West By Northwest.org's
The following links are from e-mails and my listserv with a
special emphasis on well-being
of children, grown-ups and the planet. Thanks everyone for sharing the best of the web! --Editor
Stand for Children
The mission of Stand for Children is to give political voice to the concerns of our youngest, vulnerable citizens. Joy Marshall is the local organizer who has started several "teams" as part of a national effort inspired by children's rights advocate Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund. website is www.stand.org "Grassroots solutions. Lasting Change." thanks to Jennifer K.
Organic farming making steady progress in Africa using more labor and less imported chemicla and oil than conventional farming. http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20020603-3481738.htm
Roots recycling efforts cut waste and save money. Neighborhood "ecoteams" work to reduce household garbage output in their communities. Article by Ross Atkin at the Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0515/p18s01-lihc.html - thanks to Robert L. G.
This links to • Global Action Plan: EcoTeam Program http://www.globalactionplan.org/Files/EcoTeam.htm Go here or to site in general to see what is involved.
According to the site:
The Household EcoTeam Program will assist you in translating your desire to do the right thing into a program of environmental action that will make a difference. 5 or 6 households – an EcoTeam – meet 7 times over a 4 month period and use a step-by-step workbook to create a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Choosing from a series of practical actions, the team supports one another to reduce waste, use less water and energy, buy "eco-wise" products and encourage others to get involved. More than increasing awareness, the EcoTeam Program enables people to change the way they live – measurably.
Depending upon the community, participants in the Household EcoTeam Program, on average achieve the following yearly resource savings:
• 41%-51% less garbage sent into the waste stream
• 25%-34% less water used
• 9%-17% less energy used
• 16%-20% less fuel used for transportation
• $227-$389 saved through more efficient use of resources
All while improving the quality of life right where they live!
From Grist & the New York Times
TRUTH WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES
For the first time, the Bush administration has acknowledged, in a report to the U.N., that climate change is most likely caused by human activity and will have far-reaching effects on the American environment. Although the report marks a significant shift in the administration's rhetoric -- Bushies had heretofore maintained the need for more research before drawing conclusions about climate change -- it is unlikely to precipitate a corresponding change in policy. Rather than recommending reductions in greenhouse gases to control global warming, the report suggests adapting to the inevitable, including heat waves, the disruption of snow-fed water supplies, and the permanent loss of Rocky Mountain meadows and some coastal marshes. The conclusions aren't pleasing anyone; industries that produce or depend on fossil fuels feel somewhat betrayed by President Bush, while environmentalists are excoriating the administration for acknowledging a problem while refusing to help solve it.
straight to the source: New York Times, Andrew C. Revkin, 03 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id?4>
do good: Take action to tell Bush to tackle global warming <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dogood/climate.asp?source=weekly#kyoto>
Grist & the Washinton Post
Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, has spread instability within his nation's borders and helped foment a brutal civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. To fund the fighting, he has exploited his country's natural resources. At first, it was diamonds -- but as international scrutiny on the dirty diamond trade has increased, Taylor has been forced to turn to other resources, most recently timber. This spring, Taylor sold timber concessions inside Liberia's Sapo National Park, which is home to thousands of unique plants and animals, to Hong Kong's Oriental Timber Company to the tune of several million dollars. The deal represented the first time the park, one of West Africa's main woodland reserves, was opened up for exploitation. Global Witness, a nonprofit organization that investigates connections between environmental and human rights abuses, found "direct links between Liberia's timber industry and the network of illegal arms transfers, private militias and human rights abuses that threaten international peace and security in western Africa."
straight to the source: Washington Post, Douglas Farah, 04 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id?2> thanks to Robert L Grass
Also see article in this issue byJanet Larson of the Earth Policy Institute
Also in GRIST MAGAZINE
ExxonMobil shareholders get mobilized, an "extinct" bird is rediscovered -- and more environmental news of the week <http://www.gristmagazine.com/daily/daily053002.asp?source=weekly>
How to change a Flathead -- a day in the life of Dave Hadden, Montana Wilderness Association <http://www.gristmagazine.com/dearme/hadden060302.asp?source=weekly>
Grading, nuclear-plant style -- a cartoon by Suzy Becker <http://www.gristmagazine.com/ha/ha060302.asp?source=weekly>
As if Colombia needs any more bad news: The war-torn nation's water supply could be reduced by as much as 40 percent over the next 50 years due to deforestation and other degradation of fragile high mountain ecosystems, according to Carlos Castano, director of the country's Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies. The paramo, or Andean mountain moorland, has been damaged by over-farming, which reduces the ability of soil to maintain water that later drains into lowland rivers. Fifty-eight percent of the Colombian paramo has already disappeared, Castano said, and 75 percent of what remains could be gone in 15 years, taking a serious toll on water resources. Meanwhile, some 27 percent of high Andean forests have been cut down, and guerrilla warfare and the illegal drug industry have led to oil spills from bombed pipelines and water pollution from highly toxic cocaine byproducts. Ironically, Columbia is one of the five nations with the greatest biodiversity, and it is home to more bird and amphibian species than any other country on Earth.
straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, 03 Jun 2002 <http://www.gristmagazine.com/forward.pl?forward_id?7>
only Grist: Rare good news from Colombia -- the improbable story of how Bogota became somewhere you might actually want to live -- in our Main Dish section <http://www.gristmagazine.com/maindish/jones040402.aspy> thanks to c.t .p.
