Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tea Party and the Green Party

Tea Party has made the news and has had their convention and remains working in communities around the nation. Recently, the Green Party of the United States released a Press statement on the Tea Party. I would say that the Tea Party folks are likely to find the same sort of schisms that have plagued the Green Party over the years: lack of a defined mission, a lack of a defined strategic vision for electoral work and a lack of funding. As long as they maintain the status of an independent "advocacy" group, like the Christian Coalition, outside the Republican Party, they will have the support of the Repugs. As soon as they try to build an independent party, like the GP or the Libertarians, they will encounter the real problems that we have as well in regards to ballot access. It is certainly worth our while to say this as a real starting point to those people in the Tea Party movements and engage in dialogues in states regarding ballot access where the coalition in support of open ballot access can increase its social base of support.

Greens need to ask not only where are we now, but how can we work together in the development of fundamental structural reforms. We lack a real Mission statement or strategic vision that binds our state parties together. Parties have disappeared off the political landscape after significant gains in electoral work because we lack a comprehensive grasp of our role on the political landscape. Some want to simply represent the "social movements" (also a concept within the tea Party movement). Some want to adopt a strategy of being leverage for particular factions within the duopoly parties.

The GP has been unable to realize the impact of failing to decisively engage on this issue and to make a decision. The result is party hopping of candidates and activists, failure to develop stable local organization with close ties in our communities and the resultant decline of state parties when electoral victories are so few. This also affects how our candidates project the distinct character of elected Greens if they were to be elected, as well as their focus if they are elected to office.

In regards to the health plan debate, I have yet to see a comprehensive policy analysis that present a distinct model for health care for the Green Party. We remain followers of advocacy groups in this regard and have yet to address the existing concerns in regards to viability of Social Security and Medicare in the future. Young people are already planning their futures in the context of these programs being off the map by the time they qualify. This is important because the Republicans have seized on this in the health care debate to rally support of the elderly who are concerned about the cutbacks in Medicare for "efficiency".

Much of the original influx for the Tea Party is coming from what used to be called "the white middle class". They are focused on budget issues, are newcomers to political engagement and feel that the duopoly parties have been unresponsive to their needs and concerns. Their naiveté will not provide them the sustainable vision to establish organization. The Reform Party has already been tried in this regard. They are not reactionary but are reactive in regards to their current priorities. Hillary had a grasp in her primary campaign of the sentiment out there. Barack shot himself in the foot here in San Francisco appealing to local elitism in his comment about western Pennsylvanians "grasping their bibles and guns". But most Tea Party people are angry at such dismissiveness that continues within the Dems and consider the Repugs to be simply any lacking suburban and rural focus, while they pander to large corporate and financial interests.

It is Green to be inclusive and to work to implement grassroots democracy that goes beyond administrative fiats and are a real reflection of the public will. Bioregionalism is not simply the adoption of a Green Party agenda, but requires adaptive governance that is inclusive and transparent. If we engage in such structures, such as water planning, we soon find that we don't win every argument. Sometimes it is because we fail to see the impacts of certain actions on certain sectors of the population. Sometimes it is because we are dismissive of the very people we need to engage in real democracy. And sometimes, like in California, it is because we really do feel that Democrats are the "lesser evil" and wind up supporting entrenched bureaucracies and unrepresentative government.

It is not simply the Press Statement of the Green Party that will enable us to understand our fellow countrymen and women. It is also our willingness to work directly with our neighbors in developing more representative forms of government. From there we can learn much more from each other than from confrontations and dismissing of the views of others. We still have a lot to learn and we still can begin to grasp the various forms of discontent that are out there. From concrete experience we can glean the fundamental concerns of others, whether Tea Party or elsewhere. And we can begin to become more inclusive and respectful of the people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Restore the Delta wants to talk. DiFi doen't.

You would think that the Senator who is writing legislation that will define the future of an entire region would talk to the people in that region, especially if the region is the largest fresh water estuary on the West Coast. Well, if the region is the Delta and the Senator is Diane Feinstein, the answer is that she won't. The more she can hide what she is doing, the better for her family friends and contributors.

Please, click here and read the plea for a meeting from Restore the Delta.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The endgame for Feinstein's water plans.

I have always questioned the intelligence of those who, when faced with the certainty of running out of any resource would advocate using it up faster. Yet, that is exactly what "Drill, baby, drill" means. I used this argument to question the leadership of Richard Pombo when he represented my district and was Chairman of the House Committee on Resources. His goal seemed to be to make us run out of oil more quickly. Why, when oil will is becoming increasingly scarce, would he work so hard to develop those scant reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

I take a similar attitude towards those who advocate for increased pumping of water in California's Central Valley. I don't care where they pump the water from, the delta, the underground aquifers of the San Joaquin Valley, it is essentially all the same, a limited resource from which they try to extract ever higher volumes of water. Where will it end?

It rained all day today and I took that opportunity to clear some of the reading that was sitting on my desk, unappreciated. There, I found the image of where we might be heading. Orion magazine ran photo essay following the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers of Central Asia. Each over 2,000 km in length, they flow from the mountains at the rim of the world to the Aral Sea.
The Syr Darya, which carries only half the water of its counterpart, is created from the Naryn and Kara Darya rivers in the mountains of the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan. Also dammed and diverted, it runs flat across central Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan, eventually draining into the tiny North Aral Sea...

Dammed and diverted is a description that might apply equally well to the San Joaquin River. The Aral Sea has been so cut off from it's sources that it has shrunk to a mere fraction of it's former size. The photos that Carolyn Drake took are a stark reminder of how a beautiful land can be ruined by exploitation and major rivers left to disappear into new deserts.

The photos are here. It is a narrated slideshow, but I was particularly struck by image #34. There is a cow, an old vehicle and a broken aqueduct no longer able to divert anything. Waters were diverted to support the growing of cotton, this being the only cotton growing region of the former Soviet Union, where resource exploitation supported a growing economy until the land was ruined, perhaps beyond repair.

NASA reports it just as clearly as seen from space.
The Aral Sea sits in the basin adjacent to the Caspian Sea in central Asia. Unlike the Caspian Sea, the Aral Sea levels have been dramatically dropping for several decades. The primary cause in the Aral Sea level drop is the progressive diversion of the in-flowing waters of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Rivers to support a substantial agriculture business.

Is this the future fate of the San Joaquin Valley? It might be if we don't begin to plan for future use on a regional basis. We know that our population is growing. We know that the future climate will be more erratic that today's, but much drier. The days that we can continue to take and take more and more like the Soviets did for years, should be over, but not for Westland Water District nor for those politicians (Sen. Feinstein, Congressmen Cardoza, Costa, Nunez and candidate Pombo) who have not the guts to just say "No" to that very small, but powerful lobby.

In the case of the Amu Darya, nature may yet have the last laugh. In 1911, a 7.4 earthquake caused an landslide that damned one of it's tributaries in a narrow valley. The lake that was formed is about half the volume of a completely filled Lake Mead. Another earthquake could just as easily break the dam, or suddenly fill the lake with another massive slide, and the entire valley would be catastrophically flooded.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Farmworkers against California water bond

We have all heard so much media coverage of the water crisis in the West San Joaquin Valley. Somewhere in all of that you generally hear mentioned the California Latino Water Coalition, a group of mainly gringos working for Steward Resnick who pay bus loads of farm workers to show up a demonstrations.

Did you ever wonder where the United Farm Workers was? I did, because the were not there.

Now, the UFW has taken a stand and it is right in the headline. UFW President Arturo Rodriquez has an OpEd in the Feb. 22 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Expensive water: $11 billion, or $800 million in annual debt payments for the next 30 years. That's how much Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's water bond will cost California's taxpayers and their children to subsidize the agricultural industry for decades to come.

