Monthly Archives: September 2013

Another Reason to Go Meatless Today

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Image from: luluthebaker.blogspot.com

Report: Another Reason to Go Meatless Today
Monique Coppola, Public News Service-MA
http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/34720-1

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(09/30/13) BOSTON – Observing “Meatless Monday” is not only good for your health and for animals, it’s also good for the environment. A new report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organizationreaffirms what others have claimed: Livestock production is a major contributor to climate-changing pollution.

Geoff Orme-Evans, public policy manager, Humane Society International, said globalization and huge, concentrated factory farms are the reasons meat is cheaper and people are eating more of it. He said 70 billion land animals are raised for food every year around the globe – a number that is unprecedented.

“It’s really a wake-up call and confirms what we already know: The sector is a huge contributor to climate change, and we need to start figuring out what to do about it,” Orme-Evans said.

While the report offers some solutions to the pollution caused by livestock, Orme-Evans noted that individuals can take steps, including buying locally produced foods and eating less meat. Giving up meat just one day a week, he added, is the equivalent of driving about 1,000 fewer miles a year.

Orme-Evans pointed to several ways that today’s massive animal farms affect the environment. One major problem is that having a large number of animals on a very small area of land creates a concentrated amount of animal waste, he said.

“There can be really bad effects to the waterways; there have been fish die-offs; and in addition, there are climate change effects,” he warned.

Other contributing factors to pollution are gases produced from manure storage, fertilizer production, and in some cases, deforestation to create more pasture, he said, as well as the energy required to transport animals, meat and dairy products.

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How to Participate In World Zero Evictions Days – For the Right to Housing

October 2013, World Zero Evictions Days – for the Right to Housing. All Together! Let’s mobilize to demand the Right to Housing!

The first step of joint agenda established by the World Assembly of Inhabitants (WSF Tunis 2013)  is on October, the World Zero Evictions Days – for the Right to Housing, in order to unify the Global Campaign for the right to housing and to land.

The central focus is the struggle against evictions, the foreclosures, the land grabbing and the persecution of activists: these matters involve all the inhabitants, both urban and rural all over the world.

The targets are the neoliberal policies: the roots of the urban and global crisis, corruption and real estate and land speculation, they exclude more than a billion people from a home and throw tens of millions more out on the street every year.

This way we support the local struggles to defend in solidarity the human rights and the common goods for the future of cities and territories.

To learn more information, visit: The International Alliance of Inhabitants

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Social Justice Blogger Spotlight: “Money on the Glass Ceiling”

By, Community Works Social Justice Blogger, Becky Brinkerhoff

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Photo: Google Images

 With the replacement of Ben Bernacke on the horizon, President Obama must appoint a more than qualified candidate as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. The New York Times calls this the single most important economic policy decision Obama will make in his second term. The choice has come down to one candidate: Janet Yellen—the current Fed. Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Governors. 

It’s not her snow-white hair that has earned Federal Reserve Chair candidate Janet Yellen the title of “dovish”. The Wallstreet Journal took at look at the forecasting records of the top policy makers found at the Fed. They divided them into two categories: Hawks and Doves. Hawks are those who claim that the Fed. is doing too much to fight unemployment. Doves are those who claim it is doing too little. With a focus on the lowering unemployment rate (job creation) instead of lowering the inflation rate, Yellen is referred to as too “dovish” for the job. 

However, if one looks at the Wallstreet Journal’s entire report, he or she will see that the “doves” made much more accurate forecast than the “hawks”. So, perhaps, a “dove” is what the economy needs. And who is the front running “dove”? Janet Yellen. 

Yellen’s collaborative leadership still has earned her perhaps the most disturbing opposing argument; the idea that she lacks “gravitas”—a term typically used to describe aggressive, male leadership. In less euphemistic terms, “gravitas” is equivalent to “balls”. Some claim that Yellen lacks the balls for the job. 

But does she lack the balls—excuse me—“gravitas” to become the first Federal Reserve Chairwoman? In short, no. Yellen’s credits include distinguished academic work, leader of the Council of Economic Advisers, six years as president of the San Francisco Fed, and a record of working effectively with colleagues at the Board of Governors. Paul Krugman—a Nobel Peace Prize winning economist—says, “She’s the best-qualified person in America to take over when Ben Bernanke steps down as chairman.” 

Krugman also asks, “Would anyone suggest that a man with those credentials was somehow unqualified for office?” My educated guess is no. 

