For some time now, there has been an activist group protesting a third runway at Heathrow in London, one of the world’s largest airports. The group, Plane Stupid, decided a year ago to help create a Transition Initiative in Sipson, a community that was threatened by the runway. So they found an abandoned piece of land, full of trash and broken glass, and transformed it into gardens, workshops, kitchens and a meeting place to launch projects for the whole community. It was met with some skepticism at first but now . . . well, watch the video below and see for yourself. By the way, the local policeman says crime is down 50% since the initiative was set up.
Archive for the ‘Action Sites’ Category
After the actions of December 14th/15th – the biggest show of support for Tasmania’s ancient forests ever – the Tasmanian Government has announced a moratorium on the logging of High Conservation Value forests.
In just over 24 hours, there were banner actions and film screenings in Tanzania, Reunion Island, Japan, Vanuatu, Thailand, India, France, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, England, Wales, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, Scotland, Ecuador and the United States of America.
And around Australia people participated in the 24 hours of action in Tasmania – Hobart, Devonport, Bicheno and Launceston, Victoria – Melbourne and Glenburn, ACT – Canberra, SA – Adelaide, QLD – Brisbane and Noosa, WA – Perth, Balingup, Denmark, and Fremantle, and in NSW – Sydney, Lismore, Bega, Newcastle, Dorrigo, Bellingen, Bundagen, Byron Bay, and Uki.
This is a tremendous first step but the battle is not over. Go to http://niyamgiri.net/ for a slide show of this action and more information on the ongoing effort to see that these precious forests get the protection they need.
Tasmanian environmental groups are calling for an international day of action on December 14/15 to pressure the Australian Government to enforce a moratorium on logging the old growth. In Australia and New Zealand, there will be banner hangs and other actions. Wherever you are, you can join the action. See Starhawk’s website for more details and join in a night of linked prayer and ritual on December 14 in the US and Europe and the 15th in Australia.
The focus is “to ensure the balance flows towards the protection of the forests and healing for those who feel disenfranchised by the now massive groundswell to protect the forest; the groundswell that has taken many years of hard work by lots of people to achieve. We can use the image of the green wave coming in and healing the land and all who have been involved in making this change. A green wave for the old growth forests of Tasmania and the species they harbour.”
Koala bears and Tasmanian devils will thank you!
Farm to Family in Richmond, Virginia targets inner city neighborhoods that are called “food deserts” where the only access to food is a convenience store with almost no fresh or healthy food available. The bus makes its rounds from local farms to urban streets not only bringing fresh food at each stop but also teaching about cooking and growing it, passing out free seeds as they go.
The urban garden movement was just beginning a few years ago when I started this blog and it’s really catching on. More and more people are getting down in the dirt and growing some of their own food. Part of this, I think, is a desire to save money and have healthy food, “downsizing” and becoming more self-sufficient, but I think there’s also a deep longing to connect with the natural world and get back to our roots, literally, in these unstable times. There’s nothing like sitting on the ground and running a handful of dirt through your fingers to connect you with where you really are.
It does my heart good to see folks like the Farm to Family bunch taking the initiative, transforming an old school bus and bringing not only the good food but the knowledge of how to grow it and the seeds to do it, too. I wonder if anybody has figured out how much less CO2 would be put in the atmosphere if we all started growing our own food close to home. Imagine that.
If this doesn’t give you heart to keep up the fight, I don’t know what will. Pete just keeps on giving . . .
The true cost of oil is war, asthma, environmental destruction, lost tourism and global climate change. No amount of money makes up for that. There is only one solution, and the oil companies fear it- Solar Panels on our rooftops and Electric Cars to drive.
1. Nickel-Metal Hydride is the only proven EV (Electric Vehicle) battery; after 100K or 200K miles NiMH can be remelted down into new batteries without new mining.
2. Instead of “research”, we need to start making and improving plug-in cars right now, not waiting for the perfect that never comes. Lowering cost is the name of the game.
2. Solar power and plug-in cars is the only sustainable way to power individual autos.
3. Running an EV 1000 miles per month takes only 250 kilo-Watt-hours of electric, about $25 worth; about what two old refrigerators cost and about a third of the average home usage.
