Two thousand miles lay ahead for the nearly 40 marchers who departed from Los Angeles in February and will arrive in Washington, DC, in November. Their feet tell the story of walking a thousand miles for climate justice. Their eyes look across the United States.
The Great March for Climate Action threads through small towns, big cities and wide-open wilderness. In each area, local residents join the marchers, who also visit schools, churches and community organizations, raising awareness about the causes, effects and impacts of climate change on our society. If left unaddressed, climate change could reach catastrophic levels, heralding the collapse of modern civilization and ultimately, the extinction of the human species.
Critics of the march say it is mainly symbolic, yet in one small Northern New Mexico town, the climate marchers had a tangible effect: The local newspaper reported on their arrival. While this may seem insignificant, the newspaper in question, like many others across the country, does not report on the subject of climate change. The arrival of a cross-continental delegation of climate marchers who have been traveling through major cities, small towns and the state capitol of New Mexico received one of the first mentions of climate change by the newspaper. This is one of the main goals of the climate march: to raise awareness of the issue in a nation that is ill-informed and often ignorant of the science and reality of climate change.
While mainstream media has remained quiet on the defining issue of our time, alternative journals have been reporting tremendous news about the climate justice movement. The Cowboy and Indian Alliance erected teepees on the Washington Mall to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. Four hundred students were arrested in an act of civil disobedience in Washington earlier in 2014. Germany is setting world recordsfor renewable energy development to fight global warming. Seventy-five thousand citizens have sworn the KXL Pledge of Resistance to engage in civil resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline. Every week, numerous climate justice or fossil fuel extraction demonstrations occur in cities and towns across the nation. Small and large-scale solar and wind installations are among the most rapidly growing sectors of our stagnant economy.
Great March for Climate Action. (Credit: Dariel Garner)There have been some breakthroughs: in 2012, Hurricane Sandy broke the almost deafening silence on climate change during the presidential campaigns and more recently, the Los Angeles Times announced that it would no longer publish the articles or opinions of climate change deniers. Yet, in general, mass media is shifting slower than the Titanic on this issue, leaving alternative journalism and independent media to pick up the slack. Will newspapers, television and other media shift fast enough to give citizens the information they need to make wise decisions regarding climate change? (Listen to Occupy Radio interview climate marcher, John Abbe)
In Northern New Mexico for example, the local newspaper did not report on the 2013 Los Alamos National Laboratory study on the impacts of climate change on the Southwest forests. In eight years, the study found, the region will reach "megadrought" conditions as the new normal. As early as 2033, due to drought, stress, disease, fires and insects, the forests of the entire southwest may be gone. These statistics affect the lives of the local community in everything from real estate to tourism to disaster preparedness in homes and emergency funds set aside at the city and county level. It impacts the decisions around the dwindling water supply and also how the regional forests are managed for fire and disease prevention.
Yet, most citizens are unaware of the severity and immediacy of the climate change impacts happening around them.
The media is largely responsible for the general ignorance of the populace on a subject that 97 percent of the world's scientists agree on.
The climate justice movement has struggled with this gross public deception for over 30 years. The Great March for Climate Action is one effort to break through the appalling lack of public awareness, but efforts are needed in every town and city. Even as increasing numbers of citizens sign up to commit civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL pipeline or book flights to join the People's Climate March in September in New York, regular, persistent local actions will be required to shake off the lethargy of public officials and local utilities.
Climate change needs to be on the lips of every city council member, county commissioner, state and federal representatives, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) managers, and public regulatory commission members. Citizens need to show up at meetings demanding to see adaptation studies, energy transition plans, disaster preparedness overviews and water management plans. People must contact their public utilities and go to public or shareholder meetings to raise concerns and demand shifts from fossil fuel-based energy sources into renewables. Individuals and groups can assist the divestment movement that has moved billions of academic investments out of fossil fuel stocks. The divestment movement can be expanded from educational institutions into individual investments, bank portfolios and other organizations.
The deafening silence on climate change must be countered by courageous truth-telling by ordinary people. Across the whole country, in small towns and large cities, the cry must echo again and again: climate change is real, and we are going to meet its challenges - not tomorrow . . . today!
Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission. Link to original article
MINNEAPOLIS—Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after Israeli and Hamas officials announced they had agreed to an open-ended ceasefire.
