Welcome to the Saturday, October 18, 2008 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!
In this issue we will continue our efforts with Darfur and focus on some of the innovative efforts to broaden and deepen a constituency, not simply for Darfur but also for fighting genocide in general. There are also again issues that highlight the environment. But first it would be amiss not to say a few words about the global financial crisis.
______________________________________________________GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
The global financial crisis has hit with a vengeance since the last email. Because these emails are largely constrained to web-based actions as opposed to a broad discussion of issues - as desirable as that would be - this is simply not the proper forum of exploration for this massive issue. There already has been and I'm sure will continue to be much dissection of these dynamics. I will simply raise a couple of points that initially come from pondering this issue in light of the "Well-being of all."
Those affected by the first dominoes to fall - the U.S. mortgage crisis - have already in many cases had dreams and lives shattered, family relations frayed, and so on. At the other end - the last dominoes likely to fall - I am reading several reports that ponder how eventually the bottom billion of the world will likely be affected. For sure we live in a highly interrelated world. And while on my website it is clear that Well-being cannot be equated with material wealth, it often impinges on several facets. But moving beyond questions about volition, varying senses of obscenity given how over a trillion dollars can suddenly be made available, and so on, I find myself wondering what blind spots could have been so pervasive, and hoping primarily against hope (since power generally protects its position) that somehow our sense of human nature and its shaping of well-being might mature through this, and find more solid expressions in the way we structure ourselves.
______________________________________________________GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS -- REFORM U.S. AID
World Food Day occurred a few days ago. Over the past year global food programs have been hit by the dramatic rise in oil prices, climate change effects, the change to ethanol-based fuel which took needed basic crops out of the food system, and now the financial squeeze. While recognizing that food aid only deals with symptoms, and that to reduce poverty requires the more robust principles of international development, nonetheless keeping people fed and alive during a crisis will continue to be necessary response.
The following action for U.S. citizens highlights that while donations of money will continue to be needed, part of getting more aid delivered in a timely fashion involves reform of the mechanisms involved. Specifically in this case, the US foreign aid system is slow, bureaucratic, and fragmented. Built almost 50 years ago in response to the Cold War, it needs to be faster, more flexible and more efficient. Right now there's a measure in the House that could move the system in the right direction. If you agree, there is an action by Oxfam to help support momentum for its passage.
Background and Action:
Email U.S. Congress
______________________________________________________DARFUR: MULTIMEDIA CONTEST
This email tries to highlight innovative and diverse efforts that engage people. Global Solutions is centering their 2008 Multimedia contest on Darfur. They are looking for short multimedia pieces (flash animation, spoken word, digital video) that "can inspire, amuse and activate people out there who believe that a better world is possible." The contest is open to everyone of any country. So get your creative juices flowing and also send this contest idea to others. The cash prize is up to $2000. Deadline is November 10, 2008.
New Report Cites Arms Coming From Over 30 Countries
As a sample topic, Human Rights First just released an exhaustive report that details how despite the Arms Embargo, that Sudan, including Darfur, is receiving both small and large arms. It includes 12 countries that admit to selling arms directly (such as China and Russia); and also 24 countries who did not volunteer or know the information (such as the U.S., Britain, Australia, Germany, Sweden) and would include arms made in the country but shipped via a third party.
See: Over 30 Countries Risk Violating the Darfur Arms Embargo
______________________________________________________DARFUR AND GENOCIDE
The Genocide Intervention Network is offering the Carl Wilkens Fellowship (honouring the name of the only American who remained in Rwanda during the genocide). The Fellowship is a selective year-long, part-time program that aims to give a diverse set of individuals at every level of experience the tools and resources to build sustained political will to end genocide. This program is designed to accommodate the schedules of busy people with full-time personal and professional commitments. It includes a $1500 stipend.
This initiative is another example of innovative thinking about building a constituency that can advance our basic global dynamics. If you are an American citizen, please give it serious thought, whether for yourself or someone else. But don't delay as the application deadline may soon close.
Details and Application Instructions:
______________________________________________________DARFUR AND NEXT US PRESIDENT
Both US presidential candidates have committed themselves to action on Darfur, if elected. The following action is being prepared to reinforce that there is a large constituency wanting them to follow through when they take office. Due to the international concern and multi-lateral dynamics needed, this action is open to all countries.
Help Send One Million Postcards:
______________________________________________________OPPORTUNITY TO SAVE FORESTS
Did you know that a forest the size of 20 football fields is lost EVERY MINUTE to paper production? For several years Co-Op America has been working with the magazine industry to get it to use recycled paper in its publications. Of course eventually all publications may someday be sent electronically, but this initiative can reduce their impact until we live in such a world. The Co-Op has a well established set of steps to help publishers make that transition. If you subscribe to a magazine, give them the following link and let them know you want them to change. I have included a second link in case you want to receive one of the 100 or so magazines that has already switched.
Steps for Publishers (regardless of country):
______________________________________________________CALL TO BAN TOXIC PESTICIDE
The U.S. EPA opened a public comment period regarding the pesticide Endosulfan. The European Union and other countries have already banned it, as less dangerous alternatives are available. While the pesticide is not universally considered to pose a threat, the United Farm Workers have created the following petition to sign believing prudence is warranted, especially since their constituency is the front line of any effect. If you want to take action, please note it requires immediate action.
Sign petition (Note Immediate deadline is Monday October 20)
UWAA: This endeavour is being placed under the overall rubric of "Until Well-being is Achieved for All."
Volunteers Needed: If you can provide one hour per week or month, tracking down concrete actions to help strengthen this effort, please click the UWAA Reply button below, and add a Subject Line: “UWAA: Edit” and place any comments in the body. Diverse perspectives especially welcome.
Want to get these actions sent directly to your email address? If so, then click the UWAA Subscribe button below, add a Subject Line: “UWAA: Subscribe”; You can also optionally place any additional comments in the body.