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.


Council of Canadians debunks Fraser Institute water report | The Council of Canadians

Council of Canadians debunks Fraser Institute water report | The Council of Canadians: The Fraser Institute recently released the report, Evaluating the State of Fresh Water in Canada. The report concludes that “...there is no shortage of freshwater in Canada as a whole. Despite concerns about water usage and the unequal distribution of freshwater across the country, freshwater resources in Canada are abundant and Canadians consume only small fraction of the water supply.”  
 The information in the report and its conclusions paint an inaccurate and dangerous picture of water security in Canada. Information about long-standing drinking water advisories in First Nations, droughts and other climate events, and extreme energy projects like the tar sands is missing from the report. This gives a skewed view of water quantity and quality in Canada.  
 Drinking water advisories in First Nations   Council of Canadians chapters flagged the lack of information on Drinking Water Advisories (DWAs) in First Nations. Nowhere in the report are DWAs in First Nations (or municipalities for that matter) mentioned.

A War on Science, Morals, and Law (US)

A War on Science, Morals, and Law: new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists accuses Trump’s Interior Department of “relentless attacks on science ranging from suppressing and sidelining the work of the department’s scientists to systematically refusing to act on climate change.” To put it mildly, this is concerning.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is an advocacy group whose words are chosen to advance their viewpoint. They refer often to “science,” which we assume to be non ideological, universal, and true. In this sense, science is the highest guiding principle that all should follow, as it is in the best interest of our nation and planet. In practice, the power dynamics and other social divisions within our society don’t go away when one does “science.”

 Yale sociologist Justin Farrell points out that disputes over the management of nature can be more moral than scientific in nature. Science can tell us how many wolves or grizzly bears live in Wyoming, or how much habitat and genetic diversity they need to survive as a species. But the belief that humans should manage nature to preserve intact ecosystems is a moral one. Economics and politics matter too, as we determine whose interests and opinions matter most. What’s it worth to us to protect Bears Ears National Monument, which encompasses land sacred to Native Americans? To Native Americans and those who support them, the land is priceless. The mining industries can put a specific price tag on the minerals in the ground. Whether it’s worth banning mining on land that is beautiful, ecologically valuable, and sacred to Native Americans is a moral question, not a scientific one.

 That said, science is needed to help us make sound decisions that compromise between groups with competing values and interests. The government needs to produce, believe, and disseminate science that will allow it to act in the best interests of the American people, and to help the people hold the government accountable. The Trump administration clearly isn’t doing that. According to the LA Times, “Interior isn’t the only science agency that has been turned into a billboard for political and ideological propaganda. The Environmental Protection Agency has been similarly hollowed out, and the Department of Health and Human Services has all but abandoned its duty to advance Americans’ access to affordable healthcare.” There’s another reason why we need solid science within the government: to enable the government to follow its own laws. Trump’s administration is taking a see no evil, hear no evil approach. Without information about how a mining project might impact an endangered species, or human health, or water quality, they’re going to end up enabling projects that violate existing laws. Which is probably the point. It’s understandable that some people disagree with our laws or don’t wish to follow them.

However, we have a democratic process for changing those laws. When it comes to public safety regulations, industries and politicians have no business going around voters by suppressing the science needed to uphold the laws that protect them.

#HumanRightsDay: I have to be the voice to the powerless - Michelle Bachelet | IOL News

#HumanRightsDay: I have to be the voice to the powerless - Michelle Bachelet | IOL News

Exclusive: Today marks 70 years since the signing of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Noni Mokati chats to former Chilean President and now United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet about the status quo of human rights across the world.
Before she relinquished her position in government in March this year, Michelle Bachelet had a myriad of responsibilities. One of these, which she was vehemently determined to see through, was to ensure that the dignity and rights of fellow Chilean men, women and children were upheld. Now in her new position, she maintains that her mandate is very clear.
“I have to be the voice to the powerless,” she said. On Friday, Bachalet joined South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg where both leaders spoke on the important role the declaration of human rights has played post World War 2.

Indifference to sexual violence eats away at us all, say Nobel pair | World news | The Guardian

Indifference to sexual violence eats away at us all, say Nobel pair | World news | The Guardian

Nobel laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have called on the world to protect victims of wartime sexual violence as they angrily criticised indifference to the plight of women and children in conflict in their peace prize acceptance speeches.
Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist and world expert on rape in conflict, and Murad, a Yazidi activist and survivor of Isis sexual slavery, said victims were sometimes valued less than commercial interests.
In a ceremony in which the laureates were cheered and given standing ovations, Mukwege and Murad called on the world to do more.
“If there is a war to be waged, it is the war against the indifference which is eating away at our societies,” Mukwege said at the ceremony in Oslo. His Panzi hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s war-torn east has treated the wounds of tens of thousands of women and children for sexual assaults that have become a “new reality” in the country. He said the violence “shames our common humanity”.
In her speech, Murad implored the global community to help to free hundreds of women and girls still held by jihadis, saying the world must protect her people and other vulnerable communities.
“It is my view that all victims deserve a safe haven until justice is done for them,” she said, pausing briefly, seemingly overcome with emotion.