|Progressive Calendar 08.14.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2006 15:47:01 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 08.14.06 1. Como N4Peace 8.14 6pm 2. Julie Risser 8.14 7pm 3. Vs WalMart 8.15 9am 4. Immigrant women 8.15 11:30am Mankato MN 5. AltMedia/SPNN 8.15 5pm 6. Broderick/poet 8.15 6:30pm 7. Satire/homeland 8.15 7pm 8. NARAL 8.16 6:30pm 9. LakeSt/future 8.16 7pm 10. Vets/peace 8.16 7pm RedWing MN 11. Ralph Nader - The ghosts of Lieberman's past 12. Verax/Mayer - Terrorism and justice 13. Peter Montague - Justice and your health department 14. Elliott/Lamm - A moral code for a finite world 15. Oliver Bernstein - Mexican activists on poverty and the planet --------1 of 15------- From: Sheila Sullivan <aiisullivan [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Como N4Peace 8.14 6pm Monday 6pm we will meet at Coffe Grounds. Our points of discussion include The International Day of Peace on Sept 21 and helping local teenagere make it to the Peace Jam in Denver, CO. Lastly I will be taking a job this fall and will no longer be able to keep it running. I would be thrilled if someone would like to step up to the plate, but I would also be happy if our members joined with other N4P groups and became stronger that way. Please give your opinion at the meeting tomorrow or respond to this email. Thanks for all the support! --------2 of 15-------- From: Julie Risser <julie [at] voterisser4senate.com> Subject: Julie Risser 8.14 7pm Julie's campaign is running strong. She was the first Green Party candidate to petition successfully for ballot access and on Wednesday Take Action Minnesota endorsed Julie's campaign. We need to continue to this momentum. Join Julie and Risser For Senate District 41 volunteers for an organizational meeting to kick off the second major phase of Julie's "It Costs Nothing to Knock on a Door" campaign. Monday, August 14, 7pm 6112 Ashcroft Avenue, Edina MN 55424. Julie's goal is to record as many conversations with residents in Senate District 41 as possible - the question people are asked is "What do you think the State should or should not be doing" Volunteers will learn how to be a part of this process. Julie has already talked to many eligible voters. Excerpts from her campaign journal are available at the MPR site http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/08/04/risserjournal/ --------3 of 15------- From: Jesse Mortenson <teknoj [at] gmail.com> Subject: Vs WalMart 8.15 9am August 15th at 9am, UFCW Local 789 Hall We are hosting an honorary breakfast for all of our favorite community activists and supporters who have hung in there and fought Wal-Mart with us this past year. We'd love it if you could make it and enjoy some free food. The national staff from Wake-Up Wal-Mart is making this event a stop on there Big Bus Tour across America. So it should be a good time by all. Let me know if you can make it, and how many wal-mart activist guests you're bringing with you. --------4 of 15-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: Immigrant women 8.15 11:30am Mankato MN August 15: YWCA of Mankato Cecil's Table. Join Cecil Gassis for a round table discussion on community diversity and the difficulties immigrant women face when they come to live in the United States. 11:30AM-1PM. For more info contact Debbie Matzke at (507) 345-4629 ext. 21 or debbie [at] ywcaankato.org. www.ywcamankato.org. --------5 of 15-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: AltMedia/SPNN 8.15 5pm While we still have local public access tv (see: www.saveaccess.org), select SPNN Channel 15 for "Our World In Depth/Our World Today". Show times are 5 pm and midnight on Tuesday evenings and 10 am on Wednesdays. (5 pm and midnight every Tuesday and 10 am on Wednesdays) 8/15 and 8/16 "Alternative Media Is the Message" An Oct. '04 talk given by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! - plus Chris Chandler video "Something's in the Air, But Not on the Airwaves" ---------6 of 15-------- From: Patty Guerrero <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Broderick/poet 8.15 6:30pm The Salon this Tuesday, August 15 will have as our guest, poet Richard Broderick, author of Night Sale and Woman Lake. Also, he is the co-founder of Minnesota Poets Against War and the recipient of the Minnesota Book Award. He will read some of his work and we will discuss poetry and how it can relate to politics. He ran for St Paul school board for the Green Party of StPaul. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------7 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Satire/homeland 8.15 7pm Tue Aug 15, 7pm: Frank & Susan Fulle, St Paul authors of the satirical "Department of Homeland Security: Decency Rules & Regulations Manual @Barnes and Noble, Calhoun Village, 3216 W. Lake St., Mpls. (just west of Lake Calhoun),south Minneapolis Mrs. Sharon Flue (played by Susan), temporary voluntary ambassador for The Department of Homeland Decency, will discuss issues raised in the Decency Rules and Regulations Manual. Also booksigning and answering questions. --------8 of 15-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: NARAL 8.16 6:30pm Also Wednesday, August 16: NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Volunteer Action Camp. Get all the tools you need to become a Pro-Choice S.T.A.R. (Simply Taking Action for our Rights), including the most up-to-date info about the status of reproductive rights and all the different ways pro-choicers like you can protect those rights. 