Archive for September, 2005


Wagari Maathai in NH

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Last night Wangari Maathai came to our neck of the woods to give a talk at Dartmouth for the Social Justice Lecture Series. Last year we’d asked Wangari to write the foreword to our 20th anniversary edition of the Man Who Planted Trees, so we were eager for a chance to finally meet her. The woman behind the African Greenbelt Movement did not disappoint. She spoke passionately about the need to empower people at the grassroots level to protect their own environment; to help people realize they are responsible stewards of their land, and that the government can’t be counted on for sustainable help. Wangari used the metaphor of a bus throughout her talk, explaining that somewhere along the way, farmers in Kenya had gotten on the wrong bus in terms of their land use and environmental strategy. Now the first step toward moving in the right direction was getting them to realize that they can make the bus stop and let them off. During the q&a session after her talk, Wangari added “by the way, Africans are not the only ones who are riding the wrong bus!”
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Diane Wilson on Diane Rehm

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

NPR’s Diane Rehm will interview Diane Wilson this morning. Beginning at 11 a.m. EST, Diane Wilson will be talking about her fight with the chemical companies in Texas’ Lavaca Bay, and her transition from a full time shrimper to a full time activist. You can tune in live.

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad on Free Media in Iraq

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Last week Fakher Haidar al-Tamimi became the 36th Iraqi journalist to be killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war. Yesterday, his friend, Iraqi photojournalist and co-author of the upcoming CGP release Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq Ghaith Abdul-Ahad wrote a poignant piece in the The Guardian, exposing the disproportionate dangers that Iraqi journalists face:

As reporting from Iraq is becoming almost impossible, new ground rules have been set for most of the foreign media. Apart from a handful of journalists, everyone goes out in armed convoys, if they go out at all. If you are six feet tall, fair-haired and stupid enough to come to Baghdad, then you might as well stick to the hotel swimming pool or your agency fortress, and the occasional trip embedded with the US Army. Instead you can count on your Iraqi employees to go out and get you the story.
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Jen Nix Podcast

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

Should progressive political writers put their money where their mouth is? Jen Nix’s article for Alternet, “Sleeping with the Enemy”, challenged progressive authors to sign their books with small publishers, rather than with the media giants. Jen talk with Francesca Rheannon, producer and co-host of Writer’s Voice about the article and about independent media in a publishing landscape dominated by a few big companies.

Download the Writer’s Voice podcast.

failure

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Anita Roddick brought us this interesting piece of information this morning in her newsletter. I’m not sure how many people normally google the word “Failure,” but those who do are in for a treat:

A very interesting experiment ……

1. Go to Google.
2. Type the word “failure” in the search box.
3. Click on the “I’m feeling lucky” search button

And what webpage comes up?

End of Shrimping as we Know it?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

After Katrina, shrimper and author Diane Wilson told us that shrimping was sunk, but today she’s flying home to her Texas gulf coast town to evacuate her mother before yet another hurricane. How much more can the fishing and shrimping industry take? The San Diego Union Tribune explains that the more Diane fights for the fishermen and clean water, the more her fellow shrimpers see her as an enemy. But after this year’s storms, cleaning up the chemicals in the Gulf of Mexico will be more important than ever.

Organic Agriculture Enters Mainstream

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Good news for organics. The Institute of Science in Society released a report this week titled “Organic Agriculture Enters Mainstream: Organic Yields on Par with Conventional and Ahead During Drought Years.” This news could be influential among scientists who have told farmers that organic argiculture means lower yields–”scientists who should know better,” according to I-SIS.

But by far the greatest gains are in savings on externalised costs associated with conventional industrial farming, which are estimated to exceed 25 percent of the total market value of United States’ agricultural output. Long-term field trials at Rodale Institute

Haciendo Punto lists part of the report on their organic agriculture blog, or you can find the whole report at the I-SIS site.

Diane Wilson: A Shrimper on Katrina

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

“This ain’t a Forrest Gump film about a shrimper getting rich after a hurricane. This is about shrimpers and their industry sinking. From Mississippi, to Alabama to the Louisiana Gulf Coast, the shrimping industry is sunk (or sinking) and this time it doesn’t need any help from rising fuel prices or imported shrimp driving down the price or beleaguered bays fighting to survival along the petrochemical corridor. Nope. All it took was a Category 4 storm named Katrina.”
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triage

Friday, September 9th, 2005

The direct human impact of hurricane Katrina is not yet over, but this morning Rebecca Claren posted an article on Salon about the layers of environmental damage that demand attention. But where do we turn first? For starters, there are the waterborne bacteria from human and organic waste that have already caused four deaths in New Orleans. Next, further in the future but much more dangerous and (difficult to deal with), are the petrochemicals lining the floodwaters with a lingering film of toxic sludge. Then there are the marshlands and protective wetlands, which Clarren describes as a “sea of mud.” Or do those come before the sludge? One thing’s for sure–it’s going to be tough to prioritize long-term health and environmental damage from Katrina. For maybe the first time, the Society of Environmental Journalists has released its own official op-ed in response to what Dave Roberts on Grist calls “official stonewalling on the environmental damage done by Katrina”.

a failure of moral and political philosophy

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

George Lakoff’s post on AlterNet this morning called the disaster in New Orleans a “failure of moral and political philosophy,” explaining more gently what Paul Craig Roberts on Counterpunch called failure on every front. Lakoff’s first analysis of the destruction from Katrina outlines how the strict father principles behind the Bush Administration allow them to “rely on individual discipline and initiative,” even in times of dire crisis, and calls on Democrats to start reframing the disaster immediately.

The values demonstrated by the Bush Administration during this crisis are not American values, and Lakoff goes so far as to call them invalid:

Hurricane Katrina should also form the context in which to judge whether John Roberts is fit to be chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. The reason is simple: The Katrina Tragedy raises the most central issues of moral and political principles that will govern the future of this country. Katrina stands to be even more traumatic to America than 9/11. The failure of conservative principles in the Katrina Tragedy should, in the post-Katrina era, invalidate those principles — and it should invalidate the right of George Bush to foist them on the country for the next 30 years.

Interestingly, Roberts and the Bush Administration have already done a fair amount of foisting, in what Nat Parry called the Apex of Presidential Power. It’s too bad that this administration doesn’t recognize any link between power and responsibility.


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