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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Japanese Buddhist priest joins movement to divest from fossil fuels and nuclear power

 Lions Roar, BY HALEIGH ATWOOD


“Right now the greenery that we have, the earth, the soil — everything is a product of the things that people who have come before us have left behind,” Narita told NBC News. “We can’t just treat those things carelessly.”

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June 1, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, Japan, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

  The “forbidden life” of those caring for abandoned animals in Fukushima

Hero rescues pets from Fukushima nuclear wasteland

The 3/11 kitten that wasn’t   The “forbidden life” of those caring for abandoned animals in Fukushima, Beyond Nuclear , By Linda Pentz Gunter, 20 March 18   “………. countless animals were indeed abandoned in Japan due to the natural disasters and the forced exile of those living too close to the stricken nuclear plant. Some international rescue groups did go in to try to help, but early on found conditions and access restrictions challenging if not prohibitive.

However, there were also individuals and groups in Japan who were not willing to sit back and watch animals starve. In addition to the rescue operations, a spay-neuter organization began work to prevent the inevitable proliferation of pets who, if they had survived at all, had now become strays. Shelters were eventually built with funds donated by supporters.

But there were some, chronicled in several remarkable films, who either never left, or who quickly returned to Fukushima Prefecture, with one sole purpose in mind: to look after the animals. Their charges soon multiplied and for some, it has become a full-time vocation.

In a 2013 ITN short news segment, we are introduced to 58-year old Keigo Sakamoto, who had already established an animal sanctuary in Nahara, just over 12 miles from the Fukushima plant. He was one who refused the order to evacuate, then found himself completely trapped within the zone, cut off from supplies. He survives on the generosity of individuals and stores outside the zone where he regularly collects discarded food and other supplies essential to keeping his animals — and himself — alive.

Then there are farmers who returned to save their livestock. One such, 53-year old Naoto Matsumura, is featured in the 18-minute Vice documentary, Alone in the Zone. He lives in what was then the ghost town of Tomioka — whose station reopening story we featured last week. But Matsumura could not accept the idea that dogs, cows, goats, ducks and even ostriches should be cast off without a care.

At first he evacuated with his family, fearing all the reactors were going to blow. But when his family faced rejection by relatives who said they were “contaminated”, and the hassle of evacuation shelters became unendurable, he returned home alone. And stayed. “I couldn’t leave the animals behind,” he said. “I am opposed to killing off the animals in the zone.”

Feeding them, and refusing to sign the “death warrant” requirement from the government, will, he hopes, spare them from slaughter. “So many of their fellow cattle died in pain,” he said, recalling the tragedy of cows left in barnes to starve. “To me, animals and people are equal.” ……https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/03/16/the-3-11-kitten-that-wasnt/

 

March 21, 2018 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging nations not to damage Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement

UN Chief Warns Against Endangering Iran Nuclear Deal  https://www.rferl.org/a/un-chief-guterres-warns-against-endanger-iranian-nuclear-deal-unrelated-issues-ballistic-missile/28982016.html  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging nations not to damage Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers because of concerns they may have with Iran’s nonnuclear military activities in the Middle East.

“Issues not directly related to the [nuclear deal] should be addressed without prejudice to preserving the agreement and its accomplishments,” Guterres said in a statement on January 17.

The deal is a “major achievement of nuclear nonproliferation and diplomacy, and has contributed to regional and international peace and security,” he said.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Iran’s ballistic-missile development as well as support for Syria’s government in a six-year civil war and its backing of Yemeni Huthi rebels, while demanding major changes in the nuclear deal.

On January 12, Trump threatened to pull out of the deal unless it is changed to clearly prohibit ballistic-missile development, among other changes he is seeking.

Trump said he was waiving U.S. nuclear-related sanctions for another 120 days, as required under the deal in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities.

But he said was doing so for the “last time” to give U.S. and European negotiators a “last chance” to enact measures to fix what he called the deal’s “disastrous flaws.”