6:30-8:00PM at 550 Rice St, St. Paul. RSVP to volunteer [at] prochoiceminnesota.org. www.prochoiceminnesota.org. --------9 of 15-------- From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Subject: LakeSt/future 8.16 7pm Lake Street Development: Whose Values? Wednesday, August 16, 7-9pm First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Avenue South Minneapolis A dialog with neighbors, business leaders, public officials, churches, and labor leaders about the values that shape our public policy around the development of south Minneapolis. >From the Midtown Exchange, to the Lake Street Reconstruction, to the condos popping on every vacant corner - our world is changing. Whose values are at the center of this change? Whose need to be?Hear from local groups who put values of community, family, hope, and diversity at the center of their development and planning. Connect with and share your values and dreams with your neighbors. Be part of an emerging collective voice about creating development that is international and value based. We all have a stake in this development and will be living with the consequences for years to come. For more information: call Deb Rogers (612) 825-1701 --------10 of 15-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Vets/peace 8.16 7pm RedWing MN Wednesday, 8/16, 7 pm, (and usually every 2nd Wednesday), Red Wing (#115) Vets for Peace at home of Charles Nicolosi. tuvecino [at] redwing.net --------11 of 15-------- The Ghosts of Lieberman's Past Hey Joe! By RALPH NADER Hartford, Connecticut. [prior to primarty vote] The "word of mouth" and the contest of lawn signs speak victory for Ned Lamont over Senator Joseph Lieberman in the most closely watched Democratic Party primary in the country. The latest Quinnipiac poll has Lamont ahead by 54-41. Journeying around this state of poor cities and prosperous towns, I found that the unyielding support of Bush's disastrous Iraq War by Mr. Lieberman is indeed the most compelling negative against this 18 year incumbent. Unyielding support for Bush and the war is the albatross around Mr. Lieberman's neck. Buttons depicting what appeared to be a Bush kiss and political embrace of Lieberman adds visual ridicule to the hot brew swirling around the once shoo-in Senator. But there is more that has come together to weigh down the Senator. A number of chickens have come home to roost which add up to his low likeability rating and an image of selfishness. Still on the people's mind in the "nutmeg state" was Lieberman's refusal to resign his Senate seat when he was nominated to be Gore's vice-president and allow a Connecticut Senate election which Democrat Attorney General Michael Blumenthal would have easily won. Instead, had Gore and he won (which I believe they did), the subsequent empty Senate seat would have been filled by a Republican nominated by Republican Governor John Rowland. People here do not forget that ego-trip. Moreover, again and again Lieberman has done little more than lift a finger for other Democrats challenging Republican incumbents. He did very little to help Bill Curry's brainy run against Governor Rowland in 2002 either by way of raising real money or campaigning vigorously. Rowland was a friend of Lieberman and the Senator did not want to hear Curry's charges of corruption against the Governor. These charges were borne out after the election with Rowland's imprisonment. When Charlotte Koskoff was getting very close to upsetting long-time incumbent Republican Congresswoman, Nancy Johnson, in 1996, Lieberman could have raised her funds for needed television messages. He did not choose to do so. Ms. Koskoff lost in a squeaker. That it is all about Joe and not the other Democrats and their Party caught the attention of the journalistic humorists at the annual 2001 Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington. The white-tie dinner brings together the political, business, military and media brass for an evening of steak and satire. The skit on Joe Lieberman was set to the tune of the famous Sixties song "Mrs. Robinson." The refrain was "Joe Lieberman, me, me, me me, me, me." So when the two "all about me" politicians - Clinton and Lieberman - got together in Waterbury the other day for a Clintonesque affirmation, it became an expedient embrace between a past serial adulterer and a past critical moralizer. Politics sure makes for some strange bedfellows. Some political observers thought Clinton, who won elections while viewing losses in droves by other Democrats in Congress and in many states, would give Lieberman a critical lift. To the contrary, Lamont's lead widened considerably. More and more Democratic voters began to sense that Lieberman was taking them for granted, if not for a ride. He became Washington-bound and did not spend as much time back home as he did traveling abroad. More importantly, he became a favorite of the big business lobbies that swarm daily over the nations' capital and Capitol Hill. There is no better evidence of Lieberman's wanting to have it both ways - incessantly saying how pro-labor, pro-consumer and pro-environment he has been - than his receiving the enthusiastic endorsement by the most powerful, most cruel and greedy corporate lobby of them all - the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. With their front groups, the Chamber writes about its involvement in hundreds of state and federal campaigns. This lobby recently bragged about defeating, in 2004, Senator Lieberman's leader in the Senate, Senator Tom Daschle. What does the Chamber stand for? For starters, it demands that federal taxpayers subsidize corporations (corporate welfare), that the federal cop be taken off the corporate crime, fraud and abuse beat (de-regulation and weak law enforcement), that laws be weakened which protect the environment, workers, consumers and small taxpayers, and that the bloated, wasteful military contracting budget continue to grow. We have contested the Chamber's crude demands to weaken OSHA (the job safety agency), NHTSA (auto and truck safety), FDA (food and drug safety) and just about any federal activity that stands up for people over corporations where the two conflict. So the Chamber supports only two Democratic Senators for re-election. They are Senator Ben Nelson (NE) and Senator Joe Lieberman (CT). Its political arm described Mr. Lieberman as having the highest "cumulative voting score" of any "Democratic Senator in the Northeast." Big Businesses' favorite Democratic Senator! The Chamber was delighted with Lieberman's votes for NAFTA, WTO and CAFTA and for weakening class action litigation rights for defrauded investors, injured consumers and workers. They were delirious with Senator Lieberman's vote for the Cheney/Exxon energy bill that did nothing to advance more fuel efficient cars or address global warming, as it poured more taxpayer subsidies into super-profiteering Big Oil and Big Natural Gas. That's Joe Lieberman's record, in contrast to his rhetoric back on the stump these days in Connecticut. All out for more giant unneeded weapon systems, never in eighteen years advancing universal health insurance and always doubting the historic civil justice system's need to evolve stronger at the state level, not be weakened in