Greener Times

Promoting a sustainable society…one day at a time.

GT for April 13 – 19

Posted by Trey Smith on April 12, 2009

Greener Times for the Week of April 13 – 19

Volume 3 No. 52

an e-publication for Greens anywhere and everywhere

Trey Smith – Publisher/Editor

Tom Herring, Duff Badgley & Maryrose Asher – Columnists

In This Week’s Issue
* Daydreaming Our Way to Shipwreck
* Greens Urge Amendment to Food Safety Bills
* Thoughts By the Way: Money? Don’t Bank on It!
* Our Climate Crisis: George Bush Was Easier
* Un-Spinning the Spin: Palestinian Land Day
* This Week in History
* Letters to the Editor
* Pencil Shavings: Three Solid Years & Counting
* News You May Have Missed

Daydreaming Our Way to Shipwreck
by Dave Lieth for Culture Change

We are like passengers on a great ocean liner utterly lost in the middle of a sea unknown — but we don’t quite recognize it yet. Indeed, over time our view across this watery expanse has become increasingly dimmed and distorted by a constant flow of “busyness” and “distractions.”

Our virtually unassailable crew and leaders from “first class” suggest the best way to maintain a preferably lopsided if not stable functioning of our ship requires our days to be filled with long periods of “productive” activity followed by shorter periods of idle amusement. So we continue to float amid the salt and water, riding the unpredictable current with a certain sense of resigned self-assurance that we’ll find our way soon enough, apparently oblivious to the ominous confluence of dangers that insidiously glimmer against a darkened horizon.

What makes this complacency about our predicament even more disturbing for a small fraction of us is that we are as well the chief navigator for many of the smaller ships around the world that are also currently at sea. And yet despite these troubling signals seen flickering forebodingly off in the distance by anyone who pays attention and displays any semblance of foresight, our crew and some of their friends in first class don’t seem too worried. Perhaps it’s because they have enough good food and accommodations to last themselves for quite some time — and besides, as they constantly propagandize to the rest of us, mainly through announcements over their megaphones that seem to be everywhere, “it’s just a temporary glitch in our navigational equipment, and while the seas can periodically offer a rough ride, it’s nothing we haven’t conquered before. Just stay busy maintaining the basic condition of the ship and everything will be fine. We’ll be back to shore before you know it, and on to new and rewarding adventures.”

Not surprisingly such reassurances are readily accepted by the great majority of passengers. Indeed most shipmates are too busy earning their keep and pacified by cute but relatively inane modes of self-gratification to effectively challenge the course and fanciful expectations set forth by the crew. And besides, the ocean liner itself is a pretty indestructible-looking and magnificent sight to behold, and virtually all previous voyages under our long-time mariner system have ultimately worked out pretty well for most. Nevertheless, there’s no denying that most voyages, including this one, have been much easier on the crew and passengers in first class, In fact, one small section of the ship is very fancy, a lot of bells and whistles, top-of-the line cabins, meals, cleaning services, and entertainment. The rest of the ship, though quite imposing by sheer size alone, is actually pretty prosaic; reasonably comfortable for most, yet for a portion in the “third class” section there aren’t even enough cots to sleep on, and the food has gotten pretty pedestrian, unhealthy, and even sparse in one area at the south end of the ship.

[Two Years Hence] During its preparations for this voyage the crew had decided to commission one of those nuclear-powered ships where refueling needs are much less frequent, and so the trip was supposed to be a real adventure — a full six-month excursion — but it has in fact now dragged on for what we think is a few years, although nobody seems to know for sure anymore. And the crew has still not been able to fix the navigational system, but they nevertheless remain inexplicably confident that they’ve now set the right course.

