united nations (organization)

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United Nations and International aid agencies warn that Cholera is spreading in drought-stricken Somalia as hunger grips that nation and the threat of famine inches closer.
The World Health Organization reports more than 25,000 cases of cholera, including 524 deaths, in Somalia since the beginning of the year.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also reports that an outbreak of the deadly disease in the self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland has killed 28 people in just the last week-and-a-half, and hospitalized nearly 170 others.

anonymous asked:

In these times - especially in light of the EPA's recent silencing - who are in your opinion the best scientific, environmental, and research-oriented organizations to support and donate to? I'm compiling a list.

The 6 Best Environmental Groups to Donate to for a Better World

Environmental Defense Fund

Mission: The Environmental Defense Fund is perhaps the most wide-ranging organization on this list, working to provide solutions under the broad categories of climate change, oceans, wildlife and habitats, and health. The EDF works with other organizations, businesses, government, and communities to create incentives for positive environmental actions; help companies become better environmental stewards; influence policy; and keep tabs on emerging issues
Top Programs: Climate and energy, oceans, ecosystems
Percent of expenses spent on programs: 79.1
Charity Navigator Score: 94.48

The Nature Conservancy

Mission: The Nature Conservancy protects ecologically important lands and waters around the world with the help of more than 500 staff scientists.
Top Programs: Climate change, fire, fresh water, forests, invasive species, and marine ecosystems
Percent of expenses spent on programs: 71.2
Charity Navigator Score: 84.35

Natural Resources Defense Council

Mission: The Natural Resources Defense Council seeks to protect the basics—air, land, and water—and to defend endangered natural places, with an eye toward how these long-term decisions affect humans.
Top Programs: Climate, land, wildlife, water, oceans, energy, food, sustainable communities
Percent of expenses spent on programs: 83.6
Charity Navigator Score: 96.35

American Rivers

Mission: American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and the wildlife they support, and conserves clean water for people and nature, with an eye toward recreationists as well.
Top Programs: River restoration, federal river management, clean water supply
Percent of expenses spent on programs: 74.9
Charity Navigator Score: 88.18

Trust For Public Land

Mission: The Trust for Public Land creates parks & protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Works to ensure that everyone has access to nature within a 10-minute walk from home.
Percent of expenses spent on programs: 84
Charity Navigator Score: Not yet rated by CN, but given an A from Charity Watch

Sierra Club Foundation

Mission: The Sierra Club Foundation is the fiscal sponsor of the Sierra Club’s charitable environmental programs, and promotes efforts to educate and empower people to protect and improve the natural and human environment. The Sierra Club is the principal, though not exclusive, recipient of SCF’s charitable grants.
Top Programs: Beyond Coal, Chapter and Group Education Project, Our Wild America
Percent of expenses spent on programs: 88.5
Charity Navigator Score: 94.08

Source: @outsideronline


Earthjustice

Earthjustice is an environmental organization that works to protect the environment through battles in the courtroom. The organization has many legal and legislative victories under its belt and its attorneys are currently representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its lawsuit against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Donate to Earthjustice here.

The organization was founded in 1971 as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, though it was fully independent from the Sierra Club. It changed its name to Earthjustice in 1997 to better reflect its role as a legal advocate representing hundreds of regional, national and international organizations. As of January 2009, the group had provided free legal representation to more than 700 clients ranging from the Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, and the American Lung Association to smaller state and community groups, such as the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and the Friends of the Everglades. Earthjustice is a nonprofit and does not charge any of its clients for its services. Funding for the organization comes from individual donations and foundations. It does not receive any funding from corporations or governments.

Source: Wikipedia, Earthjustice, @bustle

Conservation International

In addition to its nature conservation work in the United States, this Virginia-based nonprofit partners with local communities all over the world to secure land rights and advocate for environmental protections. Donate to Conservation International here.

All the organizations listed above have national and international reach, but as always check out organizations local to you. Charity watchdog websites such as Charity Watch or Charity Navigator are helpful in ensuring that the money and time you donate to nonprofits are being well-spent. Now go on out there and fight for the earth.

Source: Bustle

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the betterment of all humanity.[1] It is the world’s largest general scientific society, with over 120,000 members,[2] and is the publisher of the well-known scientific journal Science, which had a weekly circulation of 138,549 in 2008.

American Chemical Society

Scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. Founded in 1876 at New York University, the ACS currently has more than 158,000 members at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related fields. It is the world’s largest scientific society by membership.[2] The ACS is a 501©(3) non-profit organization and holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. Its headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., and it has a large concentration of staff in Columbus, Ohio.

