Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Happened to Immigration Reform, Reflections on the 40th Earth Day, and Cell Phones that Fuel War

Please visit this site,

and educate yourself and others on what is happening in Arizona. Before President Obama took office he swore to enact lasting immigration reform within his first 100 days of office. Obviously this is a more complex issue than that, and obviously his reform hasn't happened yet. But in order to be fully Holistic in the fight to bring peace, justice and sustainability to the US and the planet, this is an extremely important issue that must be dealt with appropriately.

Here's another important link to get you involved, http://dreamact.info/.

"Over three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. Most get the opportunity to test their dreams and live their American story. However, a group of approximately 65,000 youth do not get this opportunity; they are smeared with an inherited title, an illegal immigrant. These youth have lived in the United States for most of their lives and want nothing more than to be recognized for what they are, Americans." Read on through the website link above...

Of course by now we know everyday is Earth Day, but reflecting on its 40th anniversary, what better way to share some thought then hit a few beaming points.

Here's a link to an interesting video that activist have put together in an attempt to showcase the numerous problems going on with Canada and their oil sands project(s).


And in California, a committee has approved a bill to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. This one simple step could have a huge impact for the health of our planet, and help reduce and educate individuals on the destructive and very real nature of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Sign the petition to lend your voice to support:


And lastly, here's a note from Amnesty International. It certainly speaks to specific legislation that I hope is passed, but with the failure of the political system to always enact what is says it will, and most importantly make those words and policy felt by those most impacted, I hope this will at least spread some knowledge, and maybe activate a few of you out there:

The Conflict Minerals Trade Act (H.R. 4128), introduced by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) on November 19, 2009 in the U.S. House of Representatives, seeks to improve transparency and reduce the trade in conflict minerals coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in order to promote the larger policy goal of supporting peace and security in the DRC.

The DRC is rich in natural resources, including large deposits of columbite-tantalite (known as coltan), cassiterite, wolframite and gold, which are used in everyday technology such as cell phones, laptops and digital video recorders and in jewelry. The mines from which these minerals are extracted are most often under the control of armed groups, especially in the volatile eastern part of the country, where conflict has been ongoing for many years despite the presence of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, MONUC.

The most recent report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the DRC found that armed groups in eastern DRC continue to control and profit from the extraction and trade of these minerals. Both the conflict and the mining of minerals itself have led to grave human rights abuses, including sexual violence, child and slave labor, and mass displacement.

If enacted into law, H.R. 4128 would mandate the production of a ?Congo Conflict Minerals Map,? which would map mines currently under the control of armed groups in the DRC. In addition, the bill would mandate the Secretaries of State and Commerce to work with interested parties, including commercial entities, to determine best practices to ensure due diligence and documentation on the origin and supply chain of potential conflict minerals. H.R. 4128 would specifically ensure that the minerals used by companies do not directly finance conflict, result in labor or human rights abuses, or damage the environment, by mandating the creation of a ?Potential Conflict Goods List? and the regular auditing of facilities that are engaged in the trade in minerals from the DRC.

Most importantly, H.R. 4128 would require that individuals or companies be subject to penalties if found guilty of entering conflict minerals into the United States by fraud, gross negligence or negligence. H.R. 4128 would greatly advance the goals of regulating and stemming the flow of conflict minerals, thereby limiting the ability of armed groups to benefit from conflict minerals and perpetuate the conflict.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nuclear Arms Reduction, Off Shore Drilling, Health Care, and other important stories

After signing a historic nuclear arms reduction pact, thoughts still circulate as to whether the US will in fact roll back the arsenal of nuclear weapons it harbors, or if this is merely a way to probe at North Korea and Iran for the weapons they hold.

Questions have arisen as a recent interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates stressed that the US would never use nor threaten to use nuclear weapons, except if they were brought under attack, or if a country with nuclear weapons didn't play by their rules.

I have to say I really like the pact, but wonder what the undertones are?

Food for thought:



Another important article I read yesterday,

http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/national/89788407.html ,

brings up the continued failure of the US government to foster actual justice for Native American Tribes. It has always been the case, since colonization commenced, that the US has done whatever they wished to Native people. Why would the government not bestow Tribal recognition upon this group of people, simply because their histories do not fall neatly within the bureaucratic means that's "easier" for them to interpret?

After passing historic health care reform, which is by no means perfect, but is a definite step towards a more just path, why would the president open up vast tracks of ocean for oil exploration? Was it not ironic that he told us about this exploration right after the House and Senate passed the health care overhaul? Seems fishy to me.

Here are a few highlights of the heath care bill, but we have a LONG way to go as the "bottom" tier of people in the US are still left with the burden (surprise, surprise).

"Insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse to pay for treatment of children's pre-existing conditions.

Health care plans will allow young people to remain on their parents' insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.

Insurance companies will be banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from implementing lifetime caps on coverage.

People who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.

Small businesses that choose to offer coverage will begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help make employee coverage more affordable."

In the meantime, visit the Surfrider Foundation's website, or any other solid environmental group's page to see how you can voice your dissent regarding another step towards no energy independence for the US, and business as usual for the fossil fuel industry.

Offshore Drilling Myths

1. New technologies will prevent oil spills.

Try telling the Australians that. In August 2009 a state-of-the-art rig using "new technology" spilled 2000 barrels of oil a day for 10 weeks into the fragile East Timor Sea.

2. Offshore drilling is good for the economy and will create jobs!

Our beaches are economic engines. One oil spill would devastate the local coastal tourism industry and the livelihood of people working in the fishing industry.

3. We won't be reliant on foreign oil.

We'll still have to import at least 40% of our oil to meet our daily consumption needs.

4. We'll have a long-term supply of oil.

It won't be enough. Offshore drilling will only give us about 18 months of supply at our current rate of consumption.

Check out this fact sheet as well:


Also, check out this blog if you get a chance, and educate yourself and others on the continued threat of GE food,


Lastly, it astounds me that I continually get asked why I do not consume meat products, even though it's obvious it tastes oh so good. Put simply, it's just one way to lessen my ecological footprint, period. I never stopped because steak tastes bad:


For the Earth, all its people and species...do whatever you can, with whatever you have.