Meanwhile, over the past year or so, things have gotten a bit dicey, particularly for those passengers in second and third class. Remember those warning signals alluded to just a couple of years back? Well, the symptoms from such threats are starting to become more pronounced, and it’s not a pretty sight for many. First, to conserve fuel we’ve had to shut down the ships electricity use for second and third class passengers to only two hours a day. Second, some of the second class and most of the third class have had to survive on strict food and water rations. Third, we’ve had a baby boom on the ship, particularly from within the third class section, which has resulted in overcrowding and smaller rations. Fourth, even though the crew and leaders from first class have lied to us and displayed utter hubris and incompetence in their handling of this predicament, the rest of us aren’t even allowed to truly engage them in their decision-making and are instead told to get our information from their monopoly of daily megaphone announcements.

Fifth, we’ve suffered through a significant increase in storms, including narrowly missing a tidal wave, and rumor has it a crew member was overheard saying he’s pretty sure we just missed hitting a small island that used to be above sea level, which of course sent a chill down the spines of those on board with loved ones living along the coast back home. Sixth, leaks began to appear along the base of the ship starting about six months ago. The leaks have now increased in frequency to the point where a new one seems to appear about every two weeks, and it’s become harder and harder to fix them because it’s now impossible to get the water out that has collected over time. Interestingly an anonymous source, thought to be one of the ship’s sixteen engineers, suggested that the “leak problem” is the result of a structural defect that’s been downplayed by the crew and the ship’s owners for years.

Seventh, a “paper money system” has been used on the ship for a long time. This paper money is paid out primarily by the crew and first class for jobs done by passengers on the ship, and this allows passengers to make selections or purchases from a menu of “special privileges.” The crew charges passengers a tax on their labor to maintain the common areas on the ship. None of us ever thought much about where this paper money came from as long as we earned enough of it from our labor to afford some of our favorite “things” and “activities.” Unfortunately however, a select group of elite members from first class were years ago given the authority by our crew to create this paper money “out of thin air”, charge interest on this money that’s not really theirs, and collect that interest from our labor tax, as well as from “loans” given out to passengers (with money virtually all of which is not really theirs). In effect therefore, most of the passengers have been surreptitiously robbed by this elite group over many years. Ultimately, more and more of our labor tax is going to service our collective debt “owed” to this group, and as a result maintenance of the ship’s common areas and investment in new and sustainable infrastructure projects have become neglected to the point where passenger safety and ship durability are increasingly threatened.

Adding insult to injury, as it turns out this elite group has a penchant for poker, and as such it was recently discovered that they have gambled away our entire labor tax collected over the past three years. Furthermore, nobody seems to trust the lending system anymore, so these elites are now desperately creating more and more paper money to prevent the system from collapsing, which simply put further erodes the “real” value of our money by increasing the money supply. Thus, most passengers are now lucky if they can afford one special privilege a month, a pleasure they used to be able to indulge in two to three times per week.

Eighth, about three months ago our supplies of food, water, and “enriched uranium” (the fuel source that propels the ship) were even in worse shape than they are today. Apparently this resource shortage was serious enough that when we happened upon an off-course and much more modest-looking ship commissioned by a foreign land known for its high concentration of uranium, our crew immediately set course to intervene. Word has it from an inside source that this ship was so intimidated by our ocean liner’s high-powered artillery that they ultimately accepted a paltry sum for allowing us to board their ship and confiscate half of their uranium and half of their food and drinking water. Most of us didn’t feel a need to complain about what seemed to be a patently immoral act because our own well-being was enhanced by the encounter, and indeed many of our jobs depended on maintaining the ship’s massive artillery.

Finally, most of second and almost all of third class passengers have become increasingly angry. The great majority used to have more interesting jobs that provided a sense of accomplishment, such as painting beautiful designs on the decks and murals, as well as throughout the living quarters — but with supplies now exhausted they’re left with mainly just cleaning responsibilities, if they even have a job at all. In addition, most passengers used to have an increasing “standard of living,” but now even their basic privileges (e.g., taking showers, eating enough food) and modest pleasures (e.g., watching/listening to movies/music on DVD) have been greatly curtailed as a result of resource shortages. And moreover, what seems to provoke the most rage is that at the same time these second and third class passengers have significant austerity measures imposed on them, they see the crew and much of the first class engaged in sophisticated and very prestigious planning activities, while also still eating five star meals, living in posh cabins, and throwing lavish parties.

