All posts by Kimi

Kimi is a sustainable community and business developer. She and her two fabulous sons are specially trained social and environmental justice advocates. Kimi speaks 5 languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew and Chinese and has travelled around the world.

Friends, it’s getting hotter: snapshots of the globe from 1850s till now

Ed Hawkins globe snapshots
Source: Ed Hawkins. Watch out – the full map is 10MB!
University of Reading, England scientist Ed Hawkins built this graphic of snapshots of the globe’s heat temperatures from the 1950s through today with a dataset from the
UK’s Met Office, which concerns itself with meteorology. It shows global warming trends quite clearly.

Additional information here and here.

If you don’t want Monsanto to own the world’s apples and apple trees, submit a comment

GMO apple
Source: Inquistr
Monsanto and companies like it that produce GMO (aka GE) seed want to own all the food produced in the world. They are working towards this goal bit by bit, using GMO seeds as an inroad to accomplish it. Don’t let them! If you believe in people owning our food supply as opposed to major corporations owning it and deciding when, where and how much we can eat then you need to submit a public comment saying so by 12 Sept 2016.

Submitting a public comment has become a very easy process and is fast. You can feel free to speak from your own heart or to use any part of my statement that you like. Additional information and facts are also available at Food Safety News.

Submitted by Kimi Wei on 27 August 2016:

Dear Sirs and Mesdames,

It’s absurd to even think of giving in to the whims of a public which, due to ignorance, concern themselves more with appearance than their own health and the consequences of being deprived of the right to eat good, healthy food and build communities around this simple human need.

GMO products give control over food sources to major corporations, as they control the sales of GMO seed and eventually, can even prevent farmers from using traditional seed – this is happening in several countries around the world. GMO seed also is much costlier than traditional seeds are.

While people may choose to be ignorant of the facts, there’s no excuse for government officials to fail in this area. You need to ensure that Americans continue to enjoy food sovereignty; that we not risk planet and personal health crises by using GMO products which may cause unforeseen negative long-range impacts; that food production is not turned over to entities concerned with profit at the expense of humanity; and that the planetary and natural protections offered by small-holder farmers who practice natural planting and growing are not replaced with Big Ag monoculture crops that are always highly destructive to planet and people.

Furthermore, in the United States GMO seed and plant producers have used GMO seeds as an excuse to steal away smaller farmers’ lands by claiming that seeds that invade adjacent farms by the wind or birds carrying them over are in fact being stolen by the smaller farmers. Successful legal claims have been made stating that the only remedy for this theft is for the GMO planters to take possession of farmers lands that were invaded by their seed. The fact that the farmers didn’t want GMO seed and were advocating for it to be blocked from invading their land, meant nothing to the GMO plant growers, or the courts.

To submit a comment by USPS mail (snail mail), send to:
Docket No. APHIS-2016-0043
Regulatory Analysis and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

Thanks Howard Vlieger for sharing the opportunity to comment.

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Biofortification (golden rice, corn) is another tool GMO producers use to destroy food sovereignty

Biotech crop test
Source: Natural News
Biofortification is just another term for GE (aka GMO) crops that put the power and control of growing in the hands of corporate giants. GE crops are being used as a wedge to destroy soil and more importantly, to take control of growing away from small-holding farmers.

Today, GE producers are pushing “golden” corn and rice, that have been manufactured and promoted at great expense. They say the Vitamin A they are engineered to create will solve a dietary deficiency in certain countries. But we can also think about how differently food growing would be in poor regions of the world if billions had been invested to bring knowledge and valuable resources, such as water, to growers in poor communities. Why, they might be able to solve their Vitamin A deficiency problems in so many different ways.

Here are some additional problems with “orange” crops like corn and rice:

  • The Vitamin A ingredient in them derives from carrots, and it breaks down in storage.
  • People who consume orange crops may not have in their diet other nutrients needed to absorb Vitamin A.
  • The seeds are owned by the GE companies that manufacture them. They’re not giving up their patents, or control over them.
  • Growers still lack sufficient water to grow.
  • The unintended consequences of using GE crops like these, has not been mapped.

