Link Loving 31.01.11

January 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • The Economist notices something nobody else seems to have noticed.
  • Alex Wood says it’s time to take Marx beyond Marxism.
  • Guy Shrubsole applies the lessons from Common Cause to a new report on Tradable Energy Quotas.
  • This story just won’t die, will it Big Oil?
  • Duncan Green is not impressed by the treasury’s plans for food and farming.
  • Niki Seth-Smith is a big fan of Spinwatch’s short film on what’s being planned for the NHS. Me too.
  • Paul Krugman does something we don’t often see.
  • Rob Safar helps you think through your next protest. And has a great story from Norfolk.
  • Erik Assadourian identifies the first five Millennium Consumption Goals. I like number 4 especially.
  • Colum Lynch announces the Madeleine Awards, awarded for the best use of a fashion accessory as a political statement for a politician. (After Madeleine Albright’s famed use of wasps, snakes and golden angels.)

Living Downstream

January 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Based on the acclaimed book by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Living Downstream looks set to be a powerful documentary. It follows Sandra during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links, and struggling to cope with her own illness.

What strikes me as particularly interesting in this film, is the strong links it builds between environment and health – laying the foundations for an environmental human rights movement that doesn’t see itself as putting either people or planet about the other. Rather, seeing that we can’t protect one without protecting the other.

Link Loving 30.01.11

January 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • New campaign to pressure police to stop spying on activists.
  • Phillip Pullman‘s speech to a packed local meeting in Oxford gets published for all to enjoy.
  • The great journalism story of 2010 – how the Wikileaks papers were released by the NYT, Der Spiegel and The Guardian. Fascinating.
  • Which US State is bad at what? The United States of Shame.
  • Mary Dejevsky asks us to stop looking at national borders as unchangeable.
  • I finally read the latest tour de force by Johann Hari. ‘When gay kids feel safe, they can learn.’
  • George Lakoff identifies the new Obama narrative – and it’s all about competitiveness.
  • Will Straw looks at Britain – beyond shareholder capitalism.
  • Corby Kummer asks us to give Wal*Mart a chance. Hummmm…
  • Anarch*ish* introduces us to the game of kettling. Sounds like fun.

The Warriors of Qiugang

January 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

This short film is nominated for an Oscar – and for good reason.

You should watch this if;

  • you are a campaigner or an environmentalist
  • you’re interested in China (or like me, trying to understand it a bit better)
  • you want to learn about leadership
  • you want a story about courage, collective power, education, technology, corruption, and justice.

The film follows the journey of a village over three years – as it’s villagers face the pollution of a nearby chemicals factory which kills their crops, kills everything in the water, and kills their village as cancer ravages the community. The village lives in fear of corporate violence and is ignored by the state, but slowly, slowly – leadership emerges and breakthroughs happen.

I’m not ashamed to say that this made me very emotional. My campaigning work – with safety assured, free speech encouraged, a salary to take home – pales into nothingness next to what these people do.

Or better yet – watch the film in higher quality here.

As Zhang says at the end of his trip to Beijing to unite with others from around China – “Long live the good people.”

Link Loving 29.01.11

January 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • NY Times reports how the 2014 Winter Olympics is borrowing from the (much more exciting) X Games.
  • Can you do nothing for two minutes? Harder than it looks.
  • George Lakoff on the new centrism and it’s discontents. Absolutely fantastic as always.
  • TechPresident discovers a world of joy with the Roving Republican Response Squad.
  • StrangeMaps finds another classic – Europe’s many midpoints.
  • Natalya Sverjensky smells a fish. And it smells of oil-industry-funded-scientist-getting-outed.
  • Tom Ford argues gay men are better fashion designers. Have I missed my calling?!
  • So British. A blog dedicated to all the small shops called Mr Something – Mr Computer, Mr Clean etc etc.

This Disaster Is Still Unfolding

January 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Naomi Klein describes herself as ‘polarising’ on twitter, and she certainly is that. This TED talk should make sense to everyone, however. It’s a fantastic look at what real impacts the BP oil disaster are still having in the Gulf of Mexico – and what it reveals about our thinking.

Some stand-out points;

  • the problem is not so much technological, as it is cultural
  • the ecosystem damage starts at the bottom of the food chain
  • the climate prediction scenarios which are most dominant in the political discussion are set by economists, not scientists
  • we are no longer in a period of business as usual – we’re already in an age of ‘extreme energy’

But most importantly – this talk focuses on the power of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, particularly the underlying assumptions of limitlessness. And the point is – this is how civilisations commit suicide.

And if the section on tar sands makes you fill with rage – get involved with the UK Tar Sands Network.

We Are An Adaptable Species

January 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

A beautiful video from Carl Sagan for you to enjoy.

h/t Adrian

Remembering David Kato

January 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

My former Avaaz colleague Emma Ruby-Sachs has written this piece on HuffPo about murdered Ugandan gay-rights activist David Kato. This man, who stood so bravely for the rights of LGBTQ people, had only weeks ago won an injunction against the magazine that had listed him among the ‘100 Top Homos‘ in a piece with the title ‘Hang Them’. The Guardian carries an article remembering David, while the New York Times explains why Uganda seems to be the front line of the African struggle for gay rights.

Uganda seems to be on the front lines of this battle. Conservative Christian groups that espouse antigay beliefs have made great headway in this country and wield considerable influence. Uganda’s minister of ethics and integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, who describes himself as a devout Christian, has said, “Homosexuals can forget about human rights.”

I honour the man who faced hatred with courage, and stoop up for what he knew was right.

“I have tasted freedom. I will not give up that which I have tasted. I have a lot more to drink.”

Harvey Milk, gay-rights leader

Link Loving 28.01.11

January 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • Michele Simon on why the Happy Meal is a crime – and not just a culinary one.
  • NY Times debates whether college makes you smarter. I’m guessing yes. But maybe that proves me wrong?
  • Atif Imtiaz wants to talk. And read Wordsworth.
  • Gerry Hassan asks if it’s time to stop pretending Parliament has any power?
  • Mariano Aguirre argues that 2011 is the year we transition towards a new global order. (Short version: power is moving from east to west and from unipolar to multipolar. But you already knew that.)
  • Access Now launches new campaign on freedom on online speech. And has pretty interactive maps.
  • Andrew Neil reveals the true state of British meritocracy.
  • David Lammy on his legal hero – Sir Sydney Kentridge.
  • Reuters reports that the UN is to ramp up climate change talks in 2011.

COP16 In Two Minutes

January 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Explaining what happens at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties is difficult at the best of times. Journalists, Civil Society organisations and governments struggle to translate the technical language of international climate policy into understandable public information. Young people can help distill the essence of the negotiations – and sometimes into video form.

In this example, the fantastic delegation from the UK Youth Climate Coalition have summarised the COP16 Cancun talks in this short clip. Surprisingly and depressingly accurate.

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