Category Archives: Human Spirit

‘Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder’: Founder Gives Away Patagonia to Save the Planet

“Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” said Yvon Chouinard. “We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-14-2022 by Common Dreams

“We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact,” Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard wrote in a letter explaining his family’s ownership decision. (Photo: Patagonia/Facebook)

Patagonia founder and “reluctant billionaire” Yvon Chouinard just raised the bar for corporate action on the fossil fuel-driven planetary emergency.

The 83-year-old, his wife Malinda, and their adult children, Fletcher and Claire, gave away the company, valued at about $3 billion. The rock climber-turned-businessman explained the decision in an interview published Wednesday by The New York Times, along with a letter on the outdoor clothing retailer’s website. Continue reading

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Nebraska Mother, Daughter Face Abortion Charges After Facebook Shares Chats With Police

“Until Meta gives up surveilling private messages and begins protecting its users with end-to-end encryption, it remains complicit in the surveillance and criminalization of pregnant people,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 8-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: iphonedigital/flickr/CC

Digital rights advocates on Tuesday said an abortion case in Nebraska illustrates how powerful tech companies like Facebook could play a major role in prosecutions of people who self-manage abortions as more states ban the procedure, and called on the social media platform to reform its privacy policies to protect users.

The case in Nebraska centers on a 17-year-old girl and her mother, Celeste and Jessica Burgess, who sent messages on Facebook regarding plans to terminate Celeste’s pregnancy prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned in June. Continue reading

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The volunteers risking their lives to secretly educate Afghanistan’s girls

Nine months on from the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, teenage girls remain deprived of their right to education

By Deepa Parent  Published 6-3-2022 by openDemocracy

Matiullah Wesa and other PenPath volunteers travel around Afghanistan teaching children Photo: PenPath

In 2002, when Matiullah Wesa was a teenager, the Taliban burned his school. It was this, he told openDemocracy, that led him to dedicate his life to ensuring other children in Afghanistan can get an education.

Wesa is the co-founder of PenPath, an NGO that works to reopen closed schools in the country’s rural areas – from the Spin Boldak district in Kandahar to Helmand province – and has so far educated more than 57,000 children. Continue reading

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Ukraine’s women fighters reflect a cultural tradition of feminist independence

A Ukrainian soldier on March 9, 2022, waits for a train in Lviv that will take her to the front line.
Vincenzo Circosta/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mia Bloom, Georgia State University and Sophia Moskalenko, Georgia State University

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian women have taken up arms during the war sparked by Russia’s invasion. According to media reports, women constitute as much as 15% to 17% of the Ukrainian fighting force.

In the first two weeks of the conflict, social media was replete with images of Ukrainian women training for combat. On March 15, CNN reported that after dropping off their parents and children in the border town of Przemysl, Poland, some Ukrainian women are turning around to go back to the fight. Continue reading

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Ukraine is benefiting from generous donations – and many other global causes need help, too

A Yemeni mother holds the tiny foot of her malnourished child in 2021.
Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

Jessica Eise, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Ukraine’s resistance to Russia has captivated the world, dominating social media and the news since the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion. With this attention has come a massive outpouring of financial support.

Ordinary people, governments, corporations and celebrities have pledged billions to support Ukraine and have dispatched everything from missiles to cryptocurrency. Stories of sacrifice inspire courage, and photos of vulnerable victims, such as the pregnant woman on a stretcher after a bombing, have ignited rage and pain. When reports surfaced that the woman and her baby had both died, the collective sorrow only deepened.

The urge to express solidarity by making your own donation is only natural. Continue reading

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How Zelenskyy emerged as the antithesis of Putin and proved you don’t need to be a strongman to be a great leader

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been lauded for his resistance to the Russian invasion.
Photo by Laurent Van der Stockt for Le Monde/Getty Images

Michael Blake, University of Washington

Whatever happens in the coming weeks, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will go down as the face of Ukrainian resilience during the Russian invasion of his country.

His response to the Russian invasion of his country has been widely praised, both at home and abroad. His speech to the European Parliament in early March received a standing ovation. Western press outlets have referred to him as a “hero,” as the “voice” of his nation, and as a “focal point” for democratic resistance to tyranny. Continue reading

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How a Black writer in 19th-century America used humor to combat white supremacy

Charles Chesnutt was one of the first widely read Black fiction writers in the U.S.
RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Rodney Taylor, University of South Carolina

Any writer has to struggle with the dilemma of staying true to their vision or giving editors and readers what they want. A number of factors might influence the latter: the market, trends and sensibilities.

But in the decades after the Civil War, Black writers looking to faithfully depict the horrors of slavery had to contend with readers whose worldviews were colored by racism, as well as an entire swath of the country eager to paper over the past. Continue reading

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Red Cross Declares First-Ever Blood Shortage Crisis in US

The warning that “lifesaving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed” comes amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Due to problems tied to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross on Tuesday declared its first-ever national blood shortage crisis, warning that already, “doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait.”

The plea for “critically needed” blood and platelet donations comes during National Blood Donor Month and amid a surge in U.S. Covid-19 cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant. Continue reading

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Abdulrazak Gurnah: the truth-teller’s tale

Winning the Nobel Prize in literature means his work could add essential nuance to the global conversation about identity and belonging

By Rashmee Roshan Lall  Published 10-31-2021 by openDemocracy

Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature. Screenshot: The Hindu

Until recently, Abdulrazak Gurnah, a professor of English and postcolonial literatures at the University of Kent in Canterbury, had little media attention other than a brief mention in stories about refugees.

As a refugee who arrived in England from Zanzibar in 1968, and as a novelist who wrote about refugees and immigrants from east Africa, Gurnah would sometimes be mentioned in newspaper stories on asylum and migration. After the 2016 Brexit referendum and that notorious anti-immigrant UK Independence Party poster, his name was mentioned among other writers who championed a less insular worldview. And after the Windrush scandal, when the children of Caribbean migrants who had come to the UK decades ago were asked for paperwork to prove their right to live in Britain, Gurnah’s opinion was sought. He was, after all, a refugee himself. Continue reading

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McDonald’s Workers Join ‘Striketober’ and Walk Out Over Sexual Harassment

One striker participated because “McDonald’s still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-26-2021

Employees of a McDonald’s in North Charleston, South Carolina walked out with workers across the United States for a one-day strike on October 26, 2021. (Photo: NC Raise Up/Twitter)

Amid of wave of worker walkouts that supporters are collectively calling “Striketober,” McDonald’s employees in at least 12 U.S. cities took to the streets Tuesday to raise concerns about how the fast food giant has handled sexual harassment and to demand a union.

Though McDonald’s in April announced new sexual harassment training standards that all of its restaurants worldwide will be required to meet by January 2022, workers still joined the one-day walkout from Chicago and Detroit to Houston and Miami, charging that the company has not done enough to keep employees safe on the job. Continue reading

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