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This Sunday, April 22nd will mark the 42nd observance of Earth Day. According to Earth Day Network, “More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.”

To inspire you to get in on this year’s celebration, here are eight amazing nature-related blogs on WordPress.com:

Birdlightwind.com

70degreeswest-explore.com

Leahyetter.WordPress.com

Drawandshoot.me

Beingmark.com

Beetlesinthebush.WordPress.com

Theblondecoyote.com

Lookingatthewest.com

So, how will you celebrate Earth Day 2012? Maybe Picnic for the Planet, or plant a tree? Whatever you do, be sure to share it on your blog! And don’t forget to tag your post with Earth Day to make it easier for others to find.

For more cool nature blogs, check out our collection of Recommended Blogs, and add topics like Nature and Earth Day to follow in your Reader.

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How did climate change become a hoax?

Dear Prof. Chomsky,

I remember enjoying a summer afternoon with family and friends, sitting under a large pine tree for shade. This particular tree could be beyond the century mark, judging from its size and character. The conversation occasionally would switch for family events to the incredibly hot month we are having, as expected when the temperature is constantly above one hundred degrees. “July was the hottest month in Texas’ recorded history” said a family friend. “And nobody believes in climate change” I replied, trying to read the popular opinion of the backyard.

The poll results were a bit disturbing, it seems a majority of the populous shading themselves from the afternoon sun, believe that man-made climate change is a hoax. One doubter argued, “The average temperature of the globe is higher than it is today.”

The media and politicians plant the seeds of doubt. Our current Governor and candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, Rick Perry said, “Almost weekly or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.” This is contrary to a 2010 study by the National Academy of Sciences, which surveyed 1,372 climate researchers, suggest growing acceptance, with as many as 98 percent believing in the concept of man-made climate change. 

President Obama’s policies seem to show little concern for the issue. His administration recently overruled the Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulation to reduce ground-level ozone and are showing support for Cap-and-Trade, which allows heavy polluters to buy carbon credits from more responsible companies, essentially creating a market from clean air.

I know you regard environmental destruction as one of the greatest threats to species survival in any tolerable sense. How did climate change become a hoax?

Warm regards,
Joe

P.s. Last weekend it finally rained. Texas just endured its driest seven-month span on record and a large part of state is burning. Friday, Texas Forest Service responded to eight new fires for 322 acres and in the past seven days responding to 60 fires for 11,058 acres.  Fortunately there are no fires near my house, although I live in one of the 250 of the 254 Texas counties reporting burn bans

 

“There is a very small group of serious scientists who are skeptical about global warming. Major sectors of business have been entirely open about the fact that they are running propaganda campaigns to convince the public that it is a hoax.

The problem is institutional, not individual. As for the public, many are genuinely confused. That is not surprising when the media present a “debate” between two sides — virtually all scientists versus a scattering of skeptics — while incidentally ignoring almost entirely a much more serious array of skeptics within the scientific world, namely those who believe that the general scientific consensus is much too optimistic. There are doubtless other reasons too. Taking the problem as seriously as we should leads to difficult choices and actions. It is easier to transfer the problems somewhere else, in this case to the world’s poor and to our grandchildren.” – Noam Chomsky

 http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20100922.htm 

 

Resources
How Climate Change Became a “Liberal Hoax”

Books by Prof. Noam Chomsky
The Essential Chomsky (New Press Essential) by Noam Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

Books by other authors
Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity by Mike Hulme

The Climate Crisis: An Introductory Guide to Climate Change by David Archer

Take Action
Green Peace
Climate Action Network

Remembering 9/11

Dear Prof. Chomsky,

Today is the tenth anniversary of September 11th. I remember being woken by a call from my mother. In a panic she screamed, “We have been attacked!” We watched the second plane crash together. It was horrendous. We didn’t know anyone who died that day, being a native Texan, New York seems so far away, but it devastated my mother and I. My entire city was in ‘shock and disbelief’, companies in downtown Houston released employees from work and evacuated office buildings, I didn’t go to school that day. When I did return to class, I asked my teacher how she was doing, she started crying.

It was days before I heard any laughter. I spent most of that time watching continuous news coverage, flipping the channel when the on-air personality began to irritate me. I was glad when SNL returned for their first show after the national tragedy. The country needed to hear a joke.

We also needed answers. The President told the country that the attackers were a group of radical Islāmic fundamentalist that hate us for our freedom. Who hates freedom? For many these answers seemed incomplete, so they created their own. The number of 9/11 conspiracy theories is infinite. When I hear one I just reply abruptly, “The only conspiracies are why it happened, why we couldn’t stop it from happening and what’s done in our name since it happened.” I’m usually served a disapproving look with silence.

To protect us from further attack, we would sacrifice our right to privacy. I asked my uncle his thoughts on the Patriot Act, a loving father, great American and man I respect. His reply was patriotic, “The government can tap my phone if it will help protect our country.” I believe the government should protect the innocent but not investigate the innocent.

Somewhere between far left conspiracy and extreme conservative patriotism are the issues that matter, the fear propagated on the people in a time of mourning, the multiple wars and their many casualties,  policies of torture, militarized democratization and suspension of citizen rights.

