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.


BBC News - Landmines: US tells Mozambique summit of ban plans

BBC News - Landmines: US tells Mozambique summit of ban plans

The United States says it will no longer produce or buy any anti-personnel landmines.
A White House statement also said it would not seek to replace expiring stockpiles of the weapons.

The announcement came at a conference in Mozambique on the Ottawa Convention, a UN treaty banning landmines. The White House says it is moving towards signing the pact.

But critics accuse the US of not going far enough. They say it should ban landmine use immediately, commit to a target date for joining the UN treaty and destroy its existing stocks. Several other world powers, including Russia and China, have also not signed the convention.


UN: Detroit violating human rights by turning off residents' taps

UN: Detroit violating human rights by turning off residents' taps | World news |

UN rights experts on Wednesday slammed struggling US city Detroit forviolating the basic human rights of its citizens by disconnecting thousands of people from water services over unpaid bills.

Cash-strapped Detroit, which last July became the largest US city to ever file for bankruptcy protection, has recently begun disconnecting water services on a large scale, for all households that have not paid bills for two months, the three experts said in a statement.

The birthplace of the US auto industry has accelerated the process since early June, with around 3,000 customers cut off each week, and some 30,000 households expected to be disconnected from water services over the next few months, they said.

"Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights," they insisted."The households which suffered unjustified disconnections must be immediately reconnected," they said.

While disconnecting people who are able to pay but choose not to can be justified, the experts stressed that in a city like Detroit, with its sky-high poverty and unemployment rate, the relatively expensive cost ofwater is simply unaffordable for a significant portion of the population.

Do farmers really need bee-harming insecticides? |

Do farmers really need bee-harming insecticides? | Environment |

and from the comments:
A major problem is that there is almost no funding
for research into biological or cultural controls (e.g. crop rotations),
since these do not offer a return on investment (you cannot patent a
crop rotation system).
Instead industry puts huge amounts of money
into developing and promoting technological solutions such as new
pesticides, GM crop varieties etc. which they can then sell for decades
to come."
This comment by Professor Dave Goulson from Sussex University contains a massively important point. This is the whole problem with the current food system. It isn't that there isn't any alternatives or different insights. The whole problem is that the current system is only interested in solutions or options which can be monetised i.e. solutions which someone can greatly profit from. There is no interest in any solution that cannot be monetised and patented, no matter how good it might be for everyone else and the environment. THIS IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM. We are doing things in these stupid ways, not
because there is no other option, but because it is the option that allows a tiny group of very wealthy people to carry on profiting from this idiocy.

This why wild pollinators have been largely ignored as well, even though they account for twice the pollination of crops that Honeybees do. Honeybees are commercialised and have a commercial
value. No one can profit from wild pollinators so the powerful people that run our systems are not interested in them, although us ordinary people need them to survive.

here is the result of the Italian ban a few years ago:

No effect on yield. Good recovery in bee populations not exposed to seed sowing (dust is a major contaminant) or spraying.


It’s time to ban bee-killing pesticides | David Suzuki Foundation

It’s time to ban bee-killing pesticides | David Suzuki Foundation

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about bee-killing pesticides. Bees have been dying off at alarming rates, and neonicotinoid pesticides are implicated in this decline. Bees aren’t the only victims. “Neonic” pesticides may harm the human brain, nervous system and hormonal system.
In June, an international group of independent scientists released the results of a comprehensive analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies on neonics — a massive, four-year undertaking. Their conclusion: “…there is clear evidence of harm sufficient to trigger regulatory action.
The assessment highlights serious risks, not only to bees, but to many other beneficial species, including butterflies, earthworms and birds.

Meanwhile, research indicates that neonics do not necessarily increase agricultural yields.
So why are we still using them? Last year, Europe announced a moratorium on the use of three neonics on bee-attracting crops.

In Canada, however, these pesticides are still in widespread use. Canadian regulators have confirmed
that neonics used on corn seed is a contributing factor to bee die-offs in Ontario and Quebec, but they continue to allow the use of these pesticides.

In the case of clothianidin — a neonic used to treat corn seeds and frequently detected in samples of dead bees — Canadian regulators even signed off on its re-approval last year just as their European
counterparts were implementing a ban. That stings!

Take action! French version for Quebec here.

Federal and provincial governments share responsibility for pesticide regulation in Canada. Join us in calling on our regulators to side with the science and ban neonics.

Agent Orange is back - and so is 2-4-D.

Friends of the Earth

Dow Chemical is seeking approval for its “Agent Orange” crops --
corn and soy seeds genetically engineered to withstand massive doses of
2,4-D. This pesticide was one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange,
the toxic chemical mix that caused devastating health problems in the
Vietnam War.

