Civil Justice

Indigenous Solidarity for Arctic Protection

by on Sep.14, 2012, under Civil Justice, Environment

ALASKA INTER-TRIBAL COUNCIL STATEMENT OF INDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY FOR ARCTIC PROTECTION

The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, North Aleutian Basin (Bristol Bay) and Cook Inlet are critical habitat for many subsistence resources including bowhead whale, beluga whale and other marine mammal species central to the health, well-being and cultural survival of our people.

Off Shore Industrial oil and gas activities present a grave threat to Alaska marine environment and Alaska Native Subsistence cultures who rely strongly on their ability to utilize our oceans, inland waters, and lands for subsistence in which the whales, marine mammals, birds and fish migrate to and from, through our oceans and lands.

Alaska Inter-Tribal Council supports the JOINT STATEMENT OF INDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY FOR ARCTIC PROTECTION where  the representatives of the Indigenous Peoples of the North, the participants of the international conference “Arctic Oil: Exploring the Impacts on Indigenous Communities”, held August 14-16, 2012, in Usinsk, Komi Republic, Russia, address to all Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic, governments of Arctic nations, governments of other nations of the world and international organizations.

In solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic we stand together in our call for a ban for the Arctic Off-Shore Drilling on the Shelf.  We do not accept the ecological risks and destructive impacts of oil spills, chemical spills in our seas and our lands.

There is significant global evidence of irresponsible practices of oil companies that provides us with evidence that oil spills in any marine environment is inevitable and there is no proven method to clean up oil in the freezing, icy arctic conditions.

 

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Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change

by on Sep.04, 2012, under Civil Justice, Environment

To: Dr. Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam
Mr. Maxime Verhagen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, The Netherlands
Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank
Mr. Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Civil Society Statement of Concern on the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Hanoi, Viet Nam, 3-7 September 2012:

We, the undersigned civil society organizations from around the world, are concerned that the objectives of this Conference reflect the same flawed approach as the first Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, held in the Hague in October 2010. The approach also regrettably continues to marginalize peasants and small-scale food producers, yet they are the ones whose livelihoods are most at risk and who most urgently need to be heard.

The central themes of the 2nd Global Conference, including “climate-smart agriculture,” “green growth” and the “landscape approach”, are heavily contested. Many civil society organizations believe these approaches have not been sufficiently considered from the perspective of peasants, small-scale producers and indigenous peoples, who are suffering the worst impacts of climate change. We remain concerned about the continued lack of transparency, participation and consultation with many governments, farmers and civil society in preparing for the Conference. We note that the “Roadmap” from the first Conference was neither endorsed by attending governments nor accepted as a binding outcome.

Address the impacts of the climate crisis on food production

The most important agenda for a conference on food security, agriculture and climate change should focus on the protection of agriculture from climate change. Climate change is already threatening the livelihoods and food security of the poor and vulnerable. The industrial model of agricultural production threatens the viability of ecosystems and contributes massively to climate change. Nothing less than a system change – towards ecological agriculture, based on principles that create healthy soils and cultivate biological diversity, and which prioritize farmers’ and traditional knowledge – is needed in the face of climate change. There is also a critical need to reverse the economic concentration of global markets – particularly for grains, livestock and food processing – that has led to unsustainable forms of industrial agriculture worldwide and the bulk of the emissions from the agriculture sector. Unfortunately, the program fails to address these necessary system changes. Instead, it appears to endorse a greater role for the private sector to invest in schemes that will commodify natural resources and disenfranchise local and indigenous communities.

A focus on adaptation

Resources must be urgently directed to adaptation, given the serious current threats posed by climate change to agriculture. Agroecology is the most important, reliable set of practices to protect yields in the face of climate change and should be supported significantly with public finance. The Conference should emphasize identified adaptation priorities of developing countries and the provision of steady and reliable public finance to developing countries that will have to cope with the worst consequences of climate change. In addition, adaptation financing should be in the form of grants, not loans.

Key policy developments should be to work with local food providers and help them to conserve, store and further develop their own varieties and breeds. It is clear that the best hedge against the increasing instability of local climates in the future is a diversity of varieties and breeds to address the threat of increasing floods, drought and storms. Industrial agriculture has reduced the number of farmers’ varieties and breeds drastically and thereby dangerously reduced the basis of food security for the future. This must end now; we need new policies centered on the real needs of peasants, small-scale producers and indigenous peoples.

