Archive for November, 2007


A Tribute to Dame Anita

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

A new tribute site is up and running to honor the life’s work of Dame Anita Roddick, who died earlier this year. Roddick made socially-responsible business hip, engaging, and effective. Aside from a fun slide show from the I Am An Activist event, you can also download a short PDF to help awaken the inner activist.
Here’s a sample from the splash page:

Anita Roddick traveled amongst the destitute, the oppressed, the exploited, and the condemned, but she never lost hope or stamina, because she knew that there was joy and possibility in creating new, imaginative ways to make things better. She had little patience for those who said they were too busy to be activists.“Then be a sittist! Sit at your computer and participate!” She knew that doing any small thing to improve a life, to right a wrong, brings joy to those who do as well as to those who benefit. That’s why she laughed all the way to changing the world.

This is the kind of site that Dame Anita would love: One that memorializes, not mourns, her passing.

The Next Trillion Dollars

Monday, November 26th, 2007

An interesting commentary in the Christian Science Monitor, and reprinted at CommonDreams, calls for spending the next trillion dollars (equal to the amount we’re likely to spend on the Iraq War) for the good of humanity.

Here’s a sample:

“Let’s allocate another trillion dollars—but this time for the good of all humanity and all species. Let’s do it with the same moral urgency and vision that has made America great at so many critical junctures in history.

There’s an emergency and an opportunity out there that calls for The Next Trillion.

It’s about more than geopolitics and petrodollars. It’s about more than the science of climate change.

It’s about the need for global economic institutions to evolve in response to the social and environmental challenges of our time: growth in population, accelerating technological change, accelerating capital flows, growth in consumption, increasing pollution, widening wealth gaps.”

Tasch argues that the financial returns of the 20th century largely depended upon unsustainable environmental and social trends, and they remain inadequate to move the world’s economies in a bold, new direction.

He argues that we need to invest that trillion dollars in $250 billion chunks in the following areas: clean energy and energy efficiency; carbon sequestration and bioremediation; sustainable food and forests; and, community development.

Tasch, who is chairman of Investors’ Circle, a network that connects patient capital investors with early-stage companies and venture funds that promote sustainability, knows what he’s talking about. As the US emerges from a dark age of fast money and cowboy diplomacy this just may be the economic and social hook upon which to hang our hat.

Or, as Tasch notes, “Slowing money down, bringing it back down to earth, thinking longer term, recapturing money, and redeploying it as an agent of community and bioregional health, creating what some have called “virtuous globalization” or, even, localization – this is the next great work.”

Read the full article here.

Naomi Wolf tops on AlterNet, takes on FOX

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Naomi Wolf continues her media tour, including an appearance on FOX News’ The O’Reilly Factor (minus Bill O’Reilly—he must have been intimidated and called for a stand-in) and a lengthy Q&A on AlterNet with site founder Don Hazen. The interview covers a wide range of territory, but some of the best discussion about her New York Times bestseller End of America, and the issues it raises, are contained in the comments section.

This makes for some great post-Thanksgiving Day reading while you kick back from work (or while you work), and remember why it’s important to fight to keep our constitutional freedoms from being wiped away by the Bush administration, or any administration, and their allies in Congress, be they Democrat or Republican.

We’ve also taken time to pick up a few of our favorite End of America comments from around the blogosphere, which you can find here, here, and here.

Enjoy!

Farming is for Outlaws

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

With the term “locavore” being the new word of the year, you might think that folks at the US Ag Department could take a hint. But, apparently not as evident in a recent story in The Nation by David E. Gumpert, a columnist with BusinessWeek.com, who writes about health and business, and also tracks food issues at his blog.

His piece is a disturbing look inside the regulations that are used to assault local farmers from selling their food direct to consumers. In essence, the regs that are supposed to protect consumers, Gumpert surmises, seem to be more in effect to protect “corporate interests.”

Chelsea Green authors Sandor Ellix Katz and Linda Faillace know all too well about the corporate protectionism alive and well in federal ag rules, and the local food movements spawning up in response at the grassroots level. Faillace is still battling with the USDA over the seizure of her family sheep years ago, a story she tells in Mad Sheep (now out in paperback), and Katz gives readers a grassroots view of the underground food movements in The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved.

Here’s an excerpt from Gumpert’s article, which is a must read before the holiday season as many of us turn to our neighbors to put the bounty on our tables:

The number of farmers markets over the last five years has increased more than 50 percent, to nearly 4,500 from 2,800, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Since the European idea of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) was adopted by a handful of US farms twenty years ago, enabling consumers to buy shares in the output of local farms, the concept has been adopted by as many as 3,000 small farms across the US. Thousands of consumers are trekking out to dairy farms to purchase suddenly popular unpasteurized milk for its perceived health benefits over the pasteurized stuff, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a promoter of raw (unpasteurized) milk consumption. (Retail sales of raw milk are prohibited in most states).

But as the re-emergence of a farm-to-consumer economy draws increasing amounts of cash out of the mass-production factory system, the new movement is bumping up against suddenly energized regulators who claim they want to “protect” us from pathogens and other dangers.

