Chain Reaction 2016 is a series of creative events and actions around the world to protest nuclear weapons activities and to celebrate nuclear disarmament initiatives.
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Chain Reaction 2016 is a series of creative events and actions around the world to protest nuclear weapons activities and to celebrate nuclear disarmament initiatives.
In many areas of South Africa, especially where garbage collection services are weak, the ethic of waste separation and compost generation are lacking. If plastic were removed, it could be sold. The value of compost speaks for itself, especially since the President encouraged people to grow their own vegetables. Unfortunately, garbage is burnt, in the community in the photograph, every two-hundred meters, generating many toxic gases. When plastic burns, it releases at least two Chlorine gases, and these were used in warfare because they can cause lung spasms and death. The picture below left is only one of many pollutant fires lit in one community. The children have not been told of the toxicity of the smog. Their parents do not know that it is military ordnance.
Requests to Government have gone out since 1996 to educate the general public about the value of garbage separation, and to encourage plastic collection depots as small businesses. A businessman in East London offered to send a ten-ton truck to collect plastic from a local depot.
At one stage a lawsuit of millions was threatened due to the burning of one town dump in the Eastern Cape every Friday by an official. The toxic smoke caused many tourists to leave, seriously damaging the incomes of local vendors for a decade or more. The dump was eventually moved without conforming to relevant legislation.
The Recycling industry seems neglected all over, not only in the Third World.
This combination of ignorance and neglect urgently needs to be addressed by all governments, since they have created the consumer society. South African Environment and Tourism officials have said that they are, like many municipalities, underfunded and underpaid at the interface level.
The general public, the schools, all need to be informed that plastic smoke is deadly poisonous.
Thanks to Ken Watson from EAGLE (Environmental Awareness Group for Local Evaluation) for sending us this post
The Film4Climate Global Video Competition was launched yesterday, Monday June 20.
Young filmmakers are invited to showcase their talents and create either a Public Service Advertisement (< 1 min) or a Short Film (1 – 5 minutes) about climate action. The competition is open to filmmakers from all over the world, ages 14 to 35, and the deadline to submit the video on the Film4Climate portal is September 15, 2016. Submit to allow for public voting.
The film should show a personal climate change narrative and emphasize what people around the world are doing to promote action, offer new solutions, and inspire change. The jury, chaired by acclaimed Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci, will select the winning entries based on content, technical expertise and innovation, and originality.
First prize is $8,000, second prize is $5,000 and third is $2,000. Special prizes, offered by our sponsors, will also be awarded. The winners will be announced during the Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakesh, Morocco in November.
Following the signing of the Paris Agreement, and because of the growing urgency of climate change, we are hoping to receive submissions from the majority of signatory nations.
For more information, visit the competition website.
FEDERAL COURT AFFIRMS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF KIDS AND DENIES MOTIONS OF GOVERNMENT AND FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY IN YOUTH’S LANDMARK CLIMATE CHANGE CASE
Eugene, OR – On April 8, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the federal District Court in Eugene, OR, decided in favor of 21 young Plaintiffs, and Dr. James Hansen on behalf of future generations, in their landmark constitutional climate change case brought against the federal government and the fossil fuel industry. The Court’s ruling is a major victory for the 21 youth Plaintiffs, ages 8-19, from across the U.S. in what Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein call the “most important lawsuit on the planet right now.” These plaintiffs sued the federal government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property, and their right to essential public trust resources, by permitting, encouraging, and otherwise enabling continued exploitation, production, and combustion of fossil fuels.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Philip Gregory with Cotchett, Pitre, & McCarthy of Burlingame, CA, said: “This decision is one of the most significant in our nation’s history. The Court upheld our claims that the federal government intensified the danger to our plaintiffs’ lives, liberty and property. Judge Coffin decided our Complaint will move forward and put climate science squarely in front of the federal courts. The next step is for the Court to order our government to cease jeopardizing the climate system for present and future generations. The Court gave America’s youth a fair opportunity to be heard.”
As part of Friday’s historic decision, Judge Coffin characterized the case as an “unprecedented lawsuit” addressing “government action and inaction” resulting “in carbon pollution of the atmosphere, climate destabilization, and ocean acidification.” In deciding the case will proceed, Judge Coffin wrote: “The debate about climate change and its impact has been before various political bodies for some time now. Plaintiffs give this debate justiciability by asserting harms that befall or will befall them personally and to a greater extent than older segments of society. It may be that eventually the alleged harms, assuming the correctness of plaintiffs' analysis of the impacts of global climate change, will befall all of us. But the intractability of the debates before Congress and state legislatures and the alleged valuing of short term economic interest despite the cost to human life, necessitates a need for the courts to evaluate the constitutional parameters of the action or inaction taken by the government. This is especially true when such harms have an alleged disparate impact on a discrete class of society.”