Washington, D.C. The Chamber's endorsement stimulates more corporate interest dollars into Senator Lieberman's ample campaign coffers. But strangely, he does not list the Chamber's support on his website's list of endorsements. I asked Senator Lieberman whether he was going to publicly repudiate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's endorsement. After all, the Chamber is working overtime to undermine his Democratic Party and its more progressive candidates. Calls by voters to four of Lieberman's offices did not produce any answer from the Senator. On August 8th, the Senator will receive the primary voters' answers. [Lieberman lost. It couldn't have happened to a better person. -ed] --------12 of 15-------- Terrorism and Justice By Vox Verax by Joe Mayer <http://voxverax.blogspot.com/2006/08/terrorism-and-justice.html>* Terrorism is a despicable cowardly murder of innocent people. Imperial state terrorism (war) is a despicable cowardly murder of innocent people. The second statement above is completely unacceptable in today's America and will surely bring accusations of treason. But those of us who truly love the United States in which we grew up must risk our comfort to speak truth to power, because the country that was once the beacon of freedom and justice has lost those values and is now resented by the majority of the world's citizens. Americans leaders today speak of an "unending" war on terror. Terror and the fear it generates is a self-perpetuating spiral, one that our politicians employ for reelection. Once reelected, they continue policies that fuel terrorist reaction and which fulfills their war prophecy. * If we can justify all the wars, bombing and killing that we've inflicted on the world - * If we can justify 10,000 nuclear weapons with the desire to build more - * If we can justify a foreign policy of militarism to support American business interests - * If we can justify claims to be a peaceful nation and promote "unending" war at the same time - * If we can justify overthrowing sovereign governments by our CIA and other intelligence agencies - * If we can justify eliminating due process and promoting rendition and torture - * If we can justify appealing to the United Nations for help and castigating it at the same time - * If we can justify our claimed right to pollute the earth - * If we can justify using over twenty-five percent of the resources for six percent of the world's people - * If we can justify continued immunity from The World Court and still demand that it prosecute others - * If we can justify picking and choosing which world treaties we will accept and when - * If we can justify supplying the world with devastating weapons - * If we can justify claiming that God is on our side because we are good - * If we can justify all of this, then, surely people on the receiving end of these double standards, these injustices, can, in their own rationalization, justify fighting back. In our self-righteousness and arrogance we refuse to take any responsibility for the hatred of the world toward us. We continue to allow the neoconservatives, the military complex and all the war hawks to dominate our foreign policy with more violence as our only response. According to them everything (meaning nuclear) is "on the table" - all the time - everywhere. 9/11 is nearly five years past. Do we believe that we and the rest of the world are any safer? Has the violence we've exploded in the Middle East lessoned the threat of terrorism? Will more enemies created by more violence make us more secure? The hawks want us to believe the answer to all these questions is "yes." They're already campaigning on the issue of national security, calling anyone against their programs as "weak on national security." We have much work to do. Our elected Democratic officials need a shot of backbone. They just caved in again on the Israel/Hezbollah issue by condoning more violence. While the rest of the world tries to defuse this continuing conflict with some semblance of objectivity, Democrats and Republicans march in lockstep toward further isolation from world opinion. Every time Congressional Democrats follow the Republican leadership in a crisis such as this, they once again concede national security issues to the Republicans. We need to project justice into national security, morality into our economic undertakings, and common sense into our foreign policy. --------13 of 15--------- JUSTICE AND YOUR HEALTH DEPARTMENT By Peter Montague From: Rachel's Democracy & Health News #867, Aug. 10, 2006 Community-based activists may be missing an important opportunity if they don't explore alliances with their local health department. Some health departments are like dinosaurs, but many are not. Your local health department is most likely connected to the national organization, NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials). This week let's look at just two of the many resolutions NACCHO has adopted and published in recent times: ON HUMAN RIGHTS (Resolution 01-10, dated June 27, 2001) WHEREAS, the mission of public health is "to fulfill society's interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy"; and WHEREAS, "the values that underlie public health are the values of human rights and there is an undeniable relationship between individual rights, human dignity, and the human condition"; and WHEREAS, Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, states "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his/her family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care"; and WHEREAS, "Vigilance to prevent human rights violations and to ensure social justice for all people is essential to the advancement of human development and the prevention of human suffering"; and WHEREAS, according to the World Health Organization, more than 40 percent of all people who died in the world died prematurely, in part due to major inequalities in access to basic human needs, poverty, poor sanitary conditions, and violence; THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) will advocate for the protection of human rights and social justice as a guiding principle in public health practice, research and policies; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO will work to incorporate human rights, social justice, and efforts to eliminate disparities in health status into public health curricula, workforce development initiatives, and program evaluation measures; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO will collaborate with partner organizations, government agencies, global initiatives, and community groups in the prevention of human suffering and the promotion of social justice, health, equity, and sustainable development. [End of Resolution 01-10] And this one: SUPPORTING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE (Resolution 00-07 Nov. 12, 2000) WHEREAS, throughout the nation there is an overrepresentation of toxic waste sites and contaminated properties in communities of color and low-income communities, and race is the most significant variable that has been associated with the siting of hazardous waste facilities, even after controlling for urbanization, regional differences and socio-economic status; and WHEREAS, penalties imposed under hazardous waste laws at sites having the greatest white population were about 500 percent higher than penalties imposed at sites with the greatest people of color population; and WHEREAS, serious health concerns and exposures have resulted from the siting of toxic waste and other contaminated facilities in communities of color and low-income communities, adding to other threats posed by poor quality housing, absence of mass transit, unhealthy working conditions, poverty, and high levels of pollution production; and WHEREAS, urban sprawl and discriminatory land use decisions create economic and racial polarization, segregated neighborhoods and deteriorating neighborhoods in people of color and low-income communities, thereby increasing health and safety risks, health disparities, air and water pollution, poor quality housing, unstable neighborhoods, unsustainable ecosystems, and poor quality of life; THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) supports the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples, and the right to be free from ecological destruction; and affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature while assuring healthy communities; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO facilitates local public health agency efforts to ensure that no communities suffer from disproportional exposures to environmental health hazards; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NACCHO actively supports programs, policies, and activities that build the capacity to identify disproportionate sitings of facilities, discriminatory land use and zoning laws, and to assure nondiscriminatory compliance with all environmental, health and safety laws in order to assure equal protection of the public health; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports public and corporate policy based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports universal protection from unnecessary radiation exposure resulting from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons that threatens the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports the principle that producers of hazardous waste and materials be held strictly accountable to the people and responsible for containment and detoxification; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports the right of all people potentially affected to participate as equal partners at every level of decision-making about hazardous waste and materials, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO recognizes a special legal and ethical relationship of the federal, state, and local governments and Native Peoples through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO calls for the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience, our concern for health, and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things. [End of Resolution 00-07] In sum, NACCHO recognizes that ** Everyone has a right to an environment that promotes health; this is much more than merely having a right to an environment free of toxicants. This is the difference between your environmental agency and your health agency - the environmental agency aims to "protect" health from bad things. Your health department has a mandate to promote health by making good things happen. ** Everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being; your environmental agency has no mandate to worry about your standard of living, but your health department does. ** Social justice is the guiding principle of public health practice and policies; ** Vigilance is necessary to ensure social justice; ** Local health departments "will collaborate" with partner organizations, including community groups - perhaps your community group; ** In communities of color and low-income communities, toxic waste sites have been piled on top of other threats posed by poor quality housing, the absence of mass transit, unhealthy working conditions, poverty, and high levels of pollution. Thus your health department recognizes that toxic waste and pollution don't occur in a vacuum - they are part of something now being called "cumulative risk." ** Sprawl and discriminatory land-use decisions (to keep the poor out of suburbs, mainly by refusing to provide affordable housing) have increased (a) health and safety risks for the poor and people of color, (b) health disparities, (c) air and water pollution, (d) poor quality housing, (e) unstable neighborhoods, (f) unsustainable ecosystems, and (g) poor quality of life. In other words, your health department "gets" that sprawl does more than chew up farmland - sprawl makes people sick and ruins real lives of real people. ** Supports the "fundamental right" to be free from ecological destruction; ** Facilitates local agency efforts to ensure that no communities suffer from disproportional exposures to environmental health hazards; ** Supports the right of all people potentially affected to participate as equal partners at every level of decision-making about hazardous waste and materials, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation. In other words, your health department "gets it" about the importance of democracy. What if your health department doesn't behave this way? If your local health department doesn't seem to measure up to the expectations outlined by NACCHO, there's a new tool you can use to actually measure your health department's performance - a set of minimum functions expected of all local health departments, created by NACCHO. The minimum "core functions" of a health department are spelled out officially here - and you can use them as a benchmark for measuring the performance of your local health department. You say they don't measure up? Well, then - that's good ammunition for a local political fight, isn't it? A good health department is worth fighting for - and worth going to bat for when their budget is under threat. ==============  Institute of Medicine, The Future of Public Health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1988.  Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, July 14, 1992 ILM. 1992; 31:873.  Note, this was also echoed in the constitution of the World Health Organization and was ratified by subsequent international covenants and conventions.  American Journal of Public Health, May 2000, Vol. 90 No. 5, Rosalia Rodriguez-Garcia, PhD, MSc, Mohammad N. Akhter, MD, MPH  World Health Organization. World Health Report. Geneva, 1998  Benjamin Goldman, Not Just Prosperity: Achieving Sustainability with Environmental Justice. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation, 1994; Carita Shanklin, "Comment, Pathfinder: Environmental Justice," 24 Ecology Law Quarterly 333 (1997); Commission for Racial Justice, United Church of Christ, "Toxic Waste and Race in the United States, a National Report on the Racial and Socio-Economic Characteristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites," Public Data Access, Inc., 1987.  Paul Mohai and Bunyan Bryant. "Environmental Justice: Weighing Race and Class As Factors in the Distribution of Environmental Hazards," 63 University of Colorado Law Review 921 (1992).  The National Law Journal, "Unequal Protection, the Racial Divide in Environmental Law, " Sept. 21, 1992.  Robert Bullard, Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994;. Charles Lee, Environmental Justice, Urban Revitalization, and Brownfields: The Search for Authentic Signs of Hope. A Report on the "Public Dialogues on Urban Revitalization and Brownfields: Envisioning Healthy and Sustainable Communities. Washington, DC: National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Waste and Facility Siting Subcommittee. December, 1996. EPA 500 R-96-002. Also appears as "Environmental Justice: Creating A Vision for Achieving Healthy and Sustainable Communities," in Benjamin Amick and Rima Rudd eds. Social Change and Health Improvement: Case Studies for Action, forthcoming, 1999; Craig Anthony Arnold, "Planning Milagros: Environmental Justice and Land Use Regulation," 76(1) Denver University Law Review 1998: 1.  Michael Gelobter, "The Meaning of Environmental Injustice," 21(3) Fordham Urban Law Journal (Spring, 1994): 841-56; Robert Bullard, Glenn S. Johnson and Angel O. Torres. Sprawl City. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2000; Paul Stanton Kibel, "The Urban Nexus: Open Space, Brownfields, and Justice," 25 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review (1998): 589.  Carl Anthony, Suburbs Are Making Us Sick: Health Implications of Suburban Sprawl and Inner City Abandonment on Communities of Color. Environmental Justice Health Research Needs report Series. Atlanta: Environmental Justice Resource Center, 1998; David Bollier, How Smart Growth Can Stop Sprawl. Washington, DC: Essential Books, 1998; Craig Anthony Arnold, "Planning Milagros: Environmental Justice and Land Use Regulation," 76(1) Denver University Law Review (1998): 1-152. --------14 of 15-------- A MORAL CODE FOR A FINITE WORLD By Herschel Elliott and Richard D. Lamm From: Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 15, 2002 What if global warming is a reality, and expanding human activity is causing irreparable harm to the ecosystem? What if the demands of a growing human population and an expanding global economy are causing our oceans to warm up, our ice caps to melt, our supply of edible fish to decrease, our rain forests to disappear, our coral reefs to die, our soils to be eroded, our air and water to be polluted, and our weather to include a growing number of floods and droughts? What if it is sheer hubris to believe that our species can grow without limits? What if the finite nature of the earth's resources imposes limits on what human beings can morally do? What if our present moral code is ecologically unsustainable? A widely cited article from the journal Science gives us one answer. Garrett Hardin's "The Tragedy of the Commons" (1968) demonstrated that when natural resources are held in common - freely available to everyone for the taking - the incentives that normally direct human activity lead people to steadily increase their exploitation of the resources until they are inadequate to meet human needs. The exploiters generally do not intend to cause any harm; they are merely taking care of their own needs, or those of others in want. Nevertheless, the entire system moves inexorably to disaster. Everyone in the world shares in the resulting tragedy of the commons. Today, our standard of living, our economic system, and the political stability of our planet all require the increasing use of energy and natural resources. In addition, much of our political, economic, and social thinking assumes a continuous expansion of economic activity, with little or no restraint on our use of resources. We all feel entitled to grow richer every year. Social justice requires an expanding pie to share with those who are less fortunate. Progress is growth; the economies of developed nations require steady increases in consumption. Every environment is finite. At a certain point, the members of an increasing population become so crowded that they stop benefiting each other; by damaging the environment that supports everyone, by limiting the space available to each person, and by increasing the amount of waste and pollution, their activity begins to cause harm... And if the population continues to expand, its material demands may so severely damage the environment as to cause a tragedy of the commons - the collapse of both environment and society. What if such a scenario is unsustainable? What if we need an ethics for a finite world, an ethics of the commons? It is not important that you agree with the premise. What is important is that you help debate the alternatives. An ethics of the commons would require a change in the criteria by which moral claims are