Yes, you can make a difference!

I received the newsletter (copied below) from the good people at Food and Water Watch – a watchdog site in the USA that enable people like you and me to make a difference on matters that concern us – safe food and water for the generations to come as well as ourselves. Being an “armchair acitivist” is easier with the internet, however it still takes an effort and requires us to pay attention, to read relevant information and to not become so overwhelmed that we feel as though it’s all too much and we then give up. That’s why I love sites like Food and Water Watch and Avaaz – they encourage and allow me to make a difference without becoming overwhelmed, I don’t give up and I can make a difference, so can you!

Let’s keep on doing it – together WE DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

FOOD AND WATER WATCH NEWSLETTER

As I prepare to share Thanksgiving with my family this year, I’ve been thinking about the many things I am truly thankful for, and you’re at the top of the list. Thank you for all that you do to protect your food and water.

When I started Food & Water Watch just seven years ago, I knew that we would face many challenges, and I could only hope that our then-tiny organization would be able to tackle them. Now, seven years later, while the challenges are still great, I am confident that thanks to our nearly 80 staff around the world, and half a million dedicated supporters like you, we can truly stand up and fight back to protect our essential resources.

The power of you and your neighbors working together has shown us throughout this past year that we can take on the corporate control of our food and water, and together we can win.

From shutting down Walmart’s support lines asking them not to carry genetically engineered sweet corn to helping Longmont, Colorado, become the first city in the state to ban fracking, you’ve shown both politicians and corporations that together we are strong and committed to fighting for what’s right. Additionally, supporters like you have helped us move our work forward on the state and federal level by:

  • Taking over 1 million actions online, from asking state legislators for fracking bans to demanding that the FDA investigate pet food-related deaths
  • Making nearly 40,000 phone calls to local, state, federal and corporate decision-makers
  • Hosting over 350 events in communities all across the U.S., from film screenings and activist meetups to rallies and petition deliveries

As a result of all of this amazing work, we’ve shared many victories that our organizers are very excited to celebrate with you in the coming month. But, before we begin discussing all of the things we’ve accomplished, I wanted to take a moment and recognize the people who made our victories possible. It’s people like you, from Maine to California, who work tirelessly alongside our organizers to help advance our goals. You don’t do it for personal recognition, or money, but because you believe, like I do, that we must fight for the kind of world we want and not just settle for the best that we can get.

You inspire me every day, and help me see the incredible future that lies ahead for our movement. In fact, it was you that I had in mind when I wrote my latest book, Foodopoly, which is being released in December. You and I know that the food system is broken, and it didn’t happen by accident. A handful of corporations now control most of the food on store shelves, and we aren’t going to be able to shop our way out of this system.

I have often said that I wish I could thank each of you in person, and as I travel around the country in 2013 for my book tour, I hope that I will have the opportunity to meet many of you. But in the meantime, during a season that is predicated on giving thanks, I can think of nothing else that I am more thankful for than your involvement with Food & Water Watch, and nothing that I look forward to more than working with you in the coming years.

Thank you from all of us,

Wenonah Hauter
Executive Director
Food & Water Watch
act(at)fwwatch(dot)org

Another Referendum

We have another referendum approaching and we have the opportunity to make our opinions count. I have always felt that it is important to vote. There have been times when I truly wonder whether it really makes any difference to vote, the same policies seem to be in place no matter which of the parties get in however I will not give in to disinterest or frustration, I will always exercise my right to vote no matter how disillusioned I feel.

If everybody who really feels disenfranchised were to become engaged and vote then perhaps things would finally change – I live in hope!

I have copied here a blog piece by John Perkins, writer of The Economic Hitman, I think it’s worth a read.

Ireland’s Referendum- an Opportunity for Change

On May 31 Ireland will put the EU’s new treaty for fiscal discipline to a referendum, giving Irish voters a chance to overturn this controversial agreement. The crisis in Ireland is symbolic of ones facing many European countries, as well as the United States, and is a direct outgrowth of policies implemented against developing countries when I was an economic hit man (EHM). The upcoming decision by Irish citizens is a harbinger for other countries around the world, as well as crucial to Ireland’s financial future.

If voters agree to sign this treaty for fiscal discipline, it will obligate Ireland to run low government deficits and maintain drastically reduced levels of public debt; in other words, the country will be forced to implement even stricter austerity measures on its already beleaguered citizens. It is important to remember that Dublin accepted international aid in 2010 in order to deal with a huge budget deficit brought on by the previous government’s pledge to bail out Irish banks for billions of dollars in bad loans. The Irish Government has been “asset stripping” –selling off public resources, including gas from the west coast, utilities, and forests in attempts to reduce the debt. This is an old tactic that was perfected by economic hit men in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s. Many Irish are vehemently protesting such acts and are opposed to signing the EU treaty, declaring them a loss of sovereignty for a nation that fought a bloody battle for full independence less than a century ago.

The Awaken Ireland Movement is an example of an approach aimed at empowering the people to create a different future, bringing the people together in a community-based grassroots movement to share information on viable alternatives and to encourage conversations towards a vision for a better future. The challenge will be to base the movement on formulating realistic solutions at local levels in ways that respect differences and allow a voice for the many. Austerity measures are killing the European economy. Not surprisingly Goldman Sachs and other investment organizations are at the root of the problem; they are strategically staffing Europe’s government and the Central Bank with hard-hearted investment bankers more interested in the concerns of the financial sector than those of the people. These ex-European Commissioners and former central bankers are helping the banks gain access to those in power.