Gov. Schwarzenegger obviously agrees that water is valuable and essential to human life. Yet, every time a farmworker dies from heat-related illness or dehydration, we're told that the state can't afford the cost of enforcing the laws to protect him or her.

The water bond that was recently approved by our lawmakers will give agricultural companies billions more in subsidized water. The state treasurer has asked the right question: Why aren't these giant ag industry operators paying for their water like everyone else?
Read more at the Chronicle.
Then let's all make sure that we are the ones who have the knowledge and the courage to tell the truth about this, and do it at every opportunity. There will be no Green Justice in California until we start acting like every person is important.

What does sustainable mean?

I have a column that should run in tomorrow morning's home town newspaper, the Morgan Hill Times.  In that bit of Green Talk, I take a stab at convincing my readers that nothing made of material is truly sustainable, or at least not in the way that we think about it, manufacture it, use it and dispose of it.

This Green Talk column is not yet online, is sometimes delayed for days, and most won't see it in a small home town paper.  So, if you click Read more! you have a chance to read it now.

It has almost become impossible to read a story about energy without finding the word “sustainable” used at some point. We all have some basic understanding of what is meant. The current supplies of oil and natural gas are limited and those new fields being found are increasingly expensive to maintain. Therefore, our current pace of using up the supply of fossil fuels in not sustainable, or will not be for very long. That discussion is generally focused on peak oil.

Often, this basic definition is followed by someone's favorite solution for maintaining economic growth in the face of such diminished supply of energy. Sometimes, these solutions are reasonable, like an increased use of wind and solar. Sometimes they pose a technological challenge with promise of a future energy supply, such as biofuels from algae. Others so defy rational analysis and that they could exist only in a bad sci-fi movie.

The focus on energy, as important and immediate as that is, allows us to ignore the very basic notion of what it would take to be truly sustainable. Some of have tried to explain this with the analogy of a spaceship. We all know that space ships have to carry everything needed to sustain life along with them. That includes the atmosphere people breath and the food they eat as well as the means of reacting to any problem that might arise. We see an example of this every time a shuttle visits the International Space Station with a load of supplies and returns with a load of waste.

So consider that the Earth is like a space ship. We have a fixed set of material resources. There is no way to add anything. There is no /Enterprise /that will arrive with new supplies. We have what we have and that is that. This fact should make all of the difference in how we think about the future, but sadly, it does not. Allow me to give a few examples.

There are those who see the future of energy as coming from nuclear power. Even if we assume that we could adequately protect people from the dangers of radiation along the entire production chain, from extraction of uranium to disposal or re-processing of the spent power plant fuel, we should be aware of the fact that energy planners are beginning to talk about peak uranium just as we talk about peak oil now. The economically retrievable supplies of untapped uranium are very few and many are far away in countries like Kazakhstan.

Evan as we are beginning to make major use of lithium for batteries in everything from cell phones to automobiles, there are increasing concerns over a peak in lithium and a search for other energy storage alternatives. The largest under-developed supply of lithium is in Bolivia and that development is subject to political as well as economic factors.

All of this is to say that we need to rethink that manner in which we use the limited material resources of this spaceship Earth to supply the needs of a growing population and it's desire to attain at least the same standard of living that we currently enjoy. The current UN low population forecast is for an increase of 2.4 billion people by 2050. That is more than the current populations of China and the US combined. And most of these would try to attain our lifestyle if they could.

We need to consider not just oil and natural gas or even more scarce materials like uranium or lithium. We have to begin to consider even the steel used in construction, the aluminum we use to wrap our food, the wood that frames our houses or even the number of trees it takes to make chopsticks and toilet paper.

The modern industrial practice is that of a linear irreversible throughput, where resource are moved into from the ecosphere to the humansphere where our economic engine of growth processes them producing waste along the way. But then, we discard most of it, creating more waste and our governments encourage us to do this to produce economic growth.

