By some estimates, more than two million people in the United States do not have running water and sanitation in their homes. Water utilities shut off water access to about one out of every twenty people, or close to fifteen million people, every year for nonpayment. Unsurprisingly, this affects racial minorities more than others. This barbaric practice has likely killed tens of thousands of people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given how wealthy the United States is, it doesn’t have to be this way. And throughout the pandemic, we’ve caught some brief glimpses of alternatives. Though the federal government declined to pass a national moratorium on water shutoffs, some states and cities passed laws to prevent utilities from shutting off water to people during the pandemic.
Food and Water
On June 5, 2019, senior intelligence analyst Rod Schoonover spoke before a House Intelligence hearing on National Security and Climate Change. “The Earth’s climate is unequivocally undergoing a long-term warming trend as established by decades of scientific measurements from multiple independent lines of evidence,” said Schoonover. “We expect that climate change will affect US national security interests through multiple, concurrent, and compounded ways. Global often diffuse perturbations are almost certain to ripple across political, social, economic, and human security domains worldwide. These include economic damage, threats to human health, energy security, and food security. We expect no country to be immune to the effects of climate change for 20 years.”
The first car my parents carted me and my siblings around in, in the 1950s, didn’t have seatbelts. Not one of us was ever strapped into a car seat. No kid I knew donned a helmet before hopping on her bike. When I was a kid, there were no government-regulated safety standards for cribs or playpens or strollers. There were no “choking hazard” warnings on the packages containing the toys we played with, regardless of how many small, potentially detachable parts came with those toys. After decades marred by child deaths in car accidents, and what were determined to be preventable deaths if only baby equipment manufacturers had thought to make this crib safer, or that stroller less dangerous, the federal government stepped in. Taxpayer-funded government agencies, like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, founded in 1972, told corporations they had to make products safer.
Our current food system has a large negative impact on the climate crisis and our health. Factory farms produce large amounts of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), pollute the land, air and water and deplete the nutrients in soil. We are eating foods that contain low levels of nutrients and contain hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that harm our health. Regenerative farming techniques ameliorate these problems by restoring the nutrients to the soil, lowering the need for chemicals (and water) and sequestering carbon. We speak with Pat Kerrigan of Organic Consumers Association
By Amitabh Pal for the Progressive. The two big issues we are facing are climate change and water shortages. Water shortages are more imminent. They’re here now. We suddenly look around and realize that water tables are falling everywhere: throughout the high plains of the United States, for instance, in the Ogallala Aquifer. This is a huge source of water, but it has already been pumped out in Texas-Oklahoma. Much of the water used in the world comes from aquifers. There are thirty-seven major aquifers. More than twenty of them have no major recharge at all. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Over the last thirty years, numerous lakes and rivers have disappeared in the world, and that’s going to continue. Some of the larger rivers no longer make it to the sea, such as the Colorado River or the Yellow River. We’ve got to reshape the economy to make it much more water-efficient than it now is. We know that there are already a number of countries that are running out of water. They’ve pumped their aquifers dry or they’re getting very close to it. This includes Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. And in India, water tables are falling everywhere. The question is: What happens when wells start to run dry?
By Sandra Steingraber of We Are Seneca Lake. Watkins Glen, NY – In an act of civil disobedience against gas storage in Seneca Lake salt caverns, 13 Finger Lakes residents, led by local members of the Ithaca Catholic Worker Movement, formed a human blockade shortly after sunrise this morning at the north entrance of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14. Carrying with them a seven-foot-tall replica of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical letter on climate change, Laudato Si! On Care for Our Common Home, they blocked all traffic from entering or leaving. Schuyler County deputies arrested the 13 shortly after 9:30 a.m. as they sang and read from the Ponitical document.
Growers in colder climates often utilize various approaches to extend the growing season or to give their crops a boost, whether it's coldframes, hoop houses or greenhouses. Greenhouses are usually glazed structures, but are typically expensive to construct and heat throughout the winter. A much more affordable and effective alternative to glass greenhouses is the walipini (an Aymara Indian word for a "place of warmth"), also known as an underground or pit greenhouse. First developed over 20 years ago for the cold mountainous regions of South America, this method allows growers to maintain a productive garden year-round, even in the coldest of climates.