I’m now writing in my journal after what is believed to be over 1,000 days at sea, and what is currently transpiring on this ship is indeed frightening. There is still no indication that we are anywhere close to land. Our fuel source is so depleted now that the entire second and third class ship population only gets two hours per week of electricity, with the rest going towards propelling the ship in a direction we can only hope is correct (the crew and first class have not been rationed). Many are left dirty, hungry, and feeling destitute as a result. Our food and water supply is now so low that all the passengers except the crew and first class are provided very small rations: second class just enough to allow them to function well enough to get the manual labor done on the ship; third class just enough to try and keep them alive. Of course, a twenty percent increase in the ship population since we set sail has further hastened our depletion of resources, and an increased frequency and ferocity of storms has left a high number of passengers wet and cold for extended periods. A subset of passengers has formed radical clans that have recently carried out a series of attacks on the “paper money creators” and the megaphone system. In addition, the ship in which we had earlier confiscated much of their fuel and supplies has apparently been following us, and just the other day we stopped to see how they were holding up and discovered that over half their population had perished. Our crew told them, “we are sorry”, and then we just went on our way. Then there’s the matter of the leaks in the base of the ship, which have now gotten so bad that our repairs seem to no longer have any positive effects whatsoever. As a result, the ship has now become extremely heavy, uses much more fuel, and is increasingly prone to sinking. All told now, we have lost close to five percent of the ship population due to various infectious diseases, pneumonia, drowning after falling overboard during storms, starvation, and violent class and resource wars. And while our very survival is still unclear, it is now unequivocal that we are in the process of losing civilization as we have known it, with still no end in sight.

Early the next morning I find myself sitting in a barren corner of the ship, soaking up a rare moment of relaxation as the sun thankfully warms and soothes my damp and frazzled soul. I sense an alternate consciousness descending upon me as I ponder the reasons for how and why this chaos and burgeoning catastrophe came about. I ask myself a number of questions, and try to give honest answers.

Was the speed and fury of these turn of events understandably unexpected? Were we overcome by a wave of natural forces out of our control? Were we truly ignorant of the risks looking forward? I pause a moment… then I answer emphatically… NO, these are clearly not sufficient explanations for what has happened… Continuing to probe, I ask myself another series of questions: Were we simply narcissistic? Were we just plain oblivious? Were we wallowing in an age of cravenness? Did we sense the gravity of the situation and in response recoil into a state of denial? Were we lacking compassion for other living things outside of our own back yard? Did we deliberately disconnect ourselves from nature? Were we as a society simply unable to effectively react to pending hardship until it’s too late? Were we addicted to institutions whose very nature nurtured this budding calamity? Was our political and economic hierarchy literally driving us to destruction out of their own love of power and greed? After much thought and reflection, I’m forced to admit that yes, it was indeed a particularly pernicious combination of all of the above that surely must have led us to this day of despair and uncertainty.

At that very moment everything seemed to crystallize. I now realized that for quite some time there were simply not enough of us who either understood or cared to understand the full ramifications of the following realities: That our nonrenewable energy resources are finite; that we are approaching peak production and subsequent depletion of such resources, and that the consequences (e.g., food shortages) of not being adequately prepared to effectively transition to alternatives is potentially catastrophic. That some of our most precious natural resources (e.g., water) are subject to misuse and regional depletion, causing untold human misery. That man is causing the planet to warm, and is principally responsible for the dire environmental consequences that will result. That exponential growth in people and in the productive economy is mathematically unsustainable, and will ultimately create social chaos and ecological collapse. That the increasing gap between the haves and have nots is politically unviable and morally unconscionable. That mass propaganda delivered by a small fraction of wealthy owners over the public airwaves is not in the people’s interest. That paying interest to private bankers on money that isn’t really theirs is an uncivilized and mass swindle of the people. That our reliance on military might is fiscally irresponsible and morally unacceptable. And finally, that our political system is not living up to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but is in actuality an endangered civilization of the crew, by the first class, and for the rich and powerful.

