Archive for December, 2013

UK immigration bill could create ‘climate of ethnic profiling’ – UNHCR

December 26, 2013

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/26/uk-immigration-bill-climate-ethnic-profiling-unhcr

attachment of videos to post.

December 10, 2013

Could I have a volunteer to show me how to attach pictures and videos to post please. Thx

Great news – French supermarkets stops selling deep-sea fish

December 9, 2013

Carrefour distributor will gradually stop the marketing of fish from deep-sea fishing , a type of fishing disputed due to its impacts on the oceans, the group announced Monday .

After Casino , which will no longer commercialize this type of fish from 1 January 2014 according to a letter sent last week to two NGOs , Carrefour announced it would stop ” gradually marketing sword , roundnose grenadier and tusk of by June 2014, “, three fish species from deep-sea fishing .

Carrefour had already stopped, since 2007, the sale of blue ling and Emperor , two other deep-water species , and divided by 4 sales volumes  of saber grenadier and tusk ,  Hervé Gomichon told AFP , from the quality and sustainable development department of the group.

The European Parliament will debate Tuesday a possible ban of bottom trawling which, according to scientific studies relayed by associations, not only damages the ocean floor and precious corals, but also threatens many species caught by accident and then discharged into the sea .

This decision “refers to issues on the sustainability of this fishery ,” according to Carrefour .

Community swimming pool

December 8, 2013

skip - swimming pool

 

Isn’t this a great idea for a community swimming pool? Ingredients: an empty skip on a street, a tarpaulin, water, kids, laughter!! Giving the streets back to the community they belong to!!

Enclosure of the mind?

December 7, 2013

This course has helped, more than anything else, to put my thoughts into a new order. It has helped to pull together disparate ideas around poverty, inequality and development. Those lingering ideas that the capitalist structure of our societies undermines struggles to address inequality and that market rules are woefully inadequate for dealing with the reality of human experience.

Reading Shiva’s Earth Democracy this quote struck a chord:

 “Globalization is, in fact, the ultimate enclosure – of our minds, our hearts, our imaginations, and our resources. Until corporate globalization claimed the resources of this planet – especially water and biodiversity – to be tradable commodities, it was recognized that water couldn’t belong to anyone.”

Vandana Shiva (2006) – Earth Democracy; page 30

The Globalization movement has created the illusion that it is the only viable route for the distribution of resources, food, materials and goods. Anything else was an undesirable interference with the “invisible hand” of the market.

The dominant view has become that this is normal. That this is the world we live in and way things are. Capitalism has been growing and expanding for several centuries. But this was not always the way, nor is it the only way today. Examples exist of community farming projects, pooling human resources to build barns and schools or even almost entirely cooperative communities such as Salinas in Ecuador. However, examples of alternatives are virtually unheard of in the mainstream and often ridiculed as unworkable on a large scale. But why must alternatives be scaled up like corporations, with one size fits all business models?

Corporations are allowed to enclose natural resources to:

  • Make money (and amass wealth for their shareholders)
  • Create jobs (but do corporations create jobs. When a MNC moves in, how many well paid jobs are created for local people?)
  • Create products we can consume (but did we even need the products before we saw the advertising?)

What consideration is given to the natural environment? If the natural environment is not a commodity then it is an externality, outside the market and therefore without value. But the natural environment is the very basis of all live, including human life, on this planet.

If globalization gives us the reasons why we should enclose minerals in Greenland, or water sources in Canada, where to the reasons not to enclose come from? And what about people? How does a corporation, following the sole path of globalization in search of profit ensure a fair and equitable society for all people?

Globalization and the pursuit of profit are not the only mechanisms for regulating the movement of goods, whether food, water, metals or anything else.

Seventh Generation Sustainability is just one example of an alternative. The origins of the term come from the Iroquois, a First Nations people in North America, but have been adopted much more widely. The basic tenant is:

“We cannot simply think of our survival; each new generation is responsible to ensure the survival of the seventh generation. The prophecy given to us, tells us that what we do today will affect the seventh generation and because of this we must bear in mind our responsibility to them today and always.”

Quite a radical concept when you consider that the business plans of most corporations only stretch 5 to 10 years into the future! So why is so hard to believe in an alternative to the way things are, and to make that come to life?