The ACS is a leading source of scientific information through its peer-reviewed scientific journals, national conferences, and the Chemical Abstracts Service. Its publications division produces 51 scholarly journals including the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society, as well as the weekly trade magazine Chemical & Engineering News. The ACS holds national meetings twice a year covering the complete field of chemistry and also holds smaller conferences concentrating on specific chemical fields or geographic regions. The primary source of income of the ACS is the Chemical Abstracts Service, a provider of chemical databases worldwide.

The organization also publishes textbooks, administers several national chemistry awards, provides grants for scientific research, and supports various educational and outreach activities.

Union of Concerned Scientists

Nonprofit science advocacy organization based in the United States. The UCS membership includes many private citizens in addition to professional scientists. Anne Kapuscinski, Sherman Fairchild distinguished professor of sustainability science in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College, currently chairs the UCS Board of Directors, having replaced James J. McCarthy, Professor of Biological Oceanography at Harvard University and past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2015.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Scientific and intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations, set up at the request of member governments, dedicated to the task of providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts. It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 43/53. Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and UNEP. The IPCC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is the main international treaty on climate change. The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic [i.e., human-induced] interference with the climate system”. IPCC reports cover “the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

American Geophysical Union

501©(3) nonprofit organization of geophysicists, consisting of over 62,000 members from 144 countries. AGU’s activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the interdisciplinary and international field of geophysics. The geophysical sciences involve four fundamental areas: atmospheric and ocean sciences; solid-Earth sciences; hydrologic sciences; and space sciences. The organization’s headquarters is located on Florida Avenue in Washington, D.C.

National Academy of Sciences

United States nonprofit, non-governmental organization. NAS is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, along with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the National Academies is one of the highest honors in the scientific field. Members serve pro bono as “advisers to the nation” on science, engineering, and medicine. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.

Founded in 1863 as a result of an Act of Congress that was approved by Abraham Lincoln, the NAS is charged with “providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. … to provide scientific advice to the government ‘whenever called upon’ by any government department. The Academy receives no compensation from the government for its services.

Sources: Wikipedia


For more, simply Google “best science organizations to donate to” and you’ll find them ranked.

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United Nations - The World Health Organization, WHO, has certified that Cuba has officially become the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV/AIDS and syphilis from mother to child. Cuba’s success is a step in the right direction to reduce the global threat of HIV and AIDS called for by the sustainable development goals. UN in Action: Episode #1542

(via Cuba Eliminates Mother-To-Child Transmission Of HIV And Aids - YouTube)

Benjamin Zephaniah: Why Veganism is the Ultimate Protest Against Animal Exploitation

“Our thinking about non-human animals is very confused, and people who have chosen to live a cruelty free, plant-based lifestyle, are baffled as to why other people have not made the connection. Many of us live with companion animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits. We share our homes with them, consider them members of the family and we grieve when they die. Yet we kill and eat other animals that if you really think about it are no different from the ones we love. This is known as speciesism; a prejudice against members of different species.

Most people don’t question their habit of eating other animals as they have been bought up to believe it is normal behaviour. But causing suffering should never be considered normal. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, humans kill approximately fifty-six billion animals for food each year, and this doesn’t include fish. This quantity can only be achieved by factory farming animals which can lead to diseases such as bird flu, swine flu, BSC and MRSA. Antibiotic microbes are the result of the over use of antibiotics; over half the anti-biotics in the UK are given to farmed animals, not humans, and these diseases can spread to humans… Behind windowless walls, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the horrific reality of factory farms and slaughterhouses, you may think this footage is old, that things are not like this anymore… Wrong. This is exactly what it is like, and what happens to the farmed animals who live outside is not too dissimilar.

Free-range chickens will usually be slaughtered at 8 weeks, and organic at around 12 weeks. People see cattle and sheep grazing in fields and think they’re okay, but they’ll also be sent to slaughter like all animals bred for food. Factory farmed and free range animals are treated as commodities and their individual needs and preferences are not respected. And it’s not just to produce meat; every year millions of farmed calves and chicks die in order to produce milk and eggs. Male chicks don’t produce eggs and are not profitable for meat production; so are killed the day they are born. Laying hens, when their egg production starts to fall, are also killed long before their normal life expectancy. It’s no fun for cows either; in order to produce milk the dairy cow must give birth to a calf. As soon as the calf is born they form a strong bond with their mother, yet within a few days they are usually separated, causing extreme distress. Male calves do not produce milk and are usually shot at birth or sent for veal production, and the female calves join the milk production like their mothers. Three months after the loss of her calf, while still producing milk, she is usually made pregnant again. She is put through this exhausting procedure three or four times, until she too is deemed redundant and killed.