4. It would take only a tenth of the average home roof — 6 square yards — to make 250 kWh per month, enough electric energy to run a plug-in car 1000 miles per month.
5. Because solar power and plug-in cars would cut oil profits, Big Oil has used its financial power to strangle and delay use of these obviously simple and working alternative to oil and coal.
6. No matter how many nuke or coal plants we build, it won’t replace one drop of oil unless there are plug-in cars to use the electric; but if we had plug-in cars, we wouldn’t even need new power plants. The money not spent on oil pays for solar. We can make it happen. And we should.
7. America’s largest open-pit coal mine is a witches cauldron of toxic waste and caustic destruction; but if the ground were left alone, and covered with solar panels, we’d get more electric energy from the same space (28,000 acres) than we get from the coal.
8. Instead of risking death in criminal coal mines, or skirting safety rules on oil rigs, the same workers could be manufacturing and installing solar panels and building and recycling electric plug-in cars and reforming their batteries.
9. Electric cars are all powered with American electrons; no electric is imported. Buying oil from people who hate us gives them our money and leaves only air and ground pollution, asthma and smog after it’s burned.
10. If there were no alternative to oil-fired cars, the permanent lung damage caused by burning oil might be necessary; but there IS an alternative, solar and plug-in cars. There is no higher cost than killing your kids lungs to enrich Big Oil.
Join Operation ‘Sunburst’- Electrify the Debate!
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Oh, boy. I got up this morning and read the top stories in the New York Times with my first cup of coffee. The headlines are U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits and Size of Oil Spill Underestimated, Scientists Say. As I get ready to go to the neighborhood cafe for breakfast with my friend, I remember the day after Obama’s election when we went there for breakfast; Obama’s face beaming on the cover of the newspaper, everyone in the cafe chattering and happy, the bright hope. . . .
No one wants to believe you let us down so bad. But you did.
What a betrayal of all that hope! Was it all just hype? Who knows? Could he have been that naive? Could we have been that naive?
There he was saying the ship of state is a huge ship, slow to turn around. and then there he was again standing up there saying – drill some more! And now here we are, a year and a half later, seeing a corrupt government agency roll over while the filthy rich oil companies drill away without permits and look at the result!
Scientists, environmentalists, activists in local grassroots groups, and academics keep digging up new information, forcing the government and the oil companies to run to cover the next revelation. First that snip of a video of the oil gushing out of the pipe was in the blogs, then it was picked up by a major media outlet and next the president had to confront the issue. How much is coming out? You can’t measure it? Why? Because BP refuses to measure. They flat out said no. And the scientists rely on government funding to take their boats and their instruments out there and attempt to do it without BP’s cooperation.
Down on the delta BP is trying to shut up the locals who have lost their livelihoods with cash payments. For a snip of reality see http://oilspill.labucketbrigade.org/reports for what it’s like on the streets of New Orleans even now as we speak.
And they’re spraying massive amounts of a “dispersant”, another toxic chemical. This from Riki Ott, a toxicologist who wrote two books about the Exxon Valdez spill:
“This dispersed oil is extremely toxic to young life forms. BP is saying that it’s not that toxic, not that much of a problem. That is extremely misleading.
It’s too much oil, too fast, not to have a pretty big impact on generations of wildlife that’s in the water column. Birds eating shellfish getting sick and dying, marine mammals, land mammals getting sick and dying. You have birds feeding oiled fish to their chicks, the chicks have stunted growth. . . .”
And we don’t even know all the ingredients in this toxic dispersant they are saturating the gulf with. Some of the ingredients are considered part of the company’s secret formula. They are destroying a whole ecosystem, a whole public body of water, and our government is powerless to find out exactly what it is they are spraying on it because it’s a secret?
All we get from the media and the government is a play by play of the clumsy efforts of a corporation that was caught out because they obviously had no idea what they were doing. But our government that we elected – that some of us had such hopes for – allowed them to drill this well. Without permits, without a backup plan, without the safety precautions that other countries doing similar drilling require. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be happening.
Our government, that we elected, allowed this to happen. Now what are WE the people going to do about it?
The first thing we can do is contact our elected representatives relentlessly until they get it.
To contact Obama, your senators and your congressperson, go to here.