Federal and state agriculture and health authorities say farmers are violating all kinds of regulations to meet fast-growing consumer demand, such as slaughtering their own hogs and cattle instead of using state and federally inspected facilities, and selling unpasteurized dairy products and cider without the proper permits.”

Beyond the numbers—Redefining progress

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Chelsea Green author Hazel Henderson is one of the leading voices in redefining how nations measure progress, and is a driving force behind the Beyond GDP international conference in Brussels. Below is an op-ed of Hazel’s that outlines the problems, and shortcomings, of using the gross domestic product as the standard for how “healthy” a nation is functioning—a concept she tackles on many fronts in her book Ethical Markets. As many know, a strong GDP does not necessarily make for a robust society, or one that is equitable and fair in its distribution of work and wealth.

New Scorecards for Real National Progress

By Hazel Henderson

This following op-ed, distributed by InterPress News Service, is provided here courtesy of the author. For more information, check out www.hazelhenderson.com or www.ipsnews.net

Ever since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, when 170 governments signed Agenda 21 agreeing to correct the errors in Gross National Product (GNP) and its domestic version (GDP), statistical offices have labored to comply.

Grassroots groups for social justice, human rights, consumer and environmental protection forced the issue of correcting GNP and GDP onto reluctant politicians, businesses, financiers as well as economists and statisticians. All have financial and intellectual investments in this ubiquitous scorecard of economic growth equated everywhere with “progress.”

What are the shortcomings of GNP/GDP as scorecards of national progress and why were grassroots groups from so many different constituencies demanding corrections? Why does GNP/GDP short change all their agendas from health, education, and the environment to human rights, social justice and peace?

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Locavore – the word of the year!

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

It’s that time of year again and the folks at the New Oxford American Dictionary have announced their “word of the year” and this year ….. “locavore” is it!

Congratulations are in order to Chelsea Green author Jessica Prentice (Full Moon Feast) who is one of four women to coin the phrase (actually they use the word locavore without the second “l” as in location as has been adapted elsewhere in the country and used as localvore) and spark a food movement that continues to grow in popularity as people become more aware of the benefits of supporting their local food systems and reducing the amount of food they eat that is trucked in from hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

Here’s what the editors had to say about their choice:

The past year saw the popularization of a trend in using locally grown ingredients, taking advantage of seasonally available foodstuffs that can be bought and prepared without the need for extra preservatives.

The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation.

“The word ‘locavore’ shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment,” said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. “It’s significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way.”

Click here to read the full post, and for a list of runners-up, which include colony collapse disorder (isn’t that three words?), previvor (check out this definition), mumblecore, and bacn. For those interested, last year’s Oxford pick for word of the year was “carbon neutral.” No, it wasn’t “truthiness,” for you Colbert fans.

And, click here to go to the Locavores site.

Or, you can go here and get a taste of what Jessica Prentice has to say about the award, and the word’s origin.

Top censored stories of 2007 – the undermining of the Constitution

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Once again Project Censored has carved out its list of top stories the mainstream media missed, and topping the list are issues relating to Bush’s push for military rule, the loss of habeas corpus, a move toward martial law in the United States, and much, much more.
To read the details of each item on the list, click here. We’ve pasted below the headlines of the stories for your review.
However, for fans of Naomi Wolf‘s End of America, there are few key stories on this list that echo her outline for how open societies have been closed down by authoritarian governments. They are, in reverse order, the following:
# 20 Terror Act Against Animal Activists

# 14 Impunity for US War Criminals
# 7 Behind Blackwater Inc.

# 2 Bush Moves Toward Martial Law

# 1 No Habeas Corpus for “Any Person”

It is any wonder that End of America remains on The New York Times bestseller list? When stories like these go unreported, it’s our democracy that suffers the most, and it is finding ways to repair that democracy that is fueling the interest in Naomi’s book, not simply the fear of it being taken away.

Here are all 25 stories. Check out each one, and then go and support those journalists and independent media in their work to fulfill the true mission of journalism.

# 1 No Habeas Corpus for “Any Person”
# 2 Bush Moves Toward Martial Law
# 3 AFRICOM: US Military Control of Africa’s Resources
# 4 Frenzy of Increasingly Destructive Trade Agreements
# 5 Human Traffic Builds US Embassy in Iraq
# 6 Operation FALCON Raids
# 7 Behind Blackwater Inc.
# 8 KIA: The US Neoliberal Invasion of India
# 9 Privatization of America’s Infrastructure
# 10 Vulture Funds Threaten Poor Nations’ Debt Relief
# 11 The Scam of “Reconstruction” in Afghanistan
# 12 Another Massacre in Haiti by UN Troops
# 13 Immigrant Roundups to Gain Cheap Labor for US Corporate Giants
# 14 Impunity for US War Criminals
# 15 Toxic Exposure Can Be Transmitted to Future Generations on a “Second Genetic Code”
# 16 No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11
# 17 Drinking Water Contaminated by Military and Corporations
# 18 Mexico’s Stolen Election
# 19 People’s Movement Challenges Neoliberal Agenda (Free Trade through Central and South America)
# 20 Terror Act Against Animal Activists
# 21 US Seeks WTO Immunity for Illegal Farm Payments
# 22 North Invades Mexico
# 23 Feinstein’s Conflict of Interest in Iraq
# 24 Media Misquotes Threat From Iran’s President
# 25 Who Will Profit from Native Energy?