Additional information at http://www.gmwatch.org/news/archive/2013/15045-golden-rice-not-so-golden

Find your National Park & enjoy nature, Black History or general interest historical sites for free Aug 25-28

Great Falls Historical Park
Source: NPS

Find your National Park
Source: NPS
National Parks will celebrate 100 years of operation by opening their gates to visitors 25-28 August 2016 without an admission charge. National Parks aren’t just pretty places to commune with nature. They’re also sites of national historic interest or local significance, like Paterson’s Great Falls Historical Park and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas which offers tours and a study guide to honor this legendary amalgam of lawsuits which began in South Carolina but resulted in United States schools becoming segregated throughout the country.

African American Experience Fund
Source: AAEF of the NPS

The National Park Service (NPS) has a special fund set up to honor Black History in America, which supports 26 sites of historical significance:

The mission of the African American Experience Fund of the National Park Foundation is to preserve African American history by supporting education programs in National Parks that celebrate African American history and culture. There are 26 National Parks identified by the African American Experience Fund.

Military mandate to reduce pesticide use sparked the creation of a device that kills weeds with heat & light #p2

NatureZap wand at work
Source: Good Neighbor
Imagine a weedkiller as effective as Monsanto’s Roundup (aka glyphosate) which doesn’t introduce any chemicals into the environment and can be completely localized: enter NatureZap version 2, which kills weeds by zapping them with a heat-light combo.

TakePart says the tool was created by the, “412th Civil Engineering Group at Edwards Air Force Base—who developed the device with Global Neighbor,” to satisfy a mandate for the military “to reduce its use of toxic chemicals under the Sikes Act.”

Isn’t that great?

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EPA Quiz: Do you know how much climate change affects our health?

Climate change knowledge quiz
Source: EPA
Take the EPA’s quiz to find out how much you know about the health impacts of climate change.

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Newark passes country’s first Environmental Justice Ordinance to protect residents

Newark Drawbridge & Skyline by Bridge Street by erodzen
Source: Newark Drawbridge & Skyline by Bridge Street by erodzen via Mapio
Newark, NJ – The City of Newark made history when the Newark Municipal Council passed a first-in-the-nation Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance which will require the Board of Adjustment and Central Planning Board to receive additional information from development applicants in order to build in a healthy and sustainable way.

“I want to thank the Newark Municipal Council, Mayor Baraka and his Administration for passing the First Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts ordinance in the country,” said Kim Gaddy, Newark resident and Environmental Justice Organizer for Clean Water Action. “I started this fight 9 years ago with my colleagues and today I’m so proud of my City and the Leadership. Newark will be a vibrant and sustainable city. Kudos to the Newark Environmental Commission for keeping this Ordinance as a priority for the City.”

The City of Newark and urban communities face higher levels of pollution from multiple sources including toxic waste sites, industrial plants, and heavy city and port traffic. The “cumulative impacts” of these pollutants are making people, especially children, sick. In the City of Newark, asthma is the city’s biggest crime. Statistically speaking, more people die of asthma than homicides. School age children in Newark have double the state and national average rate (25%) for asthma resulting in most missed school days and unaffordable medical bills.

Newark residents face the nation’s 2nd greatest cancer risk due to diesel emissions. The city is home to the largest trash incinerator in the Northeast, which pollutes the air and costs the city over $9 million in disposal costs. The city is also the 3rd largest port in the nation with 7,000 trucks making an estimated 10,000 trips daily. Many of these toxin-spewing rigs are antiquated and pollute at least 10 times more than modern trucks.

The goal of the Environmental Justice & Cumulative Impacts Ordinance is to advance Environmental Justice, good stewardship, and sustainable economic development in furtherance of the priorities outlined in the Newark Sustainability Action Plan and the Newark Master Plan. Through this Ordinance, the City of Newark seeks to:

  1. Protect the health of all residents, regardless of race, culture or income, from exposure to pollution linked to adverse health effects, including the cumulative impacts that may be worsened as an unintended by-product of new development or redevelopment, and to ensure the enforcement of laws, regulations, and policies in a manner consistent with the principles of Environmental Justice.
  2. Take appropriate action to avoid, minimize and mitigate pollution from all sources within Newark’s jurisdiction through partnerships, innovation, and enforcement.
  3. Encourage proposals for development or redevelopment that contribute positively to Newark’s environmental, economic, and social health or, at minimum, that do not contribute net new pollution to the environment or adversely impact public health.

