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Jul 11, 2009

I'm going to be on this free call!  I love just about everything Artella - from the newsletter, to the magazine, to the classes and all of the freebies!  Yay!

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Posted: Jul 11, 2009 3:31am
May 11, 2008
URGENT MESSAGE

Wolf Cry

Two days ago I was awakened in the early morning hours with this message: "Call your tribe." I am not an indigenous person so the word 'tribe' coming at me like this is a bit startling. However, working with the Great Council of the Grandmothers who have come to return the earth to balance, and working with the teaching and helping spirits of the upper and lower world have taught me to sit loose in the saddle and let myself go where I am being guided.

It was Wolf, the great teacher, who was speaking. "Call your tribe," he said again. "Call them and tell them the time is NOW! They are needed!" he emphasized. " More people are needed to do the work of holding the Net of Light at this time," he said. "Tell them to call on the Net of Light and take their place on it. Ask them to then hold it and cast the Net further and further. Wherever there is suffering on earth and where there are people who long to serve, but don't know how-cast the Net of Light," he said. "Tell everyone you know," he said, "and write an article calling people to the Net of Light." When the spirits speak to me like this, I listen.

The Net of Light is called by different names. Web of Light, Grid of Light, Indra's Net, Net of Life and Net of Light are a few. They all, however, refer to the same thing. The Great Council of the Grandmothers say, "This is the Net of Light that will hold the earth during the times of change that are now upon you." ("A Call to Power: the Grandmothers Speak" by Sharon McErlane)

A few weeks ago the Grandmothers said, "In addition to casting the Net of Light wherever there is suffering on the earth, begin now to also cast to people who are disturbed by the rise of negativity on earth and want to help in some way. Many of them have no spiritual path to follow," they said. " They cannot relate to organized religion and they have not found a way that speaks to their heart. We ask you to cast the Net of Light to them now," they said, "so the Net can take them to their path." When Wolf woke me in the middle of the night he was basically repeating what the Grandmothers had said, except that his message was much more urgent, ("Tell them that the time is NOW!")

It is my experience that the Grandmothers and the helping spirits do not mess around and they ask that now we not mess around either. They are asking for our help. You can think of the Net as a lighted fishnet that covers the earth, holds it from above, from below and at the same time penetrates the body of the planet as well as the body of everything that lives here on earth. The Net is lit by the jewel of the heart of each person who holds it; it is held in selfless service.

The Grandmothers urge us to "Go forward now and take your place on the Net of Light. Somewhere where two strands come together is a place that will feel just right for you. Walk forward now and take your place. Hold this place on the Net and let the Net hold you. You hold and you are held in light," they say.

At this point there are thousands of people working with the Net of Light through the Grandmothers network as well as seventy Grandmothers groups focused on spreading their message in different countries of the world. The Grandmothers say, "From this place on the Net of Light, cast now to those who do not know that they too are held in light. Cast to those who are suffering and also to those who wish to help with this work but who have not had a way to access the healing, love of the Net of Light. We ask you to do this for yourself," they say, "and for everything that lives. And as you work with the Net of Light," they add, "you will become a walking blessing upon the earth.

"We bless you.

Both the Grandmothers' website: www.grandmothersspeak.com, and 'A Call to Power: the Grandmothers Speak' give a more detailed explanation of the Net of Light.

We have been asked to get this message to as many people as possible, so if you have suggestions as to where we might post this (magazines, newsletters, etc.), please get back to me. Also please forward to people who would resonate with this urgent message.

I salute the beauty/power within you,Sharon McErlane


gathering

Please share this with your networks, post it in your groups, pass it on to others in any way you have available.  Many, many thanks!

Cynthia
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Posted: May 11, 2008 1:27pm
Apr 5, 2008
This is long - but oh, so worth it!!  Please take the time....Cynthia

"I think there are many different ways in which you define leadership. As a feminist, and as a feminine feminist, I truly believe that we don't do a very good job in the United States of believing that you can lead by serving, and I think the United States needs to think deeply about being in service of the rest of the world." -Kavita Ramdas, President and CEO, Global Fund for Women.

I had the opportunity to interview her on March 6th for the Big Vision Podcast, and have included an edited transcript of the interview below. It's long, but I hope you'll take time during your coffee or lunch break to read, or listen to her inspiring words. I think it's worth it (:

Kavita Ramdas: The Global Fund for Women is the largest independent, publicly supported grant-making foundation to advance women's human rights internationally. It works in over 160 countries around the world. I think what makes us unique is that we are really investing in women's leadership and women's creativity in developing local solutions to some of the world's most challenging problems.

Britt Bravo: I think one of the things that make the Global Fund special is how women can submit grants, the lack of bureaucracy involved, and maybe you can talk a little bit about how you choose the people who are funded.

KR: The Global Fund for Women has an extraordinary commitment to keeping our doors open so that as many organizations working to advance women's human rights internationally can really gain access to resources that they so desperately need. Therefore, we are the only foundation I know of that will accept requests in any language, and in any format.

You can email us, you can fax us, you can write to us in Kiswahili or in Arabic, and it will be our responsibility, using our wonderful network of supporters, volunteers and paid translators, as well as our incredibly language proficient staff, to be able to respond in a way that makes it accessible, no matter how remote a corner of the world your organization happens to be based in.