Iran has ruled out any changes in the agreement, maintaining that Trump’s demands violate terms of the deal sealed by the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama and signed by Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia.

While the Trump administration insists that Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear weapons violates the “spirit” of the nuclear accord, Guterres noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly concluded that Iran is fulfilling its side of the agreement.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

January 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Pope Francis strongly criticises climate change deniers – speaks up for science

Pope Francis rebukes ‘perverse’ climate change deniers over rejection of science behind global warming
Pontiff encourages policymakers to accelerate their efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions at Bonn summit I
ndependent, Nicole Winfield, 17 Nov 17,  Pope Francis has rebuked those who deny the science behind global warming and urged negotiators at climate talks in Germany to avoid falling prey to such “perverse attitudes” and instead accelerate efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Francis issued a message to the Bonn meeting, which is working to implement the 2015 Paris accord aimed at capping global emissions.

In it, Francis called climate change “one of the most worrisome phenomena that humanity is facing.” He urged negotiators to take action free of special interests and political or economic pressures, and to instead engage in an honest dialogue about the future of the planet. ……. In his message, the Argentine pope denounced that efforts to combat climate change are often frustrated by those who deny the science behind it or are indifferent to it, those who are resigned to it or think it can be solved by technical solutions, which he termed “inadequate.”  “We must avoid falling into these four perverse attitudes, which certainly don’t help honest research and sincere, productive dialogue,” he said.  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/pope-france-climate-change-deniers-perverse-global-warming-greenhouse-gas-emissions-bonn-germany-a8060746.html

November 17, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Hibakusha Masako Wada speaks out at the Vatican for the abolition of nuclear weapons

Hibakusha calls for abolition of nuclear weapons during Vatican speech, Japan Times, JIJI, NOV 12, 2017
 An atomic bomb survivor strongly called for the abolition of nuclear weapons during an international conference held in the Vatican City on Saturday.

Nuclear weapons are “an injustice that must be abolished by the responsibility of the humans that made them,” Masako Wada, 74, assistant secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, or Nihon Hidankyo, addressed the conference.

Wada was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on the city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, when she was one year old.

Windows and walls of her house 2.9 km (almost 2 miles) from the epicenter of the explosion were shattered due to the blast, Wada said, citing a story she heard from her mother. Her mother told her that everybody lost feelings at the time as so many dead bodies were cremated day after day………https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/11/12/national/hibakusha-calls-abolition-nuclear-weapons-vatican-speech/#.Wgiv1tKWbGg

November 13, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Vatican calls for integral nuclear disarmament

  http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/11/12/the_vatican_calls_for_integral_nuclear_disarmament_/1348481 The Vatican is calling for integral nuclear disarmament. According to the preliminary conclusions of a just-ended high level symposium entitled “Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament”, integral disarmament is both an urgent immediate need and a long-term process.

The symposium, organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development got underway as tensions escalated between the US and North Korea.

It saw the participation of eleven Nobel peace laureates, top United Nations and NATO officials, leading experts, ‎heads of  major foundations and of civil society organizations, as well representatives of bishops conferences, Christian denominations and other faiths. Pope Francis addressed the gathering on Friday.

Wrapping up the symposium on Saturday, Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, read out the following preliminary conclusions:

The Dicastery brought together religious leaders and representatives of civil society, officials of States and international organizations, noted academics and Nobel Laureates and students, to illuminate the connections between integral disarmament and integral development, and to explore the links among development, disarmament and peace.  As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, repeatedly reminds us, “everything is connected.”

November 13, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear deterrence is no longer acceptable: Pope Francis

Pope Francis: the possession of nuclear weapons should be firmly condemned http://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/11/11/pope-francis-the-possession-of-nuclear-weapons-should-be-firmly-condemned/    Pope Francis indicated that deterrence is no longer acceptable

The existence of nuclear weapons creates a false sense of security that holds international relations hostage and stifles peaceful coexistence, Pope Francis said.

“The threat of their use as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned,” the pope told participants at a conference on nuclear disarmament hosted by the Vatican.

