Earth’s Climate Emergency: Break down the walls!

Tags

, , , , ,

YouthStrike4Climate Student March – London, UK – April 12, 2019
Photo Credit: Common Dreams (Photo Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

 

To those people who are still in denial that humanity faces a climate crisis that would most likely lead to the extinction of our species, not to mention most other species, I say, wake up to reality. We cannot afford to wait until reality strikes you in the groin or chest for us to take evasive action as a united nation.

 

Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum 2019 – Davos, Switzerland
Watch Video: World Economic Forum, Published on January 25, 2019

 

Because we adults are asleep at the wheel, leadership in humanity’s existential crisis now falls upon our youth. After all, it’s their future that is at stake. Greta Thunberg, a fifteen-year-old Swedish student has had enough of the failure of world leaders to act. In her address to the ultra-rich gathered at the World Economic Forum in January 2019, she tells them:

“I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”

 

Senator Dianne Feinstein speaks with young activists of the Sunrise Movement
California Office, USA – February 22, 2019
Watch Video: Washington Post

 

Here in the world’s leading economy, our leadership is more concerned about preserving their self-interests, their political party, and the status quo. On February 22, 2019, when young activists of the Sunrise Movement visited the California office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to ask her to vote for the Green New Deal, she was firm in rejecting their petition.

“We have our own Green New Deal,” Feinstein tells them. “I’ve been doing this for thirty years. I know what I’m doing. You come in here and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that… I just won a big election.”

 

Youth climate activists during sit-in at Washington DC office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – February 25, 2019
Photo Credit: Common Dreams (Photo Sunrise Movement)

 

The following Monday, February 25th, over 200 young members of the Sunrise Movement joined about twenty Kentucky high school students outside the Capitol Hill office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to demonstrate their support for the Green New Deal. They failed to meet him. Instead, the Capitol Police arrested more than forty of them.

While there is yet no consensus on the Green New Deal—which right-wing commentators view as a socialist takeover of our economy—lawmakers in Washington DC are busy undoing decades of environmental protection regulations. Then, on June 20th, the New York State Assembly passed its own Green New Deal at the state level. Their aggressive Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act calls for net zero carbon emissions statewide by 2050.

On July 9th, our young climate activists gained another victory in their call for action. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) announced the introduction of a resolution in Congress to declare that the climate emergency facing our planet demands a “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States” in order to “restore the climate for future generations.”

Over two dozen lawmakers, including most of the senators currently running for president, signed on as co-sponsors.

Blumenauer calls for a reality check. “To address the climate crisis, we must tell the truth about the nature of this threat,” he said in his statement.

“What we need now is Congressional leadership to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of the planet,” Sanders said. “Climate change is a national emergency, and I am proud to be introducing this resolution with my House and Senate colleagues.”

Working to solve the climate crisis will create tens of millions of union jobs, empower communities, and improve the quality of life for people across the globe,” Ocasio-Cortez added. 

Read the full Climate Emergency Resolution.

Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, supports the resolution. “With an unhinged climate denier in the White House, it’s on Congress to steer us away from climate suicide,” he said in a statement. “This resolution is a sane recognition that science says we need a massive transition away from the production and consumption of dirty fossil fuels.”

The time is now to break down the walls of partisanship, the walls of fear, the walls of ignorance, the walls of hatred and divisiveness, the walls of exclusion, the walls of separateness, the walls of inequality.

“Our house is on fire!” alerts the high school student Greta Thunberg.
“Let it burn!” says The Bully, sitting at the top of the world. “The oil is mine! All mine!”

Advertisements

“This is the Dark Time My Love” by Guyanese Poet Martin Carter

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

British soldiers arrive in Georgetown – British Guiana – October 9, 1953
Photo Credit: Stabroek News (Photo British Pathé)

 

My Poetry Corner July 2019 features the poem “This is the Dark Time My Love” by Guyanese poet Martin Carter (1927-1997) from his poetry collection, Poems of Resistance from British Guiana (London 1954). Following the suspension of the British Guiana Constitution in 1953, the poet-politician composed the poems in this collection during his three-month detention, together with other political leaders, by the British Army.

