Category: racism


The BBC reports today that downtown Detroit is taking new shape with a rash of urban gardens.
In a town which symbolizes the rust belt, left over from the car industry, a new group Urban Farming has taken it upon themselves to breath some life into the city.

Visiting one of the largest allotments, on a site that had been derelict since Detroit’s infamous 1967 riots, locals spoke about an astonishing transformation.

Derelict streets highlight Detroit’s tough past and present

“There is something that every hand in this area can do,” said Rose Stallard, who is keen to enlist as many volunteers as possible to help tend the garden and its precious crops.

Urban gardening has grown hugely since the onset of the concern over Global Warming, but what is remarkable is how versatile and mutlitalented it is. Community gardens have been reported to help nearby residents economically and socially as well as easing racial and gender divides and building community and lowering crime. Natural is the answer friends!

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One of the best inventions I’ve seen lately. The Life Straw is a really great cause and an increasingly vital part of our world. This issue will not only be for those in the “Third World,” but soon in ours too.

From their site:

Sharing a passion to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of ‘reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water’ by the year 2015, we recognize the immense sense of urgency.

At any given moment, about half of the world’s poor are suffering from water-related diseases, of which over 6,000 – mainly children – die each day by consuming unsafe drinking water.

Today, 1.1 billion people are without access to safe drinking water, robbing hundreds of women and girls of dignity, energy and time.

Safe water interventions, therefore, have vast potential to transform the lives of millions, especially in crucial areas such as poverty eradication, environmental upgradation, quality of life, child development and gender equality.

Recognizing the importance of safe water in our daily lives and the billions of people who are still without access to these basic human rights, LifeStraw® was developed as a practical response to the urgency, and confirms our commitment to achieving the MDGs.

Mobilising LifeStraw® offers relief from waterborne diseases of major public concern such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea. As a personal and mobile water purification tool, LifeStraw® is designed to turn most of the surface water into drinking water, thus providing access to safe water wherever you are.

Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen
Chief Executive Officer

We’ve talked alot about water and it’s relationship to us and our bodies, which only makes the issue of fresh water scarcity that much more terrifying. 70% of the earth is covered in water. Less than 1% of that is drinkable and of that 1%, much of that is poisoned or horded and diverted by corporations.
Here are some more interesting and insightful links and videos on the topic of water:

UN Highlights World Water Crisis

BBCNews

World Water Council



World Water Day March 22

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The Associated Press reports that the University of Florida is surveying the possibility of a new energy source: the gulf stream.

Florida Atlantic University researchers say the current could someday be used to drive thousands of underwater turbines, produce as much energy as perhaps 10 nuclear plants and supply one-third of Florida’s electricity. A small test turbine is expected to be installed within months.

Some scientists are concerned about what the turbines might do to fish and migration habits and fishermen are worried about the space that the turbines would be placed in, saying that it is prime and valuable fishing territory.
But the UFlorida scientists are thinking this could be a great break-through, providing as much as 1/3 of the energy needed for the state of Florida.

It is research and innovation like this that will help us solve our energy problems and putting green-collar workers in business will help with the class and economic disparities so prevalent in the news today. Time will tell if this technology will pan out to their expectancy.

Just in case the victims of Katrina hadn’t been slighted and robbed enough since the storm, here is a new story from the Associated Press and CBSnews (video below) on new allegation that the FEMA trailers offered for emergency housing, that over 50,000 people are still living in, are toxic. They measure high in formaldehyde fumes, causing nose bleeds, respiratory issues and even reported deaths. Of course, instead of addressing the news, now over ten months old, it seems FEMA did everything in their power to cover it up (assumedly to prevent lawsuits).

    Solidarity, Not Charity

One of the most inspiring things I’ve seen in the last four years (college), was the sign outside the Common Ground Collective, a non-profit organization in New Orleans that offers legal and financial advice, FEMA guidance, alternative energy assistance, bioremediation, rebuilding and intentional media in the most impoverished areas of New Orleans. The sign read as above: Solidarity, Not Charity.
It’s easy to see why I liked it so much. It was New Orleans residents and non-residents alike working side by side, not out of guilt or pity, but out of strength, cooperation and sincerity.

I had the pleasure of working with some of these amazing people during my last trip down there. While I was staying with another wonderful group called Project Hope, we had some common jobs.

One of my favorite projects, which I worked on at several sites, was alternative bleaching inside flooded homes, in order to combat black mold (which is responsible for the so-called “New Orleans pandemic.”) They use what they call efficient microorganisms, which eat the mold on the studs and frame.

Another great project they are still heading is wetland restoration along the coast. There were and still are millions of gallons of gas, human and animal waste, trash, and abandoned property poisoning the animals and plants native to the Gulf Coast and the Common Ground Collective was one of the first and most successful organizations working on correcting those issues.

The devastation in New Orleans was so vast it is hard to explain. Many of the problems such as hunger, poverty, drug addiction and the housing crisis are still patent. Unfortunately corporations have done everything in their power to soak up the valuable downtown property while people are still struggling to get back to New Orleans and back on their feet. Thankfully, there are projects like the Common Ground Collective who are fighting for the rights of the victims of Katrina and refuse to let the city degrade into endless condos and strip malls. After all, it is the residents of New Orleans that made it the beautiful, and creative place that it was and is.

