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.

Saturday

Jane Goodall Wants You To Stand Up To Those Who Belittle Science - see local marches for Earth Day

The video message comes a few days after Goodall, a United Nations “messenger of peace,” traveled to Washington, D.C., where she spoke with media before addressing students at American University. That same day, President Donald Trump, who’s described climate change as a “bullshit” “hoax” and who’s vowed to withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris climate agreement, signed an executive order to reverse Obama-era policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Asked by The Huffington Post about Trump’s climate actions, Goodall called them “immensely disturbing.” However, she believes the Trump administration has woken people up, citing the numerous marches and demonstrations.
The “March for Science” is supported by a nonpartisan coalition of scientific groups and is scheduled for Earth Day — April 22. While the main rally will occur in Washington, D.C., satellite marches have been organized in more than 400 locations around the globe. The D.C. event is “a call for politicians to implement science-based policies, as well as a public celebration of science and the enormous public service it provides in our democracy, our economy, and in all our daily lives,” according to the official website of the march.

TORONTO MARCH: https://sciencemarchto.ca/
see satellite marches for other Ontario events, and in your neighbourhood.

Friday

Canada-China Free Trade Agreement talks

Stop the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement talks!
I am very concerned about the likely impacts of a Canada-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on people in both countries.
I oppose the investor-state dispute settlement provision that is already in the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). This provision allows transnational corporations to sue governments for future lost profits due to legislation that protects the public interest, including the environment. I think that this provision should be removed from FIPA and should not be strengthened by a new FTA.
I am concerned about the impact of a Canada-China FTA on Indigenous rights. The Chinese government has said that a free trade deal would require Canadian concessions on investment restrictions in the oil and gas sector, and a commitment to build an energy pipeline to the coast. This violates Indigenous rights in that these projects affect their lands and waters – without their free, prior and informed consent.
I am also concerned that a Canada-China FTA could lead to water pollution and increased bottled water takings. An expansion of the tar sands would mean more water pollution in northern Alberta, while pipelines put waterways across the country at risk. As well, about 90 per cent of the groundwater in Chinese cities is polluted and 700 million people in those cities drink contaminated water every day. Given China already sees Tibet as a source for bottled water, it's possible that China might look to Canada as a source of bottled water as well. Canada could also be promoted as a country with ample water for China's water-intensive industries.
I am disappointed that you launched an online consultation on a Canada-China FTA six months after you announced exploratory talks would take place and three weeks after those talks began. The online consultation form gives you the opportunity to say you have consulted Canadians, but it does not give me the opportunity to directly say I oppose a Canada-China FTA.
I ask that you stop the current talks on a Canada-China FTA, that you hold proper consultations with Canadians and First Nations, and that any future talks be open, transparent and accountable to the public.

Sunday

Women's rights under assault: UN

Women's rights under assault: UN, Agence France-Presse

Women's rights are under fresh assault worldwide, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday as a two-week conference kicked off at the United Nations to take stock of the fight for gender equality.
President Donald Trump's "global gag rule" cutting US funding to groups that offer abortion services and Russia's decision to ease punishment for domestic violence are casting a long shadow on the annual gathering of the Commission on the Status of Women.
"Globally, women are suffering new assaults on their safety and dignity," Guterres told the opening session of the conference at UN headquarters in New York.
"Some governments are enacting laws that curtail women's freedoms. Others are rolling back legal protections against domestic violence."
Trump, who declared himself opposed to abortion during his campaign, signed a decree just days into his presidency barring US funding for foreign non-governmental groups if their work touches on abortion.
A few weeks later, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that reduces penalties for domestic violence to a fine instead of a jail term, if the assault is a first offence and does not cause serious injury.
This year's gathering focuses on women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work, with attention turning to pay inequality and paid parental leave.
The United Nations has set a global goal of achieving gender equality by 2030. A recent study by the International Labour Organization warned that without stronger measures, it will take 70 years to close the gender wage gap.

Tuesday

UN Secretary-General's Message for International Women’s Day | UN Women

UN Secretary-General's Message for International Women’s Day | UN Women – Headquarters

UN Secretary-General's Message for International Women’s Day

Women’s rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed.
Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential.
Historic imbalances in power relations between men and women, exacerbated by growing inequalities within and between societies and countries, are leading to greater discrimination against women and girls. Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.
Women’s legal rights, which have never been equal to men’s on any continent, are being eroded further. Women’s rights over their own bodies are questioned and undermined. Women are routinely targeted for intimidation and harassment in cyberspace and in real life. In the worst cases, extremists and terrorists build their ideologies around the subjugation of women and girls and single them out for sexual and gender-based violence, forced marriage and virtual enslavement.
Despite some improvements, leadership positions across the board are still held by men, and the economic gender gap is widening, thanks to outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism. We must change this, by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world.
Denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back. Gender equality has a transformative effect that is essential to fully functioning communities, societies and economies.
Women’s access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school can add up to 25 per cent to a girl’s future income.