I think my favorite example of that is a women's group from the highlands of Bolivia who wrote to us maybe seven or eight years ago. They were a group of illiterate women who dictated their requests to a priest in the village, who then hand wrote the request. They wanted to create a literacy program for themselves because now there was a school where their children could go to school, but they felt embarrassed that they couldn't support their children because they themselves were illiterate.

I remember that the letter was signed with five thumbprints of five illiterate women. Three years later when we received a report back from the group about how they had done, there were five shaky signatures.

To me, that sort of sums up something very special about the way in which we try to make these resources accessible to women-led initiatives that are often some of the most creative that we are seeing on issues ranging from the environment, to health, to education, to building peace and sustainable communities around the world.

I think the biggest challenge for us is trying to make hard decisions. Each year we receive over 3,500 proposals from women's organizations all around the world. Many of them do really meet our basic criteria of being women-led, of reflecting the work of a group of women, rather than just one or two individuals, and of really tackling critical human rights challenges and societal challenges in which women are playing key roles. We simply don't have the resources to be able to fund all of those, and we need to make some hard choices.

In that context, something else that sets us apart is the use of a very extensive advisory network that the Global Fund uses as our eyes and ears on the ground, women and men from many different parts of the world who are based in the countries where we are making grants to support and advance women's human rights. They help us by going to visit the groups, by recommending groups to us, and by talking about some of the broader challenges that face women in the particular context that they are in.

Those advisors also help us set some priorities, which we use then to sort of say: OK, if we only have this much money for Latin America, and we know that the women of Haiti and Colombia, because of the violence and because of the poverty in those two countries, are in particular need, and our advisors from all different parts of Latin America have said that to us, then we are going to prioritize requests from those countries.

And yes, it may mean that a group in Argentina, that is certainly deserving by our basic standards, may not get a grant this year, so that we can support very worthwhile and important requests from a group that has even less access to resources in Haiti. Those are some of the ways in which we try to make those decisions.

BB: How do you know that you are successful? How do you know that you are making a difference or an impact; how do you measure that?

KR: I think we all want to be able to get a sense of how the investments that we are making in women's leadership, in women's empowerment, and in women's real innovation around some of the world's most pressing challenges, whether that is HIV/AIDS, or whether it is violence against women, or whether it is economic underdevelopment, what kind of difference we are making. I think it is always a challenge for any organization to be able to really assess what difference their own investments have made to the outcomes that they want to see.

The Global Fund tries to measure those results, not so much by our own standards, but by the standards that the groups that we support set for themselves. In the case of the women I spoke about earlier, they really wanted to measure their success by being able to read and write and sign their own letters, and write their own reports. The measurement of success was the annual report that we got from them three years after the signatures, which had originally been thumbprints, that now had signed signatures. For them, that was a measure of change and a measure of impact.

I think an area in which we are constantly striving to improve is to be able to do more of an amalgamation of what is the collective impact of many, many, many, many of these kinds of investments. Maybe the best way to give you an analogy for that is when you drop a stone into a pond, it creates a ripple effect. You can see the ripples kind of spreading out, but you don't know whether one ripple caused a tadpole to swim a different direction, you don't know whether a bird flew away because the ripples made it change its mind, you don't know whether a flower that might not have grown in that place now is growing in that place.

I think that is an area in which in our new strategic plan we are really committed to strengthening that understanding of how do all these efforts collectively contribute to stronger, more sustainable, more democratic communities. We have sort of an instinctive sense that they do, and we have many anecdotes that give us a sense of what change this is creating, but I think we need to do a better job of being able to balance both the quantitative numbers, that we can actually put together, with some of these qualitative stories, and that is an area in which we are continuing to try and do more work.

BB: You said that the advisers you have are always giving you the lay of the land to tell you what are the issues that are most pressing, or which areas need the most assistance. What are those issues or areas right now that you are seeing really need the most help?

KR: I think a major concern, from the very founding of the Global Fund, has remained a concern despite the fact that this year we celebrate our 20th anniversary of grant making, and that is access to the financial resources necessary to take the work that women do on a daily basis in their communities to the next level of impact.

One example of that I could give is that the organizations that we fund, collectively in the last 20 years have access to maybe annually something like 75 million dollars (philanthropic dollars) that they have the ability to use and pour into the work that they are doing.

If you compare that to the budgets that we spend in just one day on fighting a war in Iraq, or the cost of an F16 fighter jet, you get some sense of how inordinately skewed those are. But even if you don't compare it to those kinds of investments, but simply investments in philanthropy, a recent study that just came out from the Foundation Center showed that it is about 5.8 to 5.9% of total philanthropic resources each year that actually directly go to benefit women and girls, and that includes both domestic and international grant making.

When you think about the 90 billion odd dollars that go each year in support of philanthropy, you can see that there is still a lot of work to be done. So that is one critical area, just simply access to the resources themselves.

A second critical area for women in general across the world, whether it is in the former Soviet Union, or Eastern Europe, or in what we know as the developing world, or refer to as the developing world, is the ongoing question of violence: violence inside the homes that affect women from the time that they are born, even whether they can be born in countries like India and China where female infanticide and sex selective abortion are commonly practiced, all the way to domestic violence, violence that happens as a result of things like honor killings, violence that happens as a result of spousal abuse. All of those forms of violence combined with violence outside the homes.