“As a Newark resident and parent, this legislation will protect the residents from the disproportionate health burdens experienced because of the zip code we live in,” concluded Kim Gaddy.

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Newark makes history – council passes 1st in Country Environmental Justice & Cumulative Impact Ordinance

By Envision Blue/Green
By Envision Blue/Green
Today on July 7 2016 the City Council of Newark unanimously and historically made into law the first ever Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance, with their vote showing that Councilpeople value the health and wellbeing of Newark residents over commercial interests.

The law’s passage in a testimony to years of hard work by environmental justice leaders in the city and allies across the state.

Stand by for more info.

08 July 2016 see complete details about the ordinance and its passage here.

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Can’t make this stuff up: judge finds eco-protestor guilty before trial ends

6740a8a3-39c5-4954-94ff-92487200f1d1
6740a8a3-39c5-4954-94ff-92487200f1d1
On Tuesday 27 June, Reading Township NY judge found Seneca Lake gas storage protestor Tom Angie guilty before his team had the chance to present his defense. Schuyler County Assistant Distract Attorney John Tunney, who was prosecuting the case for the county, attempted to explain to the judge that a ruling under these circumstances is not binding – or even legal.

EcoWatch reported on the judge’s response:
Justice Berry then reiterated his verdict, saying, “I still find him guilty.”

The results: Berry, “agreed to recuse himself in this and all future trials involving Seneca Lake gas storage protesters, he granted the prosecutor’s motion to declare a mistrial in Angie’s case and I got a good laugh.

As my mother liked to say, real life is infinitely loonier than fiction.

New US ivory law gives elephants stronger protection against poachers

Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) ranger stands guard next to illegal stockpile of elephant tusks and ivory figurines before their destruction
Source: Lawyer Herald
New ivory trafficking regulations issued on Thursday by the Obama Administration will make the import and sale of African elephant’s ivory much more difficult in the United States. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) reports:

It is clear that the status quo wasn’t doing enough to protect elephants from American trade: The US market has consistently ranked among the world’s largest – an (up until now) largely unregulated, multi-million-dollar black box where ivory could be bought and sold with almost no oversight, whether it was old or freshly poached. We believe that the new rules are a crucial step towards bringing the poaching crisis under control, though much still depends on the unglamorous next steps: implementation, enforcement, and diplomatic follow-through to ensure that this momentum doesn’t stop at America’s borders.

While the changes are a big improvement, they’re not perfect. The regulations still permit sales of documented antiques and certain older items with a small amount of ivory. But the documentation requirement is only loosely defined, putting pressure on FWS (and groups like IFAW) to ensure that ivory buyers and sellers uphold the spirit and the letter of the law. We also have to make sure that law enforcement agents get the tools and funding they need to keep illegal imports from slipping into the black market.

Additionally, the rule limits trophy hunters to importing “only” two dead elephants (per hunter) annually. IFAW lobbied hard to close this loophole even further and we will continue to press the issue, especially as new studies call the conventional wisdom on trophy hunting further into question. However, even this represents an improvement, as there had been no numeric limit on trophy imports at all prior to the change.

The third element I mentioned above – diplomatic follow-through – is just as important as what we do here at home. Other major ivory-consuming countries like China and Vietnam have begun to steer their ivory laws in the right direction; US/China negotiations have already resulted in a pledge from President Xi Jinping to shut down the Chinese ivory market, although tangible progress has been slow in coming and it remains vital that the US continue to set an example.

The New York Times reported on the rule-making process:

In accordance with the rule-making process under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service opened the proposed changes for public comment, and it became the second-most-commented-on rule in the agency’s history. People wrote letters, children drew pictures and thousands of petition signatures rolled in — mostly in support of the more restrictive law.

The next phase of the fight against ivory poaching will happen next week, when a delegation from the United States goes to Beijing for a round of strategic and economic talks with Chinese officials, who have also agreed to further restrictions on the ivory trade.

if you buy ivory you kill people
Source: Elephant Advocacy League
Elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory at the rate of 96 per day. Do you know that the ivory trade is a people killer too?

Lead graphic from the Lawyer Herald.