Tell them if they can’t do the job, we’ll find someone who will. If we push hard enough, get enough numbers, they will move. They will have to. We still vote. If we can get our minds clear about what’s really going on, we can use that vote wisely.
That’s just the first step. And then the second step is we have to take to the streets. Sorry, folks, I know this is a hassle but if we don’t stop this now, it’s going to be even more of a hassle. Way more.
Demand that Obama and the congress clean up the government so that they at least begin to start enforcing the laws we already have. No excuses. Then demand we put all available resources into alternative energy and end offshore drilling.
Kick the oil companies out of bed. Their day is over. Unless Halliburton and BP, et al really are running this country and I guess we’ll find out about that soon enough.
Sign the petitions, email and phone your representatives and take to the streets. Join a march or organize one.
We are not alone. If we can do this, the rest of the world will follow.
Actually there are some who are way ahead of us. The World People’s Conference on Climate Change -15,000 people from 128 different countries – was held in Bolivia from April 20 to 22nd. In a speech on May 7, 2010 at the UN, President Evo Morales Ayma shared the conclusions of the conference which was held “because,” as he said, “in Copenhagen the voice of the peoples of the world was not listened to.”
This is from the opening statement:
It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings. We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:
Read the rest of it here:
There’s another organization called Other Worlds are Possible Here’s a paragraph from their opening statement:
Throughout the world, solutions to some of the greatest challenges of the day are either nascent or fully thriving. Organized people’s movements – sometimes with help from supportive government – are changing the structures which cause violence, poverty, inequality, and environmental destruction. At the same time, they are creating better quality of life in their communities. In other instances, people are preserving ancient cultures where individuals live in relative equity and harmony with other life and their communities, and without expectation of profit.
Take some time and look through this site. There are fascinating alternatives happening right now, all over the world. It will feed your spirit to read about them. It made me even stronger in my commitment to shine the light on those dark forces that would take this blue pearl of a planet we all share and turn it into a stinking, slimey septic tank. When I think of the gulf coast that I love, those beaches I grew up on, the wind in my hair, the waves crashing in, the sea gulls cry – and then I look at the pictures of the orange slime and the oil-soaked birds, I feel like I have been beaten down with a big stick and all I can do is come back to people like these and share in the solidarity of those who fight for what they love, and write to you and tell you what I see.
One of the final conclusions of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change is to put forth a referendum for the people most affected by climate change (the goal is 2 billion people) to have a say in how this crisis is addressed. Global democracy!
If you would like to speak up and have a say in how we support our mother and save our planet (and ourselves), just answer these questions:
1. Do you agree with re-establishing harmony with nature while recognizing the rights of Mother Earth?
2. Do you agree with changing this model of over-consumption and waste that the capitalist system represents?
3. Do you agree that developed countries reduce and re-absorb their domestic greenhouse gas emissions so that the temperature does not rise more than 1 degree Celsius?
4. Do you agree with transferring all that is spent in wars to protecting the planet and allocate a budget for climate change that is bigger than what is used for defense?
5. Do you agree with a Climate Justice Tribunal to judge those who destroy Mother Earth?
If you do, go to this page & sign.
Today is May Day – the traditional day of celebrating spring and worker solidarity. If you are able, this is a very auspicious day to join your neighbors in a public place and express your joy for another season of life on the earth and your opposition to all that stands in the way of the full enjoyment of that – including racism, pollution and war.
Plant the seeds of peace and harmony this May Day and join the global referendum in support of our mother.
We had a very cold winter here in the heart of Texas and plenty of rain in early spring. Now the drought is broken and the leaves are almost day-glo green. Almost enough to give you hope for the future.
One thing that gives me hope is to hear of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia. They’re calling it the Woodstock of climate change conferences. Well, yeah, if Woodstock means 15,000 people from worldwide indigenous movements and grassroots organizations, and presidents, scientists, activists and observers from 128 different countries.
The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who is himself an indigenous Ayumara, has stated that since the meeting of the head of governments in Copenhagen was a total failure, he has called a conference of the people to (1) draft a proposal to send to the next UN meeting in Mexico later this year and (2) to announce a referendum in which 2 billion people will be asked to vote on ways out of the climate crisis.
