"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."
-- Jim Scheppke and Scott Bassett firstname.lastname@example.org 503-269-1559
"The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can't win."
For the full article, go to: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/the-tragedy-of-the-american-military/383516/
Thank you, to those who have donated. Your commitment and generosity are very much appreciated.
To those who haven't yet donated, remember, these funds will be used to grow our program and increase our relationships with farmers, ultimately leading to harvesting more fresh produce. Please be generous in this season of giving to help feed our community.
All donations are tax-deductible and our matching challenge ends on December 31, so give today. Checks can be mailed to Salem Harvest, PO Box 483, Salem, Oregon 97308 –OR- click this link for PayPal donations.
Best Wishes for a Happy New Year,
To feed the hungry by harvesting food that would go to waste
Reply-To: Beth Butler, Board President <LeadSafe@Me.com>
I just ran a quick check on our numbers:
If you intended to, but have not yet made your end-of-year contribution in support of our work, please donate today to help us meet this goal. Everyone who gives something before the end of the year will also get free lead paint test kits sent to them with their thank you letter!
- $17,181.00 - Amount raised in the last two weeks from 24 friends! Thank you, friends!
- $20,698.67 - Amount left to raise by December 31st at midnight to meet our end of year goal, so we can keep helping families in 2015!
- 16,000+ - Families we have helped so far in 2014 with free information, free soil or consumer goods toxicity testing, free lead-paint test kits or direct emergency support.
- 7,382 - People following our film's page on Facebook as of today!
- 395 - Number of entries so far in our FREE holiday raffle! Did you enter yet? Just four days left to win a Speedheater™ Infrared Paint Remover, Grand Prize Package from Eco-Strip, LLC - (value more than $800!) or a Naturepedic organic crib mattress Grand Prize Package (value more than $600!) Click HERE to enter.
- 28 - Hours until film editor/writer/director extraordinaire, Justin Weinstein arrives in Portland, Oregon to help us get started on the final phase of editing for our documentary film MisLEAD!
As Lead Safe America is a 501(c)3 nonprofit donations are tax-deductible and any amount is always welcome. Our most commonly received donation is $25, although the average donation amount over the last two weeks has been $715! Today is also great day to make that $150 donation to become a Neighborhood Partner (and Monday we'll send you $809.46 in free lead-test kits (54 two-swab kits) to give away to families in your community - we have enough kits left for FOUR more neighbhorhood partners this year!) Click HERE for more ways to give to help us reach our goal.
Have a terrific holiday season.
Lead Safe America Foundation
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To deny the impact of dairy and livestock production on climate change is to deny climate change. The facts, as summarized in a recent study from The Royal Institute's Chatham House, are as clear (and depressing) as they've ever been. For consumers concerned with anthropocentric global warming, they force us to face a difficult reality, one that neither food writers nor leading environmentalists, perhaps fearing backlash, will fully reveal: We must radically alter our diets—by eliminating conventional animal products, ideally—to mitigate the Earth's destruction. If we fail to do so, our legacy will be as a species that destroyed itself with its gluttonous palate.
An estimated 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions currently derive from animal products—that's more than the greenhouse gas emissions linked to all forms of transportation. Livestock is the world's single largest source of global methane and nitrous oxide emissions—emissions that are far more potent and enduring than carbon dioxide. Beef and dairy products deserve the lion's share of the blame, accounting for 65 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions deriving from livestock—the emissions per unit of protein of beef are 150 times higher than that for soy. In addition, the production of meat and dairy is a leading cause of deforestation, with dense nodes of biodiversity being bulldozed for grazing and feed production. And about 75 percent of the world's arable land is used to raise animals we eat. None of this even wades into the issue of water.
As if these figures aren't alarming enough on their own, it's the projections that should really stop us in our tracks. Global demand for meat and dairy is poised to grow exponentially. China, of course, leads the way. But estimates for places such as Indonesia, Russia, Argentina, and India also project unexpectedly sharp rates of increase (in some cases by a factor of six) between 2011 and 2021. The authors of the Chatham House study estimate that, by 2050, the global consumption of meat and dairy will rise by 76 percent and 65 percent, respectively (compared to a 2005-07 baseline). In other words, if Western countries continue to eat the way we now eat—lots of meat and dairy—and developing countries order what we're having, methane and nitrous oxide emissions would more than double by 2055. And if this happens, you can pretty much wipe every other climate change initiative off the table.
