susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I know, I've been quiet for a while. I've mainly been preoccupied with a couple of things in my off-line life, but here are some things I've been pointed at online.

Part of Oxfam's food security campaign: Help farmers in Gutu end the hunger months

rally banner
Save the NHS: the TUC are organising a rally against the Government's plans to destroy the NHS, on 7th March at 18:00-19:30, at Central Hall Westminster and live online. You can book a place for the rally, if it's not full yet, or pledge to attend online, at Save Our NHS.

Protect refugees: sign the Refugee Council's pledge, to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention, calling on the UK government to make the asylum system fair, humane and effective.

Protect people-with-uteri's right to choose: I might post about this again, but not every day for 40 days! Apparently some people are, though. 40 Days of Choice is an online campaign offering positive ways for pro-choice supporters to counter anti-abortion activity and clinic protests during Lent.

WWF's Earth Hour this year starts at 8:30pm (in all time zones, so it moves round the world) on 31st March. Earth Hour is not about saving an hour’s electricity, it’s much bigger than that. It’s about realising that the actions we take, from the energy we use, to the food we buy and water we drink, has an effect on the world.
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This week, President Obama decided to order an in-depth review of the Keystone XL pipeline. Campaigners, assuming the review will be honest, reckon this means the pipeline will never be built. More detail at the currently-top blog post on the Tar Sands Action site. Meanwhile, I was directed to the pledge page, where there's an embedded video. Transcript under the cut. )
susanreads: food: assorted fresh vegetables (food)
October 16th is the UN's World Food Day. It's objectives include heightening public awareness of the problem of hunger and strengthening international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. This year's theme is "Food prices - from crisis to stability". Apparently world food prices rose 25% last year. This isn't just a result of the economic crisis, where even more than the 99% in "first world" countries, people in the poorest parts of the world are being made to bail out the bankers; the current world economic order is set up to treat everything, including the most basic necessities, as a market to make profit in, and this is the result. It's also part of the Happening Right Now impact of climate change, and made worse by the appropriation of land that could be used to grow food for biofuels and other cash crops.

I don't have anything original to say about it: have some more links.
Oxfam's GROW campaign;
Fix the Food Chain, Friends of the Earth's campaign on how the way we do farming in the UK damages the environment;
La Via Campesina has today down as World Food Sovereignty Day, with a lot of recent posts on price volatility and land grabbing.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I've written before about the Alberta Tar Sands (Stop the Oil Sands and some other posts with the same tag). Now 350.org tells me about the Keystone XL pipeline, a dangerous and destructive project that would pump over one million barrels of dirty "tar sands" oil from Canada to the USA every day. The oil in the Keystone pipeline could poison drinking water, threaten the communities it runs through, and wreck the climate. The building of the pipeline depends on a presidential permit, and 350.org are petitioning President Obama to reject it. The petition page also has a link for people who can get to Washington DC this summer to do something more practical than signing petitions.

Via Amnesty International: On 28 September 2011 women's organisations and Nicaraguan men, women and children will be marching to demand the repeal of the country's total abortion ban and an end to widespread violence against women and girls. Amnesty is organising to send thousands of symbolic butterflies for a display of solidarity. La Mariposa: Send a butterfly to Nicaragua has more and a link to create butterfiles online. (Access notes: page auto-plays video. Further down there are details about the background to the campaign which could be triggering. The butterfly creator depends on mouse interaction.)
susanreads: food: assorted fresh vegetables (food)
I only found out about this today, from a World Development Movement desk calendar. I can't find it on their website, it's not on Wikipedia at all, and nothing seems to be happening in Britain, but it's big in continental Europe, South America, and other parts of the world where traditional agriculture survives.

From Via Campesina's press release:
More than one hundred different events are taking place [...] in every corner of the world, in capitals cities, towns and small villages, in defence of peasant agriculture and food sovereignty. This date commemorates the 1996 assassination in Eldorado dos Carajás, Brazil, of 19 innocent peasants who were struggling for land and defending peasant and small farmer food production.

This year we reaffirm the need to get rid of the corporate food system, and our belief that peasant agriculture can feed the world. The current food crisis shows that the dominant corporate food system has failed and that the promises of the 1996 World Food Summit, echoed by the Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger by 2015, will not be fulfilled. On the contrary, the number of hungry has increased from 800 million in 1996 to more then 1,000 million at the moment.


The Via Campesina site has a lot of confusing dingbats, though at least they don't move; here's a more usable version of the map, and the list of events, sorted by continent. (Why is Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Europe? The rest of Canada is at the bottom of the list. Also I guess the European countries are in alphabetical order in a European language, possibly Spanish.)
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
You know how the oil industry's determination to get at every last barrel leads to disaster? No, not that one; I'm thinking of a situation that's been going for some time with less mainstream publicity, and where the "developers" have no intention of stopping, and with environmental racism written all over it - oh wait, that would be the Niger Delta.