For readers unfamiliar with Guyana’s history, a former British colony until May 26, 1966, slavery ended in 1834. Indentured laborers began arriving from India in 1838 and continued until 1917. Other immigrant workers came from Portuguese Madeira (1835-1882) and China (1853-1879). The population of the colony in the mid-1950s was about 450,000 people (UN estimate).

Born in 1927 in Georgetown, the capital of then British Guiana, to middle class parents of African, Indian, and European ancestry, the young Martin grows up with an appreciation for literature, poetry, and philosophy. After attending the colony’s prestigious Queen’s College, for boys only, he gains entry to the civil service, working first at the post office, then later as the secretary of the superintendent of prisons.

Aware of the oppression and despair of the sugarcane workers who toil under harsh conditions on the British-owned sugar plantations, Carter joins the political struggle for self-governance. In “Looking at Your Hands” (1), he affirms his solidarity with the plantation workers in their shared struggle under British rule. 

No!
I will not still my voice!
I have
too much to claim –
[…]
you must know
I do not sleep to dream
but dream to change the world.
  Continue reading

American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism by Henry A Giroux

Tags

, , , , ,

Front Cover: American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism by Henry A Giroux
(City Lights/USA 2018)

 

American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism by Henry A Giroux is a collection of essays that aim to shake up Americans to the growing threat of Trump’s authoritarianism to America’s democratic institutions. The author observes that “while the United States under Trump may not be an exact replica of Hitler’s Germany, the mobilizing ideas, policies, and ruthless social practices of fascism, wrapped in the flag and discourses of racial purity, ultra-nationalism, and militarism, are at the center of power in Trump’s United States.”

As defined by the Oxford Online Dictionary, fascism is “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.” To examine the echoes of fascism under Trump, Giroux refers to Robert O Paxton’s nine “mobilizing passions” of fascism described in his work, The Anatomy of Fascism (2004). These include:

  • sense of overwhelming crisis;
  • subordination of the individual to the group;
  • belief in victimization of one group to justify violence;
  • dread of group’s decline;
  • call for a purer community;
  • authority of a natural leader;
  • supremacy of leader’s instinct over reason;
  • beauty of violence and efficacy of the will for group’s success; and
  • right of chosen people to dominate others without restraint.

Continue reading

Carbon dioxide levels in Atmosphere hit record high in May

Tags

, , , ,

Source: Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA

 

Atmospheric carbon dioxide continued its rapid rise in 2019, with the average for May peaking at 414.7 parts per million (ppm) at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory.

The measurement is the highest seasonal peak recorded in 61 years of observations on top of Hawaii’s largest volcano and the seventh consecutive year of steep global increases in concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to data published June 4, 2019, by NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Learn more.

“Nothing to Worry About” ~ Poem by Palestinian-American Poet Remi Kanazi

Tags

, , , , , ,

Front Cover: Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine
by Remi Kanazi [Haymarket/USA, 2015]

 

My Poetry Corner June 2019 features the poem “Nothing to Worry About” from the poetry collection Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine (Haymarket Books, 2015) by Remi Kanazi, a poet, writer, and organizer based in New York City. Born in 1981, he is the son of Palestinian refugees who fled Palestine during the Nakba of 1948 when the state of Israel was established. In this collection, he not only addresses the Israel-Palestine conflict, but also examines racism in America, police brutality, US militarism at home and wars abroad, Islamophobia, and more.

In “Nakba,” the opening poem of the collection, Kanazi shares his maternal grandmother’s story of fleeing from her homeland, living in exile, and not being able to return home.

she was scared
seven months pregnant
guns pointed at temples
tears dropping
stomach cusped
back bent
dirt pathways
leading to
dispossession

For Palestinians worldwide, Nakba, which literally means “catastrophe,” refers to the period 1947 to 1949 when Zionist colonizers ethnically cleansed 750,000 Palestinians and destroyed 531 villages.

Palestinians leaving a village in Galilee after the creation of Israel in 1948
Photo Credit: Aljazeera [Reuters]

 

Kanazi grew up in a small, predominantly white town in Western Massachusetts where he assimilated American customs. During his teenage years, he learned more about Palestine, but, as the only Arab family in town, he avoided contentious debate. In 2001, four months before 9/11, he moved to New York City.

In an “anti-Arab, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian kind of world,” Kanazi says during his interview with Now This News on April 29, 2019, “[t]o be Palestinian in the United States is to face erasure; it’s to face marginalization.”

After Kanazi attended his first Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, in 2004, he was inspired to begin writing spoken word poetry. Based on his own receptivity, he realized the potential of using this medium to share his political thoughts with the young generation. Continue reading

Quote

“When we begin to build walls of prejudice, hatred, pride, and self-indulgence around ourselves, we are more surely imprisoned than any prisoner behind concrete walls and iron bars.” (Mother Angelica)

Tags

As we remember those who have fallen this Memorial Day, I share the thoughts of fellow blogger Larry “Dutch” Woller, a Vietnam veteran.

Maybe No More Children Will Die

I sit here looking at the news
The powers wanted peace they say,
And while they spoke, bombs were dropped
20 children died that day!

Read more at On the Path Least Traveled

 

 

“the woman is a construction” by Brazilian Poet Angélica Freitas

Tags

, , , , ,

Brazilian Poet Angélica Freitas
Photo Credit: Diário da Manhã, Pelotas,Rio Grande do Sul

 

My Poetry Corner May 2019 features the poem “the woman is a construction” (a mulher é uma construção) from the poetry collection, a uterus is the size of a fist (um útero é do tamanho de um punho), by Angélica Freitas, a contemporary Brazilian poet and translator.

Born in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, in 1973, the eldest of four siblings, Angélica Freitas began writing poetry at the age of nine, but her journey to finding herself as a poet took a long and circuitous route. Her discovery, at the age of fifteen, that she was gay made it difficult for her to fit in with her peers. Bullies found her an easy target. At nineteen, following her father’s death, she escaped to Glasgow with a Scottish girlfriend. After six months of washing dishes and cleaning restrooms, she returned to her family home.

Opting to study journalism at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Freitas moved to the capital, Porto Alegre, where she remained after graduation. There, she could be invisible. In her poem, “the pink book of the foolish heart,” she recalls:

I had a girlfriend
with super powers
of invisibility
and when I walked beside her
I was also invisible

In 2000, an unexpected acceptance as a trainee with O Estado de São Paulo newspapers led Freitas to the metropolis of São Paulo. She confesses that she wasn’t a good reporter, but that the experience exposed her to other realities of life. After four years of suffering to write with the rhythm of a daily newspapers, she left them for a slower paced work schedule at a telecommunications magazine. A career in journalism, she came to realize, wasn’t for her. What she desired above all was to write poetry.

Her life changed on a Saturday in 2005 when, during a period of depression, she decided to attend a poetry workshop conducted by Carlito Azevedo, a poet from Rio de Janeiro. Two years later, under his mentorship, she published her first collection of poetry. That same year, she moved to Argentina where she lived for two years with her girlfriend. For the first time, she became part of a feminist group. Living among them made her question her own condition as a woman. On her return to Brazil, she moved back to her hometown to work full-time as a poet and writer. Continue reading

First, Rebel Against Yourself.

An excellent post by A.C. Stark in the U.K.
Are we ready and willing to give up our material comforts and high standard of living to allow our children to live?