Right sees red over “green” correspondent—Simran Sethi on NBC

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

I always love a good laugh in the morning, and the comments section, and the overall post, of Mark Finkelstein on his blog Newsbusters (exposing and combating liberal media bias – now there’s a laugh right there) is well worth the read.

He, and his fellow travelers, bash those amongst us who have the temerity to believe that, yes, the world is warming, and yes, we have something to do with it, and about it.

In particular, they railed against NBC and its seven-day effort to go green called, oddly enough, GREEN WEEK. Wow, the writer’s strike must have hit early at Rockefeller Plaza. They’ve turned over a microphone to Simran Sethi, author with Elizabeth Henderson of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy, a book that shows how businesses can do right for their workers, the enviornment, and the bottom line, and a former host of TreeHuggerTV.

Finkelstein seemed to take pleasure in noting that Simran mentioned that it might behoove people who care about green issues to, well, vote those interests and hold politicians accountable. Egad! You mean the media arguing that people actually play their role in this democracy—reminding them they have a role to play? (We are still in a democracy, right?)

Simran’s bio, according to Finkelstein, is textbook example of a left-wing activist. Examples of this left-wing activism? She reports on issues of “social justice,” had a show on PBS (Ethical Markets), hosts a regular enviro podcast on TreeHugger.com (now owned by The Discovery Channel), hosted a forum with Al Gore on MSN.com, and has an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and a BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Smith College.

Hmm … sounds like to me they fear a smart, articulate, and accomplished woman who just might be able to poke holes in their Flat Earth Society junk science that they keep pushing through “skeptical” environmentalists and failed economic models that leave disaster in its wake.

CODEPINK distributes End of America to US Senate!

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Just as I was about to write up a quick post thanking the courageous women at CODEPINK for distributing End of America (incredible to say that in one sentence—courageous to distribute a book?) to all the US Senators.

A CODEPINK member had already given a copy to her own senator, John Testor of Montana. Tester’s mother also recommended he read the book!

Here’s how CODEPINK describes the book:

“… a great must-read book in which the author makes a chillingly credible case that America is far along the road from democracy to totalitarianism. What makes it so convincing is that it’s not a secret conspiracy; it’s all stuff you already know. ‘Invoke an external and internal threat…Establish secret prisons…Develop a paramilitary force …’ Wolf draws parallels to Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Pinochet’s Chile. Get the book. Read it.”

So, how did it go trying to distribute all those books to the senators? We all know DC is about as far down the rabbit hole from reality as is possible these days. When Joe Lieberman is the “leader” on how we deal with Iran and Global Warming you know we’re in for some rough times ahead.
Let’s say they did get distributed, but it took some doing as the Capitol Police didn’t take kindly to the books being handed out (it’s illegal apparently to “distribute” items to senators, even a good read on how to preserve our constitutional rights).

Our favorite part of the story is this, which is her account of getting into one of the Senate buildings after being rejected entrance to another:

I left and walked over to the Dirksen Office Building, and almost made it through security there. My books got through the X-ray unmolested, but as I was walking away a warning came over the police radio about a suspicious woman, who may be from CODEPINK, trying to distribute material to Senators. A friendly woman cop named Tyra came after me. She was carrying her radio and I could hear nonstop chatter about me and CODEPINK. Exciting! A 65-year-old grandmother wearing pink is on the loose on Capitol Hill, with books!

But, you should click here for the full read yourself.

Just how doomed are we?

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Just when you are led to believe that we might have this global warming issue licked, or at least within grasp of a response, along comes those who know a helluva lot more than us average folks to remind us just how disastrous the future may be for (and get this) not our children, or our grandchildren, but for us.

Trust me, what they have to say is appropriate for Halloween week reading. Scary stuff, indeed.

It is rare that one issue affects so many billions of humans, and millions of species, in real time, not computer modeling. And, a little aside about those computer models—they appear to have underestimated the problem, and not by a little, but a lot.

Forget what these BS artists like the so-called “skeptical environmentalist” have to say on the subject. They still haven’t grasped the enormity of what we face, tempering it with, “Hey, there’s opportunity to make some money!” Or, “Hey, I like it warm—who needs snow and cold weather?!”

Hmm, making money off the suffering of millions, and the collapse of our global food web. Company stock goes up, human population goes down. Cheery. Makes me think of a line in an old They Might Be Giants song (Kiss Me, Son of God, off of Lincoln): “I built a little empire out of some crazy garbage called the blood of the exploited working class …”

Anyway, two recent interviews caught our eye: One with James Lovelock in Rolling Stone, and the other with Tim Flannery on Democracy Now! (and posted here on Alternet).

Some salient points from both articles after the jump, if you dare.

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