Critical review of market-based approaches needed

The framing of the Conference agenda appears to endorse market-based approaches. Yet evidence from the last two years suggests that carbon markets and market-based approaches linked to them are not appropriate for peasants and small-scale producers. These approaches need open and critical review. Carbon markets have repeatedly failed to deliver real funds to projects on the ground. Moreover, carbon market mechanisms actually finance the emissions reduction commitments of developed countries through “offsetting” projects in developing countries. This not only increases the threat of climate change by allowing developed countries to continue rather than change their unsustainable production and consumption patterns, but also forces emissions reduction responsibilities onto peasants and small producers in developing countries. Developed country mitigation and “offsetting” priorities should not and cannot drive discussions on the nexus between climate change, food security and agriculture.

We note that the landscape approach, promoted by the World Bank, has a high profile in the agenda. We believe that the Bank’s role as both policy advisor and carbon broker for soil carbon and landuse credits makes it an inappropriate institution to guide governments on the pros and cons of landuse offsets. Using a market-based approach to convert large tracts of landscapes that include water, land, agriculture and forests into commodities is unethical when it comes to questions of food security. Land-grabbing in the developing world has become an ever greater concern since the first Conference, particularly as financial assets become unreliable and both State and private actors secure land for financial gain and food security. The impacts of “climate-smart agriculture” and the landscape approach should be examined in this new economic context where land and the food grown on it have become financial assets for financial speculators and institutional investors.

Implement rather than ignore IAASTD findings

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), initiated by the World Bank and FAO, sponsored by UN agencies and approved by 58 governments, contains some of the most complete and authoritative sets of policy options to strengthen the productivity and resilience of the world’s food and agricultural systems, while prioritizing social equity and sustainability. We call on the Hanoi Conference to endorse the recommendations of the IAASTD, and for governments and international organizations, including the World Bank and FAO, to commit to the implementation of the IAASTD findings.

Conclusion

We are frustrated that the peasants, small-scale producers and indigenous peoples who provide 70 percent of the world’s food continue to be left out of the debate. The Hanoi Conference is an opportunity to support fair and effective solutions to the agriculture and climate crises. We call on the conference organizers to champion a global transition to ecological agriculture, focus on enabling peasants, small-scale producers and local and indigenous communities to adapt to climate change, ensure adequate public financing for agriculture, and avoid questionable technological fixes and market mechanisms.

We believe that peasants, small scale farmers, laborers, indigenous peoples, women and civil society organizations engaged on issues of food security, food sovereignty, the right to food, and the preservation and use of traditional knowledge are essential to this debate. They provide practical, just and affordable solutions to the problems of food security and climate change. They need to be heard. No process that ignores their voices can be considered legitimate.

