Articles, papers, comments, opinions and new ideas worth sharing

Authors of research papers and articles on global issues for this month

AMMAR BANNI, Candice Bernd, David Bollier, Iolanda Brazão, Alphonse HITIMANA CAMEROUN, Noam Chomsky,, Guy Crequie (2), Marianne de Nazareth, Thom Hartmann, George Lakoff, Abby Martin, Rajesh Makwana, Rolly Montpellier, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Joseph Nevins, Manuel Pastor, Mary Pipher, Isabel Cristina Silva Vargas

AMMAR BANNI, To live in peace in all day of year To live in peace in  all day of year
Candice Bernd, Arrests Mount in Texas Blockade Over Tar Sands Pipeline Arrests Mount in Texas Blockade Over Tar Sands Pipeline
David Bollier, The Commons As A Transformative Vision The Commons As A Transformative Vision
Iolanda Brazão, Paz & amor Paz & amor
Noam Chomsky, My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison, Global CO2 Emission Rises To Record Level In 2011 Global CO2 Emission Rises To Record Level In 2011
Guy Crequie Une longue série de poèmes de paix d'enfants et d'adolescents Une longue série de poèmes de paix d'enfants et d'adolescents
Marianne de Nazareth, Approximately 50 % Of World’s Wetlands Lost During The 20th Century Approximately 50 % Of World’s Wetlands Lost During The 20th Century
Thom Hartmann, Globalization Is The Number One Health Risk Facing Humanity Globalization Is The Number One Health Risk Facing Humanity
George Lakoff, Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy
Abby Martin, Iran/USA: Who is Threatening Who? Iran/USA: Who is Threatening Who?
Rajesh Makwana, Proposing A Vision Of A New Earth Proposing A Vision Of A New Earth
Rolly Montpellier, Climate Change: Food Crisis And Future Hunger Wars Climate Change: Food Crisis And Future Hunger Wars
Rachel Morello-Frosch, Manuel Pastor Facing the Climate Gap: How Low-Income Communities of Color Are Leading the Charge on Climate Solutions , Facing the Climate Gap: How Low-Income Communities of Color Are Leading the Charge on Climate Solutions
Joseph Nevins, Can We Survive the Lifestyle Choices of the Planet’s Ecologically Privileged Class? Can We Survive the Lifestyle Choices of the Planet’s Ecologically Privileged Class?
Rachel Morello-Frosch, Manuel Pastor Facing the Climate Gap: How Low-Income Communities of Color Are Leading the Charge on Climate Solutions , Facing the Climate Gap: How Low-Income Communities of Color Are Leading the Charge on Climate Solutions
Mary Pipher, Wake Up! Our World Is Dying and We're All in Denial Wake Up! Our World Is Dying and We're All in Denial

Articles and papers from authors

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  November 14, 2012
Global CO2 Emission Rises To Record Level In 2011


Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels rose 2.5 percent to a record in 2011 on surging pollution in China , Germany 's research institute IWR said. At the same time, scientists have found human produced CO2 emissions are accumulating in greater amounts in the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

Stefan Nicola reports [1]:

Worldwide emissions rose 834 million metric tons to 33.99 billion tons, IWR said on November 12, 2012 . China 's releases of the GHG climbed 6.5 percent, offsetting declines in the US , Russia and Germany , the institute said.

?If the current trend persists, global CO2 emissions will go up by another 20 percent to over 40 billion tons by 2020,? Norbert Allnoch, the IWR's director, said in the statement. Countries' emission levels should be tied to mandatory investments in climate protection such as renewable energy, the IWR said.

Economies including Brazil , China and India are raising investments in renewable technologies to help meet their growing energy demand. The projected surge in low-carbon sources won't be enough to meet the UN goal of limiting global warming since industrialization to 2 degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency said on November 12, 2012 .

China was the biggest polluter, with emissions of 8.9 billion tons. The US produced about 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide and India was the third-biggest emitter with 1.8 billion tons, the IWR data show.

From Frankfurt Reuters reported:

In terms of producing CO2 India was third, ahead of Russia , Japan and Germany .

Global CO2 emissions are 50 percent above those in 1990, the basis year for the Kyoto Climate Protocol. The first period of the Kyoto Protocol ends on Dec. 31 and moves straight into a new commitment period.

The length of the new period should be decided when world leaders meet in Doha this month at a UN summit on climate change. The summit aims to finalise a new binding emissions reduction agreement by 2015, which would come in to force in 2020.

Along with this negative development, scientists have found human produced carbon dioxide emissions are accumulating in greater amounts in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, wrote Carl Franzen [2] on November 13, 2012 :

Citing results of a new study of data captured by a Canadian satellite Carl referred to the key finding of a team at the University of Waterloo in Canada and the US Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL) Space Science Division, relayed in a new paper published Sunday online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The team analyzed eight-years worth of atmospheric CO2 data collected by the Canadian Space Agency's Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE), a satellite launched in 2003 that is taking spectra measurements and images of the atmosphere.

The scientists finding from the ACE's data from 2004 through 2012 was troubling: Carbon dioxide levels in the upper atmosphere increased eight percent over the period, from 209 parts per million in 2004 to 225 parts per million in 2012.

The NRL described in a news release on the findings:

?The scientists estimate that the concentration of carbon near 100 km altitude is increasing at a rate of 23.5 ± 6.3 parts per million (ppm) per decade, which is about 10 ppm/decade faster than predicted by upper atmospheric model simulations.?

At lower altitudes, carbon dioxide emissions make the Earth warmer by trapping sunlight.

But at higher altitudes, the reverse is true: In the mesosphere (between 31 miles and 55 miles up) and the thermosphere (above 55 miles up), carbon dioxide's density is thinner and a less effective at trapping infrared radiation. In fact, CO2 at these altitudes is something of a heat sink, allowing infrared radiation to escape back out into space.

The thinning, cooling trend at this level due to increasing CO2 is likely to have detrimental effects on human spacefaring activity, something of a bitter irony given that a satellite was the reason we know about the increased CO2 levels in the first place.

The NRL explained:

?The enhanced cooling produced by the increasing CO2 should result in a more contracted thermosphere, where many satellites, including the International Space Station, operate. The contraction of the thermosphere will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites and may have adverse consequences for the already unstable orbital debris environment, because it will slow the rate at which debris burn up in the atmosphere.?

In other words, rather than trapping heat, the increased CO2 levels in the upper atmosphere are likely to result in longer-lasting debris, and thus, a greater proportion of debris over time as humans continue to launch objects into space.

Already, NASA's Orbital Debris Program, which tracks the overall amount of space junk around the planet, reports that there are at least 500,000 objects orbiting the Earth between 1 and 10 centimeters in size, another 21,000 larger than 10 centimeters. Other scientists have previously warned that Earth is collectively approaching a ?tipping point? when it comes to space junk, where one piece of space junk colliding into another could set off a chain reaction of cascading collisions that would make it prohibitively risky to launch anything else into space, a phenomena known as the ?Kessler effect? or the ?Kessler syndrome? after the scientist who first proposed it in 1978.

Space junk has become such a looming problem that the NRL has concocted a plan to reduce some of it by shooting clouds of dust into space to increase the drag on debris and bring them plummeting back to Earth, to burn up in the atmosphere. That idea remains just a proposal, for now.


[1] Bloomberg, ?Global Carbon Emissions Climbed to a Record Last Year, IWR Says?, Nov 13, 2012 ,

[2] TPM, ?Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reaching Upper Atmosphere, Canadian Space Satellite Finds?,

  Read Global CO2 Emission Rises To Record Level In 2011
  November 9, 2012
Climate Change: Food Crisis And Future Hunger Wars

by Rolly Montpellier,

In a recent post I wrote about Overpopulation: Food Crisis and future Hunger Wars. The article focused on the impact of the population explosion on food supplies – will there be enough food for a population of 9 billion in 2050? There are many interrelated and complex factors affecting worldwide food production. Climate change is singularly the most critical factor.

The “Final” Wake-up Call

There have been many so-called wake-up calls about the environmental slippery slope humanity finds itself on. The summer of 2012 – raging wildfires, drought, extreme heat, (more than 3000 high-temperature records broken) “affecting 87 per cent of the land dedicated to growing corn, 63 per cent of the land for hay and 72 per cent of the land used for cattle” and now hurricane Sandy. Americans collectively have reached the “wow” moment. Even prior to hurricane Sandy, 70% of Americans believed that climate change is not a hoax. See previous blog - Common Sense Revolution.

The U.S. drought is having global effects as the world’s biggest grain exporter struggles with shortfalls. Drought conditions affected over more than 60 percent of the lower 48 states, the government said. The same is happening elsewhere around the globe.

A Centre for Strategic & International Studies report by (Johanna Nesseth Tuttle & Anna Applefield) stresses that corn prices have risen 45 per cent since mid-June as a result of the drought. Global food prices are at an all-time high. Since the United States is the world’s top exporter of both of these crops, significant disruptions in domestic production can impact global food prices. In fact, 40 percent of the wheat and soya beans traded on the global market last year were grown in the United States.

Climate change is now widely believed to be the cause of the intensification of weather patterns that disrupt food production around the globe. Human-induced climate change will intensify the geographic extent, duration and severity of storms – winds, flooding, drought, extreme heat and snowfalls.

“Perhaps the biggest single question about climate change is whether people will have enough to eat in coming decades”, says Justin Gillis in the NYT Environment/Green Blog:

Rising temperatures during the growing season in many large producing countries are cutting yields below their potential, the research suggests. On top of that background factor, extreme events like droughts or torrential rains can destroy crops altogether. Extremes have always been part of the agricultural picture, of course, but they are expected to increase on a warming planet.

Extreme weather will intensify and aggravate future food crises. An article appearing in Arctic News recently highlights that:

Storms and floods do damage to crops and cause erosion of fertile topsoil, in turn causing further crop loss. Similarly, heatwaves, storms and wildfires do damage to crops and cause topsoil to be blown away, thus also causing erosion and further crop loss. Furthermore, they cause soot, dust and volatile organic compounds to settle on snow and ice, causing albedo loss and further decline of snow and ice cover.

Arctic News also features the Diagram of Doom which pictures three kinds of warming and 10 catastrophic feedbacks.

Diagram of Doom

Changing extreme events

An IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (November 2011) highlights the following findings:

• Observations since 1950 show changes in some extreme events, particularly daily temperature extremes, and heat waves

• It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation will increase in the 21st century over many regions

• It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur…very likely—90 per cent to 100 per cent probability—that heat waves will increase in length, frequency, and/or intensity over most land areas.

• It is likely that the average maximum wind speed of tropical cyclones (also known as typhoons or hurricanes) will increase throughout the coming century

• There is evidence… that droughts will intensify over the coming century in southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, central Europe, central North America, Central America and Mexico, northeast Brazil, and southern Africa.

• It is very likely that average sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme sea levels in extreme coastal high water levels.

Impacts of Climate Change on Yield

The following excerpts are from a UNEP study about the impact of environmental changes on world food production – The environmental food crisis – The environment’s role in averting future food crises:

Global climate change may impact food production across a range of pathways… 1) by changing… general rainfall distribution, temperature regime and carbon; 2) by inducing more extreme weather such as floods, drought and storms; and 3) by increasing extent, type and frequency of infestations

The estimated impacts of changes in the general climate regime vary with the different models in the short to mid-term (2030–2050), but after 2050 an increasing number of models agree on rising negative impacts

Furthermore, projected changes in the frequency and severity of extreme climate events are predicted to have more serious consequences for food

…by 2080, assuming a 4.4° C increase in temperature and a 2.9% increase in precipitation, global agricultural output potential is likely to decrease by about 6%, or 16% without carbon fertilization…as climate change increases, projections have been made that by 2080 agricultural output potential may be reduced by up to 60% for several African countries, on average 16–27%… these effects are in addition to general water scarcity as a result of melting glaciers, change in rainfall patterns, or overuse.

Projected losses in food production due to climate change by 20.80. (Source: Cline, 2007).

Impacts of Water Scarcity

Water is essential not only to human survival but in food production. The UNEP study reports that:

Agriculture accounts for nearly 70% of the water consumption, with some estimates as high as 85% (Hanasaki et al., 2008a,b). Water scarcity will affect over 1.8 billion people by 2025 (WHO, 2007).

Projections suggest that water demand is likely to double by 2050…one major factor beyond agricultural, industrial and urban consumption of water is the destruction of watersheds and natural water towers, such as forests in watersheds and wetlands, which also serve as flood buffers.

It is evident that in regions where snow and glacial mass are the primary sources of water for irrigation, such as in Central Asia, parts of the Himalayas Hindu Kush, China, India, Pakistan and parts of the Andes, melting will eventually lead to dramatic declines in the water available for irrigation, and hence, food production…of great importance, therefore, is the effect of climate change on the extent of snow and glacial mass and on the subsequent supply of water for irrigation. Climate change could seriously endanger the current food production potential, such as in the Greater Himalayas Hindu Kush region and in Central Asia. Currently, nearly 35% of the crop production in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan is based on irrigation, sustaining over 2.5 billion people. Here, water demand is projected to increase by at least 70–90% by 2050.

Projected losses in food production due to climate change by 2080

The wars of the future will be ‘Hunger Wars’ fought over the resources that are left.

Short Bio

I’m a blogger, writer and activist. My burning desire to do something about the plight of our world has resulted in the creation of a Blog that allows me to express my beliefs about our times. It is my vehicle to dialogue, to share my opinions and to scream for more social justice, true democracy, political correctness, a more mindful society, taking responsibility and ensuring a better future for my children and grandchildren. I owe them that much. That will be my legacy.

  Read Climate Change: Food Crisis And Future Hunger Wars
  October 31, 2012
The Commons As A Transformative Vision

by David Bollier, On the Commons,

It has become increasingly clear that we are poised between an old world that no longer works and a new one struggling to be born. Surrounded by an archaic order of centralized hierarchies on the one hand and predatory markets on the other, presided over by a state committed to planet-destroying economic growth, people around the world are searching for alternatives. That is the message of various social conflicts all over the world—of the Spanish Indignados and the Occupy movement, and of countless social innovators on the Internet. People want to emancipate themselves not just from poverty and shrinking opportunities, but from governance systems that do not allow them meaningful voice and responsibility. This book is about how we can find the new paths to navigate this transition. It is about our future. But since there is no path forward, we must make the path. This book therefore is about some of the most promising new paths now being developed.

