Greener Times

Promoting a sustainable society…one day at a time.

Archive for November, 2009

Nov. 30 – Dec. 6

Posted by Trey Smith on November 29, 2009

Greener Times for the Week of November 30 – December 6
Volume 4 No. 33
an e-publication for Greens anywhere and everywhere

Greener Times Collective: Maryrose Asher, Duff Badgley, Tom Herring and Trey Smith (Editor)

In This Week’s Issue
* For Your Consideration…
* Thoughts By the Way: Local, Local & Local
* Our Climate Crisis: Bank of America & Chase Bank Are Climate Criminals
* From Where I Stand: Richard Curtis on Democratic Excuses
* This Week in History
* Pencil Shavings: In Defense of Pesticides?

For Your Consideration…
The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Sobering Update on the Science

Ahead of talks in Copenhagen, a group of leading climate scientists has issued a new report summarizing the most recent research findings from around the world and concluding that scientists have underestimated the pace and extent of global warming. The report — titled “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” — finds that in several key areas observed changes are outstripping the most recent projections by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warns that “there is a very high probability of the warming exceeding 2 °C unless global emissions peak and start to decline rapidly” within the next decade. The report points to dramatic declines in Arctic sea ice, recent measurements that show a large net loss of ice from both Greenland and Antarctica, and the relatively rapid rise in global sea levels…

Get Ready for the Obama/GOP Alliance
With Obama pushing a huge troop escalation in Afghanistan, history may well repeat itself with a vengeance. And it’s not just the apt comparison to LBJ, who destroyed his presidency on the battlefields of Vietnam with an escalation that delivered power to Nixon and the GOP. There’s another frightening parallel: Obama seems to be following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, who accomplished perhaps his single biggest legislative “triumph” – NAFTA – thanks to an alliance with Republicans that overcame strong Democratic and grassroots opposition…

Bailed-Out AIG Forcing Poor to Choose Between Running Water and Food
What are we getting in return for the bailout? So far, predatory credit card rates, exorbitant bank fees and obscene Wall Street bonuses. But we’re being robbed in other, sneakier ways, too. It seems that taxpayers in the poorest, most vulnerable parts of the county are getting plundered by the same institutions they bailed out. One example is AIG’s underhanded fleecing of residents of rural Kentucky…

Shock Over Obama Decision to Reject Landmine Ban
The Obama administration announced yesterday that it would not be joining a treaty signed by 158 other countries to ban landmines. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the decision “lacks vision, compassion, and basic common sense.” The group was also stunned by the manner in which the decision was apparently made and subsequently announced. Although anti-landmine activists and congressional leaders had been urging the administration to begin reviewing the treaty for months, Obama administration officials never indicated that it had even started the process…

Toxic Turf?
Champions of turf fields rave about their vivid green hue, easy maintenance, longevity and year-round availability. All of which has left old-fashioned grass virtually scoreless in the “real versus fake” debate. But underneath turf’s bright exterior lies a potential health threat that has led both state and federal government organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, to take a second look at the seemingly perfect surface…

Thoughts By the Way: Local, Local & Local
Tom Herring is a former Vashon Island Community Council member, but now chooses to sort nails in his shop. Catch more of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

When Tip O’Neall said ”all politics is local” he meant electoral politics, and today he’d be wrong because money has no locality. But if instead of nit-picking one goes to the heart of the man and what matters, then it will approach truism that local is everything. And so please welcome the new truism that in progressive politics the three most important words are local, local, and local. Proof? How about these two industrial strength travesties, the Senate health bill and the Administration’s proposal at Copenhagen? They’re the best that national politics can muster: throwing money at the insurance industry to cure a poisoned public, and admitting to the world that our government is straight out of the Land of Oz. It is put to you that an individual seeking to influence the government by joining, using, or following the guidance of, any kind of national organization, to use my wife’s Norwegian phrase, is a mouse pissing in the ocean. It is put to you that acting locally is not only your duty to family and neighbor but also creates the only hope of wresting our government from corporate control.