More than 20% of dairy cows sent to slaughter have been found to be pregnant, and the skins from these unborn calves are used to make soft suede. Many people assume that leather is an incidental element of the rearing of animals for meat, its not, it’s used to produce shoes, jackets, wallets, gloves and furniture, and so purchasing leather goods help make the rearing and killing of animals a profitable concern.

Just as we have tried to end sexism, racism and ageism, we can also try to end speciesism. Enjoying a plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle is the ultimate protest against animal exploitation; it’s taking action every day to reduce animal suffering and death by decreasing the demand for all animal products. With the mounting evidence; compassion, our health, the environment, water pollution, supporting developing countries, food security, rising population, sustainability, the rainforest, when people ask ‘why are you vegan?’ Perhaps the question should be: ‘Why aren’t you?’ Please… Make the connection.”

nyti.ms
Museums embrace digital offerings as visitor numbers surge
By Farah Nayeri

There is only one Mona Lisa, and only one Sistine Chapel. And every year, millions of travelers flock to Paris and the Vatican in a mad scramble to see them.

The visitor numbers are growing. Globally, international tourist arrivals — in which a person stays at least one night in a destination — hit a record 1.18 billion last year, up from 25 million in 1950, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Visits to the Sistine Chapel have quadrupled since 1980, according to the Vatican Museums; as many as 25,000 people arrive on peak days.

With the planet’s population on the rise, the global middle classes expanding and travel increasingly cheap and easy, tourist numbers are poised to keep rising.

For museums, more visitors mean more cash. Yet they also represent a threat to cultural heritage. Body sweat, carbon dioxide exhalation and the dust brought in by visitors can damage works of art.

Arts administrators are bracing for an onslaught. Wim Pijbes, the general director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, said museums were likely to face a “tsunami of visitors” in the years ahead. They might have to extend opening hours into the night, he said, or “be sold out at certain times, like a Rolling Stones concert.”

“A fifth of the world’s population is Chinese,” he explained. “What happens when the Chinese middle class really comes, and we all get older, and we travel much more than in the past, and museum visitor numbers grow and grow? I don’t have the answer.”

Fortunately, digital technology is changing the experience of viewing works and sites in increasingly inventive ways. With 360-degree interactive tours, videos and ultrahigh-resolution images, millions of people can take a thorough look at the world’s cultural treasures from their own homes.

Google is a trailblazer in this cultural shift. Five years ago, it set up the nonprofit Google Cultural Institute, teaming with 17 museums to offer online access to a few hundred items.

Today, more than 1,000 museums and cultural institutions have allowed Google’s high-powered cameras to photograph their collections in sharp detail. The institute offers free web access to more than five million cultural treasures, from the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles to the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum in New York to the Impressionist treasures of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

As the technology becomes more sophisticated and offers an increasingly lifelike experience, the question becomes whether the actual museums will be put out of business.

Mr. Pijbes of the Rijksmuseum said he did not think so. “I strongly believe in the power of authenticity and the real thing,” he said, pointing out that there was only one “Night Watch” by Rembrandt, and it’s in his museum. Even if someone produced a “3-D hologram, full color, full size” of the original, it would never measure up, he said. “Nothing beats the real thing,” he said.

Giorgia Abeltino, director of public policy at the Google Cultural Institute, said the purpose of the program was never to replace real art with virtual works.

“Looking at a painting is an incomparable experience, and we’re not trying to provide a substitute,” she said. Instead, the aim of the institute was “democratizing access to culture.”

“Not everyone can make it to the Louvre and the Vatican,” she added. “Museums need to understand that.”

Most major museums do. They are beefing up their digital platforms, offering interactive tours and reaching out to the millions of people who will not come to their galleries.

The websites of the British Museum, the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art offer extensive access to their collections, allowing people to get close to the art in a way that would be impossible in a crowded gallery.

On occasion, digital tools can reveal details that are invisible, even to a specialist’s eye. Mr. Pijbes recalled a Rijksmuseum curator walking into his office one day and confessing that, thanks to a high-powered, zoomed-in picture, he had discovered a feature that he had never seen before in a work he thought he knew well.

A digital museum can sometimes become a necessity when the contents of an institution have been destroyed. In February 2015, video images showed militants destroying the Assyrian treasures inside the Mosul Museum with sledgehammers and drills. A group of Western archaeologists were so stirred by the footage that they set up Project Mosul, a campaign to recreate the destroyed works digitally. They used crowdsourcing to find photographs of the lost treasures and replicated them through a 3-D reconstruction process known as photogrammetry.

Technology can also come to the aid of Western museums. As time goes by and the preservation of age-old masterpieces becomes tougher, cultural sites with particularly fragile contents may be tempted to copy a method being offered for the Lascaux caves, in the Dordogne region of southwestern France.