Source: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Over the next two weeks, oral arguments in the Marshall Islands’ nuclear disarmament cases will take place at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) originally filed the lawsuits in April 2014 against all nine nuclear-armed nations (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea). These are the first contentious cases about nuclear disarmament to be brought before the world’s highest court.
The RMI claims that the nuclear-armed nations are in breach of nuclear disarmament obligations under existing international law. This applies to the P5 nations that are signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as well as to the four non-NPT signatories (Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea) under customary international law.
“We are, basically, asking the Court to tell the respondent states to live up to their obligations under international law and to conduct negotiations leading to the required result: nuclear disarmament in all its aspects,” said Phon van den Biesen, Co-Agent for the RMI and attorney at law in Amsterdam, who is leading the International Legal Team.
From March 7-16, the cases against India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom will be argued. The three respondents are the only nations among the “Nuclear Nine” that accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. The other six nuclear-armed nations were invited to accept the jurisdiction of the Court in this case, but either explicitly declined (China) or ignored the application (U.S., Russia, France, Israel and North Korea).
The applications filed by the RMI in April 2014 are available online. All subsequent filings – memorials and counter-memorials – have thus far been treated as confidential by the ICJ. Standard practice of the ICJ is to make these documents public once the oral argument phase has begun. If and when the ICJ makes the memorials and counter-memorials public, they will also be available at the aforementioned link.
Arguments in RMI vs. India will take place on March 7, 10, 14 and 16. Arguments in RMI vs. Pakistan will take place on March 8, 11, 14 and 16. Arguments in RMI vs. United Kingdom will take place on March 9, 11, 14 and 16. All sessions will be livestreamed on the ICJ website, and transcripts will be available soon after each session. This round of hearings will address preliminary objections filed by each respondent nation. The Court’s 15 justices will decide whether the cases will proceed to the next phase in which the merits will be considered.
If our transition to renewable energy is successful, we will achieve savings in the ongoing energy expenditures needed for economic production. We will be rewarded with a quality of life that is acceptable—and, perhaps, preferable to our current one (even though, for most Americans, material consumption will be scaled back from its current unsustainable level). We will have a much more stable climate than would otherwise be the case. And we will see greatly reduced health and environmental impacts from energy production activities.
But the transition will entail costs—not just money and regulation, but also changes in our behavior and expectations. It will probably take at least three or four decades, and will fundamentally change the way we live.
Nobody knows how to accomplish the transition in detail, because this has never been done before. Most previous energy transitions were driven by opportunity, not policy. And they were usually additive, with new energy resources piling onto old ones (we still use firewood, even though we’ve added coal, hydro, oil, natural gas, and nuclear to the mix).
Since the renewable energy revolution will require trading our currently dominant energy sources (fossil fuels) for alternative ones (mostly wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and biomass) that have different characteristics, there are likely to be some hefty challenges along the way.
Therefore, it makes sense to start with the low-hanging fruit and with a plan in place, then revise our plan frequently as we gain practical experience. Several organizations have already formulated plans for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. David Fridley, staff scientist of the energy analysis program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and I have been working for the past few months to analyze and assess those plans and have a book in the works titledOur Renewable Future. Here’s a very short summary, tailored mostly to the United States, of what we’ve found.
This piece first appeared in YES magazine
9 things you can do on International Women's DayToday, March 8, is International Women's Day (#IWD2016), first celebrated in 1909. In recent years, the annual event has gained recognition, giving a chance to celebrate achievements in the women's movement and to inspire further progress through both local and international action. The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality."
While too many women all over the word still suffer from violence and rights abuses, it is important to recognize the amazing work Indigenous women are doing in making change happen in all realms of life and in claiming their rights and transforming violence into power and action.On International Women's Day stand in solidarity with women.
2. Celebrate some of the amazing Indigenous women working to make change happen around the world, like Olga Montúfar Contreras. Share their inspiring stories #IWD2016.
3. Read UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigeous Women's Report on Indigneous Women and Girls
According to a report released in September 2015 from United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Indigenous women all over the world experience a “broad, multifaceted and complex spectrum of mutually reinforcing human rights abuses” due to their particular position of vulnerability amongst patriarchal power structures.
4. Listen and Share Radio Programs by and about Indigenous Women.
6. Learn about how to use the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
7. Learn about the epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous women.Over 800 Aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada in the past 20 years, and their cases are rarely investigated by police. Read Amnesty International's report Stolen Sisters, a report on violence against Indigenous women in Canada.
9. Visit the UN Women's Day website.
Find out how to get into the conversation via Twitter and other forms of social media. #IWD #IWD2016 #WomensDay #internationalwomen'sday
Thanks to Cultural Survival for these materials.
PEACE & PLANET NETWORK
We are all the victims of state and non-state terrorism. Ending such calamities as the Paris and Beirut massacres requires a struggle against the forces of destruction emanating from the Middle East and from the imperial wars of the US, NATO and allied states.