Women and their children are disproportionately victims of outside violence as well. If there is a war, or if there is an ethnic conflict, or if there is a civil war within a country, women and their children are the majority of those who tend to be displaced. They are the majority of those who actually experience physical violence. Increasingly, rape of women is being used as a tool of war, not just in large scale wars as we saw in the Serbian and Bosnian conflict, but as we saw recently in Kenya and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

So violence continues to be a really significant challenge that women face, and the women's rights groups that the Global Fund for Women supports worldwide focus on how to both educate the public and the general community and families about why violence occurs, what are the root causes, how can we shift behaviors and patterns, how can we use negotiations to end violent conflicts, and also to teach that violence only breeds more violence because mothers understand that children who have been victims of abuse in turn are much more likely to either be abused themselves, or to grow up into abusers.

That same lesson I think women have taken to a whole different level in being on the forefront of peace work internationally. I just saw a remarkable film made about a grantee organization that the Global Fund had supported for many years in Liberia. A truly remarkably story of very every day mothers and daughters in Liberia who were just so sick of the civil war between Charles Taylor, and then the rebels in Liberia, being funded with Sierra Leone diamonds essentially, that they mobilized an entire community of women around peace.

My favorite scene from the movie is these women, all ages, all sizes, going to surround the peace talks in Ghana, which were essentially going nowhere. They had been sitting for two weeks and nothing had happened, no one was willing to really make a compromise, and the women joined hands and they locked the men, it was all men who were actually in the peace negotiations, into this room and said, "We will not let you out until you come up with a deal."

When you hear something like that, I think you begin to get a sense of the power that women actually have to collectively mobilize. Even though they are the victims of violence, I think they are also the most creative in imagining solutions, and defining solutions to ending violence. We have seen that in other places as well such like in Rwanda, and in the Middle East and numerous other places.

I think a third major issue that women face is not the challenge that women's organizations face in terms of funding, but just the poverty itself that women and children find themselves in. Women and children are 70% of those who live on less than $2 or $1 a day. They are disproportionately vulnerable to malnutrition, to all kinds of abuses that follow from extreme poverty: sexual exploitation, selling of their own bodies as a way in which to survive, what is often called survival sex, the entire vulnerability to trafficking, the lack of economic security. I think a large number of women's rights mobilizing efforts are really focused around building and strengthening economic independence for women.

What we know, when you asked earlier about impact, is there have been enough World Bank studies to show that when you ensure that a mother or a women in the household actually has control over increases in income, that shows up almost immediately in the increased well being of everybody in the household, whereas the same thing is not true if you are talking about increases in male income.

I would say that those are some of the challenges that the women's movement faces today. I think another major one is the challenges that have come from globalization. Women now form the majority of those who are migrants in the world. The challenges around how women's poverty is exacerbated by a process of globalization, which on the one hand gives them new opportunities, and on the other hand takes away certain kinds of economic securities that they have known in the past. We have been seeing an increased attention that women's rights groups have been bringing to this whole question of globalization and migration, and how women workers are being affected by this.

Lastly, I would say the fourth issue that I think remains a very, very critical factor for women, and a very high priority, is the environment. Women and girls are really on the frontlines of where the rubber hits the road in terms of the destruction of our natural resources and our natural environment, and people tend not to think about that.

I think in the United States, the environmental movement is seen very much as a movement that is about protecting species, and is in a way almost a privilege of an upper class white elite. That isn't the case in the developing world. In the developing world, or for that matter actually, in poor communities across the United States, poor communities disproportionately bear the brunt of environmental degradation. They are often in the places where toxic dumps, and other kinds of dumps are housed.

And women in the developing world, who are responsible for the collection of fuel and water, they know firsthand that if you have deforested a region, they have to walk not two miles or three miles in search of firewood, but maybe 10 miles or 15 miles. They are the first to know if water sources are polluted because they are the ones who go to fetch the water. They are the ones who wash their clothes in the river and they know what the state of the rivers are.

So, it is not surprising, again, that we see women stepping up as leaders in environmental activism and a resistance to the total destruction of planet earth.

I remember a very wonderful woman from Sierra Leone, Sarandabba, saying to me, "You know in a war, women are raped, but Mother Earth is also raped. We know what it is like to be raped, and we don't want our Mother to be raped." I think that would be the fifth area that I would highlight as being a really critical one that has emerged as a real priority for women and their communities.

BB: Why do you do the work that you do, what brought you to this work? There are any number of things you could take this passion and use it towards, but what causes you to do this work?

KR: For me it is very simple. I think I was very fortunate to be inspired by my "she-ro", who is my mother, and by her mother, my grandmother, who is an extraordinarily independent, feisty 93-year old.

My mother believed very deeply that being privileged middle class Indians, the community that I grew up in India, required us to have a commitment and a sense of giving back to the communities that we grew up in and around, and to really seeing those communities. I think it is very common, particularly the poorer the country that you live in, if you are privileged within those countries, sometimes to make it through the day you build up a hide so thick that you inure yourself to the suffering that you see around yourself.

My mother did a good job of stripping away those protective layers, and forcing us to look at, see, understand and question, why the vast majority of Indians lived under the poverty line and didn't have access to resources. She made it almost impossible for me not to look at those questions. I didn't necessarily know what I was going to do about them then.