2,4-D is a highly toxic pesticide -- more harmful to plant life than
RoundUp -- and has been linked to serious health problems such as
cancer, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption and reproductive
problems. EPA approval of 2,4-D resistant crops will bring a massive
increase in even more toxic pesticide applications, threatening our
environment, the safety of our food, and the health of people who live
in agricultural communities across the U.S..

We need to stop the destructive cycle of using more and more of the
most toxic pesticides on our crops. Don’t let Dow Chemical reap the
profit from this dangerous pesticide at the expense of our environment,
our farmers, and our health.

Speak up now for safe food and safe farms. Tell the EPA to oppose  Dow’s “Agent Orange” corn and soy!


Pesticides greater threat than previously admitted; Sierra Club says ban bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides now! | Sierra Club Canada

Pesticides greater threat than previously admitted; Sierra Club says ban bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides now! | Sierra Club Canada

OTTAWA -- The findings of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) undertaken by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides make it absolutely clear neonicotinoid pesticides must be banned by the Health Canada. The Study reviewed some 800 scientific papers and concluded that the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides go far beyond honey bees: butterflies, birds and amphibians are all threatened. “The experiment must end now!” said John Bennett, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “There is overwhelming evidence to justify banning neonicotinoid pesticides,”

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has inexplicably refused to take action after concluding last September that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is “unsustainable because they kill bees”. After a three month comment period the Agency decided last December to continue consulting for at least two more years before making a decision.

However, in February of this year the PMRA greatly expanded the approved uses of the neonicotinoid pesticides despite its own cautions and mounting evidence of the damage being done.“Canada needs a strong regulatory regime that bases its decisions on science, not on needs of thepesticide industry,” said Mr. Bennett.

On June 19th Sierra Club Canada Foundation requested the federal Ethics Commissioner launch an investigation of ConservativeMP and Cabinet Minister accepting a job with CropLife the pesticide
industry’s lobbying organization.

The European Union banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides a year ago in response to mounting
scientific evidence. Last week President Obama announced a review of pesticides among other measures to protect bees and other pollinators.


Noam Chomsky on human extinction: The corporate elite are actively courting disaster

Noam Chomsky on human extinction: The corporate elite are actively courting disaster

Climate change poses an imminent threat to human life, said political philosopher Noam Chomsky – and humans are drawing their own doom ever closer.

“This is the first time in human history that we have the capacity to destroy the conditions for decent survival, (and) it is already happening,” Chomsky told journalist Chris Hedges,

Chomsky said species destruction had reached the same level as 65 million years ago – when an asteroid hit the earth, ending the period of dinosaurs and wiping up many other species.

“It is the same level today, and we are the asteroid,” he said. “If anyone could see us from outer space they would be astonished.” The noted linguist said some sectors of the global population – such
as the First Nations in Canada, aboriginals in Australia, and tribal people in India – had tried to slow the march to catastrophe, while others were actively courting disaster.

“Who is accelerating it?” Chomsky said. “The most privileged, so-called advanced, educated populations of the world.”

He compared this phenomenon to a theory by Ernst Mayr, a 20th-century evolutionary biologist who speculated humans would never encounter intelligent extraterrestrials because higher life forms quickly force themselves into extinction.

“Mayr argued that the adaptive value of what is called ‘higher intelligence’ is very low,” Chomsky said. “Beetles and bacteria are much more adaptive than humans. We will find out if it is better to be smart than stupid. We may be a biological error, using the 100,000 years  which Mayr gives [as] the life expectancy of a species to destroy  ourselves and many other life forms on the planet.”

But Chomsky remained hopeful that the corporate elite could be overthrown before they bring on environmental disaster, citing historical examples of mass movements that returned power to autonomous collectives.

“In the 1920s the labor movement had been practically destroyed,” he said. “This had been a very militant labor movement. In the 1930s it changed, and it changed because of popular activism. There were circumstances [the Great Depression] that led to the opportunity to do something. We are living with that constantly. Take the last 30 years. For a majority of the population it has been stagnation or worse. It is not the deep Depression, but it is a semi-permanent depression for most of the population. There is plenty of kindling out there that can be lighted.”


Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump Petition

Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump Petition

Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a multi-billion dollar power generation company, is seeking approval to build a nuclear waste dump (a Deep Geological Repository or DGR)
1 km from the shores of Lake Huron.

The Dump will extend underground to approximately 400 meters below the lake level. Some of this nuclear waste remains toxic and lethal for over 100,000 years.
Approval is anticipated within 4 to 6 months.

