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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Project Prithvi: Cleaning Beaches to Live Out the Hindu Principle of Ahimsa


by: Sunita Viswanath on February 2nd, 2014 | 4 Comments »

The Atharva Veda, one of the sacred texts of Hinduism, says: “Let there be peace in the heavens, the Earth, the atmosphere, the water, the herbs, the vegetation, among the divine beings and in Brahman, the absolute reality. Let everything be at peace and in peace. Only then will we find peace.”

What would it mean to put sacred calls like these into action?

That is the question that our group – Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus – is seeking to answer. We are an all-volunteer group of New York-based Hindus who first came together in 2011. Our purpose is to bring a progressive Hindu voice into the public discourse, and to live out the social justice principles at the heart of Hinduism.


Fast Track to Hell


by: on January 15th, 2014 | 6 Comments »

Last week a bill was introduced in Congress that would give Fast Track Authority to the Obama Administration in order to grease the wheels to passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP), a monstrous trade agreement that twelve Pacific Rim nations, including the United States, have been negotiating secretly for four years. This week is crucial in defeating Fast Track, in order to give more time for the public and for members of Congress to learn about the far-reaching and deadly provisions contained in this pact.

The TPP, if passed, will impact every aspect of our lives, and will be the final undoing of democracy itself. Fast track, if passed, will be a fast track to hell.


A Song for Mother Earth and a Silent Minute on Martin Luther King’s Birthday


by: James Menasheh Soorani on January 13th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Mississippi, the Nile, the Tigris, the Rhine, the Danube, the Yangtze, the Indus, the Ganges, the Amazon are waterways for man but they are blood vessels for the Earth. Pollution of the waterways is no less than poisoning of the blood of Mother Earth.

The river deltas where the sweet river opens into the ocean is where fish and birds are born and there start the cycles of the life of the Earth; so the river deltas are like the opening of the birth canal or womb of Mother Earth. Notice the intercourse between the rhythmical ocean waves and the sweet water in the estuaries of the river deltas where fish grow and birds are born.

Human industrial advances have led to great abuses of nature that only now are beginning to be contained. Now there are departments in universities dedicated to the study of environmental, atmospheric, chemical, biological pollution and imbalances caused by human societies. The greatest of pollutants, the splitting of the atom, is due to be contained by the awakening of men to the unalienable rights of all babies to live in harmony and peace with the Earth – the rights of all, from the baby dolphin in the ocean to the baby chimpanzee in the Congo, to the baby squirrel that has just opened his eyes at the UCLA botanical garden.


Mass Extinction Time Bomb: Methane


by: Allen L Roland on December 3rd, 2013 | 1 Comment »

(Permafrost in Siberia. Methane emissions from the Arctic permafrost increased by 31% from 2003-07/ Photograph: Francis Latreille/Corbis)

Experts say methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by almost one-third in just five years, and that sharply rising temperatures are to blame.What very few people understand are both the short and long range consequences for the planet in regards to a sudden increase in Methane emissions.

As the Guardian points out:

This recent discovery follows a string of reports from the region in recent years that previously frozen boggy soils are melting and releasing methane in greater quantities. Such Arctic soils currently lock away billions of tons of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,leading some scientists to describe melting permafrost as a ticking time bomb that could overwhelm efforts to tackle climate change.


Take Action Against Climate Change in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan


by: David Weinstein on November 26th, 2013 | 5 Comments »

(Credit: CC-BY-NC-SA by Nove foto da Firenze)

By now most of us have seen photos and heard reports of the heartrending loss of life and destruction from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The monster storm has affected 11 million people and destroyed 670,000 homes. Blown-out towns have been reduced to grim junkyards of rubble. It seems beyond words. But words and images are all we have from afar, so I will ask a few questions and try to connect a few dots.

The shock of this sheer devastation has aroused the compassion of the American people, perhaps evoking memories of September 11. But at the same time, not enough of us are talking about the connection between extreme weather incidents and climate change. There is a grim irony in the fact that the UN Conference on Climate Change was meeting in Warsaw at the same time as Haiyan. It’s an outrageous reality that this body has reached no agreement about curtailing greenhouse gases and global warming.

This is basically because the United States Congress steadfastly refuses to pass any clean energy legislation commensurate to the clear and present danger of catastrophic global warming, despite Super Storm Sandy, droughts, floods, and wildfires on our own shores. Why is this, especially since the majority of Americans support its government taking action to fight global warming? One can only conclude that our government values profits of the dirty energy sector over the well-being and lives of their own citizens.


A Call for Climate Justice


by: on November 21st, 2013 | Comments Off

People around the world have responded swiftly and generously to the devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm ever recorded. In the wake of this disaster, it is important for us to go beyond simple relief efforts. We must heed the warnings of climate scientists who point to present disasters and future dangers, including sea level rise and increasingly deadly storms linked to climate change.

In November, 2013, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, leaders from more than 190 nations met in Warsaw, Poland, for the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations (the 19th Conference of the Parties, or COP 19). Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator from the Philippines, broke down in tears, made a powerful and emotional appeal for bold action, and pledged to fast for the duration of the talks unless commissioners come to a substantial agreement addressing climate change.