Beyond the Market and State

For generations, the state and market have developed a close, symbiotic relationship, to the extent of forging what might be called the market/state duopoly. Both are deeply committed to a shared vision of technological progress and market competition, enframed in a liberal, nominally democratic polity that revolves around individual freedom and rights. Market and state collaborate intimately and together have constructed an integrated worldview – a political philosophy and cultural epistemology, in fact – with each playing complementary roles to enact their shared utopian ideals of endless growth and consumer satisfaction.

The market uses the price system and its private management of people, capital and resources to generate material wealth. And the state represents the will of the people while facilitating the fair functioning of the “free market.” Or so goes the grand narrative. This ideal of “democratic capitalism” is said to maximize the well-being of consumers while enlarging individual political and economic freedoms. This, truly, is the essence of the modern creed of “progress.”

Historically, the market/state partnership has been a fruitful one for both. Markets have prospered from the state’s provisioning of infrastructure and oversight of investment and market activity. Markets have also benefited from the state’s providing of free and discounted access to public forests, minerals, airwaves, research and other public resources. For its part, the state, as designed today, depends upon market growth as a vital source of tax revenue and jobs for people – and as a way to avoid dealing with inequalities of wealth and social opportunity, two politically explosive challenges.

The financial meltdown of 2007-2008 revealed that the textbook idealization of democratic capitalism is largely a sham. The “free market” is not in fact self-regulating and private, but extensively dependent upon public interventions, subsidies, risk-mitigation and legal privileges. The state does not in fact represent the sovereign will of the people, nor does the market enact the autonomous preferences of small investors and consumers. Rather, the system is a more or less closed oligopoly of elite insiders. The political and personal connections between the largest corporations and government are so extensive as to amount to collusion. Transparency is minimal, regulation is corrupted by industry interests, accountability is a politically manipulated show, and the self-determination of the citizenry is mostly confined to choosing between Tweedledum and Tweedledee at election time.

The state in many countries amounts to a junior partner of clans, mafia-like-structures or dominant ethnies, in other countries he amounts to a junior partner of in this market fundamentalist project. It is charged with advancing privatization, deregulation, budget cutbacks, expansive private property rights and unfettered capital investment. The state provides a useful fig leaf of legitimacy and due process for the market’s agenda, but there is little doubt that private capital has overwhelmed democratic, non-market interests except at the margins. State intervention to curb market excesses is generally ineffective and pallliative. They don’t touch the underlying problem, moreover – they often legitimize the procedures and principles of the market. In consequence: Market forces dominate most agendas. In the U.S., corporations have even been recognized as legal “persons” entitled to give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates.

The presumption that the state can and will intervene to represent the interests of citizens is no longer credible. Unable to govern for the long term, captured by commercial interests and hobbled by stodgy bureaucratic structures in an age of nimble electronic networks, the state is arguably incapable of meeting the needs of citizens as a whole. The inescapable conclusion is that democratic governance in its own forms is no longer possible – and that conventional political discourse, itself a aging artifact of another era, is incapable of naming our problems, imagining alternatives and reforming itself.

This, truly, is why the commons has such a potentially transformative role to play. It is a discourse that transcends and remakes the categories of the prevailing political and economic order. It provides us with a new socially constructed order of experience, an elemental political worldview and grand narrative enshrined in language. The commons as a new narrative identifies the relationships that should matter and sets forth a different operational logic. It validates new schemes of human relations, production and governance – one might call it “commonance,”or the governance of the commons.

The commons provides us with the ability to name and then help constitute a new order. We need a new language that does not insidiously replicate the misleading fictions of the old order – for example, that market growth will eventually solve our social ills or that regulation will curb the world’s proliferating ecological harms. We need a new discourse and new social practices that assert a new grand narrative, a different constellation of operating principles and a more effective order of governance. Seeking a discourse of this sort is not a fanciful whim. It is an absolute necessity. And, in fact, there is no other way to bring about a new order. Words actually shape the world. By using a new language, the language of the commons, we immediately begin to create a new culture. We can assert a new order of resource stewardship, right livelihood, social priorities and collective enterprise.

The transformational language of the commons

As the corruption of the market/state duopoly has deepened, our very language for identifying problems and imagining solutions has been compromised. The snares and deceptions embedded in our prevailing political language go very deep. Such dualisms as “public” and “private,” and “state” and “market,” and “nature and culture,” for example, are taken as self-evident. As heirs of Descartes, we are accustomed to differentiating “subjective” from “objective,” and “individual” from “collective” as polar opposites. But such polarities are lexical inheritances that are increasingly inapt as the two poles in reality blur into each other. And yet they continue to profoundly structure how we think about contemporary problems and what spectrum of solutions we regard as plausible.

Words have performative force. They make the world. In the very moment that we stop talking about business models, efficiency and profitability as top priorities, we stop seeing ourselves as homo economicus and as objects to be manipulated by computer spreadsheets. We start seeing ourselves as commoners in relationship to others, with a shared history and shared future. We start creating a culture of stewardship and co-responsibility for our commons resources while at the same time defending our livelihoods. This new language situates us as interactive agents of larger collectivities. Our participation in these larger wholes (local communities, online affinity groups, inter-generational traditions) does not eradicate our individuality, but it certainly shapes our preferences, outlooks, values and behaviors: who we are. A key revelation of the commons way of thinking is that we humans are not in fact isolated, atomistic individuals. We are not amoebas with no human agency except hedonistic “utilitarian preferences” that are expressed in the marketplace.

No: We are commoners – creative, distinctive individuals inscribed within larger wholes. We may have many unattractive human traits fueled by individual fears and ego, but we are also creatures entirely capable of self-organization, cooperation, a concern for fairness and social justice, and sacrifice for the larger good and future generations.

The commons helps us recognize, elicit and strengthen these propensities. It challenges us to transcend the obsolete dualisms of market culture and its mechanistic mindset. It asks us to think about the world in more organic, holistic and long-term ways. We can then begin to see that the way one person behaves affects others, and even the entire collective. We see that my personal unfolding depends upon the unfolding of others, and theirs upon mine. We see that we mutually affect and help each other as part of a larger, holistic social organism. Complexity theory has identified simple principles that govern the coevolution of species in complex ecosystems. The commons takes such lessons to heart and asserts that we humans co-evolve with and co-produce each other. We do not exist in grand isolation from our fellow human beings and nature. The myth of the “self-made man” that market culture celebrates is absurd – a self-congratulatory delusion that denies the critical role of family, community, networks, institutions and nature in making our world.

Many of the pathologies of the contemporary economy are built upon this deep substrate of erroneous language. Or more precisely, the elite guardians of the market/state find it useful to employ such misleading categories. The corporation in the U.S. and many other nations, for example, likes to cast itself as a “private” entity that hovers above much of the real-world and its problems. Its purpose is simply to minimize its costs, maximize its sales, and so earn profits for its investors. This is its institutional DNA. It is designed to ignore countless social and environmental harms (primly described by economists as “externalities”) and relentlessly pursue infinite growth.

And so it is that language of capitalism validates a certain set of purposes and power relationships, and projects them into the theaters of our minds. The delusions of endless growth and consumption are encoded into the very epistemology of our language and internalized by people. It is only in recent years that large masses of people have understood the alarming real-world consequences of this cultural model and way of thinking: an globally integrated economy dedicated to the proposition that humans must indefinitely exploit, monetize and financially abstract a finite set of natural resources (oil, minerals, forests, fisheries, water). The rise of Peak Oil and global warming (not to mention other ecosystem declines) suggest that this vision is a time-limited fantasy. Nature has real limits. The drama of the next decade will revolve around whether capitalism can begin to recognize and respect these inherent limits.

The epistemological premises of “democratic capitalism” extend to information and culture as well. But here, in order to wring maximum profit from intangibles (words, music, images), the logic is inverted. Instead of treating a finite resource, nature, as infinite and without price, here, the corporation demands that an essentially infinite resource, culture and information, be made finite and scarce. That is the chief purpose of extending the scope and terms of copyright and patent law – to make information and culture artificially scarce so that they can then be treated as private property and sold. This imperative has become all the more acute now that digital technologies have made the reproduction of information and creative works easy and essentially free, and in doing so undermined the customary business models that made books, film and music artificially scarce.

The commons – a vehicle for meeting everyone’s basic needs in a roughly equitable way – is being annexed and disassembled to serve a global a market machine. Nature becomes commodified. Commoners become isolated individuals. Communities of commoners are splintered and reconstituted as armies of consumers and employees. The “unowned” resources of the commons are converted into the raw fodder for market production and sale – and after every last drop of it has been monetized, the inevitable wastes of the market are dumped back into the commons. Government is dispatched to “mop up” the “externalities,” a task that is only irregularly fulfilled because it is so ancillary to neoliberal priorities.

The normal workings of The Economy require constant if not expanding appropriations of resources that morally or legally belong to everyone. They must all be transmuted into tradeable commodities. Enclosure is a sublimely insidious process. Somehow an act of dispossession and plunder must be reframed as a lawful, common-sense initiative to advance human progress. For example, the World Trade Organization, which purports to advance human development through free trade, is essentially a system for seizing non-market resources from communities, dispossessing people and exploiting fragile ecosystems with the full sanction of international and domestic law. This achievement requires an exceedingly complicated legal and technical apparatus, along with intellectual justifications and political support. Enclosure must be mystified through all sorts of propaganda, public relations and the co-optation of dissent. This process has been critical in the drive to privatize lifeforms, supplant biodiverse lands with crop monocultures, censor and control Internet content, seize groundwater supplies to create proprietary bottled water, appropriate indigenous knowledge and culture, and convert self-reproducing agricultural crops into sterile, proprietary seeds that must be bought again and again.

Through such processes, the very idea of “The Economy” has been constructed, complete with dualisms about what matters (things that bear prices or affect prices) and what doesn’t (things that have intrinsic, qualitative, moral or subjective value). Over time, The Economy comes to be seen as a universal, ahistorical, entirely natural phenomenon, a fearsome Moloch that somehow preexists humanity and exists beyond anyone’s control. This image begins to express the nightmare of enclosure that afflicts so much of the world – a world where natural ecological processes, communities and vernacular culture have no legal protection or cultural respect.

The commons as generative

A major point of the commons (discourse), then, is to help us “get outside” of the dominant discourse of the market economy and help us represent different, more wholesome ways of being. It allows us to more clearly identify the value of inalienability – protection against the marketization of everything. Relationships with nature are not required to be economic, extractive and exploitative; they can be constructive and harmonious. For people of the global South, for whom the commons tends to be more of a lived, everyday reality than a metaphor, the language of the commons is the basis for a new vision of “development.”

The commons can play this role because it describes a powerful value proposition that market economics ignores. Historically, the commons has often been regarded as a wasteland, a res nullius, a place having no owner and no value. Notwithstanding the long-standing smear of the commons as a “tragedy,” the commons, properly understood, is in fact highly generative. It creates enormous stores of value. The “problem” is that this value cannot simply be collapsed into a single scale of commensurable, tradeable value – i.e., price – and it occurs through processes that are too subtle, qualitative and long-term for the market’s mandarins to measure. The commons tends to express its bounty through living flows of social and ecological activity, not fixed, countble stocks of capital and inventory.

The generativity of commons stewardship, therefore, is not focused on building things or earning returns on investment, but rather on ensuring our livelihoods, the integrity of the community, the ongoing flows of value-creation, and their equitable distribution and responsible use. Commoners are diverse among themselves, and do not necessarily know in advance how to agree upon or achieve a shared goals The only practical answer, therefore, is to open up a space for robust dialogue and experimentation. There must be room for commoning – the social practices and traditions that enable a people to discover, innovate and negotiate new ways of doing things for themselves. In order for the generativity of the commons to manifest itself, it needs the “open space” for a bottom-up initiatives to occur in interaction with the resources at hand. In this way, citizenship and governance are blended and reconstituted.

Creating an architecture of law and policy to support the commons

The viability of bottom-up commons, however, often depends upon supportive institutions, policy regimes and law. As we see in the essays of Part V, this is the new frontier for the commons sector: developing new bodies of law and policy to facilitate the practices of commoning on the ground. For this, the state must play a more active role in sanctioning and facilitating the functioning of commons, much as it currently sanctions and facilitates the functioning of corporations. And commoners must assert their interests in politics and public policy to make the commons the focus of innovations in law.

There is a simple, practical reason for developing this theater of action. As the dysfunctionalities of the state become more evident – as seen in its inability to solve the financial crisis or curb ecological destruction — the state has an affirmative interest in helping commons perform tasks that it cannot. It is important that the state begin to recognize the varieties of collective property regimes (an indigenous landscape, a local agricultural system, an online community) and empower people to be co-proprietarians and co-stewards of their commons as a matter of law.

For too long commons have been marginalized or ignored in public policy, forcing commoners to develop their own private-law “work-arounds” or sui generis legal regimes in order to establish collective legal rights. Examples include the General Public License for free software, which assures its access and use by anyone and land trusts, which establish tracts of land as commons to be enjoyed by all yet owned as private property (“property on the outside, commons on the inside”). Reference Rost essay? The future of the commons would be much brighter if the state could begin to provide formal charters and legal doctrines to recognize the collective interests and rights of commoners.

There is also a need to reinvent market structures so that the old, centralized corporate structures of capitalism do not dominate, and squeeze out, the more locally responsive, socially mindful business alternatives (a trend that the Solidarity Economy movement has been stoutly resisting). In recent years there has been a proliferation of commons-friendly businesses models in which enterprises subordinate their interests in profit maximization to the long-term interests of their communities, producers and consumers. Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), the Slow Food movement, the Slow Money movement, the Mietshäuser Syndikat (apartment building trust) in Germany, and fair trade businesses are shining examples.

There is an inherent tension in seeding new sorts of commons initiatives, however: They often must work within the existing system of law and policy, which poses a danger of co-optation of the commons and the domestication of its innovations. This is a real danger, yet commons initiatives need not lose their transformative, catalytic potential simply because they work “within the system.” Among commoners, there will invariably be debates about the strategic “purity” of commons-based initiatives, especially those that interact with the marketplace in new ways. Such scrutiny is important. Yet it may also highlight deeper philosophical tensions within the commons movement – namely, that some commoners prefer to have little or no intercourse with markets while others believe that their communities can thrive because of their interactions with markets.