For years, popes and Catholic leaders had said the policy of nuclear deterrence could be morally acceptable as long as real work was underway on a complete ban of the weapons. In condemning possession of the weapons, Pope Francis seemed to indicate that deterrence is no longer acceptable.

Nuclear weapons “exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race,” he said.

The conference, sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, brought together 11 Nobel laureates, top officials from the United Nations and NATO, diplomats from around the world and experts in nuclear weapons and the disarmament process. They were joined by scholars, activists and representatives of bishops’ conferences, including Stephen Colecchi, director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace.

Several speakers, including Masako Wada, one of the last survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, were to discuss the suffering wrought by nuclear arms.

Pope Francis told the group that the “essential” witness of survivors of the bombings in Japan as well as those suffering the effects of nuclear weapons testing are prophetic voices that serve “as a warning, above all for coming generations.”

In his speech, the pope said that when it comes to the ideal of a nuclear-free world, a “certain pessimism” exists and brings with it “considerable expense” as nations modernize their nuclear arsenals.

“As a result, the real priorities facing our human family, such as the fight against poverty, the promotion of peace, the undertaking of educational, ecological and health care projects, and the development of human rights, are relegated to second place,” he said.

Pope Francis said the existence of weapons whose use would result in the destruction of humanity “are senseless even from a tactical standpoint.”

What is more, he said, there is the growing danger that the weapons or weapon technology could fall into the wrong hands.

“The resulting scenarios are deeply disturbing if we consider the challenges of contemporary geopolitics, like terrorism or asymmetric warfare,” he said.

With the ongoing tensions surrounding North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the Vatican conference came at a time Pope Francis described as one of “instability and conflict.”

But despite the troubling global scenario, he continued, initiatives such as the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, provide a dose of “healthy realism” that “continues to shine a light of hope in our unruly world.”

The treaty, which would enter into force 90 days after at least 50 countries both sign and ratify it, bans efforts to develop, produce, test, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Although as of Sept. 20 the treaty had been signed by more than 40 countries, including the Holy See, the United States and other countries possessing nuclear weapons did not take part in the negotiations and do not plan to sign it.

Nevertheless, Pope Francis urged the international community “to reject the culture of waste” and place care for people suffering “painful disparities “over “selfish and contingent interests.”

Progress, he said, “that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression, contrary to the criticism of those who consider idealistic any process of dismantling arsenals.”

At a pre-conference event in Rome Nov. 9, Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, professor of ethics and global human development at Georgetown University, and Carole Sargent, director of the university’s Office of Scholarly Publications, outlined what they saw as major progress in 2017 toward a ban on nuclear weapons.

The work of grass-roots movements and organizations, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the Nobel Peace Prize, has been particularly important, Father Christiansen said. And not to be ignored are hundreds of Catholic women religious who have engaged in major protests, but also dedicated lobbying efforts. Sargent has been researching the grassroots involvement of women religious, especially in Japan, the United States and Great Britain.

The Vatican conference, Father Christiansen said, could be a major push in getting the new U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons “supported around the world.”

Speaking to journalists before the start of the conference, Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel laureate and former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, commented on tensions between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and the threat of nuclear war.

In August, Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” in response to North Korea’s announcement that it had created a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile. Kim responded to Trump’s “fire and fury” talk by saying his country was preparing to fire missiles into the waters around Guam, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean with two military bases.

When asked for his response on the possibility of a U.S.-North Korea nuclear conflict, ElBaradei had few words.

“I go to pray,” he said.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear Disarmament Conference hosted by the Vatican

Vatican to host nuclear disarmament conference, CNA, By Hannah Brockhaus,  .– The Vatican is preparing for a conference on nuclear disarmament this week in the wake of an international effort to ban nuclear weapons.

Hosted by the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, the Nov. 10-11 conference will explore solutions and prospects for a world free of nuclear weapons and integral disarmament, in cohesion with Pope Francis’ emphasis on promoting peace.