Rational self-interest drives the capitalist system. Has this view point, this way of thinking, enclosed our minds so we cannot see any other options? Capitalism teaches that we are individuals, not communities or societies. Has this become a self-fulfilling prophesy; is this the only way we can react now?

free thought004 copy

To finish, I’ll give you an example of this enclosed way of thinking. On October 26th Sabine posted on the sale of mining rights in Greenland and the devastating environmental impact this could have. Click though to the original article in the Financial Times and this comment stands out:

“Those who don’t want Greenland to mine for Uranium have an option – buy access to the land for the same price as the uranium miners are willing to pay, and then see if you can make money via your pet green project.

As they say – pay to play.”

This demonstrates such narrow thinking. Nothing beyond profits matters, the world’s resource are there to be bought and owned. To suggest otherwise is foolish and naïve.

Have our minds been enclosed? Has our collective ability to think and problem solve together been compromised by a world where profit, market rules and globalization are portrayed as the only way?

Tribute to Nelson Madhibha Mandela

December 6, 2013

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Today we have lost a global statesman,                                                                               Today is a dark day for Africa,                                                                                           Today we join South Africa in mourning ,                                                                        Today the world will stand still ,                                                                                            Today Mandela has rested.

Yes, you dedicated your life to the struggle,                                                                     The struggle of the commons,                                                                                                 The defender of the enclosure of the commons,                                                             You stood with your belief of the commons,                                                                   Rest in peace Mandela.

Nelson Mandela ; “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”

How can I protect my land rights?

December 5, 2013

Property rights are often weak or unclear. Even in Britain, the trauma of moving house is often put on a par with divorce or bereavement. Imagine trying to buy and sell without a title deed. In West Africa,less than 2% of land is held by paper title, and that is mainly in towns. Most people hold rights to land and property through social bonds. African government have often muddied the water on land rights. Most inherited the powers established by colonial administration over land, water and minerals.

Gloabal Tibetan Movement– An imaginary community?

December 5, 2013

I think I have found yet another ‘exception to the rule’ of imaginary communities (my first being on the Golden Temple).

There are approximately 1,28,014 exiled Tibetans worldwide (India 94,203; Nepal 13,514; Bhutan 1,298; and rest of the world 18,999) and communication between them and their homeland is minimal, if existent at all; yet despite heavy monitoring, the ‘Free-Tibet’ movement has spread like wildfire amongst exiled Tibetans.

Tibet has defined itself as a self-determined nation for decades, it has incredibly strong national and cultural pride which spans the globe and binds them together in unison in a fight for justice and freedom. This campaign has spread through exiled Tibetans and those in the homeland, in hopes of raising awareness and the message of Tibet’s current events and movements. Recently, these messages have been communicated through social media (resulting in many activists being put under house arrest). One such message is shown below which is a call to ‘Join Lakhar, the home grown resistance movement in Tibet’, it advocated ‘acts of disobedience’ and boycotting, such as not buying Chinese goods, only speaking Tibetan, wearing national dress, and (in some areas) a ‘money box’ as a voluntary fine for speaking Chinese- these acts were followed by Tibetans throughout the world. Similar calls to action have been noted in other countries as well and the movement continues.

Overall, Tibetans are very passionate and peaceful people who have a strong and real pride in their homeland and they are a good example of how an entire nation and culture can be considered a real commons and community.

Join Lakhar

stand up for tibet

Student for a free Tibet

Is all tap water really safe to drink?

December 5, 2013

Regarding drinking water, I just read an article in the French press, Le Figaro, that millions of French homes built before 1950 still have old lead pipes which contaminate the water. Although it is not such a problem for adults as contamination is very slow, it is different for children. Changing the pipes is a very costly and messy process, and it is often last on a list of priorities. If you have old water pipes, the advice of water companies for reducing the lead concentration is always to let water run a bit when first turning on the tap.

http://www.lefigaro.fr/immobilier/2013/12/05/05002-20131205ARTFIG00400-canalisations-plus-de-7-millions-de-logements-ne-sont-pas-aux-normes.php

The Tobacco Plantations

December 4, 2013

In 1607, mass migration of the first British colonies to America established in Jamestown, Virginia. Many British “Diasporas” that settled in North American did so for religious reasons fleeing from persecution under Queen Elizabeth  the first for their religious beliefs. The intension was to settle in a different environment where they were able to govern themselves by making laws for the common good.  In 1609, many died from diseases and famine.  The survival was joined by new settlers and the land prospered through farming tobacco.

The labour needed to farm the tobacco plantation exceeded the colonies and as a result, Slave trade was introduced to Virginia in 1619. This new form of investment took off like a wild fire , capturing and transporting thousands of Africans forcefully from their home or sold  to slavery even by their village chiefs. from the mid 1700s Virginia enslaved population was the largest of any state.