Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.

Friday

Trump repeals Stream Protection Rule in the US, what's ahead for water protection in Canada? | The Council of Canadians

Trump repeals Stream Protection Rule in the US, what's ahead for water protection in Canada? | The Council of Canadians
President Donald Trump has now signed an order that repeals the Stream Protection Rule in the United States.
The rule had been intended to protect almost 10,000 kilometres of streams and 52,000 acres of forests in the US. It would have prohibited surface mining within 30 metres of streams. Bloomberg notes, "It was meant to stop the practice of dumping mining waste in streams and valleys during mountaintop mining."
In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, Trout Unlimited president Chris Wood writes, "Over the past 20 years, mining operations have buried or degraded nearly 3,200 kilometres of streams in Appalachia. It goes without saying that cutting the tops off mountains and dumping them in streams is bad for fishing. It is also bad for anyone who cares about clean water."
Bloomberg notes, "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has led the opposition to the rule, calling it 'an attack against coal miners'. Others against it included the United Mine Workers of America and the National Mining Association, a Washington-based trade group representing companies such as Arch Coal Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp."
Trump stated, "In eliminating this rule I am continuing to keep my promise to the American people to get rid of wasteful regulations."
When Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met in Washington earlier this week, they signed a Joint Statement that pledged, "We will continue our dialogue on regulatory issues and pursue shared regulatory outcomes that are business-friendly, reduce costs, and increase economic efficiency without compromising health, safety, and environmental standards."
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has already expressed concern about "any potential competitiveness imbalances" between Canada and the US. CAPP vice-president Ben Brunnen says, "We're keenly aware of the importance of a level playing field where investment can flow over the border quite freely."
And just days after Trudeau and Trump met in the White House, the Mining Association of Canada released a report citing regulatory delays and uncertainty as reasons mining investments could move outside the country.
The Council of Canadians has been calling on the prime ministert to restore and enhance the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Fisheries Act, critical elements of water protection that had been gutted by the Harper government.
For example, the Fisheries Act allows the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to authorize deposits of deleterious substances into waterways if the “whole of the deposit is not acutely lethal to fish". The regulation defines “acutely lethal” as a deposit that kills more than 50 per cent of fish at 100 per cent concentration over a 96 hour period.
Despite their election campaign promise to restore and enhance this legislation, no substantive action has taken place in this regard.
We should all be concerned that Trudeau's pledge of regulatory cooperation with Trump along with corporate pressure within Canada will mean that lakes and rivers in Canada will continue to be under threat from abuse and pollution.

Tuesday

Shopify: Stop endorsing hate

Shopify: Stop endorsing hate
Together, people power has helped push over 900 companies to drop the ultra-ring wing Breitbart News (A.K.A Trump News).
The largest company left is the Canadian e-commerce company that runs Breitbart's online store. If we can force Shopify to ditch Breitbart, we'll be dealing a massive blow to Breitbart's ability to expand globally -- and could stop it in its tracks.
Sign the petition to Shopify: stop endorsing hate. End your relationship with Breitbart News now.
Shopify is a $1.9 billion dollar company with 325,000 online stores in 150 countries. It runs the online stores for lots of companies and brands you've heard of, like Budweiser, Red Bull, Tesla Motors, The Economist, and Herschel and many others.
The merchandise for sale in Breitbart's Shopify store tell migrant workers to “Get in line”, and boast about building a border wall, one of Trump’s key campaign policies.
These products aren't just offensive -- they're giving Breitbart revenue to fund its global expansion in time for crucial 2017 elections in Europe.

Monday

Denmark to co-host women's conference after Trump's anti-abortion move

Denmark to co-host women's conference after Trump's anti-abortion move - The Local
An international conference to raise money for charities providing access to safe abortion will be held in Brussels in March in response to President Donald Trump's gag on US funding, conference co-host Sweden said on Thursday.  Development aid ministers from Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as representatives from over 50 countries are expected to attend the "She Decides" conference on March 2.