In a Nov. 7 Vatican communique Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the dicastery, said the event “responds to the priorities of Pope Francis to take action for world peace and to use the resources of creation for a sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for all, individuals and countries, without discrimination.”

At the International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna in September, department secretary Msgr. Bruno Marie Duffé also emphasized the importance of the “moral responsibility of the States” and the challenge of a “common strategy of dialogue” invoked by Pope Francis.

The international symposium represents “the first global gathering on Atomic Disarmament” after the approval of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed in New York July 7.

Until the treaty, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not explicitly banned by any international document.

The treaty passed with 122 votes in favor and one abstention, Singapore. However, 69 countries – all the nuclear weapon states and NATO members except the Netherlands –  did not take part in the vote.

One of the conference’s speakers Saturday will be Masako Wada, one of the last survivors of the Hiroshima nuclear attack and an assistant secretary general of Nihon Hidankyo, a confederation of nuclear weapons and experiments victims.

Other attendees include 11 Nobel Peace Laureates, representatives from the United Nations and NATO, diplomats from Russia, the United States, South Korea, and Iran, experts on armaments and weapons and leaders from foundations engaged in the topic……. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-to-host-nuclear-disarmament-conference-55175

November 8, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

AS UN Climate Change Conference draws near, Christian leaders demand implementation of Paris Agreement

The Paris Climate Change Agreement Explained

Christian leaders demand implementation of Paris Agreement ahead of climate change conference http://www.christiandaily.com/article/christian-leaders-demand-implementation-of-paris-agreement-ahead-of-climate-change-conference/61336.htm Lorraine Caballero Christian leaders from various countries have signed a letter demanding action on the Parish Agreement in 2015 as the next phase of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, draws nearer.

October 23, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

The message for nuclear disarmament- from determined Catholic nuns

Anti-war nuns to bring message of nuclear disarmament  https://www.stripes.com/news/us/anti-war-nuns-to-bring-message-of-nuclear-disarmament-1.491495#.WdqS44-CzGg By DEBBIE KELLEY | The Gazette | Associated Press October 7, 2017 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As political tensions mount over North Korea’s ballistic missile testing, two elderly Roman Catholic nuns who have spent decades sounding the plea for peace say they are more hopeful than ever that nuclear weapons — not the world — will be annihilated.

“We trust, we believe, we know that we are well on the way to a nuclear-free world and future,” said Sister Ardeth Platte, a Dominican nun.

Platte, 81, and Sister Carol Gilbert, 69, live at the Catholic Worker-affiliated Jonah House in Baltimore. They gained attention in Colorado in the past for pouring blood on a nuclear missile silo in Weld County and anti-war civil disobedience at Colorado Springs military bases.

Fifteen years later, they are returning to deliver the message that nuclear disarmament is at hand.

“We’re in an extremely dangerous time,” Platte said. “A strike could be launched from Colorado within 15 minutes and go 7,000 miles to its target within half an hour. It would be total devastation.”

At 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, they’ll present to Peterson Air Force Base personnel a copy of the new United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

They’ll repeat the action at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 10 at Schriever Air Force Base.

“We want the citizens of Colorado to know about this treaty,” Gilbert said. “The treaty would make nuclear weapons illegal.”

“We’re coming as peacemakers and peace advocates, to teach and show our concern,” Platte said. “Our politicians could be heroes of these times, if they start working with nations rather than against nations.”

Leading up to the Colorado Springs events, Platte and Gilbert will conduct a vigil at the N-8 missile silo in Weld County, where in October 2002 they poured blood on a Minuteman III missile loaded with a 20 kiloton nuclear bomb, one of 49 high-trigger nuclear weapons stored in Colorado. Their action symbolized taking it offline.

They were convicted of sabotage and received harsh sentences: 41 months for Platte and 33 for Gilbert.

In September 2000, Platte, Gilbert and three other Catholic nuns were arrested for civil disobedience at Peterson Air Force Base and jailed. The charges were subsequently dropped. They’ve also served time in other states for nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.