Since 1963, the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux have been closed to visitors because of the harm caused by human perspiration, exhalation and body heat. In December, the largest-ever replica of the cave is set to open to the public nearby. Visitors will experience a cave and a series of wall paintings that look much like the original.

Assata Shakur on the power of media

My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:

“The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers.

This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”

I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.

On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back.

Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Foerster. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison.

In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life.

The U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Commission report on intelligence operations inside the USA, revealed that “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts.” This same policy is evidently still very much in effect today.

On December 24, 1997, The New Jersey State called a press conference to announce that New Jersey State Police had written a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to intervene on their behalf and to aid in having me extradited back to New Jersey prisons. The New Jersey State Police refused to make their letter public. Knowing that they had probably totally distorted the facts, and attempted to get the Pope to do the devils work in the name of religion, I decided to write the Pope to inform him about the reality of’ “justice” for black people in the State of New Jersey and in the United States.

In January of 1998, during the pope’s visit to Cuba, I agreed to do an interview with NBC journalist Ralph Penza around my letter to the Pope, about my experiences in New Jersey court system, and about the changes I saw in the United States and it’s treatment of Black people in the last 25 years. I agreed to do this interview because I saw this secret letter to the Pope as a vicious, vulgar, publicity maneuver on the part of the New Jersey State Police, and as a cynical attempt to manipulate Pope John Paul II. I have lived in Cuba for many years, and was completely out of touch with the sensationalist, dishonest, nature of the establishment media today. It is worse today than it was 30 years ago.

After years of being victimized by the “establishment” media it was naive of me to hope that I might finally get the opportunity to tell “my side of the story.” Instead of an interview with me, what took place was a “staged media event” in three parts, full of distortions, inaccuracies and outright lies. NBC purposely misrepresented the facts. Not only did NBC spend thousands of dollars promoting this “exclusive interview series” on NBC, they also spent a great deal of money advertising this “exclusive interview” on black radio stations and also placed notices in local newspapers.

Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press. The black press and the progressive media has historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We need to continue and to expand that tradition. We need to create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman.

I own no TV stations, or Radio Stations or Newspapers. But I feel that people need to be educated as to what is going on, and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in Amerika. All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask, those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media, those of you who believe in true freedom, to publish this statement and to let people know what is happening. We have no voice, so you must be the voice of the voiceless.

Free all Political Prisoners, I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet.

By January 1, 2050, achievement of zero greenhouse gas emissions nationally through domestic policies and international collaboration with the United Nations and other international organizations. The United States will shift its energy supply strategy from fossil fuels to 100 percent clean, renewable energy and implement zero waste practices.

Light shines on new views: The year of 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light (IYL) by the United Nations. Organizations, institutions, and individuals involved in the science and applications of light will be joining together for this yearlong celebration to help spread the word about the wonders of light. In many ways, astronomy uses the science of light. And to celebrate, Nasa’s Chandra X-ray Observatory released new images. Here’s one of them: When X-rays, shown in blue, from Chandra and XMM-Newton are joined in this image with radio data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array (pink) and visible light data from the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS, yellow), a new view of the region emerges. This object, known as MSH 11-62, contains an inner nebula of charged particles that could be an outflow from the dense spinning core left behind when a massive star exploded.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane et al; Optical: DSS; Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA

A 90-year old man made his dream come true: to walk the top of the @cntower in Toronto, Canada.

People all around the world are living longer today than ever before – but the extent to which everyone can benefit from this depends heavily on health. Healthy ageing means having the freedom to continue to be and do what we have reason to value as we age.

Post a photo of you - or someone you know - embracing old age as part of the World Health Organization campaign to break down the stereotypes that we often associate with ageing. Tag it with #YearsAhead and your photo might be featured!

Photo: chrispoos WHO   

‘It Is Terrible and Scary, Aleppo Has Become a Horror City’

An Interview With Gnaid, Syrian Media Activist

By Joshka Wessels

“Aleppo is alive and will not die!”

This is what video journalist Gnaid wrote on Facebook when he announced the birth of his little daughter, his second child, on Thursday, November 24, 2016.

Gnaid works for the media activist group Aleppo Today providing daily news and also works together with Aleppo Media Center (AMC) in eastern Aleppo city in Syria. He has intermittent internet connection via satellite and is only able to communicate with Global Voices that way. He lives with his wife, his young son, his newborn daughter and two of his relatives.

Both children were born and are growing up under siege. Earlier last week, Gnaid told Global Voices in a series of communications that the Syrian regime’s forces were only a couple of kilometers from his house and that panic has taken over the civilians and the media professionals who are still in eastern Aleppo.