Thursday

Eight Countries Join Global Fight Against Trump's Anti-Abortion Move |

Eight Countries Join Global Fight Against Trump's Anti-Abortion Move | Common Dreams | Breaking News
Eight countries have joined a fundraising effort to counter President Donald Trump's executive order last month that cuts off U.S. funding to global charities providing information about abortions.
Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin told Reuters on Thursday that a conference kicking off the fundraising initiative is scheduled for March 2 in Brussels, with the aim of helping nongovernmental organizations that operate family planning projects.
Belgium, Canada, Cape Verde, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, and Sweden have joined the effort launched by the Netherlands in January after Trump announced the order reinstating the rule, formally known as the Mexico City Policy and often referred to as the "global gag rule."
The Netherlands warned the order could cause a shortfall of $600 million over the next four years.
"[The gag order] could be so dangerous for so many women," said Lovin, who gained attention this week for a photograph that showed her and seven other female officials signing an ambitious climate bill into law—which many saw as a pointed reference to images of Trump signing the anti-choice order while surrounded by male staffers.
"If women don't have control over their bodies and their own fate it can have very serious consequences for global goals of gender rights and global poverty eradication," Lovin said.
The global gag rule was first created in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan, and has been alternately lifted and reinstated by subsequent administrations, with Republicans keeping it in place and Democrats repealing it. Former President Barack Obama most recently did away with the ban in 2009.

Monday

Wed, Feb 8, 2017: Truth, Lies and Democracy

Wed,  Feb 8, 2017: Truth, Lies and Democracy

 Please join us for a free public lecture on February 8, 2017 from 7-9pm in Room UC 152 of University College (15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7) at the University of Toronto’s St George campus:

Truth, Lies and Democracy: Journalism after Trump

by Olivia Ward
Olivia Ward is a foreign affairs reporter for The Toronto Star who has written on international affairs for over 16 years, beginning as the Star’s UN correspondent and reporting from countries around the globe. Olivia has led the Moscow and London bureaus for the Star and has reported from the former Soviet Union, South Asia, and the Middle East, and on conflict zones including Chechnya, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Serbia, Iraq, and Israel and Palestine.
This event is part of a weekly series of talks entitled: Vital Discussions of Human Security . Please note that we will be using Room UC 152 for the remainder of the winter 2017 lecture series.
See www.scienceforpeace.ca/events for details on all of our upcoming events, and www.scienceforpeace.ca/videos for video recordings of past lectures.

Saturday

Yes, It's Time to Politicize Science | Psychology Today

Yes, It's Time to Politicize Science | Psychology Today

(David is the former pres. of the American Humanist Association)

With today’s post-truth politicians denying climate change, opposing the teaching of evolution, and even forcing doctors to relay misinformation about reproductive health, it’s no surprise that the idea of a March for Science—now scheduled for April 22 in Washington and other locations around the country—has rapidly gained momentum. The planned march can be seen as a direct response to the rampant anti-intellectualism that has gripped American political life.
But even as our jaws drop at the brazen disregard for truth in politics and government—with the White House silencing scientists one day and promoting “alternative facts” another—there is no unanimity, even among scientists, about rallying for science. In an op-ed this week in the New York Times, geologist Robert S. Young argues against the march, saying the event will only “increase polarization” and “trivialize and politicize the science we care so much about.”
What Young doesn’t seem to grasp is that political marches are often intended to polarize—marchers are challenging society to look anew at a particular issue, contending that there is a clear right and wrong that has been overlooked for too long. Whether the cause is civil rights, women’s equality, LGBT rights, or something else, public rallies and marches are intended to call attention to an issue and sway the weight of public opinion in one direction. The exercise is designed establish and assert moral authority, thus isolating those who are on the wrong side even to the point of shaming them. By calling our wrongheadedness and injustice, successful rallies and marches reshape public dialogue and effect change. They are the ultimate democratic tactic, gathering people in numbers to show that there is mass support for a righteous idea.
Young, however, sees such activity as no place for science and scientists. He worries that a science march will “turn scientists into another group caught up in the culture wars,” apparently oblivious to the fact that scientists have been casualties of the culture wars for years. And the results have been devastating, not just for science but for all of society. The United States is a nation that embraces the advancement of technology while simultaneously placing the scientific mindset—and the appreciation of rationalism and empiricism that are its foundation—far outside its core values....
To be sure, some degree of caution is important. As sensible people march for science they should bear in mind that nobody—and certainly no political party—owns science. Even those politicians at the front of the crowd should be seen as having the potential to misuse science for their own interests. Numerous forces—monetary, ideological, intellectual, and psychological—can corrupt the application of science to policymaking, and these forces require vigilant monitoring, meaning that facts and conclusions must be scrutinized regardless of who is backing them. Nobody gets a free pass, and as we apply science we must give serious consideration to our values.
Indeed, because science is ultimately amoral—it is inherently neither good nor evil, but only a tool for humans to use as they see fit—this might explain why there is some appeal to Young’s cry to keep scientists off the streets. Let scientists focus on the determining facts, the argument goes, and let society at large decide how to apply values to those facts. The problem with this argument is that we have a society, and a political leadership, that simply isn’t concerned about determining facts accurately. Large segments of society, particularly corporate and religious sectors, reach their opinions and conclusions first and then assert facts—true or not—later.

