Philippines to World Leaders: Our Survival Is Not Negotiable
We often imagine weekends as leisure time spent with family and friends.
The opposite was true for the people residing in Northern Luzon, Philippines as they spent their weekend tending to their loved ones’ safety as the Category 4 super typhoon Koppu (known locally as Lando) arrived, bringing widespread flooding and lashing winds.
The typhoon made landfall on Sunday in Casiguran, on the island of Luzon, with winds close to 200 km/h. Among the hardest-hit areas were the eastern coastal town of Baler, where significant building damage was reported and the inland city of Cabanatuan, about 100 kilometers north of Manila, where widespread flooding was reported and several rescues requested.
By Monday, Koppu left 12 people dead, several missing, 16,000 displaced and caused power outages in entire provinces. Two elderly farmers, Mario Abesamis, 54, and Pedro Tuarez, 65, died after being caught by flood waters as they tried to save their carabaos near Cabanatuan City, in Nueva Ecija.
Typhoon victims putting their lives on the line for the sake of their animals is a common challenge for disaster officials in the Philippines. Carabaos are more than pets for these farmers; as working animals play a vital role in cultivating the land people earn a living from, they consider them to be part of their families.
This shack blown across the road by #typhoon #Koppu #LandoPH http://t.co/LH69pf8xl5— James Reynolds (@James Reynolds)1445135002.0
[VIDEO] Residents attending to their submerged vehicles in Cabanatuan. #LandoPH http://t.co/fYpKw0dFCz | via @raphbosano— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ABS-CBN News Channel)1445172938.0
River overflowed in Maria Aurora, Aurora, causing a flash flood | via @Dennis_Datu #LandoPH http://t.co/HZfvi16A1O— ABS-CBN News (@ABS-CBN News)1445150659.0
Bangui windmill in Ilocos Norte amid #Lando #Koppu @cnnphilippines http://t.co/ACqUF7AltA— David Y. Santos (@David Y. Santos)1445137407.0
Heavy rains currently lashing Baler. Four barangays now flooded #LandoPh | @MrPaulGarcia #Koppu http://t.co/EW7YUHzXk3— CNN Philippines (@CNN Philippines)1445141708.0
Children in an evacuation shelter in northern Luzon aftermath fleeing homes because of threat of landslides #koppu http://t.co/33dAZoqHIe— Jon Donnison (@Jon Donnison)1445237893.0
A man and his pig stay afloat in floodwaters caused by Typhoon Koppu in the Philippines http://t.co/26zM3RZjMM http://t.co/IFNGyQ3h37— AFP news agency (@AFP news agency)1445233311.0
Appeal for Support
The government, aid agencies and humanitarian organizations are currently scrambling to respond to the destruction left in Koppu’s wake, appealing for volunteers and materials to support their response work.
Current needs include basic survival means, such as food, medicine, water supplies and sanitary kits for the displaced families who are currently staying in evacuation centers.
Click here to support the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center in providing assistance to the most affected, least served and most vulnerable sectors of the population.
The Imperative for Drastic Climate Action
The ever-increasing and intensifying storms that have wreaked havoc on the Philippines in the past decade are clear indications that the world has changed, and living with the spectre of extreme weather events has become a new normal for many people.
Communities are starting to make the connection between extreme weather and climate justice. For example, super typhoon Haiyan survivors came together in January of 2014 to establish the Alliance for Disaster Survivors in the Philippines (People Surge).
As we appeal for relief for those immediately affected by the typhoon, we reiterate our call for industrialized nations to put money on the table for adaptation, mitigation and forest protection in the negotiations of COP21, the upcoming climate conference in Paris. Answering this call could help countries that, like the Philippines, are most vulnerable and least prepared to deal with the impacts of catastrophic climate change.
With just a one-degree increase of human-caused global warming, we are already seeing storms that are more intense than ever before, which should serve as a serious warning about the dangers of global warming. We need to steer clear of the three-degree Celsius increase that we’d see if we allow the business of fossil fuel emissions to go on as usual. Business as usual will cost our people too much.
Two years after typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban, survivors are still struggling for their dignity, rights and justice by campaigning for a rehabilitation program with people rather than big business at its core. They are also working to link their struggle with the global work of holding historic emitters accountable for their inequitable greenhouse gas contributions.
That is why People Surge is calling for global demonstrations and solidarity actions from October to December, to remind the Philippines government and world leaders meeting in Paris that our survival is not negotiable.
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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>
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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."
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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>
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