justified. You may believe that current rates of population growth and economic expansion can go on forever - but debate with us what alternative ethical theories would arise if they cannot. Our thesis is that any ethical system is mistaken and immoral if its practice would cause an environmental collapse. Many people assume that moral laws and principles are absolutely certain, that we can know the final moral truth. If moral knowledge is certain, then factual evidence is irrelevant, for it cannot limit or refute what is morally certain. Our ethics and concepts of human rights have been formulated for a world of a priori reasoning and unchanging conclusions. Kant spoke for that absolutist ethical tradition when he argued that only knowledge that is absolutely certain can justify the slavish obedience that moral law demands. He thought he had found rational grounds to justify the universal and unchanging character of moral law. Moral knowledge, he concluded, is a priori and certain. It tells us, for example, that murder, lying, and stealing are wrong. The fact that those acts may sometimes seem to benefit someone cannot diminish the absolute certainty that they are wrong. Thus, for example, it is a contradiction to state that murder can sometimes be right, for, by its very nature, murder is wrong. Many human rights are positive rights that involve the exploitation of resources. (Negative rights restrain governments and don't require resources. For example, governments shouldn't restrict our freedom of speech or tell us how to pray.) Wherever in the world a child is born, that child has all the inherent human rights - including the right to have food, housing, and medical care, which others must provide. When positive rights are accorded equally to everyone, they first allow and then support constant growth, of both population and the exploitation of natural resources. That leads to a pragmatic refutation of the belief that moral knowledge is certain and infallible. If a growing population faces a scarcity of resources, then an ethics of universal human rights with equality and justice for all will fail. Those who survive will inevitably live by a different ethics. Once the resources necessary to satisfy all human needs become insufficient, our options will be bracketed by two extremes. One is to ration resources so that everyone may share the inadequate supplies equally and justly. The other is to have people act like players in a game of musical chairs. In conditions of scarcity, there will be more people than chairs, so some people will be left standing when the music stops. Some - the self-sacrificing altruists - will refuse to take the food that others need, and so will perish. Others, however, will not play by the rules. Rejecting the ethics of a universal and unconditional moral law, they will fight to get the resources they and their children need to live. Under neither extreme, nor all the options in between, does it make sense to analyze the problem through the lens of human rights. The flaw in an ethical system of universal human rights, unqualified moral obligations, and equal justice for all can be stated in its logically simplest form: If to try to live by those principles under conditions of scarcity causes it to be impossible to live at all, then the practice of that ethics will cease. Scarcity renders such formulations useless and ultimately causes such an ethics to become extinct. We have described not a world that we want to see, but one that we fear might come to be. Humans cannot have a moral duty to deliver the impossible, or to supply something if the act of supplying it harms the ecosystem to the point where life on earth becomes unsustainable. Moral codes, no matter how logical and well reasoned, and human rights, no matter how compassionate, must make sense within the limitations of the ecosystem; we cannot disregard the factual consequences of our ethics. If acting morally compromises the ecosystem, then moral behavior must be rethought. Ethics cannot demand a level of resource use that the ecosystem cannot tolerate. The consequences of human behavior change as the population grows. Most human activities have a point of moral reversal, before which they may cause great benefit and little harm, but after which they may cause so much harm as to overwhelm their benefits. Here are a few representative examples, the first of which is often cited when considering Garrett Hardin's work: In a nearly empty lifeboat, rescuing a drowning shipwreck victim causes benefit: It saves the life of the victim, and it adds another person to help manage the boat. But in a lifeboat loaded to the gunwales, rescuing another victim makes the boat sink and causes only harm: Everyone drowns. When the number of cars on a road is small, traveling by private car is a great convenience to all. But as the cars multiply, a point of reversal occurs: The road now contains so many cars that such travel is inconvenient. The number of private cars may increase to the point where everyone comes to a halt. Thus, in some conditions, car travel benefits all. In other conditions, car travel makes it impossible for anyone to move. It can also pump so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that it alters the world's climate. Economic growth can be beneficial when land, fuel, water, and other needed resources are abundant. But it becomes harmful when those resources become scarce, or when exploitation causes ecological collapse. Every finite environment has a turning point, at which further economic growth would produce so much trash and pollution that it would change from producing benefit to causing harm. After that point is reached, additional growth only increases scarcity and decreases overall productivity. In conditions of scarcity, economic growth has a negative impact. Every environment is finite. Technology can extend but not eliminate limits. An acre of land can support only a few mature sugar maples; only so many radishes can grow in a five-foot row of dirt. Similar constraints operate in human affairs. When the population in any environment is small and natural resources plentiful, every additional person increases the welfare of all. As more and more people are added, they need increasingly to exploit the finite resources of the environment. At a certain point, the members of an increasing population become