At the time of writing, forces that support President Bashar al-Assad are reported to control most of East Aleppo, having made quick advancements in recent days under the cover of Russian bombardment and the large support of Iranian-backed militias. Since 2012, the city has been divided between rebel-held East Aleppo and regime-held West Aleppo. The first barrel bombs to have been dropped by the regime over Aleppo were in December 2013 and since then, many forms of weapons have been used, from chemical weapons to cluster bombs, leaving the eastern part of the city in complete ruins. A brutal siege was then imposed by the regime in July 2016 as it declared its intentions to retake eastern Aleppo within months.

When Gnaid and his family assessed the possibilities of leaving eastern Aleppo, they found many obstacles. Going to neighboring Turkey is difficult, and areas of Syria that are held by the regime are dangerous for media activists who fear arrest, torture or even death. Gnaid remarked that only if he surrendered and held a portrait of Assad he might survive, but his pride and dignity would not allow it. It is too humiliating for him, he told Global Voices. So Gnaid and his family decided to stay in eastern Aleppo and continue.

“Tonight, the bombings are very heavy” Gnaid said on Wednesday, December 7. “It is terrible and scary, Aleppo has become a horror city.” He accused the international community of having “a lack of humanity”:

My wife and I don’t have passports. We cannot travel, but we could keep ourselves alive here in Aleppo, even during the siege. There has to be a solution now. It’s our right to live in dignity and freedom, just like all people in this world. But unfortunately our voice is not heard over the sound of the weapons! An enormous number of people have lost their houses and are driven away by the violence and the bombs. Maybe our neighborhood will return to the regime. But we will hold on to our land! The shame is on the United Nations and all international organizations who could rescue the wounded but simply refuse to do so!

Gnaid then sent another message:

The situation is terribly difficult. I don’t know what to say. I am looking at the people. I do not want to leave. I do not want to leave Aleppo. I am tired and utterly exhausted. But there is nothing else to do for me than to stay. This is my land. There is nothing else for me than Aleppo. I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s in God’s hands.

Finally, on Thursday, December 8, Gnaid sent what he thought would be his last message.

Half an hour ago the fighting started here. There is an enormous panic. Especially with the children. It is very very difficult now. There are rocket attacks by the Syrian Army. Soon there will be a battle now.

Fortunately, he managed to send a short audio note to Global Voices on the morning of Tuesday, December 13, saying:

We are okay thankfully. We’re still waiting to see what’s going to happen to us.

Meanwhile, his colleagues at the Aleppo Media Center uploaded a 360-degree video to show the wide-spread destruction of the area of Al Shaer neighborhood in eastern Aleppo.

For Gnaid and his family, the international community is doing nothing to stop the bloodshed. The only hope now, he says, is that he and his family can get out safely to the remaining opposition-held areas, hoping that the warplanes don’t follow the people there eventually.

Photo: Gnaid, center, with his newborn daughter and family. Used with permission.

anonymous asked:

I want to make something crystal clear: no matter how many half-truths and dishonest implications do you spread, animal agriculture will still not play a truly major part in global warming. It plays some part, but so does: running your car, heating your house, using electricity. More: skepticalscience com/news php?n=3209 Want to stop global warming? Sell your phone and computer, go off grid. It will contribute to lessening the climate change effects a lot more. What's that? That's unreasonable?

The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this reports suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution and loss of biodiversity.” - UN.

Animal products, both meat and dairy, in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives.” - also the UN. 

Alternative diets that offer substantial health benefits could, if widely adopted, reduce global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, reduce land clearing and resultant species extinctions, and help prevent such diet-related chronic non-communicable diseases. The implementation of dietary solutions to the tightly linked diet–environment–health trilemma is a global challenge, and opportunity, of great environmental and public health importance… As is well known,relative to animal-based foods, plant-based food shave lower GHG emissions. This difference can be large; the largest we found was that ruminant meats (beef and lamb) have emissions per gram of protein that are about 250 times those of legumes.”


The website that you linked to also leaves out several very key pieces of information, which are important factors in the global climate. 

Production of meat is a major contributor to wildlife extinction and threatens biodiversity

Consumption of fish is having a serious toll on the oceans. It is possible that oceans may be depleted of current “seafood” species by 2048.


There’s also the fact that “depending on the type and number of animals in the farm, manure production can range between 2,800 tons and 1.6 million tons a year (Government Accountability Office [GAO], 2008). Large farms can produce more waste than some U.S. cities—a feeding operation with 800,000 pigs could produce over 1.6 million tons of waste a year.That amount is one and a half times more than the annual sanitary waste produced by the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania(GAO,2008). Annually, it is estimated that livestock animals in the U.S. produce each year somewhere between 3 and 20 times more manure than people in the U.S. produce, or as much as 1.2–1.37 billion tons of waste (EPA, 2005). Though sewage treatment plants are required for human waste, no such treatment facility exists for livestock waste.” - CDC. Agriculture waste runoff is known to create ocean dead zones. And as I’m sure you know, the oceans are a huge carbon and nitrogen sink. 