At some point, even the most ideological free marketer among us will be forced to admit that this pattern can not be sustained and that we need to find a new vision of what constitutes a life worth living.

Whatever that goal is, we will not get there along our current path. We need to transform our economy to one that cycles materials rather than uses them, where waste becomes the raw material for productions; that recognizes that we are all part of an ever changing ecosphere. There will be economic consequences of such a radical change. It is our choice whether we absorb those consequences now when they are manageable or later when they are not.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Changes under way

I am letting everyone know that California Greening will undergo some change even as my personal life undergoes some parallel changes. I have resigned from all of the committee roles that I have in the Green Party. I really did not enjoy doing that much. It became something that I did because, at time, no one else was doing it, or not doing it well enough. 
  • EcoAction Committee is truly the point effort for the future of the Green Party.  It is the one place where the basic assumptions of how this world works are going to be challenged, from peak oil to climate change to sustainable anything.  Yet, a few years ago, it was about to be done away with.  So I stepped in and did what I could to keep it alive. 
  • If there is one place where an ecological understanding is necessary, it is in the platform of the Green Party. Yet, that section of the platform is very much out of date and does not truly reflect the dire straights that we are in. 
Still, I have decided that I am not particularly good at committee things and spent too much time on it while spending too little time making my wife's life easier and making the pottery that some is very good.

However, I still like to read, think and write... hopefully in that order. So, I will continue writing on this blog but not with the frequency that I have in the past.  Mostly, it will be longer, more OpEd or essay styled writing about issues that I think are important... such as what do we mean by a sustainable economy and how can we achieve that.  Clue: think in ecological terms.

As for some of the other things that I really want to do, well, you might find them at my original personal web site: 

Mapping the future, looking at the world

below are a few topical issues that creative cartographers have developed to display proportional representations of countries around the world. Go to the links at the bottom to see the array of available maps.

This map shows those territories that use much of their internal water resources, measured with a threshold of people using more than 10% of renewable water resources. Each territory is resized based on the volume of water used beyond 10%.
75 of the 200 territories used less than 10% of their renewable internal freshwater resources. 51 territories used between 10% and 100% of water resources, 15 territories used 100% or more. 59 territories were missing data.
Egypt uses 33 times its internal water resources - the River Nile supplies Egypt with rainwater from elsewhere. Water supplies vary: 4 territories use more per person than Egypt but under 5% of their total internal resources.
Territory size shows the proportion of all water used that is more than 10% of the renewable internal freshwater resources of that territory.
In 2001 US$784 billion were spent on primary education around the world, when adjusted for purchasing power. The territory where the largest amount was spent is the United States; the spending was 28% of all spending in the world. In contrast, in Nigeria only 0.28% of all world spending was spent on primary education.
There is a distinct difference in the spending on primary education per child between regions. The average spending in Japan, North America and Western Europe is often much more than three times the spending in other regions. Central Africa has the lowest rate of primary school enrolment and also the lowest spending.
Territory size shows the proportion of all spending on primary education worldwide that is spent there, when measured in purchasing power parity US$.
Greenhouse gases trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere, causing it to warm up. The greenhouse gases shown here are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These gases account for 98% of the greenhouse effect. Other greenhouse gases, not shown here, are various fluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.
The territories that emit the most greenhouse gases are the United States, China, the Russian Federation and Japan. However, the most emissions per person are in Qatar: equivalent to 86 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Qatar has significant oil and gas reserves, and in 2002 was populated by 600,000 people.
Territory size shows the proportion, by their global warming potential, of all greenhouse gas emissions that come from there.
This map shows forest depletion, measured as the financial value of the untreated wood extracted which is not replaced by natural growth. This map shows the value of wood that is not sustainably harvested at territory level.
The highest unsustainable harvesting is in India, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Almost half (46%) is in India; this is the same as the combined total of the 25 territories with the next highest forest depletion. The population of India is almost as large as the combined population of those 25 other territories. Per person forest depletion in India ranks 23rd of all territories with data reported.
Territory size shows the proportion of all annual forest depletion that occurred there. Forest depletion is the loss of potential future income from roundwood at current prices due to current tree felling not offset by natural growth.
Water resources here include only freshwater, because saline (sea) water requires treatment before most uses. Only 43 600 cubic kilometres of freshwater is available as a resource each year, despite more than twice this amount falling as precipitation (rain and snow). Much is lost through evaporation. Those countries with higher rainfall often have larger water resources. Of all the water available, the regions of South America and Asia Pacific have the most.
People living in Kuwait use sea water that is processed at a desalination plant. As such Kuwait has no area on this map because there are no freshwater resources there.
Territory size shows the proportion of all worldwide freshwater resources found there.
The ecological footprint is a measure of the area needed to support a population’s lifestyle. This includes the consumption of food, fuel, wood, and fibres. Pollution, such as carbon dioxide emissions, is also counted as part of the footprint.
The United States, China and India have the largest ecological footprints. Without knowing population size we cannot understand what this means about individuals’ ecological demands. Large populations live in China and India. In both territories resource use is below the world average. The per person footprint in the United States is almost five times the world average, and almost ten times what would be sustainable.
Territory size shows the proportion of the worldwide ecological footprint which is made there.
Over half of the territories in the world are currently experiencing net emigration. More people are leaving them than are coming to them. Territories with net emigration generally are poorer than those with net immigration. Mexico is the country with the highest net emigration, with a net loss of 8.8 million people in 2000. Mexico is in North America, the region whose territories have the largest net immigration. The United State's high immigration rate is linked to Mexican emigration. Were the United States and Mexico combined to be one territory then this movement of people would not be recorded as immigration nor emigration.
Territory size shows the relative quantity of net emigration in all territories (emigration less immigration).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mystic Lake Declaration on Climate Change

