Sign for Climate Justice

From the Action Network ...

December (2018) government delegates from around the world will meet to decide how to implement the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The meeting’s outcomes will affect billions of people.

5G Wireless Towers

Health Concerns Regarding 5G Small Cell Tower Installations

On May 29, 2018, CBS News aired a segment about the many Americans who are fighting small cell towers being installed in residential yards and everywhere else in their communities.

The wireless industry is in a race to roll out 5G service. The network is supposed to be up to 100 times faster than current data speeds, but it requires cellphone tower equipment to be closer to users than before.

Wireless companies in the U.S. say they will have to install about 300,000 new antennas – roughly equal to the total number of cell towers built over the past three decades. That’s causing outrage and alarm in some neighborhoods, as antennas go up around homes.

Decades of research – including research on millimeter waves like 5G – says there are plenty of reasons to worry about harm from exposure to all sources of cell phone and wireless WiFi radiation.

Countless doctorsenvironmental organisationsscientists, concerned citizens, and some elected officials have been fighting the installation of small cell towers in their communities because of health concerns and more.

Various other media outlets have also been reporting about this including The NationDemocracy NowNPRNewsweek, and Dr. Oz.  The Telecom Industry is being referred to as Big Wireless and compared to “Big Tobacco.”

Many U.S. broadcast news stations have also been reporting concerns about radiation exposure from these towers and other sources of new technology as well.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the government agency that regulates new technology.  They are part of “The Swamp” that President Trump promised to drain.

The former FCC chairman (appointed by President Obama) started working again for the Telecom Industry immediately after leaving The FCC.  Current FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai has referred to American efforts to stop tower installation in their communities as “NIMBYism run amok” (Not in My Back Yard).  Last week FCC Commissioner, Michael O’Rielly, referred to those who are fighting as “bad actors”and stated the FCC is done with “being nice.”

Tech and security experts have labelled “The Race for 5G” as a bail-out” of the Telecom Industry.

Forcing communities to accept these small cell towers when they don’t want them goes against everything this country stands for – and what President Trump promised.  For those who want to use 5G, Samsung will be selling 5G home routers very soon so we don’t need no stinking small cell towers.

When you don’t say “no” to small cell towers in your neighbourhood, you say “yes” to small cell towers in your neighborhood.

EFSA’s Pesticides Unit

Has updated its risk assessments of three neonicotinoids (Mar'18)

Most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, according to assessments published today by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).

These new conclusions update those published in 2013, after which the European Commission imposed controls on use of the three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – that are currently subject to restrictions in the EU because of the threat they pose to bees.

For the new assessments, which this time cover wild bees – bumblebees and solitary bees – as well as honeybees, EFSA’s Pesticides Unit carried out an extensive data collection exercise, including a systematic literature review, to gather all the scientific evidence published since the previous evaluations.

In New Zealand honey is harvested by and large from hill country and bush, rather than croplands. NZ beekeepers have not been that concerned about neonic pesticides: their interests being unlikely to extend to the fate of bumble- and native bees.
The NZ-EPA in 2103 approved an application for an insecticide that contains bifenthrin and imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, but in 2014 it refused an application to import Ortus, an insecticide containing thiamethoxam, because of its threat to bees.

As early as 2013 Placemakers and The Warehouse opted to not sell these products to the public. Now Palmers, Oderings and Kings are also under pressure to take neonics off the shelf.


in Australia every major retailer has ALREADY agreed to phase out neonics like Confidor by the end of 2018.

Largest anti-fracking march in history

(24 July: Phil., Penn.)  More than 10,000  marched in the streets of Philadelphia for a Clean Energy Revolution calling on political leaders to act quickly to ban fracking, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop dirty energy; to transition to 100% renewable energy and ensure environmental justice for all.