UN experts denounce 'myth' pesticides are necessary to feed the world

UN experts denounce 'myth' pesticides are necessary to feed the world | Environment | The Guardian
The idea that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing global population is a myth, according to UN food and pollution experts.
new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”.
The report says pesticides have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”, including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning. Its authors said: “It is time to create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.”
The world’s population is set to grow from 7 billion today to 9 billion in 2050. The pesticide industry argues that its products – a market worth about $50bn (£41bn) a year and growing – are vital in protecting crops and ensuring sufficient food supplies.
“It is a myth,” said Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food. “Using more pesticides is nothing to do with getting rid of hunger. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), we are able to feed 9 billion people today. Production is definitely increasing, but the problem is poverty, inequality and distribution.”
Elver said many of the pesticides are used on commodity crops, such as palm oil and soy, not the food needed by the world’s hungry people: “The corporations are not dealing with world hunger, they are dealing with more agricultural activity on large scales.”

Monday

NCSE and the March for Science | April 22, DC

NCSE and the March for Science | NCSE
NCSE is among the scientific, academic, and educational institutions endorsing the March for Science that will take place in Washington DC on April 22, 2017, with satellite marches planned in almost three hundred communities across the world. The goal of the march is to celebrate science and its crucial role in protecting the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children and the foundation of our economy and jobs. 
As NCSE's executive director Ann Reid explained in a March 6, 2017, blog post, "we believe that the marches will be a powerful and positive reminder that there is something that virtually everyone agrees on: the value and importance of science. ... While it is certainly true that Americans seem to be intractably divided over more issues than ever before, support for science is something that all of us share, and can continue to share."
Among the partners with the March for Science besides NCSE are the American Anthropological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union,  the American Society for Cell Biology,the Entomological Society of America, Research America, Science Debate, Sigma Xi, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Friday

Stop your pension from building pipelines!

Stop your pension from building pipelines!
Last week Reuters revealed that U.S.-based pipeline company Kinder Morgan is approaching Canadian funders to raise money to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day. This would also quadruple the number of supertankers to more than 400 in B.C’s Burrard Inlet each year. One funder Kinder Morgan has approached is the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

If you work or have worked in Canada, you are a contributor to the Canada Pension Plan. You have a say in whether or not your pension funds are used to pay for risky pipeline projects that fuel climate change and endanger coastal waters.

This pipeline would be:
A risky investment. Globally, as the world transitions to a clean energy economy, investing in fossil fuel-based companies like Kinder Morgan becomes a liability. Oil giants Exxon and ConocoPhilips recently announced they are leaving a combined 4.7 billion barrels of tar sands reserves in the ground because they aren’t profitable enough to extract. Shell and Statoil are slowly divesting their tar sands assets.

A risk  to water and the climate. The Trans Mountain pipeline crosses 1,300 waterways. A pipeline spill in any of them would have devastating impacts. Building and expanding pipelines also moves us away from our Paris climate commitments. Building Kinder Morgan would singlehandedly add an estimate 28 megatons of CO2 equivalent downstream emissions.

A violation of  Indigenous rights. At least six West Coast Indigenous communities are suing the federal government because the Trans Mountain pipeline would threaten their livelihoods.

Even though the Trudeau government recently approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, many obstacles still remain, including Kinder Morgan’s need to secure investors for the $6.8 billion project.

Take  action! Tell the CPPIB you don’t want your pension fund invested in the Trans  Mountain pipeline.

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.

Canada oil pipeline spills 200,000 liters on aboriginal land

Canada oil pipeline spills 200,000 liters on aboriginal land

CALGARY, Alberta/TORONTO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - A pipeline in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan has leaked 200,000 liters (52,834 gallons) of oil in an aboriginal community, the provincial government said on Monday.
The government was notified late in the afternoon on Friday, and 170,000 liters have since been recovered, said Doug McKnight, assistant deputy minister in the Ministry of the Economy, which regulates pipelines in Saskatchewan.
Oil pipelines are viewed by the oil-rich provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan as a critical lifeline to move crude to the coast, but they have drawn fierce opposition from environmental and indigenous groups.
The spill came seven months after another major incident in Saskatchewan, in which a Husky Energy Inc pipeline leaked 225,000 liters into a major river and cut off the drinking water supply for two cities.

Tuesday

Trump needs tech to achieve his vision. But Silicon Valley isn't having it | NEVER AGAIN

Trump needs tech to achieve his vision. But Silicon Valley isn't having it | Technology | The Guardian
The inaugural Tech Solidarity meeting in San Francisco helped produce the Never Again pledge, a public declaration by tech workers that they will refuse to build a database identifying people by race, religion, or national origin. The pledge went live on 13 December – the day before Silicon Valley’s top executives made the pilgrimage to Trump Tower to sit down for a summit with the president-elect.
The organizers of the pledge are keenly aware of their industry’s history. The Never Again site refers to IBM’s well-documented role in providing the punch-card machines that streamlined the Holocaust – a history the company has never fully acknowledged or apologized for. Which makes it all the more chilling that IBM has gone out of its way to court Trump since his victory.