Today the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is rebuilding One World Trade Center around the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, using mostly imported building material and paid for by the nurses, teachers and maintenance workers using the tollways on their daily commute. At the same time, some are trying to privatize healthcare and education. Is there a better way to honor the victims of 9/11, the casualties of the war-on-terror and the ‘Next Greatest Generation’ than more office space? Maybe we can take our lead from the survivors, widows and family members who lost loved ones and the first responders who risked there lives and health that terrible day and show them our support and appreciation. If they can dust themselves off, so can we.

Warm regards,
Joe

Ps. My mother asked me a few weeks before Operation Enduring Freedom why so many people were protesting. I told her that, “peaceful protests have changed the world.” I didn’t tell her what my plans were that night. “Enduring”, wasn’t that an interesting choice?

Endure

transitive verb
1: to undergo (as a hardship) especially without giving in : suffer <endured great pain>
2: to regard with acceptance or tolerance <could not endure noisy children>

intransitive verb
1: to continue in the same state : last <the style endured for centuries>
2: to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding endure>

 

 “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit. (p.73)”
— Noam Chomsky (Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World)

 http://chomsky.info/

 

Resources

Was there an alternative?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noam-chomsky/was-there-an-alternative-_b_950216.html

Prof. Noam Chomsky speaks about 9/11
http://youtu.be/LoDqDvbgeXM

http://youtu.be/9CKpCGjD8wg

Books by Prof. Noam Chomsky
Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World
The Essential Chomsky (New Press Essential) by Noam Chomsky

Audio by Prof. Noam Chomsky
What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World

 Books by other authors
Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas
 by David Cortright

Take Action

Move On
Stop the War Coalition

Peace Action

 

Labor Day Cobbler

Dear Prof. Chomsky,

It’s Labor Day weekend and I’m looking forward to a hard-earned day off. I can feel the excitement building with my co-workers and community as well.  Questions and comments like, “What are you doing for Labor Day?”, “Enjoy your long weekend!” and “Can you believe we get Monday off?!” are common. Actually, I’ve been too busy to make plans so I just smile and say, “I don’t know, are you doing anything fun?”, “Thank you, have a good one.” or “I know, it’s great!”

My mother hand-delivered a freshly baked “Labor Day Cobbler” to my place of business.  It was very delicious and an incredibly kind gesture. She, like most of us doesn’t consider the externalities of her actions, namely the surge in afternoon drop-ins and the extra mass on my midsection. The kind remarks continued, “This is so delicious!”, “Your mother can really bake!”, “Can I get the recipe?” and “Your mom is a pro!” All of these comments, except maybe the last which, I don’t know if I should take offense to, were very nice. But my attention was concentrated on completing my deadlines before the end of the eight-hour work day.

 In today’s work environment, a day off doesn’t mean less work, it means less time to do it. The rule is, you arrive at eight and leave no later than five, a rule I break habitually for spiritual contentment. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there is no rule or limit on the amount of work an employee is expected to do in a work day. So I go on working unsustainably, receiving two emails for every email I send and gaining two tasks for each one I complete, all while attempting to manage my time, energy and focus in-between constant reporting and unnecessary meetings.  You wouldn’t believe how many different techniques I’ve tried to compete in these conditions, Pareto’s Principle, Parkinson’s Law, auto responders and therapy to name a few.

After my colleagues and I indulged on my mother’s rich and tasty show of support to the workers and I complete enough tasks to protect my position in the corporate entity, at least until next Tuesday, my thoughts move to the origins of Labor Day. How and why was it created, who struggled for it and what hardships did they endure?

It was a surprise to learn, being a product of the Texas Public Education System and a guinea pigs for standardized testing, that the first Labor Day was observed by the Central Labor Union (CLU) of New York on September 5, 1882 and became a federal holiday in 1894, six days after the deaths of two protesters by the U.S. military during the Pullman Strike when workers in a company town protested low wages, long hours and the high price of rent and goods. Company town, is that like Celebration, Florida?

The CLU date was chosen by Pres. Cleveland over International Workers’ Day in a seemingly successful effort to prevent negative emotions tied to the Haymarket Affairs in Chicago. I’ve never celebrated International Workers’ Day, am I getting cheated out of another day off?

I hope you enjoy your long weekend. I’ll try to remember that the rights we enjoy were won by the people and not granted to the people.

Warm regards,
Joe

Ps. I’ve included my mother’s cobbler recipe.

Labor Day Cobbler

1 can crushed pineapple with juice
1 can cherry pie filling
1 stick butter
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans

Spray 9×13 pan, dump pineapple and cherry filling into pan, mix together, spread dry cake mix evenly over top of filling,  sprinkle pecans over top, put butter slices over the top, do not mix.

Bake 350 for 45-50 min.

 

“Labor Unions are the leading force for democratization and progress.”

– Noam Chomsky

 

Resources

Prof. Chomsky speaks about Labor Movements
http://youtu.be/I7x2oxvtIfI

Books by Prof. Noam Chomsky
Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky
The Essential Chomsky (New Press Essential) by Noam Chomsky

Audio by Prof. Noam Chomsky
US Repression I: Smashing Labor mp3
CLASS WAR: The Attack on Working People

 Books by other authors
There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America by Philip Dray

 

Take Action

Move On
Jobs with Justice

American Rights at Work

How to support workers’ rights

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