Are you checked in or checked out?

Perhaps the strongest voice for civic engagement is … Erik Hagerman himself. In that Times story, Hagerman says, “I had been paying attention to the news for decades and I never did anything with it.” Well, that’s your first problem, Erik. You should’ve done something.

Because as my friend Miriam Kashia likes to say, “Action is the antidote to despair.” Continue Reading →

Unions Crucial for Worker and Farm Safety

“With crisis after crisis that has hit our nation and our state,” writes Charlie Wishman in his Labor Day message, “it is always workers who are making sure our communities continue to run. With the devastating storms that just blew through Iowa, it is working class workers, public and private sector, that are cleaning up damage, restoring power as quickly as possible, and ensuring that our streets and neighborhoods are safe.” Continue Reading →

Paper or Plastic? Neither!

Think about each plastic item you use, and do away with as many as possible. Think about what might work instead of that hunk of reconstituted petroleum. What you put in the recycling bin may well end up in Kenya or some other poor country. … Or it may end up in the ocean, in those two massive circles of floating plastic trash called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. That abomination covers over 617,000 square miles and weighs more than 43,000 cars. I do not use the word abomination lightly. … Our governments can do better. Each of us can do better. It starts by saying “no” to both paper and plastic — but especially to plastic. Continue Reading →

Media cover climate chaos on the coasts, but not in poor nations or “fly-over country”

Even worse than the scant attention paid by the mainstream media to climate chaos in fly-over country is the extent to which climate disasters around the world are ignored. Here are a few examples from 2019 non-stories: AFRICA. Cyclone Idai killed 1000 people in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, drought in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia killed livestock, ruined crops, and left 15 million people facing a serious shortage of food and clean water. Continue Reading →

Derechos and Fires and Bears … and Biden — Oh My!

Even as warnings of the impact of climate change on the Arctic grow more dire, President Trump just fulfilled another one of his Big Oil buddies’ dreams: authorizing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Oil and gas companies can now begin to apply for leases to gain the right to destroy America’s largest wilderness area — though it may take several years for drilling to begin. Which brings us to … BIDEN. Even if you can’t stomach voting FOR Biden, cast your vote AGAINST Trump. And how do you spell an anti-Trump vote? It’s B-I-D-E-N Continue Reading →

Onions make people sick

Of course, this is only one of many Salmonella outbreaks in recent years associated with the industrial food system. Remember AJ and Peter DeCoster? Half a billion DeCoster eggs were contaminated and the CDC reported as many as 56,000 Salmonella illnesses. Unlike most corporate criminals, who get off scott-free, the DeCosters each landed slap-on-the-wrist, three-month prison sentences for their astounding negligence. Continue Reading →

John Lewis: Let peace triumph over violence

John Lewis said it well in the farewell address he wrote before he passed: “When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.” Continue Reading →

Guns don’t belong at protests

I never thought I’d see the day when Americans parade through downtowns carrying assault weapons, and that our lax gun laws would actually allow this in many states. Tension over systemic racism is already at a boiling point. When the conflict gets uglier, does anyone believe those guns won’t be used? For those who embrace the moral and political necessity of nonviolence, our challenge is to put out the message, over and over again, that injustice will not be defeated with guns. We defeat injustice with love that is sincere, creative, organized, and disciplined. Continue Reading →

Naked Athena, Wall of Moms, and a Navy vet encapsulate evolutionary spirit of nonviolent resistance

Nonviolent action is inherently creative. It is sometimes risky, often quirky. At its most effective, it catches the forces of oppression off guard, ripping apart their facade of legitimacy and exposing the raw ugliness of systemic violence. Continue Reading →