This is a creative tension that will never go away, nor should it. But the critical question for commoners to ask is, What is production for? Unlike market capitalism, which requires constant economic growth, the point of the commons is to propagate and extend a commons-based culture. The goal is to meet people’s needs – and to reproduce and expand the commons sector. Throughout history, civilizations have always had a dominant organizational form. In tribal economies, gift exchange was dominant. In pre-capitalist societies such as feudalism, hierarchies prevailed and rewards were allocated on the basis of one’s social status. In our era of capitalism, the market is the primary system fthat or allocating social status, wealth and opportunities for human development. Now that the limitations and dysfunctions of the market system under capitalism are abundantly clear, the question we must confront is whether the commons can become the dominant social form. We believe it is entirely possible to create commons-based innovations that work within existing government systems while helping bring about a new order.

We hope that the essays of this book encourage new explorations and initiatives in this direction. This is a rare moment in history in which old, fixed categories of thought are giving way to new possibilities. But any transition to a new paradigm will require that enough people “step into history” and make the new categories of the commons their own. Hope for the future lies in people creating their own distinctive forms of commoning throughout the world, and the gradual emergence and confluence of new social/economic practices.

We are hard-wired to cooperate and participate in commons. One might even say that it is our destiny. While the commons may seem odd within the context of 21st Century market culture, it is precisely why the language of the commons is experiencing such a strong resurgence these days: It speaks to something buried deep within us. It prods us to deconstruct the oppressive political culture and consciousness that the market/state duopoly demands, and whispers of new possibilities that only we can actualize.

David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and consultant who spends a lot of time exploring the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. He recently co-founded the Commons Strategies Group, a consulting project that works to promote the commons internationally. He was Founding Editor of and a Fellow of On the Commons from 2004 to 2010. He has written eleven books and co-edited a twelfth . He has two forthcoming books: The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State (September 2012, Levellers Press), co-edited with Silke Helfrich; and Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights and the Commons (early 2013, Cambridge University Press), co-authored with Professor Burns H. Weston. His blog is

  Read The Commons As A Transformative Vision
  October 25, 2012
Proposing A Vision Of A New Earth

by Rajesh Makwana,,

The following article is based on a presentation by Share The World’s Resources for the World Public Forum ‘Dialogue of Civilisations’ 10th Anniversary Conference, Rhodes, October 2012

The earth’s ecological problems stem largely from our collective failure to share. That might seem like an overly simplistic statement, but it is now increasingly evident that only by sharing the world’s resources more equitably and sustainably will we be able to address both the ecological and social crisis we face as a global community.

The principle of sharing has always formed the basis of social relationships in societies across the world. We all know from personal experience that sharing is central to family and community life, and the importance of sharing is also a key component of many of the world’s religions.

Moreover, it is becoming apparent through a growing body of anthropological and biological evidence that human beings are naturally predisposed to cooperate and share in order to improve our collective wellbeing and maximise our chances of survival.

In fact, sharing is far more prevalent in society than people often realise. In a recent report, we identified the many emerging and existing forms of what is being popularly termed the ‘sharing economy’. This includes collaborative consumption, knowledge sharing websites like Wikipedia, and many other forms of cooperative and peer2peer enterprises. Although not commonly recognised as such, systems of social welfare can also be considered one of the most advanced forms of economic sharing ever established in the modern world.

Given the importance of the principle of sharing in human life, it is logical to assume that it should play an important role in the way we organise economies and manage the world’s resources. But this is not the case. Instead, we have created an economic system based on ideologies that are entirely opposed to the principle of sharing.

For decades, mainstream economists and policymakers have based their decision-making on a distorted understanding of what it means to be human: that people are selfish, acquisitive, individualistic and competitive by nature – the concept of homo economicus. These notions are still used to justify the exaggerated role that market forces play in organising societies.

As we know, neoliberal ideology continues to dominate policymaking across the world - characterised by the privatisation of public assets and the shared ‘commons’, the deregulation and liberalisation of markets, the endless pursuit of economic growth and the overconsumption of natural resources.

The consequences of our failure to share

As a result of failing to put the principle of sharing at the centre of policymaking, we now face a multitude of environmental crises, from climate change and pollution to deforestation and peak energy – the list is long.

Underpinning these multiple ecological crises is the failure of governments to achieve a balance between consumption levels and the Earth’s life-supporting capacity. As the WWF have painstakingly demonstrated, humanity currently consumes 50 percent more natural resources than the earth can sustainably produce, which means we already require the equivalent of one and a half planets to support our consumption levels.

This calculation doesn’t even take into account the massive growth in consumption that is widely predicted to take place over coming decades, in which the global ‘middle class’ is expected to grow from under 2 billion consumers today to nearly 5 billion by 2030. Clearly, the ecological consequences of increased consumption across the world will be severe. According to research by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, humanity has already transgressed three out of nine key planetary boundaries – climate change, biological diversity as well as nitrogen and phosphorous cycles.

But our failure to share resources has also resulted in severe social consequences which cannot be divorced from any discussion about the environment. Ecological chaos, poverty and inequality are related outcomes of an ill-managed world system, and they require simultaneous attention – a fact embodied in the contemporary dialogue on sustainable development.

There are massive differences in the consumption patterns and carbon emissions of people living in rich and poor countries. A small proportion of the world’s population – around 20 percent – consumes the vast majority of the world’s resources. According to Oxfam, excessive consumption by the wealthiest 10 percent of the world’s population poses the biggest threat to the environment today.

At the same time, the poorest 20 percent of the world’s population do not have access to the basic resources they need to survive. Around a billion people are officially classified as hungry, and almost half of the developing world population is trying to survive on less than $2 a day. Statistics from the World Health Organisation reveal that over 40,000 people die every single day from a lack of access to those resources that many of us take for granted. This is perhaps the starkest illustration of the human impact of our failure to share.

Overcoming the barriers to progress

Given the urgency of the ecological and social situation, why are we still failing to manage the world’s resources in a more equitable and sustainable way?

Every year, numerous international conferences and negotiations take place, but the international community has not managed to implement binding limits on CO2 emissions. We have failed to curb unsustainable patterns of resource consumption. And we have by no means succeeded in ending poverty or paving the way for more sustainable development.

In the meanwhile, endless reports are published that recommend a sensible path for reforming the global economy, but are not taken seriously by policymakers. Nothing seems to change. Humanity is at an impasse; we seem unable to overcome the vested interests and structural barriers to progress that we face.

For too long, governments have put profit and growth before the welfare of all people and the sustainability of the biosphere. Public policy under the influence of neoliberalism has created a world economy that is structurally dependent upon unsustainable levels of production and consumption for its continued success. Overcoming the vested interests that continue to block progress on restructuring the world economy has long been regarded by campaigners as the most significant challenge of the 21st century.

Given the scale of the task ahead and the extensive international negotiations these reforms would involve, it is impossible at this stage to put forward a blueprint of the specific policies and actions governments need to take.

But in order to inspire public support for transformative change, it is imperative that we outline a bold vision of how and why these reforms should be based firmly on the principle of sharing. Sharing the world’s resources equitably and sustainably is arguably the most pragmatic way of simultaneously addressing both the ecological and social crises we face.

Envisioning a global sharing economy

Two basic elements remain fundamental to the proper functioning of a ‘global sharing economy’. The first element is for the international community to recognise that natural resources form part of our shared commons, and should therefore be held in trust for the benefit of all. This important reconceptualization would enable humanity to move away from today’s private and state ownership models, and towards a new form of resource management based on non-ownership and trusteeship.

A precedent for sharing natural resources is already well established. An existing principle in international law known as the ‘common heritage of humankind’ enables certain cultural and natural resources to be protected from exploitation - from both the state and private sector - by holding them in trust for future generations. This principle is an important feature in a number of international treaties that have taken shape under the auspices of the United Nations.

There are of course many options available for how such a trust could be organised on a global level to incorporate the full range of renewable and non-renewable resources, including fossil fuels. For example, a number of proposals already exist such as those outlined by James Quilligan, Peter Barnes, or Peter Brown and Geoffrey Garver in their book ‘Right Relationship’, among others.

Essentially, a Global Commons Trust would embody the principle of sharing on a global scale, and it would enable the international community to take collective responsibility for managing the world’s resources.

With resources held in trust for all, it would be much easier to implement the second element required to establish a global sharing economy, which is to equalise global consumption levels so that all human beings can flourish within ecological limits. To achieve this, over-consuming countries need to significantly reduce their resource use, while developing countries must be able to increase theirs until a convergence in global per capita consumption levels is eventually reached.

The real challenge is reducing consumption levels in industrialised nations, and many proposals already exist for how to achieve this. For example, it is clear that resource management would need to be at the forefront of policymaking, and consumption-led economic growth can no longer be the goal of government policy. Much would also need to be done to dismantle the culture of consumerism; and investment must shift to building and sustaining a low-carbon infrastructure.

With both of these key elements in place (trusteeship of shared resources and reduced global consumption), natural resources would be accessible to people in all countries, consumed within planetary limits and preserved for future generations.

The key to change is the rise of the people

But how will these changes happen? Regardless of the specific policies employed, the world still lacks a broad-based acceptance of the need for planetary reconstruction. Without a global movement of ordinary people that share a collective vision of change, it will remain impossible to overcome the influence of neoliberal ideology and the vested interests mentioned above.

However, the historic events of 2011 provided concrete evidence of the potential power of a united ‘people’s voice’. The world witnessed millions of people in diverse countries declaring their needs and highlighting issues of social and economic inequality, greed, financial corruption and the undue influence of corporations on government.

The Arab Spring demonstrated the awesome power of a focussed and directed public opinion. And in city squares across the developed world, Occupy, the Indignados and a host of other people’s movements focussed the world’s media on the plight of the ‘99%’ and gained widespread public support in the process.

The rapid spread of these mass demonstrations reflects a growing recognition of humanity’s innate unity and propensity to share, and they pay testimony to the combined power of engaged citizens. But if public opinion is to make transformative change a reality, a crucial next step is to adopt a common and inclusive platform for change on a global scale. In other words, we need a planetary Tahrir Square.

Social injustice and ecological crises must be recognised as inextricable parts of the same problem: our failure to share the world’s resources in a way that benefits all people and preserves the biosphere. A universal call for sharing has the potential to unite both environmentalists and those campaigning for global justice, paving the way to a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

Rajesh Makwana is the director of Share The World's Resources and can be contacted at rajesh(at)

This work is published under a Creative Commons License. When reproducing this item, please attribute Share The World’s Resources as the source and include a link to its unique URL. For more information, please see our Copyright Policy.

  Read Proposing A Vision Of A New Earth
  October 18, 2012
Approximately 50 % Of World’s Wetlands Lost During The 20th Century

by Marianne de Nazareth,

How many of us have ever bothered about the wetlands of the world? To the common man a wetland is just a waste of ‘good’ land, and we never understood what the real use of wetlands are and how important it is to protect them. Unfortunately we humans sit up and take notice of issues with our planet only if we are affected by a problem and after we have destroyed a lot of the ecosystem. Now with the rationing of fresh water in most of our metropolises across India, we have come to realise how important it is to save our wetlands, carefully use our ground water and strongly protect our lakes and water bodies.

The world according to the new TEEB report ( The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) released at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention for Biological Diversity (COP11) in Hyderabad needs to realise the vital economic and environmental role of wetlands, to halt further degradation and loss.

Countries across the world need to realise the key role that rapidly diminishing wetlands play in supporting human life and biodiversity. Water security is widely regarded as one the key natural resource challenges currently facing the world. Human drivers of ecosystem change, including destructive extractive industries, unsustainable agriculture and poorly managed urban expansion, are posing a threat to global freshwater biodiversity and water security for 80 per cent of the world’s population.

Global and local water cycles are strongly dependent on healthy and productive wetlands, which provide clean drinking water, irrigation for agriculture, and flood regulation, as well as supporting biodiversity and propping up industries such as fisheries and tourism in many countries. Yet, despite the high value of these ecosystem services, wetlands continue to be degraded or lost at an alarming pace. Half of the world’s wetlands were lost during the twentieth century – due mainly to factors such as intensive agriculture, unsustainable water extraction for domestic and industrial use, urbanization, infrastructure development and pollution. The continuing degradation of wetlands is resulting in significant economic burdens on communities, countries and businesses.

Inland wetlands cover at least 9.5 million km (about 6.5 per cent of the Earth’s land surface), while inland and coastal wetlands together cover a minimum of 12.8 million km. Between 1900 and 2003, the world lost an estimated 50 per cent of its wetlands, while recent coastal wetland loss in some places, notably East Asia, has been up to 1.6 per cent a year. This has led to situations such as the 20 per cent loss of mangrove forest coverage since 1980.

The main pressures on wetlands come from: Habitat loss, for example through wetland drainage for agriculture or infrastructure developments, driven by population growth and urbanization;
Over-exploitation, for example the unsustainable harvesting of fish; Excessive water withdrawals for use in, for example, irrigated agriculture; Nutrient loading from fertilizer use and urban waste water, which can lead to eutrophication – the excessive growth of algae that deprives other species of enough oxygen and can create dead zones; Climate change, which can alter ecosystem conditions through rising temperatures; Pollution, remarkably through extractive industries, invasive species and siltation.

Such pressures threaten wetlands’ natural infrastructure, which delivers a wider range of services and benefits than corresponding man-made infrastructure at a lower cost. Wetlands are a key factor in the global water cycle and in regulating local water availability and quality. They contribute to water purification, de-nitrification and detoxification, as well as to nutrient cycling, sediment transfer, and nutrient retention and exports. Wetlands can also provide waste water treatment and protection against coastal and river flooding.

For example, The Catskill / Delaware watershed provides about 90 per cent of the water used by New York City citizens. In 1997, a study showed that building a new water treatment plant would cost between US$6 and US$8 billion, whereas ensuring good water quality through measures to reduce pollution in the watershed would only cost US$1.5 billion. This study led to programmes to promote the sustainability of the watershed.

Wetlands also play a key role in the provision of food, and habitats and nurseries for fisheries. One example is the Amu Darya delta in Uzbekistan where Intensification and expansion of irrigation activities left only 10 per cent of the original wetlands. Yet a pilot restoration project initiated in the delta, with the support of community, government and donors which has led to increased incomes, more cattle, more hay production for use and sale, and an increase in fish consumption of 15 kilogrammes per week per family.

Wetlands can also be an important tourism and recreation sites and support local employment. For example In the Ibera Marshes in Argentina, conservation-based tourism activities have revived the economy of Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, near the Ramsar Site “Lagunas y Esteros del Iberá”, creating new jobs and allowing local inhabitants stay employed in the town rather than migrate to cities to look for work. Around 90 per cent of the population now works in the tourism sector. In order to favour local employment, the site managers provide local rangers and guides with training on working with guiding tourists. In addition, local communities receive support to establish municipal nature trails.