This explains so much of what is happening in America, from the false “debate” over climate change to the attacks on public education. And when society embraces anti-intellectualism at this level, it’s time to march.
Twitter: @ahadave

Friday

OHS Endorses the National Days of Action against Islamophobia and White Supremacy | Ontario Humanist Society

OHS Endorses the National Days of Action against Islamophobia and White Supremacy | Ontario Humanist Society

he Ontario Humanist Society supports the planned Days of Action. The following information is taken directly from:

https://www.facebook.com/events/407436779648169/

National Days of Action Against Islamophobia & Deportations
February 4-5, 2017

The war waged against Muslims and refugees worldwide has reached its
boiling point with Trump’s Presidency. These xenophobic, anti-Black,
Islamophobic, anti-refugee racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic
policies have come to fruition. Walls and bans against Muslims and
Refugees on stolen Indigenous lands. We affirm our solidarity with
Indigenous nations whose lands we reside on.
Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen. The geographies
of our birth place that put targets on our heads. Families separated,
refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants deported and detained, trapped
in between borders or taken back – our  communities are being terrorized by white supremacist violence and  domination. Our movement is confronted by racist white nationalism, our  lives are devastated in constant fear. We flee war, persecution, mass  poverty in search for life – instead we get a fatal sentence for our  faith.
Enough is Enough.
On January 29th, in Quebec City a group of Muslims were praying in a mosque at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre when one gunman came in and rang shots throughout this place of worship. Six have died, even more are injured. We mourn their lives. Last summer during the holy month of Ramadan, a pig’s head was left at the doorstep. The president of the cultural centre hoped the event was an isolated incident, and responded with nothing but love and respect to the Centre’s neighbours.
Colonial borders are imaginary constructs. The white supremacist hatred of Muslims and refugees from all intersections world wide is the colonizing force that fuels the identity and economy of America just as much as Canada. Trump’s power is extended to Trudeau’s. The institutional and systemic Islamophobic, anti-Black and racist policies that are killing us at the border, in the streets, in our homes, at work and in our mosques are one. We are under attack on all fronts, especially those of us who live in the intersections of Blackness and Muslimness and are Refugees who are the first to be silenced, ignored or forgotten
Not another life. Not another mass murder.
Our resistance does not stop here. Now more than ever we must organize. This is a national call to action to plan demonstrations in your cities, Canada wide. Join us, as we rise up!

TORONTO ACTION DETAILS
Date:Saturday, February 4 at
Time: 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: US Consulate

OTHER LOCATIONS:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1awOa4tymbc-ZxNmv5AfknvR9KQl44Fty0ixFZ3XZqSk/edit

OHS Statement on Quebec Mosque Attack | Ontario Humanist Society

OHS Statement on Quebec Mosque Attack | Ontario Humanist Society

The Ontario Humanist Society (OHS) sends condolences to the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec yesterday. Our thoughts are not only with the victims, but also their families and friends, the Muslim community and the people of Quebec. We stand united with all who denounce this horrendous act and join in calling for unity, tolerance and respect in a time when so many try to divide us.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, and everyone, everywhere should be free to practice their religion, or lack thereof, as they see fit, without fear of discrimination or persecution. Intolerance, fear and division are not the way forward for the human race and we must unite against any effort to promote those misguided efforts.
If we all choose to live with compassion, empathy, reason and respect, we will not be divided.

Saturday

Canada may contribute to Dutch-led international abortion fund

Canada may contribute to Dutch-led international abortion fund | World news | The Guardian

 Canada is considering contributing to a Dutch-led international fund to support abortion services in developing countries, set up in response to Donald Trump’s order to halt financing of NGOs that support the practice.
A spokesman for Canada’s international development minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, told AFP the minister had spoken with her Dutch counterpart about the fund, and was considering donating an unspecified sum to it or a similar measure that would support “sexual reproductive rights, including abortion” abroad.
“Sexual health and reproductive rights will be at the heart of Canada’s new international assistance policy,” spokesman Louis Belanger said in an email.
“We will continue to explore opportunities to work together to advance women’s empowerment by expanding access to sexual and reproductive health services including abortion,” he said.
Canada is set to unveil its new foreign aid strategy in the coming weeks. A decision on the fund would either be included or follow soon after that announcement.

