March 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the March 31, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!

Due to other pressing projects, this again will be a minimal newsletter edition.  There are three actions.  The first involves a US notion of feasible, reduced support for nuclear weapons. The second action pertains to Michigan and discrimination, while the third action involves the potential for Arctic drilling.

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Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.

 

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US: SUPPORT ‘SANE’ SPENDING ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

The amount of money spent on nuclear weapons is always a contentious issue.  For U.S. citizens, the following petition will allow you to consider whether the current priorities form a good balance.

Citizens for Global Solutions support the “Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act” [H.R.1534; S.831], suggesting that the current nuclear spending and priorities do not align with today’s security needs.  They believe that cuts in nuclear programs will not jeopardize security but rather will increase security if it is accompanied by a more relevant focus on contemporary threats.  Read more details in the link below.

US-only: Tell Your Representatives to Co-Sponsor the SANE Act:
http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5550/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19838

 

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US AND “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM LEGISLATION”

The state of Indiana is getting so much negative reaction regarding discrimination after its “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” was recently passed that it may be self-correcting, a topic for another day.  However, right now in Michigan, there are no laws preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and Michigan may try to implement a similar version of the Indiana law which could, worst case, entrench such discrimination.

As a specific example, a pediatrician in Michigan discriminated against a six-day-old baby because the baby’s parents are lesbian.  The couple came to the doctor’s office, but the doctor had “prayed on it,” and decided she could not care for their baby.

The following petition can be used to send a signal to Michigan lawmakers about how such a law would be perceived.  It might have been useful for the Indiana lawmakers to have fully understood the outside-state consequences (which include the freedom of people and companies to move or avoid an area) before the voted.  Democracy works best from a well-informed standpoint.

Take Action (open to all):
Tell Michigan Legislators Not To Discriminate

Background:
Indiana’s Law Puts Obstacles to Equality [The Atlantic]

 

 

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DARFUR: EMPTY ELECTIONS, EMPTY VILLAGES (OR WORSE)

Sudan will go to the polls in mid-April.  It is a foregone conclusion that President Bashir will be re-elected.  This means that the horrid conditions in Darfur, as well as the deplorable state of South Kordofan and the Nuba mountains will remain.

Up to six million people are at humanitarian risk in Darfur.  As mentioned last month the levels of death and displacement approach the most gruesome levels of the 2003-2006 outbreak of violence.  Villages remain empty or even worse, are being filled by outside Arabs.  One contact recently returned from Darfur has indicated that some of these outsiders have extremist tendencies.

There is no action at the moment for Darfur.  However a new set of strategies, relying partly on Sudan’s feverish mining of gold, is being developed, as noted in the link below.

Background:
Latest Potential Pressure Points for Sudan

 

 

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SHELL MOVING OIL RIG TO ARCTIC

Greenpeace is following the movement of a Shell oil rig as it makes it way to the Arctic.  This newsletter has previously explored the potential negative impacts of drilling for oil in the Arctic and has advocated for making the Arctic a sanctuary.  The following link can be used join the movement to save the Arctic and/or to track the progress of the oil rig and Greenpeace ship.

Take Action / See Progress
https://www.savethearctic.org/en/live/info-box/

 

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
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Canada Ratifies the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Good news: Canada became the 91st State Party (and 19th NATO member) to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on March 16, 2015.  Its stockpiles were completely destroyed as of June 2014.
http://stopclustermunitions.org/en-gb/media/news/2015/canada-is-the-newest-state-party.aspx

 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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Do you need a new cell phone?

There are continual voices that lure us to buy the ‘next’, the biggest or the best. Green America has produced a simple one-page flowchart to remind us that buying a new phone is not simply a financial decision.  It has environmental implications from e-waste to the cost of producing yet more rare and precious minerals and other components.  Our newsletter has already highlighted that some of those costs also sometimes include the fueling of conflict and the maintenance of sweatshop labour.

http://www.greenamerica.org/PDF/2014gam98apr-may-fix-it-flow.pdf

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