Prison provided the opportunity to do their best Christian ministry, Gilbert said. “We feel it is the closest that we can be with the poor of this country because jails and prisons are warehouses for the poor,” she said. “You learn people who have nothing are so generous in sharing, you learn what a waste the prison industrial complex is.”

The work of Platte and Gilbert has been “very significant,” said Bill Sulzman, founder of Colorado Springs-based Citizens for Peace in Space, an activist group that opposes the use of space for war-related activities.

“It’s unique in the sense that it’s primarily a moral argument against nuclear weapons and the phenomenon of modern-day war,” he said. “Not supporting it is one thing, actively opposing it is another.”

As part of a non-governmental organization, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the nuns attended a United Nations conference in New York, when on July 7, 122 countries — two-thirds of the 193-member states — adopted the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. It’s the first legally binding multilateral agreement for nuclear disarmament in 20 years.

The treaty came after months of negotiations, which the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, North Korea and other nations did not attend.

To date, 53 countries have signed the treaty, and three ratified the document, which prohibits developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing and stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of such weapons.

The treaty opened for signatures at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 20; the Vatican was the first to sign and ratify the treaty. The agreement would become law 90 days after at least 50 countries ratify it.

The sisters are optimistic that the treaty is the weapon needed to abolish nuclear capability.

“I’ve been working on this issue for 50 years, and this is the greatest hope I’ve had,” Platte said. “We finally have a tool, a treaty that declares criminality to the possession and threat of using nuclear weapons.”

Even if the United States, Russia and other countries with nuclear warheads never get on board, “it won’t matter because there will be great pressure by other nations,” Platte said. “People are much wiser as we come closer and closer to nuclear holocaust.”

The tactic has worked in the past, she said. At one time there were 70,000 weapons of mass destruction worldwide, now there are 15,000-16,000, due to disarmament.

“This is just the beginning of the implementation — we have gained real momentum,” Platte said.

The atomic bombs the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945 were small compared to today’s weapons of mass destruction, the sisters said.

If a nuclear war were to happen now, “that is the elimination of the planet,” Platte said.

Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not universally prohibited. Biological weapons, chemical weapons, land mines and cluster munitions are banned under international law.

“We believe that the way to solve nations not having nuclear weapons is the total elimination,” Platte said. “It’s time to get rid of them.”

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

40 large Catholic institutions put their money where fossil fuel investment isn’t

Shunning Fossil Fuels, 40 Catholic Groups Seek Climate Action, Scientific American 
The coalition is the largest number of Catholic institutions to team up for a shift to green energy 
By Alister DoyleReuters on October 3, 2017  OSLO (Reuters) – Forty Roman Catholic groups said on Tuesday they were shunning investments in fossil fuels and urged others to follow suit.

The coalition was the largest number of Catholic institutions, in countries including Australia, South Africa, Britain and the United States, to team up for a shift to greener energies, the Global Catholic Climate Movement said.

Among those taking part was Assisi’s Sacro Convento and other Catholic institutions in the Italian town, birthplace of Saint Francis, who inspired Pope Francis.

The “joint divestment from fossil fuels is based on both their shared value of environmental protection and the financial wisdom of preparing for a carbon-neutral economy,” the Global Catholic Climate Movement said.

It did not estimate the value of their fossil fuel holdings. Several, contacted by Reuters, said they had few or none to sell and wanted mainly to rule out future investments and urge others to divest.

The Assisi municipality allied itself with the 40. “Many people say that Assisi is the city on the mountain – all people can see the choices, political and environmental, that Assisi takes,” mayor Stefania Proietti told Reuters.

She said the town was investing in cleaner energy, such as solar panels on rooftops, and electric vehicles……..

The Catholic Church claims 1.2 billion members.

Ben Caldecott, founding director of the Oxford sustainable finance programme at the University of Oxford, said: “Groups with moral authority, religious groups being a good example, are likely to have a disproportionate impact in terms of increasing stigma” of investing in fossil fuels.