Dark Shadow of Chernobyl Touches Fukushima: It’s Time for Action


by: Allen L Roland on November 19th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

(Credit: CC-BY-NC-SA by Surian Soosay)

I thought Chernobyl was bad,until I saw this. Here’s a time lapse map of the 2,053 nuclear explosions that have taken place between 1945 to1998. It starts slowly but skip to 1962 and the buildup becomes overwhelming before the world seemingly comes to its senses.

But now let’s deal with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1987 when a simple experiment to see if the steam turbines could power the coolant pumps if there was a loss of power, led quickly to a nuclear disaster on the night of April 26, 1986. A disaster that nearly poisoned the world with a dose of lethal radiation. [Seconds From Disaster - Meltdown at Chernobyl]

Today, we have Arnie Gundersen putting up a new video on the upcoming fuel rod removal at the ongoing radiation disaster of Fukushima, and it cuts to the core of the worldwide radiation danger we now face at Fukushima. EPCO has produced a reassuring short video describing how the fuel removal process is supposed to go, mixing animation and documentary footage to soothe away any viewer’s worries. Arnie Gunderson calls it a “fantasy cartoon” and shows excerpts from the TEPCO production followed by his own explanations of how TEPCO is misleading the world.


Rejoice: Openly Socialist Candidate Wins Seattle City Council Seat


by: on November 18th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

(Flyer for Sawant/ Credit: CC-BY-NC-SA by Natalie Woo)

It’s true. Seattle elected a socialist candidate to its City Council. Kshama Sawant, a 40-year-old community college instructor and immigrant, is the kind of socialist spiritual progressives can feel delighted about. She ran on an Occupy platform of raising the minimum wage a hefty $5 to $15/hour, instituting rent control, public ownership of utilities, expanding paid sick leave, increasing citizen oversight of police, and taxing millionaires. She even said, under prodding, that one could make a case for nationalizing Amazon and Boeing; it wouldn’t happen, and she wasn’t running on it, but one could make an argument. And she was still elected.

How did she do it?


November Tomatoes and Climate Change


by: on November 13th, 2013 | Comments Off

November Tomatoes in the Sierra

It’s mid-November, and our plants are still bearing red tomatoes. The days are warm, it doesn’t freeze at night, and it hasn’t rained. Maybe when we lived in Santa Cruz we still had tomatoes in November, but in the Sierra Nevada? It should be raining or snowing here.

Over 50% of the United States is in the second year of drought. Here in California, this is the driest year ever recorded.

According to California’s Department of Environmental Protection, climate change is impacting California through hotter temperatures, shrinking snowpack, more frequent and intense wildfires, warmer lakes and oceans, and rising sea levels. And have you noticed? Food prices are higher, as the USDA predicted they would be because of last year’s drought.

It seems that this year’s November tomatoes are a consolation prize of climate change. If anything, these tomatoes are even tastier and sweeter than mid-summer tomatoes. But my pleasure in eating them is tempered by the awareness of where we are headed with climate change, and of the suffering of many people for whom the devastation of climate change is already a reality.

Hurricane Haiyan, the most powerful storm ever recorded, hit the Philippines last week, wreaking havoc. In U.S. news coverage, climate change is hardly mentioned, in spite of the fact that delegates from more than 190 nations are meeting in Warsaw this week for the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations.Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator from the Philippines, broke down in tears, made a powerful and emotional appeal for bold action, and pledged to fast for the duration of the talks unless commissioners come to a substantial agreement addressing climate change.

Not only does climate change threaten the civilization of which I have been a beneficiary, it threatens the life support system upon which we all depend. These November tomatoes are a symbol to me of the sweetness of the gifts of the earth, but in a darkening time, a time of deadly threat, a time of loss.

I want my grandchildren and future generations to experience the sweetness that I have experienced in life. I’m convinced that it will take hard work and sacrifice on the part of many people to change the system that has brought us to this extremity. I pray that we will join together and rise to the challenge.

Meanwhile, the taste of November tomatoes reminds me to live my faith– to live in the moment, face reality, refuse to be in denial, practice prayer, enjoy the fruits of the Spirit, renounce fear, trust in the Love that undergirds the universe, and follow wherever that Love leads.

For Sharon Delgado’s previous postings about climate change, go to blog postings on climate change.

Fukushima Is Here to Stay


by: on November 4th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Hundreds of volunteers spell out the obvious to an apathetic world.

Like a relentless, invisible creeping fog, Fukushima’s poisonous presence is already here on the West Coast and it won’t go away. This ongoing ominous radiation threat will be impossible to ignore by 2014 and its effect could double within five years when its life threatening symptoms will begin to fully surface.

The map below comes from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center and it shows that Fukushima radiation levels at radiation monitoring stations all over the United States are rising and particularly on the West Coast.Every day 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima is flushed into the Pacific Ocean and is building up in our food chain.

“Right now the world faces a terrifying crisis. But are you terrified? Am I? No, we’re not. Perhaps we will be after the fact, sometime between a catastrophic onset and dealing with our own eventual physical decline from exposure.Harvey Wasserman