“ Livestock are already well-known to contribute to GHG emissions. Livestock’s Long Shadow, the widely-cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), estimates that 7,516 million metric tons per year of CO2 equivalents (CO2e), or 18 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions, are attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, horses, pigs, and poultry. That amount would easily qualify livestock for a hard look indeed in the search for ways to address climate change. But our analysis shows that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,564 million tons of CO2e per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions “ - Worldwatch Institute.

Given the urgency for global action—calls echoed by scientists and world leaders alike—individual consumers must also participate. McMichael et al. (2007) put forth several recommendations, including the reduction of meat and milk intake by high-income countries as “the urgent task of curtailing global greenhouse-gas emissions necessitates action on all major fronts”; they concluded that, for high-income countries, “greenhouse-gas emissions from meat-eating warrant the same scrutiny as do those from driving and flying.”


I mean, you’re not wrong that electricity and other modern technologies are big contributors to climate change, and it’s very important for us to find alternatives. But reducing animal consumption is a huge step that people can make right now. If they wanted to, many people could make a dent in their contribution to climate change in a very short amount of time, with minimal lifestyle impact (compared to giving up a car or phone).

It honestly seems like people like you are unwilling to make any changes to their life to help prevent climate change. 

anonymous asked:

hiiii you probably get this question a lot but I'm new here and i wanted to ask if you could tell me some reasons to become vegetarian or vegan? and foods to eat instead of meat and all of that, that have the same nutrients and stuff, because I'm 16 and I still need some of them to grow, at least that's what my mol tells me when i tell her i want to stop eating it

Hi anon, I’d be more than happy to.

Veganism is the absolute minimum we should be doing for animals, regardless of whether you are an animal lover or not; animals should not be treated as property. While it was once true that we needed animals to live and this was part of the natural order of things, this has no longer been the case for a very long time. The human body has absolutely no requirement to consume animal products, we can thrive on a vegan diet at all stages of life. If living vegans like myself aren’t proof that we don’t need animal products, you can take a look at the long list of vegan athletes at the very top of their respective sports. There is no vitamin or mineral you cannot gain from a vegan diet with the possible exception of vitamin B12, which is very easy to acquire through fortified plant milks which come in a huge variety, or nutritional yeast and supplements. While there is debate whether or not veganism is healthier than omnivorous diets, it is at least as healthy, and there is no serious nutritionist or health professional who would argue that it isn’t possible to be very healthy as a vegan. When it comes to cost, vegan staples like pasta, rice, beans and canned vegetables are the cheapest items in any supermarket and are significantly less expensive than their animal based alternatives. Even here on tumblr there are vegans living on food stamps, vegans in low income employment and poor vegans raising families. Personally when I went vegan my food bill cut by a third. As for the other aspects of a veganism like clothes and non-animal tested products, there are a wealth of cheap and ethical products. You can find lots of recipes and advice on nutrition in my resources section.

All of this means that exploiting animals for food, clothes and entertainment is entirely unnecessary and we do so purely for pleasure. Is that a good enough reason to do something, despite the fact that that it is incredibly cruel? This is the exact same reason people arrange dog fights, and kill bulls, and hunt. If they aren’t acceptable to justify those things then they aren’t acceptable to defend our own exploitation either. Documentaries like earthlings demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that raising animals for our benefit is monstrously cruel and that animal cruelty is an intrinsic part of farming. There is no such thing as cruelty free food, clothing or products that come from an animal. When animals are being used to make a profit, their preferences will never be taken seriously regardless of what we see in TV advertisements the industry spends millions on to make us all feel a little less guilty. But deep down, everyone knows animal products are cruel. If you offer to show a video of where their food comes from, they always refuse because they already know it will be a horror film. This goes for both meat and dairy, as dairy cows are forcibly inseminated have their children taken from them and male chicks who don’t produce eggs are ground up by the millions. All of these “producer” animals are slaughtered when they outlive their profitability, which is why it makes little sense to boycott meat but continue to consume eggs and dairy. There is no moral difference between these products. This goes for organic and “free range” too, as legally these labels mean very little for the animal’s themselves. Even on the smallest family farms, animals are being exploited and killed for reasons of fashion and taste. It is not possible to humanely kill a sentient being who does not want to die. The issue isn’t how we exploit animals, it’s that we exploit them at all.