The International Energy Agency projects that fossil fuels will account for more than half of world energy demand in 2040, even with a big green shift. Fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell say they are limiting emissions.

“Today’s announcement is a further sign we are on the way to achieving our collective mission,” said Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate chief at the time of the Paris Agreement. “We still have a long way to go, however.” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/shunning-fossil-fuels-40-catholic-groups-seek-climate-action/

October 4, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Despite global crises – integrity and morals can still win – Naomi Klein

Battling climate change is a once-in-a-century chance to build a fairer and more democratic economy. We can and must design a system in which the polluters pay a very large share of the cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels. And in wealthy countries such as Britain and the US, we need migration policies and levels of international financing that reflect what we owe to the global south, given our historic role in destabilising the economies and ecologies of poorer nations for a great many years, and the vast wealth of empire extracted from these societies in bonded human flesh.

Around the world, winning is a moral imperative for the left. The stakes are too high, and time is too short, to settle for anything less.

A new shock doctrine: in a world of crisis, morality can still win, GuardianNaomi Klein, 29 Sept 17  Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and Podemos in Spain have shown that a bold and decent strategy can be a successful one. That truth should embolden the left. 

Naomi Klein’s Speech to Labour Conference

We live in frightening times. From heads of state tweeting threats of nuclear annihilation, to whole regions rocked by climate chaos, to thousands of migrants drowning off the coasts of Europe, to openly racist parties gaining ground: it feels like there are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about our collective future.

To take one example, the Caribbean and southern United States are in the midst of an unprecedented hurricane season, pounded by storm after storm. Puerto Rico – hit by Irma, then Maria – is entirely without power and could be for months, its water and communication systems severely compromised. But just as during Hurricane Katrina, the cavalry is missing in action. Donald Trump is too busy trying to get black athletes fired for daring to shine a spotlight on racist violence. A real federal aid package for Puerto Rico has not yet been announced. And the vultures are circling: the business press reports that the only way for Puerto Rico to get the lights back on is to sell off its electricity utility.

This is a phenomenon I’ve called the Shock Doctrine: the exploitation of wrenching crises to smuggle through policies that devour the public sphere and further enrich a small elite. We’ve seen this dismal cycle repeat again and again: after the 2008 financial crash, and now in the UK with the Tories planning to exploit Brexit to push through disastrous pro-corporate trade deals without debate.

Ours is an age when it is impossible to pry one crisis apart from all the others. They have all merged, reinforcing and deepening each other like one shambling, multi-headed beast. The current US president can be thought of in much the same way. ,It’s tough to adequately sum him up. You know that horrible thing currently clogging up the London sewers, the fatberg? Trump is the political equivalent of that. A merger of all that is noxious in the culture, economy and body politic, all kind of glommed together in a self-adhesive mass. And we’re finding it very hard to dislodge.

But moments of crisis do not have to go the Shock Doctrine route: they do not need to become opportunities for the obscenely wealthy to grab still more. They can be moments when we find our best selves……..

In recent months the Labour party has showed us there’s another way. One that speaks the language of decency and fairness, that names the true forces most responsible for this mess, no matter how powerful. And one that is unafraid of some of the ideas we were told were gone for good, such as wealth redistribution, and nationalising essential public services. Thanks to Labour’s boldness, we now know that this isn’t just a moral strategy. It’s a winning strategy. It fires up the base, and it activates constituencies that long ago stopped voting altogether…….

What happened here in Britain is part of a global phenomenon. We saw it in Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign in the US primaries, powered by millennials who know that safe centrist politics offers them no kind of safe future. We see something similar with Spain’s still young Podemos party, which built in the power of mass movements from day one. These electoral campaigns caught fire with stunning speed. And they got close to taking power – closer than any other genuinely transformative political programme has in Europe or North America in my lifetime. But not close enough. So in this time between elections, we need to think about how to make absolutely sure that, next time, all of our movements go all the way………

Battling climate change is a once-in-a-century chance to build a fairer and more democratic economy. We can and must design a system in which the polluters pay a very large share of the cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels. And in wealthy countries such as Britain and the US, we need migration policies and levels of international financing that reflect what we owe to the global south, given our historic role in destabilising the economies and ecologies of poorer nations for a great many years, and the vast wealth of empire extracted from these societies in bonded human flesh.