A.C. Stark

In Owen Jones’ recent interview video with Extinction Rebellion, Roger Hallam criticises the political ‘left’ as having been perpetually dishonest about what economic action is required to mitigate the climate breakdown and what cultural changes this will necessitate. He contends that the ‘left’ have become so embroiled, so entrenched in the (conceptually politically right-wing) neoliberal ideal they are unable to conceive of human life “in anything other than cost-benefit, materialistic terms”. Their proposed resolutions have therefore assumed that market forces are enough to tackle climate change: business as usual WILL work, it just needs tweaking! They were wrong, whilst Roger is correct: The ‘left’ – the supposed political guardians of justice and equality – have fundamentally failed to realise that at the very heart of any suitable action to mitigating the climate breakdown requires a redefinition and restructuring of our society and economy. Just like all life on this…

View original post 898 more words

Earth Day 2019: Protect Our Species

Tags

, , ,

Photo Credit: Bees – Earth Day Network

 

April 22nd is Earth Day 2019. The theme this year Protect Our Species – aims to “educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.” Other goals include achieving major policies to protect these species, building a global movement that embraces nature, and encouraging individual actions to adopt a plant-based diet and stop pesticide and herbicide use.

Since the loss of the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago, our planet now faces the greatest rate of extinction due to human impact on their habitats. Learn more about What is driving this process of extinction?

Earth Day Network (EDN) sums up the scope of this threat with the following 10 facts for global species decline. It’s a shameful report card of our deficiency in stewardship.

Fact #1 – Our planet is losing species at an estimated 1,000 to 10,000 times their normal rate.

Fact #2 – A new study of insect populations in Germany suggests a decline of more than 75% over the last 28 years.

Fact #3 – Habitat destruction, exploitation, and climate change are driving the loss of half of our planet’s wild animal population.

Fact #4 – Among our planet’s 504 primate species, 60% are threatened with extinction and 75% are in severe population decline.

Fact #5 – Across our planet each year, more than 650,000 marine mammals are caught or seriously injured by fishing gear.

Fact #6 – In the past 20 years, global fishing operations have adversely affected 75% of all toothed whale species, 65% of baleen whale species, and 65% of pinniped species.

Fact #7 – Forty percent (40%) of our planet’s bird species are in decline and 1 in 8 is threatened with extinction.

Fact #8 – Earth’s big cats, including tigers, leopards, and cheetahs, are in critical decline and many will become extinct in the next decade.

Fact #9 – If the current decline in lizard populations continues, 40% of all lizard species will be extinct by 2080.

Fact #10 – The American Bison, once numbered in the millions, now occupy less than one percent of their original habitat.

Learn more at EDN’s Protect our Species Primer and Action Toolkit. 

All is not yet lost. We can slow the rate of extinctions by working together to build a united global movement of consumers, educators, religious leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action. 

For too long, we humans have placed ourselves above and apart from our planetary web of life, ignoring the interconnectivity of all life forms. To drive national and global economic growth, our species continue to mistreat, exploit, and destroy non-human life. Do our cities have to burn like the Notre Dame Cathedral for humankind to finance and take swift, decisive action to do what needs to be done?

 

The Year 2018 in Hate & Extremism: Rage Against Change

Tags

, , , , , ,

Chart of US Hate Groups 1999-2018
Image Credit: The Southern Poverty Law Center

 

These fears and frustrations [President Trump’s failure to build a wall], heightened by U.S. Census Bureau projections that white people will no longer be a majority by 2044, helped propel hate to a new high last year. The total number of hate groups rose to 1,020 in 2018, up about 7 percent from 2017. White nationalist groups alone surged by nearly 50 percent last year, growing from 100 chapters in 2017 to 148 in 2018. But at the same time, Trump has energized black nationalist hate groups — typically antisemitic and anti-LGBT organizations — with an increase to 264 from 233 in 2017. Overall, though, the great majority of hate groups are those that despise racial, ethnic or religious minorities and they, unlike black nationalist groups, have a firm foothold in the mainstream.

~ Excerpt from article “White supremacy flourishes amid fears of immigration and nation’s shifting demographics” by Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Report, 2019 Spring Issue, February 20, 2019, published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

~ See Map of Active Hate Groups in the United States // 2018
The top three states with the highest number of hate groups are California (83), Florida (75), and Texas (73).