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Aug 14, 2011

Some random but serious food for thought thoughts that have been running around my head (unfortunately not all environment related although they are indirectly... if we're busy with arms we have less attention for our duty of guardian of Creation; living in cities with limited greenery can make us go a bit funny, outside our natural [fitra] situation)

The UK Prime Minister, Mr Cameron says some youngsters grow up in "a culture that glorifies violence." ... while London hosts DSEi, the world's biggest arms fair in five weeks time (it "will be even bigger [than 2009]").


Highest estimated cost of riots in UK in past week: £100m
Tax avoidance by Vodafone: £6 billion
Tax spent on Libyan intervention: £1 billion
Tax avoidance in 2010 by richest people in the UK: £7 bllion
Tax payers bill for banking crisis: £131 billion
Tax money spent in Iraqi conflict: £4.5 billion
Tax money spent on Afghan conflict (up until 2007): £7 billion

Tax money to be spent on replacement of UK nuclear weapons £over 100bn

Total MP expenses bill (2007) £87.6m

UN emergency response requirements for Horn of Africa £2.5 billion (only half committed so far)


Norwegian killing 78 got so much more attention than news that collectively we're responsible for deaths of 30,000 kids who've died in Horn of Africa just in last 90 days (in a world of plenty there's nothing natural about starvation; global governance leads to unjust distribution and access to food)


Birmingham (UK) City Council leaders awarding themselves 37% payrise (from 37 to 51 MILLION GBP) while local services and community safety get a 78% budget CUT (from 55 to 13 million GBP)


Shell admits Nigeria oil spills and Shell fights spill near North Sea oil platform, but also Oil giant Shell profits jump 77%


What have we done to the world? What are we doing to the world?

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Posted: Aug 14, 2011 7:24am
Apr 12, 2010

A sad indictment of what seems to be our priority setting according to an article in The Guardian:

"Sales of the world's top 100 arms companies totalled $385bn in 2008, an increase of $39bn over the previous year, Sipri [Stockholm international peace research institute] says. This compares with the total $120bn spent on development aid by the world's major industrialised countries in 2008."

Also, if a country now wants aid from the US in order to combat the effects of climate change, it'd better have signed up to the Copenhagen Accord (a non-legally binding document that appeared after no legally binding just agreement could be agreed during the Dec '09 climate negotiations), as also today in the news. And little hope - unless we all do our 2p, collectively and individually! - for a better outcome from Mexico this December.

At least the US army appreciates that peal oil is coming and we'd better prepare, God willing proactively and peacefully! Examples are the Transition movement and permaculture.

Added quote on 22 April as relevant as to our priorities: "The sums in the [UK Government] budget are a start, but they’re dwarfed by the amounts used to subsidise the banks, and are like sending someone out to organize a wedding with only enough money to buy a packet of peanuts.", Andrew Simms, Policy Director and Head of the Climate
Change Programme at the New Economics Foundation, talking about the
Green Investment Bank (found in BFoE mailing list)

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Posted: Apr 12, 2010 5:47am
Apr 6, 2010

My main focus in this blog and life is the environment, Creation, and how my faith, Islam, teaches about living in harmony with the rest of Creation ("There is not a moving creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you.", Quran 6:38; the Quran can seem quite anthropo/ human-centric as only humans have a free will and thus require guidance as to options).

Living sustainably in our environment, however, also requires having a sustainable economic system and not waging war, but focusing on peace and using your money in positive ways.

On the topic of economic system, some short answers on money were answered by representatives of several faiths in a recent article in The Times. The key points I liked: "There is a whole Islamic economic system, and Islam abhors both stinginess and wastefulness. The Arabic word for economics, iqtisad, actually means moderation. [...]. There is no problem with being wealthy. King David, one of our prophets, was extremely wealthy. We say that it is good to earn and use the money to serve God."

On the topic of peace, terrorists in the name of Islam, abuse our beautiful religion. A recent confirmation (again! if seldom acknowledged in the press) that terrorism is NOT Islamic concerns clarification of the abuse of a fatwa of Ibn Taymiyya (1263–1328 CE) by a group of eminent group of scholars under the name of Mardin Declaration: "Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwa concerning Mardin can under no circumstances be appropriated and used as evidence for leveling the charge of kufr (unbelief) against fellow Muslims, rebelling against rulers, deeming game their lives and property, terrorizing those who enjoy safety and security, acting treacherously towards those who live (in harmony) with fellow Muslims or with whom fellow Muslims live (in harmony) via the bond of citizenship and peace. On the contrary, the fatwa deems all of that unlawful"

With upcoming elections: make your vote count if you can!

In peace, Rianne

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Posted: Apr 6, 2010 5:01am
Jan 10, 2010

Some say we should focus on Muslims with security measures as 'though majority of Muslims are not terrorists, current terrorists are all Muslims'... well, what about the van with explosives found in France today (read in Dutch newspaper)? What about the attack on the Greek parliament yesterday (again, read in Dutch newspaper)? What about the latest acid attack in Hong Kong? What about the Togo footballers attacked in Angola?

NO, I am NOT trying to justify terror in the name of Islam ('others do it too'): I wholeheartedly CONDEMN ALL TERROR, by whomever committed and for whatever purported reason. All I'm suggesting is let us ALL please think peace and long-term... I sadly see an increasing 'them & us' (amongst all sides), which will only in my opinion make matters worse.

Continuing on the off topic theme (normally use this blog for environment related thoughts), thought I'd share what I recently bumped into (am a humanitarian aid worker by day): The Right to Asylum between Islamic Shari’ah and International Refugee Law: A Comparative Study
a UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) funded report published in June 2009.

BTW: why do Malaysian Muslims object to Christians using the word 'Allah' for God? In the UK I speak English and use the word God (English) instead of Allah (Arabic). We're supposed to be worshipping the same One God anyways, whatever name we choose to use (Quran 17:110).

Let's get to know one another as fellow brothers and sisters in humanity (Quran 49:13) ...

In peace, Rianne

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Posted: Jan 10, 2010 3:49am
Jun 9, 2009

On 19 May, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) put out a press release calling for an immediate moratorium on Genetically Modified (GM) foods because "GM foods pose a serious health risk". Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes "there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects" and that "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health."

I think these doctors know better what's good for us or not than those working for commercial companies making/ dependent on GM telling us it's all fine and we 'need' it for all kinds of reasons...there is NO food shortage (there are now more overweight/ obese people than those malnourished), it will NOT solve poverty (being forced to keep buying sterile seeds from a global behemoth will only increase wealth gap), it will NOT help combat climate change (most GM are only pesticide resistant, so not using pesticides in first place is more sustainable & there are many plant varieties we could use), and, last but not least, how dare we think we can mess around with God's Creation (Satan disclosed some of his plots to confound us saying: "Verily of Your servants I shall most certainly take my due share, and shall lead them astray and fill them with vain desires. And I shall command them so that they cut off the ears of cattle (in idolatrous sacrifice), and I shall command them and they will CHANGE GOD's CREATION.", Quran chapter 4:119)?

A good site with information on Islamic view on GM is Muzammal Hussein's site.

An unrelated, but important piece of news I wanted to share is that it seems we still have a strange set of priorities: according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), world governments spent a record $1.46 trillion on upgrading their armed forces last year despite the economic downturn (see article in The Independent), while for $40-60 billion a year we could achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (according to research by the Worldbank)

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Posted: Jun 9, 2009 5:05am


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Rianne ten Veen
, 3
Solihull, United Kingdom
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