Category Archives: Living Examples

In European First, Proposed Constitutional Amendment in Sweden Would Enshrine Rights of Nature

“When we’re in the beginning of an ecological and climate collapse,” said the lawmaker who introduced the measure, “I hope we can re-think our relationship with Nature.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2019

Pine forest in Sweden. The proposed amendment to Sweden’s Instrument of Government would secure the Rights of Nature to “existera, blomstra, regenerera och utvecklas”—which translates as “exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve”—in order to provide the people and government of Sweden the ability to defend and enforce these rights on behalf of Nature. (Photo: Peter Lesseur / EyeEm/ iStock)

Heralded as the first of its kind in Europe, a proposed constitutional amendment in Sweden seeks to enshrine the rights of Nature to ensure that the creatures, fona, and features of the natural world are protected from exploitation and abuse by endowing them with legal status previously reserved only for humans and select animals.

The proposed amendment to Sweden’s Instrument of Government, the nation’s constitutional document, would secure the Rights of Nature to “existera, blomstra, regenerera och utvecklas”—which translates as “exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve”—in order to provide the people and government of Sweden the ability to defend and enforce these rights on behalf of Nature. 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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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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There’s a dark political history to language that strips people of their dignity

 

Baltimore’s inner harbor. Photo: needpix

William A. Donohue, Michigan State University

Dehumanizing language often precedes genocide.

One tragic example: Extreme dehumanizing language was a strong contributor to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. As I have written, the Hutu majority used a popular radio station to continually refer to Tutsi tribal members, a minority in Rwanda, as “cockroaches.”

As support for this characterization grew among Hutus, it essentially stripped away any moral obligation to see Tutsis as fellow humans. They were just vermin that needed to be eradicated. Continue reading

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At White House Gates, Hundreds of Religious Leaders Demand Trump and His Enablers “Repent of Their Sins”

“We must show up in person to deliver a prophetic indictment.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-12-2019

Religious leaders walk towards the White House on Wednesday as part of the “Moral Witness Wednesday” protest against the Trump administration. (Photo: AFSC via Twitter)

Hundreds of interfaith leaders stood ready to face arrest outside the White House on Wednesday where they delivered a “moral indictment to an immoral administration.”

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‘A Burning Indictment of Our Higher Ed System’: Commencement Speaker Pays Off $40 Million in Student Debt

Billionaire’s gift to nearly 400 graduating seniors of Morehouse College earned him praise—but also sparked criticism of the cost of education

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2019

Morehouse College commencement speaker and billionaire Robert F. Smith announced Sunday he is wiping out an estimated $40 million in student debt for nearly 400 graduates. (Photo: Morehouse College/Twitter)

Commencement speaker Robert F. Smith garnered widespread praise Sunday when the billionaire investor announced he will wipe out an estimated $40 million in student debt for Morehouse College’s nearly 400 graduating seniors—but the move also sparked intense criticism of the cost of higher education in the United States.

“Two things are simultaneously true about this story: 1. This is a very cool thing to do,” tweeted Current Affairs editor Sparky Abraham. “2. That this is so cool and necessary and has such a huge impact on the students’ lives is a burning indictment of our higher ed system.” Continue reading

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Demanding Medicare for All, Nurses Use Band-Aids to Plaster GoFundMe Pages to Big Pharma Headquarters

-“Nobody should have a GoFundMe account to pay for their healthcare, and we’re here to make sure that that stops.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-29-2019

Nurses use Band-Aids to attach GoFundMe pages to the headquarters of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in Washington, D.C. (Photo: National Nurses United/Twitter)

Hundreds of nurses and their allies from across the country rallied Monday outside the headquarters of the pharmaceutical industry’s top lobbying group and plastered the GoFundMe pages of Americans “suffering in an immoral healthcare system” to the building’s walls and windows.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, spends tens of millions of dollars a year lobbying on a variety of healthcare issues, and it is currently bankrolling efforts to crush Medicare for All. Continue reading

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Notre Dame: The World Weeps with France

Photo: Madhurantakam [CC BY-SA 3.0]

For over 850 years, the Cathedral of Notre Dame has been a gift to humanity. The towering spires, stained glass windows and Gothic architecture inspired every visitor, set the stage for magnificent weddings and witnessed the history, culture and politics of France expressed throughout its inspiring past.

On April 15, 2019, the cathedral caught on fire and burned. The image of the spire collapsing will never leave the hearts and souls of the French people. We extend our deepest regrets and offer this video that captured just a touch of the glory Notre Dame was. Join us in remembrance.

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Saudi Women’s Rights Activists Receive ‘Freedom to Write’ Award as They Stand Trial in Riyadh

“These gutsy women have challenged one of the world’s most notoriously misogynist governments.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-14-2019

Eman Al-Nafjan and Loujain Al-Hathloul—along with Nouf Abdulaziz, not shown for privacy and safety reasons—are recipients of the 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award. (Photo: PEN America)

Three women’s rights activists on trial in Saudi Arabia this week because of their efforts to expand human rights in the infamously oppressive kingdom are this year’s recipients of an award “designed to honor a writer imprisoned for his or her work.”

PEN America, which works to defend free expression globally through the advancement of literature and human rights, announced Thursday that imprisoned writers Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul, and Eman Al-Nafjan will be honored with the 2019 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award at the PEN America Literary Gala in May. Continue reading

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