Breast cancer is addressed by mammogram, surgery, radiation, and chemo. If addressed locally, the first priority would be prevention.

Homeland Security is the advance corps of a police state. Its contract prison on the Tacoma tideflats incarcerates Mexicans. This has illegally expanded and continues to operate in spite of valiant effort by people like Ivy Rose Williams working in several groups. What is missing is action by the adjoining property owners.

Israel’s aggression towards Palestinians seems to grow daily in spite of opposition by many American Jews, and with collusion by Congress, e.g. voting to bury the Goldstone Report on war crime in Gaza. Here on decent, peaceful, Vashon some prominent Jews continue to support Israel regardless. Yet here is where a consensus is possible. In Congress finding consensus with AIPAC in the hallways is proving to be impossible. Every town in America needs its Jews and needs to reach a consensus.

My neighbor’s farmer uncle lost everything in 1929. He’d sold his crop and banked the money. Next morning the bank closed its doors. So long as Vashon relies entirely on the dollar we remain vulnerable. Listen to Dmitry Orlov, menwomen: Cultivate your community because when things go bad it will be all you have. How obvious can it get is how my chimes ring.

Some examples there. There will be no health care reform, there will be no serious US commitment to air carbon control, there will be no pull back from military bases on foreign soil, there will be no stop to criminal meddling in the affairs of Latin America. The airwaves are sewers. Congress is toast, dirty and useless. And the borderline between police and psychotic thugs is becoming indistinct.

I’ve been pounding the sticky keys on this keyboard for two years in an effort to convince my community to act locally in all matters of vital importance, health, welfare, security, all of it. Carelessly, I’ve called this circling the wagons and have been criticized for head hiding in sand, of protectionism. I’ve failed to make clear that the only way the public can influence national matters is by first finding local consensus. I’ve repeated the reasons why broken communities play into the hands of power. Maybe it’s the spilled coffee that makes these keys incoherent. Think about it, menwomen. Power now controls what most of us think is news. We solemnly nod when Obama says solemnly that he “intends to finish the job in Afghanistan”. High definition television is damnation by television. From cracker barrel to coffee shop to precinct to county to state, communal voices uncontaminated by network “news” are the only force shy of revolt that can overcome beltway and cloakroom control of America.

Our Climate Crisis: Bank of America & Chase Bank Are Climate Criminals
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.

“Every week, big coal is detonating the explosive equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb in the heart of America’s oldest mountains…”—The Daily Kos, 3/21/08

Both Bank of America and Chase Bank heavily finance mountaintop removal (MTR) for coal extraction. MTR has blown up more than 472 mountains in Appalachia, polluting rivers with over 100 million pounds of heavy metal. Local tap water runs orange and black from the contamination.

Both Bank of America and Chase Bank are top financiers of global oil and gas industries. Chase is the #1 corporate oil and gas financier, Bank of America is #3. (Bloomberg)

Both Bank of America and Chase Bank are top financiers of global coal industries. Chase is # 3 corporate coal financier in the U.S., Bank of America is #2. (Bloomberg)

Both Bank of America and Chase Bank are major global carbon traders. Pre-eminent climate scientist James Hansen calls carbon trading the “Temple of Doom” that is “a subterfuge allowing Business-As-Usual to continue”. Carbon trading guarantees upward spiraling greenhouse gas emissions.

Both Bank of America and Chase Bank lobby against strong climate policy. Both are members of the U.S. Council for International Business — the U.S. arm of the International Chamber of Commerce, one of the worst corporate lobbyists on climate issues.

Both Bank of America and Chase Bank played central roles in the subprime mortgage crisis (the cause of the current global recession). Chase heavily financed Countrywide Financial, the country’s top subprime lender. Bank of America heavily financed Countrywide, then bought it.

Do you bank with these banks? Stop.

Do you have branches of these banks near you. Protest them.