Signatories:
1. 11.11.11- Coalition of Flemish North-South Movement
2. Accion Ecologica, Ecuador
3. Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group)
4. Actions pour le Développement Durable, (ADeD), Benin
5. African Biodiversity Network
6. African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa
7. Agricultural Missions, Inc., USA
8. Aliansi Petani Indonesia (Indonesian Peasants’ Alliance)
9. Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), Philippines
10. Amigos de la Tierra España/Friends of the Earth Spain
11. Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA)
12. Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC)
13. Asia-Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS)
14. Asociación ANDES, Peru
15. Association of Citizens’ Solidarity for Campaign Against Famine in Ethiopia (CS-CAFE)
16. Association of Communities of the Potato Park, Peru
17. Association of Voluntary Agencies in Rural Development (AVARD), India
18. Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Bangladesh
19. Beyond Copenhagen Collective, India
20. Bharatiya Krishak Samaj, India
21. Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, India
22. Bina Desa, Indonesia
23. Biofuelwatch
24. Biowatch, South Africa
25. Both ENDS, Netherlands
26. California Communities Against Toxics, USA
27. Center for Community, Democracy and Ecology, USA
28. Center for Environmental Education and Development (CEED), Nigeria
29. Center for Food Safety, USA
30. Center for Rural Communities Research and Development (CCRD), Vietnam
31. Center for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), Vietnam
32. Center of Concern, USA
33. China NGO Association (CANGO), China
34. CIP Americas Program
35. Coalicion Clima España
36. Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN)
37. COECOCEIBA/Friends of the Earth Costa Rica
38. Community Self-Reliance Centre (CSRC), Nepal
39. Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), Malaysia
40. Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice, USA
41. Development Fund, Norway
42. Earth in Brackets
43. Earth Peoples
44. Eastern and Southern Africa Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF)
45. Ecological Society of the Philippines
46. Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
47. Ecology Ministry Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines
48. EcoNexus, UK
49. Ecoropa
50. Fairwatch, Italy
51. Farmworker Association of Florida, USA
52. FERN, Belgium
53. Focus on the Global South
54. Food & Water Europe
55. Food Security and Poverty Elimination Network (CIFPEN), Vietnam
56. Foundation on Future Farming, Germany
57. Friends of the Bees, UK
58. Friends of the Earth International
59. Friends of the Earth Mauritius
60. Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental, Philippines
61. Fundación IPADE, Spain
62. Gaia Foundation
63. GRABE, Benin
64. Grassroots International, USA
65. Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy, Philippines
66. GREEN Foundation, India
67. Groundswell International
68. Hope Restoration Center (HORECE), Cameroon
69. Inades-Formation (African Institute for Economic and Social Development)
70. Indigenous Environmental Network
71. Indonesia Organic Alliance (IOA)
72. In Loco, Portugal
73. Institut de Recherche et de Promotion des Alternatives en Développement (IRPAD)
74. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA
75. Institute for Policy Studies – Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, USA
76. Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia
77. Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organisations (INOFO)
78. Interface Development Interventions Inc. (IDIS), Philippines
79. Irish Seed Savers Association
80. JINUKUN, Benin
81. Just Forests, Ireland
82. Kenya Debt Relief Network – KENDREN
83. Konsorsium Pelestarian Hutan dan Alam Indonesia (KONPHALINDO)
84. Labour Resource Centre, India
85. Local to Global Advocates for Justice, USA
86. Management and Organizational Development for Empowerment (MODE), Philippines
87. MELCA, Ethiopia
88. MISEREOR, Germany
89. National Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition (NAAHM), Nigeria
90. National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)/Friends of the Earth Uganda
91. Negros Organic Agriculture Movement (NOAM), Inc., Philippines
92. Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility, USA
93. NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN)
94. North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy (NCCC), USA
95. Oakland Institute, USA
96. Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM), Kenya
97. Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples (PLANT)
98. Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PANAP)
99. Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)
100. Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)
101. Platform ABC (Platform Aarde Boer Consument), Netherlands
102. Plataforma Rural, Spain
103. Pro REGENWALD, Germany
104. Red de Coordinación en Bioviersidad (Coordinating Biodiversity Network), Costa Rica
105. REDES/Friends of the Earth Uruguay
106. ReSCOPE Programme, Malawi
107. Reseau Des Organisations Paysannes Et Des Producteurs Agricoles De L’afrique De L’ouest (ROPPA)
108. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)/Friends of the Earth Malaysia
109. SARILAYA, Philippines
110. SEED Trust, South Africa
111. Send a Cow, UK
112. Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE), Pakistan
113. South Asia Rural Reconstruction Association (SARRA), India
114. Southeast Asian Rural Social Leadership Institute (SEARSOLIN), Philippines
115. Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)
116. Sri Lanka Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement
117. Sustainable Development Institute (SDI)/Friends of the Earth Liberia
118. Third World Network (TWN)
119. Transnational Institute, Netherlands
120. WAEDAT, Jordan
121. War on Want
122. WhyHunger, USA

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Unsustainable

by on Aug.20, 2012, under Civil Justice, Energy, Environment, Politics

A rather incredible and accurate musical portrayal of current global reality and our unsustainable way of life.
Unsustainable, by Muse.

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Stop Imperialism Interviews Wrong Kind of Green

by on Aug.15, 2012, under Civil Justice, Environment, Politics

Colleagues and friends Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer of Wrong Kind of Green are interviewed by Eric Draitser of Stop Imperialism. Cory and Forrest discuss compromised NGOs, corrupt foundations, green capitalism and western imperialism in a way only they can.
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An Unexpected Ass Kicking

by on Aug.14, 2012, under Business, Civil Justice, Virtual

An Unexpected Ass Kicking

By Joel Runyon

Originally posted at Blog of Impossible Things

I sat down at yet-another coffee shop in Portland determined to get some work done, catch up on some emails and write another blog post.