The one I'm thinking of is in Canada, encroaching on indigenous land, and an "unconventional" source of such diffuseness that it wasn't worth exploiting until comparatively recently. We seem to be approaching Peak Oil, and unfortunately, the companies' reaction is not to diversify into less harmful technologies, but to exploit sources that are even more damaging.

Video and transcript below cut )


Further reading ...
More about tar sands:
No Tar Sands
Support for BP tar sands resolution at Ethical Consumer blog: 15% of shareholders either supported the resolution or abstained (strong for a resolution of this type) on a resolution asking BP to report on the financial, social and environmental risks associated with tar sands extraction.
Tar Sands threaten caribou extinction at Ethical Consumer blog

BP, the Deepwater Horizon spill and environmental racism:
Crude Violations by s.e. smith at FWD/Forward

More about RBS' funding of the oil industry, and action against them by Climate Camp:
How RBS funds ‘dirty oil’ at The Herald Scotland, via Liberal Conspiracy

(I meant to post this yesterday but had problems with my computer. I'm sure there was something relevant happening then that I meant to link to, but if I don't post this now it might never get done.)
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I've just listened to this evening's Report [on Radio 4] and was struck by the way piracy was viewed as just a law and order problem, with no mention of the reason for it. The program ended with a comment that until the legal issues are resolved, Somali pirates will continue to plunder the High Seas.
The pirates may be "armed gangs" out to make a fortune on the "high seas" now, but they started out as, in effect, the coastguard, protecting their local waters, since there wasn't a Somali state in a position to commission an official coastguard. The original plundering of the seas in that region was done by illegal trawlers from Europe; European shipping was also dumping toxic waste in the area, secure in the knowledge that no local government was likely to stop them.
I first read about this on the internet last year.
The problem isn't going to go away until we address the cause.

I wanted to include a link to http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-you-are-being-lied-to-about-pirates-1225817.html but there wasn't room on the comment form. I actually first read about it on Dreamwidth.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
BP’s Annual General Meeting in London today (15th April) is set to be the focus of debate on the company’s controversial plans for Canadian tar sands projects. Special Resolution 25, filed by over 140 investors from around the world including major global institutional investors, calls on BP to report on the financial, environmental and human rights risks of tar sands. - Ethical Consumer blog

Tar Sands video: Hey BP, leave those sands alone! video on YouTube which I might at some point do a transcript of - it'd take a lot of pausing and typing, but it's one of the few things where I can make out most of the words (not at the same time as reading the words on the screen, which are like footnotes/documentation/further commentary; which is why I think it particularly needs a transcript). It begins with people filking Another Brick in the Wall, which you get more of at the end:
We don't need no devastation
We don't need no dirty oil
No hydrocarbons in Alberta
BP leave tar sands alone
Hey! BP! Leave tar sands alone!
All in all you're just a...nother brick in the wall

No Tar Sands campaign site
(the "More details" on the YouTube page also has info on the issues)

Earth Hour

Mar. 27th, 2010 10:06 am
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
(By the time you read this in, say, Australia, it might be too late. I should have posted yesterday, but I didn't think of it till this morning.)

At 8:30 this evening, local time, switch off all your (electric) lights for an hour, to save the planet! Yes, I know it won't do that, but it's symbolic, innit. Also, easy. (Actually, it's supposed to "Show you care about climate change".)

You can sign up, and see what it looked like last year in places where you would actually notice, on WWF's website. They've been doing it annually for a while, and "over 125 countries, 3,483 cities, 1,277 iconic landmarks and millions of people are taking part".

You're supposed to gather with like-minded folks and do stuff by candlelight, or go out to see your local landmarks switch off, but I'll be on my own, probably watching TV.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Another thing I've been reading about recently:

Ever hear of "unconventional oil"? It's like regular oil, only worse. As conventional oil supplies start to run out, the oil industry gets more interested in anywhere else it can get the same fix, and at the moment the big development frontier is in the oil sands (or tar sands; it's the same thing) of Alberta, Canada. This is a mixture of sand (or clay) and bitumen, and getting the oil out of it takes several times the energy input of conventional oil, plus huge amounts of other chemicals and water. The toxic waste products, held in massive tailings ponds, kill migratory birds that land on them and do lots of other environmental damage. The extraction industry also destroys whatever was on the surface (eg: boreal forest), like open-cast mining does.

This is an environmental justice issue for First Nations Canadians, whose hunting and fishing rights are effectively removed by the toxic effects on wildlife. The Beaver Lake Cree Nation are mounting a legal challenge, represented by Woodward and Company; see also Tar Sands Watch for other First Nations involvement.

Greenpeace Canada are campaigning against the oil sands industry, and have links to take action if you're Canadian. Campaigns in Britain are being run by People and Planet, focussing on the (ir)responsibility of the banking sector which is financing the industry, and Ethical Consumer, with a boycott of brands owned by the major companies involved. You can check whether your MP has signed the relevant Early Day Motions: EDM 880, Royal Bank of Scotland and Climate Change, concentrates on RBS which is majority-owned by the British Government after the bailout, and EDM 1250, Reporting on Carbon Liabilities, asks for the financial sector in general to be made to report on the environmental and therefore financial risks involved.

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