Biodiversity Wetlands are some of the most important biologically diverse areas in the world and provide essential habitats for many species. Coral reefs, peatlands, freshwater lakes, waterbirds, amphibians and wetland-dependent mammals such as hippopotamus, manatees and river dolphins are among those examples of biodiversity covered by the global Ramsar Convention network of “Wetlands of International Importance”, which comprises over 2,000 sites covering over 1.9 million km.

Wetlands also provide climate regulation, climate mitigation and adaptation, and carbon storage – for example in peatlands, mangroves and tidal marshes. Peatlands cover 3 per cent of the world’s land surface, about 400 million hectares (4 million km2), of which 50 million hectares are being drained and degraded, producing the equivalent of 6 per cent of all global Carbon Dioxide emissions. While vegetative wetlands occupy only 2 per cent of seabed area, they represent 50 per cent of carbon transfer from oceans to sediments, often referred to as ‘Coastal Blue Carbon’.

National and international policy makers should: Integrate the values of water and wetlands into decision making – for policies, regulation and land-use planning, incentives and investment, and enforcement; Regulate to protect wetlands from pressures that do not lead to improvements in public goods and overall societal benefits; Regulate to ensure that wetland ecosystem services options and benefits are fully considered as solutions to land- and water-use management objectives and development; Commit to and develop improved measurement and address knowledge gaps – using biodiversity and ecosystem services indicators and environmental accounts.

“Policies and decisions often do not take into account the many services that wetlands provide – thus leading to the rapid degradation and loss of wetlands globally,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“There is an urgent need to put wetlands and water-related ecosystem services at the heart of water management in order to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of a global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050,” he added.

“In 2008 the world’s governments at the Ramsar Convention’s 10th Conference of Parties stressed that for water management carrying on ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option”, said the Ramsar Convention’s Deputy Secretary General, Nick Davidson.

“This report tells us bluntly just how much more important than generally realized are our coastal and inland wetlands: for the huge value of the benefits they provide to everyone, particularly in continuing to deliver natural solutions for water - in the right quantity and quality, where and when we need it. If we continue to undervalue wetlands in our decisions for economic growth, we do at our increasing peril for people’s livelihoods and the world’s economies,” he added.

(Marianne de Nazareth is Independent media professional and adjunct faculty St. Joseph’s College and COMMITS, Bangalore)

  Read Approximately 50 % Of World’s Wetlands Lost During The 20th Century
  October 17, 2012
Globalization Is The Number One Health Risk Facing Humanity

by Thom Hartmann, Op-Ed News, AlterNet

In the past - diseases like tuberculosis and malaria have been number one health concerns around the world. But not anymore. In today's world - globalization is the number one health risk facing humanity. A new study released this week by the Blacksmith Institute reveals, for the first time ever, the impact of industrial pollutants on communities across the planet. It found that industrial waste dump sites containing lead, mercury, chromium, pesticides, and other toxic horrors, poison more than 125 million people in 49 different low and middle income nations around the planet.

And the authors of the study say this is a very conservative estimate - and likely even more people are sickened by this rampant industrial pollution. In fact, the report says that industrial pollution is now a bigger global health problem for the world than malaria and tuberculosis. Just look at what's happening in places like Zamfara, Nigeria. It's a state without children - or very few children walking around. Why? because hundreds of children who work in gold mines are exposed to high levels of lead.

Back in March of 2010 - the organization Doctors Without Borders arrived on the scene in Zamfara - and found that hundreds of children had died from lead poisoning - and thousands more were diseased by it. Mortality rates in some villages were as high as 43%. This is a genocide carried out by transnational corporations that have no restraints on how they operate in what were once sovereign nations. That's the consequence of globalism.

Plain and simple - globalization is the empowering of transnational corporations - and the neutering of sovereign governments to keep their populations safe from these transnational corporate behemoths. Globalization tears down borders across the planet - giving corporations free rein to move about the world and set up shop in nations wherever governments are the weakest, wherever there's the least amount of regulation, and wherever workers are willing to work for practically nothing. And since most transnational corporations are far wealthier than nations in the developing world - they just move in and take over, enslaving local populations and using local communities as garbage dumps.

You see - when you leave corporations completely unrestrained - when you leave their drive for neverending profits unchecked - then they stop at nothing to satisfy their greed. If it means they'll save a few million bucks a year - then they'll dump battery acid all over a playground if you let them. They are profit making machines - without compassion. And - as Richard Fuller the President of the BlackSmith Report warned - it's only going to get worse.

He said: "Life-threatening pollution will likely increase as the global economy exerts an ever-increasing pressure on industry to meet growing demands. The damage will be greatest in many low and middle-income countries, where industrial pollution prevention regulations and measures have not kept pace." And it's not just the developing world that's being poisoned - it's the United States, too. According to that same report - there are as many as 300,000 toxic dump sites in the United States alone. And that doesn't include the over 400,000 fracking wells around the United States.

Industry funded scientists say that fracking is perfectly safe - however - study after study shows its deadly. Just last week - a study on fracking found that the closer residents live to fracking wells - the more they suffered from symptoms of throat irritation and sinus infections. Even their pets suffered from the same ailments - and in some cases died. Water and air samples in areas near fracking wells were also found to contain high levels of chemicals associated with fracking.

Americans could have been protected from these dangers of industrial fracking - unfortunately Dick Cheney - being a loyal corporate globalist - was able to carve out an exemption for the fracking industry in 2004 - that keeps the EPA from being able to regulate fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Since then - fracking has exploded - and so too have diseases associated with fracking.

Yet Republicans want this epidemic to continue. As Rick Perry so eloquently recited the mantra of the corporate globalists: American needs Freedom from "over-taxation, freedom from over-litigation and freedom from over-regulation." That means freedom for chemical companies to dump pesticides in our backyards - freedom for fracking companies to inject toxins in our drinking water - and freedom for oil companies to spew unlimited amounts of carbon into our air to accelerate global climate change.

These guys want the new Zamfara, Nigeria to be in Pennsylvania. The point of all this is - corporate globalism will kill us all. Without government protections in place to keep "we the people" safe from industrial malfeasance - then say hello to ever increasing cases of cancer, asthma, autism, you name it. This struggle is nothing new - in fact - it's as old as time. It's the struggle between organized people - or governments - and organized money - or transnational corporations.

We rebelled against transnational corporate power in the form of the East India Tea Company back in 1773, leading to our national independence a few years later. And today - almost 330 years later - we need another revolution against these transnational corporate killers.

Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is The Thom Hartmann Reader.
  Read Globalization Is The Number One Health Risk Facing Humanity
  October 30, 2012
Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy

by George Lakoff,

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy -- and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let's say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.


There is a difference between systemic and direct causation. Punching someone in the nose is direct causation. Throwing a rock through a window is direct causation. Picking up a glass of water and taking a drink is direct causation. Slicing bread is direct causation. Stealing your wallet is direct causation. Any application of force to something or someone that always produces an immediate change to that thing or person is direct causation. When causation is direct, the word cause is unproblematic.


Systemic causation, because it is less obvious, is more important to understand. A systemic cause may be one of a number of multiple causes. It may require some special conditions. It may be indirect, working through a network of more direct causes. It may be probabilistic, occurring with a significantly high probability. It may require a feedback mechanism. In general, causation in ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, and social systems tends not to be direct, but is no less causal. And because it is not direct causation, it requires all the greater attention if it is to be understood and its negative effects controlled.


Above all, it requires a name: systemic causation.


Global warming systemically caused the huge and ferocious Hurricane Sandy. And consequently, it systemically caused all the loss of life, material damage, and economic loss of Hurricane Sandy. Global warming heated the water of the Gulf and Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in greatly increased energy and water vapor in the air above the water. When that happens, extremely energetic and wet storms occur more frequently and ferociously. These systemic effects of global warming came together to produce the ferocity and magnitude of Hurricane Sandy.


The precise details of Hurricane Sandy cannot be predicted in advance, any more than when, or whether, a smoker develops lung cancer, or sex without contraception yields an unwanted pregnancy, or a drunk driver has an accident. But systemic causation is nonetheless causal.


Semantics matters. Because the word cause is commonly taken to mean direct cause, climate scientists, trying to be precise, have too often shied away from attributing causation of a particular hurricane, drought, or fire to global warming. Lacking a concept and language for systemic causation, climate scientists have made the dreadful communicative mistake of retreating to weasel words. Consider this quote from "Perception of climate change," by James Hansen, Makiko Sato, and Reto Ruedy, Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:


...we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.


The crucial words here are high degree of confidence, anomalies, consequence, likelihood, absence, and exceedingly small. Scientific weasel words! The power of the bald truth, namely causation, is lost.


This no small matter because the fate of the earth is at stake. The science is excellent. The scientists' ability to communicate is lacking. Without the words, the idea cannot even be expressed. And without an understanding of systemic causation, we cannot understand what is hitting us.


Global warming is real, and it is here. It is causing -- yes, causing -- death, destruction, and vast economic loss. And the causal effects are getting greater with time. We cannot merely adapt to it. The costs are incalculable. What we are facing is huge. Each day, the amount of extra energy accumulating via the heating of the earth is the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. Each day!


Because the earth itself is so huge, this energy is distributed over the earth in a way that is not immediately perceptible by our bodies -- only a fraction of a degree each day. But the accumulation of total heat energy over the earth is increasing at an astronomical rate, even though the temperature numbers look small locally -- 0.8 degrees Celsius so far. If we hit 2.0 degrees Celsius, as we may before long, the earth -- and the living things on it -- will not recover. Because of ice melt, the level of the oceans will rise 45 feet, while huge storms, fires, and droughts get worse each year.


The international consensus is that by 2.0 degrees Celsius, all civilization would be threatened if not destroyed.


What would it take to reach a 2.0 degrees Celsius increase over the whole earth? Much less than you might think. Consider the amount of oil already drilled and stored by Exxon Mobil alone. If that oil were burned, the temperature of the earth would pass 2.0 degree Celsius, and those horrific disasters would come to pass.


The value of Exxon Mobil -- its stock price -- resides in its major asset, its stored oil. Because the weather disasters arising from burning that oil would be so great that we would have to stop burning. That's just Exxon Mobil's oil. The oil stored by all the oil companies everywhere would, if burned, destroy civilization many times over.


Another way to comprehend this, as Bill McKibben has observed, is that most of the oil stored all over the earth is worthless. The value of oil company stock, if Wall St. were rational, would drop precipitously. Moreover, there is no point in drilling for more oil. Most of what we have already stored cannot be burned. More drilling is pointless.


Are Bill McKibben's and James Hansen's numbers right? We had better have the science community double-check the numbers, and fast.


Where do we start? With language. Add systemic causation to your vocabulary. Communicate the concept. Explain to others why global warming systemically caused the enormous energy and size of Hurricane Sandy, as well as the major droughts and fires. Email your media whenever you see reporting on extreme weather that doesn't ask scientists if it was systemically caused by global warming.


Next, enact fee and dividend, originally proposed by Peter Barnes at Sky Trust and introduced as Senate legislation as the KLEAR Act by Maria Cantwell and Susan Collins. More recently, legislation called fee and dividend has been proposed by James Hansen and introduced in the House by representatives John B, Larson and Bob Inglis.


Next. Do all we can to move to alternative energy worldwide as soon as possible.

George Lakoff is Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of The California Democracy Act, a grassroots California ballot initiative now organizing public support at He is also the co-author (with Elisabeth Wehling)  of The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic.

  Read Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy
  October 22, 2012
Can We Survive the Lifestyle Choices of the Planet’s Ecologically Privileged Class?

by Joseph Nevins,, AlterNet

This article was published in partnership with

Although you would not know it from what passes for debate during the ongoing presidential campaign here in the United States, the biosphere is under siege. A historically high rate of ice melt in the Artic, devastating floods from the Philippines to Nigeria, a record-setting decline in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and extreme levels of drought in much of the United States are just some of the recent manifestations.

These worrisome signs highlight, among other things, the tragic failure of the international community to slash consumption of the Earth’s resources via binding international mechanisms. While the reasons for this are numerous, a key one is the obstruction by some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful countries, and their refusal to renounce the gospel of endless economic growth.

But also central is a combination of refusal by and seeming inability of members of the planet’s ecologically privileged class—let’s call them the twenty percent—to see their very ways of life, and their associated gargantuan levels of consumption as problems in need of radical redress.

To appreciate this one need look no further than at a much-talked-about article, one with foreboding news for those interested in sustaining human life on the planet as we know it. It appeared in the journal Nature shortly before the ballyhooed, but ultimately fruitless U.N. Earth Summit opened in June in Rio de Janeiro. Due to human-induced changes to the biosphere, the article asserts, the world is quite possibly approaching a “critical transition.” It is one “with the potential to transform Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human experience.”

A significant decline in biodiversity, a fossil-fuel-use-induced growth in atmospheric greenhouse gases, deforestation, the melting of glaciers, and large “dead zones” in coastal marine areas are just some of the myriad indicators of the extent to which human have altered the biosphere and the “drivers” of the planetary-scale critical transition, say the authors.

As a review of already published material, the article’s findings are, in some ways, old news. Its significance lies in the endorsement by the team of authors of previous findings and the synthesis it offers. Yet the paper’s importance also lies in the myopia exhibited by the 22 scientists from Canada, Chile, Finland, Spain, and the United States who authored the paper in trying to explain what has produced dangerous levels of ecological degradation.

Instead of highlighting the ravenous consumption of a global minority in bringing about the crisis they decry, the authors—no doubt members of the twenty percent—assert that “population growth and per-capita consumption rate underlie all of the other present drivers of global change.” In other words, by raising consumption in a manner that doesn’t distinguish between differential levels of resource use (and putting population growth aside for a moment), they suggest that all of the Earth’s denizens are equally at fault.


The ludicrous nature of this position immediately struck me as I read it given that I had just come across a report revealing that New York City’s billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg had recently bought a 33-acre estate, for $4.55 million. This is his third home in Westchester County, just north of New York City. He also has three in Manhattan, one in nearby Long Island, one in Colorado, one in Florida, one in London, and one in Bermuda to where he regularly flies in his private jet.

I had also just received an email from Barack Obama (at least it purported to be). In it he promised, if I made a financial contribution to his re-election campaign, to automatically enter me into a drawing. The handful of winners, he wrote, would be flown from their home areas to have dinner with him.