I have MI Green Linda Cree to thank for getting this to me. I was not aware of it until just tonight, when she posted it to an email list that targets rural Greens. I wish that I had seen it earlier.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on what climate change means for this world. Sarah Palin thinks climate change is "snake oil science." Well, the authors of the this declaration are not buying any of her anti-science snake oil.

Thanks, Linda. Readers, I hope you remember that the first two communities to be effected by climate change (Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana and Newtok, Alaska) are both communities of indigenous people. They are the first to feel the weight of our consumptive life style. They will not be the last.

Click Read more! for the full text.

From the Native Peoples Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop II:
Indigenous Perspectives and Solutions

At Mystic Lake on the Homelands of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Prior Lake, Minnesota

November 21, 2009

As community members, youth and elders, spiritual and traditional leaders, Native organizations and supporters of our Indigenous Nations, we have gathered on November 18-21, 2009 at Mystic Lake in the traditional homelands of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Oyate. This Second Native Peoples Native Homelands Climate Workshop builds upon the Albuquerque Declaration and work done at the 1998 Native Peoples Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We choose to work together to fulfill our sacred duties, listening to the teachings of our elders and the voices of our youth, to act wisely to carry out our responsibilities to enhance the health and respect the sacredness of Mother Earth, and to demand Climate Justice now.

We acknowledge that to deal effectively with global climate change and global warming issues all sovereigns must work together to adapt and take action on real solutions that will ensure our collective existence. We hereby declare, affirm, and assert our inalienable rights as well as responsibilities as members of sovereign Native Nations. In doing so, we expect to be active participants with full representation in United States and international legally binding treaty agreements regarding climate, energy, biodiversity, food sovereignty, water and sustainable development policies affecting our peoples and our respective Homelands on Turtle Island (North America) and Pacific Islands.