From Where I Stand: Richard Curtis on Democratic Excuses
“From Where I Stand” is a revolving column currently featuring the writings of Swaneagle Harijan and Dr. Richard Curtis. If you’d like to get in on the act and contribute to this feature, contact editor Trey Smith.

For those not following labor politics this year, some interesting things are afoot. The Washington State Labor Council has set up a PAC they call DIME (Don’t Invest In More Excuses). Big Labor is threatening to withhold support from Democratic candidates and perhaps even work to defeat them when they are on the wrong side of working people’s issues.

On the face of it this is a good thing, but don’t hope for much.

I personally contacted the political action director of the state labor council and he seems to be completely oblivious to any thought that would take him in the direction of doing more than begging more forcefully. This is Labor’s established role in the Democratic Party and even though the party really represents the interests of finance capital (see Michael Moore’s new movie, if this is not obvious to you yet) unions here, because they are not being led by people with a vision for the future, cannot see their way out of this dysfunctional relationship. They are clearly frustrated, and rightly so, but have no sense of political possibility and so cannot move beyond what their blinders allow.

Washington State Democratic Party Chair, Dwight Pelz told the Seattle Times, “I don’t think anybody in the labor movement would be served by Republican majorities in the [WA State] House or Senate.” Of course this is true, but why is it a Democrat or Republican issue? What about the Green Party? Sadly, that is not an issue for those who refuse to think.

The Seattle Times itself opined, “The revolt of organized labor within the state Democratic Party is a kamikaze effort that works against the interests of the Democratic Party and the workers of Washington State.” They are right, but not for their sniveling, “shill for the rulers” sort of reasons. The Times’ reasons have to do with what it calls “a competitive business environment” but that is just corporate lies for pitting workers against each other. It is also contrary to the basics of modern economic theory as developed by John Maynard Keynes, but that is to be expected from the brain dead members of the Times editorial board.

The real point is that this effort will fail because the state labor council is married to the Democratic Party and is incapable of thinking outside that box. This was the gist of my conversation with the people who make the decisions. They seem to be simply incapable of independent thought and so even when they do start to notice that the Democratic Party is really their enemy, as it is the enemy of all who support it and hope (irrationally) that it is on the side of moral decency, labor still thinks only in terms of two-party dictatorship.

But am I perhaps too pessimistic?


The tragedy here is this shortsightedness. In my email exchanges it did not even occur to the people who are supposed to think strategically about labor and politics that there is another approach other than begging. Well, I suppose there is. The Teamsters actually endorsed Reagan. It is hard to argue that the people who made that decision are allies to organized labor, even when (or perhaps especially when) they are the leaders of organized labor.

My own analysis is that the whole of our political life is dominated by Straussian politics. We think of the teachings of Strauss as applying to the Republicans because they endorse him directly, but the Democrats play the same game. What seems to confuse people is they do it with a different electoral base. So Republicans appeal to people who are culturally confused and economically deluded, and their social programs reflect the values of the most backward thinking people in society. The Democrats appeal to labor and similarly have a social program that appears to fit with that group. But both parties simply work for the capitalist class and pursue its imperial interests, doggedly. The social policy debate at home is just a diversion to keep us from noticing that there is nothing democratic about our system. Thus Obama has fulfilled an optimistically calculated 0.1% of his promises for change.

Labor plays this game and hopes that by begging for scraps that the Democratic Party will abandon its actual base (finance capital) – but it won’t and never has. Labor can learn from this and think and act independently or not, at our collective peril.

The Rev. Dr. Richard Curtis is a disgruntled member of the American Federation of Teachers, an educator and writer, currently teaching philosophy at Seattle Central Community College.

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

November 30, 1999: Tens of thousands of activists, students, union members and environmentalists demonstrating for global justice shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit in Seattle, Washington. Their slogan: “What are they trading away?” International media coverage ignored both the blockade and the police riot (and an enormous labor-sponsored rally and march), focusing instead on minor property damage committed by a few dozen self-described anarchists.

