 youth do not get this opportunity; they are smeared with an inherited title, an illegal immigrant. These youth have lived in the United States for most of their lives and want nothing more than to be recognized for what they are, Americans." Read on through the website link above...

Of course by now we know everyday is Earth Day, but reflecting on its 40th anniversary, what better way to share some thought then hit a few beaming points.

Here's a link to an interesting video that activist have put together in an attempt to showcase the numerous problems going on with Canada and their oil sands project(s).

http://avatarsands.org/newyork.html

And in California, a committee has approved a bill to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. This one simple step could have a huge impact for the health of our planet, and help reduce and educate individuals on the destructive and very real nature of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Sign the petition to lend your voice to support:

http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/action/oceans/bag-ban?id4=es

And lastly, here's a note from Amnesty International. It certainly speaks to specific legislation that I hope is passed, but with the failure of the political system to always enact what is says it will, and most importantly make those words and policy felt by those most impacted, I hope this will at least spread some knowledge, and maybe activate a few of you out there:

The Conflict Minerals Trade Act (H.R. 4128), introduced by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) on November 19, 2009 in the U.S. House of Representatives, seeks to improve transparency and reduce the trade in conflict minerals coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in order to promote the larger policy goal of supporting peace and security in the DRC.

The DRC is rich in natural resources, including large deposits of columbite-tantalite (known as coltan), cassiterite, wolframite and gold, which are used in everyday technology such as cell phones, laptops and digital video recorders and in jewelry. The mines from which these minerals are extracted are most often under the control of armed groups, especially in the volatile eastern part of the country, where conflict has been ongoing for many years despite the presence of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, MONUC.

The most recent report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the DRC found that armed groups in eastern DRC continue to control and profit from the extraction and trade of these minerals. Both the conflict and the mining of minerals itself have led to grave human rights abuses, including sexual violence, child and slave labor, and mass displacement.

If enacted into law, H.R. 4128 would mandate the production of a ?Congo Conflict Minerals Map,? which would map mines currently under the control of armed groups in the DRC. In addition, the bill would mandate the Secretaries of State and Commerce to work with interested parties, including commercial entities, to determine best practices to ensure due diligence and documentation on the origin and supply chain of potential conflict minerals. H.R. 4128 would specifically ensure that the minerals used by companies do not directly finance conflict, result in labor or human rights abuses, or damage the environment, by mandating the creation of a ?Potential Conflict Goods List? and the regular auditing of facilities that are engaged in the trade in minerals from the DRC.

Most importantly, H.R. 4128 would require that individuals or companies be subject to penalties if found guilty of entering conflict minerals into the United States by fraud, gross negligence or negligence. H.R. 4128 would greatly advance the goals of regulating and stemming the flow of conflict minerals, thereby limiting the ability of armed groups to benefit from conflict minerals and perpetuate the conflict.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nuclear Arms Reduction, Off Shore Drilling, Health Care, and other important stories

After signing a historic nuclear arms reduction pact, thoughts still circulate as to whether the US will in fact roll back the arsenal of nuclear weapons it harbors, or if this is merely a way to probe at North Korea and Iran for the weapons they hold.

Questions have arisen as a recent interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates stressed that the US would never use nor threaten to use nuclear weapons, except if they were brought under attack, or if a country with nuclear weapons didn't play by their rules.

I have to say I really like the pact, but wonder what the undertones are?

Food for thought:

http://act.truemajorityaction.org/p/7002/taf_globalzerobb?tell_a_friend_KEY=354

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/8/despite_landmark_arms_reduction_treaty_with

Another important article I read yesterday,

http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/national/89788407.html ,

brings up the continued failure of the US government to foster actual justice for Native American Tribes. It has always been the case, since colonization commenced, that the US has done whatever they wished to Native people. Why would the government not bestow Tribal recognition upon this group of people, simply because their histories do not fall neatly within the bureaucratic means that's "easier" for them to interpret?

After passing historic health care reform, which is by no means perfect, but is a definite step towards a more just path, why would the president open up vast tracks of ocean for oil exploration? Was it not ironic that he told us about this exploration right after the House and Senate passed the health care overhaul? Seems fishy to me.

Here are a few highlights of the heath care bill, but we have a LONG way to go as the "bottom" tier of people in the US are still left with the burden (surprise, surprise).

"Insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse to pay for treatment of children's pre-existing conditions.

Health care plans will allow young people to remain on their parents' insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.

Insurance companies will be banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from implementing lifetime caps on coverage.

People who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.

Small businesses that choose to offer coverage will begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help make employee coverage more affordable."