Sitting silent and motionless in my lonely corner of the ship, I suddenly notice the bright sun has now given way to a menacing array of storm clouds as a gust of frigid mist scurries across the deck. A gnawing chill once again invades my flesh, and then an epiphany strikes me — our only hope to try and avoid an utter shipwreck is for me and many other shipmates to arouse enough of our fellow passengers to challenge the decision-making of the crew and first class. We must have the courage to force accountability… to change the tide of fate. Let us hope that enough of us can be awoken from our mass daydream in time.

Greens Urge Amendment to Food Safety Bills
Green Party leaders voiced concerns about the “Food Safety Modernization Act” (HR 875 and S 425) and, while supporting the goal of food safety and farm inspections, urged amendments in the bill to protect small and family farms, farmers’ markets, and organic farming.

“America needs national food safety guarantees in the age of genetic modification, misleading labeling, food-borne illnesses and contaminants, especially pesticides. But the ‘one size fits all’ approach of the bills endangers family farms and local, organic agriculture. Without amendments, the result of HR 875 and S 425 may be the demise of small farms and organic agriculture, increased profits and the expansion of giant agri-businesses,” said Nancy Allen, farmer and member of the Maine Green Independent Party.

“Rather than crushing protocols and penalties, we call for regulation that ensures food safety by working with family farms, farmers markets, and similar small businesses and promotes the selling of locally, organically, and sustainably grown produce,” Ms. Allen added.

Greens noted that the bills do not address the problems of the large corporate farms: poor working conditions, limitations on fast marketing because of large quantities of produce, long-distance markets, overuse of chemicals, petroleum dependence, and lack of quality, nutrition, taste, and freshness.

Recent breakdowns in food safety have been the result of major corporate farming practices that fail to control pathogens, because of indequate regulatory oversight caused by the influence of agricultural monopolies on state and national agencies responsible for protecting consumers. Greens said that all farms should be held to strict standards and undergo inspections, but warned that the cost of paperwork and oversight protocols would be prohibitive to small farms and would ultimately harm consumers if small farms were subjected to the same requirements as huge agribusiness farms.

The Green Party’s national platform advocates “legislation that assists new farmers and ranchers, that promotes widespread ownership to small and medium-sized farms and ranches, and that revitalizes and repopulates rural communities and promotes sustainable development and stewardship”.

For more information on the Food Safety bills and concerns about their effect on small farms, visit the Cornucopia Institute’s web pages: “Farmers Fear Being Run over by Food Safety Juggernaut” (April 2, 2009); Action Alert: Critical Pending Food Safety Legislation.

See also “Food Safety Hits the Fan: Regulatory Action, Inaction and Over-reaction and the Effects on Small Scale Growers” by Steve Gilman, Northeast Organic Farm Association – Interstate Council Policy Coordinator.

Thoughts By the Way: Money? Don’t Bank on It!
Tom Herring is a Community Council member on Vashon Island. Catch more of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

[Note: You may be saying to yourself, “Didn’t Tom write this column LAST week?”  Yes, he certainly  did.  However, because your intrepid editor can sometimes be a big doofus, he got mixed up and didn’t put in THIS week’s column.  Mea culpa.]

Money and health care are US disasters. Yet we have been conditioned to perceive the financial sector — banks, markets and insurance companies — as essential with the result that restorative efforts are only fiddle-tuning the system at great expense. The conditioning is bullet-proof because every material blessing we enjoy has been enabled by bank-issued credit. Or take something like that picture of the earth seen from the moon, nice, real nice, and it was paid for with 1960 dollars. Well, menwomen, we have been conditioned to believe that the derivatives market is essential to the good life. Right now as I am trying to do this column the television in the next room has an attractive pair of Wall Street groupies telling us that stocks are better than sliced bread, that all you need to do is understand how they work. Sure, and as stocks have evolved from an engine of progress to a house of marked cards we have bought in. As surely as mathematics has evolved from counting 1,2,3, credit default swaps have evolved from the first bank that loaned money. You may clean up the Security and Exchange Commission, reinstate Glass-Stiegel, open the proceedings of the Federal Reserve Board, even make Obama keep his words, but bank money will evolve a new strain of crooks. Not believe? Think that this administration will get us our country back? Better take some stronger hair conditioner into the shower, maybe it will keep you from getting scalped.