“I am happy and relieved with yesterday’s ceasefire agreement,” Rep. Ellison said. “I call on all parties to comply with the agreement and refrain from further violence. It is time to move forward with negotiations and diplomacy that will ultimately end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
GAZA CITY — Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday reached a long-term cease-fire after seven weeks of fighting, according to officials on both sides, halting the longest, bloodiest battle either side has experienced in years — but without resolving many of the bigger issues underlying the conflict.
When Congress returns from recess on September 8, will they authorize the New Iraq War? That's the question some anti-war groups are asking their representatives now home in their districts. Rep. Jim McGovern is demanding "a full debate and a vote whether to authorize the war," which has been escalating during the Congressional absence.
It is not a lack of sympathy with the historic and current circumstance of Iraq’s religious minorities—or of other persecuted peoples in that traumatized country—that leads some of the most humane and responsible members of Congress to say that President Obama must seek approval from the House and Senate before committing the United States military to a new Iraq mission.
PDA (Progressive Democrats of America) shares the horror of the world at the slaughter of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza. We condemn violence against civilians by all sides.
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) strongly endorses the statement of our Advisory Board Member Congresswoman Barbara Lee who expressed grave concerns about the "violence and loss of life in Israel and Gaza." We agree with Rep. Lee that, "this horrific violence does nothing to enhance the security of Israelis or Palestinians," and we join her calling for a diplomatic solution to ensure lasting security." Rep. Lee once again is the voice of reason saying, "We need strong diplomatic intervention by the US and regional partners to help establish an immediate ceasefire that allows for the negotiations of a permanent and peaceful settlement."
Furthermore, we endorse our Advisory Board Member Congressman Keith Ellison's demand that Israel and Egypt end the Gaza blockade to achieve peace.
PDAers have, with the rest of the world, reacted with outrage and heartbreak to the violence in Israel and Gaza. Board members like Medea Benjamin have worked for decades to bring attention to that area of the world, to its crying need for peace with justice. PDA was founded during the 2004 Democratic Convention in opposition to the Iraq War, which was being silenced by “official” party leaders. Our Inside/Outside strategy brought street heat to the suites, opening up our political process to the nonviolent call of Dr. Martin Luther King: turn from perpetual war to meeting human need. Nonviolence grounds all our policy advocacy: Healthcare Not Warfare; Windmills Not Weapons.
Washington DC – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan McGovern-Jones-Lee resolution which requires the President to seek Congressional authorization before deploying armed services engaged in combat operations in Iraq.
The stunning military advance into cities in northern and central Iraq by an Al Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria—backed by some of Iraq's Sunni tribal paramilitary forces and a militia tied to remnants of the deposed Baath party—compounds Iraq's long-running tragedy.
According to Ha'aretz correspondent Amira Hass, the [Israeli Defense Force] ] IDF has been conducting mass arrests in the West Bank, between 10 and 30 every day. Twenty-four of the arrested are members of the Palestinian parliament from Hamas' Change and Reform party. The number of those arrested since the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teens has already exceeded 1,000. The Palestinians are convinced that most of those detained have nothing to do with the kidnapping and that these are mainly political arrests for purposes of intimidation and revenge.
PDA Advisory Board members Reps. John Conyers, Keith Ellison, and Barbara Lee joined 3 congressional colleagues--Reps. Jim Moran, Hank Johnson, and Alan Lowenthal--calling upon President Obama and Secretary Kerry to "redouble" their efforts to urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to reach a cease-fire agreement. The full text of their letter is below, and a signed PDF can be found here.
80 Members of Congress Write to the President on Iraq
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA13), Congressman Scott Rigell (R-VA02) and seventy other Members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to seek Congressional approval before taking any military action in Iraq.
Please act now! We need your Congress member's signature on the Lee-Rigell Letter opposing a military attack on Iraq. Consult the list (see below). If your member of Congress is not there, call the Congressional switchboard ASAP (before Close of Business July, 2nd) and ask them to sign on to the Lee-Rigell Letter. Republicans may be willing to sign on, so it's worth trying them as well. The Switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Tell them to contact Rep. Barbara Lee's staffer Monica Pham at
At this writing, President Obama has neither the legal nor the political mandate to conduct airstrikes in Iraq or Syria.
On Thursday night, 182 Members of the House voted yes on Representative Barbara Lee's amendment defunding the use of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for the Use Military Force.
Members of Congress want to send a clear message to Obama: They won’t stand for another war.