International leaders are doing virtually nothing to address this situation. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has "overlooked livestock" while the freshly-minted Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (launched in September 2014 at the U.N. Climate Summit) mentions reducing agricultural emissions but says nothing specific about livestock or dairy per se.
Livestock and dairy are marginal concerns at best for nations articulating climate change reduction strategies. Among the 40 developed countries participating in UNFCCC, only two (France and Bulgaria) have a target set for livestock-related emissions. Developing countries are even worse, with only Brazil (out of 55 nations) stating mitigation standards for livestock specifically. Mocking even the lip service that's paid to the problem, governments are actually encouraging meat and dairy consumption through generous livestock subsidies. OECD nations doled out $53 billion in such support in 2013.
Environmental organizations and food writers have also done little to address the connection between climate and the consumption of animal products. Nobody, of course, likes to be told how to eat. But we don't mind having our outrage stoked from time to time. Thus donor organizations are far more comfortable confronting whalers on the high seas or getting arrested protesting pipeline projects than they are serving up the bad dietary news to their carnivorously inclined memberships.
Food writers likewise swap reality for fantasy by advising concerned consumers to eat local, or organic, or pasture-raised non-industrial alternatives. The irony, as this report reiterates, is that, "Intensive rearing of cattle on feedlots is less emissions-intensive than pasture-based grazing systems because grass-fed cows tend to produce more methane and take longer to reach slaughter weight." Others simply toss around red herrings through article after article after article about such peripheral matters as the water required to grow almonds. Almonds are not going to ruin the planet.
Agricultural economists like to highlight the ameliorative impacts of technology, but supply-side solutions hold little promise for tempering the looming threat posed by meat and dairy consumption. There's no doubt that technologically driven efficiencies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of production. However, the authors of the Chatham House report warn of a "rebound effect"—that is, an effect whereby increasing efficiency of production drives down costs and increases demand, thereby offsetting whatever greenhouse gas reduction technology is created in the first place. They elaborate:
Estimates indicate that shifting all livestock farming to the least emissions-intensive production practices available within a particular region or agro-ecological zone could offer emissions reductions of 32 per cent at current output levels. This would be a remarkable achievement, but not enough to offset rising demand for meat and dairy products: livestock emissions would continue on an upward trajectory.
Despite being savvy consumers of information, we have a notable ability to hear what we want to hear, exclude what we want to exclude, and eat what we want to eat. Just as we perceive ourselves to have a "right to know our food" we also seem to value a right to eat whatever we want to eat. That attitude has contributed to habits of consumption that are stunningly destructive to our health, the welfare of animals, and the planet. The danger of our culinary libertarianism—one that's for more entrenched in the developed world and in the United States the most—has fostered a gluttony that harms ourselves and the planet at once.
It's unlikely that the United States will be leading the way toward dietary reform. The fact is, we may be too far gone. Every year individual Americans eat about 600 pounds of milk, yogurt, and ice cream; 30 pounds of cheese; and around 240 pounds of meat. Only beef consumption shows signs of decreasing. All other meat and dairy items are on a sharp upward trajectory—for example, we only ate seven pounds of cheese a year in 1970. Given that the primary drivers of food choice are taste and price—not ecological impact—these trends seem unlikely to change anytime soon.
But the Chatham House report ends on a note of optimism. The study uncovered a large "awareness gap" on the impact of meat and dairy on climate change. Interestingly, it found that Americans were significantly less likely than Brazilians or the Chinese to accept a connection between human behavior and climate change. It also found that those who recognized the connection were more willing to alter their diets to mitigate its effects.
The surveys that reached these conclusions were the first of their kind. They stress that consumer-driven amelioration is possible. But they also stress that the more addicted we become to meat and dairy, the less likely we are to see them as a problem. And the more likely we are to eat in a way that either denies or ignores climate change.Shared via my feedly reader
From: Salem Harvest <email@example.com>
Date: December 9, 2014 at 12:59:41 PST
Subject: Matching Grant Opportunity for Salem Harvest
We have Great News! Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers and crop donors, we harvested FOUR TIMES as much food this year as we did last year — an amazing 293,754 pounds! And we are still just scratching the surface. However, to harvest this much we had to stretch our resources far beyond anything we had expected.
Then this week, as we began figuring out how we could possibly harvest more produce in 2015, we got a timely telephone call. A private foundation was so excited by what we had accomplished that they called to make an unsolicited proposal: They are challenging Salem Harvest and its supporters to match up to $10,000 in donations by December 31, 2014. That is, for every dollar we raise to harvest more unused food next year, they will contribute one additional dollar.
If you make a tax-deductible contribution, it will help us reduce hunger in our community at an even higher level. And remember, a $25 contribution becomes $50 and $100 becomes $200, so dig deep and let's harvest all $10,000 that they are willing to match! But the deadline is just a few weeks away so please donate now.
Click here to use a credit card via PayPal or to use a PayPal account -OR- send a check, postmarked by December 31st, to:
P.O. Box 483
Salem, OR 97308
Thank you in advance,
Salem Harvest Board of Directors
P.S. Let's use social media to maximize this opportunity! Please share the message from Salem Harvest's Facebook page on your timeline. Or, post a note of your own on your page telling friends how successful your season with Salem Harvest was and how they can donate to support a cause you're so passionate about.
Crossposted from Veris Wealth Partners
More than a decade ago, my colleagues and I at The Democracy Collaborative began using a term for a new kind of economic development – Community Wealth Building. For years, the term was so uncommon that it almost invariably appeared within quotation marks when used.
Today, a Google search identifies 124,000 entries and is growing daily.
In Richmond, VA, the Mayor recently established the first City-government Office of Community Wealth Building. Community wealth initiatives have been launched in cities as different as Cleveland, OH, Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA and Amarillo, TX. Regional Federal Reserve Banks are hosting video webinars and meetings. Even the extractive fracking industry — yes, you read that right — is now working to co-opt the term to improve its image.
So let us pause for a moment to ask: What is community wealth building and why is it important?
My colleague Marjorie Kelly, author of Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution, writes that:
When families possess assets — valuable skills, social networks, a home, some savings, an ownership stake in a business — they enjoy greater resilience, and are better able to withstand occasional shocks like unemployment or illness. They can plan for their future, send a child to college, feel secure in retirement. A job may start or stop. It is assets, of various kinds, that yield greater stability and security. As this is true of families, it is also true of communities. Jobs may be drawn into a community, but then leave without warning. And if attracting jobs means degrading community assets — through pollution, low-wage jobs, or the loss of tax income through excessive tax breaks — a seeming gain can in fact represent a net loss.
If traditional economic development tends to be about attracting industry to a community, building wealth is instead about using under-utilized local assets to make a community more vibrant. It's about developing assets in such a way that the wealth stays local. And the aim is helping families and communities control their own economic destiny.
This is community wealth building: a fast-growing economic development movement that strengthens our communities through broader democratic ownership and control of business and jobs. It builds on local talents, capacities and institutions, rebuilding capital to strengthen and create locally-owned family and community owned businesses that are anchored in place, that aren't moving.
The community wealth building field includes a broad range of models and innovations that have been steadily growing power over the past 30 years or more: cooperatives, employee-owned companies, social enterprise, land trusts, family businesses, community development financial institutions and banks, and more. One powerful team of local partners are anchor institutions, like hospitals and universities. They are often the largest economic drivers in their communities. Increasingly they see the synergy between restoring local health and wealth with their success.
These strategies reverse the focus on "chasing companies to relocate to my city." All too often this includes greater tax breaks and lower wages for companies that may well relocate again for a better offer in another community. Community wealth, on the other hand, is tied to place. The people who own and control the businesses live there.
These structures and models are part of a growing system that aims at improving the ability of communities and individuals to:
Significantly strengthening and growing local capital is critical.
Veris and other advisors play a critical role in furthering community-based impact investing.
The overall economic impact of place-based, community wealth building strategies is evident. More than 10 million employees own all or part of 10,900 companies through employee stock ownership plans (ESOPS) — firms that employees finance and increasingly own through pension contributions. These ESOPs have generated equity benefits of $870 billion for their employee-owners. Cooperatives, according to a 2009 University of Wisconsin study, now operate 73,000 places of business throughout the United States, own $3 trillion in assets, employ 857,000 people, and generate over $500 billion in revenue for their member-owners. The new "go local/sustainable" business and food movement is exploding.
Political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz, a co-founder of The Democracy Collaborative, often asks audiences this question when he lectures: "If you don't like state socialism and you don't like corporate capitalism, what kind of system do you want?" Community wealth building begins to point to some of the essential elements of a more just, equitable and sustainable system.
The great political question of our age is what to do about corporate power. It's time we answered it.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 8th December 2014
Does this sometimes feel like a country under enemy occupation? Do you wonder why the demands of so much of the electorate seldom translate into policy? Why the Labour Party, like other former parties of the left, seems incapable of offering effective opposition to market fundamentalism, let alone proposing coherent alternatives? Do you wonder why those who want a kind and decent and just world, in which both human beings and other living creatures are protected, so often appear to find themselves confronting the entire political establishment?
If so, you have already encountered corporate power. It is the corrupting influence that prevents parties from connecting with the public, distorts spending and tax decisions and limits the scope of democracy. It helps to explain the otherwise inexplicable: the creeping privatisation of health and education, hated by almost all voters; the private finance initiative, which has left public services with unpayable debts(1,2); the replacement of the civil service with companies distinguished only by their incompetence(3); the failure to re-regulate the banks and to collect tax; the war on the natural world; the scrapping of the safeguards that protect us from exploitation; above all the severe limitation of political choice in a nation crying out for alternatives.
There are many ways in which it operates, but perhaps the most obvious is through our unreformed political funding system, which permits big business and multimillionaires effectively to buy political parties. Once a party is obliged to them, it needs little reminder of where its interests lie. Fear and favour rule.
And if they fail? Well, there are other means. Before the last election, a radical firebrand said this about the lobbying industry(4): "It is the next big scandal waiting to happen … an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money. … secret corporate lobbying, like the expenses scandal, goes to the heart of why people are so fed up with politics." That, of course, was David Cameron, and he's since ensured that the scandal continues. His lobbying act restricts the activities of charities and trade unions, but imposes no meaningful restraint on corporations(5).
Ministers and civil servants know that if they keep faith with corporations while in office they will be assured of lucrative directorships in retirement. Dave Hartnett, who, as head of the government's tax collection agency HMRC, oversaw some highly controversial deals with companies like Vodafone and Goldman Sachs(6,7), apparently excusing them from much of the tax they seemed to owe, now works for Deloitte, which advises companies like Vodafone on their tax affairs(8). As head of HMRC he met one Deloitte partner 48 times(9).
Corporations have also been empowered by the globalisation of decision-making. As powers but not representation shift to the global level, multinational business and its lobbyists fill the political gap. When everything has been globalised except our consent, we are vulnerable to decisions made outside the democratic sphere.
The key political question of our age, by which you can judge the intent of all political parties, is what to do about corporate power. This is the question, perennially neglected within both politics and the media, that this week's series of articles will attempt to address. I think there are some obvious first steps.
A sound political funding system would be based on membership fees. Each party would be able to charge the same fixed fee for annual membership (perhaps £30 or £50). It would receive matching funding from the state as a multiple of its membership receipts. No other sources of income would be permitted. As well as getting the dirty money out of politics, this would force political parties to reconnect with the people, to raise their membership. It will cost less than the money wasted on corporate welfare every day.
All lobbying should be transparent. Any meeting between those who are paid to influence opinion (this could include political commentators like myself) and ministers, advisers or civil servants in government should be recorded, and the transcript made publicly available. The corporate lobby groups that pose as thinktanks should be obliged to reveal who funds them before appearing on the broadcast media(10,11), and if the identity of one of their funders is relevant to the issue they are discussing, it should be mentioned on air.
Any company supplying public services would be subject to freedom of information laws (there would be an exception for matters deemed commercially confidential by the information commissioner). Gagging contracts would be made illegal, in the private as well as the public sector (with the same exemption for commercial confidentiality). Ministers and top officials should be forbidden from taking jobs in the sectors they were charged with regulating.
But we should also think of digging deeper. Is it not time we reviewed the remarkable gift we have granted to companies in the form of limited liability? It socialises the risks which would otherwise be carried by a company's owners and directors, exempting them from the costs of the debts they incur or the disasters they cause, and encouraging them to engage in the kind of reckless behaviour that caused the financial crisis. Should the wealthy authors of the crisis, like Fred Goodwin or Matt Ridley, not have incurred a financial penalty of their own?