SO - WRITE YOUR MP!!!

Wednesday

FEATURE-Home-grown Kenyan solar farm powers computers - and powers computers and protects girls

FEATURE-Home-grown Kenyan solar farm powers computers - and ...
OLOSHO-OIBOR, Kenya, Jan 25 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When the first few residents of this village in the Ngong hills installed solar panels, nearly a decade ago, the only aim was to power their own homes, as their town had no connection to the national power grid.
But today the community, south of Nairobi in the Rift Valley, is buzzing with solar and wind energy, which powers everything from the dispensary and church to shops, homes and even a rescue centre for girls fleeing child marriage and the threat of female genital mutilation.
Residents say they banded together to buy the shared energy system themselves, recognising that the substantial upfront cost would create benefits for years to come. Those now include everything from vaccines that can now be kept cold at the dispensary to solar-powered pumping of water.
"Before we started this solar farm, people from this village used to travel to Ngong town, which is 17 kilometers away, to get basic services and goods such as a photocopy or a haircut. This used to inconvenience us greatly since you had to part with a tidy sum," said Simon Parkesian, the manager of the community's solar farm.
In 2009, some residents of Olosho-Oibor, impressed with a first couple of private solar panels installed in the community, decided they wanted panels of their own - but many people could not afford them.
So a group of community members began contributing cash - 10 dollars a month - until they had enough to buy a set of larger solar panels that could serve many nearby homes.
They then approached the U.N. Industrial Development Organization for technical help in installing their system. Today the 125-member energy cooperative has raised $4,900 for panels - installed on poles around the community and on rooftops - and installed two small wind turbines as well.
The community also has a 10-kilowatt diesel generator as a backup in periods when both sunshine and wind fall short, but that is used only occasionally, Parkesian said.

Dutch to set up global abortion support fund to counter Trumps Cuts

Dutch to set up global abortion support fund to counter ... trumps cuts
AMSTERDAM, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Netherlands is launching a global fund to help women access abortion services to compensate for U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on U.S. federal funding for foreign groups providing abortions or abortion support for family planning abroad.
The Dutch government has held preliminary discussions on the initiative with other European Union members who have responded positively, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday. Governments outside the EU, companies and social institutions will also be approached to participate.
Trump on Monday reinstated a policy that requires foreign NGOs who receive U.S. global family planning funds to certify that they do not perform abortions or provide abortion advice as a method of family planning.
Dutch officials estimate that Trump's restrictions will cause a funding shortfall of $600 million over the next four years. Women's rights and health campaigners have reacted with anger at Trump's move. They say restrictions on abortion endanger women's lives. Trump has also pledged to withdraw funding from U.S. domestic abortion services.
The policy was announced on Tuesday by Liliane Ploumen, minister for international development cooperation, whose Labour Party - the junior coalition partner in the government - is traditionally staunchly in favour of abortion rights.
The Netherlands's laws on reproduction and reproductive health are among the world's most liberal. The Dutch vote in parliamentary elections in March.
Foreign ministry spokesman Herman van Gelderen said he was confident relations with the new U.S. administration would not be damaged by the measure.
"Where decisions are taken that are bad for women in developing countries we should help those women," he said. "It's not about the politics, it's about those women."

Philippines to review all mines as environmentalist takes helm

Philippines to review all mines as environmentalist takes ...

MANILA, July 1 (Reuters) - The Philippines will review all mines operating in the country, the new mining minister said on Friday, as the committed environmentalist vowed to determine whether the industry is hurting the Southeast Asian nation.
Regina Lopez's appointment to head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has sent shockwaves through the mining sector, which fears a nationwide crackdown.
"I'm not against the mining industry but I'm against suffering," Lopez told reporters on her first day in office as part of the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.
"I do want to evaluate if the country is safe from mining," she told a briefing where videos were aired showing environmental harm from mining along with testimonies from farmers and fishermen opposed to the industry. The minister said the review would take a month.
Her stance suggests a tough regulatory road ahead for Philippine miners, whose nickel ore producers are the biggest suppliers to China.
President Duterte has warned that he could cancel projects causing environmental harm, though he told business leaders last week that he was not against mining per se.