The U.S. and its allies are fighting wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine and Somalia. Worse, in Syria and Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the two major nuclear weapons states, the U.S. and Russia, are fighting on opposite sides of the conflicts. There, U.S. nuclear-armed allies, Britain, France and Israel, are also involved. An accidental or intentional military incident, could send the world spiraling into a disastrous nuclear confrontation. The bombing attacks on neutral hospitals remind us that in the chaos of war such mistakes are all too common.
US allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have fueled the wars in Syria and Iraq with foreign fighters, weapons, funding and porous borders. Without this massive and fundamental support ISIS and the other jihadist fundamentalists could not carry on.
To add to the potential conflicts, the U.S. and China, another nuclear-armed nation, are facing off against each other in the seas bordering China and other Asian nations. Here again potentially dangerous military incidents could trigger war as China responds to the U.S. bases, military alliances and military “exercises” to reinforce its regional dominance, with disputed claims to 80% of the South China Sea and rival military exercises.
The Obama administration has recently announced that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan, are being reintroduced into Iraq and will be introduced into Syria, thus further escalating the conflicts. The recent introduction of Russian forces into Syria, invited by and supporting Assad, challenges Obama’s goal of regime change, but further contributes to the violence the people of Syria have to face.
Many Middle Eastern and European states now face a crisis of accepting millions of refugees, most of whose flights can be traced to the devastation of their communities by the region’s wars. The vast majority of these refugees come from countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya.
December 10th is International Human Rights Day. The human rights of the refugees and those who still remain in areas of violent conflict are daily being violated.
In 1988, the World Health Organization established World Aids Day to raise awareness about HIV and to commemorate the lives that have been lost to HIV. December 1 is a day for global citizens to unite in the fight against HIV. It is a day to support those living with HIV by fighting common misconceptions about the virus that contribute to the stigmatization of HIV positive persons. The World Health Organization estimates that 39 million people’s lives have been taken by HIV since the start of the epidemic in the early 1980’s. Today, over 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS with the majority residing in developing countries. Prevention is key to combating the HIV epidemic, and awareness along with education are crucial to prevention efforts.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is a virus transmitted through bodily fluids that attacks the immune system. When left untreated, HIV severely damages the immune system, leading to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) in the final stage of HIV. Thankfully, antiretroviral treatments can control HIV so that HIV positive persons can live healthy, uncompromised lives and reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others. The number of HIV positive people receiving antiretroviral treatment has increased by 5.6 million since 2010 to 12.9 million people in 2013. However, most people living with or at risk for HIV don’t have access to prevention, care, and treatment due to poverty, stigma, and lack of government funding. Despite the progress achieved in combating HIV/AIDS thus far, it is still the fastest growing health threat to development today.
In light of World Aids Day, I invite you to raise HIV awareness by wearing the symbolic red ribbon in solidarity with those living with HIV/AIDS. I urge you to further educate yourself about HIV/AIDS in an effort to destigmatize HIV and debunk common misconceptions. You can find out more about the red ribbon here, and more about HIV/AIDS here.
Let’s combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic once and for all.
PHOTO: ELYSE DESROCHERS
Anti-refugee rhetoric by many people and leaders in the European Union nations and the United States has intensified in light of the recent terror attacks in Paris. This rhetoric appears to be fueled by the belief that one of the perpetrators responsible posed as a Syrian refugee entering France. As a result, some right-wing politicians and European nations have already called for stricter border controls and a downsizing in refugee quotas. Poland, Latvia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have directly linked the refugee crisis in Europe to the attacks on France and leaders have already called for the closing of the Schengen border, a major blow to the E.U.’s resettling programs. Poland especially has been wary of the potential influx of Syrian refugees in its region.
In the United States, at least 24 governors have announced that they will not accept Syrian refugees due to the recent terror attacks. These states range from Texas to New Hampshire and Massachusetts. However, it must be understood that these states have no jurisdiction in regards to the resettling of refugees. The case of Hines v. Davidowitz shows that it is the federal government that has the power to deal with immigration and refugee issues. The Supreme Court ruled, “The supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution” In addition, the Refugee Act of 1980 enables the President to admit refugees who face “persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” as well as "unforeseen emergency refugee situations" into the United States.
Not only is the denial of Syrian refugees a violation of immigration law and beyond the realm of state power, it demonstrates that the United States cannot uphold the values that it preaches. America must serve as a model of hope and strength, not one of fear and cowardice. The attacks in Paris were heinous and raise the question of security, but by no means should they be used as an excuse to refuse people basic human rights and protection. There are thousands of people fleeing from unimaginable horrors in search for a place to call home. Americans need to respond as concerned people from a nation with a long history of welcoming refugees.
Please send a message to your Governor and let him or her know your thoughts on this issue.
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