We should look at how we might democratise the undemocratic institutions of global governance, as I outlined in my book The Age of Consent(12). This could involve the dismantling of the World Bank and the IMF, which are governed without a semblance of democracy, and cause more crises than they solve, and their replacement with a body rather like the international clearing union designed by John Maynard Keynes in the 1940s, whose purpose was to prevent excessive trade surpluses and deficits from forming, and therefore international debt from accumulating.
Instead of treaties brokered in opaque meetings between diplomats and transnational capital (of the kind now working towards a Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership), which threaten democracy, the sovereignty of parliaments and the principle of equality before the law, we should demand a set of global fair trade rules, to which multinational companies would be subject, losing their licence to trade if they break them. Above all perhaps, we need a directly elected world parliament, whose purpose would be to hold other global bodies to account. In other words, instead of only responding to an agenda set by corporations, we must propose an agenda of our own.
This is not only about politicians, it is also about us. Corporate power has shut down our imagination, persuading us that there is no alternative to market fundamentalism, and that "market" is a reasonable description of a state-endorsed corporate oligarchy. We have been persuaded that we have power only as consumers, that citizenship is an anachronism, that changing the world is either impossible or best effected by buying a different brand of biscuits.
Corporate power now lives within us. Confronting it means shaking off the manacles it has imposed on our minds.
Neil Young starts Starbucks boycott over GMO suitRolling Stone - Neil Young is seeking a new source for his daily latte. The rocker announced on his website this week that he's boycotting Starbucks over the coffee company's involvement in a lawsuit against the state of Vermont's new requirements to label genetically modified ingredients.
"I used to line up and get my latte everyday, but yesterday was my last one," Young wrote. "Starbucks has teamed up with Monsanto to sue Vermont, and stop accurate food labeling."
Vermont passed a law last spring that requires all food products containing GMOs to be labeled as such by July 1, 2016, with the exception of dairy products, meat, alcohol and food served in restaurants. Shortly afterward, four food industry organizations filed a lawsuit against the state that challenged the law's constitutionality...
"Monsanto might not care what we think -- but as a public-facing company, Starbucks does," Young wrote. "If we can generate enough attention, we can push Starbucks to withdraw its support for the lawsuit, and then pressure other companies to do the same."
"Considering that Starbucks has been progressive on LGBT and labor issues in the past, it's disappointing that it is working with the biggest villain of them all, Monsanto," he continued.
"There's much more at stake here than just whether GMO foods will be labeled in a single U.S. state. Vermont is the very first state in the U.S. to require labeling. Dozens of other states have said that they will follow this path -- in order to encourage this, we need to ensure that Vermont's law stands strong."
CARO: It wasn't only those papers. There are other collections of papers. I found a memo that showed how Moses used public works to create and wield power. To us, a public work—a bridge, let's say—is a transportation device. To Robert Moses, a bridge was also a source of power. Every aspect of it was a source of power. For example, there was no terrorism then; the Triborough Bridge was not going to fall down. There's no risk. Whoever got to write the insurance policies on the structure would make a lot of money. So Moses would parcel out the policies to politicians who were insurance brokers on the basis of how many votes they controlled in Albany. I found memos in the Moses file that said just that: Jim Roe [a Democratic boss in Queens] has twelve votes in Albany. Give him 18 percent of the insurance premiums. So-and-so controls three votes. Give him 4 percent of the premiums. That sort of thing.
I read this Harper's Magazine article on Zinio and would like to share it with you!
Jan 19, 2008: LOVESalem reaches the web, bringing a vitally needed message to Oregon's capital city: We must Oregon-ize to put the needs of people before the needs of cars. This requires that we live our environmental values -- that we LOVE (Live Our Values Environmentally) Salem -- by working to stop the Sprawl Machine.
The Sprawl Machine is a ravenous beast that feeds on green space, close-in neighborhoods, and property taxes and that excretes monstrous, ugly road projects that pollute the air, increase mortality and morbidity, promote climate change, weaken families and neighborhoods, and help weaken the social fabric and civic participation.
The Sprawl Machine works by constantly luring its prey with promises that the problems created by cars can be addressed by doing more of the same -- building more lanes, more bridges, consuming ever more money. In other words, the Sprawl Machine promises that we can keep doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result this time.
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