Orion Magazine's Up From The Front (page)
Enviromment Under Siege features a wonderful true story by Roger Pinckney. Blue Root Real Estate is a tale about how Daufuskie Island and a little friendly voodoo stopped a big real estate development.
No Nukes Over Kashmir
This campaign is based solely on word of mouth. It is CRUCIAL that you tell others. We've attached below a brief letter you can send to your email circle. Just copy and paste the text into your own email, then personalize the message. Your own words are always best. Please only contact people who know you personally. Spam hurts our campaign.
I'm really concerned about the situation in Kashmir. Please join me in calling on the leaders of India and Pakistan to cool down.
The conflict is edging ever closer to a nuclear war. A nuclear exchange between these rival nations could kill 12 million people and spread radioactive fallout around the globe. Through MoveOn.org, I'm calling on President Musharraf of Pakistan and Prime Minister Vajpayee of India to step back from the brink of holocaust.
You can join us and sign a message from concerned citizens of the world at:
Both leaders are currently banging the drums of war. Recently, Pakistan tested its third missile in as many days, emphasizing its ability to deliver nukes to the large Indian city Delhi in under three minutes. Prime Minister Vajpayee told the 700,000 troops stationed along the border of Pakistan that he was preparing for "a decisive victory."
While India has stated that it will only use its nuclear bombs in the case of an attack, Pakistan has made clear that it will strike first if threatened. And there's reason to believe that it will follow through on this policy: in 1999, such an attack was narrowly averted, over the protest of then-General Musharraf.
More worrying still, India and Pakistan have broken many of their diplomatic ties. Unlike the US and the USSR during the Cold War, India and Pakistan have no direct line connecting the leadership of each nation. The possibility exists that nukes could be launched as a result of a mistake, since there's no easy way for the leadership of one nation to verify the intentions of its rival. With millions of lives in the balance and weapons on hair-trigger alert, the lack of communication between the two countries is just plain wrong.
If India and Pakistan were to go to war, the effects would be felt around the world. The trade winds above the two countries are ideally situated to spread nuclear fallout. Essentially highly radioactive dust, fallout can cause leukemia and many other kinds of cancer, as well as radiation poisoning.
Assuming either nation survived the attacks, it's unlikely that the conflict would even be resolved. Instead of pushing their countries toward Armageddon, Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Musharraf must re-establish strong diplomatic ties, disavow the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances, and work toward a comprehensive agreement on the future of Kashmir.
Please let them know that you're concerned about the escalating conflict today:
The lives of millions of Indians and Pakistanis could be at stake.
Thanks. --thanks to Kayrin G.
Planet at the Crossroads
An authoritative United Nations report says human activity is likely to mark more than two-thirds of the Earth's surface within 30 years. Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1987000/1987396.stm
This site has good links.
Water FOR SALE
Why are the world's poorest people paying the most for potable H2O?
just a few of the many international NGO's working on these issues - thanks to kevin
The article by William Finnegan which appeared in the New Yorker (April 8, 2002), "Leasing the Rain," is one of the best articles on the complexity of the interaction of the "free" market, global institutions, corporations, politics, cooperatives and natural resources that I have seen. - thanks to Ruth Seeley
http://www.friendsoftheoccoquan.org/newyorker.htm -- thanks to Jerri
Cradle to Cradle: Environmentalism Moves Beyond Recycling
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough is an environmentalist who practices what he preaches. In his new book, "Cradle to Cradle," McDonough argues that even recycling is a wasteful and damaging process.
Also see mini review in this issue's Big Books, Small Press.
Defenders of Wildlife
Sue M. sent us this link to a great article about wolves.
Gunter pauli and others are working on solutions that include growing mushrooms on the waste from coffee plants...a fascinating program, and a great example of appropriate development strategy.....if only the world bank and IMF would fund such programs...
**Since Latin America produces only 0.2% of all mushrooms cultivated in the world, Colombia could envision a long-term strategy providing income and jobs," said Gunter Pauli, the Belgian scientist whose think tank is spearheading the project.
Colombia's Federation of Colombian Coffee Growers has been sponsoring the mushroom tests conducted by Pauli's Zero Emissions Research Initiative, a $12-million-a-year environmental think tank based in Geneva that claims it can tap into the talents of more than 3,000 scientists worldwide.
The initial results are better than expected, according to ZERI. Ten kilograms (22 pounds) of coffee-tree sawdust produced 5.5 kilos of shiitake mushrooms in only about three months. The mushrooms, which are increasingly popular in salads and in sauces, sell for up to $100 per dried kilo on the world market.
http://www.zeri.org/ I hope all the "free marketers" out there will take a look at this stuff...they may well like it.
G8 and Democracy
The questions being raised by the pesky protesters at all of these summits, are indeed THE questions facing us all in the 21st century, - for instance:
What is the meaning of democracy in a world whose borders are increasingly porous to capital and wealth, but are at the same time becoming militarized prisons to the human beings of the planet?
How can "democracy" exist when the means of communication are controlled by the same corporate forces that control the energy, military production, prison construction, food production, water resources, etc....and actually write the laws that enforce their privileged place in the worlds economy. That is what all of these international trade laws are all about...that might as well have been written by our friends at WorldCom, Enron etc.
the G8 is an element of this quagmire...for a start try:
official site: http://www.g8.gc.ca/