However, it doesn’t seem that her credentials matter. Another common argument for the opposition of Yellen claims that picking her would be “driven by gender”. Her credibility means nothing and her gender means everything. The New York Sun, in an article titled “The Female Dollar”, even went as far to say that electing Yellen would make the American dollar merely “gender-backed.” 

Feminist organizations are mobilizing not merely in support Yellen, but in protest of her past opponent—Larry Summers. Though he dropped out of the race earlier this week, it is important to take a look at who she was up against. It wasn’t simply the difference in gender that had thousands of calls flooding into democratic congress members’ offices.  

Summers had a major sexist slip up that caused him to resign from his position at Harvard University.  Summers said at a conference about bringing more diversity to the science and engineering, that the lack of women in these fields is due to “the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.” Women aren’t in the field because they lack the “intrinsic aptitude”? Sounds similar to a woman not capable for a certain position because she lacks the “gravitas.” 

Is she the only person who can do the job? No. But asking the question, “can a woman be chair of the Fed?” has absolutely no place in this discussion. No. Bad. Arguing that a female character lacks the “gravitas” to lead has no place in the discussion. Gender-based discrimination is, well, gender based discrimination. Despite how the wording is phrased or how subtle, sexism is sexism. And sexism should have no place in the discussion, not with importance of a capable candidate for these upcoming years. 

Janet Yellen is certainly capable. 

Report Makes Links Between Abuse, Homelessness Among Teen Parents

Via Patriot Ledger: “Thirty percent of pregnant and parenting teens in Massachusetts were homeless at some point during the past fiscal year and almost 10 percent of teen parents who were homeless had been subject to commercial sexual exploitation, according to a report released Tuesday.” 

“The authors of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy report say it “exposes the cascade of trauma” facing homeless teen parents, finding 59 percent of teen parents who had been homeless had been physically or emotionally abused or neglected by a caregiver and 27 percent had been sexually abused.”

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Image from: Homeless Youth Awareness (fantastikate.com)

But a call to action is ahead: There is a demand for an increase in teen living shelter beds and an extended access to shelter programs while a teenager is pregnant. Help the city of Boston alleviate the struggle and suffering of homelessness and help support this programming.

Read more: Report makes links between abuse, homelessness among teen parents – Quincy, MA – The Patriot Ledger http://www.patriotledger.com/news/x2139010811/Report-makes-links-between-abuse-homelessness-among-teen-parents#ixzz2fLOwS6VC 

Largest Homeless Camp In Mainland USA Is Right In The Heart Of Silicon Valley

Via San Francisco’s Business Insider:

“From kids to convicts to moms and dads and the mentally ill, The Jungle is a desperate mix of people out of whatever options they might have once had.”

…”It’s a back-and-forth with no easy answers as Silicon Valley’s cost of living increases, but the jobs and affordable housing needed to keep its poorest residents inside and off the streets remains unseen.”

The issue of homelessness is certainly not unique to Silicon Valley. The United States’ current homeless population is 633, 000. Stories like this one remind us of how pervasive this problem is and how our country can come together to alleviate it.

Read more at: http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/WELCOME-TO-THE-JUNGLE-The-Largest-Homeless-4775643.phpImage

“Play Me I’m Yours”: A Street-Art Installation

Via Boston Magazine: “In celebration of their 75th season, the Celebrity Series of Boston is partnering with British artist Luke Jerram to bring his public piano installation, “Play Me I’m Yours,” to the city from Friday, September 27 through Monday, October 14, by setting up 75 pianos throughout Boston, making them available for anyone who wants to play to sit down and start hitting the keys.” 

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Picture from Boston Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I suddenly realized that within a city, there must be hundreds of these invisible communities, regularly spending time with one another in silence. Placing a piano into the space was my solution to this problem, acting as a catalyst for conversation and changing the dynamics of a space” – Creator, Luke Jerram

Saving Syria: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Syrian War

“The current human rights crisis in Syria is massive. As of 25 July 2013, the Syrian Civil War has claimed the lives of 100,000 people.  Within the country, upwards of 4.25 million are displaced and 6.8 million are in dire need of aid…In any large humanitarian crisis, however, there are aspects that slip under the radar. In January, the International Rescue Committee released a report on Syria that cited rape and sexual violence as a “significant and disturbing feature of the Syrian Civil War.”” 

Read more at: http://international.blogs.uua.org/uncategorized/saving-syria-sexual-and-gender-based-violence-in-the-syrian-civil-war/Image

(photo from http://international.blogs.uua.org/)