The more ambitious, consistent and holistic that the Labour party can be in painting a picture of the world transformed, the more credible a Labourgovernment will become.

Around the world, winning is a moral imperative for the left. The stakes are too high, and time is too short, to settle for anything less.

 Naomi Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. This is an edited excerpt of her speech at the Labour party conference https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/28/labour-shock-doctrine-moral-strategy-naomi-klein

October 2, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Christian leaders make the moral case for climate action

We stand committed to protecting migrant families, all of whom deserve our help. But we’re also committed to limiting the cause of needless future suffering.

The scientific consensus on climate change is clear.

For believers in Jesus Christ, the divine command to love one’s neighbour requires us to understand how our actions – or inaction – affect others. Christians must reduce the causes of climate change. The call to love our neighbours requires no less.

The Christian case for tackling climate change https://www.christiantoday.com/article/the.christian.case.for.tackling.climate.change/114897.htm Bishop John Arnold and Bishop Martin Lind This autumn marks the 500th anniversary of the great schism that divided the Christian Church. Today, Christian brothers and sisters on both sides of this historical divide work together in pursuit of the moral vision that is laid out in the Gospels. We house the homeless together, feed the hungry together, and pacify conflicts together.

Droughts have happened in the Near East and around the world for millennia. Climate change is different. Climate change is deeply and drastically altering long-established patterns of rainfall. Small-scale farmers’ and herders’ livelihoods depend on predicting the weather, and for them, the drastic and ongoing alteration of weather patterns means disaster.

Syria provides a real-world example of the consequences of a climate-forced drought, with analysis provided by, among others, former leaders of the United States military. The Syrian drought drove newly impoverished people out of the countryside, creating enormous pressure in urban areas. In Damascus, Aleppo, and other cities, a dramatically expanded presence of desperately poor people fed into to a wider sense of unrest.

Climate change did not cause the refugee crisis. But climate change very probably contributed to the social crisis that prompted it. Events such as the drought are more likely to occur with greater frequency and severity due to climate change.

Unfortunately, the migration of the past several years is only a precursor of what’s to come. Drought is one consequence of climate change and one that will have long-lasting repercussions. Another is sea level rise.

Over the coming decades, the highly exposed, highly populated coast of Bangladesh will probably see sea level rise that will flood the homes of tens of millions of people, driving human migration on a scale the Earth has never seen. Caring for these migrants will challenge all of us.

We stand committed to protecting migrant families, all of whom deserve our help. But we’re also committed to limiting the cause of needless future suffering.

The scientific consensus on climate change is clear. Burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In the atmosphere, these added gases function like a blanket, trapping heat from the sun and holding it close to the Earth.

The consequences of a warmer Earth are profound – and they are already here. From the countryside of Syria to our backyards in London, climate change is disrupting how we live.

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, the United Kingdom has already seen increases in average rainfall. Heavier rains mean more flooded homes and businesses, more stresses on expensive infrastructure, and days of missed school or work. Coastal areas are also vulnerable to increased flooding from sea-level rise and storm surge.

For believers in Jesus Christ, the divine command to love one’s neighbour requires us to understand how our actions – or inaction – affect others. Christians must reduce the causes of climate change. The call to love our neighbours requires no less.

Worldwide, Christians are now observing the ecumenical Season of Creation, the period from September 1to October 4 when we pray and act together to protect the good gift of Creation. As was witnessed by the joint statement for World Day of Prayer for Creation, jointly issued by Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew, environmental protection is being met with a unified Christian response.