December 1, 1948: Following a brief but bloody civil war in 1948, Costa Rican President Jose Figueres helped draft a constitution that abolished the military and guaranteed free election with universal suffrage (all adult citizens can vote). Money not spent on a military allowed the country to adequately fund health care and education, yielding one of the highest literacy rates on the continent, ninety-six percent. This is judged to be a factor in the nation’s never having fallen prey to corruption, dictatorships, or the bloodshed that has marred the history of much of the region.

December 4, 1969: Pres. Richard Nixon, Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew and 40 U.S. governors embarked on a fact-finding mission to discover the causes of the generation gap. They viewed films of “simulated acid trips” and listened to hours of “anti-establishment rock music.”

Pencil Shavings: In Defense of Pesticides?
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.

According to a recent New York Times article,

When Michael Mack, the chief executive of Syngenta, a Swiss agribusiness giant that makes pesticides and seeds, hears people say that organic food is better for the planet, he has one response: “Au contraire.”

“Organic food is not only not better for the planet,” he said, in an interview at The New York Times building on Tuesday. “It is categorically worse.”

And why, pray tell, does Mack make such assertions? His reasoning sits on two points: 1) Organic farming utilizes more land than traditional farming for the same yield and 2) Pesticides aren’t harmful — if they were, they would be banned for use on US soils.

After picking myself up off the floor and regaining my composure from one of my biggest belly laughs of the year, the term “conflict of interest” immediately entered my mind. Of course, Mack would pan organic methods; if adopted the world over, it would put his carcinogenic empire out of business! He might have to sell three or four of his homes and maybe a yacht or two! Even worse, do they serve caviar in bread lines?

Needless to say, using the US Government’s shameless acceptance of a witches’ brew of pesticides for use in this country is a weak leg to stand on. Since most of the so-called regulations are written to satisfy agribusinesses like Mack’s, it’s quite apparent that potential big dollar campaign contributions are vastly more important than trivial things LIKE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.

To read the article, go here.


Posted in Greener Times | Comments Off on Nov. 30 – Dec. 6

November 23 – 29

Posted by Trey Smith on November 21, 2009

Greener Times for the Week of November 23 – 29
Volume 4 No. 32
an e-publication for Greens anywhere and everywhere

Greener Times Collective: Maryrose Asher, Duff Badgley, Tom Herring and Trey Smith (Editor)

In This Week’s Issue
* For Your Consideration…
* Thoughts By the Way: Ft. Hood
* Our Climate Crisis: Fear Cripples Us
* From Where I Stand: Swaneagle Harijan on Big Mountain – Struggle Continues
* This Week in History
* Letters to the Editor
* Pencil Shavings: Missing the Point

For Your Consideration…
Everything You Know About Going Green Is Wrong

What if that brand new Prius is worse for the environment than a 1995 Chevy Suburban, despite getting 38 more miles to the gallon? What if that sirloin, shipped to the steakhouse from a newly deforested pasture in the Amazon, means less to the global climate than a hill of individually wrapped jellybeans? What if using that old avocado-green clothes washer turned out to be better for the environment than the brand new Energy Star model? These are the types of thoughts one thinks after reading two recent reports by Joshuah Stolaroff, who could do far more to turn “going green” on its head than your average faceless bureaucrat…

Apocalypse Fatigue: Losing the Public on Climate Change
Last month, the Pew Research Center released its latest poll of public attitudes on global warming. On its face, the news was not good: Belief that global warming is occurring had declined from 71 percent in April of 2008 to 56 percent in October — an astonishing drop in just 18 months. The belief that global warming is human-caused declined from 47 percent to 36 percent. While some pollsters questioned these numbers, the Pew statistics are consistent with the findings by Gallup in March that public concern about global warming had declined, that the number of Americans who believed that news about global warming was exaggerated had increased, and that the number of Americans who believed that the effects of global warming had already begun had declined…