In the meantime, visit the Surfrider Foundation's website, or any other solid environmental group's page to see how you can voice your dissent regarding another step towards no energy independence for the US, and business as usual for the fossil fuel industry.

Offshore Drilling Myths

1. New technologies will prevent oil spills.

Try telling the Australians that. In August 2009 a state-of-the-art rig using "new technology" spilled 2000 barrels of oil a day for 10 weeks into the fragile East Timor Sea.

2. Offshore drilling is good for the economy and will create jobs!

Our beaches are economic engines. One oil spill would devastate the local coastal tourism industry and the livelihood of people working in the fishing industry.

3. We won't be reliant on foreign oil.

We'll still have to import at least 40% of our oil to meet our daily consumption needs.

4. We'll have a long-term supply of oil.

It won't be enough. Offshore drilling will only give us about 18 months of supply at our current rate of consumption.

Check out this fact sheet as well:

http://www.surfrider.org/nottheanswer/factsheet.pdf

Also, check out this blog if you get a chance, and educate yourself and others on the continued threat of GE food,

http://weblog.greenpeace.org/makingwaves/archives/genetic_engineering/

Lastly, it astounds me that I continually get asked why I do not consume meat products, even though it's obvious it tastes oh so good. Put simply, it's just one way to lessen my ecological footprint, period. I never stopped because steak tastes bad:

http://www.montereyherald.com/state/ci_14838682?nclick_check=1

For the Earth, all its people and species...do whatever you can, with whatever you have.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nuclear Energy: The most destructive "environmental" argument for "clean" power




Well, "clean coal" is also pretty bad, but anyone that can sift through the propaganda put out by the coal industry (and President Obama) can see how flawed and polluting "clean coal" is. But nuclear power continues to make headlines as the argument for an energy source that creates zero carbon emissions continues to percolate mainstream American media.

Today, President Obama is holding another rally for healthcare reform. Although he continues to get beat down by those opposing reformation and restructuring of this horrendously flawed system, at least he continues to argue that a public option be put on the table. I almost heard that sense of hope in his voice yesterday as he continued to attack the healthcare industry and its capitalistic malice that is clearly putting their desire and drive for profit over the care of patients. Here's a quote:

“And they will keep on doing this for as long as they can get away with it. I mean, there’s no secret. They’re telling their investors this: ‘We are in the money; we are going to keep on making big profits, even though a lot of folks are going to be put under hardship.’ So how much higher do premiums have to rise until we do something about it? How many more Americans have to lose their health insurance?”

Good critical comments. But why can't there be continuity with regard to how Obama goes about achieving sustainability through environmental, economic, and social means?

Two important articles to read: http://crosscut.com/2010/03/09/science-environment/19646/


Both spell out the main tenants of the greenwashing that focuses any dialogue on nuclear energy generation; the waste. There is simply no where to put it, and beyond that, creating it is simply as environmentally destructive as just about anything. The waste does not go away, and while I championed Obama's call for dismissing Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste dump, and I do hope that sticks, if these power plants are created waste will be created, and some communities will face the burden.

Read these articles, continue educating yourself, and learn why nuclear anything is greatly opposed to any justice, peace or sustainability efforts on this Earth.

I have to say I love this quote in the Grist article: "President Obama has justified his proposed $55 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors by misrepresenting nuclear reactors as the largest "carbon-free" energy source in the United States. That's like saying McDonald's should be put in charge of a nationwide obesity campaign because it's the largest restaurant in the U.S. that sells salads."

Seriously. No Nuclear ANYTHING for a better world! It's that simple, there are other options.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Olympics, the Klamath, and much more...







As I've been away for the last month, I always find it difficult to report on the many stories that continuously unfold each and everyday. Here's a shot at touching on a few points from the last month, bringing us into March 2010...

The Olympics reduced their ecofootprint, but what about their social footprint?

And did they really reduce their ecofootprint at all? Apparently several sources say they did(http://www.carbonfund.org/site/newsletter/entries/Winter_Olympics_Reduces_Its_Environmental_Impact/ ), but what I'm more concerned with is how the houseless community was treated in the run up to the games. Please read this and decide for yourself: http://secondgenerationradical.blogmatrix.com/:entry:secondgenerationradical-2010-02-12-0000/
...greenwashing alive and well...


If this article is true, and I pray it is, the removal of the Klamath dams represent one of the greatest recent victories I can think of for the promotion of peace, justice and sustainability.

http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_14432469?source=rss

With the removal of the dams we have a chance to see the health of this mighty river return, as well as the hopeful return of the health of the vastly impacted salmon. The peace fostered to Native American communities represents actual justice to their communities, who have been deeply effected by the loss of their traditional way of life through the loss of salmon and the loss of this spiritual river.