About 30 minutes into my working, an elderly gentleman at least 80 years old sat down next to me with a hot coffee and a pastry. I smiled at him and nodded and looked back at my computer as I continued to work.

“Do you like Apple? As he gestured to the new Macbook Air I had picked up a few days prior.

“Yea, I’ve been using them for a while.” Wondering if I was going to get suckered into a mac vs. pc debate in a portland coffee shop with an elderly stranger.

“Do you program on them?

“Well, I don’t really know how to code, but I write quite a bit and spend a lot of time creating online projects and helping clients run their businesses.”

“I’ve been against Macintosh company lately. They’re trying to get everyone to use iPads and when people use iPads they end up just using technology to consume things instead of making things. With a computer you can make things. You can code, you can make things and create things that have never before existed and do things that have never been done before.”

“That’s the problem with a lot of people”, he continued, “they don’t try to do stuff that’s never been done before, so they never do anything, but if they try to do it, they find out there’s lots of things they can do that have never been done before.”

I nodded my head in agreement and laughed to myself – thinking that would be something that I would say and the coincidence that out of all the people in the coffee shop I ended up talking to, it was this guy. What a way to open a conversation.

The old man turned back at his coffee, took a sip, and then looked back at me.

“In fact, I’ve done lots of things that haven’t been done before”, he said half-smiling.

Not sure if he was simply toying with me or not, my curiousity got the better of me.

Oh really? Like what types of things?, All the while, half-thinking he was going to make up something fairly non-impressive.

I invented the first computer.

Um, Excuse me?

I created the world’s first internally programmable computer. It used to take up a space about as big as this whole room and my wife and I used to walk into it to program it.

What’s your name?”. I asked, thinking that this guy is either another crazy homeless person in Portland or legitimately who he said he was.

“Russell Kirsch”

Sure enough, after .29 seconds, I found out he wasn’t lying to my face. Russell Kirsch indeed invented the world’s first internally programmable computer and as well as a bunch of other things and definitely lives in Portland. As he talked, I began googling him, he read my mind and volunteered:

Here, I’ll show you

He stood up and directed me to a variety of websites and showed me through the archives of what he’d created while every once in a while dropping some minor detail like:

I also created the first digital image. It was a photo of my son.

At this point, I learned better than to call Russell’s bluff, but sure enough, a few more google searches showed that he did just that.

Russell Kirsch Impossible

(Photo by Joel Runyon, licensed CC-BY-3.0)
Want to mess with your mind? Without the man in the photo, the photo of this man wouldn’t exist. *mind blown*

As he started showing me through the old history archives of what he did while any hope of productivity vacated my mind as I listened to his stories and picked his brain about what he had done.

At some point in the conversation, I mentioned to him:

“You know Russell, that’s really impressive.”

“I guess, I’ve always believed that nothing is withheld from us what we have conceived to do. Most people think the opposite – that all things are withheld from them which they have conceived to do and they end up doing nothing.”

“Wait”, I said, pausing at his last sentence ”What was that quote again?” 

“Nothing is withheld from us what we have conceived to do.”

That’s good, who said that? 

God did.

What?

God said it and there were only two people who believed it, you know who? 

Nope, who?

God and me, so I went out and did it.

Well then, I thought – as he finished showing me through the archives – I’m not going to argue with the guy who invented the computer. After about 20 minutes of walking me through his contributions to technology, he sat down, finished his coffee,  glanced at his half-eaten pastry now-cold, checked his watch and announced:

Well, I have to go now.

With that, we shook hands, he got up, walked to his car and drove off as I just sat there trying to figure out what exactly had just happened. As I sat there thinking: two things he said reverberated in the back of my mind:

  • Nothing is withheld from us which we have conceived to do.
  • Do things that have never been done.

The first meaning: if you’ve conceived something in your mind, decide to do it, and are willing to put in the work – nothing can stop you.

The second is fairly self-explanatory but carries the extra weight of it coming from the guy who invented the very thing that’s letting me type these words out on the internet.

“Do things that have never been done before” - The guy who invented the computer
[click to tweet]

Yessir.

Time to step it up.

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