After a recent string of insurgent attacks from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the northern part of Iraq, President Obama told Congress on Monday night that he will order 275 troops to the country to protect American personnel and the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
Residents of Mosul and Samarra, and a spokesman for a militant group, speak about their experience of the latest conflict
Why is Congress trying to allocate $601 billion to the military?
Next week, Congress will begin debate on a roughly$601 billion Pentagon budget for FY2015. Before we let this pass unchallenged, let's take a few minutes to put it in some historical perspective.
During the Bush years, people all over the world were horrified by America's aggression, human rights abuses and militarism. By 2008, only one in three people around the world approved of the job performance of U.S. leaders. The election of President Obama broadcast his message of hope and change far beyond U.S. shores, and Gallup's 2009 U.S.-Global Leadership Project (USGLP) recorded a sharp rise in global public approval of U.S. leadership to 49 percent.
U.S. efforts to overthrow foreign governments leave the world less peaceful, less just and less hopeful.
Soon after the 2004 U.S. coup to depose President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, I heard Aristide's lawyer Ira Kurzban speaking in Miami. He began his talk with a riddle: "Why has there never been a coup in Washington D.C.?" The answer: "Because there is no U.S. Embassy in Washington D.C." This introduction was greeted with wild applause by a mostly Haitian-American audience who understood it only too well.
Or How the U.S. Military Avoided Budget Cuts, Lied About Doing So, Then Asked for Billions More
Washington is pushing the panic button, claiming austerity is hollowing out our armed forces and our national security is at risk. That was the message Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered last week when he announced that the Army would shrink to levels not seen since before World War II.
Washington is pushing the panic button, claiming austerity is hollowing out our armed forces and our national security is at risk. That was the message Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered last week when he announced that the Army would shrink to levels not seen since before World War II. Headlines about this crisis followed in papers like the New York Timesand members of Congress issued statements swearing that they would never allow our security to be held hostage to the budget-cutting process.
The U.S. is backing Ukraine's extreme right-wing Svoboda party and violent neo-Nazis whose armed uprising paved the way for a Western-backed coup. Events in the Ukraine are giving us another glimpse through the looking-glass of U.S. propaganda wars against fascism, drugs and terrorism. The ugly reality behind the mirror is that the U.S. government has a long and unbroken record of working with fascists, dictators, druglords and state sponsors of terrorism in every region of the world in its elusive but relentless quest for unchallenged global power.
America's military adventures have fueled a global explosion of terrorism and a historic breakdown of law and order.
Twelve years into America's "war on terror," it is time to admit that it has failed catastrophically, unleashing violence, war and instability in an "arc of terror" stretching from West Africa to the Himalayas and beyond.
The implementation of the Iran accord Monday signaled a modest but still important sea change in that country’s relationship with the world. As with all good diplomacy, the deal is a win-win for Iran and the United Nations Security Council’s permanent members.
MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) — The United Nations is taking a day to see if there is enough common ground between Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and the opposition to talk directly for the first time since the rebellion began in 2011.
The talks in Syria began today, with the Syrian government and opposition exchanging accusations and invectives. Missing was the voice of nonviolent civilians, especially women, even through they have been trying for months to have a seat at the table.
At least ten states will be sites for testing drones — unmanned aircraft — in the next couple of years, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) announced on Monday. Six institutions have been authorized to operate test locations for the use of drones and for studying how they will interact with air traffic systems.
As we end the longest period of war in our history, we should be entering a period of postwar downsizing - but what about the communities dependent on the massive post-9/11 military budget?
End wars. Shrink the Pentagon budget. Reinvest the savings in neglected domestic priorities. It’s a logical progression. Right?
Washington, D.C.— Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement on the passing of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela:
Iraq is still suffering from the US invasion because the apparatus of state oppression and terror is still in place, killing people every day. But few in the US seem to realize the scale of the war crimes committed in Iraq, an expert author told RT.
Having the most expensive and destructive military does not make the American people safer. The idea of U.S. "national security" seems inextricably entangled with the notion of "military supremacy."
All of a sudden we’re talking to Iran. Now, granted, that shouldn’t be such an astonishing bombshell. But given the reality of the last several decades, it pretty much is. And that’s all good. It’s been too long coming, it’s still too hesitant, there’s still too much hinting about military force behind it… but we’re talking. Foreign minister to foreign minister, Kerry to Zarif, it’s all a good sign.
A trillion dollars. It's a lot of money. In a year it could send 127 million college students to school, provide health insurance for 206 million people, or pay the salaries of seven million schoolteachers and seven million police officers.
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