US Home Foreclosures at Record High as Jobs Crisis Deepens
The number of home loans in the US that are either in foreclosure or at least one payment past due reached one in seven last month, a record high, according to a survey released Thursday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The survey found that nearly 10 percent of mortgage holders were at least one payment behind on their mortgages, while 4.47 percent of were in foreclosure. Both of these are the highest figures on records dating back to 1972. About 7 million households are behind on payments or in foreclosure. These figures present just one indicator of the worsening conditions facing US workers caught up in the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression…

Behind the Mammogram Controversy
As luck would have it, I had my first mammogram right before the new federal guidelines appeared stating that women my age might as well skip the whole thing for another decade. Like most women my age, I know too many people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to be cavalier about the possibility. And while I didn’t relish the idea of getting “squished,” I felt like I was being good by overcoming my dread of the whole topic–not to mention the desire to avoid a misdiagnosis or, worse, bad news–and going in for my appointment…

Increase In GM Crops Leads to Jump in Herbicide Use
The widespread use of genetically modified crops engineered to tolerate herbicides has led to a sharp increase of the chemicals in the U.S. and is creating herbicide-resistant “super weeds” and an increase in chemical residues in U.S. food, according to a new report. As more farmers have adopted variations of corn, soy beans, and cotton bred to tolerate weed killer in recent years, the use of herbicides has increased steadily, with herbicide use growing by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008…

Thoughts By the Way: Ft. Hood
Tom Herring is a former Vashon Island Community Council member, but now chooses to sort nails in his shop. Catch more of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

I’ve just read an analysis by Webster Tarpley of the Ft. Hood shooting. It is well written and got by my baloney and polemic detectors. It concludes that two other soldiers did most of the shooting, that Major Hasan was a patsy, and that the shooting was arranged by a rogue network within the Military in order to whip up hatred of Moslems. In onionspeak, the two top layers say that one, Moslems are bad, and that two, Hasan was a bad Moslem. Hawk and dove there. Layer three is this false flag over Texas: Hasan, a boozing and whoring veneer Moslem was given a pass and kept in the Military — even advanced — for use as patsy some day. I bought it.

Indeed Tarpley strains belief, but I argue that as a people our faith machinery is broken and that we’d damn well better believe: I’ll try to make the point that our failure to face the implications of 9/11 guarantees that we will be unable to face climate change, a hornet’s nest in South Asia, economic breakdown, and a Homeland Security gone rogue – a short list. I’ll try that again: government involvement in 9/11 was too awful to believe, and that is essentially what we face now – we face the end of everything we have known but do not believe it is going to happen.

So here again in short is what we know but do not believe. There’s already enough carbon in the air to continue, and to tip, warming. There are babies in Fallujah with extra heads and missing limbs. The US military is playing amateur chess with nuclear-armed pieces in South Asia. Rogue elements run the government, torture randomly to keep us compliant, and are throwing us into confusion. We are the most aggressive nation on Earth.

In addition to venting my panic as in that paragraph I try to stick to the point. Faced with horror too horrible to believe we nod yes we know but cannot bring ourselves to believe. Denial, yes, although I’m trying to stuff a bag labeled belief. Denial is dreary. Belief is magical.

My own path to believing anything disqualifies me. In chronological order: Congregational, Quaker, Ethical Culture, Southern Methodist, Christian Science, Unitarian, and Lutheran. But these encounters taught me less than a half hour on Interstate 210 in 1963. I’d red-eyed into LA International, gotten into my 1961 VW convertible and headed for Mt Baldy. Shortly into the drive panic hit me and for the next half hour I was acutely aware of imminent death. The next day I’d forgotten all about it. I understand that the “firewall” one employs driving on a freeway is essential. I conclude that in addition to a freeway firewall I have one against religion. My firewall against believing that my teenage granddaughters should not have children is down for the count.

If as a people we were to believe what we know then we would make a religion of gathering together locally to draw from each other the strength to do the best we can to care for the less fortunate in the hard times to come.

