The Global Citizen
Last week, planet earth reached a landmark! CO2 emissions exceeded 400 parts per million. So why aren’t scientists celebrating? Well, this is nothing to celebrate. Al Gore expressed a common sentiment among global warming sympathizers, tweeting that the event was “a sad milestone.” Action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels.
The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has been monitoring CO2 emissions since 1958. On Thursday, May 10th, it released a report that stated a new, unprecedented level of CO2 had been recorded in the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere and has been linked to rising temperatures, ice melting and sea level rising.
A guest blog post by Tony Fleming as posted on the Global Memo:
Yesterday was the deadline for nominations for Executive Director of UN Women. The candidates will succeed the organization's first head, Michele Bachelet, who resigned suddenly in March to return home and stand for election to Chile's presidency.
At least six candidates are rumored to be under consideration.
A guest blog post by Lucy Law Webster
Syria needs help. Its government has no legitimacy having killed some 90,000 Syrian people and forced millions from their homes as internal refugees and into exile in nearby countries.
It would be a mistake for the United States to put its own boots on the ground, but it could help to provide a wide range of equipment (including weapons) to the insurgents. Above all, it could, together with the Arab League and others, support and encourage a transition process, carefully defined and backed by an overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly.
It is important that the recently agreed Arms Trade Treaty was not abandoned when 100% consensus could not be obtained during the treaty conference negotiations. Instead, the text was taken to the General Assembly where there was a positive vote of 154 versus 3 negative votes (Syria, Iran and North Korea) with 23 abstentions.
I decided I will start off this gushy, loving article on Mother's Day with a depressing statistic (sorry): around the world, every two minutes a woman dies from preventable causes related to pregnancy. The real kicker? These deaths are 100% preventable.
There are several factors that play into this astonishing statistic. In some parts of the world, maternal health simply is not a priority. In Save the Children's mother index, you can see which countries are the best and worst places to be a mother. Can you guess how the United States ranks? The US came in 30th. 30th place. Wow.
The report explains that several factors are at play when it comes to a mother's health, including economic status, education level, and women's political status (to name a few). The Democratic Republic of Congo came in last place - the worst place to be a mother. Cultural practices play a role as well. For example, women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) are twice as likely to die during childbirth and are more likely to give birth to a stillborn child than other women.
President Barack Obama's recent announcement that he believes Syria has used a small amount of chemical weapons ignited a debate. Has the Assad regime crossed the "red line" the White House laid down?
U.S. intelligence reports "varying degrees of confidence" that Syria used chemical weapons. "We have to act prudently," Obama said. "But I think all of us...recognize how we cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations."
The situation in Syria is clearly dire, with more than 70,000 deaths. Over 2.5 million Syrian refugees (including 600,000 children) have overwhelmed the ability of the United Nations and neighboring countries to provide adequate care. Another 2 million kids are internally displaced within Syria.
But politicians seem more concerned about U.S. credibility than suffering Syrians. So what's next for Washington?
If I were president, I'd try to carefully navigate between two horrendous mistakes my predecessors made:
On April 23rd, Farea Al-Muslimi, an activist and freelance journalist from Yemen who has spent several years as a teenager studying and living in the United States as a foreign exchange student, appealed to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the United States drone strike on his town, Wessab. He explained to the Committee that the drone strike on his village "terrified thousands of simple, poor farmers" and "tore [his] heart," much like the horrific bombings in Boston, MA last week.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Fox News guest commentator, Erik Rush, tweeted "Yes, they're evil. Let's kill them all," to his nearly 40,000 twitter followers. Rush was talking about Muslims, who he had immediately blamed for the bombing.
The shocking and unacceptable nature of his words, however, has much deeper consequences. In the United States, free speech is valued -- after all, it is the first right guaranteed under our constitution. Yet what Rush tweeted is not protected as free speech because it insights violence. If one just ignores his words or dismisses them as being intentionally controversial -- they run the risk of encouraging and promoting hateful ideology and perpetuating the cycle of violence in humanity.
Encouraging others to "kill" an entire certain group -- whether a religious, racial, or ethnic group -- is polarizing and dangerous. Rush might explain the scandal away by saying he was only being sarcastic, but hate speech isn't something that we should ignore or just explain away.
Rush has a global platform that most do not -- he is invited to speak on Fox News as an unpaid commentator. His hate inducing words are completely unacceptable. Fox News should drop Erik Rush from their program, or else they will be endorsing his hateful ideology. It's time to take a deep breath and stop the cycle of violence.
Cleveland is known for many things. It's the hometown of John D. Rockefeller, Lebron James, Rock and Roll, the traffic light and the Cleveland Clinic. It's also one of the starting places for Earth Day.
On June 22, 1969 the Cuyahoga River, the major river that flows from Lake Erie and a center of trade in the region, caught on fire. The fire occurred when sparks from a blow torch ignited pollution and oil on the river's surface. The river was so polluted that there were no fish for long stretches. Lake Erie was full of sewage run off and parts were declared dead. It is known as the event that started "environmentalism" and the founding of the EPA, as well as the passing of the Clean Water Act.
The following is a guest blog post by Hope Warshaw:
It's easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless when we hear about the large and significant global problems caused by our years of mistreating Mother Earth. Feeling overwhelmed can make it hard to imagine that each of us, one by one, can, make a difference in the health of our global climate. But I believe each of us has the power to impact the health of our climate...by how and what we eat. Yes, it's true!
"The food recommendations made by many climate scientists align neatly with what health experts have told us for many decades: on average Americans consume way too few fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains and far too many meat and dairy products (see: epidemics of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes). What hit me here was the two-fer: what's good for the planet is good for your body. It's not just your mode of transportation, or how well you insulate your home. Now your menu matters, too."
While the US was dealing with the grips of a terrorist attack in Boston, the most powerful earthquake in over forty years hit Iran. A 7.8 magnitude quake occurred 56 miles beneath the ground but luckily the casualties were minute for such a large seismic event. It was the second earthquake in a week for the gulf country that rests on a tectonic plate, making it prone to numerous earthquakes. They actually on average experience at least one slight earthquake a day.
Besides the obvious destruction caused by the earth moving underneath people's lives, Iran is faced with another problem; their nuclear facilities. The first earthquake struck just miles from Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant, prompting the Gulf Co-operation Council to call for international inspectors to be sent to the plant for fear of radiation leaks.
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