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.


Nobel Laureates to Obama: No Keystone XL! | Common Dreams

Nobel Laureates to Obama: No Keystone XL! | Common Dreams

'Risks of tar sands oil and the threats of dangerous climate change have only become clearer'

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
A group of Nobel Peace laureates called for the immediate rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline in a letter sent to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Copenhagen climate change conference. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images) "We are writing to urge you to once and for all reject the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline," begins the letter penned by 10 Nobel Peace Prize winners—including Mairead Maguire, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Betty Williams, and Adolfo PĂ©rez Esquivel.
"Since we first wrote you, in September of 2011, the risks of tar sands oil and the threats of dangerous climate change have only become clearer," the laureates write.
They continue:
Tragic extreme weather events, including hurricanes, drought and forest fires in your own country, have devastated hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Recent tar sands oil spills in Kalamazoo, MI and Mayflower, AR, have served as a harsh reminder that shipping the world’s dirtiest oil will never likely be safe enough for human health and the environment.
Alberta’s oil sands are Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution and emissions are projected to double over the next seven years. [...]
As leaders who have spoken out strongly on these issues, we urge you, once again, to be on the right side of history and send a clear message that you are serious about moving beyond dirty oil. [read the full text below]

UK should provide GM crop technology to poor countries, says Owen Paterson

UK should provide GM crop technology to poor countries, says Owen Paterson | Environment |
"Paterson's GM dream will make it harder to feed the world. The government constantly claim that GM crops are just 'one tool in the toolbox' for the future of farming. In fact GM is the cuckoo in the nest. It drives out and destroys the systems that international scientists agree we need to feed the world. We need farming that helps poorer African and Asian farmers produce food, not farming that helps [GM companies] Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto produce profits," said Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Associaiton, the organisation that represents organic agriculture. ...

Britain would be acting immorally if it did not make GM crop technologies available to poor countries, Owen Paterson told international crop scientists in a major speech that was dismissed by his opponents as "agribusiness propaganda" but was welcomed by scientists as "overdue".
"The problems we face in feeding ourselves in 40 years' time are very real and something we have to prepare for right now. At this very moment there are 1 billion people on this planet who are chronically hungry. Are we really going to look them in the eye and say 'We have the proven technology to help, but the issue's just too difficult to deal with, it's just too controversial?," he said at Rothamsted crop research station in Hertfordshire.
"It won't be long until the population moves from 7 to 9 billion and we'll have even fewer resources to feed them. It is our duty to explore technologies like GM because they may hold the answers to the very serious challenges ahead," he said.
Paterson argued that GM crops could fortify food with vitamins and prevent blindness and death. "[GM] is about making crops durable enough to survive sustained drought. It's about developing new medicines. It's about feeding families in some of the poorest parts of the world. We cannot expect to feed tomorrow's population with yesterday's agriculture. We have to use every tool at our disposal."


Keystone XL Pipe Shuns Infrared Sensors to Detect Leaks - Businessweek

Keystone XL Pipe Shuns Infrared Sensors to Detect Leaks - Businessweek
TransCanada Corp. (TRP), which says Keystone XL will be the safest pipeline ever built, isn’t planning to use infrared sensors or fiber-optic cables to detect spills along the system’s 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) path to Texas refineries from fields in Alberta.
Pipeline companies have been slow to adopt new leak detection technology, including infrared equipment on helicopters flying 80 miles an hour or acoustic sensors that can identify the sound of oil seeping from a pinhole-sized opening. Instead of tools that can find even the smallest leaks, TransCanada will search for spills using software-based methods and traditional flyovers and surveys.
As pipelines multiply across North America to carry booming supplies of oil and natural gas, a series of recent spills and explosions are raising concerns about the safety of the conduits, including Keystone XL, which is awaiting U.S. government approval.


Sign our petition to Barrick Gold: |

Sign our petition to Barrick Gold: | SumOfUs
rigger Warning: This page includes descriptions of the abuses suffered by rape victims.
Years after being sexually assaulted by Barrick Gold security staff, gang rape victims are finally being offered counselling and micro loans -- but only if they waive their right to sue the world’s largest gold company.
This corporate failure to address the abuses with dignity is no surprise since Canadian-owned Barrick’s chairman, Peter Munk, states that it is impossible for the company to police the behaviour of 5,550 employees in Papua New Guinea. Instead, he blames the community's culture for the gang rape of women, saying: "[G]ang rape is a cultural habit. Of course, you can't say that because it's politically incorrect. It's outrageous. We have to pretend that everyone's the same and cultures don't matter. Unfortunately, it's not that way." As the retirement-aged chairman tries to turn his attention to his legacy beyond business, tell him to make sure that his company is protecting the victims of his staff’s behaviour.
Send a message to Barrick’s: Gang rape is not a cultural habit. Offer compensation package to rape victims without conditions.
Details of abuses at Barrick’s Porgera mine are simply disgusting: one victim told Human Rights Watch that she was forced to swallow a condom used to rape her. Another woman testified that she was gang raped by six Barrick security personnel at the company’s waste dump after assailants shattered her teeth. Years after the abuse, Barrick finally offered compensation packages that do not reflect court settlements -- and only on the condition that the victims sign away their right to sue Barrick.
Barrick is particularly vulnerable to public pressure now. It's facing a "perfect storm" of problems, according to its CEO. In May, Barrick was fined a record amount by the Chilean government for a project that is already billions of dollars above cost. The Pascua Lama mine is facing widespread community protest in Chile and Argentina for threatening ancient Andean glaciers. On top of that, Barrick’s shareholders rejected an attempt by the company to pay its new chairman a $12 million dollar signing bonus because the company trading at a 20-year low.
Now, while Barrick’s public profile is at an all-time low, is the best time to call on the company to changes its social corporate behaviour. Lets join MiningWatch Canada, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth, and 80 other groups to speak out against Barrick’s demeaning response to rape victims.
Tell Barrick to offer gang rape victims compensation without conditions.


Scientists Find Holes in Monsanto GM Wheat Denial |

Scientists Find Holes in Monsanto GM Wheat Denial | Common Dreams
Monsanto claimed Wednesday that the Oregon field found last week to be contaminated with Monsanto's unapproved GM wheat was an "isolated" incident, and that it was likely either the result of an accident or "sabotage." However, scientists warned Thursday that the biotech giant's denial has many holes.
Monsanto claims that it has since tested 31,200 seed samples in Oregon and Washington and found no evidence of contamination—insisting there is no cause for concern in the world market.
However, researchers this week said that Monsanto's tests are misleading and that the genetically modified gene, not yet approved for use in the U.S., will likely continue to be found in wheat seeds.