NEVER AGAIN PLEDGE
http://neveragain.tech/

We, the undersigned, are employees of tech organizations and companies based in the United States.
We are engineers, designers, business executives, and others whose jobs include managing or processing data about people.
We are choosing to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans, immigrants, and all people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the incoming administration’s proposed data collection policies.
We refuse to build a database of people based on their Constitutionally - protected religious beliefs.
We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable.

We have educated ourselves on the history of threats like these, and on the roles that technology and technologists played in carrying them out.
We see how IBM collaborated to digitize and streamline the Holocaust, contributing to the deaths of six million Jews and millions of others.
We recall the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.
We recognize that mass deportations precipitated the very atrocity the word genocide was created to describe: the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey.
We acknowledge that genocides are not merely a relic of the distant past — among others, Tutsi, Rwandans and Bosnian Muslims have been victims in our lifetimes.

Today we stand together to say: not on our watch, and never again.
We commit to the following actions:
  • We refuse to participate in the creation of databases of identifying information for the United States government to target individuals based on race, religion, or national origin.

  • We will advocate within our organizations:
    • to minimize the collection and retention of data that would facilitate ethnic or religious targeting.
    • to scale back existing datasets with unnecessary racial, ethnic, and national origin data.
    • to responsibly destroy high-risk datasets and backups.
    • to implement security and privacy best practices, in particular, for end-to-end encryption  to be the default wherever possible.
    • to demand appropriate legal process should the government request that we turn over
      user data collected by our organization, even in small amounts.
  • If we discover misuse of data that we consider illegal or unethical in our organizations:
    • We will work with our colleagues and leaders to correct it.
    • If we cannot stop these practices,
      we will exercise our rights and responsibilities to speak out publicly and engage in responsible whistleblowing without endangering users.
    • If we have the authority to do so, we will use all available legal defenses to stop these practices.
    • If we do not have such authority, and our organizations force us to engage in such misuse,
      we will resign from our positions rather than comply.
  • We will raise awareness and ask critical questions about the responsible and fair use of data and algorithms beyond our organization and our industry.

Monday

Reinstating 'Global Gag Rule,' Trump Attacks Women Worldwide

Reinstating 'Global Gag Rule,' Trump Attacks Women Worldwide | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order reinstating a policy critics call the Global Gag Rule, further cementing reproductive rights advocates' warning that 2017 would entail an uphill battle for women's healthcare.

Officially known as the Mexico City Policy, the rule, as Nonprofit Quarterly explained, "specifically prohibits international charities from promoting abortion as a method of family planning even if that 'promotion' simply entails a physician engaging in a conversation about the option of abortion with a patient." As such, Kiersten Gillette-Pierce and Jamila Taylor write at Center for American Progress, it "infringes upon women's fundamental right to make informed decisions about their bodies and their health."..

"There is simply no excuse for this action when the evidence that it is both cruel and stupid is clear," adds Brian Dixon, senior vice president for media and government relations at Population Connection Action Fund. "It turns out that Trump is intent on punishing women around the world for experiencing unintended pregnancy."

The order comes a day after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision, which, as a new report shows, if overturned could put 37 million women in 33 states at-risk of being without abortion access.

Entitled What If Roe Fell, the Center for Reproductive Rights publication allows users to see if they live in a "high alert" state, where the right to abortion is at the highest risk of loss if the 1973 decision is undone.

"We cannot go back to the days before Roe, when some women put their lives on the line when they needed to end a pregnancy. Forcing women to travel thousands of miles across state lines for basic healthcare in 2017 is not only unconstitutional, it's unconscionable," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Tuesday

Women's March on Washington: Toronto, Jan 21, 12 noon

Women's March on Washington: Toronto
Across Turtle Island (North America) we have seen a rise in acts of hate coinciding with the American election. On Saturday, January 21, join us for a march to unite our communities in Toronto and to speak out.
We come together to say we will not be silent in the face of the hate that has threatened, demonized and insulted so many of us – Muslims, Jews, racialized people, Indigenous people, migrants and those with precarious or no legal status, members of the LGBTTQQ2SI communities, differently abled people and women.
In the spirit of saying no to hate and yes to justice, equity and social change, people around the world will be mobilizing and resisting as Trump is inaugurated. The lived experiences of colonialism and anti-black racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, sexism and oppression has existed long before Trump, but we worry that the recent US election has provided a new wave that normalizes and makes hate acceptable.
Now is a critical moment to come together to send a united message. We cannot afford to be silent or idle. Let us continue to push for justice for the most marginalized and oppressed among us.
All allies are welcome.