so crowded that they stop benefiting each other; by damaging the environment that supports everyone, by limiting the space available to each person, and by increasing the amount of waste and pollution, their activity begins to cause harm. That is, population growth changes from good to bad. And if the population continues to expand, its material demands may so severely damage the environment as to cause a tragedy of the commons - the collapse of both environment and society. Those cases illustrate the fact that many activities are right - morally justified - when only a limited number of people do them. The same activities become wrong - immoral - when populations increase, and more and more resources are exploited. Few people seem to understand the nature of steady growth. Any rate of growth has a doubling time: the period of time it takes for a given quantity to double. It is a logical inevitability - not a matter subject to debate - that it takes only a relatively few doublings for even a small number to equal or exceed any finite quantity, even a large one. One way to look at the impact of growth is to think of a resource that would last 100 years if people consumed it at a constant rate. If the rate of consumption increased 5 percent each year, the resource would last only 36 years. A supply adequate for 1,000 years at a constant rate would last 79 years at a 5-percent rate of growth; a 10,000-year supply would last only 125 years at the same rate. Just as no trees grow to the sky, no growth rate is ultimately sustainable. Because the natural resources available for human use are finite, exponential growth will use them up in a relatively small number of doublings. The only possible questions are those of timing: When will the resources be too depleted to support the population? When will human society, which is now built on perpetual growth, fail? The mathematics makes it clear: Any human activity that uses matter or energy must reach a steady state (or a periodic cycle of boom and bust, which over the long run is the same thing). If not, it inevitably will cease to exist. The moral of the story is obvious: Any system of economics or ethics that requires or even allows steady growth in the exploitation of resources is designed to collapse. It is a recipe for disaster. It is self-deception for anyone to believe that historical evidence contradicts mathematical necessity. The fact that the food supply since the time of Malthus has increased faster than the human population does not refute Malthus's general thesis: that an increasing population must, at some time, need more food, water, and other vital resources than the finite earth or creative technology can supply in perpetuity. In other words, the finitude of the earth makes it inevitable that any behavior causing growth in population or in the use of resources - including human moral, political, and economic behavior - will sooner or later be constrained by scarcity. Unlike current ethics, the ethics of the commons builds on the assumption of impending scarcity. Scarcity requires double-entry bookkeeping: Whenever someone gains goods or services that use matter or energy, someone else must lose matter or energy. If the starving people of a distant nation get food aid from the United States, then the United States loses that amount of food; it also loses the fertility of the soil that produced the food. To a point, that arrangement is appropriate and workable. Soon, however, helping one group of starving people may well mean that we cannot help others. Everything that a government does prevents it from doing something else. When you have to balance a budget, you can say yes to some important services only by saying no to others. Similarly, the ethics of the commons must rely on trade-offs, not rights. It must specify who or what gains, and who or what loses. Indeed, in a finite world full of mutually dependent beings, you never can do just one thing. Every human activity that uses matter or energy pulls with it a tangled skein of unexpected consequences. Conditions of crowding and scarcity can cause moral acts to change from beneficial to harmful, or even disastrous; acts that once were moral can become immoral. We must constantly assess the complex of consequences, intended or not, to see if the overall benefit of seemingly moral acts outweighs their overall harm. As Hardin suggested, the collapse of any common resource can be avoided only by limiting its use. The ethics of the commons builds on his idea that the best and most humane way of avoiding the tragedy of the commons is mutual constraint, mutually agreed on and mutually enforced. Most important, the ethics of the commons must prevent a downward spiral to scarcity. One of its first principles is that the human population must reach and maintain a stable state - a state in which population growth does not slowly but inexorably diminish the quality of, and even the prospect for, human life. Another principle is that human exploitation of natural resources must remain safely below the maximum levels that a healthy and resilient ecosystem can sustain. A third is the provision of a margin of safety that prevents natural disasters like storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions from causing unsupportable scarcity. Not to limit human behavior in accordance with those principles would be not only myopic, but also ultimately a moral failure. To let excess human fertility or excess demand for material goods and services cause a shortage of natural resources is as immoral as theft and murder, and for the same reasons: They deprive others of their property, the fruits of their labors, their quality of life, or even their lives. The ethics of the commons is a pragmatic ethics. It denies the illusion that human moral behavior occurs in a never-never land, where human rights and duties remain unchanging, and scarcity can never cancel moral duties. It does not allow a priori moral arguments to dictate behavior that must inevitably become extinct. It accepts the necessity of constraints on both production and reproduction. As we learn how best to protect the current and future health of the earth's ecosystems, the ethics of the commons can steadily make human life more worth living. As populations increase and environments deteriorate, the moral laws that humans have relied on for so long can