We are of the Earth. The Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited. Our ancestors' remains lie within her. Water is her lifeblood. We are dependent upon her for our shelter and our sustenance. Our lifeways are the original "green economies." We have our place and our responsibilities within Creation's sacred order. We feel the sustaining joy as things occur in harmony. We feel the pain of disharmony when we witness the dishonor of the natural order of Creation and the degradation of Mother Earth and her companion Moon.

We need to stop the disturbance of the sacred sites on Mother Earth so that she may heal and restore the balance in Creation. We ask the world community to join with the Indigenous Peoples to pray on summer solstice for the healing of all the sacred sites on Mother Earth.

The well-being of the natural environment predicts the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual longevity of our Peoples and the Circle of Life. Mother Earth's health and that of our Indigenous Peoples are intrinsically intertwined. Unless our homelands are in a state of good health our Peoples will not be truly healthy. This inseparable relationship must be respected for the sake of our future generations. In this Declaration, we invite humanity to join with us to improve our collective human behavior so that we may develop a more sustainable world – a world where the inextricable relationship of biological, and environmental diversity, and cultural diversity is affirmed and protected.

We have the power and responsibility to change. We can preserve, protect, and fulfill our sacred duties to live with respect in this wonderful Creation. However, we can also forget our responsibilities, disrespect Creation, cause disharmony and imperil our future and the future of others.

At Mystic Lake, we reviewed the reports of indigenous science, traditional knowledge and cultural scholarship in cooperation with non-native scientists and scholars. We shared our fears, concerns and insights. If current trends continue, native trees will no longer find habitable locations in our forests, fish will no longer find their streams livable, and humanity will find their homelands flooded or drought-stricken due to the changing weather. Our Native Nations have already disproportionately suffered the negative compounding effects of global warming and a changing climate.

The United States and other industrialized countries have an addiction to the high consumption of energy. Mother Earth and her natural resources cannot sustain the consumption and production needs of this modern industrialized society and its dominant economic paradigm, which places value on the rapid economic growth, the quest for corporate and individual accumulation of wealth, and a race to exploit natural resources. The non-regenerative production system creates too much waste and toxic pollutions. We recognize the need for the United States and other industrialized countries to focus on new economies, governed by the absolute limits and boundaries of ecological sustainability, the carrying capacities of the Mother Earth, a more equitable sharing of global and local resources, encouragement and support of self sustaining communities, and respect and support for the rights of Mother Earth and her companion Moon.

In recognizing the root causes of climate change, participants call upon the industrialized countries and the world to work towards decreasing dependency on fossil fuels. We call for a moratorium on all new exploration for oil, gas, coal and uranium as a first step towards the full phase-out of fossil fuels, without nuclear power, with a just transition to sustainable jobs, energy and environment. We take this position and make this recommendation based on our concern over the disproportionate social, cultural, spiritual, environmental and climate impacts on Indigenous Peoples, who are the first and the worst affected by the disruption of intact habitats, and the least responsible for such impacts.

Indigenous peoples must call for the most stringent and binding emission reduction targets. Carbon emissions for developed countries must be reduced by no less than 40%, preferably 49% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 95% by 2050. We call for national and global actions to stabilize CO2 concentrations below 350 parts per million (ppm) and limiting temperature increases to below 1.5Âșc.

We challenge climate mitigation solutions to abandon false solutions to climate change that negatively impact Indigenous Peoples' rights, lands, air, oceans, forests, territories and waters. These include nuclear energy, large-scale dams, geo-engineering techniques, clean coal technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, bio-fuels, tree plantations, and international market-based mechanisms such as carbon trading and offsets, the Clean Development Mechanisms and Flexible Mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol and forest offsets. The only real offsets are those renewable energy developments that actually displace fossil fuel-generated energy. We recommend the United States sign on to the Kyoto Protocol and to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We are concerned with how international carbon markets set up a framework for dealing with greenhouse gases that secure the property rights of heavy Northern fossil fuel users over the world's carbon-absorbing capacity while creating new opportunities for corporate profit through trade. The system starts by translating existing pollution into a tradable commodity, the rights to which are allocated in accordance with a limit set by States or intergovernmental agencies. In establishing property rights over the world's carbon dump, the largest number of rights is granted (mostly for free) to those who have been most responsible for pollution in the first place. At UN COP15, the conservation of forests is being brought into a property right issue concerning trees and carbon. With some indigenous communities it is difficult and sometimes impossible to reconcile with traditional spiritual beliefs the participation in climate mitigation that commodifies the sacredness of air (carbon), trees and life. Climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management must be based on different mindsets with full respect for nature, and not solely on market-based mechanisms.

We recognize the link between climate change and food security that affects Indigenous traditional food systems. We declare our Native Nations and our communities, waters, air, forests, oceans, sea ice, traditional lands and territories to be "Food Sovereignty Areas," defined and directed by Indigenous Peoples according to our customary laws, free from extractive industries, unsustainable energy development, deforestation, and free from using food crops and agricultural lands for large scale bio-fuels.

We encourage our communities to exchange information related to the sustainable and regenerative use of land, water, sea ice, traditional agriculture, forest management, ancestral seeds, food plants, animals and medicines that are essential in developing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, and will restore our food sovereignty, food independence, and strengthen our Indigenous families and Native Nations.

We reject the assertion of intellectual property rights over the genetic resources and traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples which results in the alienation and commodification of those things that are sacred and essential to our lives and cultures. We reject industrial modes of food production that promote the use of chemical substances, genetically engineered seeds and organisms. Therefore, we affirm our right to possess, control, protect and pass on the indigenous seeds, medicinal plants, traditional knowledge originating from our lands and territories for the benefit of our future generations.

We can make changes in our lives and actions as individuals and as Nations that will lessen our contribution to the problems. In order for reality to shift, in order for solutions to major problems to be found and realized, we must transition away from the patterns of an industrialized mindset, thought and behavior that created those problems. It is time to exercise desperately needed Indigenous ingenuity – Indigenuity – inspired by our ancient intergenerational knowledge and wisdom given to us by our natural relatives.

We recognize and support the position of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), operating as the Indigenous Caucus within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that is requesting language within the overarching principles of the outcomes of the Copenhagen UNFCCC 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) and beyond Copenhagen, that would ensure respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples, including their rights to lands, territories, forests and resources to ensure their full and effective participation including free, prior and informed consent. It is crucial that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is entered into all appropriate negotiating texts for it is recognized as the minimum international standard for the protection of rights, survival, protection and well-being of Indigenous Peoples, particularly with regard to health, subsistence, sustainable housing and infrastructure, and clean energy development.

As Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples living within the occupied territories of the United States, we acknowledge with concern, the refusal of the United States to support negotiating text that would recognize applicable universal human rights instruments and agreements, including the UNDRIP, and further safeguard principles that would ensure their full and effective participation including free, prior and informed consent. We will do everything humanly possible by exercising our sovereign government-to-government relationship with the U.S. to seek justice on this issue.

Our Indian languages are encoded with accumulated ecological knowledge and wisdom that extends back through oral history to the beginning of time. Our ancestors created land and water relationship systems premised upon the understanding that all life forms are relatives – not resources. We understand that we as human beings have a sacred and ceremonial responsibility to care for and maintain, through our original instructions, the health and well-being of all life within our traditional territories and Native Homelands.

We will encourage our leadership and assume our role in supporting a just transition into a green economy, freeing ourselves from dependence on a carbon-based fossil fuel economy. This transition will be based upon development of an indigenous agricultural economy comprised of traditional food systems, sustainable buildings and infrastructure, clean energy and energy efficiency, and natural resource management systems based upon indigenous science and traditional knowledge. We are committed to development of economic systems that enable life-enhancement as a core component. We thus dedicate ourselves to the restoration of true wealth for all Peoples. In keeping with our traditional knowledge, this wealth is based not on monetary riches but rather on healthy relationships, relationships with each other, and relationships with all of the other natural elements and beings of creation.