Our Climate Crisis: Fear Cripples Us
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.

“Somehow, it’s more terrifying for any of us to face down a cop than it is to contemplate the total destruction of our earthly eco-system.”—Mickey Z., oped news, 3/23/09

Fear cripples us. It rules our personal lives. It dominates our religions, our government, our laws, our industry, our schools, our universities, our journalism, our activism. Fear is the reason we pay 50 cents of every tax dollar to our murderous military. Fear makes the United States into the planet-killing brute we are.

Nowhere does fear rule more viciously than in the activist community.

I met an activist recently on my travels who had the courage to admit her fear. She told me she had been arrested before and didn’t like the experience of “the police state”. She also said others were supporting my efforts at recruiting for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience (NVCD), but not risking arrest themselves, out of “shame”. Shame in this context is fear once removed, or sublimated fear.

Fair enough. In acknowledging her fear, this person is pretty far along the ‘arrestable’ continuum that stretches from Never-Will-Risk-Arrest to Frequently-Will-Risk-Arrest. This person showed courage in admitting her fear. And courage fights fear.

Much closer to Never-Will-Risk-Arrest are other activists who simply deny their fear and criticize a particular NVCD strategy as sending the “wrong message”. ‘Messaging’ can cover a lot of activist asses. ‘Messaging’ so often tries to bury fear in a blur of clever words.

So, how to fight fear? How to inject courage to risk arrest — our single most potent tool in our struggle against Business-As-Usual — in those who might be wavering toward NVCD?

Power of personal example? Maybe. We’ll try again on N30. Wish us luck with the cops. Or. Much better, join us. It’s numbers of arrestees that will crumble Business-As-Usual and give our Livable Planet a chance.

From Where I Stand: Swaneagle Harijan on Big Mountain – Struggle Continues
“From Where I Stand” is a revolving column currently featuring the writings of Swaneagle Harijan and Dr. Richard Curtis. If you’d like to get in on the act and contribute to this feature, contact editor Trey Smith.

I woke at 4 am. I am preparing to go to Big Mountain during the Thanksgiving work week that has been organized for many years now by Black Mesa Indigenous Support volunteers. I have not been on a caravan to Big Mountain since we organized an amazing first in 1985 that arrived at the survival camp in time for the Spring Gathering. It included a U-Haul filled with food and clothing donations. This was an unprecedented collaboration with AIM and Hippies from the mountains of northeastern Washington, Olympia organizers, non-Indian allies and many who joined along the way. The memories from that journey are priceless. Many who participated have passed on. May the story be told….

The optimism charging that long ago effort has been worn down by the ongoing reality of serious struggle silenced even by fellow activists. The resistance of traditional Native Americans is the longest and most ignored stand for sacred land and against long-term resource extraction on the north and south of this continent. Such is the deeply rooted stubborn legacy of racist colonialism. It is a mental and physical illness I strive to address not only among my own people, but in myself as well. Changing such generational behaviors is difficult, yet essential.

To advocate for the silenced is to take on a lifetime of self-educating that includes systematic dismantling of my own inbred racism. Few seem to be willing to dismantle the privilege and sacrifice involved in facing what most white people continue maintaining. I have witnessed over the years how most drop the quest for justice like the hot potato it is. Oh, bloody, painful heart of genocide that burns one to the very soul…

It is no easy task to follow through to completion the sacred duty involved in addressing the comforts enjoyed overwhelmingly by the invader nations who control, still, this country and it’s wealth. I am ashamed of my people, even my precious Hippie people who populate the hills and valleys where organic food has a foothold. I see denial infecting all of us as the situation grows ever bleaker for our fragile planet and the coming generations. We, who had the chance to act with full, strong conscience, have failed. We can’t even stand strongly against the warped hybrid war-into-global-genocide that stains all our hands with the blood of innocents.