That’s one way to introduce a proposal. Another way would have been to mention that everything more complicated than a hoe is now made in China or will be soon. Work out the ramifications of that and you will get out of dollars fast. The proposal is that we re-form local communities on the basis of a currency that is not issued by banks and does not draw interest. It is possible with such a currency to issue credit because neighbors have to trust each other. I’m not making this up for such currencies exist, have existed in England, and are now available here. The objections people in my town put up are readily surmountable. The commonest is the litany of what the community currency cannot do. The answer to that is that it coexists with the dollar, somewhat like the black market did in the Soviet Union. The one serious obstacle is not voiced because it’s too deeply ingrained, it is the conditioning. Time will likely take care of that and not in a nice way.

Indulge now in a burst of optimism and consider health care in a community that has its own currency. This will be of a type called complementary which performs as sketched above. The complementary nature entitles each and every resident to credit up to a limit. The result is that a person who is down and out can walk into the clinic and get care without paper nor co-pay. That person accepts a commitment to pay premiums for healthcare which commitment can be met in any way the person can muster and at any time in the future. The idea is that if you can breathe you can contribute something to your community. That’s the economic part of the vision. There’s more, a subtle shift in the makeup of this healthcare. Because there is no profit motive, no HMO, the health care will naturally shift to include nutrition and herbal medications. This in turn naturally is part of a shift towards prevention of disease instead of insurance for having it. Breast cancer is out of control in this country because there is profit in surgery and drugs. Prevention? Worse than lack of research in prevention is government’s active support for the food industry which contaminates grocery shelves with long lists of added chemicals. The vision is clear, taking the profit out of money takes the profit out of health care which puts our health back into care.

Christopher Hayes will close for me with this quote from his short article on the bailouts in the current issue of The Nation. He is critical of those in the financial sector unsatisfied with their bailouts:

“But the money isn’t enough. The financial elites want public deference as well. So the White House finds itself attempting to squeeze into a vanishingly small political space between a restive, cynical, frustrated populace and a class of unapologetic entitled (they believe) and potentially destructive elites.”

Our Climate Crisis: George Bush Was Easier
Duff Badgley is the leader of the One Earth Climate Action Group and was a candidate for Governor as a Green in 2008. He can be reached at 206-283-0621.

George Bush was easier to recognize as a Climate Criminal than Washington governor Chris Gregoire is. But Bush and Gregoire share a common goal. Bush promoted, and Gregoire promotes, Business As Usual-making money wherever it is to be made, the Climate be damned.

Bush’s commitment to destroying our Livable Planet was transparent. Gregoire disguises herself in the neo-liberal cloak of ‘Climate Leadership’ while working hard to deliver our state and our planet into the hands of our worst polluters.

Buried deep inside this April 7 Seattle Times opinion piece from Gregoire, is this: “…a national cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases-a most effective and efficient way to reduce harmful emissions”.

Her climate criminality is exposed. Gregoire, and the zillions of neo-liberal carbon trading fanatics, know carbon trading cannot reduce ‘harmful emissions’. She and they know the primary function of carbon trading is to maintain and increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by allowing the worst polluters to keep polluting. She and they know carbon trading was invented specifically to keep Business-As-Usual running well, the climate and all Earth’s inhabitants be damned.

http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/010808EC.shtml
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/reinside/story?id=52713
http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandler/index.cfm?ID=6877&Method=Full

The rest of Gregoire’s article doesn’t matter much except to further expose her climate criminality.

