Nonviolence . . . Human trafficking . . . Women . . . . The elderly . . . Immigrants' rights . . . Housing. . . Children . . . Prisoners' rights . . . Health care . . . World Hunger . . . Globalization, as it affects Latin America . . . Care of the earth . . . Seamless ethic of life

Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

February 22 is National Skip the Straw Day

Tomorrow is National Skip the Straw Day. At Environment America, we're celebrating with a pledge to say "no" to single-use plastic products we don't need, starting with the humble plastic drinking straw.
Every individual straw may be small, but straws -- and other single-use plastic products -- have an out-sized impact on the environment. That's why we're skipping the straw this Friday -- and why we think every day should be Skip the Straw Day.
Will you take the pledge to skip the straw, and commit to reducing the amount of single-use plastic in your daily life?
You probably won't use any individual plastic straw for more than a couple of minutes, but once you throw it away, it will stay in the environment for decades, if not centuries. Some plastic products take 450 years to completely break down -- and some may never disappear at all.1
Instead, plastics just break into smaller and smaller pieces. That's bad news for birds, turtles, whales and other ocean wildlife who can then mistake garbage for food. Last year, a sperm whale washed ashore with over 1,000 pieces of plastic in its stomach.2
More than 8 million metric tons of plastic flow into the ocean every year.3 Plastic straws may be convenient, but the planet just can't afford any more disposable plastic "stuff" entering the environment. If you can, quitting straws is a great place to start.
Participate in National Skip the Straw day this year by pledging to say "no" to plastic straws.
As individuals, we can't solve the problem of plastic waste on our own. But each action makes a difference -- by dumping less waste on the planet AND by making bolder changes possible. Whether you swap your plastic straw for a renewable or reusable alternative, or just decide to go without, your choice to cut back on plastic use is important.
Join Environment America and our friends at U.S. PIRG in taking this step towards a future free of plastic pollution. Take the pledge: Say "no" to plastic straws tomorrow, and commit to reduce your use of single use plastic.
Thank you,
Ed Johnson

1. Laura Parker, "We Made Plastic. We Depend On It. Now We're Drowning In It," National Geographic, June 2018.
2. Trevor Nace, "Yet Another Dead Whale Found With Pounds Of Plastic In Its Stomach," Forbes, November 26, 2018.
3. Jenna Jambeck, et al., "Plastic Waste Inputs from Land into the Ocean," Science, February 12, 2015.

Donate today. A cleaner, greener future is within our reach. Your donation today can help us bring the vision we share a little closer to reality.

Environment America, Inc.
1543 Wazee Street, Suite 410, Denver, CO 80202, (303) 801-0581
Federal Advocacy Office: 600 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20003, (202) 683-1250
Member Questions or Requests: 1-800-401-6511.
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Monday, February 11, 2019

Establish background checks through HR 8

Good news.
The House held its first hearing on gun safety reform in eight years. It’s about time.

While President Trump will have you believe there’s a national emergency at the border that requires a “big, beautiful wall” paid for by American taxpayers, the real crisis facing our country is the epidemic of gun violence.
We must take action to reduce gun violence, and establishing universal background checks is a commonsense measure that 90 percent of Americans support. 

While this legislation moves forward in the House, we need to make it clear to the Republican-controlled Senate that this expansion of background checks on all gun sales and most transfers is what the American people want and, more importantly, deserve.

That’s where you come in: will you add your name today to send a strong message to the Senate in support of establishing universal background checks through HR 8?


Friday, February 8, 2019

Nuns, Priests and the Bomb Panel Discussion

Nuns, Priests, and the Bomb is a Helen Young documentary that follows several activists, including 82-year-old Sister Meghan Rice, who risked long jail terms in their efforts to move the world away from the nuclear brink. This film follows two cases: the July 2012 break-in at the site known as America’s “Fort Knox of Uranium” in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the 2009 Plowshares action at a US naval base near Seattle, Washington. It follows the activists’ legal efforts to justify their actions under international law and highlights the power of their moral conviction. 

The breach in security was the only concern of a congressional hearing that followed the incident at Oak Ridge. International law that prohibits the production of weapons resulting in indiscriminatory casualties was not addressed.  Neither was it in the courts, which prohibited any evidence backing the contention or the motives of the protestors. 

A question that surrounded the trials and stiff sentences for the protestors was also posed to the panel that followed the screening of the film. Does “blind justice” rule out any consideration of the morality behind creating, stockpiling, and updating weapons that could annihilate Earth? The courts said “yes,” as did the lawyer on the panel who himself agreed that nuclear weapons should not exist. He asked if it was possible to maintain any sense of order if the morality of a law or action could be argued in a trial situation.  An audience member suggested that perhaps our justice system needs a “little chaos” to raise awareness about its shortcomings.  

When asked if she thought that their act of civil disobedience had any impact, Sister Meghan said that she did not know, but perhaps its impact was yet to come.  What do you think?  Is it time for another protest action?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

You can make a public comment on SNAP through April 2.

In spite of SNAP being preserved in the budget by congress, the Administration has proposed a rule that would take away SNAP eligibility for 755,000 unemployed and underemployed adults. That means cutting SNAP food benefits by $15 billion over 10 years. This would make hunger and poverty in this country far worse.  The link enables you to make a public comment through April 2.  A public comment cannot be a cut and paste message.  It must contain about 1/3 of your own words. You can click on proposed a rule to read the rule, then continue below.  The rest of document contains additional information on food assistance.

Monday, February 4, 2019

From The New York Times: End Forced Labor in Immigrant Detention

Here is a another issue to raise when you contact your senators and representatives. The piece is short.
From The New York Times: End Forced Labor in Immigrant Detention
Why is Congress allowing private contractors to exploit detained immigrants?