Even ignoring all of this cruelty, animal agriculture is responsible for causing untold environmental destruction, it is responsible for 18% of greenhouse emissions, more than the exhausts of every vehicle on earth combined, if we include by-products of livestock that figure rises to 51%. Both the United Nations and the World Watch Institute are advocating meat and dairy free diets as necessary to save the world from the worst effects of climate change. Cowspiracy on netflix demonstrates the extent to which companies cover up this destruction, as farms are responsible for poisoning water sources, land degradation, excessive resource use and air pollution. If you are in any way concerned about deforestation or the environment, you should be vegan, as vegan diets have a significantly lower carbon footprint when compared to vegetarians or meat eaters. On top of this, one third of the planet’s arable land surface is being used for grazing land, and 70% of formerly forested land in the amazon is used for ranching. This has a devastating impact on wild animals too, with studies warning that meat eaters are speeding up worldwide species extinction. 

If you don’t care about animal rights or the environment, caring about humans should be enough to make you go vegan. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2014-2016. With this being the case, while the unequal distribution is a large part of the problem, we really need to talk about the fact that we feed most of our crops to farmed animals, not humans, and farmed animals require significantly more calories to get them to slaughter weight than they will ever return in meat. This is also incredibly inefficient in terms of land use, as on one acre of land we can produce around 53,000 lbs of potatoes, 40,000 pounds of tomatoes or just 137 lbs of beef, and that statistic comes from the beef industry itself. This in a world where humans are starving to death in their millions is absolutely unforgivable. Combine this with the fact that the majority of people working in slaughterhouses are poor immigrants with no other option who are doing one of the most dangerous and traumatic jobs in the world and you have a good case for going vegan even without taking animals into account. 

I could sit here and give you a thousand reasons to go vegan, but realistically most people already know it’s the right thing to do. Most of us love animals and we all agree that they shouldn’t be harmed unnecessarily, and we know that using animals for their flesh, skin, secretions, or as entertainment is not necessary under any reasonable definition of the word. Just look at the case for exploiting animals when compared with the myriad of reasons for stopping. Culture? Tradition? Habit? Convenience? Taste? Do any of these really sound like good enough reasons to justify such a cruel and unconscionable act? As the wonderful Benjamin Zephaniah puts it in this video, when people ask, “why are you vegan?” perhaps the question should be: “Why aren’t you?” 

If you need any help getting started, check out this ask and my resources page for links or drop me a message. I am always happy to help. 

anonymous asked:

my sister keeps trying to convince me that fish is healthy. i reply saying how it has so many chemicals toxins mercury etc. but she is just like it has protein and oils u need. and i am like yeah but there are healthier ways to get protein and oils. and she says yeah fish isnt the healthiest thing in the world but its still healthy. idk what to say! pls help!

My advice is not to focus on health. Our bodies have adapted and are able to digest the flesh/dead bodies of others so it’s very difficult to win that argument with someone who doesn’t want to see the truth. While indeed it is detrimental for our health to eat those fishes, the bigger issues lie in two other areas: our environment, and the pain we inflict on those creatures.

There are plenty of videos and articles that expose how awful and cruel the notion of fishing is. If someone came and put a giant hook through the body/eye of your family dog and leaving it to slowly suffocate, everyone would be outraged and devastated, yet we pay for it to happen to billions of fish every single day. 

Moreover, this article explains the dangers of fishing and how eating sea animals is destroying our eco-system.

Here are some excerpts from this TED ideas interview with an oceanographer

“If people really understood the methods being used to capture wild fish, they might think about choosing whether to eat them at all, because the methods are so destructive and wasteful. It isn’t just a matter of caring about the fish or the corals, but also about all the things that are destroyed in the process of capturing ocean wildlife. We have seen such a sharp decline in the fish that we consume in my lifetime that I personally choose not to eat any.”

“Ask yourself this: is it more important to you to consume fish, or to think of them as being here for a larger purpose? Today, marine fish are being caught with methods that our predecessors could not even imagine. Our use of large-scale extraction of wildlife from the sea is profoundly detrimental to the environment. We’re using modern techniques capable of taking far more than our natural systems can replenish. Think about it — the factory ships that use enormous nets or log lines, some of which are 50- to 60-miles long, with baited hooks every few feet, they take more than can be replenished naturally, and they take indiscriminately. Worst of all are the bottom trawls that scoop up the whole ecosystem. And most of what’s taken in them is simply discarded.With respect to the ocean systems, they’re just leaving a hole. A huge space that is not going to be filled overnight. It’s not eco-conscious to eat tuna — maybe thousands of plants make a single pound of Blue Fin Tuna. It’s also difficult to replenish that species of fish, as they take years to mature. Not to mention that you’re consuming all of the toxins that the fish has consumed over the years.”