She pumps biofuels: “Washington is home to entrepreneurs making biofuels with homegrown crops”. Gregoire continues to deny our best science showing all crop-based biofuels cause rainforest destruction and starvation.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/110636
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1152747
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/rapidpdf/1152747v1.pdf
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/science/earth/08wbiofuels.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7065061.stm

She pushes for increased car traffic on I-5, calling it the ‘Green Highway’. She denies that all cars-electric, gas guzzlers, compacts, hybrids-release 6-12 tons of CO2 during manufacture, before they ever hit the road. Promoting private vehicular traffic is outrageously irresponsible.

http://www.ae-plus.com/key%20topics/kt-emissions-news4.htm
http://www.channel4.com/4car/ft/feature/feature/8074/2

Please join us as we resist Chris Gregoire and work hard for dramatic and effective climate programs now.

Un-Spinning the Spin: Palestinian Land Day
Maryrose Asher is a former Chair of the Green Party of Washington State and a tireless activist of many causes.

Palestinians throughout the Middle East commemorated Land Day, known as Youm al-Ard in Arabic on March 30, 2009. This date is one of the most important on the Palestinian calendar and is sometimes referred to as Palestinians’ National Day, yet rarely attracts media attention.

Land Day came about due to an announcement by the Israeli government in February 1976 that 5,500 acres would be confiscated from the Palestinian villages in the Galilee, a large northern region which had come under Israeli control after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

In response, on March 30, 1976, the National Committee for the Defense of Arab Lands, representing the entire Palestinian population, called for a general strike and named it “Land Day.” This was the first major protest by Palestinians to repudiate the Israeli confiscation of their land for Jewish settlements and expansion, an ongoing practice since the establishment of the state of Israel in1948. In the Galilee, villagers clashed with the Israeli army resulting in the death of six Palestinians with 96 injured and over 300 arrested.

The general strike was considered a success as the Israeli government did temporarily back down on its decision to confiscate the Palestinian villages in the Galilee.
Classified as “closed military zones,” however, the land eventually was confiscated and used for illegal settlement expansion.

Land Day, however, helped shape the national identity of the Palestinians in their common desire to regain their lost land. Today Land Day symbolizes Palestinian frustration with the ongoing expropriation and unresolved claims to real property restitution.

Meron Benvenisti, an Israeli political scientist and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem from 1971-78, addresses the issue of Israeli land acquisition in an article titled “With all due respect for the ‘blue box.'” This article was published in Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, on May 29, 2007.

Benvenisti states that David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, sold “abandoned” Arab land to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) on January 27, 1949, a little over six months after he took office. This was not only improper but illegal as “even the laws that it [Israel] had enacted by then did not grant the state ownership of these lands.”

The impetus for Ben-Gurion’s transfer of land to the JNF was the UN General Assembly passage of Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948. Resolution 194 allowed the refugees to return to their homes and, if they chose not to return, to receive compensation.

According to Benvenisti, Ben-Gurion sold the land to the JNF as “he did not want Israel’s sovereignty to be sullied by matters that stank of illegality, deviation from international norms, and immorality.”

By this action, the voluntary purchase of land from Palestinian owners under the Mandate and the “redemption of lands” from the Israeli government were intentionally blurred. The lands of the uprooted Palestinians now became the land of the Jewish people. Under JNF leasing laws, which banned leasing land to non-Jews, discrimination between Jewish citizens and Palestinian citizens of Israel allowed for the confiscation (“purchase”) from uprooted fellow Palestinians.

With loss of their property, 700,000 Palestinian Muslims and Christians remained as refugees. The non-implementation of UN Resolution 194 has had a direct bearing on the Middle East crisis we see today. The owners have never received compensation.

Presently, 93% of Israel’s territory has been nationalized.

References:
With all due respect for the ‘blue box’ – Haaretz – Israel News
MIFTAH–Palestinian Land Day – Frequently Asked Questions
Palestinians remember Land Day, The National, 30 March 2009
Al-Ahram Weekly – Region – Anthology of bigotry

This Week in History
This Week in History, published by Carl Bunin and edited by Al Frank, is a collection designed to help us appreciate the fact that we are part of a rich history advocating peace and social justice. While the entries often focus on large and dramatic events there are so many smaller things done everyday to promote peace and justice. Find more info at http://www.peacebuttons.info/E-News/thisweek.htm.