Sixteen We Are Seneca Lake protesters will face charges tonight—some at 5 pm and some at 7 pm—for peaceful acts of civil disobedience in the form of trespassing at the gates of Crestwood. I am one of them, and it’s likely that I will not be returning home tonight. We Are Seneca Lake is a campaign that was born on October 23, which the date of our first blockade, after we learned that approval had been granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to expand the storage of methane in crumbling salt caverns that underlie the west bank of Seneca Lake. In granting this approval, the federal government swept aside demonstrable evidence for reckless risks, including methane leakage, salt cavern collapse, and salination of our lake. These are all problems that have vexed other gas storage facilities similarly created from unlined, interbedded salt caverns.
Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink, sits down with Dennis Trainor, Jr. of Acronym TV on the eve of the largest Climate march in history to discuss the climate justice. “”If you care about the planet, you care about people, workers, immigrants, and you care about whether we are destroying the planet whether by polluting or by polluting through war, says Benjamin, who went on to describe the founding of Code Pink as a climate Justice group. “We started as a group of women who came together around the environment. We were called Unreasonable Women for the planet.” Benjamin and Code Pink have regularly disrupted Senate hearings on ISIS/ ISIL of late, but being part of the People’s Climate March is not something she would miss: “It is all interconnected,” she told me “and I don’t think we have the ability anymore to divide ourselves into these (separate) silos.”
The richest 1% own the two major parties. It's time working people had one of our own. That's why I'm running for Governor. My name is Howie Hawkins. I'm a working Teamster and my running mate, Brian Jones, is a teacher and union member. New York has the greatest income inequality in the country -- and it has gotten worse under Governor Cuomo's tax breaks for the rich and spending cuts for the rest of us. Our schools are the most segregated in the nation. Poverty is on the rise in cities across the state. It doesn't have to be this way. We can create an economy that meets human needs and protects our planet. (read more: http://www.howiehawkins.org/)
While much of the national climate movement has focused on gearing up towards the People’s Climate March in New York City later this month, frontline communities in Appalachia have been working hard at the local and regional level to address climate justice issues at the source. “Our people have been producing energy for this nation for over 100 years. We are proud of our heritage. But we can’t stay stuck in time,” said Teri Blanton, a long time organizer with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and The Alliance for Appalachia. “In Appalachia we’ve already seen what climate change can do — denuded and destroyed landscapes, poisoned water and a corrupt political system — it’s all together and it’s all connected. We have seen first hand that what they do to the land, they do to the people.” One of the key issues Appalachian leaders are organizing communities around is water pollution; lack of access to safe water has been an issue for decades in the region, a grim irony considering the area is a temperate rainforest.
The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for breakfast cereal giants like General Mills. The backlog is only going to get worse, farmers said, as they prepared this week for what is expected to be a record crop of wheat and soybeans. “If we can’t get this stuff out soon, a lot of it is simply going to go on the ground and rot,” said Bill Hejl, who grows soybeans, wheat and sugar beets in the town of Casselton, about 20 miles west of here. Although the energy boom in North Dakota has led to a 2.8 percent unemployment rate, the lowest in the nation, the downside has been harder times for farmers who have long been mainstays of the state’s economy.
According to Kash Nikazmrad of Students for Justice in Palestine, one should view passages from the Hamas charter like the one above as hyperbolic political rhetoric meant to stoke a political base, and not, he says, as something to be taken literally. The focus, he says should be on the genocidal conditions imposed by Isreal that give birth to the resistance. “The UN recognizes Genocide as anything deterring the progression of human life,” says Nikazmrad, “and that is what (Israel) does in Gaza. They don’t allow them to fish. Settlers come and cut down Oliver trees and put concrete on the olive trees. And (Israel) is all outside, and they blame Palestinians for building tunnels to try to bring medical supplies in. What do you think will happen when you build a prison (Gaza) and you prevent people from having any kind of right to life? They are going to try and build tunnels and they are going to try and resist the occupation that is there.”