Our oceans (and therefore ocean life) are becoming more and more toxic. They are not something you want to put into your body.

An easy source of omgea 3 fatty acids is flaxseeds and walnuts, and we need only around 5-6% of our food each day to come from protein - far less than everybody freaks out about. Almost every single plant contains protein. It’s fine. You can simply eat fruit, veggies and leafy greens and you would be totally covered (check out videos by Fullyraw Kristina who has been raw vegan for 9 years and her levels couldn’t be more perfect), or if you want you can eat more things like beans, lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds. We do not need to eat the bodies of others to be healthy - we are designed to thrive without doing so.

There are a bunch of great answers here on this thread, and some good links you can check out too.

More facts and info:

90 million tons of fish are pulled from our oceans each year.

- “World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture.” UNITED NATIONS FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO). 2012.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e01.pdf

For every 1 pound of fish caught, an average of 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill.

- “Discards and Bycatch in Shrimp Trawl Fisheries.”
UNITED NATIONS FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO).

http://www.fao.org/docrep/W6602E/w6602E09.htm

As many as 40% (63 billion pounds) of fish caught globally every year are discarded.

- Goldenberg, Suzanne. “America’s Nine Most Wasteful Fisheries Named.” The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/20/americas-nine-most-wasteful-fisheries-named

Scientists estimate as many as 650,000 whales, dolphins and seals are killed every year by fishing vessels.

- Goldenberg, Suzanne. “America’s Nine Most Wasteful Fisheries Named.” The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/20/americas-nine-most-wasteful-fisheries-named

100 million tons of fish are caught annually.

- Montaigne, fen. “Still waters: The global fish crisis.” National Geographic.

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/global-fish-crisis-article/

Fish catch peaks at 85 million tons.

- “World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture.” UNITED NATIONS FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO). 2012.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e01.pdf

The Future Is Vegan
A group of young scientists in Chile have developed a new plant-based food for a sustainable and meatless future. Their main motivation is the impact animal agriculture has on the environment. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock contributes both directly and indirectly to climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Livestock is also a major driver of deforestation and desertification, as well as the release of carbon from cultivated soils. Overall the livestock sector is contributing 2.7 billion tonnes of CO2 emission, according to the UN. “When you get behind the scenes of the food industry, you don’t like what you see. There is a lot of things that we should be knowing… but we are blindsided by a whole industry that is making it really hard for us to see what we are really eating,” says Matias Muchnick.

The Last Letter of Patrice Lumumba…

My dear wife,

I am writing these words not knowing whether they will reach you, when they will reach you, and whether I shall still be alive when you read them. All through my struggle for the independence of my country, I have never doubted for a single instant the final triumph of the sacred cause to which my companions and I have devoted all our lives. But what we wished for our country, its right to an honourable life, to unstained dignity, to independence without restrictions, was never desired by the Belgian imperialists and the Western allies, who found direct and indirect support, both deliberate and unintentional, amongst certain high officials of the United Nations, that organization in which we placed all our trust when we called on its assistance.

They have corrupted some of our compatriots and bribed others. They have helped to distort the truth and bring our independence into dishonour. How could I speak otherwise?

Dead or alive, free or in prison by order of the imperialists, it is not myself who counts. It is the Congo, it is our poor people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage from whose confines the outside world looks on us, sometimes with kindly sympathy, but at other times with joy and pleasure. But my faith will remain unshakeable. I know and I feel in my heart that sooner or later my people will rid themselves of all their enemies, both internal and external, and that they will rise as one man to say No to the degradation and shame of colonialism, and regain their dignity in the clear light of the sun.

We are not alone. Africa, Asia and the free liberated people from all corners of the world will always be found at the side of the millions of Congolese who will not abandon the struggle until the day when there are no longer any colonialists and their mercenaries in our country. As to my children whom I leave and whom I may never see again, I should like them to be told that it is for them, as it is for every Congolese, to accomplish the sacred task of reconstructing our independence and our sovereignty: for without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men.

Neither brutality, nor cruelty nor torture will ever bring me to ask for mercy, for I prefer to die with my head unbowed, my faith unshakable and with profound trust in the destiny of my country, rather than live under subjection and disregarding sacred principles. History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that is taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or in the United Nations, but the history which will be taught in the countries freed from imperialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and to the north and south of the Sahara, it will be a glorious and dignified history.

Do not weep for me, my dear wife. I know that my country, which is suffering so much, will know how to defend its independence and its liberty.

Long live the Congo! Long live Africa!

Patrice Lumumba

(Shared from Afrikan Centered Education/Facebook)