To own 12 homes or to be able to fly supporters across long distances to join you for dinner are obscene displays of wealth and power given the environmental degradation resulting from the resource consumption they embody. They are obscenities that an emphasis on average rates in the form of “per-capita consumption” only serves to obscure. Yet, while highly extreme, such levels of consumption are the pinnacle of grossly unequal levels of resource use, ones that largely correspond to divisions related to the overlapping categories of race, class, and nation.

As international development scholar David Satterthwaite has pointed out in relation to climate change, about 20 percent of the world’s wealthiest individuals and households—given their consumption and lifestyles, along with the production processes, infrastructure, and institutions that make them possible—are likely responsible for more than 80 percent of all contemporary greenhouse gas emissions, and an even greater percentage of historical emissions. In other words, the problem is not primarily one of population growth, but of increasing consumption, consumption by the global twenty percent.

Members of this elite group—people like me—tend to have cell phones, personal computers, and housing with central heating and air conditioning. We typically use electric or gas-driven clothing dryers. More often than not, we own cars, and we travel occasionally, sometimes frequently, by flying—the single most ecologically destructive individual act of consumption one can undertake. (A single roundtrip flight between New York and London produces, in terms of its impact on the climate system, the equivalent of two metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per economy class passenger—more than the emissions produced by an average resident of Brazil for an entire year.)

We also throw away a lot and consume huge amounts of plastic (more than 300 pounds per person annually in the United States). And most of us eat a great deal of meat, the production of which constitutes one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses. In other words, we consume way beyond what is globally sustainable by any reasonable measure—and increasingly so.

Invocations of population growth divert one’s attention from such levels of consumption and the massive inequities underlying them. They lead to a focus on peoples and places with the highest rates of fertility, ones which are typically largely non-white and among the world’s poorest—those who consume least, in other words. Effectively erased from view are the socio-economic classes and places with which the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Barack Obama are associated as they tend to have very low, sometimes even negative, rates of demographic increase.

This is not to say that population expansion does not matter at all.  High rates of demographic growth among the global poor and related increases in consumption can and do have significant impacts on local resource bases. But to state what should be painfully obvious, these populations have a negligible impact on the global environment given how little they consume.

According to Satterthwaite, for example, 18.5 percent of the world’s population growth during the 35-year period of 1980-2005 took place in sub-Saharan African, but its share of the growth in global carbon emissions was only 2.5 percent. During that same period, Canada and the United States had 4 percent of population growth, but were responsible for 13.9 percent of the increase in C02 emissions.


Similar to responsibility for carbon emissions, resource consumption broadly is highly unequal. The United States, home to less than 5 percent of the world’s population, for instance, is responsible for almost a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel use. If everyone in the world were to consume environmental resources at the present U.S. level, or that of Denmark or the United Arab Emirates, between four and five planet Earths would be required to sustain them—according to the Global Footprint Network. (In comparison, if everyone consumed at the level of India, half the planet Earth, given today’s global population, would be sufficient.)

Admittedly, invocation of the global twenty percent rather than, say, the one percent no doubt obscures, just as it illuminates. Few have the power to consume and destroy like Michael Bloomberg or Barack Obama, for example. Clearly, as within any grouping, there are significant differences within. But this should not hide the fact that it is not only the super-rich who consume in a manner way out of proportion to what would be their fair share of the world’s resources were they to be allocated equitably with an eye toward ensuring the wellbeing of posterity.

Moreover, it is true that an increasing share of the twenty percent is from relatively prosperous countries of the Global South—largely urban elites from the likes of China, Brazil, India, and South Africa. Yet, most of the world’s top consumers, as they long have, come from those countries that are in the top tier of per capita incomes, countries such as Australia, those of the European Union, Japan, and the United States.

The socio-geographic concentration of the twenty percent helps illustrate why critical scrutiny of individual consumption need not and should not lead to an ignoring of the systemic components of our ecological plight—perhaps the most notable of which is how industrial-consumer capitalism, which dominates the planet, fuels and necessitates voracious consumption for its very survival, and significantly shapes and limits our options. It is a system that mines the planet’s environmental resources, damages the biosphere, and exacerbates socio-economic inequities and vulnerabilities in the process.

This system draws upon and helps reproduce multiple axes of difference—race, class, gender, and nation among them. They are differences with profound implications for how people live and die across the planet. (A recent report by the humanitarian aid and research organization DARA, for instance, found that 400,000 deaths each year today are attributable to climate change, with air pollution causing another 1.4 million fatalities annually.) As such, these differences are inextricably tied to unjust structures that embody privilege and wellbeing for some, and disadvantage and harm for others.

The focus on individual consumption also should not obviate critical attention on large institutional actors—say, the U.S. military, the world’s single largest institutional producer of greenhouse gas emissions. Nor should it obfuscate how the very organization of the places we live and work, and the larger social networks in which we are implicated, shape what we do and pressure us to engage in behavior we wouldn’t pursue were other choices available. (Think about how unsafe streets and inadequate public transport compels many to drive.)

Yet, despite the importance of such factors, we should not make the mistake of pretending that we have no options, and that our individual choices don’t have implications for the viability of the systems in which we are implicated, and the many institutions with which we interact—willingly or not. As such, the call to challenge the twenty percent’s rapacious resource use is not an effort to reduce individuals to consumers. It is necessarily tied to our responsibilities as citizens, as members of political-economic communities given that any project of social transformation requires engaging both the individual and the collective. Just as it would be intellectually, ethically and politically illogical to contend that individual racist behavior is inconsequential and that its scrutiny is a diversion from the struggle against structural racism, it is unacceptable to suggest that individual consumption—especially that of a grossly unsustainable sort—is meaningless and unrelated to systemic injustice and its reproduction.

For this reason and more, dangerous levels of soil depletion, diminishing supplies of potable water across the planet, the rapidly decreasing viability of the world’s fisheries, high extinction rates of plant and animal species, and rising global temperatures (among other signs) are not simply environmental matters. They are urgent issues of human rights and social justice.


For those moved to resist the status quo, and champion radical change in response, many posing as sympathetic allies advise them to take a careful, gradual approach. These purveyors of caution are among those who today place their hopes in technological salvation, some sort of breakthrough discovery or invention that will somehow eliminate or at least greatly reduce the ecological damage associated with a particular practice or specific form of consumption, and thus allow us to continue largely our ways.

Fearful of what they and those with whom they most identify might lose, what these highly ambivalent allies actually seek to facilitate is a reworked status quo. It is a new version of the old, one, which maintains established privileges and hierarchy, with simply a prettier veneer, its most brutal expressions muted.

This championing of restraint in a context demanding fundamental change is a longstanding problem, one the great writer James Baldwin, among many others, have encountered at different times and places. In an essay in Partisan Review (Fall, 1956), Baldwin forcefully addressed such “advice” when he criticized fellow writer William Faulkner’s call to “go slow” in the effort to overthrow the institutionalized system of racial segregation known as Jim Crow in the U.S. South. (“They don’t mean go slow, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall reportedly said in response. “They mean, don’t go.”)

“Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it,” Baldwin countered, “the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring, one clings to what knew, or thought one knew; to what one possessed or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long cherished or a privilege he had long possessed that he is set free—he has set himself free—for higher dreams, for greater privileges.”

Transforming any social system—given its very nature—is necessarily a highly disruptive process in that, for better or for worse depending on where one is situated on the spectrum of privilege and disadvantage, it is part of the very fabric of life. As such, fundamental change requires a willingness on the part of those of the privileged classes who profess to support a different world, one that is just and truly sustainable, to move to a position of discomfort, to challenge the very sources of their ecological privilege, nor merely the symptoms. Only in this way can a system that is unjust—and thus limited in terms of the distribution of its benefits—be eradicated so as to bring about Baldwin’s “higher dreams” of privileges enjoyed by all.

For those of us who gain from—and help reproduce—the institutionalized injustice, it is incumbent upon us to figure out how our comfort and prosperity are tied to the socio-economic and ecological insecurity experienced by so many. This means that we, the twenty percent, have to give up things—our ability to have lots of “stuff”; to consume the planet’s resources without thought and to dump the detriments on socially distant, unseen peoples and communities; to travel wherever and whenever we’d like in manners that exact high social and ecological costs; to have our wants satisfied before the needs of others are met.

It also requires that we abandon the illusion that a world order that facilitates our unjust privileges can and should be preserved, and that our rapacious levels of consumption are maintainable, that, somehow, contrary to everything the natural sciences tell us, we will not have to reap what we sow. For privileged people of good will, this necessitates accepting the responsibility to be human in all that it entails. We thus must struggle not only on myriad fronts ranging from Wall Street writ-large to the Pentagon, but also with ourselves and those closest to us.

The ecological challenges we face as a planet are enormous, and ominous in terms of what they suggest for the well-being of peoples and places across the planet and the biosphere as a whole. In this regard, the ending of Baldwin’s retort to Faulkner could not be timelier:  “There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now.”

  Read Can We Survive the Lifestyle Choices of the Planet’s Ecologically Privileged Class?
  October 21, 2012
Wake Up! Our World Is Dying and We're All in Denial

by Mary Pipher, Psychotherapy Networker, AlterNet

We live in a culture of denial, especially about the grim reality of climate change. Sure, we want to savor the occasional shrimp cocktail without having to brood about ruined mangroves, but we can’t solve a problem we can’t face.

I don't like to think about global environmental problems, and neither do you. Yet we can't deal with problems we can't face. Isak Dinesen wrote, "All sorrows can be borne if put into a story." Here's my story. In the cataclysmic summer of 2010, I experienced what environmentalists call the "'Oh shit!' moment." At that time, the earth was experiencing its warmest decade, its warmest year, and the warmest April, May, and June on record. In 2010, Pakistan hit its record high (129 degrees), as did Russia (111 degrees). For the first time in memory, lightning ignited fires in the peat bogs of Russia, and these fires spread to the wheat fields further south. As doctors from Moscow rode to the rescue of heat and smoke victims, they fainted in their non-air-conditioned ambulances. In July, the heat index in my town, Lincoln, Nebraska, reached 115 degrees for several days in a row. Our planet and all living beings seemed to be gasping for breath.

That same month, I read Bill McKibben's Eaarth, in which he argues that our familiar Earth has vanished and that we now live on a new planet, Eaarth, with a rapidly changing ecology. He writes that without immediate action, our accustomed ways of life will disappear, not in our grandchildren's adulthoods, but in the lifetimes of middle-aged people alive today. We don't have 50 years to save our environment; we have the next decade.

Nothing I'd previously read about the environment could quite prepare me for the bleakness of Eaarth. I couldn't stop reading, and, when I finished it, I felt shell-shocked. For a few days, all I could experience was despair. Everything felt so hopeless and so finite.

During this time, my grandchildren came to visit. As we picked raspberries, I thought about all the care we lavished on the children in our family. We made sure they ate healthy foods and brushed their teeth with safe toothpastes. We examined and treated every little bug bite or scratch. And yet, we--and I mean all the grandparents in the world, including myself--hadn't worked to secure them a future with clean air and water and diverse, healthy ecosystems.

Had we been in a trance? That summer, when I listened to friends talking about mundane details of life, I wanted to shout at them, "Wake up! Please wake up! Our old future is gone. Matters are urgent. We have to do something now."

After years of being a therapist and a mother, I've learned that shouting "wake up" doesn't work. One of my most dispiriting realizations was that while I wanted desperately to preserve the world I loved, I didn't even know how to share this fact with my closest friends.

One night, my daughter and her family came for dinner during a record-breaking rainfall. After the baby went to sleep, we watched the wind whip through the pines and listened to the torrents of rain hammer our windows. Sara asked if my husband and I thought the rain was related to global climate change. Jim and I stared at each other, too confused to speak.

My wonderful daughter had the dreams all mothers have for their children. She was already doing her best. I couldn't bear to inflict any pain on her. However, Sara was persistent in her curiosity. In the most positive, calm way that I could, I told her what I'd recently learned.

Sara was devastated. She and John quickly bundled up the baby and said good night. I could see her weeping as she tucked Coltrane into his car seat. I felt anguished, and I wasn't sure I'd done the right thing. Yet Sara was 33 years old. Could I really shield her from what scientific experts were telling us? Would I want to be "protected" from the truth? Wasn't it better if we faced these things together?

That next week, I couldn't enjoy anything. My conversations with my husband quickly fell into what we call "the dumper." I was afraid to be around friends for fear I'd infect them with my gloominess.

I knew I had to find a way out of my state of mind. I couldn't survive with all that awareness every minute of my day. I wanted to be happy again, to be able to laugh, and to snuggle with my grandchildren without worrying about their futures. But I couldn't forget what I now understood.

What pulled me out of my despair was the desire to get to work. I didn't know what I was going to do. I felt unqualified for virtually everything involving the environment, but I knew I had to do something to help. It was unclear how much my action would benefit the world, but I knew it would help me. I've never been able to tolerate stewing in my own anxiety. Action has always been my healing tonic.

I invited a group of people to my house to discuss what we could do to stop TransCanada from shipping tar-sand sludge through our state via the Keystone XL pipeline. We called ourselves The Coalition. For more than a year now, we've met for potluck dinners and planning sessions. We've made sure the meetings have been parties. We've had wine, good food, and lots of laughter and hugs. We've tried to end our meetings on a positive note, so everyone would want to return. None of us has time for extra tedium or suffering, but we like working together for a common cause.

If you want to discover how the world works, try to change it--especially if the changes involve confronting the fossil-fuel industry. Our campaign has been a complicated story about money, power, international corporations, and politics. But it's also a simple story, about my friends and me, working to save our state from what we nicknamed the Xtra Leaky Pipeline.

Through the year, we held rallies, educational forums, and music benefits, and set up booths at farmers' markets and county fairs. In other words, we "massified"--a term we used to signify momentum and getting increasing numbers of people on board.

By the summer of 2011, our entire state had united around the idea of stopping the XL Pipeline's route through our Sandhills and over the Ogallala Aquifer. Our campaign was the best thing to happen to our state since Big Red football. Progressives and Western ranchers worked together, and Sierra Club attorneys were given standing ovations in VFW halls in little towns with no registered Democrats. We staged tractor brigades and poetry readings against the pipeline. What all of us had in common was a desire to protect the place we loved.

As Randy Thompson, a conservative farmer who fought the pipeline, said, "This isn't a political issue. There's no red water or blue water; there's clean water or dirty water."