Isolation is lethal and it is one of the most effective tools of divide and conquer available. Thanks to the judgments of privilege perpetrated by those whose fear prevents strong, committed and powerful action, we are a nation known globally as in disagreement with genocide, yet failing miserably to do a thing about it.

So, it is with this heart heavy for many years now, that I embark on a journey. I have not seen Pauline since December of 2004. Her sheepherder Owen called in September leaving a message from her and asking me to join in this effort. I planned accordingly.

I have been laboring intensely to care for my youngest who has also been a recipient of hateful racism. It has taken us 3 years to find a home after leaving the mountains where we lived for most of her life when the bigotry, economics and family tragedy forced us out. To live in the dominant society with children forces one to conform to it’s destructiveness in order to eat. At least working as I do gardening, cleaning houses and cooking allows more of my beliefs to remain intact, but it’s capitulation to capitalism, nonetheless. I feel the pull within my entire being to the lands of Big Mountain/Black Mesa, to the borderlands, to Mexico, to Juarez, to Chiapas, to the places where the most silenced caretakers of earth never stop defending ancient ways of life. To lose these ways is to the peril of all life, all of us, everything.

The vital energy I once had as I realized the importance of the struggle of traditional Dine and Hopi has decreased due to exhaustion, age and the lack of mass response. Too many just shrug and say they thought it was over, that relocation never really happened. The issue perhaps never grabbed hearts like mine was and is. So I see hearts must awaken when they do and I simply must continue as I am able. Finally, I can make this journey for a very short time to support Pauline Whitesinger, my life’s greatest teacher in her lifetime opposition to Peabody coal and her defense of sacred land and life.

My daughter is almost on her own. When I am fully able to devote myself to the justice that must be done, I will be 60 years old hands, back, legs, gnarled with hard labor. My heart feels ageless driving me to carry out whatever instructions come through in the quest for peace and justice due emerging generations.

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

November 23, 1170 BCE: The first recorded strike took place in Egypt when necropolis workers who had not been paid for their work in more than two months sat down and refused to work until they were paid and able to eat.

November 24, 1859: British naturalist Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which explained his theory of evolution. The basis for the theory is natural selection, the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable (genetically based) physical or behavioral traits. Such changes allow an organism to better adapt to its environment and help it survive and have more offspring. Evolution is now universally accepted among scientists, and is the organizing principle upon which modern biological and related sciences are based.

November 26, 1968: The U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution against capital punishment following an official report which said, “Examination of the number of murders before and after the abolition of the death penalty does not support the theory that capital punishment has a unique deterrent effect.”

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.

The Seattle school board still seems hell-bent on cutting down the trees at Ingraham High School a 30 acre campus, plastered with sports facilities and parking lots.

You may send comments regarding this to the public resource center at:
City of Seattle
The Department of Planning & Development, Tamara Garrett
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124
Contact Us at: 206-684-8467 or Email: or for more info or go to
~ Marjorie ~

Pencil Shavings: Missing the Point
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.

In today’s lead article in GT, Everything You Know About Going Green Is Wrong, we’re told that “the stuff we buy and the packaging that comes with the stuff we buy represent our biggest contribution to global warming.” I’ve read numerous articles of this nature which attempt to argue that this or that human activity is responsible for the biggest chunk of our carbon footprint.

To be quite candid, I find that most of these reports seem to be missing the overall point. Who really cares which activity is rated #1, #2, or #10? Taken in totality, we humans are taking too much out of the environment without giving enough back. Consequently, we need to rethink and re-prioritize EVERYTHING, not simply one or two aspects of how we live.

We need to drive less frequently and less distance. We need to learn to reuse and recycle. We need to learn to desire less “stuff”. We need to move away from a meat-based diet and to quit developing genetically-modified produce. And we need to learn how to reinvent a society that walks lightly upon the earth. It’s not going to happen by changing one or two behaviors. Every aspect of our lives needs to be on the table.

Posted in Greener Times | Comments Off on November 23 – 29