I am inspired and continually awed by the hard work and selfless determination displayed by these courageous people.

Happy Holidays and please take this moment to remember what this day is really about.

Headed by leaders of AIM (the American Indian Movement) including the famous Russel Means have announced they will back out of treaties signed by thier relatives and the United States. Spokesmen say the US has backed out on their end over and over and the time has come for a free and independent nation on the Lakota land.
Articles here and here.

It surprises me that it hasn’t happened sooner. The US government have destroyed their land, their communities and families, their culture and their livelihood. They have poisoned and sabotaged them, they have bullied and murdered them:

Native Americans have been speaking out for the land since the very beginning. More than their rights, they were concerned for the haphazard and wasteful nature of the Colonists and the rights of the land.
What is interesting to me; Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony spent time with the Haudenosaunee women of upstate New York. Their “radical” and “visionary” ideas of women’s rights and political reform came from the women they witnessed be successful and healthy memeber of their communities. More on this here.
When thinking of feminism and ecological rights, many fail to see the connection, but the founding mothers knew the essential necessity of conservation and balance. They advocated for much more than the vote, they advocated for total reform.

I am proud of the Lakota and AIM for taking this courageous step toward healing themselves, their heritage and their land. I hope you find some peace now.

The first thing that needs to be done is the simplest. We need to stop saying “I” and start saying “we.” If every single person started shifting their conciousness to that mentality, then the major controversy would be over with and we could start working on the solutions. This does not mean that we need to stray away from our “capitalist ideals;” to the contrary!
The truth is, everyone thinks that shifting the economy to business and industry that is green means we lose profit. This is a complete fallacy. To provide a better product(healthy and sustainable), made with better materials(organic, natural),through workers who get paid a liveable wage ($10 or more), means the whole country wins.
This idea can be transferred to politics as well. During a normal debate, the candidates shy away from issues such as social security, health care and sustainability because the solutions COST MONEY. Duh! But the solutions, such as in the case of global warming, also make money.
The real solutions to these problems, involve moving the middle-class back into America, creating jobs such as industry of natural and sustainable products, recycling and reuse of already produced materials, and construction and retrofitting of existing buildings to fit the need for better energy use.
It may seem a bit daunting to look at these problems on a large scale, but really the answers are astoundingly simple and accessible for everyone. If we want the human race to exist in a hundred years, then these problems need to be addressed and we can address them in really progressive and beneficial ways.

Food: less than 200 miles is a reasonable distance in which to grow and sustain our food. Better yet, grow a few yourself. If you neighbor grows potatoes and you grow tomatoes, you will both have plenty extra to share. It’s better for you, more delicious and better for the enviroment. All you need is a bucket and some dirt.
Find a farmers market or a co-op. Your town doesn’t have one? Start one!

Transportation: Public access to every single destination in the country is an absolute necessity.
Shelter: reuse reuse reuse: All the materials we could ever need have already been harvested. We need to recycle building materials, not dump
Shopping: Demand that the products you buy come from a good place, as mentioned above:liveable wage, made in US with recycled or sustainable materials.
The most recent statistics show that even the richest in the country have reduced their consumption of goods dramatically over the last 5 years. Everyone knows we don’t need all that crap.
Disposal: ANYTHING reusable goes on craigslist,the local farmers market, the local found materials shed, or the local distribution center. All biodegradable materials go in compost, not the dump. Compost means it goes back in the ground where it belongs.
Water: The most important factor essential to life. It’s pretty simple, don’t waste it. Don’t flush if you don’t have to, don’t shower longer than you have to, don’t leave shit running.
Find people who are interested, and work on a living machine or similar water remediation project.

These are just the beginning. There are hundreds of other ways to engage with eco-friendly living, engage with your community and most importantly, IMPROVE YOUR STANDARD OF LIVING.
If you care about this stuff, which you must if you’ve gotten this far, tell a friend and start small.

Thomas Friedman, one of the smartest political analysts I can think of, wrote about a wonderful project starting in good old California called Greenforall.org.
Friedman talks about something that all the green-movers and shakers are talking about. How do you mobilize the middle class or working poor to care about and work on Climate Change? It’s a tough challenge considering that up to this point, the solutions (solar panels) cost more than most people make in a year. The program is centered around training urban youth in skills like retrofitting houses with solar panels and winterizer and building wind farms. Genius! Everyone should be looking at these jobs. I’ve told my brothers, who are about high-school graduation age, the best thing they can do to secure thier futures is learn a trade and what better trade than one that benefits everyone and everything?

Over at Musings From A Stonehead the real heart of global climate change is on the table. He writes: “Depending on the assessment tools used, humanity passed the point at which global resources could sustainably support the world’s population in the late 1980s.”
Duh! I mean, he is absolutely right! THis is the elephant in the room, but for some reason the world is refusing to acknowledge it. Well, I suppose it’s not that hard to figure out why. Organized religion preaches on soap boxes about “spreading the seed” and “multiplying,” but my friends, we have multiplied plenty.
As I’ve said a billion times, it is not us who will feel the pain of global warming, and so it is our job to find ways to curb population growth in the poorest nations (not because they are poor but because they will suffer.) Contraceptives, anyone? Condoms to alleviate the AIDS pandemic and uncontrolled birth, perhaps? Aside from the obvious, education, that is.


Here’s a map of carbon foot print. As you notice, not in correlation with population: