Lately, our 350.org network has been breaking a lot of rules.
Last Sunday, we marched right into the place where the fossil fuel industry didn't want us—into the Ohio state capitol, for a “people's assembly” in the middle of the state-house protesting the dangerous practice of fracking. It was a beautiful sight to behold: 1,000 passionate activists bravely standing up for their rights to free assembly, clean water and a future worth fighting for.
And on Thursday we marched right out of the place that we were supposed to be: the Rio Earth Summit. World leaders had gathered yet again to forge a plan to address our planetary challenges—but they ended up failing us by producing another weak, non-binding agreement. So when youth leaders asked us to join a walk-out in protest of the summit's disappointing outcomes, we were proud to join them—even if that meant breaking the rules set out by the United Nations.
The point is, if we play by the rules that the corporations have set for our political life, we're going to lose. Corporate polluters channeled $350,000 to Ohio’s governor to make sure he was pushing fracking, and they made sure that the official text in Rio was a mush of weasel words and toothless promises.
So we're going to have to find the places we can have a people-powered edge. Some of those places will be in the streets, of course—but we'll also be ramping up our work on the web, where hundreds of thousands of people around the world launched a “TwitterStorm” on fossil fuel subsidies last week. Those subsidies ended up being one of the only real issues that drew much attention at Rio—meaning that hundreds of thousands of people around the world managed to take this arcane topic and thrust it into the global spotlight. In the weeks ahead, we'll continue to ramp up the pressure on fossil fuel subsidies with a sustained, strategic campaign in the U.S. and around the world.
World leaders failed us in Rio—and if we don’t shake things up, there’s no reason to think that they are likely to change. Fortunately for the planet, this movement already has some big plans under way.
Some of our friends in Texas are taking the lead with a bold action called the Tar Sands Blockade. They're planning a very direct action that will literally stand in the way of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.
This section of Keystone will get final approval from the Obama administration this week—the plan is to build a pipeline running from Cushing, Okla. to Port Arthur, Texas, carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of toxic oil across farms, homes and communities. Stopping the northern leg of the pipeline running from Canada is an important victory that we will continue to defend, but with folks in Oklahoma and Texas facing this new danger, our movement needs to step up to help them as well.
They need all kinds of help: online supporters who can amplify their message on social media, small donations for supplies and courageous people who can join them on the front-lines in Texas. (A full list of needs is below)
Click here to sign up to support the Tar Sands Blockade in Texas.
We're not in charge of this action, but our team has been working with the organizers closely, and we're excited to pass on their call to action.
It's not always easy to be doing such hard work in trying times. But if we have a hope to beat this crisis, it's in our collective bravery and strength.
P.S. Here’s the word directly from the folks in Texas:
A dedicated and experienced group of activists has been preparing all year for this action. We have exhausted every other option and now we are going to take direct action to blockade the construction of this pipeline nonviolently and safely. We have an organized strategy, trained activists, practiced our skills, built our blockades and crafted our media message. We are strong and we are ready, but we need your help before and after TransCanada arrives to destroy our homes. Successful actions require many different kinds of support and there is something for everyone who wants to help.
There are a myriad of ways to get involved in the Tar Sands Blockade! We are one team, united by our love for the beautiful planet we share together. Among the ways you can get involved include:
Donate supplies or funds
In order for this action to be safe and successful we need supplies and funds. Every penny goes directly towards things we need like food, gear, travel expenses and legal fees. Cash donations are tax deductible and a great way for people who can't be here to help us out in a tremendous way. Click here to donate to support the action. These are the things that will keep us safe and healthy so that we can stop the pipeline and help to slow the climate crisis.
Spread the word
Anyone with a web browser can be a huge asset to the action by just telling their friends and spreading the word throughout their social networks. Click here to plug-into our social media strategy.
If we tell this story right we can inspire people all along the pipeline route to use the time-tested method of nonviolent direct action to bring the zombie pipeline down for good. If you have media skills, we need bloggers, artists and web-savvy people who can help us from their homes. Contact us at KXLBlockade@riseup.net for more information.
Travel to Texas
We need people who have the skills and are willing to accept the risks of participating in our blockade. This would include spending days at a time outdoors fulfilling various responsibilities. Our blockaders will be living in a camp site that will need food, gear, safety, direct support, transportation and communications help. This camp is our direct action community and all of us are equals working and living together democratically to secure our common goals. Click here to join the action in person.
We will be hosting a regional training in July for activists interested in getting involved. Click here to join the training.
We have taken every precaution to secure our safety, but this type of action does come with certain risks. There is the possibility of arrest and the potential for bodily harm. Anybody who is not sure if they can afford those risks should choose other ways to join our team.
Nobody can do everything but everybody can do something.
OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.
1. Fragrance – Avoid It<p>One of the fastest ways to narrow down your product options is immediately eliminating any product that promotes a fragrance, or parfum. That scent of "fresh breeze" or lemon might initially smell good, but the fragrance does not last. What does last? The concoction of various undisclosed and unregulated chemicals that created that fragrance.</p><p>Many fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to many health risks including reproductive problems and cancer.</p>
2. With Bleach? Do Without<p>Going scent-free should have narrowed down your options substantially – now, check the front of the remaining packaging. Any that include ammonia or chlorine bleach ought to go, as these substances are irritating and corrosive to your body. While bleach is commonly known as a powerful disinfectant, there are safer alternatives that you can use in your home, such as sodium borate or hydrogen peroxide.</p><p>While you're at it, check if there are any warnings on the label – "flammable," "use in ventilated area," etc. – if the product is hazardous, that's a red flag and should be avoided.</p>
3. Check the Back Label<p>Flip to the back of the remaining contenders and check out that ingredient list. Less is more, here. Opt for a shorter ingredient list with words you recognize and/or can pronounce.</p><p>You may notice many products do not have ingredient lists – while this doesn't necessarily mean they contain toxic ingredients, transparency is key. Feel free to look up a list online, or stick to products that are open about their ingredients.</p>
4. Ingredients to Avoid<p>We already mentioned that cleaners containing fragrance or parfum, and bleach or ammonia should be avoided, but there are other ingredients to look out for as well.</p><ul><li>Quaternary ammonium "quats" – lung irritants that contribute to asthma and other breathing problems. Also linger on surfaces long after they've been cleaned.</li><li>Parabens – Known hormone disruptor; can contribute to ailments such as cancer</li><li>Triclosan – triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals are registered with the EPA as pesticides. Triclosan is a known hormone disruptor and can also impact your immune system.</li><li>Formaldehyde – Causes irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; studies suggest formaldehyde exposure is linked with certain varieties of cancer. Can be found in products or become a byproduct of chemical reactions in the air.</li></ul>
Cleaning Products and Toxics: The Bottom Line<p>Do your research. There are many cleaning products available, but taking these steps will drastically reduce your options and help keep your home toxic-free. Protecting your home from bacteria and viruses is important, but make sure you do so in a way that doesn't introduce other health risks into the home.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank">Environmental Health News</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649054624#/" target="_self"></a></p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images
Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
- Climate Crisis: What We Can Learn From Indigenous Traditions ... ›
- 10 Organizations Honoring Native People on Thanksgiving ... ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.