Sustainability, overall, takes a step forward with a move to bring justice to Native people, ecological health to the river and its non-human species, and the hope for a multi-lateral policy decision to make peace with the many diverse sides over this highly contested land-use conflict. If the Klamath and all its many ingredients can finally feel justice, then there's hope for the many difficult roads ahead!


President Obama, again states that he plans to greatly reduce the amount of nuclear weapons held by the US. GREAT! But why then does the US follow this statement with saying they will not commit to declaring the US would never be the first to strike in an exchange of war with a nuclear bomb?!? Does that commitment then make any sense at all?

http://article.wn.com/view/2010/03/01/Obama_is_rethinking_US_nuclear_policy/?section=TopStoriesWorldwide&template=worldnews%2Findex.txt



While Chile rebuilds from their massive earthquake, think about donating financially if you can, or doing whatever you can, in anyway to send prayers, or do anything to help these people in some way,

http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10339 , but let us also not forget the continued strife of Haiti as well,

https://shop.thehungersite.com/store/item.do?siteId=220&itemId=40883&adId=43159&placementId=118873&origin=

And what happened to the Clean Water Act? Now because of a Supreme Court Ruling thousands of polluters say the law doesn't apply to them anymore?!? Although like NEPA, in that the law itself is inherently flawed but offers necessary protection and policy under the largely flawed US environmental system, now it seems a large step has been taken in the wrong direction.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/03/01/companies-skirt-clean-water-act/

And this month's TIME magazine asks whether the war on the Taliban will be triumphant or not. I beg each any ever person to read the amazing book Three Cups of Tea and answer that one for yourself.

For the happiness, well-being and freedom of all...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Finally, a Little Justice for Haiti




Breaking news: The United States Treasury Department has just announced U.S. government support for complete debt cancellation for Haiti and will work with our international partners to ensure that new assistance comes in the form of grants, not debt-incurring loans. It's exactly what more than 200,000 ONE members have been calling for. And this weekend, the U.S. will take this message to G7 finance ministers’ summit, creating strong momentum to get a global deal and guarantee debt cancellation for Haiti.

Read more here:
http://www.one.org/r?r=301&id=1443-4562280-vl39v1x&t=1
and continue to do whatever you can to send support to Haiti; financially, food, medical supplies, prayers, etc. Whatever you can do...

February 11th is an Important day in Iran

Unite 4 human rights in Iran

A note from Amnesty International....

Last week, two men were hanged after being accused of inciting the post-June 12 election violence that erupted last summer in Iran. The Iranian government failed to answer one key question - how these men could have been responsible for the violence when they were being held in detention long before it even occurred?

As if this injustice wasn't enough, now the lives of 9 more men hang in the balance on similar charges. We fear some of them may be executed before February 11th - a date holding much significance in Iran and one that could signify an end to these abuses.

February 11th is known as Victory of the Revolution Day - equivalent to the Fourth of July in the United States; it is meant to symbolize liberty, independence and freedom. Authorities in Iran fear that February 11th will spark a wave of massive protests and unite Iranians in their calls for change and accountability.

That is why on February 11th we intend to do all we can to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people on this important date, but we need your help.

In the days following the contested Presidential election, Iranian authorities took aggressive measures to stifle dissent and stem the flow of information. No outside reporters were allowed in. Iranians were not allowed to freely report out.

Virtually the only way the Iranian people could expose the horrific treatment being inflicted on them was to share their stories online, using blogs and websites like Twitter and Facebook.

We expect Iranians will once again rely solely on the Internet to carry their messages during next week's expected demonstrations. That is why we are asking everyone to show their solidarity online on February 11th - whether it's on your blog, website, or social networking profile. Help us raise the voices of those calling for freedom and justice inside Iran.
Bloggers Unite: Join our network of blogger's covering Iran and the events on February 11th.
Twitter Followers: The hashtag #iranelection was one of the most widely-used in the post-election aftermath. Since the violence is still unresolved, we'll continue to tweet using this hashtag. Make sure your related tweets include: #iranelection.
Share Online: Help share the message of February 11th by adding our solidarity image to your blog, website or social networking profile.
We will be keeping a close watch over Victory of the Revolution Day events. Our collective voices can help keep high-level Iranian officials in check. If authorities yet again brutally suppress people's right to peacefully express their opinions, we will harness the power of the Internet to push right back!



Thank you for standing with us and the people of Iran,

Elise Auerbach, Christoph Koettl and the rest of the Iran crisis response team



P.S. If you know someone or if you, yourself, expect to be in New York on February 11th, then be sure to wear black and join our coalition of activists as they stand in a silent vigil for the people of Iran.