I wanted to keep Nebraska healthy for my grandchildren. When my grandson Aidan was 6, he had a growth spurt in his point of view. Our family had gone to a lake to watch the Perseid meteor showers. Afterward, driving back home, we crested a hill and Aidan saw the lights of his small town on the horizon. He said, "Look at my beautiful city." I responded, "It's a pretty town at night with all the twinkling lights." Aidan was quiet for a moment and then said, "Nonna, my town is big to me, but small to the rest of the world." I sighed. That's a lesson we all have to learn sooner or later.

In a speech at a rally, I recalled that night. I told the crowd, "Aidan may be small to TransCanada. He may be small to our governor and legislators, but he's big to me, and I'm going to take care of him."

In January 2012, President Obama denied a permit to TransCanada because of concerns about Nebraska. But the outcome is uncertain, and we may yet lose our fight. We're still working. John Hansen, head of the Nebraska Farmer's Union, said, "Working for a cause isn't like planting corn. You don't throw in some seeds and walk away. It's like milking cows, something you do over and over, and can never ignore."

Our coalition isn't about odds. When we started, we didn't think we had a chance. We did it because it was the right thing to do, and we couldn't let our state be destroyed without a protest. Our reward for this work has been a sense of empowerment and membership in what Martin Luther King, Jr., called a beloved community.

From this work, I've learned that saving the world and savoring it aren't polarities, but turn out to be deeply related. As Thich Nhat Hanh writes, "The best way to save the environment is to save the environmentalist."

George Orwell argued that pessimism is reactionary because it makes the very idea of improving the world impossible. I found that whether or not we believe we can change the world, even in a small way, acting as if we can is the healthiest emotional stance to take in the face of injustice and destruction.


"He who fights the future has a dangerous enemy," said Søren Kierkegaard. Life is stressful. We think something is wrong with us, but the problems are endemic and systemic. As a people, we've lost our grounding in deep time and in our place. At root, our problems are relationship problems. We have a disordered relationship with the web of life.

Right now, the more we connect the dots between events, the more frightened we become. This reminds me of a night I slept in a tent with three of my grandchildren. Kate was 6, Aidan was 4, and Claire was 2. Claire and Aidan were blissfully happy. They snuggled and listened to the sounds of the cicadas and night birds. Meanwhile, Kate kept telling me she was scared and that she wanted to sleep in the house. Stupidly, I chided her for her fears. I asked, "Kate, you are the big sister and the oldest. Why can't you be as brave as your sister and brother?" She wailed, "Nonna, they're little. They don't know enough to be scared!"

These days, I often feel like Kate did that night. I know too much about deforestation, nuclear power plants, our tainted food supply, and our collapsing fisheries. Sometimes I wish I didn't know all these things. But if we adults don't face and come to grips with our current reality, who will?

Neither individuals nor cultures can keep up with the pace of change. Recently I was telling my grandchildren about all the things that didn't exist when I was a girl. I mentioned televisions (in my rural area), cell phones, the Internet, cruise control, texting, computerized toys, laptops, video recorders, headphones for music, and microwaves. The list was so long that my grandson Aidan asked me, "Nonna, did they have apples when you were a girl?"

We're bombarded by too much information, too many choices, and too much complexity. Our problem-solving abilities and our communication and coping skills haven't evolved quickly enough to sustain us. We find ourselves rushed, stressed, fatigued, and upset.

On all levels--international, national, and personal--many situations now seem too complicated to be workable. A friend of mine put it this way: "There are no simple problems anymore."

In addition to the problems that we can describe and label, we have new problems that we can barely name. Writers are coining words to try to describe a new set of emotions. For example, Glenn Albrecht coined the term solastalgia to describe "homesickness or melancholia when your environment is changing all around you in ways that you feel are profoundly negative."

We experience our own pain, but also the pain of the earth and of people and animals suffering all over the world. Environmentalist Joanna Macy calls this pain "planetary anguish." We want to help, but we all feel that we have enough on our plates without taking on the melting polar ice caps or the dying oceans.

One night before dinner, Jim asked me to sit and have glass of wine with him. That day, he'd overseen the installation of a heating and air-conditioning system after a tree had crushed our old one. That same week, our refrigerator had needed replacing. And suddenly our dishwasher wasn't working properly either. I'd been writing about global climate change and working with the Coalition to Stop the XL Pipeline. I said, "I'll sit down with you as long as we don't have to discuss the fate of the earth." Jim agreed readily and added, "I don't even want to discuss the fate of our appliances."

The climate crisis is so enormous in its implications that it's difficult for us to grasp its reality. Its scope exceeds our human and cultural resilience systems. Thinking about global climate collapse is like trying to count two billion pinto beans. Oftentimes, because we don't know how to respond, we don't respond. We develop "learned helplessness" and our sense that we're powerless becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In States of Denial, Stanley Cohen writes about Germany and the denial of the Holocaust. He talked about a state of knowing and not knowing that arises in ongoing traumatic situations. This "willful ignorance" occurs when information can't be totally denied, but can't be processed either. That's the state I think we're in now when we try to deal with global climate change.

We live in a culture of denial. A Pew Research Center poll in September 2011 revealed that, in spite of increasing evidence, belief in climate change was at its lowest level since 1997. In fact, belief had decreased from 71 percent to 57 percent in the previous 18 months. Even the manner in which we discuss climate change is odd. We don't talk about "believing in" the laws of aerodynamics, the DNA code, or faraway galaxies. By now the evidence for global climate change is solid and the scientific community is united. So why do we speak of believing in it as if we were speaking of belief in extraterrestrials?

Partly these poll numbers reflect a well-funded and orchestrated misinformation campaign by the fossil-fuel industry. Robert Proctor at Stanford University coined another new word, agnotology, for the study of ignorance or doubt that's deliberately manufactured or politically generated.

The poll results also can be explained by what Renee Lertzman called "The Myth of Apathy." She interviewed people about global climate change and found that they actually care intensely about the environment, but that their emotions are so tangled up and they're so beset by internal conflicts that they can't act adaptively. They aren't apathetic, but rather shut down psychologically.

All cultures have rules about what can and can't be acknowledged. This reminds me of an old joke about the Soviet Union. Two KGB men were walking together down the street. One of them said to the other, "What do you think of this system?" "I don't know," said the other one. "I probably think about the same as you do." "In that case," said the first, "I'm going to have to arrest you."

Social and environmental studies professor Kari Norgaard writes, "The denial of global warming is socially constructed. In America it is almost as if relevant information about our climate crisis is classified. Our national policy towards the devastation we face is, 'Don't ask. Don't tell.'"

We all have a healthy and understandable desire to avoid feeling pain. We want to savor the occasional shrimp cocktail without thinking about the ruined mangroves or read a book about lions to children without wondering how many are left in the wild. Yet we cannot solve a problem we will not face.

Once we face the hard truths about our environmental collapse, we can begin a process of transformation that I call the "alchemy of healing." Despair is often a crucible for growth. As we expand ourselves to deal with our new normal, we can feel more vibrant and engaged with the world as it is.

We can be intentional when we're shopping, planning a trip, or working in our communities. We can be citizens of the world, rather than consumers, and we can vote every time we hand over our debit card.

We're all community educators whether we know it or not. Everything we say and do is potentially a teachable moment for someone. So appoint yourself a change agent, engage in participatory democracy, and help yourself, your country, and your world. Belief often follows action. The harder we work, the likelier we are to experience hope and to improve our situation.

Amazement is another antidote to despair. Author Hannah Tennant-Moore wrote, "It took me a long time to learn that being miserable does not alleviate the world's misery."

After a rough week, I felt compelled to drive to Spring Creek Prairie, about 30 minutes from my home. I joined a group of birders doing a winter bird count. It was a grand experience, with long lines of snow geese overhead, woodpeckers in the burr oaks, and a mink ice-skating in the little pond. However, at some point, I wanted to be away from people, even the birders I normally enjoy.

I walked alone to a sunny patch of prairie, lay on the ground, and looked at the sky through the waving big bluestem. I imbibed the prairie. I felt the warm earth beneath me. I smelled the moisture, the dirt, and the cereal-like aroma of the tall grasses. I looked up through the golden seed heads at the blue sky and the geese. I heard their calls and the wind rustling in the grasses. As I lay there, I thought, "I'm getting what I most needed today."

I'm lucky to have a prairie nearby, but we all have green space available to us. We all can look at the sky. As my friend Sherri said, "I've never seen an ugly sky."

Another day, Margie brought her dog over for a walk around the lake. When we returned to my house, Leo began rolling around in the grass. First, he rolled on his back; then he lolled about on his stomach, trying to have every possible inch of skin touching the grass. Margie said, "If you want to know the time, ask a dog. They always know, and they'll tell you the correct time, which is now, now, now."

Transcendence can come from work, bliss, or an expanding moral imagination. I define the moral imagination as the ability to understand how the world looks and feels to another person. It involves motivation, heart, and imagination. My respect for the moral imagination leads to a simple value system--good is that which increases it and evil is that which decreases it.

I believe that the purpose of life is to expand our own moral imagination and to help others expand theirs, so that our circle of caring, which begins with our families, eventually includes all living beings.

One day, I played my grandchildren a song called "Hey Little Ant" by Phillip and Hannah Hoose. This song is a conversation between an ant and a boy on a playground with his friends watching. He wants to squish the ant just for fun. But the ant sings that he has a home and a family, too. He sings to show the boy that his life is as precious to his ant family as the boy's life is to his human family. The song ends with a question for the listener to ponder: "Should the ant get squished? Should the ant go free? / It's up to the kid, not up to me. / We'll leave that kid with the raised-up shoe. / Now what do you think that boy should do?"

When 9-year-old Kate heard it, she said, "Nonna, I'll never squish an ant again." Aidan, who was 7, also promised to let all ants run free. But 5-year-old Claire said, "Nonna, I still like to squish ants, but I won't kill any talking ants." Sigh. She'll have a growth spurt soon enough.

Poet Pablo Neruda wrote, "We are each one leaf on the great human tree." I hope we can extend that to include all living beings.

Dealing with our global crisis is essentially an ethics problem. If we don't expand our moral imaginations, we'll destroy ourselves. Healing will involve reweaving the most primal of connections to this sacred web.

Interconnection can be seen as a spiritual belief, especially in Buddhism. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, "we inter-are." But it's also a scientific fact. Economist Jeremy Rifkin writes, "We are learning that the earth functions like an invisible organism. We are the various cells of one living being. Those who work to save the earth are its antibodies." At its core, interconnection is a survival strategy. Gregory Bateson said it best, "The unit of survival is the organism and his environment."

The next great rights battle will be a fight to rescue our beleaguered planet. It'll be about air, plants, animals, water, energy, and dirt. We have a right to a sustainable planet and a future for our grandchildren. And the meadowlark, the fox, the bull snake, the mosquito, and the cottonwood also have this right.

We're in a race between human consciousness and the physics and chemistry of the earth. We can equivocate, but the earth will brook no compromises.

In our great hominid journey, no one really knows what time it is. We could be at its end, or we could be at the beginning of a great and glorious turning toward reconnection and wholeness.

We who are alive today share what Martin Luther King, Jr., called "the inescapable network of mutuality." We aren't without resources. We have our intelligence, humor, and compassion, our families and friends, and our ancestry of resilient hominid survivors. We can be restored.

Since the beginning of human time, how many people have loved and cared for each other in order for us to be alive today? How many fathers have hunted and fished, fought off predators, and planted grain so that we could breathe at this moment? How many mothers have nursed babies and carried water so that we could savor our small slice of time?

We can never know the significance of our individual actions, but we can act as if our actions are significant. That will create only good on earth. Besides, what's our alternative?

As U.S. Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin said, "On my last day on Earth, I'd like to plant a tree."

So let's save and savor the world together.

I wish you well on your journey.

  Read Wake Up! Our World Is Dying and We're All in Denial
  October 15, 2012
Arrests Mount in Texas Blockade Over Tar Sands Pipeline

by Candice Bernd, AlterNet
As the Texas tar sands tree-sit enters its fourth week, activists re-enter the tree village to supply and defend members of the Tar Sands Blockade. The arrests continue.
  Read Arrests Mount in Texas Blockade Over Tar Sands Pipeline
  October 15, 2012
Facing the Climate Gap: How Low-Income Communities of Color Are Leading the Charge on Climate Solutions

by Rachel Morello-Frosch, Manuel Pastor, AlterNet

On September 30, 2012, California Governor Brown signed the “Climate and Community Revitalization” bills – AB 1532 and SB535. The first of these sets up a process to allocate revenues from auctioning allowances (that is, emissions permits) under the new market-based system that is part of the implementation of the Golden State’s 2006 landmark legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  More significantly, SB 535 requires that a minimum of 25 percent of cap and trade revenue be invested in projects that provide benefits to environmentally burdened and socially disadvantaged communities – and it requires that 10 percent be directly invested in projects in those communities. 

SB 375 is the result of a long struggle by a variety of groups to lift up the voices and concerns of low-income and minority communities in the global warming debate in California (and the nation). After all, research has demonstrated that low-income populations and communities of color suffer the greatest ill effects from climate change, not just internationally but also within the U.S.  In a double-whammy, they are subject to the worst environmental conditions (like worse air quality) and have the highest vulnerability to extreme weather events (due to high rates of cardiovascular disease, for example). 

We have called this reality the “ climate gap ” and documented the problem and offered solutions in a series of previous research reports.  But there is another “climate gap” that many environmentalists may not be aware of: polls have confirmed that Californians of color are actually more concerned than white residents about both pollution and climate change and, moreover, played a defining role in defeating an oil company-sponsored effort to derail the state’s efforts to address global warming.

Beyond their leadership on the political front, low-income communities of color are also playing a central role in “facing the climate gap” through local projects on the ground – projects that offer examples of exactly how and where auction revenues ought to be invested to support communities. Today, a collaboration of researchers are releasing Facing the Climate Gap: How Environmental Justice Communities Are Leading the Way to a More Sustainable and Equitable California, a report that chronicles the ways in which California’s community organizations, powered with the support of experienced organizers and concerned residents, have taken a “bottom-up” approach to address climate change and improve the lives and futures of residents in tangible ways.

Unfortunately, the voice of people of color and low-income residents is not always heard in policy discussions about climate change. For example, the state’s global warming law did include provisions to address environmental justice – but the concerns of social justice advocates that a “cap and trade” program could create air pollution “hot spots” went largely unaddressed. Indeed, the disagreement between environmental justice advocates and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) led to a lawsuit and a 2011 court ruling that CARB had not adequately considered alternatives to “cap and trade.” Ultimately, however, the program was allowed to proceed .

Despite these disagreements on how to approach climate change mitigation, environmental justice advocates have not been deterred from directly tackling issues of environmental health and climate change. To tell their stories, we are posting this week a series of profiles from some of the Golden State’s most hard-pressed communities and hard-working community-based organizations.

  Read Facing the Climate Gap: How Low-Income Communities of Color Are Leading the Charge on Climate Solutions
 October 19, 2012  
Download full pdf document by author

J'ai le plaisir, de vous joindre une longue série de poèmes de paix d'enfants et d'adolescents.

C'est le cercle universel des Ambassadeurs de la paix dont le siège est en Suisse qui a collecté ces merveilleux textes.

Alors qu'il existe tant de violence de par le monde et hélas, y compris vis-à-vis des enfants, que ceux-ci expriment leurs attentes et espoirs, me semble important à lire.

Je transmets également ces textes à des Institutions de paix :UNESCO, ONU, Conseil de L'Europe, mais vous comprendrez, que je ne puisse rendre public leurs adresses mèl.

Ces poèmes existent également en version :espagnole, portugaise, russe et anglaise. Si ces versions vous intéressent demandez les directement au cercle ,sinon auprès de moi.

Espérant avoir été utile. Avec cet espoir, cordialement.


Buenos días,

Tengo el placer, de adjuntarle una larga serie de poemas de paz redactados por niños y adolescentes en el mundo.

Es el círculo universal de los Embajadores de la paz cuya sede está en Suiza que recogió estos maravillosos textos.

Mientras que existe tanto violencia en el mundo y desgraciadamente incluso frente a los niños, que éstos expresan sus esperas y esperanzas, me parece importante de leer.

Transmito también estos textos a Instituciones de paz:UNESCO, ONU, el Consejo de Europa, pero comprenderá, que no pueda hacer público sus direcciones mel

Estos poemas existen también en versión:española, portuguesa, rusa e inglesa. Si estas versiones le interesan piden directamente el al círculo, si no ante mi.

Esperando haber sido útil. Con esta esperanza, cordialmente.



I have the pleasure, to join to you long series of poems of peace written by children and teenagers all over the world.

It is the universal circle of the Ambassadors of the peace whose seat is in Switzerland which collected these marvellous texts.

Whereas there exists as well of violence all over the world and alas including with respect to the children, as those express their waitings and hopes, seems important to me to read.

I also transmit these texts to Institutions of peace:UNESCO, UNO, Council of Europe, but you will understand, that I cannot make public their addresses mel

These poems also exist in version:Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and English. If these versions interest to you ask directly the circle, if not near me.

Hoping to have been useful. With this hope, cordially.

  Read Une longue série de poèmes de paix d'enfants et d'adolescents
  October 4, 2012
To live in peace in all day of year

Yes ... "inform your voice" to reach a range, you are not alone, there are many voices, Valium opportunity to include your voice to these sounds. Today World Peace allows for all the peoples of the world joint event. Inform your voice for a world without violence, a world of the Constitution regulates the relations between the authorities and gives the individual a real partnership in the development of their homeland.

"Inform your voice" for greater freedom. "Inform your voice" to empower civil society and anti-discrimination. "Inform your voice "for peace, Peace does not mean silence in light of subservience and humiliation and degradation of dignity. Peace means as I understand it is peace with oneself and with others, and live without fear for myself and my family, and my livelihood, and the casual and on my kids.

Peace means that inhaled freedom satisfaction, at the same time say what I want without fear, and I demand change without distrust.

Peace means to live with others as a partner and not as a slave or continued. Peace means to live as a citizen and my rights as duties. Peace means love and respect.

The establishment of a culture of peace requires all of us working hard, so why prefer dictatorial regimes and governments and peoples that live in its dependent, the language of violence that governs reason and logic? Unlike democratic countries that deal with citizens in terms of peace, do not be tortured, and reprisals against them in a humiliating manner, and digestion of their human rights, because it contradicts the principles of peace, which must be held by the state with its citizens. The attack, which engine it only more violence, is to kill for life in all its premises and in all its dimensions.

Perhaps the slogan of this year poses a question based on: What is the relationship between peace and democracy? It achieves the other?

Democracy blowing civil rights and freedoms, and with it comes the winds of peace. Mistaken who think that peace comes by force and cruelty or gagged and imprisoned breaths. It is no longer an interview yesterday right and convincing today, we want peace, let it be our way to achieve democracy and projecting.

Democratic blowing right law, and accounting goes beyond that, however subject to the law society is peace. Democracy that gives space for freedom of expression without prejudice to religion and the sanctity of people are peace.

Democracy that makes the title partnership to achieve peace. Democracy that do create peace equality. Democracy that does not imprison opinion does not cut blessed position is peace. The democracy that does not hurt is peace, voice Does reached.

Paix et démocratie: « informer votre voix »

Oui... « informer votre voix » pour atteindre une plage, vous n'êtes pas seul, il y a beaucoup de voix, occasion de Valium pour inclure votre voix à ces sons. Aujourd'hui la paix mondiale permet à tous les peuples à la manifestation conjointe du monde. Informer votre voix pour un monde sans violence, un monde de la Constitution régit les relations entre les autorités et donne à l'individu un véritable partenariat dans le développement de leur pays d'origine.

« Informer votre voix » pour une plus grande liberté. « Informer votre voix » d'habiliter la société civile et lutte contre la discrimination. "Informer votre voix"pour la paix, la paix ne signifie pas le silence à la lumière à la soumission et l'humiliation et à la dégradation de la dignité. La paix veut dire que c'est la paix avec soi-même et avec les autres et vivre sans peur pour soi et sa famille et son gagne-pain et ses enfants.

La paix signifie que la dose inhalée est la satisfaction de la liberté en même temps dire ce que je veux sans peur et que je demande sans méfiance.

La paix veut dire vivre avec les autres comme un partenaire et non comme un esclave. La paix signifie vivre comme un citoyen et mes droits en tant que fonctions. La paix signifie l'amour et le respect.

La mise en place d'une culture de la paix exige de chacun d'entre nous de travailler dur, alors pourquoi préfèrer des régimes dictatoriaux et les gouvernements et les peuples qui vivent dans ses tributaires, le langage de la violence qui régit la raison et la logique ? Contrairement aux pays démocratiques qui traitent des citoyens en termes de paix, de ne pas être torturé et représailles contre eux d'une manière humiliante et la digestion de leurs droits de l'homme, parce qu'il contredit les principes de paix, qui doit être détenu par l'état avec ses citoyens. L'attaque, dont le moteur-il plus de violence, est de tuer pour la vie dans tous ses locaux et dans toutes ses dimensions.

Peut-être le slogan de cette année pose une question basée sur : Quel est le lien entre la paix et la démocratie ? Elle y parvient à l'autre ?

Démocratie gonflants les droits civils et libertés, et avec elle vient le vent de la paix. Trompe qui pensent que la paix vient par la force et la cruauté ou respirations bâillonnées et emprisonnées. Il n'est donc plus une entrevue hier à droite et convaincants aujourd'hui, nous voulons la paix, que ce soit notre façon d'atteindre la démocratie et la projection.

Démocratique souffle droit droit et comptabilité vont au-delà, mais sous réserve de la loi, la société est la paix. La démocratie qui donne l'espace pour la liberté d'expression sans préjudice à la religion et le caractère sacré du peuple est la paix.

Démocratie qui rend le partenariat titre d'instaurer la paix. Démocratie qui ne créent pas l'égalité de la paix. La démocratie qui ne pas emprisonner avis ne coupe pas le Bienheureux position c'est la paix. La démocratie qui ne fait pas de mal est la paix, la voix est atteinte.

Paz y la democracia: "informar su voz.

Sí... 'informar a tu voz' para ir a una playa, no estás sola, hay muchas voces, oportunidad de Valium para incluir su voz a estos sonidos. Hoy la paz mundial permite a todos los pueblos a la reunión conjunta del mundo. Informar a su voz para un mundo sin violencia, un mundo de la Constitución regula las relaciones entre las autoridades y da al individuo una verdadera asociación en el desarrollo de sus países de origen.

'Tu voz 'para informar una mayor libertad. "Informar su voz" empoderar a la sociedad civil y la lucha contra la discriminación. 'Tu voz 'para informar la paz, paz no significa silencio a la luz a la sumisión y la humillación y la degradación de la dignidad. Paz significa que está en paz consigo mismo y con los demás y vivir sin miedo para él y su familia y su sustento y sus hijos.

Paz significa que la dosis inhalada es la satisfacción de la libertad al mismo tiempo decir lo que quiero sin miedo y pido desprevenidos.

Paz significa vivir con los demás como un socio y no como un esclavo. Paz significa vivir como un ciudadano y mis derechos como funciones. Paz significa el amor y respeto.

El establecimiento de una cultura de paz requiere de todos nosotros a trabajar duro, así que ¿por qué prefieren de regímenes dictatoriales y los gobiernos y los pueblos que viven en sus afluentes, el lenguaje de la violencia que gobierna la razón y la lógica? A diferencia de los países democráticos que se ocupan de los ciudadanos en términos de paz, no a ser torturado y represalias contra ellos de una manera humillante y la digestión de sus derechos humanos, porque contradice los principios de paz, que debe ser mantenida por el estado a sus ciudadanos. El ataque, que el motor - es más violencia, matar a la vida en todas sus instalaciones y en todas sus dimensiones.

Tal vez el lema de este año hace una pregunta basada en: ¿Cuál es la relación entre la paz y la democracia? ¿Ella hace esto a otro?

Democracia expansiva los derechos civiles y libertades, y con él viene el viento de la paz. Probóscide que piensan que la paz viene a través de la fuerza y crueldad o respiraciones amordazado y encarcelado. Es no más una entrevista ayer derecho y convincente hoy, queremos la paz, ya sea nuestro camino para lograr la democracia y proyección.

Contabilidad y respiración derecha derecha democrática van más allá, pero sujeto a la ley, la empresa es la paz. Democracia que da espacio para la libertad de expresión sin perjuicio a la religión y la santidad del pueblo es la paz.

Democracia que hace el título de la Asociación para lograr la paz. Una democracia que no crean paz igual. La paz es democracia que no encarcelar a aviso no corta la posición bendita. La paz, la democracia que no duele es la voz es alcanzada.

Paz e democracia: "informar sua voz.

Sim... 'informar sua voz' para ir a uma praia, você não está sozinho, há muitas vozes, oportunidade de Valium para incluir sua voz a estes sons. Hoje a paz mundial permite que todos os povos para o evento conjunto do mundo. Informar sua voz para um mundo sem violência, um mundo de constituição regula as relações entre as autoridades e dá ao indivíduo uma verdadeira parceria no desenvolvimento de seus países de origem.

'Informar sua voz' para maior liberdade. 'Informar sua voz' para fortalecer a sociedade civil e luta contra a discriminação. 'Informe sua voz' para a paz, paz não significa silêncio à luz à submissão e humilhação e degradação da dignidade. Paz significa que ele é a paz consigo e com os outros e viver sem medo para si e sua família e seu sustento e seus filhos.

Paz significa que a dose inalada é a satisfação de liberdade ao mesmo tempo dizer o que eu quero, sem medo e peço desavisados.

Paz significa viver com os outros, como um parceiro e não como um escravo. Paz significa viver como um cidadão e meus direitos como funções. Paz, o amor e respeito.

O estabelecimento de uma cultura de paz requer que todos nós trabalhamos duro, então por que preferem de regimes ditatoriais e governos e povos que vivem em seus afluentes, a linguagem da violência que governa a razão e a lógica? Ao contrário de países democráticos, lidando com os cidadãos em termos de paz, não para ser torturado e represálias contra eles de uma forma humilhante e a digestão dos direitos humanos, porque contraria os princípios da paz, que deve ser realizada pelo Estado aos seus cidadãos. O ataque, que o motor - é mais violência, matar para a vida em todas as suas instalações e em todas as suas dimensões.

Talvez o slogan deste ano faz uma pergunta com base em: qual é a relação entre a paz e a democracia? Ela faz isso para outro?

Democracia expansiva dos direitos civis e liberdades, e com ele vem o vento da paz. Narigudo que pensam que a paz vem através da força e crueldade ou respirações amordaçado e preso. É não mais uma entrevista ontem direito e convincente hoje, queremos a paz, se é nossa maneira de alcançar a democracia e projeção.

Contabilidade e respiração direito direita democrática ir além, mas sujeitos a lei, a empresa é a paz. Democracia que dá espaço para a liberdade de expressão sem prejuízo para a religião e a santidade do povo é a paz.

Democracia que faz com que o título de parceria para alcançar a paz. Uma democracia que não criam paz igual. A paz é a democracia que não aprisionar aviso não corta a posição abençoada. Democracia que não faz mal é a paz, a voz é alcançada.
  October 4, 2012

by Isabel Cristina Silva Vargas ,
Analisando a realidade atual , com tantos conflitos existentes no âmbito internacional , podemos dizer que a Paz é uma utopia.

Para que isto possa se tornar algo viável, palpável e possível de ser conquistado(sim pois isto é fruto de conquista individual e social) é necessário começar a pensar na Paz como uma construção individual. Quando cada indivíduo perceber que o coletivo é fruto do individual ,que uma sociedade pacífica se constrói com indivíduos pacíficos, tolerantes,desprovidos de preconceitos e atitudes discriminatórias podemos pensar na paz universal com mais esperança.

A paz é fruto de exercício individual diário, na atitude pacífica no âmbito familiar.Não há como conceber paz com violência doméstica, maus tratos, fome, alcoolismo, falta de escolaridade.

Portanto, a paz passa também por ações governamentais, políticas públicas que proporcionem condições mínimas de uma vivência digna, com perspectiva de futuro para as novas gerações, geração de emprego para a população jovem e adulta, pela não discriminação do idoso ou do diferente,incluindo nestas diferenças, a religião, a raça, a opção sexual, o portador de necessidades especiais, o obeso, o índio, o estrangeiro .Há que ser percebido que a diferença enriquece, acrescenta e aprimora.

Se faz importante neste aspecto a educação em Direitos Humanos, desde a educação infantil, ensino fundamental, ensino médio e no âmbito universitário.Deve englobar o educando, os professores e toda a comunidade escolar e a família, com ações multidisciplinares e integradas.

Quando o indivíduo perceber a riqueza que cada um encera em si e que é necessário conviver e administrar as diferenças e não eliminá-las ,será possível a humanidade conquistar a paz.

Analyse de la réalité actuelle, avec tant des conflits en cours sur la scène internationale, nous pouvons dire que la paix est une utopie.

Pour que cela devienne quelque chose de faisable, palpable et peut être conquis (oui parce que c'est un résultat de réussite individuelle et sociale) il est nécessaire pour commencer à penser à la paix comme un bâtiment individuel. Quand chaque individu réalise que le collectif est le résultat des droits individuels, qu'une société Pacifique est construite avec des personnes pacifiques, tolérantes, dépourvu de préjugés et d'attitudes discriminatoires, on peut penser à la paix universelle avec plus d'espoir.

La paix est le fruit du journal exercice individuel, dans une attitude pacifique au sein de la famille.Il n'y a aucune façon de concevoir la paix avec la violence domestique, maltraitance, la faim, l'alcoolisme, absence de scolarisation.

Par conséquent, la paix est aussi par des mesures gouvernementales, les politiques publiques qui fournissent des conditions minimales pour une vie digne, avec des perspectives d'avenir pour les nouvelles générations, la génération d'emplois pour la population jeune et adulte, la non-discrimination des personnes âgées ou des différents, y compris ces différences, religion, race, orientation sexuelle, porteur des besoins spéciaux, l'obésité, l'Indien, à l'étranger.Il est à noter que la différence enrichit, améliore et ajoute.

Cela devient important à cet égard à l'éducation aux droits de l'homme, de l'éducation de la petite enfance, école primaire, lycée et Université.Doit inclure les apprenants, enseignants et toute la communauté scolaire et la famille, avec des actions pluridisciplinaires et intégrées.

Quand la personne sait la richesse que chacun fait lui-même et qu'il faut vivre avec et gérer les différences plutôt que de les éliminer, il sera possible à l'humanité de conquérir la paix.

Análisis de la realidad actual, con ambos conflictos actuales en la escena internacional, podemos decir que la paz es una utopía.

Que esto se convierte en algo factible, palpable y conquistar (sí porque es un resultado de éxito individual y social) es necesario empezar a pensar en la paz como un edificio individual. Cuando cada uno se da cuenta de que el colectivo es el resultado de los derechos individuales, que se construye una sociedad pacífica con gente pacífica, tolerante, desprovista de prejuicios y actitudes discriminatorias, uno puede pensar en paz universal con más esperanza.

La paz es el fruto del registro de ejercicio individual, en una actitud pacífica dentro de la familia.No hay ninguna forma de concebir la paz con violencia doméstica, maltrato, hambre, alcoholismo, falta de escolarización.

Por lo tanto, la paz es también por las medidas del Gobierno, las políticas públicas que proporcionan las condiciones mínimas para una vida digna, con perspectivas de futuro para la nueva generación, la generación de empleos para los jóvenes y necesidades de la población adulta, no discriminación de las personas mayores o diferente, incluyendo estas diferencias, religión, raza, orientación sexual, habilitación especial, obesidad, el indioen el extranjero.Cabe señalar que la diferencia se enriquece, mejora y añade.

Esto es importante a este respecto a la educación de los derechos humanos, la educación de primera infancia, primaria, secundaria y Universite.doit incluyen estudiantes, profesores y toda la comunidad escolar y la familia, con la acción multidisciplinaria e integrada.

Cuando la persona sabe la riqueza que todos no propia y para vivir con y administrar las diferencias en lugar de eliminarlos, será posible para la humanidad conquistar la paz.

Analysis of the current reality, with both current conflicts on the international scene, we can say that peace is a utopia.

That this becomes something feasible, palpable and conquer (yes because this is a result of individual and social success) it is necessary to begin to think about peace as an individual building. When each individual realizes that the collective is the result of individual rights, that a Pacific society is built with peaceful, tolerant, people devoid of prejudices and discriminatory attitudes, one can think universal peace with more hope.

Peace is the fruit of individual exercise log, in a peaceful attitude within the family.There is no way to conceive peace with domestic violence, abuse, hunger, alcoholism, lack of schooling.

Therefore, peace is also by Government measures, public policies that provide minimum conditions for a dignified life, with future prospects for the new generation, the generation of jobs for the young and adult population, non-discrimination of older persons or different, including these differences, religion, race, sexual orientation, enabling special needs, obesity, the Indianabroad.It is worth noting that the difference enriches, enhances and adds.

This becomes important in this regard to human rights education, the education of early childhood, elementary school, high school and Universite.doit include learners, teachers and the whole school community and the family, with multidisciplinary and integrated action.

When the person knows the wealth that everyone does itself and to live with and manage the differences rather than eliminate them, it will be possible for mankind to conquer the peace.

  October 28, 2012
Paz & amor

by Iolanda Brazão,
O mundo pede PAZ.
Esta palavra lançada aos quatro cantos,
que nos enche de esperança, sonho, encanto.
É de uma complexidade sem fim.
Pronunciada assim parece simples.
Mas não é tão simples não.
Não adianta encher os pulmões.
Clamar em alto e bom som pela PAZ.
Temos antes de tudo ter equilíbrio.
Esta capacidade de controlar emoções,
Comandada pelo coração,
que pode desencadear revoluções,
desentendimentos, guerras.
Temos de nos vestir de amor.
Este sentimento sublime,
Que tudo pode mudar, revolucionar,
transformar as pessoas e o mundo.
É preciso ter generosidade, solidariedade.
determinação, perseverança.
Muito amor no coração.
Para só então lutar pela PAZ.
Quando isso de fato acontecer.
Dentro de cada um de nos,
este sentimento pulsar.
Aí então podemos gritar.
Eu quero a PAZ.
O mundo precisa de PAZ.

Paix et Amour

Le monde appelle à la paix.
Ce mot jeté aux quatre coins,
qui nous remplit d'espoir, de rêves, de charme.
Est d'une complexité infinie.
Prononcé il semble simple.
Mais ce n'est pas si simple.
Il ne suffit pas à remplir les poumons.
Crier à voix haute et claire pour la paix.
Nous devons tout d'abord avoir l'équilibre.
Cette capacité de contrôle des émotions,
Commandée par le coeur,
qui peuvent déclencher des révolutions,
malentendus, guerres.
On aime à s'habiller.
Ce sentiment sublime,
Tout peut changer, révolutionner,
transformer les gens et le monde.
Vous devez avoir la générosité, de solidarité.
détermination, la persévérance.
Beaucoup d'amour dans le cœur.
Se battre pour la paix.
Quand il se passe réellement.
Au sein de chacun de nous,
Puissant ce sentiment.
Ensuite nous pouvons crier.
Je veux la paix.
Le monde a besoin de paix.

Paz y amor

El mundo pide paz.
Esta palabra arrojada en las cuatro esquinas,
que nos llena de esperanza, sueños, encanto.
Este de complejidad infinita.
Pronunciado suena simple.
Pero no es tan simple.
No es suficiente para llenar los pulmones.
Gritar en voz alta y clara para la paz.
En primer lugar, debemos tener equilibrio.
Esta capacidad de controlar las emociones,
Encargado por el corazón,
puede desencadenar revoluciones,
malentendidos, guerras.
Nos encanta vestir para arriba.
Esta sublime sensación,
Todo puede cambiar, revolucionar.
transformar personas y el mundo.
Debe tener la generosidad, solidaridad.
determinación, perseverancia.
Mucho amor en el corazón.
A luchar por la paz.
Cuando realmente ocurre.
Dentro de cada uno de nosotros.
Potente este sentimiento.
Entonces nosotros podemos gritar.
Quiere la paz.
El mundo necesita paz.

Peace and love
The world calls for peace.
This word thrown at the four corners,
which fills us with hope, dreams, charm.
East of infinite complexity.
Pronounced it sounds simple.
But it is not so simple.
It is insufficient to fill the lungs.
Shout out to high and clear voice for peace.
First, we must have balance.
This ability to control the emotions,
Commissioned by the heart,
that can trigger revolutions,
misunderstandings, wars.
We love to dress up.
This feeling sublime,
Everything can change, revolutionize.
transform people and the world.
You must have the generosity, solidarity.
determination, perseverance.
A lot of love in the heart.
To fight for peace.
When it actually happens.
Within each of us.
Powerful this feeling.
Then we can shout.
I want peace.
The world needs peace.
  Read Paz & amor
  November 9, 2012
My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison

by Noam Chomsky,
Noam Chomsky, Truthout: Gaza is the world's largest open-air prison, where some 1.5 million people on a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land are subject to random terror and arbitrary punishment. Zionists argue that Arabs have no real reason to be in Palestine - they can be just as happy somewhere else and should leave.

Read the Article
  Read My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison
  November 12, 2012
Iran/USA: Who is Threatening Who?

by Abby Martin ,
SMS Razavi, London, U.K., November 12, 2012

Iran/USA: Who is Threatening Who?
Weapons of Mass Distraction !!!

Who is the real threat in this world?
Iran or the USA?

Historical evidence shows that the USA had never a real interest in promoting democracy in Iran. When years ago Iran elected a democratic government, the USA overthrew it and installed the Shah as the absolute dictator of Iran.

Many years later the Iranians rose against the Shah and overthrew him. Since then the USA built numerous military bases around Iran and imposed many sanctions that hurt severely the Iranian people.

Watch this brief video here below and see for yourself who is the real threat... Iran or the USA?
  Read Iran/USA: Who is Threatening Who?
 October 19, 2012     Read LA PAIX = CITADELLE DU MONDE !
  October 4, 2012

Mon cher frère
Je pense à un monde
Où les hommes parleront
Tous au même titre
Petits et grands
Un monde sans frontière
Un monde sans racisme
Un monde sans tribalisme
Un monde où les hommes seront tous égaux
Un monde où les armes devront se taire
Un monde où les guerres devront s'arrêter

Dans le voyage qui est le notre
Par ce pèlerinage sur la terre
Nous avons besoin de nous aimer
De nous aider et de nous supporter
En nous tenant main dans la main
En s'unissant comme une seule famille
Au-delà de tout ce qui nous opposent
Et j'ai le fort espoir que
Nous pourrons fonder le grand carrefour
Ce redoutable rond point
Pour une rencontre d'amour
Un amour naturel où tout se partagera
Bâtissons un temple de paix
Où tous les humains
Viendront puiser richesse et allégresse

A vous citoyens du monde
Gouvernants et gouvernés
Tous mains dans la main
Hommes libres et réfugiés
Orphelins et veuves
Je vous lance ces cris d'unité et de rencontre :
Tous ensemble sur une même table
Aidons ces victimes terrorisées
Ces femmes endormis dans le sang
Ces jeunes calcinés
Où l'humanité restera dans le silence
Bien que nous soyons différents
Savourons la citoyenneté partagée
Au-delà de la tragédie d'hier
En oubliant la vengeance
Regardons tous dans la même direction
Pour retrouver la fraternité brisée
Et pouvoir préparer l'avenir.


Meu querido irmão
Acho que em um mundo
Onde os homens falam sobre
Todos da mesma forma
Grandes e pequenos
Um mundo sem fronteiras
Um mundo sem racismo
Um mundo sem o tribalismo
Um mundo onde os homens serão todos iguais
Um mundo onde armas terá que ficar em silêncio
Um mundo onde as guerras terá de parar

A viagem que nós
Esta peregrinação na terra
Precisamos de amor
Nós ajudamos e apoiamos
Mantendo-se lado a lado
Nos próximos juntos como uma única família
Além do que contra nós
E eu tenho fortes esperanças que
Nós encontramos o grande cruzamento
Nesta rotunda temida
Para um encontro de amor
Um amor natural onde tudo irá compartilhar
Construir um templo de paz
Onde todos os seres humanos
Venha desenhar riqueza e alegria

Você os cidadãos do mundo
Governadores e governados
Todos lado a lado
Homens livre e refugiados
Órfãos e viúvas
Eu estou jogando você estes gritos de unidade e encontro:
Todos juntos na mesma tabela
Ajudar essas vítimas aterrorizadas
Essas mulheres dormindo no sangue
Esses jovens queimados
Onde a humanidade permanecerá em silêncio
Apesar de sermos diferentes
Relish a cidadania compartilhada
Além da tragédia de ontem
Esquecendo a vingança
Olhar na mesma direção
Para encontrar a Irmandade quebrada
E ser capaz de se preparar para o futuro.


My dear brother
I think in a world
Where men talk about
All in the same way
Big and small
A world without borders
A world without racism
A world without tribalism
A world where men will be all equal
A world where weapons will have to be silent
A world where wars will have to stop

In the journey that we
By this pilgrimage on Earth
We need to love
We help and we support
Holding hand in hand
In coming together as a single family
Beyond which opposed us
And I have strong hopes that
We found the big junction
This dreaded roundabout
For a gathering of love
A natural love where everything will share
Build a temple of peace
Where all humans
Come draw wealth and joy

You citizens of the world
Governors and governed
All hand in hand
Men free and refugees
Orphans and widows
I'm throwing you these cries of unity and meeting:
All together on the same table
Help these terrorized victims
These sleeping women in the blood
These youth burnt
Where humanity will remain in silence
Although we are different
Relish the shared citizenship
Beyond the tragedy of yesterday
Forgetting the revenge
Look in the same direction
To find the broken brotherhood
And be able to prepare for the future.


Mi querido hermano
Creo que en un mundo
Donde los hombres hablan
Todos en la misma forma
Grandes y pequeños
Un mundo sin fronteras
Un mundo sin racismo
Un mundo sin tribalismo
Un mundo donde los hombres serán todos iguales
Un mundo donde las armas tendrán que estar en silencio
Un mundo donde las guerras se tienen que parar

En el camino que nos
Por esta peregrinación en la tierra
Tenemos que amar
Ayudamos y apoyamos
Sosteniendo en la mano
En que se unen como una sola familia
Más allá de que se opuso a nosotros
Y tengo fuertes esperanzas que
Encontramos el gran cruce
Esta temida rotonda
Para un encuentro de amor
Un amor natural donde todo lo compartirán
Construir un templo de la paz
Donde todos los seres humanos
Vienen a llamar la riqueza y la alegría

Que los ciudadanos del mundo
Gobernantes y gobernados
Todos cogidos de la mano
Los hombres libres y los refugiados
Los huérfanos y las viudas
Estoy echando estos gritos de unidad y de la reunión:
Todos juntos en la misma tabla
Ayudar a estas víctimas aterrorizadas
Estas mujeres durmiendo en la sangre
Estos jóvenes quemados
Donde la humanidad va a permanecer en silencio
Aunque somos diferentes
Disfruta de la ciudadanía compartida
Más allá de la tragedia de ayer
Olvidar la venganza
Mirar en la misma dirección
Para encontrar la Hermandad rota


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