The March for a Clean Energy Revolution was organised by U.S-based Food & Water Watch, the first national organisation in America to call for a total ban on fracking. Fracking has now become a major issue in the debates over the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Img Food & water 10,000 march

Participating were more than 900 environmental, indigenous, health, justice, labour, political, faith and student organisations from all 50 states who endorsed the March and are calling for the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and to focus on renewable energy options.

Check out some of the media coverage of the event: The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, MSNBC, and Reuters.

(More Photos)

50 Million Trees in 24 Hours?

Uttar Pradesh, India — In an attempt to smash the world record Monday, over three-quarters of a million people gathered in Uttar Pradesh, India — the nation’s most populous state — to plant 50 million trees in just 24 hours.

Students, officials, volunteers, and many others — more than 800,00 people, according to the Associated Press — gathered along highways, roads, forested land, and rail lines in a grand effort to break the previous Guinness Book of World Records single-day tree-planting of 847,275 set by Pakistan in 2013.

“I’ve read in a book that this tree releases maximum oxygen,” the AP quoted eighth-grader Shashwat Rai discussing his choice to plant a Ficus religiosa, known as a “peepal,” in Lucknow’s Kukrail Reserve Forest. “There is so much pollution in the cities, we need trees that produce oxygen.”

Rai’s desire to counter excessive pollution was echoed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the top elected official in Uttar Pradesh, who hoped the effort would increase awareness for environmental conservation and ‘afforestation.’ As he told volunteers:

“The world has realised that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. ”

To ensure his tree’s survival, Rai said he would check back frequently, saying, “I don’t want this plant to die.”

Paris 2015

As part of its commitment made in the climate summit in Paris last year, the government of India will urge all 29 states to plan their own tree-planting drives — projects for which officials have earmarked $6.2 billion in funding to help accomplish. India pledged to increase its forests to cover 95 million hectares (235 million acres) by 2030 — and mass tree-plantings will be a powerful part of the push.

According to senior forest official Sanjeev Saran, only around 60 percent of saplings usually survive, as many become diseased or die due to lack of water.


Last year was the worst on record for killings of land and environmental defenders

Brazil and the Philippines are the most dangerous countries for activists fighting mining, agribusiness and hydroelectric companies for their rights to land, forests, and rivers, a new report by Global Witness found.

More than three people were killed every week for trying to protect their land, forests and rivers against industries last year, with Southeast Asia emerging as one of the most dangerous regions for environmental activists.

The new report by international campaigning group Global Witness, entitled On Dangerous Ground (20.06.16), documented 185 known killings worldwide in 2015, making it the worst year on record for the murder of environmental and land defenders.  But severe limits on information “mean the true numbers are undoubtedly higher”, said the group.


Brazil was the deadliest country for environmental protestors, with a record 50 activists murdered last year. Philippines came in second, with an unprecedented 33 killings. Across Southeast Asia, three deaths were documented in Indonesia in 2015, with two murders each recorded in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Berta Cáceres - Hondura activist

Death of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres after naming Hilary Clinton, underscores the need for environmental democracy

These figures are a 59 per cent increase from killings in 2014, and almost 40 per cent of the victims were from indigenous groups.

The mining industry was one of the biggest drivers of the killings, accounting for 42 of the 185 deaths. Agribusiness and logging together accounted for 35 deaths, while hydropower projects were linked to another 15 deaths.

Global Witness noted that very few of the murderers were ever brought to justice, as governments failed to properly investigate these crimes and prosecute anyone for them. This is likely due to collusion between corporate and state interests, the NGO suggested.

It pointed to the strong role of paramilitary groups, the army, police, and private security firms in the killings – these groups accounted for 51 of the 185 killings – as evidence of state or company influence over the killings.


Using Open Source Design to Address Climate Change

A growing movement that combines open source design with sustainability is creating an exciting alternative to profit-driven, proprietary sustainability products. As we face urgent issues like climate change, the ability of open source communities to quickly and inexpensively create solutions makes increasing sense.

Entrepreneur Elon Musk, practically a living legend by now, has opened all of Tesla’s patents. Why is this important? Who else is doing the same?

It is important because it sends the message that moving away from intellectual property to allow others to build on your platform is not only a fantasy for utopians and radicals, but can also be a viable business model for entrepreneurs. Tesla’s interest lies in the fact that by opening its electric vehicle technology, it will become a standard that will grow the market for the batteries and recharging stations they also provide.

1. We need the biggest team possible to create the solutions for wicked problems in very little time, which means not having everyone reinventing the wheel every time, but instead sharing knowledge and inventions into a common pool for humanity that everybody can build upon. This superior innovation capability is basically what the whole FLOSS (free / libre / open source) community has demonstrated in software.

2. Open design and open hardware can be seen as the ultimate “anti-planned obsolescence strategy,” or a “zero waste design” principle, if you prefer. Documenting the fabrication processes, materials and tools—ideally using standards as much as possible—will enable a longer product longevity, and easier repair. This is something that the OSCE Days (Open Source Circular Economy Days) is bringing awareness about.

3. The re-localisation of manufacturing that goes along with distributed fabrication will save tons of carbon through shorter and local supply chains instead of shipping parts and products all over the globe in large containers. This long-term evolution is clearly articulated by the Fab City Network instigated by Tomas Diez, which grew out of the experiment in Barcelona aiming to re-localize at least 50% of fabrication in the next 40 years in urban centres.

4. This new production model can eventually drive a shift from the consumer mindset to the prosumer mindset, which enables citizens to better understand how products are made, lets them meet the producers in their city, and maybe even contribute to the design and production process themselves. This way, people are less likely to just buy, use and dispose of their things, but will instead care about what they use and make.

“Moving away from intellectual property to allow others to build on your platform…can be a viable business model for entrepreneurs.” —Benjamin Tincq


Congratulations Maxima for stopping this destructive gold and copper mine

This was a difficult and dangerous 5-year battle, led by Máxima Acuña. Thanks to her and her friends, the sources for five rivers, four mountain lakes, and hundreds of hectares of wetlands will be safe — and members of the community won’t lose their homes.

Máxima has faced harassment and threats to her life in her efforts to stop the mine and now she is being recognised for her work. To top off the victory, today Máxima will be awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her tireless work standing up to Newmont. The Goldman Prize, known also as the ‘Green Nobel Prize’, honours ordinary citizens who’ve taken great personal risks to safeguard the environment and their communities — and Máxima’s tireless work is no exception.

“I would like to thank everyone from around the world who signed the petition in support of my case. In truth I am fighting with my family for something just, to defend my land, whatever it has cost me. For this I thank you because your support has given me the strength to continue fighting.”

But our fight isn’t over — Newmont are still planning lawsuits against Máxima and as of last week, her family continues to be harassed by security contractors.

Hope’s Edge

Diet for a Small Planet was a 1971 bestseller. It was the first major book to note the environmental impact of meat production as wasteful and a contributor to global food scarcity.

Celebrating the fortieth anniversary of this book, author Frances Moore Lappé stresses how her philosophy remains valid today, and that food remains the central issue through which to understand world politics.

“More than any other this book that taught America the social and personal significance of a new way of eating– one that remains a complete guide for eating well, forty years on. Featuring: simple rules for a healthy diet; a streamlined, easy-to-use format; delicious food combinations of protein-rich meals without meat; hundreds of wonderful recipes, and much more.”

Ten years ago Frances, with daughter Anna, published, Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet (2006)

Tying today’s many different food movements together

“If I could somehow orchestrate it all, I would want us to have more of a common theme song, and that theme song has the word “democracy” in it. That we are redefining democracy through activism around food, the most basic of all our needs, linking our diets to the earth and to each other, whether it’s school gardens or anti-GMOs [genetically modified organisms]. I would love to see us always tying it back into what we share, the concept of what I call living democracy.

“I would love to have more of a canopy of hope over all of our work, the hope that we are agents of a deeper practice of democracy that will reclaim our rightful roles as citizens, despite the dominance now of private entities over the public. That’s the tension I live with all the time, between celebration and yearning for that seed, a real voice for regular people.

A recognition of human dignity

“The struggle is not just that everyone has enough nutrients, the struggle is ultimately about whether we all recognize each other as people worthy of a voice, and therefore people with dignity, who are not just recipients, but co-creators. That’s what could unite us: recognizing that this is not just about supply, but about extreme imbalances in our power relationships. We’ve created structures which give such huge numbers of people in the world so little capacity to act in their own interests, and in the common interest.

Links between the food movements and the sharing movements, the commons?

“In Germany, they have sharing centres where if people have too many leftovers, they can just drop off the food. Some of them have significant refrigerators, and anybody can drop off food and anyone can pick it up. Everybody is responsible for themselves. Food waste is such a totally avoidable outrage, and that idea that, of course, we don’t just throw away good food, and making it easy for people to feel good about sharing with others.

Now there are 28 countries in whose Constitution, food is an explicit human right. I think of the city that Anna* and I visited for Hope’s Edge, Belo Horizonte in Brazil, the idea of food as a public good. As the leaders there explained it to us, what has really changed is social mentality, from food as a private good to food as a public good, like education. You realise that an educated people is a benefit to everyone: if your community is educated, of course, everyone benefits.

* Daughter Anna Lappé, also a respected author and educator, is known for her work as an expert on food systems and as a sustainable food advocate.

Democracy’s Edge (2006) [pdf], Frances Moore Lappé

Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet [ePub], Frances Moore Lappé.(2003)

Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries

U.S. Study

We have known for a long time that sea level is rising. The link to global warming has been both intuitive and evident.

Until now no study has extended the links all the way from burning fossil fuels, to global warming, to sea level rise, to coastal floods that were caused unambiguously by us.

The result is a complex mosaic with different rates of sea level rise in different places. Since 1950, for example, along the U.S. seaboard we’ve seen parts of Chesapeake Bay rise by a foot, half that in Boston, and half that again in Honolulu. Amidst all this noise, new research led by Robert Kopp of Rutgers University, has extracted an essential signal: the amount of global sea level rise that has come from us.

In our report, we took a simple approach. We subtracted yearly estimates for human-caused global sea level rise based on Kopp’s paper, from hourly water level records at 27 tide gauges around the United States. Then we compared how many days the water level exceeded the local threshold for nuisance flooding — with or without our subtractions.

Nuisance flooding is flooding that closes coastal area roads, overwhelms storm drains, and compromises infrastructure. It doesn’t wreck your home, but it could make it hard to get to work, or even to flush the toilet. The National Weather Service defines local nuisance flood thresholds based on decades of observing local impacts.

From 1950 through 2014, out of the 8,726 actual nuisance flood days that our analysis identified, 5,809 of them — two-thirds — would not have taken place if you remove Kopp et al.’s central estimate of human-caused global sea level rise. Even using a low estimate — one more than 95 percent likely to be too low — more than 3,500 of the flood days would not have taken place.

Original Research

Temperature-driven global sea-level variability in the Common Era

We present the first, to our knowledge, estimate of global sea-level (GSL) change over the last ∼3,000 years that is based upon statistical synthesis of a global database of regional sea-level reconstructions. GSL varied by ∼±8 cm over the pre-Industrial Common Era, with a notable decline over 1000–1400 CE coinciding with ∼0.2 °C of global cooling. The 20th century rise was extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries. Semiempirical modeling indicates that, without global warming, GSL in the 20th century very likely would have risen by between −3 cm and +7 cm, rather than the ∼14 cm observed. Semiempirical 21st century projections largely reconcile differences between Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections and semiempirical models.

Also Recommended:

The Great Climate Change Migration

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