Peace – still all we want

I am reading a bok by John Perkins – The Economic Hitman and so recently I signed up to his newsletter. This is the most recent newsletter andI felt the urge to share it…

Peace

I’m in Istanbul, a city that has seen its share of war. Today Turkey is greatly impacted by the violence in Iraq and Syria and the turmoil over Iran; yet this country is a leading negotiator for peace. I hope you’ll read the below on the topic of peace.

Aggression Begets Aggression

By John Perkins

In our present state and based on the world’s past history we know that aggression only begets more aggression. War creates more war.  Terrorists do not dream as children of becoming terrorists. As we hear the drumbeat of our current US leaders for more “intervention”, I can’t help but think of the line in Catch-22 – the satirical novel of war – “Open your eyes. . . It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.” (Chapter 12, pg. 133-134)

And I think of my friend, Kiman Lucas, Executive Director of Clear Path International – http://www.cpi.org ,  a non-profit that works to restore the dignity and self-sufficiency of conflict survivors in many countries. Kiman recently traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia; she wrote:

“ I believe any future in our world must be based on the rule of law, respect and empathy for each other and a tolerance and appreciation for our differences.  But fundamentally, we need to stop glorifying our tribal pasts — whether they are what you think of as colonial masterminding or what I think of as tribal divisiveness.  I do not want to bring the world back to the glorious conquering days of the colonial powers any more than I want to bring the world back to the headhunting days of the Shuar. 

It may serve our egos to remember the good ole days of our own people’s triumphs, but it also serves to perpetuate the myth that aggression is honorable.  Perhaps it will be “female” thinking – based on nurturing rather than killing – that can bring the people of this world together to stand up for what is right and to recognize that the “enemy” has always been the ideas we have about the other, not the other.”

Nurturing peace, planting seeds of harmony, wisdom, co-existence and respect for all is the only way to preserve a future that will be different for our children. Repeating the mistakes of the past and arming ourselves with bigger and better weapons only provides new anguish to those who are the targets of those weapons –  children, villages, women and men who, just like us, are trying to do the best for their offspring. When we cut out all other options of human existence and rely only on aggression to solve our problems, we become the PROBLEM.

Today think of one way you can sow peace in your community and watch it bloom worldwide. Take at least one action for peace every single day.

END 

John

John Perkins

New York Times bestselling author

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Hoodwinked
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
The Secret History of the American Empire
Shapeshifting
The World Is As You Dream It
Psychonavigation
The Stress-Free Habit
Spirit of the Shuar

Health and Contentment

It’s the end of December and so the next calendar year is almost upon us. For me the new year really begins at Winter Solstice and I am already enjoying the lengthening of the winter days. We are having a wet and warm Christmas season in Ireland, quite a change from last year’s extreme winter weather and a welcome change for most people I think.

 

I have to admit I really enjoyed last years cold and bright Christmas and I miss the cheer of the snow, this year didn’t feel as festive to me and I have to also admit that I am becoming very tired of the mud that the almost constant rain has brought around my door.

Despite the unseasonal warmth (warmest Irish Christmas on record apparently) we still need to keep our fire lit. I have spent the last hour in the timeless chore of cutting kindling, emptying the ashes from our small stove and laying down the fire-start, I am sure every stove owner has their own way of setting the fire-start depending on what fuel they burn. We burn a mixture of peat briquettes and our own white-thorn wood, cut from the overgrown hedge earlier in the year. My partner and I even have our own ways of setting the briquettes, kindling and paper to start the fire and each is equally successful.

Some days my favourite part of starting the fire is cutting the kindling. At the moment we have a few wood-piles lying between the sitting room and the kitchen in our new house. We have a pile of saw-mill cut timber there which we have used for framing the walls, this pile is dwindling as we run out of wall framing timber (because happily it is in the walls) and the pile of cut-offs has grown. Some of the cut-offs will still be used in various jobs about the house however some pieces are destined to become kindling.

Every few days on of us goes out and picks a piece of wood that looks unsuitable for anything but kindling and we chop it up with our small axe. The chopping block is currently in the bathroom, incidentally that’s also where this year’s Christmas tree is. Doesn’t everyone keep their Christmas tree in the bathroom? Perhaps not. Our tree actually consists of a few Pine boughs that I cut the day before Christmas Eve and tied in a decorative fashion to a framing timber on the wall. I then decorated these with our small stash of Christmas decorations, I couldn’t find the stored box of decorations from last year so it was a bit improvised, none the less it is very pretty.

So the bathroom is very central to our activities this Christmas. The chopping block is a 2foot length of wood, 9x3inches, a cut-off of a roof beam. I enjoy chopping kindling. You really need to focus as your fingers are never far from the axe blade when you make that first incision that grips the piece of wood before you proceed to split it by hammering both the wood and the axe together down on the chopping block. It’s a very satisfying job, mark, split, gather the pieces into a basket.

Ever since axes have been used people have performed this task of making kindling for the fire. Perhaps it is the time of year that made me think of the generations of people, across the world, that tend to the cooking or winter fires, to warm and feed their families. Gathering and cutting firewood in some places or cutting turf, drying it and bringing it home as generations of Irish people have done over the centuries. Storing the winter fuel to keep it dry, ensuring it is not too far from the door especially in snowy or wet winters. For some people now the fire is no longer a necessity, whether or not it is essential the hearth has still a special place in many homes.

 

   Now at the turn of the year I wish you

  the warmth of a brightly burning fire

  as these lengthening winter days pass.

  I wish for you health and contentment in the coming year.