Category Archives: Human Spirit

Australia is Dropping Vegetables From Choppers to Feed Wildlife Starved by Fires

Helicopters are dropping thousands of pounds of food for animals starving to death amid Australia’s fires.

By Elias Marat,  Published 1-12-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

As Australia’s bushfire crisis continues to impact wildlife, aircraft have been deployed to feed thousands of starving wild animals who have been stranded by the blazes.

The government of the hard-hit state of New South Wales (NSW) has begun a campaign of airdrops across scorched regions, delivering thousands of pounds of root veggies —like carrots and sweet potatoes —from choppers flying above in a bid to sate the appetites of hungry colonies of brush-trailed rock wallabies, reports Daily Mail. Continue reading

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What does ‘A Christmas Carol’ tell us about the meaning of charity?

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business.”

By John Picton. Published 12-17-2019 by openDemocracy

Ebenezer Scrooge as illustrated by Ronald Searle in Life Magazine, 1960. | Flickr/Elizabeth. CC BY-NC 2.0.

 

New adaptations of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella appear on our screens each time the holidays come around. From this year’s brand-new mini-series that’s due to be aired in the UK and the USA to the ever-popular Muppet Christmas Carol, this story is a staple of the season. In it, and after a series of visits from ghostly apparitions, Ebenezer Scrooge changes from a cold miser to a kind and gentle person, but some aspects of the role of charity in this change of heart are lost from modern adaptations.

In the 176-year-old text the call to charity is more demanding than just donating cash. Dickens focuses on personal charity as the assumption of social obligations. After his transformation, Scrooge faces up to his moral responsibilities. Famously, he buys an enormous Christmas turkey for the family of his clerk, Bob Cratchit. But his new-found concern for the Cratchit family goes much further than a single festive meal. He also gives Cratchit a pay-rise. And having been frightened by a premonition of the death of Tiny Tim – Cratchit’s son – Scrooge is said to become like “a second father” to the sickly child. Continue reading

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Why the US military usually punishes misconduct but police often close ranks

NYPD officers turning their backs on New York mayor Bill de Blasio after he remarked on police violence, Jan. 4, 2015.
AP Photo/John Minchillo,

Dwight Stirling, University of Southern California

Many U.S. military members publicly disavowed President Trump’s decision to pardon Edward Gallagher, the former SEAL commando convicted of killing a teenage detainee in Iraq in 2017.

Gallagher’s alleged war crimes were nearly universally condemned up the chain of command, from enlisted men to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. Indeed, it was Gallagher’s SEAL colleagues who reported the former commando’s actions.

This insistence on holding fellow service members accountable for bad behavior sharply differentiates the military from the police. Continue reading

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Rising seas threaten hundreds of Native American heritage sites along Florida’s Gulf Coast

Native American burial mound at Lake Jackson Mounds State Park, north of Tallahassee, Fla. Ebaybe/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Jayur Mehta, Florida State University and Tara Skipton, Florida State University

Native North Americans first arrived in Florida approximately 14,550 years ago. Evidence for these stone-tool-wielding, megafauna-hunting peoples can be found at the bottom of numerous limestone freshwater sinkholes in Florida’s Panhandle and along the ancient shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico.

Specialized archaeologists using scuba gear, remote sensing equipment or submersibles can study underwater sites if they are not deeply buried or destroyed by erosion. This is important because Florida’s archaeological resources face significant threats due to sea level rise driven by climate change. According to a new U.N. report, global sea levels could increase by over 3 feet by the year 2100. Continue reading

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‘Because Business as Usual Is a Death Sentence’: Youth Climate Strikers in Their Own Words

“If we don’t come together and create change now, future generations will remember us as the people who stood idly as our world burned.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-20-2019

A sign (and costume from #ClimateStrike in Austin, Texas. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Twitter

As millions of people of all ages joined the first-ever global #ClimateStrike on Friday—answering a call from students of the school strike for climate movement—youth activists from around the world shared why they are compelled to take to the streets to demand more ambitions efforts to tackle the planetary crisis.

The youth-led strike comes ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City on Monday and launches a week of action that will culminate in another global strike on Sept. 27. Continue reading

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‘Trailblazer in the Name of Peace’: Anti-War Hero Frances Crowe Dies at 100

“As we celebrate her life and mourn her passing,” said one friend and ally, “we know that the best tribute of all is to keep on fighting.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2019

Photo: PowerStruggleMovie.com

Longtime peace activist Frances Crowe has died at the age of 100, leaving behind seven decades of decades work towards justice and inspiration for those still working for a better world.

She died last Tuesday in her home in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she lived since 1951, surrounded by her family, who wrote that her motto was “Live simply so that others can simply live.” Continue reading

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Have we forgotten the true meaning of Labor Day?

The first Labor Day was hardly a national holiday. Workers had to strike to celebrate it. Frank Leslie’s Weekly Illustrated Newspaper’s September 16, 1882

Jay L. Zagorsky, Boston University   Published 8-29-2017

Labor Day is a U.S. national holiday held the first Monday every September. Unlike most U.S. holidays, it is a strange celebration without rituals, except for shopping and barbecuing. For most people it simply marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year.

The holiday’s founders in the late 1800s envisioned something very different from what the day has become. The founders were looking for two things: a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time. Continue reading

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Greta Thunberg Comes to America: Celebrations as Teen Climate Activist Arrives at Coney Island

“Your journey is a symbolic reminder of the ways we need to work together across every ocean!” tweeted 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-28-2019

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City by boat to attend a U.N. summit. (Photo: Jen Edney/Team Malizia via Boris Herrmann/Twitter)

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived Wednesday in New York City ahead of a United Nations summit after two weeks of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on a fossil fuel-free vessel, the Malizia II.

The 16-year-old tweeted Wednesday morning that the Malizia II had anchored off of Coney Island and that those aboard—including Thunberg’s father, a documentary filmmaker, and sailors Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann—would come ashore as early as mid-afternoon once they cleared customs and immigration. Continue reading

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A long walk back to the garden: Woodstock turns 50

Whatever happened to that blissful dawn? I want it back.

By Gregory Leffel. Published 8-13-2019 by openDemocracy

Woodstock, 15 August 1969. | James M Shelley via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Woodstock…Over your half-open name
rumors of life raised a curtain
where linger, limned by childhood memories,
the legacies of ancient ties
binding our tribe to the garden primeval. Edgar Brau

It’s Woodstock’s fiftieth. Happy birthday! But which Woodstock shall we celebrate? I prefer the nostalgic “legacies of ancient ties binding our tribe to the garden primeval” version from Edgar Brau’s acclaimed poem “Woodstock.” But that’s just me, and it’s a long story.

There’s also the received popular media version, the historical event itself: half-a-million efflorescing, tie-dyed baby-boomers in full bloom at flood tide; three days in rock and roll heaven; three days of peace in a nation at war with itself. The Sixties, a decade by turns fractured, violent, deadly, righteous, subversive, creative and mythological got captured in a single image, as if one picture could distill the decade’s entire ordeal and make sense of it. Continue reading

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Indigenous People Demand an End to Detention on Stolen Lands

“As the original caretakers of these lands and territories, we have inherent authority over migration and demand an end to these barbaric acts.”

By , Published 7-26-2019 by YES! Magazine

U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct intake at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. Photo: CBP/flickr

Not far from a detention center in McAllen, Texas, Indigenous people will gather on Saturday for a demonstration, joining their voices to the ongoing chorus of protests over the detention of asylum-seekers along the U.S. southern border.

Taking a Stand on Our Stolen Land is organized by the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas and Native Voice Network on traditional Esto’k Gna territory. Continue reading

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