This dump puts at risk the fresh water of the GREAT LAKES, relied upon by 40 million people in two countries.

Any risk of buried nuclear waste entering the largest body of fresh water in the world is too great a risk to take, and need not be taken.

We can and must deliver an overwhelming wave of opposition to OPG's plan. Tell Minister Aglukkaq and the Canadian federal government to stand up for the protection of the Great Lakes. 


Chile Scraps Dam Project in 'Greatest Triumph of the Nation's Environmental Movement' | Common Dreams

Chile Scraps Dam Project in 'Greatest Triumph of the Nation's Environmental Movement' | Common Dreams

In a decision hailed as "the greatest triumph of the environmental movement" in the country, Chile on Tuesday rejected a controversial dam project.

The HidroAysén project in the seismically active area would have included five dams on two rivers
in Patagonia—the Baker and Pascua—and, according to International Rivers, would have resulted in the flooding of "nearly 15,000 acres of globally rare forest ecosystems and some of the most productive
agricultural land in the area," impacting wildlife and forcing the displacement of people...

The rejection of the project follows an 8-year campaign led by the Patagonia Defense Council (PDC) coalition, which includes International Rivers, the Natural Resources Defense Council and local citizens and community groups and had highlighted the risks of the project and need for Chile to choose a truly sustainable energy future.

"What began as a grassroots effort to protect the pristine Baker and Pascua rivers, and the communities and culture of Patagonia, hasdeveloped into a fully-fledged international campaign and galvanized a
national environmental movement," writes Emily Jovais, program assistant with International Rivers.

"Over the past four years Chileans have taken to the streets to demand a halt to HidroAysén and around the world an international community has rallied around this call. It is these voices that have won
out, and together have set in motion a new path towards a bright future for Patagonia and the hope of a truly sustainable energy future for Chile," she continues.

Patricio Rodrigo, Executive Secretary of the PDC, cheered the decision as well, issuing a statement
that "the government’s definitive rejection of the HidroAysén projectis not only the greatest triumph of the environmental movement in Chile, but marks a turning point, where an empowered public demands to be heard and to participate in the decisions that affect their environment and lives."


Love the Ravines - add them to the greenbelt

Love the Ravines

Toronto’s Don and Humber River Valleys provide the city with fresh
air, clean water and a place for Torontonians to connect with nature
and enjoy recreational activities like cycling, jogging, kayaking,
fishing, and running.

The Don and the Humber River Valleys deserve the protection offered by the Greenbelt.

I fully support the inclusion of the Don and Humber River Valleys
into Ontario’s Greenbelt and I urge the City of Toronto to formally grow
the Greenbelt to best protect these ecological areas for decades to


Let’s protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence from oil and gas development! | Sierra Club Canada

Let’s protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence from oil and gas development! | Sierra Club Canada

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is an exceptional, highly productive ecosystem supporting abundant flora, fauna, spawning and migration of over 2200 marine species while being at the heart of the economy of the provinces that surround it through fishing and tourism.

Coastal communities have always depended on the Gulf of St. Lawrence for their livelihood. For instance, the sustainable industries of fishing and tourism represent over two billion dollars annually in addition to supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the five provinces bordering the Gulf.

As highlighted in a recent report published by the St. Lawrence Coalition, these jobs and ecosystems of the Gulf of St. Lawrence are endangered by the imminent arrival of the oil industry while exploratory
drilling projects are being contemplated in the heart of the Gulf.

Are we willing to risk the health of this unique environment, the prosperity of the communities that depend on it and the biodiversity that the Gulf of St. Lawrence provides for hypothetical and
unsustainable oil revenues?

Tell our federal and provincial governments to work together to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence from oil and gas exploration and exploitation projects by establishing a moratorium for the entire gulf
as well as calling a thorough and extensive interprovincial public consultation on the oil and gas issue in the gulf.


Action Alert: Report on Northern Gateway Deeply Flawed | Sierra Club Canada

Action Alert: Report on Northern Gateway Deeply Flawed | Sierra Club Canada

You can sign this...
This is what 300 scientists are saying about the Northern Gateway environmental assessment:
  1. Failed to adequately articulate the rationale for its findings;
  2. Considered only a narrow set of risks but a broad array of benefits, thereby omitting adequate consideration of key issues;
  3. Relied on information from the proponent, without external evaluation;
  4. Contradicted scientific evidence contained in official government documents; and
  5. Treated uncertain risks as unimportant risks, and assumed these
    would be negated by the proponent’s yet-to-be-developed mitigation