no longer solve the most pressing problems of the modern world. Human rights are an inadequate and inappropriate basis on which to distribute scarce resources, and we must propose and debate new ethical principles. Herschel Elliott is an emeritus associate professor of philosophy at the University of Florida. Richard D. Lamm, a former governor of Colorado, is a university professor at the University of Denver and executive director of its Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues. --------15 of 15-------- From: Grist, Mar. 7, 2006 WALKING THE LINE What Mexican activists can teach the U.S. about poverty and the planet By Oliver Bernstein As the border organizer for Sierra Club's Environmental Justice program, I bounce back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border supporting grassroots environmental activists. More than the food, language, or currency, the biggest difference from one side to the other is what issues are considered "environmental." Perhaps nowhere else on earth is there such a long border between such a rich country and such a struggling one, and this disparity seems to carry over to which issues take priority. For example, Laguna La Escondida in Reynosa, Mexico, a water source for the surrounding community whose name means Hidden Lagoon, is also an important migratory bird stopover point. Reynosa citizens concerned about their environment are working to clean up the lagoon to protect their families' health from the waste dumped into its waters. Neighboring Texas citizens concerned about their environment are working to clean up the lagoon to prevent habitat destruction for hundreds of migratory birds. This binational effort is a terrific start, but it avoids confronting the issue of poverty. For all their goodwill and concern, the Texans' narrow focus on bird habitat prevents many of them from seeing the bigger problem - human habitat. Since the enactment of NAFTA in 1994, rapid industrialization along the border has led to some of the fastest population growth in either country. Almost 12 million people now live in Mexico and the United States along the nearly 2,000-mile border, and by 2020 that number could reach 20 million. This is not "smart growth," but instead a ferocious growth to support the movement of consumer goods. NAFTA was supposed to bring economic prosperity to Mexico, but the poverty and human suffering along the border tell a different story. Mexico's more than 3,000 border maquiladoras - the mostly foreign-owned manufacturing and assembly plants - send about 90 percent of their products to the United States. The Spanish word "maquilar" means "to assemble," but it is also slang for "to do someone else's work for them." This is what's really going on; the maquiladora sector produced more than $100 billion in goods last year, but the typical maquiladora worker earns between $1 and $3 per hour, including benefits and bonuses. Special tariff-free zones along the border mean that many maquiladoras pay low taxes, limiting the funds that could improve quality of life. Those who don't work in the maquiladoras live in their shadows. The industrial growth has drawn more people and development to the region, putting additional pressure on communities and the environment. Towns that until recently were small agricultural settlements now produce toxic chemicals for a worldwide market. Informal, donkey-drawn garbage carts cannot keep up with the waste stream from booming border cities. The natural environment suffers, indeed, but the most immediate suffering is human. I recently visited a community near Matamoros, at the eastern end of the border, where the streets and canals were filled with trash. Rather than a classic litter campaign, the local activists explained that their biggest concern was the roads. If the local authorities don't pave the road, they told me, the garbage trucks cannot get in and pick up the waste. Even burning the waste would be preferable to having to live with it in their homes, they say. The activists lament the polluted canals and the litter, but their focus is on the people. Without regular pickups, families live with trash piling up in their houses, and their children get sick. South of Tijuana, on the western end of the border, a small environmental group advocates for more drains and sewers. Heavy seasonal rains flood the valleys and bring sewage and trash tumbling down to the beaches. While a goal of the local campaign may be to have cleaner beaches and unpolluted water, the way to reach that goal is by talking about quality-of-life issues like proper drainage from homes, regular trash pickup in outlying areas, and safe drinking water - something that 12 percent of border residents do not have. In the United States, these issues are all too often considered a given, lumped into the category of "basic services." But even in the U.S. there are people who suffer as we ignore their poverty, having decided that it is not an environmental issue. People are an important part of an ecosystem. If they are poor and unhealthy, then the ecosystem is poor and unhealthy. Many Mexican activists know this too well, but the closest thing the mainstream environmental movement in the United States has to this integrated people-and-poverty approach is the often neglected environmental-justice movement. The EJ movement works for justice for people of color and low-income communities that have been targeted by polluters. The EJ movement is our salvation - but we must stop viewing it as extracurricular to the business of conservation. It's time to support the right to a clean and healthful environment for all people. This means that residents in the border region should not suffer disproportionately from environmental health problems because of the color of their skin, the level of their income, or the side of the international line on which they live. It also means that environmental activists should not look past human poverty to save an endearing species, but must look instead at the big picture. The cries of intense poverty and injustice across the world are getting louder. It is time for the environmental movement to listen, and to act. Oliver Bernstein is a Sierra Club environmental-justice organizer along the U.S.-Mexico Border. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with Jove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.