The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Scaling to 46 years, humans have been here 4 hours, the industrial revolution began 1 minute ago, and in that time we’ve destroyed more than half the world’s forests.
—  Greenpeace

Colorado rolling out 30 new tests to regulate marijuana industry

(Gazette) Medical and retail marijuana dispensaries in Colorado will receive about 30 new rules related to almost every aspect of their businesses.

The state Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) released the new rules Thursday. They change such things as the start-up licensing fees, and rules for cultivation, production, edibles, sales, employee training and product testing. Right down to a hand-washing requirement.

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Green movement embracing more radical tactics as desperation grows: Organizers say climate change crisis narrowing divisions between traditional green groups, reformist factions 

Hundreds of thousands of people marched recently in the biggest climate-related demonstration ever. The slogan of the march: “To change everything, we need everyone.”

A day later hundreds of people were arrested in downtown Manhattan for blocking traffic as part of the Flood Wall Street demonstration. The protesters’ slogan: “Stop capitalism. End the climate crisis.”

The two events, within 24 hours of each other and just a few miles apart, juxtaposed what have been two factions in the larger climate movement. The climate march highlighted the big-tent approach to organizing. Groups with widely differing and often conflicting ideals came together to broadcast a message that climate change is important — which they accomplished — but offered few solutions.\

Photo credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

By: Peter Moskowitz

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Right now something called the “Umbrella Revolution” is happening in Hong Kong. It’s called this because protesters have taken to using umbrellas as shields against tear gas and other crowd-control styled weaponry.

I don’t want to comment on the political motivation behind the protest because I don’t really know much about it but I think it’s important to stress the shared humanity of all involved in situations like this.

Things look like they’re getting dangerous over there and I wanted to say that a dear friend of mine who I’ll call “M” may or may not be involved. This is for that friend and all other people in that part of the world. Stay safe but at the same time - stay strong.

M I’m so proud of you! I’ve never met anyone with such a huge heart who also had the strength of character to make a difference.

Join the Society for the Promotion of Equality Winning!

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The events in Hong Kong right now are a fight for its future.

This link offers a very good intro/summary of what’s happening in HK right now, and why this is important for people around the world to understand and be educated about. 

My FB feed has been blowing up with news from HK - friends and family have been sharing links, news articles, and even photos right from where it is all happening. Last night, I also saw a couple of articles being shared that likened what was happening in HK to what happened in Ferguson, and I would like to politely suggest for everyone to not compare these two situations, because 1) the root cause is fairly different and 2) as much as HK-ers appreciate and need international support and sympathy, to have outsiders project their own feelings about another event on an already deeply emotional event (I will explain this more below) feels a little self-centred. 

As I’ve said before, the link above is a great resource to read, but if you’re really pressed for time and want a TL;DR version of the current situation in HK, here goes:

  • HK was acquired by UK after the Opium Wars, after which HK spent 155 years under British rule 
  • HK’s status as a Commonwealth territory (instead of under China’s Communist rule) meant a certain degree of autonomy for the citizens of HK; although it sucked that HK was taken from China, it did mean 155 years of rights like the freedom of speech, the freedom to protest, etc.
  • In 1997, HK was handed back over to China; citizens were extremely concerned that they would lose their civil rights under the new Communist rule, but the Chinese government promised a “one country, two systems” arrangement where HK would be run pretty much the same way as it was under British rule
  • One promise that the Chinese government made was that in 2017, HK would be allowed to hold a democratic election for its Chief Executive (universal suffrage instead of what happens right now - election of the Chief Executive by a small committee)
  • Recently (i.e., spring/summer 2014), the Chinese government essentially said LOL JUST KIDDING regarding the promise of a free democratic election - they said that citizens would be allowed to vote for a candidate, but candidates would be pre-selected by a committee (which is basically not very different from what happens right now and the committee is 110% likely to be pro-Beijing)
  • As you can imagine, this did not go down well with citizens in HK; university/college-aged students decided to organize some peaceful protests, as did a group called “Occupy Central”
  • Occupy Central was formed by a small group of academics and wanted to organize a show of “civil disobedience” on October 1 (anniversary of Communist China’s beginning); seeing the students begin to protest this week, they joined up
  • Unfortunately, police in HK responded to these peaceful protests with much more force than expected, employing tear gas where it was uncalled for
  • This obviously made protesters and citizens more angry, and while protests began in Central, they are now spreading to cover important streets in the financial district and some areas outside Hong Kong Island (BRIEF HK GEOGRAPHY PRIMER: HK is made up of Hong Kong Island - which is literally an island, Kowloon, and the New Territories - which are both part of the mainland) 

At this point you might be like WOW HK GOVERNMENT SUCKS CHINESE GOVERNMENT SUCKS ALL THE POWER TO THE STUDENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS WHO ARE PROTESTING WOOOOOO and yes, peaceful protests are good and ofc we always need to be cognizant of possible escalation. The reason why this event has been so emotional, apart from the whole protecting freedom and liberty bit, is that the images of thousands of students peacefully protesting is a haunting reminder of June 4, 1989, where students in Tiananmen Square also peacefully protested and were forcibly cleared away with tanks and bullets.