April 13, 1962: Rachel Carson’s book indicting the pesticide industry, Silent Spring, was published. The scientist (17 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and writer demonstrated the connection between the excessive and ubiquitous use of DDT and its long-term effect on plants and animals. The impact of her book proved seminal to a new ecological awareness. But even 30 years later, Carson was denounced for “preservationist hysteria” and “bad science.” But she had said when the book was published: “We do not ask that all chemicals be abandoned. We ask moderation. We ask the use of other methods less harmful to our environment.”

April 16, 2000: Between 10,000 and 20,000 activists blockaded meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. Sitting down at intersections and locking arms to form human chains, the protesters were opposed to Bank and IMF policies that increased third-world indebtedness and did little to directly benefit the poor in those countries. “The World Bank is subjugating our economic and social independence,” Vineeta Gupta, a doctor from the Punjab in India, said in a letter he delivered to World Bank President James Wolfensohn at his home. “It is time that we shut the bank down, and this boycott is a great start.”

April 19, 1943: On the eve of Passover, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began when Nazi forces attempted to clear out the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, Poland, to send them to concentration camps. The Germans were met by unexpected gunfire from Jewish resistance fighters. The destruction of the ghetto had been ordered in February by SS Chief Heinrich Himmler: “An overall plan for the razing of the ghetto is to be submitted to me. In any case we must achieve the disappearance from sight of the living-space for 500,000 sub-humans (Untermenschen) that has existed up to now, but could never be suitable for Germans, and reduce the size of this city of millions-Warsaw-which has always been a center of corruption and revolt.”

Letters to the Editor
Got something you want to get off your chest? Did an article in a previous edition of Greener Times make you madder than a hornet or cause you to stand up to say, “Right on!”? Well, this space is reserved each week for your comments and opinions.

No letters received.

Pencil Shavings: Three Solid Years & Counting
Pencil Shavings appears in this space most weeks and solely represents the opinions of the publisher. If you’d like to read more of Trey’s ruminations, visit The Rambling Taoist.

With the next edition of GT, we begin our 4th year of publication. Over the past three years, we have not missed one week — something like 156 consecutive weeks. Despite tumults in GPoWS (which we’re no longer officially connected to), illness, electrical outages, computer issues and the like, GT has arrived in your in box every weekend.

This past year saw some very important changes. We added regular columnists Tom Herring, Duff Badgley and Maryrose Asher. Their hard hitting columns have transformed GT from an announcement-based publication into a more thought provoking one. While we still cover a wide swath of issues important to Greens, we’ve tried to place more emphasis on the environment, specifically climate change. Another major change is that we’ve launched the Greener Times website, so folks from anywhere in the world can now access GT.

So, what do you like about GT and what areas do you think we need to improve on? Do you have ideas as to new features we should include? Would you like to write for GT? Send in your comments and we’ll print them in a special section (with the exception of offers to write for GT which we’ll deal with privately).

I’ve been publishing an ezine like GT for 7 years. The first 4 years the publication was under the auspices of 2 different organizations in Oregon and now the last 3 years it’s been produced from Washington. It’s been an honor and a privilege the entire time. Your personal comments and letters to the editor are what keep me going. 🙂

News You May Have Missed

Do GM Crops Increase Yield? The Answer is No
Lies, damn lies, and the Monsanto website. Tell a lie a hundred times, and the chances are that it will eventually appear to be true. When it comes to genetically modified crops, Monsanto makes such an effort – and it could be that you too are duped into accepting their distortions as truth…

Consumption Dwarfs Population As Main Environmental Threat
It’s over-consumption, not population growth, that is the fundamental problem: By almost any measure, a small portion of the world’s people – those in the affluent, developed world – use up most of the Earth’s resources and produce most of its greenhouse gas emissions…

Bad Economy Holds Highway Deaths to 1960s Levels
U.S. highway deaths in 2008 fell to their lowest level in nearly 50 years, the latest government figures show, as the recession and $4 per gallon gas meant people drove less to save more. Safety experts said record-high seat-belt use, tighter enforcement of drunken driving laws and the work of advocacy groups that encourage safer driving habits contributed to the reduction in deaths…

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