I also think I do this work for my daughter. If I am inspired by my mother, I am also driven in some sense by the next generation. I believe very deeply that the choices we make and the opportunity to really achieve gender equality in the 21st Century are the kinds of decisions which our daughters will look back at and say, "I am able to do this because my mother was there, my mother did this, she stood up for it, she fought for it."

I think in the United States, it is rare these days to remember the sheroes. It is a good thing we are doing this in Women's History Month. I think if I asked an average American woman walking on the street who Jeannette Rankin is, they wouldn't know who she was. They wouldn't know she was the first women to be elected to the US Senate. They wouldn't know she was a pacifist who twice voted against the United States going to war, both in World War I and then again in World War II. They wouldn't know she had stood with Gandhi in his resistance to the British, and supported his policy of nonviolent resistance to British colonialism.

Women like Jeannette Rankin, women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, women like Alice Paul, women like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and Gloria Steinem, and this extraordinary list of giants on whose shoulders we stand now in the United States, have made it possible for us to take our rights for granted.

I am quick to remind people in the United States that those rights were fought for. 70 years ago you and I would not have been sitting here having a conversation about doing things internationally, much less being able to even open a bank account in our own names. Those are the same struggles that women are facing in other parts of the world today.

I really want to be a part of making a difference for the future of my daughter, and having her live in a world where all people and all children, girls and boys, women and men, really have the opportunity to fully realize their human rights. I think that is what really motivates me to do this work.

BB: You just published an article in The Nation where you were talking about how you are getting all these emails from feminist leaders saying, "This is why I am supporting Clinton," or "This is why I am supporting Obama," and the point that you made, which I thought was wonderful, was you felt that the arguments were missing any sense of how our decisions affect the well being of people across the planet.

I wondered if you could talk a little bit about that, because I feel like that's such an important point that's really being missed in all this coverage and discussion of who is the best candidate.


KR: First, I want to point out that the feminist movement in the United States actually has always been strongly internationalist. People like Robin Morgan, people like Gloria Steinem, many people before them as well, always had a deep sense of international solidarity. I think Robin Morgan coined the phrase "Sisterhood is global." People like Charlotte Bunch at the Center for Women's Global Leadership, spoke first about women's rights being human rights.

I don't want us to get confused. I think feminists in the United States have always had a strong sense of international solidarity. I think what's different is that overall the United States is insulated from the rest of the world, and our politics are particularly insulated from the rest of the world, so that although we think about international solidarity and global solidarity with the women's movement when we are focused on, "women's movement issues," we don't seem to bring that same sense of connection when it affects something that is seen as being primarily a domestic issue, which in this case is the Presidential elections.

Having said that, I do believe that America straddles this very interesting place, where on the one hand it sees itself as a leader in the world, and it sees itself as an exceptional power in the world, but then it's sort of ambivalent about whether or not it actually wants to take on that mantle fully. In the same way that I think it's ambivalent about what I believe is its greatest strength which is, like Barack Obama if you will, that the United States truly is a microcosm of the whole world in a way that many other countries can't even dream of being.

Almost nowhere else in the world can you go and find the range of nationalities, ethnicities, race, language and backgrounds that you have here--not to mention the delicious food. Yet, I think this is a country profoundly ambivalent about whether or not that is a good thing and a strength, or whether it's somehow eroding the core, puritanical Anglo-Saxon values that define this country, which in itself is a bit of myth because this is country with a strong Native American tradition that far predated the Anglo-Saxon visitors who arrived here. In fact, some of the earliest roots of the democracy that the United States is so proud of are actually rooted in that Native American tradition that we rarely stop to remember.

I think my comment in The Nation was really more about that. Was really to say, we can't at once be the most powerful, forceful, military, economic and other might in the world, and then not be conscious and aware of the fact that something like the election of who will lead this country has profound implications for the rest of the world, particularly profound in the aftermath of eight years of a Bush administration that has been really seen by the rest of the world as being completely cavalier in many ways, about its sense of being in community with.

I think there are many different ways in which you define leadership. As a feminist, and as a feminine feminist, I truly believe that we don't do a very good job in the United States of believing that you can lead by serving. I think the United States needs to think deeply about being in service of the rest of the world. How does it serve the rest of the world? How does it serve its own people? That was what I was alluding to in my article, wishing for the sake of the women and girls, who we feel deeply connected to here in our work at the Global Fund for Women, that there would be some of that greater consciousness displayed and evident. I talked mainly about the Democratic candidates, but certainly I would hope for the same for anyone who is running on the Republican side as well.

BB: You do a lot of interviews. What do you wish people would ask you?

[laughter]

What is the thing you think, "I wish they would just ask me about . . . I want to talk about this."

[laughter]

KR: It's interesting, I always find that I learn something from the ways in which different people ask questions. It always makes me think about things in different ways. I think certainly one thing that, as the leader of an organization that has to raise every penny I give away, I do sometimes wish people would ask me about, "How can I contribute to the Global Fund for Women? What could I do to raise more money for you? How could the Global Fund for Women be in a more secure financial position?" Somehow that's never the question I get asked.

[laughter]

How about this? "I've just come into a fortune, and I'd love to be able to make sure the Global Fund for Women never had to worry again about how to raise money. Could I make a contribution?"

[laughter]

Those might be some of the questions I'd love to get asked.