In order to provide leadership in the development of green economies of life-enhancement, we must end the chronic underfunding of our Native educational institutions and ensure adequate funding sources are maintained. We recognize the important role of our Native K-12 schools and tribal colleges and universities that serve as education and training centers that can influence and nurture a much needed Indigenuity towards understanding climate change, nurturing clean renewable energy technologies, seeking solutions and building sustainable communities.

The world needs to understand that the Earth is a living female organism – our Mother and our Grandmother. We are kin. As such, she needs to be loved and protected. We need to give back what we take from her in respectful mutuality. We need to walk gently. These Original Instructions are the natural spiritual laws, which are supreme. Science can urgently work with traditional knowledge keepers to restore the health and well-being of our Mother and Grandmother Earth.

As we conclude this meeting we, the participating spiritual and traditional leaders, members and supporters of our Indigenous Nations, declare our intention to continue to fulfill our sacred responsibilities, to redouble our efforts to enable sustainable life-enhancing economies, to walk gently on our Mother Earth, and to demand that we be a part of the decision-making and negotiations that impact our inherent and treaty-defined rights. Achievement of this vision for the future, guided by our traditional knowledge and teachings, will benefit all Peoples on the Earth.

Approved by Acclamation and Individual Sign-ons.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Green Party Calfiornia Anniversary

It has been 20 years since the Green Party of California was founded in Berkeley and 25 years since Charlene Spretnak and Fritjof Capra published "Green Politics". This coming weekend, Greens will gather again in Berkeley to celebrate the occasion.

I wish that I could be there to listen to Spretnak, or at least catch her via video. It should be interesting to hear what she thinks of the current state of affairs and what might she think of the Global Promise today.

Monday, February 01, 2010

GPCA Plenary Opportunity

The GPCA Plenary is being organized by the Santa Clara County Greens and will be held on March 6 and 7.   There are also opportunities for other outreach at the same time.  Saturday, March 6, is the chosen time for an International Women's Day March and Festival in San Jose.

This could be an great opportunity for outreach and presence.  On time County Council member, Charlotte Casey, sent the following announcement to cover at our next County Meeting.

March and Festival Title: Womyn United…: International Womyns’ Day San Jose, Ca March 2010

Logistical Details: Saturday, March 6, 2010
  • 11am Rally Begins
Route Details
  • 12pm START: Roosevelt
  • 1pm END Biblioteca

Festival Details
  • 1pm Festival Begins
  • 4pm Festival Ends
Points of Unity
  1. Create a network among women based organizations in San Jose.
  2. Educate and create awareness on our projects, services and campaigns.
  3. Use as stepping stone to support each other’s work in the future.
  4. The march is dedicated to migrant rights and anti-war efforts
Route Narrative
We will rally at 11am at Roosevelt Park (19th Street and Santa Clara Street) and have some simple programming available and use a megaphone for creating momentum to celebrate the centennial anniversary. We will then march at 12pm with banners and signs in hand. No amplified sound will used except the megaphone.
We will have volunteers to clean up park after we leave and we will have volunteer security to make sure marchers stay on the sidewalk. Previous security for traffic and safety will be provided. We will also be working with the police to notify them of our intentions.
We will then march towards downtown along Santa Clara Street. We will make a left turn on First Street and finish our march at 1st Street and Oak Street at the Biblioteca LatinoAmericana address. We will ensure that volunteers pick up garbage along the route and do a 2nd screening of the park once the route is over. 
Participating Organizations:
Cihuatl Tlatocan, FOCUS, DEBUG, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, CodePink, SJSU Wowi (Women on Women’s Issues, Santa Clara County’s Office on Women’s Policy, LGBTQ Youth Space, SOMOS Mayfair and more to to confirm