(Image: Aaron Tam/ Getty)

Honestly, just seeing photos of the people in HK sitting in Central this weekend makes me want to cry - and I wasn’t even born in HK. The decision of my parents to immigrate to Canada was largely informed by that tragic day when they watched young university students shot down for doing nothing more than shout their desire for democracy to the government - my mother cried in front of the television and told my father: “We have to leave. We have to leave.” The events of this weekend are a strong and sobering reminder that the Chinese government is able and has shown itself willing to use excessive force to tamp down on events that may trigger political instability. 

Thankfully, I am fairly confident that these series of protests will not end in bloodshed like it did at Tiananmen Square - there is simply too much international attention to this event, and anything more than what has already happened will result in international outcry. However, what I am worried about is the aftermath - what happens after international attention dies down, when everyone goes back to business as usual? China is not going to forget this weekend and just let HK do its thing - there will be long-term consequences to the protests that occurred this weekend, and with HK’s top government officials being pro-Beijing, a lot may occur that is not in line with HK citizens’ best interests. 

As a mere spectator overseas, I can only watch as the city I love struggles through this season of change and instability. The streets I walked in just 2 years ago look almost like a warzone. I can do nothing but raise awareness about this issue, and pray that people do not forget Hong Kong after this week is over. Please - do not forget Hong Kong. The more international attention HK receives, even as time goes on, the more that Beijing will have to be careful about the decisions they make about what happened this weekend, and the more likely that the regular citizens of HK will remain safe. 

#prayforHK

(*A fairly good resource for keeping up to date with events, as well as thoughtful analyses of the situation, is BBC News)

Help put an end to GLBTTQ youth homelessness by voting for PTS’ idea submission to the Aviva Community Fund. By giving youth employment opportunities in a food security and catering business, PTS and our community are taking action to make significant changes to GLBTTQ youth homelessness.

Small

When you are a person who wants to make the world better, it can take a long time to recognise within yourself a strong tendency to want to engage with the smaller picture, a single person or a small group at a time. But it’s useful. It’s possibly the reason that I feel less burnt out than some other activists I know, and one of the reasons I can stand the thought of family law. One mind changed or one person’s life improved is not just enough; it feels like everything. In Judaism, saving one life is the spiritual equivalent of saving the world.

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Over 700 Jefferson County High School students are staging walkouts and protests over proposed changes to the Advanced Placement History curriculum. According to Colorado Public Radio:

Last week, a school board member proposed that advanced placement history classes be required to promote free enterprise and patriotism and be required to avoid classroom materials that encourage social strife or civil disobedience. Two high schools in Jefferson County closed Friday after dozens of teachers called in sick in protest.

According the online petition to be delivered to the School District:

Jeffco Public School Board has just proposed a change of curriculum stating that, “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”

This means that important parts of our history such as the Civil Rights Movement, Native American genocide, and slavery will not be taught in public schools. If these important lessons are not taught, children will not learn from them, and what will stop them from happening again? This is a severe form of censorship intended to keep the youth ignorant and easy to manipulate. I’m hoping to get enough signatures to prove that this is a public issue, so, please, if this is important to you, please sign. Do not let our youth grow up in ignorance; we all deserve the truth!

You can sign the petition here.

You can read more articles at The Denver Post, CBS Denver (with video), and Colorado Public Radio.

Thanks to theseacaptainsdaughter for dropping a link in my inbox.

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Remember that online fundraiser to build a pro-LGBT billboard in the Westboro Baptist Church’s hometown? It worked. Feast your eyes on the “God Loves Gays” billboard, standing proud in Topeka, Kansas for all to see. If any additional funding comes through, it will be used for bus ads in Topeka, donations to LGBT youth organizations, and possibly a similar billboard in Utah. Bless. (via the Huffington Post)

my project for slam poetry, art, and activism. the topic i chose was rape culture. the tags say things like “my boner does not mean i want to have sex with you” “consent is a basic human right” “consent is the presence of a yes, not the absence of a no” “no does not mean “convince me”” “the only thing that causes rape is rapists” etc.

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