“The only way to get climate negotiations back on track, not just for Bolivia or other countries, but for all of life, biodiversity, our Mother Earth, is to put civil society back into the process. The only thing that can save mankind from a [climate] tragedy is the exercise of global democracy,” said Bolivia’s UN ambassador, Pablo Solon.
“There will be no secret discussions behind closed doors. The debate and the proposals will be led by communities on the frontlines of climate change and by organisations and individuals from civil society dedicated to tackling the climate crisis,” he added
“What is behind all this discussion is that we have broken the harmony with Mother Earth, with nature, and because we have broken that harmony we are now suffering the consequences of climate change,” said Solon.
I love what is happening in Bolivia. I love it that they write a bill of rights for Pachamama (Mother Earth) and all living things – rocks, trees, frogs, fishes, elephants! – into their new constitution. Can you imagine how our lives would change if everyone did that?
There are good people working all over the world trying to stop the destruction and find a better way for people to live on this planet. We don’t hear so much about them. You have to go looking for the people who want to pass on the good news. There’s plenty of doom and gloom, scarey stuff and downright horror stories. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all know how bad it is.
But then there’s the 15,000 people going to Cochabamba to try to find ways to solve our problems who believe all living things have the right to be here. The worldwide movement of grassroots activists, rural peasants and farmers, Via Campesina http://www.viacampesina.org/ with 148 member organizations from 69 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas will be in Cochabamba, too.
Here’s more good news:
Transition Towns http://www.transitionnetwork.org/ is a global movement that began in Kinsale, Ireland a few years ago. Geologist Colin Campbell, godfather of the peak oil movement and local resident, spoke in 2005 to a group of Kinsale students, and the class resolved to transition their region away from fossil fuels. The name and idea has spread rapidly — there are now 274 Transition Towns across the world, in countries like Japan, the USA, Chile, Germany, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Finland.
Brian Kaller, a former American journalist living in Ireland, has a wonderful blog http://restoringmayberry.blogspot.com/ about his work with Transition Towns in Ireland and learning to live post-peak oil.
You can also see an intro to an award winning documentary about urban food growing in Havana, Cuba, during the time when Russian oil imports were suddenly cut off due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the US blockade at: http://www.powerofcommunity.org/cm/index.php. I’ve seen the whole movie. It’s a beautiful work of art in addition to being a powerful documentary.
Here in the US Nukefree http://nukefree.org/ is working to end the construction of new atomic reactors and close those now in use. Does it occur to any one (like Whole Earth’s Stewart Brand) that using nuclear power plants to generate electricity also makes the refined uranium needed for weapons available? While I applaud Obama’s stand on nuclear proliferation, why is it not combined with similar action to reduce the raw material (as in not even mining it)? Perhaps this says it best:
Pass it on . . . .
Happy Earth Day!
After all the preening and power plays in Copenhagen, I found it kind of refreshing to see the Queen of England, who is 83 years old, climb down from her throne and climb on a train, as if she were just one of us trying to make her way home for Christmas. Of course it was PR for dealing with global warming by using public transportation but the Queen doesn’t have to run for re-election so she didn’t really need to do that.
I’ve always thought that elective office should be open to anyone, that campaign expenses should come from a small taxpayer-supported fund and that people should be elected for their job skills. The administration full of competent administrators, a congress of effective managers. What a radical idea!
And then maybe we could find a spare monarch around somewhere to represent us on the international stage, one who wasn’t too proud to take the train – which is true leadership.
Ah, but instead we have “summits” like the fiasco in Copenhagen. That wasn’t even a fig leaf. The only good thing about it was the alternative conference called Klimaforum which operated by consensus and represented those of us who are not major shareholders in the world’s largest corporations and financial institutions – which happens to be 99% of the humans on the face of the earth – who are not happy about how things are going, any of us, north, south, east, west, southern hemisphere, northern hemisphere, african, caribbean, the poor in rich countries, the indigenous not to mention all the animals, birds, reptiles, bugs, etc, etc, etc.
I would have loved it if Ecuador, the first country to write a constitution giving inalienable rights to nature, had brought an ark to symbolically represent this constituency.
This is the time for symbolic acts and street theater. This is the time for the lowly to be raised up and those who are highly placed to serve. Some of them get it. Desmond Tutu gets it, the president of Tuvalu gets it. It looks like the queen gets it, too.
Way to go, yr Majesty!