BB: So, how can people who are listening support the Global Fund for Women? How can they help to support you, and help you be more financially stable, and all those things?

KR: Well, I think people like yourself who work in the media, and who are journalists and who blog, can do a great job of telling the story of why investing in women is such a remarkable way of making change in the world. Whether your passion is the environment, or whether your passion is building peaceful and sustainable communities, or whether your passion is girls' education, or whether your passion is health, there's probably no better way to get to your outcome than to make significant investments in women's well being, and women's empowerment and women's human rights. I think that's one thing people could be doing, spreading the word, those of you who that do that for a living.

For others, I think it is thinking about making contributions. I hear very often from people that they feel like, "Well, what difference will my small contribution make?" I like to remind people of the fact that for $50 you can put a young girl through school in Afghanistan for a year. That's less than the cost of one latte a day per month for the next 12 months. It's something worth thinking about.

So, when you say, "I'm not John D. Rockefeller, I'm not the Gates Foundation. I really don't have money to give to the Global Fund for Women, " I'd like you to think about the young girl who sent us her Bat Mitzvah check for $25 and said, "I didn't know there were parts of the world where girls like me couldn't go to school, and this is my gift to the Global Fund for Women."

Writing us a check, making a donation, think about whether you can get your corporation to make a gift or sponsor the Global Fund for Women, buying a table at our 20th anniversary event coming up in New York in June, there are so many ways to make a difference.

Lastly I think by doing what Eleanor Roosevelt called, "The work of human rights that start in small places close to home." I am always a big believer in that. Walking your talk around human rights. This year, 2008, is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Mary Robinson, who was a former President of Ireland, and a former Commissioner for Human Rights at the UN is working with a group called, The Elders, that includes Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu and Ela Bhat from India on really raising awareness about this historic anniversary--60 years of a charter that truly is a reflection of our shared human values.

What do you know about the charter for human rights? When did you talk about it recently? How do you manifest that at home? Do you ask your son to clean up as often as you ask your daughter? Does your daughter get to go on golfing trips, or other non-traditional things, or go to a baseball game with her dad? And does your son get to do stuff that maybe is considered traditionally gendered as female? I think taking those steps at home are also things we can be doing to make a difference.

So on a multiple set of fronts, there is much you can do to support the Global Fund for Women and we hope that you will raise both awareness and resources to make a difference in women's lives.

Britt Bravo: This work that you do, the goals are so long term, it is not like it is all going to be solved next year, and you have been doing this work for a long time. How do you sustain yourself, how do you keep yourself going, how do you keep yourself inspired?

KR: Actually that is the easiest part of this job. Every day you come into the Global Fund for Women and there is one more new story about some amazing women's groups that have done some amazing new thing, or have taken on some big challenge.

Last year, we had this fantastic experience of not only Michelle Bachelet winning the Presidential election in Chile, thanks to women's groups organizing and supporting her, but Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf winning the election for President in Liberia, again, also because women were hugely involved in mobilizing around her.

We had at the end of the year, the incredible success of Mexican women's rights groups that have been working for, it must be close to 12 years now, on the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico. They got a win. Finally, Mexico City passed legislation that made it possible for abortion to be legal in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, groundbreaking for a Catholic country like Mexico. It hasn't happened in Latin America's history.

It is not that we aren't seeing the wins. The year before that, women in Morocco won an amazing change in the law. Until then, women had been considered minors under the law. You had to have a husband, or a father, or a brother accompany you for almost any significant act, from opening a bank account to getting your own passport. That has completely changed and Moroccan women are taking that information and doing massive street theater programs and education programs to take it out into communities.

I think every day we see evidence of how this work is actually bearing fruit, how it is making a difference in the lives of individual women and girls. Whether it is somebody writing to us and saying, "I was able to say no to a forced or an arranged marriage," or "I just completed my last year of secondary school and I was able to do that because a women's group gave me a scholarship to go," or "My mother didn't make me go through cutting, through a female genital procedure where my genitals where cut, because she learned from a women's organization she was involved with that it was harmful for my health."

There are thousand of different ways in which I think I get sustained and get replenished, and I am full of a sense of hope and possibility. So I don't think that's really the issue. I think the much more draining challenge is really the challenge of being on the side of trying to run and manage an organization within a sector in the United States.

I recently heard Akaya Windwood of the Rockwood Leadership Program say, "I'm not going to call these nonprofit organizations anymore. We should call them social benefit organizations." I am very inspired by that. I really think the role that social benefit organizations play, both here in the United States, but also across the world, is truly pioneering work and deserves to have both much more respect, and far more resources invested. And that's the area in which, if anything, I feel a sense of sometimes being drained, but I am deeply fortunate to work in a field where I get replenished all the time.

BB: Is there anything else that you want to share with listeners that you haven't gotten to talk about, that you want them to know either about the work that the Global Fund for Women does, or about women's issues, or anything else that you would like to share?

KR: I think that I'd encourage all our listeners to think about not using the term "women's issues" anymore. I don't believe there is any such thing. I don't believe that 51% of the world's population, which is what we are, doesn't care about all the critical issues that affect us. I believe that women have the right to express an opinion on all issues, and I will strongly challenge us to speak out and speak up against the ghetto-ization of the few issues that somehow we are supposed to care about, and then the more serious ones, like the military and the economy and the war will somehow be left to those other people.

These are issues that should affect and concern all of us who care about free, open and democratic societies. Without the voices of 51% of the world's population, our chances of making this world a better place for all of us are about zero. So that is something I'd love to be able to share. No more "women's issues." All issues are issues we care about, women's right to speak on all issues, you've got me there.
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Posted: Apr 5, 2008 8:15am
Feb 24, 2008
I love this site that I've just found! Natural, organic Canaan olive oils, pickled and dried olives, sun-dried couscous and tomatoes, almonds, tahini, za'atar, honey and olive oil soaps!! Oh, my mouth is watering! Many of the products are only available in the US as a gift basket for now - but many of you live outside the US...

I am going to have to save money to order a gift basket...a birthday gift for myself - lol!

https://www.canaanfairtrade.com/products

Not only the food products though - Canaan Fair Trade is a Palestinian organization that donates money from each purchase to several other programs -

Trees For Life, in which "helps offset the enormous destruction of trees in Palestine by the Israeli army, Israeli settlers, and the Israeli segregation wall, and helps keep Palestinians on their land. Trees for Life provides individual Palestinian farmers with 25 to 50 new olive tree seedlings (3 years old) to plant and nurture in order to renew their decimated groves. Priority is given to small farmers, farmers that have lost trees to the Israeli destruction, women who own land and are interested in farming, and young farmers. Last year, 15,000 trees were planted. For every tin of olive oil sold, one dollar goes to Trees for Life."

Canaan Scholarships - "Canaan Fair Trade is committed to using sales of organic, fair trade Palestinian olive oil to increase access to higher education for marginalized Palestinian youth and first-generation college students with emphasis on rural and refugee communities." Scholarships cover the cost of tuition for four years of study. For every tin of olive oil sold, one dollar goes to Canaan Scholarship Fund.

And, Microloans for Women - "The Micro-loan Project enables small producers, and people with few resources, especially women, to start their own business and become self-supporting. Two-year micro-loans of $500 to $1500 are used to purchase supplies and begin producing according to fair trade guidelines. Canaan Fair Trade insures success by providing specific production methods, quality specifications and proper training, then marketing the products produced. Currently there are four women-owned cooperatives of 21 members producing Couscous and Za'atar, and four women cooperatives of 20 members producing sun-dried tomatoes. You can join Canaan Fair Trade in the Micro-loan project by purchasing olive oil or make a micro-loan donation to the program of your choice."

Fair Trade is really the way to go when purchasing products - and what a blessing to have the opportunity to have a positive impact, not just through our voices and other actions, but through our power as consumers as well!

Many blessings!
Cynthia
https://www.canaanfairtrade.com/products

The graphic I used is of a painting titled "The Olive Tree" by Ismail Shammout 1931-2006
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Posted: Feb 24, 2008 9:35am
Feb 24, 2008
Be inspired!
 There is a very special petition on Care2 for a very special 9 year old.  Tony has many, many challenges - but he is an amazing, love-filled boy who believes in never giving up.

Please sign his petition and pass it on to your networks, and then stop by his group here on Care2 to meet him, his Mom and other people who share his life.  I promise that you will be amazed, inspired and gifted with a new outlook on many things!

The petition: 
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/967289601

The group:  http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/Tonyshanthistreetkids

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Visit Tony's google pages:  http://shanthistreetkids.googlepages.com/home

Many, many blessings!

Cynthia

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Posted: Feb 24, 2008 9:29am
Feb 24, 2008
Release 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails 

A petition created by my friend, Iqbal Tamimi:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/release-11000-palestinians-in-israeli-jails


There are more than 11.000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, 117 of them are mothers. Some give birth while chained, and their children are forced to live in the cells where they do not live their childhood or play or go out.


I don't have to tell you about lack of healthy conditions, or medical negligence. Some prisoners are denied warm clothes sent to them by their families.

They are held in 30 different prisons, and detention centers.

1189 prisoner are school, collage, and university students of both genders, 330 of the detained are children. Not only the students were detained, but their teachers too, there are 107 Palestinian teachers in Israeli prisons. 1150 Palestinian prisoner suffer acute illnesses.

A large number of the detained are denied visits by family members.


Soon on April 17th is the International day of prisoners. I hope you can join in denouncing what the Israeli government is doing to those prisoners, and demand their release to join their families.


Please sign the petition and buy those prisoners some happiness.

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Posted: Feb 24, 2008 9:21am
Dec 18, 2007

Check out my group - Oregon Homeless Community Aid -
http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/OregonHCA

A group for discussing the Homeless Community within Oregon. Discuss and share information, programs and resources - and brainstorm for solutions. I'm hoping to include every county within the State, with lists of resources, programs, etc.

Current counties covered include: Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington and Lane counties. 
We are linked as well to other groups focused on homelessness.  Thread topics include National and State resources; youth; Food Not Bombs; Winter Shelter; Multimedia - and more!

Please join us in learning, advocating, and sharing our human experience and our knowledge...and pass this invitation on to your networks (it would be very much appreciated!).

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Posted: Dec 18, 2007 11:57pm
Dec 18, 2007
For the women of Care2!  I hope that you'll check out my group, Hyacinths for the Soul. 

Do you need a break from conflict?  From the constant crises in the world?  Or do you need to rest and rejuvenate so that you can return to activism with fresh energy?  Is nurturing yourself something that constantly seems to get put aside because you're too busy healing the world?  There is a place where you can go....

Relax, rejuvenate, learn, share and grow in wisdom and peace. Hyacinths is a retreat and a respite from those cares which are outside of ourselves. In all things, there must be balance - and we must not forget to feed our souls!

Join our circle  - absorb what's there; add to our collective wisdom; take part in building a community circle of inspiration and joy!  Threads topics include alternative healing; goddesses; Healing Circle (to request or offer healing); a Call to Power; Creating Sacred Space; Soulful Crafts & Creative Pursuits; Music for Healing & Transformation - and many others, with much more to come.

I'll look forward to seeing you there!

Blessings!
Cynthia  
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Posted: Dec 18, 2007 11:38pm
Oct 26, 2007

I have learned that you voted affirmatively on HR1955.  In effect, writing off even more of our constitutional rights!

In the guise of addressing "home grown terrorism" you are giving the government the tools to target the growing segment of this country that is advocating for the restoration of our Constitution; to target those in the peace movement  - and anyone who questions or criticizes the Administration.  Shame on you!!  I am deeply disappointed and disturbed by your willingness to support this!

In Section 899A of the bill the definition of violent radicalization uses vague language to define this term of promoting any belief system that the government considers to be an extremist agenda. Since the bill doesn't specifically define what an extremist belief system is, it is entirely up to the interpretation of the government.

The bill could be used to define "homegrown terrorism" to include THOUGHTS! You want to control what I think??  What I say??  What I believe??

HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Section 899B of the bill goes over the findings of Congress as it pertains to homegrown terrorism. Particularly alarming is that the bill mentions the Internet as a main source for terrorist propaganda. The bill even mentions "streams" in obvious reference to many of the patriot and pro-constitution Internet radio networks that have been formed. It also mentions that homegrown terrorists span all ages and races indicating that Congress is stating that EVERYONE is a potential terrorist!

This section also says that any measure to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism should not violate the constitutional rights of citizens. However, the definition of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism as they are defined in section 899A are themselves unconstitutional. The Constitution does not allow the government to arrest people for thought "crimes", so any promises not to violate the constitutional rights of citizens are already broken by their own definitions.

"The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens."

What an INSULT to every intelligent citizen in this country!  Our representatives find us incapable of thinking for ourselves!!

"Understanding the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating these threats in the United States."  What a joke!!  If our ELECTED Representatives UNDERSTOOD motivational factors, it would RESTORE OUR CONSTITUTION AND IMPEACH CHENEY AND BUSH!!

"The potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily prevented through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and requires the incorporation of State and local solutions."  What's next Rep. Wu - a police state?  A massive increase in prisons to hold everyone who dares to speak out against the administration?  Rendition and torture of every one who doesn't agree with every aspect of our government?  WHAT SOLUTIONS?  Doesn't this leave a lot of room for just such things to happen??

Section 899C calls for a commission on the prevention of violent radicalization and ideologically based violence. The commission will consist of ten members appointed by various individuals that hold different positions in government. Under this administration, the "commission" will no doubt consist of Cheney/Bush friendly anti-patriots with an agenda of further destroying our Constitution and terrorizing the American people!!  How brilliant - domestic terrorists in the guise of patriotism to report on and determine how to subjugate and demoralize the citizens of this country!

Section 899D of the bill establishes a Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States. Essentially, this will be a Department of Homeland Security affiliated institution that will study and determine how to defeat thought criminals. "Thought criminals" - what a perfect euphemism for those currently in power!  Too bad the "Center of Excellence" for the Study of Violent Redicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States won't be focusing on the White House and the halls of the Senate and House of Representatives - Why not just be honest and title it "The Center for the Destruction of Democracy"???

Obviously, this legislation is unconstitutional on a number of levels and it is clear that all 404 representatives who voted in favor of this bill are conspiring AGAINST our freedoms and the traditions inherent in our Constitution and Bill of Rights! The more I learn, the more I come to believe that there is NO difference between parties.

You have FAILED your constituents! The bill will now go on to the Senate and will most likely be passed and signed into law by the second biggest traitor our country has ever seen (the first place goes to Cheney!), joining other mind-numbing attacks attacks against this country - the so-called Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act...

And I, whose family history in this country began in the late 1600's...whose ancestors fought and/or died in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Mexican War, World Wars I & II, the Korean War and the Vietnamese War...I could be judged "unpatriotic" for speaking up against the "terrorism" that this administration is perpetrating on my country and upon the memory of every generation that has fought to keep our Constitution intact!

Again - shame on you


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Posted: Oct 26, 2007 10:07pm
Oct 26, 2007
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955 titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is one of the most blatant attacks against the Constitution yet and actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorism. If passed into law, it will also establish a commission and a Center of Excellence to study and defeat so called thought criminals. Unlike previous anti-terror legislation, this bill specifically targets the civilian population of the United States and uses vague language to define homegrown terrorism. Amazingly, 404 of our elected representatives from both the Democrat and Republican parties voted in favor of this bill. There is little doubt that this bill is specifically targeting the growing patriot community that is demanding the restoration of the Constitution.

First let's take a look at the definitions of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism as defined in Section 899A of the bill.

The definition of violent radicalization uses vague language to define this term of promoting any belief system that the government considers to be an extremist agenda. Since the bill doesn't specifically define what an extremist belief system is, it is entirely up to the interpretation of the government. Considering how much the government has done to destroy the Constitution they could even define Ron Paul supporters as promoting an extremist belief system. Literally, the government according to this definition can define whatever they want as an extremist belief system. Essentially they have defined violent radicalization as thought crime. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

The definition of homegrown terrorism uses equally vague language to further define thought crime. The bill includes the planned use of force or violence as homegrown terrorism which could be interpreted as thinking about using force or violence. Not only that but the definition is so vaguely defined, that petty crimes could even fall into the category of homegrown terrorism. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.

`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Section 899B of the bill goes over the findings of Congress as it pertains to homegrown terrorism. Particularly alarming is that the bill mentions the Internet as a main source for terrorist propaganda. The bill even mentions streams in obvious reference to many of the patriot and pro-constitution Internet radio networks that have been formed. It also mentions that homegrown terrorists span all ages and races indicating that the Congress is stating that everyone is a potential terrorist. Even worse is that Congress states in their findings that they should look at draconian police states like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom as models to defeat homegrown terrorists. Literally, these findings of Congress fall right in line with the growing patriot community.

The biggest joke of all is that this section also says that any measure to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism should not violate the constitutional rights of citizens. However, the definition of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism as they are defined in section 899A are themselves unconstitutional. The Constitution does not allow the government to arrest people for thought crimes, so any promises not to violate the constitutional rights of citizens are already broken by their own definitions.

`SEC. 899B. FINDINGS.

`The Congress finds the following:

`(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.

`(2) The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.

`(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

`(4) While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.

`(5) Understanding the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating these threats in the United States.

`(6) The potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily prevented through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and requires the incorporation of State and local solutions.

`(7) Individuals prone to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence span all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs, and individuals should not be targeted based solely on race, ethnicity, or religion.

`(8) Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights and civil liberties of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.

`(9) Certain governments, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations.

Section 899C calls for a commission on the prevention of violent radicalization and ideologically based violence. The commission will consist of ten members appointed by various individuals that hold different positions in government. Essentially, this is a commission that will examine and report on how they are going to deal with violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. So basically, the commission is being formed specifically on how to deal with thought criminals in the United States. The bill requires that the commission submit their final report 18 months following the commission's first meeting as well as submit interim reports every 6 months leading up to the final report. Below is the bill's defined purpose of the commission. Amazingly they even define one of the purposes of the commission to determine the causes of lone wolf violent radicalization.

(b) Purpose- The purposes of the Commission are the following:

`(1) Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States, including United States connections to non-United States persons and networks, violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in prison, individual or `lone wolf' violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and other faces of the phenomena of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence that the Commission considers important.

`(2) Build upon and bring together the work of other entities and avoid unnecessary duplication, by reviewing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of--

`(A) the Center of Excellence established or designated under section 899D, and other academic work, as appropriate;

`( Federal, State, local, or tribal studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence; and

`(C) foreign government studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence.

Section 899D of the bill establishes a Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States. Essentially, this will be a Department of Homeland Security affiliated institution that will study and determine how to defeat thought criminals.

Section 899E of the bill discusses how the government is going to defeat violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism through international cooperation. As stated in the findings section earlier in the legislation, they will unquestionably seek the advice of countries with draconian police states like the United Kingdom to determine how to deal with this growing threat of thought crime.

Possibly the most ridiculous section of the bill is Section 899F which states how they plan on protecting civil rights and civil liberties while preventing ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism. Here is what the section says.

`SEC. 899F. PROTECTING CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES WHILE PREVENTING IDEOLOGICALLY-BASED VIOLENCE AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM.

`(a) In General- The Department of Homeland Security's efforts to prevent ideologically-based violence and homegrown terrorism as described herein shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, and civil liberties of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.

`(b) Commitment to Racial Neutrality- The Secretary shall ensure that the activities and operations of the entities created by this subtitle are in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security's commitment to racial neutrality.

`(c) Auditing Mechanism- The Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Officer of the Department of Homeland Security will develop and implement an auditing mechanism to ensure that compliance with this subtitle does not result in a disproportionate impact, without a rational basis, on any particular race, ethnicity, or religion and include the results of its audit in its annual report to Congress required under section 705.'.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of contents in section 1(b) of such Act is amended by inserting at the end of the items relating to title VIII the following:

It states in the first subsection that in general the efforts to defeat thought crime shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights and civil liberties of the United States citizens and lawful permanent residents. How does this protect constitutional rights if they use vague language such as in general that prefaces the statement? This means that the Department of Homeland Security does not have to abide by the Constitution in their attempts to prevent so called homegrown terrorism.

This bill is completely insane. It literally allows the government to define any and all crimes including thought crime as violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. Obviously, this legislation is unconstitutional on a number of levels and it is clear that all 404 representatives who voted in favor of this bill are traitors and should be removed from office immediately. The treason spans both political parties and it shows us all that there is no difference between them. The bill will go on to the Senate and will likely be passed and signed into the law by George W. Bush. Considering that draconian legislation like the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act have already been passed, there seems little question that this one will get passed as well. This is more proof that our country has been completely sold out by a group of traitors at all levels of government.

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Posted: Oct 26, 2007 9:58pm

 

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Cynthia H.
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