Here in the United Kingdom, the Catholic Church of Wales and England is supporting the livesimply Award. The Catholic communities that have received the award have made real progress in caring for Creation. In Stowmarket, Our Lady’s Parish created reusable shopping bags for parishioners. In Leamington, the Parish of St Peter Apostle encouraged parishioners to walk or cycle to church to shrink their carbon footprint. These parishes join 25 others who have achieved the rigorous standards of the award.

The Lutheran Church in Great Britain has taken steps to make its practices more sustainable and to incorporate care for creation into worship and education services. The church has diverted trash from landfills by instituting the use of reusable cups and service materials and installing recycling bins. It has highlighted climate change and environment issues in weekly intercessions and educated congregants about the need to reduce, re-use and recycle as part of Lenten Disciplines. The church has undertaken a significant education campaign, discussing the importance of caring for our environment with children during children’s addresses and children’s church, planning a ‘litter-picking’ event with the children in the near future.

Now it’s up to all Christians to continue and expand this collective response.

Catholic or Lutheran, ordained or lay, we’re all called by our Creator to love and protect the human family and our common home. We are standing together to answer God’s call.

John Arnold is Bishop of the Salford Diocese of the Catholic Church and chairperson of the Environmental Justice Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Dr Martin Lind is Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain.

September 30, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Pope francis tweets for a nuclear weapons -free world

Vatican at UN calls for nuclear-free world, Independent Catholic News, 

In his Twitter message today, Pope Francis said: ‘Let us commit ourselves to a world without nuclear weapons by implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty to abolish these weapons of death.’ Meanwhile in New York, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States addressed the United Nations General Assembly, urging governments to do more to prevent wars, protect human dignity and work for a nuclear-free world. ……..

Regarding the urgent need to prevent violence and conflict, Archbishop Gallagher said: “All countries should take a decisive and urgent step back from the present escalation of military preparations. The largest countries and those who have a stronger tradition of respecting human rights,” he added, “should be the first to perform generous actions of pacification”.

Speaking of the Vatican’s concern for conflicts across Africa and the Middle East, as well as the violence in Venezuela, the foreign minister said civilians must be protected during warfare and the rights of migrants and refugees fleeing conflict must be respected…….

 Archbishop Gallagher condemned the proliferation of weapons, calling for much stricter arms control and reiterating in particular Pope Francis’ urgent appeal for “the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.”’

The full speech by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly follows:

‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life on a Sustainable Planet’….. http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/33481

September 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

UK’s religious leaders unite, to urge Theresa May to sign the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty

Sign up to the UN ban on nuclear weapons https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/19/sign-up-to-the-un-ban-on-nuclear-weapons  The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament calls on the British government to support a historic treaty Around the world there are growing fears about the prospect of a nuclear war. The US-North Korea nuclear crisis is a terrifying reminder of the dangers of nuclear weapons and a powerful, yet unwelcome, riposte to the nuclear states who have long argued that these weapons of mass destruction deter war. But there is an alternative. The overwhelming majority of states want abolition of all nuclear weapons and have taken matters into their own hands. A legally binding nuclear weapons ban treaty has been agreed by 122 states at the UN, the culmination of decades of global civil society campaigning.

That treaty opens for signature today, and more than 100 states are set to sign this ground-breaking document. This is an open invitation from the majority of the world’s states to all countries to sign up and work to make the abolition of nuclear weapons a reality. Our government says it is committed to the same aim, yet it boycotted the talks that produced the treaty and insists the UK will never sign. But the opportunity is there; the UK must seize it and work to make a success of it. The alternative is spiralling nuclear proliferation, massively increased danger and inevitable annihilation. For all our futures, we urge Theresa May to sign the treaty.
Caroline Lucas MP Chair Parliamentary CND, Malcolm McMahon Archbishop of Liverpool, Kelvin Hopkins MPMark Serwotka PCS union, Stephen Cottrell Bishop of Chelmsford, Mohammed Kozbar Muslim Association of Britain, Tommy Sheppard MPHywel Williams MPKate Hudson CND general secretary, Jill BakerMethodist Church in Britain, Juliet Prager Quakers in Britain, Ronnie Cowan MP

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment